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When you create a nurture campaign, how do you know what to send when to your prospects? You make calculated assumptions by mapping out the buyer’s journey, through A/B testing and through market research. But what if you could let your prospects tell you themselves just exactly where they are in the buying process and what content they’re looking for? Using Marketo’s Engagement Model, you can do just that and let your prospect decide what they should receive next in your nurture track.

Step One: Write down all the ways your prospects can interact with you

The best piece of advice I always have to anyone looking to build a nurture program (or really anything in Marketo) is to write everything down on paper first. You’re going to go through many iterations as you work through what is and what isn’t feasible. This project is no exception.

What you’ll want to do is to write down every trackable interaction with your prospects you can have. This could include things like visiting certain high-value sites (pricing page, contact page, etc.) or visiting events or downloading content. You can go as deep as you want, but to keep things simple I’m going to build this using three interactions, and since I work for a college, I’m going to apply this to higher ed.

I came up with these three ways our prospects can interact with us:

  1. They visit a Financial Aid site
  2. They visit a School or Campus site
  3. They attend an event

I then drafted a set of emails to respond to those kind of interactions. For visiting a Financial Aid site, I want to send them more information on bursaries and awards (something a lot of people don’t know they can get). For visiting a School of Campus site, I want to send them an email inviting them to come on campus for a tour, since they’ve shown interest in a specific campus. As for attending an event, that usually means a prospect is very interested in the college, so I want to send them an email about applying to the college.

Step Two: Create an Engagement Model

The next step is fire up Marketo and create a new Engagement Model. This is going to give you one track by default, and we’re going to call it our Default track. This is going to be the track our prospects follow if they don’t perform any of our three interactions.

Screenshot showing the Default Track

Step Three: Build a track for every reaction you want to respond to

We now have to build out a track for every reaction we want to respond to. For our example, this means creating three new tracks, each labelled with our content responses.

A screenshot depicting all four tracks

Now that we have our tracks we want to edit the transition rules on each track to trigger on that action. So for example let’s look at our Financial Aid track, whose interaction is visiting a Financial Aid page.
A screenshot showing transition rules in MarketoThe trigger we want is “Visits Web Page” and since we have multiple pages on our Financial Aid site, we use “starts with” and then put in the root directory of our Financial Aid site so that it’ll trigger on any of the sub-pages. This is useful because they might first land on a sub-page as a result of search, so we don’t want to exclude them by just triggering on the home page of the Financial Aid site.

After that I edited the rest of my tracks, the Tours track used a similar trigger, and the Apply track used the “Status Changed in SFDC campaign” trigger with new status as “Attended” because we track events using campaigns in SalesForce.

Step Four: Add your content

With our tracks and triggers in place, next up is adding our content to the tracks. Like I said previously, I created three emails to respond to our three interactions. I also created a sort of introductory email about college to kick-off our Default track. With our Default track we want to order the content in the way a prospect would normally go through the buying cycle, so as you can see below I’ve ordered the Default track with “Intro to College”, “Financial Aid”, “Tours”, and “Apply”.

A screenshot showing the Default track

With that sorted, we move on to the other three tracks. What we want to do with these tracks however is move the relevant email for that track up to the top like so.

A screenshot showing content laid out in tracks

The reason for this? The Engagement model in Marketo is designed to always send the first email on the list next (if it hasn’t previously been sent). Since our tracks are triggered to move the person into that track when they hit that key action, they’re moved into that track and are given the most relevant piece of content based on their interactions with us. This essentially lets your prospect tell you where they are in the buying process, and allows you to respond in kind – providing them relevant content.

As they say: “assumptions are deadly” , but with a little creativity we can let the prospect steer the ship. Relevancy and context are essential in content marketing, and this program gets you one step closer in the right direction.

So give it a shot! Got any ideas to take it to the next level? Sound off in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.