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Message Mapping: A Guide for Creating Effective Email Nurturing Road Maps

Marketing Automation allows for much more than batch and blast email sends. However, we all still need to leverage emails for: targeted or timely messages, event communications, nurtures, etc. Email communications are an easy way to deliver information to prospects and customers, but you need the right messaging strategy to help ensure that your nurtures are comprehensive, relevant and effective.

More often than not, I see one of two scenarios; large groups of prospects that enter a database, and then…nothing…happens or the other end of the spectrum where every single record is put into a huge generic nurture or emailed in mass. Both of these scenarios result in less engagement and less qualified leads. Developing a message map helps organize your key messages throughout the buyer’s journey and outlines the critical ingredient you’ll want to focus on in each email within your nurture to connect specific problems with solutions you can solve.

Where’s Waldo? | Identify Key Audience Segments

First, answer the question: “Where are all of my leads coming from?”

Visuals are helpful in answering questions like these; I prefer LucidChart. Chart out all of the sources/channels and the ideal path people should take. Sources won’t be relevant to messaging all of the time, but it should be accounted for in cases where people from specific sources that are further in the funnel, require different messaging or need different cadences. For example: If I import a list of engaged leads from a trade show, I would want to follow-up with them first with a very custom message, and then wait a bit before sending to nurture.

After you understand the sources that make up your database and how they align to your buyer personas, it’s time to break down the high-level goals within each audience segment. This may be broken down by segmentations or attributes, stage in the funnel, behaviors, etc.

Add these to your flowchart, and you’ll start to see a few things:

  • Gaps: People may not fall into those different segments, so they become overlooked.
    • This presents a new opportunity to address the other groups so long as they fall into your business model.
  • Overlaps: Others may be “too qualified,” or meet multiple criteria.
    • These overlaps provide you the opportunity to prioritize your messaging
    • Example: I have a nurture for people that have indicated interest in my framing service, and I also have a nurture for art teachers. Well, looking at potential overlap for the art teacher who is interested in help with framing, I’d want to decide what messages she should get first.
  • Enhancement Opportunities: Let’s be real, as marketers, we’re busy and have a lot going on… this documentation provides you with a refresher of messages touching your database. Providing opportunities such as:
    • Content Repurposing – YES PLEASE!
    • Exhausted/Old Ideas – May no longer apply to the business model
    • Clean-Up/Archive Strategies – Ask yourself, for those people that you’ve noticed falling into “gaps” that you don’t have a message for, do they need to take up room in the database?

message map example

What’s in It for Me? | Outline Core Messaging & Speaking Points

After you’ve identified your key audience segments, you’ll need to start mapping the high-level goals and problem statements into core messaging statements and connecting them with potential assets and CTAs.

There are a lot of questions you can ask yourself during this process to start researching the points within your message map such as:

  • How is your product or service used?
  • What are the significant benefits or features?
  • How are you uniquely differentiated from your competitors?
  • How will your product/service change the industry landscape?
  • What major brands (that your audience will connect with) are using your product/service today?
  • Do you have any unique success stories to share?

Use the answers to those questions to map out the following:

  • Audience Segment
  • Problem, Solution, Benefits
  • Supporting Facts, Success Stories
  • Primary CTA

Make It Happen! | Automate, Measure & Maintain

Now that you have a clear roadmap…it’s time to build! Creating the filters, flows, and messages is no small task, but the cool thing about nurtures is that they’re automated after setup. However, just because you have automation doesn’t mean to “set and forget.” Message maps, especially for nurtures, should be viewed as a living document and evaluated and tested proactively over time to ensure you are always relevant with your message and that your underlying marketing communications are in line across your brand.

Here are a few quick tips for setting up nurture automation for success:

  • Keep the flow chart for reference and to continue to evaluate what you’ve got running in the background, supporting your one-off and more customized efforts
  • Create reporting and benchmark before you start (or revamp)
  • Repurpose where possible. If some content applies to more than one nurture, use it!
  • Don’t be scared to test! Messaging, especially nurtures, provide you a large audience to A/B test and learn a little more about what works.
  • Keep an eye on other communications. If you know a lot of events and one-off email sends are coming up, adjust nurtures, so recipients aren’t overwhelmed.

Take advantage of automation and touch as many prospects and customers as possible with the appropriate messaging and a well-laid strategy. No more “lost” leads in this game of hide and seek!

message map bottle

Need Help? | When to Seek Expert Assistance

When many complexities come into play, building out your nurture messaging roadmap and implementing it into marketing automation can become complicated and overwhelming. LeadMD helps organizations across strategy, planning, and tactics and can help you not only get an effective nurture strategy off the ground, but also one that aligns with the overarching objectives of your organization. Contact us and ask about a free revenue acceleration assessment and find out more.

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