Growth Hack: Why business networks should copy the Nextdoor idea

The idea of business networks like LinkedIn has been to virtually connect your business contacts for networking – similar to social networks like Facebook which have been about virtually connecting to your friends to stay in touch. So far, this has been pretty much a one way street of bringing your real life connections into the virtual world.

But the other way of taking a virtual connection point and bringing it back into real life has tremendous potential as well. Start-ups like Nextdoor use your local community as connection point, bringing neighbors together in real life through a platform. Facebook has started to copy this idea, letting you ask for recommendations in your local community, organize community events etc. It’s almost ironic: Because everyone stares on their screen there is almost no by-chance communication and getting to know each other anymore, so technology (which created this problem in the first place) now helps you solve that too. But enough of that, back to the topic of how you can use a virtual connection point to build real life connections.

Everyone knows the network effect: The value of a business network increases with every virtual connection you make. But in order to make a virtual connection you need to know this person in real life first. While we all know the one person who is great at networking, the truth is that most people aren’t. You might feel uncomfortable approaching strangers, not have the time… The irony is that the non-networkers will profit the most from a large virtual network as networkers have no problem approaching people “out of the blue”. This is a huge growth inhibitor for business networks as the attractiveness and stickiness of their product requires more and more connections.

So here’s my idea: Use the company you work at as a virtual connection point to connect people within your company. Most companies organize a lot of “get to know each other” meetings when you first start at your job. This helps you start building your network but after a month you are out on your own. If you are not a great networker, chances are that you will have lunch at the cafeteria / go out for lunch with the same crowd every single day. But how about using your lunch break to get to know someone new in your company every week? Think of a little feature that allows you to opt in to a lunch networking date at a fixed time. This feature would create a win-win-win situation: A win for the user, as you can build your network without feeling awkward approaching strangers, a win for the business network as users build more connections, and a win for the company as creating connections within a company strengthens the business. I would even go so far to say that if such a feature were available, many companies would make the use “mandatory” for new employees in order to build their company network. Hey, they might even sponsor the lunch. There is free lunch after all :)

Growth Hacks: Turning your customer churn into evangelists


It happens to the best of us: Customers decide to send back your product, unsubscribe from your newsletter, or cancel after the trial. Your first thought might be: OK, this customer won’t bring me any more revenue, so let’s focus on the paying customers. But IMHO these customers are a gold mine no one really cares about. Why?

First, customers don’t quit without a reason. Understanding why customers churn provides very valuable feedback on how to position yourself in the future. You have heard this before – in fact you probably already ask for the reason using a quick questionnaire when they quit. That’s good, but you are only half way there.

Second, and even more important, these customers can become your nightmare or your evangelists, depending on how you treat them. Remember the marketing class you took where it said that people will tell 13 other people on average when they have a negative experience? Remember the horror stories you read on Facebook when one of your friends tried to cancel the phone subscription? Well, it turns out that customers will also tell 4-5 other people about it when they have a positive experience. Now, making the quitting experience suck less is probably not too hard, which helps you avoid the nightmare scenario. But turning these customers into evangelists requires a bit of creative thinking. Let me give you an example:

Let’s assume you run a online mattress business. Like everyone of your competitors, you probably have a 100 day no-questions-asked return policy. It really sucks when someone decides to send back their mattress as it is not only revenue lost but also adds additional costs for picking up the mattress. So spending 1 cent more than absolutely necessary is not something you are really interested in. But think again from the customer’s perspective: No one sends back a mattress because it is fun to do so. They probably weren’t comfortable with the mattress, maybe even had back pain, and now they have to go through the hassle of getting rid of this thing (which cannot be rolled up nicely anymore) and getting a new mattress. In order to turn these people into evangelists your job is to amaze them beyond their expectation (the expectation being that the mattress will be picked up at an agreed-upon date). That’s when they tell 4-5 of their friends this: “Yeah, the XYZ mattress was not for me but they did a fantastic job when I returned it. You should definitely try them out.” Suddenly you didn’t just avoid 1 angry customer and 13 other negatively influenced people, you added 5 positively influenced people through a genuine recommendation.

Here’s how I would do it:
1. Add a moving kit to every mattress. The moving kit would come in a nice little box with a huge plastic bag for the mattress and a nice little blank paper note inside. Your mattress probably has a 5-10 year guarantee and chances are that the person will move with the new mattress, so the plastic bag can provide protection during the move. But more importantly, if people decide to return the mattress, ask them if they would like to donate the mattress (e.g. to the local homeless shelter). If they say yes, kindly ask them to write a short donation note on the paper and wrap the mattress up with the plastic bag. That way this person will have a positive experience with your brand (the donation) even though the mattress did not turn out to be the right one for him/her. I bet they will tell their friends about this, they might even take a picture and share it in their social media streams.

2. Send out a confirmation email with alternative options. This email should include the agreed-upon pick-up date and a list of alternative mattress options. Yes, you read it right, links to your competitors. Why? They will go to your competitors anyway but this is your chance to give them one final WOW experience they will share with their friends. If they said the mattress was too soft include a list of hard mattress choices. If you want, you can even turn this into a revenue opportunity by using affiliate links. Make getting a new mattress as easy as possible and they will thank you by not only thinking positively about your brand but also telling their friends about it.

So, $1 for the moving kit and a slightly different confirmation email means 4-5 people are likely to consider buying you. And you might recoup some of the lost money through affiliate links. And most importantly: People will think your brand is awesome.

PS: The difference between 5% positive monthly churn and 5% negative monthly churn: 73% more revenues in one year.

It’s about the why, not the what

I have been working on a little book on B2B product marketing in the last couple of months. While writing up my experience, I have thought a lot about product positioning and how B2B companies present themselves. More often than not, I have seen the positioning to be a description of what they do and not why they do it. A simple, easy description of what your company does is already hard to come up with, especially if you are in B2B, have truly unique product and are building up an entirely new segment. That said, it is dangerous. It is dangerous because today’s markets, technologies, and clients move so quickly that you might become obsolete, if you are not able to answer the why question first.

There is a good TED talk on the why? question I recommend. A few weeks ago I saw a similar talk by Andrew “Boz” Bosworth at the OMR festival. Being able to answer the “why do we do what we do?” question helps you put everything in perspective: Are you developing the right products to help with the why? How does this new technology impact my “why we do what we do?”? Is this new company competition or not? …

Let me give you an example. I recently came across Flashstock. Here’s what they do according to their website:
Flashstock is the Most Efficient Way for Brands to Create High-Quality Content


Let me explain this a bit: They help fortune 500 brands to create visual content (pictures, videos etc.) for their social media channels and branding material through their network of freelance artists. It’s like upwork/freelancer/elance with custom support and content curation to guide you through the process. So if you want your new smoothie to “travel around the world” and want to have a picture of the smoothie bottle shot in Kuala Lumpur, New York, and Paris, you don’t need to send a photograhper around the world anymore. Using Flashstock and the freelancer photographers on site you can do it faster and at a cheaper price. So their USP is to be deliver “most efficient high-quality content”. But it’s the “what they do” and not the “why they do it”.

In order to answer the why, let’s take a look at their clients. One of their client groups are social media managers who need great content for their posts. They yearn for likes, shares and followers, resulting in the pressure to publish even more without larger budgets reflecting this. They need authentic content speaking to the brand but can’t afford to send people around the globe. And above all they want this content to go viral. Does it have to be efficient? Yes, fast means quicker posts and cheap means less money out of a budget. Does it have to be high-quality? Not necessarily, it has to be authentic to the brand. But it definitely has to have the potential of being engaging with the audience, and ideally going viral.

So let’s take a step back: Why is Flashstock doing what they are doing? They want to help social media managers succeed at their job. Combining technology & freelancers around the world to do this efficiently and at a high quality standard is a great idea compared to the old way of hiring a marketing agency to send people around the world on the plane. But it falls short on the reason why the social media managers do it. They do it because they need authentic content that goes viral. If something is engaging, it is worth a high price (unfortunately it is very difficult to plan for that when creating content so by default the price needs to be cheap) – so being authentic & engaging beats efficiency & high quality. Remember the “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet by Oreo when the lights went out during the Superbowl? Remember the Dollar Shave Club video? Remember the Unicorn Poop?
The content was authentic to the brand, in fact the last two videos defined the brand.

So when you look at your website ask yourself: Do we answer the why? IMHO, for Flashstock it would look like this: Answer the why, then add the what.
Authentic visual content for your brand. We help create [pictures, videos, animated gifs…] for [Facebook, Instagram, websites…].

Once you start asking yourself the why, it also becomes apparent of who your real competition is. In the case of Flashstock, authentic content might just be the first step. Companies such as Stoyo Media do not only offer authentic videos, they also address engagement by feeding the produced videos into the social media ecoystem to help with virality.

The B2B Sales Pitch: It’s all about 3 questions

I am startled by how many B2B sales emails/calls/meetings follow the same pattern: 1 minute introductions, followed by “Let me show you my product/service and why it’s great…” This approach works great for low-ticket items where the worst is that I spent $20 on something I don’t really need.

An excellent sales person will focus 60-70% of his time with the client asking questions. B2B products/services and especially high-ticket items / high-impact decisions cannot be sold by pushing information to the client. It requires to dig deep, then deeper, and even deeper to understand the true problem of the client and then see how your solution could help solve this problem.

IMHO, the three most important questions asked are:
1. What’s the client’s problem?
2. What’s the total value at stake this problem causes?
3. How can my solution help solve this problem?

Let me clarify: 

1: What’s the client’s problem?

If you ask your client “What’s your problem?” you are not doing it right. You need to ask Why? Why? Why? until you dig down to the explicit need of the client. Let me give you an example from my current business:

You: What’s your problem?
Client: We’d like to better understand TV advertising and you offer TV Analytics, right?
[Old you: Yes, that’s right. Let me show you…]
You: Why?
Client: We have a TV campaign starting next month and wanted to test multiple TV creatives.
You: Why?
The creatives have different messages and we want to understand which message resonates best.
You: Why?
Client: We have seen in digital that the message can have 2-3x lift in terms of conversions. We want to test the same for TV.

You have nailed down the explicit need. The client wants to test different TV creatives as he expects to get a large lift in conversions by optimizing the TV campaign.

2: What’s the total value at stake this problem causes?

Once you understand the problem, do not – I repeat DO NOT – start selling your solution to the problem. Whenever the client makes a final decision, he will weigh the pros and cons of using your solution. Think of it being a tipping scale – right now there is absolutely nothing stacked on the con side. You need to make the client understand how much this problem costs him. This is your 800 pound gorilla on the con side.
And: You need to make the client deduct the total value at stake by himself. Why? If the client deduces the numbers himself, he is more likely to believe them and you don’t have to make any assumptions which are probably way off anyway. Here’s the example:

[Old you: So you want to see how you can compare TV creatives to get a 2-3x lift in conversions similar to digital. Let me show you …]
You: What kind of lift would you expect to see in TV?
Client: Well, it’s hard to say. Gut feeling, although I would like it to be 2-3x, I’d say maybe a 30-50% lift?
You: So about 40% on average? That sounds realistic, we have seen this with other clients. And what’s your total TV budget?
Client: It’s about $200.000 for this campaign.
You: OK, so what would you expect to save in terms of optimizing?
Client: Well, we probably have to spend $50.000 before we can switch TV creatives. That means about $150.000 where we could get 40% more out of the given budget. That’s about $60.000.

You have nailed down the total value at stake. Before, this value was hypothetical, now suddenly $60.000 are on the line (your 800 pound gorilla on the con side of the tipping scale). And it’s not you who told the client but the client realizing this all by himself.

3. How can my solution help solve this problem?

Once you understand the value at stake, do not – I repeat DO NOT – start selling your solution to the problem. Let the client state the benefit in his own words. Why? Because 90% of your sale will happen outside of your call/meeting during internal discussions with his boss & colleagues. You are prepping the client with his internal arguments in his own words. Here’s the example:
[Old you: So you could get $60.000 more out of your budget. Let me show you how …]
You: If there was a way of comparing TV creative engagement rates, how would this help you?
Client: Well, it’s obvious. We would act just like in digital. Start with a couple of different ones, analyze the engagement rates and then pull the ones that underperform. And the faster we could do this, we could probably save more than $60.000.
You: Yes, it’s all about being able to compare TV creative engagement rates, ideally in real-time. Let me show you how our solution does this for you.

Now your entire presentation is focused around solving the client’s problem. It’s not about having the most features, it’s not about having the cheapest price (as long as your solution does not cost more than $60.000). And you have helped the client to develop his arguments for internal selling which you can summarize in the client’s own words in your follow-up email.

B2C marketing: It’s all about managing expectations

I have been doing quite a bit of online shopping recently, resulting in many retargeting ads and email newsletters. You know the drill – once the customer is on the website and shows interest, try to capture that interest.

What caught my eye was one thing even large brands such as Wayfair or Home Depot consistently get wrong: Managing the customer’s expectations. When I click on something, I show very high interest (we all know the low CTRs and newsletter open rates, so a click is like finding a gold nugget). There is a very good chance I am going to buy. But the experience after the click is nothing short of a desaster because I do not see what I expected to get. Not only do I loose my interest in buying, I probably won’t click on future ads and open new email newsletters any more because you tricked me.

Let me give you two examples.

Wayfair: Clickbait with cheap prices
I was looking for a comfortable chair on Wayfair but couldn’t find the right one for the right price. Later, retargeting ads popped up in my Facebook stream with a chair I had considered but was now offered almost 50% cheaper. Wow, what a bargain, I thought, and clicked on the ad. Well, it turned out that the price hadn’t changed at all. Wayfair support said that it was a “starting price for similar chairs” – notice the “starting at” at the bottom of the ad. Yeah, that makes sense, especially if you show the chair picture and the chair name in the ad. What a turn-off. I will never believe the Wayfair prices shown on Facebook again.

The Facebook ad – price $261,99:


The website after clicking on the ad – price $489,99:


Home Depot: Poor user experience
I signed up for the Home Depot newsletter to get their weekly specials. This is a great idea with poor execution: When clicking on the email, you get to a product category page where all products are listed. It’s up to you to find the special deals. What a turn-off. I don’t want to sift through all products to find the deals. Why isn’t there a special page?

The Home Depot email:



The Home Depot website – only one special offer visible:


Amazon: Meeting my expectations
Sometimes I wonder why people don’t just copy Amazon’s marketing. Amazon also showed me retargeting ads but – compared to Wayfair – the price was correct. Clicking on the ad met my expectation. Sounds easy, should be easy.

The Amazon Facebook Ad – price $699:

The Amazon website – same price:


So ask yourself: When designing an online marketing campaign, what does my customer expect to see when he clicking on the link. And then deliver exactly that. Or better: Give a little bonus, exceeding expectations (free shipping, a personal $2 off coupon, …).

Now let’s get back to work.

Twitter is dead

This week I came across several information bits that lead me to believe that Twitter is dead. I haven’t been using Twitter personally for nearly a year now as it became too cluttered and I had too many “I want to promote my product/service” tweets in my timeline. The information level was just too low & too cumbersome to sort through. Just ask yourself: When was the last time you really read your Twitter timeline? And when was the last time you really read your Facebook or LinkedIn timeline?

I stumbled across a Twitter experiment of a blogger (oh the irony that this is a post on LinkedIn) this week which showed no impact of Twitter whatsover on traffic. I quickly checked our referrals from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for wywy – Twitter is at <2% of all our social referrals, so basically irrelevant, although we post the same amount on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Then I read about Twitter laying off its Indian engineering team. And then I attended a meeting on Tuesday where a food blogger and a social media expert on a panel both said that Twitter is dying a slowth death.

So here goes my bold prediction: Twitter will be bought up next year for half the price it is worth currently ($13 billion market cap as of Sept 22, 2016). Twitter’s main (and IMHO only) advantage, the unmatched speed of news content, does not justify it’s stock price. And let’s be honest: Any breaking news will be on any other channel within one hour.

Update Sept 23, 2016: Well, that went fast. Twitter reportedly in talks with Google, Salesforce for potential sale

Source: Yahoo Finance

B2B Marketing: Keeping track of your competitors

We all “love” our competition. And that’s why we like to keep track of what they are up to. Now you could visit each competitor’s website on a daily basis, pay a clipping service to research the latest news on your competitors put this all costs money and time. In my experience leveraging the power of Google search catches about 90 percent of the relevant stuff you need to know. And the great thing is: You can automate this by setting up Google Alerts. It’s super easy and takes no more than 15 minutes to set up. So instead of postponing it until tomorrow, read this how to guide (5 min) and then get started (15 min) so you can enjoy the first results in your email inbox tomorrow morning.

Step 1: Generate a list of relevant keywords
If you are reading my blog regularly, you are probably familiar with the keyword concept by now. For the other 99% a quick explanation: Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client: Which search phrases would you enter? It is important that you don’t take the keywords YOU think are relevant but the keywords YOUR CLIENT will use.
There are three types of keywords you should research:
1. Generic informational keywords. For wywy, this would include keywords such as “TV analytics”, “TV attribution” etc. The generic keywords will help you keep tabs on what’s going in the industry and also catch new competitors entering the space.
2. Product names, trademarks. For wywy, this would be “TV Sync”, “LiveSync” etc.
3. Company names. Make sure to also include “similar” spellings of the company name. Example: The Trade Desk, TradeDesk, TheTradeDesk.

Step 2: Set up Google Alerts
The actual process is very straight forward: Just add each keyword and then double check the options. I suggest setting it to “daily” so you receive the alerts first thing in the morning. This way you can quickly browse the results on your way to work or when you check your email. Use the region and language filters to limit your search results to the relevant regions of your business. If you are active in multiple countries, you should have a list with generic, product and company name keywords for every language/country.
Important: Google will send out the alert at the same time you created it. So get to the office early tomorrow morning and set up all alerts so you’ll get them on your way to work the next day.

Pro tip (you need to be logged out of Google for this): Instead of using your own email address set up a group email address which receives the alerts so you can easily add or delete users to the alerts emailing list.

Step 3: Learn how to quickly scan the results
If you make the check part of your daily routine, it probably takes you max. 2 minutes per day. I highly suggest learning the keyboard shortcuts on how to read the next email to make the scanning of the results even faster. In Gmail, you can use the J key to jump to the previous email (and the K key to jump to the newer email): I usually start with the latest Google Alerts email, using the J key to quickly scan the 10 or so emails I get per day, normally taking less than 1 minute in total. If anything catches your attention, you can just click on the headline to read it later or forward this within your company.

Inbound Marketing: How to own the informational search results

Once a potential client is interested in your topic, most of the time the first thing he turns to is Google. The informational search phase is probably your best bet (i.e. value for money) to channel the attention towards your company. The potential client will research your topic and the companies operating in that area. And now is your time to shine – in other words: To be in the top 5 results for every search. This creates awareness of your company and also trust – after all, you wouldn’t be shown in the top search results if your company wasn’t relevant, right?

There are two ways to be on top of the search results: By paying $$$ and being listed in the paid search results (booking the right keywords through Google AdWords), which most of your competitors do. Or by being smart and coming up in the organic search results. The amount of work is essentially the same, but the smart choice requires a bit more work in the beginning. And as a bonus, the smart choice does not cost you ongoing marketing $$$ – once you are start your search engine advertising (SEA) campaign, it’s really hard to let go and you just keep on paying.

You don’t really need to be an expert in search engine optimization (SEO) to be on top of the organic search results as B2B is not very competitive when it comes to SEO. Unless you try to optimize for “credit card” or “buy car”, a few simple steps will do to push you to the top results within in a couple of weeks.

Step 1: Identifying the right keywords
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client: Which search phrases would you enter? It is important that you don’t take the keywords YOU think are relevant but the keywords YOUR CLIENT will use. Start off with entering your competitors’ names. Check the Google auto-suggestions, the paid search campaigns and the related search suggestions at the end of the page. Google basically offers you the right keywords on a silver plate. Then try more generic keywords (in my case e.g. “TV analytics”, “TV attribution”). Don’t go too generic as you need to focus on your niche. Important: If you are doing business in multiple countries, use the Google Adwords Preview tool to preview the results in the relevant geo-location and language as the keywords could differ a lot (e.g. in my case “TV Tracking” is a commonly used keyword for TV Analytics in Germany while in the US it means something totally different).
Google auto-suggestions

Google related searches at end of search page

Step 2: Read, read, read
Once you have identified the top 5-10 keywords, read the top 10 results for each keyword to get a feeling on what others wrote on the topic. This helps you understand what the potential client is looking for when he searches for that specific keyword.

Step 3: Create informational articles
Write an informational article about the topic (which is different from the other top 10 results you just read). Just think of it as if you were creating a Wikipedia article on that keyword. Your goal is to inform the potential client, not to sell your product (yet). Make it easy to read: Not too short, not too long, add an image / a graphic, maybe a video, a catchy headline, a good meta description, sub headlines for structure, good cross-references for further reading (both to external sources and to your own website). Use the keyword in the headline, in the meta description, in the text, in the image name etc. to give the reader the impression that this article is exactly what he is looking for. If putting the keyword into your headline, text etc. does not fit / feels awkward, your article is not catching the topic. At the end of the article, add a short note that you sell product XYZ and add a contact person.
Remember: The client is still in the information phase, you want to position your company as industry expert.
Important: Make sure that your articles differentiate themselves enough – only one excellent article per keyword / keywords that are very similar.

Step 4: Links
While you might have heard that SEO is all about getting links (which is true), your B2B marketing niche does not need a ton of links (oftentimes even no external links) to get top-ranked. In fact, start with a good internal linking on your website first. Make sure your product pages point to the informational pages and vice versa and that there is good internal linkage between the informational pages as well. You should do this both within the text of a page but also at the end, e.g. by using a short list similar to Wikipedia “More information here: …”. As your articles are of informational nature (and not promoting your company or product), you can mention (i.e. link to) them in your guest posts, articles, comments, Quora posts or forum discussions as well. Every reader loves valuable background information through an additional link. If your article contains an infographic (example here) or a white paper for download (example here), this is a great way to link back to the original source as well. Promote your article with a tweet, share it on Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

Step 5: Wait
While SEA allows you to pay to immediately be visible in the search results, creating content and appearing in the organic search results will take some days, if not weeks. You can check whether Google picked you up by entering this in Google:
“[headline here without brackets]”
This will show you whether Google has indexed your website (so that it can be ranked at all). To check your actual ranking position, use the Google AdWords preview tool as your browser history and your location will skew the results you see towards a better position for your website.

Step 6: Analyze and optimize
The best way to know whether you nailed it with your content is analyzing the user’s behavior on your website: What’s the bounce rate (the percentage of users who hit the back button on the browser), how long is the user staying, is he clicking on further links etc. In Google Analytics, you can see this in the “landing page” tab. While there are no exact rules to follow, use common sense.
A few examples:
– A 80% bounce rate is OK if the user stays 2-3 minutes on your website (he read the article and then went back to check on the other search results) while a 80% bounce rate with 5 seconds time on site tells you that the user hit the back button right away because he did not find what he was expecting.
– A 20% bounce rate with 10 seconds time spent on site probably means that the user did not really find what he was looking for but clicked on a link that seemed to better match his search. In this case you probably have two similar keyword topics and need to make sure to get your internal linking right and rewrite one of the articles to really distinguish between the two.
– 5 page visits might either mean that the user is confused and trying to find something else or really intrigued by your content, diving deeper into your website. Check the time spent on site and the behavior flow (what was the next link the user clicked?). If he went to products, then checked out the reference clients, it looks like you have a convinced reader. If he jumped between the informational articles, he might be confused.

When you are done with all of the above, don’t forget to tag the users for your retargeting lists.

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:

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).

(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”:

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.


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.