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Blog World Expo NYC - List Building for Bloggers Session

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The List Building for Bloggers series is now a session at BWENY in May, given by Yours Truly - May 25th, 3:45pm. If you're enjoying the hints and tips in the series (recent articles listed here), I hope to see you in the city this Spring.

BWENY is the east coast offshoot of the very successful Blog World Expo and New Media Conference held in Las Vegas last fall and to be held in L.A. later this year. Early bird pricing is available until April 14th, saving 30%. I learned a lot following last year's show and my presenting in May is a direct result of the changes I put into practice following last October's conference. Only goes to show how important and valuable conferences can be - provided one applies the lessons learned, of course.

Scheduling is here: http://blogworld-nyc2011.sched.org  - if you don't get the interactive schedule, click the schedule link on the right hand side.

Hope to see you there - expect to hear more from us about the conference and the LBB series as we count down to the event.

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Does a Social Media Multi-Channel Strategy Make Sense / Cents for Your Business? by Adam Metz

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Running a multi-channel social business program, even for a small company, can be a huge investment in time and resources, as many as 500 per year.  And for larger companies, social media teams of 40 to 50 full time employees, are not uncommon.

There are many factors to consider before diving into social feet first.   Will a multi-channel social media initiative broaden your reach and measurably increase your revenues?  How long will it take?

Does multi-channel mean that you’ll be using both Facebook and Twitter? No! Facebook and Twitter are not channels. They’re two different social media services, on two different social platforms. Facebook is a social network (probably the second largest in the world, after China’s Tencent QQ).  Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service.  Whether or not you engage Facebook and Twitter as part of your multi-channel strategy depends on the nature of your company and your objectives.

According to the American Marketing Association, a marketing channel is a set of activities you need to execute to move goods from the point of production (your office) to the point of consumption (when your customer buys or downloads your product).    A social channel is different because the social channels that your customers are using are constantly evolving, as technologies, and customer preferences on technology uses change, from month to month.

Here are some suggestions for successfully engaging the social customer using social channels:

Consider deploying a methodology called l-P-O-S-T-m, partly developed by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book, Groundswell, l-P-O-S-T-m stands for listen, people, objectives, strategy, tools and measure. (I added the "L" and "M").

The “l” stands for listen. For the first few weeks, you’ll just want to “listen” wherever your customers gather, on-line. If you’re a B2B brand, Facebook and Twitter may or may not be on that list.   It all depends on where your customers are gathering online as to what tools make sense for your business.

Recently a big customs brokerage company was having trouble making a list of “watering holes” because there were only a couple of relevant spots in their industry.  Our recommendation was to call 250 of their current customers and 250 of their lapsed customers, and ask them six simple questions:
  • Have you ever used the social web to search for information on our industry? (YouTube, blogs, forums, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Where do you go to find information on our industry?
  • Where do you find videos to help you learn the tactics of our industry?
  • Have you ever created original content on the Internet?
  • What kind of content?
  • Have you ever posted a review of a business that you’ve worked with?
Once you obtain this data, you can assess if social makes sense for your business. 

If it does, dive a little deeper into the People, i.e. the “P” in your strategy. Obviously, you’re going for current and prospective customers, but now, you have some data on where they actually hang out, and which social tools might be worth using, to reach them. Most critical, in the first half of your social strategy development, is picking the single business objective upon which to hang the strategy. Too many companies try to hit multiple objectives in their first engagement, and fail.

Next up, devise the strategy to reach these individuals – this is actually the hard part. If you’ve never written strategy before, I strongly recommend using the Four Actions Framework, from the book Blue Ocean Strategy. Picking the tools should be done last,  not until a strategy is set.

You’ll know a lot about which tools (channels) your customers and prospects are using by “listening.”  If you’re still wondering about the latest social tools read the top social media blog Mashable.

How do you tell if your multi-channel strategy actually works? That’s where the “M”– measurement – comes in. Be sure to select the measurements that connect directly to your business objective first.   And put a premium on all measurements that can be automatically measured by your social media monitoring system, or marketing automation systems.  These types of measures are highly indicative of future revenue, but don’t take lots of man-hours to complete.

About the Author

Adam Metz is the Director of Social Business at The Pedowitz Group, a burgeoning social demand generation firm.  He is also the author of social strategy book There Is No Secret Sauce and the forthcoming book on social business, The Social Customer (McGraw-Hill Business, September 2011).

To obtain a complimentary copy of There Is No Secret Sauce, email: adam@pedowitzgroup.com, or break into the office of any successful marketer!



LinkedIn Totally Blows Email Marketing Opportunity

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh LinkedIn. Reid. Can I call you Reid? I know we don't know each other personally, but really: we have to talk. Sit down and let's chat.

You see, you just sent me this email about your 100 millionth member. (Congrats, by the way. Impressive).

But, you know, it has issues. It really is, frankly, a horribly missed opportunity. Plus you're breaking the law. Needless to say, that's not good for your pending IPO.

Marketing Fail

This was the perfect, perfect opportunity to give us early adopters something special. Some special feature. Free upgrades. Discounts. Extended trials of your premium services. Anything!

But instead you gave us, well, diddly. You emailed us all but failed to answer the 100 million question: so what? What was the point, Reid?

You just blasted all of us, your early advocates, and gave us nothing. No reason to go back to the site. No incentives. Not even a "hey, haven't seen you for a while, come on back." A little ego pampering about how insightful we are, kinda sorta, but maybe we knew that already, y'know?

Such a wasted opportunity.

And by the way: The Law called CAN-SPAM

Yes, CAN-SPAM is largely worthless. It is, nevertheless, the law. And you broke it, what, a million times?

See, your email wasn't transactional. It was marketing. So the law requires, amongst other things
  • Physical contact data.
  • Unsubscribe instructions.
And it didn't. Unless I'm blind; here's mine. Did I miss it?

You see, Reid, in the war against spam and in promulgating email marketing best practice, it's important that industry leaders like you and LinkedIn get this stuff right. And you didn't. Not even close. It's frustrating for us toiling away in the field when major Internet firms skip even basic compliance.

So, Reid. If you need an email marketing service or some consulting please do let me know. Happy to help you avoid wasting what is, in other news, a fabulous milestone. FeedBlitz makes sure basics such as compliance and authentication are taken care of for all our users, automatically.

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Practical Personalization: Birthday Lists

In this issue of List Building for Bloggers I'll step you through using birthday lists to help deliver additional value to both your clients and you sponsors, via custom fields.

[This is the latest article in the List Building for Bloggers series – Click here to read all the recent #LBB posts]

Birthday Lists - The Theory

The idea is to ask the subscriber as they subscribe what month they were born in, and then to email them something special from you - or your sponsors - to celebrate the birthday. Why is this a good thing?
  • It helps reinforce the relationship between you and your subscribers;
  • It helps incent readers to stick around for their rewards;
  • You can sell the birthday mailing to sponsors or use affiliate monetization.

Birthday Month, not Birthday Date

So we're going to ask subscribers for the month they were born: January, February etc. We're not going to ask them to enter their birthday.

  • Choosing a month is easy - there are only 12 options;
  • Entering dates is a hassle and error prone, especially if you have international readership;
  • We're only going to use the month anyway (mailing them on their birthday is a daily chore - don't want that) - the extra data isn't any use in this case;
  • Some people don't want to give their date of birth for a variety of reasons, but just asking for the month is basically harmless.
So asking for the month only make sense all round - less friction, no privacy issues, and much less work for us.

Birthday Lists - The Practice

Setting Up the Custom Fields

[Note: We're going to use FeedBlitz's UI for the step-by-step here, but most email services support this kind of thing too; ask their support function for help] 
  1. In FeedBlitz, click the Newsletters tab and pick "Custom Fields" from the left side bar.
  2. Click "Confgure Custom Fields"
  3. Click the "Add Custom Fields" button
Now let's define the field. Call it (say) "BirthMonth" (without the quotes). Since we want to make sure all the data is entered correctly, and we know the potential choices, define the field as "Choice" - a list is drop down box, which is more compact, whereas radios are easier to use but take up more space.

Now we have to enter the values we're going to allow. January through December, right?

Not so fast.

Here's the planning part. Are you going to require people enter the field? What about existing subscribers who have not shared their birth month with you? What will the default be?

If the field is optional AND you're using the list version of the field, you need to add a 13th option. Why? Because if the user doesn't pick a month the list box will just use the top value; you're going to end up with a lot of folks in January! So for lists, add a 13th value, call it "--Pick Your Birth Month--", give it the undefined value and drag it to the top of the list.

You also need to decide what you're going to store in the custom field - the month name? The month number? FeedBlitz will default to the name you type in, but you can change that to 01 to 12, for example, or the abbreviations like Jan to Dec instead. This matters if you're going to export the data later and use it in another system. Get it right now, otherwise you'll have to "translate" the data when you export it for use elsewhere.

Anyway, by the time you're done, you're going to end up with a screen that looks something like this:

Note that we've made the field optional (so the new subscriber doesn't have to enter it if they don't want to), that it is not hidden on the form, and we've added a prompt and some popup help.

Creating Segments

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you defined the database values for the birth month to be the abbreviations: Jan, Feb, Mar etc.

Here's the FeedBlitz segment expression that picks all the subscribers, like me, with birthdays in April:


Easy! You can do this when you send your first mailing to your April birthdays (on March 31st in this case) via Newsletters - Mailings - Newsflash. At the foot of the screen you can create the segment expression - and save it for the same time next year. (In FeedBlitz v4, you can define segments in advance, getting the job done much faster).

One List, 12 Segments, Happy Birthdays!

And it's as simple as that. With a simple field, scope narrowed down to keep it simple, your one list has now become much more powerful. No need for fancy triggers or rules or what have you; just a single well-defined custom field.

Wait: What are you going to send?

With the mechanics out of the way, the real work begins: What are you going to send readers on their birthday?
  • If you're e-commerce, a special coupon or discount code valid for the month.
  • For content marketers, perhaps a special offer on your e-Book or webcasts.
  • Service provders - a special consultation, an hour of your time, perhaps?
  • For crafters, an appropriate seasonal item or tip.
You get the idea. Everyone of us has something we can offer, and your subscribers will totally value that special something you're giving them. Just make sure it is special.

Next Up

Before I get to DIY vs, outsource, I'll address the audience request on graphic design.

About List Building For Bloggers #LBB

Written by Phil Hollows, the FeedBlitz Founder and CEO, List Building for Bloggers (#LBB) is a series of posts to help you make the most of your blogging by harnessing the power and capabilities of email, the universal social network, with your bog and social media communications. No matter whether you're a novice or a more advanced blogger, there will be something for you to learn, apply and benefit from in this series. Click here to read more about #LBB

P.S. If you think your friends or followers would find this series valuable, please retweet on Twitter or "Like" on Facebook using the buttons below. Don't forget to use the #LBB hashtag when you do. Thank you! And if you have a comment, contribution or something else to say, please comment too. :-)

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Audience Participation Time at List Building For Bloggers #LBB

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm starting to wrap up the List Building for Bloggers LBB series with a couple more posts in mind, but before I do, I need your help.

Specifically, are there any topics or questions you have about building your blog's list, email marketing and integrating email marketing with social media that you'd like to see addressed? I know I haven't covered everything by any stretch, so please comment on the blog to add your ideas, thoughts and suggestions. Don't be shy - this is your chance to influence the series. Seize it!

Here's what we've covered so far (in reverse chronological order, i.e. most recent first); click to read them:

So, 14 posts so far and roughly 30,000 words (yikes!); how much further can we push this?! The answer depends on you, so comment now!

I'm looking forward to your ideas,



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How social media can improve your SEO by Raymond Denis

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Social Media is definitely playing a huge role in the way people uses the Web these days. It already affects the way many people work, having permeated both home and work lives. By 2014, eMarketer estimates that 65% of all US Internet users will be using social networks.

Social media is increasing its penetration rate over years

Knowing this, Google is now using in their algorithm the "social graph" has a sign of trust. From a Web site’s persective, if you are currently increasing your Web site's ranking through the use of search engine optimization (SEO), you might be interested in knowing that social media influences your rankings for target keywords.

Here are 2 important areas where to use Social Media for SEO:

1) Make sure to have a presence on the top social media sites – regardless of where your audience is.

Remember that we are thinking SEO here. Maybe this recommendation won’t be valid in a distance future but now in 2011 it is very valid. Top social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube contains the most "authority" from a SEO standpoint – meaning that they influence Google’s social algorithm more than any other social media site. By establishing a solid presence on those platforms, you allow your site to gain more authority for target keywords on the search ranking result pages. Here are some tactics:
  • [Facebook, Youtube and Twitter] Create a customized profile page. Add your link to your Web site in your profile bio.
  • [Facebook, Twitter and Youtube] create tons of (real) friends and followers. If those sites are already related to your audience, make sure to connect your niche’s influencers and authority speakers.
  • [Youtube] Add a link in the description each time you publish a new video
  • [Facebook & Twitter] Automate updates on your profile pages coming from your blog articles or news releases.
  • [Twitter] Encourage "retweeting" articles on your Web site
  • [Facebook] Encourage "liking" pages & articles on your Web site
  • [Youtube] Encourage "subscribing" on your Web site
2) Target social media sites related to your audience.

It is crucial to be where your users are. Forums, Wikis, Blogs or any other online communities related to your niche are good places to start for influencing your site’s SEO. Why? Because: search engines give importance to signals coming from topic-related sources. Here are some tactics to consider:
  • [Forums] Contribute actively by replying to user questions. Add a search engine signal (link) in your signature or your profile page. Make sure to follow the forum rules in order to avoid being banned. All comments must be relevant and your intent must be aligned with "positive contributions."
  • [Blogs] Contribute actively by commenting on articles related to your niche. To avoid being flagged as a spammer, comments must be relevant and your intent must focus on "positive contributions."
  • [Blogs] On a niche blog, write an article on an uncovered subject or a subject that allows you to add quality or encourage debate. Leaving a signal in the article is useful for the community and is recognized by a search robot.
  • [Wikis] If your Web site or Web page is worthy of being on a Wiki page, that it can provide value to that Wiki page, you can add it in the "external links" section. Again, the intent for placing your signal must be nothing else than "informative" and "can provide value".
In conclusion, Social Media is more than just a trend – it’s a movement. You will want to think of it as an undeniable mean for connecting to your users and you will want to implement Social Media as the CORE of your Web Strategy.

About the Author

Raymond Denis is an online advertising professional working for AXA - a car insurance company in Canada. Along with managing a car insurance blog, he provides to businesses internet marketing strategies and tactics to improve online performances and goals.

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The Prizes and Pitfalls of Personalization #LBB

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Prizes and Pitfalls of Personalization

In this issue of List Building for Bloggers you will learn:
  • Boosting relevance: why you should learn more about your subscribers.
  • Risks and downsides: why you should think twice about custom fields.
  • Alternatives to custom fields.
  • Custom field usage.
    • Planning.
    • Collection.
    • Reporting.
    • Personalization.
    • Segmentation.
  • Thinking outside the demographic box.
  • A quick "how-to" for FeedBlitz users.
[This is the latest article in the List Building for Bloggers series – Click here to read all the recent #LBB posts]

Why learn more about your subscribers

The ability to customize your mailings to subscribers (and, via segmentation, which subscribers you mail in the first place), is a more advanced part of email marketing than most casual bloggers will typically reach.

That said, the more you know about your subscribers, the more you can tune your interactions with them, and so the better your results will be. Think for a moment how you might be able to improve your interactions with your readership if you knew more than their email address:
  • If you knew buying history you can offer you best / newest customers early bird discounts or special packages;
  • If you knew location you could invite people to your next training course, tweet up or conference in that city;
  • If you knew their names you could make your mailings more personal;
  • If you knew their gender or age range you could write more articles that appealed to that group;
  • If you knew their Twitter account you can follow them in social media.
It's possible to do all of this without having this extra data - typically known as custom fields - but when you can't target content to the right people at the right time then you're losing relevance. Relevance is the core benefit to using custom fields: it allows you to really get very focused with your content (especially non-automated delivery), which means greater relevance to your target audience. That in turn leads to better response rates.

Risks and downsides

Before diving into custom fields, however, my advice to bloggers is to think twice about it. As bloggers we're typically content marketers, and our focus is that content and our audience. One of the benefits of using email marketing (and, specifically, fully automated email marketing like FeedBlitz delivers) is that it's easy. You can do a really good job with some up-front work and let the automation take care of getting your word out.

This is less true with custom fields. Custom fields take work; it's going to take more time from you to set up, use and manage them. You need to determine whether that time's worth it.

Secondly, collecting that data from subscribers when they sign up will reduce your list growth rate, simply because any extra friction in the process reduces your growth rate. Even asking for basics such as a first name or the recipient's gender will increase the bounce rate from the form. The more you ask for, the greater the hit. Again, up to you if that hit is worthwhile (you can test it, of course!).

Also bear in mind that, unless the extra data is coming from you (e.g. purchase history), user entered data can be unreliable. People lie. They type badly. There may be several ways to enter the same information e.g. in the US, they might report their state as "MA", "Mass" or "Massachusetts"! That makes extra work (yet again) for you in terms of trying to prevent that or bearing it in mind when you come to use your custom fields.

Finally, various jurisdictions have laws about user data and privacy. If you collect custom data and the user demands you change it, you pretty much have to change it. More work there as well.

So it's perfectly OK to say, like the idea, I have better things to do and my results are great as is. That said, the larger your list becomes, the harder it is to back fill custom field data if you have a change of heart or hire someone (e.g. a VA) to help you with your blog or list.

Custom field alternatives: Multiple Lists

If you want to segment your audience, bear in mind that there are simpler alternatives to using custom fields on a single list. Use multiple lists! Have one list for group A, another for group B etc., and power both from the same blog using tag filters. Easy to set up, the subscribers self-select into the right list at subscription time, much less work all around for you. For basic segmentation I would recommend this approach for bloggers instead of custom fields.

Basic custom field usage

A primer on jargon

  • Custom fields - Data you associate with a subscriber, such as their name, location or birthday.
  • Personalization - Using that data to modify the content of your mailing.
  • Segmentation - Using the data to select individuals from a list for a mailing instead of mailing the whole list.


So you're ready to take the plunge? OK, first you need to do a little planning. Think about:
  • What do you want to do with the extra data?
  • Where is the data coming from?
  • What about existing list members where you didn't collect the data?
  • Is all the data going to be required or optional?
  • What data will the user add, and what will you add yourself?
Say you're running a mommy blog. Most of your readers are going to be, by definition, women. It makes little sense to use gender as a custom field. So don't ask for it. Make a "Just For Dads" list instead.

You may also have data that you want to associate with a subscriber instead of having them add it themselves. Say you're a gym and you want to give everyone a special offer on the anniversary of their membership - you can add their "Member since" or "Month Joined" data yourself. You don't want to ask subscribers when they joined on the subscription form, since they might not be members (yet!) or they might not remember. If subscribers have to start thinking as they subscribe then they'll lose momentum, and list growth will suffer.

This is also an example of data you might want to hide from a user. Others might include whether the user is a prospect, customer or partner - data you might use to tune a mailing later.

Decide, too, which data is essential to your plans. Name? Gender? Location? Job title? Experience level? Make essential data required, and the rest optional. But be really brutal on prioritization; remember that the more friction you add (required fields) the lower your growth rate will be. On the other hand, the more friction you add, the more committed the subscribers are who join your list. If you're getting a lot of "tire-kickers" adding themselves, extra friction might very well be a Good Thing. Extra friction (in the form of extensive required fields) is also very useful if your list is being used as a lead generation tool for your business. You want the leads to be as pre-qualified as possible.

Some of the biggest challenges with custom fields, though, come from back filling data from existing subscribers, and what to do when that data (or optional fields) isn't there. There's nothing worse than a mailing that starts "Dear Valued Customer" since that actually shows the very opposite. What are you going to do if you don't have the subscriber's first name? Can you find a decent default? Can you conditionally exclude personalization elements if there's no data? Is there a form or link you can mail out to have the older subscribers add their data? Think, too, about segmentation. If you're going to segment by state, say, what do you do with users for whom you have no state data? Always mail them, just in case? Or never mail them?

Planning is essential. Whatever you do, don't skip this step.


For new subscribers, this is pretty easy: ask for the data they can supply at subscription time. If you want to restrict choices to a few, make the field a choice field (such as a list box or radio buttons) to avoid the MA / Mass / Massachusetts issue.

For data, you provide, e.g. a link to your contact management or CRM system, you're going to have to sync the email database with your CRM's data. That requires manual or automated import / export - more work.

For the old list, you're going to have to ask them to add the data. You'll need a link to your form from your provider and you're going to have to send them to your readers. Since there's no real incentive to having existing subscribers tell you more about themselves (they're already on the list; they've done the hard part), don't expect great results from this. You can offer incentives and prizes to help, but be prepared to live with data gaps. Since you've done your planning up front, this won't be an issue, right? Right! But you can add a link to the form in your template, so you can give readers a chance to provide or update their data with every email.


One use of custom fields is not to use them in your outbound mailing at all. You can think of them as simply a one-time survey. Looking at the data can be interesting, though, so don't neglect reporting once you've set up your custom fields. You may well be surprised at what you learn, and that in turn can lead you to produce better, more relevant content, or enable you to reach out to your subscribers in other ways.


Not just "Dear Jane" instead of "Dear jane@example.com" (although that's good too). You can personalize based content based on customer status (regular / preferred), gender and more. So with FeedBlitz, for example, you could conditionally include (or exclude) content from a different feed in your mailings based on the subscriber's status.

Also understand that "content" isn't just what's in your post. It can also mean the HTML you format the post with. So you can change, for example, an image or color scheme based on custom demographic data.

There are dangers here, though. Beware customizing the subject line, as that looks really spammy. Test for cases where the data is missing or defaulted, so that the email still looks good. If you use conditional substitution, test again. If you want to test design changes "safely", clone your list, place test addresses in there with the test cases you want to use, and test using that list before moving your design into production.

Did I mention this was work?


A great example for segmentation is going local. Say your blog is really focused on events in your area. You can collect the ZIP code from subscribers, and then mail only people in the relevant zip code for info on that area. From a monetization perspective, you can start to sell sponsorships and advertising into your segments once your list gets big enough (but keep the messages relevant else you'll lose people). Once you get good with targeting and customization you can really make every email work much harder for you.

Again, however, there are traps for the unwary. Segmented mailings are typically slower than "all readers" mailings simply because your email service has to figure out whether each subscriber qualifies; personalization (if you're using it) adds to the load too. It may not be significant but you should test using a non-time critical mailing to understand the difference.

Secondly, a botched segment mailing can be downright embarrassing. Make sure you have tested / evaluated the segment before you use it with the tools your email service provides; you don't want to send a blast about an upgrade discount to people who've already paid full freight. And it doesn't take much imagination to envisage even worse scenarios.

If you have a segment you like, save it if you can to make it easy to reuse in the future; it's both a real time-saver and SNAFU risk reducer.

Thinking outside the demographic box

Demographics - broadly speaking: name, gender, location - are the typical use for custom fields, especially for personalization and segmentation. But you can do more than this. I've talked about using internal data (customer class or purchase history, for example) as one type of data. You can use activity stream information (did they click or open an email recently) as another. If you collect twitter, facebook or web site links, you can use that too. In fact, simply knowing a subscriber has a website or twitter account may be enough to work with - you may not need to know the details to get a good segment going.

You can also get completely obsessive about this stuff too, so beware the law of diminishing returns. For example, you can make smaller and smaller segments to get more precise, but if you get to the point where it would be faster to use your personal email app to do the mailing, you've gone too far. As with most things in marketing, your mileage may vary. Test, measure and update.

Ultimately, remember that custom fields and the benefits they bring are only really good at optimizing your existing list. If you're not getting the basics right - subscription form positioning; compelling and relevant content; gripping subject lines; effective calls to action - then you're missing a bigger opportunity.  Plan for custom fields up front if you have the luxury to do so, but I'd recommend that you make sure you're well past square one with your blog and basic email marketing before you start digging into custom fields and the work they add. Your time is limited and precious; be sure you're spending it wisely.

A quick "how-to" for FeedBlitz users

Custom fields are a lot of work, but they can be excellent tools for making better use of your list. The features are complex and can be found under the Newsletters tab at FeedBlitz; click the "Custom Fields" button in the left side bar. Since there's a lot of ground to cover, there is also a sequence of FeedBlitz-specific tutorial posts on using custom fields and entries in the FeedBlitz knowledge base - click here to start.

Next Up

DIY or outsource your blog-based email marketing - A beginner's guide.

About List Building For Bloggers #LBB

Written by Phil Hollows, the FeedBlitz Founder and CEO, List Building for Bloggers (#LBB) is a series of posts to help you make the most of your blogging by harnessing the power and capabilities of email, the universal social network, with your bog and social media communications. No matter whether you're a novice or a more advanced blogger, there will be something for you to learn, apply and benefit from in this series. Click here to read more about #LBB

P.S. If you think your friends or followers would find this series valuable, please retweet on Twitter or "Like" on Facebook using the buttons below. Don't forget to use the #LBB hashtag when you do. Thank you! And if you have a comment, contribution or something else to say, please comment too. :-)

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That Perfect Prospect Hasn’t Returned Your Call? Think in Multiples to Multiply Results! by Dan McDade

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

[Editorial Note: Although this guest post talks about enterprise sales, the points made by Dan about persistence and relevance apply to any blogger trying to monetize by direct sales, whether to readers, advertisers or other partners. Stick to it and you'll be successful!]

Have you, a member of your sales team, or one of your inside reps ever called a prospect two or three times without connecting and then given up?
The answer is likely “yes” as the temptation is to assume a prospect isn’t interested and move on. Yet many of the best prospects need to be contacted multiple times by voicemail, email and direct mail over a period of weeks and months before a conversation occurs.
Here’s why: executives often don’t respond until a need’s priority has escalated. It’s likely that your first few attempts didn’t overlap with the prospect’s need window. Positive outcomes increase when the person calling makes multiple attempts in multiple media across several cycles.

My favorite stories are about client successes. The best one of these is work we did for a global consulting company where we deployed one of our people for a full quarter to make contact with CFOs at the nation's top 50 utilities.

The associate applied a B2B prospect development touch cycle that frequently includes the following at the C-level:
  1. The associate makes navigation calls to confirm target prospect contact information and administrative support.
  2. This is followed by a series of discussions with administrators to first sell them on our client's solution and then sell them on helping us get in front of their boss.
  3. The associate then engages in multiple cycles of contact that include calls, voicemails and immediate email follow ups. A cycle can include as many as six attempted calls, three voicemails, and three emails over 10 business days.
  4. On the last cycle of attempts, our voicemail explains we do not want to pester the individual, we would like to talk, but we won't leave another message.
So here is what happened:

  1. The CFO called us back after the 42nd touch and said, "Don't stop calling me… you are my conscience. I have listened to and saved your voicemails, and I have saved some of your emails. I want to talk to you. I have just been extremely busy. Call me back in two weeks on Tuesday at 10:00 AM, and I will take that call.”
  2. Two weeks later we generated a high quality opportunity for our client.
  3. It closed in five months for $1,000,000,000. Yes, a billion.
When you approach prospects by thinking in multiples – multi-touch, multi-media, and multi-cycle – you multiply results.

About Dan McDade

Dan McDade is President and CEO of PointClear, LLC, a prospect development firm that helps B2B companies drive revenue by nurturing leads, engaging contacts and developing prospects until they're ready to close. The Sales Lead Management Association named Dan one of the 50 most influential people in sales lead management in 2009 and 2010. Dan’s first book, The Truth About Leads, is a practical, easy-to-read book that helps B2B companies focus their lead-generation efforts, align their sales and marketing organizations and drive revenue. 



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