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Nurture Marketing Series 2 of 4: Building a Successful Drip Nurture Marketing Plan for B2B Companies

Written by: Barbara Pfeiffer

For part 2 of our nurture marketing blog series, we will discuss in-depth how to create a drip nurture marketing plan for B2B companies.

Nurture Marketing Plan

What is a drip campaign?

As defined in my previous blog, What is Nurture Marketing and Why Is It Important in B2B Marketing?, drip nurture is a series of touches (most often emails, but not exclusively, that get sent based only on time (sent monthly for example). They are frequently sent to groups that have engaged with you in some way, but are not in an active buying mode. This can include both customers and prospects.

What is the goal of a drip campaign?

The ultimate goal of a drip campaign is to keep your company top of mind for prospects who are not yet ready to buy and, in the case of customers, to deliver value and increase their overall satisfaction.

Although this part of nurture marketing is typically overlooked or poorly planned (I’ll discuss that in detail later in this blog), it is critical to your success and has a direct impact on your marketing spend. Why?

Consider your cost per lead. If you spend between $200-$300 per lead (the average for technology firms), every lead you give up is costing you money—and time. Now consider that according to a Sirius Decisions study, 70% of the qualified leads that make it to sales get disqualified or discarded at some point. Those discarded leads come with a pretty big price tag! And before you say, “But wait! They weren’t qualified!” that same study showed that up to 80% of those “dead end” prospects will ultimately go on to buy from you—or from a competitor—within 24 months.

Once you spend the money to GET the lead, a small investment to KEEP it is well worth it.

How do you build a successful drip campaign?

Segment your list. The goal of drip nurture is to build and/or maintain a relationship via a series of marketing touches. You do that by delivering value (which we’ll discuss in detail next). In order to deliver value though, you must start by segmenting your audience.

For example, think about the differences between what a customer versus a prospect might find valuable. A one-size-fits-all drip nurture campaign typically fits none.

How deeply you segment depends on your targets and resources, but bear in mind—as with all marketing—the more targeted and relevant your messages and offers, the higher your response rate.

What key factors should you consider when segmenting your audience for a drip campaign?

  • At a minimum, you more than likely need separate drip campaigns for customers and prospects. You may also have drip campaigns for third-party referrers/influencers or channel partners.
  • Going a step deeper, consider roles. Will the information you send out to a CFO of an existing client be the same to their IT lead?
  • As with any other type of marketing tactics, content that’s relevant to your target’s industry will get more engagement. A quick tip—this is ONE place where the same content can be used for both prospects and customers.

Deliver value. With your list segmented, you can begin to map out what you will be sharing in your touch. To keep nurture marketing always on and consistent, it’s a best practice to have at least six months of content pieces mapped out in advance. For customers, you may want to occasionally invest in third-party research or articles that have a higher value. Examples include “reprints” from industry magazines, or business leadership and management pieces from organizations such as Harvard Business Review.

Be Consistent. Branding is important. Remember that, in general, we have only a few seconds to get someone’s attention. Provide value one time and they will look at your emails with more interest in the future. But ONLY if they quickly recognize they are coming from you. You can certainly create a special look and feel for your drip campaign, but don’t veer too far from your brand.

Does your newsletter count as a drip campaign?

Newsletters have been a staple of marketing plans for years in some form or another. They are also the most frequently named piece when I ask clients what they are doing to nurture their customers and prospects. Newsletters certainly fit into the drip model but, unfortunately, the reality often falls far short of the ideal.

Take a good hard look at your newsletter.

  • How much of the content is educational and offering REAL value?
  • How much is about you or a new offering?
  • Are you sending the same newsletter to everyone?

As we noted above, your nurture touches need to be relevant to your audience. If you have one newsletter going out to customers and prospects, across all the titles in your database and across multiple industries, you are probably not really connecting with anyone. Customers and prospects may even unsubscribe citing spam as the reason.

INewsletter Curated Digest Samplef you do want to use newsletters as your nurture marketing piece, but don’t have the resources to write one for every segment, one thing you can consider is a curated digest. With this approach, you are gathering articles from around the web that relate to specific audiences. Share short summaries and links to make it more readable. Spend time finding pieces they may not have seen (LinkedIn articles are a good place for that as are association publications).

Take an extra step and open each newsletter with a summary and a link to an original piece from you (such as a blog post).

See our curated digest sample for inspiration.

 

What if you don’t have the time, resources or content to build a drip campaign?

That’s an easy one. Many of our clients have this same challenge and that’s where we can help. From strategizing the campaign, creating original content, executing it for you—or any combination thereof—it’s worth a call to weigh the cost of outsourcing some or all of your drip campaign elements vs. the cost of doing nothing at all.

We hope you are enjoying our series on nurture marketing and invite you to contact us with any questions.

Read Part 3: Trigger-Based Campaign / Lead Nurturing Best Practices for B2B Companies

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