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Calling a Monthly Email Newsletter a Nurturing Program

Business-to-business marketing has evolved quite a bit more than we expected in the past two years.  Mistakes have evolved along with it.  What follows is based on Sherpa research via:

Calling a Monthly Email Newsletter a “Nurturing Program”
When you get a new inquiry, perhaps via a white paper offer or contact us form, and that person gives you permission to email him or her, what happens next?

If you’re like many B-to-B marketers, you dump that name into the “house email file” which includes all sorts of prospects, customers, and leads.  Then, you send that entire house file a routine monthly email newsletter.

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Telephoning Leads

Business-to-business marketing has evolved quite a bit more than we expected in the past two years.  Mistakes have grown along with it.  What follows is based on Sherpa research via:

You can an amazingly successful lead generation campaign and hundreds of prospects inquired about your offerings.

Now you have to sort through, qualify and score all those inquiries before the best 10%-20% can be handed over to the sales department.

We assume the rest are sorted into no-good and needs-nurturing and dealt with appropriately by the marketing department.

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Using a free trail or free demo as your mainstay offer

B-to-B marketing has developed quite a bit more than we expected in the past two years.  Mistakes have evolved along with it.

Free trials and demo-takers are the absolute best leads.  They convert faster and more reliably into sales than leads from any other type of marketing offer.

So it begs the obvious question:  why not use this as your main marketing offer?  (In fact, why use any other offer at all?

If you have an extremely large prospective client pool (i.e., you’re probably marketing to small businesses or to all businesses), you might consider sticking with trails and demos.

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Big booths at the big national shows (year after year)

Are you still buying a booth at the big annual convention because “that’s what we’ve always done”?  Or perhaps because “The sales team loves it.”  Or maybe, “Our competitors are there, so we have to have a presence.”

All three are bad reasons to splurge on big trade shows.  It’s not just your budget, it’s the time and effort shows take from you.

Top marketers, including those from IBM, have revealed they are cutting back on massive shows.

Key decision makers don’t walk the floor in the ways they used to in the old days.  Now, if they attend, it’s to give a speech and fly out again.

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Art-Director-It is in Two Part

Part I.  Stock photos
They are so painfully obvious:

- Two men in suits shaking hands outside an office tower.

- A group of happy executives in suits sitting around a shiny board table (or all staring raptly into a PC monitor.)

- A beautiful and intelligent-looking woman smiling

So, why do you use them?  Why are they on your home page and/or brochures?  We know why.  Art-Director-It is

Your art director or graphic designer thought your logo and your copywriting alone weren’t enough to be interesting-looking.

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Lack of investment in PR

“I don’t spend money on anything that’s not direct response.  My budget is tight.  I have to see every penny pay off.”

We hear those excuses from a lot of marketers, and it worries us.  Fact is, we’ve seen plenty of data – formal research studies and anecdotal evidence – revealing that if prospects don’t know enough about your brand, they are far less likely to respond to your direct response marketing.

Frankly, very few CFOs or CEOs in sales-driven companies really understand or support PR, aside from the ego placement (I want my name in the WSJ!)

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Not Working Referrals

MarketingSherpa research shows business executive trust word of mouth far more than any other marketing communication.

Yes, even for extremely expensive investments (in fact, often more for big investments.)

Good word of mouth can get your company name on the shortlist more easily and faster than any other type of advertising.

Yet, we’ve found very few business-to-business marketers have any sort of formal referral-encouragement program.

Have you:
• Scored the referral potential for every current client in your database?  Do you know who is more likely to refer you and who thinks you stink?  (Start by looking over your annual client survey and then your service center call logs.)

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Blocking Search Engine Spiders from Your Best Content

If you’re like your peers, you have spent an enormous amount of time, budget, and energy creating a gargantuan content library.

It probably contains white papers, past canned webinars, PowerPoint slides from show presentations, etc.

You fondly consider this ‘resource center’ a lead generation and qualifying device.  Any humans who drop by have to register or log in to get at the content.  That’s fine.

Just one thing.  Search engine spiders aren’t human.  They are robots following a trial of hotlinks to publicly available content.

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Registration forms that appear daunting or time-consuming

You created a lovely, beautiful marketing campaign.  You spent hours with the art department tweaking typefaces, photos, copy.  You bought the best media you could select.

And then you asked the Web guy to “stick up a form for them to respond to.”
It’s a bit like gussying yourself up for a date, then showing up with onion-breath.

That’s why about 94% of prospects who “click here” and reach your registration form to get a white paper, or sign up for a webinar, or get a quote, will immediately leave.

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Four Steps To Web Copywriting Success

Step 1. Understand exactly what you want your web copy to accomplish. In other words, define your objective, but this time, be more specific.

Step 2. Take action to fulfill your objective. This includes writing the best possible web copy and marketing communications and getting traffic to your website (using linking strategies, search engine optimization, a revenue-sharing [affiliate] program, pay-per-click search engine advertising, or any other traffic-generating methods).

Step 3. Observe what’s working and what isn’t working. Track and test your results continually. Do more of what’s working, and eliminate what’s not working (including, but not limited to, key elements of your web copy).

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