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Marketing Challenge and Goal

Lead nurturing is more than just piecing together content in a multi-touch email campaign with the intent of getting contacts to purchase. You need to recognize the journey your potential buyer's take as they identify their need, learn and evaluate solutions, and ultimately make that decision to purchase. Our digital communications team has recently been focused on converting dormant contacts from a specific market segment in our Oracle Eloqua database into qualified sales leads. The first attempt at a nurture campaign did not provide the results we were looking for so we needed to revise our approach. We needed to better guide this segment through the buyer’s journey to get the right content to the right contacts, at the right time.

 

Benchmarking our Initial Efforts

The first iteration of the nurturing campaign for this market segment did not prove to be as successful as we hoped for a couple of reasons:

 

  • We didn’t include any way of soliciting additional data from a contact which meant they could make it all the way through the campaign and we may still only have their email address.
  • The campaign was setup so the email sends were spread out a week apart so the contact had no way of moving through the campaign quicker if they were ready to consume the next piece of content.
  • The results were simply not there. We generated less than five sales leads from nearly 500 contacts that entered the campaign with a 29% unique open rate and a 6% unique clickthrough rate for six emails overall.

 

We needed to improve the campaign and start seeing better results.

 

Designing and Implementing our Revised Campaign

Our team reviewed the overall nurture campaign and associated assets and came up with three improvements that needed to be made:

 

1. Our first step was to revise the email content to better align with the buyer’s journey. We also needed a way to gather more data from the contact. We removed one email and made updates to the five existing emails:

 

    • Email 1 – “Need Recognition”: We introduce the audience to our solution and create the need. This included a free offering that could be obtained by filling out a simple form.
    • Email 2 – “Learn”: We explore the potential cost savings of our solution.
    • Email 3 – “Alternative Evaluation”: We compare our solution to the competitors’ solution and outline how we are superior.
    • Email 4 – “Purchase Decision”: We introduce our tools that can help them determine the appropriate product.
    • Email 5 – “Purchase Decision”: We give the contact the opportunity to book a free consultation with our dealers.

 

2. Next, we needed a lead scoring program that was aligned with the content we have in the buyer’s journey. The call-to-actions in the revised emails drive contacts back to our website, as this is where we host the majority of our content. Therefore, we devised a lead scoring program that relies heavily on page tags to score contacts based on what content they view on our website.

 

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3. Finally, we needed to revise the campaign to get contacts the right content at the right time. By using the “Shared Filter Member?” decision step with an evaluation period of seven days after each email step, we could immediately move the contact to a different email step in the campaign if their lead score determines they are ready for a piece of content in the next phase of the buyer’s journey. If a contact’s lead score doesn’t change within seven days, they will continue down a linear, time-based track and receive the next piece of scheduled content.

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New and Improved Results

We activated the latest iteration of the nurture campaign in late August 2017 and have run nearly 350 contacts through. We have seen encouraging improvement on key metrics:

 

  • Overall unique open rate: 38%
  • Overall unique clickthrough rate: 10%
  • Form submits for free offering: 28 (8% of contacts)
  • Free consultation requests: 16 (4.5% of contacts)

 

Future Improvements for Greater Success

The continual review and revision of this nurturing campaign is critical to ensuring we fully understand the buyer’s journey for this market segment. Here are three areas we need to improve upon in the coming months:

 

  1. We can report on email metrics, form submissions, and contacts sent to CRM, however we are having a hard time identifying HOW contacts are moving through the campaign. Knowing the path a contact takes through the campaign will give us an even better understanding of the buyer’s journey and will help us revise our email content further.
  2. At this time, we are only sending contacts to CRM if they request a free consultation. We need to continue working with sales teams to identify contacts that may be ready for purchase without requesting a free consultation.
  3. Integrating profile data into our lead scoring program will help us discover key decision makers in the buying process and will add another layer of data we can use to determine if a contact may be ready to purchase.

 

B2B Training Recommendations

While all of the B2B training courses played a role in the development of this campaign, the two I would recommend the most would be: the Effective Nurturing topic in the Modern Marketing: Revenue Performance Management (RPM) Series and the Lead Scoring topic in the B2B: Conversion course. These topics not only provide the technical knowledge of how to execute in Oracle Eloqua, but they get you asking the right questions so you are better prepared for success.

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