Brian Giese, CEO of True Influence interviewed by Portfolio.com
While there is much talk about the growing use of text messages, one look at our in-boxes will confirm that email remains a primary communication method between businesses.
But how can a young business use email to expand its B2B business, particularly during a downturn? How can you send emails that do not sound pushy or like spam?
Portfolio.com asked him five questions about B2B marketing.
1. How can start-ups use email to get the word out about their companies in the current business climate?
Email is by the far the most cost-effective and risk-free way to generate high-quality leads for new business owners, but it can only reach its true potential when the small-business owner understands it must be delivered with the right message, at the right time, to the right prospect.
2. What are the biggest mistakes that business owners make when it comes to emailing prospective clients?
The most common mistake for small businesses is being impatient and trying to close the prospect too early. In our experience, educating your prospect as much as possible about your products or services and nurturing them can not only generate short-term gains, but also can lead to a long-term satisfied customer who responds again and again to future campaigns.
We also counsel our clients against purchasing expensive email lists, which more often than not are riddled with SPAM traps, and/or deliver un-targeted leads that aren’t worth the expense. Small-business owners must also remember that email is just one tool to grow their business. They need to educate themselves on a full multichannel marketing model to make sure they can expand their message and their reach.
Another common mistake is not being compliant with the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act. Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, so noncompliance can be costly. The Bureau of Consumer Protection provides straightforward tips that all small-business owners should review and keep in mind when developing email campaigns.
3. On the flip side, what are the most successful tactics that you’ve seen business owners take in using email for sales leads in terms of communicating well, responses, etc.?
Small-business owners who use email as an educational channel and not exclusively as a closing channel are most successful when it comes to generating quality leads. Small-business owners should use email to communicate a message and educate a prospect first and foremost, and not to try to close business right off the bat.
Behavioral targeting is another extremely successful method. In our experience, the most successful email marketers are those who target their audience based on the interests of the end user, not themselves. For example, you don’t want to send white-paper offers to prospects who’ve never clicked on one in the past, or webinar invites to someone who has never attended one.
4. What role do you see email playing as business gets more mobile? Will texts push it aside?
We believe email will remain the core communication method for small-business owners and the most cost-effective way to generate quality sales leads. After all, how are iPhones or BlackBerrys primarily used? To make phone calls and send/receive emails. Mobile marketing and social networking will continue to evolve and make the interactive experience more unique and personal for the end user, but email will remain the method of choice from which mobile and other new platforms pivot.
5. Companies that specialize in email communications are evolving. True Influence™ has a new platform that lets users hone in on specific targets. How does that work?
Our new platform, LeadPAC™, is a behaviorally targeted, self-service email prospecting platform that segments our 20-plus million verified B2B contact database and allows online advertisers and marketers to target their unique message to the right audience at the right time. It’s based on a cost-per-click (CPC), pay-for-performance delivery model, and there are no recurring monthly charges, no set-up fees, and no long-term commitments. Customers only pay for leads that match their predetermined criteria. The pay-per-click platform allows clients to avoid wasting money buying or renting lists for email marketing and instead has them only pay for the results that they want.