Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How To Keep The Conversation Going (E-Mail Marketing)

Via Tamara Gielen's blog BeRelevant, I came across this article she got from Wendy Roth. A great summary on how to keep the conversation going with e-mail marketing.

You can keep the conversation going, without violating any government regulations on commercial email, and maybe even salvage a stronger relationship on new grounds. Here are five ways:

1. Let subscribers choose how often they want to get email from you.
Sure, you've heard this advice before, but if Chad's statistic is correct, only 16 percent of you have taken it to heart and actually give subscribers a chance to receive fewer emails. So you send offers two to three times a week? Offer a weekly alternative if the links stay active that long. Think of it as a cheap way to repurpose your daily content and keep the clicks coming in.

2. Let subscribers pick the content they really want, not just what you think they like.
Another not-earth-shattering suggestion, but again, one that only a few email marketers have taken to heart according to the research. You don't even have to have a fancy content-management system that generates dynamic content down to the most granular level. Just create a new list that spins off one segment of your market and could appeal to a lucrative niche in your subscriber base.

3. List all the ways subscribers can receive information from you.
Sure, I love email, but I know it's not the only way people want to receive information. Today, your subscribers have so many communication channels open to them that if one doesn't work anymore, another one surely will. RSS feeds, blogs, podcasts, IM deals, even old-fashioned paper catalogs are all ways you can keep the relationship alive if email no longer works.

4. Tell them in each email message how they can change or update their subscription records.
Think of this as a pre-emptive strike. Assuming they still open their email messages from you, you can put this important information where they'll see it quickly, no matter whether they see a truncated version of your email in their preview pane or on their cellphone, or the whole message in all its HTML glory on a 21-inch desktop monitor.

Not everybody who unsubscribes really wants to leave. They might just want to change an email address because they're switching email providers or dumping their current address because of spam from other senders. (Certainly not from you!)

5. Wrap it all up with an easily accessible subscriber page that loads with their data and lets them update with just a few clicks.
This means "no passwords." If their records include sensitive data such as credit-card numbers or bank accounts, save that information on a separate page and restrict access to it there.

Look for other barriers, too. Do you still force confirmation on opt-outs as well (I hope!) as on opt-ins? Drop that barrier too. Instead, put a resubscribe line in a follow-up email or a confirmation page on your site. If they really did screw up and unsubscribe when they just wanted to change, they can resubscribe there.

If you spend even half the time on the back end of your email relationship with your customers as you do on the front end with acquisition, you'll find you keep more of them around, and they'll be a happier group.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Good Call Script

Facts about cold calling: only 7% of your prospects will give you a positive answer if your opening (read elevator pitch) is OK.

As a result of the above, you can state that 93% will give you a negative answer, you can either accept or fight back. I would like to urge you to go for the last option.

What does a good call look like?

  1. The elevator pitch.
    You will get somewhere between 10 and 20 seconds to convince your prospect to listen to you. That means that your name is irrelevant to the story, the name of your company could be relevant if it is a well known company.
    A good elevator pitch looks like this (I don't know who invented this scheme):
    For ... (your target customers)
    who ... (your customers need)
    the ... (your product or service)
    is a ... (your product or services category)
    that ... (your key benefits or the compelling reason to buy for your customers)

    If you want to go one step further, you could add:
    Unlike ... (your competitor or competitive product)
    our product ... (your main differentiation)
  2. Response.
    As mentioned above, you will a 7% chance your prospect is ready to accept your offer, and again 93% will not be that enthusiastic. If we analyze the answers, you will see that most of them can be categorized in 4 to 5 standard type of answers:
    a. No, I am not interested.
    b. No, I am happy with my current supplier.
    c. No time.
    d. Send me some documentation (this is a NO, believe me).
  3. Objection handling.
    Now that we know what the answer most probably is going to be, we can start building contra arguments. The objection handling is most probably the most important part of the call, if done properly, you will be able to convert another 20 to 30% of your prospects.
    Let me give you an example about a prospect who is happy with his/her current supplier and doesn't want to meet you: "We got the exact same answer from [your prospects main competitor and your customer], but after a 1 hour meeting we were able to prove them that we could save them €/$ X per annum / increase their productivity with X %, and now we are their main supplier for [product category]. Are you sure you don't have 1 hour to see how much savings / increase of productivity we could bring to your company?". Always make sure your story makes sense to them, numbers that speak. A sample of increased productivity: 4% increase in productivity representing 8 calls per rep per day ... 
  4. Answer/Appointment.
    At the end of the call, always try to come up with a closed question that suggests a positive answer. Never give the prospect the chance to come up with another negative response. If you want an appoint, suggest 2 dates (ex. would next week Tuesday at 15:00 be a good time for a meeting or do you prefer Thursday at 11:00) in the near future, if the preferred outcome is an order, propose an expected quantity or trial order.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

No Postings In February :-(

No posting in February. New company, new job, new sector, new products, new technology, new ways of working, new abbreviations, new people, ...  As you can imagine, I have been drinking from the fire hose the last month.

On top of all of the above, I have been doing a lot of traveling. Result, no time for blogging.

As of March, I will be posting again. I have loaded Windows Live Writer on my notebook. That will allow me to work my blog both off and online. So stay with me, topics I will cover in my next posts will touch Google Open Social, Facebook, Marketing ROI, ...