B2B Email Marketing Strategy
Once you guide visitors to your site and collect their information, there is still more you can do to nurture these leads from an inbound perspective.
Perhaps the most effective method for nurturing prospective customers further down the funnel and closer to a purchase is through the use of email marketing automation.
At EBQ, Pardot is our marketing automation platform of choice because, as a Salesforce product, it smoothly integrates with our Salesforce CRM and allows advanced capabilities for B2B segmenting and nurturing. For further reading, our B2B Marketer’s Guide to Pardot goes over a lot more of the complex features of the platform.
One of the most essential features for any email marketing strategy is the ability to create complex drip campaigns that nurture awareness for your leads over time.
A Step-by-Step Guide
Email marketing drip campaigns
In email marketing, a drip campaign is a series of emails that encourage leads to engage with your content over time, sent to strategically segmented contact lists and personalized to the needs of recipients.
In Pardot, we use Engagement Studio to design drip campaigns that isolate and target our various types of buyers. There are a couple main ways most B2B campaigns are segmented:
Buyer persona: Separating contacts by their roles, industries, which offering they’re interested in, what content types and topics they prefer, etc.
Buyer’s journey stage: Are they in the awareness, consideration, or decision stage? Tailor the content you send them to how close they are to making a purchase.
The reason we segmented by buyer persona for this particular campaign is because our emails give content suggestions related to a person’s role in their company, providing value based on their responsibilities within the organization.
You can see from this example that drip campaigns can get relatively complex, branching off into different directions as a result of various decisions.
You can choose the next email in the series based on how frequently leads are opening and clicking through content. For example, send the next email in 3 days if they interact frequently or wait a full 7 days if they haven’t opened any of your emails yet.
With unlimited options for how a drip campaign can be structured, it can be tricky to figure out the right email flow to maximize opens and click-throughs.
We find that many companies invest in an expensive automation tool like Pardot and then don’t even utilize email drip campaigns (its most effective feature) or the platform at all. Luckily, our certified Marketing Specialists are experienced in a number of automation platforms and can be a second pair of hands for your marketing initiatives.
Lead scoring through automation
One way to differentiative cold vs. warm prospects in Pardot is by using a system of lead scoring to record which elements a prospect has interacted with and grade them according to the value you place on each element. An element might be a page view, an email click, a form submissions, or anything else that is tracked through Pardot.
Lead scoring allows you to set a threshold at which a prospect converts to a marketing-qualified lead. You can use automation rules to create specific lead routing rules that work best for your organization.
Product page visits, for example, might result in a higher boost in lead score, as they often reflect a stronger purchase intent. This is one way of qualifying leads through inbound marketing, measuring their level of interest in your company, and segmenting by buying stage.
We’ve talked about offering valuable content and collecting buyer information throughout this guide. Well, landing pages are where these elements finally come together—the bread and butter of your inbound marketing strategy.
Landing pages house your lead forms, which collect visitor information in exchange for content downloads and other marketing offerings.
“Gating” your most sought-after content, meaning requiring a form submission before providing the download, is one of the main ways to generate leads in B2B marketing.
A well-designed landing page conveys the value of that particular gated content and provides a convenient user experience that encourages visitors to complete the process. At EBQ, we build all of our landing pages and lead forms from scratch, which is another reason to have a highly customizable website.
Above is an example of one of our standard landing pages, used for a PDF download of our Best Cold Calling Scripts for Software Sales.
This landing page is designed effectively for a few reasons:
Simple and clean design that incorporates our branding
Clearly states what the visitor will receive
Outlines the main benefits of the marketing offering
Includes a relevant CTA
Don’t make your landing pages too complicated or ask for too much in your forms, or else you risk the visitor leaving the page before submitting their details. Here’s an example of one of our simple landing pages:
The purpose is to guide contacts into your CRM for further nurturing from sales. There are a number of ways you can configure how leads appear in your sales database, which is in its own right a professional specialty (you can always contact our Salesforce Administration Specialists if you need assistance effectively integrating your CRM).
The most important aspect of integrating your CRM with your marketing automation platform is understanding the lead source of each contact. Addressing the major marketing concern of attribution, the lead source field within your automation platform and CRM tells you which channel the prospect found you through.
We also utilize an additional field named “lead source description,” which is the point of conversion to an MQL for a prospect. Typically, this field is sourced from a completion action tied to a completed form submission, such as “downloaded the Appointment Setting guide.”
Knowing the type of content that ultimately gets a prospect to convert provides insight into their needs and can inform communications later on when both marketing and sales are determining how best to nurture them.
As in our Buyer’s Journey form above, we can also collect useful qualitative data about individual leads through custom form fields, which can be leveraged throughout the sales cycle.
Once that first visitor fills out your form, submits their info, and downloads your marketing offering, you’ve just generated your first marketing lead. Congrats!
Now, it’s time to continuously measure and improve your strategy. Quantifying your marketing efforts helps you make data-driven decisions about:
Which tactics you should keep using and which to eliminate
Where to spend your marketing dollars
How to better invest in your marketing team
How to create future campaigns
A Step-by-Step Guide