Every database has its fast and slow movers: leads that convert relatively quickly with little to no nurturing, and leads that progress through the funnel at a more measured pace.
In the webinar, “Be the Tortoise, Not the Hare: How to Master Relevant Messaging,” Marketo Marketing Program Manger Phillip Chen shares the keys of designing content that will nurture the slow movers of your database (i.e. this most likely describes the vast majority of your database) toward conversion.
At Marketo, every lead entering the database is classified into two categories: (1) those who convert within the first 30 days, and (2) everyone else. The Marketo team has found that, of the leads entering their database, a small number become clients within the first month. A vast majority—98%—don’t.
Most companies’ lead databases tell a similar story, with a small percentage quickly converting and most requiring much more time and nurturing.
That said, the time and energy required to develop relevant messaging is best used in targeting your tortoises.
So how do you target and match your tortoises strategically?
1. Craft the right message
The foundation of getting the right message to the right people, when the right people means a large lead database of prospects from all walks of life, is segmenting. A question to ask when creating segments is, what characteristics (demographics, firmographics and psychographics) change what your leads are looking to achieve, and how they will achieve it? This will alter how and what you need to communicate to them.
Marketo segments by a number of attribute-based and behavior-based traits, including geography, language preference, business unit, role, stage, interest, and competitor.
It’s smart to use both behavior-based (psychographic) and attribute-based (demo- and firmographic) segmenting. A person is segmented by interest, for example, when they engage in an activity that aligns with social marketing, marketing automation, or email marketing. This is behavioral.
For each of these different segments, you should have different positioning/messaging.
Geography is prioritized first in Marketo’s database because it greatly impacts the way a prospect views Marketo. Regions outside of North America are about two years behind the curve in adopting marketing automation.
Therefore, Marketo’s messaging to regions outside of North America focuses on education rather than persuasion. To prospects in North America, email campaigns answer the question “Why Marketo?” while in EMEA and APAC, Marketo presents and asks the question, “What is Marketo?” The same message relevant to marketers abroad would be outdated, obsolete and ineffective in North America.
2. Sending it to the right audience
Before you get specific, zoom out. Marketo suggests to take a 10,000-ft view of your database. After discounting the unsubscribed, pending and invalid email addresses, who do you have left to market to? You might be surprised. This was Marketo’s 10,000-ft view.
After you establish who’s left standing is when you can start profiling your segments and prioritizing them. Another highly prioritized segment in the Marketo database is business unit, where they categorize their prospects as small business, corporate or enterprise. These three categories are very relevant to how a prospect needs to perceive the Marketo product, and they craft their messages accordingly.
3. Sending it at the right time
Where are your leads in the process? Have they been in your database a while, are they engaged?
It’s key to track your leads’ activities and communicate with them accordingly. Knowing when they are ready to speak with a sales rep is just as important as knowing when they’re ready to receive the three strategic nurturing emails that get them to that point.
How do you know you’re being effective?
If you use Marketo, you can look at an engagement score as an indicator of how engaging your content is to your audience. With any tool, tracking lead acceleration should indicate if you’re actually influencing people, and what opportunities are created.
To stay relevant and promote a culture of constant improvement, continually measure, test and recalibrate your messaging accordingly.
Look at your bottom-performing emails. Can they be removed or improved? Look at your top-performing emails. What makes them so engaging?
It is also recommended to have a “no-nurture” stream: a group of leads who receive no emails, as a constant comparison to the nurtured group’s lead acceleration. A no-nurture stream is the equivalent of keeping a control group while conducting an experiment. The purpose is to indicate the effect your communication is having compared to a true baseline.
Relevancy is essential to engaging your database. Segmenting properly is a must to achieving relevance. Constantly seek to improve through measuring, testing and refining.