Building A Scalable Marketing System

When I was still in B2B industry, I created a marketing system that helps me to reply customers enquiry, while auto-looping them into auto-emailers which further qualify and garner their interest, ultimately, creating a hot lead which my salesperson can follow up with telemarketing.

I believe that operations can be crafted into system, then scale it by 10x or 100x depending on your headcount.

Be it internal operations or marketing process, I believe that these can be crafted into a scalable system which then, you could further optimize (or scale 10x or 100x) depending on how many resources you are putting in.

I am a practitioner of system thinking.

What Triggered This System Thinking?

There were 3 main reasons that forced me into system thinking:

  1. The business problem lies in 3D printer awareness. In summary, everyone knows what is 3D printing, but they don’t really know the value of 3D printing.
  2. This means finding qualified leads are extremely tough, because you don’t know what you don’t know (#geddit?). My KPI at that time was to generate leads while running many offline events such as partnership programme, so on so forth.
  3. With that being said, I only have a pair of hands = limited time and productivity.

And that leads me into this question:

How can I qualify leads while I am planning for future events to nurture them?

*If you know any emailing software by now, you should’ve known I’m talking about “Workflow” from Mailchimp. To be honest, I would love to use Mailchimp but I can’t find a way to persuade my company to use it, hence I did this the “manual way”.

The Beginning of Marketing Automation

I have few main sources of lead generation:

  1. Google Adwords (PPC).
  2. Organic enquiries through contact forms. (The website was ranked 3rd at that point of time.)
  3. Partnership events.

Regardless of where the lead came from, I always segment them into:

  1. Buyer personas.
  2. Their industry.
  3. Stage of awareness.

I won’t go into details how I segment them based on awareness as it needs a detail understanding of how your customers are behaving, but basically, the idea is to segment them into beginner, novice, intermediate and expert based on their response to your content.

**If you have no idea how to segment them, try to make 100 calls to your prospect, you will find out they always ask specific question which is repetitive. Jot that down and list that as your FAQ or introductory email content.

At that time, many engineers did not know about the benefits 3D printing could bring, and being in B2B industry, I know that most decision making will need to go through multiple layers of gatekeepers

So here is what I did to nurture them:

  1. I mainly relied on email marketing because it was the most scalable tool that I have on my hand.
  2. Segmenting my database list from all lead sources into industry, job title, level of education, company main business.
  3. I gave them a specific score to understand their knowledge level.
  4. I created 11 generic introductory email templates based on industry, all hardcoded in HTML with download whitepaper as call-to-action.
  5. I have 3 types of email – pure text with links / industry application image / video.
  6. Email them! (but we’re not done yet.)

“Eh, but is emailing that useful? Normally I would just delete the email lor, it looks like spam.”

Valid question. It is inherently important to know that email is not as effective as it was 10 years ago, but again, I am a single marketer who needs to provide well qualified leads, and this is my solution to that problem.

HOW To Tackle Non Respondents

  1. I read their email open rates and conversion.
  2. Those who converted will receive an advanced guide a.k.a specific industry video & case studies in 3 days later as a follow up.
  3. Those who did not open or opened but did not take action, I will send them an email with industry application.
  4. If they responded, great! I would follow up with advanced guide before I send them over to my salesperson for recruitment or meeting.
  5. If they did not, I will send an email with video as a “final push” before I label them as cold prospect which needed to be visited in 6 months time for reactivation.

With this 3 tier system, I managed to find out who is really interested in 3D printing, and most importantly, salesperson is able to create conversation with prospects directly as the knowledge level is there.

It saved a lot of my time as I relied on specific template to nurture them, and over time, based on the responses and field feedback from salesperson, I can optimize the content to best suit different personas.

To be honest, this email system is not new and probably not the best way to do it. But again, this was something I did as I find it makes sense at that time. For whatever system that you’re trying to create, it only boils down to 3 fundamentals:

  1. Understanding your customer/internal needs.
  2. Build something to test it out.
  3. Find out what’s working and what not, then optimize it.

Building a scalable emailing process is just part of the scalable marketing system that I’m exploring. I think that there are few areas that marketers can capitalize on – such as evergreen content i.e. guides / reviews / or even things like best 3d printers.

These content can be capitalized on and be built as a marketing foundation. All in all – let’s try to do something different and learn from our mistakes while we’re building a scalable marketing / operation system.

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