Most of us can remember the day when just about all sales calls were done face to face, but that is no longer the case. With the advent of telesales, web technology, go-to-meetings, and other virtual sales mediums, face-to-face time has taken on a whole new meaning.
The advantage of an actual (as opposed to virtual) face-to-face meeting is that you can more easily read your prospect and judge interest. That’s not so easy these days. Or is it? This whole idea got me thinking: Is there digital body language? The answer is: absolutely! If you pay attention to your analytics, they’ll tell you the story that your face-to-face meetings used to provide you.
If you haven’t convinced your prospect that you can deliver on your promise, then you’re not going to close the deal, right? Right. So, take a look at your data and see what your prospects are doing with the informational content you send them. You are sending them content, right? I hope so because this is your opportunity to build your relationship with prospects while simultaneously educating them on what you can do for them. And, if you take a good look at your data, you’ll see that it’s clearly telling you what each of your prospects wants and needs from you.
Chances are high that once you take a look at your data, your prospects will fall into groups based on their actions or lack thereof. So, how do you gather this digital behavioral data? Marketing automation tools provide you with the ability to weigh and score a prospect’s behavior. Assigning a score to specific page visits, clicks, and actions (like downloading content, for example) will help you segment the hot prospects from the ones that need further nurturing.
Using this valuable information you gather, you can easily see what microsites and content materials need to be created and which groups of prospects you want to direct to each one, effectively creating a metric that will help you see your prospects’ online body language. The next step will be in seeing what further actions your prospects took and steering them accordingly by adapting your message and the content you send them.
If you’re sending e-mail campaigns, then you really must make sure you are testing their effectiveness regularly and making tweaks accordingly. Doing so will lead to more clicks, opens, and sales. Here’s how I recommend you approach testing your campaigns for better results.
- Develop a control e-mail and test it. Create an initial e-mail and note the results it gets. Then, decide the one thing you want to test. It could be the offer or the subject line. Choose just one. Send the e-mail again and see what results you get. When you have an e-mail that gets better results than your control one, it becomes the new control e-mail that you’ll do further tweaks to. I do this process for my clients like TCBY, Pie Five Pizza, and Hurricane Grill and Wings to name just a few. This is a really powerful tool that enables you to get great results.
- Test your mailing list. For lists over 1,000 I like to split it into two groups. Each group gets a different e-mail message. For much bigger lists (10,000 and up), I like to send a test message to a small portion of the list, say 20 percent. If the message pulls well, then I roll it out to the remaining 80 percent.
- Test different variables. Here’s where you can get really creative. Test different offers, different design styles, shorter or longer message, personalization, subject lines, etc.
- Test your mailing days. The time and day your e-mail is sent can effect your response rate. Consider your target market and what day and time makes the most sense, then test it.
- Test your frequency. This refers to how often you are e-mailing. Keep track of when you are sending your e-mails as well as the responses, bounces, and unsubscribes. Look for trends that will help you figure out the right amount of e-mails to send to your list. If you e-mail too infrequently, you’ll likely loose your recipients’ interest. If you e-mail too frequently, chances are they’ll opt out. Find a happy medium.
- Keep testing. This is an ongoing endeavor. To keep a campaign successfully, you have to keep testing. Remember though to only change (or test) one thing at a time, that way you know for certain the results your change produced.
Recent research by The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) ranks e-mail marketing as delivering the highest ROI. One statistic from their study that caught my attention is this: 66% of online Americans report making a purchase as a result of an e-mail from a corporate brand. That’s over three times the percentage of people who have made a purchase in response to a Facebook (20%) or text message (16%).
E-mail is effective, but you have to have the right list. Here are some steps to get you started building an e-mail database that will deliver results.
- Make sure your Sales and Marketing departments work together to develop a plan for how your e-mail campaigns will roll out as well as how they will be responded to and measured.
- Provide a good offer that has real value to your target market so those on your e-mail list will want to stay there, and those not on your list will want to sign up.
- Only e-mail to people who have given you permission to e-mail them. No one likes unsolicited “junk” mail.
- Make sure you take every opportunity to capture e-mail addresses.
- Make it easy to sign up for your newsletter, white papers, webinars, etc., so visitors to your website will want to sign up, and you can capture qualified e-mail addresses of interested prospects. Don’t ask for lots of information at this stage in the game. Also, have lots of call to action buttons on your site.
- Always test your campaigns to see which ones work the best and which ones are underperforming and shouldn’t be used. Test your headlines, subject lines, copy, offers, graphic elements, and calls to action.
By focusing on these six steps, you can build an e-mail database that has qualified prospects on it. That’s a powerful lead generation tool.