Marketing automation has been around for a few years now. But most businesses have not gone beyond the basic email drip campaign. In this short article, we wanted to discuss some of the workflows we've been working on recently.
Your automation sucks
Well, let's get it out. Most B2B firms have not adopted a sophisticated approach when it comes to automation. Or at least, they have not dedicated sufficient resources to make it work. The weekly drip campaigns is a bit dated now, and powerful automation tools like Marketo, Hubspot or even a basic Mailchimp allow brands to be more relevant and personalised.
The weekly drip campaign: This was an easy set up to nurture cold leads. Marketers would engage with contacts until content exhaustion, and that was pretty much what it is - or for many brands, this is still the status quo today. But why not being a bit more innovative with your automation processes. This doesn't actually take much time to set up. Let's have a look at some basic workflows:
I love contextual marketing - but what is it? Contextual marketing is sending the right message, at the right time, to the right person. How does this look like in practice? Image a visitor browses through your product pages on your website. Your CMS system recognises the IP as a returning user that has previously engaged with some lead generation forms and thus is known to the system.
Back to the product pages, because this user has engaged with product pages, this is a pretty strong indication that this person has gone beyond the initial awareness stage. As a matter of fact, it is likely that the person moved into the 'consideration stage'. This is a great opportunity to trigger 2-3 emails in a very short cadence.
Email 1: Thanks for looking at our product pages (I would strongly recommend an A/B test here to and gauge whether the direct message is freaking your users out (depending on the demographics of your audience, millennials and younger generation probably won't see this as intrusive). This email is going out very shortly after the 'contextual workflow' was triggered - 30min after. The content of this email is purely product related, again, a testing message between benefits and features.
Email 2: Next day, engaging with more content with some use cases on how the product helped some of your customers.
Email 3: CTA email - hey, is it time to speak? Connect with one of our experts.
Although we were a bit critical towards drip campaigns, they are not actually a bad thing. We do have a tendency to forget about the exhausted nurtured leads. Instead, we can re-engage folks after 3 or 6 months. These are contacts without any activity or even people who had contact with our sales reps but gone back cold again. Trying to get them back into warmer climates by engaging them with content - and yes, we're back at TOFU - awareness and educational content only. Don't talk about your products!
Optimising your Nurture Streams
We love nurture streams. They're simple and perform well! The question - gated or ungated! Should you point traffic to lead gen forms or just a blog? That's a strategic question. If the objective of your nurture streams is to further profile your audience by asking them different questions on the form, you probably should point towards gated landing pages. Having said that, why don't you ask your profiling questions directly in the email? If you're after identifying pain points of your personas, why not giving 3 options available and ask your audience in the email: What in digital marketing do you struggle the most?
- digital advertising
- marketing automation
- budget and resources
Now, by analysing click activity within your emails, content can then be tailored and rather having a default drip campaign, a contact with challenges in marketing automation can transition into a new stream or workflow talking about marketing automation best practices, simple really! If progressive profiling is not something you're after, ungated content is definitely providing a better user experience. Making sure that there are some tools in place which measure page engagement and some sort of internal sales notifications - and Bob's your uncle!
These are 3 very simple things you can implement fairly quickly. No need for a lot of content but the results will be great, particularly the contextual workflows. All these were based whereby email was the communication tool, with GDPR looming, this will impact with how many potential customers you can actually engage with. Share your ideas with us. With automation, you're limited by your own creativity!