Every single digital practice is intertwined in one way or another. If you dig a little deeper, you’re sure to find aspects of each practice that informs the other to perform better.
Marketing on its own, be it traditional or digital, works to solve business problems – either to increase revenue or decrease costs with the end of goal of increasing profits. So, does it not make sense to understand why and how digital practices work together to solve these problems more efficiently?
Our leads can come from either Assisted Direct Traffic, Paid Search, Paid Social or Organic Search. Each has an influence on the other and can essentially be looked at holistically. Since I work in the Marketing Automation arena, I’ll be focusing on how different practices enhance our ability to conduct Marketing Automation.
First up, Marketing Automation and Paid (Media/Social). How do they work together?
Let’s start from the beginning, in my previous blog I spoke about the importance of researching and pinpointing your Buyer Personas, so you can create informed and personalized customer journeys based on the information collected about them. These Buyer Personas do more than just help you create a content bank – they also help you understand how to target and where to find your perfect audience for lead generation.
Bringing in the leads
Leads, as we all know, are people that have indicated their interest, at some level, in your product, company or services.
For our clients, we work closely with our paid search practice to attract the “perfect” stranger to understand what our clients have to offer, at the right time and place to show them what they want to see (or make them realize what they’ve been missing out on, all this while). Isn’t this better than cold calling and throwing a dart in the dark hoping it hits the target? Spraying and Praying is never the answer.
Even when you attract the right stranger, you need to lead them somewhere and that’s where the basics of Marketing Automation come in. Capturing leads is about finding the right balance between CTAs and forms on a gated landing page. This landing page is strategically adorned with relevant assets and a form that enables us to capture the exact data we want. In turn, adding those contacts to our database that actually have a higher chance of converting.
So how do we know that the Paid Media and Marketing Automation actually work better when integrated?
The answer: Through A/B testing. However, not to say that subject matter expertise, industry data and experience with previous clients doesn’t help set a bar – but each brand is unique and just because it worked previously, doesn’t mean it’ll work again. So, through A/B testing along with trial and error, you get to know your audience better.
Let me illustrate this with an example. In one such instance for a B2B client of ours in the Design industry, we saw that though we were investing in paid activities, the lead sources in the CRM system didn’t reflect the ROI but instead, majority of our leads came from assisted direct traffic.
So what was the problem?
Was the amount we invested in paid activities bringing in an ROI?
Our paid activities were affecting Assisted Direct Traffic in a positive light and directly affected the leads we got, but we needed to test the hypothesis.
So how did we test this hypothesis?
We paused our paid activities for a month to really understand whether our paid activities were in fact having a large impact on all the leads we got through digital sources.
What were our findings?
Compared to the month during which we stalled our activities, we saw that our paid efforts garnered 30%-40% more leads overall, month on month. Infact, paid campaigns contributed 25% and 66% of the total MQLs achieved in the following two months after we resumed our paid activities.
Through our findings and experimentation, our overall strategy with this client is to attract leads based on design for different industries. We tie our paid efforts up with landing pages that offer relevant case studies based on the ads that they click on - effectively only giving them the information they’re interested in.
The next step is to take them through a trigger-based nurture experience
As we all know, getting in new leads is only the first step towards converting. It’s about where we take them next, what information we collect and what we do with that information is where Marketing Automation also comes in. As mentioned above, we provide relevant content which gives them what they’re interested in.
For example, for the same client, when we sent follow-up emails after they filled up a form for a case study they were interested in, the average open rate was of 40% which is significantly above an industry average of 20% compared to generic newsletters which had a open rate of 19.15%.
Once a potential lead comes to one of the landing pages from an ad and fill out a form in order to gain access to a gated case study - it triggers a couple of actions because of workflow created in the backend:
- They’re taken to the asset they want at the right time in their buying journey
- They’re sent a follow-up email automatically with a “Consult Now” CTA after finding out what our client has to offer and how they’ve transformed a location
- They’re added to a list which will helps us segment and in turn nurture them with relevant content
Another thing about Marketing Automation is about understanding how to segment your database appropriately based on actions they have taken in relation to your product or services. For example, when a lead is captured, through various integrations in Marketing Automation tools such Lead Capture ads feature in HubSpot and Facebook ads leads feeder in Eloqua, their contact details can be automatically fed through to your database. Or which of your contacts visited a certain page on your website.
Through ongoing nurtures based on the kind of email and content a contact engaged with, we can essentially conduct progressive profiling to gain explicit data about our contacts in addition to implicit data (scoring based on important criteria such as email, website etc activity) gathered through lead scoring models set up.
All in all, it helps us gain a better understanding about whether a lead will convert or not and nurtures help along the way to create a positive and understanding rapport of the business itself.
This creates a sense of belonging with potential customers. Who doesn’t want a great relationship with a potential customer?
Learning from the process
The idea behind narrowing down through research via stakeholder and customer interviews, can be strengthened through paid media. Example, for the same client, we targeted an audience on both Facebook and LinkedIn – and an assumption is always made that since it’s B2B, LinkedIn should have the most conversions. However, 60% of our paid social leads were from Facebook as opposed to Linkedin. This helped us enhance our target audience, tweak our content and creatives based on the information gathered helping us make informed and data driven decisions.
Best of all, it confirms your identification of Buyer Personas
To end with, this is an ongoing circle where every department needs to communicate effectively to create better and successful results. For example, having meetings between the Inside Sales teams with the Digital Marketing team to pinpoint the exact disqualification reasons for leads or understanding what is important for a lead to convert to a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), MQLs to convert to an SQL and finally SQL to a sale and incorporating that information into ads, landing pages and forms.
It’s about making data-driven, informed decisions. Like I said, a shot in the dark won’t work.