Guest blog posts provided by partners, analysts and other folks in the industry.

How to Start Generating Leads for Your B2B Company

pexels-photo-67112

*Editor’s Note: The views & opinions expressed in any guest post on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Lead Liaison.

The impact of this “how-to” post can go either way — you resolve to “suspend” ties with your lead generation partner, or you stick to buying your sales leads from outside sources. While the former would be the more ideal action response, ultimately, your choice will depend on whether or not you are sold on the idea of generating leads on your own. You might be holding back from inbound lead generation because you think it’s too complicated of a process, unlike the easy way out you conveniently choose in buying leads.

But, just like anything else, there’s a simpler and easier way to running a lead generation quest if you have the proper know-how. This post will guide you to:

  • Set up a lead generating website
  • Incorporate a variety of strategies for generating leads
  • Simplify your lead generation efforts across platforms

Why Generate Your Own Leads?

Suppose you’re a Christmas tree manufacturer who, for the longest time, has relied on lead sellers for your marketing program. It might have worked in years past, but since a lot has changed in the marketing dynamics, you’d do well these days to be more active rather than passive in generating leads.

It’s very easy to see, for example, how direct mail marketing pales in comparison to joining trade shows to showcase your holiday-inspired product line for homes and offices to potential buyers. Instead of looking for customers, customers can find you where and when they need to. In such opportunities, you get more chances to introduce your product, generate instant feedback, and attract sales. It couldn’t get any better than that.

The Lead Generating Website

The phenomenal power of the internet as an information gathering and sharing tool is very well pronounced in the grand scheme of B2B marketing. At any given day, you will find people turning to online search more and more, looking for information, ideas, or solutions that suit their needs. That’s why it’s important that you design your website in such a way that it attracts visitors who will eventually turn into a lead.

Here’s how to develop a lead generating website for your business:

  1. Attract your target. A buyer-seller relationship all starts with attraction. You want people to visit your site so they would know what you can offer them. To attract people’s attention, you need to build on your content, and you can do this in so many ways. Write blog posts. Create video presentations. Supply an infographic. Include testimonials and photos. The kind of content you offer will depend on your product or service, but the main takeaway is to craft your content with keywords that match what customers are looking for in their online search, putting a good amount of research in the mix as well.
  2. Suit up for your buyer persona. At this stage, you’re starting to get traffic on your website, and you don’t want to lose those page views, especially the ones from your ideal buyer persona. You’ll then need to engage them more by catering to their needs and giving them valuable offers, whether it’s research data, a discount, a product review or guide, e-newsletters, a free trial, or a no-strings-attached type of consultation. This kind of engagement works both ways: you are allowing your site visitors to know your identity, and at the same time, getting them to reveal more about their buying preferences. Then, you can match your selling process to their own buying process.
  3. Start converting. By this time, your visitors are filling out forms and registering on your website. These indicate that you have just found a lead. Then again, you have to keep moving forward to make sure they actually convert into buyers. This is where optimization of each phase in your lead generation process comes in, and all of that can happen right on your website! These are the regular mainstays in your lead generation process:
    • CTAs are an essential tool in generating leads from your blog posts, not to mention, an easy way to connect better with your audience. CTA types include:
      • Smart CTAs, the ones you usually find at the bottom page;
      • Social CTAs, these are links to your company’s social media accounts;
      • Blog subscription CTAs, for readers interested in your content;
      • Comment CTAs, giving you insights about what readers think;
      • Slide-in CTAs, which are less intrusive than pop-up CTAs;
      • In-line CTAs, written links that lead to a related blog post; and
      • Sidebar CTAs, which may not necessarily connect to your blog post such as an invite to drop by your booth in the holiday trade show example cited at the beginning of this post.
    • Landing pages are the final contact points with your guests, where they fill out a form to possibly avail of your offer. So the more landing pages your website has, the greater the number of leads you can get. If you want more generic leads, use short forms to make them easier to fill out. On the other hand, if you want more quality leads, use long forms to ask more information about what your customers need.
    • Thank-you pages allow you one more opportunity to upsell offers that are related to what your visitors just signed up for. Of course, it goes without saying that customers appreciate genuine messages of thanks for checking out your site.

With this guide, hopefully, you’re on your way to generating your own leads than buying them. Sure, it’s a long way ahead, but now is the best time to start while you’re still at it.

Guest Post Bio:

Johanna Rivard, PureB2B’s Executive Vice President, is a two-decade veteran of the online publishing, B2B demand generation, and technology media markets.

Social Media Monitoring

*Editor’s Note: The views & opinions expressed in any guest post on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Lead Liaison. 

Today’s guest post comes from our friends over at the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Are you a social media manager or someone with limited experience wanting to educate yourself? This article is for you!

New posts, images, videos, articles: Those are all great elements of social media. But if you don’t monitor what’s happening on your social media accounts—often called social media listening—you may be missing out on key insights.

Those conversations, emotions, and connections offer clues about what your clients are thinking and feeling. You can’t just check Facebook; you must keep tabs on every platform that you choose to participate in, and you must make those check-ins a regular business function. To do otherwise is to lose the potential to make key adjustments as needed.

Want more insights into social media listening? This graphic is for you!

everthing-you-need-to-know-about-social-media-monitoring-embed

Breaking the Lead Gen Stereotypes

Gopher LeadsDid you know that the success rate of getting an initial appointment through cold calling is about 1-3%? Whereas, when the same call is made through a referral, the success rate shoots up to 40%. [1]

Luck plays a role in business success, but you can’t leave the health of your sales pipeline to chance. Besides the expensive traditional channels for generating leads, there is an innovative, often-overlooked approach to filling the top of your sales funnel: formal business referral program. Here are 5 steps to effectively use your professional network to become an extension of your sales force by generating high quality leads and business referrals:

#1 – Define your Ideal Customer

To ensure that your network and connections are investing their time in chasing the right people, make sure they understand your ideal customer base. Succinctly explaining the need that your product or service addresses in advance will better clarify your value proposition to your potential prospects.

#2 – Tighten the Feedback Loop

The need to have an effective two-way communication channel is paramount. No one will continue to send introductions and prospects into a referral-blackhole! So, make sure you provide regular updates on the referrals sent your way. The results in the image below show that when you implement an effective referral campaign, with systematic two-way communication system facilitating frequent automatic updates, the engagement rates can go as high as 74%.

#3 – Incentivize Referrals

Having a structured incentive plan within your referral program will keep your network motivated to look out for new leads. Evernote, a leading CRM platform with over 100 million users, acquired 13 million users through partner referrals. Evernote rewards points to its customers every time they make a referral, and the points can be used towards a free upgrade or increased upload capacity. [2] It is, therefore, important to recognize and reward the people who contribute to your pipeline.

#4 – Eyes on the Progress

Once you have gathered some prospects through your referral program, the next crucial step is monitoring the progress closely. Gather information about the activity of your referral network and analyze pipeline results to make intelligent decisions about how to continuously improve the program drive higher conversion and sales. In other words, monitoring the activity and effectiveness of your referral program will allow you to better educate, communicate with and encourage your lead referral network.

#5 – Remarkable Results

If you follow the above 4 steps, you will have a consistent pipeline with relevant leads. Additionally, your business will earn a higher conversion rate due to higher quality of more actionable leads.

Lead generation is the oxygen for the survival of any business, but it can be extremely difficult to identify the right source of leads. So, with the ever-changing modern world of commerce, make sure your methods of generating leads have not passed their expiry date.

Sources:

[1]https://www.ducttapemarketing.com/the-abusive-math-of-cold-calling/

[2]http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2014/05/13/evernote-reaches-100-million-users/

Guest Poster: Sahand Sojoodi

Founder and CEO of Gopher Leads Inc, a technology startup that accelerates sales revenue by engaging the customer-facing frontline. I have worked as an innovator and early-stage startup founder for over a decade. Gopher Leads utilizes a modern, mobile, cloud-based platform to educate, engage and incentivize employees to generate leads from their daily routines.  Follow me on Twitter @sojoodi, or email me directly at sahand@gopherleads.com.

 

How Your Personality Affects Your Sales

Have you ever thought about how your personality affects what you’re doing at work? When it comes to sales positions, personality types can reveal some particular insights. One that’s often relied on is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Known as MBTI, this test helps to delineate certain personality traits into predictable, understandable categories that are supposed to provide insight into why you make certain choices and how you perceive standard situations. By answering 93 questions, respondents are able to receive four key personality indicators, such as introversion versus extroversion.

When it comes to sales, those personality indicators can explain what you prefer—say face to face versus phone interactions—or how you process information—whether you trust experience or symbols, for example.

Each personality type has advantages and strengths in sales, and nothing rules out someone from making a success in the field. View the entire graphic here to understand more about how personality affects your sales effectiveness.

Psychology of Sales

7 Ways to Attract B2B Buyers With Mobile Marketing

B2B Mobile Marketing

This article was posted as a Guest Blog Post by our affiliates at Trumpia

Google is now reporting that 42 percent of B2B buyers are starting their research process on their phones. This number will only continue to rise as the B2B buyers increase with Millennial professionals who are well-versed in mobile technology.

Websites that aren’t optimized for mobile are seeing a downward ranking on Google (who knows full well that their users are often on devices with smaller screens). Users that land on pages poorly designed for their device are likely to back out and go somewhere else. No one wants to pinch and scroll just to read the marketing message or try to click in tiny links to navigate a page. Instead, companies need to use optimized web site designs so that their pages fit on any screen. Optimized pages load quickly and are set up differently to fit on smaller screens.

1. Design Responsive Emails

Along with your website, your emails are going to be likely viewed on mobile devices as well. In order to have easily readable emails, you will want to utilize responsive designs that will adapt to the screen size they are viewed on. Keep your subject line brief, preferably 3-5 words so that it won’t be cut off by the device. Limit your graphics and compress them to a small size so that you won’t even add a second to the email load time.

2. Build an App

Apps are frequently used by mobile users. Many businesses are finding that an app specific to their brand products or services can help increase retention with users. Apps can help draw back customers by managing rewards programs, streamlining the order process, enhancing the purchase experience and more. In order to create an app that really adds benefit to your customers, you will want to identify a very specific type of customer or lead and then focus on services that will directly address a business pain or marketing strategy for that type of customer. Don’t make your apps too broad or they will cease to be of any real value to anyone.

3. Utilize Established App Platforms

When you realize that mobile marketing is important to snagging a major part of your audience, then you will also realize that many apps are already getting a lot of attention. Use popular apps, like Facebook and LinkedIn, to address an audience that loves to browse content. Pinterest and Instagram appeal to leads that love looking at visual inspiration. Make sure you keep your profile updated with valuable content and fill out all details (especially contact information), so your viewers don’t have to search to find you later.

4. Create Optimized Landing Pages

If you’ve already optimized your website and email campaigns, then you will want to start creating optimized landing pages. These are going to be different than your typical landing page, because they will be designed to fast action and streamlined CTAs. Keep your pages short, sweet and visually straightforward. Remember that keeping information “above the fold” (before the user has to scroll further down on the screen to see more) is important for getting your message across immediately.

5. Trim Your Content

All of this optimizing for smaller screens is going to mean that you need to write content that is concise. While an article can be a longer form of content, your web pages, landing pages and emails all need to be to the point. SMS is a great way to deliver snappy content directly to a user’s device. It is especially important to keep your headlines short, as well as subject lines and headers that break up your content.

6. Foster Sharability

There are several things you can do to increase sharing and engagement from your B2B audience:

  • Don’t focus on your brand — focus on what your audience needs and wants
  • Post about industry important topics, trends, tips and stories that are not product- or service-related
  • Utilize emotion to drive importance — users that feel empowered, sad, scared, enraged or inspired are more likely to share the content they identify with
  • Use images to intrigue readers to stop scrolling and click on your content — images throughout the text will also keep your users eyes moving

7. Streamline Your Funnel

Finally, make sure you are very careful to create a sales funnel that does not have rabbit trails for your leads. Mobile users are making decisions quickly, while they are on the go, taking a short break or waiting on something. Keep your CTA clear and singularly focused so they are not distracted before getting to a decision point.

What’s Next?

How do you ensure that your customer is getting the best mobile experience possible when interacting with your brand? Make sure to share them with us in the comments below. I would love to read them.

Author Biography

Sophorn Chhay is the marketing guy at Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that allows users to customize their one-to-one marketing efforts by interconnecting and optimizing all digital platforms. As an innovator in two-way SMS/MMS marketing, Trumpia’s mission is to empower brands and public figures with interactive access to their audiences, reaching targeted affinity groups in a personal way. Trumpia delivers world-class content such as video, ticketing, polling, products sales, contests and giveaways.

Follow Sophorn on Twitter (@Trumpia), LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+

The Most Important Email Marketing Elements For 2016 (Infographic)

This article was posted as a Guest Blog Post by our affiliates at OnBlastBlog.com 

Let’s get one thing straight: email marketing is not dead, nor is it dying. It is still one of the most effective means of generating leads and conversions for a business. The old ways may have died, but there are new elements rising into the spotlight that change how we look at our email campaigns.

Today I’ll share several of the email marketing elements you should be using in 2016, followed by an infographic filled with the latest strategies that you can implement into your next campaign.

Today’s Top Email Marketing Trends and Strategies (Infographic)

You should start by avoiding the most common email marketing mistakes. Now, let’s look at some of the most important elements in any modern strategy:

  • Marketing automation such as drip campaigns and triggered message series are becoming more important to manage and nurture leads.
  • Segmenting your email lists based on a variety of factors (such as whether they’ve purchased or not) will ensure that your emails are personalized and relevant to each category.
  • Provide timely and relevant communication that addresses their needs.
  • Offer exclusive content they can’t get any other way.

Email marketing is a powerful tool in the right hands. Check out the infographic below for a closer look at today’s top strategies and let us know how it helps you in the comments!How to Send out Emails Like a Professional

How to Make Your Mobile Marketing Work Harder

This article was posted as a Guest Blog Post relating to Salesforce.com.

Does your mobile marketing match your consumers’ use of their devices? If you’re like most companies, the answer is “Probably not.”

There are different types of mobile users—regular, super, addicts, all of whom can be affected by mobile marketing in some way. How you reach them depends in part on the individual setups they have—push notifications, for example. Of course, push notifications equals more times opening an app. But push notifications can’t and shouldn’t be random. They should be designed to create an experience and action, as should SMS marketing.

The majority of customers wouldn’t mind more contact from brands using SMS marketing. Those messages get the attention of customers in a crowded world, and they often result in very quick review of a message.

There is a great gap between how much time we spend on our phones, and how much (or little) companies are investing in mobile advertising.

How important is mobile marketing

 

How can you make your mobile marketing work harder and smarter? To learn more about the potential in mobile marketing and the various ways to engage customers, check out Marketing Cloud’s article Mobile Marketing Examples to Energize Your 2016 Campaigns.

Download this infographic.

Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!

The Anatomy of the Perfect Blog Post

Twenty years ago, few people could have predicted the power and reach of the internet. Ten years ago, few would have dreamed that social media platforms would continue to evolve and develop. Ten years from now, who knows what the Internet and social media will look like. But the reality of today’s business connection with customers includes the Internet and social media, and in all likelihood that includes a blog of some kind. While who posts, what they post, and how often they post may vary from business to business, what doesn’t vary is what it takes to put together a successful blog post.

That content includes several key components that are crucial to helping deliver your business’s information and message. From element to element—headline, intro, subhead, copy, to name just a few—there are ways that users tend to interact and information that stands out or gets lost. Constraints include length and keywords as well as time that it will take a user to get through the information. Because you’re competing not only with other businesses but other types of information on the internet, following guidelines for text as well as visual elements is important. This useful information can help you fine tune your marketing efforts online to enable a strong, positive interaction with current and potential clients.

Matt Banner expounded on the idea of writing the perfect blog post in his article, How to Write a Blog Post with Perfection: The Only Step-by-Step Guide You Need.

The graphic below breaks down each section of a blog post and provides tips on how to optimize it. Creating a share-worthy post is easy with this guide.

Click To Enlarge

Anatomy of a Blog Post

Via Salesforce

Your Personal Brand: What Does The Internet Say About You?

Your Personal Brand: What Does The Internet Say About You?This guest blog has been provided by Jasmine Sandler.

Do you work in a position where you sell or do business development, either for your own business or for an employer? Do you need to re-invent yourself or heighten your credibility for your next promotion or career move?

Then you need to nurture your online personal brand. In today’s world, where websites and social media activity are leading news and information resources, you need a strong online presence. An online personal branding program will cultivate your personal brand image in the minds of prospects, customers and other decision makers.

Think of your favorite brands for a moment: automobile, beer, computer tablet, fast food, soap, whatever. You like them for what they represent to you, which is the result of how their companies have differentiated them from the competition. You need to do the same thing: differentiate yourself from all the other choices out there.

The process by which you establish your personal brand is very much like it is for a product. You need to understand the competition and create a value proposition that tells people why they should prefer you.

Establishing the blueprint for your personal branding initiative takes analysis and reflection. It starts with a basic personal brand assessment where you:

1. Clarify your vision and purpose.
2. Determine your personal and professional goals.
3. Understand your target audience. They may describe what they need in different ways; you need to speak their language.
4. Decide on your personal brand strengths. These are your top three skills—the things you want to be known for.
5. Develop your personal brand keywords. Start building a list of keyword phrases that support your positioning.

These are five of the 10 steps I use to create a personal brand assessment—an exercise that can be done individually or in a group.

You can learn more about the 10-step program for personal branding on social media on JasmineSandler.com.

Digital Tools That Marketers Need To Dominate the Digital Era

Digital Tools That Marketers Need To Dominate the Digital EraThis guest blog has been provided by Jasmine Sandler.

Why You Need Digital Tools

The Internet provides myriad opportunities for marketers to sell their products and services. But successful digital marketing requires sophisticated tools that work in tandem, creating ongoing efficiencies and insights.

Digital tools are pieces of software that do two things: They automate and manage a marketing process, and they measure the effectiveness of the initiative. For example, they can manage your CRM by taking information submitted by a prospect via a web form, segmenting the lead and relaying it so that a salesperson can easily use the information to nurture the sales process.

Types of Digital Tools

There are three levels of digital marketing tools:

1. Simple Tools

Examples include Google Alerts, Social Mention and Alexa. Each provides simple information. The first two track the mentions your product gets online; the latter shows the traffic ranking of your website and that of your competition.

2. Advanced Tools That Let You Take Action

Google Adwords drives leads. Lead Liaison automates the sales process. Hootsuite and Viral Heat help to manage social media programs.

3. Developer Tools

These tools help your web developer to create applications that enable you to deliver your brand across multiple platforms. Mobile apps, for example, can drive productivity for both salespeople and customers and help speed order processing. Google Webmaster is a tool that can help your SEO

How to Manage & Measure a Digital Marketing Program

All of these tools, or others like them, are needed to manage a digital marketing program. If you need an audit on your digital marketing strategy, an audit of your social media program or social media training for your team, I’m here to help. Contact me at Jasmine Sandler.com.