Archive for January, 2008

Removing the Blinders

Friday, January 25th, 2008

PPC Hero’s week-long series Learn How To Think and Search Like Your Customers is worth a read, particularly Wednesday’s feature on using reporting and analytics to understand your prospects. Keeping an eye on what keywords perform best in your PPC searches is a great way to see where to focus your efforts and where to cut the fat. In addition, taking the time to review search terms from organic searches teaches you a lot about how your customers view your service or industry. Once visitors arrive at your site, monitoring activity can show you if they converted to prospects. If the majority are not, you may need to re-think your landing page design or the item you’re offering prospects upon completion (white paper, demo, etc).

Overall, the series serves as a wake-up call to marketers - what’s most important is what your target customers view you as, not the way you view yourself. It’s easy to get tunnel-vision. Examine how your campaigns are performing and use that knowledge to cater to potential prospects; They will feel like you understand them and you’ll reap the benefits.

Reel in your Prospects, Hook, Line and Sinker

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Prospects are people too. Sometimes that’s hard to remember when you’ve sent out multiple emails with no response or tried to set a meeting when they always seem to busy. In the world of B2B, marketers don’t spend nearly as much time studying the psychology of our customers as our B2C counterparts. Keeping that in mind, examining prospects responses to your marketing initiatives can help you understand what works and what doesn’t.

Get To the Point…
Keep the clutter to a minimum. A recent study conducted by JupiterResearch shows that emails containing all pictures had a very low success rate with prospects - in fact, most readers prefer easy to read text and most email servers don’t automatically load graphics. So skip all the fancy colors and flash and just tell the prospect what he needs to know.

And Do It Quickly.
The old newspaper adage is just as true with email marketing - keep it above the fold! Studies have found that emails containing a call-to-action message in the first screen shot the reader sees have a significantly higher click-through rate than those that are text or image heavy with your key message hidden at the bottom. Prospects are busy, especially in the B2B world, they don’t have time to scroll down.

Ok, You’ve Got Them - Do Your Landing Pages Help You Keep Them?
Once you’ve got the attention of a visitor, you have only a few seconds to entice them with your landing page. Even with their email address already in your system, engaging your prospects further can help remind them of your product and nudge them along in the sales cycle. Tracking their activity can also give you valuable insight in to their interests and their readiness to buy.

To make the most of those valuable seconds, make sure you’re following best practices with your landing pages:

  • Keep forms short and sweet to increase conversion
  • Keep navigation and links to a minimum so prospects can’t “wander off”
  • Maintain the look and feel of your campaign or corporate website
  • Test multiple landing page designs to see which elicits the best response from prospects

Segmenting for a Quick Lift

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Earlier this month, DM News published a quick feature on a a company that saw great sales increases simply by segmenting their email campaigns. The piece profiles a promotional products company called Graphic Business Solutions. This company found that they increased their open, click and buy rates by 20-50% simply by creating segmented emails that contained product samples featuring local sports teams. The personalized approach helped the peak the recipient’s interest and form a connection in a way that can’t be achieved with a generic blast.

There are many options for dividing these key groups based on your specific product. All that sorting sound overwhelming? It’s not. All of these email campaigns can be easily created and distributed using an web marketing automation program. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Geographic Segmentation

As discussed in the Graphics Business Solutions example, adding a little local flavor to your emails can help give your customer the feeling that you know and understand his interests, even from halfway around the world.

Behavioral Segmentation

Setting up a set of automation rules that send messages based on user activity, also called drip marketing, can help you create an easy multi-touch campaign to reach new and returning visitors. For example, you may automatically send an introduction email to a prospect who has requested information, follow up with a pricing list three days after their last visit to your site, and send a special offer one month later if they still haven’t bitten.

Purchasing Power Segmentation

Collect data on your leads and create campaigns specifically targeted to your key prospects. This can be especially helpful if you sell multiple products to different audiences, such as a software solution for the IT department and another that would be more helpful to the HR department. This way the HR manager receives only information that is important to her and not a generic catalog of your offerings. You can also use this setting to ensure that your email goes to the CEO and not the intern.

Segmenting is nothing new, it simply used to be a tedious process. Now B2B marketers have enough technology in their arsenal to make this not only worth doing, but easy to pull off as well.