Email marketing is a classic and effective marketing tactic. From one-to-one emails from small business owners to complicated automated workflows at Fortune 500 companies, email is everywhere. No matter where you look, you would be hard-pressed to find a marketer who hasn’t run a handful of email campaigns.
In 2019, its clear email is here to stay. Companies continue to look for different ways to innovate traditional email and build on their success. HIPB2B’s take on this idea is its Campaigns for Early Demand solution. Campaigns for Early Demand looks to embrace the early engagement points that are traditionally discarded in email marketing. To explain the difference further, we need to look a little more at both techniques.
We’re all familiar with email campaigns. First, you put together a list of targeted contacts, then send an email directing the recipients to a landing page. From there, they fill out a form to get a piece of content or blog subscription.
It’s a pretty simple process. A portion of the audience opens the email, a portion of the email openers click the link to the landing page, and a portion of the landing page visitors fill out the form. The tiny fraction of the initial group that completes the form moves on to further nurture or outreach from sales. The remaining (majority of) contacts are banished back to the database to wait for future broadcasts.
The basic idea is to use the barrier (the form) to qualify contacts that have more significant interest relative to the larger group. That way, the salespeople are spending their time following up with the contacts most likely to convert.
CAMPAIGNS FOR EARLY DEMAND
HIPB2B’s Campaigns for Early Demand begin very similarly to an email marketing campaign. In both cases, you put together a list of targeted contacts and send an email directing the recipients to a landing page. The difference comes on the landing page. A Campaigns for Early Demand campaign doesn’t use a form; generally, the page will contain a link or a button to access the content directly.
Procedurally, Campaigns for Early Demand are also like email marketing. A portion of the audience opens the email, a part makes it to the landing page, and a part of those users make it to the asset. Those who reach the asset will receive a follow-up. The difference is, due to the lack of a gate (form), more contacts pass through to the “qualified” stage and fewer potentially interested individuals are lost.
The tradeoff for securing additional engagement is dealing with the added contact volume. Form completions weed out a lot of contacts, but you also lose some of the harvests. Without a form to vet interested contacts, it takes more time and resources to sort through engagement, but the potential upside is also higher.
IT COMES DOWN TO A FORM
When you get down to it, the difference between Campaigns for Early Demand and classical email marketing is in the form — or lack thereof.
Let’s talk about what a form does: A form collects user data, validates existing data, prevents accidental access, and confirms interest in an offer.
Collecting data — As we established before, email campaigns of all kinds require having the data upfront. Data collection will never be the primary purpose of an email campaign. It is possible to pick up new information through the sharing of a landing page, though this isn’t particularly common.
Campaigns for Early Demand make no attempt to collect data. This campaign type focuses efforts on the development of contacts as opposed to the collection. There’s an arguable loss of value in forgoing data collection, but it’s tradeoff proponents of Campaigns for Early Demand are willing to accept.
Validating existing data — Information changes rapidly in B2B companies. Updating and validating info is critical to success in future endeavors. Forms do a fair job at validation; however, user-provided data will never be perfect. Form data can provide value in terms of confirmation but lacks the reliability for updates.
There’s more than one way to validate data. External methods, like phone or LinkedIn validation, can do both confirmation and data updates effectively. That’s why you’ll often see such a system paired up with Campaigns for Early Demand campaigns to mitigate the inherent lack of validation.
Prevents accidental access — You don’t accidentally fill out a form. A user who takes the time to input the requested information has obviously intended to do so. While browser autofill has made forms no longer foolproof, there is still value in the prevention of false positives.
Campaigns for Early Demand campaigns generally confirm interest through a series of clicks. Technically it’s possible to accidentally click a button on an email and landing page, but not particularly likely. Forms are a bit more efficient in this area, but the difference isn’t massive.
Confirms interest in an offer — Getting through a form requires an exchange of information for some sort of content or other offering. The implication is, the user feels the offering is worth more than the information being given away. Individual users will value their personal information differently, but nobody hands the information out for nothing.
On one hand, a form confirms a level of interest. On the other hand, the form prevents users who could be interested from getting more information. It’s a double-edged sword — and it’s the most important split between email and Campaigns for Early Demand.
Proponents of Campaigns for Early Demand value additional contacts moving forward into their funnel. Proponents of traditional email prefer to thin the herd before moving on. Neither approach is inherently better. It all depends on the needs and the resources of the company.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Campaigns for Early Demand isn’t out to replace traditional email, nor should it be. Campaigns for Early Demand and traditional email are two sides of the same coin — distinct but related. They’re two different ways to approach a problem. Some circumstances will necessitate one, and some will necessitate the other. The key is to know the right time for both.