Recently, Bob Bly, a noted Internet strategist and copywriter, gave a webinar on client acquisition process at Pinpointe.com. He discussed the Agora Model for generating inbound leads through various marketing methods, particularly e-mail marketing. I’ll outline here the things I learned from his webinar.
The Agora Model
The Agora business Model was developed by Maryland-based publishing company, Agora. This model played an important role in the company’s journey to becoming one of the biggest newsletter publishers on the Internet. The model employs direct marketing principles in offering products. It enables a company to sell online at high profit margins due to low production cost. The core of the model features driving traffic on a site, gathering visitor information, sending e-mail for marketing purposes, and sending follow-up e-mails.
Aside from SEO, blogging, and article marketing strategies, you can drive traffic to your site through newsletter advertising, Pay-per-click Ads, and joint venture. These strategies will eventually drive visitors and leads to your site.
After driving visitors to your site, you need to build your prospect base or house e-list by gathering visitors’ contact information. You can do this by persuading them to sign up on your site for a free e-zine. At this point on, you need to apply an effective copywriting strategy. Copywriting becomes the most important element in the Agora model as you persuade your prospects to buy your products. When you get the right prospects, converting them to buyers becomes easier.
After establishing relationships with your prospects, you need to send follow-up communication to them from time to time. Inform them about your new products and special offers. This way, they will be reminded of your business. The possibility of converting them into customers will be higher as you entice them with new products, special offers, or discounted price.
Client Acquisition Process
Here are some of the strategies shared by Bob Bly to ensure success in the client acquisition process.
1. Potential Client Universe
Start the client acquisition process within your potential client universe. Consider money, authority, desire, fitness, and urgency (MADFU) as factors for this process. Money, off course, refers to the financial aspect of your marketing while authority pertains to the persuading power of your marketing content. Address the desire of your potential clients and their fitness to your products. And urgency is the aspect of your marketing that has something to do with the amount of time you spent exerting efforts in marketing and the impact of such efforts in converting your prospects as your clients. The relations among these factors are summed up by Bly into an equation:
MAD = FU
2. Lead Generating Strategies
A. Bait Piece Offer
Communicate your business goals with your potential clients through different online methods including press releases, column articles, e-mails, online Ads, and banner Ads. The most used marketing strategy is e-mail marketing. But do not use e-mail marketing to directly persuade client to visit your site and buy your products. Persuade them in a subtle way. You can do this by making a bait piece.
In investing on e-mail marketing, you need to understand why people subscribe to e-mails on business or e-commerce sites. The common reason why netizens subscribe to e-mails are to receive discounts and special offers, to participate in special promotions, to gain access to a free content, and to stay informed on an engaging basis. It is important then that your bait piece is relevant to what your prospects would interest the most.
Make your sign-up box noticeable on your site. Incorporate some subtle marketing statements on it like “Subscribe to my e-newsletter and get a free e-book on online marketing worth over $100!” or “Share this good news to your friends. Place their e-mail adds on the box below and hit the button.”
So your bait here is your free-content offer. You can have an e-book, displayed on your site as for sale, as your bait piece. This will be great bait, specially if the price is indicated on your Ad or e-book cover. For sure, netizens would sign up for a no-commitment subscription along with a free access to an exclusive content. Your chosen lead-generating method (LGM) plus your bait piece offer (BPO) will definitely double your expected regular response rate (RRR) from an LGM alone.
LGM + BPO = 2x RRR
B. Promote Your Bait Piece Offer
Promote your bait piece and make persistent follow-ups. Social networks are ineffective means for bait promotion if you don’t have a great number of followers. In generating leads, it is much better to have a well-optimized content and site than having a social page. As well, visitors may click your social page link on your site and may not return, reducing conversion rate.
You may also embed an online tool on your site such as keyword analyzer and return on investment calculator. Require your visitors to sign up and put in some information before using the online tool. Always bear in mind that the less information you require for signing up, the higher is the conversion rate. So you need to decide on what information you really need from your prospects.
Make persistent follow-ups on those prospects who did not request for your bait piece. You should employ a variety of strategies for this purpose. Before we open an e-mail, we usually look at the subject line and determine the sender. Hence, netizens may just ignore your succeeding e-mails as they already recognized your purpose in your early marketing e-mails. Here are some suggestions in making follow-ups:
1. E-mail List Swap
You can team up with other online marketers with prospects similar or identical to yours. Request them to send an e-mail to their house e-list advertising your free content. In exchange, you’ll do the same for them.
2. Write Stronger Solo E-mail Marketing Messages
If your previous marketing e-mails are just ignored, then make some revisions on the content before sending one again to your prospects. Matt Furey writes simple marketing e-mails and sends them to his e-list every day. This process takes him only around 20 minutes, but generates an average of $10,000 in sales per e-mail. Here are some of the e-mail copywriting secrets of Matt Furey shared by Bly:
Compose a 500-word or less marketing e-mail. Be precise and direct on advertising your bait piece while promoting your business.
Consider how you could convey your message to your prospects in a more personal manner.
Establish a bond with your prospects by conveying your message using the language they are familiar with.
Vary the pace of your writing. Make sure that it is always rushing forward and fun to read.
C. Ads in E-zines
Place Ads in e-zines emphasizing your bait piece. At the bottom of your Ad, indicate your contact information or link to your site.