Posts Tagged ‘leads’

Content Marketing Plan- Part 2

Creating a Content Plan: Part 2Part 2 of 4: Getting things in order

Last time we discussed getting your content marketing campaign off the ground. We gave you the tools on how to get your strategy in motion. In this round, we will discuss how to get the momentum going and touch on auditing your current content, documenting your new content strategy and how to create topic ideas to fuel your content strategy.

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Tradeshows a Dying Breed? 13 Tips to Help Improve Show ROI

tradeshow, pr, events, sales, leads, press, editorsRemember the days when tradeshows were jam-packed and everyone registered to attend as soon as they could to reserve their spot?  People milled around and networked for hours looking at some of the greatest booth presentations and demos the industry had to offer.  It was THE BEST, wasn’t it?

Tradeshows were so important. They were an ‘absolute must’ travel expense.  And then, all of a sudden, there was a drop. Slowly, these fun networking extravaganzas seemed to slowly fade away.  But just like print magazines themselves, we’ve seen it come full circle and hopefully there will be a resurgence as organizers are learning what works in today’s new environment.

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Strengthen Your Marketing through Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

Canada anti-spam lawCanada’s recent legislation cracking down hard on email traffic within its borders is being touted as the most stringent anti-spam policy instituted to date.

While there are definitely regulations that need to be adhered to and compliance issue to be met for sending Canadian residents and businesses electronic communications, there’s also an opportunity to strengthen your marketing program.

Regardless of a recipient’s location, doesn’t every business want its messaging to be received by a receptive, willing and interested audience? Email has made it too easy to overload prospects and customers with irrelevant, frivolous and uninteresting content…because, well…it is too easy…

Once a name is put on your list, what happens next?

Is that person assigned a caretaker that interacts with them and gets to know their business or merely left to fend for themselves in the sea of emails they will receive from companies just like yours spouting their latest and greatest achievements, as well.

So, when verifying the ‘opt-in’ status of your Canadian customers, ask yourself:

“When was the last time I asked each person on my list what they want to receive, and how often?”

If you are crafting a request to your Canadian contacts asking for permission to send them emails, why not use this as a chance to find out what they really want to receive. And then extend that offer to the rest of your list.

After all, email has made it easy to send out information to the masses…

And, for those of you who still need to review the specifics about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), visit http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/casl-lcap.htm. All of us should remember there are fine points in the language that can be applied in a broader sense to make your direct marketing programs the best they can be.

And if you need some help on how to be the caretaker of your sales leads, this recent post may lend some insight: So, You Just Got a Sales Lead, Now What?

So, You Just Got a Sales Lead! Now What?

Lead management funnel

 

You spend a lot of money to get the word out about your company, products and services to your prospects.

If you’re like most of us in this fascinating B2B marketing business, your intent is to build brand and, along the way, develop sales leads that just might turn into real sales.

Sadly, recent market figures indicate that less than 20% of sales leads result in actual sales. That’s a pretty crummy return on investment.

If you’re a CMO, a sales or marketing manager or a marcom specialist, and your leads-to-sales ratio is this low, this figure should frighten you.

It indicates that your return on your marketing investment just isn’t what it should – and could – be!

So…why is it so low across the board (no, you are NOT alone). There is a possibility that the products or service you’re marketing don’t have that much interest.

However, it’s more likely that either you’ve chosen the wrong media to get your message out, the wrong message for the market you’ve chosen…or…be honest now…you simply have no foolproof means of tracking your sales leads and determining which ones are worthy of follow-up and, in terms of lead generation, which media are delivering the best bang for the buck.

Where are they from?
Today, with more lead generating sources at our disposal than ever before…online and print…it’s more important than ever to find out which sources are hitting the mark for you.

How can you possibly do this without an effective, comprehensive and CLOSED-LOOP inquiry management system? Not having this will ensure that you are squandering an unknown portion of your all too precious marcom dollars.

Having it will give you a sure-fire way of maximizing the impact of your marketing plan and proving to others higher up in the marcom food chain that you are doing the best job possible for your company.

In its simplest terms, a closed loop inquiry management system tracks each and every lead by going back to the field for the data needed to characterize if a lead is hot, warm or dead. It asks the sales manager, salespeople, regional sales managers or whoever is in charge of inquiries (and sales!!) a few critical questions about each lead they are sent.

What was the action?
Did they contact the prospect…was the requested information delivered via print or online…is there a valid application for the product or service…if a sample was requested, was it delivered and how did it work…is this inquiry worth an additional follow-up effort, even an in-person sales call? If so, what is the mechanism for ensuring follow-up and investigating the results of that effort? If the lead is not really applicable to your division, could another division in your company pursue it?

Today’s online inquiries frequently have a ton of data associated with them. The best inquiry management system will effectively log, process and utilize that data.

On the other hand, some of the hottest leads come with no data, no clue. The telephone call! (Remember telephones??) If someone is interested enough to actually pick up the phone and call your company, the first thing you want to know is what prompted the call: An ad? A PR item? A buyer’s guide listing? A blog? What? Where? When?

The hottest leads still frequently come from the telephone and we are missing the boat big time if we don’t find out what source generated that call!

The first step to set up your inquiry management system is to evaluate your sales process. Once the review is completed, an effective system path should start to emerge from the strengths and weaknesses you found in your sales process evaluation. This is key if you ever hope to turn more of your marketing communications dollars into sales dollars, which in turn will fuel an ever-growing marcom budget!

Not All E-letters Are the Same…Maximize Exposure and Generate Leads

dart in center of targetSo, it has happened…online BtoB advertising has recently surpassed print advertising in overall revenue dollars. Even in the high-tech and industrial markets, where there is an older engineering demographic that prefers print, online advertising still makes up a significant percentage of media spending.

But this shift isn’t necessarily bad news.  As media data has shown, most BtoB pubs have two sets of readers: those that go online and those that still like to flip pages, and the overlap is very minimal.  Online advertising not only provides the exposure to the segments of our target markets that tend not to read print magazines, but also can generate pretty heavy-duty leads, depending on the publication…an integral feature we use in our comprehensive media analysis.

So, just like in the good old days of bingo cards (any of you youngsters know what they are?), we can measure our return on investment for a given advertisement based on how many readers respond for information.

And the news keeps getting better – more publishers are taking advantage of advancing tracking technology to capture more detailed prospect information.

When banner ads started popping up on the Internet, measuring results was limited to the number of times an ad was viewed on a website (impressions), and the number of times someone clicked on the ad and went to the advertiser’s site (click-throughs).

When e-letters started making their appearance, we received similar information – how many recipients opened the e-letter, how many bounce backs occurred and how many recipients clicked through to the advertiser’s website.

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The Advertiser’s Playbook: Online Advertising Overview

Thought online advertising meant just web versions of print ads? Think again!

Although print advertising is still effective, it’s important to tap into the new world of online advertising, since this is the prime source of information for some market segments.  And, research from various sources (Nielson, MRI, eMedia Strategist, and our own analysis of media kits and publication data over the years) repeatedly shows there’s minimal overlap between people that get their information from the web and those that obtain it from print, so if you want to reach your entire target audience, you need to use both advertising channels.

Online advertising takes many forms – e-newsletters, banner ads, webinars, white papers, virtual trade shows, videos, podcasts, social media, pay per click…the list goes on.  With all the technology available, an advertisement can be much more than just words or an image.  Online ads can incorporate motion and sound—something a print magazine ad is incapable of doing.

Online Advantages
A major advantage to online advertising is accessibility.  Unlike print, where the ad reaches only a certain amount of people, online ads have virtually no limit and can reach anyone in the world around the clock. Long after the advertisement is posted it can continue to brand your product or company.

Online advertising also provides something print advertising could rarely deliver: information about the people who are actually responding…clicking on your ads, downloading your whitepapers and tuning in to your webinars. While print advertising can provide you with circulation data and readership details, it can’t provide the names and contact information for the last 10 people who really, actually viewed your information (though the amount of data provided varies by publication).

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Lead Management: The Weak Link between Marketing and Sales

weak linkThe ultimate goal of marketing is to gain new customers. You spend both money and resources to educate your prospects about why your products and services are the best out there. The problem is that most of the time, people seeing your ads or reading your whitepapers and press releases aren’t entirely ready to commit. They need guidance, encouragement. The application in your case study is really interesting, but they may not have that specific application right now.

It’s these situations that expose the weak link between marketing and sales; the gap that exists between broad marketing techniques and closing a sale. You’ve met your marketing communications goal by targeting the right audience and gaining interest, but you aren’t quite ready for the sales team to take over. You’re stuck in the “in-between” when there isn’t one specific person responsible for the next phase.

Often, leads are passed on to sales without a second thought about whether or not all critical data has been obtained. A sales person gets incomplete information or a contact that isn’t ready to move to the sales-side of the deal, so the sale doesn’t move forward. How can you turn an inquisitive reader into a real buyer?

Fortunately, when given some light, that “in-between” grey area of lead management can reveal tried-and-true steps to follow. Lead management can educate buyers, help you understand your customers’ needs and ultimately generate revenue when a comprehensive and effective strategy is used.

These simple steps can turn that weak link into one of your most effective strategies by coordinating efforts between the marketing and sales teams. One group or one individual just won’t have the time, or the knowledge, to take care of everything.

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