While every marketing agency would have loved to have scouted Seth Godin or Brian Solis at a young age; the reality is that most marketing agencies wouldn’t have been able to benefit from such great talent.
Too often, marketing agencies don’t have an adequate mentorship program in place. This problem becomes more acute at very large ones, where the recruiting of young talent is done without a roadmap that truly sets a plan for growth within the agency.
Apparently, the Japanese seem to think so. Via the eMarketer Daily, I found that according to Marsh Research, 84.4% of adult Internet users in Japan have felt at least once that the Internet is “scary.”Here is the breakdown: Now, why do they consider the Internet scary?
Notice that at the top of the list appears “when lots of pop-up windows opened”. Have you been a victim of a “rickroll”? Definitely annoying. Extreme use of pop-up ads is what Seth Godin refers to as interruption marketing. You’re interrupting the natural flow of the user experience to say “hey, buy this!”. Remember that ads or communications can only be effective if they are relevant, personal, and ANTICIPATED. You need to employ permission marketing (another Godin term). I believe that the only way to a marketer can make a pop-up ad relevant, personal and anticipated is through the use of a tool such as 4Q from iPerceptions. Here’s a 10-minute video explanation of 4Q by Google Analytics Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik.
Here’s an example of how 4Q looks like at the CIO website:
So, you’ve created a great product or service and you have users lining up to register online for your product or service so they can use it. You have provided the option to received personal, relevant, and anticipated messages; and guess what? they are choosing to do so by clicking on the checkbox!. Excellent! You cannot believe that people are interested in you and you send out your first e-mail…and…now what?
This week I’m going to discuss, the basics of the “now what”: the E-mail Permission Marketing Fundamentals.
Before you start your analytics, it is important to understand, at least at a high level, that there several important steps to the process of executing e-mail campaigns:
Define business objectives and how e-mail fits into them.
Identify core criteria for e-mail campaigns (what, why, how, when, and so forth).
Create and execute campaigns (mine your e-mail list, scrub it for do not contacts, create the right text or other type of offering, and send it to your e-mail vendor).
Analyze your campaigns.
Email analytics can focus on both ends of this process: defining objectives and criteria as well as campaign analysis.
As you can see, planning is 90% of any e-mail permission marketing campaign. You cannot expect results, if you don’t have an idea of what good results are. The most important part is that you have to figure a return-on-investment (ROI) for obtaining 1 unit of your desired goal (e.g. one download of a software, one download of a flyer on how-to-stop smoking, one call to one 1-800 number, one view of a blog post, etct). That’s the ultimate goal that you want to set up first before anything. How much are you willing to spend in order to get 1 unit of your desired goal? Once you set that goal, write in 60 font size, print it out, and hang it somwhere visible in your working space. This will guide your overall e-mail permission marketing campaign.
However, before getting to the specifics of calculating the ROI, we need to establish the fundamental metrics. Remember, walking before running. In the case of an effective permission e-mail, you can only have up to 2 goals, for example: a) click here to learn more about my great website, b) click here to download my great free mp3, c) click here to make an appointment, etc.
The funnel strategy of your permission e-mail is that people:
Actually receive your permission e-mail.
Open your permission e-mail.
Click on the link you want them to click.
In order to track these results, you will need the following metrics. Kaushik suggests that you use an e-mail vendor, however I will assume that your operation is pretty small and does not exceed a couple thousand e-mails. At that level, there are only a couple fundamental metrics that you need to worry about.
Number of e-mails sent
Number of opened e-mails
Number of bounced e-mails
Number of unsubscriptions ( You MUST provide this option! Remember that we are doing e-mail permission marketing. No permission = no e-mail.)
With these metrics you will determine:
Delivery rate = (number of e-mails sent – number of e-mails bounced) / number of e-mails sent
Unsubscribe rate = number of unsubscriptions / number of e-mails delivered
Open rate = number of opened e-mails / number of emails delivered
Click-through rate (CTR) = number of clicks / number of e-mails opened
That’s it, nothing more, nothing else, to get started. I believe that even with little or no experience, you should be able to calculate everything except the CTR.
I will disccus the specifics of setting up the measurement of CTR with Google Analytics on the next post.
In 1999 Seth Godin wrote an incredible book called “Permission Marketing” (you can check out part of “Permission Marketing” for free at Amazon or could read the entire first four chapters if you e-mail me at damian [at] idaconcpts [dot] com, and yes, I am authorized to forward the first three chapters of this book via e-mail, as long as I don’t make any profit out of it). Seth is a truly great author and you should check him out. He’s such a good author that he often gives out part of his work for free (as in the case of “Permission Marketing”) or even complete books.
The concept of permission marketing is best exemplified by the smart use of e-mail.
Recognize this little checkbox? Every time that you are interested in an online service or product and you need to register to be able to use it, the makers will ask you this question. Do you want to hear from us? This little question is very powerful because you are already engaging in a conversation with your users. You’re letting them know that you want to keep in touch with them and likewise you are asking them, if they are ok with it.
Now, I understand that you might challenge this proposition: people are ok with an organization reaching out to them. Well, consider this survey from eMarketer:
Do you notice the change in user trends about e-mail messages from companies from 2005 to 2008? People care about these e-mails because 1) they are REGISTERED, 2) they checked the little “it’s ok to contact me” box during registration, 3) the e-mails that they are receiving are personal, relevant, and ANTICIPATED messages (the three pillars of Seth’s permission marketing), and 4) they can choose when and where to check these messages.
The beauty behind e-mail permission marketing is that people do not have to be interrupted, they choose when to review the information (if, at all).
However, any organization can mess up this priceless, golden permission that its users have provided by abusing this permission and turning its e-mail messages into impersonal, irrelevant and unanticipated.
Provide your users a check-box during registration so they can decide whether or not to give you permission to contact them.
Make your e-mail messages personal (ask for feedback, provide various channels for communication, thank them for giving you a job), relevant (tell them about how you are making their experience better, tell them how other users got in touch with you and they made a difference in the new release) , and anticipated (bi-weekly, monthly).
Don’t abuse the permission your users they have given you: NEVER sell your e-mail list to other vendors, ALWAYS provide the option for 1-click, easy unsubscription, and ALWAYS respect if they decide to unsubscribe from your e-mail list.
Thank you for your time. In the next post I will discuss about web metrics of permission marketing e-mail campaigns.
I asked this same question to a class of MBA students here at the Shidler College of Business and the answer of choice was the last step: Revenue.
Yes, conversion is very, very hard to do. However, I think that what my MBA colleagues missed is that you cannot get to the Revenue step without Retention and Referral. Even though viral marketing only appears under the Referral step, I have found from my personal experience that viral marketing involves both Referral and Retention.
The current state-of-the-art of Acquisition is so advanced that acquiring users (more than 30 seconds on your site and at leat 2-3 pageviews) is relatively easy.
Currently web marketers are masters of the Acquisition step and MBA students (future web marketers) are focusing on finding out how to excel at the Revenue step. The best example of this sad business model is the thought that Twitter is a Cash Cow in the Making (derive a funny @name, horde tons of followers, and reap the CPC rewards). In a nutshell, the thought is that Retention and Referral are going to happen automatically somehow in any startup model. During the dot-com era, and some still today, Internet startups fail to understand that the most common source of failure for startups is a lack of customers and not a lack of product development. Often startups are good at managing its product development, but terrible at managing its customer development.
The gold (a.k.a traction or conversion) is to develop effective, scalable, contagious, ADDICTIVE Retention and Referral steps.
Viral marketing is essential for the success of any business enterprise. Word-of-mouth beats any marketing concoction any given day.
Really good examples of viral marketing are:
1. Photojojo’s Scavenger Hunt: This little forum post has created 504 responses from Photojojo’s readers. It is a very, very simple idea, yet very, very, very A-D-D-I-C-T-I-V-E.
2. Sprout widgets: I am big fan of Sprout because it allows you to tell a story and then that story can be shared with others. Here is my stab at creating a Sprout widget for iLovePhotos. This little widget can be found in various places of Facebook and I have found that people see it as a little pin of support for a little startup from Hawaii. You can found our widget at Bacon Lettuce Photo – The iLovePhotos Blog.
3. Blogs that instead of being e-mail are ME-mail: the perfect example is Flickr. This should not be a surprise but it is still a very hard idea to push. Instead of telling people how great your company and product are, you should be telling your users how awesome they are. Build a tribe (another Seth Godin term) that is about making feel your users good.
Retention and Referral are hard to achieve and there is no magical sure-shot way to do it. I hope that this post gets you thinking about their importance.