Lead Generation

The Power and Profit of the Customer Newsletter..Seriously!

NewsletterPostIf you’re a digital marketing agency customer of Optify, I want you to be as successful as possible (we want B2Bs to be successful too ☺). One of the hard parts about being a new agency or a team that’s expanding in a new direction is how to get started. Some teams are great at SEO, marketing strategy or creating great messaging and product positioning, but what if you want to expand your business and offer new services to your current customers? What should you offer? How do you sell it? How much do you charge? All great questions and I’ve got a place for you to start.

Discover the power and profitability of the customer newsletter service. It’s a relatively simple service to deliver, but it can have a tremendous impact on your business and a great ROI for your clients.

Really? A newsletter? Yes! Before your business clients start worrying about social media, an HTML5 responsive website, AdWords, display advertising or anything else – make sure they have an outstanding customer newsletter.

A good customer newsletter will:

  1. Establish a trusted relationship with the customer. It’s an online world, but customers still buy from vendors they know, trust and have bought from in the past. A well-constructed newsletter with important and relevant content is delivering value. You’ll know it’s valuable and be able to prove it when they read and respond to it.
  2. Deliver upsells of related products and services. Again, it’s easier, faster and cheaper to sell related products and services to people who have already bought at least once. In fact, it’s 5x more expensive to acquire new customers than to sell to existing ones!
  3. Increase referrals to other potential customers. Prospective customers have already done research. Many times they’re simply looking for referrals who have had success. Ask for and promote customer success stories in the newsletter.
  4. Demonstrate cost-effective marketing and great ROI. The newsletter targets the most valuable prospect of all – the current customer. For example, by using Optify for creating a template, sticking to a consistent frequency, and leveraging the power of Optify’s email marketing software, landing pages, autoresponders and Optify Connect to tie it all together – you can deliver a complete, effective and profitable campaign for your clients.

Structure

Section 1: What’s New

Successful businesses rarely stand still – what’s changed that’s great for the customer? Do they have a new product or service that’s an add-on? New packaging/pricing for extending a subscription or generating an upgrade?

Section 2: Customer Spotlight

Demonstrate customer successes. Make sure they know they’re not alone! Include a customer Q&A or customer success story with a picture and a quote.

Section 3: Industry Spotlight

Educational 3rd party article/blog post. There’s a lot of content out there. However, it’s not all good or accurate. Be selective. Credit the source. Another ‘authority’ will support your topic or create added interest and validation.

Section 4: The Call-to-Action

Create a single (or at most two) call(s) to action. What do you want the customer to do, specifically? Call now, order today – you get the idea.

Take them to a landing page with a focused offer. This will give you an opportunity to create context and not distract them with other visual noise (i.e., don’t drop them onto a home page of the website).

Make sure you have set up the autoresponder off the landing page to ensure the customer gets a confirmation and follow-up.

Frequency

The customer newsletter is an awesome offering because it’s something that you can do right away. However, it’s critical to determine how often it makes sense to engage with the customer. Consider the difference in a B2B world versus a B2C client’s target audience. B2B will likely be less often, while a B2C customer might expect multiple emails per month. Have you ever heard the saying “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”?

Start with one email per month and go from there. It’s easy to add more communications, but difficult to recover from a bunch of unsubscribes from over-communicating in the first 30 days.

Important: You can always ask for feedback from the audience BEFORE they vote with their Unsubscribe button!

Opportunity

Our CEO Rob Eleveld is constantly reminding us “Successful agency customers know how to keep their business repeatable and we need to help them.” So, why did I start with the customer newsletter?

It’s repeatable. The newsletter service is an easy way to have an ongoing relationship with your clients. In the end, you want to offer retainer-based repeatable services.

The service should be very affordable to clients. Therefore, it’s a relatively short sales cycle and your clients can see almost immediate value add. It’s a service that agency owner/principals are not required to deliver and can still be successful. A much more junior (i.e., cheaper) resource can be applied to research and deliver – more margin.

Cost and Pricing models

Ok, let’s break it down. Clearly, this model is an approximation and won’t be an exact calculation for everyone, but it will give you a framework to use.

Cost

Part of the secret sauce to making the service profitable is understanding how to allocate the costs for successful delivery and managing the content.

  • Resource
  1. Communications/Journalism Major, 0-2 years experience
  2. Approximately $20-$25/hr.
  • Content

Newsletter development: ~4 hrs.

Section 1: What’s New

1-2 paragraphs created by the client, formatted by agency (0.5-1.0 hrs.)

Section 2: Customer Spotlight

Consisting of a short phone interview, write-up and a photo of the customer: (1.5 hrs.)

Section #3: Industry Spotlight

Find/link to 3rd party educational article: (0.5 hrs.)
General formatting & test send: (1.0 hrs.)

Note: there will be a one-time setup cost in your model to upload the customer list and create the landing page with a great call to action.

Pricing

Now that you have the cost model, let’s review the all-important pricing strategy.

Gross Margin Analytics:

  1. Target 65%+ gross margins for your list pricing (about 3x markup)
  2. Resource, $75/hr. ($25×3)
  3. Content, $300/newsletter ($75×4)
  4. Allocate your costs for Optify or other software at $150/client

Total monthly newsletter retainer: $450-$500 per month per client.

Note: $300 per month is still 50% gross margins!

Here’s some additional thoughts and recommendations to consider. If more hours are required, raise the retainer, but keep the fee less than $1,000/mo. It’s more important to sell as many newsletter services as possible. Similarly, as an overall pricing strategy, it’s worth discounting to $300-$400/mo. to get more clients on retainer.

Power and profitability, revisited

Remember, this service is a powerful strategy for moving clients from project-based services to retainer-based services. Your profitability is not only the immediate revenue and margin benefits of the service, but now you’re part of your client’s ongoing marketing process.

If you convert 10 clients @$500/mo. that’s $5,000/mo. in retainers and a very high probability of delivering great ROI for your clients that will lead to additional business.

Powerful resources and next steps

At Optify, we’ve recently done a complete webinar on this digital marketing service and have developed a co-branded presentation you can use to help present your newsletter service to clients. It’s fast, free and complete. Click here to watch the webinar, download the sales presentation and, most importantly, get started today!

Digital Marketing Q & A with Matt Heinz

matt-heinzMatt Heinz started Heinz Marketing 6 years ago and is now one of the most well-known marketing gurus in Seattle. Matt and I had a chance meeting in the hallway at Market Leader one day and have stayed in touch since.  After running into each other at every marketing function in Seattle for years, we decided to do some business together and recently I had him come in and evaluate the marketing and sales processes at Optify.

As we rolled out our 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report I was very happy to have Matt request a Q & A on the report and the data that we had gathered. Here’s how Matt kicked off the article.

Report: Analyzing 62 million web site visits for B2B marketing best practices

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62 million visits. 350,000 leads. More than 600 B2B sites. That’s a lot of data. Pull together a report based on what it says about marketing best practices – what channels are working, which lead sources work best, which social channels are most important, etc. – and we’re talking some seriously valuable insights for B2B companies and marketers of all shapes and sizes.

Having access to that data, of course, is the hard part. Unless you happen to operate the Web and marketing systems for those 600+ B2B companies.That’s where Optify comes in. I highly recommend downloading a copy of their 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. Lots of great best practices, some which you’d expect but plenty more that were surprising and counter-intuitive to me.

I asked Doug Wheeler, CMO for Optify, to help me dig into more detail on some of the report’s findings. See the Q & A

From an Article in Website Magazine written by Amberly Dressler.

“Surprisingly, organic search, the number one drive of traffic, is at the bottom of the conversion-rate list, second only to social media among the sources with lowest conversion traffic,” read the report.

And while the report states that only 5 percent of B2B traffic comes from social media, Twitter outperforms Facebook in terms of lead conversion by more than a 9-1 ratio. Why does Twitter convert so well?

“I think it’s because it’s an accepted form of communication, almost like email,” asid Wheeler. “It’s just a different style, so people respond to it more instantly. They wouldn’t bother communicating with you if they didn’t want to respond, that’s my pure, opinion.”

The full report is available for free download.

“In reading this report, you might discover that you are doing better or worse than the published benchmarks and discover areas of potential for your marketing activities,” said Wheeler.

— Quote in Website Magazine!

Optify 2012 Benchmark Report: Google and Twitter Crush Competitors

Today we announced our Optify’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.  Optify’s study analyzed over 62 million visits from more than 600 small and medium-sized B2B websites (only US-based .com sites with 100 to 100,000 monthly visits) from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 to determine the primary trends for online B2B marketing and share tips for B2B marketers and digital marketing agencies.

Search&Deploy copy

 

If you don’t have time to download and review the report, we’ve developed an awesome infographic representing our key findings called Search and Deploy! Love that name :)

 

 

 

A summary of our key findings includes:

• Unlike more traditional market share reports such as the latest from ComScore, stating a 67% Search Share, our report shows that over the last year Google has increased its share of the search market to 90%+ (and growing) in the B2B sector. Bing was revealed as a distant second with approximately 5% of searches leading to B2B sites.

• Organic search is the strongest driver of known traffic to B2B sites with 41% of the traffic. In addition, Google is responsible for over 35% of all traffic to B2B websites making it the single most important referring domain in 2012.

• Blocked data continues to be a huge issue as “not provided” exceeds 40% of all organic visits from Google. Combined with visits from branded search terms, known keyword data from organic search continues to drop, leaving marketers with less than 40% of referring keywords.

•  While companies increased their investment in social media marketing, social media represented a small fraction of traffic and leads to B2B websites in 2012, contributing an average of 5% of all traffic and leads. Within social media, Twitter crushed Facebook in conversions 9-to-1 in lead generation campaigns.

• Email isn’t dead or even dying!  Email still shows high engagement rates with an average 2.9% conversion rate (well above the 1.6% overall average). This is a trend that keeps increasing as more B2B marketers leverage email for lead nurturing as well as lead generation.

Last night, Google announced their Q4 earnings – Google Profit Rises on Year-End Advertising Gain – demonstrating their dominance in Search and Advertising.  While Google’s earnings announcement surpassed analyst estimates, IMHO Google has continuously proven to be the uncontested leader in the Search market, and as our research shows, that advantage will certainly continue into the foreseeable future.

With such a clear domination of search and their obvious intent to eliminate keyword information (i.e. ‘Not Provided’), I believe it’s critical that marketers should immediately diversify their marketing programs beyond organic search to include content marketing, retargeting and especially focus on opt-in emails. Furthermore, it will come as no surprise if Google decides to begin monetizing more elements of its organic search data such as referring keywords, access to analytics or other, currently free services, leaving marketers no choice but to adhere to its terms.

If you are a digital marketing agency and the trusted advisor to your clients, please feel free to share out our information and encourage your customers to diversify their digital marketing strategy now!

Over the last week, I was able to speak on several press briefings regarding this study and expect to see the press coverage hit today.  As we see published articles and links, I will share the good news.

Thank you!

crystal ball“Doug Wheeler, CMO of Optify, says more companies will be using cookies, logins, or machine-based identifications to personalize the experience for each of their customers.”

I strongly believe in presenting dynamic content based on the prospect and their interest as well as their domain.  Then, retargeting to deliver the content they’ve demonstrated an interest for.

Here’s the Article: The Customer Experience Crystal Ball: Predictions for 2013

— Yeah, I said that – check out my quote in 1to1Media

Best Practices for Lead Hunters

Best Practices for Hunting Leads

Are you a part of an inside sales team? On behalf of every sales person that doesn’t have to cold call from a list and every marketing person that wants a go-to person that wants marketing leads to turn them into sales opportunities – THANK YOU!

You are the fuel that runs the sales engine.

This post on best practices for hunting leads was written by one of Optify’s Inside Sales qualifiers. – AJ.  A little knowledge here, AJ rocks and is definitely worth the time to read his stuff.

December 13, 2012 | by AJ Armendariz | Optify Inside Sales

I want to expand on the most daunting task of the three parts of the inside sales team as the engine for your sales vehicle. As David mentioned most inside sales teams are faced with three tasks when pushing qualified leads and opportunities into the sales funnel:

  1. Process
  2. Hunt
  3. Qualify

While there’s no doubt each of these parts play an equal role in fueling the sales funnel and driving new business, the most daunting of the three is hunting. Broadly defined hunting is the process of engaging with leads in your queue.

The best hunting practices include these variables:

  1. Immediacy
  2. Persistence
  3. Time of Day
  4. Day of Week

As we all know hunting is a “numbers game,” the more calls you make the better chance you have of engaging with your leads. This part of the hunting process requires persistence. However, hunting isn’t just about making calls, its about getting people to have business conversations with you. Here at Optify our inside sales team does this through calling, emailing, referrals, and social media.

Optify arms us with the weapons crucial for any successful inside sales team: lead alerts, visitor intelligence, and efficient hunting best practices through email templates, phone scripts, triggered email drops, and CRM lead history. As much as hunting depends on persistence and resilience, adhering to the basic steps of the hunting process is what really makes an inside sales team successful.

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The basic steps of the hunting process are:

  • Research
  • Call
  • Voice Mail
  • Follow up email

Researching leads is the most time consuming step of the hunting process. Therefore, figuring out how to make this step as efficient as possible is crucial. First the lead comes to the Optify web site and fills out a form and all of the lead detail is in the Optify software. In addition to the detail from the form, we look up additional data related to their company and other demographics. At that point the lead is ready to be integrated with our CRM of choice–in our case, Salesforce. This step isn’t actually necessary for most users since Optify can act alone with simple CRM features in our fantastic Contact Manager.

While calling is the core of the hunting process, it is also the task that takes the least amount of time. Make sure you have your 30-second pitch ready, as well as your voice mail pitch. And lastly make sure you have email templates already created so you can make your hunting process as efficient as possible.

Stealth Creative Drives Client Success with Optify

 

Today is customer success day!
SEATTLE—November 6, 2012 — Optify, the leading innovator in digital marketing software for professional B2B marketers, today announced that Stealth Creative has adopted Optify’s Digital Marketing Suite as a core technology for their agency. Stealth Creative, based in St. Louis, Missouri uses Optify to develop, execute and report on digital marketing initiatives for their clients and generate business for the firm. Optify’s digital marketing solution has helped expand the services they can offer clients and dramatically reduced reporting time to increase business efficiency.
Our goal is to provide simple, insightful and actionable tools and data for agencies just like@stealthcreativebit.ly/RNRRbl
“Their logic is simple. Stealth Creative wants the market to see their work, but think of their client. We want agencies to use our solution, but deliver superior service and reporting to their clients without Optify taking center stage in the relationship,” said Doug Wheeler, Chief Marketing Officer, Optify.

Cold Calling Sucks. This Will Help

Ok, it’s November 1st.  We are heading into the last 2 months of the 4th Quarter in 2012.  As all you Marketing Athletes out there know, you have until Thanksgiving this month to generate leads and opportunities before the whole world starts thinking about the holiday party, bringing in cookies for the staff and generally fading away into the end of the year. 

Using your inbound marketing software – like Optify – (shameless plug here) the clock is ticking on the leads you are generating in 2012. 

If you have an inside sales or tele-qualifying team, you might have to do some cold calling to supplement your efforts – yeah we all know that it sucks!

However, just getting the conversation started is half the battle.  I ran across this article and wanted to share it with you.

http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/cold-calling-16-ways-to-start-sales-conversation.html?nav=pop

We are all in the home stretch for 2012!  Finish out the year strong and start finishing your planning for 2013.

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