Inbox Szczecin is a meeting focused on email marketing and communication via email. Three specialists shared their knowledge and answered the questions of the listeners.
In October 2019 we launched first-ever Inbox Szczecin. Our second presenter - Justyna Stańska talked about planning and elements of successful lead generation campaigns. Justyna assists other companies with using newsletters and email marketing in their online business, with success. That puts her in the position of a lead-generating expert worth listening to.
It's a great follow-up to our first presentation done by Katarzyna Pytyś. It's about building the contact base in order to have someone to send those emails to. Everyone should be aware that it’s much better to build your own contact list, instead of buying one. Creating your own customer base, of people genuinely interested in your content will work in a finer way. But first, you need to actually start building it.
About Justyna Stańska
Why am I presenting this subject today? Just so happens, that I have extensive experience in email marketing, business-wise. As an owner of my own company, I’m building my own email list for about 5 years. First on my personal blog, then under alias Italiana Marketing. Before that, I was working in various Warsaw's corporations, where I was responsible for lead generating email campaigns. It's the creation of campaigns to procure new contacts, and lead nurturing, that is sending those campaigns.
After a while I thought that it would be a good idea to combine those experiences since I’m building my own email base, then maybe I should use it on my own page. Thanks to this, I discovered that you don’t really need a huge range. Even a few thousands of emails are enough, to generate sales, provided your email marketing is done well.
That was a revelation for me and at that moment I realized I wanted to specialize in that. Now, I’m assisting small companies, from BTC and BTB line. Contrary to Kasia, I don’t have many customers from e-commerce, more that are related to the service industry and personal brand building. I help those companies build their own email base and then help them sell with success. I show them that they can achieve it without huge ranges, with emphasis on successful conversion. That’s about me.
I’d like to let you all know that I’m very fond of abbreviations. There will be a bunch of those in my presentation, as I think it will be easier to remember. And I do want you to remember something from this lecture, besides a nice company, atmosphere, and good beer. So I hope that those abbreviations will make it easier to remember.
What is the most important thing in creating a successful campaign that will generate new contacts?
A first thing is a well-targeted group, so-called audience. I’m not fond of the name but this is a key-word that makes it easier to memorize. That’s the first factor we are going to take into consideration. The second factor is the message, so how the ad, that is supposed to encourage a person to click and leave their email address, looks like. By the message, I understand not only the text but also the visual aspect of the advertisement. Depending on the media outlet, in some of the advertisements, we have only text, for example, ads in Google AdWords, and in some ads, we will have visuals and text, and both of those elements are very important.
And the third factor that I would like to tell you about is bait - lead magnet. Kasia mentioned their lead magnet, which was simply a discount. A sort of ethical bribe, that will motivate customers to share their email address with us. Depending on the business, such “bribes” can vary, for example, it could be a free trial, a report or even an entry-level interview. That greatly depends on the type of the company, if this is more BTB or BTC related and so on. There are a lot of ideas for a lead magnet, and I’m sure you have some as well. Generally speaking, the lead magnet has to fit the target group.
So, let’s talk about those three factors. They’re very easy to remember, because, as I mentioned, I like abbreviations, and they are part of the AMO model - audience, message, offer. We’re going to discuss this model today.
The most important of this model is the audience and well-made research about their needs. It’s worth it, to create a persona, a perfect customer profile. In most companies, it's a common practice to create such personas, maybe some of you have some experience with them. Generally, they are used to study the needs of customers, how our product or service can help with their problems.
However, sometimes all further steps can be mismatched and often we start the new lead generating email campaign creation from developing a key visual. Meanwhile, the graphic has to match the needs of the target audience. As Kasia mentioned before, we will communicate differently with, for example, men and differently with women. However, the more precisely you will establish a target group, the more details you will be able to showcase in your message and you will get a better understanding of your customer. We communicate in different ways to an older lady, a grandma, than when we talk with a teenager or expecting mom, and that’s why this factor is so important.
What are the lead magnet features?
The next thing I wanted to talk about is the lead magnets features. What are the key features of a perfect lead magnet, that will gain high conversion? I also want to mention the inseparable element that links directly to the lead magnet - landing page. It’s a page where the recipient can leave their email address. It can be the main page, and it often is. But better yet, if the landing page was separate, created specifically for a designated campaign and dedicated to a specific lead magnet. Next, we will also discuss, how to avoid the most common mistakes, due to which the quality of contacts is lacking, or costs per lead.
Because it seems simple, model AMO, we create the message, generate traffic, what can go wrong? Turns out a lot can. Often sales teams return with feedback that the quality of new leads is poor, that they can’t sell anything. Also, it might turn out that cost per lead is simply too high, due to the fact that you may be counting Customer Lifetime Value factor, which estimates how much of a profit you can make off of a customer across their whole shopping period. Finally, in order for the campaign to be successful, the cost per lead has to be significantly smaller, than the customer purchase.
What are the first steps we should do to create a new lead generating email campaign?
We already established how important it is to know to whom we want to send our campaign. The second step is to determine what is the primary offer you want to present to potential customers. If we settle on both of those aspects, we can kind of reverse engineer it to figure out what our first step we can propose to the customer, as a free-tier lead magnet, that will bring this person one step closer to the paid option.
I already mentioned that at the beginning of my presentation. The target group is very important, this is our starting point. If you don’t have it established, it’s worth doing an exercise, and create such a persona, give it a name, some even download pictures. To give you an example, a persona can be Kasia, she’s 34 years old, and she shops on Hairstore.pl regularly. It’s a good idea to name them, and if you have a couple of different customer groups, you can create multiple personas, and next, you can determine what those personas can buy from you.
You can, of course, have many different offers. However if I could advise you how I usually do it and how my customers do it, it's from the multiple offers, choose the one that has the lowest price point. It's easier to sell something cheaply, that doesn’t require much commitment. If you provide services or software that is more expensive, it might be a challenge. In that case, you will need to create a different communication process with your new lead. Kasia also mentioned that they are using a neat email sequence where, in case the person will not use their discount code right away, they send a reminder. So this is one option, however, if you have few offers to choose from, I would advise starting out with the cheapest one.
So, we need to choose an offer. Now, we need to figure out what free token we can add to this offer. As I said before there are many ways to entice customers, depending on the business. Reports are a good example of BTB business, as well as demos or free trials. When it comes to BTC and e-commerce, discounts or promo codes work best. In regard to the industry offering various services, a good option would be to create a guide or a checklist. It’s worth it to ensure that this free gift will meet certain requirements, so it will be effective and will generate potential customers.
Implementing the PSP formula
It’s worth mentioning that this lead magnet should solve only one problem, but solve it fully. However, please note that this shouldn't be the issue that the customer is supposed to pay for at the end. That would be pointless, as we want this person to leave their money with us.
Often it happens that the customers think that they have one problem when in reality the issue is completely different, and only your product or service can solve it. For example, staying on the subject of email marketing, customers might believe that they cannot build certain email automation. They simply don’t know how. You can create short training or webinar on how to create such automation. But then, customers can realize that they have another problem.
Sure, they created email automation that will guide my recipients as soon as they subscribe. But how do I even get them on my subscriber's list? Then you walk in - specialists of Facebook Ads, Google Ads or anything else and you explain how to do it.
To sum up, the first problem should be followed by a new one, also existing as an abbreviation, that will be easy to remember. PSP formula. Problem, solution, problem. It means that when we solve a problem a customer is having, we don’t leave him be. We point them out towards another step, and we make them realize that this is only part of the solution.
Next, a good gift has to put you in the position of an expert and show that you know your field. It has a huge impact on B2B business, but it also matters in BTC. The gift should contain a piece of useful knowledge. For example, if discounts wouldn't have such a great impact on e-commerce, then Kasia could send an email with her ebook about hair care and see how it performs as a lead magnet. In an industry where it’s more common to share knowledge or in the programming industry, the reports that show the brand as an expert in their field will perform very well.
Another factor, that is very important, is time friendly format. It’s imperative that we won’t flood a newly acquired subscriber with tons of information and hundreds of ebooks that the person will never read. This person signed up to solve a specific issue and would like to receive a solution as fast as possible. They are looking, googling, reading and clicking on ads and they know exactly what interests them. And they want it now. That’s why you need to remember to keep it short and clear, so customers will use it instead of leaving it cluttering their disk space.
If you have any software, a good idea would be launching a free trial, because customers will be able to experiment, send their first campaign. I discussed that before, that Elastic Email actually has a free trial you can use. To sum up, it’s something that can be used right away.
Next, is that this gift needs to provide an incomplete solution. By this I mean, that we provide a complete solution to one problem. At the same time, we show the customer that in order to do so and so, he also needs another element. Then we present to him our offer, product or service, and show him how the next issue can be solved.
And finally, something that is linked to our previous factor is clear next steps. In other words, we need to clearly show the customers what they need to do. We can’t just guide them to our page and that's it. We need to assist them through the whole process. Kasia also showed that on her presentation. There you can create an account, here is our search option, here you can do another thing. We can’t assume that everything is clear for customers like it is for us. We are a part of our brand, they are not. What you need to do is guide them without overwhelming them, and showing a million things at once. You can show one step and send more emails as a part of the sequence, showing more options.
When we figure out what gift we can give, one that will fit our offer and our brand, we can move on. Where we can showcase the features of our product?
Creating the landing page
We can do that on the landing page. The landing page is a short site where we showcase all the benefits of signing up. Do you know what the conversion on the landing page depends on? By conversion, I mean how many people sign up, out of the ones who visited the page.
So in short, the landing page conversion depends on the traffic we directed towards this page. It’s going to be different if we direct people from the remarketing ads, that visited our page before, who are interested in us than if we direct completely new people who never interacted with us before. Currently, in order to reduce cost per lead, content ads that build brand awareness are run first and then ads that rely more on conversion are being launched. Thanks to that, the cost is smaller and ads are being viewed by people who already remember the brand. This is the first part - what type of traffic we have on our landing page.
When you surf the internet this is what you pay attention to? Do graphics matter?
I’ve been thinking about it for some time, also due to my work, as I’m creating landing pages for my customers. While I do believe that design is important, if the text doesn’t speak to the target group, the landing page will not have an impact. Of course, we can’t launch a landing page that looks like a school webpage project with sparkling gifs and stars from the 90s, however personally, I’m always starting out with the content and then adding visuals.
What should be the content of the landing page?
That depends on the type of traffic we get there. I have another abbreviation for you, so it will be easier to remember. If you feel uninspired or if you are not sure what should be visible on a landing page, there is something called the 4P model. I just wanted to point out that your landing page doesn’t need to be incredibly long. Even if you are offering something that can be used fast, doesn’t require a lot of time commitment from the customer side, then there is no use creating a page that they will scroll endlessly in order to find one guide or a discount. Everybody gets it, you don’t need to repeat the information over and over again.
However, the more you build upon this free gift, the more details should be included. For example, if you created a landing page to sign up for a webinar or training, it should contain more information, as you require customers to engage more of their time, than if you just send them a .pdf file.
On the top of the page, you have a call to action, that would be nice to end with a question, related to the customers' problem. There, you also include the promise of benefits. So, the person visiting your landing page has to see CTA, in the shape of a sign-up button or a form. Also, customers will need to make a decision if this is something that he will find useful or not. Those elements should be on the very top of the page, on the desktop as well as on mobile. In case of more complex free gifts, you can add more details, like benefits and so on.
What are the benefits? It’s very important to avoid listing the features of the product, like an explanation, that it’s a free trial to send emails or a 50-page .pdf. People who access your landing page are not interested in how many pages this report has. They are interested in what’s in it for them, how they can benefit from using your product or service.
Proof. This is the element that it’s worth including especially when your landing page gets traffic from new potential customers. In other words, what are your competencies, what are your references to give such free gifts? You can include reviews, they usually perform well, or logos of brands you are working with. The bottom line, it has to be something that inspires trust. When you are building your personal brand you can add a short bio. If you are working for a company you can write why it’s worth it to use their product. If you are not easily recognized as a brand, this element will be helpful.
At the end of a landing page, if it’s a longer one, you can add another call to action. Sometimes, it’s worth adding to CTA a sense of urgency, that will push the customer into acting now. It can be a counter, indicating that it is a time-limited offer. In my opinion, counters work best. If your offer is not time-restricted, you can simply add another CTA and a sign-up form.
That’s the end of the basic elements that are necessary to gain contacts. But as you already know, my customers are mostly small companies, and the process to get new contacts doesn't end there. Honestly, it should never end there. The question remains, how to turn this new lead into a buying customer. It’s best to start designing the whole sales process, like for example an automated email sequence as mentioned before by Kasia. If your product offer requires the customer to consult support, then the sequence should ultimately lead to contacting the support.
You just need to think about the next steps and use the potential of the first message sent after the successful sign-up, the one with the highest open rate. The first message should include a few words about you or your company and why they should follow-up with their content and their emails, even if they didn’t make any purchase yet.
And now the final element, which is the message. We already talked about the audience, about the offer, that was lead magnet and landing page. Now the message is a way of showing the benefits of the offer and how to reach the perfect customer. This is the factor that the potential customer sees, while he debates to make an action and access the landing page.
The bad news is, that there are no strict rules, as it can greatly depend on the industry you are in. But I can give you a few pointers. Keep in mind that you should test and adjust all of them to your target group.
A good advertisement, as we established before, speaks the same language as the customer. It’s not using complicated words that will be hard to understand. So, if a customer's goal is to increase sales, they won’t understand the technical language used to describe specific software. This customer will expect a promise that this software will assist their needs, in generating more sales.
Firstly, we are using customers' language and appeal to their main problems and aspirations.
Secondly, a good advertisement has to stand out from the crowd. It can have a different format, instead of using one basic ad format of Facebook, we should test different options. For example, a carousel ad, a short video, maybe use a longer format that takes up most of the space on mobile. So you should think about how your ad can differentiate itself from the sea of other ads. At the same time, this advertisement must be consistent with your brand and the landing page. In case when a potential customer clicks on the ad, they won’t be under the impression that the link directed them to a completely different page. It can result in lost trust and a smaller chance that they will leave their contact details.
Thirdly, communication should be diverse, mainly in content but we shouldn’t exclude visuals, depending on the type of traffic. We already mentioned that we could have either cold traffic - people that don't know us at all, and warm traffic, meaning audience from remarketing ads, that already know who we are. For example, if I were to advertise myself, I would use stock photos for cold traffic, and a picture of myself on warm traffic, as they could already see my face before.
And lastly, the message, that also has to vary from the audience. We can even mention in the advertisement, that “we noticed you’ve spent some time on our page, but haven’t signed up for a Hairstore.pl newsletter. Would you like to get your 20% discount for your first purchase?”
Of course, ads need to change depending on the advertising medium. In other words, there are various ad format requirements for social media, as I mentioned before there is like a million of those on Facebook. There are different requirements for LinkedIn ads, another for Google Ads, and let me tell you, there is an incredible amount of ad formats there. In conclusion, you should customize advertisements according to what a customer sees. And another thing I mentioned already, is showing benefits, not features. So it’s worth remembering using the language of product benefits.
And that is pretty much it, I can’t really give you better advice. Most importantly you need to test. Test everything, as something that works for me, might not work for you. There could be even a case that something will work for you at the moment, may not work for you in a month or two. Unfortunately setting up an ad and leaving it be is not an option, because the effectiveness can decrease. It’s important to check on it, test it and change it to get the best cost per lead results you can.
How to get contacts?
We already talked about the three main elements of an ad according to a successful advertisement, based on the AMO model, but how to ensure traffic? You should be able to know that based on what was already said in this presentation. Let me quickly jump to the summary of this lecture. The elements of a successful lead generating email campaign are as follows.
Clear target group, a good lead magnet, well-made landing page, established marketing funnel, by which we understand that those leads need to convert to sales. They are not left to be eventually contacted in a month or two, and last but not least, the ad creation that fits the established traffic and advertising medium. And now, we can move on to the last problem. Creating traffic.
We can divide it into organic, paid or affiliate traffic. Organic traffic can come from search engines, from our www page, SEO, content marketing like blogs or articles. Movement can also come from already existing contacts. The clicks can be generated for a different campaign, for a different type of product. Social media, depending on which ones are active on your end. Or we can simply pay, either in pay per click model, like on Google, or pay per lead like in Facebook Ads. Pay per lead means that you only pay for a person that actually signed up, granted your Facebook Pixel is configured well. This one is the most profitable ad.
Currently, those two models generate around 50% of paid traffic. So, we can safely assume that you will want to use one or the other. But, that is not all, as we have other social media platforms, like ads on LinkedIn, ads on Twitter. We can experiment with other sources.
We also have affiliate links, however, you need to keep in mind that you also pay a commission to affiliates, so in other words, you need to know math, to know what percentage you can offer them to have profit.
It’s worth dabbing into remarketing to decrease the expenses. We can do it on Facebook, on Google, in order to communicate and remind the person, who already visited our page, to sign up for a newsletter.
What are the most common mistakes you can make?
So what are the most common mistakes due to which cost of the ad is high or where lead generating email campaigns have a low conversion rate? There are seven in total that I decided to be the most general ones. They are:
- Tunnel vision - what happens with contacts, no marketing funnel.
- No link between the lead magnet and paid offer, or between the ad and landing page.
- Badly created a sign-up process in regard to UX.
- Listing features instead of benefits
- Not establishing a target group
- A lead magnet doesn’t portray the customer needs
- No testing
I have a question regarding consistency between the ad and a landing page. You gave an example that it should consist with the brand as well. This is pretty clear but how to stand out from the crowd without stepping outside the brand, especially with graphic design. Do you maybe have an example?
Not sure if I can name a specific case of the top of my head, but you can ensure that you have one common key visual that can be included in every campaign, on the other ads, and on the landing page. You can also add this visual to the promotional campaign. I’m sure that Kasia has something of this sort, so ads and pages will look connected.
When it comes to keeping the consistency with the brand, you need to ask yourself how many options you have there. There are brands that are very conservative, that have very strict branding rules. There are some that are more flexible, where you simply need to include a logo or button that needs to have a certain color scheme. You can go crazy with the rest. That depends on the target group. But overall, if you have a unified color scheme, brands, and logo, that should be enough.