12
Feb

Tagging Mass eMail Campaigns to Track Visits by Recipients to Target Web Sites and Pages

Online marketing is a big business, powering the efforts of large and small businesses, alike. The objective is to cash in on the potential benefit of a very low cost direct marketing campaign, light on the printing and mailing cost, but high on the return on investment. But for one reason or another these efforts often fail.

The missing piece is the otherwise anonymous nature of communications across the internet. The network powering web pages, Ethernet over TCP/IP, simply doesn’t support the handshaking, error checking, etc., which would be required of a data communications protocol capable of supporting the type of clear, point-to-point communications online marketers definitely need. Ideally, such a system would help consumers learn more about just who is responding to a mass email, etc.

Enter VisualVisitor and Salesforce.com. These two cloud solutions can be used, together, to provide any size business with a very effective method of sending targeted mass emails and tracking web site visits by specific campaign recipients.

Certainly some mass email management services can make similar claims. In other words, a service like iContact® offers subscribers the option of tagging campaigs to show:

  • eMail opens by recipient
  • and clicks on web page links by recipient

But what iContact, and comparable solutions, cannot do, is indicate visits by email recipients over time. Nor can these services provide web site visit information of email recipients clicking on embedded links who then proceed to look at other pages on a website. For any business marketing intangibles and complex solutions, this latter information is very important and highly useful.

I can personally attest to the usefulness of VisualVisitor and Salesforce.com for the purpose of closing the loop on 1) Who received my email campaign?, 2) Which campaign recipients came to my web site? and 3) What’s the historical record of visits to my web site by these recipients?

If you would like to learn more about how these two SaaS offers can be used together, please contact me.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

16
Jan

Tools Like VisualVisitor Promise to Boost the Value of Online Marketing Campaigns for SMBs

With increasing frequency industry analysts are drilling down to some disturbing characteristics of online marketing. Not the least of these is a pessimistic, but nonetheless popular, conclusion about the likelihood of engagement with website visitors — or the lack of it. The unfortunate consensus is website visitors are much less likely to engage with online promotions than promoters would hope them to be.

Solutions like VisualVisitor can be very useful tools for online promoters in need to accelerating the timing of opportunities to engage with website visitors. If lead generation solutions like Marketo and Oracle’s Eloqua can attract substantial investor interest, I can’t help but think businesses like VisualVisitor will soon follow.

The lack of engagement issue is actually a very big deal for online promoters. Google’s recent investment forays into business sectors otherwise completely disconnected from its core online advertising revenue generation machine leads me to suspect click ads aren’t delivering the profits they used to. If I’m right on this point, then at some level the reason for profit drop has to be attributable to changes in customer behavior. Google’s online advertisers are largely made up of the same SMBs (Small to Medium Size Businesses) engaged with high effort/comparatively low return online promotion campaigns. This base is primed for offers capable of delivering the missing engagement component.

My clients use VisualVisitor to reduce the length of the sales cycle for bigger ticket tech product buys. The website visitor recognition service VisualVisitor provides is especially effective for re-connecting with existing customers. We recently identified a website visit from a past subscriber to one of my client’s SaaS offers. When we reached out to the key customer contact we were pleasantly surprised to find the visit was actually made by this person, who immediately disclosed to us an interest to double the size of an expired past subscription. Needless to say my client was very pleased.

Ira Michael Blonder

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

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

25
Nov

Online Marketers Need to Look to Tools Like VisualVisitor to Fill the Gap Left by Changes to Google Analytics

Online marketers need to look to tools like VisualVisitor to fill the growing gap between their need to gather information from website visits and the information available to them from widely used tools like Google Analytics.

Analytics offers a tremendous amount of functionality, at absolutely no cost, to the majority of its users. But the features, increasingly, seem to be designed to support Google’s Adword product. In the summer, and early fall of 2013, there was a substantial amount of discussion, online, about whether or not the “keyword” feature of Analytics had been removed from the product. Adwords users could still access the keyword data they needed, but locating the same information in Analytics became a very difficult task. (as of November 21, 2013, “keyword” information is still available in Analytics. But the “keyword” feature is now nested within the “Acquisition” tab, and under “Advertising”)

For readers unfamiliar with Google Analytics, this “keyword” feature provides Analytics users with some highly useful information about website visitors. If a website visitor used a search engine to find the Analytics user’s website, then the search query string, meaning the actual keywords input to the search engine, were provided to the Analytics user. Armed with this keyword data, an Analytics user can accelerate the task of improving the online content of specific web pages within a website to better magnetize the right visitors.

The “keyword” feature is still included in the product. But website visitors arriving to a site as the result of “incognito browsing” (meaning browsing without cookies, history, or most other personalized indicators) no longer leave a trail of keywords. The keyword string is left encrypted, and is no longer available to the Analytics users.

But VisualVisitor, which provides users with identifying information about otherwise anonymous website visitors, can be used to fill in some of this gap. For example, by better understanding the sequence of pages visited, online marketers can determine whether content is leading visitors in the right direction, or not. VisualVisitor provides users with detailed information about specific pages visited by specific website visitors. Campaign specific tags can be implemented to provide even more information. These tags are useful to increase the value of email campaigns.

If your organization would like to implement a solution like VisualVisitor to fill in the information gap I’ve described, and would like some help, please let us know.

Ira Michael Blonder

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

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

23
Apr

Successfully Using a Service like VisualVisitor Requires a System to Manage Lead Volume

For a moderately high traffic website, meaning one with at least an approximate 4K new visits per month, a successful implementation of a website visitor identification system like VisualVisitor requires a method of managing the volume of “leads” the system will produce.

We maintain a site targeted to a B2B audience. Our site meets the traffic profile of a moderately high traffic web site. We implemented VisualVisitor on Friday of last week. We’ve received in excess of 200 “leads” since implementing the system. What to do?

A management system is required. This system can either be built with inhouse resources, or a service provider (for example, IMB Enterprises, Inc., please contact us to learn more) should be selected to manage the supporting system.

A broad objective of the lead management system is to identify high value prospects. One of at least two options can be used to organize leads to successfully deliver this objective: either face the leads to a key account and prospect lists, or structure website architecture to provide a path for higher value prospects to traverse, thereby automating the process of unearthing where it makes sense for your staff to spend time.

Here’s how the latter system works. We implement the type of “call to action” structure for web site pages usually used for pay per click advertising campaigns, but now applied to our campaign to expand the visibility of our website via organic promotional efforts. So when we receive leads from VisualVisitor of visits to our call to action pages, and other important spots on our site (for example, a page with a download link for whitepapers, case studies, etc), these visits are immediately scrutinized. Staff takes the steps required to attempt to engage with these prospects as soon as possible. Keep in mind that freshness is absolutely crucial to maintaining the pace of a progressive engagement with prospects.

Ira Michael Blonder

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