The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Sara Steinnagel serves as Community Manager at Gold Lasso. Follow her on twitter at @Sara_C_Stein

Building Opt-In Marketing Lists To Take Your Business To A New Level

Opt-in marketing is a process of obtaining permission from willing customers to subscribe to a service offered by your company. This service could come in any number of forms, be it newsletters, catalogs or other promotional materials. Permission-based marketing provides the opportunity of building pure opt-in marketing lists that have the power to take your business to a new level.

Opt-in marketing is not difficult to master; however, it does take a good deal of patience and a well thought out strategy. With a little effort, you can open your business to a whole new world of opportunities through target marketing. You will build a more targeted list of prospects, since they have already shown an interest in what you have to offer and they have willingly signed up. There are many different approaches in building marketing lists, but no matter what approach you use, important elements should include the following:

Effective Marketing Begins With Web Design

A business website must be designed from the customer’s point of view. It must be impressive, yet at the same time simple, intuitive and easy to use. The homepage must capture the visitor’s attention quickly, so load time is very important. Useless graphics and flash objects will slow down the load time and should be used sparingly. Visitors will normally begin by scanning the web page instead of reading every word, so it is important to have short paragraphs with interesting, bold content.

An Effective Sign-Up Form

Opinions differ as to whether a sign-up form should be placed on the homepage or a separate individual page. The homepage is usually the only page where you will have the chance of establishing a good first impression of your business. If the visitor is impressed, a simple sign-up form beneath the page content might be very appropriate. If the sign-up form is to be placed on a separate page, that page must be focused entirely on the form. Unnecessary links and graphics could distract visitors and cause them to forget exactly why they came to this page.

Provide Good Service and Products

Visitors must see some value for themselves in order to give out their names and e-mail addresses. Your goal in permission-based marketing is to build relationships based on trust, transparency and value. If customers are satisfied with your product or service, they will likely tell others. Word of mouth advertising is extremely valuable and can enhance your marketing efforts, so it is important to always be mindful of how others view the product or service you provide.

Keep Marketing List Private

Establishing trust is critical in building an opt-in marketing list. If people can’t trust you, they will not buy from you. Sharing marketing lists with others can lead to your customers receiving many unwanted e-mails. Inevitably, as a result they just might unsubscribe from you. A good reputation will not only drive more traffic and subscribers, but it will also strengthen the loyalty of your current customers. The key to using an opt-in marketing list effectively is to develop a large base of subscribers who have given you permission to contact them. The competition on the internet is fierce, and visitors must have an incentive to sign-up for your service.

RegReady is a transparent, fair and balanced customer acquisition community helping you to develop true opt-in marketing lists and sales leads. We are advocates of quality customer relationships developed through permission-based marketing and education. We help you find prospects motivated to ask for more information. Contact us today to see how it works.


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Lead Sharing: How to do it Right

There has been a lot of buzz these days about information privacy. People generally want their information to be, and assume it will remain, private. However, in today's digital age that is not always the case. The result? Unhappy customers.

One of the ways in which this can happen is inappropriate lead sharing. This happens when a company collects information on a customer, then sells or gives away that information after having led the customer to believe that their information will be kept private. It's a startlingly common practice, but it can and should be prevented.

One fool proof way to prevent this from happening is to abstain from lead sharing all together. If someone opts into your email or physical mailing list, do not share or sell this information. Unfortunately, this isn't always a feasible option. Some companies need to share their leads to get more leads themselves.

The next best option, in that case, is to only conduct lead sharing with other related companies who share your same set of business ethics. Don't go giving your leads out to just anyone who asks. This will not settle well with customers, as it shows a lack of respect for their trust and privacy. Instead, only share leads with partners or closely related companies with whom you have a mutual understanding of best practices.

One additional tip: Never sell leads. Money can be made by selling people's contact information, but the practice is widely considered unethical. The simple solution is to not engage in this practice to begin with. Sharing leads with related companies is one thing. Selling them to anyone who asks is entirely another.

So there you have it, a few easy tips to keep your lead sharing ethical and well-managed. Doing things right is a sure-fire way to build a customer base...and doing them wrong, inversely, can ruin your business.


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Moving Prospects Down The Lead Funnel With Quality Content

Many marketers struggle to move prospects through their lead funnel once the top of it is filled with prospects.  Since most prospects differ in specific needs and buying schedules consistent engagement and nurturing is needed to facilitate sales funnel movement.  Therefore, marketers need to intensely focus on their content market strategy in order to ensure hitting their sales goals.  Let’s look at some effective ways of moving prospects down the lead funnel with quality content:

Content Must Be Designed With A Purpose

The ultimate purpose of content, whether it be a website, blog, or social media posts, must be to convert a total stranger to a permission-based lead and ultimately to a loyal customer.  Consider your own web search activities for a moment.  If you wanted to buy lead management software, what would you actually look for?  Are you more concerned about a lot of advertising bragging about the cheapest price, or are you looking for information to help you solve a problem?  Your visitors are just like you; they are looking for relevant information. Understanding the content people want and need should be the key to your purpose.

Content Must Attract Permission-Based Leads To The Top Of The Funnel

Attracting leads to your website or blog might include a number of different methods.  Since you are attempting to attract people who don’t even know you exist, SEO is a very important factor in attracting leads to the top of your lead funnel.   To gain access to the top of search engines, all website and blog content must be relevant, current, and properly optimized to meet the strict requirements of the ever evolving algorithms.  Properly designed landing pages and calls to action play a significant role in convincing visitors to give you information, like an email address.  Once prospects have actually requested more information, your email or direct mail marketing campaigns can be custom designed to meet the needs of the consumer.

Content Must Nurture Leads From Prospects To Customers

Your content marketing strategy is now moving quality permission-based leads through your lead funnel. The next step is to nurture these leads by establishing trust and building relationships.  You have the opportunity of establishing your company as an expert through effective email or direct mail campaigns, blogs, or social media marketing.  By scoring these leads, you know when to send them the right piece of new content.  Content that is totally honest and transparent will gradually change some of these nurtured leads into sales.  Content marketing must continue even after the lead has been converted.  Proper follow ups with additional education and value can leave a lasting impression that will not only generate repeat sales, but will increase your leads through word-of-mouth advertising.

When a prospect gives you information and let’s you know what they like, you know exactly what to give them.  By delivering quality content to a permission-based audience, conversions will come more quickly and your lead funnel will flow more freely.

RegReady is a transparent, fair and balanced customer acquisition community helping you develop true opt-in marketing lists and sales leads. We are advocates of quality customer relationships developed through permission-based marketing and education. We help you find prospects motivated to ask for more information. Contact us today to see how it works.


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Four Important Steps To Effective Lead Management

Research shows that over 50% of business leads aren’t yet ready to buy anything, but that certainly doesn’t mean that these leads need to be wasted.  By developing an effective lead management program, you can nurture these potential customers by engaging them with educational content until they are ready to become customers.  Here are four important steps to effective lead management:

Step # 1 - Develop A Permission-Based Marketing Campaign

Obviously, the lead capturing process is the critical piece of the lead management puzzle.  Developing your website in such a way as to provide compelling educational content to your prospects will encourage them to provide you with their information in return.  If your offer answers an important question or solves a particular problem for your website visitors, they will more than likely opt-in to your offer and provide enough information to allow you to qualify them.  You are now ready to establish relationships with people who have asked to receive your message.

Step # 2 - Using Various Options To Nurture Opt-In Leads

Due to customer awareness, the sales cycle has become a bit longer these days.  Every email or direct mail marketing campaign must be focused on building relationships.  Each campaign must be set up based on the specific actions of each lead category.  Which web page did they visit?  Which offers have they requested or downloaded?  Your targeted permission-based campaigns will offer them information on topics that are important to them and you will be able to progressively understand their needs.  Social media marketing using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google +, can be effective tools to develop an open line of communication with your prospects and current clients.

Step # 3 - Lead Scoring To Determine The Lead’s Potential

By setting up specific qualities or scores that define a strong lead for your company, lead management software will allow you to compare each lead’s score to that of your ideal lead and identify those that are qualified.  Lead scores can change based on the action of the prospect.  The score can be increased or reduced based on the lead’s activity.  Timing is critical in all areas of lead management.  The goal is to determine the ideal time to send each lead to your sales team.  

Step # 4 - Making A Successful Transition From Marketing To Sales

Once the lead nurturing process has determined that certain leads may be ready to make a purchase, they should be immediately passed to your sales team.  This transition must be as efficient as possible.  The sales team needs to know all the information you have collected so they can better understand the needs of each individual lead.  By understanding the needs, they can target their sales more closely and have a better chance of converting a lead into a customer.

Obviously, not all leads generated are always ready to buy, and many leads will never purchase your products or services.  Managing those leads could possibly turn into a sale somewhere down the road.  Your goal in effective lead management is not just capturing an enormous amount of leads, but keeping customers coming back.

RegReady is a transparent, fair and balanced customer acquisition community helping you develop true opt-in marketing lists and sales leads. We are advocates of quality customer relationships developed through permission-based marketing and education. We help you find prospects motivated to ask for more information. Join RegReady today and start generating leads for free.


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Improve Your Lead Management With Lead Nurturing

How long is your sales cycle? 1 month? 3 months? 6 months? Longer? It is not the length of your sales cycle that matters. It is more about the quality of your follow-ups during that time period.

According to MarketingSherpa, 73% of leads in B2B markets are not ready for the sales pitch. Therefore, it is considered a good lead management practice to allow your leads to go through a lead nurturing process. By doing this, you will be ahead of most businesses, since up to 65% of them do not make use of lead nurturing campaigns.

Here are a few ways to improve your lead management campaigns.

Objectives of lead nurturing
• Build the relationship with your prospects.
• Provide valuable content through email automation.
• Be viewed as the expert in your industry.

Prioritize your leads by nurturing fresh leads first

Provide your leads with emails pertaining to their initial contact with you. For example, if they downloaded a free report pertaining to your industry, personalize emails with conversations in this topic.

From lead nurturing to sales

Once your lead has demonstrated interest in your company as the solution provider, it is then appropriate to stop lead nurturing and move them through to your sales process. An example would be if they attended a demonstration of your product or service. This is the most optimal time to show them how your business can help.

If after lead nurturing and no sales…

It is vital to keep in touch with your prospects, even if they decide not to buy during your average sales cycle. You may still be able to convert those older leads into sales in the future. Don’t give up on a contact just because they did not fit the generic sales cycle mold. Calculated future communication can revive the prospect and launch them back into the working sales cycle.


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