A Little Lead Flow Love: Setting Up Your Lead Nurturing Email Program [How To]

April 25th, 2012 by Richard Murdock

Getting started with marketing automation is fairly simple on the surface: you set up some email campaigns, import your contact lists, and start sending them down lead flows to people when they most benefit from the information. Getting in to the details, however, can be where people get lost in the weeds.  Maybe you’re not sure how to segment your list more effectively. Perhaps you need some direction on creating a good looking email campaign. Recently we’ve had people ask for assistance on lead flow structures more complex than the “send email campaign, wait 3 days, send follow up campaign” variety. I’ll try to give you some tips that will help you when thinking about the logic and flow of your more powerful lead flow programs.

I like to start out by using a traditional flow chart to help me structure the flow before diving in to the LoopFuse Lead Flow module. There are several reasons for this, but writing things down in this format can help you with the following:

  • Identify the starting and ending points of a flow. Know where you want prospects to end up.
  • Pinpoint areas where data can be collected on the prospect.
  • Help clarify steps in the process that may not have been apparent at first glance.
  • Illuminate potential problem areas where prospects may fall out of the flow.

Here’s an example of an initial flow chart I made for our FreeView follow up emails. I wanted to see if new users had taken certain steps that were indicative of progress towards conversion and, if they hadn’t done so, prompt them via email campaign to do so or get more assistance.

This first attempt didn’t really cover the full scope of what we wanted a prospect to experience from the time they filled out a registration form. As you can see it got very complicated very quickly and this only covered the sending of the emails. Initially we had envisioned this same flow triggering several times, a few days apart each time, all fed by the same list. Obviously our path to conversion was more involved than that so I went back to the drawing board to get a better overall view of the process. The improved structure of the entire process looked more like this:

We still wanted to cover our follow-up campaigns once a person had signed up, but they needed to be simpler than the 16 branch behemoth I had previously constructed. Also, our sales team had requested a way to track the progress of prospects that needed product demos so we included that in the overall track. Once those initial flows were completed we dropped them in to a “Long Term” nurturing track. Keep in mind that this is just an example of part of our complete flow. The anchor points at “A” and “B” would lead to other flow charts on other pages built out in a similar manner to further define the process.

Lead flows can be as complex or as simple as you need them to be. To help you in your quest to become a Lead Flow Ninja, I’ve put together some tips on the different types of nodes available within LoopFuse.

Conditional Nodes

First of all, keep in mind that with Conditional Nodes you are essentially asking a Yes/No question and getting back either a True or False as the answer. So, for example, if you check to see if a prospect had clicked on a specific Email Campaign link, the Conditional Node will let you branch your lead flow based on the outcome. For the positive branch you can send a follow up Email Campaign encouraging further participation. For the negative outcome you could either Retry the node or send a campaign with additional information to help make a decision, for example. Conditional Nodes are the controlling logic that help you make decisions in your flow. If a prospect does not meet a given condition and you have not used a Negative outcome for your conditional node, the prospect will fall out of the lead flow. You can use Conditional Nodes to check a wide array of states within LoopFuse and Salesforce.com. Check out our documentation for a complete list.

Activity Nodes

These are the nodes used to send email campaigns, export records to Salesforce, insert Activities in to Salesforce, or update Lead/Contact record values. They are used to take action on a prospect so they only have one outcome and can only be followed by one node.  More information can be found on the Help page. Be sure to use the Name and Description fields to help you keep track of what activities are happening.

Pause Nodes

These nodes are invaluable for creating the perfect timing of your lead flow. Without them, you may never find out if someone clicked on a link in your Email Campaign. For example, suppose your flow checks for a link open and then immediately sends out another campaign based on the result. Nodes trigger sequentially so if there was no pause node then you could essentially be running prospects through the conditional node without anyone ever meeting the condition as expected. Adding a Pause node before the conditional gives your campaign recipients time to get your email, open it, read it, and decide to actually click on the link. Sometimes Pausing isn’t enough, however, so you need…

Retry Nodes

These nodes work in conjunction with the conditional node to see if a condition is met. If it is not, adding a Retry as the negative outcome to a conditional will let you retry that Conditional every four hours until the condition is met or the time limit is met. That’s powerful but you have to be careful here. Retry nodes have no follow up so if, after Retrying until the time limit, you still haven’t met the conditional node criteria, the prospect will fall out of the lead flow.

Richard Murdock (@shinyranger) is the Senior Manager of Customer Support at LoopFuse. Our goal is to make sure you have the best experience possible with our products.

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