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Content Marketing & Media Campaign

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A content marketing campaign I devised for tech business timetoreply.com, comprising a study and published paper about how fast companies in different industries respond to customer inquiries. From the first publication the campaign attracted not only extensive national media coverage, but also significant sales and investment interest.



– An anonymous survey of Internet service providers, carried out by Cloud services company timetoreply, has shown that almost every Internet service provider countrywide does not respond to inquiries from its website fast enough. A paper detailing the findings of the survey reveals that more than a quarter of ISPs do not get back to potential customers at all from their websites.

The survey, carried out between June 2014 and March 2015, targeted 156 top ISPs, as listed by the Internet Service Providers Association. Each company was emailed a series of mock inquiries at different intervals, either directly or via online web forms from separate monitored email addresses. The time it took each ISP to respond to the emails was logged and ranked in order of how long it took them to get back to the research team’s “secret agents”.

ISPs were named in accordance with how fast they responded:

  1. Hare – a response of less than 30 minutes
  2. Sheep – a response of between 30 minutes and 1 day
  3. Tortoise – a response of more than one day
  4. Dead Duck – did not respond at all
Dane Spear, managing director of timetoreply, says his team was most surprised by the amount of ISPs that did not respond at all. Says Spear, “Internet service provision is an industry where customer service is king. Yet our survey tells us more than 28 per cent of ISPs do not reply to inquiries from their websites – a medium that is surely the most relevant of all to the industry. Perhaps most disappointing, is that only two per cent of all ISPs surveyed actually came back to us in less than 30 minutes, the fastest replying in a respectable two minutes.”

timetoreply conducted its secret shopper survey initially to gain insights around how quickly different industries reply to website inquiries, and how far that influenced them winning new business. Spear continues, “We already know most businesses don’t respond fast enough to website email leads. When you consider people prefer email to engage with brands more than twice as much as social media, even telephone, the opportunities being lost from tardy response come into sharp focus. From both our own research and third-party studies we’ve determined the optimal lifespan of an inbound lead is around five minutes and that, on average, 78 per cent of sales from inbound leads go to the first responder. Based on that research this study shows categorically that ISPs are not getting back to potential customers in time. Whether that’s down to apathy, disorganisation from sales people or slow communication between technical and sales departments is irrelevant, because the result is the same – disappointed customers and sales lost to competitors. All things being equal, businesses that respond fastest win the sale.”

timetoreply intends to extend its survey to a range of industries over the next 12 months, in a project that will collate and analyse website response times in the context of customer service. Continues Spear, “We’ll also be going back to survey ISPs during this time. It’ll be interesting to see if response times have improved and whether potential customers of ISPs are enjoying improved levels of service.”

About timetoreply

timetoreply is an online business software provider and world leader in Internet lead response tracking and optimisation. timetoreply helps businesses boost leads, sales and brand engagement by measuring how fast they reply to inquiries from their websites, with the option of displaying a badge or Speedo that independently proves how quickly the website responds to inquiries – measured by timetoreply’s in-house response measurement algorithm. timetoreply is available from www.timetoreply.com.


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