Chances are that your business is already using or considering email marketing automation to help you grow your funnels and win more business.
Despite the proven results of email, many business owners are still not using email marketing automation to support their own business development strategies. Automation is hands down the best tool for achieving the three “gets” that any business needs in order to grow:
- Get Found
- Get the Meeting
- Get the Business
Here are some of the ways in which automation can drive each.
Email automation generates brand awareness with a broad and deep target audience of prospective clients by presenting your content and point of view (POV) to those who join your list. By doing this, you can also “test and review” the responses of various industries, sectors, stakeholder groups, and so forth—which in turn helps you refine and focus your business development strategy.
Get the Meeting
As prospective clients move through the buying cycle and engage with your content, you can monitor the behavior and serve up more relevant content to those who express interest. They already know a bit about you and with the help of an
automated email lead nurture flow, you can draw them in closer and open the door to a deeper dialogue.
Get the Business
While automation is pretty commonly used for the first two “gets,” it’s used less often for the last and most important one. After the first meeting(s) with a prospective client, they can be moved into a separate email nurture flow with content that is specific to their needs and challenges. You can also push different content pending on what they click on. This type of responsive marketing helps you keep the prospect engaged in a less direct, yet supportive and impactful, manner. Smart use of marketing automation ensures that your agency stays top of mind with your prospective clients’ decision-makers while they’re waiting for budget approval or the right inflection point to hire you.
We all know that “getting the business” is a complex sales process that takes time (the bigger the project, the longer the cycle) and requires nurturing. Marketing automation gives you the tools to develop a robust content marketing plan so you can effectively target your prospects—from the beginning of the buyer’s journey all the way to the end.
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at 33% lower cost, according to Forrester Research.
Why are the “gets” so hard to get?
The buyer’s journey has changed dramatically over the past 10 years, and many agencies are still catching up. It’s no longer enough to have a Rolodex of contacts. It’s not enough to make calls (cold or otherwise). And it’s not enough to send emails without a comprehensive content marketing plan. B2B sales research shows that 80% or more of the new buyer’s journey is passive.
This means that in order to catch the attention of prospective clients, your content must be both prolific (lots of it, consistently distributed) and targeted (relevant to audience segments).
Automation is the solution to getting prospective clients to go on the journey you want them to take.
Create CRM of prospective client contacts; create a library of digital content; create an editorial calendar for content distribution; ensure that tracking is in place on all digital assets (website, blog, white papers, case studies); push content on a consistent schedule
Get the Meeting
Monitor prospect behavior; create direct mail or other lead magnet content to engage interested prospects; follow up with a phone call; create workflows to provide highly relevant (gated) content to prospects.
Get the Business
Move engaged prospects to unique buckets and serve up specific content that mirrors/surrounds any relevant topics in an ongoing negotiation; Never stop nurturing prospects, and provide content to new influencers you have met during the process
What you need to get started
The prospect list
- Accelerate prospect engagement by creating a list of prospects to fill your Top of Funnel
- Segment your lists by industry and stakeholder (owners/CMOs get different content then managers)
- Create a broader list for the Top of Funnel “pull” strategy (inbound marketing with a longer cycle to conversion)
- Create another narrower/bullseye list for a “push” strategy (Middle of Funnel prospects, targeted with outbound direct sales)
Content Library (digital & analog)
- Leverage 3rd party content (POV pieces)
- Thought leadership blog posts & videos hosted on your website
- White papers, case studies, & webinars educating your audience about relevant topics
- Direct mail/package sent to the “push” list
- Lead magnets to get attention and interest in meeting with the agency, such as research reports, minianalyses or reviews, demo of new technology, offered as “gated content” through landing pages
The distribution calendars
- Editorial calendar for content development and distribution (topics, placement, schedule)
- Social media calendar to support content distribution as well as to pull new prospects into Top of Funnel
- Content plans around industry/ segment and stakeholder (build the story as prospects show you what they are interested in)
- Content plans around engaged prospects during the negotiation
A few closing thoughts…
Marketing automation and content development take time to plan and execute on, but are the two key components of achieving the three “gets”. Many of you are probably thinking to yourself “We don’t have anyone dedicated specifically to content marketing—just lots of people doing bits of it in their spare time,” or, “Our client work takes first priority.”
We hear you, but if you want to grow, you can’t afford to not make new business a priority!
Make the commitment today to create a program. Develop your prospect list with care, mix up the content so prospects don’t get bored, and don’t forget to support your content with social media publishing to pull new contacts into the top of the funnel and along your buyer’s journey
To learn more, contact us today.
Deanna Hinsz is a Certified Partner with Constant Contact. Being a Certified Partner means that Deanna is required to attend training specializing in email marketing in order to keep her certification up.