Not All E-letters Are the Same…Maximize Exposure and Generate Leads

dart in center of targetSo, it has happened…online BtoB advertising has recently surpassed print advertising in overall revenue dollars. Even in the high-tech and industrial markets, where there is an older engineering demographic that prefers print, online advertising still makes up a significant percentage of media spending.

But this shift isn’t necessarily bad news.  As media data has shown, most BtoB pubs have two sets of readers: those that go online and those that still like to flip pages, and the overlap is very minimal.  Online advertising not only provides the exposure to the segments of our target markets that tend not to read print magazines, but also can generate pretty heavy-duty leads, depending on the publication…an integral feature we use in our comprehensive media analysis.

So, just like in the good old days of bingo cards (any of you youngsters know what they are?), we can measure our return on investment for a given advertisement based on how many readers respond for information.

And the news keeps getting better – more publishers are taking advantage of advancing tracking technology to capture more detailed prospect information.

When banner ads started popping up on the Internet, measuring results was limited to the number of times an ad was viewed on a website (impressions), and the number of times someone clicked on the ad and went to the advertiser’s site (click-throughs).

When e-letters started making their appearance, we received similar information – how many recipients opened the e-letter, how many bounce backs occurred and how many recipients clicked through to the advertiser’s website.

There’s nothing wrong with these measurements. We all realize that the primary goal of advertising is branding, and we want to make sure that we get what we pay for – and impressions on a webpage or the number of recipients that open an e-mail gives us this, similar to total circulation numbers for print advertising.

And there has always been a certain “leap of faith” taken in BtoB advertising when linking the impact of branding to sales results, since results tend not to be as measurable as in BtoC programs.  We accept this leap as part of our BtoB advertising program and take it into account when determining a campaign’s effectiveness.

But the bottom line always comes back to the return on our advertising dollar…and impressions, open rates and click-through statistics really don’t show the payoff by linking advertising to sales.

Of course, we can (and do) compare competitive e-letter demographics and circulation to maximize our exposure, and look at content to see which e-letter has the best editorial match, but we need to take additional steps to determine advertising effectiveness. Ideally, customer service and sales support teams will ask the right questions to find out the source of a lead for an order from a new customer – but as we know, this is not always possible and information isn’t always accurate.

Recently, publishers have started to help the cause by providing full contact lead information for e-letters, especially those that focus on new products. So make sure to ask your agency or media representative what results you will get – just click-through and open rates, or actual leads (and don’t be surprised if you get some blank stares or questionable e-mails – our experience is that the knowledge base still varies greatly from publication to publication!).

A couple of other words of warning: you do get what you pay for, and e-letters that generate leads (and hence more value) tend to cost more than those that don’t provide leads.  But even for niche products, the cost per lead received is surprisingly low.  In fact, one recent e-letter yielded over 75 qualified leads for under $2,000 in a highly targeted market, which quickly resulted in numerous RFPs. Not a bad return.

Also, the quality of the lead from e-letters are not as high as one would expect from those that are proactively seeking information, such as registrants for a Webinar. But Webinars are more expensive, so again you are paying for the quality.

So, whether the lead is someone “just looking” or those ready to pursue a deep relationship, the results will give you a much better idea of which target markets are most interested in your product…and, just as in those good old days of print, sometimes those leads really do pan out!

Comments are closed.