3 Steps To Build A Lead Nurturing Campaign For Your Free Trial Sign Up Program
Most B2B buying cycles have multiple stages. Before purchasing a product, business buyers go through various phases that can roughly be categorized in the following stages:
- problem identification,
- search for solutions,
- evaluation against certain criteria,
- testing and comparison, and finally
A well-planned lead nurturing campaign enables the B2B marketer to build, maintain, and cultivate a relationship with potential buyers, guiding them through each stage.
For every business or vertical, there are certain events that usually need to happen before a deal can be closed. Similar to many other SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, for us at MindFire, signing up for a “Free Trial Account” is one of those key events: It’s the moment of truth, when the potential buyers can get an up-close look at the product, test drive its different features, and see if/how it meets their business needs.
That’s why we have created a multi-touch fully-automated lead nurturing campaign that starts with the free trial sign up and, during a 4-week period, walks the user through different parts of the product, highlighting the key benefits of our platform.
By implementing a carefully designed lead scoring system, the campaign also helps our sales team easily understand which user is more engaged, and therefore more likely to make a purchase.
Many of our demand generation campaigns invite potential buyers to create a free test drive account. Therefore, this nurturing campaign is a key part of our lead generation and qualification process at MindFire, and in this post I am going to show you how it’s been built—using of course, our own marketing automation software, MindFire Studio—in 3 easy steps.
How to architect a lead nurturing campaign
MindFire Studio has a very intuitive drag-and-drop user interface for building campaign workflows. It’s very tempting to jumpstart building a campaign by simply dragging different Elements (i.e. Target Audience, Inbound, and Outbound Channels) to the campaign canvas and start connecting and scheduling them. Before starting building the campaign though, here are the 3 key steps you need to take first:
- establish the campaign objectives,
- clearly define your nurturing sequence: period and intervals, and
- design a lead scoring system.
Each step is critical to the success of your campaign. Don’t overlook them!
Step 1) Establish the Campaign Objectives:
For our campaign, with close collaboration with our sales team, we defined the following objectives:
- show the users how they can use the product
- communicate the key benefits of the product
- guide them towards the next key event: a one-on-one demo or a call
- gauge their engagement level to identify “sales-ready” leads, and
- immediately notify the sales reps for prompt follow up
Step 2) Define the Nurturing sequence:
As for the lead nurturing period and intervals, we decided to send a total of 8 emails during 4 weeks after the sign up date. 6 emails would be sent from Marketing (me) and 2 directly from one of our Inside Sales team members. The emails from me are longer HTML formatted to reinforce the branding, and those coming from sales our written in text-only format and look more personal.
Here’s the schedule of the emails:
- Day +1 (one day after the sign up date): Welcome email from Marketing (me), inviting the user to watch a short video and learn about the key components of the product. (Screenshot above shows the campaign workflow and the preview of this email.)
- Day +2: A short, text-only email from our Sales, making sure the user knows who to reach out to if he/she has a question, or needs more information.
- Day +3: An email from me introducing a sample campaign built with the product.
- Day +7: Another Marketing email showcasing our library of campaign templates that lets the user easily build a multi-channel campaign in just a few minutes.
- Day +10: Second email from Sales, checking in if all is ok.
- Day +14: An email from Marketing with a link to a video tutorial of the Lead Scoring process.
- Day +21: An invitation for a one-on-one demo, helping the user better understand the benefits of the product by seeing real-life examples in a live session. (This email directs users to a personalized microsite where they can schedule a demo. The microsite captures some additional information about the users. See the screenshot below to see the microsite’s landing page.)
- Day +28: Last email from Marketing, inviting the user to subscribe to our blog (where he/she would conveniently receive each blog post in his/her inbox, thus continuing the relationship.)
Step 3) Design a Lead Scoring System:
Once you have set the objectives and defined your nurturing touch points, you should design a meaningful scoring structure and assign weighted points to certain activities to better gauge the users’ engagement level. In MindFire Studio, you can achieve this simply by adding a score to each event for each Element. For example, for this campaign, opening an email will increment the score by 5 points. Clicking on a link inside the email adds another 5 points. Submitting a form to request a demo adds 15 points.
It’s important to consider the overall scoring schema. For this campaign, if someone opens all emails, clicks every link in the email, visits the microsites, and signs up for a one-on-one demo, he or she will get a score of 100.
I have set triggered notifications to be sent to our sales team every time someone reaches to score of 20. Another one is sent if they reach score of 40 or above.
In addition, I have set series of “Goals”. In MindFire Studio, you can define Goals based on various criteria: for example, if someone requests a demo in this campaign, they’ll accomplish my “Demo Request” Goal. The Goals enable you to identify the key events in the buying cycle, regardless of the lead score.
If someone requests a demo in this campaign, in addition to the usual “Lead Alert” email notification, I have also set up an automated SMS that sends the contact information of the potential buyer directly to its sales representative. All the sales rep needs to do is to quickly glance at the respondents’ profile on his/her cell phone and click a link to call the lead. Not too bad, right? The study findings show that immediate follow up is a key factor for increasing the conversion rate. You don’t want to waste a qualified sales opportunity.
The campaign above is just one of the many different ways you can architect your lead nurturing campaign. And of course, at MindFire we also run a whole bunch of other analysis to measure the users’ engagements: the frequency and latency of their logins, the type and number of campaigns they create, etc.
Finally, there are several other considerations:
- The emails and landing pages of this campaign are “mobile-optimized”: Using a responsive layout, you can make sure the pages nicely fit within width of all mobile devices.
- The form fields are pre-populated with users’ information to make a nice, user-friendly experience.
- There’s a “generic” landing page for demo request microsite that makes it easy for sharing the page across social networking sites or referring a friend.
- Client side form validation helps improve the user experience. For example, the submit button is not activated until all required fields are entered.
The beauty of today’s modern marketing technology is that it empowers marketers with limitless possibilities to connect with their target audience to create a unified, relevant, and pleasant user experience that drives their engagement.
By the way, if you’d like to experience this campaign and see the emails and microsites first hand, you can create your free account here!
What else? How do you build and run your lead nurturing campaigns? Feel free to share your experiences, stories, suggestions and/or comments.
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