Tag Archives: B2B Marketing

How Hard Is It To Get Cold Email Replies? Chasing the odds and cracking the code…

I tend to get overly excited when I ever I get a positive response from a prospect to a cold email.

I feel as if I cracked some code to gain that momentary share of attention bandwidth and now I’m “in”. From the likely dozens to hundreds of emails that individual received, they chose to take the time to respond to mine…

I realize sometimes its PSL (pure sh*t luck) or simple name recognition but I’d like to attribute some of my success to being thoughtful and deliberate in the approach. Keeping the email simple, relevant and familiar seems to be the key to getting that initial engagement.

In thinking about the metrics behind “cracking the cold email code”; I started wondering what are the odds of my email being seen, let alone opened, let alone responded to no matter how creative and thoughtful I was.

I decided I’d start with the general question of “how many b2b emails are sent on a daily basis”. Most of the data that I was able to personally find that felt “real” (e.g. backed by research) was dated…it seems like 2011 was the last year I could find consistent or comparable figures from multiple sources on email trends. I could find anecdotal stuff from one vendor or data from a survey etc; but trying to validate those figures from multiple sources proved challenging. Either I’m looking in the wrong places (likely), or these research firms simply chase the shiniest trend or the press just isn’t covering this as much so the content isn’t as well indexed. The good research on email was generally pre-mobile and pre-social; so maybe these firms just shifted their attention and focus.

Does that mean email is dead or dying?

Not a chance; but like all things digital it’s obviously evolving. Even with the explosion of social sites, webapps and mobile – all these things require an email address for the most part as a form of digital currency proof of identity / user name.

I did find one source of email trend data that at least had a history of providing information consistently. The Radicati Group out of Palo Alto, California describes themselves as the “Leading analyst firm covering Email, Social Media, Instant Messaging, Security, Wireless, Archiving, eDiscovery, DLP, Unified Communications and more” I’ve never heard of them previously (which means absolutely nothing in terms of their credibility) but there is a nice library of market research information available on their website; most of which is pay to access. I did read the executive briefing they made publicly available on the Email Market for 2013-2017 (link below) and wanted to pass along some interesting figures they share:

  • Counting both business and consumer users (unique individuals?); there are over 2.4 billion email users worldwide. There are about 7 billion people in the world; so that number feels “right”. They forecast that number will grow just 3% a year through 2017. I’m guessing internet accessibility in 3rd world countries supresses that growth.
  • Counting both business and consumer accounts (unique addresses?), there are 3.9 billion accounts; growing to 4.9 billion by 2017 (growth rate 2x number of users); why the difference? Most people use more than one email address…reasonable.
  • Worldwide email traffic (business and consumer) is estimated at 182 BILLION EMAILS PER DAY; expected to grow to 207 BILLION EMAILS PER DAY in 2017. This is only a 3% increase YOY…but that is a serious huge number… Doing the math; that says the average user gets about 75 emails per day (182 billion emails divided by 2.4 billion users) – that math checks out. Separating the business and consumer is where it gets interesting…
  • Business alone counts for over 100 Billion of that 182; and they expect business emails to go up 7% per year while consumer emails to decline by 3% per year. I buy those numbers, we’re emailing friends and family less frequently due to social and texting – but the business world is still heavily reliant on “traditional” email for both internal and external dialog. I would even buy a much steeper decline on consumer / personal than they illustrate and sharper increase on business.

So…let’s go back to my original question that prompted this and figure these odds out; let’s say 65% of email users have a business email account. I’m taking some liberties there and probably too generous, but unemployment rate plus service / retail jobs that don’t have business email addresses…that means 1.55 billion business email users (65% of 2.4B) and with 100 billion business emails per day; that equates to about 64 business emails per day per professional (lower than I would have guessed).

Now we have to start thinking internal business emails vs. external business emails and associated open rates of each etc.. This made my head hurt…but playing with numbers from my gut; I said 40% of these emails were external (e.g. knuckleheads like me) and we probably are in the industry average 25% open rate and 5% click thru rate (I’m equating a click-thru with a reply).

So this leads to roughly 26 external business emails per day; about 6-7 of those are opened per day, and 1.3 click-thru’s or replies…so with my 1 reply received; I guess I was the lucky winner that day and cracked the code to get the attention this individual had for that 1 of 1.3 external email correspondences he /she had that day with external emails…

Link:

http://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Email-Market-2013-2017-Executive-Summary.pdf

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Eyeblaster Research: You Need To Reach Beyond the Keyword…

Eyeblaster published a “research note” back in February that I just had an opportunity to read and I thought it was a great reinforcement to my frequent mention of the importance of “Full Buy Cycle” marketing.

In particular I thought this “commentary” on search (pull) vs. display (push) advertising was crisp and to the point:

“…search does not bring new prospects into the funnel, but rather moves existing ones through. This raises the question of scalability – the reach of search is limited to prospects that are already in the funnel. Furthermore, the number of those lucrative prospective customers with intent to purchase is limited. The question that arises is how to get more people into the funnel.

One way to increase the overall number of conversions is to extend the number of keywords. While it makes sense to explore other related keywords, at some point, keywords may lose relevance. Once the keywords purchased are extended too far, it would be the equivalent of buying an ad for taxis in the restaurant section of the yellow pages, since someone may need a lift…..The difference between search and display is that in search, only prospects who have shown an active interest in the product by typing a keyword are shown the ad, while in display, the ad is pushed to all of the target demographic….”

Link to Report (Registration Required): http://www.eyeblaster.com/data/uploads/ResourceLibrary/Eyeblaster_Research_Note_Search_and_Display.pdf

 

 

 

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B2B Buying Process Simplified

Many of my posts allude to the “buy cycle” and I have a series of posts on this blog that cover the various phases of the buy-cycle in pretty deep detail; but I was recently asked to summarize my thoughts as part of an executive presentation.

I thought my simplified version was worthy of a post – so here you go:

“As someone involved in the Industrial Marketplace – when researching or reading or searching online – are you doing this with a mouse in one hand and a credit card or purchase order in the other hand just itching to buy?

Chances are – probably not; and neither is anyone else online.

 There is currently over 150 years of research on HOW and WHY consumers of all kinds make decisions about WHICH and WHAT products to buy and well over 10 years of this research dedicated to just online “buying” behavior.

The results of this vast amount of research consistently reveal that there is a process or “buying cycle” to how people behave…

1. People become aware of, or INTERESTED-IN a particular product or service
2. As a next step, they CHECK IT OUT by doing some kind of RESEARCH
3. They then COMPARE & DECIDE which to buy; if any

 This simple buying process reveals two big things:

  •  Not every visitor is ready to buy all the time
  •  “Impulse Buying” does not generally exist in the Industrial B2B space

Of course this isn’t meant to imply that these people have no value; in fact the opposite.

Potential B2B buyers spend a lot of time online and see a lot of ads. Their purchases are therefore generally the outcome of multiple influences over time. We know that the impressions and results from the first few exposures and searches by a potential customer create the baseline used to compare all options under consideration as final selection nears.

As a result, a marketer needs to build awareness, consideration and purchase intent before the purchase is made.

If you aren’t marketing to all aspects of the realities of the buy cycle; your marketing plans and media campaigns will fail to reach their full potential.

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Almost 1/5th of Time Online is Spent With Social Media

According to a new survey out from Nielson, we are spending on average 17 percent of our online time socializing, nearly triple the percentage of time spent on social media a year ago.

According to Jon Gibbs, the VP of Media & Agency Insights @ Nielsen’s online division: “While video and text content remain central to the Web experience – the desire of online consumers to connect, communicate and share is increasingly driving the medium’s growth.”

It appears this increase in usage is driving increased ad revenues as a result – year-over-year, estimated online advertising spend on the top social network and blogging sites increased 119 percent, from approximately $49 million in August 2008 to approximately $108 million in August 2009.

It should be no surprise that the Entertainment Industry led in growing its online ad dollars, increasing ad spending on the top social network sites by 812% in August -but what about B2B?

Surprise surprise surprise…of the 13 industries tracked by Nielsen in this survey; B2B ranked 3rd in overall Year-Over-Year growth with 184% growth; only trailing Entertainment (812%) and Travel (364%).  Also surprisingly facebook was the leading platform for ad impressions for the b2b space.

You can see all 13 industries in the link below to the full survey.

The detail on spending and ad impressions for the 13 industries was fascinating; but I would have liked to see the breakdown of usage by these industries too – perhaps the 17% of time online is the average; but I have to suspect it’s lower for b2b folks (could be wrong); but overall some compelling trends to continue to monitor and watch.

http://en-us.nielsen.com/main/news/news_releases/2009/september/nielsen_reports_17

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Top Five B2B Twitter Mistakes (to me anyways…)

Just a quick short list of five mistakes you could make if you aren’t careful with how you are managing your b2b twitter account.

 I’m sure there are more – but these are the 5 big ones in my book

1. Making the mistake thinking that twitter is about talking vs. listening…Twitter is not the Internet version of the Town Crier where you simply ring your bell, yell something and then go back inside only to come out when it’s time to yell something again. Yelling something is fine; provided you are doing so to get followers to respond so that you can listen, reply and interact with them.

2. Over-editing or tightly-controlling your posts…Twitter is not about crafting one perfect post after another; what you “twit” doesn’t have a long shelf-life to begin with. Your message and personality gets developed over several posts throughout the day/week/month – people will forgive a less than perfect post…provided what you are saying initiates good discussions or passes along strong value or you follow it up quickly with something better.

3. Picking the wrong-person to run your twitter account or having someone tweet on behalf of someone else …o.k. so that’s really two separate mistakes but bear with me…First, your twitter posts are speaking on behalf of your company and your brand; make sure who ever is running your b2b twitter account is capable of making good judgments for the company so that everything that gets posted doesn’t need to run through an approval process and everything that is posted has some value. Secondly, if the person you want to run twitter is incapable of running twitter – you are picking the wrong person to be the face of any of your social media. If your CEO is too busy…don’t bother trying to impersonate your CEO – that could be embarrassing when it’s discovered – instead, pick someone else. Lastly; make sure who you pick is high enough in stature or presence that they can draw a following. In other word’s just because your marketing intern is “really good on computers” and “really gets” social media doesn’t mean he / she has the credibility / reputation to draw a following or to develop quality content.

4. Not updating regularly: People don’t expect hourly posts and they don’t necessarily expect daily posts – but they do expect meaningful / consistent activity. If you can’t regularly post content of solid value or discussion – you probably shouldn’t be bothering with social media to begin with.

5. Every post includes a link…occasionally or even frequently passing along other folks content via a link is fine – just don’t make it an occurrence in every post…especially if you happen to have folks who follow you with a mobile device; depending on reception; it’s easy to ignore these posts and eventually they could just end up ignoring you altogether.

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