Welcome to Part 3 of our Blueprint for an Automated Lead Nurturing Campaign series! If you missed Parts 1 or 2, in which we delivered a general and B2B-specific nurturing campaign blueprint respectively, be sure to get up to speed by reading them first.
Today, we will tackle the eCommerce or business-to-consumer (B2C) nurturing campaign. While generally not as complex as its B2B counterpart, it differs in several distinct ways and presents unique challenges which necessitate a close familiarity with both your company’s lead nurturing strategies and with your customer base.
This blog post is part of "Your Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing" blog series.
Piecing it Together: The Key Elements of an eCommerce Lead Nurturing Campaign
So let’s get right to it-- here are the pieces that make up a stellar B2C lead nurturing campaign.
In the case of eCommerce, your hook is the promotional offer that captures a lead’s interest-- and their information in your data form. This piece should provide value in a fairly straightforward way, as opposed to B2B hooks, which can often focus on education and provide value via information.
Examples of good B2C offers include percentage-based discounts, free shipping, buy-one-get-one-free promotions, quantity discounts, reward points, member savings and even contests.
On one hand, the offers are simpler to design because their value is not subjective like that of a content offer; on the other hand, making sure that they are relevant and generous enough to fit the customers’ needs and wishes still requires careful consideration.
Rather than traditional landing pages we discussed in the B2B blueprint, product pages and pop-ups are the main format taken by landing pages in B2C nurturing. So compelling visual design-- use of color, images, spacing, etc.-- is extremely important. However, the use of images and other bells and whistles should be tactful so as not to distract the viewer from the offer.
The purpose of this page or pop-up should still be conversion. A strong call-to-action (CTA) is crucial to getting leads to take your desired action, whether its to join your mailing list or receive a discount code.
Of course, the nature of the offer is central to the landing page, but so is the way in which you present it. Keyword optimization research will ensure that your offers come through loud and clear. As we’ll discuss later, A/B testing is also valuable for tailoring and tweaking your landing pages to maximize your conversion rates.
Proper, thorough lead segmentation can set a B2C company apart from its competitors in an industry where customer databases are large and sales cycles are shorter. ECommerce leads need to be treated differently to account for a major difference from B2B: they continue to be targets for marketing even upon becoming a customer.
B2C companies will find that service-specific segmentation schemes often fit their needs well. This kind of segmentation refers to the differentiation of service within the constraints of schemes that are predefined by your sales or marketing teams. Examples of characteristics for common schemes include the customer’s needs or desires, current value, potential value, and lifecycle with your company.
A segmentation scheme should align with service-specific goals-- for example, a scheme that aligns high-level service with the highest-value customers will encourage retention of high-value segments, and thus be most effective at driving revenue. On the other hand, the scheme isn’t ideal for reducing costs, since high-touch service often requires resources in the form of staff and training.
The bulk of the campaign’s nurture content, emails are triggered by customer behaviors or certain events. Your nurture email series must fit the unique needs of the customers while taking considerations specific to eCommerce, such as striking the right tone and scheduling for certain times of day, into account.
While B2B emails tend to be more professional in manner and largely informative, B2C emails prioritize entertainment and aesthetics to a much greater degree.
We cover email in more detail below when we discuss MOFU/nurture content.
In B2C lead nurturing, the number of engagement channels is much larger than in B2B campaigns. The stress is on multi-channel engagement-- email, social, even SMS-- means that a brand is expected to reach the customer at the channel that is most convenient to them at a given point in time, and email, while a vital element of your nurturing strategy, is just one component of the workflows involved.
With marketing automation, marketers can send the right messages, content, and campaigns to customers at the right time. Automated workflows should be triggered by a system of alerts and rules based mainly around certain actions (or types of action) customers take. Paired with tactful consumer contact and appropriate support, automation allows you to plan ahead and optimize your workflows.
The middle of the funnel, where email-based promotions occur in eCommerce lead nurturing, constitutes the core of your nurturing strategy. A B2C email campaign will place greater emphasis on targeting the recipient’s emotions. Again, visual entertainment is a priority, and can be achieved with thoughtful layout and design of your email bodies and titles.
Some of the crucial email series or funnels your campaign can use include:
- Abandoned cart emails, for customers who did not follow through with their purchase
- Welcome or educational series, designed for those leads who converted on your hook
- Training emails, which instruct buyers on how to make the most of the product
- Unused offer emails-- for instance, a form was filled to receive a promo code that was never used afterward
In addition, your intensive mailing strategy will require a well-managed promotional content calendar to keep things running smoothly.
Personalization is the often overlooked glue holding a good nurturing campaign together. It makes the most of all of your technology, lead data, analytics, and segmented lists to create a seamless experience where leads can feel that their needs are being addressed.
While B2C nurturing does not emphasize personalization as much as its B2B counterpart, it still plays a considerable role. This kind of personalization mainly consists of tailoring content, offers, and your communications strategy to accommodate specific individuals; it is sometimes tied to your established segments, but can also be less formalized.
With shorter sales cycles, B2C marketing is conducive to fast-paced data collection to gain insights into many optimization opportunities. The flip side of this is that constant optimization, particularly in the middle of the campaign funnel, is a virtual must.
Larger customer databases open the door for more complex testing and iterations. An example is multivariate testing, in which multiple variables are modified (as opposed to techniques like A/B testing, which focus on one at a time— though there is still room for them in a B2C campaign!).
The goal of multivariate testing is to determine which combination of variations produces the best possible results. On a site page, for instance, three variations of an image may be combined with two variations of a headline to create six versions of the content, which will be tested side by side.
Nurturing revolves around gaining an understanding of the customer base, and analytical data is just the way to accomplish this. 44 percent of B2C marketers leverage data analytics to boost their companies’ responsiveness. Analytics help in determining everything from the nature of future offers to which customer segments they should reach, to the timing for the arrival of the offers.
B2C reporting produces more instantaneous results than B2B, due in part to the fact that there is simply demand for greater agility when it comes to the optimization of B2C campaigns. Marketers have noted the particular applicability of their analytics to the optimization of search engine results, email marketing and mobile outreach.
Your operator should primarily be an analyst, a data-driven marketer. Additionally, they need to be a master of the array of technological tools used to power and analyze your campaign.
Naturally, an eCommerce campaign will require an eCommerce website, as well as email automation that integrates with the site. Everything from social media management to website maintenance to landing page optimization to analytics, not to mention general automation for components like your workflows, will also require technological oversight.
Certain elements more specific to B2C also require attention; for instance, website pop-ups and your promotional SMS channel. As such, a combination of tools (of which there is luckily no shortage available!) will most likely need to be used in order to juggle a multi-channel campaign strategy.
Differences from B2B
So let’s recap what distinguishes B2C lead nurturing from B2B campaigns. eCommerce marketing tends to deal with larger customer databases but shorter sales cycles, making for a highly hands-on approach with greater need for detailed segmentation and a very strong hook. Leads’ behavior can be more fickle, and any “changes in the wind” need to be accounted for quickly!
As we discussed, eCommerce leads are treated differently from B2B lead databases when it comes to segmentation because they continue to be marketing targets even after becoming customers. Though the campaign is higher-maintenance after launch, with constant iterations and optimization needed to maintain the quality of the segmented lists, the effort will prove well worth it.
The campaign funnel is email-based, and the email campaign itself necessitates a series which, as we discussed, incorporates a variety of different types of emails. While the top of the funnel (hook) remains stable, the middle changes constantly; since promotional emails happen in middle of funnel, your promotional calendar must be flexible and keep up with the pace. Email opens and click-throughs, as well as product purchases, serve as primary indicators for your lead nurturing campaign.
This post concludes our Automated Lead Nurturing Blueprint series. If you are ready to invest in marketing or email automation for your company, check out our comparison guide of three top automation platforms.