Who Are Your Best Prospects? “Now Data” Knows!

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

shutterstock_81800170The best customer-acquisition model involves qualifying prospects: giving them opportunities to, in effect, raise their hands, say that they do want to become a subscriber and then, after that, a customer.

But let’s take that model a step further. How can you use this information to locate and target the best new customers? Locate them, that is, without resorting to the use of a crystal ball!

We’ve found that adding “now data” to the mix, and responding in near-real-time to what new subscribers are doing online is one of the fastest and cost-efficient routes to getting more actionable steps and analysis out of the real-time information coming your way.

So what kind of “now data” can you obtain from your prospects? The prospect can take a number of different actions, actions that may include:

  1. raise their hand and say they are a lead (i.e., opt-in to receive an email)
  2. open an email and they are a prospect (having taken a second action)
  3. click on a link and go to the brand’s website or landing page—making them a qualified prospect.

At eWayDirect, we require that three such actions be taken before the prospect is considered qualified. You may or may not want to get that same mileage—it’s up to your company and its priorities—but what we all can agree on is that some of these actions are more valuable than others.

Opting in to receive an email is a great place to start, but it’s not so great a way to end, is it? Requesting more information about your company is nice, but wouldn’t it be better to ask for more information about one of your products? Opening an email is great; forwarding it to a friend is even better.

Prospects and customers alike are constantly giving you a steady stream of information about themselves, their preferences, their likelihood to respond to an offer … and essentially they’re telling you, already, just what kind of customer they’re going to be.

So why waste valuable time on prospects who hold little promise of giving great lifetime value, when the information is at your fingertips to distinguish and leverage the customer who’s giving every sign that they will, in fact, give you great income? This doesn’t mean that you should neglect any new customer—never do that! But “now data” enables you to target the more valuable ones, perhaps, with a different engagement strategy.

Unlike the crystal-gazer, “now data” really does have all the answers. You just need to ask the right questions.

 

 

eWayDirect is Gold Award Winner!

shutterstock_95713645The Relevancy Group, a provider of email marketing-industry data-driven information, has cited eWayDirect’s Calibr platform as a great value for marketers, and the company as delivering a high-touch personal approach.

The Relevancy Ring—ESP Buyers Guide 2014 is an annual quantifiable measurement of ESP vendors that includes a deep analysis of 14 vendors across market segments. During the three-month research process, the Relevancy Group evaluated how well ESPs are providing solutions to identified marketing challenges.

eWayDirect received a gold award in the client-satisfaction category for account-management servicing, with “high marks from their clients for their high-touch personal approach to account management,” according to the report.

“We’re very proud of this recognition,” says Neil Rosen, founder and CEO of eWayDirect. “From the beginning, we’ve put emphasis on the make-a-promise, keep-a-promise approach to customer service, and that is what our client companies enjoy. Our backend support is the best in the business, and it’s great to hear that confirmed in this report.”

The report also cited eWayDirect as delivering the best value in a single affordable solution, backed by powerful, reliable technology. The eWayDirect platform, Calibr, is a trigger-centric, all-in-one, easy-to-use platform with low all-inclusive pricing. Driven by now data, it engages and nurtures subscribers through emails and email cascades responding to online activity—and outperforms Big Data at a much lower cost.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 10.57.31 AM“One of our key beliefs,” says Rosen, “is that clients cannot take full advantage of whatever enterprise email platform they are on without great support. Without great support, they’re throwing money away. Our award-winning supports means better results and higher ROI for marketers.”

Marketers’ priorities used in rating included, among others, improvement of segmentation and targeting, use of analytics, centralizing customer data, utilizing real-time data, improving email deliverability, and integration with social media channels. “And our platform offers all of these priorities,” Rosen points out. “Our use of now data delivers automatic segmentation and real-time actionable information that triggers responses. We’re checking all the boxes.”

Maximize Your Email Content And Digital Marketing

photo(reprinted from INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY)

Most marketers generate their best return on investment from email: $40 for every dollar spent. That’s from Neil Rosen, CEO of eWayDirect, a data-driven firm that helps businesses with customer acquisition and engagement. Rosen and Elizabeth Danziger, founder of WorkTalk, offer tips on getting the most return from email:

 Choose engaging subject lines. Hook your customer’s attention by addressing something that matters to him, says Danziger, whose firm helps people with their writing. She adds: If you want your reader to act on your email, write “action requested” as part of the subject line. And never leave it blank.

 Keep at it. When it comes to mass email marketing, resend to everyone on your list who didn’t open on the first mailing, suggests Rosen. Do this the next day, but with a different subject line.

 Shorten them. Limit the number of characters, including spaces, to 50 in your subject line, Rosen says. This is crucial, since people often view the lines on cellphones.

 Be careful. Danziger underscores that email is permanent. Insensitive ones have seen “careers destroyed and companies ruined,” she said, “all because of emails written without forethought. If you are unwilling to read your email in the newspaper, don’t email it.”

 Proofread. This means subject line, text, attachment. Do so “even if you think you don’t have time. You cannot afford not to,” Danziger said. An email that contains typos and grammar mistakes will lead the reader to doubt the accuracy of a spreadsheet or Word attachment. “People assume that if you are careless about one thing, you will be careless about another.” To play it safe, leave the “to” line blank until you have finished writing and editing. This way you make sure you’re sending the email to the right person, with protection in case the email accidentally goes out before you’re done.

 Talk and speak. Danziger recommends reading emails aloud before sending them, as doing so solves many problems in punctuation and tone. In addition, print out important ones to revise. ”Research has shown that people comprehend better when they hold a paper copy in their hand,” she said.

 Grasp your customers. For businesses sending bulk email, use software that shows who is opening your messages and when. Monitor every action taken by every customer back to the origination source. Rosen notes that data such as “average order value” and “repeat sales” over the course of a year will show which sources are most valuable and where you should be spending your budget. ”Eliminate poor-performing sources and increase volume from better-performing ones every month to improve ROI as much as 50%,” he said.

 Be aggressive. Sourced prospects, such as those who come from a banner ad, are different from those who come to your website and opted in on their own, Rosen said: “Driving a quick first sale is critical to these sourced prospects. Be aggressive with both offers and with the frequency of email for the initial two-week period after a sourced prospect raises his hand, in order to convert as many as possible.”

 Double-check. The key to getting bulk emails into the inbox of customers is to be sure people on the list have confirmed they want to receive them, Rosen said. “Opting in alone is often not enough, depending on how people might have been incentivized to opt in. So once they opt in, send a short series of confirmation emails, starting immediately after the opt-in, to confirm their interest.”

 

Make 2014 Your Greatest Year for Customer Acquisition

blog-image001It’s probably every marketer’s new-year resolution: acquire new customers. Grow the business. Increase ROI. Make this the best year ever. So while we’re still looking the pristine calendar pages ahead of us, let’s take that resolution and narrow down some ways that you may be able to make it happen.

 1)    Know where you stand. What is your current cost of acquisition? How does it stack up against the two important metrics of break-even point and customer lifetime value? If you’re not sure, put in some back-end analytics to give you solid information on what prospects are performing—and which ones aren’t.

2)   This is the year to explore new acquisition channels. A multi-channel approach to acquisition and nurturing will reach the broadest spectrum of prospects. Consider leveraging mobile, tablet, and online acquisition for new-customer acquisition, email campaigns, website engagement and reengagement, and conversion.

3)   Don’t think short-term. Your analytics should stretch out farther than just your acquisition timeline, as 35% of ecommerce revenue for brand-new customers is generated post-acquisition efforts. Remember that your prospects’ timing isn’t always aligned with your new-customer acquisition program: a prospect may be interested in your product or service but isn’t ready to act during the acquisition phase. Focus instead on your breaking-even point and your customer LTV for evaluation purposes.

 4)   It’s 2014: the year for customer qualification. Qualifying prospects is the least-used and possibly the most important step in new-customer acquisition, for the simple reason that better-qualified prospects lead to higher conversion rates. Instead of simply taking on whatever prospects come through the pipeline, build a process that evaluates source quality, engagement threshold, and conversion intent. You’ll run less risk (both to your brand’s reputation and to your inbox delivery), and the difference to revenue and profitability will be significant.

 5)   Consider working with an acquisition partner. Your sales team, your media buyers, and your marketing department are all working together to build the best acquisition process they can, but remember that developing your strategy and overseeing its implementation are both time-consuming and resource-consuming, and this may be your year to outsource your acquisition to a company that offers transparency, partnership, scalability, and results. Part of a robust acquisition program includes analytics that need to be interpreted in order to adjust your acquisition campaigns based on the specifics of what is working … and what is not.

shutterstock_791349676)   Acquisition and customer engagement go together. Customer lifetime value is defined by acquisition and customer engagement events. Sometimes it takes a while to discern which acquisition sources provided the customers with significant lifetime value, so it’s important for you to keep track of customers once they’re engaged so that you can determine which sources gave you the best bang for your acquisition buck. It’s worth setting up a schedule to revisit these results and the corresponding sources: every three months, six months, etc., depending on your product or service.

Looking at your current practices, evaluating your results, and being clear about your new-customer acquisition strategy and execution are all steps that will set you up for having 2014 be your best year ever.

Great Email Marketing Makes for Great CRM

on career counseling pageBecause consumer use of the Internet is endangering traditional CRM models, today’s marketers have to integrate new kinds of online strategies into their marketing plans. These strategies are designed to leverage opted-in customer and subscriber databases, not only to generate sales, but also to improve and build on past CRM successes.

Let’s look at the problem in more detail. Many popular Internet technologies make it difficult for companies to manage and optimize the customer relationship:

  • Search engines bring competitors closer to companies then ever before, causing those who are easily distracted to wander from the task at hand. Every time someone visits a search engine and searches on products or services you sell, Google and the other search engines are sure to remind them, on every page where results appear, who your competitors are and how they might find better deals or information to help them drive down your prices.
  • Product review sites and social networks make it easy for consumers to get information on competitive product offerings and at the same time make a direct purchase.
  • Social networks virally spread both positive and negative information about companies, sometimes true and sometimes not, to millions of people in just minutes or hours.

The problem is clear. Without a strong customer relationship, your company is in competition with everyone — even your own products when they’re offered at a discount through a daily-deals type of site!

One way to increase and solidify your relationship with your customers is to put some extra strategy into your email marketing.

There are any number of reasons why a subscriber may not have opened or clicked on an email. The customer may have been busy when the email came in; the subject line may not have appealed to her at that particular moment; he might have been offline and discarded it when he turned on his mail program. Emails get lost, emails get ignored, emails get mislaid.

Resending the campaign to those who didn’t open the first time, using a different subject line but the same creative, is a great way to catch up with those customers who fall into the above categories. Resending the email campaign does a number of things:

  • It adds convenience to the customer’s experience; she doesn’t have to go through her inbox looking for the email
  • It allows the customer to see the offer in a slightly different light by changing the subject line on the email
  • It creates another touchpoint between the customer and the retailer

shutterstock_135560390Let’s look at this last point in particular. The old “rule of seven” is still alive and well in marketing. This is the rule that there must be seven touchpoints between the customer and the marketer before the customer really “gets” the message. It doesn’t mean that online retailers should inundate their customers with emails — far from it. What it does mean is that marketers need to get creative in creating resend campaigns. Who opened but did not click? That group needs one message. Who didn’t open at all? That group needs a different message.

Segmenting the email list goes miles toward assuring your customers that they are — each one of them — important to you, and that you want to make their shopping experiences positive, convenient, and satisfying.

The more information you can bring to the table, the better. Send customers getting-to-know-you questionnaires not just once, when they first sign on to your list, but frequently throughout your relationship. (And then use that information! According to a Harvard study, many companies gather data about their customers and then simply sit on that data … what’s the point? Use your customer information in segmenting lists, sending special offers, and generally in making it clear to the customer that he or she is specifically important to you, that you know her preferences, that you respect his choices, and that you’re there generally to make their shopping experiences the best they can be. Use this data especially when resending, and you’ll be surprised at the results you get.

Resending is an easy, low-cost way to remind subscribers of your great offer, gain additional revenue, and continue to cement a strong relationship with your customers. And the best news is that it’s not just good for CRM — it’s good for your bottom line as well. Resends can boost your open rate by as much as 50%! Resending is an easy, low-cost way to remind subscribers of your great offer — and for you to gain additional revenue.

The Social Portal Opens Everything Up!

shutterstock_159140024OPSNs (other people’s social networks—places like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the rest) are great vehicles to monitor conversations about your company, to share content to build your brand, and to launch campaigns that drive acquisition and sales; but if you rely on OPSNs to close the deal, you’re leaving most of the opportunity on the table.

How do you access that opportunity? You need to own your social media by driving all of your campaign enthusiasts and followers from OPSN campaigns to a social portal of your own, where you have the power to engage them under your own terms—and without the typical social distractions.

Within your social portal, prospects and customers have access to your experts, to your company, and to other customers. Here they’ll learn about your products and services, participate in targeted message boards, and provide you with valuable feedback about your products and customer service.

And they can view all of your social campaigns from a single portal, never having to go to multiple social sites to see your campaigns. Live feeds from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other communities bring them real-time information, and provide a great overview of everything social you are doing.

Importantly, you can track everything that is going on in your community and learn from campaigns as you are executing them. See how many prospects are being lured to your branded community by specific campaigns, and how many of those prospects then convert to buyers. See which of your buyers are ambassadors for your company, spreading the word to friends, family, and colleagues. See how many sales are generated by specific campaigns and measure ROI … something you’ll never do reliably if you depend on OPSNs!

shutterstock_91195265But there’s more. You can use your branded community as the launching point for all your social campaigns, starting there and pushing the content from your community to other social networks. Push the content out … and draw in your current and new customers.

Results from companies executing their own social portals show that as many as 15% or more of the people signing up to be part of the community are new to the company’s database (that’s free acquisition, folks!). Community members frequently generate five times as much income as subscribers who are not part of the community. And more then twice as many community members are likely to share campaigns with their personal and business networks than those who aren’t members.

OPSNs are great for many interactions, but if you want social media to work for you, to drive acquisition, revenue, and loyalty, then own your social media with a branded social portal. Want to find out how it can work for your brand? Ask us how today!

The Siren Call … to Action

shutterstock_79134967Millions of emails are whirling around the globe every moment of every day, but none of these emails are going to do a marketer any good if they can’t be backed up with a clear and compelling call to action. That call, along with myriad other communication issues, is the domain of the copywriter. A good copywriter has a flair for writing content that’s inviting to share and link to. She needs to have top-notch writing skills for her content to be clear and optimized and convert readers to buyers. That’s why a copywriter is a vital member of any serious marketing team.

I know that you’ve probably received emails about so-called copywriting secrets, and you may have been tempted by some of them. But are there really secrets to knowing how to create an email that gets results?

There definitely are components to good emails, but the secret part usually has to do with someone telling you how to do something that they don’t themselves do very well. (Let’s face it, if they actually made millions, why are they trying to get your money to teach you their secret? Why aren’t they by a pool somewhere, sipping on a drink with little umbrellas in it?)

If there’s a secret at all, it’s about constantly improving your marketing efforts. I look back at copy I wrote years ago (and sometimes even months ago) and I cringe, because I could write it so much better now. And if you look at past copy and don’t cringe, then that tells you something about yourself – that you’re not learning and changing and getting better at your craft. The online marketing space is constantly changing, and we need to be able to be flexible to speak to today’s customer needs.

email subject lineLet’s face it: consumers are far more sophisticated than ever before. The snake-oil salesman could count on the incredulity of his audience; our audience is online, uses Google and Facebook and Twitter, talks to others in social networks, reads blogs and compares prices. Selling is selling is selling … but the way we sell has to adapt to new contexts and new environments. I will say that some things stay the same, and the fundamental one is the call to action.

And that starts with a great subject line, because these 50 characters can make or break sales! Here are some suggestions for constantly improving your email subject lines:

  • Reading newspaper headlines will help you see how to encapsulate a lot of story into a very few words. Just like a headline, an email message should clearly state what is in fact in the email.
  • Secondly, there’s no secret formula: email subject lines are all about campaigns, and should be targeting that campaign and no other. Make sure that your “from” line is your company name, but you may want to use that name, or the name of the newsletter, in the subject line as well to make it stand out.
  • Always personalize your emails; I’ve never understood why this works, but it does.
  • Put in a little urgency – remember those TV infomercials? Call in the next two minutes and you’ll receive? Works here too.
  • List key information first, and test.

Cascade your ROI

shutterstock_169817045One of the places where strategy is important in the B2C email marketing arena is in working with cascades. Being able to communicate frequently—but not too frequently!—with customers is primordial for staying top-of-mind with them. Cascades increase open rates an average of 15% – 25% by sending a series of messages and increasing the number of people viewing the message – often by just changing the subject line. For example, a marketer is launching a new product line and wants to make sure their customers know about it. One email body is created with the product launch message, but it is sent out with three separate subject lines. Once an email in the series is opened, the rest of the series is stopped helping to ensure that the email content is only seen once.

Setting up a series of reminder emails is easy with cascades and will free up your time to focus on all the other details. For example, a marketer is getting ready for a special sample sale that will take place in three weeks. An initial email is sent announcing the sample sale. Then, a week later, a reminder email is sent reminding customers of the upcoming sale. Finally, a day or two before the special sale, a final reminder email is sent to keep the event top-of-mind.

Here’s a quick-and-easy cascade tutorial:

  1. Why are cascades important?
    1. They create a very efficient way for marketers to create reusable content, saving brands time and money.
    2. They drive strong ROI for marketers who use them to focus a series of messages on getting subscribers to take one very specific action.
  2. What are some typical uses for email cascades?
    1. Cascades are frequently used for a welcome series of emails, a buyer series of emails, a last-chance series of emails, and even product-specific series of emails.
    2. Email cascades can be as short as two emails, or in some cases we have created cascades with hundreds of emails.
  3. Do cascades interfere with other emails I send?
    1. In some cases, subscribers receive both cascade emails and the one-off email campaigns you are sending.
    2. In other cases, a setting can be initiated that will stop the deployment of one-off campaigns to recipients active in the cascade.
  4. Do I ever change the content in a cascade?
    1. At regular intervals, optimize subject lines by removing the poorest-performing subject lines (opens) and replacing them with new ones to test.
    2. At regular intervals, optimize content by removing the poorest-performing content (clicks) and replacing it with new content to test.
  5. What kind of reporting should I get?
    1. Full reporting on each cascade to ROI.
    2. Reporting on each campaign within a cascade to ROI.

Our email platform, Calibr, makes cascades the easiest thing a marketer can do. What makes cascades even more efficient is that once they are set up, the emails deploy automatically based on business rules predetermined by the client. No further work is required other than to monitor the campaign results. As with all other campaign types, tracking is available down to the ROI level and cascades can be viewed at both the summary and individual cascade level in the performance by channel section of the platform.

Why not increase your ROI with email cascades today?

 

Increase LTV with Trigger-Centric Emails

shutterstock_127317161

Triggered emails are emails that are sent in direct response to a subscriber’s actions; they can be either transactional or marketing in nature. The good news is that they perform better than standard emails (by ten times or more). Because triggered emails allow you to take action in real time, you are instantly interacting with customers immediately after they connect with your brand.

Emails can be triggered by an almost infinite set of prospect or customer actions, some of which may include:

  • Website page-level triggered emails perform 10-20 times better than standard emails and are critical to driving revenue, because only about 5% of your subscribers go to your shopping cart when visiting your website. These emails note what page(s) the customer visited, what items were viewed, and they encourage the customer to return.
  • Shopping cart-triggered emails optimize the performance of the 5% of customer who do get to the shopping cart pages and deliver 20-40 times the CPM of standard emails. They encourage customers to complete the purchase initiated.
  • Social interaction-triggered emails drive 10-20 times the revenue of standard emails and they extend customers’ lifetime engagement by 50% and more. These are the emails that respond to something the customer has posted in social media sites online and that are relevant to the relationship between your brand and the consumer.
  • Email-activity triggers are the best way to drive relevant content to active email subscribers in real time, responding to actions they take (either in a single campaign or as part of an email cascade), and letting that activity drive the content they receive going forward.

Triggered emails and email cascades work to turn subscribers into customers and increase customer lifetime value—every marketer’s goal.