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5 Reasons You Should Build a Strong In-House List

B2B marketers continue to rely heavily on email for effective lead generation, content marketing and growing revenues. According to results from the B2B Content Marketing: 2019 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report, email is the number one content distribution channel used by 87% of marketers. This means you need a “strong” in-house list, one with complete and accurate contact information.

Do you rely on purchased lists? Haven’t been properly maintaining your in-house list? If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, you’re wasting time and money. Plus you’re increasing the risk of missing your revenue growth goals.

Let’s discuss 5 reasons why you should invest in your B2B in-house list 

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Your B2B Marketing Content: Corporate Asset or Just Another Expense?

Way back in 2011, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, posed the question, “Is content an asset or an expense?”. Most B2B marketers know content is the fuel for their lead generation and nurture. However, it seems many have forgotten or failed to answer Joe’s important question. So let’s revisit this topic now.

“Why now?”, you ask. You’ve likely set your budget for 2019. But ask yourself how hard it was to get the budget for your content development including writing, design, and management. If you had trouble justifying the budget or didn’t get the budget you needed, then read on. Read more

Is Your B2B Website Central to Online Lead Generation?  Answer These 3 Questions

My company website was a simple one I created myself back in 2012 to explain the B2B marketing consulting services I offer. It was looking a bit dated. In addition, I had a WordPress blog with a completely different look. So I bit the bullet and completely redesigned my company website and incorporated the blog. I hope you’ll take a look around while you’re here.

Naturally I’ve been thinking a lot about B2B websites in general. Too often B2B websites become nothing more than online brochures. Or sometimes, they fall short when it comes to moving prospects toward becoming qualified leads. Instead, a B2B website should be at the center of all your online lead generation.

To see whether your B2B website is functioning at the center of your online lead generation, answer these 3 questions.

 

  1. Do prospects find your website during online searches?

When your prospects have a problem or challenge they need to solve, the first thing they do is research online to find possible solutions. If your website doesn’t appear in their search results, then you’ve missed a lead generation opportunity right from the start!

Make sure your B2B website is search engine optimized (SEO) so that it is easy for Google and other search engines to crawl and that it ranks well. Your website needs to focus on improving the user experience and offer content that addresses each stage of your prospect’s buyer journey. For example, blogging can be a great way to provide educational and informative content and significantly improve SEO.

Google rarely states specifics about how it ranks websites, but did state that websites without security certificates will rank lower in search results.  You may have already noticed during your own internet searching that most browsers notify you whenever a site does not have a security certificate.

 

If you haven’t already done so, your B2B site needs to have a security certificate (URL starts with https://).

 

  1. How well does your online marketing drive website traffic?

Your social media posts, online ads and email campaigns should all be driving visitors to your website. It’s OK for some of your social posts to reference industry events or content on other sites. However, the majority of your posts should offer links to dedicated web landing pages designed to convert visitors. The same goes for online ads.

website online lead generation

Make sure your website uses responsive design so it renders properly on smartphones, tablets, and desktop computer browsers. This is especially important for social media posts because increasingly many of us view social media on tablets and smartphones, not our desktop computer. And if your website doesn’t render properly, you risk losing engagement with prospects and increasing page bounce rates. This will eventually result in lower search rankings.

For every online post, ad, or email campaign measure how much traffic each delivers to your website as well as web landing page bounce rates. This way you can learn what is most effective and efficient for driving engaged website traffic.

 

  1. How well is your website converting visitors to leads?

If your online marketing is driving traffic to your website, then make sure your web landing pages keep them engaged enough to get their email address. The best way to do this is to offer valuable educational content behind a form. These landing page forms are the best way to build your in-house list so you can further nurture prospects toward being a qualified lead. Don’t rely only on a “Contact Us” form.

Online lead generation Website funnelJust like your social media posts and online ads, make sure every email campaign has a call to action that takes the person to a landing page on your website. In addition to the information they expected from the email, offer them more content that helps them along their buyer journey.

Analyze how well your landing pages convert. Do visitors visit the page, but then quickly abandon the page? Maybe the content or offer is not valuable enough for the user to give up their contact information. Do they open the form, but don’t submit it? Maybe your form is asking for too much information given the offer. A/B testing and further analysis can help you improve conversion rates.

If your answers to these 3 questions weren’t as positive as you’d like, maybe it’s time to rethink your online lead generation and website strategy. Or maybe it’s simply time for a website update or redesign. Sometimes an outside perspective and dedicated resource is just what’s needed. Get in touch with me to discuss your needs.

 

 

 

Lead Tracking Leads B2B Marketers to Answers

How many leads did your marketing team generate last year? This simple question can be hard to answer for many B2B marketers because tracking leads is a complicated process, especially if you don’t have automated systems in place. However, being able to confidently answer this and other questions around marketing’s contribution to lead generation and revenue will:

  • insure company growth
  • justify increasing budget dollars for your marketing efforts
  • improve marketing’s lead generation effectiveness

B2B marketers need to utilize a system for lead tracking to answer these questions.

Let’s discuss what lead tracking is and how to get started, even if you’re a marketing “team” of one or two, or lack an automated lead tracking system.

What is lead tracking?

One of the most important responsibilities for a B2B marketer or marketing team is to generate leads. In its simplest form a lead is an individual who is interested in your product or service. And a simple lead management process is one where marketing generates a lead, then passes it over to the sales team who “close” the lead as either a won or lost sale.

Lead tracking is the ability to track each lead from initial inquiry via a marketing channel (online or offline) or campaign (digital ad, email, direct mail etc.) response through to a closed sale (won or lost).

This simple lead tracking and management process can get complicated very quickly. For example, is the lead located in a geographic area your company sells into, which sales person gets which leads, how does marketing hand off the lead information, and how does sales notify marketing of closing the sale. These are just some of the lead tracking details you typically need to work through. Read more

Looming EU Data Privacy Regs: Boom or Bust for US B2B Marketers?

If you’re a B2B marketer in the US you’re probably aware of the general trend toward more stringent data privacy regulations. But are you and your organization ready for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which goes into effect in May 2018 and applies to both B2C and B2B?

The GDPR applies to any B2B marketer who collects, stores, or uses identifying data (name, phone number, email address, IP address, etc.) about individuals in the EU. So if, like most B2B marketers, you have a database with EU prospects or customers, or use web forms, track web visitor behavior, send email campaigns, use third party lists, or exhibit at trade shows, then read on to learn more about the GDPR and why it could be a bust or boom for your marketing efforts.

GDPR Basics

The GDPR became law in 2016 and requires compliance as of May 25, 2018. The law applies to any entity, not just those based in the EU, so US firms need to understand the law now while there’s time to take the necessary actions. Some particular concerns for B2B marketers include: Read more

Sales and Marketing Alignment: 3 Ways B2B Marketers Can Get in Step with Sales

Anyone on a corporate marketing team can attest that alignment with the sales team can be challenging. For example, 48% of B2B marketers indicated sales and marketing alignment was a top priority for their organization’s lead generation efforts in 2017 according to The 2017 Demand Generation Benchmark Report.

Aligned B2B marketing and sales teams result in higher overall effectiveness for both teams and, most importantly, revenue growth. So how aligned is your marketing team with the sales team? Read on to learn three ways to align marketing and sales. Read more

B2B Referral Marketing: Driving Leads vs Closing the Sale

I’ve been thinking about referral marketing recently due to my own experience giving referrals to friends and family for Blue Apron, the meal kit delivery service. Clearly Blue Apron is using referral marketing to drive lead generation. But does this type of B2C referral marketing translate to B2B marketing?

The classic referral marketing program

Blue Apron’s is the classic referral marketing program where they encourage customers to get others to try the service via various incentives. Initially the incentive was the ability to give free meals worth $60 to my friends and family. More recently they upped the incentive to include savings for me if the person continued the service. Anyone connected to me on Facebook knows I’m a raving fan of the service, with or without the incentives, because I frequently post pictures of the awesome meals we make. So this got me thinking about how this type of program translates to the B2B world.

Referred leads are better leads

Of course for any referral program to work the company must be retaining customers and keeping them happy. So why bother at all with referral marketing? In the most recent Hubspot survey report, the State of Inbound 2017, respondents rated referrals as the highest quality leads. The report concluded this was likely because respondents thought these leads are more likely to convert. However, the report also acknowledged the challenge most organizations face scaling referral programs to get more leads into the sales funnel. Similarly, according to the Journal of Marketing, a referred customer has a 16% higher lifetime value than customers acquired through other methods. Intuitively this makes sense because we trust our professional peers who may recommend a company’s product or service via word of mouth, social media, or online review. The thing I wrestle with is how a B2B marketing team can make this a formal program for lead generation.

A lead generation referral program?

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Picture It, The Right Photo When You Need It

Managing B2B marketing photo assets is more important than ever. Photos are an important element for B2B marketing such as content, social media, websites, and presentations. Photos and images add visual interest, understanding and engagement to everything from white papers and case studies to literature and blogs. For example, according to Buffer Social, adding a photo to a tweet boosts retweets by 150%. We are visual creatures. In fact it’s been shown that three days after hearing a piece of information a person can only recall 10%, but add a picture and their recall is 65%.

However, B2B marketing teams struggle to ensure photo assets reflect their brand and messaging, are visually engaging, and easy to retrieve and use. Why is this such a challenge and what’s the solution? Read more

Is It Back to the Future for B2B Marketing? (Finally!)

Have you noticed how disjointed some B2B marketing is? Over the last ten, and especially five, years this seemed to be a growing trend. Article after article talked about and many B2B marketers implemented digital, social media, inbound marketing, SEO, etc. as though each can stand alone. And sadly, in many cases, each has stood alone. Many marketers gave little thought to an overall integrated marketing strategy. As a result, these marketing efforts delivered less than stellar results. However, last week I attended a conference that gives me hope we may finally be seeing a return to strategic integrated marketing. Read on to learn more about this and other takeaways from the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit (MAM Summit). Read more