B-to-B Alternatives to Google Adwords PPC with pURL’s

Let’s talk about generating qualified leads for a moment in a B-to-B environment.  We can use several different media, SEO, PPC, TV, Radio, Billboards, Facebook and Referrals etc.  The problem is if the cost for leads is equal to or exceeds revenue there is no sense in continuing because it will not be profitable.  Referrals tend to be the most coveted form of lead generation.  Why?  Because referrals have the most amount of TRUST attached to them.  TRUST converts big time more than any other technique.  Lead generation requires an orchestration of customer touch points.  Ideally, your client comes in through multiple different channels to your business, sales channels, web, TV, radio and social media, etc.

Changes in Google Push Alternatives

With the many changes Google has brought forth recently with Google Instant search and the Farmer updates, the price of Google Poker has increased significantly.  The PPC ads are losing real estate with the Google Maps covering them up, as well as the local search listings taking up more of the organic search listings, which is forcing the advertisers in PPC to boost their bids to be in the top 3 positions on the PPC e SERP page.  I can’t blame Google for their modifications they too are in the business of making money, they just happen to make a lot more of it than most of us.

In one of the verticals I serve (drug rehab) I started to see the price of PPC go through the roof in recent months since the end of 2010.  In some cases a keyphrase like “treatment centers in Florida” were exceeding $50 for a CLICK.  Yes sir, that is right, for the privilege of having Google send one visitor to my site we had to pay Google $50 USD.  Now explain this to your CFO.  If we get 10 visits we might get 1 lead.  Cost Per Lead = $500 USD.  Now if we need 10-20 leads for a conversion (admission) we are looking at $5,000 -$10,000 PER ADMISSION or conversion.  I had better have a hefty price to bill the client if I am the Rehab to cover these costs.  Problem was many treatment centers do not charge $50K per month, although some actually do.

The bigger problem was and is many of the Google visitors were just tire kickers.  Tire kickers are families and addicts doing “research” by calling treatment centers to discuss treatment programs along with requests for insurance information and pricing.  Some treatment centers have very good closers and could close a significant portion of their leads.  Others were not as good at closing Internet leads.  Generating leads from the Internet is somewhat problematic if you don’t have deep pockets in the addiction treatment space, other vertical markets face similar challenges.

What I already knew about the addiction treatment space is that their best leads come from “referral sources.”  Referral sources can be other treatment centers, interventionists, alumni (who have been through the treatment center), therapists, doctors and detox specialists.  These are what I call a B-to-B list of referrals.  Almost every business has them.  The problem is how do you set up a referral system so that you can stay on top of their mind and have them refer more leads to your business?  The answer is simple.  Use postcards and personalized landing pages, this is a two step process with more.

Postcard Marketing and pURL’s

So what if we decide to use postcards to market to our referral sources and keep them informed on what we are doing and the treatment center?  What if we personalized the message on each postcard?  What if we then took it a step further and personalized the landing page we sent them to?  What if we then sent them to the personalized landing page then asked them to opt in to our e-mail autoresponder?  What would happen if we then asked them to “like” our Facebook fan page?  What happens is, we can now market them for “free” if they opt into e-mail or the fan page.

Offline Marketing into Social Media

If you are going to mail out postcards why not make the most of the opportunity and ask them to opt in to at least 4 different customer touch points:

  1. Email newsletter
  2. Facebook Fan Page
  3. Follow You on Twitter
  4. Follow Your LinkedIn Company Page

Think about the leverage opportunity here.  If a prospect opts into all 4 touch points you have a great opportunity to stay in touch and develop that relationship.  Think about your Facebook Fan page, every time the image on the Facebook Fan Page is updated it shows up in the users Facebook Feed and it’s the same too with Twitter and LinkedIn.  With email you have even more power since you can email them whenever you want directly to the most coveted real estate… their inbox.

While the frequency of sending postcards can be weekly or monthly depending on the campaign we can mail 7 postcards for about the price of a dollar each including the postage and letter shop services.  There are additional costs for managing the campaign and then writing the copy, but if you look at 7 impressions vs. 1 impression for a PPC visit we are getting enormous value sending out postcards vs. Google PPC or one visit for $20-50 dollars.

List Building and Capturing E-mail Addresses

Either your business already has a list of 100+ potential referrers or it does not.  If it does postcard marketing with pURL’s (personalized URL’s) makes a lot of sense to test. However, just doing 1 mailing will not do it.  We have to do at least 7 mailings.  Repetition and frequency are key.  The other opportunity is that if you want to target a list of electricians in Connecticut only, it is easy to generate a list by going to InfoUSA or any list broker and paying them for a list to mail postcards to.  Once they opt in to the e-mail program you no longer have to send them postcards, just send them e-mail.  However, using postcards to build your e-mail list is one of the huge benefits especially if you are going after a demographic or a niche.

As with any marketing initiative we have to test.  The point here is if you have a list of 100 potential referrers you will want to buy 700 postcards so that you can mail to them 7 times each.  If you are just going to mail to them once you will not have enough data from which to make any decisions.  Ideally using 1,000 names and 7,000 postcards would be a much better sampling.  To see what a personalized postcard marketing and personalized URL campaign looks like visit http://postcards-rep.com.