01:40 – Three systems combined
02:57 – An opening for old-school methods
05:44 – A helpful tool
06:41 – Online plus offline
07:28 – Personalizing at scale
11:23 – What NOT to do
13:20 – Ongoing, seasonal, or one-time?
14:13 – When things get complicated
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James: James Schramko here, welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 653. And I’m chatting with my mate, William Wang. Welcome to the call, William.
Will: Awesome. Thanks for having me back, James.
James: Well, we’ve been having some great discussions about lead generation as part of this lead generation series, and there’s a whole bunch of episodes on this topic. And today, we’re going to get advanced.
So why don’t we get straight into it? What can you share with us about advanced lead generation, and probably get a good idea of who should be most interested in this particular topic?
Will: Yeah, sure. So it’s actually quite a fun topic. And I get asked this all the time, because we’ve covered using emails before, I think we’ve kind of touched on LinkedIn. But I always get asked, you know, how can you use systems together to get exponentially better results, or kind of, how we do what we do. So it’d be good to dive in, I’m happy to share the strategies and systems we use, how we mash it all together, some of the technologies we use, and the results that you can kind of expect from that as well.
James: Perfect. Go for it.
Three systems combined
Will: Cool, awesome. We’ve talked about just using emails in isolation, but there’s so many different platforms out there that we can leverage technology-wise to actually get much better results. So one of the things that we do, and I’ll jump straight into it, because I think there’s a lot to cover, and I think there’s a lot that I want to learn from you as well, because I know you’ve done some stuff around this topic as well. But one of the best strategies for us is using a combination of LinkedIn, so that’s a tech side of it, we match it up with the email side as well. And then what we do is we actually take it offline and go to direct mail.
So it’s kind of three different systems, and how we generally work it is, we’ve got a system that you can plug in and API’s and things like that, that you can build. Now on this, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that people try this and build it for themselves. You can go into places like Upwork and find developers to do this. But we’ve had systems built in the past for some of our clients where we tap into one data source, for example, LinkedIn, we send a connection request, based on that connection request we actually get the information, sending them an email, and it’s a really good trigger to start a conversation.
And then at a certain point, what we can do is we can look at the data that we’ve got in sending the emails themselves and look at who’s opened the emails, who’s potentially forwarding the emails around the office, and who might have replied or who hasn’t replied, and use that as a trigger to send them some kind of physical direct mail.
An opening for old-school methods
So it is a little bit old school, but I find that as people start moving towards purely digital, purely online, they’re leaving a bit of a gap in the market where we can go with old school methods and actually get some cut-through.
“As people start moving towards purely digital, they’re leaving a gap in the market where we can go with old school methods and actually get some cut-through.”
James: Massive cut-through. I mean, that postie walking around my local area, she doesn’t have much in her backpack. I mean, physical mail is on the decline, right? And if you do send lumpy mail, or physical mail, you will get cut-through. I got an envelope yesterday, from my good friends down there, the Scientologists. I ordered a book called Dianetics in, I think it was about 1995 when I got a sales job at BMW, I wanted to study all the different religions. I wanted to understand why they’re so powerful, how can they make so many sales. They own all the best land, they have people donating their cash to them, there’s no physical product. So I ordered all these different religious books, everything from the Qur’an through to Dianetics. I put Scientology as a religion back then. I think they might have tried to change what they call themselves. These people have been sending me physical mail on a regular basis with handwritten envelope since 1995. I mean, that is cut through. And here I am talking about it now, over 20 years later, 24 years later. That is commitment.
Will: Yeah, it’s really funny, isn’t it? Because I think as everyone starts moving more towards online and having everything on the screen, it’s just so funny, because some of the old school stuff that used to work before, it hasn’t died and hasn’t gone away. If anything, it’s actually gotten a little bit better. And the reason why I bring that up is because, you know, I was sitting there with a friend of mine in his office, we were having a chat about what’s going on with marketing. And there’s another company that was trying to get into him and get him to try their products. And you know, he’d flicked in the emails before and they were okay emails, connected with him on LinkedIn. But what really got him to actually say yes, and pick up the phone and schedule the call, was just a really simple, really small postcard, with a really funny picture on the front. I think it’s like a hippo or something like that laughing, which is completely random. But on the back of it, it said, hey, I’ve tried everything online, I thought maybe it’s time to take it offline. And here’s the benefit. Can we schedule a conversation?
So it’s kind of just really funny what people think might not work, or it’s too old or it’s died. But if you can do it well, it’s kind of like one of those things where, you know, people are saying emails are dying as well, but if you can execute it well, there’s still value in there. And if you do it well, you can still get through, especially as more people leave that space.
Will: Cool. So, I think for me, that’s one of the top level ones, and it’s kind of quite easy to marry up. Because it’s a lot of different systems that kind of feel similar. I mean, using LinkedIn and emails, and direct mail, it’s quite similar. But there’s a whole bunch of more advanced things that I can go into as well. But you know, that being said, with the caveat of, I don’t recommend anyone actually, unless they’re a coder or they’ve got a background in writing the code, probably not the best use of your time to try and learn stuff.
A helpful tool
James: There are tools, aren’t there, like off the shelf? I’ve heard tools like Navigator or something. I don’t use any tools for LinkedIn, we’re 100% organic. But when you said the connection request, and then an email sent, and then to decide if they’ve opened or applied, is that human or is it a tool?
Will: That’s actually a tool. So what we can actually do is, there’s tools out there that you can definitely use. There’s APIs that you can use, or, you know, you can build them quite quickly, where if you add someone onto a spreadsheet, for example, one of the things that we’ve done for one of our clients is, if you add someone on to a spreadsheet with the LinkedIn URL of their profile, as soon as they get sent an email, the code or the software actually picks up the URL and sends a connection request at the same time.
Will: Yes, it’s always something like that. It means you’re saving a whole bunch of time.
James: So basically you can add names to a spreadsheet, and that will trigger a LinkedIn connection request. And then if they open the email, or don’t open the email, that can trigger physical mail?
Will: Yeah, exactly.
James: So the whole thing can be automated.
Will: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Online plus offline
James: I did get someone actually send me a private message on LinkedIn saying, Hey, I recently sent you a handwritten letter, I bet you were impressed with it. And I replied back and said, Actually I didn’t receive anything from you. And then two days later, it arrived. And he was trying to sell me a particular service around handwritten letters. His timing was off, but it was pretty interesting how he combined online and offline, and I think that hybrid is very important. Some of the previous guests we’ve had are saying the same thing. You know, big newspaper ads, those sorts of things can still actually be very powerful, because I mean, the papers are a bit smaller, and you can stand out. But sending physical mail, it gets a higher open rate than emails, right?
“Sending physical mail gets a higher open rate than emails.”
Will: Yeah, yeah, it can. I mean, you know, with everything that we’re talking about, it really depends on how well it’s executed. But it definitely can.
Personalizing at scale
Will: Cool. So one other thing that I can get into as well is, I think this is an area that had a lot of people curious about as it well, hopefully. It’s something that we get asked all the time as well, and it’s around, how do we personalize at scale?
You know, we send a lot of email outreach, obviously. We send a lot of connection requests on LinkedIn, and across all the different platforms we use. We try and leverage that and build networks around themselves. But one of the things that we always get asked is, well, it’s all well and good, but no one’s got the time to sit there and actually go out and reach out to 100 people separately every single day, especially when it comes to personalizing the message. So maybe the next part of it, I can go into some of the systems and actual software we use to personalize.
James: I think we should definitely talk about that.
Will: Cool, awesome. So I’ve kind of laid this in with one of the campaigns that we’ve done in the past for a client. So this client of mine, they do custom wrapping paper or custom packaging for big ecommerce companies. And one of their USPs or you know, one of the things that they were really strong at, was building a really good-looking product that showcased the brand and the logo of their clients. Now one of the issues they had was, with a product like that, it’s kind of hard to describe in words. It’s something that you want to visually represent, or at least to get in the hands of your clients.
So what we did was, we looked at a system called Clearbit. And what Clearbit is, it’s a big database, essentially, of a whole bunch of different companies, including the company logos. And so what you can actually do is, you can get a developer to write an API, which is code for, just a bit of code to talk between two systems. And you can actually pull company logos from the Clearbit API, and populate them onto an Excel spreadsheet.
Will: So yeah, it was really cool. Because what we did was, we did that, we put all these logos from companies that, you know, would have taken hours and hours to do, pulled their logos down, had their designers do real quick mockups of what the company logos would look like on their branding and on the boxes. And they sent personalized emails to the chief marketing officers at these big ecommerce companies. And you know, just imagine opening an email, when you open it up, and you’ve got your brand there, and also your brand against a box, that just looks really, really good. And so that was a really great campaign, and it was driven off the back of being able to personalize, but also doing that at scale.
James: Right. So scaled personalization. I remember when this sort of stuff came out, and people could put PURLs, you know, personalized URLs. They could insert names on postcards and stuff. So that sort of ability to merge things is good. And I imagine if this offer works, you’d want to be getting it out to as many people as you could.
Will: Yeah, exactly. It’s also one of those things where it obviously helps if you know who your target market is, or who your best customers are, because then it just makes it a little bit easier, you don’t really want to be spending all this time, personalizing, and all this time and effort and money, going after clients who aren’t the right fit for you. But if you know exactly who your market is, and you know how to get in front of them, there’s a lot of data out there that we can use to personalize the messages that you present to them.
James: And it’s kind of cool when you put together something special and personalized for your target audience. I know when members join SilverCircle, I put together a little package and send it to them. And it’s nice to have that. You know, I actually, I feel how they’re going to feel when they get it. And I want to think about what they’re thinking when they open it. And I like packaging it up and going down to the post office and sending it off, probably much in the same way you must have felt when you put together a little care package for my baby girl. You know, it’s super high cut-through. I think that was a very nice thing to do, and it’s certainly appreciated. And it just goes way more than, you know, a Facebook like or something. It’s really good.
So, building these technology systems to talk to each other, and target in on your relevant target audience and to go cross-platform, so digital and offline. These are the things that I’m picking up from our conversation.
“In this day and age, we’ve got the tools and technology and the power to really make it as personal as we can.”
Will: Yeah. I think it’s a really good point that you bring up, because the way that I’m looking at it is, at the end of the day, how can we build human-to-human contact? And I think you had an episode on this recently as well, where you talked about human-to-human marketing, and it really is, in this day and age, we’ve got the tools and technology and the power to really make it as personal as we can. So it’s always talking to another person, another human being, and just building that relationship in the right way.
What NOT to do
James: I think it’s important not to get too tricky with some of our tools and try and make it appear as though it’s personal when it’s not, if it’s easy for people to get caught out. I remember one classic is a marketer in San Diego was coaching his people to put in the broadcast emails, you know, “Sent from my iPhone”. I’m like, No, that’s dooch-ey. He’s pretending to be personal on a mass scale, but it’s clearly deceptive in that case. It’s just not, you know? It’s not sent from your iPhone, so it’s a lie.
Will: Yeah, that’s a really good point. If you do personalization wrong, it actually offends a lot of people. Obviously, the example of, “Sent from my iPhone,” when it’s obviously he’s got a list of hundreds of thousands and he’s not actually sending it from the iPhone. You’ve probably come across this one as well, James, where they send it as if their assistant is sending it to you, where they go, “Hey, this is from the Office of XYZ. I’m his assistant. He just wanted me to check out and see how you’re going.” Like, stuff like that. People see through it, right? People aren’t stupid. Especially in sophisticated markets, they’ve gone through it so many times. It just doesn’t look good to do really low-level crap like that.
James: I’ve always raised an eyebrow when I get those ones saying, “Hey, Fred stepped away from his computer, and it’s his wife here, and I’m surprising him with a special birthday sale. Here’s the latest…” Like, give me a break. Like, I’d slap him around the head for having lack of security, like on his logins, but to manage to put together an entire campaign? That’s impressive behind-the-scenes stuff. It’s not believable.
Will: Yeah, exactly. I mean, if my wife can come into my computer and type out a long-form email…
James: Yes. Next time you’re on vacation, you know? “Hey, it’s Will’s wife here from GrowthLabz.com. Will’s away right now. We’re doing a special on cold lead campaigns.” Hang on, I don’t know much about how that’s going to work. But interesting stuff.
Ongoing, seasonal, or one-time?
So, how many sorts of campaigns would a company do once they strike gold with this? Is this something they make as an ongoing project? Or is it a seasonal initiative, or a one-time thing?
Will: Well, it’s one of those things where you can actually do a good combination. Because the way that we approach it is, it’s always strongly if there’s some kind of trigger or some kind of reason that you’re reaching out to them. So for example, with some of our clients, we’ve got campaigns that can run, you know, just round the clock, it’s got some generic messaging that obviously works with the market. But it’s always more powerful when there’s a certain trigger, or like, a specific event that’s given them the reason to think about what you do, or the products or services that you sell.
For example, one of the things that we’re looking at the moment is creating personalization and triggers for one of our clients based off events that their potential market is going after. So things like that, you can work seasonally, and when they do, it works really well. But you always want to have something that works long-term, and kind of a little bit more evergreen as well, rather than bouncing from season to season.
When things get complicated
James: And is it sometimes the case of just getting too complicated?
“Sometimes it’s good to ask if it’s something that you should do.”
Will: Yeah, it is. If you let the tech get in the way of you being human, or if you try and be deceptive, or use it the wrong way, it’s always good to step back and say, Look, what am I actually trying to do? How will people feel if they’re actually reading this message? Because you know, I’m guilty of it as well. I’ve been really carried away in looking at what we can do. But you know, sometimes it’s good to ask if it’s something that you should do.
James: I remember when I used to work for Mercedes-Benz, we heard this great story about a hotel, they would scan the number plates of cars arriving and then cross-match it with their database. And then when the guests would walk in, they would say, “Welcome back, Mr. Wang.” You know? Like, it’s not their first time. But then things would go a bit haywire when people in the same area like, sold their car, and they’re, “Welcome back, Mr. Wang.” “Who’s Mr. Wang?”
And then there was this concierge who kept getting it right. He’s like, “First time here, sir?” You know? Or, “Welcome back.” And he always nailed it. And they said, “How do you do this without all the tech?” And he said, “Well, I just asked the footman. He rubs his right ear if it’s a first-time customer, and his left ear if it’s a repeat customer.” So just a good old-fashioned, simple system.
That’s why in some of my campaigns, they’re just incredibly simple emails that elicit a response. It could be something as simple as “Hey, Will, I’m wondering why you didn’t join SuperFastBusiness membership?” You know? “Hit reply, let me know.” So simple. And I find out everything I need to know to be able to help someone to make a good decision, whether it’s right for them or not.
So I guess that’s the caveat with technology, make sure that we’re keeping it simple. And I think it’s a big risk that someone trying to do this themselves is going to go down a lot of rabbit holes with API’s, and softwares and automation. And I’ve seen this so many times before, given that I used to run an SEO business. People can overcook the automation and complexity, and get it wrong and burn a lot of time and energy and then get banned from platforms or bad reputation. That’s why I would recommend getting help from a service like yours, Growthlabz.com, with a Z. Right, Will?
Will: Yep, with a Z.
James: So if you want help with this, if you couldn’t be bothered to find out what the tools are, and you don’t want to try and figure out how to code an API, but you do like the idea of joining up LinkedIn with physical mail and targeting on the exact right customers, then have a chat to Will at GrowthLabz.com, who’s my repeat guest on this series. We’ve been having some wonderful little discussions. There’s a whole bunch of episodes in the series. And I just want to say thanks again for sharing the gold on advanced lead generation, Will.
Will: Awesome. Hey, thanks so much again for having me on, James. And I think the people listening as well, you know, if they’ve got any questions or any other topics that they’d like to go into, yeah, it’d be great to hear from them as well.
James: Where can they contact you?
Will: Best way would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
James: Thanks, Will.
Will: Thanks, James.
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