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A few early B2B marketing ideas from Santa.

Children writing lists to Santa aren’t the only ones making wishes this year. We B2B marketers are making many wishes for our marketing to be more effective, less costly, and less work. These are the same old wishes, but, in this volatile economy, the gifts are needed more than ever.

So I went searching for a few B2B marketing Santas that may have left a gift in a blog or magazine article here and there. Here’s what I unwrapped.

Be more effective

Deliver Magazine from the US Postal Service was celebrating its 40th issue with a recap of its greatest moments. One clip included this very sage advice from the “permission marketing” guru Seth Godin. He said, “Happy customers are a company’s worst enemy because they’re unlikely to push you to stay ahead of the competition. Talk with those who are dissatisfied with everything on the market.” Taking this approach is the best way to help B2B companies find out how to improve their products and the effectiveness of their marketing.

Save money

Doing more with less has always been important. These days it’s a survival necessity. Although there is danger in spending too little, the worst danger is not knowing how much you should be spending. Thank Santa for a recent post on the Inbound Sales Network. Their “How Much Should you Spend on Lead Generation?” takes B2B marketers through six calculations marketers can use to set the right spending limit for their organization.

Step 1: Set the Target
Say your company has the goal to do $1,000,000 in new sales during the next year. If you currently have a 10% growth rate in current accounts, this leaves $900,000 needed in new revenue generated in the next fiscal year.

Step 2: Pipeline Size
New Revenue Target / Closing Ratio

Step 3: Average Deal Size
Total Revenue / Number of Deals

Step 4: Total Number of New Opportunities Needed
Pipeline Size / Average Deal Size

Step 5: Lead to Opportunity Conversion Ratio
Number of Opportunities Won / Total Number of Opportunities

Step 6: Cost per Sales Qualified Lead
(Expected Revenue – Delivery Costs – Sales Costs – Acceptable Profit Margin) / Total Number of Leads Needed

Read their article to get all the details. This process helps ensure that every dollar spent on lead generation is justified based on the company’s sales goals. It’s the only way to go.

Lighten the workload

Follow the advice of Rachel Foster in the October 2011 Issue of Chief Content Officer (COO) Magazine. She suggests “Reimagining the Tried-and-True White Paper” by turning it into an interactive video. She says, “Unlike traditional videos, designed to play from start to finish, video white papers makes it easy to jump from section to section and focus in on high-interest topics.” Video white papers allow B2B marketers to track how long a viewer watched and what they watched. If some sections appear to be more popular than others, marketers can leverage that insight into a new piece of potentially effective content.

5 B2B marketing ideas you can implement (almost) instantly.

I’ve been delinquent in keeping up with my favorite blogs and staying up to date on today’s latest B2B marketing practices. Today I tried to catch up. All of the advice was very good — excellent, in fact — but it was also painful advice. That’s because, without exception, every post concerned big-picture B2B marketing strategies, the kind that require revising existing processes or implementing new ones. They are changes that need to be made, but could take months to implement.
Most of the B2B marketing teams I know are happy to just get a product launched or complete programs to drive booth traffic at their next industry event. Making any necessary but complex changes to marketing processes has the word “later” stamped all over it.

With this in mind, I’ve been on the lookout for ideas on small, but quick improvements that B2B marketers can make to at least feel like they’re moving the success of their programs up a notch. Here are the first five I’ve found.

  1. Boost content downloads: I read advice from Jonathan Kantor of The White Paper Company. He recommends that marketers provide site visitors with a free sample of part of a white paper before asking them to register to get the rest. Once engaged, they are more likely to register.
  2. Increase landing page performance: From the Pardot Marketing Automation‘s white paper on “Best Practices to Successful Landing Pages” I pulled out this little gem. They say that the most effective landing pages are those that reflect the look and feel of your Website, but do not allow for navigation to your actual homepage. Prospects can easily get distracted and click away from your landing page, losing the chance for you to get them to do what you were inviting them to do in the first place. They say, and I agree, that it is more appropriate to place links to the company site on the “thank you page” they see after registering.
  3. Lighten the burden of creating nurturing content: Reading the terrific Hubspot eBook “100 Inbound Marketing Content Ideas” spurred an idea. I remember that, when a colleague finds an interesting piece of content, they send me a link to it. There’s no reason why one of the elements in a nurturing campaign couldn’t do the same thing. B2B marketers can find valuable information that others have created (not competitors, of course) and forward a brief description and a link to the content in a nurturing email. It looks less like “self promotion” than sending one’s own materials and the content has already been created.
  4. Get a longer life out of email and direct mail content offers: Personalized URLs (or PURLS) have been around for a long time. It’s true they’ve lost the attention they once generated. Yet, a paper from Easypurl, Inc. does promote one benefit that I believe still has much value — that PURLs have a longer life than promotional URLs. Consciously, we know that using our name in a URL is not really personal, yet something with our name on it still makes a connection that other URLs do not. The Easypurl paper says that PURLs “have a long response tail.” For this reason, I think they still have value.
  5. Get better results by using the word FREE in subject lines and emails: A collection of articles on email marketing from Email Labs (now part of Lyris) that I saved supports a point that past testing by some of my clients has proven to be true. It says, “Perhaps the most common misconception in email marketing is that you should ‘never use the word free.’ By itself, the word free will not cause any of the major spam or content filters to reject your email. (Though it is possible that some corporations or user-driven spam filters might be set to delete emails containing the word “free”) So why then would you risk using free when there is a chance, albeit small, your email might be filtered? Quite simply, better results. In our experience across various clients, when used correctly, the word free can provide a powerful boost to your results.”