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MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table

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MarTech's Email Marketing Periodic Table

Email has long been one of the most reliable marketing channels for getting your messaging in front of your customers. Whether it’s content in the form of a weekly newsletter, a personalized promotion or an important account update, marketers need to trust that their message will be delivered and that they’ve optimized those messages to get maximum engagement. That is why the team at MarTech have created this Email Marketing Periodic Table that tells you everything to know about sending emails that your customers want to receive and that inboxes won’t block.

Because email is one of the most complex ways you can communicate with customers and prospects – through different mail clients, different ISPs, mobile and desktop, etc. – there are a lot of obstacles that can get between you and your intended recipients. 

Each element in this table represents a factor that you need to consider to be successful in email. The elements are gathered into categories based on their relationships to one another, and the categories are designated as related to either Optimization or Deliverability. Further down on the table, you’ll see Toxins, a category for practices that can poison your email marketing efforts, and Traps, which you’ll want to be aware of falling into.

This updated Email Marketing Periodic table adds a few new elements and a new category, Compliance, that addresses recent and ongoing developments tied to state laws, inclusion and more. We have also changed our language to refer to safelists and blocklists, terms that are inclusive and respectful to all.

Like the previous version, each element in this Periodic Table also includes the following information:

  • An Element symbol
  • A short description of the element
  • a label showing what category it belongs to
  • A correlation symbol that shows whether it is a positive or negative contributor to optimization or deliverability
email marketing as a periodic table element

Below you will find the complete Email Marketing Periodic Table, broken into the following:

And if you would a copy you could save or print out for your teams, click here to download the high-res version.

email marketing periodic table

Compliance

Compliance has emerged as one of the most essential factors to consider in your email marketing strategy, especially in the face of growing privacy and accessibility concerns.

For starters, before you send emails you must ensure that your audience has given you Permission (P) to send emails to them. Permission means that the recipient has given you explicit and informed consent to send messages to them. This happens when your subscribers Opt-in (In) through a sign-up form.

The first thing that your email system should trigger is a Double opt-in (In2) email. The double opt-in requires the subscriber to confirm that they sincerely want to receive emails from you or your brand. This can be executed as a “welcome” email.

MarTech's Email Marketing Periodic Table - Compliance elements
MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table – Compliance elements

The second agreement from the subscriber is critical. It stops people and bots that put in email addresses that don’t belong to them. Legally, under the United States’ CAN-SPAM Act, you must share your Physical address (Ph). You are also required to own the sender domain that your emails come from and include an Opt-out (Oo) for subscribers who want to stop receiving your emails.

Another critical component of email law is compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (Ac). To meet basic accessibility requirements, your emails must maintain a logical reading order; this includes using heading elements in code and proper color contrast between your text, other content and the background you choose..

It is absolutely critical to understand the Laws (La) when you are collecting information from your subscribers. Laws include the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL). In the United States alone, 16 different states are currently trying to create privacy laws as of May 2021.

Trust

Last year trust and compliance were grouped together but this year we decided to pull out these crucial elements related to how much trust affects email deliverability.

trust elements of email marketing
MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table – Trust elements

Landing on Safelists (Si) is one of the best ways to ensure your messages are getting to your subscriber’s inbox. It is also one of the most important strategies for building a positive Sender Reputation (Sr). Sender reputation refers to the reputation of your email-sending IP address that signals to email inbox providers whether or not you’re a spammer. Depending on your email service provider (ESP), monitoring your sender reputation may require investment in additional software.

Infrastructure

Emails don’t just get sent on their own. In fact, there is a robust list of elements you need to consider in order to have an effective email marketing infrastructure.

For starters, there’s the Domain Name System (Dn), known as the phonebook of the internet. The DNS maps a domain name to the IP (Ip) address hosting the website and the IP sending mail for a particular entity with a different domain name.

A Mail Transfer Agent (Mt) is the software that transfers electronic messages from one user to another by using a SMTP server (Ss) which enables outbound email. A Mail User Agent (UA) is the software that enables emails to be sent and received. These two separate pieces are key to getting emails through to your customers and prospects.

A Sender Policy Framework (Sf) is also required as an email authentication method that detects forged sender addresses during the delivery of your email. On the other end, the user’s inbox uses a POP3 Server (P3). When subscribers complain, Feedback Loops (Fl) ensure that these complaints are routed to the sender so they can be acted upon.

MarTech's Email Marketing Periodic Table - Infrastructure elements
MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table – Infrastructure elements

Typically, your IP address will be associated with a domain name or a subdomain through the Domain Name System. Subdomains (Sd) help your customers recognize your brand’s name through the top-level domain; this prevents phishing attempts.

If you are considering adding BIMI (see the Experimental section below), two critical steps come first. Logo Trademark Ownership (Lt) is a key element that is necessary for implementing BIMI. You also need to apply for a Verified Mark Certificate (Vc). Lastly, for the brand’s logo to be displayed, the email must pass DMARC (Dm) authentication checks, ensuring that the organization’s domain has not been impersonated.


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Audience

Building a positive relationship with your audience is another important component of email marketing; these relationships are critical for reaching your subscribers’ Inbox (I). A valid email address (E) is one of the most valuable pieces of information you can receive from your customers. Email addresses are typically uploaded by marketers as Lists (L) in the email service provider or database.

From here, you should be employing Segmentation (Sg) based on each subscriber’s level of Engagement (Eg). This includes Opens (O) and Clicks (Ck) on specific links within your email. Understanding what this data means about your audience will help drive strategic decisions in your email marketing program. For example, knowing what inbox providers your audience members are using will give you insight into how they view and interact with your messages and what tactics work best to help you meet your email marketing goals.

Send time (T) is another element that can assist you in reaching your audience; if your subscribers aren’t opening emails sent first thing in the morning, try sending in the afternoon or evening. Finding the optimal send time can be challenging, but is certainly worth the investment of your time to determine what is best.

audience elements of email marketing
MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table – Audience elements

Personalization (Me) is a strategy that involves creating content specifically for the individual subscriber. It requires knowing about your audience (the actual people behind the email addresses) and how they prefer to consume your content. Providing a subscriber Preference Center (Pc) gives your audience a portal to update their communication preferences; it allows subscribers to choose what types of emails they want to receive, how often they want to receive them and the opportunity to opt-out from your messages.

Send frequency (Sq) should be based on gauging how frequently your audience interacts with your emails. If you are sending too frequently, you may see a drop in your open rates. There is such a thing as sending too many emails, and your subscribers may not want to regularly receive messages that aren’t directly relevant to them.

Content

The content provided within the email is just as important as the infrastructure and strategy behind it. From creating compelling Subject Lines (Sj) that drive opens to using Responsive designs (Rs) that adjust to all devices — mobile, desktop, etc. — the content of your email will be the main driver of results.

The Structure (St) of your email, whether HTML or plain text, should be scannable and easy to read. Readability (Rd) is a critical element to consider when building your emails, but have you evaluated whether the content is relevant to your audience? Relevance (R) is a key element to consider before sending an email. If your audience doesn’t care about the content you deliver, they won’t be opening your emails very often.

MarTech's Email Marketing Periodic Table - Content elements
MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table – Content elements

When it comes to relevance, having an email marketing Calendar (Cl) will help create a strategic schedule for your email campaigns. Use your data to determine what days and times have the highest engagement rates to build out your calendar.

Most email service providers have new, innovative capabilities in their toolbox. Interactive (Iv) emails can drive increased engagement from subscribers. Emojis (Mj) are another element that can make your message more relatable. But knowing your audience should be the driving force behind whether you implement emojis in your subject lines and emails.

Transactional (Tr) emails do not require the recipient to opt-in as they are confirmation emails triggered by a user’s action. These emails provide an opportunity to gain new subscribers with a simple call-to-action.

Toxins

Now that we’ve shown you what good elements can do for email optimization and deliverability, now it’s time to look at the elements your marketing team should stay away from, starting with the Toxins.

There are several toxic elements that you need to be aware of before creating and sending your email. Hard bounces (Hb) are permanent delivery failures that indicate an email address is invalid; removing these email addresses will significantly improve your deliverability. Soft bounces (Sb) are caused by full mailboxes or vacation responders. While these aren’t as detrimental as hard bounces, it is important to keep an eye on these email addresses as some may need to be removed if they continue to result in soft bounces.

MarTech's Email Marketing Periodic Table - Toxins
MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table – Toxins

Using a No-reply (Nr) email address will typically send your emails directly to the junk folder. Use a “reply to” address instead, and reap the benefits of higher delivery rates and brand awareness by including your brand’s domain in your sending address. When your recipient marks an email as spam, it is considered a Complaint (Cm). Too many complaints will hurt your deliverability rate and sender reputation.

Legally, you are allowed to buy or rent email addresses, and the law does not require consent from the recipient. but using a Purchased List (Pl) is one of the quickest ways to end up on a blocklist.

Your email content can also contain toxic elements. URL Shorteners (S) are commonly used in phishing attempts, and inbox providers flag shortened URLs as spam. Image Heavy (Ih) emails that take a long time to load will aggravate subscribers who may mark your email as spam or simply unsubscribe from your email program.

Traps

Finally, while Toxins may be detrimental to your email marketing, Traps will hurt your efforts even further. There are several types of traps, usually configured by a company’s IT department, that will ensure your messages are never seen by the intended recipient. Corporate Filters (Cf) are an unforgiving filter for corporate email servers.

Desktop Filters (Df) are filters that your subscribers set up in their own inboxes. Consistently relevant content can help you stay in the inbox, but falling into too many spam folders will significantly impact your
sender reputation and delivery rates.

MarTech's Email Marketing Periodic Table - Traps
MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table – Traps

If you land on a Blocklist (Bl), a list of unreputable and untrustworthy senders, you’ll run into a lot of trouble trying to get your emails to your subscribers.

Internet service providers (ISPs) also have traps that can hurt your email deliverability. Grey Spam Traps (Gt) are set up by ISPs using recycled email addresses to flag spammers. Pristine Traps (Pt), on the other hand, are fake email addresses created by either corporate IT departments or the ISPs themselves to identify and redirect spammers to the Spam Filter (Sf).

Experimental

Now that we’ve shown your the good and the bad when it comes to email marketing elements, now come a few elements that are experimental today and likely transformational for tomorrow.

For example, everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence (Ai) right now. AI is rapidly evolving and will likely be
part of nearly every business process in the future. For email, strategies including segmentation, personalization and messaging will be quick-wins in the near future for implementing artificial intelligence in an email marketing program.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (Am), also known as AMP for Email, are dynamic emails that allow email marketers to embed interactive features — rotating carousel images, confirmation buttons and even direct-purchase calls-to-action. While many brands are experimenting with the different atoms of AMP elements, the ultimate goal is to drive customer conversions (purchases) directly in the body of the email without ever visiting the website.

MarTech's Email Marketing Periodic Table - Experimental elements
MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table – Experimental elements

Brand Indicator for Messaging Identification (Bm), known also as BIMI, is an experimental element that brands have been buzzing about since the concept was first introduced several years ago. The idea is that with the combination and proper configuration of elements from the Trust and Infrastructure families, brands will be able
to display their logos next to the sender name in the inbox.

BIMI is one element you need to start investing your time in to properly configure everything necessary for implementation. This includes DMARC, VMC, and ensuring that your organization owns the trademark to your logos.

Voice Assistants (V) are everywhere, taking commands from mobile users and repeating information back to people regularly. Have you considered how your subject line or your email will read aloud to your audience using voice assistance? Use too much text, and your subscriber will probably lose interest seconds in. Too little text and your message will be easily forgettable. Finding the right balance will take practice, but with more emerging voice-enabled devices coming to the marketplace, Voice is an element worth experimenting with.

That’s it. We hope you find MarTech’s Email Marketing Period Table valuable and encourage you to please download the high-res, beautifully designed version to share with your teams.

Digital marketing is indeed an art, but it is also a science. We hope this tool serves as an essential reference for your experiments.


1644029230 254 MarTechs Email Marketing Periodic Table

Everything you need to know about email marketing deliverability that your customers want and that inboxes won’t block. Get MarTech’s Email Marketing Periodic Table.

Click here to download!



About The Author

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Henry Powderly is vice president of content for Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than a decade in editorial leadership positions, he is responsible for content strategy and event programming for the organization.


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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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