Lead Generation Productivity Booster The Marketeer

Rock the Webinar 12 Ways

So I run these webinars. I have to admit it’s kind of cool doing a virtual classroom. A lot of pubs are charging 10-40k to do these events, I’ve managed to get a GoToMeeting account and a conference call line and do it for a fraction of the price. Although GoToMeeting is kind of in the doghouse with me right now (we were upgraded to GoToWebinar and it’s missing some of the functionality we used to have). C.C. Chapman ran a crazy event over in Second Life recently, anybody else doing anything interesting on the meeting front, or have questions about it?

After some thought, here are some tips on how to run a webinar (How about “J-Funk’s Webinar Best Practices”):

  1. A good webinar has 4 emails – thank for registering, 24 hour prior notice (exactly 24 hours), 1 hour prior notice, day after thank you with a link to the recording.
  2. If you are playing a recorded presentation get a patch so you can run the sound from the source directly out to the line.
  3. No speakerphones. Polycoms rock, but not here.
  4. 45% Attendance is good.
  5. Cough up the cash for a good conference call line, the freebie services fall short.
  6. If possible automate the entire registration process (put your leads in salesforce and set up your emails for #1 as automated processes.
  7. If your presenter is new, or this is the first time the pitch is being done, record it rather than running live.
  8. Have a second system in your control room so you can always see and hear what attendees see.
  9. This second system should have all the same software and content on it as the first so it also serves as your disaster plan.
  10. Even if you have a complete disaster it’s not that big a deal. Apologize to everyone, and send them the link to the recording (unless they are paid attendees, then you have to do a little more to make good).
  11. Always do a follow up survey (I’ve found surveymonkey useful), you never know when you’ll need data on performance.
  12. In the survey as about the quality of the content, the entire user experience, including the phone and meeting software.
Lead Generation Podcasting The Marketeer

Podcasting – Not Across the Chasm Yet?

I ran a test recently to get a feel for the acceptance of podcast versus video. Readers were given the option of a link to a video clip or a link to a podcast and they chose the video clip at a ratio of almost 10 to 1.

Until the average user understands that a video clip is one item, whereas a podcast is subscribing to a channel, the true value of them goes unrecognized. Unfortunately with limited resources, that means a lot more web videos before podcasting becomes a core part of the marketing mix.

On the other hand – it will come. Being excited about podcasting now is like being hooked on TiVo 5 years ago, you know it’s good, and you know that eventually everyone else will come along. We’ve had a new car for a half a year now and I still haven’t listened to or set the presets for the radio.

Email Marketing Lead Generation Productivity Booster The Marketeer

HTML vs. Text

Today I finally got around to examining test results of my HTML vs. Text email experiment.

For anyone that missed the earlier post – there are two basic “flavors” of email – HTML, the same language that web pages are made up from (which displays pictures and includes links), and just straight text. If you’re old like me you’ll think of this as what the paper that came out of a typewriter looks like (link for the children). In the dark ages at the dawn of time (1996), all you could do was text. Then email programs added html support and email got a lot more exciting.

Then the PPC crowd showed up (pills, porn, casinos) and emails got a little ugly, and people realized that when your email program shows you a graphic, it’s being pulled from a server and you are leaving a footprint (the sender can tell that you opened it). This is why in the latest version of Outlook and other mail programs may have you go through an extra step to see the graphics for senders that the program doesn’t recognize.

For text email the basic rule was “Put the important links at the top.” For every line you have to scroll, another reader gives up and very few make it to the bottom of the message. HTML changed that. You could have an image call attention to a link and it could outperform others.

Enter 2007, things are changing. Many people are using devices like blackberries that prefer text only email. Many email clients and spam defenders block HTML. Many of the Vertical Publications I advertise with have switched back to text email. And so the challenge was thrown – should our HTML email switch to text?

I hoped that HTML would win because the tracking data is valuable to me – who opened and who converted. Text can only tell you about conversions. My list was split – 75% sent the control (HTML) and the other 25% text. I also had a second list I was testing for additional data that was sent the HTML list.

The Result: HTML Victorious! Both messages performed well on the first links but improved layout in HTML is the critical factor. By using two columns we draw attention to attention to the lead stories in both columns. The lead story in the second column outperformed the same story down at position 4 in the text message by 7X. This begs the question – ok, so you get more bites from HTML, but did more text messages get through? The fact is, without graphics to track, I don’t know. But I do know this – at best my deliverability is 90% (number sent – bounces and unsubs I got). At worst it would only be as good as the open rate for the HTML message – 20% (otherwise there’d be no need to test). Even if text sends perfectly (90%), that’s only a 4x improvement over HTML, not enough to offset the 7x benefit of the layout. Layout beats deliverability, HTML wins.

Your results may vary.

Brain Buster Lead Generation The Marketeer

Virtual Telemarketing

As a follow-up to my post on “Just calling to check in” I was checking my voicemail and a message started up with the classic p0rn theme playing (you know the one, a little slap bass and guitar scratch – bowmp, ba-bowmp, wacka-wacka). After a few seconds a woman’s voice came on trying to sell me something, I can’t even remember what the hell it was.

It just struck me as odd that this virtual voice was “talking” to my voicemail. Just as weird as the lovely Carin talking back to our GPS as we drive around Boston. We hear a human voice and the device IS alive. If I could find a way to automatically delete any voicemail that’s machine to machine that would be it, I’d be in my beach house on Nantucket.

Daily Life Lead Generation Productivity Booster The Marketeer

Just calling to check in

About a year ago I attended a session on how to sell on the phone by Jeff Hoffman of Basho Strategies. He brought up a point that’s become a pet peeve of mine – people calling just to check in. Any time I get a call from somebody trying to sell me something, they’re “just calling to check in”. I immediately noticed I do it all the time. Whenever I’d call someone to bug them about something, or try to sell them something, I was really calling just to check in.

I’ve given up answering my phone, everybody gets to leave voicemail and then I can sort through them every hour or as necessary. As soon as I hear “Hey, it’s X and I’m just calling to check in…” I hit the delete key and move on. I’ve picked up at least an hour a week. I’m wondering if there’s a future in phone sales at all, or has my heart just turned to stone? Is it wrong for me to make change when I throw a $5 in the homeless guy’s cup over at the off-ramp to the Pike on Storrow Drive?

Brain Buster Lead Generation SEO and Paid Search The Marketeer

Google AdWords Quality Score

I had already been dealing with the changes in AdWords for the past couple of months, and then I had a chance to learn the latest and greatest in Chicago this week. For anybody new that might ask “What is Google AdWords” – it’s paying Google so that your ads will show up on the right side of their search results page, or if your ad is really relevant, in the blue space above the normal results.

In the past it used to be that if you had a high enough bid, you made it to the top. As the story has it, one day someone from Google Googled “Google” and found that the ads had gone from PPC (pay per click) to PPC (pills, porn, casinos). As fruit of their anger the quality score was born.

The bottom line is if your ad doesn’t get .5% click through and have a decent landing page you will ultimately pay more for your ad, and as a result not show as high on the page. Like everything else in this domain, we don’t know exactly how google does it, but there’s some statements from google and tests by marketeers that have created some best practices.

Your ad copy is important, you need to test to make sure you stay above the .5% click through. You need to decide when to walk away from a keyword if you can’t get the click through high enough (maybe modify with negative keywords, or use the exact match). You need a good landing page (preferably with the keyword on it).

The down side is if you’ve been doing this shotgun style your minimum bids will rise fast (I’ve seen keywords go from 50 cents to $10 in a week), and you will have a hard time getting a good position on the page. On the other hand, if you work hard at creating relative content you will bid and pay less than those whose ads aren’t as good, and if you do well enough you can make it over to the one box where you will perform better than on the right side.

I’ll be presenting some data and other observations on this next week at the Case Camp Second Life – now if I can figure out how to get my avatar to stop dancing…

Lead Generation Productivity Booster SEO and Paid Search The Marketeer

Integrating with Google Adwords

A stumbling block on the path to the holy land today, the code snippet we need to integrate with our Google Adwords campaign conflicts with some existing javascript we have on our custom web-to-lead forms. As I have no Perl skills to speak of beyond the “cut and paste somebody else’s stuff and pray it works” I’ve had to call in some bigger guns, i.e. Salesforce support level two and our own Ronin Coder. Perhaps there will be more luck tomorrow…

On the plus side, Joel delivered the web traffic today…

Email Marketing Lead Generation Productivity Booster The Marketeer

Email is as dead as direct mail

That is – not dead at all. Today was a big email day for me sending out two blasts. I’m currently using ConstantContact which is the best value for the price – free to start and not expensive after that. I’ve used ExactTarget, which is a great product (and perhaps in my future due to integration with, and in fact Chris Baggott from over there is coming out with a book next year and if some of my pieces make the editoral cut I’ll be published there.

Contrary to what you may hear, email is very much alive, just as is direct mail as I can tell from the 35 catalogs that have come in through the mailslot at home in the past week. Perhaps no longer the silver bullet, these tactics still deliver.

ConstantContact has some benchmark figures across the service that are interesting: Global Bounces are at 18.3% (although probably understated since I get some Out of Office messages direct to me), opens at 37%, and clicks at 8.9%. I do better on bounces, lower on opens, and much better on clicks. My personal mailing list (for The M Show, listen now!) has under 1,000 names but performs at a level of magnitude much greater (9x cleaner 4x clicks). This is quite normal for smaller lists, I have more stats on that but I’m not going to dig that up now, leave me a comment if you want more.

Lead Generation SEO and Paid Search The Marketeer

One Man Search Commando

I first started doing SEO back around 1997, since then it was a priority for some of my masters and not for others. Currently we are campaigning hard, and for the first time I am working with a retained outside firm (I know, not true Ronin).

Things seem to have really tightened up, there used to be a ton of “tricks” you could use and most of them have been locked down. Now it’s borderline with basic usability…

We just started an update on the Paid Search side, I will probably be talking about that at the Second Life CaseCamp coming up.

The good news is AccuRev is sending me off to Search Engine Strategies in Chicago the week of December 4th, so if you are a fellow Ronin please give me a shout.

Other good news: Jason Calacanis will be there on Tuesday so I’m looking forward to hearing what he’s up to after having recently left AOL. He also had a great post this week outlining some metrics for what a successful blog should be doing numbers-wise.
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Lead Generation The Marketeer – Marketing Campaigns

So I spent a bunch of yesterday trying to do some more advanced stuff with If you are into lead generation or supporting a Sales team this is the best thing out there. I worked with Act for more than 5 years and supported a 10-user Goldmine installation for another 4 years and SalesForce is the disruptive technology taking it to the next level.

We have a system that’s very close to end-to-end. Leads come in on the web, get emailed around and the records go into SF. I can track them by marketing campaign, but that’s about as far as I get. I’m either at the end of it’s functionality, or I need to get some training sessions. The individual is marked as in the campaign (say, white paper banner ad on Joe’s site). But this data doesn’t roll up to the record for the company they work for. So if Bob clicks on the banner and we end up selling to Charlie, I have a disconnect.

Yesterday I exported everything I could get my hands on and used Access to get around some of the reporting shortcomings. It actually got me to the data I wanted but it was way too much work, I need to begin automating it. Anybody with experience here PLEASE comment.

Gearing up for a ride home filled with podcasts and then chowing on the turkey…