Updated-Case Study: One month of selling mobile sites by email

by ronr
40 replies
There are so many WSO's about the great need for mobile websites and
about how businesses are begging for them and how by sending videos or
mockups you could could make thousands per month without face to face
meetings.

I like to report on money making ideas to my members so I thought this
would be a good test.

For the month of Feb. I had a family member send out emails every day
to small businesses. These emails came from Yellow Book and were listed
to have a website but not a mobile site. The emails were spam compliant
named their business, how he noticed they didn't have a mobile website,
why they needed one and telling them that he created mobile design for
them. They looked pretty much like a personal email.

I've seen this type of email approach suggested numerous times in WSO's
and on the forum.The plan was if they wanted to see the mobile design I
would have him make a quick mockup for them.

During the month about half the list was mailed twice, (the second
was a reminder) some of the interested ones were called as a followup.

Approx 3000 emails sent

Before I give you the results would anyone care to guess:

-The number of businesses who wanted to see the mockup?
-The number of sales?

*More info: We found that approx 25-30% of the Yellow Book
emails were undeliverable so the actual number of emails received
was more like 2000-2200.

We created 32 Mockups

Sales.................. 2


Here are some takeways:

-Gettingt them interested in seeing a mockup wasn't hard, but getting them
to actually buy was a different story.

-Often the business sounded very interested but he didn't hear from them
again. He tried following up more by phone. This turned out not to work because
it was so hard to catch the owner in. Some he did get on the phone acted very
interested but then never committed.

-Don't get too excited if an owner seems interested or promises to call you
back.

-Business owners seldom get back to no matter what they say. They are either
trying to tell you nicely that they aren't intereted or they really are but then they
get caught up with other things and it's hard to get them interested again. Let's
face it they are busy with their own problems and business.

-After the 2nd week he tried resending emails out to about 1/2 who didn't respond
the first time to the offer to see the mockup the first time. Each time he did this
he got more who wanted to see mockups.

-As it neared the end of the month we tested emailing all he busineses he made
mockups for and told them if they bought by the end of the month he would
discount it more but the price would go up dramatically on March 1st. This really
didn't have any effect accept for one frustrating incident I'll tell you next.

-There was one business owner that was contacted the first week who wanted
to see a mockup he ended up taking to on the phone. He was able to help him
understand that his flash website was not showing on many phones. He even
made a short video showing all the searches for his type of businesses that
Google was reporting from Mobile phones. Finally today on the last day he
emailed us and said he wanted to go ahead. He wanted to know if we could
host it on his site. At this point we decided that was ok and 10 minutes later
he emails back and says he just checked with his current web person who told him
that could do a mobile site for the same price so he thanked us but he was
going to have them do it. Unreal-At least 4 emails echanges, a phone call,
a video made for him when he had trouble undertanding it, then he says ok
on the last day only to say never mind.

-Selling mobile sites like any other type of sales takes a salesmanship.

-I'll let you decide if this model is feasable or not. But keep this in mind
the next time someone tells you how you can send out a few emails and
sell a mobile sites. Sure it happens occasionally but lets see a case study
over a longer period of time.

-If anyone has a system involving emailing that works for them let me know
and we may run run a real world test.

I hope you find this helpful.

Ron
#case #email #mobile #month #selling #sites #study
  • Profile picture of the author thomasmps
    im interested in seeing the numbers
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  • Profile picture of the author payoman
    3000 personalized emails WITH followups on interest?

    I'd guess about 150 interested with 10-15 sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author thomasmps
    id guess 25 interested and 8 sales
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    • Profile picture of the author Carl Pruitt
      Just to take a crazy guess... None?
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      • Profile picture of the author CreekChub
        Originally Posted by Carl Pruitt View Post

        Just to take a crazy guess... None?
        If it was anything less than 15-20, and was truly personalized, then the email copy was atrocious.
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        • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
          Originally Posted by CreekChub View Post

          If it was anything less than 15-20, and was truly personalized, then the email copy was atrocious.
          Can you offer feedback on how to make this type of campaign successful? Email examples? Thanks!
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          • Profile picture of the author Vikuna2009+
            What about doing another study by, instead of emailing 100%, place a phone call first and ask permission to send an email with information on how they can make more money, without revealing what it is.

            Any biz refusing to receive/read such an email should simply just close their doors...

            Eva
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  • Profile picture of the author Usdachoice
    I would guess 10 interested and 2 sales but I suck at guessing. The suspense is killing me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Volux
    Quite interested. Going to have to go with Carl's answer of none.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    15 interested
    1 sale
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    Promise Big.
    Deliver Bigger.
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  • Profile picture of the author elCapitan
    I'm also interested...
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    Promise yourself that you will not give up.

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    • Profile picture of the author ronr
      More information:

      We found that approx 25-30% of the Yellow Book emails were undeliverable so the actual number of emails received was more like 2000.

      We created 32 mockups for businesses who were interested in seeing them.

      Sales?
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      • Profile picture of the author xtirpata
        What's the prize for guessing correctly - a free mobile website?

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  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    five five five five five

    (not 5x5, just 5)
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  • Profile picture of the author Volux
    I'm going to say all 32 bought, then.
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  • Profile picture of the author avandrunen
    I would be interested to know myself...I dabbled in some emails but felt that I would get a better return on my time from cold calling...granted that isn't rolling along to great either.

    3000...that is quite a few...how many cities/towns did that encompass?

    I would also love to know what sort of pricing model you were using.

    Thank you for sharing this case study with us.

    Adrian
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    • Profile picture of the author Vikuna2009+
      Oh man, the suspense is killing me!
      7?

      Eva
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      • Profile picture of the author taranisman
        I think you have your guesses.

        So how many already?

        0?

        Is that the point of this?

        Is selling mobile websites over-hyped?
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        • Profile picture of the author ronr
          Ok I won't keep you waiting any longer...

          The grand total after sending almost 3,000 semi personal
          emails and creating 32 moble mockups for people who wanted
          to seen them was.................................. 2.

          Yes 2 mobile websites for $350 each.

          There's a lot more to the story. I'll tell you what we learned
          and some takeways as soon as I have more time.

          Ron
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          • Profile picture of the author taranisman
            I have had some horrible results with emails as well.

            I have sent tons of emails that were personalized and took some time for me to create a proposal for these people.

            Most people don't even email back just to say "Thank you" as a courtesy even if they aren't interested in your services.

            I have sent free guides to owners on how to claim their Yelp page (which I made sure they hadn't claimed yet) and they can't even say thanks. It's very frustrating and unprofessional as well.

            I'm not giving up though...
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  • Profile picture of the author Volux
    So tell me you've done more after the horrible results? Make some calls?
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    • Profile picture of the author ronr
      Here are some takeways:

      -Often the business sounded very interested but he didn't hear from them
      again. He tried following up more by phone. This turned out not to work because
      it was so hard to catch the owner in. Some he did get on the phone acted very
      interested but then never committed.

      -Business owners seldom get back to no matter what they say. They are either
      trying to tell you nicely that they aren't intereted or they really are but then they
      get caught up with other things and it's hard to get them interested again. Let's
      face it they are busy with their own problems and business.

      -After the 2nd week he tried resending emails out to about 1/2 who didn't respond
      the first time to the offer to see the mockup the first time. Each time he did this
      he got more who wanted to see mockups.

      -As it neared the end of the month we tested emailing all he busineses he made
      mockups for and told them if they bought by the end of the month he would
      discount it more but the price would go up dramatically on March 1st. This really
      didn't have any effect accept for one frustrating incident I'll tell you next.

      -There was one business owner that was contacted the first week who wanted
      to see a mockup he ended up taking to on the phone. He was able to help him
      understand that his flash website was not showing on many phones. He even
      made a short video showing all the searches for his type of businesses that
      Google was reporting from Mobile phones. Finally today on the last day he
      emailed us and said he wanted to go ahead. He wanted to know if we could
      host it on his site. At this point we decided that was ok and 10 minutes later
      he emails back and says he just checked with his current web person who told him
      that could do a mobile site for the same price so he thanked us but he was
      going to have them do it. At least 4 emails echanges, a phone call,
      a video made for him when he had trouble undertanding it, then he says ok
      on the last day only to say never mind. Unreal!

      -Selling mobile sites like any other type of sales takes a salesmanship.

      -I'll let you decide if this model is feasable or not. But keep this in mind
      the next time someone tells you how you can send out a few emails and
      sell a mobile sites. Sure it happens occasionally but lets see a case study
      over a longer period of time.

      -If anyone has a system involving emailing that works for them let me know
      and we may run run a real world test.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7800622].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author VegasGreg
    Some additional food for thought:

    A) The emails used in marketing places rarely go to the owner of a business.
    B) If the emails even get to the company, the person receiving them wants to sell stuff, not buy stuff.
    C) I probably received 137 of your emails as I filter a lot of my clients "marketing spam email" addresses. :-)
    D) I would think if anyone did show interest in a mobile website and they did even a small amount of research, they would find a lot cheaper options. (Not that $350 isn't sellable, just throwing in another filter that could have come in to play).

    I would imagine if you used postcards, letters, direct phone calls to that amount of businesses, you would get a much higher sales result.

    Thanks for sharing your stats. It's appreciated.
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    • Profile picture of the author BizManRobert
      Ron, Interesting post.

      -Getting them interested in seeing a mockup wasn't hard, but getting them to actually buy was a different story.
      Here is WHY 90% won't buy...

      NO proof that these mobi sites will bring the biz owner an increase in profits...
      And that [increase in profits] is all the biz owner cares about
      That's were the GOLD is, supplying businesses with marketing strategies that make them more cold hard CASH
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      • Profile picture of the author bob ross
        Originally Posted by BizManRobert View Post

        Ron, Interesting post.



        Here is WHY 90% won't buy...

        NO proof that these mobi sites will bring the biz owner an increase in profits...
        And that [increase in profits] is all the biz owner cares about
        That's were the GOLD is, supplying businesses with marketing strategies that make them more cold hard CASH
        Right, this is the main reason I haven't even thought about offering mobile sites. I completely understand the need for it but I wouldn't even consider offering them as a front-end product.
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        • Profile picture of the author mak25
          First off, in my experience, emailing anyone for a mobile site is just a plain ole waste of time.
          Just get on the phone and make some appointments, if you know how.

          Secondly, there are (IMO) only a few niches that can really benefit, meaning make real money from them.

          You need to get in front of people to explain to them how it works, and show them amazing results others (your clients) are getting.

          I have clients bringing in over 100k from their mobile presence.

          When this is presented in black and white to potential new clients, it makes the decision making just a little bit easier for them, don't you think?

          Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

          Right, this is the main reason I haven't even thought about offering mobile sites. I completely understand the need for it but I wouldn't even consider offering them as a front-end product.
          Different strokes for different folks, Jake.

          It's my bread and butter, and I enjoy helping my clients bring their marketing up-to-date and help them make more money.
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          • Profile picture of the author bob ross
            Originally Posted by mak25 View Post

            First off, in my experience, emailing anyone for a mobile site is just a plain ole waste of time.
            Just get on the phone and make some appointments, if you know how.

            Secondly, there are (IMO) only a few niches that can really benefit, meaning make real money from them.

            You need to get in front of people to explain to them how it works, and show them amazing results others (your clients) are getting.

            I have clients bringing in over 100k from their mobile presence.

            When this is presented in black and white to potential new clients, it makes the decision making just a little bit easier for them, don't you think?



            Different strokes for different folks, Jake.

            It's my bread and butter, and I enjoy helping my clients bring their marketing up-to-date and help them make more money.
            No shame in that at all. I certainly can't deny the need for it!
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            • Profile picture of the author damasgate
              Really nice experiment and I thank you for sharing it here with us.

              I personally use cold calling and try to either sell on the spot or book an appointment.
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        • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
          Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

          Right, this is the main reason I haven't even thought about offering mobile sites. I completely understand the need for it but I wouldn't even consider offering them as a front-end product.
          I agree 100%. IMO mobile sites are an upsell(or part of a package deal) that web designers should be offering.

          The OP's case where they lost the sale to the original web designer was a classic case.

          Had they been selling web design and explained how they could create a whole new web experience that is geared towards today's customer they could have sold that guy on using them vs. his original designer. Hell if you have an apple product flash don't work so a flash site is a horrid idea for a business and you need to nicely explain that.

          To the OP's main topic I have never been a fan of email because I get emails. I know I ignore them. I know everyone else I know in business ignores them. Using follow up emails can help increase it but is it really a "warm" call if the prospect has never read your email? My point being is why even bother with the emails? Why not just call the businesses?
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          • Profile picture of the author RRG
            Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

            I agree 100%. IMO mobile sites are an upsell(or part of a package deal) that web designers should be offering.

            The OP's case where they lost the sale to the original web designer was a classic case.

            Had they been selling web design and explained how they could create a whole new web experience that is geared towards today's customer they could have sold that guy on using them vs. his original designer. Hell if you have an apple product flash don't work so a flash site is a horrid idea for a business and you need to nicely explain that.

            To the OP's main topic I have never been a fan of email because I get emails. I know I ignore them. I know everyone else I know in business ignores them. Using follow up emails can help increase it but is it really a "warm" call if the prospect has never read your email? My point being is why even bother with the emails? Why not just call the businesses?
            Couldn't agree more. Sending these cold emails is borderline SPAM. Maybe not in a legal sense, but certainly in a practical sense.
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            • Profile picture of the author Vikuna2009+
              Here's a hands-on idea;

              Find a business that has a back room/banquet room where seating for at least 20 people are available. Offer that biz to build a mobile site or a combo website/mobile for free if you can use that room for a live seminar where you invite surrounding biz to a 1-2 hour meeting, also free.

              Once the meeting is running, you now have a captive audience where you can actually demonstrate a live site and explain benefits/features and the importance. Offer each attendee a killer deal and hopefully it will work out great.

              Eva
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              • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
                Originally Posted by Vikuna2009+ View Post

                Here's a hands-on idea;

                Find a business that has a back room/banquet room where seating for at least 20 people are available. Offer that biz to build a mobile site or a combo website/mobile for free if you can use that room for a live seminar where you invite surrounding biz to a 1-2 hour meeting, also free.

                Once the meeting is running, you now have a captive audience where you can actually demonstrate a live site and explain benefits/features and the importance. Offer each attendee a killer deal and hopefully it will work out great.

                Eva
                Really like this idea.

                Hell you might even offer your service for free or reduced monthly in exchange for use of the area 1 to 4 times a month.
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            • Profile picture of the author ronr
              The point of my test was to see if you could really sell mobile sites using emails. Not just the WSO's or person who claim that they sent out 10 videos or mockups and got one sale. Those flukes can happen. But they seldom scale up.

              Why email? Let's face it. It's one of the easiest, cheapest ways that most people will do. How many people actually have the guts to cold call daily? Very, very few. It's high burn out. As a busy owner I would guess most business owners get are at least as annoyed by cold calls than cold emails. Sending direct mail can be better. But that has it's own problems,. Cost, will it get read, etc.

              This isn't to say one prospecting method is better than others. It's just that each has it's pluses and minuses.

              I actually think getting 32 people to raise their hand and say yes I want to see a mobile design for my business out of approx 2,000 emails that were delivered isn't bad.

              The problem is closing them. Although in the test we tried to show value as much as we could, closing is the problem. You still need the ability to close them whether you prospect by phone, email, or direct mail.

              Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author TJ Rose
    What industry did the sales come from?
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    • Profile picture of the author ronr
      We tried to pick small biz that I thought could benefit from mobile version like towing, car repair etc. On a whim we tried sending 300 to medical related business and only got 2 responses. But one turned into one of our 2 sales. But I think that was a fluke.

      Originally Posted by TJ Rose View Post

      What industry did the sales come from?
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  • Profile picture of the author nathanjacobs
    I recently did this, had va's make 100 personal videos and sync good audio with each. Had a VA use Will R's software to make mobile mockups. They were able to do about 100 in 2 weeks time, 3 replies. 1 from a Warrior who said good luck it's tough out there who recognized Will's mockups and took the time to write me back and wish me luck - other 2 tire kickers left at price (which was cheap).

    Also used Wistia to track video views (only 7 viewed the vids out of the 100 sent and not all got through the first 10 seconds of it)

    Definitely not worth it if paying filipino va's to do it. Also not worth it if you personally do it all. Too much work for too little possible reward.

    At least I tried. Albeit only 2 weeks but I just didnt see the potential.
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    • Profile picture of the author ronr
      There was also a fair amount of confusion between app and a website. Most were thinking I was offering apps and not a mobile website.

      Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author CurtisSWN
    You need more pre-qualification. Are they already doing Adwords, do they have YouTube videos, do their sites have any real degree of optimization. If there isn't any good effort at pre-qualification, it's like throwing pearls to the swine.
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    • Profile picture of the author djackson
      Definitely.

      I made my first 5 cold calls today (finally broke through that invisible wall!), made one sale and two others requested samples.

      They all had sites and were already advertising on yellow pages.

      Not crazy results but all I did was pick up a phone and talk for a minute. I also think if I had sent an email that I wouldn't be $400 richer right now.



      Originally Posted by CurtisSWN View Post

      You need more pre-qualification. Are they already doing Adwords, do they have YouTube videos, do their sites have any real degree of optimization. If there isn't any good effort at pre-qualification, it's like throwing pearls to the swine.
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      • Profile picture of the author ronr
        Good for you for doing it and having success.

        Remember though that you may call 99 more and get nothing. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it or that you won't get more sales but basing anything on just a few calls, emails, drop bys don't tell you what will happen day in and day out.

        In fact the first day of sending emails I had requests for 3 mockups and one of them turned into the first sale. Even though I know better I thought that maybe the test might turn into 1 sale a day.

        As it turned out we got the first client on day one (it took a few days for him to buy) and the 2nd sale and last sale on the last day (day 28)

        Ron

        Originally Posted by djackson View Post

        Definitely.

        I made my first 5 cold calls today (finally broke through that invisible wall!), made one sale and two others requested samples.

        They all had sites and were already advertising on yellow pages.

        Not crazy results but all I did was pick up a phone and talk for a minute. I also think if I had sent an email that I wouldn't be $400 richer right now.
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