From lead to loyal customer, through well-planned campaign automations, organizations are able to reach individuals during every stage of the buying cycle. Let’s take a look at each stage – awareness, research, evaluation, purchase and retention/loyalty – and see how automated nurture campaigns can have a positive impact on sales and customer retention by delivering the right kinds of content at the right time.
Stage 1: Awareness
In the first stage of the buying cycle, individuals are just realizing that they have a business need. They are unsure of which products or services will help them solve their problems. It is important in this phase to make prospects aware of your brand and stay top-of-mind so that when they decide to move forward with a purchase, your company is on their radar.
Use social media, online advertising, your company’s website or other marketing channels to capture the attention of new leads. Whether through a contact form, newsletter sign-up or eBook landing page, provide a method for prospects to provide their contact information and opt-in to receive emails.
Once a lead has been captured, the first “awareness” campaign automation should contain messaging that provides an introduction to the company and its offerings. This is not the phase for high-pressure sales tactics; you simply want to begin a dialog with the prospect. Introduce them to products or services, provide links to blog articles or offer to send them a brochure for more information.
Stage 2: Research
According to Forrester Research, today’s buyers are anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through the buying process before they reach out to a vendor. So what are they doing during that time? Research. This is the phase where individuals shop around. They are learning what is necessary to solve their business problem and investigating potential solutions.
Buyers typically spend the greatest amount of time in this phase, so a “research” campaign automation may have a longer timeline than others. In this campaign automation, send email messages that feature content that will educate customers about how the product or service can solve their business problem. Provide a link to download an eBook, direct them to an overview video or invite them to attend a webinar – as in the example email below for an accounting firm. By providing the information they need, your organization becomes a trusted resource.
Stage 3: Evaluation
In this stage, the rubber meets the road. Prospects have narrowed down their decision to a few options, and they are evaluating possible vendors. At this point, it is important to build credibility and trust with the prospect and overcome any objections – why should they go with your company over the competition?
The emails in an “evaluation” campaign automation should contain information that will help solidify your product or service as the best solution. Include links to case studies or white papers, offer to schedule a live demo or provide testimonials from other customers.
If it hasn’t already happened, prospects should be introduced to a salesperson at this stage. You may also wish to include direct contact (via phone calls or onsite visits) into your campaign automations.
Stage 4: Purchase
During this stage, customers are making a final purchasing decision. Email messages in a “purchase” campaign automation will have strong calls to action and could include buying incentives such as free trials, coupons or limited-time offers.
And don’t forget about service after the sale. A “post-purchase” campaign automation could be used for implementation and onboarding. Sending regular emails to new customers about a product or service ensures that they have a successful start to their relationship with your organization.
The example email below from a hospital shows how healthcare facilities could welcome and start to nurture new patients – in this case, an expectant mom who has registered for delivery at the facility.
Stage 5: Retention/Loyalty
You successfully manage customer accounts in CRM, but are you communicating with your contacts on a consistent basis? Campaign automation is a great way to keep current customers engaged with your company and brand.
Create a “retention” campaign automation to send subscription renewal reminders. Or use a “loyalty” nurture campaign to educate customers about new features, provide them with valuable content, or invite them to webinars and events. Remember this: marketing automation is not just for marketing!
Want to learn more about creating successful campaign automations? Download our free eBook, The Campaign Automation Playbook: Scoring Big with Customer and Lead Nurturing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.