Tag Archives: business to business lead generation strategy

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.

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Best B2B marketing strategies to boost sales today

B2B marketing strategies to increase sales

B2B marketing strategies to increase sales

Today I came across another great (and free) ebook, Five B2B MarCom Strategies to Increase Sales Now by Dianna Huff.

It’s completely free – no name, no email, no registration required. Even better, it’s full of five straightforward B2B marketing strategies to help get your sales moving today.

Here’s a clip from the introduction:

YouTube. Twitter. Blogs. Podcasts. White Papers. Search. Direct Mail. Trade shows. Webinars. Networking. TV commercials. Print ads. LinkedIn. Facebook. Digg.

Some days I want to scream, “STOP!”  To say that marketing today is fractured and fragmented is a total understatement. What works? What doesn’t? Where are people (our customers and prospects) congregating? Does it make sense to run ads in trade publications? No wait, maybe we should dump all our money into search.

But wait, some gurus are still advocating direct mail and white papers.

What’s a marketing professional to do?

It covers five proven B2B marketing communication strategies to help increase sales and leads, including:

  1. Understanding your target market
  2. Determining your campaign objectives before you start writing
  3. Integrating online and offline tactics
  4. Building your website around what buyers/prospects want
  5. Focusing on your customer not your company

Visit Dianna Huff’s B2B MarCom Writer Blog and download your copy of the Five B2B MarCom Strategies to Increase Sales Now ebook.

What is the long-term value of customer loyalty?

It’s a well-known fact that the cost of keeping an existing customer is much less than trying to attract a new one. Still, many businesses refuse to listen.

Businesses that don’t understand the long-term value of customer loyalty tend to spend incredible amounts of money on marketing and advertising to attract new customers, while neglecting their existing customer base.

Especially when your business is going through tough times, focusing your efforts on existing customers is critical to your success.

It is consistently found that 60% to 80% of a business’ lost customers are either ‘very satisfied’ or simply ‘satisfied’ right before they take their loyalty elsewhere, according to a recent Business Week Tip.

Here’s how Richard D. Hanks, Tip author and president of Mindshare Technologies, differentiates between a ‘satisfied’ and ‘loyal’ customer:

Satisfied Customers

  • Focus on price
  • Shop around for bargains
  • Run to a competitor if you mess up
  • Don’t provide critical word-of-mouth advertising
  • Buy less and test your competitor’s products and services
  • Are easily lured away by competition

Loyal Customers

  • Focus on value
  • Reward you with loyal patronage
  • Are forgiving of an occasional slip-up
  • Shout your praises and recommend you to their friends
  • Buy more and sample across product and service lines
  • Are resistant to competition

Hank’s advice on customer loyalty: “Since drivers of loyalty are different across industries, I suggest you invest the resources to determine which parts of your product service mix are the key drivers of loyalty for your business.”

How does your company work to improve customer loyalty? What advice do you have for businesses looking to attract new customers while trying to still focus on existing customer loyalty?

A vitamin a day does a business good

We’re all tired of hearing about how bad business is, how bad it’s going to be and how we all wish it could be how it used to, because none of those conversations work to get anything accomplished. My Creative Team agrees:

Don’t just sit there in a funk. The media news may be gloomy but you don’t have to succumb. Be proactive.

They recently put together a new iPaper full of 50 One-A-Day Marketing Vitamins your business can start implementing today.

These are just a few of our favorite marketing ideas:

  • Send handwritten notes to your best customers, thanking them for the part they have played in your success.
  • Solicit customer feedback. Call a customer at random just to thank him for the business he has given you, and ask how his business is going. Then, listen.
  • Gather competitors’ ads and literature to see what they are promoting, and how they are approaching their target market.
  • Find an example of where you knocked it out of the park for a client and then write a case study about it.
  • Conduct a free seminar for your target audience on your area of expertise.

For more great marketing ideas, take a look for yourself:

Improve your marketing, ask customers to help

Sometimes, the easiest way to improve a part of your life is to simply ask for help. As it turns out, the practice of asking for help can improve your marketing, if you go about it in the right way.

I was reading a post yesterday at Rohit Bhargava’s Influential Marketing Blog (IMB) on the best “non-salesy” ways to ask your customers for help promote your business.

Rohit says the main reason why your customers aren’t recommending you to their friends is because either you haven’t asked them to, or you don’t make it simple for them to do so.

“If you ask them in the right way, however, the word of mouth referrals and additional business you can get from the experience will easily be more powerful that just about any other advertising or marketing you could do.”

Here are a few of his ideas on how to get your customers to do some business promotion for you:

  • Share credit. If a company helped you produce something, like a new training video, share the credit with that company at the end of the video by mentioning their company name. The next time they go to a trade show, they may be more inclined to use your video as an example, spreading your message to an audience you couldn’t reach before.
  • Make it easy to become a fan. “People often want to their circle of friends (and sometimes to the world) to know the brands they love.” Whether online or offline, give your customers a visual way to show their support for your brand – t-shirts, bumper stickers, a badge for their blog, joining your LinkedIn group.
  • Encourage online reviews. Online customer reviews can have a big impact on someone’s decision to buy from your company or not. “Instead of getting customers to blindly fill out surveys or registration cards, try asking them to go online to a prominent site, or social network, or even their own blog and ask them to talk about their experience.”

Read more great ideas at IMB.

You can also get your employees to help out by asking them to become your company’s friend on any of the social media platforms you belong to (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). This way, whenever you make an update or send out a message, there’s a chance your employees’ friends will also see the update and improve your online visibility.

Social media has opened the doors to a whole new world of marketing where you don’t have to go it alone anymore, where you can’t  go it alone anymore. Your success will be determined by the connections you make and how well you nurture those relationships.

Using facebook to promote your business blog

You may think Facebook is just another social networking site dedicated to young college students, but you may be surprised how Facebook’s demographics are changing.

In the years since it’s creation in 2004, Facebook has become a major meeting place for adults in the working world, according to a new study by O’Reilly Media featured in a recent SHRM article.

O’Reilly Media found that since September 2008, the number of Facebook users between the ages of 35 and 44 increased by 51%; those ages 45-54 grew by 47%, and those 26-34 increased by 26%. More than half of the 140 million Facebook users are out of college.

“With web sites and social networking tools like Facebook, companies now have the ability to be the master of ceremonies and create communities for their customers to join,” Scott Townsend, marketing director with United Linen and Uniform Services, recently told The Examiner-Enterprise.com. “And customers have the opportunity to become a fan of your Facebook page. If you are a small company, you don’t want to reach the whole world; you just want to reach those customers that are jazzed about your business and what it is you have to offer.”

As Facebook continues to attract older professionals, it is becoming one of the best places to promote your business blog or website.

In a recent guest post at ProBlogger, Steve Schwartz, a professional LSAT tutor explained how he has used Facebook to promote his blog and expand his community of readers.

The social network gives his blog readers the opportunity to interact with each other in a way that comments can’t. Facebook’s discussion boards allow users to exchange messages and interact through conversation.

Here’s some of his advice on how to get started:

1. Create a Facebook group. Don’t make the group about your blog directly. Instead, choose a broader topic so people searching on Facebook for a certain topic will feel welcomed to join.

2. Invite your friends. Some of your existing friends may want to join your new group, and some may not. Either way, the invitation will show up on your friends’ news feeds, turning it into a viral marketing mechanism.

3. Tell your blog readers about it. Post a link to your Facebook group in the sidebar of your blog. Write a brief post on your new group for those who didn’t notice the new link. Tell your readers how they will benefit from becoming a member.

4. Join other groups. Look for Facebook groups related to your blog topic. Post messages on their Wall or discussion boards notifying the group’s members of your group and your blog. Spread out the information over a series of posts to make sure you don’t get banned from the group for spamming.

With his efforts, Facebook quickly became one of Steve’s biggest sources of traffic, without having to spend much time on maintenance.

“In order to get more readers, you need to have a presence where they are. For me and for many bloggers these days, our present and future readers spend their time in social networking sites.”

6 ways to work video into everyday marketing

With the release of their first Video Marketing Benchmark Guide, the gurus at Marketing Sherpa got to thinking about the increased role video will be playing future marketing.

When most B2B marketers decide to use video in a campaign, it usually comes to life in the form of a TV spot or viral video. Marketers are limiting themselves by only using video in these two areas, because video has proven to work in other types of campaigns, including lead generation, product launches, employee recruiting and raising brand and product awareness.

By looking to the past, the Sherpas were able to find proven video tactics that worked in past campaigns and will work in the foreseeable future. Here’s their list of six successful video tactics to work into your everyday marketing:

  1. Edutainment. The information in white papers and webinars can be very helpful to a lead generation campaign, but all the content and offers you present may be distracting your audience. Create videos that grab prospects’ attention by creating “edutainment” videos that deliver educational content in an entertaining context.
  2. Compliment live events. Don’t keep seminars and conferences a secret, share them with your online audience. Use streaming video to compliment a real-world event to reach a larger audience, acquire new leads or back a product launch.
  3. Email. Embed informational videos in email to support other campaigns. This one may take some extra time and testing, but marketers who have overcome the technical hurdles have had great success.
  4. Recruit. Create employee recruiting videos to attract the perfect job candidate. Recruiting videos give job candidates a clear picture of your company’s work environment and gives prospective employees more detail on what qualities an ideal worker would possess, improving the quality of job applications.
  5. Product tours. A video tour of your product or service can provide much more information to customers than a simple product page or FAQ. Walk customers through the features and functionality of your products to give customers a better picture.
  6. Organize. Put together a library of your company videos on a popular content-sharing site, such as YouTube or Blip.tv. Using third-party sites as your video archive can provide you with more valuable lead generation, brand marketing and search engine marketing.

It may take some time and a lot of testing, but working video into your everyday marketing is a proven way to boost the success of your campaigns. Read the full MarketingSherpa article for more information and links to case studies where each tactic was successful for businesses just like yours.