David Kirkpatrick

Lead nurturing via email series and content marketing

January 5th, 2015
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Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Lead nurturing involves a number of activities and channels such as ?under the hood? tracking and scoring of prospects behavior and engagement with your campaigns as well as follow-up telephone at times whenever that tactic fits into an overall lead nurturing program.

However, the key channel for lead nurturing is email — particularly using email to send a series of relevant content pieces or offers to prospects as they move through the buying funnel.

In previous B2B Lead Roundtable Blog posts, I’ve offered a group of MarketingSherpa case studies based around a particular content area. Today, I’m going to highlight one case study — Email Marketing: 133% ROI for B2B’s first-ever lead nurturing program — on a lead nurturing program launched by Crowe Horwath, a public accounting and consulting firm.

 

Background on the campaign

Christine Elliot, Director of Content Strategy and Digital Marketing, Crowe Horwath, understood the value of lead nurturing to both fill leaks in the sales funnel and improve ROI.

When she began working with the “performance group,” a business unit within the firm, Christine was pleased to learn that she didn?t need to pitch the value of launching an inaugural lead nurturing program.

The program was based around a 12 to 18-month sales cycle and targeted C-suite executives and large financial institutions with at least $1 billion in assets.

 

What the team did during the campaign

The first stage was determining content for the program, in this case, based on four topic areas: Dodd-Frank, anti-money laundering, process improvement and core systems. From there the team mapped content to the early, mid and late stages of the buying cycle.

In launching the lead nurturing program, the campaign began with a list of 4,000 executives who would receive a monthly email offer for a piece of content.

To even be entered into the lead nurturing program, email recipients had to download content from an invitation email.

Invitation email

After engaging and entering the program, list members no longer received invitation emails and instead began receiving one email every three weeks with an offer for free content.

Content email

The team had 12 pieces of content for each of the three buying stage tracks for a total of 48 pieces of content. The nurtured leads became sales-ready after either downloading three pieces of content or just one piece of late-stage content.

 

How the team refined the campaign

Once the program launched, both Marketing and Sales met to review the newly nurtured leads and discuss how the program was performing. These meetings led to improvements to the program:

  • Instead of filling out a lengthy form, prospects only had to answer a single question to download content. These questions even had the options of “none” and “other” so prospects didn’t even have to provide any meaningful information, but according to Christine, most did. One question asked recipients if they preferred to receive email on a different topic — a question that might change the nurturing track they were currently on.
  • Lead scoring was improved after analysis of every person in the program, and the team found out that factors impacting lead quality included: asset size, title and behavior such as changing tracks, forwarding material or downloading at least three pieces of content.

 

How the campaign performed

What were the results of this campaign?

  • 33% of invited executives entered the program
  • A 75% to 80% open rate for nurturing emails

This was the first automated nurturing program at Crowe Horwath, and it became a model the team uses to deploy similar programs across the company.

“Now we’re expanding all over the firm,” Christine concluded.

If you found this short excerpt of the case study, clickthrough to read the entire case study with more detail on each step of the program.

 

You might also like

Lead Nurturing: Pilot campaign increases conversion 32.6% with automated emails [MarketingSherpa case study]

Lead Nurturing: How intent data lifted a B2B email campaign’s CTR 248% and forwarding rate more than 400% [MarketingSherpa case study]

Multichannel Marketing: Combining email and content marketing leads to 35% conversion rate for Elsevier [MarketingSherpa case study]

David Kirkpatrick

About David Kirkpatrick

David is a reporter for MarketingSherpa and has over twenty years of experience in business journalism, marketing and corporate communications. His published work includes newspaper, magazine and online journalism; website content; full-length ghosted nonfiction; marketing content; and short fiction. He served as producer for the business research horizontal at the original Office.com, regularly reporting on the world of marketing; covered a beat for D/FW TechBiz, a member of the American City Business Journals family; and he provided daily reporting for multiple LocalBusiness.com cities. David’s other media and corporate clients include: USA Today, Oxford Intelligence, GMAC, AOL, Business Development Outlook and C-Level Media, among many others.

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