Friday, December 11, 2009

Bulk Email Marketing Campaigns: 5 Reasons Subscribers Think You Are Spamming Them

Bulk email marketing campaigns can be one of the best ways to reach prospects. However, bulk email marketing can also be one of the worst ways of promoting a company if it is not done properly. Nobody likes to be bombarded with spam, and your company’s reputation will suffer considerably if you are perceived as a spammer sending unwanted email marketing campaigns. Sometimes clients come to me as they are concerned that their email marketing campaigns will be perceived as spam, but it certainly doesn’t have to be that way.

So what are some of the reasons that email recipients would perceive your email marketing campaigns as spam?

1) No Opt-In Program. Because they never opted-in to receive your email marketing campaigns. It is important to get permission before sending bulk email marketing out via email.

2) Content Mismatch. Your newsletter content is completely irrelevant and does not interest the contacts on your bulk email marketing list, or you send emails so often that recipients are overwhelmed and lose interest.

3) Use of Spam Words. Your newsletter content features certain words or terms that set off spam filters. Multiple exclamation points, capitalized words, and terms like “free” in the subject line are a surefire way to get sent straight through to the junk email folder.

4) Unprofessional Look & Feel. You suddenly change your newsletter branding, or use a less-than-professional design for your bulk email marketing campaigns.

5) Poor CAN-SPAM compliance. MOST importantly, you will likely be perceived as a spammer if you do not comply with CAN-SPAM. CAN-SPAM is a law that establishes the requirements for commercial messages and gives recipients the right to unsubscribe to bulk email marketing campaigns. Read more on CAN-SPAM for bulk email marketing campaigns. In the near future, we will see the same in Canada with the proposed electronic commerce protection act. Failing to follow these regulations for bulk email marketing campaigns can incur some tough penalties.

If you have challenges with your bulk email marketing campaigns, contact us to assess why they are perceived as spam.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Effective Business Sales Presentation Tips

Some companies invest most of their marketing budget in reaching new clients. But once they get a lead, they do not have an effective business sales presentation to present their offerings. This is unfortunate as an effective business sales presentation is critical to converting clients.

Business sales presentations have changed quite dramatically in recent years. Here are some of the new trends, as well as some sales presentation tips:

1. Fewer face-to-face business sales presentations – Online communication has made it much easier to give business sales presentations long-distance. Face-to-face meetings are no longer necessary, and there is no need to book expensive flights across the country. Given the flight security issues that have appeared since 9/11, it is much more convenient to conduct a business sales presentation remotely.

2. Slide sequence, the key to success – Quite often, I will see a client’s business sales presentation that has all the ingredients for success, and yet it just does not work. Much of the time, it is due to the arrangement of slides. In order to have a really effective sales presentation, it is important to develop a logical slide sequence that the target market can relate to.

3. Make it short and sweet – Clients do not have the time to listen to a long business sales presentation. Avoid corny sales pitches and get to the point. Introduce the main idea right away, and then elaborate and go deeper if your prospect is interested.

4. Use visuals, diagrams and the latest business sales presentation technology - Many complex ideas can be easily explained with an image, graph, flash animation or even a brief video clip. Invest in tools to facilitate the work of your sales team.

5. Personalize the presentation to your specific audience – Your prospects should feel that the presentation is specifically geared towards them. Research shows that the more you tailor your business sales presentation to the needs of prospects, the greater the likelihood that your presentation will be perceived as valuable.

Using the latest technology and applying these sales presentation tips will ensure that you retain valuable sales. Consult with us to learn how you can get great results with your business sales presentation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fishing for Clients— the Lead Generation Process

Summer has officially come to a close, and with it, many fun-in-the-sun activities. If you happen to fish in your spare time, you may think fishing season is over. But if you’re looking to market your company through the winter, the season never ends! 

Because the lead generation process is, in fact, very much like fishing. After all, the effectiveness of a strategic marketing plan is just a factor of how much you can get prospects to “bite” at your campaigns. Any good fisherman will tell you it takes more than a glitzy lure and a bit of bait to catch a fish. 

The good fisherman starts by deciding just what he is fishing for— lobster? Salmon? Trout? Depending on the catch, the location will be vastly different! The lead generation process is similarly different according to the chosen target market. And a fisherman will not want to crowd close to other boats, where fish may be drawn away. In this way, your strategic marketing plan should delineate how you will compete with other companies and “fish” in areas with less competition. Then there’s the question of equipment. Will you need lobster traps? A fishing rod? Or maybe a net? 

To launch an effective lead generation process, you need to take in all of these kinds of considerations, like a fisherman. You need to define your best target market, resolve on where to find the leads, figure out how to get them interested in your product or service. You need to make sure that prospects instantly understand the difference between your offering and your competitor’s, and get them to act and ultimately pay for your offering.

The positioning strategy defines how to project your offering as visibly and attractively as possible, so that your potential client base (i.e., target market) will easily recognize it and will show increased interest in your offering. 

Are you ready to fish for new clients? Do you know which segment would be the most profitable for you? Do you have the right positioning strategy in place? If not, it’s time to equip yourself!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Brand Development Strategy- Effective Branding Guidelines for B2B Lead Generation

There is a constant debate on how much companies ought to invest in brand development strategy, and what the ROI on such an investment would be. I tend to agree that small and medium-size businesses should not invest in campaigns just for branding, because branding has long-term benefits where small businesses are usually looking for short-term benefits. Nevertheless, it is instrumental that your brand would project a coherent look and feel, a firm message, and an image that perfectly corresponds with your offering.

Effective Branding Guidelines

1) Make your brand memorable- Business-to-business products and services are often very complex. Make sure your branding simplifies and captures the concept so that your target market can easily remember your business.

2) Ensure your branding is consistent- Implement your branding across all your marketing materials, including your website, business cards, promotional materials, etc. Always present your offering in the same way, so that over time your target client can identify the same message whatever the media.

3) Differentiate yourself from the competition- Through your branding, use your positioning strategy to emphasize what makes you stand out from the competition and why your offering is better than others.

4) Offer clear benefits- Business-to-business purchasing decisions are mostly performed based on rational decisions. Be crystal clear as to the benefits of your offering.

5) Build your relationships- It is your responsibility as a vendor to develop a relationship with your client. The closer the relationship you establish, the more loyal your clients will be. Branding is building a relationship in the mind of your client.

So what is the expected outcome from following these branding guidelines? Why should we invest in a brand development strategy?

Business-to-business companies with strong branding will enjoy:

1) A dramatically shorter sales cycle- Branding brings greater trust in a company, with less time needed to close a deal.

2) Higher pricing- Clients will be more willing to pay premium prices and less sensitive to price increases

3) An established industry signature- Your offering will dictate some of the mandatory purchase criteria

4) Product/service inclusion in the initial top short list, sometimes, without extensive sales push activity

It is true that branding takes time to effect, but by starting in very small steps you can soon see the difference. Check with me how to succeed in doing so.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The 5 New Rules for Developing an Effective Marketing Plan

Summer is coming to a close, and with the economy starting to look up, now is the time for developing an effective marketing plan. But how best to go about it?

In the old days, marketing consultants would prepare a document of as long as 500 pages, which covered every detail for the subsequent five years. This used to be a good way to develop an effective marketing plan, but times have changed. Now, marketing tools have a life span of under two years, and your planning must be focused and efficient! To come up with an effective marketing plan, you will frequently have to make adjustments according to what is happening on the market.

Don’t get me wrong—you do still need to work on developing a marketing plan! But you need a high-level marketing plan that draws on reliable, short-term research. What is the best way to develop such a marketing plan?

1) Ask yourself, what is the best target market? And why? In order to develop an effective marketing plan with focus, and with better success, you need to establish your audience.

2) Set yourself apart from competitors. You need to know how to successfully represent your company and product/service and make sure you stand out from the crowd.

3) Developing an effective marketing plan means establishing the best marketing tools to generate demand. Isolate which lead generation tools are best suited to igniting interest in your product/service.

4) Determine what kind of alliances or partnerships would accelerate awareness and demand for your product/service. This would allow you to move beyond your company resources and have collaborators help push your offering.

5) Determine how you will measure the effectiveness of your marketing activities. If you work on developing a marketing plan without being able to track results, you’re working in the dark.

Developing a marketing plan is crucial to business success. Keep in mind that marketing has evolved incredibly over the years, and with a combination of traditional and Web-based marketing tools, it’s a whole new ball game. Stick with these tips and you’ll have a much more effective marketing plan to achieve business success.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More on Html Email Newsletters: Background for Newsletter Marketing

In my last blog, I talked about the difference between blog marketing and email newsletter marketing. While blogs are pretty straightforward once you get the hang of content, it’s worth another post on html email newsletters. Html email newsletters require a mailing list, an attractive design, and a good application for mass emailing, such as Vertical Response. Unlike blogs, you have the ability to review in-depth statistical information from the recipients of your html email newsletter. A mass email application will tell you how many people opened the email newsletter, how many clicked on the newsletter links, which links they clicked on, and how many unsubscribed from the mailing list. This is all very valuable information which can be used to maximize the effectiveness of your email newsletter marketing.

Knowing who opened your last email newsletter, for instance, you may decide to send a follow-up newsletter marketing campaign to interested recipients. Or, if not many recipients opened the html email newsletter, you may choose to modify the subject line next time. If one of your links garnered more clicks than another, that will indicate what is worth honing in on for later email newsletters.

Html email newsletters require a good contact email list. You can get lists from lead generation campaigns, but they must be kept up to date. It helps to personalize newsletters with dynamic content—for instance, an html email newsletter can be coded to address itself to individual recipients. Rather than have a generic newsletter marketing campaign, each email newsletter will be tailored to each recipient. This kind of practice increases response rates and improves the success of each email newsletter campaign. It’s important not to over-send email newsletters or campaigns as this can irritate recipients. In the same vein, it’s best to keep html email newsletters brief—save the content for your business blog instead. You’ll see more recipients clicking the links in your html email newsletter if they don’t have to wade through excessive content to find it.

Successful html email newsletters require commitment and patience, but they will bring results. Email newsletter marketing will increase traffic to your web site and blog. Html email newsletters increase awareness, offer an avenue for branding and promotion, and are a good way to stay on the radar of prospects. To learn more, read my last blog on the difference between business blogs and html email newsletter marketing.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Business Blog Writing and HTML Email Newsletter Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Business blog writing and html email newsletters are great ways to remind prospects of your company’s presence. By staying in the awareness of prospects, you significantly increase the likelihood that they will become clients. So which should you use? Strive to have both, as business blogs and email newsletters marketing can often work in tandem. Business blogs have quite different content from html email newsletters and it is important to understand the difference:

Business Blog Writing

Business blogs are an opportunity to lay out an opinion on a given subject and weigh in on industry news or trends. Business blogs are usually brief, concise and informative, teaching readers about a certain topic. A blog will let you educate readers about new concepts and trends that you would like to introduce to the market. Business blogs are valuable because they reflect the personal attitude and experience of the blog writer. They are a great way to build trust and credibility. With relevant content and well-written blog writing, you can get regular visitors to read your thoughts on your business blog.

Good blog writing is not always easy, and a business blog can be time-consuming and difficult to maintain. For one, blog writers must take into account Seach Engine Optimization practices. By infusing blog writing with relevant keywords, a business blog will rank high on search engines and get a high amount of traffic. It would also have an impact on the traffic going to your Web site, provided the blog is well integrated into your site.

Still, even with good search engine ranking, audiences only read business blogs when they want to. You have to entice them to subscribe to your blog so that they will read it regularly. Writing business blogs is a commitment and thus many companies outsource their business blog writing to a marketing company. Companies will typically come up with the subject, decide their stance, and choose how they would like to present it. The actual write-up is performed by a professional marketing copywriter.  

Html Email Newsletter Marketing

Html email newsletter marketing is perfect for a company requiring a long sales cycle. If your buyer needs time and information before deciding to go with your company, it’s important to stay in touch. Html email newsletters shed light on the offering and make decision-makers more knowledgeable over time. Over the long-term, email newsletter marketing will reinforce to decision-makers that yours is the right service/product for them. Otherwise, prospects may visit your site, but never return. If they subscribe to your html email newsletter, they will always be reminded to come back and read your business blog, or look at new web content. The result will cement your credibility and expertise.

Html email newsletters, as opposed to blogs, are not so much about broadcasting personal opinions as they are about keeping contact with clients, distribution channels, and prospects. Email newsletter marketing is an easy way to keep clients abreast of what is going on in your company as well as current industry news. When you update your business blog, make changes to your website, or come out with a new product, a great way to let prospects know is through email newsletter marketing. If you acquire a prestigious client, receive an award, or recruit a new staff member, you can also inform your target audience with email newsletter marketing.

While the content of email newsletter marketing is all about what is newsworthy, it is crucial that an html email newsletter is properly written with an aesthetic appeal. The subject line has to be tantalizing but clear. To avoid having your email intercepted as spam, the body of the email must avoid using certain words which will surely send your html email newsletter straight to the junk mailbox.

Last but not least, if your company intends to send out monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly newsletters, you need to make sure that you are delivering on time. Some companies may outsource their email newsletter marketing along with business blog writing. This way everything is sent out regularly with content that will increase traffic to the business blog.

Business blog writing and html email newsletters build trust. Want to stay in the awareness of prospects? Ask yourself whether it might be worthwhile to start a business blog and/or invest in email newsletter marketing now. Read more about html email newsletters in my next blog.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Achieving Top Web Site Ranking: How Search Engine Optimization Services can Boost Web Site Lead Generation

Achieving the top web site ranking for a keyword is often difficult, but it is extremely worthwhile. Subsequent to my last blog posting on web site lead generation, I’ve received some questions about Search Engine Optimization services and how sites can achieve top web site ranking. Here is a breakdown of some of the main elements of Search Engine Optimization services which can help you achieve top web site ranking:

Keyword research for targeted web site lead generation

Keyword selection is a crucial part of Search Engine Optimization services, and it should never be based solely on intuition. Systematic research ensures that Search Engine Optimization services are not wasted on keywords that are either not searched or too competitive to achieve top web site ranking.

Readable, keyword-infused copy for top web site ranking

It is difficult to achieve top web site ranking against your competitors when you use similar or industry standard keywords. Thus, to reach top ranking, web content should be infused with relevant keyphrases and right keyword density. Of course, the copy content should be professional and seamlessly written, or else you may compromise your web site lead generation. Good Search Engine Optimization services can create content that is optimized for both readers and Search Engines.

Keyword-infused HTML tags for more effective Search Engine Optimization

Newcomers to Search Engine Optimization services may not know that Search Engine Optimization goes beyond just web content. Keyphrases should be inserted in image tags and various parts of HTML coding that are not visible on a web page to achieve top web site ranking.

Develop incoming/outgoing links for stronger Search Engine Optimization and web site lead generation

Search Engine Optimization services should strive to develop inbound and outbound links to raise a site’s Google PageRank, which is a measure of a site’s quality and relevance. PageRank is a rating analysis algorithm developed by Google that assigns a numerical weighting to each HTML page in order to measure its relative importance. A higher PageRank helps a site achieve top web site ranking on search engines relative to others competing for the same keywords.

These steps are just an introduction to Search Engine Optimization services; web site lead generation comprises many elements, and achieving top web site ranking is often a long process, and also just part of the overall lead generation strategy. It is important to realize that Search Engine Optimization is always changing, and as search engines adjust their algorithms, web site rankings will fluctuate accordingly. That is why SEO needs to be maintained to ensure consistently high ranking.

Want to learn more about how your Web site can also achieve top Web site ranking with Search Engine Optimization services? Start by having a professional assess your site.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Reassess your Professional Web Layout Design and Web Content Copywriting for Better Lead Generation

Professional web layout design and web content copywriting are increasingly important markers of a company’s credibility. Because your website is the face of your company, you should always invest in professional web layout design and outsource web content copywriting to an experienced copywriter or marketing agency. But all too often I have seen great sites, even with a professional web layout and design and great content copywriting, struggle to attract traffic. It’s a shame to see how such investments fall short of their potential. After all, what’s the point of investing in great web content copywriting if nobody is reading it? Particularly with the economic downturn we’re in, businesses can’t afford to lose money. And even a professional web layout design and featured web content copywriting are not enough to bring visitors to a site if they don’t know about it.

That’s why it’s important to think of your web site as a lead generation tool. It can be tempting to structure your professional web layout design into an electronic brochure for your products or services and to just create your web content copywriting accordingly. But while this approach can make for a great-looking site, it won’t necessarily generate traffic. To function as a lead generation tool, you need to look beyond just professional web layout design and create more strategic web content copywriting.

This means investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your web content copywriting and structuring your professional web layout design to attract more search engine traffic. Other strategies include using newsletters and email campaigns to bring targeted leads to your site, submitting your site to relevant directories, and going beyond just web content copywriting into other forms of promotional writing, such as white papers.

Professional web layout design and web content copywriting are important parts of any web site; however, with increasing online competition, they are just not enough to bring leads to your site. With the right strategy and professional SEO, you can create a web site that is a lead generation tool in its own right.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Year’s Resolutions for your Business Marketing and Marketing Lead Generation

It’s a New Year, and what better time to set resolutions for your business marketing? Start off 2009 right, with goals and a clear plan for your marketing lead generation.

Here are a few considerations and tips for your company’s business marketing in 2009:
  1. Adjust to New Market Trends - The business marketing of your company may need adjustment due to the downturn economy. For example, a company targeting the financial industry will see its market sector dramatically decrease spending in 2009. Take stock of the new market conditions, which have changed substantially since 2008, and update your 2009 business marketing lead generation program accordingly.

  2. Revise your Branding and Positioning Strategy - Before planning for the New Year, reassess your marketing lead generation and business marketing materials. Ask yourself, are your branding and marketing materials still in line with your marketing positioning strategy? Do they emphasize what sets you apart from the competition?

  3. Cut your Business Marketing Budget, but Not Entirely - In a downturn economy, you might be tempted to totally cut funding for your business marketing lead generation . But do not stop investing in your marketing in 2009. Turn off your business marketing expenditure, and your prospect leads will dry up. Without fresh leads, you will be entirely dependent on your existing client base. Of course, remember to nurture your existing client relationships and capitalize with cross-selling and up-selling as much as possible. But you’ll find that with a little investment in your business marketing and marketing lead generation, you’ll be more visible during an economic downturn, and get new clients as a result.

  4. Focus on Economical Marketing Methods - Even if you are not cutting your business marketing lead generation entirely, it is likely that you will have to cut costs in 2009. Resolve to invest in low-budget business marketing mediums, such as online internet marketing. These mediums are sometimes much more effective than traditional marketing methods, and significantly less expensive.

  5. Measure Marketing Results - Remember that New Year’s is a great time to take stock of your marketing lead generation and overall business marketing, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t monitor your business marketing throughout the year. Resolve to keep tabs on your business marketing activities throughout 2009, and keep tuning them to get the best possible results. Know what works for you and what does not.
With an updated approach to business marketing and marketing lead generation, you’ll ensure that 2009 is a productive and successful year for your company.