My role at HubSpot is the French Marketing Automation Manager. Essentially, I'm responsible for marketing automation for HubSpot leads and free users in our French market. Last January, we discovered that one of our key automation programs – our onboarding and maintenance email program for our free users – was out of date and needed revision.
When our free users sign up, they will receive a series of onboarding emails that they can use to get set up and answer any questions they may have. Here are some screenshots from the old onboarding emails:
As helpful as these emails were, we've decided we can do better for our users and leads.
Our free HubSpot Academy lead nurturing course can help you develop a lead nurturing strategy to build long-term relationships with your customers.
When we began brainstorming and creating proposals for this program revision, we encountered a key challenge: We didn't really understand the needs, challenges, and goals of our users.
At HubSpot, we do a lot of user research, but much of that research is focused on English users. Plus, as marketers, we don't talk to our customers as much as our sales and customer service teams. However, we can all agree on one thing: the better you are Know your audiencethe better you can serve and help them.
Phase One: Researching Our Free Users
Before we worked on revising our email program, we decided to get to know our audience better. We decided to do some research on our French free users. We published a survey and conducted several interviews.
The survey was first sent to two audiences: active free users and inactive free users (those who have not used their portal for more than 30 days). We were curious to see if there were any differences between the two target groups, but we didn't discover many.
In analyzing the survey results, we identified contacts with different job titles and different expectations when registering. Users who I have referred to as "end users" represent approximately 80% of our free users and have only signed up to use the free tools. The other 20% represent what I call "evaluators," and they signed up to discover HubSpot while they thought about buying a paid version. You are here to evaluate the tool and use the registration as a trial version.
For the interviews, I wanted a mix of reviewers and end-users, as well as people from different professions and departments, to better understand their needs. So I interviewed a large number of our free users. Here are some of the answers that caught my eye when I asked, "Why HubSpot?"
"(To) find a database that is more automated and fluid and adapted than Excel." – Marketing Manager
“The aim was to bring (my) different contacts from different bases together. (I) then discovered the other features of HubSpot. "- CEO
The results of the survey and interviews were incredibly informative. We learned a number of important things about our free users. Here are some major takeaways:
- Most of our free users are part of Small and Medium Business (SMB) and therefore wear multiple hats and do multiple jobs. For example, some people were CEOs and made sales.
- You come to HubSpot primarily for the free CRM. You want and need a CRM and that's why you signed up for HubSpot.
- Our free users are They don't know everything that is in their free plan and therefore even less know what is in the paid plans. For example, some users did not know they had access to the Form Builder or Email Marketing tools and used external tools for these functions. Additionally, some users failed to notice that the landing page builder and workflow features were available with the paid plan. When they discussed this during the interviews, they confirmed they were interested in learning more about paid HubSpot plans.
What we've found out about our audience and free users has changed the way we think quite a bit. For example, we did not advertise our free plans and features to our free users prior to doing this research. That should change.
Phase Two: Email A / B Testing
With our new research in mind, we were ready to reach out to our onboarding and maintenance email program.
Before we made a new email sequence available to our free users, we wanted to test their reactions to the new content first. They told us during market research that they would be interested in learning more, but how would that translate to reality?
We decided to run an email A / B test to measure how our audience responded to this new approach.
First, we hypothesized: Our free users were unaware of the capabilities and features of their free plan, and even less of those included in paid plans. If we gave more insight into the possibilities of a paid HubSpot plan and made an effort to let them know how to try these premium features, they'd be pleasantly surprised and sign up for trials – and eventually buy.
We believed this because our free users stated that they didn't know exactly what was included in the paid plan and why they should sign up.
So we developed an experiment to test this new approach. For our A / B test, I didn't want to target all of our free users – just those who had actively used the free HubSpot tools in the past few months. I figured that this audience would be interested to learn more about what they can do and achieve with a paid version, since they were already so active in the free version.
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We have divided these active free users into two segments:
- Our control group did not receive any nursing emails as it did before the experiment.
- Our variant group received a series of two emails promoting important paid features such as attribution reports, workflows and sequences and offering a trial version to test these features.
Here are some screenshots of the text emails:
Our email A / B test results
We ran our email experiment over a four week period and sent around 3,000 emails.
At the end of the test, we were satisfied with the results as they were very conclusive and confirmed our original hypothesis. When comparing the control and variant groups after a month, we found that the emails sent to the variant group:
- Generated 71% more qualified leads
- 125% more offers created
- Generated 12% more attempts
- Generated 15% more sales
Learn and take away
Both the research we carried out and the experiments provided valuable insights and knowledge. Here are my top 4:
First, Get to know your audience. As marketers, we don't often have the opportunity to discuss with our audience.
If you can chat with your target market and customers, I highly recommend it! This can be a game changer for your marketing strategies and alert you to insights and trends that you would otherwise not have known.
Second, align with sales. S.Ales speaks with Hundreds of prospects and free users per week, so that they know which features and components of your product or service are most important to certain leads.
You probably can't promote yours all Product in an email and need to select some features. Because of this, you should better adapt to sales to better understand who your target audience is and what their goals, needs, and weaknesses are.
Third, exam Your content formats and information to know what your audience prefers.
For example, in France we saw that making short videos or GIFs was very much appreciated by HubSpot tools. For each function of the tool, our emails contained a text description and a video or GIF of it next to it. This helped our readers see what the tool looked like in action.
Finally, experiment as much as you can.
Even if your experiment is inconclusive or does not produce the results you want, learning something new and valuable about your audience, content, or product is not a waste of time.