Some digital trends come and go, quickly shifting from a technological craze to a lame fad like Moon Shoes and Furbies. Mobile communication, however, is a statement here to stay. According to a June 2013 study from Pew Internet and American Life Project, 91% of American adults own a cell phone, with 55-58 percent of these using smartphone that enable them to research, contemplate, and complete eCommerce purchases with ease and security. No longer a niche market, mobile shoppers are now a key player in online sales and are estimated to generate 15 percent of U.S. eCommerce sales this year (Tweet This Stat!).
Digital advertising revenues climbed to a high of $36.6 billion in 2012, according to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report for the full-year of 2012. That historic number marks a 15 percent rise over 2011’s full-year number, which itself had been the highest on record, at $31.7 billion. Digital advertising now surpasses newspapers and magazines and is bigger than any other media in the U.S. with the exception of broadcast TV, which hit $40 billion. Customers are moving to digital mediums at a greater pace than ever before and advertisers are taking note.
Display Advertising Makes a Dent
Display-related advertising revenues totaled $12 billion, up almost 9%. With display advertising, an advertiser pays an online company for space on one or more of the online company’s pages to display a static or linked banner or logo. Streaming digital video, one component of display-related advertising, continues to grow the breadth and quality of content online. As advertisers follow their customer to digital channels the increased spend on those channels should be expected. According to the IAB report, here’s how display advertising revenues break down.
- Display/Banner Ads (21% or $7.7 billion)
- Rich Media (3% or $1.1 billion)
- Digital Video (6% or $2.3 billion)
- Sponsorship (2% or $845 million).
The Leverage in Lead Generation
Lead generation is another area of the digital advertising sphere that is experiencing growth. IAB found that lead generation revenues accounted for 5% of FY 2012 revenues, or $1.7 billion, up 11% from the $1.5 billion (5% of total) reported in FY 2011. Lead generation is when fees are paid by advertisers to online companies that refer qualified potential customers or provide consumer information where the consumer opts in to being contacted by a marketer. These processes are priced on a performance basis (e.g., cost-per-action, -lead or –inquiry). Performance-based pricing is gaining interest from marketers. Approximately 66% of FY 2012 revenues were priced on a performance basis, up from the 65% reported in FY 2011. Another report, the 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report from Marketing Sherpa, discovered that the forms of online advertising used in correlation with lead generation are webinars, emails, search media, and whitepapers though most marketers are choosing to send their messages out across multiple channels. The top strategic priorities for lead generation in the next 12 months are:
- Achieving or increasing measurable ROI (52%)
- Optimizing the marketing-sales funnel (51%)
- Gaining greater insight of audience (51%)
- Maximizing the lifetime value of customers (47%)
Massive Mobile Moves
As mobile and tablet devices become more popular, they’ll continue to drive investment and strategies from businesses. Mobile marketing provides businesses with new ways to reach consumers IAB found that for the second year in a row, mobile achieved triple-digit growth year-over-year. The mobile category grew 111% to $3.4 billion and accounted for 9% of total internet ad revenue in 2012. Mobile app environment continues to grow and mature as business models develop and advertising budgets grow to support the market. From payment options to utilities and local services, the best apps are no longer concentrated to just one vertical. IAB suggests that the growth in mobile adversting comes from:
- Growth in device penetration (Smartphone and tablet), led by Apple and Google
- Faster connection speeds as infrastructure and device upgrades occur
- Improved screen resolutions that allow more ads onto the mobile screen
- Greater sophistication in incorporating ads into mobile apps and websites
- Social media consumed on mobile devices
Digital advertising budgets are shifting as the best places to find a customer does. Online marketing is a must for businesses looking to expand, reach new customers and cultivate current customer relationships. In the digital space, display advertising, mobile marketing and lead generation are three areas that continue to grow each year. Customers browse the web, are active on social networks and marketers want to reach them. As customers become more tech-savvy, businesses need to become more digital-friendly in their marketing strategies.
B2B marketers are always looking for an edge – something that will set their business and efforts apart from others. A new study from BtoB Online (with Eloqua) of 556 digitally active marketers found that modern marketers embrace technology, digital channels and dynamic content and have a commitment to sales enablement. When asked at what stage their companies are in improving go-to-marketing effectiveness, 68% said they are “strongly” or “fully” committed to improvement. In order to improve marketing effectiveness, spend some time considering whether or not your marketing team is changing with the times. Modern marketers need three things to be successful: digital aptitude, content knowledge, and sales enablement skills.
1. Digital Aptitude
The world of marketing is increasingly becoming more data driven. Marketers want to make sure that their time, money, and other resources are being directed to the right place. Successful modern marketers are making the most of data and digital solutions so no time or budget is wasted. At Business.com, virtually every marketing investment (of dollars and resources) is data-driven. While creating the infrastructure, processes and systems to support this requires an investment of time and money, it definitely pays off. When asked what has contributed the most to modern marketing, 60% responded that the ability to track marketing ROI with technology has contributed the most to modern marketing. “Big Data” is a concern for modern marketers as 35% said they are working to overcome poor infrastructures in the collection and analysis of data and 29% said they simply lack data to support their colleagues in sales. With the use of data and software solutions that are audience-oriented, modern marketers can reach target prospects more effectively.
2. Content Knowledge
An emphasis on content marketing has led to a shift in marketing as a whole. From where content is distributed to what type of content is produced, marketers must make sure they’re getting the right content to the right people. When asked what has contributed the most to modern marketing, many indicated the ability to track ROI as noted earlier. However, a large portion of those surveyed (42%) indicated that the shift in power from the brand to the customer is changing marketing. Another 58% of respondents cited the effective use of social media. This is huge because social media networks are a main content distribution channel for B2B marketers. Prospects want content and marketers know they need to provide it. Demand-generation and lead nurturing techniques are changing because of this. In fact, 42% respondents cited the maturation of demand generation and lead nurturing as a contribution to the change in modern marketing. You need to know the type of content that will most appeal to your audience as well as how to get it into the hands of those people in order to be effective. That’s where sales skills come in.
3. Sales Enablement Skills
Understanding the buyer journey, the key decision makers and influencers as well as their roles and responsibilities can help marketers more clearly define their profiling for greater success. Modern marketers need to build relationships with buyers just as sales representatives do. The rise in both content marketing and social provide the vehicle for creating and nurturing these relationships. When asked what factors are driving the needs of modern marketers, 60% of respondents identified the need to achieve fast and relevant touch points in the market, 35% identified increasing difficulties in conveying timely offers and messages to specific customers, and 12% indicated a general decline in the awareness of brands. Getting marketing and sales working together can make a huge difference in the efficiency and success of your business in connecting and closing with prospects.
Modern B2B marketers will make the most of the data and software solutions in front of them to yield the greatest ROI. Having a digital aptitude is necessary as the business world becomes more data driven and efficient with technology. Understanding the customer, the buying process and the decision makers can help marketers develop more targeted content that sells without directly selling. Content that converts is and must be a focus. Successful modern marketers are able align targeting with changing market and business needs.
What other qualities does a modern marketer need to possess?
The second post in this two-article series is also written by Rich Mauser, Sr. Email Marketing Manager for Business.com. In part one, Rich shared his tips for more optimized email campaigns. Email marketing is great way for B2B businesses to generate leads, nurture leads and turn those with an interest into long-term and loyal customers. In part two, he shares two more quick and easy email tips (plus two bonus tips!) to capture the attention of email readers, cultivate conversation and convert more email subscribers into customers.
3. Focus On Your Prospect, Not on Yourself
The biggest mistake most people make in their first email interaction with a prospect is that they try to sell too early. They invariably end up talking all about their company and their product and how great it is. Your initial email interactions should focus on your prospects, not on you, your company or your products. Ask about them and their needs. Take an interest in them and help them get what they want, rather than what you want. Think of it like you’re out in the dating scene. You don’t approach someone the first time you meet them, then tell them everything about yourself, how great you are, and all the things you’ve accomplished, and then ask them to go home with you, right? Right?? A great way to stay focused on you prospect is to offer them something of value, real value that is relevant to what THEY want. A free report, a guide to choosing ABC widgets, etc. Give them something that will help them get what they want.
4. Ask for a Reply
The great Dr. Robert Cialdini, in his book “Influence: The Psychology and Power of Persuasion” discovered some fundamental things about human behavior that have been helping marketers for many years. One of the behaviors he discovered was “commitment and consistency”. Dr.Cialdini concluded that people tend to behave consistently with choices they’ve already made, even very small choices. Therefore if you can get your prospect to commit to some small action, then you will be much more likely to get them to commit to bigger actions in the future (e.g. giving you their time, or money). One of the smallest and easiest actions you can ask for is simply asking for an email reply. Ask for a reply back in your first email to a prospect, and I guarantee you’ll be able to get bigger and better engagement later. It could be as simple as ending your email with “Reply back to this email and let me know you received it, ok?”. Try it, and then comment below and let me know how it worked. By the way, if you haven’t yet read Dr. Cialdini’s book yet, put it at the top of your list – it will instantly improve your sales and marketing skills.
Bonus Tip #1: How to Quickly Build Rapport via Email
Once you get an email reply, matching your prospects language via email will help you gain rapport quickly, and give you a major advantage over your competition. Look carefully at how you prospect communicates in their emails. What kind of sensory language are they using? Auditory? Visual? Kinesthetic? When you identify whether your prospects are centered by sound, sight, or touch, match that language in your email replies and you’ll build quick rapport with your prospects. Here’s an example of auditory centered language (You can quickly identify kinesthetic and visually-centered language with works like “feel” “a good fit”, or “looks” and “see”):
I heard about one of your products from a friend of mine. It really sounds like just what I need, and I’d like to hear more
Could you tell me a little bit more about it?
Thanks for your email. I’ve attached a few documents that will tell you all about it.
Reply back to this email and tell me what most rings true with you about our products. Sound good?
I’m looking forward to talking to you more about it.
Bonus Tip #2: The Amazing, Super-Simple Email That Revives Dead Leads
I learned this great lead reviving email strategy from one of my marketing mentors, the great Dean Jackson. Dean is a master at making the complex simple. He’s also one of the best marketers on the planet. The email was originally designed for real estate agents, but it is so simple it will work for nearly any industry. Take a look below:
Subj: Hi Rich
Rich, are you still interested in getting a new copier for your business?
Reply back to this email and let me know.
Your email signature.
That’s it. Really. As humans we tend to want to include more and over-complicate things. Resist the temptation to over complicate this email. And remember, all you’re looking for is a reply to your email. That’s it. Don’t oversell anything. You’re just trying to re-engage in a dialogue with your prospect. This email is super-simple, and that is why it works so well. It’s short. It’s personal. It expects a reply.
Try it right now. It only takes a minute or two. Then come back tomorrow, post a comment below and let us know how well it worked for you.
This post is written by Rich Mauser, Sr. Email Marketing Manager for Business.com. In this two-part article series, Rich shares his tips for more optimized email campaigns. Email marketing is great way for businesses to generate leads, nurture leads and turn those with an interest into long-term and loyal customers. In part one, he shares two quick and easy email tips to get your prospect’s attention, build rapport and convert more of your prospects to customers.
1. Get Your Prospect’s Attention with a Great Subject Line
There’s an old adage in email marketing that says you have 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention in your email. All it takes is 3 seconds (or less) for a prospect to decide if they’re going read your email, save it to read later, or delete it. So it’s absolutely crucial in your first email to a prospect that you get their attention quickly. And the best way to get their attention is through the subject line of your email. The subject line is the most important aspect of your email. It’s your headline. It’s the first thing your prospect will see when they receive your email, so spend some time thinking about your subject line. We spend nearly twice as much time writing and testing subject lines for our emails than we do on the rest of the email. It’s that important. So what makes a great subject line? The best subject lines speak to the reader’s selfish benefit, so focus your subject lines on your prospects and how they will benefit. Do NOT make it about you. A quick way to improve a subject line is to look for the words “me”, we” or “I”. If any of those words appear in your subject line, it may be time to re-write.
- Quick Tip: put your prospect’s first name in the subject line and you’ll get a much higher percentage of them reading your email. If you’re using an automated email system, you should have the ability to merge the first name into the subject line automatically. If it doesn’t you may want to consider getting another one. I’ve been using this tip for years, and I’ve seen it boost response by as much as 75%.
Keep your subject lines short. Most subject lines get cut off in the email preview window, so any words after the first 30 characters aren’t likely to make an impact. And most likely will not get read by your prospect, so keep them short. President Obama’s 2012 fundraising campaign set a new benchmark for political fundraising via email. They tested hundreds of subject lines and the one that got the best open rate was “Hey.” That’s it. Three simple letters. Here’s what Toby Fallsgraff, the campaign’s email director had to say about it in a Bloomberg Businessweek article:
“The subject lines that worked best were things you might see in your in-box from other people,” Fallsgraff says. “ ‘Hey’ was probably the best one we had over the duration.” Another blockbuster in June simply read, “I will be outspent.” According to testing data shared with Bloomberg Businessweek, that outperformed 17 other variants and raised more than $2.6 million.
The second subject line mentioned in the quote above, “I will be outspent” uses another concept I’ve seen work well in my own testing – using cryptic or vague subjects. This arouses the reader’s curiosity and keeps them moving forward from your subject line to the rest of your email, which is the sole responsibility of the subject line – get them to keep reading!
2. Keep It Conversational
Once you’ve got your reader’s attention with a short subject line that arouses curiosity, you want to keep their attention by making the “body” of your email short and personal. One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make in their emails is they write with a “business appropriate” tone. This typically comes off as stiff, uncomfortable and unreadable. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who enjoys reading dry business writing. Yaaawn.
- Quick Tip: If you’re having a hard time finding a casual voice for your emails, go to one of my favorite websites all time: Unsuck It. They’ve got a great tool that helps you turn dry, over-complicated and ambiguous phrasing into short, concise language that’s simple, direct and easy to understand.
When making your first contact with a prospect via email, act like you’re welcoming them into your home. What do you do first when you let someone into your home? Greet them, thank them, welcome them and ask if there’s anything they need? Maybe you offer them something to eat or drink? A seat? That’s a pretty good formula for a first email contact: greet them, thank them, and ask if there’s anything they need. This will go a long way to building a relationship that will ultimately end in a sale. Be authentic. Use a casual, conversational tone. And remember, people buy from people, not from companies.
Stay tuned for Part 2 for more tips on how your business can use email to convert prospects into customers.
What type of success has your business seen with email marketing?
The outlook from B2B marketers is positive in 2013. The BtoB Online report, “Outlook 2013: Marketing Priorities & Plans,” found 49% of respondents planned to spend more this year, up from 40% in 2012. They also found only 10% said they planned to cut their budgets, demonstrating optimism from B2B marketers. The majority of B2B marketing professionals plan to increase their budget, with digital marketing being a major focus. Because customers, clients and leads are online, more and more companies are seeing the need for their business to have a presence online. However, other areas such as direct mail, events, and telemarketing continue to be a focus. When putting a plan in to place for 2013, ask yourself these three questions.
What is the Objective?
Different businesses will have different goals in 2013. While objectives may differ from company to company, there are some common trends worth paying attention to. According to John DiStefano, BtoB research director, demand-gen and customer acquisition are marketers’ primary goals this year. This should be no surprise as every business owner and marketer is looking for ways to connect with new customers. Other goals included building brand awareness and customer retention. Part of that is building a better website, because that could be the first point of contact between your business and customer. BtoB found that 21% of budgets will be geared towards website development this year. Because businesses and
marketers are looking to reach new customers, they need to be where their customers are. This is where budget comes in to play – you want to put budget towards the types of marketing that are helping your business meet its goals most.
What about Budget?
While many nearly half of all B2B marketers plan to spend more this year, each area of their marketing strategy is receiving a different amount of the budgetary resources. Digital marketing will gain the most, with 67% planning to increase such spending, according to the BtoB Online poll, conducted in November, which drew 366 B2B marketer respondents. The world, and its consumers, is moving more towards the digital world when it comes to conducting research, gathering information, and making a purchase. Other areas projected to see increases include social marketing (cited by 56%), events (42%), and direct mail (35%). Social media networks and in-person events allow sales team and marketers to connect with current and potential customers on a more personal level and a personalized experience is what many customers are after. Mobile is one area many B2B marketers are turning their attention. 32% now use mobile in their marketing strategy and 35% of respondents plan to increase their spending on mobile marketing by 36%, however most marketers (68%) are not placing a high emphasis on mobile ads this year.
What is the Impact on Lead Generation?
New goals and a new spending strategy will have an impact on lead generation. As businesses figure where there customers are, dedicate more of their budget to those areas, and create more tailored content, it’s likely their lead generation efforts will yield a greater ROI. Rishi Dave, executive director-digital marketing at Dell Inc., explains “We have increasingly found that our customers want to consume content—which is the center of b2b marketing—in multiple formats beyond just the computer, whether it’s tablets or phones.” According to the B2B Online report, more than 1 in 5 use mobile apps as part of mobile strategy. As businesses gear their content and budget more towards where they are seeing the greatest ROI, their lead generation numbers will improve. Because B2B marketers are increasing their digital marketing spend, chances are their lead generation via digital marketing channels is going to increase. Where you change your spending is where you are most likely to see a change in lead generation.
B2B marketers are looking at 2013 with a positive view. Many are increasing their budgets and focusing on the digital aspect of their business. When it comes to resource allocation this year, make sure you’re paying attention to where trends are taking place, from new social networks, to whether your business is performing better via one channel versus another. B2B businesses are trying to reach their customers in those places where communication lines are better and where content is being sought. The key takeaway: be where your customers are.
A recent study from Eccolo Media suggests an increasing move toward viewing content through mobile devices is taking place among business audiences of B2B technology collateral, though desktop options still remain the vehicle of choice for many business leaders.
According to results from the “2011 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report,” nearly four in 10 (37 percent) of U.S. corporate technology decision-makers note they have received collateral via a mobile device.
In breaking down the numbers, the report shows:
- 33 percent of respondents note watching content on a smartphone, while 16 percent reported using a tablet;
- 56 percent of executives still use a desktop for viewing white papers;
- 58 percent use a desktop for reading case studies;
- 53 percent use a desktop for viewing product brochures/data sheets;
- Downloading and printing were more widely reported versus mobile viewing;
As for the kinds of mobile devices marketers are advised to optimize their B2B technology collateral for, 56 percent responding noted the Apple iPad, with the Apple iPhone receiving 45 percent of the vote.
Asked how often they turn to a mobile gadget for viewing written B2B technology collateral, 30 percent of respondents indicated they receive mobile content weekly, while 34 percent said it was more likely several times a week, with 23 percent indicating several times a month.
So while mobile technology is growing in popularity, many business leaders still feel the desktop is the way to go as opposed to a screen the size of their hands.
Not only does the desktop screen size offer a bigger picture, but it lessens the chances of an error that a smaller device can lead to as someone’s fingers are trying to access the smaller keys.
Many industry observers are predicting that within the next two to three years, mobile Internet usage will exceed desktop Internet usage, perhaps even sooner.
For B2B marketers, it is safe to say that mobile devices will soon become as critical to viewing marketing content as the desktop is.
In order to meet the needs of your business customers, it is important to be sure all assets are optimized for viewing on various screens and gadgets.
By doing so, you arrive at the chosen method of engagement on the part of the customer, something that should land you repeat business.
Photo credit: velocitypartners.co.uk
[Ed: We are excited to feature B2B specialist Christina “CK” Kerley as a contributing blogger. Christina “CK” Kerley provides a strong voice in modern B2B marketing.]
In my last post, I shared the spotlight on building the B2B business case for social media—and as a companion to that content, this time I’m focusing on building the B2B business case for mobile marketing, through both a slideshow and a short video.
It’s likely you’re hearing a lot of buzz around mobile, but might be perplexed as to its efficacy for B2B audiences. You might also be facing a lot of obstacles from your organization’s internal executives who aren’t yet aware of the remarkable reach, benefits and tools that mobile has to offer. To that point, the below slideshow walks you through 10 key arguments that will help you build the business case for mobile marketing for your B2B and turn mobile skeptics into mobile supporters.
And to add more ammo to your B2B mobile argument, in the below video, Chris Koch, ITSMA’s Director of Research and Thought Leadership, and I explore 3 key questions around integrating mobile into the B2B marketing mix, namely:(1) Why Mobile for B2Bs? (2) What are the critical success factors for B2Bs in Mobile? and (3) What are some key mobile approaches for B2Bs? Featured below, as well as at Social Media B2B, the piece runs right at 13 minutes.