How To Stand Out From a Crowd at Dreamforce
This year for Dreamforce, I am speaking on a panel at the Outreach Lounge. (you can RSVP a seat there) Our topic? "How To Engage and Sell Effectively in Crowded Markets".
Truth - both Salesforce and Outreach.io are Opensense customers (read the Outreach Case Study here). In fact, this past year has been a banner one for us. There are now hundreds of companies up and running on Opensense, sending out tens of millions of emails bearing on-brand signatures and spiffy signature banners. Our customers range from three of the largest publicly traded marketing technology companies on Earth to the largest trade organization in the United States to over a dozen unicorns like Outreach and People.ai.
Email Signature Banners: The Last, Best Untapped Channel
Ironically, the Outreach Lounge panel topic looks at how to make your business stand out in a noisy landscape (like Dreamforce). Which is precisely the basic idea behind email signature banners. Marketing is crowded, noisy and increasingly expensive. Cheap ways to tap Google AdWords? Long gone for all but the longest tail. Organic reach in Facebook? A distant memory, supplanted by pay-to-play. And on and on. Never before has the market for advertising and promotions been so crowded and so pricey.
Except for the one that we are pitching (shameless plug). That is, your email. The marginal cost of every additional email you send is, in fact, zero. (It's like $100k in free ad money, really). In your emails, there are no competing bids. You don’t have to worry about organic reach, because no platform can go into someone’s email box and make sure they can’t read the message.
And by adding a visual element to otherwise drab email, you draw the eye and tell your story in a way that mere text never could. Here you can see how the National Association of REALTORS® taps Opensense for beautiful email signatures to promote their information campaign for Homeownership Month.
You Hate Boring PowerPoints. Why Would You Want Boring Emails?
This is why, we believe, Opensense is experiencing such rapid and astonishing growth. In the inbox, if your email doesn’t stand out, you are not doing your job. There is no one else to blame for the engagement levels your emails see. But we think that recipients have long since grown jaded by gimmicky subject lines and tricks to entice people to read emails. The way to do better email is to make it more attractive, more beautiful, and more click-worthy.
How many of you have gone to a presentation and endured slide after slide of bullet points. Boooring. Now, think about the best presentations you have seen. They boasted bold colors, big images, and other eye candy. They made you sit forward in your seat and pay attention. What we ask is, why can’t there be a little bit more of this in emails? The most natural place for colorful promotions is in the signature - real estate that is already promotional. And what if every email had a little banner under the signature block?
Both Salesforce and Outreach use Opensense for exactly this purpose (and so does Salesforce subsidiary Mulesoft). Salesforce uses Opensense extensively to drive attendees to sign up for events like Dreamforce. Outreach used Opensense signature banners to grow ticket sales to its annual conference by 10% - more than covering the cost of Opensense for an entire year with the proceeds.
Truth be told, there is no noisier landscape than Dreamforce. The hundreds of thousands of attendees are receiving emails from thousands of B2B technology vendors pitching their wares. The reality here, though, is that sometimes the best way to grab attention is not to try so hard. An email signature banner is a small thing. It is incorporated subtly at the bottom of a real stream of text written by one human for another. The signature doesn’t take over your browser. It doesn’t get in your face. It merely gives anyone receiving an email a colorful respite from the wall of text, without intrusion or rancor.
The best marketing and promotions is one that enhances your experience. Interruption marketing is dead. Brute force marketing is tired. Marketing that is human-to-human, and respects our human values, is where everything is trending; just look at the push to ABM-ify the world. An email signature banner is a pretty painting that you hang in the room. It makes a little more colorful, a little more interesting, and a lot more engaging. And that’s why, we believe, our customers say that signature banners turn into super high ROI, low cost growth channels.
Sometimes the best simplicity is the best tactic. Sometimes the best way to be heard is not to yell. Sometimes the best way to rise above the noise, to stand out from the crowd is not to be bolder and louder but to make something we all must use a little bit nicer. And at Dreamforce, sometimes the best way to stand out is to be part of a high-value conversation without seeking to dominate.