Email Newsletter: Using statistics to identify prospects

You have tied your CRM software to your email newsletter tool (we use Salesforce and Mailchimp but there are many others) so that new business contacts will be automatically included in your email newsletters. You have read all those awesome guides on how to create great newsletters. And you have sent out your newsletter. Now you check the open rate to understand if the email subject headline and the content was good. You might check the click breakdown to understand which topic created most interest. And now you are waiting for your contacts to hit reply or call you. Yes, some of your contacts might just do that. But your email statistics will tell you a lot more than just how good the content was. Here’s how:

Step 1: Download your open rates, your click rates and your unsubscribe reports.
Usually you can get this as a CSV/Excel file. In Mailchimp it will look like this:
mailchimp-open-rate-export

Step 2: Sort your open rate by number of opens.
Most contacts will open your email once. But there will be some contacts with a couple of opens and quite often some contacts with dozens of opens. And that’s where it gets interesting. It means that this person either opened the email multiple times or forwarded the email to colleagues, friends etc. In either case you have identified someone who has a strong interest in what you mentioned in the email. Call the person and say: “I have noticed that you were really interested in the email, how can I help you?” If they forwarded the email within the company and it generated a lot of opens, ask him if you could come in and do a short session on this topic for all people who are interested. After all, if 50 people opened the email and showed interest you have a pretty convincing argument in getting to pitch in front of the entire company.

Step 3: Contact everyone who clicked.
Clicking on a link means showing strong interest in that topic. Call the person and say “I have noticed that you had a strong interest in [topic]. Is there anything I can help you with / do you need more information / can I send you a case study…?”

Step 4: Take a close look at the unsubscribers.
Check the unsubscriber list for two things. First, go through the list to see if you had anyone on your “to call lead list” – deprioritize them as they have indicated less interest. Second, check for additional comments an unsubscriber might have left. If a contact takes the time to write an additional comment, most of the time it has valuable information. It might either make for a good reason to call that person “I noticed that you unsubscribed from our newsletter and wanted to call your regarding your comment…” or to learn why the person is not interested any more and how you can improve your future email newsletters.

So, start picking up the phone and working on those leads. It’s almost a guarantee for getting an appointment.

Bonus tip:
If it is too many leads for you to handle, you can focus on the most promising and send a quick follow-up note via email to the rest (i.e contacts with many opens or clicks). The email software will usually allow you to create groups or segments within one list. Put all the “not so hot” leads into one Excel list and then upload them as a segment. Target this segment with a short text: “Hi XYZ, I noticed you were interested in XYZ. Let me know if you need any additional information or if I can be of any further help. You can reach me directly on my mobile phone at 123 456 7890.”

B2B Marketing: Retargeting

There has been a lot written on online marketing but the focus is mostly on B2C. As my company wywy is operating in the adtech/martech world, I have had a hard time finding good stuff on B2B marketing. So I decided to write a mini-series on this topic to share my experience. So let’s start.

One of the most difficult things in B2B marketing is to find the right people to talk to. Once you identify them, it is even harder to get them to talk to you. For one, there are so many vendors constantly knocking on their doors (or calling them up, sending emails etc.) that often they just start ignoring all vendors. Second, you don’t know and can’t really influence their decision process as deciding on a B2B product is not a snap decision.

Well, that’s a bit of a bummer. But there is one time where you actually have identified the right people, they are interested in your product, are close to making a decision and probably would even talk to you: When they visit your website. Why on earth would they visit your website otherwise? They probably heard about you from a friend, read something about your company, got a recommendation, maybe you even did some content marketing which ranked high in some Google search results.

Unfortunately not everyone will contact you right away. In fact, our “conversion rate” of people interested in contacting us is about 1%. So now it’s up to you to “follow up”. Just like you would when people visit your booth at a conference. You want to achieve two goals:

Goal 1: Brand recognition. They should remember your name so you are part of the relevant set when they make a final decision.

Goal 2: Brand association. They should associate your company name with whatever you sell. Like Kleenex, Mailchimp, Coke, Oracle.

So while they most likely won’t leave their contact details, you can still get your message across even after them visiting your website. Set up a retargeting list to target your website visitors with additional messages. It’s actually quite easy:

Step 1: Set up a Google Adwords account
Set up your Adwords account. Google frequently offers coupons for new clients so you might want to search for “Adwords coupon” first. You do not have to worry about setting up conversions on your website (why, I’ll explain in a bit).

Step 2: Set up retargeting lists
Google currently requires a minimum of 100 users in one retargeting list. I would suggest to split your website visitors into a few larger buckets so you have 100+ users in each list, e.g. splitting by product or by country. In order to get a feeling of how large the lists can be, just check your Web Analytics tool by looking at the page breakdown (for product splits) or country breakdown (for country splits). I also recommend splitting the lists into different time frames, e.g. visited websites within last 7 days, within last 30 days, within last 90 days. This way you can set a higher CPM for people who recently visited your website as those are the “hot” leads. You can then slowly “fade out” your retargeting by decreasing the CPM for 30 day and 90 day lists.

Step 3: Create online banners
I suggest going with the most popular desktop formats (i.e. Leaderboard, Rectangle, Skyscraper). As you want to catch your B2B clients while they are sitting in front of their work computer, do not bother about mobile formats. Make sure your company logo is clearly visible as you want people to remember your name. Then add a simple message, 3-8 words. Don’t make it too long to read as you have only 1-2 seconds that people will linger on/scan the banner. We use easy to digest catch phrases such as “The TV Analytics Experts”. We also use known brand names to highlight case studies, e.g. “How Nissan increased brand awareness with TV synced ads”. Don’t create fancy banners, this is not a beauty contest. You want people to just acknowledge your logo (goal 1, brand recognition) and to remember certain words (goal 2, brand association). The goal is NOT to get people to click your ads, the goal is attention. Don’t bother with a strong call-to-action button (we use a simple “Learn more >” at the bottom right). That’s why you don’t need to set up conversion tracking. Use freelancers to create the different banner variations for you (we used Upwork for 40 different banner variations in two different formats, cost us $50).

wywy-banner
(click on banner to see the animation)

Here’s an example of “find my brand name” and “try to squeeze three messages into one banner”:
visual-iq

Step 4: Create retargeting campaigns
Set up a display campaign in Adwords and use ad groups to set up the different retargeting lists (e.g. Germany 7 days, Germany 30 days or ProductA 7 days, ProductA 30 days). Make sure you use retargeting list combinations for your different time frames, i.e. use the 7 day list and exclude the 30, 90 day lists. Then set a global frequency cap on the campaign level so that people do not fell too annoyed (i.e. 5 or so) by your ads. Set the mobile bid adjustment to -100% as you want to just target people on their desktop computer. As stated earlier, set a high CPM for the “fresh” (i.e. 7 day) contacts, then decrease the CPM for the “older” contacts. You should try to max out the impressions per day at least with the 7 day list (an easy calculation is list size x frequency cap). If you reach too few impressions, set a higher CPM.

Step 5: Check your website traffic
Once you have set up the campaign, check your direct and organic search traffic. Here’s a screenshot on how wywy’s direct traffic went up at the beginning of February right when we started our retargeting campaigns. While I can’t prove causation for sure, the direct traffic had been pretty constant before and there were no other large events, online marketing projects, PR coverage at that time. A nice increase of 40-50% in direct traffic. Not bad for spending a couple of dollars per week.

direct-traffic

The whole set-up should take you maximum a day. Yes, it’s a bit of work but standing at the conference booth also takes a full day out of your work time. I’d love to hear your experience, share it in the comments.

Optimizing local business listings in Google search

Whenever someone outside of Germany searched for my company wywy, the business listing for the German headquarters in Munich would show up. We double-checked our Google+ business locations and while they showed the correct address, a search in the US or in the UK would still return the German address. Definitely no way to impress US or UK clients as they would think we’d just operate in Germany. So I dug a little deeper and tested until I finally found the right way to do it using structured data mark-up. To be honest, there is probably not THE one way to do it but rather a combination of the Google+ listing and the structured data mark-up. 1 week after we implemented the changes Google started showing the correct business listing in most of the cases.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide including an example for our US listing:

Step 1: Check your local listing
Use the Google Adwords Preview Tool to get a local search result. Searching from Germany will not show you the same results as someone searching from the US. Choose the location (in my example: USA), the language (English), the search engine (google.com). Then type in your search to get the result.

Google AdWords Preview options:
preview-options

 

This is the original result for a US search:
wywy-us-search-old

 

Step 2: Use structured data mark-up
Google has a fairly detailed explanation on how to add structured data to your website. In our case, we wanted to make Google understand that there is a local address and phone number for the US market. Although you can add any phone number, Google asks you to specify the type (customer service, sales…).

This is what our final code on our contact page looked like:
structured-mark-up

For good measure we also added some structured data to our imprint page:
code-imprint

Step 3: Test your structured data mark-up
Google offers a tool to validate your code. Once validated, you can integrate it into your website. Done. Finally.

Here’s what a correct / validated mark-up looks like:
structured-mark-up-validated

 

And finally the correct result:
wywy-us-search

Pro tip: Even if you don’t have any offices abroad, you might want to add virtual phone numbers to make your company look international. There are many virtual phone providers out there, we use Sonetel. Just buy a virtual local phone number and forward it to any number worldwide.

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