Digital marketing conjures up images of enormously complex, expensive campaigns that leave many wondering how can they pull it off, do they have enough resources, is there the expertise within their organizations, and similar questions.
These are all valid questions, but starting an effective digital marketing campaign tied to measurable lead generation and sales results is actually relatively simple. And once the basics are in place and achieving results, marketing teams can add in supplemental activities to accelerate success.
In this blog, we define digital marketing as email campaigns designed to generate leads and sales, supported by marketing automation, social media, content, media relations, and the organization’s website.
As with all things marketing, digital should begin with a plan — What will the first, second, third emails include for key messages, what are the calls to action, what are the automated responses when a target opens the first email and clicks on the call to action or doesn’t click on a call to action. What is the response when the target doesn’t open the first two emails, etc., is there a plan for A/B testing or is that a phase two activity? Several of the basics for kicking off a digital marketing program are included here:
Select a CRM
At the nerve center of a digital marketing program is a CRM. Identify current and future needs and get demos of multiple CRMs. Select the one that best fits your needs, which at a minimum should include list management, email management, marketing automation, and campaign analytics/metrics. UPRAISE is a certified HubSpot Partner and we continue partnering with them because it has addressed the needs of all client situations we’ve encountered to date.
Nail Down a Target List Strategy
Most organizations already have target lists of varying quality. We recommend validating existing lists as high bounce rates will cause the CRM to discontinue the ability to send emails. Also, continuously add to these by acquiring lists from sources such as trade associations, as well as leveraging social media (see below). For current and purchased lists, run these through an email verification solution such as Kickbox to evaluate the accuracy of the emails provided.
Strategize Campaigns to Focus on Top and Bottom of the Funnel
Campaigns designed to generate awareness and build a pipeline should focus on introducing the target to the product or solution. As campaigns are focused further down the pipeline on securing demos and closing sales, they should be focused on specific benefits and increase ROI. Other bottom-of-funnel emails can focus on promotions such as 10% off or highlight successful experiences with other customers.
Draft Emails in Flights
We typically create emails in flights of 3-5 and spread out distribution over 10-20 days. By drafting the whole flight at once, it’s easier to ensure the campaign includes all key messages and finalize a call to action strategy.
Identify/Create Calls to Action
Ensure gated calls to action are developed and in place prior to starting the campaign. These can include private content such as white papers or offers for free demos or consults.
Build landing pages, which is where email campaigns will steer interested prospects. These should always require at a minimum the prospect’s name and email.
Expand the Organization’s and Senior Executives’ LinkedIn Profiles
In addition to posting on a regular basis — at least once per week — accelerate attracting new followers through strategies such as engaging with influencers in your organization’s market space that have large followings; e.g., commenting on their posts and promoting their posts. Also, leverage media and analyst relations coverage — link to earned media coverage and analyst coverage when possible, i.e., not behind a firewall). Obtain the email addresses of these new followers through services such as Hunter and secure opt-in permissions before adding them to the email campaign target list.
Send Test Emails First and Seed Your Lists
Have you ever received an email with obvious mistakes in the headlines or text? Avoid this by sending test emails to people in your organization and asking them to proofread. Also make sure to test your emails with different devices, Mac and Windows laptops, tablets, and phones. Add people in your organization to your mailing lists so they can confirm they received the email and validate formatting, layout, and other details.
Execute the First Campaign and Analyze Results
It’s very possible the results of the first email will not meet expectations. Targets may not know your organization, the call to action may not be enticing, messaging may be somewhat off target. Analyze results brutally and continuously tweak each element of the campaign until results meet expectations.
With attention to both strategy and details, these basics will yield successful results. Sometimes, results are surprising! For one startup client targeting small- to medium-sized businesses in just a few very niche markets, email marketing yielded a lead with a Fortune 500 company that recognized a very different application for the client’s core solution — an application the client themselves had not considered.
To learn more about getting your email marketing off the ground or to improve its performance, contact us!