How often do you ask for customer feedback?

Customer feedback can really help your businessJoined-up marketing is two-way marketing. Customer feedback is an important part of this process. Having a channel for talking to your customers to get their feedback on your offerings and marketing activities should be a ‘must’ for all businesses, yet many companies rely on informal day to day contact to achieve this. Although feedback is always valuable, a structured process to gather the information is advisable, and required if you are ISO9001 acredited.

Customer feedback can deliver real benefits

I believe that many businesses avoid this process because they are nervous about what they might find out. It is also easy to justify inaction by citing complexity and cost. However, as we discussed in a post last November, this is not necessarily the case, and surveys offer many other marketing benefits:

  • Asking for feedback shows your customers that you care about their opinions, and are interested in what they think.
  • Surveys get your name in front of people, further reinforcing your brand.
  • If you survey is hosted on your website it can also deliver great web traffic.
  • You can get some great quotes and testimonials for future.
  • You can learn things that may help you improve your business

All in all, there is no good reason for not regularly surveying your customers, so when was the last time you asked our customers for feedback? To discuss how BSA can help you set up and run your own customer survey, give us a call

Building Your Email List – An Effective Telemarketing Strategy

tele_emailBSA Marketing has a long history and a great deal of knowledge about both effective telemarketing and email marketing. Our experience tells us that there can be a great fit between the two although this is often overlooked – particularly by B2B marketers! Most often, when B2B companies commission a telemarketing project to target new potential customers thet have one objective – leads! All too often, the telemarketers buy in to this objective and again focus on securing ‘NOW’ opportunities. Although it is difficult (and potentially dangerous!) to quote statistics, history tells us that a typical B2B telemarketing project to a reasonable niche market can generate sales leads from around 5-10% of contacts made. This may be OK but also bear in mind that if the initial list is properly targeted, then no more than 20-25% of contacts should be with companies where they just don’t buy (or have potential to buy) the product/service in question. So, we have 5-10% with current opportunity and 20-25% with no opportunity – but what of the other 65-75%? I think the basic problem is one of standpoint. Most telemarketing is conducted on the basis of

“We are looking for people who are interested in us now”

If the answer received is NO, then the telemarketer moves on to the next contact.

I think telemarketing is conducted on the basis of:

“We are looking for people we are interested in”

Once you have found someone you are interested in (i.e. they buy or have potential to buy what you are selling) only then do you ask the question whether they are interested in you now.

In this way, you can still pick up on the short term opportunities.

However, it is inevitable that most will answer NO, they aren’t interested in you now – even though you have already confirmed you are interested in them. These are the 65-75% that often get thrown away in the search for ‘NOW’ leads. They offer real business potential, just not at the moment.

The question is then what do you do with them? They are still valuable contacts so you don’t want to ignore them, on the other hand it would be inappropriate and not cost effective to continue to use telemarketing to communicate. What you need is a means to gently keep in touch and not let them forget you – roll on email marketing! If you have a consistent programme of email newsletters etc, you simply add your new target contacts to your email list and they will receive high quality communications that build your profile with them, and re-enforce the value that you could add to their business, Increasing the likelihood that they will contact you when they have a requirement. The relationship between telemarketing and email:

  • Use telemarketing to identify and qualify your target market. If the prime objective is to build your email list, it will succeed and you are likely to get one or two leads as a bonus
  • Use the contacts identified during the telemarketing to build a high quality email list, and use this list to develop a targeted communication program via email.

Take this approach, and you can significantly increase the return on your telemarketing investment, still generate short term opportunities and build a qualified database of YOUR target market which is a key marketing asset and a valuable part of an effective and sustainable marketing strategy.

Building Your Audience

In a sentence, our philosophy on Marketing is:

Identify organisations to whom your products and services will add value and then effectively communicate your proposition to them.

communitylWith this in mind, a blog post entitled “How to Identify an Online Community for Your Business” has to be relevant. Although it is directed primarily at consumer markets (see my last post on the matter), I think it makes many points that are highly relevant in the B2B arena. The article also highlights 3 things to remember before you start:

  1. If you’re looking to build a quality following, it takes time and effort
  2. It’s not all about the numbers
  3. It’s an ongoing process, not an event (a more manual, human-type process)

When reading the article, there is a 4th thing to remember in the B2B market. 4. Social Media is not the only tool Social Media can be particularly powerful in consumer markets and certainly can have a role in B2B marketing but there may be other, more appropriate, media through which to build and communicate with your community (Networking, Offline media, email etc). If you remember this, the principals behind the article are good, and well worth a read. You will find the full post on the seomoz blog here: How to Identify an Online Community for Your Business  

2013 – When Relationship Marketing comes of Age!

rel_marThis week I read an E-consultancy Blog article on relationship marketing entitled “The ‘relationship era’ is well under way”, This led me to think: So whats new? It is a well known fact that developing business from people who know and trust you is much easier and more profitable that trying always to build business through customer aquisition. This is especially true in B2B markets. In fact I believe that most people involved in B2B marketing do recognise and accept the importance of relationship marketing, but as our post on the subject last month “Where have all the B2B Relationships gone” suggests, it’s important to remeber the B2B and B2C marketing are different, and maybe this E-consultancy article is suggesting the B2C Marketers are starting to undertsand something that has been well known in B2B for Many years “Customer relationships matter!”. This is something we should never forget, and it should be central to any good marketing strategy!

Email marketing benchmarks

Email marketing benchmarks. What is a good response rate?

Email_marketing_benchmarksWhat constitutes a good response rate? is a subjective question. For example, which is better?:

  • 0.01% response: 1 contact from your list of 10000 who delivers lots of business to you
  • 10% response: 1000 people who just want to take up your free offer but will never buy

Obvious really but it does illustrate that quality is at least as important as quantity. However it does beg the question: What is a good response rate? How may people should you expect to open your carefully crafted message? What are meaningful email marketing benchmarks? Probably less than you think! As well as being a great feature of email marketing, the fact that you can track opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes also lays bare the reality of how much penetration your message actually makes. With Direct Mail, you never really know how many get thrown straight in the bin – and ignorance is definitely bliss! Email marketing benchmarks are notoriously difficult to pin down as there are so many variables. I think it is better to take available data and then use common sense and your own knowledge of your own business to draw conclusions appropriate for you. Subscription email marketing SWAS (software as service) company Sign-Up-To has, for the past few years, produced annual reports giving an overview of email marketing response rates across industry. the report makes interesting reading. Click here to download a copy. If you have any questions re benchmarking your own email marketing, get in touch

Email Newsletter Design can now use background images

New tool to enable background images in email newsletter design

Although it is important to ensure a good level of text content in email newsletter design as the saying goes:

A picture is worth a thousand words

We always recommend you use images in your email newsletters and sometimes you may want to use an email newsletter design that has an image background with text on top.

bgimgHistorically this has been difficult with some email clients, notably Outlook, simply refusing to display background images. A common work-around is to include the words in your image so it doesn’t need to be a background; but this reduces the amount of text in your content which can attract spam filters.

This issue has frustrated email marketers for quite some time. As mentioned above, there have been work-arounds and complex coding solutions but no single, straightforward method to include background images in emails. Well now there is!

Bulletproof Email Backgrounds is a free to use online tool which automatically creates code that you can include in your email. We have run some tests and the tool works well – though you have to be a bit careful about formatting the content over the background image. You do need to be comfortable with basic editing of HTML for your email.

Check out the tool here

Of course if you need any help with email marketing or email newsletter design, please give us a call