Improve Lead Generation Results with Live Demos and Free Trials

While content marketing may be the talk of the town, it isn’t just about a blog or social media – especially when it comes to lead generation. B2B sales teams are finding success in other forms of content marketing, including live demos and free trials. While interacting with customers on social media is one for a sales team to generate leads, it isn’t the only option. Software Advice in a survey conducted in partnership with Eloqua and found that some types of content produce better results than others.

High Quality Leads

80 percent of those surveyed rated live demos with a sales representative as delivering high quality leads. “Get pricing/price quote” was rated as generating high-quality leads by 46 percent, with free trials following at 37 percent. And when 10 percent increase in lead quality can generate a 40 percent increase in sales productivity (Marketo), generating high quality leads is one way your business can have a positive impact on its bottom line. Make the most of your demos by starting with these simple steps:

  • Narrow your content. Focus on the key features and how these bring value to your audience’s business.
  • Show off your product and, if possible, get it into the hands of the customer during the demo. Let prospects see how your products work first hand.
  • KISS it. Keep it short, sweet and on point. Keep your audience engaged by staying on topic and let the product sell itself.

High Quantity Leads

Respondents of the survey looked most favorably on free trials. 50 percent rated the quantity of leads generated by free trials as high, while about one-third said the same about live demos with a sales representative and white papers. However, the “B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey” revealed free trials came in 10th when it comes to content marketing adoption rate, with 61 percent reporting use. As you pull together your content strategy for 2013, see how you can get free trials for new leads.

  • People love getting free stuff – by getting your product for free, they’re more likely to try it. You can start charging once people know how great it is.
  • This may not work for every product/service, allowing your potential B2B clients to use what your business offers for a free trial period is one way to convert a lead into a customer.
  • Free trials are great for businesses that offer products such as business payroll software or high-margin items, ones in which a positive initial experience gives the potential customer the confidence needed to make a buying decision.

In B2B marketing, online marketing isn’t the only option for generating new leads. Live demos and free trials are a great way for your sales team to get products into the hands of customers who haven’t made a buying decision. While email campaigns and follow up calls are one way to nurture leads, a live demo can place your brand in front of someone who may not be well-versed, while free trials can help your business reach a new audience. If you haven’t begun making the most of these two opportunities, it is time to take a second look at your strategy.

Budgeting for the Best: Offline Marketing in 2013

B2B Marketing Budget 2013 Online Offline

In part one of setting marketing budgets for 2013, we discussed online marketing. However, B2B businesses don’t just find success through online marketing strategies; offline marketing proves to be valuable for those in the B2B realm. In a 2012 study commissioned by Forrester Consulting, SMBs showed a marked preference for traditional face-to-face techniques as personal networking, trade shows and seminars topped the list. While online marketing is a valuable asset, you can’t ignore offline opportunities as they are valuable, long-term brand builders.


Many B2B businesses have a preference for face-to-face offline efforts. Meeting a prospect in-person can sometimes create a deeper relationship than one developed online. While at a trade show, seminar or other face-to-face event, your team has the opportunity to network, gather information for reaching out at a later date and market your brand and business. Trade shows and seminars get all the right people you want to connect with under one roof, help you convert leads, and can propel your business into the position of thought leader as you provide valuable information to those attending.

  • Forrester Research found that 16 percent of B2B marketing program budgets was allocated to trade shows and another 9 percent went towards their company’s presence at events.
  • A 2011 MarketingSherpa study found that B2B businesses, on average, allocate 21 percent of their marketing budgets to trade shows. If you’re going to be using nearly one-quarter of your budget on tradeshows, make sure it is worth the investment. And be sure to have your pre and post-show email marketing and sales initiatives well planned out to get the most bang for your buck.

Print Marketing

In order to stand out, you may be considering increasing your print marketing b
udget for 2013. From customized direct mail pieces to unique business cards, print marketing can put your business center stage. Since many companies have moved away from it, direct mail can be especially effective at catching the attention of your audience. Effective direct mail is rarely standardized. You’ll need to vary your copy and design based on the segments that emerge from your database analysis, similar to segmenting your email marketing messages.

  • According to USPS direct mail stats, 12-15 percent of people went to the company’s website and made a purchase after receiving a letter or catalog.
  • The Direct Marketing Association’s “Quarterly Business Review” – based on an online survey in October — found that 75 percent of respondents are confident about the growth prospects of both digital and direct marketing.

When it comes to offline marketing, such as direct mail marketing and networking events, consider the cost per conversion. How much was invested in the fliers, swag bags, travel, etc. and did the company make a significant enough to make these events worthwhile? By analyzing your 2012 offline marketing investments and finding the areas where your business was most successful, you can reallocate your budget for 2013 accordingly.

How is your marketing team getting ready for 2013?

How to Set Online Marketing Budgets for 2013

2013 is just around the corner and budgets are being discussed. In a study by Webmarketing 123, 90% of marketers will increase or maintain SEO, PPC, and SMM marketing budgets in 2013. Whether you are one of these businesses or not, 2013 is fast approaching and it’s time to finalize your marketing budget for the New Year. Because B2B businesses are focused on lead generation, look at what yields the greatest ROI and delegate your budget accordingly. In part one of this two-part series about marketing budgets for 2013, we’ll talk about how to budget for online marketing efforts.

Content Marketing

From social media channels to PPC ads and blog content, there is a lot that goes into online marketing. When determining your online marketing budget for 2013, section off where your business has been successful or unsuccessful and where you currently aren’t, but want to be for next year. Here are some numbers to keep in mind as you allocate budgets for online marketing efforts.

  • Make sure there is room in your budget for social media. Customers want to be able to engage with you across a variety of platforms. 93 percent of business buyers believe all companies should have a social media presence (Cone Inc. 2010).
  • Sagefrog Marketing found that almost 70 percent of B2B businesses spend at least one hour per week on social media. Make sure you’re dedicating enough time and budget to developing your company’s social network presence.
  • In a 2012 Webmarketing 123 survey, 59 percent of B2B companies answered that SEO made the biggest impact on lead generation. Use these numbers to make sure you’re budgeting for strong SEO efforts.

When it comes to online marketing, your business should be focusing on content and engagement. Create strong content that will lead to better SEO results and sharing across social media. While PPC is still worth dedicating some of your budget to, SEO-driven content marketing needs to be a focus in 2013.


Search engine marketing is the process of gaining traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. It is also referred to as paid search marketing, cost per click (CPC) or pay per click (PPC). PPC campaigns can be beneficial as you’ll have control over where money is spent and can track the lead source by keyword.

  • In the Webmarketing 123 survey, 20 percent of the respondents chose PPC as the avenue that had the biggest impact on lead generation. However, they also found that 11 percent of respondents will decrease their PPC budget in 2013.

There are more and more cost-per-lead programs out there that will yield high volume of leads at a much lower cost per lead than paid search. With pay per lead, you often have the opportunity to return a lead that you feel isn’t qualified enough or didn’t meet your needs as specified. Buyer hubs, where buyers go to submit a quote request from multiple vendors, can provide leads at a cheaper cost than other marketing channels.

  • Keep in mind, organizations focused on inbound marketing experience a cost per lead 61% lower than outbound marketing-dominated organizations (The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot).

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an important sector of many B2B marketing strategies. Standing out in 2013 is important as more and more businesses are jumping on the email marketing train. While some services are available at about $75 per month, outsourcing can cost upwards of $175. If you don’t see email marketing campaigns as a worthy investment compared to PPC or content marketing, think again. Not only can you incorporate your website content into your e-mail marketing programs, you can generate new customers and sales.

  • The vast majority of responding companies in a census from eConsultancy (70%) rate email as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ for return on investment. With numbers like this, it’s evident that a strong email campaign is worth the investment.
  • eConsultancy also found that companies using an ESP (email service provider) for additional functionality report higher ROI.

Whether you choose to outsource or keep your email marketing campaign strategy and execution in-house, make sure you’re dedicating enough of your budget towards email marketing. It’s worth the investment.

With the rise of content marketing in 2012, it’s becoming clearer that customers are focused on the value that your marketing efforts add to their personal and professional levels. Budgeting for online marketing should include allocations towards content marketing, from blogging to social media, PPC and PPL campaigns, and an effective email marketing strategy.

Stay tuned for Part 2 about budgeting for your offline marketing efforts in 2013!


(Image Source: Webmarketing123)