Put the Pedal to the Metal When Driving Leads


B2B marketers know that finding leads is one of if not the biggest challenge when it comes to adding new business.

With that being said, how is your company going about acquiring solid leads to enhance your B2B marketing ROI?

It all starts with a solid strategy that has been well thought out and clearly defining your target audience.

According to a MarketingSherpa, the prime concerns of B2B marketers remain in obtaining additional value and income while dealing with limited resources. The company even went so far as to put together its own methodology known as FUEL, standing for:

F: Find and attract leads – Strategy to personas to tactical plan.
U: Uncover qualified leads – Lead scoring, nurturing and management.
E: Establish automated marketing processes – Automate for efficiency and scale.
L: Lift results – Continuous improvement and C-Level reporting.

To keep your marketing tank full, keep some of these ideas in mind as you look to get the most drive for your dollar:

  • Truly define your customers – Many marketers think they know who they need to market to, but don’t get complacent. Use surveys and research to stay up to speed with who your defined target clearly is, what their needs are, and how the economic factors may or may not be impacting their buying choices. Also take note of your customer’s buying cycle so that you know the approximate time of when they’re most apt to buy so you can target them then. Make sure that you have a regularly scheduled flow of campaigns in order to best achieve program mix success. Lastly, include running A/B tests in your repertoire so you know what drives the most income;
  • Log the info into an updated data base – Following an initial or second discussion with a lead; determine if they’re ready to be sent over to sales. You need to find the opportune time to send them to sales, meaning not too early where you may lose them because they feel you’re too pushy, while not too late where they may turn to a competitor, feeling you can’t help them. Lastly, give the prospect a reason to want to continue their conversation with you, be it some form of an offer;
  • Content is key – At the end of the day, the strength of your content is crucial to improving your odds of driving lead generation registrations. Make sure any and all content on your company site or emails you send out to prospects including articles, infographics, white papers, and guides is updated and provides impact. Make sure that the content will be beneficial to the prospect, i.e. how will this material help the prospect? Also look to cross-promote your content, i.e. what was onetime a blog can be re-purposed into a podcast or a more expanded guide or white paper, fresh with statistics that serve a purpose to the prospect;
  • Mix and match – Use a variety of programs to enhance the chances of converting a lead into a sale. As noted above, content is critical to improving the odds of a sale, but it should not center on just one area. Mix in webinars, white papers, e-mail marketing, trade shows, display advertising, video, podcasts and more so you reach as many as possible in your targeted market area;
  • Get social beyond Facebook and Twitter – While Facebook and Twitter command the largest number of users, they are but two of a number of social media networks B2B marketers should be involved in. LinkedIn, often thought of as just a site for job seekers, is much more than that. With more than 100 million members worldwide, it too is a site to consider when you look to drive leads your way. As part of your social media efforts, know the best times to tweet and share so that you increase the odds of maximizing your audience numbers. In general, social media usage hits its peak during Monday through Fridays from noon to 3 p.m. Don’t necessarily discount weekends, however, as you may be surprised to learn that many business owners take an hour here and an hour there on Saturdays and Sundays to shop for good buys to support their companies.

As a B2B marketer, what has proven to best drive you in acquiring lead generation registrations?

Photo credit: lithosphere.lithium.com

 


What Marketing Trends Have Your Attention in 2012?


While we are only a month and a half into 2012, it isn’t too early to see if some projected B2B marketing trends for the New Year are taking hold.

According to analysis from Global Spec, five trends will shape the B2B marketing landscape now and over the next 10 and a half months, including content formation, online marketing, and technology:

  • Content is king – Global Spec points out that as added content becomes available online to assist B2B buyers in constructing internal business cases and justifying acquisition decisions, the demand for relevant content will only get bigger. Given that is the case, the translation is simply that B2B marketers will be required to continue providing quality content or face losing business prospects. If coming up with fresh content continuously is proving an issue, consider repackaging such items or spreading it out over several issues of newsletters, blog posts or white papers. This will also give the readers a reason to come back for pertinent information;
  • An online pedigree –B2B marketers must continue to utilize the Internet to stay in touch with customers who are online for such things as tapping into  search engines, directories, online catalogs, e-newsletters, white papers and more. If you’re not staying in touch online with what customers are seeking, you stand a good chance of finding that business going elsewhere;
  • Technology is a keeper – In this technologically-driven age, having the latest technological tools at your side will only help increase your attractiveness to clients. Remember to spend the needed resources for marketing automation software in order to better segment your clients and deliver relevant content. If the right message is going to the wrong person or vice-versa, are you accomplishing anything?
  • Results don’t lie – As company heads slowly pry their hands off the purse strings, it becomes ever more important that marketers show them their dollars are being well spent. One area that company leaders often turn their noses up at in the marketing process is social media. The reason for many of them for such actions is that they claim they cannot see the true return on investment (ROI), so why spend the time and energy on it? When you show those in charge that your marketing efforts are truly delivering the goods for the company, you stand a much better chance of getting more of what you ask for;
  • Target appropriate social media – While many company leaders may question the value of social media, they are foolish to deny that it works. The key for marketers is to zero in on the best social media sites to promote their product. Take the time to analyze the different sites out there to determine which would be best for your products. As the GlobalSpec research points out, social media provides a valuable tool when it comes to constructing relationships, networking and overall providing engagement with both clients and potential clients. At the end of the day, however, social media is not the be all and end all for one’s B2B marketing solutions;

As a B2B marketer, are fully engrossed in the five trends mentioned above? If not, which area/s are you not as active in as you should be and why?

Lastly, what advice would you have for newer B2B marketers who look to the more experienced person that has seen different trends come and go over time?

Photo credit: socialmediacouncil.eu


Are You Properly Engaged with Others?


As a B2B marketer, how do you go about measuring the rate of engagement with your customers? If the answer is we’re not sure, then you definitely have some work to do.

As a recent study from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute (EBI) points out, a mere 1.3 percent of fans of the top brands on Facebook actually take the time to engage with the brands (200 top brands were followed for six weeks). If you’re like me, you scratched your head a bit and thought that number couldn’t be so low.

In arriving at the percentage, study organizers relied on one of Facebook’s own metrics to note the comments, posts, likes, tags and more that define how a user on the social network can spend time with branded pages.

According to one researcher for EBI, the small percentage recorded is not the end of the world.

In her comments following the release of the report, Karen Nelson-Field noted, “I don’t think it’s a bad thing. People need to understand what it can do for a brand and what it can’t do. Facebook doesn’t really differ from mass media. It’s great to get decent reach, but to change the way people interact with a brand overnight is just unrealistic.”

The going notion that rings true more often than not is that most individuals who favor a brand can already be classified as loyal customers. In the event they don’t leave a comment, post and/or like, does not mean they are not buying the brand.

For B2B marketers, getting customers to engage in and buy their brand is crucial.

If your engagement efforts have been a little off lately, consider the following:

  • Better usage of social media – Speaking of Facebook earlier, B2B marketers should definitely be socially engaged. Compile a list of the main social networking tools and be able to check off those that you are presently on. If the list is minimal, it is time to beef it up. Cross-promoting your engagement efforts on a wide array of sites opens you up to new customers and a greater perception of being authoritative in your respective niche;
  • Improved content delivery – We all know that fresh content is critical here, but how can you best spread the news? Make sure your efforts are directed towards not only the content that goes on your site, but also by participating in online forums, responding to comments from those who visit your site and more. When you engage current and potential customers online, they are more apt to come to you the next time for business or assistance. Most importantly, know who your customers are;
  • Lead the way to a sale – The combination of marketing and purchasing are not exactly rocket science. Make sure that sales are tagged with qualified leads that continue to flow more often than those that are perhaps going to lead to business. If a lead just fills out an online form but it ends there, you’re left with marketing pros wondering why it didn’t lead to a sale, while sales folks ponder if marketing really provided them with a solid lead in the first place.

As the recent Facebook study points out, the numbers don’t always truly tell the story.

Being a B2B marketer, what are some tips you could share with your fellow marketers on how you go about successfully engaging others?

Photo credit: mashable.com

 


5 Must-Haves for Your PPC Optimization Toolkit


By Jeanine Leder, Business.com Account Manager

Running a successful PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign in today’s highly competitive marketplace requires specific knowledge about the demand and marketability of the product or service you are selling. To achieve the very best ROI on your advertising dollar, it is important to make sure your PPC campaigns are closely monitored and optimized.

Here are the Top 5 best practices Business.com follows to optimize our advertisers’ Pay-Per-Click campaigns:

1)      Data Analysis – Allocate a set period of time each day to collect and analyze keyword data, click volume, conversion rates, sources of traffic and daily uptime of the campaign to determine where the client’s budget is best spent.  Compare how these metrics measure up against the advertiser’s individual goals to ensure that we are delivering the highest ROI.

  1. Keyword Data – Business.com performs keyword research at the campaign level to draw the most appropriate audience to achieve the optimal CPL.  Account managers have narrow, specific keyword lists for those clients focused on low CPL and profitability, as well as large broad keyword lists for those clients desiring high traffic and brand awareness. Using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, relevant keyword lists can be produced using “exact match”, “phrase match”, or “broad match” options to generate the keywords to match the campaign goals.
  2. Conversion Rates/Sources of Traffic – Using some form of conversion tracking is critical to track metrics down to the keyword and category levels. It also provides you with visibility into how individual traffic sources are performing so that you can focus on those  sources that are delivering the highest ROI.

2)      Category Relevance – We find that campaign goals and target audience can vary wildly depending on the advertiser, the product or service and so on. Identifying your goals before launching a new campaign ensures that you are starting out your campaign on the right foot.  When we launch a new advertiser campaign on Business.com, we spend time getting to know the client’s business and their specific goals for the marketing campaign. Based on the information gathered from the client, we recommend all categories that may produce high conversions.

3)      Landing Page Evaluation – A landing page is the page that a potential customer comes to after he/she clicks on an ad. High quality, relevant landing pages drive the highest conversion rates.  Our team of account managers are trained to recognize the features of an effective landing page and work with clients to optimize the landing page to maximize ROI on the campaign. For more information on landing page optimization, read our earlier blog post.

4)      Ad Copy – Writing effective ad copy to reach the targeted audience(s) is not an exact science. Account managers work with clients to test different ad copy to find out what converts.  When writing ad copy, put yourself in the shoes of your audience. How do they think?  What would persuade them to click on your ad?  Be sure that your ad copy is clear and relevant to your landing page, but don’t hesitate to get creative and use an eye grabbing phrase that will lure the audience in and get the click.

5)      Budget –Close monitoring of budgets is key to ensuring that your company’s marketing dollars are being used effectively.  All of the steps above will give you the information that you need to make budgeting decisions based on your ROI.

 

A successful online marketing campaign does not happen overnight. It is rarely a case of “hitting the bullseye” right out of the gates.  It takes time, trial and error, close analysis and a bit of money to get things running smoothly and profitably.  Following the 5 tips listed above will help to get you rolling in the right direction. Tell us where you’ve found success with your PPC campaigns.