Many credit Churchill with saying, “history is simply one damned thing after another.” Sadly for many marketers entrusted with their organization’s lead nurture strategy, countless automated communication campaigns embody the same lack of reverence.
Like all great marketing, building a sound nurture strategy requires an appreciation and empathy for the audience. A “me-focused” approach, in which the communication stream is all about the brand’s offer, features, and benefits will likely be successful in some cases. An audience-driven nurture series is a reflection of the recipient. It takes into account the identity of each audience member, her motivations, her decision making process, her potential objections to the brand’s offer, and her current position in the sales funnel.
Content. Cadence. Call to Action.
There are three basic elements that all automated communications programs, whether effective or abysmal, possess. Let’s define them here:
Content: What does the brand send?
Cadence: How often does the brand send it? Daily? Weekly? Some other delivery frequency?
Call To Action: What does the brand want the potential customer (or recipient) to do?
No matter the objective of the program – prospect education, customer on-boarding, event lead-up, etc. – these are the fundamentals. Content, cadence, and call to action are the foundation of your lead nurture structure. Without these elements, you can’t have an automated communications program. However, they are not enough.
Purpose. Pivots. Pain Points.
If you want your nurture program to reach new heights, you must go beyond the basics. The following elements are all audience-focused. Incorporating them into your strategy will only help you deliver more relevance and build additional trust amongst the targeted recipients.
Purpose: What are the recipient’s motivations for originally requesting information or contacting the brand? Consider the emotional drivers involved in the process. Content delivered throughout the nurture series should reflect the individual’s personal needs and wants.
Pivots: What content can be we develop and deliver based on recipient actions within the series? During the course of the communication stream, how can we measure and react to recipient behaviors (open, click, engagement, etc.)? For some programs, it may be necessary to alter the direction and tone of messaging to align with how the recipient reacts (or does not react) to previous messages.
Pain Points: What objections will recipients pose? What are the areas of dissonance the brand must avoid or overcome throughout the nurture dialog? Depending upon the duration of the communications cadence, objections and pain points may change as the prospect moves from the awareness phase to considering a purchase to a final transaction.
When brands develop lead nurture campaigns that do not take into account individual motivations and points of dissonance, the series often looks like this. Note that many campaign requirements simply call for a linear communications track, so this simple approach should not necessarily be construed as a negative.
However, when the emotional drivers, trackable behaviors, and potential hurdles to the sales process are considered, a lead nurture process can take on a more sophisticated flow like the following. The objective should not be to make your lead nurture program as intricate as possible, but rather to deliver the right message to the right audience members at the right time.
By considering and planning for the motivations, behaviors, and potential objections of the recipient audience, you can take your automated communications program from suboptimal to extremely effective. Make your story about your audience to avoid simply sending one damned thing after another.