Archive for Email Marketing

Why and How Email Feedback Loops Increase Customer Satisfaction and Reduce Complaints

Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, CRM with tags , , , , on December 4, 2011 by Consultant

Why and How Email Feedback Loops Increase Customer Satisfaction and Reduce Complaints

If you are a large-volume sender of email, you should be signed up for all the feedback loops that are available. Why? Because feedback loops are a great way to report spam, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce sender questions and end-user complaints.

Feedback loops enable your subscribers, who are the customers of Internet service providers (ISPs) or mailbox providers, to report spam via their Web-based mail service (e.g., Gmail) or custom email client (e.g., Outlook)—and funnel those spam complaints back to the email sender.

Originally conceived as a tool for ISPs to use to identify abuse coming from their servers and networks, feedback loops are now available (via ISPs) for email marketers, publishers, and other senders to enroll in. In fact, traditional bulk senders have even made it standard practice to do so.

You’re not a spammer, so why are your subscribers marking your mail as spam?

Subscribers may report mail they signed up for as spam because they feel the messages aren’t relevant to them anymore, they find it too difficult to unsubscribe, or they receive too many messages. Subscribers also complain if they didn’t give explicit permission for you to email them, or if your messages turn out to be different from what they thought they were signing up for.

 

In addition to helping the global anti-spam fight, feedback loops will help reduce your complaint rate per IP address and improve your reputation as a marketer, helping to ensure that your emails reach your customer’s inbox.

By removing subscribers who don’t want to receive your emails, you’ll reduce your complaint rate because chances are they won’t complain again. And if you have low complaint rates, ISPs are much more inclined to allow your messages to reach the inboxes of those subscribers who really do want to receive them.

A 2009 study by Return Path found that 20% of legitimate email never makes it to the inbox. Why? Because of email delivery problems based on sender reputation. Your sender reputation is critical to inbox deliverability, and subscriber complaint rates could be keeping you out.

Here are some specific considerations marketers need to keep in mind regarding feedback loops… and some steps to take to get in—and stay in—the inbox.

1.  Place subscriber-identifiable data in your email headers or in your URLs

When sending back feedback loop complaints, ISPs are often required to redact the email addresses of subscribers who mark email as spam because of privacy issues. Therefore, to identify subscribers and exclude them from future mailings, you’ll need to include the subscriber ID in the email header or the URL of links.

2. Flag subscribers

Properly flag subscribers who were removed via the feedback-loop system in your database. That will help you accurately report those who were removed because of spam complaints, as opposed to bounces and unsubscribes.

3. Automate the removal of your feedback-loop complainers

Removing those who complain about your messages manually not only takes a lot of time but also may result in sending multiple emails to subscribers who complained, which can result in further complaints.

4. Analyze your complaints

Perform analysis on your complaints to gather insight into why your subscribers complain. That analysis can help determine where in the subscriber lifecycle you’re having issues, and predict future subscriber behavior.

5. Calculate your complaint rate

Use your inbox placement rates—the total number of email messages that reached the inbox as opposed to the spam folder—in the calculation of your complaint rate. Most senders measure total volume, which gives them an artificially low—and inaccurate —complaint rate. Your subscribers can’t mark mail as spam if it’s in the spam folder, so that’s why it’s not used to calculate complaint rates by ISPs.

6. Incorporate feedback-loop data into your testing plan

When conducting A/B testing on content, incorporating your complaint rate into the mix can help reduce the chance of reputation issues.

* * *

By signing up for feedback loops, marketers can maintain low complaint rates by receiving explicit permission to email subscribers, honoring subscribers’ preferences on email frequency and type, and making it easy for subscribers to unsubscribe or change their preferences. Giving subscribers control of what type of messages they receive, and when they receive them, can go a long way toward maintaining low complaint rates.

If you haven’t enrolled in feedback loops, don’t delay. The benefits are measurable. To sign up to these feedback-loop services, including two new feedback loops from Synacor and Fastmail, fill out the forms listed at the end of this article. You will need your email address set up so complaints can be forwarded to you, and you’ll also need to be able to access that mailbox to receive the confirmation email that completes the set up. You’ll receive a confirmation from the postmasters when they have completed the feedback-loop set up.

AOL
Hotmail
BlueTie
Comcast
Cox
MailTrust (Rackspace)
TWC/Road Runner
USA.net
Yahoo!
Open SRS
Synacor
Fastmail
Rackspace

Advertisements

Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts), Search Engine Optimization with tags , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Modern Theories of Motivation

We all are familiar with the classical theories of motivation, but they all are not empirically supported. As far as contemporary theories of motivation are concerned, all are well supported with evidences. Some of the contemporary / modern theories of motivation are explained below:

  • ERG Theory

ERG Theory of Motivation

To bring Maslow’s need hierarchy theory of motivation in synchronization with empirical research, Clayton Alderfer redefined it in his own terms. His rework is called as ERG theory of motivation. He recategorized Maslow’s hierarchy of needs into three simpler and broader classes of needs:

  • Existence needs- These include need for basic material necessities. In short, it includes an individual’s physiological and physical safety needs.
  • Relatedness needs- These include the aspiration individual’s have for maintaining significant interpersonal relationships (be it with family, peers or superiors), getting public fame and recognition. Maslow’s social needs and external component of esteem needs fall under this class of need.
  • Growth needs- These include need for self-development and personal growth and advancement. Maslow’s self-actualization needs and intrinsic component of esteem needs fall under this category of need.

ERG Theory of MotivationThe significance of the three classes of needs may vary for each individual.

Difference between Maslow Need Hierarchy Theory and Alderfer’s ERG Theory
ERG Theory states that at a given point of time, more than one need may be operational.
ERG Theory also shows that if the fulfillment of a higher-level need is subdued, there is an increase in desire for satisfying a lower-level need.
According to Maslow, an individual remains at a particular need level until that need is satisfied. While according to ERG theory, if a higher- level need aggravates, an individual may revert to increase the satisfaction of a lower- level need. This is called frustration- regression aspect of ERG theory. For instance- when growth need aggravates, then an individual might be motivated to accomplish the relatedness need and if there are issues in accomplishing relatedness needs, then he might be motivated by the existence needs. Thus, frustration/aggravation can result in regression to a lower-level need.
While Maslow’s need hierarchy theory is rigid as it assumes that the needs follow a specific and orderly hierarchy and unless a lower-level need is satisfied, an individual cannot proceed to the higher-level need; ERG Theory of motivation is very flexible as he perceived the needs as a range/variety rather than perceiving them as a hierarchy. According to Alderfer, an individual can work on growth needs even if his existence or relatedness needs remain unsatisfied. Thus, he gives explanation to the issue of “starving artist” who can struggle for growth even if he is hungry.
Implications of the ERG Theory

Managers must understand that an employee has various needs that must be satisfied at the same time. According to the ERG theory, if the manager concentrates solely on one need at a time, this will not effectively motivate the employee. Also, the frustration- regression aspect of ERG Theory has an added effect on workplace motivation. For instance- if an employee is not provided with growth and advancement opportunities in an organization, he might revert to the relatedness need such as socializing needs and to meet those socializing needs, if the environment or circumstances do not permit, he might revert to the need for money to fulfill those socializing needs. The sooner the manager realizes and discovers this, the more immediate steps they will take to fulfill those needs which are frustrated until such time that the employee can again pursue growth.

  • McClelland’s Theory of Needs
David McClelland and his associates proposed McClelland’s theory of Needs / Achievement Motivation Theory. This theory states that human behaviour is affected by three needs – Need for Power, Achievement and Affiliation. Need for achievement is the urge to excel, to accomplish in relation to a set of standards, to struggle to achieve success. Need for power is the desire to influence other individual’s behaviour as per your wish. In other words, it is the desire to have control over others and to be influential. Need for affiliationis a need for open and sociable interpersonal relationships. In other words, it is a desire for relationship based on co-operation and mutual understanding.

The individuals with high achievement needs are highly motivated by competing and challenging work. They look for promotional opportunities in job. They have a strong urge for feedback on their achievement. Such individuals try to get satisfaction in performing things better. High achievement is directly related to high performance. Individuals who are better and above average performers are highly motivated. They assume responsibility for solving the problems at work. McClelland called such individuals as gamblers as they set challenging targets

for themselves and they take deliberate risk to achieve those set targets. Such individuals look for innovative ways of performing job. They perceive achievement of goals as a reward, and value it more than a financial reward.

The individuals who are motivated by power have a strong urge to be influential and controlling. They want that their views and ideas should dominate and thus, they want to lead. Such individuals are motivated by the need for reputation and self-esteem. Individuals with greater power and authority will perform better than those possessing less power. Generally, managers with high need for power turn out to be more efficient and successful managers. They are more determined and loyal to the organization they work for. Need for power should not always be taken negatively. It can be viewed as the need to have a positive effect on the organization and to support the organization in achieving it’s goals.

The individuals who are motivated by affiliation have an urge for a friendly and supportive environment. Such individuals are effective performers in a team. These people want to be liked by others. The manager’s ability to make decisions is hampered if they have a high affiliation need as they prefer to be accepted and liked by others, and this weakens their objectivity. Individuals having high affiliation needs prefer working in an environment providing greater personal interaction. Such people have a need to be on the good books of all. They generally cannot be good leaders.

  • Goal Setting Theory

In 1960’s, Edwin Locke put forward the Goal-setting theory of motivation. This theory states that goal setting is essentially linked to task performance. It states that specific and challenging goals along with appropriate feedback contribute to higher and better task performance. In simple words, goals indicate and give direction to an employee about what needs to be done and how much efforts are required to be put in. The important features of goal-setting theory are as follows:

The willingness to work towards attainment of goal is main source of job motivation. Clear, particular and difficult goals are greater motivating factors than easy, general and vague goals.
Specific and clear goals lead to greater output and better performance. Unambiguous, measurable and clear goals accompanied by a deadline for completion avoids misunderstanding.
Goals should be realistic and challenging. This gives an individual a feeling of pride and triumph when he attains them, and sets him up for attainment of next goal. The more challenging the goal, the greater is the reward generally and the more is the passion for achieving it.
Better and appropriate feedback of results directs the employee behaviour and contributes to higher performance than absence of feedback. Feedback is a means of gaining reputation, making clarifications and regulating goal difficulties. It helps employees to work with more involvement and leads to greater job satisfaction.
Employees’ participation in goal is not always desirable.
Participation of setting goal, however, makes goal more acceptable and leads to more involvement.
Goal setting theory has certain eventualities such as:

  1. Self-efficiency- Self-efficiency is the individual’s self-confidence and faith that he has potential of performing the task. Higher the level of self-efficiency, greater will be the efforts put in by the individual when they face challenging tasks. While, lower the level of self-efficiency, less will be the efforts put in by the individual or he might even quit while meeting challenges.
  2. Goal commitment- Goal setting theory assumes that the individual is committed to the goal and will not leave the goal. The goal commitment is dependent on the following factors:
    1. Goals are made open, known and broadcasted.
    2. Goals should be set-self by individual rather than designated.
    3. Individual’s set goals should be consistent with the organizational goals and vision.
Advantages of Goal Setting Theory
  • Goal setting theory is a technique used to raise incentives for employees to complete work quickly and effectively.
  • Goal setting leads to better performance by increasing motivation and efforts, but also through increasing and improving the feedback quality.
Limitations of Goal Setting Theory
  • At times, the organizational goals are in conflict with the managerial goals. Goal conflict has a detrimental effect on the performance if it motivates incompatible action drift.
  • Very difficult and complex goals stimulate riskier behaviour.
  • If the employee lacks skills and competencies to perform actions essential for goal, then the goal-setting can fail and lead to undermining of performance.
  • There is no evidence to prove that goal-setting improves job satisfaction.

  • Reinforcement Theory

Reinforcement theory of motivation was proposed by BF Skinner and his associates. It states that individual’s behaviour is a function of its consequences. It is based on “law of effect”, i.e, individual’s behaviour with positive consequences tends to be repeated, but individual’s behaviour with negative consequences tends not to be repeated.

Reinforcement theory of motivation overlooks the internal state of individual, i.e., the inner feelings and drives of individuals are ignored by Skinner. This theory focuses totally on what happens to an individual when he takes some action. Thus, according to Skinner, the external environment of the organization must be designed effectively and positively so as to motivate the employee. This theory is a strong tool for analyzing controlling mechanism for individual’s behaviour. However, it does not focus on the causes of individual’s behaviour.

The managers use the following methods for controlling the behaviour of the employees:

Positive Reinforcement- This implies giving a positive response when an individual shows positive and required behaviour. For example – Immediately praising an employee for coming early for job. This will increase probability of outstanding behaviour occurring again. Reward is a positive reinforce, but not necessarily. If and only if the employees’ behaviour improves, reward can said to be a positive reinforcer. Positive reinforcement stimulates occurrence of a behaviour. It must be noted that more spontaneous is the giving of reward, the greater reinforcement value it has.
Negative Reinforcement- This implies rewarding an employee by removing negative / undesirable consequences. Both positive and negative reinforcement can be used for increasing desirable / required behaviour.
Punishment- It implies removing positive consequences so as to lower the probability of repeating undesirable behaviour in future. In other words, punishment means applying undesirable consequence for showing undesirable behaviour. For instance – Suspending an employee for breaking the organizational rules. Punishment can be equalized by positive reinforcement from alternative source.
Extinction- It implies absence of reinforcements. In other words, extinction implies lowering the probability of undesired behaviour by removing reward for that kind of behaviour. For instance – if an employee no longer receives praise and admiration for his good work, he may feel that his behaviour is generating no fruitful consequence. Extinction may unintentionally lower desirable behaviour.
Implications of Reinforcement Theory

Reinforcement theory explains in detail how an individual learns behaviour. Managers who are making attempt to motivate the employees must ensure that they do not reward all employees simultaneously. They must tell the employees what they are not doing correct. They must tell the employees how they can achieve positive reinforcement.

  • Equity Theory of Motivation

The core of the equity theory is the principle of balance or equity. As per this motivation theory, an individual’s motivation level is correlated to his perception of equity, fairness and justice practiced by the management. Higher is individual’s perception of fairness, greater is the motivation level and vice versa. While evaluating fairness, employee compares the job input (in terms of contribution) to outcome (in terms of compensation) and also compares the same with that of another peer of equal cadre/category. D/I ratio (output-input ratio) is used to make such a comparison.

EQUITY THEORY
Ratio Comparison Perception
O/I a < O/I b Under-rewarded (Equity Tension)
O/I a = O/I b Equity
O/I a > O/I b Over-rewarded (Equity Tension)

Negative Tension state: Equity is perceived when this ratio is equal. While if this ratio is unequal, it leads to “equity tension”. J.Stacy Adams called this a negative tension state which motivates him to do something right to relieve this tension. A comparison has been made between 2 workers A and B to understand this point.

Referents: The four comparisons an employee can make have been termed as “referents” according to Goodman. The referent chosen is a significant variable in equity theory. These referents are as follows:

Self-inside: An employee’s experience in a different position inside his present organization.
Self-outside: An employee’s experience in a situation outside the present organization.
Other-inside: Another employee or group of employees inside the employee’s present organization.
Other-outside: Another employee or employees outside the employee’s present organization.

An employee might compare himself with his peer within the present job in the current organization or with his friend/peer working in some other organization or with the past jobs held by him with others. An employee’s choice of the referent will be influenced by the appeal of the referent and the employee’s knowledge about the referent.

Moderating Variables: The gender, salary, education and the experience level are moderating variables. Individuals with greater and higher education are more informed. Thus, they are likely to compare themselves with the outsiders. Males and females prefer same sex comparison. It has been observed that females are paid typically less than males in comparable jobs and have less salary expectations than male for the same work. Thus, a women employee that uses another women employee as a referent tends to lead to a lower comparative standard. Employees with greater experience know their organization very well and compare themselves with their own colleagues, while employees with less experience rely on their personal experiences and knowledge for making comparisons.

Choices: The employees who perceive inequity and are under negative tension can make the following choices:

Change in input (e.g. Don’t overexert)
Change their outcome (Produce quantity output and increasing earning by sacrificing quality when piece rate incentive system exist)
Choose a different referent
Quit the job
Change self perception (For instance – I know that I’ve performed better and harder than everyone else.)
Change perception of others (For instance – Jack’s job is not as desirable as I earlier thought it was.)
Assumptions of the Equity Theory
  • The theory demonstrates that the individuals are concerned both with their own rewards and also with what others get in their comparison.
  • Employees expect a fair and equitable return for their contribution to their jobs.
  • Employees decide what their equitable return should be after comparing their inputs and outcomes with those of their colleagues.
  • Employees who perceive themselves as being in an inequitable scenario will attempt to reduce the inequity either by distorting inputs and/or outcomes psychologically, by directly altering inputs and/or outputs, or by quitting the organization.

  • Expectancy Theory of Motivation

    he expectancy theory was proposed by Victor Vroom of Yale School of Management in 1964. Vroom stresses and focuses on outcomes, and not on needs unlike Maslow and Herzberg. The theory states that the intensity of a tendency to perform in a particular manner is dependent on the intensity of an expectation that the performance will be followed by a definite outcome and on the appeal of the outcome to the individual.

    The Expectancy theory states that employee’s motivation is an outcome of how much an individual wants a reward (Valence), the assessment that the likelihood that the effort will lead to expected performance (Expectancy) and the belief that the performance will lead to reward (Instrumentality). In short,Valence is the significance associated by an individual about the expected outcome. It is an expected and not the actual satisfaction that an employee expects to receive after achieving the goals. Expectancy is the faith that better efforts will result in better performance. Expectancy is influenced by factors such as possession of appropriate skills for performing the job, availability of right resources, availability of crucial information and getting the required support for completing the job.

    Instrumentality is the faith that if you perform well, then a valid outcome will be there. Instrumentality is affected by factors such as believe in the people who decide who receives what outcome, the simplicity of the process deciding who gets what outcome, and clarity of relationship between performance and outcomes. Thus, the expectancy theory concentrates on the following three relationships:
    • Effort-performance relationship: What is the likelihood that the individual’s effort be recognized in his performance appraisal?
    • Performance-reward relationship: It talks about the extent to which the employee believes that getting a good performance appraisal leads to organizational rewards.
    • Rewards-personal goals relationship: It is all about the attractiveness or appeal of the potential reward to the individual.

    Vroom was of view that employees consciously decide whether to perform or not at the job. This decision solely depended on the employee’s motivation level which in turn depends on three factors of expectancy, valence and instrumentality.

    Advantages of the Expectancy Theory
    • It is based on self-interest individual who want to achieve maximum satisfaction and who wants to minimize dissatisfaction.
    • This theory stresses upon the expectations and perception; what is real and actual is immaterial.
    • It emphasizes on rewards or pay-offs.
    • It focuses on psychological extravagance where final objective of individual is to attain maximum pleasure and least pain.
    Limitations of the Expectancy Theory
    • The expectancy theory seems to be idealistic because quite a few individuals perceive high degree correlation between performance and rewards.
    • The application of this theory is limited as reward is not directly correlated with performance in many organizations. It is related to other parameters also such as position, effort, responsibility, education, etc.
    Implications of the Expectancy Theory
    The managers can correlate the preferred outcomes to the aimed performance levels.
    The managers must ensure that the employees can achieve the aimed performance levels.
    The deserving employees must be rewarded for their exceptional performance.
    The reward system must be fair and just in an organization.
    Organizations must design interesting, dynamic and challenging jobs.
    The employee’s motivation level should be continually assessed through various techniques such as questionnaire, personal interviews, etc.

Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Advantages of Planning

  1. Planning facilitates management by objectives.
    1. Planning begins with determination of objectives.
    2. It highlights the purposes for which various activities are to be undertaken.
    3. In fact, it makes objectives more clear and specific.
    4. Planning helps in focusing the attention of employees on the objectives or goals of enterprise.
    5. Without planning an organization has no guide.
    6. Planning compels manager to prepare a Blue-print of the courses of action to be followed for accomplishment of objectives.
    7. Therefore, planning brings order and rationality into the organization.

     

     

  2. Planning minimizes uncertainties.
    1. Business is full of uncertainties.
    2. There are risks of various types due to uncertainties.
    3. Planning helps in reducing uncertainties of future as it involves anticipation of future events.
    4. Although future cannot be predicted with cent percent accuracy but planning helps management to anticipate future and prepare for risks by necessary provisions to meet unexpected turn of events.
    5. Therefore with the help of planning, uncertainties can be forecasted which helps in preparing standbys as a result, uncertainties are minimized to a great extent.

     

     

  3. Planning facilitates co-ordination.
    1. Planning revolves around organizational goals.
    2. All activities are directed towards common goals.
    3. There is an integrated effort throughout the enterprise in various departments and groups.
    4. It avoids duplication of efforts. In other words, it leads to better co-ordination.
    5. It helps in finding out problems of work performance and aims at rectifying the same.

     

     

  4. Planning improves employee’s moral.
    1. Planning creates an atmosphere of order and discipline in organization.
    2. Employees know in advance what is expected of them and therefore conformity can be achieved easily.
    3. This encourages employees to show their best and also earn reward for the same.
    4. Planning creates a healthy attitude towards work environment which helps in boosting employees moral and efficiency.

     

     

  5. Planning helps in achieving economies.
    1. Effective planning secures economy since it leads to orderly allocation ofresources to various operations.
    2. It also facilitates optimum utilization of resources which brings economy in operations.
    3. It also avoids wastage of resources by selecting most appropriate use that will contribute to the objective of enterprise. For example, raw materials can be purchased in bulk and transportation cost can be minimized. At the same time it ensures regular supply for the production department, that is, overall efficiency.

     

     

  6. Planning facilitates controlling.
    1. Planning facilitates existence of certain planned goals and standard of performance.
    2. It provides basis of controlling.
    3. We cannot think of an effective system of controlling without existence of well thought out plans.
    4. Planning provides pre-determined goals against which actual performance is compared.
    5. In fact, planning and controlling are the two sides of a same coin. If planning is root, controlling is the fruit.

     

     

  7. Planning provides competitive edge.
    1. Planning provides competitive edge to the enterprise over the others which do not have effective planning. This is because of the fact that planning may involve changing in work methods, quality, quantity designs, extension of work, redefining of goals, etc.
    2. With the help of forecasting not only the enterprise secures its future but at the same time it is able to estimate the future motives of it’s competitor which helps in facing future challenges.
    3. Therefore, planning leads to best utilization of possible resources, improves quality of production and thus the competitive strength of the enterprise is improved.

     

     

  8. Planning encourages innovations.
    1. In the process of planning, managers have the opportunities of suggesting ways and means of improving performance.
    2. Planning is basically a decision making function which involves creative thinking and imagination that ultimately leads to innovation of methods and operations for growth and prosperity of the enterprise.

Posted in B2B, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

Get ‘Em While They’re Hot: Six Ways to Maximize Lead Conversion

In today’s competitive business landscape, your company is undoubtedly spending significant dollars to generate leads. In fact, you’re likely branching out to newer technologies and channels—such as mobile, text messaging, social media, and Web videos—to bring in more leads.

Though you’re increasing your inbound leads, what happens once you get them? Do your lead-response efforts take advantage of your lead flow? Could your lead-conversion rates use a boost? Without successful conversion, leads are essentially useless.

Here are six steps that’ll immediately increase your lead-conversion rates.

1. Focus on speed to lead

According to a Kellogg study, the odds of reaching a lead increases 100% if the lead is called within five minutes rather than 30 minutes. The study also found that the odds of qualifying and converting a lead increases 21 times if the lead is called within five minutes vs. 30. Calling leads immediately—before your competition—turns rapid response time into a competitive advantage.

2. Convert leads to conversations—then to sales

Don’t get caught up measuring how many leads you’re getting. The question is, How many are you talking to? Converting more leads starts with more conversations. Don’t rely on email to initiate contact with a hot lead. Instantly calling incoming prospects means that you can spend more time closing sales—and less time pursuing cold leads.

3. Don’t rely on CRM systems

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can stand in the way of immediately reaching your leads by phone. A LeadQual study found that only 40% of leads receive a response via telephone within 24 hours. In the several hours or full business day it may take your CRM system to route incoming lead information to you, your competition may have already contacted and closed the sale.

4. Connect first using lead-response management services

The LeadQual study found that speed is the single largest driver of conversion and being the first business to contact a lead increases conversion 238%. Lead-response management services are designed to connect you with incoming leads by calling you immediately and giving you relevant information about the lead. Such services prompt you to be instantly connected with a prospect, offering the opportunity to begin a sales conversation. Clients of one lead-response management service have experienced lead-conversion-rate increases of up to 300% after using the service.

5. Be available—anywhere, anytime

Not there? No problem. As a busy marketer, you’re often away from your desk. According to a Leads360 study, weekend and after-hour leads are extremely valuable, but they are often neglected. Similarly, a LeadQual report found that enormous opportunity exists for after-hour and weekend calling when many companies aren’t staffed for rapid response. In the age of mobility, there’s no excuse to miss an incoming lead. Lead-response management services enable marketers and sales reps to receive detailed lead information by phone—and to make immediate phone contact with the lead, regardless of the rep’s location.

6. Be systematically persistent

You already know that persistence is key to sales success. But consistently following up with leads is easier said than done. A Leads360 report found that 35% of leads are reached on the first call and up to 72% are reached with the second call—but 48% of leads never get a second call. Accordingly, some lead-response management services offer systematic reattempt capabilities that automatically call reps with lead information, offering one-touch connection with leads for instant phone conversations on the second and subsequent attempts. As a result, no lead goes to waste, and more connections are made.

* * *

You’re competing hard to generate new inquiries and prospects, but that’s not where the battle ends. You are, in essence, wasting marketing dollars if you don’t apply the same amount of effort to lead response and conversion that you do to lead generation.

Make the most of your hard-fought incoming leads by putting in place systems that’ll immediately connect you with leads by phone, help you close more sales, and ultimately, maximize your lead conversion rates.

Posted in Consumer Behavior, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts), Search Engine Optimization with tags , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

What’s Wrong With Your Email: A Second Look at Proven Attention Grabbers

On any given day, between 20 and 50 pieces of unsolicited email sail past my spam blocker and into my inbox. When I worked in business development, I purged them indiscriminately. As I got involved with marketing, I skimmed through them occasionally for ideas and inspired copy.

Once I became a writer, I often edited the messages in my head—until the day a direct mailer arrived that set off all the “newbie” alarms and I had to intervene at once.

The following is my response to the emailer. Below that is the original email, with identifiable details withheld to ensure privacy.

* * *

Dear X.

 

I left Quartesian last year to become a full-time writer of digital marketing content, including direct email like the one I was lucky enough to receive from you.

Before that, I had spent four years in your shoes, trying to do both marketing and sales on a shoestring for a small ambitious B2B service provider. So, I hope you take this letter in the spirit in which it is written: one professional reaching out to another to share insight and offer support.

Getting Attention

Let me start with the subject line. When I get an email from a name I don’t recognize at a company I’ve never heard of with the subject line “Conference Call with Quartesian LLC,” I know right away that it’s spam. If my assistant doesn’t delete it for me, I will do so on my next break between meetings when I get a minute to glance at my BlackBerry.

A better choice would have been something like “WSJ says 40% of B2B providers will include mobile apps into their marketing budgets”—but only if it’s true. That way, the email promises to tell me something new or important, and I will be more likely to put it into a “read later” pile—or forward it to a colleague.

Making the First Impression

Let’s just say I opened your message in spite of the telltale subject line. I will delete it after I read the first sentence. Why? “I would like to get on your calendar” is the BD equivalent of “What’s your number?” Try using it as a pick-up line, and see what happens.

In a live conversation you would first introduce yourself and try to arouse my interest and build some trust. Emails are no different. Of course, stating your purpose up front is important. In your case, though, everyone knows that the purpose of “personalized” junk mail is to get a meeting.

A better use of the 30 seconds I will spend deciding whether to read the rest of your email is to show me what you know about my business that I don’t. For example: “Would you like to stay ‘top of mind’ with your best prospects while making their day a little better? That’s just what Mxx’s clients in the insurance, restaurant, airline, and many other industries are doing—with the help of our customized turnkey mobile app solutions.”

Captivating Your Audience

Does spam really work? Survey says yes, but only when it correctly addresses the needs of a specific buyer segment. But even if I laugh off your first sentence and keep reading, I will delete your message after I read the first paragraph.

Why? Because my clients are businesses. Though they are a hit with consumer brands, mobile apps are still a novelty in the B2B world.

By glossing over that important distinction, you make it clear that you don’t understand my business and will waste my time. A better approach would have been to create a separate version of the letter for the B2B segment (even better if you can make it industry specific)—showing the value of your solution to my business, or at least citing relevant market data.

Using Common Sense

Are white supremacist groups your core market? Or did you really expect to score points with corporate America by saying, “Our developers are best-of-breed, based in Nuremberg, Germany. We don’t outsource to India or other third-world countries—and never will”?

I am sure you know that most “respected” companies in your target group do outsource to the “third world,” as does my old employer, Quartesian. Besides, how do you know that I myself am not from there?

Making a Compelling Time-Bound Offer

$5,000 for a purebred German piece of code sounds outrageous. Even if you can afford to do it that cheaply, first year online MBA courses say you are not obligated to sell at cost.

The throw-away pricing reeks of desperation and casts a doubt over the existence of “the most respected” clients you alluded to earlier. Now I don’t think you have any clients at all.

You tell me that the price goes up next week. I don’t believe that either. I think Mxx is made up of amateurs who have no idea how to price, market, or sell a product. And at this point, I am not even sure that you have a product to sell.

Since Mxx already includes “a detailed list of competitive or similar apps on the market” with every job, why not use it as an introductory offer instead? There is a natural urgency to staying abreast of the competition. And what better way to showcase your expertise and the value of your product?

Ending on a Personal Note

So, after you’ve spammed my mailbox, obnoxiously requested to “get on my calendar,” ignored my real needs, insulted my company, and made a ridiculous offer followed up by an equally ridiculous sales push, you are ready to show me the fun and caring side of yourself with “I hope you are able to spend some quality time with your friends and family this past Easter weekend. I’ll be in London for the royal wedding, but available all next week.”

I too hope you spend some quality time this weekend. Then come back to work and write a sales letter that has a fighting chance.

While you are at it, think of other ways to spread the word about Mxx. Wouldn’t it be nice if those most interested in your product were able to find and contact you themselves—through strategically placed content?

If you need help wording your message or telling your story, you can get on my calendar anytime. The price will be the same next week. And I promise I won’t outsource your writing project to India.

Wishing you success,

Olga Taylor

* * *

April 28, 2011

Subject: Conference call with Quartesian LLC

Dear Olga:

I would like to get on your calendar to speak with you about mobile app development. We develop apps on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Symbian, Android, and Windows Portable Media platforms. Our speciality is developing apps that are multi-platform for the same cost others charge for a single device. We offer a turn-key solution. Simply tell us your goals, give us a list of the apps you like the most, those you like the least, describe the basic functionality you require, and we will take it from there.

Our process is truly unique. We write the technical specification documents for you. We provide a detailed list of competitive or similar apps on the market today. We design the interface for the app, provide a working prototype, detailed wireframes and documention PRIOR to writing the first line of code. Our creative team ensures the look and feel of your app matches your brand. We can create apps for less than half the cost of other developers because we leverage existing code for basic functionality. Our developers are best-of-breed, based in Nuremberg Germany. We don’t outsource to India or other third world countries—and never will.

Our development efforts are used by many of the most respected banks, insurance companies, airlines, casinos, cruiseliners, restaurants, retailers, rental car companies, law firms, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, telephone and utility companies. Our introductory program is limited to one per company and this provides all of the aforementioned functions for only $5,000 until May 1st. ($10k thereafter)

I’ve asked my executive assistant S. H. to call your office to arrange a time for us to speak. I’ll provide a web-ex style presentation that will focus on how we can best meet your mobile needs. I only need to know a) desired devices, b) overview of functionality, c) your favorite app with similar functionality d) name of project, e) min and max budget and f) timeline for delivery of product. I hope you are able to spend some quality time with your friends and family this past Easter weekend. I’ll be in London for the royal wedding, but available all next week.

Sincerely,

X. Y.
Executive Vice President Business Development, Mxx, Inc.