In a recent blog we talked about the pricing differences within the marketing automation software marketplace. So it makes sense to look at how the functionality varies too.
A client working in a high tech B2B environment approached us recently, having experienced low engagement rates through standard batch and blast email marketing. Despite a very compelling proposition – to help customers find out, for free, if their website is in danger of being hacked – they had failed to achieve any cut through.
The target audience was undoubtedly part of the problem. Focusing on IT security professionals in UK and US based organisations with 5,000 or more staff, the client was attempting to communicate with some of the most protected and sophisticated email recipients in the world. Anything less than perfection – in terms of email server configuration, HTML composition and IP reputation – would result in the comms being blocked.
So how could we raise awareness of what should be a highly sought-after offer – to run a free test, via your web browser, to see if any known malware could penetrate your gateway, and learn, instantly of any live weaknesses?
We began by building levels of trust. The marketplace is on high alert, with cyber threats coming in all shapes and sizes. The client therefore needed to cement its position as a secure, dependable partner.
We adopted a funnel approach to support this e-CRM strategy, tailoring our messaging according to a contact’s position in the funnel, in order to nurture them to the next stage.
- For cold contacts with zero engagement to date, for example, our priority was to ‘establish life’ and determine whether we could secure an email open.
- Establishing trust was the objective for active cold contacts (who have opened emails historically). They needed to know the client was one step ahead of the ‘bad guys’.
- We focused on reassurance for warm users who began to open and consider 60% or more of our emails, even if they’d started to browse the destination microsite. They needed peace of mind that the test platform is safe, secure and free.
- Once engaged, i.e. users that had started but failed to complete the malware test, our objective shifted to encouraging the completion.
- And users who had completed the test and become aware of their vulnerabilities were made aware of what the client could do to fix the weaknesses.
By maintaining this b2b lead nurture funnel, it has become easy to segment the audience and increase the relevance of our messaging. The campaign has also been operated on two levels, with a branded competency message being sent from the company in the first instance, before a second plain text follow up email is sent from an individual consultant. This allows the recipient to research the consultant, by name, and has helped to build that all important level of personal trust and rapport.
In terms of reporting back to the client, we also identified that this marketplace has a propensity to use an email pre-checker to validate all emails. To a freemium-type marketing automation platform, these pre-checkers will be registered as human clicks (otherwise known as ‘false positives’). But this skews the results and clouds the ability to conduct any meaningful campaign analysis. With our more intuitive marketing automation solution, our robot detection algorithm can automatically detect and strip such activity from the reports.
Admittedly not all client briefs have such layers of complexity. Often customer demographics are easier to target, for instance, or the brand ‘sell’ is much more mainstream. But the underlying principle remains the same. When it comes to an effective lead nurture plan, there can, and should never be a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Every client that approaches Force24 must be treated as an individual. Yes we can draw on our best practice marketing knowledge, and leverage experience from previous journeys. And of course, we use the same intuitive e-crm tech in every instance. But the strategy we develop, the creative that comes to life and the messaging we craft, must always be unique.
Achieving this level of personalisation and relevance, with a basic batch and blast email marketing solution, would be nigh-on impossible. So why try?