Lead Nurturing & Automation

Featuring Marwa Greaves, Team Manager, Lead Nurturing & Automation

 
 
  • - Hey everyone, welcome to today's Master Class presented by HubSpot Academy. I'm Courtney Sumbler. I'm one of our professors on the HubSpot Academy team. And we are HubSpot's learning resource as well as world wide leader in marketing and sales education. I'm really excited to have everyone here today because we're gonna be talking about lead nurturing and automation. Two of my favorite subjects and I have a feeling that my coworker here. Those might be some of her favorite subjects too.

    - Yeah.

    - So we're gonna be talking a lot today about lead nurturing and automation. I'm really excited to introduce my coworker, Marwa Greeves. She is the team manager for the email messaging team here at HubSpot. And we actually get to work together quite a lot which is exciting.

    - It's awesome.

    - We get to sit in the halls of HubSpot and geek out about some of these things. And today we're gonna join in with all of you to sort of really talk about lead nurturing automation. Maybe a little bit of what 2018 looks like. Reflect on 2017. Really where we're all going with these things in the next few months. And with that being said we want to make sure that you're a part of this conversation. So what you're gonna do is jump into that Facebook live feed. Start commenting, get those fingers warmed up. If you want to use a hashtag for Twitter use the hashtag HubSpot Master Class. Really let us know what's going on. Ask us some questions. Maybe some struggles you have with lead nurturing. Questions you've thought about automation. Maybe how 2017 went for you. But we really want to hear from you. And I'm gonna keep you guys kind of going with that. So that's not the last time you're gonna here about commenting. So as we get started here. Marwa, how's it going? It snowed last night.

    - It did, it did. It's going great. I was just saying driving in this morning was a little hectic. A little crazy but I feel like we're used to it at this point. It's almost like not the norm to have one to three inches and we don't have two feet of snow. This is a little outside of the norm.

    - Exactly. I was walking to work this morning. I was like oh, my boots. I can still see them. It's not too bad yet. But while we're sitting here in the warm studio. Luckily we're not outside. Why don't everyone tell us where you're from. Make us a little jealous. Is it snowing outside? Are you in the warm California sun? Where are you guys dialing in from? So, post those in there. Let us know. Maybe if you guys are in the same city. Connect, talk about lead nurturing. So as we get started and as you guys throw those in there. Why don't you tell me a little bit about what you do in the team here you manage at HubSpot?

    - Yeah definitely. So, like you said I manage the email and messaging team. So, as of 2018 we now manage all of the nurturing and automation and all those programs. Not only for our leads but also for our free users. So anybody that signs up for our free CRM we get to nurture them to try to get them to activate into our free product. And then anybody that downloads a piece of content whether that's an eBook or they signed up for a webinar or white paper. We also nurture them further down the funnel.

    - Wow, that's quite a bit of people I'm assuming?

    - Uh, we don't have a ton of people but the people we do have on the team are extremely talented. Hard working. They really understand the in's and out's of nurturing automation which we'll get to today.

    - That's fantastic. I actually. Tova Miller, she's on your team.

    - Yes.

    - I was really blessed with. When I first came to HubSpot. Actually on my first day as a support engineer, worked with her.

    - That's awesome.

    - I got to shadow her. So it's really fun to kind of see her also on your team and I'll be working with her.

    - She's wonderful.

    - Met with her yesterday to talk about some email. So, you know. It's exciting stuff. Ohh, look at all these places we've got some people from.

    - I love that.

    - San Jose, yes. I would much rather be in San Jose right about now.

    - And you're from California.

    - Yes I am. So, who ever is in San Jose. How's it going? I'm from San Francisco. I'd like to be there with you. But that's great. Lots of places. You know, that's one thing that's kind of cool is that lead nurturing is all over the place.

    - It really is.

    - Depending on whatever industry you're in. You're probably going to be using lead nurturing on occasion one way or another. Which is I think one of the exciting things about it. It's not specific. You don't have to be B to B or B to C.

    - No, definitely not.

    - You want to be nurturing those people in lots of different ways. So, now it would be a good idea of what you're team is doing? Who you are? You got a small team but you guys are for sure growing.

    - Small but mighty.

    - Small but mighty. I like that. It's a fun sized team. Lots of things going on there. We're sort of now that we're almost an entire month done with 2018 already. Unbelievable.

    - I know.

    - What were those key learnings that you guys had from 2017? What did you guys reflect on?

    - Yeah, we had a lot. So I actually just joined at the beginning of 2017. And one of the biggest learning things right off the bat was we really over complicated our nurturing and automation strategies. So we were segmenting a million different ways. By company size, by segment. You know, by language. Obviously language is important and you want to make sure that you're reaching out to the right prospects and the right regions. But the reporting, when we kind of dug into it. We weren't really seeing the value. We weren't really seeing the benefit of segmenting all those different ways. And it wasn't worth the time. So one of the biggest learnings in 2017 was really just to simplify. To solve for the largest segment in our database and make sure that we can make them as happy as possible. Create that kind of core strategy and then build off of that. And make sure that with the small team we had. We were investing our resources, our time. In the best possible places.

    - That's awesome and I think that's a huge thing for our users to keep in mind. Is that you don't have to have a big team. If you really focus on that simplification it can really make a lot of impact. Without having to have a ton of resources.

    - Definitely.

    - That's something that I get the question a lot. Why have a big team? What do I do? And so for all of you sort of tuning in. Is this something that you guys struggle with? You know smaller teams, simplification. Let us know if there's anything that you guys learned in 2017. Sort of along those same lines. I think it's something that you can take into a lot of different places. The simple the better. As in life, as in the way we work. It's something that we like to live by. But it is amazing how it continues to come back to that simplification.

    - And I think also you simplify but you also look for those high end tech moments, right. I think a lot of times people just solve for volume. And I did say that. Solve for the volume in your database. The largest segment. But what are those high impact moments that are smaller volume but people that are ready to talk to you. They're ready to buy or they're ready to talk to a sales rep. How can you optimize those moments even better to get them to convert? So if somebody's already raising their hand. How can you make it easier for them to get in touch with you? How can you make it easier for them to sign up for that webinar? And I think a lot of the times people just think of nurturing and automation as writing those emails. Setting up those workflows but it's also understanding your landing destination. Understand how you can optimize those as well. And that's what we really try to bring in the full funnel when we think about nurturing and automation. Not just engagement. Not just opens and clicks on those emails or whatever channel you're using. But really thinking all the way through the funnel.

    - Yeah and I love that. That full funnel aspect is something that the academy tries to educate on as much as possible. And really thinking in mind. When someone becomes their customer things don't end there. We've got this in that inbound methodology. We have that whole to light stage that we need to not forget about. And that's when we can bring people back as well. Get that really full funnel. That almost circular motion going where they're a customer bringing them all first. So I love that. So now that 2017. We've kind of reflected. It's over. Kind of happy to leave it in the past. Maybe you look to 2018, new adventures. What are some of the biggest things that we're looking at in 2018 with lead nurturing automation? What does it look like?

    - Definitely, so I think it's more of what we were doing well. So more of those high impact moments. High intention moments. The other huge thing that we're investing in is new channels for nurturing and automation. So, like I said, we have a small team. There's three of us. We do have one person that is dedicated to messenger inbox and I know we'll get into that a little bit. Which is magic. I mean I think a lot of the times you'll hear people say. Okay, bots are going to replace email. That's really not the case. I see them working really well together. And I think of 2018 as just expanding that landscape into new channels. So you find something that works well. You find a trigger that works really well. How can you expand that? Can you try that in SMS? Can you try that on site? Can you try that in Messenger? What about WhatsApp? I think a lot of the times people focus on maybe what's trending in North America. But think about your other regions. If you're a global company think about that as well. So, 2018 is going to be a lot of experimentation. We'll keep our core strategies in place and always iterate. They are not just always on. We forget about them. We will always be iterating but definitely expanding into new channels. And finding those moments, again. Optimizing for those high intent moments as well.

    - Yeah and I think that gets to something. Experimentation but expanding into those other channels. As the email professor for academy. A lot of people come to me and they're like. What is your take on emails dying?

    - Right.

    - It's like.

    - Don't you just love that question?

    - I love it, you know. I love it because it's now an opportunity for me to really say no. Hear that rally cry that's going on where it's like not only is email not dying. But it's giving us the opportunity now to have that. Really lots of channels coming together for the same purpose. Having them work together. You know it's similar way you need your team to work together. You need your channels to work together.

    - Exactly.

    - Not something I think in 2018 we're gonna see a lot of doubling down on. How could messages and email work together? Something around the words of conversations. It's what I really like to talk about. Let's all have a conversation. We're having a conversation. This conversation, we could have this many different channels. I do like sitting here next to you and having it. I will say. But I think there's a lot of different things around conversations that are gonna be headed here for us in 2018.

    - Absolutely and I think when people talk about conversations they think about them in those other channels. But I also encourage everybody too to get creative in emails as well. 2017 was also a year where we up the ante in our emails. We put dynamic content in there. We put countdown timers in some of our emails. We did some of this live engagement within the emails itself because people just think of emails as text only. Or maybe a newsletter format. It's like what can you do that. Yes, you're investing in new channels but what can you do to invest in their current channels? How can you make them better? How can you push them to the next level? So as people get distracted by the many different apps on their phone or social media. Make sure that when you're sending an email or when you're engaging on a channel. That you're making it count and that's what we really tried to do in 2017. And we'll continue to do that in 2018 as well.

    - That's awesome. I saw some of those emails that you sent out and they were fantastic. And I think one of the cool parts was. It was like we could always be improving but it was with a channel that is near and dear to my heart.

    - Yes, of course.

    - I heard this great quote the other day. It was yes, email is older. But it's the thing that continually works. It was a great quote and I have it now at my desk because it kind of excited me. It's like yeah.

    - Yeah.

    - You don't want to reinvent the wheel. If something works and bringing those new technologies through is gonna be kind of helping us throughout 2018. I see some questions that popped in here. I just want to. From Lindsey, she asked what are the best channels to begin expanding to when you're just starting out? And kind of on top of that. How much communication is too much education? Communication, sorry. Too much education on my end. And is there a sweet spot? And I think Lindsey, that's an awesome question. Because it's something that that experimentation is gonna come to. But what do you think about what are some of those best channels when you're first starting out?

    - Definitely, I would think about the business. Think about where your audience is. I know for us. We can't reach everybody in our database on email. But we know that Messenger has been really great for us in North America. So I think you have to really look at where your business is? Is it just in North America? Is it a global business? Where are your audience? Where are your customers already exactly? And then try and reach them in those channels. Don't try and force. We can't necessarily force what's out in the United States cause it's not as comfortable. As Messenger and I think you just need to be really smart about those channels that you're expanding out to.

    - Yeah and that's a great point. Knowing where your business is is important for so many other reasons. All the other communications you have probably apply to it. So bringing that into these new channels is gonna make a lot of sense. And sort of with that as we started talking about messages. Now it's on this playing scene. Do you see any other ways that it's working with email? How that tie and that connections is gonna be made?

    - Definitely, so you know we talked a little bit about database saturation. I think that's what's huge. It's not just. I think it is they work really well together but it's also a way to work in that new audience. It's a way to reach people in your database that might have unsubscribed. That might have bounced for whatever reason. How can you saturate your full database? Cause believe it or not you probably have a lot of money sitting in your database right now that you're not interacting with. In terms of the two channels working together. Really successful tests that we've run is actually pushing people from email directly to Messenger. And we use a CTA that says. Hey, do you want to skip the normal forum and just download via Messenger? Via this kind of conversational experience. And people loved it. I mean people switched through. They chatted with the bot. They got the piece of contact directly in Messenger and they're like this is the coolest experience. The fact that we got responses that says this is a really cool way to download content. I don't know that anybody's filled out a form and has been like. Wow, that was incredible. Let me do it again. So I think finding ways for those channels to work together. Just put the CTA right in your emails. See how it performs. Run a test and then make sure that when you are building out a bot experience. You're solving for one purpose. I think you see a lot of people who are like oh my God. Bot's Messenger, I really want to get involved right now. And do all of the things right away. One really important thing to keep in mind is just solve for one solution. Otherwise your building out branches where people will get confused or get lost. And they'll have a bad experience the first time they're interacting with your company via bot. So just make sure you're solving for one specific purpose.

    - Yeah and I mean that goes to anything you want to do in marketing and sales. You need one goal. You can't have five goals because then how are you? How do you know if you're hitting that goal? And I want to make sure as you explore new channels that you're excited about it. But you sort of follow those guidelines of keeping those things in mind. I received one of those emails from HubSpot and I was excited. I mean, I knew it was coming. I had anticipated it.

    - You had the inside scoop already.

    - I had the inside scoop but even still going through it myself. It was such a different experience that I was excited about. And one thing that you did say about what's sitting in your database. It's something that I talk about a lot. Is you got to make sure that you not only have contacts that are clean and you can really talk to. But the one's that you can explore why you can't. Make sure that you're connecting with them in the right way. We know better than anyone that having a database full of people you can't contact. It's a bummer. It makes us feel sad. And so you want to make sure that you can find these different ways to connect with them. And now that Messenger is there, it's huge. It's a great way. But I will push everyone to sort of take a look at what those contacts are. Which I think is awesome.

    - Yeah and like you said. Look into why they're not interacting with you. I think that a lot of the times we'll see contacts in our database that they're just not email people. And that's totally fine. But they're coming to our website. They're interacting with our blog and I think that you just have to remember the human on the other side of that. Like maybe their commuting in and they don't have time to read an email. But they have the 10 minutes to interact with a bot or they have 10 minutes to chat with you on your site or do something like that. I think it's just important to keep in mind that just because they may have rejected or not engaged with one channel doesn't mean that they're rejecting your business.

    - Yeah and I really guess. I mean, you want to be human. You want to be helpful in any ways that you can. And keep in mind that we all have different ways that we like to communicate.

    - Absolutely.

    - For me I'd rather open an email. But I know that my friends for example when I send them emails they don't open them. I'm sure I'm sitting in some of my friends spam folders right now. You know who you are. We've actually got some more questions coming in here which I want to get to before we get to some of our questions. Maria, she's got a great question here about. How can I compliment the nurturing track workflows with one off emails like monthly newsletter? Conference invites without sending multiple emails to the same person. I think this is something that hits home with a ton of people.

    - Totally and I think what's really important is I actually try to make those emails look as different as possible if you can. And people are more likely. They're okay with getting emails from the same business if they serve different purposes, right. So, a lot of the times we will try our best to keep our one off emails on a Thursday rule or at least engaged on the same day of the week so people know what to expect. But when you're automating emails they can show up on Thursday. They might get multiple emails in a day and I would say it's okay as long as your strategy for those emails. And the goals for those emails are different. And I think for us too. Some of the business emails that we send. We actually send directly from our sales rep. That is a assigned to that lead and that has been really great. Because it looks totally different then our one up emails that come from Tova. That come from the marketers. People expect to hear different content from different people. If their hearing from Tova or Jordan or Connor on our team who are marketers. They're expecting marketer content. If they're hearing from a sales rep it's probably because they've taken a high value action or they want to engage and be helpful directly for their business. And so I think keeping those strategies different will make it okay if they do get emails on the same day. Which I will be honest is very hard to avoid at all times. But I would keep the frequency of those emails consistent on the same day so you know what to expect.

    - And that's a great point there. As long as they are different. Someone's gonna understand like hey. This is different content that I want or need with those other emails mixed in. I experimented with this. At the end of 2017 I ran a blog series where I sent out a weekly email about this blog. But people were also getting things from our blog too. And by making them very different I didn't have a problem with those open or click rates. Because it was serving that really specific goal. That someone was very clear about. They were getting this for a specific reason. So I think that's great. And I think that we've got some other questions here. I think with this one goes ties in. How do you make emails look less businessey? I think that's a great question.

    - It's a great question. When you're serving that purpose if it's a business matter. You know, it's actually very interesting. You have to understand, again, your audience. It's like we found this is kind of a tip for people out there. That, yes the majority of people that we're serving are small businesses. For our larger corporate segment. We actually found that the business like emails performed much better. So first of all make sure you're understanding your audience because you might see people that prefer texts only. Linked email and that's fine. To make emails look less businessey. I think it's really about the communication, the copywriting. How you're reaching out to them. But again I would think about the goal. If the goal is a business case. If you're trying to connect them with one of your sales reps. It's going to be really hard. And you actually want to be organic in the way that you're talking to them. Make sure that when you're talking to them you're talking to them about how to benefit their business. How you can benefit them. How you can be the most helpful and whether or not it's business interaction they will appreciate. That you are attempting to provide value and I think that helps. In terms of one off sets or something that is more designed. I would just, you know. There are a lot of different ways that you can throw. You know, animated gifts in there or some dynamic content. Headers and footers that are consistent with your branding so that it feels less businessey. But again I would just stick to what the goal of what that email is. And just be as authentic and organic as possible.

    - Yeah and that's perfect. And there's also a ton of templates out there. HubSpot's got a marketplace that's got a lot of templates.

    - Great templates, yeah.

    - The thing I love about that is it kind of gives you an idea of what it would look like. Used one recently where it's like. Hey, this has a specific goal in mind. Kind of getting that knowing your audience. Which I think is great. Sort of switching just a little bit of gear here. We've talked a little bit about experimentation. And we sort of touched on somethings but do you have any sort of specific tips? Or do you see something happening in 2018 with experimentation that can guide? What we're seeing so far is kind of a vague look at 2018 with experimentation.

    - Yeah, definitely. So what we try and do on the team with limited amount of people is we try and create a hypothesis. If somebody comes up with an experiment. What's the hypothesis and what is that based off of? Usually it's we see that people activate really well in our product when they take X. You know, how can we optimize on that? And so once you come up with a really clear hypothesis. That multiple people are bought into it. I think what's really hard is you want to make sure that you're communicating that across your team and if it's something you're working with in product. Make sure you're communicating with your product teams as well. Set a goal for that experiment. Make sure it's as clean as possible and you're using a consistent tool to reach significance. This will differ on channels. I know we've done retargeting on paid where significance means different things on different channels. And you want to make sure that you understand when are you going to reach the goal and when are you going to reach that significant art to get the learnings. And then iterate and optimize it. You never want to run an experiment for the sake of running an experiment at that one point in time. And you're never gonna touch it again. This experiment should then help build your strategy for the rest of the year. Or help build your strategy for the next six months that you can continue to iterate on. So that's something I like to push my team on. It's like why do you want to run this experiment? What do you think the larger impact will be on the business or on our program? And sometimes people are like. Oh, I kind of thought it would be cool but now when I think about it maybe we should prioritize this other experiment. So, what do you think? What do you think about running experiments? Like how do you think about laying them out and the process that goes into it?

    - Yeah and I think you bring up a good point there. Sometimes it is finding someone to kind of have you push back against. I go to some members of my team. And I'm like I want to run this experiment. I ran a huge experiment at the end of 2017. I wrote one blog post every four days. Ended up being twenty-three blog posts series in six months. It was aggressive. And it was definitely an experiment. It wasn't something that was typical for our blog. And I got a lot of push back. It was sort of why do I want to do that? And I found a little bit that I was sort of like because I wanted to. I wanted to do this. I want to experiment and I think that's a really healthy thing. To want to experiment. To want to dive in but you need the structure. One thing that I sit down and do. You know, it's a framework that we use on the academy team. But it's setting objectives, key results. After six months if someone asks me what the purpose was? I'd be able to say this was my initial purpose. But this is actually what came out of it. And really setting yourself up for success answering this question. You know, the bummer part of it about experimentation is sometimes you fail. Sometimes you're like. Well, I set this and I didn't hit it at all. But if you at least had a number where you did have that. Then that's something that you can really go off of.

    - Yeah, we talk a lot about failing fast too. I think when you experiment a lot of times you will fail. A lot of times it will work out but knowing. Coming out of it with acute learning and a key understanding of what you want to iterate and test next. That is fine with me.

    - Totally and I think it's. That's sort of the fun part I think a little bit. When you get into lead nurturing automation is that there is a lot of time for experimentation. Some other channels, they don't really allow that. You got to just keep going, keep going. But with this experimentation is almost the name of the game with all of that. And it's fine, I like experimenting. Don't tell my team that. Hopefully they're not watching. But I think there's a lot with experimentation that I think can be really, really fun. And really good. Just make sure you got those strategies in place. And sort of with that I think one thing we see in our market. In lead nurturing automation and with experimentation is over complications. Those over complicated workflows. Over complicated lead nurturing strategies. What are some of your advice to keep those things simple?

    - Yeah, definitely. We talked a little bit about the beginning but it's solving for the largest portion of your database. Again, understanding. Before you do anything you really have to understand the in's and out's of your database. Who makes it up? Who is the most likely to convert? And how can you segment and then create workflows around those people over anything else? And I think the complications in the extra details come in in your triggers. And things where there are high intent moments. Because otherwise if you're over building on your core strategy. And we did this in 2017. So I am talking from experience people. You looked at our workflow and it was so hard to report out on it. It was so hard to get results from and iterate on because we had branching logic all over the place. And I think when you can simplify and understand that core strategy. You really are building the base for your business and then you can find those solves. That's when we really found. Okay, our corporate segment and our higher employee size segment. They respond more so to kind of straight forward copy. A little bit less fluff in our subject line. You are actually able to figure that out because we built a simplified core strategy. And so I think I would really recommend people start with that. Even it you're new to the team and it's going to take a lot of work. And you might get pushback stripping out some of those details. I highly recommend doing it if you're not able to report out on it successfully. If you're not really seeing the benefit of the over complications. Strip it down. Understand it and then kind of build off of that.

    - Yeah and I think that's something that I talk a lot about to users and customers as well. We do something with academy where I get to get on the phone in these mentoring sessions and talk to customers. And you look at their workflows. And you look to see what they're doing and these different sectors. And my biggest advice is always if I can't understand from just kind of looking at this straight off. Maybe what the goal is. It might be a little too complicated. And you kind of get that when you ask them why? You know, why is this workflow work the way it does? Or what's the point of this? And you sort of drill a little bit down. But having that core strategy. Having a simple workflow. We don't have to complicate things. We definitely in our society do a lot. But I think starting there then you can build up to more complicated things. And luckily you can get back into that experiment mode. Experiment with some things and then look at some other complications. And thank God Mark here has got some good questions around that. What are some successful nurturing campaigns that HubSpot ran in 2017? And what components made it successful? I think that's really what we're talking about here is that core strategy. Really getting that. Making sure it's simple.

    - That's a great question. One of the main strategies that we put in place in 2017 was something that we called Choose Your Own Adventure. We were making a lot of assumptions about people in our database. They would download a piece of content on social media and we would say okay. Show them down to social media path and for the next seven days we would just show them social media content. That's actually just not the case. Sure there are a lot of marketers watching us today and they're like no. I'm interested in all sorts of marketing. I don't want to then just be forced down this path. So we said we can keep taking guesses and assumptions or we can ask people. And so what we did is we sent our initial email that said what's the business challenge that you're trying to tackle today? And we gave them four different options. If they clicked on the first CTA I think it says generate more leads. We would then push them down a path that helped them solve that problem that they have identified. That by far I'll tell you. If we got somebody to engage in that first email. Their click to rate for the rest of the flow was over a thousand times higher than for the people who didn't click a CTA that told us what their business challenge is. So I would say to everybody out there. Ask people in their database what they want. Because it's going to be a lot smarter and a lot simpler than trying to make assumptions. And that's really where we simplify it. We were trying to build off of these paths based on their first conversion point and then show then again down that content path. And we said, you know this isn't working as well as we'd like to. Let's just ask people. And I would recommend that strategy to everybody. Ask your database. See what they want. Of course, you can facilitate them down a certain path and help them. Provide context and provide value. But if people can self identify the problems they're trying to solve. They're much more likely to stay engaged and they're much more likely to build that relationship with you.

    - You and that gets back to you're having a conversation with them. You're asking them a question. They're answering and that's gonna lead to a lot more successful interactions in the future. And I think Mark, that's sort of what we're getting at here. Does it take more than seven touches to reach buyers? And what frequency do you use in their terrain? It's really if you can get at this. The way I like to say. Choose your own adventure game. I use that phrase a lot on the academy team. Is that when you get into that conversation with them it's not so much about seven touches. But it's the correct touches at the correct time.

    - Exactly and I think what's really interesting that we found is a lot of people were just replying directly back to our emails. Especially the ones that you were sending from the rep. That is a one to one interaction and so you think. They always need to click a CT and an email and then they need to convert. That's not the case. People are used to directly replying to an email and having an email conversation. They might not be ready to have a direct chat with you. But again, ask people how they want to communicate. Provide more opportunities for them to communicate with you and your brand. And that's what we're doing. Expanding into these other channels. Expanding into Messenger and Chatbox. We're just allowing and creating a better experience for our prospects and for our customers. And I think that's what it's about really.

    - And that's awesome. That's something that we can help figure out with them as well. From my side to help educating them on getting that done for themselves. It's like watch this conversation unfold and see really how it works. And as we sort of talk about this with the choose your own adventure game. There's still triggers involved. There's still something that happens. What are some of the best ways to identify those triggers when you're looking to create these lead nurturing campaigns.

    - Yeah, that's a great question. At first look at volume. And of course it depends on your business. For me it would be a lot of the times it's pricing page. Easiest trigger to get to. Some of these junior pricing page. They have high intent. It's probably a low volume but always the highest converting. So I think you have to look at volume of people viewing pages on sight. You also have to look at those high intent moments and it's going to be different for every business. And so you really. It's not a one size fits all approach for these triggers. We also found that a lot of people who were viewing our case study pages were also really high intent. So you might say okay. Maybe their just browsing. They want to understand who are customers are but we found that there's not only a large volume. But there's high intent there as well. So kind of finding that sweet spot and I think we take a lot from B to C companies too. Of course like abandoned carts. What we used to call. You know, I was at TJX before this. Browse a band. So if somebody is just viewing a product. They don't convert. They don't put it in their cart. It's not as high intent as an abandoned cart but it's still worth the time to follow up. Especially if that item goes on sale or is no longer in stock or comes back in stock. These are all things that. Yes, they apply more directly to B to C but how can you kind of iterate? And how can you take that into account for a B to B company as well. Really think through those. Get creative. Again if you find a trigger that works really well like the pricing page. Can you expand that in other channels? Can you expand that on chat or SMS? Continue to run these tests for triggers as well.

    - Yeah and I think triggers. That's perfect with that. Running tests and stuff. I really love to hear what are some main triggers that everyone watching uses. Let us know what are some of the triggers that have been successful for you. Some things that maybe have not been successful. Let's all learn together what these triggers might be. There's a question that just popped in and I see four letter that have become very familiar with me. And so Rachel, I do want to answer your question. Yes, I know this is a huge topic. But what about marketing automation and the GDPR? What are your thoughts on how this is going to affect the market and how we can prepare? GDPR is something that's become very near and dear to my heart in the last few months. Rachel, first of all I just want to let you know there is a lesson in the academy learning center on GDPR and how to best prepare. I encourage anyone watching this today to go and watch it. Its got videos. Its got a checklist. It's even got a quiz. It's really something that I think everyone is gonna be able to watch and get a little bit more comfortable with GDPR because I know it's a tough subject.

    - I watched it yesterday. Thank you for doing that.

    - Yes, so for anyone watching who doesn't know what GDPR is. It is the General Data Protection Regulation. It's going into effect May 25 at 2018. We're getting close guys. I know that's scary but May is around the corner. And there's something with marketing automation that we are gonna see a little bit of a shift in. You know, the GDPR focuses on protecting data and really that privacy policy aspect. Which some of our marketing automation kind of runs without us knowing it. And so the key thing here with the GDPR and marketing automation is going to be that really focused understanding your database. The people in it and really paying attention to it over time. One of the things I can't stress enough with GDPR is you're gonna have to update your database. You're gonna have to get in there. Get your hands dirty a bit, really frequently.

    - Definitely, and I think one of the questions was how do you try and identify impact? That's something that we're thinking about here as well. I think part of language and you can correct me if I'm wrong. Cause I did watch it. Is you need to have kind of affirmative consent so it's not a pre-populated checkbox. It's something that they have to check and say yes. I want to receive your emails. And so what we're actually doing is that we're going to test that in one of our upcoming offers. And say how much are we potentially loosing in terms of emails into our database? And just seeing what we can expect when this goes live in May. And it is on everybody's mind. I think another thing to keep in mind is that everybody's in the same boat. Everybody will need to follow these regulations. Every company is gonna be in the same boat. Yes of course there will be an impact on the business. But the positive spin is you'll get people who really want to engage with you. Maybe it's less volume but the people in your database are going to be highly engaged. Really want to talk to you. So I think that's important to keep in mind. It's kind of been this human glue mentality. And I definitely feel it. I'm not trying to spin it. But, trying to spin it a little bit.

    - Yeah and I think it's something that I talk a lot about is that the best part about GDPR. The thing that excites me so much is it's actually raising the bar for all of us.

    - Absolutely.

    - It's not just raising the bar for enterprise companies. It's not just raising the bar for people who've got these big teams. Raising the bar for really just everyone. Everyone needs to be on board and comfortable with this. And it's kind of. It's a good thing. It really forces us to really refocus on inbound. Being good inbound professionals. It's an exciting thing. It's definitely a little difficult. It's got some legal jargon in there which is interesting. So make sure that you check out that lesson Rachel. I know there's probably more you want to dig into there. But for anyone, GDPR marketing automation. There's a ton of content in that lesson. Check it out and just kind of keep your ear to the ground thing. GDPR is gonna be something that continues to be talked about. We're far enough away from May that it's good we're all talking about it now. Be prepared like the Boy Scouts. But it's still something we're gonna need to be talking about over the next few months. And I think something that ties really well with GDPR is this idea of sending lots of emails. You know, we're gonna send lots of emails.

    - Lots.

    - I send lots of emails. And I probably sent a couple dozen this morning. You know, sorry. I think one of the biggest things is how do you suggest sending less emails but that higher quality? I know it's something that your team really focused on in 2017.

    - So we actually set a resolution for ourselves in 2017 to send less emails but send it better. So what we did is we actually cut our emails send volume in half last January to February. And we increased our click through rates by 30%. So that was our biggest win of 2017 by far. Shout out to Tova. Amazing work there. And what we found is we were sending multiple times a week and finding that our engagement was dropping. And so we really just cut that send volume in half. And then really double down on the content we're putting in our emails. Listening closely. Making sure we weren't just batch and blasting content over and over again. But focusing on hey. Okay in the past few years. What have people been really engaged with? Let's dig into the data and we just became a more data oriented team in what we were sending. What's going to drive the highest engagement? How an we make those emails more dynamic? And that's where we saw the click to rate just absolute spike. Of course, if you cut people that aren't engaged from your database. Your open rate is gonna increase and people are like. Of course it's gonna happen. But it's really focusing on the engagement once they're in there. So take the extra time now that you're not sending as frequently. Spend even more time thinking about the quality of sends. Make sure that if you're getting in the inbox. You know, there's a human on the other side of that. Make sure that you're not wasting their time. There's something valuable in that email. And use data to drive it 100%.

    - Yeah it's this great concept that I really like to think about is like. You want to grow in your business but you want to help someone else grow. And it's a concept like the academy team has been talking about. Is really that idea that teams that learn together they're going to grow together. So if you can grow with the people that you're connecting with. That's gonna be the magic and so maybe it is sending less emails. And connecting with them a little bit more on that helpful and human way. That we want to be focusing on. And I love seeing all the stuff that you guys been doing about sending that less email. Love seeing the data behind it because it did feel real data driven to me. Where it was like yes. This wasn't just something that we wanted to do and we didn't. But it had a lot of backing to it which was great. So excited to see more stuff from your team on that in 2018 I'm sure.

    - Yes.

    - Looks like we got some more few questions popping in here. Which I like to see. Allison's got a good question here. What's a good rule of thumb for inactivity rate? No email opens, no site visits. Removing someone from a nurture list. I like this question mostly because it really gets at another concept where it's that inactivity in general. Not even from nurturing but inactivity in your database. HubSpot does use that inactive list when looking to send emails. But what do you think about a good rule for down there?

    - Again, this one really depends and it's something that we're actively working on ourselves. So what we do today is if somebody doesn't open or click nine emails in a row. We actually go out and suppress them ourselves before they unsubscribe. Because it says hey. If we're not providing you value then we're going to do the right thing for the prospect experience and suppress them from future sends. What I recommend everybody doing though is then launch a re-engagement campaign. And break it out by the time that they last engaged with you. So we broke it out by 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 120 days. And we said how many people can we re-engage and what's that sweet spot? For us we found it was 120 days. So at that 120 day mark we actually got the highest conversion rate for them to come back and re-engage with us. So sometimes people just need a break. The things I will say is at a previous company it was 60 days. We found that at the 60 day mark if they don't engage with us. Or if we can't get them to re-engage. They were 95% more likely to never come back. So it's going to take a lot of testing. I don't want to put a general rule of thumb out there because I've seen it so many different ways depending on your business. Depending on what you're sending. But this is something you should actively be testing. You could automate the re-engagement campaign once you do find the sweet spot. Whether it's 60 days, 120 days. You know, automate that. Let them come back to you. Give them a chance but also make sure you're following that prospect rule of treating them like the human that they are on the other side. Maybe they're on vacation. Maybe they took sabbatical. Maybe they're taking a break from their phone and we should kind of make sure that we're following those rules as well.

    - Definitely I think it's something that we kind of forget about. But sometimes we don't open our own emails.

    - Totally.

    - Like you're on vacation. You're with your family. Things happen. Sometimes you don't open your own emails. So I think that's something to really focus on in finding that sweet spot for yourself. But also keeping in mind the timing. We always think about. Like oh, the holidays. You know emails. But you know there's other times when people might not be opening their emails. And Allison's got another question here. What should you consider when determining when to send email audience to lane page or to your website?

    - That's a really good question. I think it really depends on your goal. What is the goal? Is the goal for you to get them to sign up for a webinar? Then you do need them to send them to a landing page or a form. Versus the website. Again I think it all starts with the goal of the campaign. And I know we talked about this a little bit yesterday. If the goal is engagement and you want to push them to your website and there are additional actions they can take. And we've done this too. This is part of the kind of choose your own adventure path. If you just want them to understand what your company does. What you have to offer and I think pushing them to your website. If it's clearly laid out and trust in your site team as we do. We push them to the website all the time and we've actually seen really great conversions. Again because they can sign up for a free product there or they can go to the academy. They can download additional content. So I think it really depends on the goal. You want them to take a very specific action. I would point them to a landing page. If you want them to generally engage with your company in business. I would say the website but I'm curious to get your thoughts as well.

    - Yeah and I think it's hard to answer that without knowing the goal. It's hard to be able to say well all these should always go to landing page without knowing what your goal is. Of going to the landing page. And what the goal of that landing page is. Whatever those pages are what their goals are. What they serve as a purpose also is gonna reflect that, right. And when you set a goal for emails. Like I sent out a email yesterday. Sent someone to a landing page but that was because our landing page is specific to contact management. And that's what that person wanted to do a job on. And so keeping mind those two goals working together and who you're sending it to as well. Some people when they receive email. They need to take that action. They need the landing page. You might have other coarts of people that want just more information. So while I hate to say that it always depends. But it's gonna depend on your goal. If you can set a great goal then it's gonna be an easy question to answer. When you know the goal of your email it's gonna be obvious. Well they need to go to landing page. They need to go to the website.

    - And I think it depends where they came from before too, right. So if it's a trigger and they had just come from your website. They were on the pricing page. Maybe they still need time to think about it. Then maybe at that point you connect with them with a sales rep. Maybe they went to their pricing page. They still weren't sure. They need even more information. More details. Then I think pushing them back directly to that page might not be the best thing. So again, think about the email you're sending.

    - Yeah, think about it. Think about the goal. Think about those kind of two sides of the coin there. Where they're coming from and where you want them to be going to. Laura has another question here about how often you should benchmark your audience for lead nurturing emails? Sort of some KPI's maybe to track on that. I think benchmarking is something that does come up with a lot of people. It's a question I get. What are some benchmarks for my audience? What are some things that I should be tracking? And I'd love to hear your thoughts of what you might think here.

    - This is a great question. I think a lot of times email marketers are like. You guys just look at open and then click rates. And of course yes, you have to look at open and click rates. Something else that we looked at too was actually the turn rate of our total database. So how frequently is your entire database turning over and what is the percentage of that? And there are different ways to calculate that but that's one we definitely look at. We've really been focused on funnel though at this point. And something that we found too is. Yeah, you want to look at unsubscribe rates but what is the time period? Are people unsubscribing within the first three to five days of their interacting with your business? Maybe you're emailing too much. Maybe you're not giving them the value within those first three days and it's taking them longer. So I think it's looking at those engagement metrics. Looking at unsubscribe rates but at certain periods of time as well. And then also for lead nurturing and for automation you want them to convert, right. So you have to keep in mind what those conversion rates are. You have to keep in mind too. Are they converting to opportunities? Are they buying? When are they reaching those high intent moments too? What percentage of your nurturing database is reaching those high moment triggers? And so if you see that those trigger are the highest conversion pages. How can you get them to those actions even faster? So lead nurturing and automation is moving away just from those engagement metrics and really looking at full funnel. How does it effect your sales team? How does it effect the overall business? Again, the people that go through lead nurturing. Do they retain later as customers? You know, that's taking it all the way down to the customer level but I think it's important. And if you do have the data and you have the reporting in place to look at it completely full funnel.

    - Yeah and that really gets you a really good feel for your audience. If you can be able to say yeah. They went through this and now they're a customer for X months or years. That's a really good way to report on that and continue to move forward. Orry here say first of all. Wonderful session.

    - Great.

    - Glad that you're enjoying it. We're having some fun here. How does lead nurturing relate to offline and traditional marketing? I think this is a great question. It's something that we've talked a lot about connections here. In different channels. But then also really. What's the connection there with lead nurturing and that offline traditional marketing?

    - Yeah, this is a really interesting question. Something we found in 2017. Again with that core specific segment and I called them out because. It was a really big finding for us last year. Was how do we reach them. They weren't necessarily responding to the emails we were putting out. That we had created at the beginning of 2017. We worked really closely with our field marketing team. To say like, hey. This might be actually a good point for you guys to take them. Try some account based marketing. Maybe try some. Not necessarily a direct mail but you know. More of that account based marketing. And also reaching them in different channels and we re-target them on paid. Can we reach them on Messenger? So I think it's relating. Again, finding that core part of your database and finding people that maybe just aren't responding to current lead nurturing. And it doesn't necessarily mean there's something wrong with your program. It just means it's not going to work for everybody. It's not a batch and blast approach. And that's where I think you kind of pull in some of the more traditional marketing. Some of those offline measurements. We don't do a ton of what you would call traditional marketing but I think it's just getting. It's getting creative. It's testing some new things with those audiences that might not be responding. But I would just say continue to iterate. Continue to test. You know we ran a test with SMS for meeting reminders that worked really well. So, just keep trying things.

    - It's something that we see a lot. You just kind of keep going. You just got to keep plugging away. Different people in your database are always gonna be a little bit different. They're gonna want some different things. They might want some kind of combination as well. Which works very effectively with lots of people. So Taylor here. We've got a question on when you send dated content. Do you create a different workflow to deliver to customers than leads you need to nurture? This is an interesting question because I think there's a lot of conversation going around gated content now. Now with pillar pages and un-gating that content and kind of giving it a way to everyone. And having that be very successful. I think there is a very interesting balance that we're seeing with data content. And creating do you need to nurture differently. I'm wondering have you seen or experimented with any of this so far?

    - I think again it's really depending on the size of your team and the bandwidth that you have. You have to see if it's really worth your time and a lot of that comes in to volume but also the potential they can convert. So we've actually seen a lot of success. We have some great free tools. And we do specific nurturing for some of those free tools like website grader is a great one for us. So we try and follow up based on the grade that they received in website grader. Cause that is just a really easy way for contextual nurturing. I don't think that for every piece of content you then need to follow up with specific nurturing strategies. Sometimes that content is just something good to give away either in you one off emails or newsletters or things like that. But if there's contextual follow up that makes a lot of sense. If it's a free tool or if it's a webinar. That's where I would kind of double down on those specific nurturing strategies. But you don't know. You didn't really see the value of doing it for every single piece of content. Again, because it's so much work and it adds additional complexity. That I personally didn't find was worth the resources on the team. But I think again it's worth the test.

    - It's always worth the test but I think I've seen a lot of very similar things with that. It's not always worth continuing to develop almost an entire separate strategy for them. It adds that complication to the workflow. It can add that complication to your team. Even if you're working on a large team it could add that complication.

    - Absolutely but if you have a company that's really investing in some of these larger campaigns. Then it might be worth it. Like we did four days of Facebook that was a huge success. That so many different parts of the marketing team were involved. And that was where we could really double down. Create specific nurturing for it. We actually had a separate sign of flow via Messenger. So I thin that's where you really want to pay attention to what is the piece of content? Does it lend itself well to some of these other channels? Does it lend itself well to a scoring methodology where you can follow up with additional details there. So I'd just think that through.

    - I love that. And we've got another question here. Which is one that I think wraps up a lot of things that we've been talking about. Is how do you manage all the nurturing branches within HubSpot? Do you have a naming structure and when do you prune or add another flow? And I love that idea of pruning. I think that is just so accurate when you kind of look at a HubSpot workflow. It does feel like a little bit like pruning off the edges. With nurturing branches in HubSpot. You know the workflows tool has gotten some revamps over the last few years. Looks better. You can see, you zoom out very far. See all those branches. It can get really complicated easily. Something that I've seen. Working with customers you were kind of always seeing. And now while I've never actually used a naming structure for all those different branches. One thing that I focus on when you do have too many of those nurturing branches. It sort of does. You kind of look at it like. Where can this stop and I could add a different flow? Or even what is the goal of this workflow? And are all of these branches kind of relating to that goal? Or do some of them serve a different goal?

    - That's a great question. So we do have a naming structure that we put in place. We also always have them to a campaign so that we can look at the goal of the much larger campaign. Especially if it's tied to another piece of content or another branch of marketing. What we usually try and do is if they don't reach the goal by a certain time period. We try and push them to something else. A lot of the times we'll see that people are just looking for additional information or additional education. So I know for us we're constantly pushing people to the academy because we get a lot of people that might be at the very beginning stages of their careers. Or they are wanting to move on to the next step in their career. And a lot of the times they're not looking to necessarily talk with the sales rep. And that's completely fine. We want to make sure that we are providing value regardless for who was in our database. And I think that also combines with onboarding people onto our free tools. How can you educate and how can you add the strategy along with that execution? And I think sometimes that's when you want to focus on a different workflow or a different campaign. If they haven't reached that initial goal that you set for yourself. What's your secondary goal and what's your third goal? And that's kind of how we try and think about breaking things up.

    - Yeah and I think it's something too when you look at building network flows. You want to make sure that you can then go and report on them. So if you try to add everything in that first workflow with all three goals. It's gonna be hard to say is this actually successful or is it just that this thing is massive. And it's running and it's got numbers and enough people in it for me to say. Oh, it's got some numbers.

    - Yeah and we'll see that too. Again for regional differences. We're lucky enough to have amazing marketers all across the globe and we're finding that just adding smart content kind of over and over again isn't always helpful. There are different nuances that need to be accounted for in different workflows. So that they can report out on it and sometimes it's a different strategy than we're running here in the states. And I think that's another case where you. Another workflow that's necessary.

    - It is and it is that thing where sometimes having to isn't a bad thing. I feel like we do look at if then branches and like. Oh this is so exciting. I don't have to create another workflow. But you want to keep in mind that simplicity. Making sure that you're not over complicating things for yourself. Nothing worse then going into your workflows to all. Seeing a hundred workflows and be like.

    - How do I not report out on this? This is a beast.

    - Exactly so I think it's a good question to keep in mind. It's something to definitely test with. Have the workflow run. Make sure the goal is working. And if it's not maybe there needs to be a few more workflows. So we've gone through a lot in the last hour.

    - We have, this is flying by.

    - It is flying by.

    - I'm having too much fun.

    - You and I can talk about lead nurturing and automation probably for the rest of the day. If not well into tomorrow. But it is something that I love that we are talking about because I think it's taken a little bit of a back burner for some marketers in the last few years. New thinks have come out. New shiny tools and this is really the strategy that can really pull a lot of weight on a team. And it's what's best for users. It's what really gets to that human and helpful communication of that conversation. So I'm glad that we're talking about it. I'm glad that we just spent the last hour talking about it. And I'm really happy that everyone jumped in. We had some really insightful questions here.

    - We did, this is great. Great audience.

    - Yeah, this was. Thank you all for being so engaging with us and really feeling like we were all having a conversation together. Cause that's really the key here. One thing I do want to ask all of you to do is before we sign off here. Throw in there the last lead nurturing automation questions you might have or just let us know really your favorite things about lead nurturing and automation. Get it in there. We definitely want to read it and see what's going on with the rest of 2018 in lead nurturing.

    - What are you looking forward to in 2018?

    - Ahh, lots of things I'm looking forward to in 2018. One of the biggest things I think I'm looking forward to is testing with some different templates. And really kind of hammering down on some different designs with emails. The academy has got a good strategy for how we send emails but what are some different ways that we can test run. So it's definitely personal testing that's going on. I'm really excited about it actually. It's going to be something that's going to be fun and it's something that I'm going to be working with your team on.

    - Yes, definitely. I know we've talked a lot about artificial intelligence. How does that play into nurturing and automation? And I think we've talked a little bit about this too. When you have so many different options. Everybody, especially in our database. They can download more content. They can go to the academy. They can sign up for free tools. I'm trying to figure out how can we use AI and machine learning to make smarter decisions in nurturing and automation. We've talked a ton about this and that's what I'm really looking for too. Is just even smarter campaign. Even smarter programs so we don't feel like our campaigns are getting out of control. Their branching logic is turning into this crazy beast that we can't report out on. So we'll be working closely on that. And that's gonna be pretty exciting too.

    - It's gonna be exciting because I think there's also a huge opportunity where there's so many HubSpot partners. Companies that don't even exists yet that we're gonna be able to partner with to really solve this. And solve it for our users which is really exciting.

    - Absolutely.

    - So thanks for joining me today.

    - Thanks for having me, this is great.

    - This was fantastic. Hopefully this now has stopped because I definitely need lunch and I have to venture outside. But thank you all for joining us an coming the the HubSpot Master Class today. See you later.

    - Bye.
  • Courtney Sembler
    Courtney Sembler
    Inbound Professor
  • Marwa Greaves
    Marwa Greaves
    Lead Nurturing & Automation Team Manager

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