I often talk about Content being the fuel of the Marketing Automation engine that generates leads. However, just like in a gasoline engine, there is such a thing as having too much fuel. The right air-to-fuel ratio is needed to get an internal combustion engine to run at top performance. That is, you want to have exactly the right amount of air mixed with the fuel in the combustion chamber to burn off all the fuel. There may be times to run rich (to produce more power and burn cooler) and there may be times to lean (to run more efficiently, but with higher levels of byproducts and heat that may damage the engine), but mostly, you want to run in that perfect, balanced mix. The same is true for Marketing Automation.
If Content is the Fuel, What is the Air
The Air in this analogy has two components: Relevance and Time.
Relevance is a measure of whether or not you are sending your prospects information in which they are interested. It is the reason we segment our lists and create buyer personas. The sooner we get a prospect into a segment and know which persona we are addressing, the sooner we can start sending them content that is exactly targeted to them. This will cause the maximum potential for engagement.
Time is part of the mix because you need to give your prospect time to read and digest what you send. You don’t send a prospect every bit of relevant content you have in a single email. You send it to them over time. It is why we call them drip or nurture campaigns. The idea is to put the right content into the hands of a prospect at the right time to move them down the path to Marketing Qualified Lead and then over to Sales. You have to get that balance right for your audience and your products or services.
Just like in an engine, you can vary the mix of Content, Relevance, and Time based on both long-term and short-term goals. You may shorten the time between emails if you are near the end of the year and trying to help your team achieve their sales goals. You may send items of less Relevance if you are try to cross-sell or build a total brand message, rather than trying to sell a specific product or service. Remember, however, that running rich or running lean puts extra stress on your engine and can cause unwanted byproducts.
You don’t want your content to end up in “read later” folder that never gets read.