Team Up for Cost-Effective Lead Generation

Sometimes, you’ve got to get a little scrappy to achieve great results, especially when it comes to generating leads by email. In this case study, you’ll see how three companies teamed up to create a collaborative marketing campaign that significantly reduced lead-acquisition costs and generated a wealth of new leads (it’s also a good step-by-step guide to Webinar marketing).

Nexterna, a field-service software provider, was looking for a way to boost its lead-generation efforts in a slow economy. It turned to MarketCapture, a consulting company specializing in enterprise software, to help. With its help, Nexterna implemented several successful lead generation campaigns, including a Webinar with the Aberdeen Group, an executive summit at a trade show, and a monthly newsletter.

Together, these efforts boosted Nexterna’s in-house permission list more than tenfold in less than six months. Still, Nexterna wanted to do more.

“One of the lessons learned from the previous Webinar was that standard acquisition tactics did not work well in this market,” said Eran Livneh, MarketCapture’s president. “We tested list rental, newsletter sponsorships, and banners in industry sites, but the results did not meet our expectations. Cost per lead acquisition in some cases was 100 times the cost of emailing to the house list. We needed to get to the right people and do it in a cost-effective manner.”

A Co-Op Lead Generation Effort

Figuring other companies in the market faced similar challenges, Nexterna and MarketCapture decided to enlist noncompetitive firms in a collaborative lead-generation effort. The idea was to pull together house lists from multiple companies to promote a joint event, then share the leads.

Two companies, ClickSoftware and Questra, showed interest. MarketCapture figured a joint event could draw 500 responses, and at least two-thirds would be new leads for each of the three companies. Sharing the cost of the campaign made the proposition very attractive, cost-wise.

Building on Webinar Successes

All three vendors had enjoyed success with Webinars. Leveraging that experience, MarketCapture suggested a two-part Webinar series, “Roadmap to Real-Time Service Optimization.” The series would feature high-profile industry experts and allow each company to present a case study.

A two-session format was designed to extend the event’s promotion cycle and build a more lasting effect. The two sessions were scheduled two weeks apart to allow the momentum to carry over between sessions.

Creating Buzz

To create buzz and make the event more than “just another Webinar,” MarketCapture sent out press releases prior to both event sessions.

E-mail invitations sent to the sponsoring vendors’ house lists were the primary promotion vehicle. The first round of invitations was sent two and a half weeks prior to the event. The second round was sent a week later.

To identify the sender, email messages from each company’s lists featured the company name in the sender field. If the recipient was on two lists, both companies’ names appeared.

The Subject Line Test

MarketCapture tested a number of subject lines. See if you can guess which was the winner:

  • Webinar: Roadmap to Real-Time Service Optimization

  • Don’t Keep Your Customers Waiting: Roadmap to Real-Time Service
  • Service Leaders Talk: Make Your Service Work in Real-Time
  • Webinar: Real-Life Lessons of Real-Time Service
  • Webinar: Real-Time Field Service — Real-Life Lessons

The last one won, and was used for all the subsequent mailings.

The Copy Approach

Three different messages were tested for the first session. Message One highlighted high-profile speakers and benefits of real-time service optimization. Message Two emphasized benefits but not speakers; Message Three mentioned benefits but focused on solutions by the three vendors.

The winner was Message One.

For the second session, invitations leveraged the success of the first session (100 service executives attended). These invitations were versioned for attendees, people who registered but did not attend, and people who never registered. Other creative components included:

  • A themed landing page, which was updated after each session.

  • E-mail reminders (crucial for field-service executives who are on the road most of the time) sent one day prior to the session, the morning of the session, and 15 minutes before the session.
  • Online surveys, sent after the first session. MarketCapture contacted people who responded to the survey to solicit testimonials for the press release promoting the second session.

Results Speak for Themselves

Overall registration exceeded expectations:

  • Total unique registrations: 574 (goal was 500)

  • First-session attendance: 135
  • Second-session attendance: 103
  • Recording downloads (unique registrations): 236 within two months of first event

Although email to house lists was the primary promotion vehicle, successful PR and word of mouth resulted in over 75 percent of registrations. This created new leads for each sponsoring company (compared to the two-thirds goal).

Next time your marketing budget is tight, don’t go it alone. Consider a joint effort with strategic partners.

Detailed case studies like this make everyone’s job easier. Send yours along to Karen.

Karen and Joanna are off this week. Today’s column ran earlier on ClickZ.

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

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