SEO Reseller program Semify helps agencies in the US and Canada take advantage of SEO without having to get caught up in the complexities of this highly sought after service. Previously, they worked with a third-party agency before signing with Belkins but achieved little results due to email deliverability issues. With 5-year expertise in providing lead generation services for marketing agencies, Belkins turned out to be a reliable partner for Semify. We invested all our efforts in outbound marketing which allowed the client's team to be focused exclusively on inbound marketing.
Below, there’s a list of the challenges the Semify sales team faced before Belkins specialists stepped in.
- Customer database expansion – Semify wanted to expand its customer base fast. Having sales tools like sales outreach, marketing automation, CRMs, and sales enablement platforms tracking customer interactions is not enough for effective prospecting. Their in-house inbound marketing efforts had been successful but required time to achieve the scale they envisioned. Semify wanted to continue building momentum with the help of outbound marketing.
- The ROI of business process outsourcing – Before getting in touch with Belkins, Semify had worked with another lead generation agency, but the company's return on investment was non-existent. Semify needed to stay flexible and focused and outsourcing their lead generation would allow them to do just that while retrieving an impressive ROI.
- Improved ICP – When lead generation approaches fail to work, an inaccurate Ideal Customer Profile is likely a major contributing factor. Given Semify’s previously failed outbound marketing attempts, a new approach to targeting their ICP should be determined to discover on whom they should focus their marketing efforts.
- Email templates – You can almost always blame inefficient templates for a lack of email traction. Once Semify noticed their emails were landing in the spam folder, tweaking their templates was another area for improvement.
- Unfavorable external conditions – As much as we’d like to predict every outcome, sometimes external conditions are out of our control. In the same way that marketing agencies struggled to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, similarly, Semify had trouble with the North American market.
What We Did
Under our guarantee, the Belkins team had to deliver 15 qualified appointments within three months. After being positively surprised and very pleased with Belkins’s performance, the client extended the contract for two additional months. Now, onto Belkins’s strategy.
Aligning Marketing And Sales Efforts
Defining a clear customer persona is a crucial step to ensure Marketing and Sales are aligned. Belkins needed to make sure they reached out to only qualified leads so that Semify could confidently sell their product and service. The team began searching companies using keywords on LinkedIn but after Belkins exhausted this pool, they had to switch to a manual approach: looking up contacts on each company's website. After conducting thorough research, the Belkins team decided to add Canada as a key geographic point to Semify’s ICP.
The Belkins team had to work closely with each other internally before providing the client with their observations or ideas. Belkins’s copywriters tweaked email templates several times to find the most effective combination (in terms of sales and email deliverability). The client assisted Belkins with everything needed, trusting the agency's experience and instincts to get the job done. Additions were added to Semify’s sales collateral to assist with conversions. For example, Belkins informed the client about pricing inquiries, and Semify created a PDF with price quotes that would lead to more booked appointments.
When Belkins started Semify’s lead generation campaign using a referral approach, it initially seemed promising. However, after two months, we discovered few results and decided we would need to try a new approach. Outbound marketing can be unpredictable but we’re always prepared to execute on Plan B when need be.
We started with a referral approach in an attempt to reach the right person in charge of adding new services to an agency's portfolio. The strategy was to reach marketing titles of higher seniority/CEO/Owners at agencies without an SEO department. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned. The first template brought low-quality responses. Prospects responded that they were either a) not interested or b) sent Belkins’s outreach emails straight to spam. Once Belkins was able to successfully retrieve emails out of spam folders, they decided to implement a new strategy.
At this point, it was mid-spring. The COVID-19 pandemic had finally started to ease up and people became more optimistic. They welcomed meeting in person and visiting their favorite places. That’s when Belkins implemented a strategic approach known as a ’fake F2F’. This tactic worked flawlessly and we immediately saw a skyrocketing increase of replies. Belkins refers to this face-to-face approach as ‘fake’ because the client couldn’t actually attend real-life meetings across the US and Canada. However, getting prospects to agree to meet IRL was a very effective method to get Semify’s foot in the door, easily converting booked F2F meetings into virtual ones.
Main Challenges Faced
Very few outbound campaigns run without a glitch. Our belief has always been that it is OK to have an occasional hitch or a problem if you know how to handle it effectively.
- Change of approach – Belkins noticed that Semify’s lead generation approach wasn’t working within a couple of months and was flexible enough to find another route. The team found great timing for these fake face-to-face meetings and reached out to key titles – CEOs and founders of small agencies – that usually respond to meet IRL. A quick change of approach brought Semify18 qualified appointments; more than doubling the mere 7 meetings with our original approach.
- Email deliverability – Prior to launching their campaign, Semify informed Belkins that they had experienced failed email deliverability with the marketing agency they previously worked with. Belkins attempted a new method to avoid the spam problems but soon realized there was a similar problem and common email deliverability remedies still weren’t working. We had to find a way to overcome this challenge, we set up a new domain and started the usual routine: warming up the inbox, ramping up their send-out limits, tweaking templates. Finally, Belkins was able to solve the problem, avoid the spam folder, increase their replies, and eventually booked meetings.
The F2F approach performed so well that it even exceeded Belkins’s expectations with email traction. On top of that, it allowed us to save plenty of B2B leads. Ultimately, Belkins delivered 54 appointments in 5 months with agencies across the US and Canada. After the first three months, the team started to upsell to larger packages increasing Semify’s order size and bottom-dollar.
The overview of the outbound campaign is as follows:
- total leads 4,884;
- emails delivered 9,604;
- emails opened 4,829;
- emails open rate 50%+;
- appointments 54.
- Small details matter. In order to have a successful cold outreach campaign, one must be meticulous. There are many things that need to be considered and aligned. Never underestimate the importance of the lead research process, email deliverability procedures, wording, or any other external factors (time of the year, pandemic, people's habits, individual approaches, etc.). The devil is in the details, always.
- Each voice counts. When discussing the strategy and campaign steps before launching, we recommend taking into account every piece of advice and suggestion from each department that’s engaged in a project. That way, we can minimize failed attempts, such as spam or unattractive subject lines.
- Thinking quick saves the day. Teamwork is great and a necessary component; but thinking outside of the box is a part of Belkins’s secret sauce. Belkins’s ability to work collaboratively and try new approaches allowed them to create an outbound campaign that performed remarkably well. In addition, the client's trust in Belkins's recommendations and experience helped achieve their ROI positive results.