Tag Archives: b2b marketing

Email spending up, but watch for signs of overload

U.S. marketers are predicted to spend $2 billion on email marketing by 2014, amounting to an almost 11% compound annual growth rate, according to the latest forecast by Forrester Research.

Falling CPMs and high ROI are giving marketers more reason to rely on email as their primary direct marketing outreach, according to the “U.S. E-mail Marketing Forecast 2009 to 2014” report.

A major challenge for marketers to be on the lookout for is the use of email in social networks. Marketers will have to find a way to leverage social sharing tools in the same way they once used social and traditional inboxes.

But just because everyone’s doing it and spending a lot of money on it, doesn’t mean that this is the time for everyone to go into email overload.

You may be looking at email as an effective way to boost sales while your budget is feeling the pinch, but turning up the volume of emails you send customers could backfire in a big way.

“E-mail is such a low-cost channel to send that people have the impression they can keep pulling that lever,” said Aaron Smith, principal and co-founder of Smith-Harmon, a Seattle-based e-mail marketing, strategy and creative services provider.

“There’s a saturation level in the inbox that is unprecedented right now, and you are far more likely to oversaturate your customer base, upset them and turn them off.” (BtoB Magazine)

When you’re feeling the pressure to push out more emails, Smith offers some strong arguments on why it could be a bad idea in a recent BtoB Magazine article.

Why email overload can be a bad idea:

  • Lower lifetime value. The average value of an email address is $118. When subscribers start ignoring your messages or unsubscribe from your emails, that value quickly diminishes.
  • Higher spam complaints. Even if you’re sending to subscribers, they will start marking your emails as spam if you’re loading their inbox with more, but worthless messages.
  • Brand damage. It’s possible that a person can get so fed up with the amount of messages they receive from you, that they block you out entirely. Once they’re gone, it’s tough getting them back.

We’ve all had the joy of dealing with email overload in our personal inboxes. Turn those negative experiences into a chance to improve your marketing at work.

Improve your email marketing by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What standards do you have for emails subscriptions?
  • What motivates you to open an email? To click through in an email?
  • Why do you unsubscribe from mailing lists?

Understanding why you choose to subscribe, actively participate or unsubscribe from emails can give you an added insight into why your customers do the same.

Business success in four minutes flat

Why do so many people reach succes and then fail?

Analyst Richard St. John took the lessons he learned in business, both successes and failures, and put them in this advice-filled, honest four-minute presentation.

Take a quick break and listen to some awesome advice:

Boost conversions with simple registration changes

The thought of testing big new campaign strategies may be as scary to businesses as an eight year old watching “Friday the 13th” – both can give you nightmares.

Instead of sticking their neck out with a new marketing idea right now, many companies are switching the focus to improving successful tactics that have lived up to their investment year after year.

The content registration form is one of those most proven tactics – and it’s a place where simple changes can make a big difference in your conversion rates.

The gurus at Marketing Sherpa recently dug through all of their best past case studies and B2B marketing research to find the most effective registration form tweaks that deliver the best results.

Here are some of the most simple ways B2B marketers have improved conversion rates of their registration forms:

Keeping it short. Long registration forms = higher abandon rates. Yes, you want to get as much information as possible, but you could be scaring prospects away with your long form. Instead, focus the questions on the information that’s most essential. Keep it basic, but add a follow-up communication strategy to collect more data once the prospect shows added interest.

Make it voluntary. Give prospects the information they want, whether it’s a product demo or white paper, then ask them for personal information. Strategically positioning voluntary registration forms alongside online demonstrations, and telling visitors that it was voluntary, has the potential to deliver “impressive” conversion rates.

Use secondary offers carefully. It’s usually best to limit landing pages to a single call to action, but in some cases, giving prospects a second option can boost conversions. If prospects aren’t ready to give you all of their contact information, but have the option to download a white paper, for instance, it could significantly improve your conversions.

Pre-populated fields work. If you have the advantage of knowing some of the prospect’s key information, pre-populate fields on the registration form to make it easier for them. One company found an almost 95% conversion rate increase after they started using pre-populated fields.

Take the “reset” button out. “Reset” or “clear form” buttons are a lingering, old-fashioned registration form trend that has worn out its welcome. You don’t want prospects to make it to the end of the form and accidentally hit “reset” instead of “submit.” Chances are, they’ll leave your site before the go back and fill in everything again.

What other tips do you have for improving registration form conversions? Please leave a comment and share what works for your company.

HR technology trending in a Web 2.0 direction

More companies are incorporating Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking tools, blogs and webcasts for internal communications and as part of their overall technology mix, according to Watson Wyatt’s 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey.

Some key findings:

  • Since the economic downturn began, 72% of employers have increased their use of an intranet and 61% have increased their use of email to communicate with employees.
  • Newer technologies have made a strong entrance, finding that 32% of companies increased their use of webcasts, 13% have increased their use of social netowrking tools and 12% have increased their use of blogs for communication.
  • Many organizations continue to use manual processes for talent management, including succession planning (53%), career development (48%) and workforce planning (55%).
  • More than half (56%) of organizations are planning to increase their use of talent management technology over the next two years.
  • Companies are most rapidly adopting role-based employee portals (personalized to the user). Survey results show 41% of companies have already deployed or are piloting role-based employee portals and 24% are planning to adopt them in the next 24 months.

“Web 2.0 technologies work well, in most instances, for targeting specific employee and manager groups, and companies are using them in appropriate situations,” said Jon Osborne, senior technology consultant at Watson Wyatt.

“Using tools such as role-based portals, internal blogs and webcasts ensures that both managers and employees can send and receive tailored messages in an engaging format. This is useful for improving productivity and maintaining employee morale and engagement, particularly in this difficult economic time.”

Twitter to swim with the big fishes in business marketing

Most of the Twitter users who use it to promote their small business expect their company’s use of the popular microblogging tool to increase during the next six months, according to a recent survey by MarketingProfs.

The informal survey revealed that the practice of using Twitter as a business tool is gaining acceptance as an important piece of social media marketing. According to the MarketingProfs survey, 84% of respondents say their company’s use of Twitter will increase, with 46% saying the increase will be by a “significant” margin.

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

Compared to other social media tools, Twitter ranks second only to company blogs in perceived value. Company blogs and Twitter still rank ahead of LinkedIn and Facebook.

“This data shows that Twitter users, typically early adopters, no longer think of Twitter as just a personal networking tool, but as something that can provide real value for their company or business,” said Ann Handley, chief content officer for MarketingProfs. “Much like Facebook, Twitter is now moving into the business mainstream.” Additional Twitter research from MarketingProfs revealed that Twitter users are primarily motivated by the learning and immediacy components of the application. (MarketingCharts)

Twitter as a business tool

Twitter as a business tool

Effective list-growth tactics for B2B marketers

On-site registration and capturing information through call centers are the most effective email list-growth tactics for marketers, according to research by ExactTarget, Ball State University and the Email Marketers Club.

List rentals and outbound call-center attempts to solicit information are the least effective tactics, according to the email marketing research.

“Overall, the study found that the best way to grow email subscriber lists is to collect customers’ email addresses during times of high engagement and on occasions when the consumers’ perceive the marketer as adding value – at the point of sale, during online shopping and in-store via text messaging. These on-site list growth tactics rated as much as 60% higher than offline methods such as list rental and mass advertising.” (MarketingCharts)

Email subscription via text messaging is forecasted to grow by at least 500% in the next year, more than any other growth tactic, according to ExactTarget. They also predict that the practice of enabling subscribers to share email content with others in their social networks will increase almost 350% in 2009.

What are marketers’ top priorities for 2009?

  • 51% wanted to improve conversations
  • 41% will focus on improving email relevance
  • 38% are concerned with growing email lists
  • 5% list lowering costs as a top priority

The study also found a major rift in B2B vs. B2B email marketing. It turns out that B2B marketers are more successful in driving new subscriptions with ‘incentivized’ registration, while B2C marketers find more success with ‘non-incentivized’ subscriptions.

“The best performing list growth tactics are built on gathering subscriber data rather than hunting for it,’ said Morgan Stewart, ExactTarget’s director of research and strategy. “Whether you are a B2B or a B2C marketer, the best way to grow your subscriber list is to collect information during customer-initiated interactions.” (Marketing Charts)

Email list-growth tactics for marketers

Email list-growth tactics for marketers

If the Pope can 2.0, so can you

Pope2you

Pope2you

Think your company is too top-down, too conservative or too traditional to get involved in social media? Think again.

You’re never too anything to get involved in the conversation.

Seriously, if the Pope can do it, so can you. On the Pope’s new web site (http://pope2you.net), visitors can connect with other followers using his Facebook application, wiki, iPhone app and even the Vatican’s YouTube channel.

Get out there and answer the social phone, because your customers are talking about you whether you like it or not.

(Thanks to Workplace Learning Today for bringing it to our attention.)