by David Kirkpatrick
, Manager of Editorial Content
Generating high-quality leads is a topic that's always interesting for B2B marketers. Merely building a list of leads isn't that hard — marketers can buy ready-made lists of names that may or, more likely, may not be relevant to their actual marketplace.
But generating high-quality leads that are actual potential customers, not just names on a list, is a valuable use of a marketer's time.
Ramel Levin, Vice President Marketing, CloudEndure, a startup technology company that replicates entire cloud applications to different locations to help ensure constant uptime for the systems, understood the importance of generating high-quality leads, particularly at a startup like CloudEndure.
The company launched in March 2014, and Levin began working with a very small team with limited resources — meaning the company couldn't waste its time with bad leads. Levin came from a much larger company before working for CloudEndure and had previously run tests on list broker offerings.
"I gave [the bought lists] the same test to see their quality [and] the majority was rubbish to begin with," Levin said.
At CloudEndure, Levin asked, "How do I maximize with a much smaller budget? With a much smaller team? How do I maximize my efforts to get the biggest bang for the marketing buck?"
CloudEndure's services cover two specific marketplaces: companies that run their applications in the cloud and companies that run their applications on-premises but want to copy their work to the cloud.
This case study covers a lead generating concept Levin developed that he calls "BYOL," or "build your own lists," how he implemented this idea at CloudEndure, and how content marketing and email combined to become the final pieces for lead gen outreach.
Step #1. Develop a lead generation concept
The concept Levin called "BYOL," or "build your own list," was developed by Levin before he arrived at CloudEndure.
The idea was to take a specific product or service the company was producing, scan the top million websites based on ranking services, such as Alexa, a subsidiary of Amazon.com that provides commercial Web traffic data, and filter the larger list to find company websites that might need that particular product or service.
From there, CloudEndure sales staff can begin reaching out to those companies, beginning with the largest company first, with personalized messages, offering their customer's specific product or service.
Step #2. Begin uncovering target companies
Levin said CloudEndure had initially targeted companies looking for "disaster recovery."
The company had conducted research and found out that all of the major cloud service providers had experienced some level of downtime.
Putting its BYOL concept in action, CloudEndure took the top 1 million companies from Alexa and Quantcast, a technology company that specializes in audience measurement and real-time advertising, and conducted a deeper analysis with a technology tool to determine which of those million companies were hosted in the cloud.
This led to a list of around 66,000 companies that were hosted in the cloud. CloudEndure then developed a monitoring tool to check each of those websites every seven minutes to see if they were up and running. If the tool found that a website was down, it began checking the site every minute to find out how long the site remained down.
Step #3. Create a content piece based on the website tracking
"The idea behind this monitoring tool that we developed was to establish and build a quarterly report that shows the state of the industry in terms of downtime on sites that are hosted in the cloud," explained Levin.
The report released at the beginning of Q2 found that 70% of the companies hosted in the cloud had downtime. The tracking also broke that downtime into specific cloud service providers, the individual companies that suffered from this issue and how long each of these effected websites were down.
The first use of this information was in a "Downtime Report," which aggregated this information and showed a snapshot of cloud downtime over the timeframe covered by the report.
This was shared with CloudEndure's audience via a blog post
As a second piece of content, the team offered a website widget that could be added to a company's website to check that site's downtime.
Step #4. Send personalized emails with information from the website tracking
With the cloud downtime information shared in an aggregate form for the blog post, the next stage was turning the more granular data points into high-quality leads.
To accomplish this goal, the team emailed the top websites in the report with a personalized message. The list of email recipients were segmented into two groups: companies that didn't experience downtime and companies that did experience downtime.
Levin said before sending the email, the team used an online freelance service to search public resources to get names and email addresses at each of the companies so that his team could send personalized emails.For companies that experienced downtime
, the email subject line read, "[Company] Service Downtime, Q1 2014" and was sent from a specific sales representative.
The email then detailed how many downtime events the lead's company had in Q1 and how long each event lasted.
This email also included a tracking widget that the company could use to keep tabs on its website downtime as well as an offer to help resolve the problem going forward. It also suggested a time for the sales representative to call and discuss "our cloud disaster recovery solution." Companies that didn't experience downtime
received a similarly personalized mail, but the messaging read, "Congratulations! [Company] had no downtime in Q1! Here's a little badge you can place in your website." The email included a badge reflecting this accomplishment, which the company could use on its website, in a blog post or shared on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
When asked about the email sends in this campaign, Levin said, "The response that we got was simply outstanding."
The email to companies with downtime garnered a 58% open rate, and the non-downtime email had similar results. Clickthrough was 10.8%.
Levin added that 5% of those leads were qualified within two weeks, and another 25% are active within various stages of CloudEndure's funnel.
The remaining 70% require more lead nurturing, he said, and Levin's intention is to nurture each lead for two years before considering them cold.
Levin's main takeaway is that this process is resource intensive in terms of all the research and initial tool building. However, it is valuable because of the higher quality list created, which resulted in a larger response rate than other methods for building B2B lists he has tried.
He added that his out-of-pocket budget was much lower than similar list-building methods such as events, PPC campaigns or pay-per-leads.
- Downtime report email
- No downtime congratulations email
Related ResourcesExample of a CloudEndure Downtime Report blog postLead Generation: 3 questions every marketer should ask themselves about incentiveMarketing Research Chart: SEO most effective tactic for lead gen, but also among the most difficultLead Generation: It's all about building relationshipsLead Gen Tactics from 4 MarketingSherpa Case Studies