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Momentum uses email list rentals to increase leads

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Birmingham, Ala.-based Momentum manages about 100,000 voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) seats for its customers, businesses and cable operators, as well as 350 other partners located across the U.S. Last September, the 80-person company started working with Austin, Texas-based digital marketing agency Tocquigny to expand its prospect database and broaden its sales base. Previously, the company had done no email marketing, so it relied on list rental to get started with the program, said Ashley DiPasquale, Tocquigny's assistant media planner. Tocquigny rented lists of about 25,000 names from three different vendors, targeting the purchases by vertical, company size and location, for a combined 73,697 addresses. Creative was A/B tested, with one email showing a large photo of a woman's face and the other, an image of the actual VoIP phone. Accompanying copy was the same in both cases, DiPasquale said. At the same time, the company purchased display advertising on ad networks including Adnetik, BBN and Bizo B2B Network, as well as on business-focused websites such as Business.com and Manta. The ad networks, using cookies, targeted the Momentum ads to people who had previously searched for or read VoIP-related content. A direct mail piece also went out to the 27,000 people who provided their postal mailing addresses to the list vendors. After the first email went out in September, DiPasquale realized that one of the lists was yielding poor results. She eliminated it from future touches and reallocated that spending to the top-performing list to increase the number of names from that source. She also discovered that the creative with the human element—the ad that used an image of a face—was the better-performing option. “The second touch in October used that creative exclusively,” she said. The most important lesson, though, was the fact that those who had seen the banner ads or received the direct mail piece were more likely to respond to the email marketing, she said. “By including email as a follow-up piece, it increased the click-to-open rate by 9% and improved the click-to-lead rate by 5%,” she said. In fact, the campaign was so successful that Momentum was “overwhelmed” by the number of leads it received, said Alan L. Creighton, president-CEO of Momentum. Impressed enough, he said, to put a lot more money into the overall campaign. “In the fall, we bumped spending from that first test campaign to what we did in the first quarter by 300%,” Creighton said. “For the next campaign, we'll allocate probably another 10% to 15% [on top of that]. The lead volumes of the test campaign and the Q1 campaign were substantially greater and far exceeded what we had budgeted for. We found ourselves in a situation where we needed to develop a full lead nurturing system that is integrated with Salesforce.com, which is what we use.” Over the past several months, Momentum has developed that system and trained its sales team to work with it so that they are ready for the next campaign, due out next month. That effort, Tocquigny's DiPasquale said, will help move the new leads further into the sales funnel. “We're going to run another multitouch campaign with them and focus more on content—white papers and such—to create a lead nurturing program,” she said. “We want to give the users as much information as possible up front so they can convert at a higher rate in the future.”
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