My previous article on getting broadcast emails through to recipients’ inboxes proved popular, so here’s some more on the same subject, because I’ve just stumbled across something I didn’t know. Many of your customers and other email recipients will be using Microsoft Outlook (that’s not the bit I didn’t know) and Microsoft Outlook has its own inbuilt junk mail filter. It’s very crude, but it’s there. And surprisingly, the rules which govern that filter are actually not a secret, so it’s pretty easy to ensure that your emails at least get past this stage. Whether they’ll be thrown out – incorrectly – by other spam filters is another matter.
Full details are in My Email Is Not Junk! on the B2B Lead Blog. Incredibly, one of the rules seems to be “From contains sales@”. Can that really be right? Loads of people send emails from “sales@”, surely? Anyone care to test this?
Keeping an in-house database “clean” is such a dull job that it can hang around at the bottom of the to-do list permanently. In 10 signs your in-house database needs help BEFORE you launch another program, the B2B Lead Blog lists the sort of problems lurking in most databases. I’m sure many of you will recognise more than one of them.
In the comments, there’s a reference to a claim made last year that clean data can scale up to huge gains in revenue. I’m sure it’s true. And one more thing: if you’re sitting on a database of addresses and telephone numbers with lots of missing emails, isn’t it time you created something great (and emailable) so you can contact these people and get their email addresses in return for it?
I feel for the three or four companies who’ve told me recently that they’re keen on our Insider Programme and who like the idea of having my advice on tap for their website and associated activities – but who genuinely can’t find £500 a month in 2009. That’s fair enough, although I’d be interested to know what’s more important than developing your online marketing at the moment: please tell me it’s not print ads any more! Anyway, whatever the budgetary restrictions, we’re all looking for good low-cost opportunities, and there are plenty of them if you look. B2B Marketing for $100 on the B2B Lead Blog recently listed a bunch of ideas, and one or two might get you thinking. Plenty of other off-the-wall ideas come along from time to time, so keep a look out here if nowhere else.
I know many industrial marketing managers don’t like free gifts, perhaps considering them to be in some way unprofessional. I disagree – some of the best branding I’ve experienced over the years has come from decent freebies. I can even name (without looking) many things which have hung around my home and office for years: a Telemecanique umbrella, a Rose+Krieger pen, an Adept Scientific calculator, and some SMC Pneumatics golf balls – and that’s straight off the top of my head.
But what have freebies got to do with online marketing, Chris? Well, here’s my current recommended approach to getting information out of people on your website. If your form asks for too much, you’ll put people off, we know that. So here’s the plan. Ask them for the minimum of information, then incentivise them to give you the rest. The sequence goes as follows:
1. (First screen) Please fill in your name and email address to receive the data sheet on this product.
2. (New screen) Thank you. The data sheet will be sent to you by email in a moment. If you’d like a paper copy, along with our latest catalogue, and a free Parker pen to say thank you, please enter your job title and company address here.
To me, that seems to attack the problem successfully.
Of course, if you disagree, feel free to let me know here, or if you have some suggestions as to the best corporate free gifts you’ve ever seen (or provided), share your thoughts here.
I was inspired to write this by an article called Rock Your Tchotkes (no, me neither) on the B2B Lead Blog. Very American (Tchotkes? Booths? Buttons? Two nations divided by a common language indeed) but worth a read.
I like articles which inspire us to go back to basics and re-assess our marketing, because we all know it’s something we don’t do often enough. In The Most Important Question Salespeople Should Ask Themselves on the B2B Lead Blog it’s suggested that not only do you ask yourself the classic question “Why should people do business with me when there are so many other options available?” but also, when you’ve come up with your answers, it suggests that you go through the reasons and ask yourself a second question about each one: