In boxing, a fighter sets up his opponent for a knockout punch using a combination of other punches. And if you want to punch up your sales, you need to set up your customers for a knockout sales pitch by integrating a marketing automation “consumption campaign.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a consumption campaign is an automated email campaign that is set in place to garner your ideal conversion. The goal of a consumption campaign is to encourage your prospect or lead to gradually consume your educational or informative content in a sequential fashion so that, when you start selling a big-ticket product or service, that prospect will already have an understanding of the value proposition you offer.

Consumption campaigns take time to create, but they can be summed up in two basic steps.

Step 1: Set up your tiers

With the goal of priming your prospect for your sales pitch, a marketing automation consumption campaign lets you set up email steps, or “email tiers”, to gradually make that introduction.

Your first email tier should present an overview of your company and demonstrate the value of what you offer, and I’m a firm believer that a video is the most engaging media form to use for this purpose. Once a prospect watches that video, then they’re “stepped up” to the next tier of emails, which could encourage them to watch another video of a case study or client testimonial. The number of emails in each tier is up to you, but remember that the goal of each level is to gradually give your prospect an understanding of what you offer and what it can do for them.

As an example, let’s say we’re a business offering marketing automation products and services. Our first email tier might consist of a five-email sequence designed to encourage our prospects to watch an educational video that powerfully conveys the core value proposition of our business. Each email we send out obviously needs to encourage the prospect to check out our video, but each one should also utilize a different call to action.

Email number two might feature specific benefits of our product, and the fourth email in the sequence can tout a different but related benefit; the goal is to take a slightly different approach to gently nudge our email leads or coax the click on the video, without beating them over the head with a pitch.

If you’re interested in seeing the prospects who have watched the video, you can get into advanced software and see how long someone actually watched a video, or you can take a more simplistic approach and just track number of clicks. Obviously, the former option will give a better idea of a customer’s interest level, but how detailed you want to hone in on customer behavior is up to you.

Customers who watched the video on benefits should automatically get stepped up to the next level of email, which might encourage them to watch a case study video. In this step, you’re framing your second sequence much like the first and using varying approaches to once again coax a click.

Since you’re ideally looking to leads to spend lots of money with your particular business, it pays to remember that a case study is an ideal way to show off the massive benefits that your company has provided to other customers. It can also provide a powerful tool for social proof, which can be reused in many different ways, especially for a service business.

With our initial email tiers established, we’re ready to move on to the second and last step.

Step 2: Make the sale

Now that prospects have ascended the first two tiers of our consumption campaign, it’s time to make the consumption pay off. Continuing with the example of the marketing automation company, the third tier is where we make the overt call to action to get a prospect to set an appointment or sign up for one of our marketing automation packages.

Having been through the first two tiers, the prospects at this level now have a better understanding of the benefits that our marketing automation company offers and what we can do for them. In other words, our first two tiers have softened them up, and now it’s time to go for the knockout punch.

At this point in the consumption campaign, prospects have been groomed to be receptive to the offer(s) we make in this tier. This is a necessary set-up, because where a $2,000 per month price might have elicited sticker shock via cold call or initial email, the educated customer knows the value of that price and will be more open to the sales pitch that we make in the third tier. While it’s still important to reinforce our value proposition and to vary the calls to action in this email tier, our focus in the third tier is on selling.

Wrap Up

A consumption campaign is best suited for big-ticket service companies or e-commerce marketers offering expensive, high-end merchandise, and the amount of tiers you incorporate leading into your sales pitch can vary. Companies that sell products and services with a wider range of prices, this article on “pull-up” campaigns may also be helpful.

Campaigns can be as simple as one tier or as involved as three or four tiers. The key is to find a happy medium that will educate and inform your prospects before the sales pitch comes, so that your pitch will be warmly welcomed rather than rebuffed without context.

Think about your business structure, what you offer, and how you currently market. Do you offer a higher price service or item that is so expensive and so involved that presenting the sales price might cause immediate sticker shock? If so, a consumption campaign that primes and preps your prospects could be the right next move for your business.

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