Relationships are important. There’s no way around this—whether you’re a loner and value one or two close humans (or furry) friends or you’re a social expert and truly believe the more the merrier. Either way, you need to work at the relationships you value in order to make them stronger, last longer, and go deeper.
It’s not a far cry to say this is the thinking we should apply to the nurture campaigns we build. We are speaking to humans who value the power of relationships, so we need to do the work to strengthen how we find and build those relationships. Consider these four things before you launch your next nurture program.
1. Create a Gating Strategy
A gating strategy allows for an explicit thumbs-up from your audience, acknowledging that you have something of value. Form fills are a fantastic indicator that you are on the right track with your marketing message and overall strategy.
For a nurture program, gating can be extremely beneficial. Put the time in by answering the following questions to make sure your gates will create the right connections, not barriers.
|QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER||OUR ANSWER|
|Who am I targeting?||Existing customers.|
|Why am I targeting this audience?||Internally our cross-sell efforts have decreased and there’s a lot of lost opportunity for additional revenue.|
|What’s my goal?||To broaden the story our company shares with our existing customer base and to increase customer lifetime value.|
|What do we think, feel, or do that will best spark (or reignite) an attraction for this audience?||To reignite our spark, we need to reiterate the company values that brought our customers to us in the first place. We need to produce content that embodies these values to help elevate our story beyond the products we sell, reminding our customers that no matter what they buy from us, they will experience the same consistent values.
Idea: Create a nurture video series, and share the first video to (1) remind our customers that we know their world, (2) reiterate our value as an organization and why we do what we do, and (3) introduce the various topics that will be covered in future series. The CTA will encourage the reader to choose the topic they’re most interested in.
|What’s the minimum information needed to reach my goal?||We’ll use progressive profiling for the essential fields (name, company, email, country), and we’ll look to gain one additional piece of information from this audience: Which topic are they most interested in reading? (Include pick list for topics that maps to each of our cross-sell opportunities.)|
|Who will this help within my organization?||Product marketing and development teams will benefit by gaining insights on topics our customers are most interested in, which will help prioritize our roadmap.
Sales will benefit as they will learn a new way to sell our story to prospects, creating a higher value, stickier customer in the long run.
Customer support will benefit as they will have new information to explore and leverage when they are contacted for questions.
Executives will be happy, as over time we achieve our goal.
Marketing will benefit by having a turnkey, strategic nurture program in place that resonates and compels existing customers to act.
|What happens next?||Establish a communication channel to report real-time progress on the program.
Create a checklist of internal processes that will need to be set up and QA'd, and stakeholders who will need to be involved and informed.
Reviewing these questions will ensure that you are doing what you can to keep your relationships as healthy as possible. These questions will make you think through your nurture program from both an internal and external perspective. Gating content is not always the best way to go, and it can cause a lot of damage if handled with little or no regard for the end-user. If you use a gate, you should be gating content that provides real value at the right time for the right audience.
2. Get Smart on Your Logic Criteria
We know the point of a nurture program is to nurture relationships. You never quite set and forget this effort; it’s a lifelong investment. Your goal is to gain continual insights in regard to how people are finding your nurture program, how they are moving through it, and what happens once they “place” out of it.
If you don’t use a logic map to visualize all of the above, copy and adapt one of the following to suit your needs.
There are two maps to consider: (1) A simple nurture program with one stream. (2) A more complex nurture program with multiple points of interests/streams.
Both maps consider who you are targeting (persona and titles), points of interest (content), on ramps (how will your audience find and enter your nurture program), and off ramps (triggers for graduating and/or leaving the program).
In addition to creating your logic map, you should have a list of rules for consideration. These rules should include:
- When to hit pause (i.e., your target qualifies for a higher-value nurture program)
- What happens when there is no title (i.e., do you create a generic “catch-all” nurture stream?)
- What happens when there is multi-product/topic interest (i.e., does a target engage in multiple nurture streams?)
3. Use Personalization
When asked to prioritize one capability that will be most important to marketing in the future, 33% of marketers answered personalization.
We all know personalization is important by now, and it’s great to add it into obvious places (like including names in emails), but it’s time to think through and apply a greater strategy for personalization when it comes to our nurture programs. A personalization strategy focuses on tailored, multi-channel experiences crafted for the individual. When thinking through your strategy, concentrate on these three areas:
Within each of these areas is a lot to consider. You’ll find over time you can go deeper and deeper to refine and enhance your individual nurture experience, all while reaping greater engagement and loyalty.
Segment: Focus on how you can move from segment → human. How can you see beyond the assumptions and generalizations you make when creating a segment, and instead get specific about your segments as humans? Are you seeing splits within your segments to create additional streams based on micro-interests? Are there ways you can supplement varied interests through other channels with more personalized recommendations?
Behavior: Focus on going from behavior → actions. Pay specific attention to channels and types of content your segments are liking. Take time to connect your segments’ actions to feelings, values, and core beliefs. The more you can build an emotional case for your brand and your products/services, the higher the chance your segment/human will form a stronger, more loyal bond to your organization. Don’t be afraid to go deep and be real.
Experience: Work on going from experience → understanding. Set out to create umbrella experiences that are welcoming. Seek to evolve those experiences to be more and more personal through content, channels, copy, and human touch. All of this becomes easier through understanding. At some point, the blanket experiences you started out with have to change into more authentic, tailored experiences. Otherwise, your segments will call your bluff.
In addition to the above, this list will help you jumpstart your personalization efforts:
- Ask the right questions.
- Build customer personas.
- Make use of location and time.
- Set up automated behavioral triggers.
- Use company-level personalization.
- Match personalized emails and landing pages.
- Use second person.
4. Leverage Data Enrichment
According to LeadGenius, 1-6.5% of your customer data loses validity every month due to turnover rates. Perhaps a more staggering statistic is that Marketo suggests a 10% increase in lead quality equals a 40% increase in sales productivity. That’s a lot of opportunity to claim.
Data enrichment is the process of refining and appending your contact and account data in order to maximize opportunities. In the age of machine learning, AI, and big data, the concept of data enrichment has never been, well, so rich. Using data enrichment can save your sales and marketing teams a lot of effort and money, all while making you more informed about your ideal customer. But it can also be overwhelming. Here’s a checklist to run through on how to best consider data enrichment in regard to optimizing your nurture program:
- Understand how leads and/or contacts are scored today. Meet with your marketing operations and digital teams to learn how leads and contacts are scored within your organization. You want to ensure the contact data you capture within your nurture program fits the flow and triggers of your current lead scoring model.
- Know what additional information you want to get out of data enrichment. Aside from the obvious data enrichment attributes (update company info, title, last name), determine the most valuable attributes you’d like to capture. Having a sense of who your ideal customer is and what contact attributes you’d like to enrich will be very helpful when it comes to updating, segmenting, and prioritizing actions based on enriched data.
- Integrate. Ensure that the data enrichment platform you use syncs with the right platforms for the best follow-up within your MarTech stack. Don’t assume if the data is synced to your CRM and MAP that it’s enough. Think through who needs to understand and leverage what’s been updated and which channel is best for them to receive this information.
- Remember you’re in charge. You know your audience best. Don’t be fooled by all the bells and whistles that data enrichment organizations have at their disposal. Ask the hard questions about compliance. Where does the data come from? Will the enriched data be available in multiple tools? How will the data appear/reconcile across each tool? Is data enrichment always on, or can it be selective based on priorities?
The goal is to make your relationships stronger over time. So take the above strategies around gating, logic, personalization, and data enrichment and apply them to ensure your audience stays at the heart of your nurture programs.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create a nurture program that wows your customers and prospects. Now all that’s left to do is get started!