Inbound Marketing: Know Your Customer Better, Even With Frictionless Forms
September 13, 2018 7:26:21 AM | By Matt Benati
Inbound marketing can be a fantastic way to engage website visitors that are interested in your content. They come to your website for a reason — because your message resonates and they want to learn more. And when your content is helpful, valuable and relevant, these visitors want to continue hearing from you in the future.
This is where inbound marketing really shines, using simple, frictionless web forms (like asking visitors to sign up for your newsletter, or offering a helpful ebook download) to give visitors an easy way to interact with you. With their permission, your sales team can continue to engage them, building the relationship, nurturing them through your sales funnel, and ultimately converting them from lead to customer.
Yet, one of the biggest challenges with the inbound strategy lies in those same frictionless forms. Often, marketers are only asking for a name and email, and sometimes only an email address. This gives you a way to contact them, but it doesn’t tell you much about their interests, needs, or their role within their organization. You need more information about leads in order to send them targeted messaging.
What’s the easiest way to quickly gain intel about your leads? Simply keep sending them valuable emails and implement a reply email mining strategy. Here’s what you need to know.
Personalization: Why You NEED To Know More About Your Leads
Sending new leads personalized and meaningful content can be tricky when you only have a name and email address to work with. While the first, and easiest, step in personalization is to segment inbound leads into lists based on where they signed up on your site (i.e. since you downloaded Guide to ABC, we thought you might also enjoy Guide to XYZ), where do you go from there?
For example, consider how much an SaaS company’s messaging differs between users and buyers. If they do not know who’s who at an account and they continue to send pricing and demo information to a user – who has no decision making power – the user may eventually unsubscribe as the content is irrelevant to them. Had the company known they were talking to an end-user, they could have personalized the content to speak to how their solution makes users’ jobs easier/faster/efficient/productive/etc — things that matter most in a software solution to an everyday user.
Sure, this is a common sense example, but research has also proven time and again that personalized content is more effective than generic messaging. In fact, in two surveys, 81% of people said they want brands to get to know them and understand when to approach them and when not to, and 87% say that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about a brand. More than half, 63%, say they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant.
Your customers WANT personalized content! And when you give it to them, they think more highly of you. This relationship building and the resulting trust are the foundation of your nurturing process following an inbound campaign. It’s what takes top-of-funnel leads and turns them into paying customers and advocates. But you have to know more about your leads to get there.
Enter, email mining.
How To Get Intel At Scale
Short of asking for information directly from your leads – and realistically, that’s a pretty time-consuming project that doesn’t scale – the best way to get fresh, accurate intel on your leads is to mine the replies to your email campaigns.
Everytime you send an email campaign, auto-responses, such as Out-Of-Office, Left-The-Company, and human replies, are inevitable. Instead of deleting or ignoring them, pay attention to what they’re telling you.
The example below is a pretty standard OOO you might receive from your new inbound lead, Mark Smith. If you only had Mark’s email before, now you have his name, cell phone number and his title — pure gold for personalizing content! You also have two new referral contacts from Mark’s company, Stephanie and Bruce, along with their titles. While I always recommend permission-based marketing for adding new contacts like this to your database, right away you can use their titles to get a better understanding of the account and help you identify possible influencers and decision makers.
Now that you know Mark is a marketing manager, you can instantly segment him into the appropriate list and start tailoring content to his persona.
The beauty of mining reply emails for intelligence about your inbound leads is twofold. First, the data is coming from something you’re already doing: sending email campaigns. Second, the intelligence is coming from the absolute freshest, most accurate data source possible: the leads you’re already engaging!
Automate The Process With LeadGnome & Your Marketing Automation Platform
I know what you’re thinking. Who has time to read every reply, mine the data, and update a database?? And you’re right. Mining emails manually is a time-consuming and error-prone task, especially if you have multiple, active inbound campaigns that require daily sends to large groups of leads.
The solution is automation.
LeadGnome is a reply email mining service that automates the process. It runs continuously and seamlessly in the background, automatically analyzing every reply, mining the relevant data, and updating your database. It requires NO changes to your existing email marketing strategies, and setup takes just minutes, literally.
And here’s one of the best parts: it easily integrates with major CRMs, MAPs, and email services, allowing you to continue using your favorite systems. There is no new dashboard to use and you have total control over how your LeadGnome data is applied to your systems. This means that you can set up smart lists and workflows to automate processes based on the intelligence LeadGnome mines. Like moving your lead from the OOO above, Mark Smith, to a list designated for marketing managers, and automatically sending him new content. Likewise, the new contacts, Bruce and Stephanie, could be added to separate smart lists for new referral contacts, and automatically sent a personalized welcome email asking them to opt in.
As you can imagine, automating these processes makes quick work of not only discovering intel about your inbound leads, but also of the process of updating your database, segmenting leads, and sending fresh personalized content in a timely manner.
So keep those forms frictionless! The easiest way to get more intel on inbound leads is quite literally already sitting in your inbox. Try LeadGnome for free today and see how easy it is to support your inbound strategy with email mining.