Tag Archives: new marketing ideas

B2B search leads: Quality over quantity

When it comes to most things in life, opting for quality over quantity is typically the best way to go. The same goes for your business to business marketing efforts.

Judging a marketing program by the quantity of leads produced rather than the quality can be a disastrous tactic, according to the latest research from Marketing Sherpa.

Their most recent weekly chart aims to outline the quality and quantity of leads generated by search sources.

B2B search leads: Quality over quantity

B2B search leads: Quality over quantity

Every organization’s lead quality to quantity ratio will differ from one to the other. Too many leads and you’re overwhelmed. Too few and you’re not reaching any goals.

Here’s some of the Sherpas’ advice on finding an ideal equilibrium:

Search has become an ideal solution to balancing lead flow because, in many cases, the spigot can simply be opened or closed to control volume. The more complex challenge is controlling lead quality. This requires a much more strategic approach to optimizing not only web pages for SEO but, in the case of paid search, carefully aligning the context of PPC keywords with ad listings and landing pages.

Marketers who are optimistic about the months ahead and said they will be focused on sales growth resulting from an economic rebound, understand that higher quality leads will convert to more revenue in less time, and are addressing the challenge of generating them now.

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.

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

Don’t drop the price, fatten the offer

Yes, everyone is well aware that we’re in a recession and customers everywhere are looking for a great deal. But relying on that fact alone is the wrong reason to start reducing the price of everything you sell.

Instead, during these lean times it’s best to fatten your offer, according to Judy Kirkland from Echo Point Marketing partners in a Business Management Daily post.

The problem is, she says, is that when you “only focus on price you’re vulnerable to any competitor who undercuts you by a couple dollars.”

When you “fatten your offer” with something extra, you’re giving customers an added reason to buy from you.

Don’t have the money to add anything extra to the sale? No problem. It’s easy to find “extras” in things you’re already doing for your customers.

For example, the Wyndam hotel print ads offering to make sure your favorite snacks and beverages are in your room when you arrive. Since the hotel already stocks mini bars with a variety of snacks, allowing guests to make requests requires little to no extra effort on the hotel’s part.

Or the kitchen remodeling company that offers an added concierge service to help clients clear out their cabinets. The company had been doing it for years until they started positioning the service as an added bonus for signing a contract promptly.

Whatever your product or service is, odds are you can find something “extra” to help fatten the offer.

Think about giving customers added content with their purchase, such as a white paper or tip sheet. And what about offering free customer service for the life of the product?

In what ways does your company “fatten the offer” when selling their product or service? Any ideas to share with the rest of us? Leave a comment and let us know.

Taking direct marketing back to the future

While many marketers continue their search for the next-best, latest-and-greatest media tactic to get the word out about their product or service, others are holding their ground and staying true to traditional methods.

Direct marketing is making a comeback and now considered the “new black” in the marketing world, despite the opportunity new marketing methods like social media may bring to the table.

In a recent column at BtoB Magazine, Scott Hornstein, president of marketing, Hornstein Associates, and CMO, Wired Assets Data Corp., shares his expert insight as to why you should be putting what’s left of your budget into direct marketing.

“These are the times that try marketers’ souls. On the other hand, this is not the time to hide or be timid. It is the time to be effective, and to redeploy the majority of what’s left of your marketing budget into direct marketing for one very good reason: The strategy is, at its core, measurable and ROI-driven.”

He says there are six critical factors that will lead to direct marketing success:

  1. Integrating direct marketing into your overall media mix. Your customers don’t all hang out in the same place, so reinforce your message across a variety of media tools.
  2. Integrating a healthy dose of customer care. “Our carefully crafted brands can be blown up in three minutes of poor customer care.”
  3. Invest in database quality. The success of your marketing is only as good as your list.
  4. Account for everything, but report only key metrics. Pay attention to what matters most.
  5. Measure performance and set aggressive standards. “Each direct marketing effort should achieve at least a 10% response rate.”
  6. Measure the expense to revenue ratio. If it’s over 25% you’re spending too much, go back and fix your process.

What do you think? Should we take another look at the tried-and-true marketing methods like direct marketing because they are so measurable and ROI-driven? Are economic tough times forcing your organization to trend this way?

Please leave a comment and let us know.

More B2B buyers using Web 2.0 to decide

B2B marketers who dismiss social trends in buying as a strictly consumer trend are wrong, very wrong according to the latest research.

Forrester Research recently surveyed business buyers to discover more about their social activity, with special interest in how business buyers use social media in their purchase decisions.

The survey of more than 1,200 technology buyers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K. with 100 employees or more in seven major industries, resulted in findings that may surprise some business to business marketers.

Key findings include:

  • 69% are “Spectators”—they read blogs, watch user-generated videos and participate in other social media for business purposes.
  • 37% are “Critics”—they contribute comments or react to content they see in social formats. This is the next most common behavior after reading and watching.
  • 29% are “Collectors”—they use social technology to collect information and stay on top of trends.
  • 29% join social networks (“Joiners”).
  • Only 5% are nonparticipants (“Inactives”).

Though they do take peers’ opinions in to account to make decisions, buyers who use social technology don’t rate it highly in terms of its influence on their buying decisions.

“If you’re a b-to-b marketer and you’re not using social technologies in your marketing, now is the time to start. Because many blogs, communities and other social outreach from firms that sell to business are less than mature, it is a perfect way to stand out.”

For B2B marketers interested in integrating social technologies into their marketing mix, Forrester researchers suggest:

  • First, understand your audience. How does your audience like to communicate and where do they go to share ideas?
  • Integrate social applications into other marketing. Don’t keep your social media separate, but a part of your overall marketing goal.
  • Learn from others. How are your peers using social media? Find articles, webinars and networking events to learn how others are finding success in social media.