How to run a successful lead generation campaign!

In this post, we take the example of a campaign we have been running for a client for the past several months, our experiments and our learnings from it, which have helped us deliver high quality inquiries on a consistent basis.
Objective: Lead Generation from a specific target segment – for example, Small Business Owners

Consider the 4 dimensions in Digital Marketing, which are important in deciding the success or failure of a campaign
1.Audience – Consider the data quality and the targeting capabilities that will help you go after the audience you desire. In our example, Small and Medium Enterprise Owners (SMEs) are a tough segment to target. Fortunately, we have over 350,000 SME subscribers in our email newsletter audience, so that’s a great starting point. Understand your target segment and look for specific publications that may have your desired target segment.
2.Channel – The second factor to consider is the channel or medium where you will target your audience. This works in conjunction with 1. above. You could consider 1. and 2. together if it makes things easier. While email works great, there’s only so many emails you can send to an audience in a given span of time. Now, the SME audience is also available on Facebook (most people use Facebook), but the targeting capabilities of Facebook are not very well equipped to target SMEs. However, Facebook allows you to upload a custom email list and target them. We can now target TradeBriefs SME subscribers on Facebook as well. Some of them engage better on Facebook than on Email, giving us more leads.
Update – Linkedin now allows custom audiences, which may work better than FB for B2B Lead Generation
TB , FB, Linkedin
Also, we have phone number data on many of our subscribers – SMS is a channel that can be used to target these SMEs. All SMEs have phones, and SMSs (text messages) still command good engagement and cost of delivery is low.
TB, FB, Linkedin, SMS
Targeting our audience on multiple channels gives us additional reach. By using features like FB lookalike audience, we can multiply the reach by more than 2000%.
3.Messaging/Creative – Once you have identified your audience and the appropriate channels, think of the messaging and creative. In the physical world, it all starts with the creative, but in digital, because each channel engages with customers in unique and different ways, it makes sense to think channel and audience first. Your FB creative and approach may not make sense on Linkedin and vice versa.
Direct Messaging
There are multiple creative approaches that can be used for digital campaigns. One can use Direct Messaging, where the product benefit is directly highlighted and a lead form is used to capture customer interest.
Case Studies
Case studies are useful for more complex business products where the business benefit is highlighted through a client success story or a case study (thought leadership). Some of the best leads will come in using this approach, but they may be early in the customer journey, so they will need to be nurtured (regular emails highlighting thought leadership, education through webinars, etc). At some point these leads become sales ready.
The broad formats of creatives are text (use this for email subject lines, LinkedIn text ads, FB bylines, SMS messages), image (use this within newsletters, on FB, Linkedin Newsfeed, etc). Each channel also has its unique format specifications in terms of size, what kind of images are recommended, etc.
In our example, we came up with 140 character text ads which are used in SMS, ‘Image + text’ ads which are used in Facebook and HTML creatives which are used for emailers. Different emailers and FB creatives were created with Direct Messaging and Case Study approaches in mind.
4.Flow/Lead Capture Mechanism – A lead form is a standard acceptable way to capture leads. However, in some cases it pays to be flexible and creative. For example, in ‘business letter format’ emailers, it makes sense to encourage recipients to actually reply to emails. Some of the highest quality inquiries come in through email replies or through the phone, rather than through form-fills. For SMS campaigns, missed call responses or callbacks can also be tested out.

Use the framework above to help you structure your experiments better. Then learn as you go and double down on the “Audience-Channel-Messaging-Flow” combinations that work best for your campaign requirements.

TradeBriefs delivers 110+ leads to Hughes Global Education through top-of-the-funnel marketing


Power of a good audience!

Hughes Global Education is a pioneer in providing ‘Interactive Online Learning Platform’ for working professionals to pursue Executive MBA. The programs are provided by top notch B-schools like IIM Calcutta, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Rohtak, IIFT New Delhi and XLRI Jamshedpur.

They got in touch with us to promote an Executive Marketing and Strategic Management course from the prestigious IIM Kozhikode. Nothing could have been better for our corporate audience of which a large chunk are looking for such courses to enhance their careers.

They gave us access to all the content which could be used in the promotional campaign. Our creative marketing team came up with a design which was clear in terms of the messaging and did not have any unneeded information, to avoid distraction and maintain focus on lead generation. Also, efficient targeting helped.

Creative HERE

Now the most important part – the landing page. Basics first, this is the page where people land on, when they click on the call-to-action button on the email and this is where they will fill-up the form if they are interested, and lead generation happens.

We kept the flow simple. Generate interest through e-mailer with brand name and course credibility and more details about the course provider on landing page along with access to course brochure on form submission.

The response was truly amazing – an open rate of 11 percent and close to a thousand clicks with 115 people filling up the form i.e. a landing page conversion rate of almost 12 percent! That’s almost 50% more than the industry average.

This was a top-of-the-funnel marketing campaign. Wider the funnel, more the leads, which indirectly also contributes to the long-term marketing funnel of the client. At TradeBriefs, we believe in giving the best possible marketing solution to a client in terms of the content, the approach and keeping the best practices in mind.

TradeBriefs generating quality leads for Happay

Happay is an online business expenses management software solution to track your expense workflow from purchase to accounting. They were looking to target their services to an intersection of top management, medium sized companies and our finance newsletter subscribers.

On the creative side, we used the business letter format for direct mailers which helps in a number of ways. Emailers without many images have a better performance ratio in terms of deliverability and focus.

The first campaign was sent in two shots with a gap of one week. The idea was to provide them quality leads. They would then nurture these leads with the help of their sales team and convert them to customers. And we did succeed in doing that. A healthy email open and click rate of 16% and 5% respectively including 80% top management folks and 217 companies were very encouraging. Some quality conversions at their end led to one more campaign for their petty cash management and travel expense management tools, which was also a success.

One campaign led to another, which has resulted in a strong client-seller relationship between Happy and TradeBriefs. We were approached by a few other companies working on the same model as well.

We at TradeBriefs have had 80% of our clients coming back to us with more campaigns, thanks to our quality subscribers (we don’t like to call it a database) which is quite rare in the industry. We engage them with our daily newsletters and hence the industry-best open and click-through rates. We believe in delivering quality to all our clients. Indeed one good campaign leads to another!

Branding campaign for Ford, targeting the TradeBriefs Premium Audience

Recently we were approached by Blue Hive, the agency handling the global marketing initiatives for Ford. They were looking to do a branding campaign on the launch of their new offering – The All-New Ford Endeavour. They undertook 360 degree marketing initiatives – Television, Newspaper, Billboards, Online Media and so on. We helped them advertise through our email channel, to the TradeBriefs Premium audience, pan India.

More about TradeBriefs Premium audience –

TradeBriefs has an audience of 1 million+ white collar corporate professionals growing organically every month. And this includes 1 lakh+ top management CXOs and HNI individuals. It comprises of some of the biggest names in the industry across India. This is the TradeBriefs Premium List. Notable points about this list below –

– Includes HNIs, CXOs, Decision-makers
90% work email ids
80% top management, 20% middle management
– Receive promotional emails once a month (highest quality leads, unsubscriptions close to nil)

We worked with Ford to deliver. The direct mailers were sent out and the response was truly amazing. The email opens were close to 25% whereas the industry average is not more than 10%. 30,000 subscribers out of 1,00,000 saw the email and 2500 people clicked on the ad to know more, including 86% top management folks. The campaign was a huge success in terms of the impressions.

Later on we did similar campaigns for IBM as well. The main goal here is branding and what better than showcasing it to the who’s who of India via TradeBriefs!

The Real Deal with Email and What TradeBriefs does right!

So, here’s the real deal with email. Yes, we all get too much email, but for those of us who check it, we do so over 15 times a day. One of the reasons we check email so often is because we need it for work, we need it for other important communication, including transactions and brand communication. Also, spam detection technology has gotten a whole lot better and email was one of the first ‘apps’ on our smartphones. Email is a habit. What about millenials, are they checking email? Here’s what summarizes their thought process – “Email is for serious business. Texting, Twitter and Facebook are for socializing.”

Now, what does TradeBriefs do right?
TradeBriefs is all about serious business. TradeBriefs gets subscribers from its 14 industry-focused websites (Retail, Telecom, etc), or through industry association partners like Retailers Association of India (RAI), Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Great Place to Work Institute, Franchising Association of India (FAI), Direct Marketing Association of India (DMAI), eTailing India and Locator. Our newsletters are daily and relevant (industry news from your sector), which builds a daily reading habit. This gives us 2 things – high deliverability and brand recall. Email providers are increasingly moving towards machine learning driven approaches to determine whether an email makes it to the Inbox or lands in spam. Gmail will even reward your email with visibility in the Primary tab if your reader engages with your email often. So, engagement is key.

High engagement gives TradeBriefs emails high deliverability. Also, most TradeBriefs subscribers subscribe from their work email addresses, which also gets higher attention. Our deliverability advantage, combined with work email address opt-ins get us 200% – 300% of industry averages in email opens and clicks.

Tapping the larger audience, generating the right amount of Leads

Leads – The corporate world is so obsessed with this simple, yet so complicated word. It is the typical high-school examination report card for marketing professionals! Situations are different but the interpretation is the same. The bottom line is “Generate the maximum number of leads in the minimum amount of time”. But who exactly qualifies as a lead? Let’s find out.

A business thrives on customers. But do we realize that there are a lot of layers before one can actually get not just a product-needy customer but also generate the right amount of leads for an offering? There is a lot of difference between a prospect for a product and someone who actually considers it. It is absolutely necessary to bridge this gap.

Let’s re-visit the marketing funnel. It all begins by creating ‘awareness’ about an offering. It is the most crucial level as the other layers depend on its impression. This offering can be a product or a service. It can range from a car to a property or from a software to a corporate event. Deeper down the funnel is the ‘consideration’ phase which is followed by the last phase that is ‘purchase’. This is the ultimate goal for any marketer, getting people to buy their product or service.

But what did we miss? What about those guys who considered your product but needed some nurturing? Let’s take an example of the recent content marketing campaign done by us for Act-On, a Marketing Automation Software seller. They began by providing some knowledge to the audience in the form of an eBook, explaining to them some modern marketing concepts and eventually where they would fit-in. It did not come as a surprise to us that the campaign was a success. Not only did they get direct prospects but also people who now had the intention to get the product after learning about its nitty-gritties. They attacked the topmost layer of the marketing funnel which is definitely wider and began by nurturing the audience there and eventually got more business. Here is an article on lead-nurturing.

optimal campaign
An Optimal Campaign


Here is a contrasting example. A famous brand tried to sell its product through our modes of advertising. Leads were generated. But we think they did not leverage the full benefit of the campaign. They could have achieved much more than what they got by imparting some info about the utility of their product/service with respect to the current business scenario. They tried to tap the bottommost layer of the funnel for ready-to-purchase prospects.

sub-optimal campaign
A Sub-optimal Campaign


The same phenomena were observed in many other campaigns done by TradeBriefs. Below is a comparison. The numbers have been generalized.

Campaign comparison

So we see that educating and nurturing an audience is a must. This can be done by providing them with some knowledge regarding the value of an offering instead of rushing directly towards instant lead-generation. You may get a few numbers but what about those who could have become a customer, but were not fully aware of the potential of that offering?

Basically, this is the path that joins awareness and consideration, crucial as well as effective. Can we tap it? Of course, in fact we should. There are numerous ways through which an offering can have an efficient awareness phase. Case-studies can be provided, an e-book can be made available or even a webinar can be created. You can also have blog posts, research papers, videos, podcasts or a whitepaper. This will help in achieving a psychological edge in the minds of the audience. It will also help in building your brand big time!

The conversions will be slow but very steady! Give some more time to a campaign to maximize the gain. Undoubtedly, it would be highly beneficial in the long-run. May be 10-odd leads today could touch 50 in a month!


About the Author
Gautam Shetty
Marketing Manager, TradeBriefs  | LinkedIn

TradeBriefs wins Technology Off Campus Award at IvyCamp Challenge 2015

TradeBriefs has won the Technology Off Campus IDG Ventures Award at the IvyCamp Challenge 2015 . The IvyCamp – Business Plan challenge is a multi-step evaluation process to select the best business plans among the business plans received which will be eligible for funding through IvyCap.

Watch the video footage

ivycamp tradebriefs award

TradeBriefs inks partnership deals with 5 new partners, including eTailing India and Great Place to Work Institute

TradeBriefs produces industry-specific newsletters for professionals. Last year, it introduced a partner model where opt-in members/prospects of companies and associations could take advantage of TradeBriefs’ content and technology expertise to create custom daily newsletters for their members. The first partner to sign up was Retailers Association of India. This was followed by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

Following this, TradeBriefs has rolled this model out to several new partners, including eTailing India (eCommerce) and Great Place to Work Institute (HR). “Each newsletter is carefully curated by an editor who understands the space,” says Sree Vijaykumar, Managing Director, TradeBriefs. This helps corporate decision-makers and professionals stay knowledgeable about their industry in just a few minutes a day.

Ashish Jhalani of eTailing India agrees. “TradeBriefs is a valuable partner for eTailing India. The daily briefs powered by them are something the entire industry looks forward to every day.We havereceived tremendous branding and leads for our events through this channel, as more and more industry professionals opt in to stay informed and knowledgeable.”

Here are TradeBriefs’s current partners. 

DMAI Great Place to work IAMAI
Young Biz Times Webvriksha CIM Global
Franchise association of india Select R and D Creativity

How Native Advertising helped Gartner double its lead count in 30 days


It started with Minaz Adenwala, Marketing Manager – Gartner (and a TradeBriefs Software subscriber), thinking about ways to attract new audiences to Gartner’s events in India. There are 2 role based summits in Mumbai and a Symposium/ITxpo conference in Goa that Gartner conducts in India every year. “The TradeBriefs Software audience seemed like a good fit, so we started with a partnership where we offered them branding at our event in return for promotional e-mailers to their audience,” says Minaz. “However, we soon realized that a deeper relationship was in order, to really take advantage of the audience engagement that TradeBriefs has.”

The result was a native advertising campaign within TradeBriefs newsletters. Readers were segmented to include CEOs, CIOs and the next level of reports.They were further segmented into 2 groups – top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel.

Top of the funnel

The top of the funnel folks were those who had heard of Gartner but had never really engaged with the brand. The way to get them into the Gartner funnel was by providing them access to exclusive content that added value to their job roles. The objective was educating them about Gartner. Once they saw value in the content, they were more likely to respond to offers to attend Gartner events (fyi – The annual Goa conference is priced at at Rs 73,650 plus taxes). Below is a screenshot of the content included in the newsletter followed by the lead capture form, most of which gets pre-populated since readers have submitted their profile information to TradeBriefs before.

Bottom of the funnel

The bottom of the funnel folks are already convinced about the brand, but needed more information about the specific event, pricing, etc. Here the approach was to gather their inputs on specific areas in IT (BI, ERP, Cloud, etc) that were of interest to them and create a custom agenda from the event and send it to them. Note that there are 9 parallel tracks going on at the Gartner annual conference at any given point in time, so it’s physically impossible to attend all sessions. Readers appreciate the customization and are more likely to actually attend once they see the specific value to them. This was enabled through native advertising again, but with a more direct approach. Below is a screenshot of the content in the newsletter followed by the custom lead capture form, which captured the reader’s preferences.

In either case, Gartner sales team members were told to educate these prospects about Gartner events, the speakers, the analysts and the whole package, through a series of emails, followed by phone calls to the more likely prospects. The native advertising within the daily email newsletters delivered several hundred leads, mostly CIOs and direct reports. We’ve analyzed why this campaign worked vs some other approaches and here are our conclusions.

  1. Native advertising is less intrusive than direct email marketing, which although more effective in the short term, cannot be used too frequently. Native advertising on the other hand can be used daily, since the ad content is interspersed with news and jobs content that the reader finds direct value in.
  2. Targeting and context are important. Native advertising content cannot be too removed from the rest of the content as the reader is in a certain frame of mind and is reading your publication with a certain purpose. For TradeBriefs, it’s typically B2B advertising that works well.
  3. Understanding of the funnel is important. Like with any form of advertising, some readers will be exposed to the brand being advertised for the first time, others would be closer to making a purchase decision. As long as marketers understand how to handle these different types of leads, it’s fine. Top of the funnel folks need more education and hand-holding. Bottom of the funnel folks need specifics and perhaps an offer to convert quickly. So, don’t waste time educating bottom of the funnel folks or giving offers to top of the funnel folks.