Like many B2B marketers, our marketing team has found that the vast majority of leads in our database just do not open our emails.
Despite our best effort to nurture these leads, most of them remain silent because they are simply not in a buying cycle and won’t be entering one for a while. Yet, without a steady increase in the number of engaged prospects month-over-month, we simply cannot achieve our revenue target.
Since this August, our team has been experimenting with a new approach to emailing our leads.
Here’s the thought process: instead of treating everyone in our database as a potential buyer and putting them on nurture tracks based on their buyer persona, let’s identify and prioritize the leads who are actively emitting buying signals. Let’s reach out to these folks as soon as they show interest in our space with a relevant email. Hopefully, these leads will be more responsive to our emails and move faster through the buying cycle.
Below, we’ll show you how this approach helped us conquer email marketing like a boss.
Since we have a lead acceleration solution in-house, we could look within our database and listen for mentions of relevant hashtags (topics, events, brands, and buzzwords) on social media. In our case, we’re interested in finding people who are talking about hot topics in the B2B marketing space. The nice thing is that these social media activities are added to individual lead records in our marketing automation system as time-stamped activities in the Lead Activity Log.
As soon as this information gets into our marketing automation system, we trigger a real-time email to the lead that references the relevant Tweet and asks them to connect with us.
Based on our analysis, we’ve found that these real-time emails are paying off.
Our “Content Marketing” campaign has been one of the most successful. Based on keywords like #ContentMarketing, @CMIContent, and @GuyKawasaki, we’ve found hundreds of B2B content marketers and converted them at a 6% rate (they filled out a form on our website) —slightly higher than our 5.4% Socedo average. It’s also been one of our longest running campaigns, with so many content marketers to engage with on Twitter.
However, we know that not everyone converts from social media right away. We needed to add a bit of fuel to this campaign. So, we spun up a campaign in Marketo to send an email to any prospect who Tweets #ContentMarketing.
Notice a few things in this email:
- The email is plain-text (i.e. not formatted in a fancy marketing template), in order to appear more personal. The From address is also a real member of the Socedo team.
- The email is short—only five sentences long. There’s no lengthy explanation or elaborate introduction here. In fact, the first sentence is so direct that it doesn’t even sound like a marketing email: “I saw you Tweeting about #ContentMarketing and wanted to connect with you.”
- The email only has one Call-to-Action, and it is a clear URL link. No doubts about what to click.
Can you predict how it performed?
It turns out that this email has maintained a 44.7% open rate, 3.1% click-through rate, and only 2 leads (0.4%) have unsubscribed. These open and click rates are about 50% higher than our usual nurture emails.
In addition to link clicks, here are just a couple of the responses we’ve received from this campaign:
More importantly, of all the leads who have received this email, almost 2% have turned into opportunities—that’s higher than any other nurture email.
While the #ContentMarketing campaign is the middle in pack in terms of effectiveness amongst all of our real-time marketing emails, it was the first campaign we ever created and is still performing well today.
With a little bit of data and creativity, we have found an evergreen campaign that yields qualified leads for us month-over-month. This type of real-time email provides a much better customer experience compared to our email blasts. The lift in conversion we’ve gotten from this type of campaign has allowed us to scale back on sending mass emails and still hit our monthly goals.
Based on our experience, we’ve found that good keywords for real-time emails have these characteristics:
- There is enough volume of tweets or mentions on the keyword.
- We can find lots of relevant conversations around the keyword. #INBOUND is a perfect example as it’s the hashtag for one of the most popular conferences in the B2B marketing space. Nearly everyone who uses the hashtag is a marketing or sales professional.
- We have relevant, interesting content to offer aligned to the topic.
By following these criteria, we’ve been able to spin up several additional successful campaigns. Going forward, we will keep our eyes out for upcoming conferences and trending topics that we can use to create new campaigns.
Want to learn more about how to use behavioral social data in your marketing automation system? Check out our new e-book on this topic.