17
Dec

On Recent Enhancements to the VisualVisitor Anonymous Website Visitor Recognition Service

VisualVisitor is a comparatively low cost option businesses can use to mine more information from visits to their websites. At $39.00 per month, the subscription should be within the reach of most businesses. Some recent enhancements to the product are worth a mention.

The visit report template now includes historical information. So sales team are not only notified about current visits, but are also presented with a summary of earlier visits, from the same internet end point, to a given website. Knowing who’s been to your website before, and the amount of time between visits can be useful information. This historical information is also valuable as a method of determining return on investment in email marketing campaigns. The VisualVisitor tagging system can be incorporated into email campaigns, to provide a richer set of data about email recipient behavior.

Customer service organizations should welcome this feature. If, for example, specific information has been exposed on a website to mentor customers about important product features, then a review of historical visit information should determine whether customers are finding the information, and using it as intended, or not. The process of modifying the way information is exposed on a website becomes much easier when data, like the VisualVisitor historical information, is available to test assumptions. Certainly any organization benefits when no more than a few modifications need be made to website branding to deliver a targeted visitor experience. Best of all, less work usually translates into lower costs.

There are many other variations on the above example likely to be attractive to businesses considering a solution like VisualVisitor. A free trial is available, which may be the “right way” to determine whether or not this service fits with the needs of your specific business.

We have clients actively using the service, and can attest to its value.

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

19
Apr

VisualVisitor and netFactor Combine Lead Lists with Web Site Data

We refer to VisualVisitor and netFactor as hybrid lead services. Both offers combine the kind of data Hoovers, and its competitors, offer along with the web site visit data we’ve discussed over the last few posts to this blog.

It makes sense for any service in this category to present a similar combination of features. As we explained in the last post, it’s simply not possible to positively identify a specific business (let alone a specific individual within the business) as a visitor to a web site based solely on an entry to a traffic log. So these services combine lead lists with the visitor data. If nothing else, the lead list information will be useful.

At an advertised monthly cost of just $39.00, VisualVisitor is certainly less expensive than either a monthly subscription to Hoovers, or even a monthly subscription to a direct competitor, for example, netFactor. We’ve registered for a free trial of the service and plan on reporting on our experience shortly.

But it makes sense for small businesses to consider a subscription to a service like VisualVisitor for other reasons. Inside sales teams can be tasked with reaching out to the companies identified as probable visitors to a web site. We recommend opting not to refer to the site visit at all. Just to recap: you can’t be sure anyone from the prospect actually visited your site. Even if they actually visited the site, they decided not to complete your contact form, or any other call to action on your site.

Either a carefully scripted outbound telemarketing call, or an email message makes sense as a first effort to engage with these anonymous visitors. We like to include an apology in the script for the call, or the content of the email message. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your prospect never requested the call.

Once the apology is out of the way, a short statement of why it may make sense for the prospect to give you some of his or her time should follow right away. We refer to this “slight taste of product presentation” as a method of qualifying the real interest level of the prospect as early into the engagement process as possible.

Ira Michael Blonder

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

17
Apr

Converting Anonymous Web Site Visits into Lead Opportunities

Another component of our online marketing solution is a better understanding of the behavior of visitors to a web site. The purpose of this component is to provide our clients with the information they need to hasten conversion of anonymous web site visits into business leads. For most small businesses with a web site, including persuasive call to action editorial content in site content has been the only accessible method of converting anonymous visitors into business leads. But the task of designing truly persuasive call to action content has become increasingly more challenging as the world wide web approaches a twentieth anniversary. Using pay per click (PPC) advertising campaigns to present this content to the online market is, potentially, a very expensive strategy, especially so if the intended results are not forthcoming.

We’re looking closely at a company called VisualVisitor. They claim their analytics can be used to connect the IP addresses of anonymous web site visitors with telephone numbers. Imagine what a direct marketing team at your small business could do with the telephone numbers of your site visitors, regardless of whether they complete a registration form on your web site or not. If we hear what we think we will hear about this service, we plan on combining it with ClickBack in our online marketing automation offer for small businesses.

Before you run off to the VisualVisitor web site to sign up, you’ll need to design a plan for your direct marketers to gracefully place a telephone call to your site visitors. Most of the visitors, if not all of them, opted not to respond to your call to action. Simply calling them and referring to a visit to your web site will seldom work. We have a better way to make that connection. Contact us to learn more.

We’ll provide more information about VisualVisitor in tomorrow’s post to this blog.

Ira Michael Blonder

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

16
Apr

Online Marketing Automation Solutions Accessible to Small Businesses

Earlier this year we spent some time reviewing two of the leading online marketing automation services available today — Eloqua and Marketo. Either of these services does a great job providing customers with a full featured lead management system. Some common highlights include lead nurturing and lead ranking tools. These services are great for larger businesses capable of paying hefty monthly charges (between $2 and $3K per month plus a set up charge in the range of $10K) while still seeing an attractive return on investment. But what about businesses in the $5M to $10M annual revenue range? Are there any alternatives to these high end services?

Fortunately the answer is “yes”. We’ll present some information shortly on a service offered by ClickBack, which can be used by small businesses to implement a lead nurturing system along with a lead ranking system. Configuration and customization will certainly be required for best results. But the overall costs will be far less than the cost of comparable services from either of the market leaders we’ve just mentioned. If you need to know NOW what we’re putting together, contact us, we’ll be happy to elaborate for you.

An online marketing strategy is a “must have” for any U.S. business in 2013. The leading edge of the market is grappling with how to successfully automate their marketing systems to reach small, smart mobile devices. Our system will deliver handsome returns on investment, and with much less effort on the part of internal staff. We’re enthusiastic about the information we’ll shortly share with our audience.

If a successful online marketing program is essential to the success of your business, you should familiarize yourself with the features of an online marketing automation system. Please check out Eloqua, Marketo and even ClickBack to learn more about these techniques.

Ira Michael Blonder

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

21
Feb

Be Sure to Include Calls to Action in Web Site Content to Attempt to Engage with Visitors

This is the second of two posts to this blog on the topic of goals and events for Google Analytics.

ISVs looking to online media for marketing communications opportunities need engagement with web site visitors. Opportunities to engage are created by including “call to action” content on web pages. Test their effectiveness with events and goals in Google Analytics.

Registration forms, comment boxes, downloads are all examples of “call to action” content. The task is getting web site visitors to “take an action”, usually by filling in the form, or comment box. An event or goal should be set up in Google Analytics for each “call to action.” Actions taken by web site visitors are called conversions in Google Analytics.

Few conversions indicate problems with the surrounding web page content. But make sure, first, that the call to action has been carefully positioned to provide the web site visitor with an easy opportunity to engage. Move the call to action as close to the top of the web page as possible, and then retest before revising web page content. Keep in mind that web site visitors will only scroll down an unfamiliar web page for attractive content.

If the surrounding web page content looks like the problem, change it. Keep this process going until a satisfactory level of engagement with web site visitors has been reached. Lack of engagement with web site visitors is a very common problem and shouldn’t be tolerated. The best way to fix it is to continue to revise site content until web site visitors start engaging.

This same strategy can work for pay per click advertising campaigns. Dedicated landing pages should be built for each click ad. The content on the page should:

  • quickly inform the web site visitor about the specific product or service presented in the click ad
  • and present a call to action, or an opportunity to place an order

It is surprising how few click ads are supported with dedicated landing pages. Including the front page of a business web site as a landing page for a specific click ad seldom produces satisfactory results, but is a very common practice. Save a lot of wasted money by building landing pages for click ads before starting a campaign.

In the next post to this blog we will talk about keywords.

Ira Michael Blonder

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

2
Mar

Building Online Lead Generation Systems Makes Sense for Tech Products in Commodity Markets

It makes sense for tech companies with product offerings in commodity markets to invest the resources required to build competitive lead generation systems for online media. Elsewhere in this blog we have spent considerable time pointing out why precisely this type of effort does not make sense for complex tech products offered to nascent or dysfunctional markets. But for tech products in commodity markets the story is very different, indeed. The facts are that the pace of the sales cycle for incoming leads for known tech commodities is very fast. Therefore, it makes no sense to avoid optimizing programs for online media. Further, it makes no sense to expend lots of effort on teleprospecting when resources ought to be redirected to hasten revenue. To everything there is a season. Tech commodities are no exception.

We advocate focusing entirely on opportunities to build online lead generation systems on search engine marketing, despite the presence of an exploding number of social media outlets. We are not convinced that time spent on social media (with the notable exception of online content creation through blogs) will pay off anytime soon for early stage tech businesses catering to Fortune 500 markets and/or comparable size groups in the public sector. On the other hand, working hard to optimize online websites with some substantial level of existing visitor traffic does make sense. We engage in the following activities for clients to enhance prominence of websites in search engine results:

  • Weekly monitoring of SERPS for client websites as well as the websites of identified competitors for as comprehensive a list of keywords as possible
  • Creation of original, substantive text content to support the prominence of client websites for targeted keywords. Generally we focus on one keyword string per blog post
  • Periodic monitoring of Google PageRank results for any/all client websites
  • Ongoing analysis of the effectiveness of keywords
  • Ongoing analysis of competitor websites complete with summary opinions for client consideration

Where a client possesses a website with a substantial level of current visitor traffic we tend to focus on optimizing pages already prominent in SERPs. Where this success has resulted from “homegrown” efforts, we typically find that search engines point to the home page of the website for most targeted keywords. Our response is to spend lots of time optimizing the home page (usually through the addition of links on the home page that point back to more promising, and appropriate pages deeper within the website) while we make efforts to produce new content specifically crafted to draw useful attention from search engines.

As we noted above, this effort makes sense. Why wait 3 to 6 months for orders “from nowhere” when fielding requests from buyers who know what they want may be readily available through website optimization. We are happy to elaborate on our recent experience in this area. Please call me, Ira Michael Blonder, IMB Enterprises, Inc at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion about your product and your plan.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

22
Feb

No Magic Elixir for a Failing eMail Marketing Program

Opt-in mailing list members are a fickle lot, with little brand loyalty. Burn them several times with email campaigns that fail to meet important criteria at your peril. There is slim to no likelihood at all that these readers will retrieve your future messages from spam filters or trash. But what are the most important criteria?

First, it is important for us to note that we are not proponents of habituating on email marketing. At best, we think that this tactic can deliver some useful leads, but the effort/reward ratio will be no better than is the typical proportion of any other type of passive marketing method. Lots of messages will need to be sent out to glean a small number of leads. With that said, we need to note that businesses have exhibited a substantial level of interest in email marketing; therefore, we want to add our two cents to the discussion.

The important criteria, as we see it, is that you send your email campaign messages to a list of contacts that you have assembled yourself and never to a so-called “opt-in” list that you have purchased. We think the members on these paid lists will be largely disinterested in the type of specific, targeted message that we advocate be developed for an audience of readers that promises to give some attention to what is sent to them.

You should carefully sample your audience through your teleprospecting efforts to determine whatever common themes of interest you can unearth. The editorial content of your email campaign should be restricted to these themes. Better to segment the themes, treating them individually over a series of messages within your campaign than to attempt to include them all in one broad covering email message.

You should provide your readers with ample opportunities to voice an opinion about your message; therefore, it is a good idea to spread the campaign over some time period that affords you the ability to collect responses before embarking on subsequent mailings. By no means does it make sense to bombard your audience with lots of messages. In fact such a bombardment can lead to audience insensitivity whereby your future messages will be ignored.

Where possible it makes sense to sample audience reaction via telemarketing calls. Let’s face it, most recipients of unsolicited email messages will have little interest to reply to messages. Better to reach back out to recipients, individually, to determine whatever opinions may be at hand before advancing a campaign to subsequent mailings.

We are interested in working with customers who would like a coordinated campaign of email marketing in conjunction with a telemarketing lead generation program. We welcome opportunities to elaborate on our experience, not to mention to learn further about your objectives. Please call Ira Michael Blonder, IMB Enterprises, Inc at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved