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How to Create Content with Customers to Generate Leads

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Everything you do at your job is for your customers, right? They’re the reason you open the doors every day, and you couldn’t do it without their support. Yet, at some point, you have to turn forward and try to acquire new customers to keep everything moving along, while continuing to satisfy your current clients. While your sales and marketing teams are strategizing on how to pull down new conversions, you should remind them of one of the greatest assets you have: your past and current customers. Elevating and celebrating your happy clients can generate converting content, new leads, convince those in the critical decision phase, and raise your retention rates. Well-placed content can boost your bottom line. Here’s how.

Positive Vibes

If you’re about to make a purchase, large or small, it’s likely you’ll check at least a few reviews and ratings before you buy. In fact, a full 86% of potential consumers do, according to this report. We all do it, mostly because we’d rather get the perspective of an everyday person rather than the puffed-up sales pitch from the brand’s website. We trust these voices to give us the real deal, good or bad, and this theory applies to corporate decision makers as well. Showcasing comprehensive testimonials provides ample social proof and can even explain all the positive steps and personal attention that they received along the way. Most satisfied customers are happy to provide a testimonial with a little nudge. And, like any social obligation, it’s always a good idea to reciprocate with a personal thank you or a gift (more about that later).

You Just Gotta Ask

Look, you should already know how your customers feel about your company and the experience they had while working with you. If you haven’t, you’re missing out on some valuable feedback that could help you out in all aspects of your business. There should be some degree of recording customer feedback, either from customer service or your regular client-facing personnel, like your sales team or account managers. To start compiling internal data, you might want to try surveys that focus on the customer experience, either via email or as part of a regular “exit interview”. Make sure to include plenty of open-ended questions with spaces for clients to put their thoughts into their own words, like these:

  • What surprised you about this product/service?
  • Which feature did you find particularly useful?
  • Would you recommend this product/service to friends/family/colleagues?
  • Anything else you’d like to add?

You may also want to include rating systems that you’ll be able to pull quantifiable data from (i.e. “92% rated their service as very good”). When you are able to comb through these responses, you can identify those customers who might be top candidates for testimonials, and you can even include a question that asks them directly if they’d be willing to volunteer their thoughts for a testimonial.

Make sure that you get the client’s full name, company position, and head shot when publishing text or video testimonials. Proper endorsement absolutely needs qualified identification…you don’t want Joe T. from Ithaca singing your praises, as it’s likely anonymous testimonials just won’t be taken seriously. Professionally shot video clips may have the most impact, as you can see and hear the sincerity and emotion from the happy customer.

Celebrate Your Customers

There’s lots of room to integrate your customers into your overall sales and marketing plans simply by showering them with praise. Developing and writing a detailed case study about the challenges, plan, and success you eventually had while working with them accomplishes quite a bit. It gives potential customers a good look at the end result, yes, but it also highlights the experience and the journey that you and your team went through to provide those solutions. Keep all the statements in the case study positive (i.e. avoid phrases like “They were in a lot of trouble before we stepped in”), and be effusive in your praise about how great it was to work with them and how happy you are with their success. This is valuable content that you can have on your website, include in your email newsletter, and post on social sites like LinkedIn for maximum exposure. Here’s a few case studies to look over for inspiration.

Also, be sure to publicly congratulate your past customers on their recent milestones and successes, such as anniversaries, new expansions, or big hires. Privately, of course, you can send gifts and cards to their office. Point is, having a positive relationship with past clients (and showing that to others) is great publicity and social proof that you’re a great brand to work with.

The Two Forgotten Phases in the Sales Funnel

Your sales team is probably well acquainted with the sales funnel model, and strategizes with those phases in mind. The first three phases – awareness, consideration, and decision – have their own individual pathways with regards to lead generation, email campaigns, and other sales and marketing tactics. The case studies and testimonials that we already talked about certainly have their place in these first three stages, but they can also feature prominently in the last two phases, which are retaining your customers and getting them to become advocates for new potential customers. When you consider these last two phases, the funnel actually becomes a circle with the kinetic energy to keep each phase aiding the others. Retention and advocacy are steps where testimonials and positivity are particularly helpful. This is also a good time to drop a few incentives; a discount to returning customers (retention) or a referral program (advocacy) would help keep that energy up.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your customers over the moon with your products and services is great, but adding good doses of flattery, well-deserved praise, and recommendations will assure that anyone who considers doing business with you is walking into a beneficial situation. Through working with customers to create content assets such as case studies and testimonials, there are plenty of opportunities to earn new content that generates leads and turn leads into customers. A company who treats its customers well should naturally be recognized as such, so go ahead and tell the world how great your customers are!

Do you have any tips to promote customer advocacy to appeal to new clients? We’d love to hear all about it on Twitter @Feed_Otter!

 

 

 

 

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How DivvyHQ Became an Essential Content Marketing Platform

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DivvyHQ is a content planning and workflow tool used by heavy hitting content producers like Aflac, Red Bull, Mercedes-Benz, the National Geographic Channel, and many others.

We talked to DivvyHQ co-founder Brody Dorland about how the content marketing platform company got started and how a company lines up high-value customers like the ones listed above.

Brody Dorland, co-founder of DivvyHQ

As you’ll read, DivvyHQ’s success has a lot to do with the co-founders’ strategic networking tactics. (Spoiler: Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi played a big role in the launch of the platform).

Specifically, Dorland and co-founder Brock Stechman were super smart about finding allies, building relationships with influencers, and understanding customers from the perspective of an agency and product developer.

Here’s the DivvyHQ story, including what you can do to put yourself in similar positions.

Part 1: Finding Allies

Ten years ago, digital marketing was still a relatively new concept. For many companies, it was a wholesale shift in how they marketed themselves, and the process changes proved difficult to manage.

As Dorland explained, “Email platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact were making email marketing really easy to do, websites and blogs were getting easier to deploy through platforms like WordPress, and all of the social networks were starting to explode. Companies were trying to come to grips with all these new marketing technologies. They recognized the power of leveraging all these new channels to engage customers, but these new channels required a regular flow of good content.

Dorland and his partners created their own proprietary marketing strategy process, a big part of why his own marketing consultancy took off around 2008. He had a knack for seeing how all of those new moving parts he spoke of — email marketing, blogging, SEO, social media channels, etc. — should work together.

One of the primary deliverables for new clients going through their strategy process was a starter editorial calendar which covered the first three to six months of content.

“It was all of the web, email, and social content — the actual individual topics we’re going to cover, who was responsible for them, who the audience was going to be — everything we needed to execute the new strategy we had just developed for them,” Dorland said.

However, executing those strategies was always a challenge. “It got to the point where, as the projects continued to grow in scope and scale, my hoard of freelancers got harder and harder to manage on individual projects,” Dorland explained.

Enter Brock Stechman, whose agency, Brockton Creative Group, already had a full service team — including designers, writers, photographers, and website developers — ready to execute Dorland’s marketing strategies.

Dorland and Stechman — both from Kansas City — decided to team up.

“We essentially merged behind the scenes,” Dorland told us. “Any time anything came through the Brockton Creative Group front door, they would bring me on to do the upfront strategy engagements. For anything that came through my front door, I would have Stechman’s team do all the execution. And we started doing that for every project.”

The DivvyHQ team

The partnership was a huge success, and it was the beginning of a long-term arrangement.

Part 2: Building Relationships With Influencers

In 2011, content marketing was gaining traction as a driver of strategic business growth. Not coincidentally, 2011 was also the year the Content Marketing Institute was founded and the first Content Marketing World conference was held.

(That will become important in a bit.)

Dorland, along with co-host Jayme Thomason, launched a podcast called Content Marketing and Merlot to discuss content marketing tactics and build connections around this important new facet of online marketing.

The show’s not available online anymore, or we’d link an episode for you. We did find a few old landing pages from previous episodes (even though the audio didn’t work).

“The podcast was integral in gaining some of those early relationships,” Dorland told us. “Even today, there’s still a certain amount of novelty to being asked to be a guest on a podcast. It opened some major doors to people like Joe Pulizzi and Jason Falls.”

The team usually recorded the podcast in the atmospheric cellar of a wine retail store near their office. After work, they’d buy a bottle of wine, set up their audio equipment, and discuss both the wine and content marketing concepts.

Doing a podcast about a new concept (content marketing) in a novel way (while enjoying wine) was a winning combination.

Dorland explained the content marketing part further: “We would dedicate an episode to something like the importance of proper persona development, because we were literally doing that as part of our day-to-day process and digging into what that entails.”

The podcast also helped potential clients understand the value behind what they offered. “It could be its own marketing machine by itself,” Dorland said.

Part 3: Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Developing relationships is a lot like placing bets.

You never know which one will hit, but the more bets you make (or, the more relationships you develop), the more likely one or more of them will pay off — sometimes in ways you’d never dreamed were possible.

Stechman and Dorland were developing their skills and their network — all around the topic of content marketing.

Their biggest issue was scale.

When Dorland created those starter editorial calendars to map out six months of deliverables for each client, he did it using an Excel spreadsheet.

Back in 2011, people weren’t widely using cloud-based documents (such as Google Sheets).

That led to all kinds of problems.

The calendar was emailed around between team members and clients, and no one was ever quite sure if they had the latest version of the calendar or not.

Projects sometimes got lost. Deadlines were sometimes unclear. It worked well enough to get by, but it could be messy.

That led the team to try several project management tools. They, at least, were cloud-based. They worked well for general projects, but nothing they tried had the features they really needed to manage a full content process.

“What if we just build something ourselves?” the team concluded out of frustration one day.

Their concept was to replace the Excel spreadsheets with something more collaborative: a project management tool specifically designed to organize content strategy, content planning, and production workflows.

 DivvyHQ’s 1.0 calendar interface

It seemed like a great idea to improve their internal efficiency, and they started to wonder if there was a market for a content marketing management tool beyond their own organization.

Dorland had established a relationship with Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, based on Pulizzi’s appearance as a guest on the Content Marketing and Merlot podcast. So they ran the idea by him.

“Joe Pulizzi was on the board of a company in Kansas City,” Dorland said. “We found out he was coming to KC for a board meeting, so we bought him dinner and said, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about building something. Is this something that would be a viable idea to roll out to this starter industry you’re working on?’ And he was like, ‘Absolutely.’”

 

It was at this moment that opportunity struck: Pulizzi made them an offer.

If Dorland and Stechman could put something together in time, Pulizzi said, they could demo their new tool at the first Content Marketing World event happening later that year (September of 2011).

So they got to work. Stechman led the effort to raise around $90K from friends and family to accelerate the process of developing the platform. They incorporated a separate company, created a prototype in two months, and launched the newly named product, DivvyHQ, at the event.

Pulizzi had been right about demand for a solution like this. There were several Fortune 500 companies in the audience for Dorland’s presentation.

“There were representatives from McDonald’s, Toyota, Dell, and Nokia at the event… And they immediately signed up for a beta because, as it turns out, we weren’t the only ones struggling with the painful process of creating content,” Dorland said. “It exploded from there. We got over 500 companies on our beta between our pitch at the show and promotion of the launch on Twitter.”

Part 4: Listening to Customers

In the years since that September 2011 presentation at Content Marketing World, Dorland and Stechman have raised $3.5 million between two rounds of VC funding.

They could have raised more, but revenue has been growing enough to meet their needs. “We’ve been able to sustain solid growth without getting additional funding,” Dorland told us.

One key to their success since launching their product has been their dedication to their customers.

When the DivvyHQ platform launched, they were still running an agency as well, and that gave them unique insights into the needs of their customers.

For instance, their agency clients helped them understand that teams within a single company may prefer to work independently on different campaigns and strategies. They built DivvyHQ around that idea.

“Customers were able to use a hub-and-spoke structure, so that at the hub, the executive team can see everything that’s going on in all of the different spokes,” Dorland said. “Meanwhile, the different spokes could also set up their development environments the way they needed to, with their own strategies and workflows.”

As their user base grew, they developed new features to support different types of clients.

For example, in the early days, one large client came close to crashing their system. They added upwards of 250 users and were trying to manage thousands of content projects from one account, a use case and scale Dorland and Stechman had not yet considered.

Once they saw the need, they made changes accordingly.

DivvyHQ: What the Content Marketing Platform Looks Like Today

DivvyHQ’s current calendar view

Eight years after its initial beta launch, DivvyHQ has grown into a robust platform that has defined a completely new category of software: content marketing management platforms.

Currently, the platform is used by thousands of marketers to oversee and execute content marketing strategies.

It’s an ideal choice for companies committed to content marketing — or that are looking to improve their content process.

It also has a free trial if you want to try it out.

The Power of Personal Connections

Throughout the DivvyHQ story, Dorland and Stechman expanded their network while gaining experience and insights by:

  • Collaborating with each other. They accomplished more together than they could have on their own.
  • Leveraging a channel (the podcast) that connected them to influencers.
  • Broadening their reach with agency work and product development.
  • Listening carefully to customers.

They didn’t know that Joe Pulizzi would be a key reason they’d be able to get in front of heavy hitters like Toyota and Nokia.

They were — however — working hard to put themselves in a position for those kinds of lucky breaks to happen.

When opportunities arose, they took advantage.

Whether you’re growing a business or just want to advance your career — that’s advice worth remembering.

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The Unavoidable Need for User Generated Content in Your Content Marketing Strategy

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User generated content (UGC) is just what it sounds like–content created by someone other than your brand. The theory behind its effectiveness is simple: it is always more trusted than content the brand puts out about itself. Consumers increasingly look to their peers for brand recommendations and advice, and UGC fulfills this for them.

UGC can encompass multiple forms of content not produced by your brand, including social media recommendations, testimonials, videos, and blog posts. You can find ample quality content as the result of an influencer campaign, and more from happy consumers who take it upon themselves to write about brands online.

If you’re not sure if you need to embrace UGC, or how to go about collecting this valuable form of content, then keep reading.

Do I Really Need User Generated Content for My Brand?

If you might need a little convincing that you need to ramp up your UGC strategy, we can look at a few statistics. 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all forms of advertising. And, word of mouth marketing generates twice the sales of paid advertising. Lastly, 64% of consumers actively seek out UGC when it’s time to make purchase decisions.

Have we convinced you yet that you should be populating the Internet full of UGC? You can assure that target consumers come across your brand through a peer’s recommendation, plus they’ll be plenty of UGC content readily available when a consumer is researching your brand. Keep reading, because this post is going to give you all the tools that you need to improve your UGC strategy.

It’s All About Authenticity

User generated content is all about current consumers sharing real-life experiences about your brand. For example, you can feature a post on LinkedIn about how your software makes their day easier, or a video testimonial talking about how a business discovered how your brand solved several major pain points for them. These brand experiences are authentic, and instantly create brand trust.

UGC helps brands tell stories in ways that the brand can’t do themselves. Whether it’s a selfie with your product, a blog post about their experience with your brand, or a tweet saying how much they love you, UGC will organically contribute to your overall storytelling strategy.

Reach New Audiences with User Generated Content

When happy consumers publish a complimentary post online about your brand, it’s goes straight to all of their followers, instantly putting your brand in front of hundreds or even thousands of new potential consumers. Their sincere experience with your brand might be enough to activate new people into leads, and (hopefully) conversions. Your happy consumers should be your brand’s greatest marketing asset, and they can offer valuable social proof with their recommendations.

How to Get Users to Create User Generated Content

Most UGC content is published organically and without any incentive. That said, there are ways to get consumers to publish their experience with your brand on their blog, their social channels or even a testimonial on your site. Let’s explore a few ways you can generate UGC for your brand:

  • Email your clients and announce a social media contest, and reward the person who creates the best post with an Amazon gift card or an iPad. The small investment in the prize will be worth all the UGC social content that you’ll get for your brand.
  • Ask clients to give you a 1-2 sentence testimonial about their experience with your brand. The small amount of time it takes them to write those sentences will make it easy for them to contribute.
  • Check with your client facing co-workers to identify happy clients. Reach out to these clients, and ask if they’d be willing to do a video case study about using your product. Consider compensating them with a free month of usage of your product.
  • Be transparent and simply ask your clients to put out social posts showcasing how they feel about your brand. You’d be surprised at how many people want to feel included and who would be happy to endorse your brand.
  • Create an email campaign where you ask your clients to leave reviews about your brand. After all, 70% of consumers look at a review before making a purchase decision. Consider incentivizing them with either a discount on your product or gift card.
  • Run an influencer campaign and sponsor posts that showcase an influencer’s experience with your product or service. Some marketers might think that influencer marketing doesn’t work for B2B brands, but we disagree!

How to Leverage User Generated Content for Your Brand

There’s no point in earning all this juicy UGC if it doesn’t get you put in front of your target consumers and make it easy to find. Putting a strategy in place to leverage UGC is crucial. Let’s look at a few ways you can get maximum views on UGC to generate new leads and sales for your brand:

  • Monitor social media for consumer raves about your brand and reshare them on your own social channels.
  • Sprinkle testimonials throughout your website’s homepage. When potential consumers are researching your brand, they’ll be far easier to find.
  • Link to blog posts that speak highly of your brand in the posts that you publish on your website.
  • Use relevant UGC in your email marketing strategy, and send these to your leads to spark their interest through peer reviews of your brand.
  • Ask the creators of the UGC to share all over their social media channels
  • Use UGC in your paid social ads, instead of a self-promotional ad about your brand

Do you have any tips to add about a powerful UGC strategy? We’d love to hear all about it on Twitter @Feed_Otter

 

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Customer Story: How a Famous Antiques Store in New Orleans Acquires Affluent Clientele

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M.S. Rau Antiques has been offering rare and important antiques, fine art, and jewelry for over 100 years.

Prices at the store range “from just under a thousand dollars all the way up to millions of dollars,” according to Sue Loustalot, the company’s website director and a long-time employee.

“Our customers are business owners, executives — people with disposable income,” Loustalot added.

Woman viewing RA painting antiques

You can say that again.

Note: FeedOtter helps Pardot and Marketo users increase website traffic, blog subscribers, and revenue. Get started for free!

M.S. Rau’s Customer Base

M.S. Rau’s customer base would be the envy of almost any kind of business — not just in the antiques market.

They’re affluent.

They think of their purchases as investments rather than expenses.

Many are willing to make major purchases sight unseen, since many don’t live close enough to see the items in person before buying. This is a testament to the trust and integrity that M.S. Rau has built over the past century.

They also come from all over the world.

Glowing Storefront with Lanterns

“Only a small percentage of our customer list is from our immediate local area,” Loustalot said. “The rest come from across the U.S., but we also have many customers who live in other countries.”

No matter what kind of business you’re running, affluent clients are great people to have on your customer list.

It begs the question:

How, exactly, does M.S. Rau acquire clients from this group of people? How does it get people like Arnold Schwarzenegger to stop by their New Orleans gallery, for example?

Arnold Schwarzenegger Clasping Hands with Man

 

There’s the incredible inventory of course. In the world of antiques, every item is an inventory of one.

But, as you’ll see in the rest of this article, there’s more to it than just acquiring high-end antiques to sell.

M.S. Rau also has a smart, strategic marketing strategy to drive new customer leads to the sales team — then retain them, with the goal of creating repeat purchases over time.

Acquiring Clients: How M.S. Rau Reaches a Global Audience of Antiques Buyers

M.S. Rau casts a wide net at the proverbial “top of the funnel.” This is how it makes connections with new potential buyers all over the world.

“We’re doing Google search, digital ads, remarketing, email, social, PR, SEO, magazine and newspaper ads, and catalogs,” Loustalot told us. “We advertise in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other national publications and specialty magazines. Plus we attend many of the major antiques shows and exhibitions around the country.”

Broadly, we can categorize the strategies into six categories: gallery exhibitions, local events, print advertising, online advertising, SEO, and social media.

1. Exhibitions

M.S. Rau participates as an exhibitor at some of the most prestigious art and antiques shows in the country. These include huge, multi-day affairs in cities like New York City, Chicago, Palm Beach, Naples, Aspen, Los Angeles, and Baltimore, just to name a few.

Paints and Table in Museum

A view of the Dallas Exhibit from M.S. Rau

“You really cannot even fathom how extraordinary these shows are until you attend one,” Loustalot said. “They literally build incredible galleries inside of these venues. It’s really high end.

“We acquire a lot of new clients through the shows,” she added.

2. Local Events

From Sea to Shining Sea Painting

In many ways, M.S. Rau feels more like a museum than it does an antiques store. Except, every item there is for sale.

The store’s location in New Orleans’ French Quarter — a hot spot for tourists — means there are always new people visiting to see what’s on display.

Not all who visit become customers, of course. But some do. And when the store acquires clients, their names and emails go into the store’s database for future communications.

Like a museum, the store holds local events and exhibitions, giving both new and existing customers a reason to return to the showroom.

For example, starting in April, the store will present “From Sea to Shining Sea,” an exhibition of 200 years of American art.

Admission is free, so it attracts onlookers from all walks of life, including new prospective buyers.

3. Print Ads

M.S. Rau knows its customer base, and it knows that people who read The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are often great prospects for their products.

That’s why they continue to advertise in newsprint with these more traditional publications.

For example, here’s an ad that ran in The Wall Street Journal:

No Bones About it Clock

Print ads may not be fashionable among marketers anymore, but — because M.S. Rau’s team has a deep knowledge of its audience — print remains a valuable channel for driving awareness.

4. Digital Advertising

Digital ads give M.S. Rau a tool to reach potential customers both locally and from all over the world.

They bid on keywords for the high end of the antiques market, focusing on words that show the searcher’s intent is to find exceptional and rare fine art and antiques, not just a local antiques market.

They also use branded search terms to ensure anyone searching specifically for M.S. Rau will find their way to the website:

Google Search Results for Antique Site

Digital ads like these give the team a broad ability to reach people who are searching for M.S. Rau or for fine antiques in general — regardless of their location.

5. SEO and Content Marketing

About a year ago, M.S. Rau began an effort to improve its results from content marketing and SEO.

It worked with an outside agency to optimize their blog and many of their product pages for search.

The results have been impressive.

“We have seen a 65% increase in organic search traffic since Feb 1, 2018,” Loustalot said.

Year over year traffic comparisons are even more impressive.

“In January and February of 2018, we had about 9,000 views to the blog,” Loustalot told us. “This year over the same two months, we had 23,790 unique views to the blog.

“The majority of that increase is coming from search traffic,” she added.

As with its efforts in digital advertising, the team focused on search terms that were likely to be from individuals searching for fine and rare antiques.

That too has worked well. The site now ranks well for many search terms related to “fine” and “rare” antiques, regardless of the location of the searcher.

Organic Search Results

                                                            M.S. Rau is the No. 1 organic result for “rare antiques”

 

6. Social Media

Images of M.S. Rau’s inventory are extremely attractive to potential buyers, making its social media pages a great place to show off what’s new and happening at the store.

M.S. Rau maintains active outposts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Marching Band in Red French Quarter

Engagement: The Saturday Weekly Newsletter

At the top of the funnel, M.S. Rau goes broad — using a wide variety of strategies to connect with new prospective buyers.

Once they’re connected, though, the email newsletter is the No. 1 channel to keep people in the know about what’s new at the store.

At all events and on the website, prospects are encouraged to sign up for the M.S. Rau newsletter, a weekly email that goes out on Saturdays.

New buyers are also added to the list and tagged with data about their interests in the store’s database.

In stark contrast to the many studies that recommend sending emails during the week, Loustalot chooses to send M.S. Rau’s emails on Saturdays.

“We’ve tested it,” Loustalot said. “I know it bucks the trends, but that’s when we get the best results.”

Subscribers receive a variety of content, including blog posts, new inventory, and information about any upcoming events.

Man Removing China from Packaging

Loustalot spends a couple of days a week putting together the newsletter to ensure it includes a strategic mix of content and promotional materials.

The list has grown steadily over the years, currently standing at just over 27,000 individuals. It’s a regular source of leads for the store’s sales team — especially when it includes announcements of new acquisitions. M.S. Rau has a strict policy that they never share their email list with anyone — no exceptions.

Speaking of new acquisitions, about a year ago, Loustalot and the team added a new email list: one targeted especially for those who requested a weekly update on all recently acquired items.

Activation: The Recent Acquisitions List

The new acquisitions email is a relatively new initiative for M.S. Rau — but one that has grown every week since its launch last year.

Subscribers to the main newsletter are offered a chance to sign up to the new acquisitions list within the newsletter. Visitors to the website can also subscribe to this targeted list.

Current Design of Site. - Be the First to Know

At present, there are over 1,300 people who’ve signed up for the list, and they are significantly more engaged than the average newsletter subscriber.

“The open rate on the new acquisitions list is generally in the 50 percent range,” Loustalot said, “and the click-to-open rate is generally in the 30-plus percent range.”

Both numbers are higher than the weekly newsletter engagement rates.

The addition of this newsletter for M.S. Rau’s best customers could easily have been a significant administrative headache for Loustalot and the team. It already takes one to two days a week preparing the weekly newsletter for the broader list.

The new acquisitions email is much easier to manage, however, since it’s created by simply populating the message through FeedOtter.

Instead of adding a lot of new content, FeedOtter grabs the latest 10 acquisitions from M.S. Rau’s data feed and populates the email. Loustalot receives a test email the morning of the send and makes any necessary changes and sends the email. The process takes under an hour in total.

In that way, the store is able to quickly provide its most engaged customers with the updates they want the most: news about the latest products they might be able to acquire.

Special Interests: Custom Lists for Sales Reps

Finally, by tapping into the broader M.S. Rau database, sales consultants can pull custom lists of one to 100 or so customers who have shown interest in a specific type of product.

Fine art buyers, for example, might get a custom email from a sales consultant in this way. Or the consultant might create an email specifically for customers who’ve previously purchased a piece of jewelry.

Man with gloves holding painting

This is the final, most customized messaging done by the team, hyper-targeting customers based on data the store already has on file.

Engagement rates for these emails vary widely based on the type of information being shared. A rare item announcement, for example, always gets the best response.

But in general, no other emails get better engagement than these hyper-targeted messages.

Acquire Clients at Every Stage of the Buying Cycle

In total, M.S. Rau’s marketing strategy is to connect with new potential buyers, engage them, convert them, and then keep them engaged to set up repeat purchases in the future.

It’s a mix of tactics, one that includes everything from traditional print ads in The New York Times to custom email lists built through data mining.

Loustalot does not claim their efforts to design marketing that will achieve these goals are complete — far from it, in fact.

“We would love to automate email lists to target people even better than we do now, to send people even more of the things they are interested in,” she said.

And the team is working on that: They’re searching for new ways to dynamically include content that matches the interests of individual people on the mailing list.

It is this choice — to always seek better results — that’s helping this century-old business continue to develop its reputation, its reach, and its customer base.

Note: Are you using Pardot or Marketo and want more traffic, attention, and sales leads from your content? FeedOtter can help!