Only 15 percent of CMOs say they can quantify their social ROI, according to a recent study by The CMO Survey. However, if you look at the way most B2B marketers approach social lead generation, that figure isn't all that surprising.
Here's what I mean: We focus so much on acquiring new leads that we forget about the other half of the equation -- nurturing. Without nurture, acquired leads are simply names in a database, not dollar amounts in a potential new deal. We can't quantify real social ROI if we don't deliver any revenue.
In other words, getting that first click is the easy part. The next step -- maturing that initial interest into meaningful engagement -- is the hard one, but it's also the most valuable.
A few weeks ago, we tackled acquisition by looking at how a new product called Twitter Lead Gen Cards was able to drive spectacular lead generation results, including:
• 996 percent increase in leads acquired
• 500 percent decrease in cost-per-lead
• 300 percent decrease in cost-per-engagement
But the most intriguing part of the entire case study was what happened after the initial click. Specifically, the Cards opened a brief window where users -- having just experienced a positive, personalized social experience -- were incredibly open to additional offers. In fact, subsequent email offers to Twitter leads achieved both a 200 percent increase in open rates and a 400 percent increase in click-through rates.
That type of engagement doesn't happen by accident, though. Read on for three must-dos in order to turn Twitter Lead Gen Card acquisition into scalable, successful nurture:
1. Research Ruthlessly.
Don't even think about nurture until you've identified why you were able to acquire the lead in the first place. In other words, what prompted the user to give you that first click?
Start by poring over your analytics. From a content perspective, examine each individual Card campaign to pinpoint click catalysts and trends. Then, talk to actual users to confirm your findings. Always walk through the entire Lead Gen Card experience yourself -- as a user, not a marketer -- to understand what compels conversion.
In addition, regardless of what you discover on a content level, remember what fundamentally makes Lead Gen Cards work in the first place: a dramatically simplified user experience. Rather than having to find a tweet, click on a link, go to a landing page and fill out a form, users are now able to get what they want with a single click, without ever leaving the tweet itself. That's a level of speed, convenience and clarity users aren't able to find anywhere else in social, and it's a huge factor in driving increased conversions.
2. Optimize the User Experience, Not the Content.
As a marketer, you capture three pieces of data whenever someone clicks on a Lead Gen Card: the user's handle, their name and the email associated with their Twitter account. The limitation here is that this email is often a personal or junk address; it's not enough to qualify a lead in a B2B lead scoring system. Yet smart nurture campaigns can help you quickly complete the missing pieces of your user's persona.
In this particular case study, all users who clicked on a Lead Gen Card were sent a follow-up email 24 hours later (shown below). This email specifically referred to their initial experience on Twitter and invited them to download a related asset. As mentioned earlier, these emails achieved 200 percent higher open rates and 400 percent higher click-throughs. What's more, A/B tests revealed no significant difference in conversion in gated versus non-gated assets, allowing the brand to quickly capture key pieces of missing information, such as company, title and corporate email.
I'm going to pause here for a second. This is massively, hugely important:
Users didn't just engage; they engaged and readily volunteered additional information about themselves.
That doesn't happen very often in social.
But it wasn't the content that drove this engagement; it was the experience. In actuality, none of the assets distributed (whitepapers, playbooks, guides) were actually new -- they had been promoted previously. But Twitter Lead Gen Cards shifted the focus off of the content and instead emphasized a streamlined user experience. That's what made sustained engagement possible. The initial Lead Gen Card experience was so positive that it established the trust needed to build a dialogue.
The key here is to avoid compromising that positive user experience. Granted, you'll need to test and research multiple follow-up offers to identify the optimal mix of timing, assets and tone, but resist the urge to deviate from the foundation established by that first click. Be relevant and deliver value with each touch, and the results will follow.
3. Map Out the Customer Journey in Advance.
Nurture is part art and part science, but it's not guesswork.
The biggest nurture mistake social marketers make is passively waiting for an acquired lead to mature into a sales opportunity. Social leads, however, are not the same as leads from other channels. They take longer to develop. Simply waiting for a social lead to raise her hand is often a recipe for silence.
So, get active. Clearly articulate the user journey you want a social lead to take. Define a user's ideal ending point (where you eventually want them to end up) and create a path from the first click, filled with relevant follow-up offers, opportunities to capture additional information and positive touch points.
This entire process will be fluid, of course. Users may veer off path or behave unexpectedly. Having a user journey mapped in advance will allow you to respond to these anomalies while remaining grounded in a solid strategy with clear objectives, rather than reacting haphazardly and hoping for the best.
Acquisition is not enough. It's massively important, but real value in B2B social comes when you're able to nurture that initial interest into meaningful engagement.
Fortunately, Twitter Lead Gen Cards have opened a window where smart marketers are able to accomplish both in an accelerated timeframe. As with any good thing in social, it won't be long before users are desensitized and the market is overrun with brands. So be bold, be an early-adopter and act now to maximize your impact and return.
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John Lee is Manager, Brand and Social Marketing at Webtrends. In 2012, he was recognized by PR Daily for creating both the year's "Best Branding Campaign" and "Event of the Year." Follow him on Twitter @lee_john.
March 19, 2014