Saturday, September 29, 2007

Looking for Ideas to Generate More Leads?

If your company is generating enough leads already, please stop reading right there.

Still here? There is an excellent FREE report from RainToday that has just been launched called: The One Piece Of Advice You Can't Generate Leads Without. It's full of great articles from the industry experts (not just a RainToday person writing a bunch of articles) such as Brian Carrol and the MarketingSherpa crew. It's an interesting read and while it may be like "child's reading" for the advanced B2B marketers, it's a nice refresher, keeps you focused, and may produce some new ideas that you can implement right away. Did I mention it was free? Nice work RainToday. Keep in mind it's also a blatant self-promotional tool for the contributing authors but don't let that bother you as they have some great stories to share.

Here are some highlights:
  • Suzanne Lowe includes some tactics on measuring the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts. For example, your call center or sales can track the number of engagements vs. the number of appointments.
  • Forrester provides a great example how a medical research services company is nurturing leads and has resulted in closing business with over 80% of the people that sign up for their trial.
One of the main themes from this paper was the need for some sort of lead nurturing effort. Besides the planning involved, it's crucial to ensure that both marketing and sales really understand the different parts of the program to maximize it's full effect.

Happy reading!

Chad H.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Easy Tip: Maximizing Your Whitepaper Downloads

I'm going through my old emails and I found one of those rare MarketingSherpa studies that are "open to the public". This is a great one that focuses on B2B lead generation.

Effectiveness of white papers in B2B marketing

As you can see from the chart, people who are accessing white papers less frequently would prefer not to have to fill out a form. Really? I don't think you knew that! It's pretty obvious that we all hate filling out a form. Just give us the damn white paper!

One item that Anne mentioned in her audio for this presentation gave me an idea. She says "If you want your white paper to go viral, you need to loosen the strings early on and get rid of those barriers. Set the white paper free!" They're right that if you just allow a user to access a white paper without placing a barrier in front of it, you'll turn a lot less people away. But what about your lead generation efforts? How do you grow your lead funnel? We know from previous studies that web visitors will fill out a form if it's easy and the page provides a good summary as to what they can expect. How can we have our cake and eat it too?

Add a Little Viral Marketing, Get a Bigger Bang Out of Your Marketing Buck

Ok, so here is my idea. If your white paper is good and you've followed the landing page best practices, you'll get some web visitors to download it. Now what? When the person fills out a form, some marketers push them directly through to the white paper which is a good idea as it's one less click if they first go to a confirmation page. Why not also send them a confirmation email with the white paper as a link in the email? Your copy could be something like this:

Thanks for downloading the white paper on XXXXX (link to the white paper). If you know someone who may find this useful, feel free to forward it on to them.

In the above example, the web visitor gets a reminder via email as to what they downloaded and now they can easily forward it on to other people within their organization. The copy above spells this out which may be needed for some folk.

Kicking Viral Marketing Up a Notch - Turning the follow up email into Lead Generation

How could we improve the example above? For starters, we could have added a second paragraph with a link that says:

Interested in learning more about xxxxx (your company's specialty)? Sign up for our monthly newsletter!

If the email was forwarded on, and another person viewed the white paper, they can now easily click on the newsletter sign up link and add their email to your list. They'll be more inclined to do this because:
  • Their friend recommended your company to them
  • They just read an interesting white paper that their friend sent them and want to learn more.
You've just added an additional lead generation weapon! You can make this email more interactive by using dynamic content based on the subject matter of the email. For example, if the white paper was focused on a specific industry or targeted a specific business group, your email content could reflect this. However, you never now who this may get emailed to and it's best to keep it generic.

Kicking Viral up a Further Notch: Using B2C techniques

You can also turn this into a bit of a contest that you see more in the B2C realm. What if you gave an incentive to the original white paper recipient to forward it to 5 of their friends and they could be entered into a draw to win an IPhone? Has anyone tried this? This would encourage a more viral effect so it would be interesting to see the results of this.

Hopefully these ideas inspired you to further maximize your white papers and other website downloads.

Chad H.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who will be the Next President? Mr. or Mrs. Widget

Widgets are becoming more and more popular these days as additional tools for marketers. Widgets have been around for a while but they are being used more frequently (especially on social media sites) which is why they are gaining additional attention. There are different types of widgets but I will be focusing on web widgets as I found a great one for all of my American friends.

According to Wikipedia, a web widget is a small piece of code that you add to a web page. You also have desktop widgets (for example, the ones that come with Windows Vista, Apple and Yahoo widgets).

Why should I care about widgets?

  • They are helpful as they provide useful information. For example, I have a weather application right on my desktop so I easily know the weather for the week.
  • Market to your prospects. Are you trying to demonstrate leadership in your industry? Building your brand? Trying to drive people to your website? Consider creating a widget that will include your logo, a link to your website and provides useful information (see point #1) that will demonstrate your knowledge on a particular subject. It can even be something fun like a game - anything that reflect well on your company and/or brand.

  • Communicate to customers more efficiently. Imagine if you were able to alert your customers instantly with a widget (for example, new tickets go on sale or a software alert) or provide them with a widget to receive mission critical information to their mobile device (this is a mobile widget)? The possibilities are endless. With widgets you get around email. If your widget is deemed useful, people will download it and use it.

What do Widgets and the Next US President have to do With Each Other?

This is an easy one - check out this widget from the Washington Post that I easily added to this post. This says it all. It provides an easy synopsis of the major presidential candidates and their positions. It demonstrates that the Washington Post knows its stuff and helps readers cut through the political rhetoric. It also provides a plug for Daylife - the company that built this widget.

The new craze is using widgets with social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace. For example, I downloaded a widget for the show The Office for Facebook that displays quotes from the show. Widgets demonstrate how companies are working together more to build on existing platforms and provide more useful applications.

Let me know if you have found other interesting widgets and if you find these useful.

Chad H.

PS - widgets can be a huge time drainer as well so watch out!
PPS - Larry Chase pointed me to Widgipedia: It's a widget search engine and directory . Get your widget on!




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