Tag Archives: lead generation

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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Top organic listing on Google gets just 8.9% of clicks…

Pretty thought-provoking article and “infographic” here on google SEO vs. PPC trends; some highlights from my POV:

  • Top organic listing on Google gets 8.9% of clicks on page; 8.9% is still huge; but tells you how much the paid ads are getting overall – nearly 42% of all clicks go to first 3 paid listings.
  • Interesting how “pixel dominance” of paid ads is impacting click rates.
  • 89% of paid ad search traffic is “new” traffic that is outside organic reach.

Link: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/07/17/google-advertising

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Word Association: To Push or To Pull

It can be a real challenge for a marketer to successfully market online a product or service or solution that hasn’t previously existed before or that nobody knows even exists today. Perhaps you’ve created an innovative new product or taken advantage of an emerging technology or perhaps you’re solving a niche problem for a specialized marketplace through a unique application…how do you get that exciting news into the appropriate hands when people may not be searching for that kind of news or solution – I mean how would they know to search for it let alone how to search for it?

Rather than trying to directly market to a specific type of search, interest or “query” that may not exist yet – you might be more effective simply marketing to the right audience and creating the interest with them to begin with.

This type of campaign is often referred to as “push” marketing as you are attempting to push your message in front of your target market to create interest and demand. The opposite of “push” marketing would be pull marketing – where you are trying to market to someone already looking for a solution, and attempting to pull them towards you as a vendor of choice.

Push marketing messages often have a bit of an education or awareness angle, although they certainly aren’t limited to just this approach. This education can take shape in numerous ways that provide value to potential customers: 

  • Whitepapers
  • Press Clippings (Articles) / PR
  • PDF data sheets or catalog downloads
  • Case Studies or Application Notes
  • Online videos or Webinars
  • Email newsletters
  • Blog postings / Social media commentary

Other online marketing vehicles (like paid search or search optimization) can be creatively employed as well; but take some thought to effectively utilize well in new market / application scenarios.

To promote the availability and accessibility of this kind of news and information; you should give consideration to a combination of E-newsletter campaigns, broadcast banner advertising to a wide, but targeted audience, and direct email campaigns to your target market. Social media is of course another method to use.

To determine whether you should be using “push” media – give some thought to the words you are using (even internally in your own marketing meetings) when describing your “new” product, service or solution and the market you are trying to reach.

For example –

Product Attributes: If you are describing the product, service or solution using words like the below – you should consider “push marketing”: 

  • New
  • Cutting Edge
  • Emerging
  • Innovative
  • Replacement (e.g. it’s the “new”)
  • Alternative
  • Substitution
  • Equivalent
  • Comparative / Compare To
  • Advanced
  • Creative
  • Unique
  • Special

Target Market: If you are describing the target market (e.g. potential customers) using adjectives like the below – you should consider “push” marketing:

  • Niche
  • Special
  • Unique
  • Focused

Marketing Approach: If you are discussing or describing the possible marketing approach or vehicles you plan on using with the following terms – you should consider “push” marketing:

  • Educate / Teach
  • Introduce
  • Inform
  • Create Interest
  • Stimulate
  • Awareness
  • Roll-Out
  • Learn

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Virtual Tradeshows vs. Traditional Tradeshows

Exhibiting at traditional trade shows is one of the most utilized marketing tactics by companies targeting the industrial and manufacturing marketplace. The opportunity for direct engagement with prospects, customers and other vendors who could be potential partners or customers is invaluable and the opportunity to “shake hands” with key clients to thank them for their business is often perceived as priceless. On the flip side, exhibiting also tends to have the highest cost of other marketing alternatives when factoring in space fees, booth setup, storage & shipping costs, associated communications & promotion and travel, meal and lodging expenses. It’s also a challenging media to tangibly and quickly prove return on investment results as exhibitors have very real time and logistic demands from the show that can impact timely attendee follow-up.

It should be no surprise then that the worldwide economic situation has led to many companies having both scaled back budgets and staffs; creating a very real decline in attendance and in exhibitors at many industrial shows. The challenges facing the traditional trade show market due to the economy have only been exacerbated by the additional very real issues of travel woes & hassles due to scaling back nationwide of flight choices, the continued dominance of the web as a primary research vehicle and the explosion of social media options.

These realities have created a ‘perfect storm” opportunity for the emergence of virtual tradeshows or e-Events as a viable alternative or supplement to both attendees and exhibitors alike.

Almost everyone is comfortable interacting online today. People attend webinars and view video presentations, they earn online university degrees or certifications, comment on blogs and rate products, and engage in social networking via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Industrial professionals are no different and they have largely migrated online for work-related purposes. Online events are an emerging online option for these professionals to gain the information and insight they require for their jobs; without many of the downsides associated with the traditional tradeshow.

For attendees, online events:

  • Provide opportunities to interact with suppliers in a comfortable online environment
  • Give quick access to information from multiple related vendors in a centralized manner
  • Avoid the hassle and expense of travel, hotels, meals, and time away from the office
  • Offer a wide array of educational and professional opportunities
  • Enable attendees to easily abandon the event if it’s not meeting their needs or expectations (marketers take note)

 For marketers, online events:

  • Provide you with many of the benefits of location-based events, including branding exposure and lead generation at a fraction of the cost and hassle.
  • Help you reach a targeted, yet broad & global audience
  • Offer the convenience and productivity of allowing you to remain in your office at a computer while hosting and managing an event
  • Generate important and relevant sales lead information on attendees such as their interest area and online activity in a timely and organized fashion.
  • Position you and your company as a thought leader
  • Allow you leave the giveaways behind (no more booth visitors feigning interest just to collect the goodies!)

Online tradeshows can be highly interactive, allowing attendees to visit suppliers’ “booths,” chat with suppliers, ask questions, participate in discussions, and access content such as white papers and collateral. Much like traditional tradeshows, these events provide the opportunity for one-on-one conversations with attendees, and many attendees of virtual events gain a sense of empowerment and comfort in the ability to interact with you the way they prefer—online, from their own desks.

Exhibiting at an online tradeshow is in many ways like a traditional location-based event, complete with multiple vendors showcasing their products and services, branding visibility, and interaction with a target audience. Of course, there are no travel costs and time away from the office—for you, or your attendees.

Are there trade-offs? Sure – a chance to be face-to-face with an existing or potential customer or the opportunity for someone to see your products “in action” are two big ones and virtual experiences will never replace those in person opportunities. However, the economic, time and resource benefits of virtual tradeshows and e-Events are too big to not experience or explore.

Before you exhibit at an online tradeshow, determine what content would be most valuable for attendees, such as white papers, data sheets, and other collateral—just as you would for a location-based event. Also, line up the people in your company who will staff the booth and interact with attendees. Then, be sure to choose a virtual event that offers the following:

  • Targeting of your audience and marketing to attract them to the event.
  • Opportunities to visibly brand your company within the virtual environment.
  • Rich opportunities to engage your audience, such as online chat, real-time Q&As, online panel discussions and more.
  • Tools for attendees to interact with each other.
  • Tracking and reporting of attendees’ online activity in your booth, so you can discover their area of interest.
  • Complete intelligence reports on attendees with full contact information and other relevant data for your sales team to follow-up.

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Best Advertising is Quality Content

Nice blog post from Josh Gordon on a presentation Gordon Borell gave at the Digital Magazine Symposium.

According to Josh’s post – After surveying the financial results from thousands of local media Web operations for the past eight years Borrell concludes there is no direct correlation between large amounts of traffic and large amounts of money. Many of the most profitable websites make money because their content functions like advertising did years ago, as a customer educator for product sales. 

According to Borrell, visitors of these sites are “leaning forward” to read the content while probably ignoring the banner ads.

Read the whole blog here:

http://jgordon5.typepad.com/blog/2010/03/at-last-weeks-digital-maazine-symposium-gordon-borell-astonished-the-audiece-by-lining-up-how-readers-with-money-charged-for-1.html

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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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Google Testing Full-Contact Lead Capture

Google AdWords is testing a type of full contact lead capture for Adwords; the below link has more details but looks like “PPC Hero” was the first to roll out details on this beta, named contact form extensions.

Contact form extensions provides a contact form directly in the search ad, which a searcher can fill out and the advertiser can then use in the future to contact that lead. It is very similar to a lead acquisition form, but this one is found directly in an expanded Google AdWords ad.

Link to article from Searchengineland; which contains links to th PPC Hero content as well.

http://searchengineland.com/google-adwords-testing-lead-capture-forms-contact-form-extensions-32971

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