Inbound marketing strategies that include solid SEO, relevant content and thoughtful conversion paths will generate more leads for your business, but that's only half the battle. Once you have a steady stream of leads, B2B drip campaigns will help you nurture your leads until they’re ripe and ready for a purchase. Here's how to perfect your nurturing campaigns and get better results.
1. Start With Goals
Before you can create a path for your leads, your B2B drip campaigns need a defined destination. As with most digital marketing initiatives, you want your goals to be specific and quantifiable and so you can measure your success.
If you already have nurturing campaigns up and running, revisit them and make sure there are tangible goals attached. Go beyond "improving sales," and aim to capture a variety of points with your campaigns. Some examples might include reclaiming 10 percent of leads that have dropped off, increasing trial subscriptions by 20 percent or increasing repeat purchases by 15 percent.
2. Simplify the Paths
If you're currently working with long and complicated paths for your drip campaigns, it can be difficult to pinpoint problem areas and make improvements. It can also be difficult for your prospects to reach the end of the path. If you're just starting out with email nurturing, keep the number of steps to a minimum and only add more when it's needed to slow down the process and give the prospect more time to warm up.
You know your customers best, and you know what the purchase process looks like for each of your segments. For major purchases, a long road with a lot of touchpoints might be the only way to go, but it doesn't mean the road must be long and winding. At each step of the way, ask yourself how each email serves the goal, whether each step picks up where the last one left off, and whether it’s a necessary step to reach the next one.
3. Build the Content
Now is the time to revisit your buyer personas and steep yourself in the different needs, challenges and personalities that make up your audience. A drip campaign will be the most successful when your recipients feel like they're getting individualized messages crafted just for them. Of course, this doesn't mean penning a fresh note for everyone; instead, focus the tone, style, and word choice on what your readers want to hear.
While you're crafting each message, consider the pacing of your buyer's purchase process and the steps involved that might be less visible to you. For example, there may be breaks in the process when others in the organization are reviewing the solution, or when someone else has to approve the spending.
Is it time for a break in messaging? Or will this segment do well with a message highlighting a recent charitable event or donation, for example? Some prospects may find a slightly off-topic message annoying, while others will be happy with the reminder that you're a good company to do business with.
4. Optimize Your Messages
Here is where the personalization — and the real magic — happens. First, consider general ways to optimize your emails including time zones, geographical areas, seasonal differences in locations and other broad strokes that will give your messages more context.
Next, think about ways to swap out different bits of content in your messages to further personalize and add context. For example, if one of your drips includes a call-to-action to download a whitepaper with implementation specs for your solution, create a few different whitepapers that are industry-specific, and tag your recipients by industry so they get the correct CTA.
Other personalization ideas include images (people like to look at other people who look like them), highlighting benefits of your solutions (i.e., some people are driven by price, some by ease of use) and even the sender's name (i.e., your company or an individual within the company).
Rinse and Repeat
Once you've done the work to optimize your B2B drip campaigns, let them run for a while and then take a close look at the results. Are your click-through-rates where they should be? Where are people falling off? Are your breaks timed correctly? And, most importantly, are you meeting your goals? No amount of "best practices" can ever replace testing, reviewing and tweaking to get the best results from your audience.