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Lead Generation B2B: Necessary or Not?

There are many forms of Lead Generation for B2B. Organic search, paid search, advertising, blogging, social medial, content marketing, email marketing, direct mail, cold calling, appointment setters, database marketing…should I go on?

No matter what method of lead generation you choose for your B2B business the fact remains…Content is a critical component.

The goal with any tactic is to build your internal list of email addresses by getting as many names as possible on your mailing list.  But it’s not as easy as collecting a bunch of business cards, entering them into your “system” and sending emails. Not with the GDPR law now in effect.

This new law makes it more difficult to marketing to your mailing list. You need to ensure the people on your mailing list, actually requested information from you. Gone are the days when you got a someone’s business card and added them to your list. That’s a big No-No.

The best way to ensure you’re compliant with GDPR is to gather names and emails by offering something of value that people want.  This is done by offering potential prospects valuable content, special reports, discount offers or free trials in exchange for their email address. This allows you to send the information they requested.

But just because you have an email address doesn’t mean all of those names are really true prospects.

For example, say you offer a free widget to those who opt in. They are on your list just because of the free widget and have no real interest in what you can do for them.

However, if potential prospects click to opt in for a special report or another offer, then they may have an interest in the topic of the report they opted in for.

 Lead Generation Sales Funnel

Lead Nurturing

That’s where lead nurturing comes in. Lead Nurturing is different from lead generation because you want to identify the true prospects from just those that signed up for whatever free thing you offered.

Staying in contact with the potential prospects over a period of time by providing valuable content, newsworthy updates, or other special offers through email is a great way to determine whether they have further interest in what you offer.

If they continue to respond to various offers you send, there’s a good chance they might turn into paying customers.  The goal in lead nurturing is to get your prospect to take action.

This where email marketing shines through. With a well thought out plan, you can guide your prospects through a series of emails that will “convert” them into a paying customer via the call-to-action within the emails.

 Call-to-Action

That action could be as simple as asking them to visit your website for more details about your company. Or asking them to sign up for a free trial. There are many possibilities.

The diagram below shows some of the possibilities. At the top of the sales funnel, tactics like email, landing pages, newsletter, direct mail, web site, sell sheets, blog and articles are used to collect names for a mailing list. These are primary lead generators.

Lead generation B2B sales funnel activities

Over time different informative or educational offers are used in the email marketing to the mailing list. These materials are classified as lead nurturing type because it is content job to help the prospect solve a problem, satisfy a need, or achieve a goal.

You can see the bottom of the sales funnel is when the prospect becomes a customer by buying your product or service.

 Keep in Contact

Throughout the process, another purpose is to stay in touch with prospects so they begin to know, like, and trust you. When they are ready to buy, they will check out your store or site to buy what you offer. All because you offered them great content and you were looking out for their best interests.

Remember your prospects are looking for a way to solve a problem, satisfy a need, or achieve a goal.

They are on the search for anything to help them with those things.

Email Marketing Customer Cycl

That’s where lead generation B2B comes in to play.

Educational material, webinars, special reports, and other offers can be effective ways to help your prospect reach a place of decision.  All of these are used in a series of emails designed to peak the prospect’s curiosity and cause them to take action.

By providing helpful pieces of content to answer questions, point to solutions, and guide them in their buying decision process, you set yourself up as an expert. This builds your reputation and brand because you seem like someone who knows and cares about what a prospect might be facing.

Save Time

As a result, I can write all the content for you, which can save you time and effort.

In conclusion, allow me to help you plan a marketing campaign. I’ll help you identify a way to measure the success before you start. Let me develop the right lead generation b2b tactics for your business. I’ll write lead nurturing emails causing your prospects to take action. Then, we’ll measure the results so you’ll know for sure you made the right choice.

Finally, let me help you save time and money by hiring me for Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing emails. Find out how to get started by contacting me.


 

How to Get More Referrals

Karim Wahba

Karim Wahba, of Realty One Group and President of Christian Business Partners Irvine, spoke today about how to get more referrals.  Drawing on his years of real estate and networking experience, Karim, shared eight ideas for you to implement in your business to increase your referrals

By a show of hands, Karim asked, how many of us business owners are in sales? We all raised our hands. That’s right every business owner is also a salesperson. We may not want to call ourselves that, but we are.

And how do you get business today? What’s working for you?

  • Events
  • Word of mouth
  • LinkedIn
  • Networking

What activities have you tried that you didn’t like? Cold calling and knocking on doors. Exactly, no one likes to do these activities.

At this point, the audience was ready to hear something that actually worked. Karim did not disappoint.

1. Every business owner needs a CRM. It may not have to be a fancy one. Even something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet with name, phone number, and last date contacted would be better than nothing.

2. Send a physical item of value once a month. Things like a tax tip sheet or an educational piece on how to protect yourself from identification theft work well.  Karim usually mails these tips out the second week of the month because most people get a lot of bills the first week of the month.

3. Email something of value two weeks after the physical mailing. Use the same principle here and share something helpful.

4. Call your contacts at least once a quarter. The purpose of the call is NOT to sell anything. Just use it to touch base with your contact. Ask about how they are doing? How is life? The goal is to reconnect.

5. Send a personal note. Karim uses personal notes in two ways. Anytime he receives a referral from one of his contacts, he will send a handwritten thank you note to them. This is a physical note, so remember that’s sent via regular post office mail. The second way he uses personal notes is to send a special birthday greeting one week before the actual birthday date.  Then he follows up with a phone call on the birth date.

6. Personalize Your Social Media. Karim suggested sharing personal stuff on your social media channels because people connect with people. The more real you are, the higher chance people will want to connect with you. Always posting about your work is boring. So post a few personal topics or photos to show your human side. Of course, you should share work-related stuff. In this case, Karim shares a video on a market update the 1st week of the month. On the 3rd week of the month, he shares a random video that might be offering a tip. Lastly, Karim suggested you tag your friends or colleagues when you post a video.

7. Schedule a “Pop by” twice a year. Karim likes to do this on Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving. Each time he gives a small gift. For example, for Mother’s Day, he buys a $5 gift, to deliver to all the mothers on his contact list. For Thanksgiving, he has a baker friend who creates delicious desserts, so he delivers a yummy treat just before the holiday. This helps his contacts think about him when they are dining together with their families over the holidays.

8. Lastly, host a Client Appreciation Event. The purpose of the event is to say “Thank You” to current and past clients, have fun and help clients meet a lot of new people.  Karim’s last event was at a bowling alley at The District. His clients and their families all attended and got to know each other. They all had a blast.

Remember, the key to getting referrals is in the follow-up.  So you just read about 8 ways to creatively follow up with your contacts. So which are you going to implement in your business?

If you’d like to join us for the next informative speaker, we meet every Tuesday morning at IHOP 18542 MacArthur Blvd in Irvine, California 92618 from 8:15 am to 9:33 am.

Please check out our Facebook Page to see who’s scheduled next.

If you need help coming up with follow up ideas for your business, contact me. I’d be happy to brainstorm with you.

How to Build Your Network in LinkedIn

In today’s digitally connected world, it is critical you know how to reach out to others and build lasting relationships.  LinkedIn is, by far, the best platform for business people to find other business people.

Why should I grow my professional network?

You’ve heard that saying “It’s not what you know but who you know,” right? Well, I offer a small twist on that saying…”It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you that matters.” I’ve certainly found this to true. After all, marketing is about letting people know who you are and how you can help.

As I’ve experienced much success with LinkedIn in my own business, I thought it was about time to share what I’ve learned along the way. I hope you benefit from the 7-step process for growing your professional network.

Step 1: Identify Who You Want to Reach

 

Step 2: Research Profile

  • Click on the person’s picture to go to their profile
    1. Scan their profile looking for any common ground.
      1. Articles shared or liked
      2. Past experience
      3. Education
      4. Skill
      5. People they know
      6. Groups they are in
      7. Volunteer or causes
      8. Accomplishments

2. Find one thing you have in common.

Step 3: Personalize Invite

  • A sample message might look like…
    1. “Hi, Name, as we’re both women in marketing and belong to AMA-OC group, want to connect to grow both our professional networks?”
  • Almost 100% connect rate
  • LinkedIn Help tells you how to personalize your invitation at https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/topics/6096/6097/46662
  • Hint: If using a cellphone, don’t click Connect Button! This will send a generic request. Click the three dots in the upper right corner or the down arrow next to the Connect button to personalize the invite.

Step 4: Follow Up in LinkedIn

  • After they accept your connection request…
  • Send a message like the following:
    1. “Hi, Name, thanks for connecting I’d like to know more about you and your business. Let’s chat <link to calendar>”
    2. Note: Use app like https://calendly.com or https://acuityscheduling.com/
  • 5% – 10% meeting rate

Step 5: Share Content Relevant to Your Audience

  • Someone else’s connect
  • Meeting recap
  • Helpful tips
  • Anyone connected to you will see post in their news feed.
  • This helps keep you top of mind in your prospect.

Step 6: Follow Up after 1 on 1 call with an Email

  • Recap your conversation
  • Ask them to connect on social media with you
  • Send one or two days after you meet

Step 7: One week later, send a thank you email

  • Thank them again for the initial call
  • Remind them what you do and who you help
  • Ask for a face to face meeting <link to calendar>

If you’d like a professional review of your LinkedIn Profile with suggestions on how to improve, contact me at https://calendly.com/elizabeth-marks/quick-15-minute-call .

A Continual Supply of Useful Information through a Blog

Problogger.com wrote a post on What’s a Blog. Read it here: https://problogger.com/what-is-a-blog/

Benefits of a Blog

Blogs have multiple benefits for you and your potential clients. Sharing useful information in your blog is one of the best ways to reach your potential clients. And build your credibility. Your reputation grows. You rank better in search engines because of the constant stream of new content published to your blog.

Your target audience has access to useful and helpful content. When the time comes to make a purchase your potential clients will think of all the useful content you’ve provided in the past.

Blogs have another purpose too. By studying the comments made on your blog, you can reap valuable insight as to what your clients are thinking, what bothers them, what they are really looking for, etc. You might say a blog is a built-in marketing focus group at your disposable.

Example of a Good Blog

Qlik.com blog provides a pleasing appeal with three column format, showing off the latest content and offering other helpful resources on the right. As an added bonus, they even tell the reader how long it will take to read the post.

That’s great news for those who like to skim through content or don’t have much time to read long-winded posts. In addition to the time it takes to read the blog post, they make the content easily shareable. The key is sharing useful information in your blog. This is to your advantage as well. If readers like your content they will want to share it, so make it easy for them to do just that!

FIGURE 9 QLIK’S BLOG

Do you have a blog setup but don’t know what to share on your blog?

Contact me today to get moving in the right direction.

Looking for other ways to connect with your audience? Check out how to Social Media to engage with them.

Connect with Your Ideal Clients on Social Media Today

The internet has made it easy to connect with your potential customers.  Now connecting is just a click away. You can stay in direct contact with your customers through social media.  But you might be wondering which social media platform should you be on?

SmartInsights.com publishes a report each year to monitor social media platforms.  Maybe some of their charts may help you determine that.  Let’s look at a few.

Which social platform is the most popular?

I’ll give you one guess. Yes, it’s Facebook of course.

FIGURE 1  SOCIAL MEDIA RANKED

What’s the frequency of use on each social platform?

Looks like most users access their social networks daily.

FIGURE 2 FREQUENCY OF SOCIAL MEDIA

What is the average age of user on each social platform?

It looks like the 16 to 24 group and 35 to 44 group have the largest percentage across all social networks.

FIGURE 3 DEMOGRAPHICS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

 

So now you know which platform is the most popular. And how much time the average user spends on that platform. And the average age of the user by platform.

Does this help you figure out which platform may work for your business?

As you can see from the last chart above, there are many different Social Media platforms out there. And new social platforms are emerging every day.  Don’t let this discourage you!

This doesn’t mean you need to be present on all of them.  You just need to be on the one your clients are on most of the time!

When you’ve found the right social media platform for your business, prominently displaying your company’s social media networks will help your customers find you and engage with you.

Let’s look at three companies who prominently display their social network links on their websites in different ways.

Board.com appears to be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube as shown in the picture below.

FIGURE 4 BOARD SOCIAL MEDIA

Qlik prefers the social icons to represent their social network profiles as seen on the left in below picture.

FIGURE 5 QLIK SOCIAL MEDIA

GoodData displays its icons in the footer as well.

FIGURE 6 GOODDATA SOCIAL MEDIA

What Social Networks are you on? Are you sharing your Social Network links on your website?

Need help figuring out where to share your Social Network links?

Contact me today to get moving in the right direction.

Looking for other ways to connect with your audience? Check out how to use User Groups to engage.

Build Repeat Customers through User Groups

User groups are primarily for existing customers. However, having a user group will help prospective customers feel they will have the necessary methods of support should they need it.

Benefits of User Groups

  • Creates a sense of belonging which enables loyalty.
  • Direct communication with actual users of your product helps with product development of new products.
  • An ongoing source of feedback for marketing purposes.
  • A resource to provide better customer service.

These are but a few of the benefits of having a user group community for your clients.

Successful Examples

Let’s look a few of the leaders in business intelligence industry to see how they use user groups.

Oracle provides a number of User Groups and Communities promising the user will be heard when they get involved.

FIGURE 1 ORACLE USER GROUPS

Alteryx allows users to locate user groups by area and posts upcoming Alteryx User Group meetings.

FIGURE 2 ALTERYX USER GROUP MEETINGS

Do you offer a user group community to your customers?

Need help sharing user group community updates on your website? Contact me at

Contact me to see how I can help you communicate to your target audience.

For another way to build thought leadership check out Special Reports.

3 Statistics That Prove Special Reports Are Needed Now

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic. (Ascend2, 2015) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics).

These two statistics prove it makes sense to use Special Reports in your marketing strategy.

Why Use Special Reports?

Special reports are a great way to get people to start the journey of getting know more about you. The first statistic says 96% of B2B buyers are looking for you, the industry thought leader!

The report itself is meant to educate the reader.  It highlights a particular problem your product or service can address although it’s not primarily a sales piece.

What is a Special Report?

A special report is written as an informative piece to provide insights on how to solve a particular problem. It’s written very specifically, although generic enough that it isn’t selling them on your solution.

It generally outlines the problem and steps on how to solve a particular problem. And only at the close of the report, do you even mention a product or service of yours that supports the story you just shared.

Who Uses Special Reports?

From the research I’ve done, all of the Business Intelligence companies in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant utilize Special Reports. That’s because it’s another tool to grow your connection with a prospective client.

Typically, your audience has to provide their email address in exchange for the Special Report. Once you have their email address, you can contact them again over time.

So let’s look an example from the company called Tibco.

Below you see Tibco’s special report on Selecting an Integration Technology. It’s a free report in exchange for a name, email, and phone number. This not only provides value in educating the customer, it also increases Tibco’s email list so further marketing can be done later.


FIGURE 1 TIBCO SPECIAL REPORT OPT-IN

Lack of resources, such as staff, funding, and time, remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation for 61% of B2B marketers. (BrightTALK, 2015 Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

So what about you and your business?

What problems does your audience have?

What problems do your products or service solve?

What Special Reports should you write to address those problems?

Need help writing a Special Report?

I’d be happy to help. Contact me to get started on your next Special Report.

For other ways to grow your thought leadership, check out industry conferences.

Grow Your Thought Leadership Through in Industry Conferences

To become a thought leader in your industry, you need to participate in industry conferences. Participating or even hosting and providing information about industry conferences helps prospective customers believe your company is a thought leader and strategic player.

This helps build trust and reputation.

Benefits of Attending Industry Conferences

As discussed above becoming a thought leader is helpful in building your brand. One way to do this is to attend industry conferences. There are several benefits of doing this:

  • Continued learning keeps you on top of your game.
  • Networking with industry professionals keeps you in the know.
  • Engaging with prospective clients attending can grow your business.

These are just a few of the benefits of attending industry conferences to grow your thought leadership.

Now let’s look at some examples.

SAS participants in various Industry conferences, such as these mentioned on their site:

FIGURE 1 SAS INDUSTRY CONFERENCES

InformationBuilders.com provides a convenient list of industry conferences.

FIGURE 2 INFORMATION BUILDERS EVENTS PAGE

 

Alteryx promotes industry conferences and events by showcasing them on the main home page.

FIGURE 3 ALTERYX CONFERENCES

 

What conferences occur in your industry? Do you speak at these conferences? Are you promoting these conferences on your website? How are you making your target audience aware of these valuable conferences?

Need help sharing conferences on your website? Contact me  to see how I can help you communicate to your target audience.

For another way to build thought leadership check out case studies.

Share Your Experience Today, Become a Thought Leader with Case Studies

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

One way companies are viewed as thought leaders is by solving customer problems and documenting them in a Cases Study.

What is a Case Study?

These special stories highlight how you and your products or services helped solve a problem a customer had. These stories are powerful testimonies which help prospective customers understand you’ve done this before and get great results.

How Do Share a Case Study?

Case studies should be shared freely on your site with no opt-in needed. These special stories are used as the top of the sales funnel marketing material.  The purpose of is build trust and demonstrate your know-how.

You can never have too many case studies.

Who Uses Case Studies?

Just about every business under the sun uses case studies.  Anytime you have solved a customer’s pain point and provided the solution, it should become a case study.

For example, a business intelligence company called Targit.com provides generous amounts of Customer Case Studies.  This is important for helping prospective customers feel comfortable with their decision to go with Targit.

FIGURE 1 TAGIT CASE STUDIES

Another company called Board.com has many Case Studies which demonstrates they’ve been in business for quite a while. They even group the case studies by industry, making it easier for prospective customers to get the information they’re looking for faster.

FIGURE 2 BOARD.COM CASE STUDIES

So what problems have you solved for your current customers? Have you crafted those success stories into Case Studies yet?

Lack of resources, such as staff, funding, and time, remains the biggest obstacle to successful lead generation for 61% of B2B marketers. (BrightTALK, 2015 Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

If you’re like the 61% of B2B marketers who lack resource, contact me to let me help you get started.

Read more on how Special Report can develop your Thought Leadership.

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