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Email Marketing: Stop building lists and start building assets

June 17th, 2014
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At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, Allison Banko, Reporter, MECLABS, captured an interview with speaker Jeff Rohrs, Vice President of Marketing Insights, ExactTarget, who shared a concept that should appeal to your inner entrepreneur.

If something doesn’t make money, then it doesn’t make sense.

I say this because, according to Jeff, email marketers are often underappreciated (and underpaid) because they don’t effectively connect the dots for executives on the true ROI of their marketing efforts.

“I think email marketers tend to be underappreciated in their organizations,” Jeff explained, “and I think part of that is the language we choose to communicate the value we bring to executives.”

 

Jeff’s proposed solution is to change the conversation by adjust the way marketers view what they contribute.

In sum, stop telling people you build email lists and start telling them you’re building proprietary assets that are exclusive to your company. One additional point Jeff shared was how social media is experiencing growing pains due to increasing pressure from executives to see clear ROI from social media.

“The executives are beginning to demand more from those channels and email marketers understand that because they’ve fought those battles,” Jeff explained.

Ultimately, Jeff delivered the bigger idea that your organizational marketing goals should supersede the channels you use to deliver them. As a result, hopefully marketers will be able to tear down the silos that emerge from those channels in the process.

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Lead Generation: 2 simple tactics to determine cost per lead

June 16th, 2014
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Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Getting to the heart of lead cost is not easy.

There are a multitude of factors to consider. For example, should you factor in nurturing into the costs? Even then, how much?

In today’s B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, I wanted to explore cost per lead by sharing a few tips and insights from the panel of industry experts that spoke on the subject at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013.

Tip #1. Clearly define what a lead is for your organization

define-lead

Before you can even get close to what your lead costs are, you first have to define what a lead is to your organization, or as Atri Chatterjee, CMO, Act-on Software, simply said: “Just because you have a name, it doesn’t mean you have a lead.”

lead-definition

The panel rightfully pointed out the idea of a lead can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

So the first step on your path to determining lead costs is to cut through the confusion by creating a universal lead definition that the key stakeholders in your organization can all agree upon.

Tip #2. Move toward thinking of lead cost in aggregate

calculating-lead-cost

So what should you factor into your lead cost?

This can get tricky, but let’s consider, for example, that you can buy a list of 2,000 leads from a broker for $20.

Does each lead cost only a penny?

Not so much.

I say this because when you factor the associative costs to create content, market and solicit to those leads, the true price is likely much higher. lead-components

One recommendation the panel had was to uncover some of the factors that you might be overlooking and consider them in your cost.

When you look at the price from an aggregated perspective, you’re probably a lot closer to a true lead cost.

This notion was also shared by Erik Matlik, CEO, Madison Logic, who summed up the factors to consider in your cost per lead.

“I would put literally everything into your cost per lead,” Erik said.

To learn more tips on lead cost, you can watch the MarketingSherpa on-demand replay of “How Much Should Leads Cost? Tips for different channels, industries and deal sizes.”

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Lead Generation: 2 tips to transform your content marketing

June 9th, 2014
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Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Content marketing can be an effective tactic for lead generation as customers look to your brand as an authority in the marketplace delivering relevant information that is useful to their needs.

In today’s B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, we’ll look at two tips on transforming your content marketing strategy from Shelby Britton, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Adobe, who presented at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013.

Although Shelby’s example was rooted in Adobe’s webinars, the principles are transferable to your own unique situation.

Tip #1. Develop a highly focused, targeted strategy

webinar-strategy-adobe

Shelby explained that one of her first challenges in revamping Adobe’s content marketing was rooted in moving from “one-off” webinars to a strategy that focused on specific targeted verticals.

Making the move to targeting specific verticals with content also helped Shelby’s efforts to determine where prospects were in the purchase cycle.

“We decided that we could use content to start qualifying these leads,” Shelby explained.

Tip #2. Move from generic to relevant messaging

webinar-titles-adobe

Shelby also explained making a move from generic messaging to content that focused on relevance for the audience was also vital to the success of Adobe’s content transformation.

“We started talking about the specific solutions and how we could add value to them,” Shelby said.

To learn more about Shelby’s content marketing strategy to aid Adobe’s lead gen efforts, you can watch the on-demand replay of her MarketingSherpa Summit session, “Lead Qualification: How demographics, email content and behavior helped Adobe boost conversions 500%.”

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B2B Content Marketing: Find the bigger story [More from the blogs]

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Webinar Marketing: Adobe revamps strategy and achieves a 500% lift in conversion to sale [Case study]

Multichannel Marketing: 3 tips to help take your e-commerce global

June 6th, 2014
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Achieving e-commerce growth in a global marketplace is tough for any organization.

This is especially true when you consider the increasing complexity of global e-commerce coupled with the challenges of reaching new regional customer bases that are different than your existing customers.

These were some of the challenges facing Tom Davis, Global Head of E-commerce, Puma. In a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, he revealed how Puma used an omnichannel marketing approach to successfully position the company’s e-commerce initiative worldwide.

“I think the biggest thing for us is to identify where we fit in the marketplace,” Tom explained.

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, we’ll take a look at three tips you can use to help take your e-commerce efforts global.

 

Tip #1. Love your customer data

successful-brands-data

 

According to Tom, diving into your data to discover how your business will operate (and potentially grow) in new regional markets is paramount.

“I think it’s imperative for brands, especially retail brands that may have a wholesale part of their business, to really embrace the data,” Tom said. 

 

Tip #2. Focus on delivering a mobile-first experience to stay ahead of the pack

mobile-growth-global

 

One interesting point Tom mentioned was how different regional markets are in different stages of smartphone tech adoption, which will, in turn, impact both online user experiences as the mobile migration continues and the organization’s market penetration strategy in different regions.

In sum, there are a lot of smartphone tech adoption opportunities yet to occur in markets outside of the U.S.

Tom also explained that the gray bars are last year’s mobile penetration (percent of unique mobile visitors) for Puma’s Web properties versus the blue bars, which were just for Q1 of 2014.

“You can see that in almost every market, our mobile penetration is growing,” Tom said.

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Marketing Automation: Moving past a batch-and-blast email strategy

May 30th, 2014
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“The most important step was just starting,” Byron O’Dell, Senior Director, Demand Management, IHS, said.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, MarketingSherpa Reporter Allison Banko held a brief interview with Byron on how building customer personas is key to transforming your email marketing program.

Byron took the stage at Email Summit to present his case study, “Marketing Automation: Key challenges a global information company overcame to transform from batch-and-blast to persona-driven email marketing.”

 

In this interview in the Email Summit Media Center, Byron stressed the importance of not overly focusing on perfection at the expense of getting started on building customer profiles.

“If you wait to try to make things perfect before you begin, you’re going to miss out on all that opportunity where you could have been seeing a result,” Byron said.

 

Getting the right content to the right people

Building your customer profiles also helps you overcome the challenge of delivering relevant content to them, as Byron shared in this brief excerpt of his Email Summit session below.

 

One suggestion Byron shared was geared toward helping you deliver targeted content and rests in understanding how technology will impact the delivery to your personas across a larger multi-touch nurturing strategy.

“Don’t mistake having a marketing automation platform for having a process,” Byron explained.

You can view Byron’s full presentation along with 14 other valuable sessions from Email Summit 2014 to learn more transferable insights from marketers who are discovering what works.

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Web Optimization: Can you repeat your test results?

May 21st, 2014
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This week, I’m deep in the heart of the Big Apple (also known as enemy territory if you share my love for the Red Sox) for Web Optimization Summit 2014.

Day 1 has delivered some fantastic presentations and luckily, I was able to catch Michael Zane, Senior Director Online Marketing, Publishers Clearing House, in his session that covered “How to Personalize the Online Experience to Increase Engagement.” 

Publishers-Clearing-HouseMichael’s take on personalization starts with a key distinction between visitors to PCH he mentioned early on.

“You have to define your personas,” he said. “It only made sense for us to take a simplistic approach at first and then dig deeper.”

According to Michael, the challenge rests in driving engagement in unengaged visitors. To help the company’s engagement efforts, Michael and his team turned to testing and optimization.

identify-customer-personas

 

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, we’ll take a look at some of his team’s testing efforts including one key aspect that often goes unspoken.

Before we get started, let’s look at the research notes for some background information on the test.

 

Objective: To convert unengaged visitors into engaged customers.

Primary Research Question: Will a simple, but attention-grabbing, header convince unengaged visitors to play a game?

Test Design: A/B split test

 

Experiment #1. Side by side

game-engagement-test

 

Michael and his team decided to test a header they hypothesized would encourage visitors to play a game.

“The text in the treatment was innocent at the top of the page and it wasn’t really competing with the other content,” Michael said. 

unengaged-message-variations

 

The team also used a variety of messages in the experiment to help them dial into their core value proposition.

 

Results

real-time-messaging-results

 

The treatment outperformed the control by a relative difference of 36%. There are plenty of marketers that would be thrilled by these results.

However, Michael made an interesting point here that should be mentioned a lot more than it usually is.

“The initial test showed strong results, but they are only valuable if it can be repeated,” Michael said.

 

Experiment #2. Testing for the two-peat

pop-up-test

 

Michael’s team set up a second test to continue to build on their engagement success. For this experiment, the team devised a lightbox pop-up that interrupted users after two seconds on the site.

 

Results

pop-up-test-results

 

After only four days, Michael and his team concluded that the new lightbox approach was decreasing conversion.

“Having this failure helped us validate the metrics,” Michael said. “We didn’t want to rely just on third-party metrics. Not every test is a winner.”

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Social Media: How to turn customers into brand advocates

April 11th, 2014
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For many marketers, user-generated content is the upcycling opportunity of a lifetime. It’s free content created by customers turned brand advocates with a margin of credibility money can’t buy.

Sadly, this content often goes to waste in marketing, or worse, unnoticed altogether.

The challenge, however, for savvy marketers like Evin Catlett, Digital Marketing Manager, Amer Sports, often rests in finding strategic ways to repurpose content effectively.

In a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, Evin explained how Amer Sports was launching its first U.S. Instagram campaign in support of a new product. According to Evin, the launch would also focus on the overall goal of increasing social media engagement with U.S. consumers.

“We didn’t have a ton of reach,” Evin explained, “And while we did have really strong engagement, it was with a very small community.” 

social-media-engagement

 

Before Evin began, she realized one important element to the campaign was the need to inspire social media interaction with customers.

invitation-to-inspire

 

To help accomplish this, the team brought in key brand athletes to have a fairly robust part in interacting on social media with the product, and invited the social media community to do the same.

suunto-ambitions-instagram

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Lead Generation: The power of copy

April 7th, 2014
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Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Words matter.

Words inspire.

Words are influence.

One of my greatest inspirations in copywriting has always been Rudyard Kipling because he understood the true power words possess.

This little gem, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind,” is one of his better-known quotes on the subject and you can see why.

It’s also no surprise to me that marketers continue to discover new opportunities to increase conversion through their testing of copy.

In today’s B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, we’ll take a look at how a one small tweak to the copy on a lead generation page increased conversion and what we can learn from the results.

But, before we dive in, here are the research notes to add a little context around the testing.

Background: Sophos, a provider of IT security solutions for businesses.

Objective: To increase leads from quote requests.

Primary Research Question: Which form messaging will result in the most leads?

Approach: A/B split test

Side-by-side of control and treatment

quote-form-test

In the treatment, the team at Sophos changed “request a quote” to “for a no obligation quote” to the sub-headline.

Results

quote-form-test-results

The result was a 44% increase in quote form submissions.

One explanation for the increase was the prospects’ fear of commitment. By adding language into the sub-headline that emphasized no obligation, some of the anxiety prospects were experiencing was mitigated.

When’s the last time you requested an obligation from Sales?

I like the results of this test because they speak clearly about lead capture from a prospect’s perspective.

They want information.

They want value.

They want this with as little commitment as possible.

Consequently, every word you choose to deliver that value is vital in moving the dial from conversation to conversion.

To learn more about some of the other small changes the team at Sophos shared at MarketingSherpa MarketingExperiments Optimization Summit 2013, checkout the free on-demand replay of “How a Long-term Optimization Strategy Led to a 6,031% Increase in Leads” to aid your lead generation efforts.

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Marketing Strategy: 3 steps to help optimize website user experience

March 24th, 2014
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Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

If you want a snapshot of the user experience on your websites from the perspective of your prospects, just ask them.

angry-customer-feedback

This is exactly what James Coulter, Marketing Optimization Specialist, Sophos, did to better understand how prospects were engaging the organization’s website.

James shared some of Sophos’ user feedback that he really took to heart during his presentation at Optimization Summit 2013.

“I really wanted our website to be something that would help them in their purchasing decisions,” James explained.

I would wager there are many B2B marketers reading this who receive similar kinds of feedback from prospects a lot more often than they would like to.

This feedback, while harsh, is some of the most valuable insight you’ll ever receive. It’s also an honest wake-up call for making the changes needed to better serve your prospects.

In today’s B2B Lead Roundtable Blog post, I want to share the three steps James used to implement a testing and optimization strategy for Sophos’ Web experience to hopefully help your team tackle the four toughest words in optimization:

“Where do we begin?”

Step #1. Identify your goals

identify-goals-optimization

James explained that although there were plenty of areas where he could have focused on increasing, such as white paper leads, free trial leads and new quote leads, narrowing the list down to the greatest opportunity would be key in developing optimization goals.

“There were hundreds of things we could have focused on,” James said, “and the first thing I tried to understand is: Where should we focus?”

Some of the information he gathered to help him understand where to focus was:

  • Feedback from Sales
  • A review of all lead sources (average cost per lead and lead/opportunity percentage)

This also gave James the insight he needed to set a clear goal of discovering “where can we have the greatest impact on revenue.”

Step #2. Put together a cross-functional team

create-cross-functional-team

Next, James put together a cross-functional team from Sales, Marketing and Product Management to help drive visibility, awareness and buy-in on the new initiative.

Putting together a diverse team is also a fantastic way to look for new ideas outside of your own and create a true sense of ownership in the success of the new approach.

Step #3. Craft your initial hypothesis

create-testing-hypothesis

Finally, James and his team mapped their entire quote funnel to really drill down and understand where in the process most prospects were dropping out.

This led them to also identify where the greatest testing opportunities existed.

Crafting your hypothesis on customer behavior is also where you truly start to bridge the gap between intuition and data-driven insight and then turn that insight into goal-oriented action.

 

How would 6,000% more leads than you have now impact your organization?

Ultimately, the Sophos team developed a well-tested and optimized lead generation program that increased leads 6,012% and counting, according to James.

The team’s success also points to a bigger notion — the process of testing and optimization is a marathon.

It’s a long-term strategy that takes time, testing, analysis and even more testing to help you fully understand what works.

It’s a strategy where success is not the destination, but instead, the only option left.

To learn more about the challenges James faced in transforming Sophos’ lead generation program, you can watch the on-demand replay of “How a Long-term Optimization Strategy Led to a 6,031% Increase in Leads.”

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Email Marketing: How a creative throwback helped Dell boost revenue 109%

March 18th, 2014
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Meeting customer expectations can be tough, but exceeding them consistently introduces a whole new set of challenges.

How do you build fresh excitement around a new product when customers have become comfortably numb?

This was the challenge facing Dave Sierk, Consumer & Small Business Email Strategist, Dell, who shared an interesting case study at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 on Dell’s approach to tackling this problem for a new product’s launch.

In today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post, let’s take a look at the throwback creative Dave and his team used to effectively communicate value.

 

Expectations on autopilot are tough to disrupt 

dell-laptop-emails

 

Dell launches a few products a year, and as you would expect, most of them are laptops.

When the team prepared to launch the XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook, a laptop that can transform from a laptop to a tablet, they realized communicating the new product’s value effectively would prove a little tricky.

 

Text and images don’t always cut it

A versatile range of motion is one of the core values of the product.dell-text-emails

How do you communicate that aspect through an email using text or images?

You can’t.

Image stills do not fully deliver the product’s fluid range of motion, and a wall of descriptive text telling customers about it is not very appealing either.

Let’s not forget an even bigger problem …

While the laptop’s motion could be demonstrated at a brick-and-mortar store, the gap in effectively demonstrating the product online would remain unsolved.

 

A blast from the past emerges as a solution

dell-gif-email

 

The team decided to use a GIF to illustrate the product’s full range of motion in the email campaign. Another advantage of using this throwback to the 90s was that the GIF solved the problem of showing online users how the product worked.

“It’s a great way for a customer to get a full understanding of how that product is going to work in their hands,” Dave said.

 

Delivering value to the inbox is why customers buy from you

dell-gif-email-results

 

After Dell compared the campaign’s performance against internal benchmarks, it proved a success. Dave’s team increased conversion 103% and boosted revenue 109%.

This example also serves as a reminder as to why capturing and delivering a value proposition is vital to your email efforts versus just plugging a few product images and text in an email and hoping for the best.

You have to go beyond just sharing what something is with customers and show them why it’s the ideal solution for them.

To learn more about this campaign and other inspirational and transferable takeaways from Email Summit 2014, check out the on-demand replay of “Email Summit 2014: Top takeaways from award-winning campaigns.”

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