- On this blog post, you'll learn:
- What changes between manual and automated email marketing;
- The benefits of automated lead nurturing;
- How to get started with automated lead nurturing.
Here are the basics of digital marketing: attract leads, nurture them, convert to clients. This happens over and over again, keeping the wheel turning. Up until recently, the nurture part was done with email marketing, but it has now been upgraded to automated lead nurturing. But what exactly is the difference? Is one better than the other? Keep on reading to find out!
Manual x Automated email marketing
The concept and usage of email marketing are pretty straightforward. Usually, email campaigns are single emails sent in bulk, created to inform, alert or simply notify customers of something that may interest them. When there was the need to have multiples emails, they had to be created and sent out independently.
For example, if you have a sale going on your website for a specific plan or some new feature on your solution, you need to let your contacts, both leads and clients.
Email marketing automation is a little bit different. The key element is that you're able to send personalized messages to specific recipients according to their behavior and in sequence. These emails are sent according to triggers determined by you and can be anything from a page view to a click in a specific CTA.
Automated email marketing has become a powerful weapon within marketing strategies, simply because it helps lead nurturing before, during, and after the purchase, thus increasing conversions.
Here's a simple example: if you intend to send a welcome email shortly after a user signs up to your newsletter, it would be rather exhausting (to say the least) to manually create and send an email to every person that signs up. That's when marketing automation comes in handy.
By selecting the "Submit" button on your website as a trigger, or even a Webform on a landing page, leads or customers can be automatically added to automation flows and receive your well-written emails. Better than that, you can set up different welcome emails, according to their job title, or even if they've already visited your website a number of times.
This can be very helpful in the lead nurturing process: whether it's before or after the purchase, there's the possibility of sending targeted messages that'll nurture customers and instigate them to purchase the product. Of course, all these emails messages are highly personalized and hyper-segmented, focused on generating success.
The benefits of automated lead nurturing
We have been talking about the benefits of email marketing automation, and that includes automated lead nurturing. But they are not the same thing! Automated lead nurturing can be described as the sequence of messages that will take a lead through the funnel until they are ready to make the purchase.
The goal of lead nurturing, rather than sending company information and upgrade notifications, is to feed the lead with relevant content, in order to maintain a relationship with them and keep them engaged. This strategy can be used before the actual purchase, to guide through the sales funnel, or after the purchase, to make them come back for more (upsell or cross-sell strategies).
While using email marketing for lead nurturing was the only way to do this for a long time, now there's a better way. The whole point of automated emails is sending personalized, targeted emails. With valuable data in hands, which comes from the automation platform itself, is possible to create individual emails for different personas. This means a better lead nurturing email.
Personalized emails generate up to 6 times higher revenue per email than non-personalized emails do.
Automated lead nurturing has also be shown to generate more, and better, sales opportunities. After all, right lead nurturing flow easily turn leads into "hot leads", and hot leads are usually ready to be sent to the sales team.
The good thing about using a marketing automation tool is that you are able to better integrate the marketing and sales teams so that leads run smoothly through the sales funnel and without communication noise.
Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
Conversion rates are also improved due to automated lead nurturing. That happens because an automation flow is capable of making a lead see the real value of a product, its benefits, and ultimately, how it's going to solve their problems. For apps with self-service checkout and onboarding, this moment often occurs in the free trial period or while the lead has created a free account with limited features.
To help leads in this process, emails with tips and tutorials can be really handy to lift conversion rates. But before you actually send these emails out, be sure to know the most common paths of the customers. And for that, map out the customer journey, and then create your email automation flows.
Companies using marketing automation see 53% higher conversion rates from initial response-to-MQL.
Once you send the right information at the right moment, you'll increase the chances of converting leads, simply because the content you're sending reaches their expectations. With time, they'll actually expect your emails, even after converting.
Should you invest on an automation platform?
Of course! Many email marketing tools are only capable of sending bulk mailing and are just not equipped with the right technology to track events, create lists and store a huge amount of valuable information. That's a job for a much more complete solution.
I won't go into too much detail about the tech side of things - for that, you can check out our blog post on choosing the perfect automation platform to manage leads.
Getting started with automated lead nurturing
We have created a methodology for you to apply to new project of automated lead nurturing: it's called PPS (and no, it's not on purpose so it looks like Pipz). It will give you a starting point when transitioning from email marketing to automated lead nurturing. And the best of all: it's easy to follow!
PPS stands for Persona, Pain and Stage:
- Persona: who are you talking to? One of the bases of lead nurturing is personalization. This means you can't create only one possible path for every lead. So think about who's your lead, what's their job, where they're from, what solution does they use and what will you need to convince of to make them want to be your client.
- Pain: what's their pain or problem? What do they need to do that your solution is able to deliver? Follow logic, and don't just try and push the sale to the lead. This will definitely not work, and if you end up closing the deal, can result in rapid churn.
- Stage: what is their stage on the sales funnel? The content they will receive should be chosen according to that. If they are too shallow, the lead will lose interest; if they're too difficult, he won't be able to understand, thus be convinced to buy it.
As you can see, PPS is pretty simple. All you have to do is keep your lead on your mind at all times!
Components of an automated lead nurturing
This is what you'll need to create and keep your automations running:
- Trigger: what will start the automation? A trigger is an event that, when detected by the automation platform, will include a lead in an automated flow. It can be a form they fill out, a page view, a click, etc.
- Segmentation: this is essential to make the right message reach the right audience. It's like we've said before - people don't want to read the same content. Check out this content for more info.
- Messages: think about what you'll say, what the lead wants to read and which pieces of content will take the lead from where they currently are to where you want them to be. When think about your flow, you'll need to decide how many steps it will have, how many emails, etc.
- Options and branches: an automation flow is not a linear path. Lead may choose not to open your email, not click your link, and that needs to be considered on your automation. Think about link options that send leads to different branches according to conditions - did they open or not an email?
- Lead recovery: think of ways to recover leads that aren't following the path you want them to, such as users that doesn't interact with emails and content you've sent. Offer different content by sending leads to a different automation or use a more personal approach.
- Automation web: in the end, you should have something that resembles an "automation web", where they are all connected between them and leads jump from one to another automatically, according to their preferences. Of course a single, well-made automation can highly increase lead conversion rates, but again - branching offers wide interaction possibilities.
Check out how automation works on Pipz:
Bonus: email template, to use or not to use?
There is always a lot of doubt about using or not email templates. We don't have the definitive answer, becauseit will change according to the public, the segment, if the email is B2B or B2C and other factors. But there are things you should know:
- People like to feel like they are talking to people, so don't use robotic or default messages;
- Pretty is always better - if you are going to use a template, choose a good design!
- Cold mailing and commercial emails don't go very well with templates. People tend to respond better when they receive a simple massage.
The bottom line is: think of each automation as mini automatic mechanisms to re-engage users that already have been approached. By creating automated email nurturing flows, testing them, and always improving them, you can create a highly optimized machine that will work for you to continually boost your sales opportunities.