When it comes to AAMCO Colorado all 18 locations in Colorado are here to serve all your transmission and auto repair needs. They are devoted to educating their mechanics in the most recent training to handle any new problems that may arise as new car models are born. With over 50 years of experience, they have the tools and knowledge to handle a variety of auto repair needs.
AAMCO began their CPC campaign on June 1, 2011. Their first month of performance was 217 clicks. After a year, in June of 2012 their CPC campaign has received 1,100 clicks.
Many people run their CPC campaigns and once they get to their “ideal” goal they stop managing their campaign and keep writing the checks to Google. What if your existing campaign is doing well, but you have the option to be more efficient? What if you could get the same amount of clicks or more, for significantly less in cost? When does it become worth your time? At Customer Paradigm our goal is to make your marketing dollars consistently work harder for your business.
Below you can see a graph of the changes from a 6 month period in costs and clicks. As you can see, in January AAMCO Colorado CPC campaign received 1,894 clicks at a cost of $7650.65 for the with an average cost per click of $4.04. In June we had a big push for efficiency and we received more click at 1,968 at a total cost of $6692.99 for an average cost per click of $3.30. This is a huge improvement of an increase in clicks, a decrease in cost and conversely a decrease in average cost per click.
Although, there is a decrease in costs through a more efficient campaign. There is always more competition entering the field, and as the market gets more flooded the average bid levels for ad positioning will increase. In order to maintain the desired amount of clicks per month, the average cost spent per day will increase. To maintain a huge influx in costs, work on the efficiency of your campaign, the ad copies and SEO value of your website’s landing pages.
If you are interested in increasing the efficiency of your CPC campaign please call us now at 303.473.4400 to talk to a real person or fill out the contact form below.
FYI, this is a really amazing article about A/B split testing.
The A/B Test: Inside the Technology That’s Changing the Rules of Business
Thanks to everyone who came to see me speak at last weekend’s WordCamp Boulder 2010 event.
They packed the room (standing room only out in the halls) for my Search Engine Optimization talk about Word Press sites. The session was recorded on video, but it’s not yet uploaded to their site. Click here to watch the video.
This week’s Web marketing tip focuses around eBooks.
If you have interesting content, you may want to consider publishing in an eBook-friendly format to reach new customers for your business or organization. Why? Read more below >>
Acquisition Marketing Strategy: Publish Your Content As An eBook Rabbi Jamie Korngold, the Adventure Rabbi, reading a passage from her forthcoming book, God Envy: A Rabbi’s Confession (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011). Free eBooks to reach new customers. I wanted a new, novel way to reach out to new customers. Every week I write an eLearning column like this one, and over time, I’ve amassed a significant amount of content. I know that not everyone has the time or desire to go to the www.CustomerParadigm.com website to read each article, and so I bundled two of the main topics into eBooks that people can download onto their eBook Reader.
I have an iPad (as I’ve written about before), and it’s such an amazing way to interact with content. Especially with free content. I’ve tried out a number of free books, only to then buy titles from the same author in the iTunes store. Reaching an elite audience. At the beginning of 2010, there were 2.1 million US adults who owned electronic book readers. With more than 3 million iPads sold since then, the number has more than doubled in the first half of 2010. eBook owners (Kindle, iPad, eReader and more) are 87% more likely to have a household income of $100,000 or higher annually, and 111% more likely to have obtained a Bachelor’s or post-graduate degree.
The Strategy. In this case, the strategy was to combine the content for these two eLearning Series into two free and downloadable books: 12 Top Search Engine Optimization Techniques 12 Strategies for Effective Email The Process.
Here’s the basic process: Using a basic Word document, strip out virtually all formatting, including page numbers and other information. Paste in your content, and organize it using one basic font. Create a book cover, using a 600 x 900 pixel sized graphic (vertical orientation). Use software to convert the Word document into the following formats: ePub, TXT, PDF, RTF, MOBI, LRF. Use an online publisher to submit the book to content providers.
Download Each Book: Title: 12 Top Strategies for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ISBN: 978-1-4523-5191-9
Online Reading (HTML): [View] Kindle (.mobi):[View] ePub (iPad, open format): [Download] PDF (home printing): [Download] RTF (word processors): [Download] LRF (Sony Readers): [Download] PDB (Palm Devices): [Download] Plain Text (no formatting): [Download] Pain Text (view in Webpage) [Download] Title: 12 Critical Strategies for Effective email Communications ISBN: 978-1-4523-9716-0
Online Reading (HTML): [View] Kindle (.mobi): [View] ePub (iPad, open format): [Download] PDF (home printing): [Download] RTF (word processors): [Download] LRF (Sony Readers): [Download] PDB (Palm Devices): [Download] Plain Text (no formatting): [Download] Pain Text (view in Webpage) [Download] RTF (word processors) [View] Book Review. Review by: Robert A. Boyd on Jul. 13, 2010:
This article gave me a compact and concise outline of how search engines work, and how to take advantage of their features. It is clear that the author knows his stuff, and is willing to share it freely. As a Smashwords author concerned with promoting my own works, this is just the sort of thing I need. I strongly recommend it. Instructions for iPad Users. These two books should be available through iBooks soon (Apple iTune’s Book Store). But until they are available, you can add them to your iPad easily: Download the .ePub file by clicking on the link above. Open iTunes Click on Books on the left menu Drag the .ePub file onto the books area Synch your iPad — the eBook will now be ready to read on your iPad Summary. A few days ago, I uploaded my first eBook, 12 Strategies for Effective Email. It’s now been downloaded 74 times, reaching a new audience of readers in a permission-based way.
The Background: Right now, with the BP Oil Spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, there’s intense interest in alternative energy, and preventing future disasters from happening. Like it or not, the world is addicted to fossil fuels. Here in Boulder, Colorado, about half of our office rides their bikes to work each day. But I know it’s not realistic to ask everyone to give up their cars — the US economy and infrastructure is largely based on the car as personal transportation.
At Customer Paradigm, we take environmental issues seriously, and have done a lot of work for Greenpeace and solar energy manufacturers, too. We’ve built sustainable development software planning tools for the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI.org). We’ve also worked with BP, Shell and other energy companies to help them with their marketing.
But an interesting trend has also emerged. With the oil spill in the news, pricing for direct investment in oil exploration has fallen to low, low levels.
The Goal: Our client, Andy Leib, is an independent broker who helps bring investors and companies together. He wanted us to use search engine marketing to drive leads from Australia and UK. We’re also helping the company, wwXploration, drive US and Canadian leads, too.
Our Pitch / Idea: Jesse Schultz and I listened closely to Andy. We tried to understand what motivated the end user to want to invest directly in oil exploration (high returns, and tax benefits if it didn’t work).
The strategy: drive leads via geo-targeted Cost Per Click (CPC) advertisements on Google, Bing, Yahoo and Facebook. Traffic would be sent to a dedicated landing page on the wwXploration.com website, and code would be placed on the site to make sure that if a lead came in from overseas, special trackable phone numbers and contact forms would be displayed. Our goal was to create a compelling, trusted experience for site visitors.
How the Campaign Worked:
Step 1: Build the Landing Page Before driving traffic via paid search engine advertising, we first needed a solid way to ‘catch’ them when they came to the site. Previous statistics for the wwXploration.com website showed that their conversion rate was dismally low. The conversion rate is calculated by how many people who visited the page and then filled out a contact form, or picked up and the phone and called the organization. One of the reasons their conversion rate was low in the past was because they merely sent everyone to the home page of their site, and “hoped” that people would fill out a form or pick up the phone:
(Sending leads directly to the home page of a site is known as the “Kiss of Death” in CPC Advertising.) Instead, we created a landing page that allowed people to find out more information in a concise way:
It tries to consolidate all the information that they need to know onto one short and simple page, and asks them to fill out a form for more information. And if the end user clicked through to other pages on their site, we used special tracking codes to insert the international phone numbers and contact forms that would go directly to Andy, for a quick response. Here’s the standard header on the website for US-based clients:
Here’s the trackable header on the website, with international phone numbers, that follows the end user around the site when they come in from a CPC campaign:
Likewise, the footer navigation at the bottom of each page changed if the user came in from overseas. Here’s the standard navigation with US-based phone numbers:
Here’s the footer if they came in from the /Invest/ landing page from overseas:
Step 2: Drive Leads Via PPC Once the landing page was set up properly, the next step was to create pay per click campaigns in Google, Yahoo, Bing and Facebook. Pay Per Click, for those that aren’t familiar with it, works when your advertisement is listed on a search page (i.e. Google.com) when someone types in specific keywords. You don’t pay for advertising impressions… only when someone actually clicks on your advertisement. This is how Google generates the majority of their revenue. Here’s an example of a CPC Ad on Google: As I’ve written about before, it’s really easy to waste money doing pay per click marketing. For the campaign, we created specific ad groups to geographically-target the ads to people in Australia, the UK, New Zealand and other areas. We created literally thousands of permutations for keywords for advertising, so that if someone searched on a keyword, we could capture their click for the lowest cost possible. We also put in lots of negative keywords (so that the ads weren’t displayed when someone had the term “free” in the search. Contact Form: Main Call to Action The landing page featured a contact form, which invited a person to fill it out and learn more:
As soon as it was filled out, the wwXploration team received an alert email letting them know they should contact the person right away:
Results The second day the campaign ran, the client received four phone calls and three contact form submissions — way ahead of expectations. They’re thrilled with the initial results so far.
Client Feedback: “The phone just keeps ringing with great leads! I’m really happy.”
Summary: A well designed landing page, with strong calls to action, combined with Pay Per Click Marketing generated strong leads within two days of activating the campaigns.
The Goal: Raise $50,000 via targeted email campaign, online donation form, and a short video. (Campaign has raised $76,625 to date.)
Our Pitch / Idea: Mark Wood on our team listened closely to the needs of the Brooklyn Autism Center, and devised a personalized email campaign and donation system that would help them raise funds for needy children. Using a decade of knowledge in the email and direct marketing industry, Mark made sure that strong, compelling calls to action would motivate people to donate generously.
Brooklyn Autism Center Academy Background: The Brooklyn Autism Center is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) school serving children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Brooklyn, New York. Established in 2007, their philosophy is grounded in a data-based scientific study, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is the educational standard and best practice for children with autism.
How the Campaign Worked:
Step 1: Email Campaign The first step was to reach out to 2,455 friends, family and past donors with a personalized email campaign. The campaign was signed to use calming visual line art, engaging photos and a strong call to action (Donate Now).
The email set up the problem: Ten years ago, 1 in 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism. Today, 1 in 110 children will be diagnosed with autism.
The system sent out a unique, personalized email message to each recipient. Each message was tracked to see who opened it (and how many times) and who clicked on a link (and which link and how often).
Want help with your non-profit’s fundraiser?
Message Open Statistics:
64% of the people opened the message; a normal message open rate is about 17%, indicating that the message was relevant and well received.
Clickthrough Tracking Statistics:
Nearly 17% of the recipients clicked through to the landing page. To put this into perspective, a typical clickthrough rate ranges between 0.5% and 1.5% for many email campaigns.
Message Forward Statistics:
Even more impressive was the number of people that forwarded the message along to friends. While we don’t track who the message was sent to, we’re able to track that a message sent to one person was opened on multiple different computers.
Message Opens By Date:
Most email campaigns are opened within a day or two of the initial sending, and the reporting demonstrated that most of the messages were opened the first and second day.
Secondary Calls to Action: The email also had secondary links for participants to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
Facebook was much more successful:
Want help with your non-profit’s fundraiser? We Can Help! Please call 303.499.9318 or 888.772.0777 to speak with a real person. Or click here to have a real person contact you now >>
Step 2: Landing Page
Once a person clicked through from the email campaign, they landed on a personalized page
(Welcome, $first $last) that displayed a video, how much money had been raised to date, and a link to donate now:
The video was designed to create an emotional connection to the students, and the “Donated To Date” system displayed the total amount of donations to create a sense of excitement. When someone clicked on the “Donate Now” Button, we used a Web 2.0 feature to instantly display the donation form (instead of waiting 8-12 seconds for another page to load).
Step 3: Donation Page
We created the ability for someone to select a set amount to donate ($40, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or other amount), as well as the ability to donate anonymously.
We used an SSL certificate and PayPal to handle the transaction processing, and re-assured donors that all donations are fully tax-deductible. And as many charitable foundations (i.e. family foundations) are only able to make payments by check, we included the address as a way that donations could be sent in via mail.
Return on Investment (ROI): The base price for the campaign, including landing page, email deployment and payment processing gateway development was approximately $3,000.
With more than $75,000 raised, the return on the marketing investment was a staggering 26 times return (2,554%).
For every $1 spent with Customer Paradigm on the campaign, we helped generate $25.54 in donations to the organization.
Client Feedback: “We hired Customer Paradigm to assist us with an email marketing campaign to help raise funds for our school (which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing high quality education to children with autism).”
“Among the many vendors we were entertaining, we chose Customer Paradigm because of their previous experience with non-profits and they seemed to offer all that we needed for the right $ amount.”
“Their full serviced email marketing package suited us best as non-marketing professionals and they worked both closely and patiently with us until we were extremely satisfied with our end product. We would not have been able to raise over $75,000 for the Brooklyn Autism Center if it weren’t for the dedicated team at Customer Paradigm.”
Summary: A well designed campaign, with strong calls to action generated a 25:1 return on the marketing campaign for the Brooklyn Autism Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
CUSTOMER PARADIGM DELIVERS AUTOMATED LEAD MEASUREMENT SOLUTION – BOOSTS DMCVB TRADE SHOW BUSINESS BY 20%.
CHALLENGE: Increase convention & trade show business to Denver by 20%.
STRATEGY: Squeeze every lead out of each trade show DMCVB attends.
TACTICS: Automate the lead acquisition, follow-up & conversion process
ROI: Just one more lead converting into a sale = $425,000 to Denver
The job of filling Denver, Colorado’s 600,000-square-feet of convention and state-of-the-art meeting space falls to Richard Scharf, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Denver Metro Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau (DMCVB). While a $7 billion convention renovation and many other attributes of this beautiful city certainly make Denver an easier sell, Scharf still competes with 475 other U.S. Convention Bureaus for the same meetings and events.
So when Scharf wanted to make sure Denver gets bigger piece of the trade show pie, he turned to Customer Paradigm and Get Feedback to implement a powerful lead follow-up and measurement solution. The Challenge: “Our main goal was to increase business delivered to the city by 20%,” Scharf said. “We needed a system to squeeze every lead out of a show possible.
Previously, we were doing pre-show snail mail and worked the leads in the booth fairly well. Business we obtained on the show floor was entered directly into our sales system.” “However, it was easy for prospect leads to get lost as managers were handling them manually,” he continued. “We didn’t have a follow-up plan established to contact everyone after the show.”
Like many exhibitors, additional DMCVB objectives included: Digital lead capture — no more lost, torn or illegible business cards that gather dust Reinforce current customer relationships Meet new customers that deliver RFPs to the bureau booth Meet new customers that request future follow-up when ready to make a purchase Searching for Solutions The DMCVB began looking for an affordable, automated off-the-shelf lead measurement solution. They also needed a high-impact, interactive communication tool that would: Increase qualified leads Reach true decision-makers Gain critical customer intelligence “We needed a turnkey solution that wouldn’t become a regular burden to administrate or review regularly. And we needed a cost-effective system that would be easy to implement and even easier to manage,” Scharf said.
Customer Paradigm and strategic partner Get Feedback answered the call. Customer Paradigm reviewed the DMCVB’s current system in order to develop an aggressive and active lead management system that would provide the value and specific measurement that they needed. After reviewing the answers from the DMCVB, Customer Paradigm applied a proven six-step process to help convert contacts into contracts: Six Step Process: From Contact to Contract Drive Traffic to Booth. A pre-show email is sent, enticing trade show attendees to come by DMCVB’s booth. The pre-show email frequently connects sales managers with customers and prospects before the trade show. Lead Capture + Survey. At the trade show booth, leads are electronically scanned — eliminating lost or illegible business cards. A short survey at the booth further qualifies each lead for sales. Instant Email Follow-up. As soon as the lead is scanned into the system, an instant email message is sent to the visitor, thanking them for stopping by the booth. Follow-up email Messages.
The winner of the booth prize — often a digital camera — is announced in a follow-up email message one week after the event. Leads are placed into the retention marketing email newsletter — making sure that each person is ‘touched’ at least once per month. Response / Sales Conversion. Each communication allows the recipient to easily request more information in a non-threatening way. Tracking / Measurement / ROI. Sales revenue from leads gathered at the show is tracked and measured — allowing management to measure the value of each trade show expenditure.
The six step process includes a lead acquisition and measurement system, and allowed the DMCVB to track their trade show effectiveness. With built-in management reporting, individual attendee demographic overviews and instant follow-up capabilities, the DMCVB made sure that no new lead was not followed up properly. The Right Choice for Results: It’s clear the DMCVB made the right choice.
Since implementation just over six months ago, the Denver’s Metro Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau exceeded their goals with more than a 20 percent jump in business. Scharf is a believer that trade shows — planned and implemented correctly — remain a powerful way to increase business for his organization. “Regardless of your trade show budget size, integrating effective marketing and measurement systems that are at easily and affordably at your disposal will result in powerful results for your trade show programs,” he said.
Ask yourself the following questions: How do you currently gather leads? Paper vs. Digital? How do you currently follow-up with leads after a trade show? How do you measure sales revenue from leads acquired at a trade show? What would just one more sale from each trade show mean to the bottom line?
Making Customers Care E-Mail Marketing Case Studies
Published in ClickZ BY Heidi Anderson | April 29, 2004
We marketers talk a lot about using email marketing to inform our customers and build community. As with many goals, it can be easier to talk than act. We sometimes get bogged down and don’t know where to start. This case study may be able to provide you with some inspiration.
Horizon Organic sells certified organic milk, along with other dairy, egg, and juice products. It owns and operates organic farms and purchases organic products from organic farmers across the nation. The company also has partnerships in the United Kingdom. Horizon Organic prides itself on a loyal base of customers who are also fans. Horizon Organic should also pride itself on its use of the Internet. Its Web site is friendly, cheerful, and informative. Check out the Healthy Living section. It includes a bit about the site researcher, links to useful tools, and content written specifically for the site, both from and for site visitors. And, of course, the home page includes a sign-up form for an email newsletter.
Taking a Stand In February 2003, Congress added a provision to the $397 billion federal spending bill that would’ve permitted, in some cases, livestock producers to label meat as organic even if the animals’ diets were composed of conventional grains. Obviously, if the bill were enacted, it would have had a large and potentially negative effect on Horizon Organic’s customer base. What was the company’s response? It launched a grass-roots email marketing effort. Shortly after the news broke, Horizon Organic, with the help of its email marketing partner Customer Paradigm, created a one-time mailing called Take A Stand For Organic.
By using their existing newsletter template, the creators were able to quickly put together a mailing with Horizon Organic’s familiar look and feel. The message included a logo at the top followed by this copy: The founders of Horizon Organic started work on the organic standards over twelve years ago, well before the word organic was ever discussed or defined in political circles. Now the same freshly implemented government standards we fought so hard for may be compromised and rendered essentially useless.
The message went on to briefly describe the federal spending bill, followed by a call to action: Take Action Now — Send An E-mail Or Call Your Representatives. E-mail recipients could click a link and Horizon Organic would walk them through most of this process. The message ended with a forward-to-a-friend feature and a thank-you from the company. Within a few days of the spending bill, the mailing went to an opt-in list of over 14,000 members.
Results? Horizon Organic couldn’t track telephone calls or email messages sent, but it could track actions directly related to the mailing. The open rate was 74 percent, about double that of other Horizon Organic campaigns. The unique CTR was 16 percent, and the pass-along rate was 42 percent. Let’s look first at the open rate. A high open rate owes a great deal to the sender and subject lines. Both of these were clear and enticing to the database. The subject line was “Moos Alert — Take A Stand For Organic.” The sender was clearly identified as Horizon Organic.
As for CTR, it’s difficult to persuade people to “take a stand.” We all have busy lives. Even when we care strongly about something, we don’t always take the time to do something about it. This CTR indicates how many people were influenced enough to begin the process of contacting their congressional representative. If you combine the CTR with the pass-along rate, it indicates this message really struck a chord. Clearly, good marketers know what their customers care about. As this case study shows, customers care about keeping informed. In some cases, they’re even inspired enough to act.
Heidi is a freelance writer who covers the Internet for both consumers and businesses. She’s a former editor of the E-mail Publishing Resource Center and coauthor of “Sometimes the Messenger Should Be Shot: Building a Spam-Free E-mail Marketing Program.” Her work also appears in Smart Computing, PC Novice, What’s Working Online, and Editor & Publisher.
CPC Case Study: A Novel Use for Google Adwords Over the weekend, I was thinking about a novel and quick way I used Google Adwords to help fill a spot for a local child care center (and avoid being stuck with a $450 bill).
Pay Per Click Case Study: Micro-Targeted CPC Campaign
A Novel Approach to Using Google Adwords: One of the things I really like about an advertising platform like Google Adwords is the ability to micro-target campaigns. In the past, if you had a very specific item you wanted to sell or promote, the only avenues were direct mail, print advertising or TV / radio. But those are expensive, mass-marketing tools. About a year ago, I was on the hook for a day care spot for our daughter. We had signed up with this amazing place in north Boulder, but then a spot at a place two minutes away opened up. Instead of driving 30 minutes each way (back and forth) for a total of 1 hour each day, we found something a lot closer. But I was stuck with a committment for $450 per month to the other place, unless they were able to fill the spot. There’s high demand for quality daycare in Boulder, as there is in many towns. But I didn’t want to wait an entire month and be stuck with the bill. Local, Micro-Targeted Ad Campaign: So I leveraged the Google Adwords, and created a very basic campaign. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I have a bit of an advantage: I’ve been working with the Google Adwords system since it first came out in 2002, and the system is second nature to me. However, this is a more compelling, easier-to-apply example than the 750,000 keywords we manage for a site like DiscountDecorating.com. And the campaign’s goal was not to drive a lot of signups for the center. It was to drive a single signup. So the strategy was a bit different than a normal campaign.
Want help with your CPC Advertising or Lead Generation? We Can Help! Please call 303.499.9318 or 888.772.0777 to speak with a real person. Or click here to have a real person contact you now >>
1. Geo-Targeted to Boulder, Colorado: To get started, I first choose a geo-location target: 20 miles surrounding the 80304 zip code in Boulder, Colorado:
2. Keyword Selection: Next, I selected broad keywords that would expand the reach. Here’s a list of some of the keywords I choose: preschool preschools preschool in Boulder preschool daycare child care service education preschool kids preschool preschool montessori day care Boulder day care Boulder CO preschool Boulder need preschool Here’s a graphical view of the keywords in the Google Adwords interface:
I created exact match, phrase match and broad match variations, with 85 keywords in total. Again, we do this quite a bit, so this is something I have a tool that can expand keywords quickly and easily. I also added in some of the common negative keywords (such as free) to prevent the ads from showing up when those keywords were displayed.
3. Wrote Ad Copy. Third, I created a couple of ads, based on previous experience of knowing what might work:
I like asking a question, as it’s engaging. I also like to include the phone number in the ad, too, as it allowed me to get more traffic, but not have to pay for a clickthrough through Google.
4. Set An Ad Budget & Let It Run. I then set a budget of $20 per day for three days (what I was willing to spend), and then let the campaign run. Campaign Results: From August 12 to August 15, the campaign had:
Advertising Impressions: 3,707
Clickthrough Rate: 0.19%
Number of Clickthroughs: 7
Average Cost Per Clickthrough: $0.20
Average Position of Ad: 3.8
Total Advertising Outlay: $1.41 (Plus my time, of course. It took me about an hour to get this set up. And then probably an extra hour of time watching it.) Within three days, the center had received many phone calls, and the spot had filled (getting me off the hook). It was the best $1.41 I’ve spent in quite a while. And I helped someone find the spot that they needed.
Summary: Even if you think Google Adwords won’t work for your overall sales budget, a micro-targeted campaign can often create significant impact.
Coupons are common in the offline world, at least here in the United States. They’re so popular, a journalism professor once told me the majority of daily newspapers sell the most papers on Wednesday, primarily because of the special coupons in that day’s paper. But online, coupons aren’t as widespread. I began to wonder: Can a company entice customers to respond to e-mail coupons?
It can if the company is Orange Glo International. The makers of OxiClean have been experimenting with e-mail marketing campaigns focused around coupons, and the results are beginning to trickle in. Orange Glo is a small, Colorado-based company that manufactures and distributes natural cleaning products. This relatively new business was using TV commercials and infomercials to get the word out about its alternative cleaners.
Orange Glo does some sales business via its Web site, but the bulk is through retail stores such as Wal-Mart. Orange Glo’s challenge was to not only educate users about its products but also drive them to the retail channels to make a purchase. For instance, several informational campaigns have featured cleaning celebrity Billy Mays, who sends out notices about new offerings. Each message is clean, simple, and branded — “I’m excited to tell you about our newest product, OxiClean Active Stain Remover,” says Billy — and each has one call to action.
A “click here to buy now” link takes users to the company Web site. Although these messages educated recipients, the company also wanted to drive users to offline stores. Offering coupons via e-mail messages was one way to do that. Orange Glo worked with Customer Paradigm to create a coupon offer. The offer went out just before Thanksgiving to a house list of tens of thousands.
Let’s take a look at several of the campaign’s elements:
Graphics. Billy Mays’ popularity is used to brand the Orange Glo messages.As a consumer, I applaud this notion. I participate in a number of online survey panels. My favorite is the Lightspeed panel, and it’s all because of Lauren. For all I know, she’s a fictional character, but I’m happy to see her. I feel like my communications are being sent to someone, not off into the netherworld of the Internet. Billy Mays is well represented in the Orange Glo message, right down to his signature and e-mail address. Text. The text draws the reader in and matches the tone of the overall campaign. Phrases such as “if you’re like me” and “cranberries and other holiday foods often are a big source of stains” get the point across.
Offer. The offer, four different $1 coupons, is nothing to sneeze at. It’s mentioned high in the communication and listed in a postscript after Billy’s sign-off. Though marketers tend to agree e-mail postscripts aren’t nearly as important as those in direct mail pieces, Customer Paradigm’s Jeff Finkelstein notes it generates a significant number of click-throughs.
Miscellaneous. The mailing includes a phone number for those who aren’t comfortable asking for the coupons online or for those who don’t have printers attached to their PCs. Plus, it includes various list management tools, such as an unsubscribe link and a method for subscribing if the e-mail message was forwarded from a friend. Clicking on the coupon link within the message transports recipients to the coupon signup form. The form has pre-populated fields, a great tactic in general.
The less work the user has to do, the better. The form includes three optional quick-pick questions, such as “Do you have pets in household?” The questions allow Orange Glo to gather customer information to be used for future products or in future campaigns. The recipient chooses the coupons he would like; the boxes are prechecked for each product: Kaboom Shower Tub & Tile Cleaner, OxiClean Active Stain Remover, OxiClean Multi-Purpose Stain Remover, and Orange Glo Wood Cleaner & Polish. The coupons then print to the user’s printer. (Remember, if the user doesn’t have a printer, she can call to have the coupons shipped to her.) Each coupon includes a bar code that allows the company to track from whom and when the coupon was redeemed. And Orange Glo followed up the offer with thank-you messages for those who signed up for the coupons.
Results: The message was opened by 11.2 percent of recipients and garnered a 1.7 percent overall CTR. The open rate and CTR are a bit low compared to past Orange Glo campaigns, which are usually in the 13-20 percent range. However, this campaign went out just before a major holiday, when it’s likely recipients weren’t checking e-mail as frequently as usual. 16 percent of those who opened the message clicked through to the form, which is higher than past Orange Glo campaigns. Past campaigns average between a 10 and 12.5 percent CTR on opens. Of those who visited the Web site and landed on the form, 68.5 percent completed it. Most recipients opted to print all four coupons, for a total of approximately 7,600 coupons.
We won’t know the coupon redemption rate until about eight weeks after the campaign, but here are a couple follow-up thoughts. Orange Glo did a comparison check against coupons in newspapers in an earlier campaign, and that past campaign led to double the redemption rate of the newspaper coupons. Also, Orange Glo knows placing coupons in newspapers works, but placing them in newspapers is generally much more expensive than placing them in e-mail. Coupon inserts into newspapers typically cost about $45 to $55 CPM, plus printing. Though I don’t have the exact cost of this e-mail marketing campaign, it’s a sure bet the numbers are nowhere near as high.
September 4, 2003
When we left off, BP Solar was attempting to use a fantastic opportunity to show off its alternative to traditional energy sources. A power failure had affected a large area of the East Coast. BP Solar wanted to contact its audience with an opportune message. The company created a timely message that would be waiting in potential customers’ e-mail inboxes as soon as the lights came back on. But the campaign experienced its own power failure.
The servers at the list management company went down. E-mail recipients were faced with broken images, missing links, and other errors throughout the message. Clearly, this wasn’t the way BP Solar planned to run the campaign. Today, how BP Solar revived the campaign to achieve overall successful results. Part 1: Analyzing the Initial Mailing First, let’s look at what the initial mailing accomplished. It wasn’t nearly as successful as BP Solar expected prior to deployment. The campaign goal was to encourage recipients to visit the company Web site and fill out a form authorizing a BP Solar representative to contact them.
BP Solar hoped for higher than average conversion rates as compared to past campaigns. But conversions were down — significantly. Not good. Plus, BP Solar wasn’t able to track how many customers saw the message before Experian’s servers crashed. There was some good news. Initial click-through reports were roughly double the average CTR of BP Solar’s 38 previous campaigns. In other words, the first day (before Experian’s servers went down) saw about twice as many recipients click to the Web site as usual.
BP Solar was also able to track call center activity and discovered some interesting results. Call volume was about three times higher than on an average day. Sounds good, until you realize during a typical campaign, call center volume is often up about four or five times the average. The volume was significant, but clearly not as successful as it could have been.
Part 2: Redeployment If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again… BP Solar sent a second message to the same 100,000 recipients on the Wednesday following the blackout (five days later). It was quite similar to the original message, with bullet points listing solar energy tax rebates and credits, a call to action, contact information, and more. At the beginning of the message, new text was inserted: An earlier message we sent to you had images and links that didn’t work. When you signed up at X website, you indicated that you were interested in receiving e-mail about earth-friendly products.”
Results? Recipients visited the Web site. But compared to past campaigns, conversions were down about 50 percent. There are a number of possible causes at work. The message was still timely but had a number of factors working against it. Many recipients had seen part of the message before, which may have led to a perception of spam. When the power finally did return, people may have had so many other messages waiting BP Solar’s was lost in the crush. In addition, worms and viruses overwhelmed businesses that week. Many corporate mail servers were crippled or offline altogether.
It wasn’t all bad news. BP Solar notes its “oops” campaign results were acceptable as the campaign didn’t cost the company anything additional. BP Solar still has money in its e-mail marketing budget. It directed those funds to another campaign. Part 3: Starting Over Still believing it could take advantage of the blackout, the company rented another list from a slightly more expensive vendor. The list was approximately the same size and had the same demographics as the one used in the previous campaign. BP Solar sent the same mailing to this new list the following week, on a Friday morning. (In case you were wondering, BP Solar consumers respond better over the weekend than during other times.)
This time, results were closer to expectations. The CTR was double the average, and the conversion rate was up about 30 percent over past campaigns. There are plenty of lessons here. The main one is mistakes happen. You can try to respond to timely market conditions, but sometimes things are outside your control. Don’t sweat them. Use what you’ve learned in your next campaign, and turn a mistake into an opportunity.
Heidi is a freelance writer who covers the Internet for both consumers and businesses. She’s a former editor of the E-mail Publishing Resource Center and coauthor of “Sometimes the Messenger Should Be Shot: Building a Spam-Free E-mail Marketing Program.” Her work also appears in Smart Computing, PC Novice, What’s Working Online, and Editor & Publisher.
By: Jeff Finkelstein
August 21, 2003
If this column were your only source of e-mail marketing news, you might think all campaigns are executed flawlessly and everyone has results she wants to brag about. But we all know it isn’t that easy. Glitches are a part of daily life. This week’s case study is about a company that incorporated a major disruption — last week’s power failure that affected a large area along the East Coast — into its e-mail marketing plans, only to see its own power failure affect the campaign.
How that campaign will ultimately turn out is yet to be seen. We at ClickZ have the rare opportunity to watch it progress. Today, I’ll share with you the genesis and initial implementation of the campaign and hopefully get you thinking about some solutions. The next column will share what next steps the company took and the results. BP Solar International LLC manufactures, designs, markets, and installs a range of photovoltaic solar electric products and systems. Consumers and businesses alike use the company’s solar power solutions as an alternative or supplement to systems such as gas and electricity.
When the massive power outage occurred last week, BP Solar saw the perfect chance to contact its audience with an opportune message. Within an hour and a half of the outage, BP Solar and its partner, Customer Paradigm, an e-mail marketing and privacy consulting firm, had created a timely message. The subject line was, “Protect Against Future Blackouts With BP Solar Home Solution.”
The first bit of copy told the recipient why he was receiving the message: “When you signed up at [Web site], you indicated that you were interested in receiving e-mail about earth-friendly products. To unsubscribe, see instructions below.” Clicking the link would take the recipient right to the unsubscribe commands. The main body of the text comprised a few small, colorful graphics and a targeted message: Dear Heidi, New York encourages homeowners to go Solar with new tax credits and rebates that offer up to 60% savings. Is solar right for you? Get a personalized estimate of your costs and savings with our free online Solar Savings Estimator. Click here; Save up to 50% of the purchase price with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) rebates. Plus, save an additional 25% of the cost of your system as a New York State Income Tax Credit.
This was followed by a couple more bullet points, a call to action in the form of a link to click for more information, the signature of a key company official, a phone number, and other contact information. BP Solar had conducted 38 campaigns before last week, so it knew the message it wanted to get across and was able to quickly create the copy. (Yes, that is amazing for such a large company!) It also knew whom it wanted to target and how. BP Solar and Customer Paradigm used Experian’s opt-in e-mail lists to identify 100,000 potential customers. Criteria included geographic location, home ownership, income, and a few other factors.
Because of the difference in tax incentives, the recipients were split into two groups: 25,000 on Long Island and 75,000 in New York City and surrounding suburbs. The test message went out, everything looked good, and the companies pulled the trigger. The goal was once power returned to the area, recipients would fire up their computers and this message would be waiting in their inboxes. It would take advantage of the customer’s mindset, and the recent events would help encourage the recipient to seek out more information from BP Solar.
It didn’t quite work that way. When tracking data started trickling in, it was apparent something was off track. There was no response from the folks in the NYC group. Given that they received the same basic message as those in the LI group, there shouldn’t have been a drastic difference. At first the LI group appeared to be on its way to better conversions than in prior campaigns. But by Monday afternoon they were lower than normal. The reason? Experian went down. The servers were down, images were broken, redirects were down, phone lines were down — the list goes on. Consumers who could see the message didn’t necessarily know where it was coming from. And apparently no one in the NYC group received the e-mail message. That’s where we are today. This situation raises a lot of questions, including how to follow up with the consumers who received the “broken” message and why the distribution to the NYC group appears to have failed.
In my next column, I’ll share some answers, BP Solar’s solution, and overall results. Heidi is a freelance writer who covers the Internet for both consumers and businesses. She’s a former editor of the E-mail Publishing Resource Center and coauthor of “Sometimes the Messenger Should Be Shot: Building a Spam-Free E-mail Marketing Program.” Her work also appears in Smart Computing, PC Novice, What’s Working Online, and Editor & Publisher.