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Revised:  03/07/2012



B2B e-Mail Marketing FAQS


We at Rainmaker Partners feel we offer a very unique, compelling and value based approach to helping B2B companies drive leads, build pipelines and close revenue. 


However, the world of B2B e-Mail marketing is very confusing for potential customers.  Although confusing, after sorting through vendor core competencies most vendors capabilities fall in one of three buckets; pure Creative Agencies, "Interactive List Brokers" and Database Marketing firms.  In an effort to diffuse some of this confusion, we submit the following dialogue of questions and answers about each approach as well as comparing and contrasting the Rainmaker approach.


Top Level View


Questions about Search Engine Marketing

What is an "Interactive List Broker"?

What is a Database Marketing firm?

What is the Rainmaker Partners' Difference?

What does the CAN SPAM Act Mean to Me?


Rainmaker Partners


Is Rainmaker Partners a List Broker?

What differentiates Rainmaker Partners from List Brokers?

What differentiates Rainmaker Partners from Database Marketing companies?

How does Rainmaker Partners database segmentation process work?

Rainmaker sounds unique, how did it get started?

How does Rainmaker Partners build its eSegment Database?

How often does Rainmaker update its database?

How does Rainmaker prepare a segment for a customer?

How are the addresses validated?

Does Rainmaker use Business or Personal addresses?

What is Rainmaker Partners Privacy Policy.

How does Rainmaker price its eSegment customized databases?

How does Rainmaker Partners price it's eDesign Services?

Where is Rainmaker Partners located


List Brokers


What is a List Broker?

If List Brokers don't own the lists, where do they get my prospect names from?

How do List Brokers and List Owners get paid?

Who are some of the more prominent e-mail campaign List Brokers?

Are List Brokers focused on B2B or B2C campaigns?

If I rent from a List Broker, what do I get?

I am a B2B Marketer, what do I gain launching a campaign through a List Broker?

How do I do telemarketing follow-up after a List Broker campaign?

Does a B2B company need to have marketing generate the leads or can the sales team do it themselves?

Are most firms that label themselves as Interactive Marketing agencies really List Brokers?


Database Marketing Firms


What is a Database Marketing firm?

Who are some of the prominent Database Marketing firms?

What's the difference between List Brokers and Database Marketing companies?

Do Database Marketing firms collect and sell e-mail addresses?



What's is an "Interactive List Broker".


bro·ker   n.

  1. One that acts as an agent for others, as in negotiating contracts, purchases, or sales in return for a fee or commission.


A list broker represents a list owner in selling the use of the list (not the list itself) to a client who wishes to market their products to the people or companies on the list.  List brokers have been around for decades dealing in direct mail campaigns.  Interactive list brokers only differ in that they broker lists for e-mail campaigns rather than US Mail based campaigns.  List brokers and Interactive List Brokers work essentially the same way.  For their efforts, the broker receives a commission on the transaction.  B2B lists with e-mail addresses are typically rented for approximately $400 per thousand records per campaign  The more records the Interactive List Broker "sells" the more commission they make.


So Interactive List Brokers don't own the "lists" they represent?


No they don't.  Most often the lists are owned by companies (usually online and off-line merchants or publications) that individuals, usually acting as consumers, not business decision makers have registered their purchases with or have registered to receive a publication.


Many owners place stipulations on the broker in terms of under what circumstances they may sell the use of their list.  Some are stringent, some are not and many place no stipulation at all.  All rely on the Interactive List Broker to enforce their usage policy vis-à-vis allowing the fox to watch the hen house.


What compensation do the list owners and brokers receive?


The List Owners receive a predetermined percentage of the price the broker rents the list for usually 30-70% of the purchase price depending on the quality of the list and the negotiating strength of the owner.  The remainder is the broker's commission for the marketing of the list and the actual execution of the marketing campaign be it e-mail or direct mail.


Who are some Interactive List Brokers whose names I may recognize?


Some of the larger Interactive List Brokers that specialize in e-mail based marketing campaigns are DoubleClick, InfoUSA and 24/7 Mail.  There are a variety of Interactive List Brokers that offer direct mail but no e-mail capabilities.


Are Interactive List Brokers Focused on B2B or B2C campaigns?


Although most Interactive List Brokers will say they do both types they will also admit that the vast majority of their experience as well as the addresses in the lists that they broker are B2C in nature.  There are several reasons for this notwithstanding the fact they are limited in their B2B delivery capabilities and to their credit, B2B marketers have recognized that blind email campaigns to brokered lists with no follow-up capabilities are virtually worthless.


I think I understand now.  When I go to a Interactive List Broker I can't really "buy" a list for my marketing purposes, I can only "rent" it.  So let's say I rent it, what do I get?


Typically a Interactive List Broker will work with you to segment the list for your needs, keeping in mind the larger the list, the more money they make.  List's can be segmented by a variety of factors but it's predicated on the data that the list owner collects and the associated validity of that data.  In most cases, you can certainly segment the database by geography as this data is typically collected and declared by the consumer correctly.  Some lists offer a wide variety of selection parameters such as household income, other products owned etc. but the validity of this supporting data is suspect and in many cases non-existent as they are not required fields from the owners on-line or off-line data collection forms.


As such, although the Interactive List Broker advertises a seemingly endless opportunity to segment the database in many cases the data to do so is non-existent.


After the selection is made and you pay the broker in full and up front the broker will executed the campaign for you, you never need to deal with it. 


Sounds easy?  At face value yes it is and it makes some sense if you are selling $25 widgets to consumers.  However, the value is highly questionable for B2B marketers.


Household Income, and $25 widgets don't apply to me.  My company sells products that cost several thousand dollars and up,  to businesses not consumers.  As a B2B marketer, what benefit can I gain by launching an

e-mail campaign through a Interactive List Broker?


It depends on many factors including the compelling nature of your product offering promotion, pricing etc. as well as the quality of the actual creative.  On the later you will be responsible for the final production although the broker will put it in it's final physical format for you before they execute the campaign.  These are things that you can control.


The other major factor in determining the success of a campaign through a Interactive List Broker  is the quality of the list.  This you don't control.  The problem is the broker can't control it either...they don't own it


Sure it sounds like Interactive List Brokering has some drawbacks but I just want out get the word out and have our telemarketing people and sales people take it from there.  I mean lets face it, I'm not going to sell my $25,000 ACME whiz-bang widget or a $100,000 services engagement to a busy corporate decision maker from one e-mail campaign.  We need sales people to close deals, we in marketing are just supposed to fill the pipeline!


We agree, it is true that e-mail campaigns alone probably will not sell products with these price tags.  However, research does show they can very effectively serve the purpose of prospective generating leads and building pipelines.  This assumes that you also know who the campaign went to and you can performing telemarketing follow up. The problem with Interactive List Brokering for B2B companies such as yours is that although you  rented a list of 5,000 prospects:

1.  You will never see the names and phone numbers of the people and businesses you campaign went to.  In other words, forget targeted telemarketing. Have your people pick up a phone book, it will work just as well.


2.  You have no idea whether the 5,000 prospects were your intended decision makers.  Case in point, let's suppose that your target market is  marketing executives and you are selling the latest greatest marketing planning system.  It requires a $50,000 investment which depending on the size of the company will require selling to mid-management levels to the CMO in large companies, perhaps even the board in smaller companies

You can turn to a broker and rent a list whose owner is a publication focused on marketing professionals.  You've done about as well as you can in terms of segmentation through a Interactive List Broker.  Problem is that everyone from the marketing intern to the CMO subscribes to it.  As you know, there are at least 10x the number of marketing people who want to be CMO as there are CMO's


Then the broker will deliver the campaign to 5,000 people of which arguably only 500 (or less) of which are actual decision makers.  Will you ever get to know who the campaign went to? Who these 5,000 marketing people were, who the 500 decision makers were.  The answer to both is no, unless of course a recipient responds.


Now lets assume a 2% response rate which is fantastic for a customer acquisition campaign.  A 5,000 person campaign will yield 100 respondents. How many people do you think will be CMO's and how many will be CMO and management wannabes?


Mostly the later don't you think?  Oh by the way, you may get aggregated statistics at the end of the e-mail campaign, such as how recipients opened the mail, how many clicked through, how many bounced and so on which is good data for evaluating the quality of your subject line and content.  Good info yes, but did it build a pipeline.  The answer is once again regretfully no.


In summary, you just spent money to deliver your message and value proposition to an unknown group of 5,000 people only a small fraction of which are your target decision makers.   If you are upset by the lack of response and the number of bounces, good luck, you probably paid for the list up front.


With the economy the way it is, we have pared back our marketing budget dramatically. E-mail was something we could fit into what's left due to it's much lower cost.  But if it is sketchy at best whether it will help sell more product, maybe we'll forgo the expenditure and let the sales people drive their own leads and pipeline?  After all they claim it's all in the relationship and the leads we generate are worthless.


In this economy, this is a frustrating quandary for B2B marketers.  Regretfully but with exception, "closer" B2B sales people are not terribly effective in generating new leads at net, new customers.  Further, for a company to be successful in these uncertain times, it must be have an integrated sales and marketing plan with both parties "singing from the same hymnal".  Please see the headline article in our February 4th, edition of "B2B Interactive" for more guidance.


Marketing must drive leads and hold sales accountable for their progression through the pipeline to closure.  To allow individual salespeople to assume responsibility for lead generation and pipeline development under the premise of "relationship selling" is a recipe for missed numbers, lost jobs and ultimate demise.  Conversely, sales when provided with the basic information in a compatible format for tracking within the company's Sales Force Automation must be responsible and accountable for lead follow-up and funnel progression.  


In B2B selling "relationship" may indeed be the singular most important factor in closing the sale.  Closing the deal is the art of one-to-one selling. However, building pipelines involves the art of one-to-many selling.  The most effective way to do this is to create many impressions.  Here relationship selling is clearly not scalable and B2B marketers traditionally have looked at mass media, direct mail, trade shows, etc. as the mechanism to fill pipelines.  Due to the difficulty inherent in targeting and tracking these vehicles, the quality of the "leads" have been suspect, increasing the divide between the marketing and sales departments within companies. 


At the risk of making a marketer cringe, we cite the following quotes from the movie "Glengarry, Glen Ross"


"It's the leads, the whole thing is the leads."


and "Just give me some leads that don't come out of a phone book"


Although selling in a B2C market, the cast of this movie cite the all to often complaint of B2B sales people.  "We need 'good' leads from marketing, where are they for all the money we spend?"


So, here we have a dilemma.  We have cut budgets which have drastically curtailed our ability to generate leads through the conventional B2B lead generating mechanisms cited above, albeit questionable in the minds of the sales force to begin with.  What to do?


There are lower cost alternatives such as e-mail campaigns through Interactive List Brokers. However, they offer us no capacity to drive and qualify a pipeline of prospects through the sales funnel.  Is there another way? 


Yes, Rainmaker Partners has developed fundamentally simple, straight-forward and inexpensive approaches to B2B customer acquisition and cross/up selling that when properly executed and managed by it's clients will produce demonstrated results and ROI/IROR far surpassing traditional promotional vehicles.


 Are most firms that label themselves as interactive marketing agencies really Interactive List Brokers?


Many are.  They may do many other things as well such as DoubleClick, however to the extent they launch interactive e-mail campaigns for clients they function as a Interactive List Broker.


Some firms label them selves as such but really do not get into list selection or executing, tending to stay on the content and creative side.


What is a Database Marketing Firm.


A Database Marketing firm is a company that tracks data regarding consumers and or businesses and sells the information.  Unlike Interactive List Brokers, the Database Marketing firm owns the data and is able to sell it to customers usually for marketing and financial evaluation purposes.  A customer of a Database Marketing company actually receives the data that they can use for direct mail programs and telemarketing programs vs. a Interactive List Broker customer who never sees the prospect data. 


Who are some of the prominent Database Marketing Firms.


There are two camps.  In the B2B world, Dun and Bradstreet is the most venerable and well known but there are a number of others with InfoUSA, Harris InfoSource, One Source, Hoovers and HarteHanks comprising the lion's share of the market along with D&B.  It is fair to point out that all of these vendors provide data for more than marketing purposes and each have special niches where they excel.  D&B and Hoovers for example are widely used to examine the financial strength of companies but also used for marketing purposes as well.


In the B2C world, the leaders are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.  Historically, These companies primary business was to assist lenders assess credit worthiness, however they have successfully leveraged their vast consumer databases to provide B2C marketing services as well.


What are the primary differences between Interactive List Brokers and database marketing firms.


It boils down to this, Interactive List Brokers do not own the lists they use, but provide limited creative and campaign execution services.


Database Marketing firms own their data, sell it for a variety of purposes and typically do not engage in creative services or campaign design and execution.


Do Database Marketing firms collect and sell e-mail addresses?


No.  At this time, no major database marketing firm including those mentioned above collects and sells e-mail addresses as a part of its database marketing offerings?


How is Rainmaker Partners different? Are they an Interactive List Broker or a Database Marketing company?


Neither, we're actually a hybrid.  Rainmaker Partners is a full service Interactive Database Marketing agency servicing the needs of B2B marketing professionals.   We OWN our own eSegment database of several million B2B decision makers with over 2,500,000 records completely populated with e-mail addresses.  This provides us with the capability to sell licenses which allow clients to utilize customized segments of our database for their own marketing purposes throughout the year. Although Rainmaker typically assumes the administrative burden of executing campaigns for clients, we provide detailed discrete contact details for your timely telemarketing and sales follow-up.  We also offer the telemarketing services for companies on an outsourced basis


Through the power of 56 we can help you target the right decision makers within your target market, utilizing eFollow for telemarketing and qualifying leads thus driving pipeline development.


Our eDesign services can develop targeted creatives and content for your web-site, e-mail and fax campaigns, newsletters and announcements.


Our eMail Campaigns are less expensive than direct mail or mass media with three times the readership rate and all of the interaction and follow up capabilities that direct mail cannot provide.


Rainmaker’s eOpt solution allows you to outsource the sometimes daunting challenge of opt-in/opt-out database management. 


eNrich provides you with solutions to enrich your customer and prospect databases with new contacts and fields to further enhance your ability to penetrate, cross sell and up sell within new and existing accounts.


Rainmaker eReach solution set empowers you to drive pipeline development and immediate revenue growth


What is the primary factor that differentiates Rainmaker from the Interactive List Brokers?


Simple, we own our database, they don't.  As such this gives us the flexibility that they cannot offer.


In addition we provide full service Interactive Marketing capabilities from campaign design, content and creative development, execution and 360° aggregate and discrete analytical feedback on the success of client campaigns.  Broker's creative and analytical abilities vary, but none can offer discrete contact level click through and readership analysis as ell as providing clients with the means for intelligent telemarketing follow-up.


What is the primary difference between Rainmaker Partners and Database Marketing Firms?


Rainmaker Partners, like Database Marketing firms, owns its own database so we can sell not just rent the use of our lists for marketing purposes.  The difference is twofold.  First we are unique in owning a database of over 750,000 B2B decision maker e-mail addresses which is growing monthly.  At this time, we are unaware of any Database Marketing firm that collects and verifies B2B functional decision maker addresses. 


In addition, we provide full service Interactive Marketing capabilities from campaign design, content and creative development, execution and 360° aggregate and discrete analytical feedback on the success of client campaigns.


How does Rainmaker Partner's database segmentation process work?


Through the power of our eSegment methodology we can help you target the exact decision makers within your target market from our email database of over 2,500,000 B2B decision makers ("C" level, VP, Director and managerial executives) within North America, utilizing eFollow for telemarketing and qualifying leads thus driving pipeline development.


Our consultants will work with you utilizing all of your available demographic data to define your market by Industry, SIC code, functional buyers such as CEO, VP of Sales, VP of Engineering, and CFO, geographies such as state, province or region.  Upon completion we will draw upon our database sources and generate the appropriate segmented database complete with e-mail address, telephone number, fax number, company address, contact information and much more.


Unlike other conventional marketing firms we provide you with the contact information to integrate with your CRM or Sales Force Automation system for your telemarketing follow up.


Rainmaker sounds unique, what was the genesis of it's concepts?

The genesis of the eSegment concept came from the founders of Rainmaker who are B2B high-technology industry veterans with over 40 years of successful senior sales and marketing management experience.  Frustrated by the ineffectiveness and cost of conventional lead generation vehicles while attempting to balance the needs of their own marketing and sales department goals they developed and successfully implemented the concept at B2B technology companies before founding Rainmaker Partners in 2002.


How does Rainmaker Partners build it's eSegment database?


Rainmaker aggregates data from both public domain sources such as websites and public filings, etc. as well as data it purchases from commercially available sources.  Although available from individual sources, the aggregated data often has little value without manipulation and interpretation.  The especially holds true in the area of e-mail addresses since very few quality sources exist for B2B executive level contact information complete with e-mail addresses.  As such, Rainmaker has developed several proprietary techniques of list matching and predictive modeling which allows us to build a unified view of data that can be segmented and readily used by B2B marketers for e-mail, direct mail and fax campaigns. 


Of critical importance to B2B marketers, Rainmaker provides clients with the capacity for timely and targeted telemarketing follow-up. 


How often does Rainmaker update its database?


Updates are collected each month from individual sites and published quarterly, typically in April, July, October and January.


How does Rainmaker prepare a segment for a customer?


At the time of contract, Rainmaker extracts the customer specified segmentation specifically for the customer’s unique requirements.  In order to prevent customers from paying for old or no longer active addresses, Rainmaker re-validates each address in the segmentation prior to delivery to a customer.  During this process, we enter a field into each record denoting that it tested as a valid address. 


When we provide a quotation to a customer, we typically only charge a customer for 70% of the record count we have in the desired segmentation. Inevitably, no matter how recently a database is updated hard bounces (bad addresses) do occur resulting from employee turnover etc.


Our conservative estimating procedure is designed to prevent the customer from paying for records which have e-mail addresses that are no longer valid.  If 80 or 90% of the addresses prove valid after verification (which is often the case), the customer will still only pay for the price originally quoted and Rainmaker will provide the customer with the entire validated record set.   If less than 70% of the addresses are valid then Rainmaker will provide a pro-rata adjustment in the final installment.


How are the addresses validated?


Rainmaker utilizes technology that validates the contact’s address at their domain’s designated SMTP server without delivering an e-mail to the given contact.


Does Rainmaker use an executive’s personal e-mail address to deliver campaigns to?


No.  Studies have shown that recipients are more often to view business mail sent to their personal e-mail box or vice versa as an intrusion.


Therefore all of the addresses Rainmaker provides to clients are “corporate domain addresses” For example:


If John Doe is CFO at XYZ Corp. then our address for john would look something like John.Doe@xyzcorp.com rather than jdoe1234@hotmail.com.


What is Rainmaker Partners' Privacy Policy?


Rainmaker Partners believes strongly in permission-based B2B interactive marketing .
Rainmaker Partners values a businessperson's right to e-privacy and adheres to the
DMA's (Direct Marketing Association) Privacy Promise Guidelines for ethical and responsible e-mail marketing. Rainmaker holds steadfast to these guidelines, further, our email addresses and associated marketing data will not be made available to a customer or prospect unless they meet strict criteria.  Click here for the complete list of criteria and our full policy statement.


How does Rainmaker Partners price its eSegment customized databases?


Much like a Database Marketing firm on a per record charge which decreases as the record volume purchased increases.  You can purchase a database for single use or an unlimited usage license for a one-year period.


You will find our prices quite competitive with Database Marketing firms with the added benefit of our unique ability to provide e-mail addresses which they cannot do.


Likewise our prices are quite competitive with Interactive List Brokers with the added Rainmaker benefit of receiving a full telemarketing database with discrete name open and click through reports for your intuitive telemarketing follow-up  Interactive List Brokers do not provide these vital links to generating leads, building pipelines and driving incremental B2B revenue.  Only Rainmaker can.


How does Rainmaker Partners price its eDesign and eMail service offerings?


All of Rainmaker's services with the exception of the eSegment database segmentations are charged based upon billable hours incurred.  Rainmaker's professional services are billed at market competitive rates.


Where are you located.


Rainmaker Partners conducts business throughout North America from it's headquarters in Lowell, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

What is the difference between search engine positioning, search engine optimization and search engine marketing?

All of these terms refer to the art and science of increasing a website's visibility across search properties on a strategically defined list of relevant keywords and phrases. The term "search engine marketing," the most recent term to emerge, is used to better describe the purpose of a comprehensive search engine placement campaign, which includes natural search engine optimization, in addition to a host of other services including research-based keyword selection, media buying, link popularity enhancement and conversion tracking.

What is the objective of a search engine marketing campaign?

The objective of search engine marketing is to drive qualified visitors to your website, thereby increasing your brand awareness, capturing additional qualified prospects, resulting in additional sales - all of which leverage your existing Web investments.

Why do I need to be concerned about online branding and acquisition?

Web users are more likely to return to your website if it has a focused message that is communicated effectively. Brand awareness is one of the top influences on consumers when making online purchases. Consequently, businesses that have a strong online brand identity are more likely to increase customer acquisition, loyalty and retention. On the acquisition side, there are few, if any, categories of prospects that are more qualified than potential consumers searching the Web for products and service solutions which you offer. Failing to expose your website to this extremely qualified universe is effectively turning your back on a lucrative revenue channel.

What's the right time to for me to start a search engine marketing campaign?

Immediately. With 400 million people using the Internet, and therefore using major Internet search properties, the potential Web audience is so large that a strategic approach to capturing your share of that market is critical. Obtaining higher rankings in the major search engines is one of the most effective marketing tools you can implement in today's online world.

How long does a search engine marketing campaign last? How soon will I see results?

We typically establish 12-month campaigns. There is an enormous amount of education, research, analysis, technical programming, and testing performed in the first 3 months in particular. Natural rankings will begin to appear in select properties within approximately 4 months. The single defining element of this timeline is frankly the speed with which you approve and implement Rainmaker Partner's work. Our goal is to exceed your expectations. If a client needs to, and is prepared to, "fast track" this process, we work to bring results as rapidly as possible.

How do I know which search engines and directories to submit my Web pages to?

Rainmaker Partner's stays abreast of the ever-changing search engine landscape on a daily basis. We not only study current strategies and ranking algorithms, we follow the industry trends and can anticipate future changes.

Why do the search properties keep changing the rules on how they rank sites?

Change is constant on the Internet, and therefore, search properties must constantly keep up with tremendous amounts of new data, the way that data is managed and maintained and additionally, their competition.

What's the difference between a search engine marketing "vendor" and a professional search engine marketing services firm?

There are dozens of search engine marketing vendors who can help you obtain better rankings. However, one-time, static changes are virtually valueless two to three months after they are initially obtained.

The search engine marketplace is extremely volatile. Web user behavior is a mysterious and complex phenomenon, requiring sophisticated research and analysis to uncover its trends. Furthermore, the major search properties are continually adjusting their inter-relationships and switching search result providers. Consequently, rankings that initially exist on particular search keywords and phrases within the major search engines and directories are likely to vanish without appropriate monitoring, supervision and enhancement.

As a professional services firm, Rainmaker Partner's provides you with strategic business and marketing advice and support, as well as ongoing marketing consultation geared toward obtaining and maintaining your top rankings over the long-term, thereby maximizing the return on your existing Web investments. To a professional services firm, search engine marketing is not a project; it's a process. It's not one-size-fits-all, but extremely customized to fit your unique website(s) and your specific online marketing goals.

What should I look for when choosing a search engine marketing partner?

The ideal search engine marketing partner is one that understands the dynamics of marketing, business, and technology - and employs the highest levels of integrity in their work. There are a number of unethical practices or shortcuts that can be used in search engine marketing, but the search engines themselves often times will not accept these questionable or "tricky" practices. You should choose a partner that doesn't utilize any of these practices to achieve short-term results for its clients. You should also expect to benefit from the research expertise, customized approached, management expertise, and on-going consultative process from a search engine marketing partner.

Click here to learn more about choosing a search engine marketing partner.

What is cloaking? Does Rainmaker Partner's utilize this technique?

Cloaking is the technique of delivering a particular Web page to a search engine, while serving a completely different Web page to the end user. Search engines commonly overlook - and in some cases even ban - websites that employ this practice. Rainmaker Partner's is aware of the search properties' views on cloaking and therefore does not employ the technique.

Click here to learn more about Rainmaker Partner's ethical approach to search engine marketing.

What guarantee do I have that search engine marketing will work?

The results of a search engine marketing campaign are influenced by both controllable, and uncontrollable, factors. Although criteria such as changes in the search property algorithms or shifts in the search property database cannot be controlled, it is possible to manage and influence certain other aspects. Controllable factors include the optimization and submission of your website, and the strategic formulation of the site descriptions that are submitted to the search directories. An Rainmaker Partner's search engine marketing and website promotion campaign works to limit the impact of the uncontrollable factors, while managing all aspects that can be controlled.

Is my company the right type to engage in search engine marketing?

Any type of company or organization that is serious about growing its online business is the "right" type of company. With more than 80% of Internet users using the major search properties to solve their problems or needs, your website should be in one of the top 30 listings if potential customers or visitors are to find it. If it isn't, there's a universe of potential customers that remains totally untapped, and your website is no more effective than the fabled "billboard in the woods."

How many keywords should I target?

Quality, not quantity, is the focus of keyword strategy - there is no absolute rule for how many keywords and phrases you need to target. And before you even begin developing a list, you must understand your target audience and the language different searchers use when looking for your specific products, services and information online. Rainmaker Partner's behavioral and linguistic approach works, first and foremost, to understand your business, your target audience and their search behavior. Understanding the query language of your most qualified prospects is the most important step in developing an effective search engine marketing strategy. How do they use words? What is the intent of their query? If you do not get the language right from the start, qualified visitors will never find your website.

Click here to learn more about Rainmaker Partner's query language research capabilities.

What is link popularity?

Link popularity is a measure of how many other sites contain a hyper link to your site. Some search properties, most notably Google, use link popularity as one of their most important criteria in determining page rank. A further component of link popularity is the quality of sites linking to yours. A link to your site from the New York Times website will be regarded as more important than a link from your friend's "Tribute to the 1977 Camaro" website that's hosted on a free server.

How do you increase a website's link popularity?

You might think that logic dictates that you can increase link popularity by undertaking an effort to get as many links to your site as possible. However, search properties, in their constant efforts to produce the most relevant results, are aware of and penalize for such tactics. Having links to your site from "link farms" or "free-for-alls" can actually be counterproductive.

There are valid and effective ways of increasing link popularity. The process begins in your own backyard -- proper optimization involves maximization of the internal linking structure of your site, having keyword-rich link text, and increasing the number of relevant outbound links. From there, Rainmaker Partner's builds upon this internal strength to focus our efforts on establishment and cultivation of valuable external linking relationships.

We have a global site with multi-language requirements. Will the keywords and phrases apply to all languages and search properties in other countries?

Global companies require an international presence within the major search engines and directories in order to target their audience across the world. Rainmaker Partner's understands that international Web users typically search in their native language and often use country-specific search engines. Consequently, Rainmaker Partner's conducts thorough investigations of each targeted country, studying language preferences and searching habits. Currently, Rainmaker Partner's has global campaigns targeting United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

What's the difference between a search engine and a directory?

Search directories, such as Yahoo!, LookSmart and the Open Directory, allow a user to either conduct a search or browse by category. Human editors construct search directories. These editors have final say as to what category and description each website within their subject-based organizational structure will have. Search directories are unlikely to include every page of a website, typically listing only the main page.

Search engines or 'spider-based' search engines, on the other hand, do not use editors to verify submissions; they typically use automated programs, also known as spiders, to continually scan and index the Web's immense content. These tools travel page-by-page, storing all of the content and information they discover along their path.

Although the two are quite different, most of the major search engines, as well as search directories, provide search results from both types of search property. For example, the search directory Yahoo! currently provides search directory results from Yahoo! as well as search engine results from Google.

Can I just use software to achieve better rankings in search engines?

Submission software may assist in having your site indexed by some of the major search engines. However, if the site is not optimized properly using focused keywords and phrases, there is little or no chance it will rank highly for targeted search terms.

Click here to learn about the different types of search engine marketing solutions available.

Is utilizing meta tags enough?

When the Web was in its infancy, search engines depended profoundly on the meta tag for search result relevancy, giving this piece of code high prominence in their ranking algorithms. However, as the Web has matured and search technology has become more sophisticated, meta tags have lost significance. Although they are still a factor considered in most of the major search engines' ranking algorithms, they no longer carry the weight they once did. As a result, novel factors, including off-the-page considerations, now have higher weight in determining the relevancy of a search result.

Can I promote my site if I'm using FRAMES or JAVA?

Many of the technologies in use on websites today are visually appealing; however, they are also indecipherable by search engine spiders. Although Web technologies and design considerations such as Frames and Java impair search visibility, there are technical workarounds to get these sites indexed. Rainmaker Partner's understands the need to have a visually appealing, yet search friendly site. Consequently, our strategic approach for dealing with search-unfriendly technologies and design techniques - developed over our years of experience with hundreds of sites - maximizes both the appearance of the site and its potential for search visibility.

Is having a popular company name or well-known brand enough so that customers and prospects will find my site?

Certainly the stronger and more recognizable your brand name, the better the chance that Web users will find you - IF your URL reads exactly the same as your branded company or product name. But Web users don't always remember the exact spelling or phraseology of company names, or they refer to your products and services using different language than you do.

Are search engine marketing programs used only for selling products?

Although companies that sell their products online can profit from search engine marketing, websites with all sorts of distinct business models can also greatly benefit. Whether your goal is to inform visitors, make contact with customers, or support your offline channel, search engine marketing efforts assists in driving qualified traffic to your site or reaching your existing audience and customer base. By targeting relevant and focused keywords and phrases, a comprehensive Rainmaker Partner's search engine marketing strategy can help you meet a wide variety of objectives.

How can search engine marketing strategies impact my business?

The goal of effective search engine marketing is not just adding traffic - it's about growing your online business by reaching qualified consumers of your products and services. Rainmaker Partner's has built its proprietary processes around sound business principles. We employ best business practices, benchmarking, predictive modeling and forecasting to help you understand and obtain your growth potential. With 400 million people using the Internet and using search properties, the potential Web audience is so large for businesses that a strategic and sustainable approach to capturing that market is vital.

How does search engine marketing compare to my other marketing investments?

Companies continually re-evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing programs against changing buying patterns, but never before has there been such a rapid and intense change as the onset of the Internet. Search engine marketing is still relatively new and within the past five years, only the largest and most aggressive companies have incorporated it into their strategic marketing plans. Today, the science of search engine marketing is becoming an integral and dominant aspect of any company doing business online. Given the size of the potential market available via the Internet and the ability to instantly reach potential customers anywhere in the world, at any time, search engine marketing has leaped ahead to become a critical marketing tool. No longer can companies ignore its effectiveness if done strategically, and done right.

How will I know if my business increases as a result of top rankings?

The Rainmaker Partner's staff work daily, hand-in-hand with a designated team within your company, to monitor the results of our collective effort. Updates on the campaign progress and results are provided continuously. By the end of the first twelve months, Rainmaker Partner's will provide you with a full analysis of your rankings on all search properties, and as well as an analysis of how your activity at the end of the campaign compares to the baseline established at the beginning of the campaign.

How do I ensure that I stay ahead of my competition when it comes to online visibility?

As we said earlier, search engine marketing is not a one-time project. It must be seen as an ongoing strategic business process if you want to continually stay ahead of the competition. To that end, part of our consultative process is to assess the activities, strengths and weaknesses of your major competitors' sites, and devising appropriate strategies for netting superior visibility for your site.

Click here to inquire about Rainmaker Partner's search engine marketing services.








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