Here’s a story that’s a true pleasure to write: Act-On customer LearnPad replaced an email marketing solution with marketing automation, and went from a few dozen marketing-qualified leads per month to over 700. In just six months!
It all began when marketing manager Cody Ward got the green light to get automation. LearnPad makes and markets a tablet that’s purpose-built for education; it comes “out of the box” ready for use in K-12 schools and classrooms anywhere. The company sells to schools and educational buyers directly and through value-added resellers. “It’s similar to a B2B model, where there’s a long buying cycle, many decision makers, and an unknown funding source,” said Cody.
The team was moving into using content marketing. The email solution LearnPad was using supported only batch-and-blast email, which meant that the content went out on a fixed schedule, regardless of when a subscriber signed up for information.
“If you signed up six months ago, you got all of our great content. If you signed up today, you missed it all,” said Cody.
From batch-and-blast to nurturing campaigns
Once Act-On was in place, it took Cody two weeks to create and begin executing a 10-step drip email campaign that would engage systematically with every one of the subscriber email addresses. Now, everyone who enters the program receives the whole series of emails, in the right order.
The LearnPad content marketing nurture campaign begins by introducing collateral and downloadable assets. Subsequent emails address credibility and testimonials, followed in turn by thought leadership around education. Near the end, the team adds a soft touch, asking the buyer to click a button to continue receiving LearnPad emails. The final email, a classic reengagement email, lets the buyer know they will be taken off the list if they don’t respond.
“Those final touches are important in conversion. We’ve gotten a lot of people who engage at that point who haven’t opened or clicked previous emails by doing those last two touches,” said Cody.
In the last six months, LearnPad has put over 250,000 email addresses through a 10-email new prospect drip campaign that generated marketing-qualified leads (MQL) at every single step. The marketing team uses a call to action at the bottom of each email, so it’s easy for prospects to engage when it’s the right time – for them. “Some people want to engage with you right away; others want to learn more first. We’re seeing results across the board, at every step,” said Cody. “We’ve grown from an average of a couple dozen MQLs per month to over 700 MQLs per month, within six months.”
The next step: beyond nurturing
Cody and his team look at the results of each email to see when and where people exit from the program, and they constantly refine the messaging. They’ve programmed the automation system to react to certain buyer behaviors, such as signing up for a webinar, by putting the subscriber into another campaign that puts them in touch with sales for a more one-on- one approach.
Sending on behalf of others
The marketing team supports a sister company and resellers’ efforts as well, so Act-On’s ability to “send on behalf of” meant the team could support multiple brands from one application, in one account, in one dashboard.
“All that information is in one place and it’s all trackable,” said Cody. “We segment lists by customer types and relationships. We send on behalf of our sales reps to their own customers. We send on behalf of our partners and our value-added resellers.”
In the past six months, Cody’s team has launched over 120 digital campaigns that include new prospect conversion, current customer nurturing, local events promotion, on-your-behalf partner emails, and sponsored media thought leadership. “We’re sending an average of 1.2 million emails per month to our prospects and customers and on behalf of our resellers to their prospects and customers,” said Cody.
How sales benefits
People can enter your sales funnel at any point, from “Just looking, thanks” to “Sign me up, stat.” The sales rep needs to have a good idea of how well-educated the buyer might be and how ready to buy they are. “We have all of our media tagged so that Act-On can show us when someone downloads it, and tie that information to that contact,” said Cody, “so the sales rep can look at the contact and see what they’ve been exposed to, what they’ve downloaded, what web pages they’ve looked at, which emails they’ve engaged with. The rep knows what to say, and can begin the conversation in the right place.”
Learn how LearnPad leverages Act-On’s marketing automation platform for better results from events and much more, in the full case study.