What’s your definition of Marketing Automation? Marketing on steroids? That’s pretty much a common phrase to hear! In a nutshell, the sole purpose of any automated marketing program is to attract those that WANT to be attracted. At the end of the day, what do we want to do as a business? Nurture prospects, turn them into customers, keep them happy and become our brand ambassadors for life.
So, how do we do this? What’s the secret?
Start with Nurture
Lead nurturing, as defined in the B2B Marketing Zone, is the process of sharing valuable content with prospective customers until they are ready to buy and trust you. According to a report from Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead. An Annuitas study tells us that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Between sealing the sales funnel to prevent leakage and fostering warmer relationships with prospects, lead nurturing clearly has the power to increase your revenue and market share.
Blast vs. Drip vs. Nurture
- Blast campaigns are not automated, though you might well schedule a blast to deploy automatically. That’s pretty much the only automated part about them.
- Drip campaigns are a series of emails that get sent based only on time. According to Target Marketing Mag, “drip marketing is designed to keep you top of mind when your recipient is ready to enter or reenter the sales funnel. The message is general, is sent to a general list and on a predetermined schedule. Drip campaigns are the passive path to take.
- Nurture campaigns fire off more actively. Prospects receive emails that get sent based on what they have done. They opened your email about training, GREAT! They will receive another email with available dates. They click through to your website to schedule training but perhaps they don’t complete the registration, they will receive an email that discusses next steps available to them.
Engagement + Relationships = Revenue
If you sell education, such as courses or Learning As A Service (LAAS), a great outcome to strive for is to increase engagement by nurturing a prospect through to the point of actual purchase. This is most common with a Micro Transaction (MT), such as a short on-line class or limited time access to a knowledge library that only costs a nominal amount. This enables continued engagement at a deeper level and also facilitates your ability to demonstrate a good ROI for that customer’s time and money. Additionally, it can lead to productive and specific dialogue about how some of your more advanced or targeted education/training can help solve customer challenges.
For existing customers that have already purchased a product or service, nurturing can be used to move someone along the “nurture continuum” toward your highest value services and facilitating the creation of customer advocates. For example, you might want to kick in a nurture campaign for an advanced course or certification once a person has some hands on experience to apply what they learned from initial training.
Adopting even a simple nurturing program can give you a significant competitive advantage. By utilizing a cloud-based solution provider such as Right On Interactive or Marketo, you have the ability to map the customer’s entire brand experience, from messaging through product usage. Marketers and sales teams can know exactly where a prospect or customer is in their relationship with a brand, and how best to approach them to maximize lifetime value.
About Brad Pierce
President of Education Services Group
Brad Pierce is a thought leader in education revenue management with a focus on marketing, sales strategy, and operational best practices. He is passionate about pushing innovation by leveraging new technologies and creating partnerships. Brad earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University and his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his family.