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Lead Acquisition: A Focus on Email

Yanis Kerdjana  

Hi, everyone. Welcome to our webinar on lead acquisition. Today we are going to focus on Email Lead Acquisition.

They're going to be three hosts to this webinar about emails. The first one is going to be me, the second one is going to be Brian Minick and the third one is going to be Mary-Ellen.

So I let them introduce themselves. Brian, you are the COO of ZeroBounce, maybe you can say a few words about yourself?

Brian Minick  

Sure, thanks for having us today. So I'm Brian Minick, the COO of ZeroBounce, we're a online email validation platform. I really look forward to helping you guys today understand how to make sure you have high quality leads, and good data.

Yanis Kerdjana  

Mary-Ellen, a few words, maybe,

Mary-Ellen Slayter  

Hi, I'm Mary Ellen Slater. And I'm the CEO and founder of RepCap, a content marketing agency that specializes in B2B marketing and we send lots and lots of emails.

Yanis Kerdjana  

So that's good, you're here!

I'm Yanis Kerdjana and I work at Ideta.We're made a software for chatbots development and automation of conversation.

I'll start with a short introduction about email, I'll give you some general knowledge.

  • So the first email sent was in 1971.
  • Seven years later, the first spam in the world that was detected.
  • In 1996 Hotmail is launched. In a short amount of time, we have reached a wide adoption of email among people.
  • In 2004, Gmail makes it even more widespread.
  • Now 2020, we have more than 300 billions emails that are sent per day.

So it's, it's really huge.

In terms of History, emails has replaced letters. It's even more than just replacing letters, it's bringing a new way of communicating. Of doing things in terms of how company companies work, and, and the way it change the world is really incredible. The trend is not slowing down at all.

So it's really important to speak about that. Emails stilll matter. Because, as you can see, even people who are a bit more old, more than 65, still use emails, there is a wide access to email, even among this population.

Moreover, and this is a really important stat, 94% of internet users open their mail inbox once a day.

So when you take that into account, you realize that when you're doing  customer development, sales or marketing, you realize emails are actually a currency. That's the difference between a person visiting your website and a lead. With emails you'll have a hint about who they are, this is the first transaction you have with them.

So Mary-Ellen, will talk about how to handle their email, how to use it well, and how to cherish this relationship, this first relationship you have with them.

But to start I'll speak about how to get them. There are several methods that exist. Again, I'm just going to cover a few of them. It's mainly a reminder, you're probably using them in your day to day life. Si it's just a reminder before we can go to the next step and so that we make sure we have all the ideas in the right place.

So the first way to get emails is via lead generation ads. This is an example on Facebook, so you can click on the ad, and then you fill in a form. People are paying with their email to get additional information because they are interested about your solution.

So, the second solution which is a bit less known, it's engineering as Marketing. I like the example of HubSpot. So they offer a service so that you can do nice signatures at the bottom of your email. So it's really, for people who start their business and want to look nice and that's exactly their target customer. So they offer their tool for free and they get email in exchange. Later, you discover other paid HubSpot tool. So that's an interesting way of doing it, and there are lots of potential in this method.

What often works as well is offering support. So for example, if people are using your software, and they are have question or they want to talk to you. Offer them support on your website. Most of the time, you don't have like a real life real time support, and you want to ask for their phone number or their email so that you can answer them.

Another example, that's the one we know the best at Ideta: chatbots and live chats. So people want more and more to have answers right away, and they're happy to find this little box at the right bottom of the website. So automation helps a lot in terms of chatbots.

But what happens if you get disconnected or if you don't have somebody to answers their questions? You request their email, so that you make sure that you do not put too much effort into answering a fake customer. The interesting data with chatbots is that the contact rate is seven times better than your contact page, mainly because of the exposure and the way it is easy to use.

We made a chatbot with Zeobounce, you'll discover more about them later. But ZeroBounce make sure taht the emails do exist. Brian will tell you more about that later. It helped us improve the conversion rate of our chatbot on our landing page. So I'll show you a small video of the use case and I will comment it.

So if you have a classical chat, sometime you have accepted fake email and you will loose time chasing this fake customer. If you have like the proper validation systems in your chatbot, when it comes to the moment of email validation, you will detect if the email actually exist, then you can tell them to give you another email. So that's what can improve the conversion rate on our platform.

Basically, people try not to give their email and still have access to content we're providing them for free.

So another method is Viral Marketing. You have it on the newsletter of Maddynews, which is the French equivalent of TechCrunch. They always put that: "So somebody transfer you this email? Register to Maddynews". It's an interesting way, when you're sending out newsletter, tell people: "Please, if you like the content, share it", that's quite easy to do and it's always interesting.

Another way we experience at Ideta it's "free trial". So you, offer free trials and invite them to discover your platform for a few days. I think Brian will tell us later but I think ZeroBounce has a free trial as well. That helps people to give their email at the very beginning so that you can start sending them content.

The other way for example, you you've experienced it yourself for this webinar, but it's gated content So you spend some time building like a webinar or white paper or some other contents, and you request the email of people so that they can access the content.

Then an interesting way is also Fear Of Missing Out. For exemple on Taazageee, a podcast that talk about innovation. So it's a audio podcast, but then you want to go to the website to see the art she's talking about in her podcast, and then you subscribe to the newsletter to see the next episode. The sentence she's using in French translation is: "Do you want to be informed about the next episode?", so that's the fear of missing out that you can use in order to get people to leave their emails.

You also have, marketing contests, that's make prospect share their email said, so they can win something, that's quite common.

There are also reviews, good reviews, drive customers, so people discover reviews, they end up on your website. Its a more classical method of getting the results after that.

There are other ways, so there is data base sharing, scrapping, guessing either manually or with tools like Dropcontact, or whatever. But there are often problems with privacy regulations. So GDPR, CCPA, that's emerged lately, and doesn't build the initial relationship with your customer. It's not really the best way, the recommended way to do it. But it can work, but it's not recommended.

So from now on, I'm gonna leave the place to Brian. And I'm gonna turn my audio and video off.

Brian Minick  

Yes, thank you. So thanks, everyone, for joining today. Today, what I'll talk about is how to process and validate the email addresses that you are accumulating in your systems or platforms.

You know, as we continue to evolve into email, email, email... as you saw, the charts and the stats, everything is going towards it. It's incredibly important that you validate the list, or you validate the email addresses that you're receiving. Especially what we've seen in the pandemic, we're seeing lists, the invalid rate continue to increase, as there's turn in companies, and people moving around the job industries. But what we're seeing is around 22% of your list will go bad every single year.

So you know, as it's important to not only be filling it, but to also cleaning out the old and the bad ones. And so that's something that is really important and Zerobounce can help. There's 31 billion emails bouncing every single day, and that is a lot bounced emails are really bad for your reputation. And I'll talk a little bit about that as well. And then in general, about 16% of all your emails are landing in spam. And some of this can be much higher, if you're not paying attention to the reputation that you have on your email servers. And also, if you are not paying attention to the quality of the emails that you're collecting, and then you continue to try to send to them.

So you know, our goal as a company, and our mission statement is to help you get into the inbox.

So email validation, what we do as a business is we actually go and verify, the inbox of this email account actually exists. So we go in, create an established connection with the mailbox, see if there's a real recipient there and provide those results back to you. And we do this really fast. And we also do this at massive scale.

So what's important is you know exactly how, as mentioned and showed, as you're collecting data, you can validate it in real time to make sure that people aren't jumping loops to get through your, you know, gated content or content that you want to protect. So how do you get into, you know, making sure you get into the inbox, a lot of it has to do with your reputation as a sender.

Getting into the inbox is the most single most important thing that you should focus on when you're talking about your emails, a million emails into the spam folder is a million paperweights, basically, you know, they're not useful, no one's going to read them, your conversions will be bad. A million emails into the inbox is the secret.

So it's really important to validate your email addresses. So whether you're acquiring data, or you are capturing the data, or you have data from old systems and you want to move them, I highly recommend that you take a look at a company like us, Zerobounce, we're incredibly passionate about privacy of your data and the accuracy of our results. We have really two ways to do it, to do validation, in case you're interested.

  • We have a bulk function, which would allow you to submit in large files and will process that email  addresses and provide you back with the status.
  • Or you can do it in real time, which is what Yanis showed in the chatbot. Our API can be built into anything, as long as you have a technical resource to help you integrate it.

So something that I highly recommend, the one thing that I really want to stress today, and what I think is the most important part of an email address is to make sure it's a good email address. So really important, and something that you definitely want to pay attention to and validate it.

So again, imagine us being the person walking down the street and knocking on doors to see if people are home. And when you have an address that does not exist on the street, we will tell you that. And so that's what's really important about what we do and and the value behind it.

How often should you clean your list or clean your data?

This is a question we very commonly get, and it's something that I would recommend, minimum once per quarter. So as you're continuing to email and collect an email and collect, it's important that you're you're purging out the bad contacts as well.

One of the benefits that you also get with a company like Zerobounce is: we will identify much more than valid and invalid will also provide you with you know, known complainer's, any spam traps, anything of that nature will be able to help you with. I would highly recommend that before every really important campaign, you do a validation.

Again, it's all about the metrics. So if you have a very low bounce rate, you have a very high chance of getting into the inbox when in your inbox, then you have marketing and everything really starts to work to your benefit.

If you have a bounce rate that is higher than 2%, you need to validate your list. And when I say that, I mean, this could have been the first send, or the last one that you've done. If you've ever had bounce rates higher than 2%, you have to clean your list because these things will eventually start to ruin and tarnish your reputation.

You'll be doing a lot of sending and no inboxing. So really something to make sure that you're paying attention to.

Another really great thing is our real time API. So as someone gives you a email address, whether this is your contact form, your chatbot, you know, a lead capture form, whatever it might be, it's something that's really helpful to have the API added there.

At Zerobounce, one of the things that we do is we provide a free trial is really a freemium product. If you have something you might be interested in, we provide everyone a completely full version of our platform, for free. You can do 100 validations per month at zero cost. If you need more, obviously, that's when we would help and provide a package for you.

But just to give people some context, if you needed 100,000 Records validated, that would take approximately 40 minutes for us to process and would cost you about 390 US dollars. So that's a little bit about zerobounce and myself, and I also hope that this information resonates with you.

But again, the most important thing I want to stress is you know, please remember, quality over quantity. You want good contacts, and you want high quality contacts and validation as a way to ensure that you're getting those.

So with that I will pass over to you, Mary-Ellen

Yanis Kerdjana  

Yes, great. Thank you Brian. Maybe Mary-Ellen can take over from there.

Mary-Ellen Slayter  

All right, happily. So where I pick up I am a super fan of Zerobounce, I think that the work that I do in terms of the content, if you don't get deliverability, right, the content doesn't matter, I actually encounter quite a few people somehow they're like:

"Well, my contents good, gotta do something, we're doing something wrong"

It's like, you get in there, and you realize the problem isn't what they're sending. It's in how they've cared for their list. So thank you, Brian, for that. But let's talk about how to use emails.

So once you've got their email address, you've validated it, you've determined that it's correct, right? And it's a good deliverable email. So now, this is where the magic can happen, right? Let's talk about what do we send these people? And how do we keep them engaged?

So the first thing I want you to do is don't think about email, people often think about email in a very transactional way. It's like I'm sending an email, here, I'm sending an email there, what I really want to encourage you to do is to think about your email, like a product, it's a free product, right? But like, you want to think about how it creates value for people.

So ask yourself, what will the person who subscribes to this email,  what will they get out of reading it ? Right, and once you've done that, it will make it clear to you like what belongs in it and who that audience is.

So you also want to make sure that you wouldn't just have a product and put it out there and hope that people find it, you would have a product and you would develop your own kind of marketing strategy for growing it making it easy to share.

So when people come into the list, and they join, welcome them, right, and then make it easy for them to share with others. Because one of the great things about email, I like to say that email was the original social network, like sometimes you look at the data, and people will pay a lot of attention to like, how are we on Twitter or Facebook?

But like the real gold standard is did you send somebody, did they forward it to their colleagues or their friends, like it's a privilege to be in the inbox. And if you can get people excited about what you're sending, like, there's no better indication of that, and if they are actually forwarding it along, so make yourself easy forward.

Now, earlier, we talked a little bit about gated offerings. So just put those things out. That's a way to capture email. But I want to also say if you want to protect your deliverability, and you want to protect your relationship with your subscriber, make it really clear what you're signing them up for.

So if somebody comes to your site, and they said, add me, I want to download this report, don't just add them to your email newsletter list to like, start bombarding them once a week. That's that's not really what they signed up for. That's misleading.

What you can do is say, download the report, and then have a checkbox that says like, "Oh, yeah, I'd like to receive the monthly", like, the weekly or monthly or whatever email, but be super clear. And you might think, "Oh, I'm missing an opportunity to capture this, I could grow my list so much faster". But that's not actually true.

Because one of the fastest ways to kill your list, as Brian noted, was sending emails to people who don't want them or if they haven't been validated. So once they've unsubscribed, you've lost them. So it's better to wait and to actually make the Ask explicit.

So the next thing this is also ties into what Brian talked about. Picking a good platform.

I know sometimes people don't want to pay, like smaller businesses, they're reluctant to pay for some of these services. But you know, even if you're just starting out, choose a good platform that's going to grow with you, right. So, even the basic small business platforms, things like MailChimp, they have excellent feature sets now, right, they are still a bargain.

I personally am a big fan of Campaign Monitor, I think that they do a great job of protecting deliverability. So for example, Brian talked about if you've got more than a 2% bounce rate, then you've got a problem. But guess what Campaign Monitor will give you a warning and kick you off the list if you're sending emails like that.

So you might think, oh, I don't want to be restricted like that. But when they set rules like that, that protects you in the long run. So pick a good platform, pay for it, use all the features

Let's talk about timing. There are rules about sending emails that sometimes apply sometimes don't, I can give you guesses based on experience. I mean, I've literally overseen 10s of millions of email sins in my career at this point, my last job before I started, my agency was at a email newsletter publisher called Smartbrief. We would test out, do we send this email what day of the week what time of the day like there was a lot of AB testing that went on.

Now many of the email tools will actually help you figure this out for you. It's not based on a general assumption about the audience. They will target it using AI based on the individ like the recipients consumption patterns.

So either test it out, this may be testing morning night, different days of the week. Look for the patterns that are best for your audience, or let the tactic over like I do with Campaign Monitor.

Another piece again deliverability request whitelisting. So when somebody comes in and they subscribe, if you're getting a lot of soft bounces you might be getting already be getting blocked. So like, go ahead, ask up front, when they sign up, "Hey, don't forget to whitelist me". People just need to be reminded, like, that's all it is just a little nudge.

Alright, so we're in the inbox, right? People are subscribing, they're excited, I want to talk about your voice.

Now, this is a lot less technical. But it's in many ways, the harder part once you nail this, so people don't actually want to get emails from brands, right, unless they're offering a discount. And unless you want to be in the discount business, you need to come up with another hook.

So instead, write your newsletter, send your emails, as if you were sending a note to a friend. Professional does not mean not human. Okay, you can talk about work in a human way, you can use your own distinctive writing voice. So right as a person writing to another person, think about like, think about how you feel when something comes into your inbox it again, unless it's got a discount, you know, or it's got a free code, it needs to come from a person.

So subject lines, this is a question I get asked about a lot. And it's also something that I have tested to death. There are some good tools out there that you can use, for example, Co-Schedule has an excellent subject line tester that will help you monitor whether or not you're using some of the words that are commonly spam triggers. This is an art and a science. But one, I'll tell you some of the rules.

Keep it snappy, you get like five to seven words.

Evoke an emotion. Don't give me business jargon, give me what we call power words, you want to either create stress, and someone or delight, you've either got to make them go,

"Oh, I need to know about this, this is a problem"

Or you need to go

"What? That sounds amazing"

Those are the two feelings that you get to get you need to create intrigue about what's inside

This is kind of a corollary to this one, keep it honest. You can't write amazing subject lines, and then give me a terrible email. So that subject line needs to match the substance and the tone of the email. Sending people off the wall subject lines, and content that doesn't align is a really great way to get them to hit that unsubscribe button. People don't like to be tricked. No bait and switch.

All right, the copy itself, remember, you're going to use your voice. There actually isn't a rule about how long or short the copy should be. The value that you create with the content matters more than the word content.

So don't ramble. But if the idea is worthy, don't cut yourself off for no reason. One thing I will tell you, if you're looking at the first section a newsletter, the longer the lower. It will actually lower your click through rate if you have a long first section.

Second, back to that emotion, put put love in your headlines, don't send people walls of text, break it up into chunks and write interesting headlines.

Then last but not least, do not sell me something upfront. Again, if all if you want a transaction and it gets a transaction, but what I'm encouraging you to do is downplay that pitch, give value. Like it's smartbrief, we used to say the first 80% of that newsletter needed to be pure editorial value, right? Then you get to make an ask and that last 20% the people who go all the way to the bottom, they're the ones that are ready for sell.

Images, this is something else I get a lot of questions about. They're like:

"What kind of images should I have? Should I have images at all?"

I do think images are helpful. Don't use use them for decoration, use them to communicate information. One thing I really like to do is actually use my own shots. I found that engagement in our newsletters went up considerably when we started taking using custom informal custom photography taken with my iPhone, as opposed to stock photos of people at work, right?

These everybody recognizes These photos are quite generic. So authenticity matters a lot more than production value, like take your own pictures, do something fun.

Also bring in a little movement. So you cannot host video and an email, I get that question a lot too. But what you can do is you'll have a still image and then it can link out to a video, which you can use GIFs or GIFs depending on which side of that pronunciation Valley you're on. That's gonna be fun.

So here's an example of what I mean in my newsletter. I was talking about deadlines and I was quoting Douglas Adams. And so I could have had some generic picture you know about somebody frazzled at work with a deadline, but this is me on my front porch holding up my, I think actually my teenagers, copy of the Douglas Adams, you know, book, though, and that's a quote from Douglas Adams.

And then, one of the rules that I have, like I talked about using your voice and bringing your voice into the newsletter is I always like to quote my friend Mike Carden, who's one of the best serial-founder, but he's also the best marketers I've ever known. And he has a rule he says anytime you have to choose between being professional and being memorable, pick memorable. And like he's from New Zealand is very memorable. All right.

Yanis Kerdjana  

Thank you. Thank you, Mary-Ellen. That was very insightful. Brian as well. I think it's time to answer a few questions from the attendees, if they have some. You can ask your question in the chat box and we will be happy to answer them!