Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How to Create High Performing Sweepstakes for Lead-Gen Efforts

Republished from my latest article in Target Marketing:

OK, I know what you're thinking … viable leads typically don't come from sweepstakes and contests.
And when not done correctly, that's exactly right.
However, just as any online direct response tactic, this one is no different. Over the years, sweepstakes marketing has become refined through testing and targeting. And since the boom in social media, sweepstakes are more popular than ever.
But before you embark on this tactic, there are a few core concepts to know—as well as best practices.
The Precursors
It's important to get to know your list to help determine its value and how much you are willing to give away for a lead, such as:
  • What is your average conversion time (how long does it take someone to move from a lead to a buyer—30, 60, 90-plus days?)
  • What is the lifetime value (LTV) per buyer?
  • What is your average revenue per name?
  • What is your average cost per lead (CPL)?
Conversion Time. Monitor a group of new names (perhaps by campaign) who come on your file and see at what point, at what percent and for what dollar amount your leads convert to buyers. This will help you know how much and how long it takes a lead to convert. Let's say you have a pay-per-click campaign and, in the first 30 days, 20 percent of the leads convert and the average unit sale is $50. This shows you your time threshold for getting a sale. You'll know when to anticipate revenues and can manage your budget accordingly.
LTV. You take the total your buyers purchased: Let's say over five years, this group collectively spent $100,000, and divide that amount by number of buyers (let's say its 500). Your LTV is $200. This will show you the potential long-term opportunity for a buyer's worth, as well as the loss (if the customer leaves your list).
Rev Per Name. This is more for the current buyers on your file not long term, as with LTV. Take the total your buyers spend at 30, 60 and 90 days; and at each time point, divide that amount by the number of buyers. So let's say at 30 days, your newest names bring in collectively $10,000 and there are 1,000 buyers. That is a $10/rev per name. This will show you current buyer worth and your threshold for acquisition costs.
Cost Per Lead. When you're doing an acquisition effort, how much does it cost you per name? Take the cost of the media buy and divide by the number of leads that came in. This will tell you how much you typically spend to bring in a new name. Ideally, you want to keep you cost per lead much lower than your revenue per name and LTV. I like to hover between $5 and $25 CPL. CPLs will be different by channel. However, if you bring in a lead at $50 and you know, based on your list performance, that name will spend $75 in the first 6 months, you can afford to take an initial loss.
The Offer
What are you going to give away? The value of the giveaway should be something that won't be viewed as too good to be true by users as well, as one you can earn back (based on the aforementioned list criteria and in a certain time period). So knowing your giveaway threshold is important.
In addition to being realistic and appealing, the offer should also be relevant and interesting to your target prospect.
I've seen random sweepstakes offers on the Web, as I'm sure you have. One in particular, a publishing company, featured an offer: "Win a free iPad."
This makes zero sense to me in so many ways …
Unless this publishing company is uploading an app on the iPad with a free online subscription to one of their publications, I don't see the relevance for the end-user. This publisher will likely wind up with thousands of leads, but they will be unqualified, irrelevant people looking for a free electronic device and not in the other information products they offer.
Plus there's an out-of-pocket cost for the product and shipping of the product.
This, in my opinion, is typical of the "old" sweepstakes offers where little strategy and direct response knowledge seemed to go into planning the campaign.
However, one website I discovered in my research for this article seems to hit the nail on the head and offer something synergistic to their leads, as well as qualifies the lead for future potential sales via cross-sell and upsell efforts.
Take skin care company, DermagistOpens in a new window. Their sweepstakes offer is for lead generation, touts a "$200 shopping spree," and is featured on their website and Facebook page. The tactics they are using can be applied to most any industry.
Leads have to "register" by liking Dermagist's Facebook page, as well as post on Dermagists' Facebook page why they love the product. Winners are chosen monthly and given a promo code worth $200 toward anything in their store. No purchase is necessary.
What I Like …
The offer is ongoing, so it's a continuity of new leads (email addresses) coming in on a monthly basis to help build the list and offset any attrition.
The prize is realistic, targeted and qualifies the recipient based on relevant interest—it's appealing to those interested in skincare products and is a great way to get repeat and referral sales.
Leads have to "register" by liking Dermagist Facebook page, as well as post on their Facebook wall why they love the product. This strategy helps with social media engagement (boosting page "likes," visibility and credibility), as well as product awareness.
I also liked that on the website's sweepstakes registration page, last month's winner's name was posted. This helps reinforce contest legitimacy.
Location, Location, Location
Where you promote your sweepstakes is equally important for targeting and relevance.
There's the obvious, such as having a banner ad, header content or interstitial on the website's home page mentioning the promotion.
You can also promote it on your business' Facebook page organically (through fan page timeline and wall posts), through appsOpens in a new window, as well as through targeted ads and boosted posts, selecting audiences in the Newsfeed that are like-minded with your target customer.
TabsiteOpens in a new window has a variety of Facebook-friendly apps for contests and sweepstakes (photos, trivia and more).
A word of caution: If you are promoting a sweepstakes on Facebook, make sure to follow its guidelinesOpens in a new window or your campaign may run the risk of getting shut down.
Promoting it organically with search engine marketing is another tactic, such as with free online press releases.
And, of course, if your budget allows, you can promote your sweepstakes through targeted media buys (banner ads, email list rental) and pay-per-click. These costs should be factored into the overall campaign effort and cost per lead.
So when you start thinking about your acquisition efforts and how sweepstakes may be used, know that through the evolution of the consumer and Internet marketing in general, this is not your father's sweepstakes anymore.
Being a creative and strategic marketer will help you take this strategy to a whole new, high-performing level.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2014 Word Cup News: Uruguay vs. Italy. An Open Letter to Sports Press and FIFA

(***Abajo es en Espanol)

I typically never vent or rant on my blog,  but I feel compelled to today. So although I typically write about marketing, today are my thoughts on the game between Uruguay and Italy.

I am disgusted with what I witnessed. I admit I am no soccer fanatic, but I know right from wrong. And I witnessed wrong on so many levels. Shame on you Ref and Italy.

The Ref was blatantly showing favoritism to Italy.  Italy repeatedly held (which is a foul), hit, and even kicked, Uruguay players and no yellow cards for Italy. This happened so many times, I stopped keeping count after 5. Only once did Italy get a verbal ‘warning’ from the Ref.

Cavani was in perfect position in front of the goal and Italian player literally held him, putting his arms around Cavani, and pushing him to the floor. Cavini and the coach for Uruguay held their arms out to show the Ref 'holding'. But no warning. No yellow card.

Two Uruguay players got kicked hard, what looked to be deliberate (based on the slow-mo…one instant replay) one in the ribs and the other in his shin/lower leg with the soccer cleat. Yet no commentators talked about this obvious and blatant show of favoritism and improper conduct.

Italy played with arrogance for a long time... like they were untouchable.But who could blame them after all the 'free passes' the Ref gave them? The Ref finally gave them a red card for their bad behavior in an incident that simply could not be ignored..

I guess the Ref had to throw Uruguay a bone and make it look somewhat like he was impartial. At least for appearances sake.

Then, to add insult to injury, Italy’s head coach actually had a smirk on his face when the Uruguay player kicked in the ribs was down on the floor. The TV camera panned in on his face. He thought it was funny. It was in ill taste.

The Uruguayan team and the coach kept looking at the Ref with puzzlement in their faces.

The other joke was that Italy kept throwing themselves on the floor or completely over-acting just to run the clock down. They all should get Oscars for their theatrics. It was unbelievable that the Ref didn't give any warnings or yellow cards for their blatant clock-running.

The Ref actually let Italy players take their sweet time and slowly walk off the field, pretending to be injured. Then, the same players would hop back in to play 5 seconds later as soon as they got to the side-lines. That was a quick recovery.

So transparent, but yet no sports commentator said a peep.

The entire game Uruguay took hit after hit, and foul play after foul play, and the only eyes that didn't seem to catch it was the Ref.  Hmmm.  Coincidence?

The Ref had the audacity to actually give the goalie for Uruguay a yellow card for ‘taking too long’ to throw out the ball… but no yellow cards for Italy’s repeated slow walk offs, disturbances, distractions, and unsportsman-like conduct.

FIFA should take action against this Ref.

One of Italy’s players, Chiellini, hit Suarez in the mouth than was trying to insinuate that Suarez bit him by pulling down the shoulder of his soccer jersey. And if you look at the close-up photo on Ovacion of the alleged bite, the mark looks more like freckles than anything else.

Could this just be sore loser syndrome? A bit hypocritical?

After 90 minute of hard play against Uruguay, now the Italians are going to call for un-necessary roughness?

 The press’ attention is all over Suarez for a ‘supposedly’ biting, but none of this same press made any comments about the kicks and hits Italy was giving Uruguay for 90 minutes.

But of course whether it's true or not, Suarez has this reputation for biting, so  the perception is reality. Sports commentators and press have already condemned him.

Despite all of these adversities, in around the 80th minute, Uruguay scored a beautiful goal. Now the Ref really had to act. It seemed his job was to ‘help’ Italy and wouldn't you know he lived to that promise.

Not only did he give several foul/free/corner kicks to Italy to try and at least get them to tie the game (cause if they tied, Uruguay would go home), but he also added 5 minutes to the clock extending game to 95 minutes.

But that STILL wasn't enough.  The Ref went nearly 2 minutes over the 95 minutes and didn't blow the whistle to almost 96 and half minutes.

Uruguay’s coach was pointing to his watch at around 91 minutes like, “What’s up dude, the Game is over, blow the whistle and let it go.”

I guess the Ref was holding out to the very end that somehow he would do his part to help Italy defeat La Celeste.

No such luck.

Uruguay’s skill and sheer heart helped them win, 1-0. And Italy is now going home.

Instead of the commentators focusing on the victory and determination Uruguay demonstrated today, they are now focusing on Suarez’s alleged ‘bite’.

Let it go.  Uruguay won after getting physically beaten for 90 minutes. Dirty plays involving hits, holdings, kicks and more from Italy.

Press: If you’re going to talk about unsportsman-like conduct…then talk about the ENTIRE game and Italy’s players' and coach’s behavior. Bottom line: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Let Uruguay enjoy their victory. They earned it (and should get hazard pay for this game). And you all know it. Even though it's contrarian, speak up and talk about the four time world cup winning Italy's bad behavior against the 2 time world cup winning Uruguay. Stop making Suarez the scapegoat.

FIFA: You should re-watch the footage of this game and the blatant, offensive and ridiculous calls the Ref made OR didn't make (depending on which team you're focusing on). Clearly selective enforcement and not behavior becoming of a FIFA referee.

======= EN ESPANOL======

Noticias de la Copa del Mundo 2014: Uruguay vs. Italia. Una carta abierta a la prensa deportiva y a la FIFA

(***arriba es en Ingles)

Típicamente, nunca descargo o vocifero en mi blog, pero hoy me siento compelida. Así, aunque típicamente escribo acerca de marketing, hoy mis pensamientos están en el juego entre Uruguay e Italia.

Estoy disgustada con lo que vi. Admito que no soy una fanática del fútbol, pero distingo lo correcto de lo incorrecto. Y vi incorrección en muchos niveles. ¡Qué vergüenza juez e Italia!

El juez estaba mostrando abiertamente favoritismo hacia Italia. Italia agarraba (lo que es foul) repetidamente, golpeaba y aun pateaba a los jugadores uruguayos y ni una tarjeta amarilla para Italia. Ocurrió muchas veces, paré de contar después de 5. Solo una vez Italia recibió una “amonestación” verbal del juez.

Cavani estaba en perfecta posición frente al arco y un jugador italiano literalmente lo sostuvo, poniendo sus brazos a su alrededor y empujándolo al piso. Cavani y el entrenador de Uruguay mostraron sus brazos en señal de abrazo para mostrar al juez el “agarrón”. Pero ninguna advertencia. Ninguna tarjeta amarilla.

Dos jugadores uruguayos fueron duramente golpeados, lo que pareció ser deliberado (basado en la repetición instantánea en cámara lenta), uno en las costillas y el otro en la canilla (espinilla) con el taco del botín. Sin embargo, ningún comentarista habló acerca de esta obvia y abierta muestra de favoritismo y de conducta impropia.

Italia jugó con arrogancia por un largo período… como si fueran intocables. Pero ¿quién puede culparlos después de todos los "pases libres” que les dio el juez?. El juez finalmente les mostró tarjeta roja por su mal comportamiento en un incidente que simplemente no podía ser ignorado. Al menos para cubrir las apariencias.

Supongo que el juez tenía que tirarle un hueso a Uruguay y hacer parecer que era imparcial. Al menos para cubrir las apariencias.

Así, para añadir sal a la herida, el entrenador de Italia tenía una sonrisa burlona en su cara cuando el jugador uruguayo pateado en las costillas estaba tirado en el suelo. La cámara de TV paneó en su cara. Pensó que era divertido. Fue de mal gusto.

El equipo uruguayo y el técnico se quedaron mirando al juez con perplejidad en sus caras.

La otra broma fue que los italianos se tiraban al piso o sobreactuaban para hacer correr el reloj. Todos ellos deberían ganar Oscar por sus actuaciones. Fue increíble que el juez no hiciera ninguna advertencia o mostrara tarjeta amarilla por su abierto hacer tiempo.

El juez dejó, de hecho, a los jugadores italianos tomarse su dulce tiempo y caminar lentamente fuera del campo, pretendiendo estar lesionados. Entonces, los mismos jugadores saltarían de vuelta al juego 5 segundos más tarde, tan pronto tocaban la línea de banda. Eso era una recuperación rápida.

Así de transparente, pero ningún comentarista deportivo dijo un pito.

Todo el partido Uruguay recibió golpe tras golpe y juego sucio tras juego sucio, y los únicos ojos que no parecieron captarlo fueron los del juez. Hmmmm. ¿Coincidencia?

El juez tuvo la audacia de mostrarle al guardameta de Uruguay una tarjeta amarilla por “tomarse demasiado tiempo” para sacar el balón… pero ninguna tarjeta amarilla para las repetidas lentas salidas, perturbaciones, distracciones y conductas antideportivas de Italia.

FIFA debería tomar acciones contra este juez.

Uno de los jugadores de Italia, Chiellini, golpeó a Suárez en la boca y estuvo tratando de insinuar que Suárez lo mordió bajándose el hombre de su camiseta. Y si se mira al acercamiento de la foto en Ovacion del supuesto mordisco, la marca parece más pecas que cualquier otra cosa.

¿Podría ser esto solo un syndrome de mal perdedor? ¿Un poco hipócrita?

Después de 90 minutos de juego duro contra Uruguay, ¿ahora los italianos van a demandar por innecesaria brutalidad?

La atención de la prensa está toda sobre Suárez por un “supuesto” mordisco, pero ninguna de esa misma prensa hace ningún comentario sobre las patadas y golpes que Italia estuvo dándole a Uruguay durante 90 minutos.

Pero, por supuesto, sea o no verdad, Suárez tiene esa reputación de morder, así la percepción es realidad. Los cometaristas deportivos y la prensa ya lo han condenado.

A pesar de esas adversidades, alrededor el minuto 80, Uruguay marcó un bonito gol. Ahora el juez realmente debía actuar. Parecía que su trabajo era “ayudar” a Italia y ¡vaya si vivió esa promesa!

No solo le otorgó varios fouls/libres/corners a Italia para tratar y al menos llevarlos al empate (porque si empataban, Uruguay iría a casa), sino que además adicionó 5 minutos al reloj extendiendo el juego a 95 minutos.

Pero eso TODAVIA no fue suficiente. El juez fue cerca de 2 minutos más de los 95 y no pitó hasta casi 96 minutos y medio.

El técnico de Uruguay estaba señalando su reloj alrededor del minuto 91. “¿qué pasa dandy?, el juego ha terminado, pita y déjalo ir”.

Supongo que el juez estaba pensando hasta el mismo final que de algún modo el debería hacer su parte para ayudar a Italia a vencer La Celeste.

No tuvo suerte.

La habilidad de Uruguay y su puro corazón lo ayudaron a ganar, 1-0. E Italia ahora está yendo a casa.

Los comentaristas, en lugar de enfocarse en la Victoria y determinación que Uruguay demostró hoy, están enfocados en el supuesto “mordiscón” de Suárez.

Déjenlos. Uruguay ganó después de haber sido golpeado durante 90 minutos. Juegos sucios que involucraron golpes, patadas y más por parte de Italia.

Prensa: Si van a hablar de conducta antideportiva… entonces hablen del juego ENTERO y del comportamiento de los jugadores y el técnico italianos. Finalmente: Si no tienen nada lindo que ceir, entonces no digan nada. Dejen a Uruguay disfrutar su victoria. Lo ganaron (y deberían ganar una prima por peligrosidad por este juego). Y ustedes todos lo saben. Aún si es contrario, hablen y cuenten sobre las cuatro copas mundiales que el mal comportamiento italiano ganó contra las dos copas ganadas por Uruguay. Paren de hacer de Suárez el chivo emisario.

FIFA: Deberían volver a ver la película completa del partido y los descarados, ofensivos y ridículos fallos que el juez hizo O no hizo (dependiendo de en qué equipo se focalicen). Claramente selectivo para hacer cumplir el reglamento y no un comportamiento esperable de un juez de la FIFA.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

7 Ways to Maximize Fulfillment and Collateral Pieces for Profits

 My latest article in Target Marketing...

Sure, fulfillment and inserts aren't as sexy as other forms of marketing, but they can be viable ways to bring in steady, ancillary revenues.

I've seen some online publishers bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars with a carefully thought-out insert program. For instance, taking a direct mail control piece and adding it in customer fulfillment packages as an insert. A no-brainer, right?

Wrong! You'll be surprised how many businesses are leaving money on the table by not doing this.
Are you leveraging your fulfillment kit? Do you have a strategy for your inserts?

Here are some simple ideas, when applicable, for print and electronic fulfillment that help encourage sales (cross-sells) and help customer lifetime value:
  1. Personal Welcome or Thank You Letter (whether it's for newsletters, products or services. It could highlight all products OR current top sellers). This is the first thing a new customer will see. Make sure it is written in a personal, comfortable tone—welcoming the customers and reiterating what a good decision they just made and thanking them for their purchases. You can also add a little verbiage about your core values and what makes you unique in the marketplace. Be sure to reiterate any product guarantees you have, as well as customer service contact information.
  2. Cross-marketing Piece. This can be a current direct mail piece edited for insert purposes. A flier highlighting a current hot product OR a natural, synergistic upsell from the product ordered. Or a "customer favorites" catalog. This encourages continued purchases now and down the road.
  3. Coupon or special discount offer. (or if electronic, coupon/promo code for online ordering). Consider offering a special "thank you" coupon or a "share this with a friend/family member" coupon for additional sales and viral/word of mouth marketing.
  4. Free Sample. (Women may remember Avon used to include tiny little lipsticks or perfume with their order. This approach can be translated in most any business—it could be a small, economy/sample size product, a bonus report, or more. Customers love, love, love freebies!
  5. Renewal at Birth. This is a popular publishing term. If you're selling a subscription service or continuity program, you can include a renewal order form with your first issue at a special early discount rate.
  6. Packing Slip. Many people overlook this fulfillment piece, but it can be used for more than printing out what is being sent to your customer. You can print your return policy/instruction on this piece of correspondence, as well as adding several product return reasons to help evaluate customer satisfaction and product refinement, going forward.
  7. Feedback/Testimonial Form. Have a form to solicit customers' feedback and testimonials. This information could be priceless, as far as customer service, marketing, and new product development. Make sure your testimonial collection process is compliant so you can use stellar comments in future marketing efforts.
As most direct response marketers know, the first zero to 30 days is when a customer is red hot—as legendary entrepreneur and best-selling author of, "Ready Fire Aim," Michael Masterson,Opens in a new window would say—in their "buying frenzy." So don't leave 'em cold. Give them cross-sell and upsell options.
Leverage this timeframe with your communications and turn your fulfillment pieces into another way to increase sales and relationship-build with your customers.
You may just turn on an additional revenue stream for your business!
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