How to Use Marketing Automation to Reach Out to Old Leads - dummies

How to Use Marketing Automation to Reach Out to Old Leads

By Mathew Sweezey

Old leads are not always dead leads. Marketing automation can help you find out which old leads you can reinvigorate allows you to get more value out of the money you have already spent, thereby getting “more lemon from the squeeze,” to quote Joel Book of ExactTarget.

If you create your segmentations and nurturing programs correctly, reaching out to leads can happen consistently without your having to lift a finger, and it can help you to generate more leads from your existing database. This should be the second campaign you set up.

This campaign combines an automation rule, lead scoring, and a nurturing campaign. At the beginning, it does not need to be complex. A single nurturing campaign to stay in front of leads you identify in your database works just fine. You can get more granular over time by breaking your campaign into many targeted campaigns for each buyer stage and persona, but a single campaign suffices as a starting point.

Begin your campaign by creating an automation rule to identify the cold leads. Here are a few easy ways to identify the cold leads in your database:

  • No score change. Leads whose score has not changed over a period of time are ripe to be reengaged. Identifying the correct amount of time to wait before reaching out again is something you should investigate on your own. It is suggested waiting 45 days at the minimum, and possibly up to 60 days, past their last engagement before you consider them “cold.”

  • No status update. If the sales team has not updated their Lead Status, you have a great way to identify cold leads. Looking at the Lead Status field is also a much better way to measure than just scoring because it allows you to be even more granular with your follow-ups.

    So if you know that the lead was passed over as Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) but has not been changed to a lead status of Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) in the CRM system, these leads are in a very specific stage, and you can craft a very specific message to help move them along.

    You can set up this message using a very simple automation rule. The following is an example of the automation rule to create.


When creating the emails for your cold-lead campaign, make sure to keep the following ideas in mind:

  • Dynamic content: Using dynamic content allows you to create a single campaign and have each email highly targeted to your leads. Dynamic content is any part of an email, ad, or web page that is automatically driven by your database.

    A good example of dynamic content is an email signature. If you are sending an email on behalf of your sales team, and each email comes from a different sales rep, you’re using a dynamic signature block in your email.

    Dynamic content can change words in your emails (think of mail merge fields from other email tools), content blocks inside your emails, and even HTML blocks on your website. The point of using dynamic content is that your marketing strategy changes based on the characteristics of each prospect.

  • Subject lines: Subject lines should not be sales specific. Consider excluding your brand name or your keywords in your first few emails. Instead, try subject lines such as “Here’s a great article I found,” or “Thought you would enjoy this.”

  • Time between messages: The general rule is no fewer than six days between nurturing emails, and no more than 45 days.

  • Length of campaign: Your initial nurturing campaign for a cold lead should not exceed five emails at the beginning. You can add more emails later, so begin with five and grow from there.

  • Usingbranching in the campaign: Lead nurturing is effective because you can set up if-then scenarios. If-then scenarios look like this:

    If <condition> is true, then do <action>

    For example, if an email you send remains unopened, you can use your if-then rule to send a standard follow-up email. So If <email is un-opened after three days>, then <send email number 3>. If, however, an email you send is opened, your if-then rule can send an alternative follow-up email.

  • Content: For general nurturing emails, make sure that people can digest your content quickly. According to research by Sweezey, only 1.7 percent of respondents said that they preferred their content to be more than five pages long. So keep it short.

After you’ve set up your nurturing program to send emails to leads, you need an automation to identify sales-ready leads and pass them to sales. Ensuring that you have a plan to get the hot leads you find into the hands of sales is the most important step in mining your database of cold leads.