LEAD NURTURING: DO-IT-YOURSELF OR ASSISTED?
Effective marketing depends on lead nurturing – gently guiding your prospects from their first encounter with your brand to the purchase stage – first with helpful content, then product information, case studies and special offers; and finally – when buyers are ready – contact from your sales team. At every step, messaging must be increasingly personalized, targeting the specific needs and wants of each buyer. This is how buyers want to be engaged today.
SUCCESSFUL LEAD NURTURING REQUIRES:
- Delivering personalized campaign messages over multiple vehicles (email, web pages, SMS, phone calls, direct mail)
- Capturing prospect data
- Responding to prospect actions with with automated responses and a stream of new offers, personalized to each prospect
- Syncing prospect data to your CRM to keep all of your sales and marketing team up to date
- Tracking and scoring prospect activities and demographic to screen the best leads for your sales team
- Reporting on campaign ROI
To do lead nurturing with any scale, you’ve got to automate it. And to do that, you’ve got two choices: Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y.), or Assisted.
DO-IT-YOURSELF (D.I.Y.), WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION: THE HYPE, AND THE REALITY.
True to its name, a marketing automation platform automates the many steps of lead nurturing. But, making it all work is not automatic. Actually, it requires a lot of work, time and cost. That’s the do-it-yourself part.
Over the past few years, enthusiasm for the promise of marketing automation to vastly simplify your marketing effort has been growing to near-manic proportions. Marketing automation vendors are telling us over and over that all we have to do is follow these “simple” steps:
- Choose a marketing automation platform
- Learn how to use the marketing automation platform
- Create the lead nurturing workflows
- Create cross channel campaign communications
- Sit back and watch the leads roll in
So many businesses and marketers have bought into this hype that the marketing automation market is literally exploding. Tellingly, a Google search of the term “marketing automation” brings up over 26 million results!
Ask marketers who have already invested in marketing automation, and they’ll tell you that none of this stuff is easy. A lot of work and know-how goes into making the promise of marketing automation a reality. You’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting into with the do-it-yourself approach, versus all the hype out there.
Let’s go through the above steps, point by point, to get a snapshot of reality.
Choose a marketing automation platform
The multitude of marketing automation vendors out there make it sound so easy. “Just choose us! We’re the all-in-one solution that does everything for you! Compare features with those other guys and you’ll see we’re the best! Hey, why not take a free test drive right now?” Here’s the problem. Unless you’ve already got fairly extensive experience using a marketing automation platform, you’ve got no way to assess if the platform really delivers all the features you’ll need, nor how hard or easy the platform is to use. A user interface that isn’t intuitive can severely limit the effectiveness of a marketing automation tool, no matter how full-featured it is, because if you can’t figure out how to use it, you just won’t use it. And if you’ve already committed big dollars to purchasing the platform, well, that’s a lot of money down the drain.
But what about taking that free test drive?
Our experience is that without extensive prior exposure to using marketing automation tools, the test drive is meaningless. You simply won’t have enough time to be able to learn the platform and properly test it with actual campaigns. And as busy as you are already, do you really have the time to invest in trying to learn a new platform which is just one of several in your evaluation?
Marketing automation platforms usually charge you twice: first to “onboard” their service (including a limited amount of training), and second with a monthly subscription – often with a minimum 12-month commitment. The costs are significant: onboarding can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Subscription fees can range up to thousands of dollars per month.
It will be very difficult or impossible to recoup your investment if you’ve chosen the wrong marketing automation platform – one that either doesn’t have the features you need, is too hard to use, or both. And the worst part is, you won’t know if you’ve chosen the right platform until you’ve worked with it for several months – potentially wasting training fees, subscription fees and months of employees’ time. Many companies have made this kind of investment in a marketing automation platform, only to abandon it and incur a substantial loss.
Learn how to use the Marketing Automation platform
The typical vendor “onboarding” training process lasts 90 days. In many cases, this just scratches the surface. You’ll learn how to set up the tool and use basic functions, such as building landing pages and emails, enabling simple automation rules and triggers, setting up lead scoring, and building basic drip workflows. Depending on the vendor and how much you’re paying, you’ll either be on your own after 90 days, or pay considerable money for “professional services” to help you actually get the most out of using your platform.
The big question to ask is this: can your vendor go beyond just teaching you how to use the platform itself, and help you learn the science and art of content marketing and lead nurturing? Because if you don’t understand that, it won’t matter how well you know how to navigate the tool itself. You’ll be dead in the water. Really, this step should be entitled, “Learn how to market using Marketing Automation.”
Create the Lead Nurturing workflows
Many of the marketing automation vendors try to show how easy it is to build drip workflow with their snazzy, visual drag-and-drop interfaces. You can select icons representing events, like sending an email; and triggers, such as, if a prospect clicks on a link in an email, take him/her to this landing page. Then, just drag those icons right onto a workspace, link them together in a logical sequence, and voilà: instant workflow.
It’s not that easy. Sure, we all know how to drag icons around. But, designing a logical workflow that properly directs visitors based on their actions requires forethought and planning. Depending on the campaign, workflows can become quite dizzying in their complexity. And they can become even more complex when you build in logic that can divert visitors to one place or another based
on known demographic information about them. You’ve got to script all this out and test it until you have confirmed a seamless user experience that can guide visitors where you’d like them to go.
Create Cross Channel Campaign communications
What is the right way to build a landing page to maximize conversions? To build an email to maximize click-throughs? What is the most attractive content or special offer? How do you know what is making your landing pages or emails successful or not? Is it copy? Graphics? Layout? Call to action? The offer itself? Are enough people seeing your emails, landing pages and online ads to drive them to convert?
How can you test for all of these variables?
Countless blog posts and books have been written on the art and science of creating effective landing pages and emails, and using A/B split and multivariate testing to fine-tune your digital communications. It’s complicated. And the more you test, the more complicated it gets. Creating all those versions, testing them with different segments, and tracking results all takes time and effort. Everyone says you have to do it, but finding the time and having the know-how to do it properly are tough.
Sit back and watch the leads roll in
Not so fast. Running, maintaining and adjusting your marketing automation platform to deliver the results you’re looking for can be almost a full time job in itself! As much as a marketing automation platform can automate lead nurturing, you’ve still got to handle all the management of the platform yourself.
THE ALTERNATIVE TO THE DO-IT-YOURSELF APPROACH:
ASSISTED LEAD NURTURING
There are companies who specialize in doing all of the work for you. ZUZA is one of them. Such a service provider will spare you all the effort of designing, launching and maintaining sophisticated lead nurturing campaigns, saving you significant time and money. Vendors like this have their own marketing automation technology, and know how to use and fine tune it to meet your marketing objectives. They understand lead nurturing inside and out, as well as how to create cross channel marketing communications such as emails and landing pages that covert leads into prospects. With a provider like ZUZA, you’ll get all the powerful benefits of marketing automation without the hassle, the extensive learning curve and the cost.
Savings from using Assisted Lead Nurturing vs. D.I.Y.:
DO-IT-YOURSELF WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION
- Select a marketing automation platform — Weeks to months
- Learn how to use the platform — Weeks to months
- Learn best practices for effective lead nurturing — Several months
- Build an automated lead nurturing campaign workflow — Hours to days per campaign
- Build and test online communications for campaigns — Hours to days per campaign
- Hard costs — Up to thousands of dollars per month in subscription fees
- Hidden Costs — Hundreds of hours of employee salaried time to choose, learn and administer the platform
ASSISTED LEAD NURTURING
- Select a marketing automation platform — No time
- Learn how to use the platform — No time
- Learn best practices for effective lead nurturing — No time
- Build an automated lead nurturing campaign workflow — No time
- Build and test online communications for campaigns — No time
- Hard costs — Less than the subscription fees of many marketing automation platforms
- Hidden costs — None
Before you incur the time and expense of implementing a do-it-yourself approach to your lead nurturing, consider having a service provider do the heavy lifting of marketing automation for you. You’ll not only save significant costs, but free your marketing team to focus on what matters most: strategizing campaigns to increase revenue.
ZUZA is your all-in-one marketing support company. From printing and mailing to cross channel marketing and automated collateral management, ZUZA has got you covered from Z to A. We’re here to make your marketing a whole lot easier, and a lot more effective.
Cross Channel Marketing platform
Setting up and running cross channel marketing campaigns can be very complicated and time consuming even if you have your own marketing automation platform. Or, you can simply hand it all off to ZUZA – then watch the leads roll in. We’ll produce and send out all of your campaign components – direct mail, email, SMS, landing pages, social media – according to your campaign schedule. Respondents will trigger automatic workflows that will send thank-you emails to prospects and alert your team about likely leads. Meanwhile, you can just sit back, relax and view your custom marketing dashboard for real-time updates.
Marketing Asset Management
ZUZA MAM (Marketing Asset Management) automates managing your marketing materials with a powerful online platform that makes delivering custom collateral to your sales channels as easy as generic materials. Your users in the field can log in from anywhere and help themselves to ordering and customizing collateral from pre-approved templates that keep materials fully brand compliant. ZUZA handles all of the production and fulfillment, freeing your marketing team to focus on other important activities.
Printing and mailing
With ZUZA, you get beautiful printing and fast mailing services, seamlessly linked in one place. Let ZUZA help your company look its very best across the full spectrum of printed pieces, from one-page flyers to the most intricately designed collateral and everything in-between. Get the highest-order craftsmanship for your projects with ZUZA’s veteran team of creative consultants, production artists, pre-press experts, press operators and bindery professionals. Then, take advantage of ZUZA’s complete range of mailing services: list research and purchasing, data merge/purge, address labeling, postage, sorting, bundling and drop off at the post office. And, if you have a large inventory of printed pieces to manage, you can count on ZUZA to store and fulfill your marketing materials for you, on-demand.
See how ZUZA can help you get marketing done by visiting zuzamam.com or calling 858.350.9411 to talk with a ZUZA representative.