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How the internet didn't ruin everything if you choose to use it properly.

A journey through the fibres of e-mail marketing and the reason it works so well for lead generation.

The internet ruined everything (it really didn’t)

For this article I wanted to explore the issue of e-mail marketing, something which can provide a very effective tool to a business but given the explosion of other tools available to a Brand is one that can easily be overlooked.

As well as exploring the evolution of mailing from the old-fashioned snail-mail to today’s instant-inbox phenom I also take some time out to talk with the founders of Impart-X one of the very few lead generation companies I have met whose personal approach and attention to detail have meant they are the top of the list for my clients when they are looking to make some serious inroads in finding leads.

Above: with easier access to more people email marketing can be an effective tool if it is used properly.

Physical mail order and the rapid evolution into technology

I remember as a teenager I subscribed to several mailing lists for companies that made products I was interested in. From radio-controlled cars to fishing tackle, every few months an envelope would drop through my door, and I would eagerly thumb through the black and white printed pages of special offers and mail order products that were newly available.

Then once a year the big one would drop a catalogue with pictures and adverts that enticed even the lightest of pockets to part with their cash. The offers in the envelopes were usually exclusive to the mail order customer and had enough differentiation from what could be bought in store to make you want to part with your paper round money.

Fast forward to my university years and subscribing to an email list was a considered affair, you got the latest information and invitation to buy things or attend events before everyone else and it felt like you were a member of an exclusive club. Physical catalogues still dropped through your door to support the emails you received, and it was generally a pleasant experience for the customer.

Then it exploded, email, social media everything! Like a carnival event, every page you turned, every website you visited, every email you opened became an attempt to garner your attention, in your phone, in your face, everywhere!

Above: It really wasn't that long ago that mail order catalogues were a bastion of communication for brands, so much has changed, so quickly.

Then GDPR hit the world. In a world where every company had become to one degree or another perceived as an obsessive stalker, the legislation was designed to protect the customer, or say it proclaimed. Businesses culled customer data for fear of breaching their legal obligations.

The press maligned anything that used personal data to improve customer experiences and in move more ironic than any other in the history of man people then began posting the now indelible scripture of

I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future. By this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents.”

Clearly those users didn’t read the T&C’s of service for Facebook itself, but did by liking and sharing the post massively increase the wave of disinformation and paranoia surely intended by the originator.

So, what has this got to do with lead generation? Well, a lot really. I am going to present a supposition here that you might believe that email marketing is either not effective, or perhaps outdated. That is where you would be wrong. So, let’s explore the subject in a bit more detail and along the way get some valuable insight into the way modern, refined and well executed lead generation can harness the same pattern of relationship building along with well crafted communication to help build your business.

The internet didn’t ruin everything, but those people who are using it the same way as 10 or even as recent as 2 years ago are just making the opportunities it presents look bad!

The trouble with communication

For any business, reaching customers or clients can sometimes be an uphill struggle. Even with a great product or service breaking through the screen of noise and information that bombards us every day means that our everyday human brains become numb to the messages that we are trying to convey.

It is hard not to have noticed the latest craze in social media to perform in front of the camera, maybe a little dance or even a selfie style piece of someone in a pool, on a beach or doing something weird or wacky to grab the attention of the view. Don’t get me wrong, this does work for some people but ultimately it seems that the lessons of the past (if you put it on Facebook its part of your forever story!) have not yet been learned.

The truth is we are all desperate at one point or another to win new business. Media agencies, social platforms and miracle coaches all know this and true to tradition exploit these factors for quick results, often devaluing brands, products, or services they aim to increase awareness of. From my perspective a strong brand and product are essential for long term success, but once you have those what other options outside of constant social posts and the latest trends are available to the contemporary brand to help grow their business.

Physical marketing still has a place despite the decline in printed press and traditional leaflet drops. One of my clients started getting results from leaflet drops nearly instantly with some well targeted fliers. I maintain this was because they were a local company selling a product that local people need in a non-pushy way with a well-structured piece of marketing. They supported it with social content and through more of the same results will come but it will take some time, and they understand that.

But something that is often overlooked is e-mail marketing and the use of a company to facilitate a structured campaign that can generate business.

I would hazard a guess a lot of people are averse to email marketing for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are probably confused and concerned about the implications of GDPR regulation, secondly having probably been on the receiving end of some poorly crafted and spammy attempts to lure you in from email marketers you are probably of the opinion that this type of tactic doesn’t work…. Well, that’s where you are wrong.

Above: Face to face business is a great way of securing clients, but email marketing bridges the gap allowing them to know more about you and what you have to offer before you even meet them in person.

Lead generation through email marketing is a skilled thing, and not something you can really do by yourself unless you really understand how to manage it. Sure, there are plenty of Facebook ads willing to lure you in to buy mailing lists, off the shelf software that allows you to mailout in bulk and plenty of “free” coaching courses to train you “how” only for you to find out at the end you need to subscribe to the coaches software or buy the product they get a commission on in order to do it. So HOW can you successfully generate leads without having to learn the skills involved and buy the software for yourself.

Here is where a company like Impart-X comes in. You see, if you think about lead generation as simply sending out messages in hope of getting leads in return, you have oversimplified the problem to the degree of failure.

Behind the curtain of lead generation

We spoke to Peter and Liam from Impart-X in order to get behind the scenes and ask some questions about what lead generation is, how it works and more besides. We started by asking about the complexities of lead generation, especially via email as it is something that is commonly seen as hard to manage.

Q: So how do professional companies make lead generation technology easier to use?

(Liam):“ From back to front, pure email lead gen is troublesome without experience and access to the right procedures and technology.”

Q: So supposing a company had access to a good mailer technology then with a good campaign then reaching out using it would make a difference? I have heard some horror stories about people getting access to mailer lists via online platforms only to get a lot of bounce backs and replies where their campaign has been seen as irrelevant to the recipient…

Peter interjects…

(Peter): " We support with the curation of validated data firstly, it is a process that can be extremely expensive, wasteful and usually painful. Making sure we work with the client to establish their precise target audience is critical and we carefully plan to ensure we reach out to the right potential customers."

Q: And what about the content you use in your service do you create that yourself or is it done in conjunction with the client.

(Liam): " Copy and content is usually an easier issue, we know that our clients know their service better than us, but with our experience, we can help refine messaging for relevant audiences as we’ve very much lived the successes and pain of experimentation when it comes to garnering and building attention and interest. "

Q: So the value you add at that stage is ensuring that the tone and voice and structure will be more effective than simply a general marketing type message.

(Peter): " Exactly we use our experience in what works and what doesn’t to help guide their messaging to be more effective."

Q: What about all of the administration involved in running a campaign how is that dealt with when working with a company like yours?

(Peter): " Our goal is to minimise the amount of time it takes for our clients to have to do this while getting the best results so I suppose probably one of the most important aspects is the management of response and lack thereof in some cases."

" It’s fantastic when response leads to progression with prospects, but there are always going to be prospects worth following up with, who don’t respond. "

Q: And is that something that happens often?

(Liam): " In many instances I’ve encountered, these fall through the net, but with our systems and experience we can facilitate a follow up strategy that can help additional access to revenue from your outbox. We offer the ability to approach email outreach with this level of granularity as an automated service, which when you consider every platform used by an SDR or BDR (Sales Development Representative / Business Development Representative) has similar layers of complexity, is a huge efficiency and productivity gain."

Q: So what do you think the main thing clients need to understand about your approach and how it differs from so many of the off the shelf solutions that people see advertised.

(Peter): " We’re here for you, and we want you to win. We depend on our client’s success as it enables us to create long term partnerships, and if we don’t think we’re getting you success, we will actively advise you to pursue a different approach. I’m not suggesting any other solution’s if used well won’t work, but with our approach you are getting technology that enhances your outreach and access to support and knowledge built from experience in overcoming the challenges you will face. "

Q: I have seen that face to face when you demonstrated your system to me, It isn’t a totally hands off approach for the client but the way you work seems to make the amount of pressure on the client very light. Is that why your clients stay with you?

(Peter): " We would like to think so, being open about what works and what doesn’t is important to us. As I mentioned before we are totally dependent on our clients success so we treat their business as our own when it comes to getting results. We are not in the game of taking on high numbers of clients and delivering poor results, we want them to win. "

Q: in-terms of success rates, compared to some of the other tools available to a business such as facebook ad’s

(Liam): " Success lays in collaboration of all available platforms, we wouldn’t choose one over the other for success rates. Done properly a sequenced campaign should go hand in hand with all other forms of marketing to give your leads a true 360 view of who you are and why they need you. "

That’s music to my ears, all to often you hear so many service providers citing their approach as the only one. When I work with clients, I am quick to point out not every channel is right for them, and in many cases blending an approach to reach people makes the most sense.

Q: what are the main benefits of using a service like yours over doing it themselves?

(Peter): " I’d argue the ability to collaborate and be reactive to what you learn from results as we go. The dynamic nature of the technology we use means that we can almost immediately generate and act on insights on a day-to-day basis, if you need to react to a marked change in your sector, and voice that through your messaging tomorrow without stopping the whole machine, no problem. If that also comes with the added challenge of being unsure how to voice your messaging, or who to, that’s where our human expertise comes in to play and we’re happy to be as involved in these challenges as you need us to be. "

(Liam): " And that can be so important right now, things change so quickly. When I have spoken to other companies about campaigns, they are very set on letting a campaign run it course every time before making changes, but we all know in business things can happen overnight that either present an opportunity or make what you are saying less impactful. The fact you can adapt so quickly has to be a huge advantage."

Q: when I looked into lead generation services some of them cost hundreds of pounds to onboard and with and then cost 1000’s of pounds to maintain, so are there options for smaller businesses who want to use service like yours?

(Peter) : " I’m not going to lie and say we’ve never considered onboarding fees. It would be lovely to invoice hundreds of pounds to onboard a client. We use those first meetings instead to ensure we can offer true value and at the same time build out a list and make certain we have the relevant people for a client to be talking with. Until we know that we wouldn’t charge anything. "

Liam continues, “And that’s important isn’t it because it might be that not every client is ready to use a service like yours, however I work with a lot of start-ups and they can be put off by costs so I suppose the those initial discovery sessions help reassure them of the value you can provide or enable them to take a step back if they need to address something else before using your services.”

(Peter) “Absolutely, our offerings were designed for startups in essence, we steer away from minimum term contracts as much as possible to avoid putting clients into contractual headlocks, and our pricing model is specifically created to put us in a position where the revenue we generate a client far outweighs our cost.”

Knowing that both Liam and Peter have been in the lead generation business for a long time I was curious to understand the changes their area of sale marketing had undergone in recent times so I posed the same question to both of them….

Q: you have been doing what you do for a long time and worked with some pretty impressive clients, how has what you do and how you do it changed over the years?

(Liam): " For me the most marked changed would be a transition away from what I’d call classical sales techniques. We don’t make any promises, we don’t continually reference impressive stats or rates. I quickly came to realise that all those aspects of sales were entirely static and irrelevant to the majority of businesses we work with. Yes, there’s a bottom line, always, and there’s always measurable outcomes. But success, objectives and aspirations rarely fit into the same shapes when you compare. We focus more and more on what we can do to help the people we are working with reach their actual objectives, and then we simplify making that happen by drawing a direct process towards successful outcomes. "

(Peter): " Some parts drastically and some have stayed the same. Everything is online now and the line between home life and work life has become somewhat blurred. It’s so easy to reach out to people with a message you are certain will be important to them without stopping to look around at everyone doing the same. You have to make yourself stand out and that’s not by telling someone how great you are compared to XY or Z, it’s asking for their help, opening up a two way dialogue and focusing on what is important to the individual as well as the organisation they represent."

" What has stayed the same though is respect. Respect for your own time and needs, your clients time and needs and your prospects time and needs. By asking yourself “why would that person want to talk with me?” and answering honestly you will always have respect for everyone’s time and needs. "

Picking the right mix

As with all things moderation and variety are the best approaches to achieving anything and when you are building a brand it pays to have key cornerstones of your business in place before you try and grow sales and revenue. When starting out remember that your costs will not only be from the products or services you need to provide but marketing should form a part of your everyday expenses. You might not know at the beginning what they might be, but by speaking to a company like Impart-X, researching costs of advertising in the local press, radio and via other digital channels you will begin to formulate a picture of the outgoings you will need to spend to get customers to grow your revenue.

Above: Email marketing isn't about selling your product or service, its about starting a conversation and a relationship.

Not wanting to get too much into the details of marketing costs but just to touch on CAC (customer acquisition cost- the amount it will cost you to gain a customer) and LTV (lifetime value cost- the total amount the customer will be worth to your brand) numbers it is important to understand or at least have an assumption of these before announcing your presence to the world.

If your brand is new and, in a position, surrounded by competition your CAC is likely to be high. If your product or service solves a problem for the customer that they will only ever experience once in their lifetime your LTV is likely to only be the value of one sale.

The advantage of digital marketing is in the data- the big scary thing everyone is afraid of sharing! Because by using that data through a lead generation company you can target the people most likely to be interested in the product or service you are offering. Direct digital marketing either via social or mailer marketing provides just that. Ask yourself how many times were you talking about a product only to see an advert for the product itself or one of its competitors when you turned on your phone? It’s not a coincidence, nor is it unlikely if you have searched for something online for it to become a product or service shown to you more often.

Services like those provided by Impart-X provide an excellent way of reaching customers you didn’t even know you could talk to, and after seeing the way they structure the process it doesn’t just provide an outreach to potential sales it also helps build relationships with future clients.

If you are looking for an effective way to reach more customers with your existing brand, check out Impart X and their services here or emailing Peter directly via the links below.

About ImpartX

Peter Knight - Managing Director Over 20 years experience as a professional in Technology focused sectors. Peter uses the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm gained over this time to enhance all client relationships and make sure the best results possible are achieved.

Liam Patrickson - Managing Director

12 years experience in professional communications spanning varied environments and a Degree in Psychology and Sociology. Liam takes his passion for conversation and applies it to developing new opportunities and relationships.


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