Telemarketing – Part 4: Is your telemarketing joined-up?

RoI, RoI – if only I knew my RoI – Apologies to the bard!

Telemarketing is a communication tool. A tool, not THE tool. It is expensive to implement and therefore should  really be considered and used as part of a joined-up marketing approach. In this,  the final part of our series we look at how good telemarketing is monitored and managed and part of a joined-up plan – yet all too often it isn’t quite like this in practice. Telemarketing is easy to monitor. You are paying a day rate for your telemarketing staff. Telephone costs are consistent (and really quite modest these days) so your return on investment depends entirely on what you get out of this applied effort. No matter what many telemarketers tell you, it really isn’t all about how many calls they make! It isn’t just about working hard, it is about working clever. I have touched on this before but it is important:

  1. If the telemarketer is looking to make appointments, that’s fine, but get them to qualify the list while they are at it. Someone who is not ready for an appointment today may be a good prospect for the future so check out just how much authority/influence they have and how relevant your product/service is to them. Check their contact details and email address.
  2. If the telemarketer is checking and updating a database, make sure they are asking ‘qualifying questions’ where possible and if they happen to be talking with a key influencer, ask if they have any current interest – what is there to lose?

In either case, use the information from the calls to build a qualified database of YOUR market. You can then use this database to keep in touch with people by mail, email etc – both much cheaper than more telemarketing and both can be great sources of enquiries. With email you can track who is opening your emails and clicking on links – suggesting possible interest – which could be a great basis for some more, targeted phone calls to generate enquiries and opportunities – like I said, joined-up. In ALL cases don’t forget, one of the first things anyone interested in what you offer will do is visit your website – so make sure it says what you want it to say. Make sure you are proud of it. Your sales team (OK, maybe that is just you!) does the selling. Marketing is about looking for  people to sell to; communicating your proposition to your target market and qualifying opportunities. It is a step by step process. Different communications using different media (both online and offline) have different impact and by using them in a joined-up marketing process you will have maximum control and the best opportunity to get most benefit from each step of the way. In practice, I’m not sure that Return on Investment for SME marketing can be reduced to a mathematical formula to measure an individual marketing acivity but the more you consider, understand and monitor the process, the more you can control it as part of the bigger picture.

SEO for Localised Geographic Market

The Company:

  • Manufacturer of  drinking water filters
  • Provides safe, clean water to millions of people in 140 countries worldwide
  • Customers include large organisations like aid agencies and water cooler companies

  The Problem: FICL had an issue when they moved over to a new distributor in the Greek market. FICL wanted to ensure that existing consumers in the market who needed ongoing replacement water filters could easily find details of their products and most importantly where they could buy replacement filters in Greece. The Solution: To meet these objectives, BSA Marketing:

  • registered a relevant .gr domain name (
  • created a site dedicated to the relevant product and placed it on the .gr domain
  • optimised the site for relevant key phrases
  • geotargeted the site at the Greek market through webmaster tools

The Benefits: Fairey Industrial Ceramics Ltd now have a page 1 listing for all significant searches and the new official distributor can be easily found on Visit What the Client says about BSA’s work: ‘BSA Marketing helped us to quickly get our message out into the Greek market by means of a combined English/Greek language website. BSA always take the time to understand what we are trying to achieve with our web strategies and are very easy to work with. We are more than pleased to recommend them!’

Remarketing, another made up internet word, or a powerful marketing tool

In fact it is both, but I am going to focus on the Marketing tool aspect. In essence, remarketing is the process of tracking visitors after they have visited your site, and then delivering relevant targeted adverts to them promoting your products and services when they visit other sites. This has been possible through specialist service providers for a while, but unless you have had 4 figure monthly ad budgets, the cost has been prohibitive. Then a little over a year ago Google launched a re-marketing tool for its adsense network, and 1 year down the line this is now becoming a realistic option for advertisers on a more limited budget. In brief, the way it works is that when a user (who is logged into their Google account) visits your website, Google registers this and add them to your “Audience” list. When they then leave your site & continue browsing, if they visit a site containing adsense adverts, Google will recognise them, and settings/budget permitting will display your advert. The system is highly configurable & controllable, and offers real , highly targeted advertising opportunities on a limited budget. Some applications where re-marketing could really deliver are:

  • Re-capturing abandoned carts on e-commerce site
  • Increasing conversion on sales that may have a long lead time
  • Turning research visits to your site into a sale

Google have published a couple of guides to using the re-marketing functionality on their adwords platform, and you can download these here.

Introduction to Re-marketing on Google Introduction to Re-marketing on Google
Getting Started with Remarketing on Google Google Remarketing 7 Minute set up guide

Alternatively, if you would like to discuss how this may work for your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Converting CSS to In-line for Emails

Over the years, we have done a number of posts about email design best practice, and these highlight one feature of email design, that can create some time consuming work. That is the issue of inline CSS. When you design your email, you will normally find that CSS is defined using classes, with the classes defined in a block at the top of the code. For websites, using class-based CSS, and ideally referencing your CSS from a separate, dedicated style page on your website is very much the preferred option. This is not the when designing emails. Because oof the way many email clients render HTML emails, it is much more reliable to include CSS style data in-line, in the body of your message.

<style> .style1 {font-size:12px;} </style>
<body> <p class=”style1″> the content</p> </body>

However for email, these css styles need to be defined “inline” using style=”” rather than Class=””.  so the above code, set up for email would be:

<body> <p style=”font-size:12px;”> the content</p> </body>

Although it is a simple case of cut and past to deliver this format, in more complex emails, this can be a time consuming job. But no more, as we have found this useful tool for converting classes to inline CSS: Premailer – Pre-flight for HTML email. Simply click on the “Paste HTML as the source ” text, and past the code you want to convert into the box that appears, and click “submit”. The site will then deliver the in line css for you to copy and past back into your email. We have used it on a number of emails, and the CSS it delivers seems pretty accurate. However, as always, make sure you test your emails before sending them. If all this seem like hard work, and you would like some help in ensuring that your emails reach their destination looking as you had intended, please feel free to get in touch, we are always happy to discuss the options.

Email Deliverability – The Devil is in the Detail

As a matter of course, we test emails against the outlook junk filter to maximise the possibility of them getting to the recipients inbox, and a couple of projects this week have hightlighted again the importance of this process, and in considering every angle when designing emails to maximise deliverability. The normal focus is the on structure & content of the main email, but in these two cases, these areas did not highlight any major issues, but the mail was still failing the Outlook junk test. Further testing revealed the issues:

  1. In one, the subject line was causing the failure, and the simple step of removing a ? from the end of the subject line solved the problem.
  2. In the second, it was the name of the page that the email clicked through to that was causing the issue, changing the name of the page from response.php to index.php again solved the problem.

In our opinion deliverability is one of the key issues when considering email marketing, especially when working with highly tartgeted B2B lists which may only be a few huindred or a few thousand recipients, because yoiu can be sure, if it ends up in the Junk box, your recipient will not see your carefully crafted message! If you would like to talk to us about how to improve the deliverability of your emails, then, get in touch.

Telemarketing – Part 3: What should you expect from your Telemarketing project?

Having now looked at the realities of telemarketers: 99% of telemarketers don’t have the ‘Magic Touch’ and the importance of good briefing: The importance of clear definitions and briefing we arrive at the guts of the matter: What to expect from your Business to Business telemarketing? As always, there is no simple answer. Want a quick fix? Jump straight to my tips The key factors are:

Your Objectives – How much commitment are you looking for from contacts?

At one end of the scale if you are refreshing and qualifying your database, you may simply be looking for confirmation of information you already have. You should expect 70-80% of contacts to give you this. Even here you will find some people who claim to have a company policy whery they will not even confirm information you already have! At the other end of the scale, you may be looking to arrange an initial sales meeting, or even sell something over the phone. In these cases, only 1 or 2 ‘successes’ per day might be the norm – but don’t despair, as discussed below, simply reassessing what you are doing might improve things.

Your Proposition – How strong is your offer?

I have mentioned the importance of a strong offer in earlier posts. There is no question that if you can offer clear and unambiguous benefit to contacts it will make things easier and more productive. It doesn’t matter how good you think your offer is, it is all about what your target contact thinks. To say you can reduce a company’s monthly phone bills by 25% may sound good but there is no question that phone call costs have all come down in recent years. If you are talking to a small business who only spends £25 per month on phone calls than the £6.25 reduction may not be worth the time and effort for them to switch. It really is about genuine value.

Your Target Market – How well do you know your target contacts?

It may sound obvious but the better you know your target contacts, the more likely it is that your telemarketer(s) will get a good hearing. As most SME telemarketing involves a majority of cold calling, simply getting people to listen can be a big issue – this is where a good telemarketer will definitely show their stuff.

Remember your briefing

Probably the single most common objective in SME Business to Business telemarketing is to generate leads and for most people, this means appointments. As I say above, this normally means that 1 or 2 ‘successes‘ per day at best. If you see more than this then check your briefing! A telemarketer who says

We just want to pop in while we are passing and drop off some literature...’

may manage to justify this in their head as a booked appointment but clearly not what you are looking for!

Don’t forget the longer term

This brief case study will hopefully give you some food for thought…. I was talking to a client who had recently set up as a freelance accountant offering services to SME businesses. They engaged a telemarketer to call local businesses to try to set up appointments. The accountant started to see a slow trickle of appointments. Not as many as they had hoped but a few. It turns out the feedback they were getting from the telemarketer was simply the appointment details – name, time, date. They knew nothing of the calls where no appointment was forthcoming. I suggested that they ask the telemarketer to report back on all contacts and to make sure that even where there was no appointment they asked for an email address and checked it was OK to ‘keep in touch’ – most people are happy to agree to this. This added no cost to the telemarketing work but significantly improved the benefits. As well as the appointments, the accountant was now building a qualified target market database of local businesses as a valuable marketing asset that could be used cost effectively on an ongoing basis. Could you do something similar?

A few other points

How many contacts a day? Normally depends on the target contact level. Speaking to senior staff in large companies (with many layers of hierarchy!) can be most difficult and 10 contacts a day can be a good result. As a guide, 20-25 contacts per day can be used as a benchmark. If you are simply qualifying an existing database (name, address etc) then 70-80 checked records per day should be achievable. Don’t assume big numbers=good performance! If you are expecting 20-25 decent conversations in a day and your telemarketer claims 6 in the their first hour, check them – and check your brief is being followed. All telemarketing projects have a learning curve. It can take a couple of hours or so for a telemarketer to get up to speed. I’d suggest giving them at least half a day to start to perform – but if you are not seeing what you expect after a day, it is time to review.

TIP 1: Make sure you get feedback on all contacts from your telemarketer(s). Just because there is no appointment today doesn't mean you can't keep in touch and try again in a month or 2. Also feedback as to why you don't get an appointment can help you refine your briefing and approach.
TIP 2: Don't fight with secretaries and other 'gate-keepers'. These people have the ear of your ultimate target contact so keeping on the right side of them can really pay dividends.
TIP 3: If a particularly important contact is proving difficult to get hold of, consider trying to arrange a 'Telephone Appointment'