When Building an Email List, Don’t Buy!

When Building an Email List, Don’t Buy!Building an email list takes time. We all know this, yet something about the allure of buying emails and trying to “beat the system” captures the attention of many companies. It may seem at first that buying an email list is a great workaround – saving you from having to build a list organically and expend money and effort into lead gen – but at the end of the day, buying lists for sale could be hurting you more than helping you.

If you’re a company that’s built an email list via direct list purchasing, why should you stop doing this – and better yet, what can you do to get that legit list you’re looking for without a lot of legwork?

 

Building an Email List Organically – Stop Buying!

The minute you buy a list and execute emails to that list, you’re sending spam. Why is this? Well, 100% of the list subscribers you just purchased opted in somewhere else. They never agreed to receive promotions from your particular company.

Any legit email service provider (ESP) is going to ask for your address and company information to comply with CAN-SPAM regulations. Additionally, your ESP should confirm that you built your opt-in organically to decrease the chance of spam. If your list isn’t organic, your ESP may shut down your campaigns and bounce you even after your first list send. If you’re in this situation and you just paid for an email list, you’re now out the new customers AND a way to send your emails. No bueno!

How Can You Build a List Organically?

For starters, you should be prepared to offer great content. A top of the funnel activity such as a blog post, a free offer like a white paper or an instructional video offers opportunities for you to build organic traffic and get customers engaged with you. The free, useful content you offer is bait and will also help you succeed organically – particularly if you use things your customers are searching for as the title of your videos or blog posts. For example, if you’re a financial planner you may use something general such as “what is financial planning?” that has a high search volume as your post or video title.

Once users take the bait, they’ll see an opportunity to download a whitepaper from you. Ask for their email address to get the whitepaper – and voila, you now have their email and can advertise to them again and again without spamming. Create several funnels and opportunities like this based on the different services you provide, or different topically separated content offerings on your site.

Want more info on how to build your list organically? Lead Liaison can help! We’ll assist you in rethinking your funnels, building out new campaigns and measuring them today. Let’s chat!

 

Track Email from MailChimp, Constant Contact, Vertical Response and More

Integrates with Any 3rd Party Email Service Provider or CRMDid you know you could track email from a 3rd party email service provider, or ESP, and get even more value out of your existing email system? Marketing automation from Lead Liaison will help you track email from MailChimp, Constant Contact, Vertical Response, iContact, ExactTarget, Emma and any other 3rd party email system you can imagine. We’re not just talking about basic stuff like opens and clicks that you have to dig up, we’re talking sophisticated tracking that delivers crucial sales intelligence pushed to your reps.

What’s the value-add?

This process will magnify the value of your 3rd party email system by 10x. Here’s what you’ll get above and beyond what you have with your 3rd party email provider:

  1. Complete history of online behavior. We’ll pull together past, present and future activity that your prospect demonstrates as they engage with your company’s brand. This includes all kinds of behavioral tracking, such as document downloads, pages viewed, videos watched, chats, social media engagement and more through the life of the prospect’s buying cycle.
  2. Real-time website visitor tracking. We’ll tell you when your prospect is online and what they’re looking at in real-time.
  3. Sales alerts. When your prospect comes back to your website and demonstrates buying signals we’ll send a Buy Signal alert to your sales rep via email and/or text.
  4. Profile enrichment. We’ll layer on data from 110+ social networks on top of the rich demographic and behavioral information collected on your prospect.
  5. Original lead source attribution. Marketers spend tens of thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns but often times have difficulty attributed closed business to their marketing campaigns. We’ll identify the original lead source of your prospects with “Email Marketing” if they engage with your email sent from the 3rd party system.
  6. Lead qualification. When your prospects engage with emails sent from your 3rd party system Lead Liaison will automatically add a point value, determined by you, to your prospect’s lead score. Lead scores range from 0 to 1,000 and provide a great way for marketers to help salespeople separate hot leads from stagnant leads.

What do you need to do?

Integrating marketing automation with your 3rd party email service provider is easy and can be done selectively, on a campaign by campaign basis. To integrate Lead Liaison with your 3rd party ESP simply add some special tracking code to the end of each of your links. We’ll use the email information and tracking code to add engagement activity to your Prospect’s Profile. If the Prospect is already in your system with an assigned Lead Owner we’ll trigger Buy Signals for the Lead Owner.

 

Getting Your Subscribers to Open and Click

Getting Subscribers to Open and ClickIt’s tough to send good marketing emails. Even after they’ve opted in, you have to reaffirm their interest with each and every email you send. And let’s be honest, it takes time to develop a winning email marketing strategy, and no matter the size of your business, time is expensive. Here are a few quick and simple things to implement in your email marketing strategy:

A/B Testing

Try A/B testing with several strong subject lines to see what works better. What’s going to make your recipient open this email? The first step is getting it opened. Check out these email subject line hacks taken from SXSW session titles. Try out your own version of these against something else you think might work. It’s all about experimentation and understanding your subscribers. Tailor it to them personally as often as possible.

Spicy Subject Line

Surprise your subscribers with an interesting subject line. Play-up the sense of urgency and scarcity of your product. Along the same lines of A/B testing, test out what times of the day work best for your content. Are you grabbing your audience at a time when they’re looking for your services? Or are you sending at a time when your email is just one of many and it’s lost in the pile? Check out a few tips on improving your open rate here.

Know Your Subscribers

Understand your buyer persona. What makes them tick? Why would they have subscribed to your list and what kind of information are they seeking? This is where organizing your leads properly will really pay off. Read more about email tracking here. Targeting your subscribers personally makes them believe that email is for them, not just the whole pool of subscribers.

Lead Liaison keeps email marketing simple for you through our marketing automation services. We make it easy for you to succeed in each email campaign, keeping each email personalized, utilizing drip campaigns, keeping your lists clean and organized, and providing important analytics.

Solidify Your Email Marketing Efforts in 2014

email-marketing-tips-for-2014Good email marketing requires not only the ability to create compelling content, but a strategy for ensuring click throughs and open rates increase throughout your marketing efforts. For many companies, time is such a factor that developing a strategy around increasing readership and engagement becomes difficult. If you’re looking to solidify your email marketing efforts in 2014 look no further, we can help.

Fortunately, there are some strategies companies of all sizes can implement to ensure they’re getting the best content to their reader base and are increasing engagement as time passes. Now is a great time to start thinking about how your company manages email marketing and if there are potential ways to increase your stats and reach your readership more effectively.

Consider Your Subject Lines

If you haven’t yet created a subject line that features a call to action why not test one out? A call to action typically begins with a strong verb that compels the reader to do something. Good examples of strong subject lines are:

  • Be the change you want to be.
  • Enjoy the holidays for once!
  • Open your own store today.

It’s important that your email subject line be fairly brief and concise. Verbose subjects don’t tend to get a lot of opens, particularly since most people use an email client that obscures part of the subject line. It’s always a good rule of thumb to get to the point quickly.

Strategically Place Links

Don’t just put a URL leading to your site in the sidebar of your email. Prominently feature a link back to your site or content in a few different places. One great way to get people clicking is to feature an interesting article that includes about 2-3 paragraphs of text in your email, and then post a “Read More” link where your article starts to get really compelling.

You can also experiment with creating a footer or other area in your email that groups “related content” links that allow people to click through to your site.

Vary Your Email Marketing Techniques

Rather than just sending out the normal company newsletter, try creating a new post when your company has a big sale, news or even if there’s a new blog post available to read. Check your email stats and take stock of what your client base seems interested in reading. By managing your stats, you can get an idea of how to best get the open rate and click throughs that you’re looking for.

If you need help creating content or managing your email marketing stats, Lead Liaison would love to help! Let us show you how today.

What’s the Impact of Google Caching Email Images?

What's the impact of Google Caching Email Images?Google has changed their posture on caching images in emails. This event is actually good news for our customers for the following three reasons:

  1. The tiny image we insert into each email campaign is a unique image per recipient. Email Opens will still be counted; however, only repeat email opens will not be counted since the image is cached and no response will be sent back to our servers. This is good news since many people scroll through their email inbox and tab over emails. Less Opens per email will provide less noise.
  2. Google announced that images will load by default, instead of being turned off by default. This is good news since more unique opens will be reported; whereas before, the recipient would have to click the link to download images. The recipient could read an email without an open being reported. Now, a unique open will always be reported.
  3. The value of Lead Liaison just went up! Instead of companies using Email Opens as a key stat, they’ll start to look at what really matters, the click throughs. Fortunately, Lead Liaison does an excellent job at tracking what links are clicked in an email and capturing the recipients subsequent behavior as they navigate your site. That’s what you really care about. If they went to your site and poked around or not.
Lead Liaison’s leading edge marketing automation software includes next generation email marketing capabilities that diminish the impact of Google’s changes to image loading.  If you’re interested in learning more about how Lead Liaison can profile a potential buyer’s activity by tracking link click throughs, social post clicks, webpage visits, page views, forms submitted, landing pages, videos watched and more then contact us for a personalized demonstration.

Email Open Rate: What Are Your Clients Seeing?

Email Open RatesIf you’re familiar with email marketing, you know the average email open rate for any standard campaign is between 12-20%. This rate varies by industry – a real estate company newsletter may not do as well as a coupon retailer, for instance. It’s important to have a firm grasp on how your client base uses your content and continually provide them with what they want to see.

How do you find out what your users want? First, try asking them. As simple as it sounds, engaging your users via social media and incentive-based surveys can get them talking to you. Once you’ve shown that you’re interested and you’re paying attention, people have a tendency to start talking. It is in this engagement that you’ll be able to ask for feedback and opinions, and tailor your marketing efforts to best suit your audience.

Email Open Rate – What About Mobile?

Over the past year or so, smartphone email opens boosted at about 80%. This means it’s especially important to ensure that your emails and other content can be viewed by your readers in the format they prefer.  You might be amazed at how many small businesses don’t take the time to discover how their readers would like to receive content.

The best way to get an idea of how delivery can affect your email open rate is to view your email on different devices. Try to make it a point to open the emails you’re sending on a PC, tablet and a smartphone as well as using different email programs. Most email service providers give you a preview of what different email messages look like in different formats.

Make Sure You’re Looking

Don’t just open your emails in several different places- use email metrics tracking to get an idea of how your clients are opening them. Even if your emails are beautiful, you’re still wasting time if your emails go to a smartphone where your click through links aren’t visible on different browsers. This can cause your email open rate to plummet – once a potential client knows he or she can’t open an email from you a smartphone, they’re probably not going to give you the benefit of waiting to get in front of a computer to open your content. They’ll most likely delete your email.

It’s important to determine how your users are translating your content into something that supplements their lives – even if it’s only during the minute or two they take to open and read your email. To determine how clients are using your email marketing based on all your other marketing efforts, it’s a good idea to look into marketing automation and determine the value of your campaigns per client. The Lead Liaison team can help you do this. Contact us today for an assessment of your advertising assets so we can determine how to help you!

We also recommend Search Engine Land’s Free SEO Primer. And remember: Email open rate is important, but understanding how your users access and read your content can make all the difference!

Email Marketing is NOT Dead

Email Marketing is Not DeadThere are those that might be predicting the death of email as a marketing tool. Gmail’s new tabs might spell doom for a lot of marketers but those who know how to deploy email marketing effectively will still thrive in the coming new email delivery paradigm. We’re here to tell you: email marketing is not dead – if you know how to use it.

First off, those who understand that email is one marketing tool in a suite that includes search marketing/SEO, social media marketing, display ads, apps, and several more. Email should not be the sole source for outbound marketing efforts rather it should be deployed when and where it makes the most sense.

It starts with your list. Too many marketers rely on buying email lists or using implicit modes to gather email addresses. By “implicit modes” we’re referring to using an event such as completing a form to download a file or register for a webinar and having your email address used to send promotional emails without permission. Marketers often fail when they try to sneak a promotional email in without being approved to do so. Always get specific permission to contact your leads via email. One simple way to do this is to include a checkbox that reads “I would like to receive updates, offers, and news about (your company or its products)”.

Secondly, email is a more intimate touch point. You are in their space when you enter their mailbox. It’s incredibly important to honor that position and not waste their time. If a lead has given you permission to contact him by email, your brand has been elevated to the “interested” position in his mind space. Don’t ruin it by shooting “spray and pray” messages that end up providing little value. Use messaging that not only connects with your lead at an individual level but also gives him a reason to spend time with your brand. The reason should offer value in terms of acquiring knowledge, saving money (but avoid hyper sales tactics!), or providing a beneficial opportunity to improve his company.

Thirdly, stand out within box. Subject lines should not be misleading and provide immediate value. Buyers should know when they scroll through their box exactly what the message is and why it is important to open it. Avoid using personal names your leads won’t recognize – they almost always get sent to the bin. One tactic is to set up distinct addresses to display in the sender field. All email programs display the sender in the mailbox inventory; an email from “wevegotyoursize@fashionista.com” to a lead who used a sizing plugin on your retail clothing website can catch the eye of a lead scrolling through a crowded email box.

So don’t give up on email marketing – it’s not dead. Just figure out how to use this tool effectively.

Why You Should Use Small Business Email Tracking

Why You Should Use Small Business Email TrackingThere’s something about email tracking that eludes small businesses – and just knowing the metrics isn’t good enough. Small business owners can often lack a fundamental understanding of how email tracking and email marketing informs their other marketing efforts. Fortunately, marketing automation and other methods can help business owners use small business email tracking to their advantage.

Forms of Email Tracking

You may be using Mailchimp, iContact or Constant Contact to execute your email marketing efforts. Most of these ESPs (Email Service Providers) will give you some stats that are critical to establishing the success of your email marketing campaigns. You’ll want to pay attention to some of these stats to beef up your email tracking and marketing efforts.

Open rate is a metric that allows you to see what percentage of total emails sent are actually opened. These rates vary by industry, but an ideal open rate is something over 20%. If you find that your open rates are fairly low, a more engaging subject or ensuring that your list is double-opted in can help you.

This is where marketing automation can help as well. Knowing how leads get to your website, how they make it to your email list and their use rate when it comes to your marketing materials can give you an idea as to their conversion probability. When you’re not sure how leads got to you or how they use your site, you may not be able to develop an in-depth understanding of a metric like open rate. The more in-depth you can drill down into your data, the more you’ll be able to improve your metrics over time.

Click rate is another metric to look at. Your emails should have links back to your website in the form of more information or an offer. If you’re experiencing low clicks, you should reposition your links or change up your offers to see if you can get a different result. The right email tracking can take you a step further – if your emails aren’t going to an interested audience to begin with (and an opt in doesn’t always indicate the level of interest you need to eventually generate conversions), marketing automation tools can tell you that.

Email Tracking and Marketing Strategy

It’s important to know how users get to your list, what they do with your emails when they get them, and whether or not email is the most appropriate way to keep your users abreast of your offers. Traditional ESPs can only help you monitor your email performance within their own interfaces. If you’re looking for more fully functional email tracking, marketing automation tools could work well for your small business.

Take a look at how Lead Liaison’s sophistical email tracking and lead monitoring software can work for you!

Segment Your Database for Email Success

Segment Your Database for Email SuccessDatabase segmentation can have a significant impact on your email campaign effectiveness. The relevancy of your messaging and offers is critical to generating opens and – more importantly – sales. Lead Liaison’s database segmentation tools provide parameters that allow you to create email distribution lists that target lead attributes, buying status, behavioral identifiers, and trigger events. Make sure to segment your database for email success.

Segmenting your lead database is important for two reasons: 1) you can target specific leads for customized messages and 2) you can avoid spamming uninterested suspects. With our database segmentation feature, you can accomplish both in a matter of minutes. There are over 65 preset attributes and over 10 trigger events that can be used to filter your email list.

How to Segment Your Database

So what are some of the effective criteria that marketers should use to segment a lead database?

Geography – where are your leads located? Whether your sales team is organized by territory or not, geography can play a role in how you approach a lead. The culture in Texas is different than in New York; messaging can be tweaked to appeal to each region’s cultural differences.

Lead Grade – leads that are graded on how well they fit your buyer profile should be segmented according to appropriateness. After all, should a line worker at a company with revenues below $1MM be approached the same way as a CEO of a company with $10MM in revenues?

Lead Score – marketers should segment according to the implicit (behavioral) attributes that are provided through online activities. For example, a lead that has attended a one-hour webinar should not be grouped with leads that have visited a single webpage.

Gender – this one is not always considered when segmenting a database. However, grouping by gender allows marketers to create messages that appeal to each gender’s buying triggers, emotional attachment(or lack thereof), and value systems.

Job Function (Title) – b2b decision-makers typically reside within certain positions: CEO, vice president, purchaser, etc. Though not always the case, segmenting email recipients by job function is effective at putting your salespeople in front of the right person.

Past Purchases – if a lead has previously purchased from you, it should be segmented for specific repeat, up-sell, or cross-sell purchase messaging. Once segmented, you can deliver special offers and build brand loyalty.

Buying Cycle – why should your sales team be contacting prospects who have just begun their buying process? Leads can be segmented according to indicators that reflect where they are in the buying cycle.

Reduce Waste

When you wish to avoid sending emails to unlikely prospects or invalid addresses, there are several criteria that can be used such as:

Delivery Bounce – an undeliverable address can be easily segmented into a cold lead list.

Do Not Call – often b2b sales require a phone engagement, leads that have indicated ‘do not call’ during previous engagements can segmented for digital communications only.

Do Not Email – whether a lead indicates ‘do not email’ through an opt-out request or on a form, that lead can be bucketed for phone or direct mail contact only.

In addition, you can use explicit (physical) criteria to segment leads that should be avoided. For example, companies with revenues below your target profile can be grouped as third-tier or lower prospects.

Our Lead Management Automation™ platform provides segmentation that can make marketers more effective at creating and delivering messages and make salespeople more efficient by routing the most appropriate and sales-ready leads to your sales team.

10 Email Drip Campaigns That Work

10 Email Drip Campaigns That WorkLooking for lead nurturing help? Here are ten ideas you can use to boost your email drip campaigns.

Create a story

Develop a storyline that is relevant to your solution(s), such as the life and times of your typical customer. Make sure the content is well-written and constructed like an old movie serials about crime fighters, where readers are anticipating a new chapter.

Run a campaign

Start a campaign to reduce waste or to create a movement. This is a variation to cause marketing and can be effective at generating followers.

Host a contest

Design a contest for customers and prospects alike. Leverage social media by having participants follow you. Make it simple to join. Post updates, new information, or other fresh content on social accounts.

Announce an event

Tell your list about an upcoming event that your enterprise is participating in. Use reminder messaging to update readers. Add to previous emails by providing fresh information about the events or its participants. Make sure to include a reference to the new information in your Subject header. It can be an event your enterprise is sponsoring or a third-party event that you’re connected to or attending.

Promote a new product

Introduce a new product with a time-sensitive promotion. Use each message to introduce a new benefit/feature. Update the Subject header to announce the new benefit/feature.

Announce partnerships then drip the benefits

Send an announcement about a new partnership or organization change then follow up with messages about how the move will be beneficial. Be sure to link to websites associated with the change to generate traffic.

Host a charity fund drive

Announce a charity fund drive and follow up with milestone achievements, uses for funds, thank donors, etc. Follow up with goal attainment, notable donors, and other information.

“Did you see this?”

Provide third-party content that can be helpful to your leads. For B2B companies, this can include a wide variety of information such as financial, operational, small biz, legal and regulatory, trends, whatever.

Create a conversation (like with social media)

Use a drip campaign to start a conversation about a topic that is close to your lead’s heart or work responsibility. Send follow up messages that include comments made other participants.  Remember to use bcc:!

Send video links

Provide links to helpful and/or informative videos that can benefit your list. After several messages, take a poll on which videos were beneficial or suggestions for future videos.

Get your marketing and sales people together for brainstorming and input on what interests prospects and customers.