In this episode, we discuss strategies we’ve implemented to increase leads and capitalize on marketing automation software. As the adoption rates for marketing automation software continues to increase, the marketers with the best strategies will see results with a positive ROI. Others will just see an increase in marketing technology spend every month.

Topics we cover include:

  • Lead Generation Best Practices
  • Landing Page Design
  • Marketing Automation Software
  • Email Marketing
  • Drip Campaigns

Red Beard:       Stu- Stu- Studio. We’re here.

Evan:                Yes.

Red Beard:       Yeah.

Evan:                This studio, I’m getting used to it now. Right, I mean getting used to all the pieces on the wall. You guys should go to our YouTube Channel to kinda know what we’re talking about right here. But we got so many different microphones, we’ve gotta start having some guests.

Red Beard:       Yeah, we have so many microphones that we had to like take mics out of the shot.

Evan:                Yeah, that’s right. Actually, if you’re on YouTube, you don’t even know all of these additional microphones because they’re just pushed in the corner out of the camera angles.

Red Beard:       We got this awesome logo table.

Evan:                Yeah.

Red Beard:       Sweet.

Evan:                The Geneva Bowl I like that. Is that what it’s called, Is that what we’re calling it, the Geneva Bowl?

Red Beard:       The Geneva Bowl. The gear bowl.

Evan:                Yeah, that looks nice. You can see that on our podcast too, right? The idea bowl that’s going down there with the cover?

Red Beard:       Oh yeah.

Evan:                That’s a good look. So, we just did a digital marketing presentation last week.

Red Beard:       How awesome was that? At the BizTank?

Evan:                That was amazing, right? So BizTank, you know they’ve always got a lot of great speakers coming out for it, they’ve got the full productions set up, lights, music, everything, right?

Red Beard:       I think that was probably my first time going a talk with a headset mic.

Evan:                Oh, was it really?

Red Beard:       Yeah.

Evan:                Yeah, you know they get a little poppy sometimes when you use those, but that seemed to have turned out pretty good, looking at the production quality just the other day.

Red Beard:       Yeah, I used my beard as a filter, I don’t know if you noticed…

Evan:                Does that work? Is that why you have your beard pushed up to your face when you were talking? I didn’t know that was why. I though maybe you were nervous and you just had your beard stretched over your face like some sort of cloak of protection.

Red Beard:       It’s like a DIY pop filter.

Evan:                We should do a Youtube video about all your DIY pop filter to show them it’s set up, you can push it through, I like that. I think it’s good. Does it muffle the sound too much though?

Red Beard:       Nah, I feel like it sounded pretty good.

Evan:                Yeah, I thought it was good. The topics were great, right, we went over eight strategies that you could actually use, or tactics I should probably say, because you put them together for the strategy. Hit on some Facebook advertising, Twitter, did some Lead Generation with landing pages, all of that.

Red Beard:       It was so much fun with, too, was the questions that came afterwards.

Evan:                Yeah, that was an engaged group over there. I love that, too, because a lot of times you give a presentation, and you’re not sure how it’s resonating, I mean, usually you know when it’s going pretty well, right. People nodding their head, and you focus in on everybody. But at the end you ask those questions, or ask if there are questions, you always wonder okay what’s coming, is there something that wasn’t clear in my presentation, was there other things that people were expecting that I didn’t go over, right? So it’s always fun to get that feedback right away.

Red Beard:       Did you see me light up when that one dude asked what kind of kit equipment and set up do you use for your phone?

Evan:                Oh, the whole atmosphere changed when that happened, it was … boom, all of the sudden you were jovial again, running around, showing what you had.

Red Beard:       I’m like how much time do you have, sir?

Evan:                If everybody else wanted to go to another topic, presentation, now’s the time, because we are going to use the rest of the time.

Red Beard:       Yeah, that was fun. That was a fun day. And a lot of people hung to afterwards and talked to us, and then we had the whole outdoor event…

Evan:                Oh yeah.

Red Beard:       … with that bags tournament.

Evan:                Yeah, that got pretty serious, there were some definite competitors out there.

Red Beard:       Yeah, it got real.

Evan:                I get a little competitive, when it comes to just anything, life in general for it, but I’m not a great bags player. So playing with other people, kind of watching them get it and try to get involved with it, but they have hooks to their spin, and everything else. It was pretty serious.

Red Beard:       I feel like you were holding it down pretty well, though.

Evan:                Yeah, you know, I come in waves. It was outside though, there was wind, you had to play for the elements. I’m not used to that.

Red Beard:       You really did.

Evan:                Yeah, that was tough. All of a sudden there’s a big gust of wind would come and you don’t know what’s happening with that bag.

Red Beard:       Oh man, it was like playing speed ball.

Evan:                But, you know, one thing too about that presentation, right, that topic that we were going over that we touched on a little bit there, was nurturing leads when they come in. That was one of the strategies that we came up with to go over, and I think that’s a good topic. You hear a lot about email marketing, and marking automation, and what’s the difference? How do you get use out of it? And I think that’s something that we should go over.

Red Beard:       Oh, for sure.

Evan:                Yeah. Why don’t you go over it now?

Red Beard:       Well yeah, email marketing is great, and I feel like, and maybe you feel like this to, that not a lot of people really take advantage of that or even want to build a list. Or maybe they’re capturing email addresses but maybe they don’t realize it, they’re not doing anything with them.

Evan:                Right, they don’t have a real strategy, it’s just kind of a “when I think about it I’ll send an email.” Especially if they’re not creating a bunch of content. People that create a lot of content, like newsletters, blog posts, ebooks, podcasts… whatever they’re creating. They’re usually a bit better about their email lists, because they’ve got something to send people, but what always gets forgotten is the ones that aren’t creating a lot of content, right?

You need to actually still send out emails, because that’s a great way to get in front of people. Stay top of mind, but all your other aspects … you own your email list. People don’t realize, like, all of these different things … you build up your social media following, right? You’ve got a lot of Facebook followers, Twitter followers, LinkedIn, whatever the social media platform is… you don’t own any of them. You have access to them because of the platform, and we’re seeing that… look at what Facebook did. Was it two percent now are going to see your organic posts if you just share it?

Red Beard:       Even less sometimes.

Evan:                So even if you only have five thousand followers, less than two percent are going to see anything that you post because you don’t own that audience. They just are on Facebook’s platform. They own that audience. With email, though, you own it. Once you have that list, once it’s opted in, you could email them until they tell you to stop, at least in the U.S. We’ll focus this on U.S. advice here, because we won’t get into the …

Red Beard:       Now…

Evan:                … GPR and everything.

Red Beard:       … on the opt in, right, so you have that opt in form, okay, on your website. How much information are you trying to collect? Or is there too much you can ask for, where people then don’t fill it out?

Evan:                Oh yeah, I see that all the time. It’s called just really being greedy with your form. Because you want to qualify the lead, or get as much information as you can, of course, because that makes your job as a marketer easier, or sales person easier, just business in general. The more you know about somebody, the better you can tailor everything, all your messaging to them. But it’s being greedy when you’re asking for a lot of information. And a lot of how long it should be is going to depend on what kind of form it is, right, where it’s located. Is it a “contact us”? Is it “general contact us”? You should keep that between three and five fields. You don’t want a lot of information on that, because you don’t know why somebody’s contacting you. You don’t know where they’re at in the stage, but you still want them to reach out.

Red Beard:       So like name, email…

Evan:                Name, email…

Red Beard:       Phone number, maybe like a message company, right?

Evan:                Another good one. Whatever you need as the bare minimum to reach back out to somebody because you can always do a little bit of research on your own with a company. Who are they? What is that information? You could fill that into your database for it. But also after you make that contact, then you can start to get more information. That’s why I really like progressive profiling when it comes to form fills. So if you fill out a form there’s no reason for me to keep asking the same information again, if I’m going to send you an email for downloading an ebook, for example. So instead of just asking you fill out those same three to five fields, what we can do it actually get it set up where you’ve already filled it out. We’re able to identify that. Let’s send you a different form that’s going to ask for different information So I can start to build that complete profile without overwhelming you with a huge list of 10, 15, 20 form fields that you’re just not going to fill out and I won’t get anything from you.

Red Beard:       And how important is the call to action, but also that that page where that call to action is happening isn’t cluttered or that busy?

Evan:                Oh, that’s huge. And there’s tests after tests that’s going to show that. You can read a lot of best practices for what you should have on that page. What your call to action should say for it, but you really need to test that. That’s the only way you’re going to see significant improvements from optimizing that is gonna be from testing it. If you read a blog post for example, that says the color blue is the best button color for you to have on your landing page, because that’s going to convert higher.

But reality is, that’s not the case. If your entire page is blue and you put that blue button on there, you’re not going to have a difference. In fact, you might have negative impact because the idea for that button color, just to break off into psychology for it, is that von Restorff effect. So what that means is isolation. So if you have something that is a contrasting color there, what that’ll do is actually provide the visitor with the information with visual cue that this is where you should click. This is what you’re supposed to do because the brain is going to recognize patterns and it’s going to be able to see that everything else fits together except for this button. This button is a contrasting color. It stands out from the page. So then the visitor is going to know that that’s what they’re supposed to and you can have a big impact on your conversion rates, which is the amount of people that are actually filling out the form as funny as that sounds, right?

Red Beard:       And I’ve heard you mention the color of the button before in AB testing, those scenarios, but also even like a photo or something on the form, looking at the form or pointing to it?

Evan:                Yeah, that’s the other thing is that if you look what somebody’s gonna look at, they always look at faces. From a baby, you look at faces. That’s what you recognize. That’s what you’re looking for. You can make faces out of actual abstract things. If it kind of looks like a face, your brain is gonna try to do that. What you could do is play off of that in psychology, is part of your landing page optimization, have a face on there. Have that face looking at something because when you look at someone’s face and they’re looking at it, you wanna know what they’re looking at. Have that looking at your form that you want them to fill out. It’s gonna guide the user over to it. You usually will see a higher increase in conversions by doing that.

But to kind of go back, to where you’re saying with the AB testing, that’s something you have to do. You have to actually figure out if that’s gonna make a difference for you, your audience that’s going to it, your visitors that are coming to that page. So you do that by having your baseline, your original, no change to it. Then you create a second version, where you only change one element. That’s where a lot of people, they end up not getting good data from their AB test or their testing because they try to change too many. It becomes more of a multi-variant test at that point, where you don’t actually know what element, what change, is driving the result, whether they’re good or bad. So if you change it and only focus in on one element, then you can make sure that you know what that impact was gonna have on that testing.

You can do so much more. If we talk about the images and the button color, that’s pretty basic stuff. That’s easy to test. You’re not gonna want to keep changing the button color over and over, but once you start running those tests, you can start to get into more advanced. Once the entire layout look like. Is it a longer page or a shorter page? What’s the messaging? That’s one thing that I think more people need to focus on for their tests is what does it? What’s that message? What’s that headline say? You can learn so much about your audience and how you’re marketing, messaging is actually resonating with them, by running those tests.

Red Beard:       Is it quick and easy to fill it out on the phone?

Evan:                Yeah, that’s the other one too. You have to optimize for different devices. Try to understand that. I mean, a lot of these tools that you can run with these tests now, they actually do have the ability to have different tests based on what device somebody’s coming in from, what channel they came in from, all of that.

Red Beard:       Nice.

Evan:                That’s pretty nice.

Red Beard:       So what are some of the more popular platforms or easy to use or easy to integrate platforms for not only creating these email campaigns or collecting the emails and database?

Evan:                A lot of people are running into marketing automation software. I love marketing automation software. I think there’s a lot of great ones out there. We’ve ran quite a few in our past and currently for it, based on what the client has. But one fatal flaw I always see people get into when they’re looking at marketing automation, is they get that shiny object syndrome. They just get too focused in on the features and what this one platform can do versus this other platform. And they don’t take a step back and actually think, “Okay, but how am I going to use this software?” Because this is especially true for marketing automation because they just seem to keep on wanting to pile on all these features to become that all-in-one solution for somebody. But the reality is, most people aren’t gonna use all of those features. So you just gotta take a step back. What are you currently gonna use? What are your goals with the platform? And then just try to figure out the one that you like that has a good interface, but it’s always gonna come down to strategy for how successful that’s gonna be.

I feel confident that I could drive into any marketing automation platform at this stage and understand it. Understand where it is. Some are gonna be more difficult, especially when you get into Enterprise-level ones. But it doesn’t matter what the software is, it matters more the strategy. I know that usually you come up with a pretty top notch strategy, and so the software’s gonna make less of a difference.

Red Beard:       Oh for use. Now when you’re actually … So we have this splash page, the sign up pages, where people sign up. But now when it’s time to actually send those emails out, what are … Everybody seems to be hung up on when they actually send an email out, hung up on open rates.

Evan:                Yeah.

Red Beard:       Even I’ve seen, even though you might have 24% open rate, that’s really good, right?

Evan:                Well, it depends on the industry and the type of email. So MailChimp actually publishes a lot of good information in terms of industry benchmarks that you can use. I think those are good starting points because you wanna know how emails are generally performing in your industry. But you also have to break it down into your list. I like to look more at the overall history of that list versus that industry in general. That way I can focus in on where the open rates right now or where were they a year ago and are they improving? How to get them improved by? Implementing the same type of thing that we were talking about with the landing pages.

We can do that with emails. We can run those AB tests. Understand is the emojis that are gonna have a higher open rates for that list that I’m sending it to. Is is when I phrase the email subject line as a question? Or when I send it from or Where do I get the higher open rates? Just understanding how your list is gonna respond to those and making sure you making those changes going forward. Keep implementing. Keep testing other things. You always want to learn something from your AB tests.

Red Beard:       A lot of people do respond to the beard.

Evan:                They do. That’s a real thing. That’s why you have the email.

Red Beard:       Very responsive.

Evan:                Also not just the subject line. Is it your html email? Or a plain text email? Just understanding the type of differences because a lot of times I see marketers want to create really fancy design heavy, really beautiful emails. That’s because a lot of surveys when you ask our audience what they want, that’s what they say. They say they want a beautifully designed email that looks great, has all these great pictures. But just because they say that’s what they want, that doesn’t mean that’s always the best type of email to send because every time I run a plain text email campaign versus a html email, the plain text always out performs. It plays off of that reciprocity effect. It looks like Red Beard actually sat down, typed up that email and sent it to you. It’s not a marketing email. It didn’t come from marketing ads. It doesn’t have all the images. It actually looks like you sat down, typed up an email and sent it. When somebody receives that, they feel, “Well, he spent the time. I should respond to that.”

Red Beard:       A lot of times, I know me personally, I just want that quick link to check something out. Or sometimes when you get those over developed emails, maybe it’s a newsletter or an ad with buttons and stuff, sometimes you don’t know where to click.

Evan:                Right. That’s the other thing too, making sure that it’s clear. I think that’s gonna be the case for emails, for the landing pages, for anything websites in general. You wanna make sure that the action that you want somebody to take is clear. That they don’t have to worry about figuring it out because if you expect them to figure it out, they’ll usually gonna get it wrong.

Red Beard:       Now I know that probably most places would just send out a monthly newsletter and just kind of send it once and leave it like that. Or they might have an event or a special day that they’re gonna send out, maybe like a prime date email or something.

Evan:                Yeah.

Red Beard:       Touch a little bit on drip campaigns.

Evan:                Oh see, that’s one of the beautiful things about marketing automation software. In a lot of email service providers are starting to offer this, like MailChimp has their own now. But it’s building out these work flows where you don’t have to go in like you said, “I only go in. I send an email once a month or I sent it for specific events.” You can actually create these campaigns that are gonna be tailored to where that person entered in that program. We were talking about landing pages before.

One of the most popular reasons to use a landing page is to have a content upgrade, a gated piece of content. That in order to download this ebook or white paper, you need to fill out this form. So what happens when somebody fills out the form? They’re not requesting a quote. They don’t actually want you to contact them in most cases. They only want that ebook at the time. The idea is you’re trading that piece of content, that information for their contact information. But you don’t want that just to sit and you don’t want to go too hard on it. You should always try the sales approach a little bit. But if you just have sales people calling all the time. A lot of them aren’t gonna convert and then your sales people are gonna say, “These leads aren’t good. They only wanted the information. Stop sending me these leads.”

So if you build out an automated workflow, for example. You can do Lead Nurturing. You can actually nurture those leads. You take them from … A lot of people call as a marketing qualifying lead. Somebody that’s not ready to buy, showing a little bit of interest and just kind of push them along. It’s gonna take a lot of different turns. The good marketing automation platforms, or the good platforms in general that can create those work flows are gonna let you have different branches based on how they’re responding.

If they open an email, we’re gonna send them a secondary email. Another piece of content about it, that they might find interesting based on what they downloaded before. If they didn’t open the email, we can send them something different than that. One of my favorite things to do, is if they don’t open the email, I just send them the same email again and I only change the subject line as part of that work flow. ‘Cause it’s all new to them. They didn’t open it. They didn’t see it. They don’t know what I actually sent them. Why go through having to create a whole another piece of content, a whole another email? I just change the subject line up and see if I can get them to open it that time. Helps stretch that content quite a bit.

Red Beard:       What’s nice is you’re creating almost site navigation but for your email list.

Evan:                Right. What’s nice about that is that even though it’s automated. It’s still relevant and still has that personal touch to it because it’s based on how they’re interacting with you. Also, with a marketing automation platform, for example, that’s gonna be tracking your website too. It’s not just, “Oh they clicked on it, went to the website and then go over to Google analytics and figure out what happened after that.” Marketing automation platforms are gonna track the website too, so once they clicked on the email. They went over to the website. Let’s follow all the different pages we haven’t identified. See what they’re doing. Based on the pages that they visited, based on everything else, we can have them a different email sent. Like if they go to a pricing page for example, but then end up filling anymore information. Let’s send them another email and try to figure out what’s going on. Try to start that dialogue again.

Red Beard:       That’s what I like about these email platforms too because you can get all that data and see what are people actually clicking on. I’m not putting too much information in the emails or do I need to scale those down to just one campaign.

Evan:                Right.

Red Beard:       You can kind of see “Oh did they click on this? What did they do, then, when they go to my website?” Things like that.

Evan:                Yeah, it helps you make more databased decisions with your marketing. That’s what I love about it. You can read Best Practice blog posts. You can listen to podcasts. Listen to us, all you want about these great tips. But you have to test it. You have to actually implement it. You gotta be a practitioner when it comes to marketing because everything’s gonna be a little bit different. Just ’cause it works for one person one time and they wrote a blog post about it, doesn’t mean it’s gonna work for you every time. That’s why when a lot of people get in and they start thinking about conversion optimization, they always go to button color first. There’s always the day one conversion optimization. Go through changing the button color. ‘Cause it can make a difference. But it doesn’t make as big of a difference as a lot of other tests can be. I like it when I see tests that are actually changing the entire internal theme of the website and seeing how different layouts are gonna have an impact on it. That usually leads to a lot bigger return.

Red Beard:       What I like about that drip scenario is that a lot people are afraid to send out multiple emails because they don’t want to be too annoying and then all of a sudden have a bunch of people unsubscribe.

Evan:                Yeah.

Red Beard:       Right?

Evan:                Well, that’s a good point, is that if you do bother people, you send them information that isn’t relevant to where they’re at, at least in your funnel. The top funnel, the middle funnel, where are they in terms of their evaluation of your service or your product. But that way when you’re sending out those emails, it’s still based on it. You can still put those delays in how long they’re gonna send. But you don’t have to go in and manually do it. They’re just enter and then run and you can just kind of look at the information and the data from there.

Red Beard:       Nice. You can start cleaning up your list too. If they don’t open and they don’t open the second one. Maybe they gave you that burner email address.

Evan:                That’s a big thing too. You need to consider are people not engaging with you. If they’re not engaging with you, just send them a email saying, “Hey, we’ll take you off the list. Unless you wanna resubscribe. Unless you wanna engage for it.” Because if you have a lot of people on your email list that never open it, never engage, that’s gonna end up hurting your deliverability, especially when you start to have a bigger list and start to gain a lot of traction with it. You need to get rid of the people that are just dead weight. They’re not interested. They’re never looking at it because that’s gonna hurt your overall sense for people that do actually want to see your content.

Red Beard:       Yeah, I actually got one of those emails recently, where they just said, “Hey, we noticed you’ve been on our mailing list for about six months. We’ve been sending you stuff. You haven’t really opened it. We’re just gonna take you off that list and here’s a list if you actually wanna keep continuing to receive these.”

Evan:                Yeah, a lot of people think that doesn’t make any sense because “I spent so much time trying to get somebody on this list. The numbers look good. Yeah, they’re not opening it, but maybe they will someday.” But that does hurt your deliverability rates if you have a lot of people that aren’t opening it. You gotta pay attention to it, make sure you’re only focusing on that people that actually engage and subscribing and want to see your content too because then it helps gets a little bit better data to make better decisions. Because you don’t want to factor in the people that just aren’t interested anymore. Maybe they bought it from a competitor. Maybe they’re focusing on a different solution. Maybe they’re not even at the company anymore. Their emails just getting forwarded to somebody else. You don’t want their non-open rates to impact when you’re taking a look and trying to optimize for open rates. Somebody that no matter how good of a subject line is, is never gonna open it.

Red Beard:       Yeah and I feel like that one, it wasn’t even that I’d never seen one of those before. But when I got that email I thought it was super awesome. That was the first time that’s ever happened.

Evan:                Did you resubscribe?

Red Beard:       I didn’t resubscribe, but I paid to use their service, which I really like. But they send emails out, and I just hadn’t gotten … You see them pop up but then things happen. You move on. You don’t open it.

Evan:                Was that like a newsletter that they were sending you?

Red Beard:       They just send tips and information and stuff.

Evan:                That’s interesting. ‘Cause a lot of times when you’re a customer, you think that that would be a little bit different then just your average newsletter subscriber.

Red Beard:       Yeah.

Evan:                I haven’t seen those with customers before.

Red Beard:       Yeah, it was pretty cool.

Evan:                Cool. Well, I think wraps it up on my end. You got anything you wanna add?

Red Beard:       I think we’re good.

Evan:                Awesome. Hey, one thing I know a lot of people listening to podcasts are usually driving or maybe out for a morning run. You’re not able to actually write down all of the great tips that we’re giving. So instead of just hoping to come back and listen to it again. You can go online and we’ll send you these tips every single time we come up with an episode. You just go to, right? No, gsonmarketing-podcast. That’s what it is. So and you’ll be able to download the tips there.

Red Beard:       Yeah, and we’ll put links. We’ll put the show notes and stuff. So if we mention at cool apps or links to things, we’ll put it right in there.

Evan:                If you subscribe and like and give us a rating, that will help us keep doing this. Give us some motivation to keep coming up with this great content.

Red Beard:       Awesome. Til next time.