Before buyers had so many choices about where and how they could access information, batch and blast emails were the norm. Marketers loaded up the weekly or monthly message, made sure the company’s logo was headlining and pulled the trigger to make sure they were “top of mind” when buyers decided they needed information about their solutions. Times have obviously changed. Information is available at every click and as a result of every search query. This ease of content access has made it less necessary to fill out a form to get the information buyers need to research how to solve problems. The content noise is deafening, which means getting noticed is more difficult than it used to be. Even more challenging is keeping a lead’s attention over time. This is why marketing strategy has to come before tactical execution.
Marketing automation solutions are the engines that drive lead nurturing. With a marketing strategy, campaigns can be executed as interactive messaging and response programs that keep your lead’s interest across the course of their buying process. Lead nurturing is similar to telling a story over time. With each nurturing send, marketers can share the next piece of the puzzle for how to solve a problem. Based on how your leads respond, the most relevant message can be served up to drive continuous engagement.
But that doesn’t happen without planning.
Think of a marketing strategy for lead nurturing as a series of If-Then scenarios.
- If the lead clicks through, reads the content and leaves, they remain in the queue for the next scheduled send.
- If the lead clicks through, reads the content and then clicks to read a related content resource, trigger a follow-on send that shares the link to download a white paper on the same subject.
- And so on.
Each activity related to buying interest increases their lead score. But the marketing strategy must also take into account activities that trigger the need for personalized follow-up interactions. For example, if a lead clicks to view your online demo or begins downloading solution briefs and data sheets.
During our lead nurturing webinar last week, attendees responded to a poll question that their 3 biggest obstacles were strategy, content and technology. All three are integral to lead nurturing execution. But they don’t need to be a stumbling block. Marketing automation is the technology platform that integrates your strategy and content for successful engagement.
Simplify the process by developing one strategic plan for each segment of your database. Plan your content distribution to deliver a continuous thread of information your leads need to determine how to best solve their problems. Once your content is there, the drag-and-drop interface of our marketing automation provides great flexibility to help you set up the execution of the program quickly.
The best part is that you don’t need to achieve perfection before you can begin to execute your marketing strategy. The best marketing automation software is developed with process execution and decision analysis so you can learn as go and refine your nurturing programs on the fly to improve your results. (See some Lessons from the Trenches for more insights)
Just don’t try to execute without a marketing strategy and the content you need to fuel your program. Once you have that, the technology can help you with the heavy lifting of execution.