23
Oct

Track Website Visits by eMail Campaign Recipients to Improve Efforts to Rank Leads by Quality

Small businesses often operate at a disadvantage when it comes to the range of options available to them for generating leads from online communications opportunities. Rarely will one of these lead generation systems include a ranking component. But a lead ranking component is an important tool sales teams can use to prioritize time to allocate the most attention to the most promising leads.

But with the latest version of VisualVisitor, a truly low cost system may finally be available to these businesses to add this missing piece to the tool set of their sales teams.

I use VisualVisitor and have one client using the system, as well. The most valuable feature of this product for small businesses is the information it provides about the otherwise anonymous visits of business prospects to their websites. My client and I have successfully used the product to close sales. These sales matured faster than would have been the case without the information about website visits by these prospects to our websites.

I’m pleased to note a substantial improvement in the performance of this product. A tagging system has been added to the feature set. These tags can be used to add information about email campaigns to specific leads already identified by the VisualVisitor system.

The tagging system can add a lot of power to efforts to rank leads. For example, it certainly makes sense for sales people to spend more time on website visitors also included in email campaigns. Further, the website visitors with the highest frequency of visiting websites should receive the most attention. VisualVisitor’s new tagging system can certainly be used, successfully, to identify this specific group of website visitors.

I also like the set up of the tagging system. All of the work is performed via the VisualVisitor control panel. Therefore, there is little chance of a system malfunction as the result of the email campaign method. No need to worry about setting up tags in Constant Contact, iContact, MailChimp, or any other email campaign management tool.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

19
Aug

Following Up on Anonymous Website Visits as a Method of Product Promotion

We make daily use of data on anonymous website visits in our work for clients. We use a service from VisualVisitor. Our service plan is available to any business at a cost of under $40.00 per month, which should be a manageable expense. Where we are engaged in discussions with prospects listed on these reports, we can use this data from VisualVisitor reports to predict likely decisions, and even build a wider picture of the stakeholders who will need to be included in our dialogue if we are to help prospects arrive at a decision to purchase one of our client’s products.

But from a broader perspective, following up on anonymous website visits can be a valuable method of promoting products and even building a brand. By definition this data can be used to identify the business domains from which online visitors access a website. But the data does not identify the actual person (or computer program) visiting the site. So any successful effort to engage with a contact from the business will likely present an opportunity to inform a new contact about a product or service.

Engagement opportunities emerging from anonymous website visitor tracking can be especially useful. The intrusive nature of an unsolicited telephone call on a subject foreign to a specific contact can, and should, be managed with a reference to the anonymous website visit prompting the effort. Most contacts will be more accepting of a call when they are informed someone else from the business evidently visited the site. A reference to products and services will likely be more memorable if a prospect is informed about them in the context of a discussion about a colleague’s visit to a website.

Early stage technology businesses should be keen to leverage any engagement opportunity to inform market participants about products and services. Direct contact with people is certainly the best method (albeit a comparatively expensive one) of educating markets about what your business has to offer. The cost of collecting information on anonymous website visits is low enough to justify some sort of outbound calling effort based on this information.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

26
Jul

Quickly Recognizing Website Visitors Leads to Shorter Sales Cycles

We use VisualVisitor on this blog and Talking-SharePoint (a week day blog we write for one of our clients, Rehmani Consulting, Inc).

One of our clients is also using the product to quickly identify visitors to several pages on the customer’s website. In both cases we can say the product is contributing to shorter sales cycles. Here’s a couple of examples:

  • Our second online meeting with one of these prospects included the funding decision maker
  • The business information provided by VisualVisitor helped us identify an influential contact who had gained substantial familiarity with our products from a past employer. So this contact turbocharged the process with her endorsement of our product.
  • In a second case our first online meeting will include several contacts. With different groups represented in our first meeting, we will have a better chance to understand how decisions are made at the prospect’s organization
  • We identified website visitors from a couple of deals in progress. By observing the pages they visited on our website, including the length of their visit to each page, we could catch early indication of a change in purchase direction on the part of one prospect.

We don’t know of many businesses likely to complain about a shorter sales cycle.

We are also big users of Google Analytics. So reviewing historical information about website visits collected with VisualVisitor against data collected from Analytics helps us understand better how our overall market is reacting to the marketing collateral we publish on these websites.

It’s also very useful to have access to the search engine queries leading businesses to our websites. One of our clients purchases click ads with Google. When we correlate queries to click ad campaign objectives, we can remediate market place misunderstandings, while, at the same time, we add value to this client’s campaign by helping them fine tune impressions to communicate the right message to a realistic audience, given their objectives.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

17
Jul

It Pays to Know Who Is on Your Website When Managing Large Sales

Sales with a substantial impact on business revenue usually transpire over a comparatively longer sales cycle than the typical sale. These sales also have a complex architecture, including a set of stakeholders who contribute to a purchase decision. Any changes, over time, in the performance of a prospect’s business can impact on the direction of a sales campaign. Therefore, managing these sales to a successful outcome should be a top priority for early stage technology businesses with the right products for these markets.

Much of the marketing communications burden, in 2013, for most early stage technology businesses is handled by website editorial content. Stakeholders in complex sales opportunities will want to review marketing communications materials, press releases, customer success stories and whitepapers. So they will come to your website, over time, to search for this information. If your sales teams can monitor website visits, then they may be able to use the information they capture to better position products and push sales forward.

As we have written earlier in this blog, we are very familiar with a couple of solutions for collecting this information:

Either of these tools can be used to collect information about visitors to your website, who would otherwise be anonymous.

Here’s an example of how this information can be of substantial value to your sales teams. We have been managing a sales opportunity for one of our clients. This opportunity is reaching a decision point. Our client is using the VisualVisitor solution. We noted a recent visit by our prospect to our client’s website where the landing page presented a different product than the one our prospect had expressed interest in earlier in the process.

At the same time, our prospect let us know of some substantial internal purchasing resistance on the original product. So with the information we collected from VisualVisitor we gained an advance view of where our prospect would likely take our discussion, going forward. Providing sales teams with advance warning of coming changes in purchasing discussions can help them salvage a sale where otherwise a buyer might pass. In our case we are using the information to help our prospect migrate the purchase discussion over to a product more appropriate for their changing needs.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

19
Jun

comScore Rocks the Boat on Online Advertising With a New Report

Jack Neff wrote an article, Worse Than You Thought: Nearly Half of Online Ads Aren’t Viewed, which was published on June 11, 2013. The intended audience for this article looked to us to be larger businesses, meaning enterprises in the $100MM and up category. But the points made in the article should be mandatory reading for any smaller business with a big commitment and a matching expectation for a pay per click advertising strategy.

Jack Neff notes: “ComScore raised eyebrows with research last year showing 31% of online display ads are never actually viewed, but upon further review, things are even worse: its latest data indicate 46% of ads are never seen by website visitors.” (quoted from Jack Neff’s article as published on the Ad Age website on June 11, 2013. We have provided a link to the entire article above). If ComScore is right, and only 54% of website ad impressions are ever seen by website visitors, then the cost of pay per click advertising is a lot higher than even we expected it to be.

In a post to this blog published this month, we reported on some new marketing collateral we received from Google. This collateral attempted to explain the new sophistication of online buyers, who may click on an ad, but then take a much longer amount of time than had previously been the case, to actually buy something as the result of what actually amounts to an online research mission.

Most of our clients cannot be satisfied with this kind of likely scenario. So we recommend smaller businesses implement a service like VisualVisitor or netFactor in lieu of a pay per click advertising campaign. VisualVisitor and netFactor provide anonymous website visitor recognition services. These services will provide the business names behind website visitors. Internal direct marketing teams of telemarketers or outbound email marketers can then, proactively, attempt to engage with these “leads”.

Certainly pay per click can work for an advertiser, but, in 2013, the marketplace is much more sophisticated. The expertise required to deliver, successfully, on a campaign will have to match the same level of sophistication and can translate into a higher management cost for the advertiser.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

16
May

Use Direct Marketing to Build Brand Awareness by Sending Press Releases to Website Visitors

Anonymous visitors to websites identified by VisualVisitor, or one of their competitors, can be successfully targeted to receive the type of promotional collateral proven to build brand awareness.

Press releases are an excellent choice for this type of activity. Here’s how to identify recipients:

  1. Select businesses to receive your press release information from the leads list provided by VisualVisitor for your website
  2. Check your internal CRM system for any identified contact from the businesses selected in 1)
  3. Use social media resources, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google + to add contacts who you can reach
  4. Add these contacts to your internal CRM system
  5. Where possible, send a link to your press release, along with a one paragraph précis of the release, directly to targeted recipients by email
  6. Where an email address is not available, make careful use of messaging features of social media to send the same message to targeted recipients
  7. After sending the press release, note the activity in your internal CRM and schedule another message three (3) months out

This system will help you build marketplace awareness for your brand. We write and publish press releases with PRweb We’ve seen a marked improvement in clicks to our client’s website since implementing VisualVisitor on a blog that we produce for the client.

You will note we recommend scheduling a second email, or social media message to targeted recipients ninety (90) days from your first direct marketing effort. We chose a date several months out to spare the contact from the type of excessive contact activity we’ve noted as the norm for drip email marketing campaigns. Keep in mind, your effort is meant to introduce your brand to the recipient, not to sell your product. Should the recipient have a need for a product in your market in the future, chances are he or she will look further into your offer once your brand has been introduced through this method.

IMB Enterprises, Inc. has considerable recent experience working with direct marketing programs for early stage businesses with technology products. If your business can use a more effective direct marketing program, please contact us to discuss what you need.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

15
May

Lead Generation Systems for Smaller Business: A Sensible Approach to Outbound eMail Marketing

Direct marketing should be an ongoing activity for businesses of any size. But frequently smaller businesses either overemphasize this lead generation strategy, or complete ignore it. The familiar picture of a small consulting firm with two or three representatives placing lots and lots of unsolicited telephone calls usually lacks one or more smiling faces. This approach is very difficult and expensive when you factor in the amount of time required to identify targets, place calls and, hopefully, finally engage with a contact. As a client once explained to us, “when you do finally find someone who’ll listen to your story, you can bet they’ve got a real hard problem to solve”. So there ought to be a better way to implement a direct marketing strategy for a smaller business on a tight budget.

Let’s start by categorizing direct marketing efforts into “sensible” and “not so sensible” buckets. The picture of a consulting firm’s “boiler room” falls into our “not so sensible” bucket. Lots of work, lots of irate recipients of unsolicited telephone calls, burned out sales representatives and a miniscule contribution to the bottom line. But a plan to use direct marketing efforts to produce leads rather than sales makes more sense and is a worthy addition to the “sensible” bucket. Better yet: this type of program may not be very costly to implement.

VisualVisitor is an example of a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud system designed to provide website owners with leads, in this case information about visits to their websites from businesses. At a monthly cost of $39.00 we think VisualVisitor is worth some investigation. By focusing direct marketing efforts on the smaller businesses identified by the VisualVisitor system, smaller consulting firms have a better chance of identifying specific individuals who may want to hear about what the firm has to offer. Keep in mind, the reason why the smaller firm is on your radar is a visit placed to your website by someone employed at the firm. So a genuine rationale for a call is available, which is important when placing unsolicited calls to businesses.

In the next post to this blog we’ll look further at this system.

If your business is struggling to identify a sensible lead generation system, please contact us. We’ve put together a package of service specifically for smaller businesses.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

30
Apr

Use Leads from Anonymous Website Visitor Data to Build Online Exposure

We’ve been using VisualVisitor for just about a week as of today, April 29, 2013. The best application we’ve found is to use this tool to build online exposure for our websites.

Once a business is verified as a website visitor we search our existing contacts for matching names. If we can’t find any (often the case), we use LinkedIn, JigSaw, etc. to identify any contacts likely to have an interest in the products on our websites. If we find the names we’re after, we’ll place a telephone call to solicit a valid email address for the person. If we aren’t able to locate a legitimate email address for one of these leads, we usually delete it. There have simply been far too many leads coming in to spend extra time trying to engage with prospects where we can’t produce a working email address or telephone number.

But where we’ve come up with reliable contact information, we’re using it to spread word about our sites. We compose an email message with a broad set of information about our sites. We don’t try to determine if a specific contact actually visited our site, or not. A couple of conversations we had with contacts early in this trial produced revealed contact sensitivity about the sites they visit, why they visit them, etc. So we decided to entirely drop this effort from our campaigns.

As we mentioned in earlier posts on this topic, where a business is small enough to produce a workable set of prospects, a prompt follow up email should produce some useful results, meaning opportunities for direct engagement. But we can’t make claims to have produced this type of result, at least as of now, with the follow up editorial content we’ve sent out to date. We expect to see an increase in site traffic, as well as some repeat visits and will report any successes we experience right away.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about VisualVisitor, or its competitors please contact us.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved