This is a downloadable version of a presentation conducted July 10, 2008:
Presented by: Anne Holland, Founder, MarketingSherpa LLC; Sean Donahue, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa LLC, and Jeanne Hopkins, Marketing Director, MarketingSherpa LLC.
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#3. Here is a transcript of the teleseminar:Anne Holland
Welcome to MarketingSherpa. You’re here joining us for our brand new teleseminar, our Top Ten Business-To-Business Marketing Fast Fixes; How to Generate and Nurture More Qualified Leads. Joining me today is our Senior Reporter, Sean Donahue, and our head of Marketing, Jeanne Hopkins, who will be doing some Q &A at the end, based on the questions you guys sent in.
Now, you should be looking at the presentation that we sent over, along with this phone number, when we begin talking….On page 2 of the presentation, just quickly you’ll see what MarketingSherpa is all about. If you haven’t attended a MarketingSherpa teleseminar before, I wanted to just let you know that everything we’re presenting today comes from real life research, real life case studies and real life studies actually talking to your customers, yourselves, real life marketers like yourselves, and doing eye tracking studies. You name it. We’ve done every kind of study you can possibly imagine.
So, we’re not consultants. We are a research firm who tries to find out what really, honest to God, in real life, works in marketing and then we bring that information to you. Everything that we’re going to be talking about today is discussed in our latest book, which is the B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook. It’s scary. It’s 530 pages long. It’s everything you’d ever want to know about B-to-B lead generation. But, I thought that we could pull out some of the most useful things for B-to-B marketers caught in a recession, which is pretty much all of us right now. We wanted to talk about some fast fixes, some things you can implement right away for hopefully a low budget or no budget, but could make a difference.
So, why don’t we move on. You’ll see – move to page 3 of our presentation and you’ll see our very first fix. Well, obviously, when you’re going to do highly effective B-to-B marketing, it all starts with marketing research, which all starts with knowing your prospect. One of the best ways to get to know your prospect, actually, is by checking your own internal site search logs. So these are the words that people use when they actually on your own site, on your company site, when they’re using that search box.
This can be really valuable information for you for a couple of different reasons. One of them is, if you’re running any kind of search advertising in the outside world, this is a great way to find out what precise words, what taxonomy, what do the people who come to your site use? What are the words they’re using? You’ll often find words you might not have thought of advertising under, or you might not have considered. This is also invaluable for your copy writing. You may say, “Hey, this is the wording that really rings true,” and stick that in the headline and see if it gets a better response rate.
Lastly, if people are searching a lot for something, you might want to look at your home page, or whatever page they’re entering the site on, and say, “Wait a minute. We need to add or refine our navigation so that people, prospects who come to the site, are finding what they want,” because if they’re using search, they’re not seeing within the first three to ten seconds – they’re not seeing what they want. They’re a little frustrated. “How can I help them find that thing that they’re expecting from me?” So internal site search logs, it costs you nothing to dig them up. The IT Department should be able to get that for you, and it’s incredibly valuable.
Now, this is an actual sample. This is just the top ten of some of the search terms that you, our readers, actual MarketingSherpa readers, searched our site for in the month of June 2008, and this is sort of what a site search log would look like. Now, this goes on forever. We had 18,000 different things that people searched for, so there’s a very, very long tail. But it’s interesting, often, to look at the top ten, top twenty, top twenty-five, and you’ll see that people are interested in things like SEO. What’s interesting is they didn’t write ‘search marketing’. They wrote ‘SEO’. That tells us, wow, that terminology, just the term ‘SEO’, specifically, is a really good one for us to make sure is on our home page. Maybe we might advertise under that. So these are very, very useful things.
Sean, what is your take on this particular chart?Sean Donahue
One thing that really jumps out to me is if you look at number 6 here on this chart, it’s the blank query. This is when people – they haven’t typed an actual term in the search engine, but they hit the search button. And I think people may not realize how many times that actually happens, the volume of searches that are coming off of a blank query. And the question is, what does a person find when they do that?
So I would suggest, right after this teleseminar, everybody, go to your own home page and go to your own search box and check out what happens when you hit the search button without typing in any kind of search term. What page comes up? Because you don’t want people to get just a blank page, “No matches found” or “File Not Found”, because these people are obviously looking for something. They don’t know what, but they’re trying to navigate around your page. They found the Search box. That’s a good start.
Now, what can you do with those blank queries? Well, talk to your IT team and see if you can create a page that would direct all blank queries to something useful, some other kind of list of useful links, whether it’s most popular parts of your site or a hot link to all of your different white papers that you offer. Maybe it takes you to useful phone numbers for customer service, or maybe it’s a list of your best products, just something that gives people somewhere else to go on your page, because if they’re searching for something and they get that blank screen, “File Not Found,” you know they’re going to be gone. So find out some useful way to give blank queries valuable information.Anne Holland
That’s a really great tip. Why don’t we move on to fix number two, and this is get a lot more speaking gigs. Now this chart here is actually from a study that we conducted of business technology marketers. So, these are people who market IT services, IT technology, all different things like that. We had 1,038 marketers actually fill this out, so it’s pretty good data. And we asked them, “Out of all of the different types of events that you could be doing some marketing at, what generated the highest quality leads, as opposed to maybe you got low quality leads. What really generated the quality leads, or the ones that sales really wants to act on, as opposed to just flooding your database?”
And what was found out was, expectedly, company road shows and seminars generate very high quality leads. Well, that makes sense because, of course, you’re probably doing a lot of heavy, expensive marketing promoting it and you probably were qualifying people as they come. So that makes sense.
But the next one I think was very interesting, which was speaking engagement. Fifty-three percent of marketers said that they really got high quality leads from speaking engagements. What’s interesting to me about that especially is this is the cheapest thing on this list. I mean, let’s face it. A company road show is expensive. A trade show booth is expensive. Sponsoring trade events is expensive. Even a virtual show booth can cost quite a bit of money, and you still have to have staff time, and everything, involved for that. Speaking gigs are, to some degree, free. If it’s local, you’re just getting in your car and driving over there.
So it’s a wonderful idea to say, “Wait a minute. If this is really getting high quality leads, where else can I get speaking gigs? And who in my company can I send on gigs who is going to be a high quality speaker who’s going to impress prospects?” Not a salesy-type person, but a real quality speaker who has something interesting to say – maybe they’re just talking about the latest research you’ve done for your latest white paper or maybe there’s something technical that they have of interest to say, or something funny; top ten mistakes that were made by people in the trucking industry. I don’t know. Whatever it is, and where you can get them speaking gigs?
I know that in marketing, there are over 300 annual events in the marketing and advertising industry in America alone this year. That’s a lot. If you’re servicing the marketing world, that’s a lot of potential speaking gigs. And I bet, in your industry, there are just as many. It is just really intern time and sweat work to find them; the local, the regional and the national events, and you can work your way up from locals to nationals. There are just so many opportunities. Speaking gigs don’t cost you more than T & E. Sean, what’s your take on this?Sean Donahue
The only thing I’d add is that these days, they don’t even have to be in-person events. This survey actually asks people about in-person events, but you can also expand your speaking strategy to include virtual events and, in fact, talk about the lowest costs – there’s no travel involved. You could sort of be a guest speaker or a guest star on a podcast that’s highly rated in your industry, or you can become a speaker at a third party webinar. Maybe one of your partners is having a webinar about an important topic and you’ve got an expert speaker who can be one of the guests in that webinar. It’s a great opportunity to try to present any new research that your company might have. If you’ve got a new white paper that you’ve written, you can find a good audience that would want to hear that, and then get involved with some virtual events like that.
You can look around these days. Most industry associations have podcast series, or even some brown bag lunches; lots of different types of events going on. There’s a great opportunity to find the place to fit somebody from your company into one of these events, whether they’re real world or virtual, and the best thing with the virtual ones is they often include some kind of online hot link directly back to your site. If it’s a podcast, something that you can link to from your site, and then they can add links back to your site. You can get some direct lead generation there, as well. So think of some virtual events, in addition to real world events.Anne Holland
That’s a fantastic idea, especially these days when a lot of people in corporate America can’t afford to go to the show that you’d be speaking at because their budgets are being cut back, too. So that’s a really great point.
Why don’t we move onto fix number three? This is: get more interaction from your blog. We’ve done a lot of research into why marketers are blogging these days. By your blog, we mean any blog that’s being created for your company to market your brand. Usually, it’s informational, but it’s a marketing ploy. And the reason why most marketers are using blogs is as a search engine optimization tool. So they know that Google and Yahoo! are picking up on those blog postings. They know it’s a great way to get key word-rich pages up there and to get turn effect. It’s fantastic for traffic, plus often you can rip a blog off and you don’t have to go the IT Department, you don’t have to go through agony revamping a website. You can just get it done. Wonderful.
The problem comes when you get the traffic. What we’ve noticed in all of our research is that lots of people are doing great blogs, lots of people are getting great rankings, but then when the traffic comes to the blog itself, it just slides off. So you’ve got these prospects that are finding you, that are reading your posts, and then they’re going, “Hmm, that was interesting,” and just floating away. There’s very little interactive opportunities that you’re putting on your blogs to get those prospects, maybe turn them into leads, maybe get them more involved with your brand. What can you do to make your blog stickier? What can you do to turn your blog into a lead-generation device, without being nasty about it, without being – you don’t want to be salesy in a blog, but what could you do?
Now, Sean, you’ve got five different ideas here to talk through that people can do to their blogs that don’t cost any money.Sean Donahue
That’s right. That’s sort of the best thing about these is that they’re all pretty easy and free. We can start in the upper right, labeled ‘A’. This is a subscription box, and what we’re talking about is not the RSS feed subscription, which is important and every blog should have it, but we’re talking about letting people subscribe via email to get your blog post through email, because these days, as important as RSS is, it’s still a pretty small niche. There are a lot of people who don’t use it, don’t know what it is. So give those people an opportunity to get your blog entries by the most popular communication device out there, which is email. There are a lot of free services that will help you do this. I think some of the RSS feed servers also offer an option to power your email subscription box, companies like Feedburner. So you can set this up for free.
Moving over to the right there, ‘B’, this is an example that came from a real, live MarketingSherpa case study. Mr. Real Estate was the blog’s name, and what he did was actually added sort of like an email signature line to the bottom of every blog post. Usually, blogs might have the contact information hidden somewhere, or in an ‘About Us’ tab, but what you can do is set up this signature line that automatically gets posted at the bottom of every one of your entries, which has all of the contact information people might need, whether it’s your phone number, your email, just all the information that you want those people to have so that they can engage with you. Don’t make them search all over for it. Just put it at the bottom of every post.
Moving down to ‘C’. You can do a PDF or an e-book offer. E-books pretty much are the same thing as PDFs. Some people just like the term e-book better. But this is some kind of interesting, valuable content that you’re using. This example is also from a case study with a friend of Sherpa. David Meerman Scott has actually had a lot of success with offering this free e-book download on his own blog. I think he’s had more than 50,000 downloads of this e-book. He doesn’t require a registration for this, which is a tactic we’re going to describe later, but it’s a great way to get people to engage with some more content that you’re offering, not just the blog that they landed on.
‘D’ is Search. Just a very important question. Is there actually a search box on your blog? You want people, once they’ve come and read one item, maybe they want to look around for what else you’ve written and search is the primary way people do find things online. So make sure you have a search box, and again, you can get one – if your blog platform doesn’t automatically offer it, you can get a free plug-in from Google, and other search companies will offer some kind of integrated box you can throw in there.
Lastly, older posts. This is something that most blog platform software usually has this older post link in really tiny, tiny font somewhere at the bottom of the page. But what we suggest is to get somebody with a little bit of HTML experience to just go in there and kind of beef that up a little. Make it big. Make it really easy to find. Put it in 14-point, make it big and bold and tempting; just anything to get people to continue reading, because the more they read on your blog, the more likely they are to subscribe to it, to download your PDFs, to contact you, whatever you want to do; make it easy for them to engage with your content.Anne Holland
That is fantastic. Those are all great and, of course, cheap tips.
Let’s move on to fix number four. Now, everyone should know the difference between a search ad and a contextual ad. To give you an example, there are Google AdWords, which are the PPC ads that show up against Google Search listing, and then there’s Good AdSense, and those are the Google ads that you see on third party websites, such as blogs. You’ll be reading a blog and you’ll see the little “Ads by Google” thing on the right. It can be anywhere on there. That is the difference. Yahoo also has the Yahoo Publisher Network versus Yahoo Search results. So if you’re advertising on Yahoo in PPC, you can go in either of those directions.
Now, the problem is, most B-to-B marketers who are doing this are automatically lumping both types of ads into one place. Now, part of that is because the way that the set-up is – especially here. This is a sample of the actual screen in a Google account for an advertiser. The actual screen is already pre-checked so that you, automatically, if you’re running ads in Google PPC against search, your ads are also automatically going to go over and start running on blogs and things at the same time. There’s a problem with that.
The problem is these are different media. Someone who’s using a search engine to look up a particular term is a really different kind of prospect than someone who’s sort of reading an article on some other website about that particular topic. The ads are also served a little different. We have a lot of details about how it works differently in the handbook, so you can learn all the details, but just trust me. These are very different things. They’re going to give you a different kind of response rate. You’re looking at a different kind of prospect. You may want to have a different landing page. You may even want to have different creative. So you never, ever, ever do both of these campaigns at once.
What you want are two separate accounts. So if you’re doing Google advertising, have one account that you’re using for your pay-per-click Google Search advertising, and then set up a completely separate account – not just separate prices, but separate accounts – for all of the advertising you’re going to do on the content network, and have those accounts track separately, bid separately, do separate creative for them. So these are going to be two separate things. The key is, not only is this going to work better for you, but you’re going to save a bunch of money because it’s very easy to spend a whole bunch of money on the content network on ads that aren’t performing. So this is going to be a major cost savings right away and you can learn all about it in the handbook. Sean, what’s your take on this?Sean Donahue
Well, just to add to that, if you are running – you are going to be bidding separately for content ads and running totally different accounts, pay very close attention to the results in the content network account that you’re running because it can be a great way to find some obscure blogs or obscure websites that could actually make direct media buys for you. You might not be aware of everything that’s out there, but if you notice a particular site tends to be getting really good results for you in the Google content ads that are served there, you might find a chance to sort of just bypass Google altogether and go directly to that page and spend a little bit of money to buy your ad directly from them and sort of dominate the page and really maximize the conversion potential that you’re seeing there through the content network generated ads. So think of the content network as an added bonus. It’s a great way to seek out niche media buys that can be really cheap and effective for you.Anne Holland
If there’s anybody, by the way – I’ve got a quick, funny story. If there’s anybody from Microsoft on the line listening, I actually was – there are probably about 1,000 bloggers who make a living, or try to make a living independently, writing about Microsoft on their blogs, in very variable ways, often. And several of them have complained to me that they don’t want to use Google to power the advertising on their blogs because, of course, they support Microsoft. But they can’t get to Microsoft to do a media buy on their blogs, so who’s going to support them. So, if you are Microsoft, take a look at those people.
The next slide you’ll see, this is actually an example of – I mentioned that you should have different copy writing for your PPC ads versus your contextual ads. At the left, you see a PPC. This is a paid search ad. And at the right – this is just a mock-up. This is a fake sample that we got from David Stella over at Clicks Marketing.
On the right is how he would change the copy, and change it for a contextual ad. So a contextual ad, that’s one that running on a third party kind of content site, and you can see, it’s a really different kind of copy writing. For the search marketing, you’re doing much more of a factual – this is the thing really, the search you’re running. But, for the contextual ad, it’s much more of a “Pow, hey, wow’, trying to catch attention, because they’re actually not looking for your ad. They’re looking to read the other things on the page. So, it’s a different kind of copy writing there. I think it’s really handy to have the different – you can really see the difference between those two kinds of copy.
Now, why don’t we move on? These next fix – we’re on slide eight of the presentation – this next fix, fix number five, it’s actually not so much a fix as it is a great idea to whip out kind of a down and dirty lead generation campaign for basically no money. So, hey, fix your budget. So this is a fun tip, and this is based on a series of different case studies that MarketingSherpa has done and we talk about them in the handbook, of course, and how do to this, and Sean can talk about them a little bit more.
Basically, the idea is create a quiz online. Depending upon your prospects, they may have different things they like to be quizzed on; perhaps their expertise, whether they’re the right client for your company; do they know things? Who knows? You can come up with any kind of quiz, and they fill it out. Either maybe they’re going to give you an email address to learn what their answer, what’s their rating. You show them your rating and they you say, “Hey, would you like to try out our product? You’re the right kind of client for us.” Quizzes can be very compelling content for different types of people, especially people who are very technical. If you were marketing to kind of a geek audience, engineers, IT guys, that works very, very well, and especially, actually women. Women love quizzes. So if you’re marketing to females, that tends to work very well – female executives.
Sean, can you quickly outline some of the places these real-life examples come from?Sean Donahue
Yeah, sure. These are three examples that we’ve done case studies on in the past. The first one on the left, Anne mentioned the IT crowd, the engineering crowd, the geeky crowd. This is Quantum, and they were trying to definitely reach that audience. That’s a group of professionals who very much love to have their knowledge tested. They like to see how much they know, and how much more they know than other people. So this was a campaign that worked really well for Quantam to reach those engineering types who want to be smartest guys in the room.
Then, over on the right, there’s an example of a sales training firm, and this has been their top offer for generating leads for sales training for the last, I think, seven years now. What they do is they ask people a bunch of questions about their sales training level and find out, based on the results, if you’ve got problems or deficiencies in certain areas that you need to beef up, and that’s how they can kind of turn this quiz into a lead-generation tool. Find out the areas where you need a little bit of a refresher course or some more training, and you can get sold on some sales training.
In the middle, this is from Administaff. This is a great example of how to find out whether or not this prospect is the right fit for your company, and this quiz just simply asks that question: “Is Administaff the right fit for your company?” You get to ask a lot of questions about the firm that’s taking the quiz, size of the company, things like that. You get a lot of good information about them, and also you’ve just helped to sort of narrow down, “Is this a good lead for us, or is it not?” And the prospect, in turn, says, “Should I be looking at Administaff or am I not really right for them?” So it’s a good way to offer benefits for both sides of the deal.Anne Holland
The cool thing about quizzes is that you can do a very down and dirty campaign. You can use – and we actually have – you can use super cheap online survey software; places like SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo – there are several others, as well, Zoomerang, I believe – where you can go on and – just because officially it’s survey software, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it to create a quiz. It’s like 20 bucks a month and you just go in there and they have little widgets where you just stick your logo on the top, and whatever the questions are you want to ask, and then they have the submit button, and then you can even have the next page branch off and show a different next page based on how the person answered.
But, you can have a lot of fun with that, and it’s basically free. So you don’t need to go to your IT department. You don’t need to do anything complicated or expensive. You can run a little down and dirty quiz offer and then send a press release off – “Hey, we’re doing a cute little test your knowledge quiz” – try to get some bloggers to mention it, mention it in your own email newsletter. It’s a fun, easy thing to do and really just takes a little work without much money.
Why don’t we move on? Sean had mentioned earlier about that e-book from David Meerman Scott, where he got 50,000 downloads. Well, how did he do that for a simple little e-book? Well, a hot topic. But, one thing he did was he didn’t have a registration barrier. He just said, “Here’s the link for the PDF. Here’s the link for e-book. Just click and it begins to download.” We have tested that as well, as have many other companies, saying instead of always requiring a registration barrier, we say, “Hey, let’s just give it to you.”
Now, this scares a lot of marketers. They say, “Well, if I’m giving out the white paper, or I’m giving out the e-book or the podcast or whatever, then how do I get the lead? If I’m not forcing them to register, how do I get the lead?”
Well, let’s go through the numbers first. As you can see in this, we did a little funnel. On the left, you see the content funnel if you have a registration barrier. On the right, you see the content funnel without the registration barrier, and these are not precise numbers for any one particular campaign, but they are fairly accurate numbers that we’ve seen across many, many case studies. So you’ll get maybe 100 prospects visiting a landing page.
If there’s a barrier, if you’re lucky, maybe 10% are registering. Of that 10%, at least 30% are completely lying on that form. I mean, lying, lying, lying, lying. We’ve got data about what people lie about – their phone number, their name, their email, all sorts of stuff. It’s not a good form. It’s not a good form fill.
Then, out of those, a lot of people, even if they register, they don’t always download the darn thing. It’s just the silliest thing, but they don’t. Maybe they download it. Maybe they print it out or read it. Of those, 60% actually do, if they think it’s valuable content, pass it along. Maybe they’re on that committee, maybe they’re an evangelist. And then you end up with eight prospects actually getting educated. So, for the content funnel with a registration barrier, you had 100 people coming to that landing page and you ended up only educating eight people, including pass-alongs.
And, as you’ve seen – you can read through this for yourself, but as you see, without the registration barrier, it’s such a profound difference. You end up with 56 prospects being educated, reading it, thinking about you, thinking about your company, going, “Huh, that’s interesting. I needed to know that.” And the key is, for you to think in your marketing, “Do I need to get more possibly even bad names in my database, or do I need to get more of the prospect universe fully educated about our brand, about why they should buy us, about why we’re the right one, so maybe that when they do meet that sales rep, or they’re in that committee meeting, or their friend says, ‘Hey, what should we buy?’ Or they’re asked by an underling to sign off on something, they say, ‘Oh, yeah. I’ve heard of those people. Yeah, they’re good. That’s the one’.” Sometimes you really want to do that.
And on the next slide, which is page 10 of the presentation, you’ll see this is a real-life example from Red Hat, where they set their webinars free. A lot of their webinars do not require any registration at all. You just go online and there it is. So how are they collecting leads from this? Well, they’re collecting plenty of leads because what’s happening is they’ve got that big, honking, ‘contact sales’ button there. They’ve got a ‘learn more’ button. They’ve got all sorts of buttons there designed to get the right lead to interact with them.
Now, you could take this and if it’s just a white paper, you could just have a page at the end of the white paper saying, ‘Hey, did you like this. Here’s three more white papers you can get, but this time you have to register’, or ‘If you found this information interesting, would you like to get a free evaluation from our customer service rep?’. Make them another offer. You’ve educated them. You’ve gotten to them. Now you make them the offer, and now they’re far more likely to say, “You know what? Yeah. I am going to raise my hand.” Now, they’re more likely to be a qualified prospect and they’re more likely to make your sales team happy because they’ve been educated and they raised their hand. That’s a quality lead, the kind of lead you want.
Now, this next slide, page 11 of our presentation. This is a chart. Again, this is based on thousands of case studies and seven years of research data, but it is no one particular company. In fact, what we’re suggesting is that you go and create a chart for your own company if you haven’t already. What we’re talking about here are the leads that are already sitting in your database. So let’s say you did a bunch of lead generation campaigns for the first two quarters of the years. Now you’ve got – there are hundreds, thousands of names sitting in your database that are fairly new and fresh. How do they break down?
Probably, chances are, about 7% are sales-ready. Probably, chances are, about 9% are complete duds. Maybe they’re competitors, maybe they’re students. Who knows?
Then you have a bigger slice, which are the ones that are the mid-term. Maybe they’re not quite sales-ready, but with a little nurturing for, say, three months to maybe nine more months of nurturing, they could be warmed up. They could be educated and turned into sales-ready leads. So some day they’ll join the sales-ready group.
The other group, the biggest group, are the long-term people. Maybe it’s going to take a year or more for them to turn into customers, but they could, or maybe they’re people who are influencers, maybe they’re on the committee with the people in the midterm or even in the sales-ready leads. So they are people who could end up being money for you, but they’re not the people a sales rep should call right away.
What I want you to do, if you can, is go through your database, figure that out as well as you can, often based on past data, and then say, “Wow, look how much money these midterm and these long-term people are worth. That’s a lot of money I’m leaving on the table. Yeah, in the past two quarters maybe I generated $1.9 million in sales-ready leads, so that’s $1.9 million in sales that we wouldn’t have had without marketing, but actually, look at this. Holy Toledo, out of all of our marketing that we did, actually, there’s an additional $9 million – the $8 million from the midterm, and the $900,000 from the long term – that’s actually sitting on the table that will be ours if only we nurture for it.” That’s a lot of money that’s sitting in your database right now, sitting on the table, if only you continue nurturing. The reason I want you to do this chart is because I want you turn it, create it and show management because you want to do more with your nurturing program.
Now, Sean, can we talk through some of the different things that people could do to fix their nurturing program?Sean Donahue
Yeah, that sounds good. We have lots of examples in the handbook itself, and this one, fix number seven, is one example, and the idea is to make your email welcomes more interactive. This would be the first email that you send out to somebody when they register for something, whether it’s your email newsletter or they register for access to your account; whatever it is, that first email that goes out that gives them their login information. You can do a lot with that email that actually either encourages them to explore the site more, or to at least make sure it’s something they’re never going to throw away.
Here’s an example from the handbook. You see they did a lot with this welcome email. They obviously gave the account information, passwords, login, things like that, but then they also offered the way for you to send someone else, one of your peers, an invitation to join. There’s a toolbar that they could download. There’s important contact information, customer support, things like that. This is a lot of really useful information. It’s something that you’re likely to save. You’re not going to delete this one. So make sure that welcome email is not just sort of really generic and blank. Give it some real heft and some real usefulness to it. Also, it’s important to send this out immediately. Don’t wait a couple of days. As soon as somebody sets up an account and registers for your newsletter, send out this welcome email immediately. Just jump right on it because you don’t want people sitting there for 24 hours or so saying, “Wow, I wonder whatever happened with that,” and then getting an email that they’re not going to know what it is. They might ignore it. But, if you send it out right away, you’re going to capture their attention.Anne Holland
That’s really great. Yeah, and you may also want to go and sign up for your own thing, because you’ve got opt-in forms all over the web. Go and sign up at some of the opt-in forms. Maybe you’re doing co-registration. Maybe you’re doing webinars with partners, wherever you are. And then check to see how long that first welcome comes, how long does it take, because in this case, as Sean said, speed really is of the essence.
And here on fix number eight, on the next slide, is the next case where speed is of the essence. These days, Marketing is generally in charge of the follow-up telemarketing. Now, this is not a chart about telemarketing cold calling. We’re talking about any kind of follow up telemarketing you would do to qualify a new lead that came in, or to contact them and say, “Hey, are you interested? Can we send you a white paper?”; whatever that is. This, in particular, is to qualify an online form fill.
We’ve got all sorts of data on telemarketing timing. The timing is unbelievably important. It’s scary actually. The data kind of freaked us out when we first saw how profound. Thursdays are better than any day of the week, and all different amazing data on telemarketing. So many marketers, you get a whole bunch of leads, and then, you know, you have 500 leads and then, “Oh, let’s get that over to the inside sales,” or “Let’s get someone on the outside to call these,” and it could take 30 days to get that phone call made. Here, we actually have data showing that you need to call within five minutes – five minutes of a form fill. So that means setting your systems a little differently. Instead of waiting 30 days, you need to set up a system so that call happens right away. You’re still paying for the call. It shouldn’t change your budget. What it needs to change is your process.
So here, on the left, of course, you can see if you call within five minutes, you’re very likely to connect and you’re very likely to make a good impression. If you call within 30 minutes, actually, it’s ten times less likelihood to connect. The person may have moved on. They may not be interested anymore. They may be in a meeting. They may be on the phone. They may be in email. Who knows? If you wait a whole hour – a whole hour, it even goes down even further. If you wait more than twenty hours, not only are you unlikely to connect, but you’re actually likely to make a bad impression. That’s where we make this kind of negative here because people think, “Geez, it took these people a whole day to call me? They’re not really on the ball. I don’t know if I want to do business with them.” So the longer you wait after the 20-hour mark, the more likely it is that your telemarketing actually may have a negative impact on the future of that account. It’s just astonishing. Now Jeanne, you’ve actually been involved in follow-up telemarketing. What’s your take on this?Jeanne Hopkins
Yes, Anne. As a matter of fact, one of the things that I’ve found – and we use telemarketing as part of a closed loop process – and in selling to the IT market, specifically, an IT manager typically works anytime, 24/7. They may work Saturday and Sundays. They may work late. They work virtually. And when they have something important that they want to get an answer to, like a request for a quote, or some sort of information, they expect a response instantly, and they are always very, very surprised when they get a call back within a logical time frame.
So if you have sales people, they need to be covering the phones, or at least have some sort of a call-forwarding process so that the sales people that are actually going to close the deal have an opportunity to be able to close it when the person is asking for that information. You have the greatest likelihood of a close, particularly if someone is shopping for a solution, but they do want to get that off their list of things to do.Anne Holland
A very good point. Why don’t we move on. Aside from telemarketing, we’d also like to strongly recommend that you add postal mail, old-fashioned, direct postal mail to your nurturing program. Actually, two of these examples worked in Europe, as well. So if you’re marketing in Europe, this is a great idea, as well as the US.
Why do we say postal mail? Well, you know what? Email doesn’t always get through, in particular in B-to-B. The filters are ferocious, plus you’ve got a lot of people in B-to-B who are using BlackBerrys or who are just too busy. Plus, email is very ephemeral. You glance at it, you go, “Oh, yeah,” and then you forget it. Something that people get in the postal mail actually can have a stick value in their mind for almost thirty days, as opposed to three seconds of an email. So postal mail costs more, but you can have a really good, high impact, and if this is a lead that you’ve qualified, why not nurture them. It’s worth putting a little more money into nurturing them. You know this is a good lead. Let’s send them some stuff in the postal mail.
We’ve actually done several case studies about people who asked on their lead generation forms – on their registration forms, they had a little extra check box and the check box said, ‘Would you also like to receive something in the postal mail?’, meaning the white paper, the catalogue, whatever. And it’s astonishing. Ranging from 40% to 60% of people filling out reg forms went ahead and checked that box. It was unchecked and they went ahead and stuck a check mark in there. A lot of executives like to get something in the mail. They like to see something physical and it shouldn’t always be virtual.
So, Sean, these are all examples from the handbook. Can you talk us through some of them?Sean Donahue
Yeah, sure. Let’s start over on the left there. You’ll see – this is actually a campaign from IBM and it’s for IBM’s Services Division. What they did there is they just created a print catalogue for their Services Unit. It was a nice glossy catalogue that they mailed out, and it worked so well that they actually extended the campaign beyond the US into Spain, and I think some other regions and some other languages. So, just looking for an opportunity to do kind of an old-fashioned printed catalogue can add value to your nurturing.
Then, if we jump over on the far right, this is an example from a campaign that Unisys ran where they were targeting the CEOs of companies that they were hoping to land as accounts. What they did is they struck a deal with The Economist to put a picture of that CEO, the CEO from the companies they were targeting – they had The Economist make up mock covers with that CEO’s picture on it and they sent it to them. It was sort of a fun campaign. It kind of gave a little ego boost to the person that they were trying to contact, and it worked really well for them.
But they noted that this was something that would not work in Europe. This works great in the US, but over in Europe, they said that there’s a little bit more of the sense of invasion of privacy if you take someone’s image and put it on something like if they didn’t authorize it. So not recommended for Europe, but it was successful here in the US.
Then, down in the bottom middle, this was something that actually was successful in Europe. This was Forrester Europe. They were trying to market their consulting services to clients over in Europe, and what they did was they sent them this kind of cool little notepad. It was an actual notepad that could sit on somebody’s desk and it was branded, obviously. But, then on every tenth page or so, instead of being a blank notepad, there was a little note in there about Forrester Services with contact information and other types of ways that people could actually get in touch with the company. So this was very customized to the people that they were sending it out to and it worked well for them.
Then, right above that, in the top middle, this is sort of on the other end of the spectrum. It’s something very simple and cheap. It’s a postcard. This is what we’ve used and it’s worked really well for us. It’s really the cheapest kind of direct mail that you can do. So if you’ve got a white paper offer that you’re sending out, or an e-book, a webinar, or something like that, you could supplement the email campaign with a simple postcard. Like I said, we’ve done that for MarketingSherpa products and it’s worked well for us. So it’s a sort of cheap and easy way to add some postal mail to your campaign.Anne Holland
Cool. And finally, here we have fix number ten. This is one of my favorite things that you can do to support the sales team. And of course, during these days, anything we can do to support sales and make sales the fans of marketing, and to help them close more accounts, the better. This is an actual audio testimonial library.
Well, why would you want to do this? The thing is, usually at some point during the sales cycle, every prospect who’s a good prospect says, “Hey, let me talk to some of your customers. I want to talk to somebody. I need a reference.” The problem is, when you have your little list of references, usually everybody want to talk to the same couple of people, and you can’t – if you’ve got this happy client, how often can you ask a happy client to give a reference? Once a month? Once a week? Once a day? How often are they really going to get on the phone and go through the whole spiel again? There may be situations where they’re just unable to.
However, what you can do is what this company did, where they actually went ahead and they had a third party – it was an independent reporter – who interviewed those customers who were happy to give a reference, but they interviewed them in-depth. It’s like a 60 minute interview where they really talked through every single thing that a prospect would want to know about this company. It wasn’t a sales person. It was a third party reporter and they’re saying, “Okay, how was the install? Talk me through it. How it really – what the heck is this ROI?” really dug in, and for each topic, there’s a transcript. You can listen to the audio. You can see who that person is. And then the field teams were able to use this to help move some prospects off the dime into actually signing a deal.
The key, of course, was anyone who agrees to being an audio testimonial was able to say yes or no to their audio testimonial being open for different people, because obviously, for competitive reasons, they might not want their direct competitor hearing them. They might not want some guy down the road hearing them. So they were able to approve or disapprove who got to hear their testimonial, and they were also able to say anyone can here this. Just make sure it isn’t so-and-so. So they did have a degree of control over who saw this material, which was very nice, and it worked very well for references.
You could do this in-house and just hire a reporter. A lot of trade journals these days, all those guys who work for trade journals, they’ll all freelance and do stuff like this, and you could even have an introduction – “This is Bob from IT Wire, or Engineering Times, and I’m interviewing this guy about this topic.” So you could go ahead and have someone who is third party and pop it up as an MP3 on a private site where only the right prospects can see it. I guarantee, your sales reps are going to be really happy with it.
And, of course, because we’re in marketing, I couldn’t help it. I wanted to give you a bonus because, hey, bonus this, bonus that. This would be your Tupperware with the Ginzo knife, and this is our bonus fix, and that is about evangelism marketing. Sean, can you talk us through this?Sean Donahue
Yeah, sure. We’ve talked to thousands and thousands of B-to-B marketers over the years and we still haven’t found anyone who actually had the flag in their marketing database or their CRM system that signals that someone is an evangelist. So if you’ve figured out how to do that, if you do have that flag in your database, please let us know because we’re always looking for somebody who’s figured that out.
But, the evangelist is the person who may not be the decision maker involved in a purchase, but they’re really the key influencer. This is the person at the company who is really going to be pushing the process along and really having a lot of say over which vendors get chosen. The important thing about evangelists is that, if you can find them, is to really find ways to schmooze them, make their job of evangelizing the purchase that much easier, and this is an example that we have. It’s a pretty cool little thing.
This can be put together; what they call a content management buyer’s kit. This was a simple collection of tools that somebody within the company would need to reach out to the other folks involved in the buying committee. This is the first thing. We really wanted to see this content management system purchased and installed. Here’s a way to make it easier. And it’s got a lot of neat things, like sample emails you can send out with links to important white papers. It’s got PowerPoint templates to sort of help this person explain to their CFO or someone else the pros and cons of selling a content management system, down to the cost and benefits, things like that.
So just see what you can do to make sure that you are that evangelist’s best friend out there in the vendor community and make it so that it can be really easy for them to present your option, your solution to the folks within the company, and you can see a lot of benefit there.
Now, the question is, how do you figure out who the evangelist is? Well, that’s tricky, but there are a few ways to do it. Maybe your Web analyst can tell you, maybe there’s somebody who comes to your site a lot. You notice they’re always on your site. You can figure, “Well, that person obviously is pretty involved with this process.” Maybe a sales rep can tell you. They’ve talked to several people at the company. They might know who’s the most engaged and most interested in what you have to offer.
So there are a lot of different ways to do it. But once you find that evangelist, figure out what’s the best way you can help them make this process run more smoothly because that will help you in the end when it comes to being on that short list of vendors that are finally considered. So I think that’s it.Anne Holland
That’s fantastic. And you know, Sean, I agree with you. I hope that somebody hearing this today is someone who is flagging the evangelist on their CRM database, or Salesforce or Seibel, or whatever they’re using, and they’ve got something cool that they’re doing. Please contact Sean and let him know about it because he would love to write a story about you.Sean Donahue
Yeah, definitely.Anne Holland
It’s a wonderful best practice that we’d love to see in action.
So why don’t we move on. Now Jeanne, we had some questions, I guess. You had a question form when people signed up for this thing. I know you had – almost 100 people wrote in questions. Do you have a few for us?Jeanne Hopkins
Yes, we have a few. We’ve gone over our 60-minute presentation of material, but let’s just top line on three questions. One is about C-level. How do organizations get through to the C-level? Sean, I know you have some experience in this area. We have some people that were talking about Chief Medical Officers, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Technology Officers. There’s always a problem in trying to break through the gatekeeper and trying to get and actually talk to this level. Do you have any ideas?Sean Donahue
Yeah. We actually have a lot of data about this issue in the handbook and we’ve looked at it in the past in other research that we’ve done. Because today’s sales are going through an ever-growing buying committee – the committee that’s actually making the purchasing decision is growing bigger and bigger every year. What that means is that even though the C-level executive might be the person that ultimately signs off on a purchase, they’re usually not really involved, in any way, shape or form, in the buying decision up to that point. They’re not sort of vetting a bunch of different vendors and they’re not really kind of getting their hands dirty with pitting one against the other and comparing features and costs, things like that.
So, when you’re trying to reach C-level executives, it may be something as simple as all they really need is to have at least have heard of your company, because when they want to see that list at the end when they’re signing off on the decision, they want to feel comfortable with, “Wait a minute. Who is this company?” In that sense, your general branding, any kind of branding marketing that you’re doing can help you. Make sure that your company name is at least well enough known that the C-level executive is not going to sort of balk and be like, “Wait a minute. I’ve never even heard of this company.”
But, kind of contrary to figuring out how do I break through to those C-level executives is kind of going back to that last point we just made about the evangelists. Make sure that your marketing is reaching and affecting enough influencers in the buying decision, and these tend not to be the C-level executives. So if you have marketing that’s reaching out to some of the other folks involved, whether they’re the end user of the product, it might be the IT team that’s going to be instrumental in implementing sort of a software package, it might be a CFO or somebody at the finance level who is interested in the financial data, as long as you’ve done enough work to reach out to those people and you’ve got strong ties with them, they’re going to make the case to the CEO or other C-level executives for you.
Anne, what about this? How else would you recommend reaching the C-level?Anne Holland
I think it’s an extremely good point, and this actually is information that you need to use to save your branding budget. Generally, in a recession, the first thing marketers do in B-to-B is they cut all branding and they go straight to direct response. “Every single dollar we spend must generate a lead.” And you’re in trouble because, you know what, the CEO, especially of a big company, is not going to fill out your lead gen to get their hands on your white paper. It isn’t going to happen and it isn’t going to do you any good. What you have to do is affect that person through brand advertising.
So that’s going to be tough for your budget. You’re going to have to say, “Wait a minute. Where, branding-wise, can we get the word out to CEOs?” And often, the speeches we talked about before, speaking gigs, can really help. They pay attention to that affair at the event. PR can make a big difference in that kind of effort, as well as regular strength brand advertising. So don’t just cut it and don’t say, very righteously, “Well, if I can’t measure it back to a lead, it’s no good.” Well, if you really have to get that CEO to pay attention to you, and you’re trying to affect companies that are Fortune 1000s or above, it’s brand advertising, baby. It’s not direct marketing.Jeanne Hopkins
Thanks, Anne.Anne Holland
And we do talk a great deal about this. We give some great examples in the handbook. Sorry, next question?Jeanne Hopkins
Sorry, Anne. International. There’s a lot of material that’s written about North American B-to-B direct response and other information in terms of metrics, and that sort of thing. But we have a number of listeners today that are asking questions from an international standpoint. What about the EU? What about China? What about some other countries? Do these principles apply or are there other things that should be considered when putting together a B-to-B program?Anne Holland
That’s an incredibly good question. As you may or may not know, I actually live in Europe for half the year, so I’m very aware of what’s going on in B-to-B marketing in Europe, and it’s a very, very good question. There’s a couple of keys that you should know. First of all, I made sure that there’s plenty of international information in the handbook. So you will find specific tips, including database management, form fill management, all sorts of real information in the handbook for you. So it’s not just US-centric, or US and Canada-centric.
The other couple of – three quick tips for marketers that are marketing around the world: One of them is, of course, never, ever, ever use a US-based or Canadian-based translation firm for your translations for other markets. Use a translation firm in that marketplace and then have a staff member on the ground in that marketplace read the stuff before it goes out and vet it for that sort of thing. It never works to use translation – I don’t care what they tell you. It just won’t work. You need to have a native on the ground in that country look at your stuff before it goes out. That’s for a white paper, a landing page, anything you do.
The next thing you need to know, outside the US, in general, your prospects are going to expect to see a sales rep both much earlier in the sales cycle than they would in the US and Canada and, frankly, often for a much lower price point than they would in the US and Canada. I’ve heard companies talk about, it’s a $500 account and they wanted to see a sales rep. Field sales is going to have to be involved in really a different way than they are in the US and Canada and you need to let them drive their country, because they’re going to know. It’s going to change the way that you probably score leads for those countries because sales-ready is a real different scoring for counties outside the US and Canada.
So those are two pretty good tips there about US and Canada for you, and we’ve got a lot more in the book, itself.Jeanne Hopkins
Thanks, Anne. One consistent theme through many of these questions are how can a B-to-B marketer do more with less, particularly in this softening economy. They want to know what metrics are relevant. They’re either a one-man shop or a two-person shop, a department, let’s say, in a B-to-B manufacturing organization, and they recognize that the economy is soft right now, and they’re trying to figure out, how do they work on this? How do they make more with less? Any thoughts?Anne Holland
An incredibly good question. This is the – actually, in my career, and I’ve been in B-to-B marketing for more than 20 years now – this is one of the scariest recessions ever for B-to-B marketers. A lot of people are going to lose their jobs, or be in danger of it, and your management team is probably looking at you as a cost center, instead of as a huge benefit center. You’re not someone who makes them lots of money. Right now, frankly, the most important thing you need to be doing is measurements that will help you with office politics. Anything you can do right now for that, because, it’s, A., save your job, B., save your budget, and then, C., save your credibility so that when you want to try things that people might consider out of the box, like launching an online quiz, they’ll let you do it. They trust you. They believe in you. They’ll let you keep on doing what you’re doing well.
So it really is saying, “What are the measurements I need to put into place or track that will impress the CFO, the CEO, and if there’s a head of sales, the head of sales? What are these three people going to be impressed by, measurement-wise? And I can guarantee you, it’s probably none of the measurements that marketers typically measure. None of them really care about the open rate for your email newsletter, but they would be impressed if you could say, “Well, you know, 50 of Fortune 100 CEOs read our email newsletter at least every three months.” If you could say, “In the past 90 days, we’ve gotten these people to do, “Wow, you really – wow.” That impresses them. Who cares that there’s a 33% open rate. It doesn’t mean a thing to them.
So use your marketing measurements for your own tactical optimizations. You’re going to use your measurements and your testing to try to improve your own results. But go out there – and we’ve got a lot advice in the book on this – and develop reports that specifically speak to how your marketing is influencing sales or influencing impressive sounding prospects. As long as you can tie marketing to a major new account win, you can say, “Look, a zillion dollar account, and guess what? Marketing touched them 18 ways. So if we hadn’t had this wonderful marketing department, we might not have made the sale.” You’re not saying that sales didn’t make the sale. Sales were the ones. They were your team. Yeah, yeah. But without you at their back – you made a difference.
You need to go out there and develop those reports now and begin tracking back now. And a lot of it doesn’t require technology. A lot of it you can just do – I know people who’ve done this with an intern, or a part-time temp, just tried to tie things back to marketing activities and measure marketing activities in a way that impresses your own C-level.
I don’t know. Do you guys have anything to add to that?Sean Donahue
No, that was pretty much the first thing that came to my head, too, was that in an environment like this, just the importance of measuring and testing. It’s always important. It’s even more important now, not just for the kind of defending your budget that you might have to do before your CEO, but also just with the campaigns that you are running now. Instead of spending more trying to find something new, if you can really refine your measurement and your analytic capabilities to drill down into what’s working, what isn’t, you can just sort of optimize the campaigns you’re running now, get the most out of them, rather than trying to figure, “Well, geez. I don’t have more in my budget. What am I going to do?” It’s sort of the idea of knowing what’s working and what isn’t, and right now is the time to be paying even more attention to your metrics and your testing.Anne Holland
Well, that makes good sense. Now, I know, Jeanne, you had said there were something like 75 additional questions. There’s no time now to talk to them. We’re just coming up on the 60-minute mark. However, Sean and I would be very happy to go through and answer them later and maybe do an additional audio file on those or an additional report that we can get out maybe in a week or two, if that’s okay with you, and we can email it to everybody who came today?Jeanne Hopkins
I think that’s a great idea. There are a lot of questions and we’d like to address them all. Thank you everybody for attending today’s webinar, brought to you by MarketingSherpa and featuring Anne Holland and Sean Donahue. We will be following up with an email. If you look in the next issue of the B-to-B newsletter from MarketingSherpa, you will be able to see a transcript and get a copy of this audio as well. So thank you very much for attending, and we look forward to having you attend a future webinar with us.