8. NURTURING TACTICS
In addition to figuring out what content you will need for each situation, your strategic planning will also tell you what cultivation tactics to use, when and for whom. These include both inbound tactics, where prospects come to you, and outbound tactics, where you reach out to them.
The idea is to attract prospects to your Owned media, such as your website or your social sites and then, for the majority who do not immediately convert, to begin the lead nurturing process in as personalized a way as possible. They can come to your website from numerous places, such as from an ad, from a social post on one of your social sites, from a third party site, or from search. In each instance you will often know where the visitor comes from, and based on that can infer some information. This will allow you to tailor the landing page they see when they arrive so that it aligns with what you know about them.
Landing pages are custom pages within your website. They can be designed to be everything from a customized home page to a simple promotional page.
THE OBJECTIVE IS TO PRESENT THE VISITOR WITH THE MOST RELEVANT INFORMATION AND EXPERIENCE FOR WHO YOU THINK THAT VISITOR IS, AND WHAT STAGE OF THE CONSUMER JOURNEY YOU THINK THEY ARE AT.
Most Content Management Systems (CMS) which are designed to manage the content on websites, require that you create a unique landing page for each situation, but increasingly the next generation of CMS software, such as Sitecore or the Adobe suite, use Smart Content, which automatically re-organizes the layout of a homepage based on triggers, so that it is tailored with just the right content and messaging for the viewer who has been identified.
Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) will identify when a visitor returns, and will tell you if their IP address has appeared on your social sites. If, however, more than one person is using the same IP address, as with company’s web addresses, you will not be able to differentiate between individual viewers. However, if you have their email address, which, as we discussed, should be a key objective, you will be able to track them as individuals and know if they respond to any of your outbound efforts. This is a fundamental piece of the lead nurturing process.
All this might be making your eyes glaze over, but your take-away should be that your team can now easily create a really personalized experience for leads and customers. These capabilities are being rapidly adopted by companies large and small. Marketing automation, the newest marketing technology, is already in about 60% of companies over $500mm and in 10% of companies $20-500mm. At the same time providers are rushing to integrate all these technologies to make adoption of a unified suite of solutions even easier for companies. This is rapidly making technology fueled, personalized selling the new standard of experience for consumers. This means that every brand should work to deliver this kind of experience in the near future, or risk disappointing what are rapidly becoming basic consumer expectations.
When a brand buys advertising from a website, TV network or magazine, they are essentially paying for exposure to the audience that the media company has gathered. In an ideal world a brand would be able to collect its own audience of prospects and customers and not have to pay a 3rd party for the privilege of sending messaging to them. This was difficult and laborious until the internet and email came along. Companies had to collected physical addresses through product registrations, catalogs, promotions etc.
BRANDS CAN EASILY COLLECT AS BIG A DATABASE AS THEY ARE ABLE WITH DIGITAL REGISTRATION, AND CAN TALK DIRECTLY TO THIS AUDIENCE USING EMAIL, WITH VIRTUALLY NO COST.
This sets up the potential for what is essentially a proprietary marketing network. Amazon, of course, is the master of this, with its enormous database of 200 million customers, which is perhaps why you don’t see many ads from them.
It used to be that the segmentation of these in-house databases was a complex business requiring customized programming and development. Today, however, marketing automation software (MAP), enables brands to segment down to the individual level with enormous flexibility. These systems also integrate with CRM platforms, which manage all the data that is thrown off by customers. Together these software platforms enable personalized drip marketing programs designed to cultivate prospects and customers based on their activity and interests. I will go into more detail on the capabilities of these platforms in chapter 7.
Drip marketing is an old marketing term with some new twists.
Drip marketing can be used to:
- Nurture leads.
- Welcome and onboard new customers.
- Get consumers to re-consider an abandoned shopping cart, (which happens an amazing 67% of the time according to Shopify)
- Deliver recommendations.
- Get expiring customers to re-up.
- Confirm orders and up-sell.
- Get unsubscribes to stick around.
- Keep people connected to your brand.
Drip marketing plans out the cadence of consumer touches based on the situation. A new lead might have a specific series of emails sent to them over a period of time. Customers might also activate a drip marketing sequence with specific actions that they take. The flexibility of MAP software allows brands to design these programs with great flexibility and optimize their performance with tracking and data, allowing for continuous improvement. Despite the new marketing bar that all this software sets, the dynamics of consumer behaviors still varies greatly from industry to industry and performance will benefit enormously from a process of test, measure and refine.