In the first of our nurture series, we looked at the buying cycle and how you ensure you’re sharing the right content at the right time so people remain engaged. Today, in the second of our series, we’re going to look at tips for successful activation of multi-channel nurture campaigns and their ability to drive pipeline, when using the right content, of course.
The challenge for modern B2B marketers is, today’s customers are in the driving seat and are demanding increasingly high levels of personalisation. There is no such thing as a standard B2B buyer journey: each one requires different touchpoints at different stages. So if email works for one, it might not work for the next, and if a particular customer at a certain stage in the buying cycle sees one message on email, they want to see consistent messages across social media, the website and all other channels they engage with.
So unless you have a target audience of just one person, nurturing prospects through a buyer’s journey from an initial expression of interest to a point where sales conversion could occur, is tough.
As we have talked about before, the key lies in knowing and understanding your target audience and their behaviours, and the building of trust by serving up the right content via channels most suited to them.
Perhaps the king of lead nurturing strategies has traditionally been email. Why? Well, let’s face it, modern marketing automation (MA) tools make email marketing campaigns very straightforward to activate and, in the time poor world in which we now live, anything that can save time is welcome! Everything you need to think about for an email campaign has been covered by the MA tool – what’s not to love? The trouble is, in the customer-centric world in which we also live, straightforward in the short term doesn’t always spell success in the long term. Email creates only a one dimensional nurture, or communication platform, that doesn’t take into account other channels that prospects and customers might also be engaging with.
In addition, email marketing is becoming harder. Consider again the aforementioned time poor world that we all now inhabit. Does your target audience really have time to open your emails? Post pandemic digital fatigue is real and this, combined with increasingly effective spam filters, means email engagement is becoming harder, which results in lower engagement across the board. And this is where multi-channel nurturing comes in.
Combining channels means you can reach more people via a channel that suits them, rather than one that suits you from a convenience perspective, but there are two golden rules to getting it right:
- Consistency is key
Whatever channels you choose as part of your lead nurture mix, it’s essential that recipients of the nurture are receiving consistent messaging across the different channels they engage with and that your content interplays successfully across each platform.
The effect of a LinkedIn campaign in isolation, for example, will be compromised if a concurrent campaign is running on your Twitter channel, but with conflicting messaging. In addition, check your messaging has been nuanced appropriately according to whether you’re marketing to an existing customer – who may therefore be interested in cross-sell/upsell opportunities – versus a potential buyer. You need to communicate the value of your proposition in the most relevant way to drive all audiences to action, and this requires targeted education, nurturing and pitching. The journey for the buyer is end-to-end and often multi-channel in nature, so all facets of that journey need to be considered.
In our previous blog, we discussed which types of content work most effectively for each stage of the buying cycle, so if you’re serving up videos, or bite-sized pieces of content via email to someone in the awareness stage of the buying cycle, then you need to ensure the same type of content is evident on your website, as well as through your social media channels.
An engaging infographic sent via email, for example, will be wasted if the prospect at awareness stage then gets served a product datasheet via LinkedIn. Their buying ‘journey’ needs to remain consistent across all channels and there are tools to help with that. Marketo’s Ad Bridge is a good example of such a tool that enables you to target the right audience with the right content across advertising platforms including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other popular platforms. By specifically targeting the right demographic with personalized content based on audience interests and buying cycle stage, the message remains consistent and organizations can more effectively reach, and engage with, prospects.
Another significant advantage of Ad Bridge (and other, similar tools) is the ability to analyse engagement rate alongside your sources of content in nurture, and ascertain the effectiveness of a particular channel for a particular lead. If the prospect is not engaging via email, for example, Ad Bridge can push that content into another channel to see if they engage that way instead. Or if the prospect engages well across both, or multiple channels. This capability is particularly helpful when considering re-engaging records or recipients who have not responded to email.
- Up close and personal
In addition to personalising the content you’re sharing based on the demographic of the recipient, or the stage the recipient is at in the nurture, you should look to extend this to the industry sector the lead is in. By doing so, you increase relevancy. If you were serving case studies, for example, you could ensure you were only serving case studies from the industry sector the customer or prospect operated within.
This point is particularly important when considering personalisation of the website. While organisations often place a heavy focus on personalisation of email, social or paid channels, the website is often overlooked.
If your nurture is part of a 1:1 ABM campaign for example, you should ensure your website is fully personalised for that account’s industry. Again, Marketo has website personalisation tools that pull data in directly from its database, based both behavioural and demographic data to allow the user to segment visitors who come to the website and personalise in real time.
Your website will play an integral role in your lead nurturing efforts so it needs to be fit for purpose. Make sure you have the right content on offer that people will be coming to read. Make sure that your navigation structure is set up correctly so that they can easily find what they’re looking for and, finally, make sure that your site is working optimally for mobile devices.
There are more than 8,000 marketing technology tools available to help engage customers. But there’s only one that’s a constant for every business – the website. So it’s crucial that you get it right.
A post pandemic accelerated shift to online selling means that organizations have had to adjust their B2B strategies. With buyer and seller interactions largely limited to online, your ability to develop strong personal relationships is even more essential to the B2B sales process, and a strong multi-channel, lead nurture program can help with this.
As customers proceed through their digital buying journeys, companies should provide them with consistent messaging and a story they can relate to.
If you need help with your lead nurture strategy and activation, we’d love to hear from you – contact us here.