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Project Open Kimono 9: The Lead Nurturing Effect.

B2B Marketing Email Snippet

It’s Friday, it’s five o’clock..it’s measurement time.

If you’ve been following Project Open Kimono then you’re bound to be champing at the bit for an update on our B2B Marketing Manifesto campaign.

If you’ve not been following it then you’ve got no fewer than eight previous posts on which to feast your eyes and brain. These bad boys are the bodice rippers of the B2B analytics world. Or you could just stick with this for now.

We’re looking good on all our top line targets:
•    900 downloads from a target of 1000
•    4 serious new business discussions from a target of 2
•    2 new projects with existing clients from a target of 3
•    59 comments from a target of 50
•    161% rise in views of our existing content library from a target of 25%

Today, though, we want to tell you about the impact and value of Marketo, our lead nurturing tool of choice, on our outreach to our database.

If you’re a lead nurturing novice, check out Software Advice‘s Lauren Carlson’s excellent outline of the macro-drivers for lead nurturing, then come back to see the difference it can make to your own database.

Velocity’s average email click through rate (CTR) is 12% but armed with nurturing nunchakus, we predicted (with finger in the air) a 30 per cent increase to a 15.6% CTR.

But we didn’t want to stop our benchmarking there so we dipped into the UK Email Marketing Benchmark Report 2010 (Q1 & Q2), a report that analyses opt-in campaigns for the first six months of the year to snaffle some third party average response data.

I couldn’t decide if we should compare with B2B services or marketing (we’re a B2B marketing services company) so will include both. It looks pretty bleak to be honest.

Overall B2B Services Marketing
Open Rate 17.98% 15.30% 20.3%
CTR 3.56% 2.61% 1.68%
Unsubscribes 0.2% 0.47% 0.30%

Before we dig into our results, I will admit that our lead nurturing campaign is only a snapshot of what we’d do for one of our clients with an enterprise scale database, but, in many ways, that just makes it easier to focus on the core benefits lead nurturing offers.

So how did lead nurturing help us get ahead of ourselves, people like us and everybody else? We planned four steps to get our campaign just right.

Step One – Get Our Lists Right

The first thing we did was segment our Marketo database and separated out the people who downloaded our Content Marketing Workbook. Why? Because we expected, based on their past behaviour, they’d be more likely to download our ebook. So we had two lists of 544 and 182 prospects.

Step Two – Get Our Content Right

We loaded the following campaign content into Marketo. If you don’t get the content right, as Doug’s already written about in Kimono 8, then you’re just not ready for nurturing. We had:

•    Custom HTML emails for both segments of our database
•    Landing page without form (we already know these people)
•    Automatic responder to everyone who downloaded the manifesto
•    A follow up text email for everyone who failed to open the first email
•    An internal email alert to show when top prospects converted

Step Three – Get Our Flow Right
This is the clever automated bit. The bit that you couldn’t do manually if you had six MENSA test writers working full time on your database.

•    Send out our emails to our two database segments
•    Apply a score of 5 points to relevant prospects who click our mail
•    Apply a score of 20 points to relevant prospects who download the manifesto
•    Send out an auto-responder a day later inviting comments (see top metric)
•    Remove all first time click throughs from our flow.
•    Send out a follow up to all non-converts a week later

Step Four – Reporting
So what happened? Here are the top level metrics for the first custom emails, sent to our database segments.

Content Marketing Rest of Database
Open Rate 29.2% 25.4%
CTR 16.4% 9.8%
Unsubscribes 0% 0

A good response, showing the value of good content, and a lot of key prospects with a growing score moving towards what the lead nurturing industry calls the sales-ready threshold (in Velocity it’s known as stan-ready).

Then we send out the follow up mail goes out a week later to those who didn’t catch it the first time.

Content Marketing Rest of Database
Open Rate 20.3% 18.2%
CTR 14% 7.7%
Unsubscribes 0% 0%

Again we’re performing well, moving more people along our funnel to Stan’s clutches, but the real value comes from a glance at the compound click-through rates. We can compare these with our estimate of 15.6%.

The compound Content Marketing CTR = 26.4%
The compound Database Marketing CTR = 16%
The compound Overall CTR = 18.6%

Now that’s lovely. And if that wasn’t enough, take a look at the conversion rates; they’re over 80%.

B2B Marketing Lead Nurturing Data

The Lead Nurturing Effect
What I love about lead nurturing is how it transforms your email campaigns from points to processes. Our campaign is only the tip of the iceberg but it has helped us smash the industry benchmarks and exceed our own expectations.

The 50% growth in our click through rates is reason enough to love it and we’re already reaping the benefits of the lead scoring that transforms our database into a real prospect engine.

What’s not to like?

Catch Up On Project Open Kimono

Project Open Kimono Part 1 – the one where we commit ourselves in public (Planning)

Project Open Kimono Part 2 – the one where it all kicks off (Thinking)

Project Open Kimono Part 3 – the one where confidence starts to rise (First results)

Project Open Kimono Part 4 – the one where the trick shots start (Cross-promotion)

Project Open Kimono Part 5 – the one where we share the first month’s results (Reviewing)

Project Open Kimono Part 6 – the one where we toughen up (Soul Searching)

Project Open Kimono Part 7 – the one where we find the world’s best marketers (Segmenting)

Project Open Kimono Part 8 – the one where we show that design isn’t everything (Style v Substance)

Project Open Kimono Part 9 – the one where lead nurturing proves its worth (Marketo)

Project Open Kimono Part 10 – the one where the form fights back (Form v No Form)

Project Open Kimono Part 11 – the one about autoDMs in Twitter

Project Open Kimono Part 12 – the one about re-purposing and atomising your content

Project Open Kimono Part 13 – the one with an early peek at the outcomes

Project Open Kimono Part 14 – the one where it ends (before it starts again)

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