In the Professional World, It’s Time to Get Personal


In the Professional World, It’s Time to Get PersonalFor today’s businesses, professional connections start relationships, but personalization deepens it. You may be thinking of sales, but the same is true for online marketing. In a recent study conducted by Neolane and the Direct Marketing Association, researchers took a look at how marketers are embracing, or shying away from, real-time marketing and consumer personalization. The top findings can offer your business some insight into how it can become more personal and more successful. This post breaks down what those are and suggests a few steps you can put into your strategy today. Read the full entry


Behavioral Marketing: Best Practices for B2B Marketers


b2b marketing buyer behaviorWe know the purchase process has changed – that information isn’t new. Today’s buyers have more control over their journey and marketing has become more involved in the selling process for many businesses for this reason. Sales, they’re a top priority for all businesses and return customers are what keep those numbers growing. One recent study from Llloyd’s found that customer loss is the second biggest business concern for C-suite and board level executives around the world. While product enhancements and better customer service can contribute to customer retention, your business can make a few simple tweaks in its behavioral marketing strategy to see greater success in terms of ROI, marketing revenue and customer loyalty. Read the full entry


Feeding the Flames of Email Marketing Success


Feeding the Flames of Email Marketing SuccessEmail continues to adapt, even as some continue to disregard its long-term success. As the purchase process of customers has evolved, marketers and email software programs are evolving to meet their needs. B2B businesses are becoming more reliant on email as a means of generating content marketing leads and, according to a recent study, content is what feeds the flame of success. According to BtoB’s “Email Marketing: An Established Channel Evolves,” 47% of marketers said improving their email programs is dependent on increasing their ability to deliver content relevant to specific segments of their audiences (Tweet this stat!). This post takes a look at what modern marketers think about their email efforts and provides tips on how you can be more successful with your own email campaigns. Read the full entry


Triggered Emails: A Case Study on Timely Content


Man Checking Emails on TabletMarketing automation is a hot topic for modern marketers. Businesses, sales pros, and marketing teams are all looking for ways to reach more of the right people in a more efficient way than they have in the past. Automated emails can be a thing of beauty – but only if your business does it right. It’s all about timing and relevance and if your business can get these two things figured out for its target audience, you’ll be more successful. We took a look at a case study released by BtoB online of how one business was able to turn its email marketing efforts around with a timely, tailored new user campaign. Here’s what the company achieved and what your business can take away. Read the full entry


Three Trends in B2B Lead Generation You Need to Know


According to DemandGen reports, the B2B buyer behavior has been changing dramatically over the last few years as buyers find new ways to gather information online and via social media. In fact, 90% of business buyers say when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you. A 2013 lead generation survey from Holger Schulze asked B2B marketers questions about their budgets, challenges and how they measure success and campaign ROI. Here are 3 key trends to take away from this research.

Generate High-Quality Leads

The number one challenge for B2B marketers is generating high-quality leads. The most effective lead generation tactics used by marketers are their company website, email marketing and SEO. Getting leads isn’t always a challenge, but getting a qualified lead is. A lead generation company, such as Business.com, can help small or medium-sized businesses connect with decision makers who are actively looking to make a purchase. Immediate and consistent follow up with emails and phone calls is critical for achieving optimal close rates.  Making 6 calls leads to a 90% increase in sales, but 78% of leads are contacted only once. Not all leads are ready to make a purchase, but studies (including one from Gartner) have shown that most will purchase within the next 12 to 24 months making these leads potential customers you can’t ignore. Nurturing leads with effective follow-up is a key factor in attaining high-quality leads. B2B email and lead nurturing success come from providing compelling content for each stage in the buying process to move buyers from first tough to purchase.

Break Down Lead Generation Barriers

According to a study conducted by Schulze, the greatest barrier to lead generation success is lack of resources, including staff, budget and time. Breaking down these barriers means making the most of the leads and resources your business has. Autoresponse emails can save your team time right off the bat. While many indicated budget as a barrier in their lead generation success, the survey also found that lead generation budgets are going up for nearly 50% of B2B marketers. Budgets are staying the same for 44%  of respondents. Lead generation programs receive the second biggest marketing budget allocation, second behind conferences and tradeshows. In order to break down the barrier of a lack of resources, reevaluate your marketing processes and whether money is being spent in the right place.

Measure Marketing Efforts

Businesses are about the data, the numbers and the ROI. Marketing departments are no different. B2B marketers’ top metrics to measure marketing ROI are lead volume, cost per lead, revenue and cost-per-acquisition. Marketing automation software is one way B2B marketers measure their efforts. The survey found that most B2B marketers (43%) use marketing automation software for reporting, analytics, and dashboard capabilities, followed by campaign tracking (42%).

Look for a marketing software solution that integrates with your CRM and campaign tracking easily. More and more, marketers in all industries want to see whether their efforts are yielding a positive ROI and are worth the time and investment they are dedicating to different channels and strategies. Measuring marketing efforts is one 2013 trend that isn’t going anywhere but up.

Lead generation is an area that many B2B businesses are familiar with. Many are having the same struggles when it comes to quality, allocation of resources and measuring their efforts. However, the increase in dedicated lead generation budget for nearly half of B2B marketers also indicates that businesses are seeing success with their lead generation efforts. According to this study, three trends B2B marketers need to pay attention to are how they can generate high-quality leads, break down barriers that arise due to a lack of resources, and measure their marketing efforts more effectively.

How does your business measure its lead generation success?


How to Nurture Leads with Auto Response Emails


A new study from Optify looked at the websites of over 500 of the Inc 5000 fastest growing companies and found that only 37% are using autoresponders to follow up on leads. Our research has found that there is a direct correlation between follow-up timing and conversion rates. Because a sales rep is not always available to reach out immediately to a lead, auto response emails are a simple and effective way for your business to communicate with a new prospect. There are four elements to an auto responder: a form, a “thank you” page, an email and cadence. Your initial and follow-up emails need to be branded, relevant and timeless. Our testing has found that emails sent from a person within the company, as opposed to sending from a generic company name, drive a higher response. Auto response email campaigns are a great way to stay connected with prospects after they submit a form and here are three ways your business can make the most of them.

The Thank You Page

A clear call to action can direct your customer further down the conversion funnel. The thank you page is an opportunity to upsell, cross-sell or deepen engagement with links to your blog or social networks. Focus on delivering content on your thank you page that helps the reader make sense of everything they just read and how they can put it into action to improve their business. You can even offer additional downloads. Turn your thank you page into a resource page and a way your business can continue to build its brand.

  • Optify found that 91% of the B2B companies analyzed displayed a “Thank You” page stating that the form was received
  • Only 18% of those with thank you pages displayed a call-to-action upon form submission. Be sure your thank you page encourages leads to continue interacting with your business.

The First Follow-Up

A fast auto response email places your business in the eyes of a potential customer again, before they have a chance to forget about your business and the form they filled out. Include trackable links to content on your site or blog. Sales teams are often reaching out to leads via phone calls. Your team’s first follow-up shouldn’t be a call or an email. It needs to be both. Timing is everything and when responding to a completed form within 5 minutes versus 10 minutes leads to a 900% increase in contact rate, your business needs to be reaching out to touch base quickly and through multiple communication channels if needed.

  • 70% of the companies that use autoresponders send the first email within 15 minutes of a form being submitted with the average response time for these companies being just over 3 minutes.
  • Only 58% of the immediate (within 15 minutes of submission) auto response emails were personalized.
  • Emails sent in between phone calls raise the chances of achieving contact by 16% (Leads360).

The Next Follow-Up

Play with timing until you find the best time to submit emails. One best practice your business can follow is the 3:7 schedule. While your first email is sent immediately, second and third emails can be sent 3 days after form submission and then again one week after submission. After the first email, your follow-up emails need to progress depending on where the person is in the purchasing funnel. Letting the user know what to expect provides an additional layer of transparency to your lead nurturing process.

  • 6% of the initial auto response emails contained an indication of a future email (Optify).
  • Most companies send more than one follow up email — the average number of follow up emails sent in the first week was 2.54 and the average interval between the first and second email was just over 30.5 hours.
  • The data from Leads360 reveals that the optimal number of email messages to increase conversion during the first month of a prospect’s lifetime is 5.

Combining the findings for phone calls and emails, the most effective contact strategy involves 6 phone calls and 5 emails, interspersed over 22 days. Use auto responders to make this process more efficient. An effective auto responder campaign generates a response. Give the prospect another opportunity to request additional information and connect with your business. An auto response program collects additional information about each prospect that your company and sales reps can use to prioritize follow-up. You can use your auto response efforts to nurture leads and guide them through the conversion funnel for greater optimization and success.

Has your business seen success with the use of auto response emails? How so?

(Image: Optify)