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Nurturing from Scratch!
About a year ago, I started a role in a company where Eloqua has been implemented for just over a year, but has been primarily used for its more basic functionalities such as sending simple campaign, one-off emails, forms and landing pages. There was so much Eloqua is designed to do that was waiting to be discovered at this point, but very exciting times!
It was the typical ‘batch and blast’ way whereby emails were sent as newsletters without personalisation, or a follow up step in the journey for customers depending on how they behave digitally. Not surprisingly, the email engagement rates at this time were low. The open rate was around 20%, click rate around 5% and Click to Open Rate on average was just around 12%. There was a strong need for good quality client data too.
The answer to this problem was to unlock more of Eloqua’s marketing automation power and to set up the business’ first multi-step nurture campaign. By doing so we would be able to send communications to the right audience, at the right time in the right way, drive marketing qualified leads for our salesforce and drive more client insight to the business.
Starting from scratch can be daunting, but the first step is key. This was to audit the state of email marketing by looking at the engagement rates, number of leads passed to sales, email frequency. Once this baseline was set, we could set SMART objectives as KPIs to measure our effort against the baseline.
Next step we tried to answer the 3 key questions: the Who, What and How.
Who we are nurturing?
Through running a Welcome Campaign, we were able to identify pots of contacts who are interested in different themes. These are customers/prospects who explicitly tell us that they are interested in this topic. Secondly, through digital body language, we were able to find contacts who show interest in this topic. Thirdly sales also were able to provide us insight in terms of which of their existing contacts are interested in this theme. These three sources of data inputs formed the initial segment for this nurture campaign.
What are the messages?
Luckily there was a lot of content that can be curated as part of a nurture journey. We created an audit of every content surrounding this theme and all of the different formats that they were in, from thought leadership whitepapers, articles, infographic, webcast recording and case studies to videos and product specs.
How do we nurture?
Nurturing is to move a contact from Point A ‘aware of the topic’, to Point B ‘persuaded to purchase a product’. To do this we aligned the content along this journey from A to B categorised by stages, awareness, education, consideration and conversion. There are many ways to categorise these stages, but they are similar in principle and in my opinion in line with the waterfall strategy.
Next, we aligned the existing content we had at our disposal to this framework, to plan what content we offer for download or for consumption at each step.
Awareness: Identify the issue or the challenge, answer the question: why should they care?
Suitable content and format for this stage: infographic, videos, synopsis of whitepaper, survey response.
Education: Give away a bit of ‘tricks of the trade’! Lay out the ‘how to’ by explaining in detail how can this issue be solved and challenges be overcome? Suitable content and format for this stage: step-by-step guides, manuals, articles, and videos
Consideration: Show how it’s done. How your peers are overcoming the same challenge. It’s best when a real client case study can be feature to substantiate the point you’re making. This creates a segment to the product/solutions that case studies feature. Suitable content and format for this stage: case studies, quotes, testimonials
Conversion: Unveil the product. Crucial step in the nurture journey, which is to persuade contacts how purchasing the product, or to engage with a member of the sales team to seek product / solutions to the customer’s own problems. Suitable content and format for this stage: product specs, demo videos
Once the content download plan has been finalised. We looked closer at the tactics of nurturing, which are geared towards one goal, to keep customers engaged!
- Sending a follow up email with an alt. subject line to non-openers of previous email.
- Sending a follow up email with an alt. format to non clickers of previous email.
- Sending a follow up email with an alt. content to non-downloaders.
- Using one progressive profiling form to gate every content download. To download each content, we asked our customer one profile or one behaviour question.
- Using Linkedin cloud app for retargeting contacts who are least engaged in the programme.
- Adjust timings for the next email send based on previous level engagement. For example, if the previous contact downloaded/clicked the content, they get the next message within sooner than if they were to have not opened the previous message.
- Personalising the nurture journeys: we hot routed contacts from Awareness to Consideration who had answered question in progressive profiling that shows that they should skip the thought leadership content.
- Making it cross-channel: linking Eloqua landing pages to the website to create an onward journey for the clients and additional content to look at.
It takes a village!
The campaign saw the open rate rising to 37% and click rate to 13%, and click to open rate to 35%. In addition the download rate from this campaign rose to 9% and we generated a total of 160 marketing qualified leads from the 4 localised versions of this campaign after it was rolled out to wide markets.
To get this campaign rolled out it was a squat team effort between product marketing, product strategy, content marketing and digital marketing as well as sales and business stakeholders.
The below courses from Eloqua University’s were directly helpful to the set up of this campaign:
The process of aligning content to the persuasion funnel also revealed gaps in content for example, more case studies and more ‘how to’ guides. Persona based content is another area to address to make the campaign even more personalised, targeted and engaging.