Despite what you may have heard from click-bait headlines around the web, email marketing is far from dead. With the support of technology like marketing automation and CRM software—two essential marketing tools for tracking opportunity and revenue generation—email is one of the most effective ways to move leads down the funnel.
Salesforce reports that a quarter of all B2B Fortune 500 companies use marketing automation, along with 76% of the world’s largest SaaS companies—a number that will grow as the value is proven time and time again.
Why? Because companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. And nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost
But email in and of itself isn’t enough to drive results. The messaging has to be strategic, and the information shared has to be valuable. Otherwise, you’ll lose the opportunity to communicate with prospects faster than you can say “unsubscribe.”
As Todd Wheatland, Head of Strategy at King Content, says in the video below, “Fundamental to our ability to succeed with marketing automation has been our ability to generate…audience-targeted content.”
And he’s not alone. Companies like Monetate, Marketo, CSC, DocuSign, Vidyard, Kapost (us, too!), and many more leverage the relationship between content marketing and marketing automation to generate, engage, nurture, score, and deliver qualified leads.
But how do these companies actually use their content to fuel marketing automation campaigns and email communications? Let’s take a look at how DocuSign and Kapost drive results.
Nurturing: How DocuSign Aligns Content to Persona, Buying Stage, and Offer
When we researched best content marketing companies for the Kapost 50, DocuSign took the top spot. Here’s why:
DocuSign has built 36 automated email nurturing programs. First, they map content to every stage of their sales cycle, including the content types that work best for each stage. At the middle of the funnel (enter marketing automation), case studies, peer reviews, how-to videos, and whitepapers are strategically delivered to prospects.
They also personalize their content by industry, delivering relevant and industry-specific content to continue to engage the leads in their database.
And that’s not all. As the Challenger Sale approach points out, you have to plan your strategy with the solution in mind, then work backward into the insight and impact you’ll deliver. DocuSign’s nurture tracks are organized by not only industry, but also by the product offer that’s most relevant to that prospect.
Through this kind of holistic strategy, they’re able to create a consistent, focused experience for their buyers and map content to the specific needs and interests
Does it work? Well, by implementing these alignment tactics, DocuSign shortened their sales cycle, doubled their pipeline in a year, and reached 127% of their goal in the first half of that year. So I’d say yes.
Lead Scoring: How Kapost Uses Content to Track and Score Leads
Only 44% of companies who have marketing automation use any kind of lead scoring. This, marketers, is your opportunity to jump ahead of the pack. Lead scoring is an incredibly powerful tactic for measuring interest in topics, your company, and your company’s products. It enables you to deliver qualified leads to sales at the right time. The closer to a sales-ready prospect your lead is, the higher their score should be.
How does it work, exactly? Christine Leas, Marketing Operations Manager at Kapost, explains in her post on the whats and whys of lead scoring:
Lead scoring is a way to rank your leads based on who they are (profile criteria) and what they’ve done (engagement criteria). The closer to a sales-ready prospect your lead is, the higher their score should be.
Getting a high lead score is all about high-quality, relevant content. People download resources such as eBooks, guides, presentations, and marketing kits—and based on the value of the asset (Is it a product-focused resource? Is it a high-level eBook?), leads can get a different score.
Also, people are scored depending on how they interact with our content. If they visit specific pages on our website (such as pricing page) or download an asset (such as a high-value eBook), we can track that behavior through marketing automation software and give them a lead score based on these engagements. We can also track if they watch videos, read a post, or subscribe to our blog.
You can’t track user behavior without content. This includes the actual emails you deliver through marketing automation, and the landing pages you build. Lead scoring takes into account how people interact with our communications. All of these content assets are important opportunities to move the buyer down the funnel, and we take advantage of all of the implicit and explicit information people in our database give us.
Now that you have examples of these two tactics, which combine the power of marketing automation and content marketing, start using them. Without content, you’ll miss out on opportunities to strategically track and communicate with your buyers—which could be the difference between meeting and missing your marketing goals.