Our New Take on Lead Nurturing and Engagement

We recently added an exciting new lead nurturing feature to the MSDynamicsWorld.com content lead program, and the early results have been both encouraging and fascinating to watch.

The goal of the new nurture capability is pretty straight forward: to boost our readers' engagement in your brand and improve the marketing qualification of leads generated on MSDW. If a marketer can see a progression of meaningful interactions with leads, they can bring them back to their sales teams with more confidence and clarity.

The premise of lead nurturing should be nothing new to a student of marketing basics. Marketing leads are rarely sales ready after a first action like a white paper download, so the more quickly your marketing team can identify the engaged prospects, the better. So if a new marketing lead has downloaded a white paper, it make sense to follow up promptly with another related piece of content like a white paper or case study that supports the ideas of the original item.

And the best part so far is the early success: with over 700 nurture emails sent, we are seeing 25% engagement (as measured by click throughs in nurture emails) and 70% conversions for those who engage (as measured by follow up downloads of the target content). And we’re just getting started – we think there is still plenty of room to tune our approach for even better engagement and qualification.

The system we’ve set up deals with the key factors in a basic nurture program:

  • An original (or source) content item downloaded from MSDW
  • The follow up (or target) piece of content – follow up content is optional. A client can choose to send a nurture email that links to a resource outside of MSDW like a survey, video, etc.
  • The nurture email – these details include the subject line and the body of the email. The key here is to keep the email simple, relevant, and non-promotional. We know what the person has already read, we know why we are recommending the follow up content, and we are making a relevant and credible suggestion for another piece of content.
  • Email trigger and timer – After the source download, we usually wait 2 days to send a nurture email, but timing is configurable.

We put these nurture campaigns into action a few weeks ago, a few at a time, and they have been fun to watch. Here’s what an ISV’s nurture campaign report might look like in our vendor portal at a high level:

Lead Nurture Campaigns Overview

We can associate a unique campaign with each piece of marketing content, and the high level performance of each campaign can be viewed from the portal.

The portal gives ISV marketers two other views of a campaign. The next one is the campaign details view, which you get to by clicking on a campaign name on the screen above. The detail view includes information on the original and target content, as well as the email delay and email details. Below that is the full list of campaign recipients and the data on who clicked the link and downloaded the target content.

Lead Nurture Campaign Details

The final detail of the nurture campaign appears in the lead details screen. Here we’ve added a table that lists which campaigns each lead has received so a marketing or sales person can get a complete picture of the lead from first download to follow up touches and any additional actions.

Lead Nurture Details

Perhaps the real “last” element of our lead nurturing capability is the part that isn’t there – it is the effort we have put into preventing the wrong nurture emails from going out. For example, we’ll never send an MSDW reader more than one nurture email in a three day period, even across multiple ISVs. And a user will never get the same campaign twice. And each email has a simple opt-out link at the bottom that will stop all future nuture emails. And we are taking care to send only short, informational, non-promotional emails to our readers.

We’re excited about the possibilities that this tool will open up for ISV marketers. Providing more measurable data on lead qualification is one of the things we live for when it comes to B2B content marketing. We want marketers to think strategically about their marketing qualification processes and how they can improve ROI with tools that allow them to build both intelligence and efficiency into their processes. And we think tools like our lead nurturing process will move this goal forward.

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