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Identify Prospects Who Are Ready to Buy Now

  |  May 4, 2005   |  Comments

Targeting prospects -- and the bottom line.

We all know most business-to-business (B2B) sales go through a long cycle of lead qualification and nurturing. What if you could quickly identify the 10 percent segment of decision makers who are deeply interested in your product and ready to buy now?

That’s the idea behind First Annuity Insurance Marketing’s email campaign, which was created by Airways Communication.

First Annuity is an insurance wholesaler that sells annuity contracts ranging from $15,000 to $150,000 to top-producing insurance brokers. To help identify cream of the crop prospects, First Annuity used the AirwaysExpress program, which includes customer communication, lead generation, and literature fulfillment.

As you’ll see from a typical email lead generator, the message itself is short and sweet. If you look at the bottom of the email, below the signature, you’ll see a list of documents the broker can click on for more information. These are strategically placed to indicate the prospect’s interest level:

  • Sun Financial Index MultiPoint Brochure. A broker who clicks this document is most likely just getting acquainted with the product and company.

  • Sun Financial-License Data Sheet. Clicking on this document shows a greater level of interest.

  • General Agent -- GAMGA Master General Agent Agreement. Looking at this contract, of course, indicates a high interest level, someone who’s likely to sign on the dotted line.

Salespeople viewing the reporting interface available in ExactTarget’s email software can learn in real time who’s clicking on the email, when they click, and their level of interest. They can immediately download the names of the individuals who opened and read the message and follow up with a phone call -- with a better chance of catching the prospect at her desk at the moment First Annuity is literally on her screen. This obviously provides better results than traditional smile-and-dial phone campaigns, where you have no idea whether your prospect is in the office or if she has any need or awareness of your company or product.

How did the campaign do? According to Christine Lucas, First Annuity’s director of marketing, "Using AirwaysExpress was the strategic jolt First Annuity needed. We increased sales by over $1 million after our first email campaign, with an ROI [return on investment” of 200 percent in just 60 days. [It’s” an ideal solution for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have huge budgets to devote to marketing efforts."

Here are the full stats:

  • 60-day ROI:

    • $8,000 initial investment

    • Promotion to 400 prospects

    • 40 responses in 48 hours (10 percent)

    • 9 agents contracted in 60 days (2.5 percent)

    • $1 million in incremental contract premiums

    • $100,000 in agent commissions

    • 200 percent ROI on net profit in 60 days

  • 1-year ROI:

    • $20,000 annual campaign investment

    • 800 percent ROI on incremental net profit

Airways president Richard Allen notes email gives First Annuity a much more economical way to remain in frequent contact with its prospect base than direct mail. In the past, First Annuity would send a direct mail package -- a cover letter and three 4-page, 8.5 x 11 brochures -- at a $5.45 cost per exposure. The email program plunged cost per exposure to a mere $0.57, for $68,300 in annual savings.

With CEOs demanding immediate ROI, this could be just the solution for marketing executives who must demonstrate campaign performance.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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Karen Gedney

Karen Gedney, an award-winning creative director and copywriter, shared her insights as a ClickZ Experts contributor from 2000 through 2009. She was known for her successful track record of achieving high e-mail response rates for Fortune 1000 companies and leading organizations. She died Nov. 16, 2010.

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