Overcoming lack of understanding, resources, and content
We all have stories in our lifetime where we reference “chicken or the egg” regarding a reference to what comes first. This same concept can be applied to marketing automation for small and mid-size business. I’ve been hired my firms past and current with the challenge to generate quality leads and manage marketing automation drip campaigns. Many of these firms are excited to have a tool such as Act-On, Hubspot, Loopfuse, Mindmatrix, Net-Results, Infusionsoft, and countless other platforms. The chicken and egg concept occurs when these platforms are in place, but not enough leads to support its use effectively until a steady stream of leads begin happening.
Leads don’t happen overnight, especially if your marketing budget is moderate. The other issue I’ve seen with the lead nurturing concept at SMB firms is the eagerness for salespeople to engage with leads who download content, even though those prospects aren’t ready to be engaged with. I understand the enthusiasm; inquiries are captured; but how long should salespeople wait to contact them? Whether enterprise or SMB, you need to let the process play out; set up automated drip campaigns, and let nurturing and lead scoring processes occur until the inquiries become sales-ready leads. Otherwise why do you have marketing automation?
If you are an SMB, and you do have products/services with at least a 90 day buying cycle (Interest-Consideration-Purchase), your content, if implemented properly, will cause audiences to consider your solution, and put your firm in the “finals” for when prospects decide to contact your sales team. Without a sound content strategy, you’re marketing to your prospects with no direction, and your marketing automation will be deemed useless.
So if you have marketing automation, and not taking advantage of its powerful features and reporting, then you’re behind the eight ball versus competitors. Likewise if you don’t have marketing automation, then you’re not sending quality content to prospects when they move through the buying cycle, and thus you’re missing sales opportunities.
Either way, you need to combine your marketing automation with the following:
- Investment and commitment in an optimal demand generation strategy. You can’t just rely on pay-per-click on Google. You need to have a content lead capture plan that includes the following components:
- Format strategy: white papers, case studies, videos, blogs, infographics, ebooks, webinars
- Message strategy: matching content asset topics to buyer personas and buying stage
- Distribution strategy: newsletters, Slideshare, social media, website (via SEO), landing pages (via paid search), online display, eblasts, sponsorships, content syndication
If this sounds like a big undertaking, it is, and can be overwhelming. This is why I created a Marketing Automation Content Starter Package with my content partners. If you’re serious about utilizing marketing automation properly, we can help you get over the hump.
The starter package includes the following elements:
Buyer persona development.
Gain the edge over the competition by immersing yourself in your buyer’s thinking. Learn what motivates and frustrates them, and discover the unexpected.
A plan for nurturing your leads with content tailored to attract, engage and convert your buyer. It includes 10 to 15 topics designed to appeal to specific phases of your target market’s buying cycle.
Make sure you don’t waste any existing content and you have what you need for remarkable marketing automation success. We review up to 10 of your current content assets and conduct gap analysis for lead nurturing plan.
Content/Marketing Automation Set-up
The details can make all the difference and we make sure they’re all handled according to best practices for marketing automation. This includes the nitty-gritty of building forms, scoring leads, and executing drip campaigns. Whether you have marketing automation (we’ll review) or don’t (we’ll recommend and implement), we’ll be there every step of the way to make it work.
Successful marketing automation thrives on content fuel. We produce all the quality, relevant content you need to feed your marketing machine. This includes blog posts, white papers, eBooks, and webinars.
Lead Generation/Demand Generation Assessment
We’ll assess your paid-search, search-engine-optimization, online-display-media, social media, and conversion-optimization efforts. We’ll give you an insider’s grasp of these channels, and the facts you need to make important decisions. Armed with new insights and proven techniques, you’ll be empowered to produce immediate results.
Click here to learn more about our Marketing Automation Made Easy Packages, which include 3 monthly spending levels depending on need, for 3 months. Our landing page includes a link to a sign-up form.
What are your experiences with marketing automation content strategy? How has it worked for you? What are your roadblocks?
A B2B Video Marketing Strategy Overview
Name a memorable ad in the past. Chances are, it’s a television ad. Why? Because nothing beats the power of a message that combines the senses of sight and sound. That brings us to a discussion of video marketing for B2B. Depending on what you read, most research shows that white papers are still the most authoritative content asset, but video marketing continues to grow. With B2B video marketing, it’s not about the number of viewers your video gets, but is that video reaching your target prospects.
According to a recent B2B survey from the Content Marketing Institute:
- About 46% of people say they’d be more likely to seek out information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video.
- Video is now the sixth most popular content marketing tactic, as 70% of B2B marketers use some form of online video with their overall strategies.
- YouTube averages 4 billion hits each day, and 61% of B2B marketers leverage YouTube to extend the reach of their messaging and brands.
- On average, mobile viewers watch videos that are three times longer those on PCs and laptops.
- A Forbes study: Three-quarters (75%) of executives surveyed said they watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly; more than half (52%) watch work-related videos on YouTube at least weekly.
The statistics are evident; B2B usage is on the rise. NuSpark Marketing has helped a number of B2B firms execute visually creative video strategies. Like any content development plan, you first need to define what your customer’s pain points are before scripting your video.
- Great for product or service demonstrations, especially for a complicated solution that needs video to explain key features and benefits
- Personality communication. In a cluttered word of online written content, a video can introduce you or your firm as a real person or company with personality. Buyers buy from companies they trust; what better way than visually showcasing your credibility
- Videos capture attention of your prospects, and if produced right, hold their attention, which can lead to increased engagement and conversion.
- Videos rank high in search results for appropriate keywords. If your headline is memorable and compelling, prospects will notice your helpful videos and engage with them
Video and the Sales Funnel
Many times it’s best to plan a video strategy to target all levels of buyers within the funnel. For example:
- Top of funnel prospects: Consider an overview video to introduce your firm and explain the benefits of your products or solutions; how you solve pain points.
- Mid funnel prospects: Explain complex solutions in a simple compelling manner. This is where demonstrations and simple solution examples come into play.
- Bottom funnel prospects: Here’s where you can utilize video testimonials as proof of your solutions and results
Cisco is a leader in video marketing for their products; below is a sample content plan for their videos.
B2B Video Marketing Best Practices
Planning: The steps involved with planning a video that will contribute to eliciting a positive response from your prospects.
- Determine goals: sales; leads; brand building; product demonstration; education. Focus on your corporate value proposition
- Determine audience: target the key buyer or influencer; speak the buyer’s language when targeting your personas
- Determine message focus and tone: metrics, process, features, benefits
- Determine offers: downloads, demos, trials, etc. Match offers with target audience. Test offers with lead capture strategy.
- Determine format: animated, whiteboard, talking head, interview, presentation, demo, case study
- Determine tone: professional, creative, humorous, serious, technical, informal
- Determine video elements: music, voiceover, subtitles, length (for advertising- stay within 30 seconds, for longer form, 3-5 minutes is best, but depends on the format and goals) 60 seconds is best for mobile.
- Preparation of script and storyboard: Strong introduction, set up business challenge, showcase solution, call-to-action
- Distribution strategy: website for engagement; landing page for conversion; YouTube channel; Vimeo and video syndication, Brightcove, email. A multi-media strategy works best.
- Analytics, hosting, and feature add-ons: Viewbix, Wistia, to name two I like.
- SEO: title tags with keywords; meta description, video site map, thumbnail image, links, sharable with social links. Regarding YouTube descriptions:Promotion: Give viewers key benefits for viewing; Optimize sharing due to message tone (interesting, humorous, surprising, unusual…a hook). However you deploy, mention “video” in your promotion to increase action
- Write a creative and informative description about your video.
- Your primary keywords should be near the beginning as only 25-30 characters are visible in YouTube search results. Include a link to your website, blog, and any other social channels.
- Put the URL at the beginning of your description so that the user will see the link at all times.
- Conversion Optimization: Strong call-to-action (leads, downloads, next steps). Make sure offer and URL is included with all videos.
- Measure: Event tracking with Google Analytics; YouTube analytics, Tagged links on channels of distribution, click rates, video views, social media shares and comments, Leads generated, ROI reporting
- Include a transcript of your video within your website for SEO
- Accompany the video with a related white paper as CTA
- Focus on educational value; but adding some humor or uniqueness can be effective
- Video needs to be part of a comprehensive content strategy; white papers, case studies, ebooks, blogs
- The first 15 seconds of the video is critical to hold someone’s attention
- Take advantage of YouTube overlay messaging if you do Adwords. When users click the overlay they can be sent to website or landing page
- Create a 30 second version of a video and use it as a remarketing tactic. YouTube has a remarketing option; those who visit your site and be remarketed to on YouTube with a video ad.
- Utilize within marketing automation; as part of drip campaigns and lead nurturing; lead score engaged viewers
- Responsive design; make sure website and landing page provides optimal mobile experience.
Video Landing Page
For driving leads with video, a video landing page that features your video, landing page copy that has strong benefit and CTA language, offer and lead capture form should be the primary hub for your campaign. The traffic driver sources (social, email, display, PPC, etc.) should direct all campaign traffic to the video landing page. Staying light on copy will reinforce prospects to view your video for offer details or benefit statements. Offering prospects a white paper or case study in exchange for an email address is best practice to generate leads with content. Videos that persuade free trials and demos are equally essential. The better the offer; the better the response rate.
Advertising on YouTube will be a post for the future, but if you do wish to advertise your solution on YouTube there are many options to consider, whether they be in-search ads (targeting keyword searches on YouTube) or in-stream ads, as pre-rolls to other content. There are many ways to target a B2B audience on YouTube; below is an example of this:
Remember to keep advertised videos 15-30 seconds, and take advantage of overlays for better CTA
Video is impactful when planned and executed properly. Each element of this post could be its own white paper itself, but I wanted to give a high level overview of video marketing best practices for B2B. Video is exciting, compelling, and doesn’t have to be costly. The videos NuSpark Marketing does for its clients are very reasonably priced. If you’d like to speak to me about video strategy and execution, please give me a call 610-604-0639.
How as video marketing worked for you?
Not Provided? Why Not? What You Can Do to Get Keyword Data for SEO
Nearly two years ago, Google made the decision to the block organic keyword search data of logged in Google account searchers, leaving a significant proportion of the keywords driving site visits to be identified in Google Analytics as “not provided.” Despite causing minor inconvenience since that time, most marketers found they still had enough remaining data to analyze keywords, conversions, ROI and other important metrics.
Google has since extended the encryption of keyword data to all organic searches, and as of late September 2013 now lists all Google search keywords as “not provided,” leaving only the small percentage of organic search keyword data remaining from other engines such as Bing and Yahoo!. Google did this by making all searches secure—redirecting all traffic to the secure https site.
Why Did Google Do This?
Google has stated that the change was made to encrypt 100% of organic searches for privacy reasons. This doesn’t exactly make sense because all of the paid data remains available. The searchers’ privacy is apparently not as important if Google makes money by providing the same data to the people paying for ads. Many speculate that Google has done this solely to increase revenue.
Regardless of the reasoning behind the change, the question concerning most online marketers is this: How can I obtain organic keyword data for analysis, reporting and optimization? Luckily, you still have some options. Here are a few:
- Check out the non-Google organic keywords driving traffic that are still available in Google Analytics. The other search engines don’t send even close to the same volume as you would get from Google, but you can still get an idea of what keywords searchers are using.
- Glean the data available in Google Webmaster Tools. Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) still provides organic keyword data. In fact, it shows impressions vs. click data. This is great information, as you can use it to see how often your site showed up in search results, as well as how many times listings generated clicks (or not). GWT data is limited to the previous 90 days, so it’s important to download the data every month.
- Set up filters in Google analytics to segment the “not provided” data. You can set the filter to show the landing pages for each of the “not provided” visitors. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it may give you a general idea of what users were searching for when they reached your site. Not sure how to implement the segmentation? Learn from the best: Analytics guru Avinash Kaushik wrote a post detailing a 5-step approach to get data. Additionally, Kissmetrics wrote a post on unlocking your keywords in Google Analytics.
- Track internal searches on your site. Hopefully, you have a search function on your site. If you do, you can enable internal site search in Google Analytics. Here’s a post from Crazy Egg that details exactly how to set it up within your profile settings.
While the recent changes have left us with a situation that is less than ideal, it will force marketers to think creatively about new ways to obtain and leverage organic search data to improve sites’ performance—and that’s never a bad idea.
Beth Donkus is an SEO specialist; helping NuSpark Marketing clients grow traffic organically.
When we at NuSpark Marketing put together strategic B2B pay-per-click Adwords or Bing Ads campaigns, we carefully implement a negative keyword strategy as well. A negative keyword is a term that is used within a query that includes one of the keywords you are bidding on, but prevents your ad from showing because that “negative” keyword is not relevant to your product or service.
For example, if you sell CRM software to enterprise firms only, and your keyword term you are bidding on in Adwords is CRM Software, then a negative keyword could be SMB (small or medium sized business). Thus, if a buyer searches for CRM software for SMB, your ad will not show for this query.
The benefits of adding the proper negative keywords to your paid search accounts are obvious:
- Your ads will show to prospects most likely to click on them
- Because of the potential of increased click through rate, your keyword quality scores will increase, and that means better ad positioning at less cost, and that means better campaign ROI
- You can avoid paying for audiences who click on your ads but not really in the market for your services or products
Determining negative keywords
The first thing I do is review the Adwords Search Term reports. The search term report gives me a list of actual search queries that caused audiences to click. For any terms that showed significant clicks but not relevant to your product, those terms can be easily assigned as negatives.
Second, enter some queries of the keywords you are bidding on in Google, and see if Google’s suggest feature identifies negatives as below.
Additionally, for any of the major keywords you are bidding on, you can also use a keyword suggest tool like Ubersuggest to view not just potential negative keywords, but also longer-tail keywords you could add to your Ad groups.
Thirdly, meet with product managers or similar colleagues, and have a brainstorm meeting. Review the needs of your products or services and solutions they solve. Make a list of the targets and attributes of your product, then start developing a list of terms that do not apply.
Examples of one of these brainstorming sessions:
- Target geography: United States
Negative keyword examples: Canada, Mexico, North America
- Target business size: Enterprise
Negative keywords: SMB, small, start-up
- Target operating system: Windows, Android, PC
Negative keywords: Apple, ios, iPhone, iPad. MAC
- Target Industries: information technology, software, professional services, accounting, financial
Negative keywords: healthcare, insurance, retail
Fourth, as we further understand your products and services; who they are for, and who they are not for, we implement additional keyword lists that apply to your campaigns as negatives. Since this post is on B2B, we’ll focus on B2B negative keyword research. Let’s continue to assume we’re planning for CRM Software for enterprise.
You’re not targeting job seekers:
Negative keyword examples: jobs, careers, employment, developers, programmers, internships
You’re not targeting deal seekers:
Negative keyword examples; cheap, discount, free, bargain, prices, quotes, retail
You’re not educating (unless you have specific white papers or content downloads, targeting top of funnel educational queries):
Negative keyword examples: information, tips, techniques, strategies, tactics, approaches, white papers, pdfs, guides, reviews
You sell within your own country, with employees from your own country:
Negative keyword examples: off-shore, overseas, international, export, import
You provide the product or service, but you do not provide training:
Negative keyword examples: colleges, schools, training, lessons, courses, classes, education, resources, consultants
You’re not targeting audiences looking for key competitors, unless that was a targeted strategy:
Negative keyword examples: Salesforce, Netsuite, Oracle, SAP, Dynamics, Sugarcrm
Our goal is always to generate quality traffic and leads to websites as efficiently as possible. The optimal negative keyword strategy is mission critical in order to not spend budget on irrelevant queries, and build positive ROI. If you have any categories of negative keywords you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them.
What is a search engine optimization tactician
I have a new SEO book being published next month, and as a preview, I just wanted to shed some light on what an SEO professional does, because there seems to be some confusion on what we do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. We need many skill-sets, because today’s SEO is much different than what it was last year, and the year before that. We do have one thing in common with old school SEO; we take pride in our efforts to grow website traffic and leads for our clients.
So here is a summary of the attributes of today’s search engine optimization tactician (at least attributes I need to have!):
- We are Technical Analysts
We need to know how search engines crawl websites, what makes good code, how to write HTML markup language, how to tell what links are broken on your website, understand website architecture, and how to seek out and fix technical errors so that search engines index your site easier and more efficiently.
- We are Content Strategists
We need to know what makes good content writing; being able to consult on your website content from a readability and searchability standpoint. We tell you how to organize your content, and will recommend new content if needed, especially with blogs. That being said, we are proof-readers. We need to read every piece of content to make sure it is optimized properly for search and readership. If we have to, we will write as well!
- We are Social Media Strategists
We now know the importance of social media with search visibility. We understand Google+ and how to get your pictures shown on search engines when you write blogs. We tweet, post, and share. We can show how active social engagement contributes to rank.
- We are Brand Strategists
We need to know as much about your business as possible. We need to understand your brand and your target audiences. In order to do keyword research, we need to know what words your prospects use to find your solutions and products on search engines. Keyword tools help us identify these, but it starts from being an expert on your products and services, and how they differentiate from competition.
- We are Detectives!
Commonly known as “link builders,” we use a variety of research tools to seek out high quality and authoritative websites and utilize a multitude of tactics to obtain links to your website. We seek out online editors, bloggers, resource directories, review sites, and more, prioritize them on page rank and other factors that support their value, and get your firm listed, or “back linked” mostly via guest articles.
- We are Public Relations Managers
Once we find guest article opportunities, we put together editorial calendars and pitch great content that would be ideal for a certain blogger’s audience. We have to follow them on social, subscribe to their feeds, and create ongoing relationships with these influential writers. We call them, write them, and manage them on CRMs. We do this all for the almighty content backlink.
- We are “outsourced” Marketing Assistants
We support your digital marketing efforts and consult with you in marketing strategy. As listed above, we need to be part of your website strategy, your content strategy, your social media strategy, and your PR strategy. We talk to IT; we talk to writers; we talk to you. In essence, we are your trusted marketing assistants. We’ll show you website analytics reports, and make recommendations on website behavior.
The new book, The B2B Executive’s Guide to Lead Generation SEO, gives an overview of tasks from a strategic point of view. It’s more WHAT and WHY rather than HOW. The goal is to give Marketing Directors and above a better understanding of the SEO process, and what tasks SEO professionals do to increase your website traffic and conversions. Chapters are:
- Why SEO; and the Importance of Rank
- Keyword Research principles
- Technical Optimization
- Content Optimization
- Social Media Optimization
- Mobile SEO
- Meet Panda & Penguin
- Link Building Strategy
- Measuring Results
If you’d like a copy of the 120 page ebook, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll email you a copy when it’s ready after Labor Day.
I hope you find it useful once you read it.
The Beatles Give B2B Marketers Important Lead Generation and Content Marketing Optimization Lessons
Many of the Beatles songs do have lessons for B2B marketers especially when it comes to content marketing, inbound/outbound marketing, and analytics. As a big Beatles fan, I thought I’d have some fun in reviewing their song titles, and coming up with a marketing statement that relates to the titles. The songs are memorable; but the statements are what’s important here. I look forward to more from my readers!
- Act Naturally
Be yourself, especially with your own content and within social media. You don’t need to sound like everyone else. Your messages will stand out if you include your own spin on topics. Sound as natural as possible in all business communications.
- All Together Now
Sales and marketing need to be aligned with agreement on target audiences, qualification factors, and business goals. Work together.
- Ask Me Why
Why is your firm better than competitors? What is your value proposition? Ask yourself why should prospects buy from you, and make sure that is communicated via your website and communication materials.
Every marketing strategy needs to have a plan. Strategic branding, targeted messaging, media tactics, and inbound/outbound marketing tactics all need to have a strategy behind it. When devising a marketing tactical plan, each element should have a strategic reason for implementing it- because…
It’s OK to wish social media friends a happy birthday, but do it naturally as compared to an obvious sales tactic.
- Come Together
All website and marketing activity should be tracked via Google Analytics or a more robust analytics tools. Analytics is where all of your visitor and conversion data come together, where custom dashboards and reports can be developed and analyzed.
- Don’t Bother Me
Lead nurturing is a crucial way to engage prospects and turn them into leads over time, whether via email or calls. But don’t go overboard with messaging; prospects will unsubscribe or wish not to be bothered. Be strategic with the frequency if your drip campaigns.
- Get Back
There are an increasing number of marketing and social media channels in which to promote content and sales messages. It can get overwhelming. It’s best to concentrate on few channels and do those best. Get back to basics; combine strategic inbound and outbound tactics; focus on your core strengths with compelling messages that explain the benefits of your firm, with proof points.
- Getting Better
Test and optimize. You should always be testing media channels, messaging, landing pages, and conversion tactics. Your goal is to always get better, and optimize performance, which leads to increased leads and sales.
If you’re maxed out on time and resources to perform an optimal demand generation; lead generation plan, it’s OK to get help and outsource (hint!)
- I Call Your Name
There’s much emphasis these days on inbound marketing, and having prospects find you. Outbound marketing is still a major tactic for lead generation. At the end of the day, you do business with people. Use the telephone strategically; you may be surprised when you call a prospect; just be prepared.
- I Me Mine
Your website content; it’s not about what you do, it’s about how what you do solves your prospect’s business challenges. Write for your prospect’ needs and not for yourself.
- I Should Have Known Better
Not every tactic will work. Have a proper measurement plan in place; optimize, and learn from campaigns that do not work so well.
- It’s All Too Much
As mentioned earlier, there’s so much content out there now; it’s easy to get lost with your own content. Mix it up- infographics, video, or unique ways to present the same information. This post is an example of a way to break through the clutter. Show some personality in your content.
- I’ve Got A Feeling
Despite all the big data and 3rd party data available for strategic decision making, sometimes it’s OK to go with a gut feel, but back it up with rationale, and be ready to optimize.
- Let It Be
If you’re testing landing pages for conversions, email subject lines, PPC bidding strategies, etc, make your you have enough data over time to make an informed business decision, otherwise let it be until there’s significant data available.
- The Long And Winding Road
Long term programs like SEO, social media engagement, and lead nurturing do take a long time before measurable results are shown. Trust the process if you have the right strategic plan in place; it’ll pay off in the long run.
- Money (That’ What I Want)
Revenue and profit- isn’t that our goal after all?
- No Reply
Whether it is inquiries from prospects or client questions, it’s upmost that you get back to them and reply in a timely manner. This is now a speed business environment.
- Please Mister Postman
Targeted direct mail can still work; it’s personalized, and you can provide unique offers and content. Despite the expense; direct mail can provide quality leads and increase close rates. Again, testing is essential.
- Tell Me Why
The focus of any website and landing page is promoting the benefits of using your firm and why prospects should do business with you. Clearly and easily tell me why I should buy.
- The End
That’s it for this post. Feel free to comment and provide more, if I missed any!
Lead Nurture Planning
Considering that around 80% of leads never turn into sales, you need a proper lead nurturing plan, including lead scoring, with the goal to transform those leads you do have into potential sales opportunities. Remember, lead nurturing is the process of delivering highly relevant content to prospects that may have shown some interest in your company but not ready to buy. The benefits of lead nurturing are:
- Automatic lead qualification, meaning increased sales productivity. Save time following up on bad leads.
- Shortening of sales cycles. Nurturing advances prospects through the purchase funnel, increases their lead score, and provides additional sales opportunities.
- Increases campaign ROI. Nurturing converts leads into opportunities.
Before getting started with lead nurturing (with marketing automation), let’s make sure the following steps take place:
- Goal establishment.
Define criteria on your ideal prospects and leads. When should they go to sales? What are your content and nurture KPIs to measure?
- Buyer Persona.
Really understand your buyers. What questions do they ask via each buying phase? How do they make vendor decisions? What is your ideal customer profile?
- Content Assets.
Identify existing content; prepare new content, and determine where each asset fits into the buying phases for each prospect. Plan what information buyers are looking for, and give them answers via your quality content.
You can read many blogs on this subject; there’s great thought leadership out there. Many of those blogs and articles discuss the “what,” the “why,” and touch on the “how” but really don’t get into actual planning and implementation of actual nurture campaigns.
Here’s how we do it, after we’ve done the preliminary steps as described above:
Lead Scoring Matrix.
Put together a basic list of demographics (compiled from lead forms) and content behavior items (compiled from potential email/content engagement behaviors). Assign each a score that is agreed upon between sales and marketing teams. Then determine a “threshold” or a score that tells your marketing automation to transfer that lead to sales for further contact, because that lead is assumed to be “actively” engaged with content and may be a valid prospect for a sales opportunity. Below is a sample matrix we use.
Gather two databases of available content. One for blogs; the other for longer-form content.
- Long-form content matrix.
As you see from the headings of our matrix, we get granular when we list our available content, whether they are white papers, case studies, ebooks, recorded webinars, or more.
- Blog Content Matrix.
We also plan our clients’ blogs on a blog calendar matrix; in order to keep track of our topics so that we can utilize them via our nurturing campaigns or newsletters.
Email and Landing Page Matrix
For every email campaign, we need to keep track of which email and landing page templates we need to use; which helps us orchestrate the nurture campaigns by aligning the content asset with an email cover, an autoresponder, and a landing page/thank you page (for conversion tracking). We also plan initial landing page or email subject line tests here.
Lead Flow Planning Matrix
Now we take the previously listed matrixes, and begin building nurture flows. You need to plan these drip campaigns meticulously, understanding how to shift prospects from list to list, what content to be sent, and when CRM (like Salesforce) lead transfer occurs. Below is an example of our nurture flow templates. Each nurture strategy has its own matrix. Some explanations on matrix fields:
- Campaigns. The name of your campaigns. I typically use objectives as names- Demand Gen, Increase Lead Score (accelerated nurture), Increase Interest (reactivate dormant prospects), or Gain Interest (initial nurture campaigns from rented/uploaded email lists)
- Campaign Types. This is where I identify the list that’s identified with a specific lead flow. A Form Submit list is a list of prospects that just enter the top of your funnel via a web form. A Manual List is prospects uploaded from a 3rd party source. A Nurture list is a new lead nurture flow gathered from an existing list of prospects that came from one of the two other two sources just described here.
- Segment/List. This is where we choose from which specific list or segment of that list we will be planning nurture flows to.
- Nurture Strategy. This field identifies the nurture flow content strategy- awareness-consideration, decision, loyalty buying phases.
How the lead nurturing template works. Drip strategy basics.
First, if this is a lead generation campaign, we begin with an autoresponse message, which is emailed immediately after the email submission. We have three Thank you templates, which can be customized. Thank You Content for content downloads, Thank You for Registering for webinars, and Thank You Contact, for direct web form inquiries. These autoresponders are triggered for any of the actions defined above whether at the beginning of a lead generation campaign, or within a nurture lead flow when long form content is distributed.
Waiting periods. You don’t want to bombard prospects with emails, but you do want to plan strategically. There is no “best practice” guide to waiting periods. Generally speaking:
- For the first 3 drips of a demand generation campaign, I wait 7 days before next email, then 14 days, then 21 days.
- For nurture campaigns with the goal to accelerate lead score, test between 14 and 21 days between emails
- For nurture campaigns with the goal to reactivate stale leads, test between 21 and 28 days between emails.
Email sends. This is where we list the blog or long form content that we are sending in between waiting periods. There’s no right answer, but we typically send two blogs in a row, then a long-form content piece. If you measure the email opens and clicks, you can determine which types of content are more engaging over time, and adjust your content distribution strategy
Positive or Negative Actions
Now the fun part begins. After the initial 3 drip campaigns, your content engagement is either going to be positive or negative.
When audiences click a link, view a video, register for a webinar, or download content, lead scores increase. If any of these positive actions occur, a typical marketing automation system allows you to do the following:
- Send the prospect to another list, perhaps an accelerated lead score campaign, since the prospect has shown some interest in your content, but not enough to reach your lead score “send to sales” threshold.
- Add the prospect to a CRM or Salesforce (SF) task, in case you want your sales people to call any prospect that downloads content, for example.
- Add the prospect to a Salesforce Campaign, if you want to assign the lead to a specific marketing campaign
- Notify. If you want to email a salesperson when a positive occurrence occurs, so he/she is aware of lead activity.
If there’s no engagement after the 3 drip emails, you can continue additional drip campaigns another 3 times, or the frequency of your choice. The goal here is to garner a positive response from a prospect. During the lead flow, if a positive action does occur (drip email 5, for example) then the steps taken when a positive action begins (as above).
This section of the matrix provides your campaign actions when your lead score threshold is reached any time during the lead flow drip campaign. We also include instructions for what happens to lead when the lead flow drip campaign ends.
- Lead score threshold reached. Follow the options listed above under Positive Actions. This will most likely be send to a Salesforce Task and Campaign. You can also send the lead (now an opportunity) to a loyalty list (reserved for leads that sell, and gives an opportunity to send newsletters and upsell/cross sell messages).
- When Drip ends. When the specific drip campaign ends, that lead either moves to another drip campaign or list (positive or negative actions) or another option if the lead is negative; removing that lead altogether from your lists, because you determine after the initial drip campaign flow and the additional reactivate flow that the prospect is not a prospect at all. Remember, a positive lead is one who has engaged in content, but hasn’t reached the lead score threshold yet.
Proper lead nurturing planning is a key to a successful campaign. By using these templates, you have the tools to plan when content should be sent to each prospect and when, minimizing any guessing, and being strategic instead.
If anyone would like to review these planning templates together, or you’d like a copy of the templates, feel free to email me at mailto:email@example.com?subject=Lead nurturing templates
What do you think of my approach? What is your lead nurturing planning process?
Tools that Cover Search Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Conversion Rate, and Content
As a digital marketing lead generation strategist and online media buyer, you just can’t have enough tools to help manage my clients’ online activities. When I am not involved with business development, speaking, and my own social media marketing, I am usually on the computer with some sort of advertising, SEO, social media, or conversion optimization tool. I’m 51, so as a former media buyer in a past life, I remember the days of typewriters, graph paper, Arbitron and Nielsen rating books (I still have an old reach/frequency slide rule!), calculators, and pencil erasers. On the shelf were multiple SRDS books; each one the size of a phone book. Need a radio station in Miami?- look it up. Need to find a prospect? Dial a phone and make friends with a gatekeeper. Luckily my number will be on a pink message pad for the boss. I digress!
So there are thousands of marketing tools; and am sure everyone has their favorites. For this post I just wanted to share some of my favorite media and inbound marketing tools that make my job easier, and provide efficient use of my time, so I can spend more of that time with strategy and consultation. For this post, I decided to avoid Google properties, because obviously Google Adwords, Google Webmaster Tools, and Google Analytics would be at the top of the list.
Acquisio is a pay-per-click management dashboard that allows me to manage Google, Bing, and Facebook Ads all on one –platform. Acquisio has robust automated bid management tools, and does include integrations with Google Analytics, Trade Desk (for display), and Doubleclick
Ok one Google product; Doubleclick is an ad management platform that allows me to plan display campaigns, research demographics of sites, upload banner ads, traffic banners to websites, networks, and exchanges, and measure clicks and conversions.
Trade Desk is a display ad platform that buys sites, exchanges, and networks in real time (called RTB or real time bidding). I use it to buy display, video, social ads, and mobile ads, amny times on a CPA basis. Trade Desk also measures attribution, and partners with DMPs sich as Blue Kai and Datalogix to provide more advanced targeting based on 3rd party data and cookie pools. As mentioned above, Trade Desk integrates with Acquisio, and combined with Doubleclick, my potential Internet reach is almost 100%.
Ad Ready is in essence, a mini Trade Desk, because there is no minimal spend, meaning I can use the platform for display and retargeting for smaller clients of mine. Display is more than performance, it’s also branding. AdReady makes it easy for me to plan regional or targeted campaigns, using behavioral or contextual targeting, as well as site retargeting and 3rd party data overlays for more granular audience targeting.
Millenial Media is the dominant mobile advertising platform. For clients who want to connect with audiences specifically via mobile and tablets, Millenial allows me to target a variety of ways, with a multitude of ad units, including mobile video. Utilizing their proprietary technology, I can target based on real-world actions, from demographics, to behavioral, to local, by device, by context, and by retargeting.
Adroll, like AdReady, has a very small minimal spend, so I use Adroll for localized retargeting campaigns for my mid-size clients. Adroll is a site retargeting specialist, and allows reach of message go beyond the Google Display Network, but partnering with Right Media (Yahoo’s ad network) as well as the Facebook Exchange (Facebook retargeting).
SEMRush is a multitude of keyword research tools that allow me to see what my clients’ sites and their competitors rank on Google, what keywords competitors rank with, and what PPC ads they run. I can also do some long-tail keyword research with it.
Open Site Explorer is a robust link tracker from MOZ, and it gives me insight on how many links my clients have, and how much authority those links have. A sound SEO strategy includes achieving links from high quality sites. Specifically, I can meaure any site’s:
- Page Authority: The quality score of your web pages
- Domain Authority: The quality score of your website (based on a number of link metrics)
- Linking Root Domains: The number of domains linking to your site directly from their website
- Total Links: The total quantity of links points to your website
- Social Signals: Social media metrics that have a positive correlation with rankings. These include Facebook shares, Facebook Likes, Tweets, and Google +1
Buzzstream is a neat tool that helps me find bloggers and engage with influential bloggers, with the goal to get article backlinks as part of the link building process. Building and effectively managing relationships with these influencers is the key to getting found by prospects, and Buzzstream helps me build those relationships, and track my communication.
Screaming Frog is a program that slices and dices a website’s code to find issues with onsite page elements for SEO, presents them in tabs by type and allows you to filter for common SEO problems. The spider allows you to export key onsite SEO elements (url, page title, meta description, headings etc) to Excel so it can easily be used as a base to make SEO recommendations from.
Facebook’s Power Editor makes it easy to manage multiple ad campaigns on Facebook. I can create custom audiences, create specific mobile ads, and test 3rd party data targeting (from Datalogix and Axciom are two data providers).
Once reserved for high budget advertisers, Twitter ads are now available to everyone with no minimal spend. You pay per engagement- for a tweet click, a retweet, a reply, or a favorite. You can target by geography, by interest, by device, and by keyword. Promoted tweets are ideal for more promotional messages. You can also promote your profile if you want to gain new followers.
Social Media Management
There are so many posting and analytics tools, but I discovered Sprout Social years ago, and still find it useful for scheduling posts on Twitter, Facebook, and now Google+. We track engagement with a social inbox, we publish, we analyze and publish sophisticated reports, and we monitor keywords and brands, all from one platform.
I found this free and useful social media analytics tool to measure some social media KPIs like conversation rate, amplification rate, and applause rate. Tracking all the major social sites, the tool helps me analyze the overall effectiveness of content, and which are your most powerful influencers.
If you’re really into Twitter, you will be enamored by this Twitter management tool. Robust tools that allow you to target users, monitor hashtags, track competitors, identify influencers, analyze your performance, and manage followers, plus much more. To me, it’s the ultimate tool to engage and manage your Twitter presence.
Although I have a stable of accomplished writers, sometimes we just need extra content for blogs or articles, purely for SEO purposes. Zerys is a network of 25,000 free-lance writers that I manage by posting article topics on a job board where a writer claims the topic, does research with my input, and provides me with a post, optimized for SEO. Quite a time and money saver when articles and posts are needed in a pinch.
YouTube and website videos are one thing; but adding interactive apps to the videos is another, and Viewbix interactive overlays optimize videos for lead generation or engagement. Imagine adding newsletter sign-ups, Google maps, coupons, and QR codes to your videos. Check it out..
We like testing at NuSpark Marketing. Optimizely is one tool that lets you shift around landing page elements, and test CTA or headlines, without a developer’s or an IT person’s help. I just choose an element; implement a change, and an instant A/B test begins.
Visual Website Optimizer is another landing page A/B and multivariate testing tool. Besides testing, I get to see heatmaps so I can see where users click, and I can get feedback from an Internet user panel on how to improve websites or landing pages. I can even test mobile sites.
I have many clients who focus many of their conversions on phone calls, by promoting loud and clear their phone number on their website. Phone call conversions complete the conversion picture when added to web form conversions. Mongoose Metrics provides unique phone numbers for each digital media source, whereby numbers on websites are dynamically changed if the visitor came from Google, Bing, or any other channel. With Google Analytics integration, phone call conversions are now easily measured.
Sometimes when I run paid search ads, I need to build a quick landing page. Unbounce provides ample landing page templates that can be customized for lead generation. Additionally, A/B tests can be implemented as well.
I am not much of a coder, so if we need to design emails and landing pages, Get Response offers a multitude of email and landing page templates that fit the bill for me. Get Response has multiple integrations making email deployment and tracking a snap.
Marketing automation doesn’t need to be expensive. Act-On is a very moderately priced solution but is quite robust. You get the usual; drip campaign management, visitor monitoring, lead scoring, CRM integration, plus a unique Webex integration for webinars. Of course, you can build webforms (with progressive profiling) and landing pages.
Skyglue takes Google Analytics to the next level. By tracking individual visitors to your website, and seeing how they navigate and convert. I like it for event tracking. With the tool I can see who views videos, downloads PDFs, and engages with other events that exist on a website.
I am always testing tools and platforms but the above are currently favorites that I use for digital media and lead generation management. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I am sure you have your favorites as well. If there are any comments I would welcome discussion. What tools and platforms have you used that you like?