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Thursday, 19 September 2013 by Peter Bell

How much would you pay to guarantee every email reaches the inbox?

A few years back, it was rumoured that MSN could start charging businesses to deliver an email into Hotmail. At the time, it was met with shock and horror that a billion dollar company would impose what would seem like a additional tax on marketing activity.

Considering this again, paying to guarantee an email delivery into the most common email clients such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail actually sounds like a great idea now. As most digital marketers have come to realise, email is the most cost effective and powerful marketing channel available, thwarted mainly by deliverability challenges.

The delivery challenge has given rise an explosion of email service providers (ESPs) who will all swear blindly that their platform has better deliverability than the next one, when for the most part it is difficult to tell them apart without that magical delivery to inbox guarantee.

To contrast this with the offline world, direct marketing mailers in the UK, have since the year dot, had to pay the great and good at Royal Mail to guarantee delivery - delivery is a given, leaving the opening and responding to mail as the sole focus of the marketing effort.

Whereas online direct marketers are spending ridiculous amounts of time and effort thinking about deliverability to the extent that the subject lines and copy are totally compromised from a marketing perspective to ensure that the email has any chance of reaching its destination. There is nothing more frustrating as a marketer than for an opted-in person being unfairly blocked from receiving an email theyve requested in the first place.

I know there is tonnes of information with best practices suggestions and excellent email domain reputation building services such as Sender Score certification which do, of course, help deliverability.

However, is it time to take a fresh look at this aspect of email marketing?

Imagine what your email opens and clicks would look like with a guaranteed 100% delivery into the inbox. You might be content with your current in-house warm lists performing at 20% open and 3-5% click thru, now imagine 80% open rates and 50% click thrus on a regular basis. You would be smashing your marketing targets out of the park!

Similarly, pure email spammers would be left out in the cold and be instantly blocked because they havent paid for delivery. The reason, spammers love email even more than bone fide email marketers, is that it is soooo cheap and cost effective. Lets drive them out, by driving up the cost.

So in case there was any doubt, Im all for paying for a first class stamp to put on my email if I know it will reach the recipient. How about you?

So I guess, the million dollar question is, how much would you pay to guarantee every email hitting the inbox?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 by Peter Bell

Why can't Marketers Code?


If you think this is code - you need help!
As someone working in marketing, youve probably heard or at least some stage, said; Im not actually technical, youll have to speak to the techies

In todays digital dawn of modern marketing, should we still be thinking like this?

Unless youve been hiding under a rock (which is not wifi-enabled, I might add) for the last decade, you might not have noticed that techies can now talk and do most other normal social and business functions too - so it begs the question - why cant marketers code?

While self-confessed geeks such as Zucker, Gates, Page & Brin are busy running the internet for us, is it that unreasonable to expect digital marketers to be equipped with HTML or Java programming knowledge? Or if an academic programming background is too much to expect, should marketers take the initiative and learn to code themselves using online free tutorials such as Code Academy - You gotta start somewhere!

Okay, so we may be a few years away from Marketing Directors expecting marketeers to have coding skills. However, without these, digital marketing managers today are increasingly frustrated on having to depend upon IT or tech departments to action marketing objectives.

So the next time, a simple marketing task is held up by the need to use a techie to add some code which entails facing an IT ticket queue of mammoth proportions, ask yourself, If I could code a little, wouldnt my life be much easier?

Having asked myself that question about 18 months ago, I personally found using...:

  • A slice of Code Academy
  • Time with techies to find out how it all knits together
  • View source option on internet browsers to examine website code
  • Notepad to check and change email creative html 
  • Reading up with the help of an old html book
  • Google to plug any annoying gaps in my wafer thin coding knowledge

... has worked wonders to speed up my marketing effectiveness. Whilst Ill never be a No.1 coder, I can solve many simple bugs and make changes to code without the need to submit myself to ticket request IT hell.

And.... guess what... my life is now much easier! I dont sweat the small stuff and leave the big stuff to the coding experts.

Thursday, 13 June 2013 by Peter Bell

Top Ten Lead Generation Insider Tips

Lead Generation & Performance Marketing Insight

Could you use a quick injection of lead gen insight without the hassle of a registering for a whitepaper download?

If so, here is a top ten tips sheet for those working in performance marketing and lead generation companies. Check out below:

  1. Co-reg leads versus traffic leads - On average, expect standard co-registration (host and post) leads to convert at c. 30% of a email/banner advert driving traffic to site lead
  2. The need for speed - when converting leads over the phone, according to an MIT study, the odds of qualifying a lead in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times.
  3. Welcome emails - Sending an instant email to your leads (not only is the very least you can do) also yields email open rates of 30-40%+ and click thrus of 15-25%+ (from my experience)
  4. Pricing Tiers - Set monthly cost per lead tiers by source to boost volumes within target cost per acquisition (CPA)
  5. Too much copy - Dont overload lead generation advertisements (especially co-registration adverts) with too much text and multiple marketing hooks. Understand your target market and focus on the key USP. Offering something exclusive helps to clinch the consumer opt-in for the right reasons. Ask yourself, what would make ME buy it?
  6. Retain control - Dont allow your offer to be brokered out to third party sites without your consent
  7. Police your partner sites - Manually check publisher sites to ensure copy compliance and branding guidelines are being followed
  8. To incentivise or not - Dont be afraid of advertising on incentivised sites. You can tailor the offer and payout accordingly to ensure it plays a important role in the lead generation marketing mix
  9. Be a consumer - Complete your own sign-up forms - if you cant register easily, expect an above average drop-out rate.
  10. Split-test - Everything! And then test everything again!
Admittedly, there may be technical and resource challenges preventing all ten being followed, but hey, no-one said Performance Marketing was easy!

Friday, 24 May 2013 by Peter Bell

What is co-registration marketing?

Ask this simple question of any grown-up digital marketer and its likely to produce a wide variety of answers. So, lets help clarify below whilst also putting a few misconceptions to bed...

Co-registration or co-reg as it is known for short in the UK has been in evidence online for at least the past 10 years. In America, co-reg is called host and post, yet they both, essentially mean the same thing, as follows:

Co-registration - people complete a form registering for a single brand and by ticking further boxes co-register for additional third party branded offers. So this means people only need to enter their contact details once and then give their consent to further info./contact from third party brands. For example, people who register with cars.com can also opt-in to offers from cars.com advertising partners with a simple tick in the box.

Host and Post (USA term) - where opt-in adverts are hosted and leads/data from those ads are posted via real-time transfer or other delivery method. This term clearly distinguishes this type of lead generation from other performance based traffic driving efforts.

The commonly accepted metric for measurement and payment of coreg is cost per lead (CPL). In fact, this is the only advertising medium where CPL is the default metric! Again, there is a subtle, but crucial difference in America in that instead of CPL, CPA is used, meaning Cost Per Action. Whereas, in the UK, CPA is normally only taken to mean cost per acquisition.

The common misconceptions of co-reg advertising are:
  • It must involve a competition entry - though this is a popular way to gain people opt-in details this is by no means a pre-requisite.
  • The same advert and criteria will work across similar coreg publishers
  • Publishers should not send invalid leads to be considered a good source
  • Asking consumers more qualifying questions automatically drives better quality
  • A good lead will still be good even if not contacted the same day. Check out this piece of research from MIT which charts the dramatic short life of a lead.
There is clearly a long way to go in both the understanding and evolvement of co-reg as part of the wider performance marketing mix. It is worthy to note that Google itself now offers co-reg from the search pages, inviting logged-in users to click submit their pre-filled email address to get offers rather than click through to websites. Yahoo seem to have gone one stage further than Google by offering a full cost per lead (co-reg) ad unit on the search pages.

If you want to better understand how to get the best out of co-registration, check out these co-reg top tips, in an earlier post.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013 by Peter Bell

Is Affiliate marketing a dirty word?

Have you noticed of late how many in the affiliate marketing industry appear to be moving (or should I say running!) away from using the term affiliate, which at the end of the day is just another word for publisher. Affiliates4U market themselves as A4U Performance Marketing Insight and their Performance Marketing Awards consign the word affiliate to the dustbin. Whilst that massive late entry into the affiliate space, Google plumped for the name Google Affiliate Network (GAN) only to rapidly close down this April and the term affiliate with it.

As marketing moves with the fashion, this season Performance Marketing is that eye catching black number that everyone seems to want - with affiliate stuff being cast off into the stockroom only to be re-badged and put back out in the shop window.

However, terminology is a huge, huge, deal in direct marketing - image is everything. The problem with the term affiliate I think, it that its cites a form of marketing that directly puts the publisher in the spotlight rather than the advertiser, channel or purpose - it indicates no whys or hows to the outsider. Whereas performance marketing is clean and focuses on the mechanism that publishers, advertisers and networks all work to. So, as the term affiliate falls from grace and I predict it will soon be consigned to history, we are left with an industry full of affiliate executives, managers and directors.

With the industrys rapid evolvement, maybe its time we all adopted Performance Marketing sooner rather than later to avoid confusing marketers who have enough conflicting terminology to deal with as it is.

Lastly, as the new cool Performance Marketing tends to get banded around everywhere these days, I believe its worth making a distinction. I think the true essence of Performance Marketing is where all those involved (advertiser, publisher, agency, network) are working on a risk performance basis. For me, cost per sale/acquisition (CPS/CPA) marketing is not performance marketing at all, as all risk is taken by the publisher (affiliate!). Lead generation marketing is where all parties are performing to ensure it works for all which is why the term Performance Lead Marketing sums it up perfectly.