Pipeline marketing - going beyond AWeber part 3 - data
What really drives us?

Pipeline marketing - going beyond AWeber part 4 - inside insight

Finally part 4 (planned to write 4 articles on our switch and it seems I've made it!) As promised in earlier parts: in this final part of the series - no doubt I'll write more often about Octane HQ features and my experiences with it - I'll show you more of the flexibility and focused segmentation Octane gives you for your pipeline marketing.

Custom fields

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Let's start with the fields you can enter for your contact. Besides default fields, like first name, last name, address and lead/contact source you can add as many custom fields as you like to this page. These fields can be either: text box, drop down menu or calender and can be made required fields or not (careful here: the minute you make a custom field required and you're importing contacts this field has to be matched otherwise it will trigger an upload error and your contact will not be imported!)
You can rearrange all your custom fields in a sequence you prefer, but the "box" of custom fields in your new contact page is in a fixed position - halfway down the page, just above the address details.

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As you can see above, I use a Drop Down List very often. Octane HQ lets you search on any of the fields in the contact details page using the Power Search, where the result of your search can be added to follow-up series or groups. If you use a text box as custom field you have more search options than with a Drop Down List. The latter is limited to: Equals or Is Empty. Not that this matters much is my experience: created a (temporary) group and add your search results per Drop Down option to this group.
Tip: restrict your custom fields to "either/or" details: a contact is either a prospect or a client, a contacts first means of contact was either a phone call or filled in a webform, a prospect is either a domestic client/prospect or an architect.

Groups

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Every contact can be added to one or more groups, the and/and/and options. Above shows only a few of the groups I've created so far, in total there are (at the moment) 28, all with their own purpose. Some are just for statistical reasons, some are for segmented one-off emails ("blasts" or broadcasts).

So far, so very much equal to AWeber. In AWeber you can select more than 1 lists to send your broadcast to and in the webform you use you can create custom fields (text boxes and drop down lists). But there's where it ends though, one custom field for one of your AWeber lists is not transferable to any of your other lists.
(Hope you remember we are a retailer, selling many different ranges and products, so had/have many different lists/follow-up series. Your situation and/or your business might be quite different and not in need of so many lists/different follow-up series/groups.)

Flexibility

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AWeber is purely based on email marketing, Octane HQ goes a step further: instead of solely auto-emails at a set sequence you can create a sequence of auto-emails, Letters and Task per "lists" or using Octane HQ's terminology "follow-up series".

Example

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This fu-series is automagically filled with contacts submitting their email address, name and address to our webform "request our Wood Floor Info pack".
(I'll show you the actions triggered by a webform in more detail lower down, that's also quite flexible too!).
One of the auto steps the webform triggers is sending me an email about the request, so I know I have to go into Octane, click the task on my home page: print letter, load letterheads into my printer and actual print the pre-written letter where the contact and address details are already merged onto. The prospect immediately receives an email informing him/her the requested pack will be in the post asap.
It then follows the steps I've set for this fu-series in sequence. But it does not - does not have to - end with step 6.

Keeping prospects "warm" for a long time on auto-pilot.

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Every fu-series gives you the option to set End-Actions after the last step is completed, see the above example. The new fu-series where this contact will be added to has its own End-Action, a new fu-series that sends out a maintenance reminder every 6 months, nothing more. The reason this contact is also added to the group maintenance reminder emails is so we can send a broadcast/"email campaign", to everyone in there when we have specific news on maintenance products or services.
All in one go, triggered by one single webform. Pipe-line marketing on auto-pilot.

Flexibility to serve a prospect/clients best

In AWeber we had a top performing list: Ask Personal Advice on Wood Floors, where web visitors could submit their wooden floor related question to us and receive a personal answer. In AWeber they would all land in the same fu-series, sending them a sequence of auto-emails promoting the benefits of wooden flooring in general, no matter what their original question was.
Someone asking about maintenance (and therefore in most cases already in the possession of a wood floor) would receive the same auto information as someone asking for advice on which wooden floor would suit his/her circumstances best. which meant: not always sending out relevant info (except our personal email answering their question).
Now in Octane that problem is solved:

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If for instance the question was about maintaining a wooden floor in the best possible way we now can add the contact to a maintenance tips fu-series, after emailing the new prospect our personal answer and informing him/her about what we are about to do also (emailing the maintenance tips).
Fine tuning the available info most suited for their circumstances.
4 days later the task overview on my Octane HQ home page prompts me to send a custom email to the contact again, where I normally ask if the information had been useful, if the problem has been solved or if we can be of further assistance. Sometimes it doesn't even comes that far, when our first answer starts a whole email conversation to and fro (like our prospect who emailed me the picture of his little cute dog - part 1).

This webform continues to be a successful lead source and since using Octane instead of AWeber has converted more prospects into clients than before. (10 so far in 2010, only 6 weeks young).

Flexibility through webforms

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Octane HQ is "action based", you've seen this in the follow-up series including the End-Actions and you can see this above in the list of actions triggered when a prospect submits details through a webform.
Above example "request our Wood Floor Info Pack" removes someone - if applicable - from one fu-series, adds them to the WFIP fu-series (which triggers me to print the letter, remember), ads the contact to two groups and sends me an email too.
And of course, standard, it creates a new contact - only if the email address used is not yet in our database, otherwise it will skip this action but will trigger all the other actions.

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These are the actions possible: 6 in total (besides the standard "create contact"). AWeber "automation rules" never go this far.

Segmentation in broadcasts/email campaigns

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One segmentation I've started to use from day one on in Octane HQ is the Payment Way (method) last used by a client.
Suppose we launch a new product or have a special offer - for which we would use one-off email campaign (broadcast) to existing clients. In Octane - like in AWeber - you can copy the broadcast already written. Therefore I could write one email campaign about the special offer and focus on ordering online (PW: Online) while listing other ordering options too. I could then simply copy the email and edit the paragraph to focus more on ordering over the phone, while listing the other options too.
The contacts I select for the specific emails would only contain those contacts I know used the specific ordering method I focus on in that specific email, contacts who used another method would get that specific email. You get the picture.

This is just one example you can use the segmentation per group for of course, I'm sure you can think of examples you can use for your own specific segmentation and your own specific group names.

Conclusion

Expect more posts about our experiences and success switching from AWeber to Octane for our pipe-line marketing, but for the moment I want to leave it at this.

One last thing then: since this week Octane has now also become the "delivery vehicle" for our digital products, linking the PayPal buy-now button with the database in a much simpler way than AWeber did.

Oh and did I already mention the "opportunities" feature, which translates in won/lost sales and fills your sales statistics in various ways (from sales per sales-person, sales per product range, sales per lead source etc) and that more reports are being build as we speak?

Or that when any link you insert in your emails (in a fu-series or "campaign") is clicked you can add those contacts who clicked that specific link to a new group or fu-series? Or export and send a letter using mail-merge?

And that the customer service of Octane HQ is to rave about? Always on the ball and very quick to help out.

I leave it for now (I promise).
Hope you have enjoyed these series. and if you feel like it, request a demonstration of what Octane can/could do for your business, you'll get their personal attention.

Comments

Columbus Dixon

Hi Karin, a bit info on the price bracket that Octane is in would be useful after your earlier comments about the additional add-on costs of specific aps for Salesforce.com etc

Interesting article(s)on your research and experiences which I appreciated.

Columbus Dixon

Karin H.

Hi Columbus

Thanks for your remark, sometimes you do overlook things in this respect, sorry.
Octane HQ: one-off set up costs £1,500.00 (that's one-off, not annual returning costs) and monthly fee of £150.00 for 2 users.

No caps on anything (except the file size for attachments for auto or campaign emails= 5mb - versus 1mb at AWeber). So unlimited numbers of emails, be it auto-emails or campaigns emails (versus Sales-force 1000 if I understand correctly, and I've just send out 1182 today) and unlimited numbers of contacts).

Hope this helps - although as I also mentioned in an earlier comment (in another part of the series): comparing on price isn't always the best indicator ;-)

Karin H

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