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Posts Tagged ‘lead generation’

Content Strategy Versus Content Volume: How HR tech company, WorkCompass, wrote less content, but increased leads by 300%

January 29th, 2016
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Content marketing is a lot of work. Any company doing content marketing has to also run a media business on the side of their regular business.

But what if you could do less writing and still increase your leads by 300%?

That’s exactly what Alan O’Rourke did at HR performance management software company, WorkCompass, with a small marketing team.

According to his blog post on Audience Stack, O’Rourke was having trouble getting his content marketing efforts to pay off.

I tried it for a few months but found I was just sending more content to the same people. More was not better. It was just more. Using basic inbound marketing our audience and reach was not growing.

So what he did instead was create an inbound marketing strategy that focused 70% of his team’s effort on promoting his content, and 30% of his team’s effort in actually creating the content.

The results were fantastic. In fact lead capture (my primary measurement of success) jumped by over 300%!

Fortunately, he mapped out his entire strategy in a nice infographic. He calls it the One Month Micro B2B Marketing Plan — although I’m sure most savvy ecommerce marketers out there will be able to apply the same principles to their own content marketing strategies.

Micro B2B Marketing and Promotion Plan - Audiencestack.com
The Micro B2B Marketing and Promotion Plan from AudienceStack.com

 

So what does this mean for your team?

It means you can at least test slowing down your editorial calendar to produce higher quality long form content to promote over and over again.

P.S. I found O’Rourke’s blog post and infographic from a post on Reddit, where he had promoted it. Now I’m writing about it here, giving him links and hopefully sending a significant amount of traffic his way. So he’s doing something right.

 

You might also like

B2B Marketing: Content strategy results in 50% of qualified leads being inbound [From MarketingSherpa]

Content Marketing 101: Tips on content strategy

Content Marketing: How an energy data company’s content strategy increased leads by 733% [From MarketingSherpa]

Inbound Marketing: Beef jerky company develops content strategy around brand character to increase social media fans 2,113% [From MarketingSherpa]

Content Marketing: Measuring results, tracking ROI and generating leads

April 24th, 2015
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One of my recent MarketingSherpa Blog posts, “Content Marketing 101: Tips on content strategy” covered some basics of content marketing. For today’s post, I want to dig into the MarketingSherpa Newsletter archive to highlight what can be a challenging aspect of content marketing — quantifying and proving its worth.

The first article to highlight is a how-to, titled “Measuring Content Marketing: How to measure results, find gaps and grab opportunities,” that covers a range of tactics offered by Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute, and Michal Brenner, Senior Director, Global Integrated Marketing, SAP, on quantifying your content marketing efforts.

Joe says to set three categories of goals for content — driving sales, saving money and making customers happier.

To reach these goals, he suggested tracking those goals in three tiers:

 

Creator-level metrics

For a company blog, these KPIs include traffic metrics, such as page views and unique visitors; source metrics, such as inbound search results and referring sites; and sharing metrics, such as tweets.

 

Manager-level metrics

These KPIs include lead volume generated, lead quality, cost-per-lead and conversion rate.

 

Director-level metrics

At the highest level, content KPIs include revCreatienue, costs, ROI and customer lifetime value.

tiers of content marketing

 

Analytics also plays a role in content marketing.

Michael suggests that Google Analytics can be a content marketer’s best friend because the free tool allows tracking of the most downloaded, shared and viewed content on the website, sources of inbound traffic and organic search keywords used to reach your site.

Joe added, “We’re so infatuated with the creative that we don’t take two seconds to look at how this is making an impact on our customers. [Tracking software] is not glamorous. I can’t hold or touch or feel it, but you can take that feedback from the technology and then improve the content you have.”

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How a B2B Marketing Team Used Zombies to Win Over the C-Suite

September 30th, 2014
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When Christine Nurnberger joined SunGard Availability Services in 2012, Marketing and Sales were clearly out of alignment. Marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline was less than 3%, even though they executed more than 1,100 marketing tactics over the previous fiscal year.

By the end of 2013, that relationship had shifted dramatically. Marketing’s contribution to new revenue skyrocketed to 40% with the average deal size tripling.

At MarketingsherpaEmail Summit 2014, Christine revealed her secret to success: smart content marketing built on intense research, analysis and creativity. It culminated with chief technology officers preparing for the zombie apocalypse and eager to engage SunGard.

In the video clip below, Christine outlines setting the stage for that success with a two-stage direct mail pilot, targeting 56 CTOs in the later stages of the buying cycle:

  • Part one was a direct-mail piece made up of a  shadow box with a thumb drive, which included a personalized video announcing that, in the coming days, they would receive everything they needed to survive a zombie apocalypse.
  • Part two was a zombie apocalypse survival kit — a backpack that included a copy of World War Z, two tickets to the movie and “zombie repellant,” aka silly string.

 

The response blew the sales team away.

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Lead Generation: How to build your own list

September 26th, 2014
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Last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter case study — “Lead Generation: Content and email combine for high-quality list building” — covered an effort by cloud replication and disaster recovery startup company, CloudEndure. The overall basis of the campaign was a process created by CloudEndure’s Vice President of Marketing, Ramel Levin, before he joined the startup. This process Ramel called BYOL, or “build your own list.”

The case study features some of the steps involved in Ramel’s lead gen idea, but since he developed it for a company he worked for before joining CloudEndure, the exact steps he took in putting the process together were not part of the case study.

For today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, I wanted to provide more detail on how Ramel created his BYOL concept.

Ramel said he was in a business setting speaking with a startup company that did website translations when the BYOL idea came to him.

“I was asking them, ‘How do you generate leads for websites that need translations?’ He (one of the employees at the startup) started telling me about all the different ways he was doing it, and he talked about the traditional ways of doing email blasts, going to conferences and doing advertising for pay-per-lead and PPC,” Ramel said.

 

One method for building high-quality lists

After a bit of thought, Ramel decided that building a list of higher-quality leads would be more effective for this company, and here is the process he developed to do just that.

 

Step #1: Identify the first stage of target companies

Ramel stated, “So I told him, ‘How about doing the following? How about scanning the top one million websites, based on Alexa or Quantcast, or any other ranking service … and find out how many of those websites have only one language.”

He said, for example, scan the top sites in Germany, and make sure they only have pages in the local language. If the company is in the United States, its website only features pages in English.

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Lead Generation: 3 questions every marketer should ask themselves about incentive

October 18th, 2013
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Does your marketing team have experience to fall back on, or have you found yourself in team conversations like this one …

Marketer 1: “I have this great idea! We’ll build a landing page and put a lead generation form on it!”

Marketer 2: “That’s genius! Everyone’s doing it! When visitors land on the page, they will enter their information and VOILA! Leads generated!”

Marketer 3: “That’s great, but what are you going to gate with the form? Why would someone want to give you their information? What motivation do they have?”

 

Is your team following best practices because they are popular, or are they approaching your marketing initiatives with consideration for every possible variable and objective?

Now don’t get me wrong. We all do our best to create lead gen pages that provide value and build interest in what we’re selling, but our best intentions are not the problem.

It’s all too often that we simply forget to thoroughly examine one key element for success – the incentive we’re offering.

So, in today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post, I wanted to examine three questions every marketer should ask themselves about lead gen form incentives that you can use to tip the balance to your advantage.

 

Do our incentives provide tangible value to our visitors?

Incentives are something appealing that we can offer the visitor in return for their information.

They come in many forms and differing levels of value. Popular options visible in the digital landscape these days are discounts, educational content, product add-ons and free or expedited delivery.

Which should you choose? Which will provide value to your prospects?

There are two important things to consider when thinking about incentives:

  • Cost
  • Relevance

Will visitors to this landing page find the incentive relevant? Will it meet their needs or prove valuable to them? Does the incentive offer a high potential for return on the investment? Is it something you can even afford to offer?

Ultimately, the right incentive for your offer depends on the product and business model, the motivation of visitors, and how the incentive builds momentum through the buyer’s funnel.

When choosing, it’s important to find an incentive that provides added value by complementing your product or service and matching your visitors’ wants.

If you can offer a low-cost incentive that provides high value and ROI, that option is likely a good fit for you.

 

Is contact with a real person a valuable incentive?

Another approach to lead gen offers you can use is contact with a real person.

This can be contact with an expert on a widget or a representative who can help prospects navigate an extensive product line.

If you have a complex product offering or if there are many competing options that have muddied your market, this might be a good option for you. However, there are a few important things to consider here.

Do visitors need help with your product offering? Will speaking with a person help them make a better buying decision? Can contact with a representative expedite the buying process?

Be careful though, if your prospects don’t perceive a personal contact as valuable, you could scare some away. But, you’re almost assured that those who do make it into the funnel will be of a higher quality.

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E-commerce: Why a forced checkout registration is never a good idea

October 8th, 2013
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“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding.”

  • Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)”

The song was an outlet for bassist Roger Waters to express his dislike for the forceful approach to learning that was popular in the British education system during his youth. This serves as a great analogy for why forcing your customers to register for accounts is not always a good idea.

In today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post, I want to demand that you allow your consumers to have their pudding, even if they don’t eat their meat.

But in some cases, I know that “required” just can’t be avoided, so I’ll also share two methods you can try when your company just won’t budge on “leaving the kids alone,” as the song goes.

 

Make buying easier for users with low motivation

Unless your brand has the near cult-like following of Apple or Coca-Cola, then it’s likely your website will play host to visitors with low motivation.

Now, what will chase away users – and metaphorical British schoolchildren – with low motivation faster than a 12-inch ruler?

Having to submit their information to yet another website!

If a new visitor – most likely an important demographic to your business’ revenue – is forced to commit to an account before they make a purchase on your site, then you could lose this new customer.

 

Avoid cart abandonment by keeping new users moving through your checkout

Another reason to avoid a required registration is the dreaded cart abandonment.

Combine a visitor with low motivation and subject them to a rather lengthy checkout process, and you are just adding another brick in the wall.

But sometimes, registered accounts simply can’t be avoided for whatever reason …

What do you do then?

Well, it’s all in how you approach a customer with your demands for their data. While I discourage required accounts, consider these two account registration methods from our research that you can test to hopefully increase your sales and minimize cart abandonment:

 

Method #1. Front-end option

Provide an optional account registration option at the beginning of the checkout process for users with high motivation or brand loyalty.

However, you may need to provide some incentives to convince that user the registration option is in their best interest.

 

Method #2. Back-end option

Most businesses still need to ask customers to fill out billing and shipping information during the checkout process.

Why not offer customers an opt-in to a registration after their information has been submitted?

This only requires one action from the visitor (a “yes” or “no” answer) and can be placed before or after the completion of the order.

You may also need some additional value copy to convince users that a registration option is in their best interest, but the beauty here is that you’re not making them jump through the same hoop twice.

No matter which option your pick, the goal here is testing your sales funnel to discover the most strategic place for a required account registration if you can’t avoid it.

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Testing and Optimization: Radical website redesign program improves lead gen 89%

October 1st, 2013
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I’m live blogging at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013 in San Francisco, and attending a brand-side case study with Jacob Baldwin, Search Engine Marketing Manager, One Call Now.

To begin a testing and optimization program, Jacob launched a test on the website with a radical redesign, attempting to improve lead capture. The program was executed sequentially as opposed to A/B split testing.

Jacob said each new homepage version replaced the previous – the marketing team created new treatments and “flipped the switch” to learn how the page would perform.

An important insight from this testing approach  is there isn’t necessarily a need for a complex A/B or multivariate testing program.

The testing program was run on the homepage, and there were several objectives:

  • Increase conversion rate
  • Increase traffic
  • Reduce bounce rate
  • Provide niched messaging via enhanced segmentation

Here is the test control and original website:

 

And, here is the radical redesign treatment:

 

There were several key differences with the treatment:

  • Restructured navigation
  • Consolidated calls-to-action (CTAs)
  • Single value proposition – no competing headlines on the page
  • Trust indicators
  • Color palette
  • New tag line
  • New content

The original homepage, the control in this test, achieved 2.40% lead capture, and the radical redesign treatment pulled in 2.85% lead capture – an 18.75% lift over the control.

Jacob says the radical redesign was based on a revamped segmentation model.

“The new segmentation model drove the basic navigation structure and information architecture of the new homepage,” he explained.

This test with an early “win” was part of an ongoing optimization program. Not every test uncovered a lift, but every test did garner a discovery. The testing protocol involved taking the “winning” treatment and then refining the webpage layout, calls-to-action and length of the sign-up process for lead capture.

Through optimization, the sign-up process was shortened, and free trial sign-ups increased 55.3%, and the overall redesign of the entire website garnered a 89% lift in lead generation.

For the big takeaway, Jacob says, “Never stop improving. Complacency is lead capture optimization’s worst enemy and perfection is impossible. Complacency is conversion rate optimization’s worst enemy.”

  Read more…

Content Marketing: Your questions on B2B online lead gen, metrics, content from SMEs and more

June 21st, 2013
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In a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, I interviewed Eric Webb, Senior Marketing Director, Corporate Marketing & Brand, McGladrey, about his impressive work with the accounting firm’s content marketing.

You can now watch the video replay of that webinar – “Content Marketing: A discussion about McGladrey’s 300% increase in content production.

But most of the questions I asked him weren’t my own, they were from you. In fact, we got tons of your questions about content marketing, and Eric has been kind enough to answer some of them here today on the MarketingSherpa blog.

Even better, Eric also provided you a tool his team used to help with its 300% increase in content production. Click below to download the template …

Submission form – with example

 

And now, your questions…

B2B online lead gen as a topic. Mor, online marketing manager

Eric Webb: We use content to generate leads 70% of the time. Via Demand Generation, and social media, we promote specific content that resides behind a form. We may ask qualifying questions as well to help discern where they are in the buy cycle.

To do this, you need to repackage the topic to leave a breadcrumb of content that helps you accelerate the sales process. You may have a white paper which shows they are in discovery of the issue, then a podcast with a client and a case study. If they download these, they are likely more interested and are considering or feel they can benefit in some way from the solution.

Finally, a self assessment or an offer for a free 30-minute talk with the expert tells you they are truly interested and deserve a call.

 

Creating content for niche industries and clientsMaddie, marketing analyst

EW: I recommend looking to industry publication editorial calendars for ideas, clients and outside speakers.

 

Specific metrics and related incentives for the content creation team, please.Marshall, CEO

EW: For content, the metrics we most watch are clicks and downloads, or form conversions if behind a form. We don’t necessarily offer an incentive except recognition for the SMEs (subject matter experts) on how the content they create is performing. But, you clearly could offer an incentive based on form-conversion leading to an opportunity.

 

How much content is necessary?Christian, director of marketing

EW: Depends on your objectives – if you are just trying to build awareness, then you may measure retweets, likes or +. You could also look at a benchmark of current visits to a section and just say 10% above that. But ultimately, you have to determine what your objective is.

 

How do you re-purpose other’s content?Christian, director of marketing

EW: We do curate content to help fill out a section and drive more time on site or to attract more people. But only the first paragraph and then we link out to their site. Otherwise, we look to vendors or partners to provide some of their content in totality.

 

Besides social, blogs and email – any other outlets?Christian, director of marketing

EW: Networking sites like LinkedIn updates and groups. Partner sites, publications and association sites; some of our most clicks come on the heels of someone commenting in a news article and providing a link to our content. Slideshare. Reddit. Digg.

 

I love the idea of creating energy around content for SMEs and am looking forward to learning more about this.Dee, founder

EW: Basically it comes down to being able to provide a breakdown of specific metrics by each content piece (clicks, downloads, form fills and opportunities). Develop a monthly report to show the value that the content is creating and highlight the author. Also, if you have a PR group, get them to promote the author as an expert, showcasing their content to reporters.

 

How quickly do you plan from idea generation for content to getting it up and available?Nick, manager

EW: It depends on the topic. A blog post is usually a few days, depending on approvals required, but a white paper can be weeks and months, especially if it’s a regulated industry. We try to get teams to use content calendars and think at least three to six months out by assigning topics to SMEs.

 

How to develop a thought leadership culture in the workplace?Kim, senior email marketing manager

EW: I noticed a change when you could report the metrics. And, with our marketing automation system, we now are close to showing a measure of influence of total revenue and direct attribution of particular campaigns and content offered to opportunities.

Explaining how your audience buys – their buy cycle – and then being able to show how they read through content to ultimately filling a form and wanting to engage helps as well. Consistency is key.

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Email Marketing: 3 overlooked aspects of automated messages

March 26th, 2013
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In the MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, we asked email marketers how they use automation capabilities …

Q: What type of automated, event-triggered, lifecycle email messages does your organization deploy? Please check all that apply.

 

As always, we asked the MarketingSherpa audience for their actionable advice based on this data. We received two interesting tips from Richard Hill and one from Chris Hexton …

 

Nurture current customers

Most marketers use automated triggered emails to strengthen relationships with early-stage buyers (i.e., for ‘lead nurturing’).

However, one of the most under appreciated opportunities is to use triggered emails to strengthen relationships with current (and recently lost) customers:

  • Advocate social referral
  • Contract renewal reminder
  • Product education/training
  • Customer service issue management
  • Low product usage alert
  • Upsell/cross sell
  • Win/loss
  • Net promoter score segment migration
  • Win-back campaigns

All of these “customer nurturing” programs represent great ways for modern marketers to re-balance their approach, and use trigger emails (and marketing automation tools) to more consistently support the whole buying journey.

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B2B Marketing: 74% challenged by generating high-quality leads

January 25th, 2013
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On the latest episode of Marketing Research in Action, Milap Shah, CEO, NexSales, discusses research from the MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Benchmark Report

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