Nitty Gritty of Next Level Nurture Webinar: Q&A Follow Up

Marketo Employee
Marketo Employee

As a follow up from the Webinar on May 21, 2020, The Nitty Gritty of Next Level Nurtures, answers to most questions that we couldn't get to during the Q&A section are located here. If you have further questions, feel free to post them in the comments section. You can watch the recording and other resources discussed in the webinar here.


Question Answer
What size organizations tend to have best results with these multi step nurtures? By multi-step nurtures, I'm assuming this is referencing nurture programs with multiple streams. I think it's not so much the size of the organization, but rather the size of the database and the length of your customer journey. The larger your database, and the longer your sales cycle, the more helpful engagement programs can be . That said, most databases large enough to necessitate a system like Marketo will likely benefit from nurture programs. Multiple streams simply allow the marketer to manage, differentiate and accelerate the conversation with leads. Having multiple streams promotes differing content, cadences and sub-divisions of audience. I don't see this not providing better results for most organizations than drip programs or a single stream nurture would.
Is there a rule of thumb for how long you should wait to establish baseline metrics and then optimize/refresh your content? Timelines for establishing base metrics will be dependent on the frequency of your casts. If your cadence is weekly, then the timeline will be accelerated compared to cadences scheduled to go every 2 or 3 weeks. Typically 3 to 4 casts should provide enough data for modifications to your content. This is with the caveat/assumption that your program has a large enough audience to provide statistically significant data. e.g. 100 leads in a nurture program are not going to provide much data.
How would you measure success at a company that doesn't gate content? A status of 'Engaged (CTA)' is what I use on all my send or email based programs. I use the 'visited web page' metric to track all my content and typically do not gate any of it. I send them to the thank you page or the blog. post or the general content, and use the visit to track success. The only downside of this methodology is that I can't send them directly to a PDF because those are not trackable, unless I'm posting the asset on a page.
With TOF, MOF, BOF content, multiple audiences, and a desire to consistently be in contact with leads, what advice do you have for single person/small marketing teams in terms of developing enough content? For bootstrapped teams, look for opportunities to scale. Use dynamic content wherever available, merchandise out your content (break eBooks down into smaller blogs, infographics, charts, etc.) and share those as well. Start with the content you have to get yourself up and running and work on getting content development one step ahead of exhausting content. If you have budget look for independent content developers you can outsource to via channels like Upwork and give yourself as much of a runway as possible to extend the life of your nurture programs.
If I would like to speed up email cadence after interactions (e.g. a click), but slow down the email cadence if there is no interaction, how should I set that up? If you would like to change cadences based on engagement or lack there of, use different streams with different cadences set to modify the frequency of the email casts. Then, you can move people to different streams based on their behavior.
How can you test the program before turning on live? You can test your engagement programs before they are live using the 'Test Stream' functionality. Marketo documentation on this process can be found here:
If I send a one-off email to a recipient who is already in a nurture, how can I ensure they won't receive the next nurture cast the same day / too soon? If you are sending one-off emails and want to ensure that audience members don't receive nurture emails the same day you can set your communication limits ( to 1 email per day and make sure that your send is scheduled before your cast time. For more complex setups you can use a custom scoring field to count one-off sends and then create a smart campaign in your engagement program(s) that will pause members for a set period of time when the score field increases over 1 or 2. You can then set a wait step to un-pause the lead (set Engagement Program Cadence to Normal) after a certain period of time.
If we want to pause hard bounces, is it best to pause them or remove them or move them to another "inactive" stream? What is best practice? I typically set my Engagement Program statuses to include 'Bounced' and 'Unsubscribed'. My triggered smart campaigns set the program status for people who qualify and pause them. You can also move them to a separate stream if desired. I would not remove anyone who has received even one email from the program as this will mess with your reporting and metrics.
Will people receive the same email across multiple engagement programs or is this blocked? Ie. if the same content exists in a prospect stream then they become a customer. For repeated use of content, there are several operating rules around this. Using the same email across multiple streams in the same engagement program will limit the email send. Using the same email across multiple engagement programs does not automatically limit sends on one email. In order to limit the send you will need to use a whole program pulled in across multiple engagement programs as detailed here:
Do you recommend sending leads to multiple landing pages from the nurture emails or one dedicated landing page? Digging in on the number of CTAs per email. Typically for nurture or any email I prefer to use only one dedicated CTA. If there is related content (e.g. a blog associated with an eBook that you put as a secondary link) sometimes you can leverage both in an email, but under normal circumstances I want to send very focused emails that drive leads to connect with the purpose of that one email.
Do you see any benefit to batch up nurture by product lines vs doing each product release to individual engagement programs? Regarding product release emails, depending on the number and frequency of product updates, you may find that it is easier to deploy these as one-off emails rather than in engagement program(s). For this type of process, if I have more that one product/product line, I keep independent programs for product announcements and create nested sent programs inside for each update that goes out. That way only the relevant audience get them and I don't have to time them against an engagement cast/cadence.
How do you set expectations around setting the nurture cadence? Sometimes the send frequency/cadence is unrealistic - As an example, every 3 business days means moving people out of one stream into another continuously (M, Th, Tu - Fri, etc.) and is not scalable when there are many emails. When discussing setup for engagement or any program in Marketo, I think it is important to use a data driven approach. Most experts do not support over-saturation of your lead. Sending too many emails over a short period of time can contribute to a significantly higher unsubscribe rate, etc. I typically share my recommendations backed by data early and stick to them. As discussed on the webinar, you can use a single stream with a M-F schedule on the cadence and then pausing leads for 3 business days (or 4 days, etc. however long is needed). This type of setup might mitigate needing different streams to change the email frequency.
We have issues when it comes to testing the engagement program. Does the test feature rely on the cadence that the stream has. Or can you test with the test feature without having the cadence set yet? I believe that you could test your content without having the cadence set yet. Marketo documentation seems to confirm that, however, it will appear to only send out one content asset as a test: You could potentially set up a seed list, then add the person(s) to the engagement program and run the program. They would receive the emails at the cadence that the program is set, it would test over several days instead of over several weeks, and if you used alias emails (e.g.,, etc.) you could test multiple streams at one time. *Caution: If you set an accelerated cadence for testing, be diligent about changing it back it before adding your active audience!
Should an email become inactive and bounce back as not an active email will it show in the stats? Total email bounce counts will show up in Email Performance Reports. I like to use the following statuses in my nurture program: Member, Sent, Opened, Clicked, Engaged (CTA), Bounced, Unsubscribed. In this way I can use the members tab to track specific leads and see what the total performance of my nurture list is as well.
What is the best way to report on nurture performance? I use an influence smart campaign to id people who clicked on anything but our logo or footer links. I also have a static list to capture people who become a trial after campaign launch. We are new to utilizing nurtures, so I'm working on sharing information I think our sales team finds relevant. Typically I roll this type of information into my program statuses, Engaged (if they click the CTA), and sync the program to an SFDC Campaign (if you're using Salesforce). You can surface campaign data to the lead/contact detail. To marry this data against opportunities, you'll need to make sure you're using contact roles on your opportunities in SFDC. The next level would be to use an attribution data synthesizer (Bizible, LeanData, Alignly, etc) to understand how nurture engagement impacts the longer lead journey and the impact on pipeline/revenue.
What are the metrics that make up the engagement score? The engagement score is an average based on open, click and unsubscribe rates.
How does the nurture stream send multiple emails? Can you trigger multiple emails to send within one stream using the "wait" filter? Nurture streams send one email for each cast. Leads will receive different emails for each cast, dependent on when they were added to the program. Over time they will receive multiple emails. No additional smart campaigns with wait steps are needed to trigger this process. If you're looking to send one email based on the cast cadence and then several more before the next cast, then you could potentially use a nested program ( and then leverage wait steps and additional sends in the smart campaign.
What are the QA steps for a nurture before sending it live? I send a sample email for every email in the stream to myself and others on my team. I want to make sure that every email is optimized. If you're not using Litmus or Email On Acid to test your templates I would also recommend this. There is also a test functionality for engagement programs: For nurture programs using Dynamic Content, 33mail will allow you create unlimited free aliases that I can use to see what each segmentation will see.