It’s a tradition at the end of the calendar year to take stock and assess the lessons learned in the last year – and look forward to improvement for the next.
One constant is that everything old is new again. I state this with conviction after 20 years observing technology marketing. No, I’m not a Luddite. And yes, the technologies and delivery channels we use in marketing have changed remarkably and dramatically. But what hasn’t changed is the nature of communication.
The message, the content and the way you address and respond to your audience – no matter how radically different the delivery channels are – remains the definitive communication mission.
So here are fourteen lessons:
Social Networking is just one more thing
That’s not to say that social marketing doesn’t have a place. It does. But as Forrester’s Nate Elliott wrote in his blog, reach for Facebook is declining; “only .07% of top brands’ Facebook fans interact with each of their posts.”
Don’t put too much emphasis on it at the expense of other viable avenues.
Online Ads are partially invisible
Recent revelations from Google itself show that more than half of all online ads are not seen. And the bar for even those views is pretty low: An ad view can be as low as having “50% of an ad’s pixels in view for a minimum of one second.”
Don’t forgo ads and retargeting; but again, use wisely.
The avenues you use to reach prospects will depend on your unique situation. But there is often a tendency to double-down on what works. By all means leverage marketing channels that are successful for you, but don’t get trapped into just one, or a few vehicles.
Keep all of your channels open and leverage more than one vehicle. Email, direct mail, display ads, search ads, blogs, events, editorial, social media channels and phone calls from your sales team are all appropriate.
Engagement goes up when your companies name remains top of mind. Make sure that every visitor to your website is properly responded to with form-response campaigns, drip campaigns, and at the right time, nurture campaigns.
Automation makes this easy to accomplish. In theory you can track what visitors do on your site and follow up to each of them manually. But if you want to make it measurable and efficient you need to automate lead nurturing.
Narrow your focus
Marketing to everyone at once may get you nowhere. You usually have the data; industry, title, job functions, etc. Use that data to craft appeals that speak to the segments or persona in a way that might resonate.
Educate and inform – Don’t sell
Remember that nurturing is an educational process. It’s just one part of the sales cycle. Keep the promotional messages in check. Touting your solution’s superiority too soon, before the prospects is up to speed on the landscape that your offerings fall in could backfire and result in an early opt-out.
Be clear on what you want
If you’re sending an email about signing up for a webcast, make it clear that’s what you’re driving for. If you want an action from your recipients, state it clearly, near the beginning of your email.
Don’t allow your reader to wonder, “What did they want from me?”
Keep it simple
Keep your communication simple and easy grasp. Short sentences and uncomplicated language are easy for casual readers to grasp quickly. This is especially important in the early parts of the sales process (and in the opening lines of emails), but might also apply across to the entire email as well.
Keep it short
An overlong email shows the prospect that you don’t respect their time. A long email is an invitation to oblivion. Why should they read through the entire email?
Keep your email short – just a few sentences – and you’ll increase the chances that people will actually read it your response rates are likely to increase.
Track online visitors
Track every visitor to your site and understand your visitors’ time on your website. Most marketing automation systems can show you exactly which pages prospects visit and how long they view them. You’ll also get much better data on engagement with emails and social links.
Communicate to Your Prospects Regularly
Keep nurturing with a constant stream of information — but don’t overdo it. Email prospects every seven to 10 working days as the starting point for B2B communications. Increase frequency in relation to the activity level of each prospect. Make sure the communications are worthy of a prospect’s valuable time. Don’t forget that relevance, quality, and frequency govern whether a prospect will stay subscribed or opt out.
Communicating with prospects too often and too stridently will send opt-outs off the chart.
Stop asking too many questions
Do you really need those eight questions in your form to sign up for a webcast? What possible use is all of that extra data? Make it as simple and frictionless for folks to signup – after all you want them attending.
Remove as many barriers as possible to new prospects engaging with you for the first time. You can always get additional information at a later point through the use of things like dynamic progressive forms to ask simple questions.
Expand your reach at good target
One good use of scarce marketing dollars involves expanding your list of prospects to include additional contacts at highly rated targets. Expanding titles and depth at the same company can improve the chances of reaching potential influencers and decision makers.
Let’s face it. Every sales person has a personal list of companies they are selling to, and they want to know everything about them. We used to page sales people when an important prospect called in. The modern equivalent of the pager is the lead alert. Why not indulge them and set up alerts?
Instantly send an alert message to an individual sales person, right when their prospect is finished looking at your site! They’ll love you for it.