CASE STUDIES

Three-Tier Lead Nurturing Programs

Michael Ring
Endeavor Business Media

November, 2018

Michael Ring is Vice President, Digital Business Development at Endeavor Business Media.  He manages digital products, working both externally with the company’s sales team, clients and agencies and internally with the ad operations and marketing teams.  Michael spoke to MediaGrowth about Endeavor’s Three-Tier Lead Generation model and how the company works with clients to produce trusting relationships and significant, measurable ROI.   

MediaGrowth:
Many B2B media companies are moving toward Performance-Based Marketing. Please tell us a little bit about how you are responding to this trend at Endeavor Business Media.

Michael Ring:
As is true for all publishers today, Endeavor Business Media has clients that want to see true metrics.  More than just clicks, they want the assurance that they will be getting proper leads, and ultimately, sales.  It is no longer enough to present a whole list of great digital products for clients to choose from.  We must now develop trusting relationships in which we work together with clients to deliver programs that match their interests and goals – what they are comfortable with and what they expect to achieve from a campaign. 

Endeavor offers a range of leads-based programs and our team works hard to understand our clients’ goals and to create campaigns that will satisfy those goals.  Our largest packages involve our Three-Tier Lead Nurturing campaigns which deliver a series of varying content pieces that are very specifically targeted to our audiences.  As the campaign progresses it becomes evident which responders are “hot leads” that are showing a lot of intent.  It also identifies those which are interested, but more time or product messaging may be necessary.  Finally, it shows which may not be interested at the current time.

At the other end of our product spectrum, we have programs we sometimes call “your toe in the water” campaigns that might consist of a simple email with some appropriate content.  Leads are gathered when users click on keywords.  We can’t say how driven these leads are, but they could be the start of an effective lead generation campaign.

MG:
Please tell us more about how Endeavor’s Three-Tier Lead Nurturing Programs work.

MR:
This type of program moves responders down the sales funnel based on their responses to a series of messages delivered that we create from our client’s information and our knowledge of our audiences.  Once our team fully understands a client’s goals, it works with their “seed content” – recent emails, product newsletters, white papers – to create messaging that has a native feel, in our editorial voice which tones down the pushy sales pitch feel.  When the content they give us is very broad or general, we ask for the detail we need.  A series of well-designed messages to a curated list from our audience that fits the behavioral segment that the client is looking to reach will then be delivered in forms that we are confident they will interact with.

The email campaign will consist of multiple deployments.  If the receiver responds to the first contact, we “drip” them down the funnel to a second, more focused message with additional information.  If the receiver does not respond to the first email, we send it again with a slightly modified subject line.  As audience members respond they are dripped down the tiers of the sales funnel.  At planned points along the process we continue to send more focused emails to responders and we stop sending them to those who do not respond.  Over the life of the campaign individuals settle into one of the three tiers.  Then we can confidently give our client lists of hot leads ready for very specific contact about a product that could lead to a sale.   We can also help them identify those who require more nurturing.  All along the process we are building trust with our audience by providing them with information that they resonate with, and with our client by furnishing them well-defined leads.

MG:
Could you give us an example of a successful program that you’ve run?

MR:
We have a client that came to us saying they wanted leads, but not just generic leads.  As we talked with them, we found out they wanted to provide some native content on different aspects of their product to our audience – essentially an unknown market for them.  They wanted insight into the market’s interest in their product as well as solid leads that they could put into their own marketing funnel to potentially convert to sales.

Through multiple calls, our marketing and content staff clarified the goals and collected the seed content – in this case, white papers and past emails.  We recreated messages in a voice that we knew from experience would elicit response better than sales pieces, which might be off-putting.  The campaign consisted of three deployments with two email blasts per deployment (two, four and six emails) that went out on a schedule.  Of those emails, each had more direct and specific content and so as people responded, we essentially lead them down the funnel.  At the end of the campaign the client received a list of leads that were from the top of the funnel (not very interested at that time or in that product, but good to have), leads in the middle of the funnel (perhaps needing more time, information, or to be contacted by a salesperson), and leads at the bottom of the funnel (priority hot leads for their own marketing funnel).  The client received quite a large, segmented list of respondents and overall it was a very successful campaign defined by their goals; gaging market interest, leads and potential sales opportunities, and our goals; an informed, trusting audience.

MG:
Open rates can be a challenge in any email campaign.  How did this campaign do and how do you overcome this hurdle in general?

MR:
We always begin with the information we have on individuals from our overall audience which enables us to segment a list that is more likely to be interested in the specific client information of the campaign email messages.   Our content and marketing people create interesting “teaser” subject lines.  Content is designed to be informative rather than a pitch.  And we work to develop our audience’s confidence in our ability to curate information that they want and need.  Again, it’s about building and maintaining trust.

The open rates change as you go down the funnel.  The first emails in this campaign went to a list of 10,000 and we had a tier-one open rate of about 15%.  As the campaign proceeded and we got down the funnel to tier-three opens, the list was 895 individuals and the rate approach 83%.  At that point we were getting down to the most specific information and to the hot leads – truly quality vs. quantity.

MG:
What other challenges do you face and what types of resources are needed to make campaigns successful?

MR:
One of the challenges we face is having new clients put their trust in us with their products. While we create trusting relationships with our audience, our clients also have to trust that the messaging we are repurposing or creating is going to be the best way of highlighting their companies and products.  They want sales.  We want to inform and move the push to sell further down the funnel because it is a more effective strategy in the end.  This makes a strong, knowledgeable content team, a consultative sales person and great communication between them and the client critical.

Staying on top of schedules can be a big challenge as well.  There is a lot that clients are doing, sometimes with a small team, so actually getting your hands on creative or getting approvals can be time consuming.  There are a lot of touch points that go on in the background to make campaigns successful, and you can’t miss a product launch or other deadline.

Endeavor Business Media’s teams build trust with clients and audiences.  They understand our clients’ goals and work creatively with their seed content.  They understand our audiences’ behavior and the processes of designing and conducting effective campaigns.  They have the technology to track all the moving parts.  They know how to deliver information in ways that result in the audience interactions which produce ROI for our clients.

MG:
Thank you, Mike!