b2b

Phone lead generation is still a highly effective way to reach prospects. Give these 8 advanced tactics for increasing your B2B telephone leads, sales and outbound ROI a try.

Telephone sales aren’t what they used to be. It took only 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect in 2007. Today, it takes around 8 attempts, more than doubling the difficulty of landing sales over the phone.

But as you know, phone sales certainly aren’t dead. They just require a higher level of strategy and mastery. A study by Baylor University found that it takes roughly 7.5 hours to secure one referral or appointment through cold calling methods. If you only have one dedicated phone salesperson, your company could have one new appointment or referral every day via cold calling.

For most B2B businesses, where phone selling strategies are most commonly found, one lead per day per salesperson represents a very strong ROI.

Today, we’re going to help you sell over the phone like a modern pro.

Here are 8 Advanced Tactics for Increasing your B2B Telephone Sales

1. Take Timing Seriously

In sales, as in many areas of life, timing is everything. You will often accomplish more during peak hours than you do the rest of the day. So even if you are in a position that requires around-the-clock calls, it’s important to be at peak efficiency during those peak hours.

So when are those peak hours?

An in-depth study out of MIT gives us several interesting insights:

  1. The best time period to contact leads is between 4:00-6:00 p.m.
  2. The best second best time period is between 8:00-10:00 a.m.
  3. The worst time period to call is between 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
  4. The best days to call are Thursday and Wednesday.
  5. The worst days to call are Tuesday and Monday.

It’s worth checking out the study, because these aren’t insignificant differences. For example, calling on Thursday versus Tuesday increases results by an average of 50%. Calling at 4:30 p.m. versus 11:30 a.m. increases results by an average of 114%!

Timing might seem cliche, but what other tactics do you know of that can immediately double sales?

2. Call The Right People and Present them with the Right Pitch

I’m going to borrow and re-spin an example from Jason Quey.

Sid works at a large SaaS company. When it comes to larger tool purchases, he makes the decisions. However, Sid rarely creates content for the team. Tyler is in charge of content.

If your sales team is attempting to pitch a solution to the content problems Tyler is facing, appealing to Sid around those challenges won’t be effective. The best way to pitch Sid is very different from the optimal way to pitch Tyler.

The Gartner Group reports that in a company of 100-700 people, an average of 7 people are involved in buying decisions. If you aren’t tailoring your pitch around these people, you will struggle to succeed in B2B phone sales. There’s no getting around that.

For help identifying and reaching decision makers, check out this guide from Lead Forensics.

3. Lay The Groundwork

We know that cold calls can work, but there’s a way to make them work better. UNC professor Dave Roberts said it best, “Cold calling is old fashioned… Aim for hot calling.” The more prepared you are when you call, the better that call will generally go.

We live in an age of the internet and social media. Before you call a prospect, Google them. Learn everything that you can before ever making the call. This can help you know what the customer’s needs are, what their objections might be, and what interests them. You may happen upon what their biggest pain is right now.

You can even make some level of initial contact before calling:

  • Connect via shared acquaintances
  • Comment on their social posts
  • Mention them in a blog post or comment
  • Etc.

There are many ways to make a superficial connection with someone that quickly turns you into a known entity versus a cold call. For more tips on laying the groundwork, check out this article by Owen Matson, Ph.D.

4. Follow A Sales Script

There are no downsides to using a sales script… only to using one poorly.

When used correctly, having a sales script results in the following benefits:

  1. They force you to create and refine a consistent sales methodology.
  2. They allow you to provide a baseline for your entire sales team’s performance.
  3. They allow sales reps to spend less time thinking about what they’re going to say and more time listening to the potential customer.
  4. They provide talented sales reps with a strategic baseline off of which they can improvise.

To learn how to create your own sales script, check out this guide from Close.io.

5. Navigate Objections

Navigating objections is a central part of any sales process, but there can be a bit of a misunderstanding about this issue.

Some objections always need to be covered and getting out in front of them can be beneficial. For example, if your product is twice as expensive as every other competitor, it’s almost guaranteed that issue is going to come up, and addressing it before the customer does gives you the chance to frame it in a positive light.

Not all objections are created equal, however, and sometimes, bringing up certain objections simply bogs down the sales process and creates doubts that weren’t there to begin with. Instead, have a plan to overcome these objections IF they are brought up.

For more on covering objections, here’s another top notch guide from Close.io.

6. Stop Talking. Ask and Listen.

Listen. Listen. Listen.

The more your prospect is talking, the better your chance of closing the sale.

Outbound sales and inbound sales follow up are an inherently aggressive activity. You are on the offensive. You are seeking out people to sell them something. But often, the solution is simply to slow down and get out of your own way.

The best sales scripts and salespeople are focused on asking the right questions. The prospect doesn’t need you to create challenges for them. They have numerous pitfalls and problems on the path to their goals. Your job is to create a situation where the prospect is articulating those challenges… not you.

Ultimately, B2B sales isn’t about tricking people into getting a product or service that doesn’t work for them. It’s about matching beneficial solutions to the businesses that need them, and that requires a two-way conversation.

Don’t miss out on How to Pick a Conversion Optimization Consultant for your Online Business

7. Focus On Customer Value

Your goal as a salesperson is never to sell someone on a price. Your goal is to sell them on value – such incredible value that the price seems like a no-brainer.

It’s very, very important that you focus on this value BEFORE discussing pricing, for a number of key reasons.

First, if pricing is brought up first, your product/service will be evaluated as a commodity. Once a number has been mentioned, everything will be filtered through that number. You will have zero leverage in presenting your value.

Second, if you don’t pitch you value before getting to pricing, the prospect will consider the pricing based on their preconceived assumptions about the value of your product class. And remember, they aren’t currently using your product, so it’s likely they don’t consider the value to be worth the cost.

Finally, if you don’t understand the prospect’s needs before you get to pricing, you might propose a price that is too low or too high. Too high, and the conversation is essentially over. Too low, and you won’t be considered a serious player. Without getting to know the prospect first, you are playing a dangerous guessing game.

8. To Close Is To Follow-Up

You already probably know your “hook, line, and sinker.” You have your closing speech down to a science. That’s great, but just know that you will talk to a person several times before they’re ready to hear your golden pitch. According to Marketing Donut, 80% of sales require 5 (yes, FIVE) follow up calls. 44% of salespeople quit after just 1 follow up. Don’t be a quitter!

Also, stop leaving the follow-up in the customers’ hands. Don’t say, “Give me a call if you’re interested.” Geoffrey James, author at Inc. said, “I’ve read dozens of so-called sales letters and sales emails that end with a suggestion that the customer should call or contact the seller…The people who send these letters always complain that they don’t get any responses. No kidding–you’re asking the customer to do your work for you.”

Instead, change your follow-up strategy and set up a time to talk again. For instance, “I’m going to call you next Wednesday, after you’ve had time to look at everything, so that we can discuss whether it makes sense to continue discussing our offer.”

Conclusion: Upgrade Your Phone Game

Telephone sales are more challenging than ever, but they are worth the trouble. Use these 8 advanced tactics to improve your B2B sales calls and close more sales.

Do you need help increasing the number of inbound leads? Would you like your phones to ring more often? Find out how Conversion Sciences can help with results-driven lead generation solutions.

Rachel Africh Headshot

Rachel Africh

Contributor: Rachel Africh is the CMO of TheLeadsWarehouse.com and is an expert on marketing tactics and generating targeted leads that convert for sales industry professionals.

Are your PPC ads plaid and your landing pages polka dots? That is, are your PPC ads and landing pages in alignment? Check out these great tips and maximize conversions.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be a highly effective way to get your products in front of new prospective customers and drive sales, but only when campaigns are set up with the right touch. Depending on what keywords you want to target with your bids, search ads are generally not prohibitively expensive, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of blowing through your budget on PPC without justifying your media spend with enough sales.

The PPC management mistakes that most commonly ruin advertisers’ chances of respectable ROI involve text mismatches. All too often, an ad’s keyword settings do not match the language used in the ad’s creative, or the landing page content does not match the language used in the ad’s creative.

Search marketing spending in the US from 2014 to 2019.

Search marketing spending in the US from 2014 to 2019.

Why Matching Terminology Matters

If you’re not matching terminology on your landing page to your PPC ads, you’re wasting money and losing clients.

Successful PPC marketing hinges on continuity across all touch points. Web searchers enter search terms into Google based on a need they are trying to fulfill. By the time users have formulated their queries as lines of text, they have already been forced to think about what they’re looking for as being specific to certain terminology. Thus, if your message is going to resonate with them, it has to use the very same terminology.

Google users naturally gravitate towards organic search results. To catch people’s eyes, your ad needs to convey that it addresses the exact issue that the searcher is trying to solve. What’s more, search terms that appear within ad copy appear in bold letters, adding to their visibility and click-throughs.

When people click on the ad, they are expecting to find a matching solution on the other end. You know that dirty feeling you get when you click on a content headline that over-promises and the article ultimately under-delivers? That’s a similar feeling to what happens when there’s a disconnect between search ad copy and landing page copy.

When you get that feeling, you’re unlikely to do business with whoever gave it to you. And that’s why it’s so important that the landing page refer to the exact need at hand and offer an appropriate solution, all using the same terminology. This is one of those landing page best practices that tends to be right every single time.

PPC Ads and Landing Pages in Alignment: The Power of Maximized Continuity

Lack of continuity will result in customers leaving your conversion funnel before opting in to your lead capture offer or purchasing your products.

If a customer searches for “cyan polo shirt summer sale” and you show him an ad for “men’s clothing,” he is not likely to click on it, even though your online store might very well offer cyan polo shirts in the men’s section. Even ad creative touting a “blue polo shirt” product won’t perform as well as the phrase “cyan polo shirt” would – the closer to an exact match you can get, the more effective your ads will be.

PPC ads and landing pages in alignment: Use the word "cyan" to describe the color of this shirt, not just "blue".

Use the word “cyan” to describe the color of this shirt, not just “blue”.

The same principle applies to matching ad copy with landing page copy. If your ad promises a “cyan polo shirt summer sale” but you send people to your homepage, where there are 25 different apparel products being showcased and no trace of any type of sale, the visitor is likely to bounce out extremely quickly.

Customized Ecommerce Text Variations

Using standardized language across your website is necessary to maintain an atmosphere of professional polish and so that your internal search engine will work well. On the other hand, when you set up your search ad campaigns, you should be performing some extensive keyword research to reveal all of the alternate wording that people use for the same thing.

Going back to the same example, you may learn that people often search for polo shirts that are “sapphire,” “teal,” or “turquoise,” which are all reasonably close matches to the “cyan” that appears on your product pages. It totally makes sense to bid on ads to appear on search results for “sapphire polo shirt,” but in cases like these, you may want to create alternate versions of your product pages that only visitors referred by this specific ad will see.

Just make sure to keep these variations out of sight of the search engines, so you won’t get penalized for duplicate content – and out of sight in the website navigation, so visitors do not get confused. Apply a meta “No Index” tag to the head of the landing page to make sure that variations don’t get indexed. Better yet, make sure all your PPC ad campaign landing pages are noindex, follow. Until you have chosen the one you would like to drive organic traffic to.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion

A helpful tool in this process is a Google Adwords feature called Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI). This tool will adjust your ad text to reflect keywords in the user’s search, potentially accomplishing the same goals we just discussed.

Wordstream ran a case study testing the effectiveness of DKI with a client, and found that using this strategy had the following results:

  • Impressions dropped 6%
  • Click-through-rate (CTR) increased by 55%
  • Conversions increased by an incredible 228%
DKI more than tripled conversions.

DKI more than tripled conversions.

The results speak for themselves.

In the context of continuity, the key is to have a very small number of keywords in your ad groups. For top performers, you may even want to use Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS).

Customized Lead Capture Page Variations

If your offer is for a service, a B2B product or something otherwise relatively expensive, then you don’t need to send visitors to ecommerce-integrated product pages at all. In these cases, a sparser landing page is likely to perform better, and it’s easy and inexpensive to create new versions of your landing pages for each keyword combination that you bid for.

Landing pages like these are generally aimed at capturing leads rather than driving sales, since major purchases require more pre-sale relationship building to establish trust and to educate prospects. Many of the better marketing platforms available in the open market offer modules for both landing page creation and autoresponder marketing emails.

If lead capture is your goal, focus your Adwords strategy on your prospects’ pain points rather than your offer’s specifications. For instance, a financial consulting firm could run PPC ads for the search term “family budgeting help” or “debt advice.” These ads could lead to landing page variations for each search term, with each one offering visitors the option to download an eBook that provides practical tips on family budgeting and saving money on household bills.

A campaign of this type takes into account that the prospect is having trouble balancing his or her household budget, and it offers a quick and easy solution that also positions the advertiser as a trustworthy expert in the field of family finance. This paves the way for follow-up messaging.

Another benefit of this type of hyper-specific targeting is that it allows marketers to segment the entire customer journey and serve up nurturing emails that match the subscriber’s specific interests. A post-campaign analysis of the relevant conversion data can reveal which segments represent the advertiser’s most valuable customers, thereby informing subsequent marketing strategies.

Doesn’t Have to Be a Bottomless Pit

You do need a landing page for every important ad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should set up hundreds of landing pages. Instead, focus your campaign on a select number of lead nurture audience personas (three or four) and create an ad that’s optimized to speak to each one of them. Create a unique landing page for each of these ads and set up an autoresponder to send follow-up emails with relevant content to each persona.

If you’re marketing an ecommerce property with a diverse product line and a shopping cart system, start by trying these tactics for just a few products. If it serves you well, then you can focus on making your work flow scalable down the road.

PPC campaigns that are set up for maximum terminology variations are likely to enjoy boosted conversion rates and revenues, so that ad dollars are less likely to go to waste.

Keep improving your paid ads: Google Ad Extensions to Improve your Customer Acquisition Efforts

Graph image by Statista (via Skitch)

What are you doing today to ensure that your business brings in a continuous flow of qualified leads on a daily basis? Do you have a refined procedure, or are you throwing content out into the abyss of the interwebs with fingers crossed, hoping to score new leads and make some money?  If you can’t map out your strategy and don’t know where to fine tune the rough edges over time, chances are your business won’t be around for long. At Conversion Sciences, we take the time to build blue prints, formulate hypotheses, test strategies, and analyze data to keep our business and clients growing and moving forward.

Optimizing our content strategy, we’ve found takes an important attention to detail, consistency, and patience to bring in quality business. If you’re ready to accelerate and improve your lead generation strategy, you must first understand the path you took to close the deal with your first clients or buyers. Who was the person you engaged with? What was their job description and social interests, and why were they an ideal lead?

Knowing this can help you understand who your target audience is and how to reach them on social media. Does this lead attend a specific type of conference or event each year? Do they read a certain publication or regularly visit an industry website?

Once you have identified your target audience, you can begin implementing advanced techniques to grow your business. Here are ten ways to enhance your social media lead generation strategy.

Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for Lead Generation

Don’t invest time and money into every social media platform until you know what will work for your business.

The key to social media is not just a presence, but how followers engage with your brand and if those followers turn into leads.

If you’ve already established a presence on all platforms, see how your traffic correlates with each social site via Google Analytics or a comprehensive social media sharing software like Oktopost that allows for conversion tracking. What sites are bringing you more traffic and leads?

Based on our conversion tracking efforts using Oktopost, we can track how many leads are generated in each social network. We consider leads to be anyone who joins our email list, downloads a report, joins our blog course, or fills out a contact form. Last month we created a campaign that offered a free report for the higher education marketplace. Our large Twitter audience brought in the most clicks and leads. However, our data tells us LinkedIn leads convert at a higher rate than Twitter leads. We’ve begun focusing more on LinkedIn as a result.

For a clearer perspective on how to choose the right social platforms for your business, we recommend reading these tips from Wishpond.

Educating Your Buyer: Reports and Whitepapers

By offering free white papers, reports and ebooks are a great way to make your prospects experts at buying your products. They are also a great way to create email lists to better segment your audience. Pragmatic Marketing says, “if you provide something of value to prospects, they will give you their respect, time, loyalty, and ultimately their business.” If only it were that easy.

The cost of creating content is falling as the web gobbles it up. We use blog posts to test topics of interest to our audience. We will prepare a live presentation or webinar on hot topics. These presentations get cast into case studies, blog posts, reports and social media posts.

But writing a report simply isn’t enough. Targeting your whitepapers to the right audience is of utmost importance and can be done in several ways, including Facebook Ad remarketing, LinkedIn Groups, or Twitter hashtags and discussions.

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Why LinkedIn Groups Are Lead Hotbeds

A hotbed is defined as “a place or environment favoring rapid growth or spread”. In our recent research, we’ve discovered LinkedIn to be a valuable hotbed for B2B lead generation, particularly when it comes to engaging with LinkedIn Groups. In the past, most marketers or brands were taught to create a main page where all content would be shown to followers or ‘likes’. In recent years, we’ve seen a surge of engagement and activity in social groups with defined interests and demographics due to the change in algorithm from Facebook and LinkedIn updates.

Now LinkedIn Groups have been a hotbed for Conversion Sciences when it comes to generating new leads or subscribers. A few months ago, we launched our industry report for Higher Education Marketing and created a comprehensive campaign targeted to Higher Education professionals. By researching groups and engaging with members, we were able to build relationships and grow our lead pool in just a few months.

Screenshot 2015-06-16 20.10.07

By researching groups, and engaging with members, we were able to build relationships and grow our lead pool in just a few months.

At the end of the campaign, we generated a total of 24 leads in under a month; 80% of those leads were from Higher Education Facebook groups we engaged and shared content with. However, always remember that

one of the most important ways to gain new customers is to create an authentic relationship

. Groups are not for spamming or sharing irrelevant content.

How Ad Targeting and Retargeting Builds A Lead Magnetic Field

Did you know the Earth produces its own magnetic field which is important in navigation? It also shields the Earth’s atmosphere from solar winds that are capable of destroying humanity as we know it! When it comes to lead generation, you should think of your business as the Earth, Facebook Ads at the magnetic field, and your competition as the solar wind.

Facebook Ads will help discover and navigate your leads to your lead-generating content, and bring them back to “Earth,” aka your business. Let’s say you were a software company looking to draw attention to a new service targeted to apparel companies. You could create an ad directed toward people who like specific pages, job titles, and keywords, or install a Facebook retargeting pixel on your website. This will help a potential lead see your ad immediately over the duration of your campaign.

Take Google Fiber for example. I was recently referred to its site by a friend who mentioned it will soon be available in the Austin area. I snooped around the site but lost interest, since it isn’t making itself available in my part of town. In the days following my visit, this is what I saw in my Facebook News Feed.

I saw a retargeting ad about Google Fiber when I logged into Facebook

I saw a retargeting ad about Google Fiber when I logged into Facebook

Fancy schmancy. It’s a Retargeting Ad! The fun stuff happens when I click on the “Sign Up” button. I’m directed to a landing page to enter my address to see whether Google Fiber will be in my neighborhood. Total bummer though: it looks like they won’t be available for a little while, so I decided to sign up for their email list. Guess what? I’m a lead now.  Not exactly a bummer for Google Fiber. We recommend Facebook for Business for further insight on how to create the perfect campaign.

I'm now a lead because I've signed up for alerts

I’m now a lead because I’ve signed up for alerts

Mapping Out Your Traffic Using Hashtag Targeting

Hashtags are the perfect place to find new business. By doing a simple hashtag search, you can find various tweets and discussions that direct you to new leads. Think of them as the magnetic field lines that map out all directions of the magnetic force. Hashtags direct content to communities, who in return will engage (like, comment, and share content). Let’s go back to the Higher Education report data. On Twitter, we found several hashtags corresponding that to this topic including #higheredmktg #hemktg #highered. This puts us in direct contact with many professionals we engaged with through content marketing.

Take for example our hashtag streams we created on Oktopost when targeting our Higher Education Report to industry professionals. We’ve created a comprehensive directory of conversations aimed at this topic. In it, we were able to locate specific professionals we could engage with and place our brand in front of by participating in their discussions. Look at this! @markhoddell works for the University of Chester in the Marketing Department. Potential lead? We think so! If you’re not taking part in hashtag targeting, the time is now.

Screenshot 2015-06-16 20.32.32

Learn more on Hashtag.org.

Juicing Your Lead Generation With Content Marketing and Blogging

Building reports or whitepapers, and launching them with comprehensive organic and paid Facebook Ad strategies, is just the tip of the iceberg in online lead generation. But, how can you continue to engage your community and build your customer base without reloading them with offers or retargeting ads?

By implementing an enriched content strategy in your marketing funnel, you will intrigue and entertain your audience, as well as leave a footprint online that will increase your organic SEO and reach. Infographics, videos, images, and podcasting are just a few content ideas that drive traffic. Think of your entire content marketing strategy as the great magnetic force that pulls in new leads. The strength of that force determines on the strength and creativity of your content.

Screenshot 2015-06-21 17.29.42

According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, only 48% of businesses have a documented Content Strategy.

A recent study from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs states that over 80% of B2B respondents use Content Marketing in their business practices, yet only 38% of these businesses say their strategies are effective. However, the study also indicates that 48% of these businesses were not documenting their strategies effectively. In the end, there’s no way of telling what practices are showing results, or hurting business. Here are a few creative examples on how we incorporate content marketing elements in our online lead generation strategy to ensure maximum results.

Webinars

Webinars offer exclusive information and help grow your email list and lead base. LinkedIn groups are the perfect foundation for generating new leads through webinar promotion. You can target groups based on your field of expertise, or type of audiences you aim to reach. This avoids spammy sales letters and overbearing ads. WebinarNL says, “webinars generate a lower cost per lead and high level of engagement with prospective clients.” They also detail several benefits to hosting webinars including:

  • Direct contact with your target group
  • Reaching your target group both live and afterwards
  • Interaction with your target group
  • How webinars save time and money

So, we decided to put this statistic to the test and hosted our very first webinar “UX vs. CRO: The Digital Fight of the Century” As a special incentive for attendees, we had them ask several questions on UX or CRO. The people with the most creative questions won a free website evaluation from Brian Massey himself.

After an extensive social media promotion, we were surprised to find 212 conversions in just 20 days of implementing our content strategy.  That’s more leads in a short period of time than any other strategy we’ve executed. So ask yourself, “What benefits do webinars offer your business?” To see how our first webinar panned out, watch the webinar replay.

Screenshot 2015-06-21 17.52.40

Data from our most recent webinar “UX vs. CRO”

Screenshot 2015-06-21 17.52.31

Conversion Data from our most recent webinar “UX vs. CRO.”

Podcasting

Perhaps the most underrated form of generating new business leads comes from podcasting. It’s free and accessible, and makes radio quality audio shows available for download through an RSS feed to a computer, MP3 player or mobile phone. Listeners only have to subscribe to a podcast once.

First, you’ll need to conduct a keyword search that will get your content noticed in the podcast world. Then, be sure to create short blogs of no more than a few sentences to capture the reader, launch your podcast, and have them listen.

Interviewing an industry expert or hosting a panel debate can help maximize reach and listeners. Be sure to keep discussions focused on topics you can actively talk about with your leads. This is the perfect way to begin establishing yourself as an industry thought leader.

“The goal of the business podcast is to create a conversational thread that you can pick up with your lead on the next call,” says Benchmark. Think of this as a first experience with future customers. You are building trust and proving them with valid information to nurture a business relationship. Again, podcasts are easy to market via LinkedIn groups, hashtag targeting, and Facebook Ads. Also, fan page Apps like 22Social help incorporate podcasts into your Facebook page so followers can listen in.

Guest Blogging

What does your business specialize in? Moving, fitness, prepping, or social media marketing? By writing as a guest blogger, not only will you be showing off your knowledge, but it adds credibility to your business and brand, while introducing your chops to an entirely new audience. This also gives you the opportunity to grow your social media following by adding social follow-back buttons or a Twitter handle to your posts.

Begin by creating a list of publications in your niche market that offer guest blogging and dive into what kind of content they are pitching.

KissMetrics layouts three important goals for Guest Bloggers:

  1. Positioning yourself as an authority and well-known name in the industry.
  2. Getting exposure (traffic) back to your website.
  3. Building backlinks to your website.

Again, you want your potential customers to know that you are an expert in your field, and in the process you’ll be increasing traffic back to your site. We recommend reading KissMetric’s Ultimate Guide To Guest Blogging for more insight.

Video Marketing

Did you know 80% of internet users recall watching a video, and 46% of those viewers actually take action after watching the ad? Now, YouTube is making it an even more refined tool through annotations. By implementing annotations in your videos, you can direct viewers to a landing page on your website where they can sign up for your services, download a free report, etc. YouTube Ads also amp up this strategy, especially since they easily incorporate with your Adwords strategy.

Let’s take this Heineken YouTube Ad for example. Apparently, the internet knows that people like me – people who are my age, have my interests, and share my browsing and search history, for instance – love beer. Again, this is the whole idea of remarketing.

As I’m watching this ad, what do I see in the corner of the video? It’s an annotation that says “Visit Advertiser’s Site”. Since I’m curious, I click on the link and low and behold, I’m on their site and enter for a chance to win in their sweepstakes.

Screenshot 2015-06-09 19.22.19

The sad thing is, the campaign was over before I landed on the page, and Heineken missed its chance to get me on its list. Will I see a remarketing ad in the future? Possibly!

Screenshot 2015-06-09 19.29.57

Are You Ready To Map Out and Fine Tune Your Lead Strategy?

So what will you do today to insure that your business brings in a continuous flow of qualified leads on a daily basis? Can you begin to map out a refined procedure? Remember, don’t just throw content out into the world and expect a beanstalk to grow in your backyard overnight. The business world is not a fairytale.

If you incorporate just a few of these social media strategies into your overall lead generation plan, not only will you be able to grow your business, but you will start a snowball effect that brings in new prospects for the long term. Now put your thinking caps on and start outlining your strategy, or if you’re looking to generate more B2B leads watch our latest webinar.

Big Data is Good—But Big Testing is Better | Chief Marketer

@chiefmartec “out of 12,000 experiments that Google ran in 2009, only about 10% of them resulted in adopted changes.” You are not Google. But you must realize that in every industry, an online leader is going to emerge, and it will be the company that adopts a testing culture.
Intuition is no longer your friend. Your intuition cannot comprehend the variety of ways our visitors are coming at us. Data and testing are your friends, or your online audience will continue to abandon you.
Get excited about testing and taking that leadership role in your marketplace. 
Want to get Brian’s For Further Study posts delivered right to your inbox? Click HERE to sign up.

 

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Conversions_with_God_Book

After nine months of writing, fifteen chapters complete and dozens of columns supporting the effort, you’d think that the easiest thing to do would be to pick a name for my conversion marketing book.
As it turns out, this is difficult.
So why read a post about selecting a book title? Because, it’s all about conversion – not just the book, but the title is about converting book prospects into book readers.
The title of your book is key to maximizing conversions. It is like the subject line of your email, like the headline of your landing page, and like the value proposition of your home page. Get these wrong and your conversion rates will plummet. However the book title can’t be changed. Once chosen you are stuck with it until you write another.
It’s expensive to test titles, and this makes a Conversion Scientist very nervous.
I’ve considered a number of approaches. These approaches will also inform your online marketing.

Leverage something familiar

My first thought was to leverage something familiar, something that is already popular. This spawned several mockups including The Bourne Conversion, Eat, Pray, Convert, How to Win Friends and Convert People, and Conversions with God.
Unfortunately, copyright issues will prevent me from using any of these.

Ask your SEO person

The next thing I had to consider was how people might find the book on search engines. Phrases like “online sales conversion,” “analytics,” “conversion rates,” and “social media” are some of the most commonly searched phrases in the conversion marketing space. With this focus in mind, several titles were considered:
Online Sales Conversion: The Science of B2B, B2C, Online Services and Social Media Websites
The Well Managed Web Site: Conversion Strategy and Analytics in Simple Terms
Managing Websites to High Conversion Rates
Online Conversion Strategy
In my opinion, words like “conversion” and “analytics” are too clinical. Furthermore, these conversion terms don’t really get that much search traffic, so this strategy became less important to me.

Leverage your existing brand

I’ve been marketing Conversion Sciences and The Conversion Scientist pretty consistently for six years now through writing, speaking and training. The business is familiar to many online marketers and business owners, the two primary targets for my tome.
Playing on the science angle associated with the brand yielded several interesting titles, including the original working title, Get a Reaction.
Marketing + Science = Customers: Online Conversion Strategies to Transform Prospects into Buyers
Conversion Science: The Proven Formulas for Transforming Online Prospects into Customers
The Science of Reaction: Proven Conversion Formulas of Internet Based Companies

Own a word

I’ve always like one-word book titles that are provocative, like Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” and “Outliers.” I thought “REACTION” might be the word that sticks with people in my space.
REACTION: Getting visitors to take action on your website
Get a REACTION: Proven Strategies of the Conversion Scientist
The Science of REACTIONS: Websites that Convert Visitors to Leads and Sales
My feeling is that you have to have a large marketing budget to get a word to stick in the minds of potential readers. I didn’t get a multi-million dollar advance, unfortunately.

Surprise them

Seth Godin is great at naming books with unexpected titles, such as Purple Cow, All Marketers are Liars and Meatball Sundae. I thought the unexpected or absurd might work for my book as well.
It’s Raining Soup. Get a Bowl. How to turn Internet traffic into a delicious business.
Glad I Stopped By: Websites We Love to Do Business With
They Did What?! Unexpected Strategies of The Conversion Scientist
Marketing Backwards: Unexpected Strategies of The Conversion Scientist
The Website Genome Project: Proven Research of The Conversion Scientist
The truth is, I’m not Seth Godin. Darn it.

State your topic plainly

We often get too clever for our own good when we’re writing headlines, subject lines, and book titles. It’s a business book, after all.
Managing Your Website: Conversion Strategy and Analytics for the Managers and Business Owners
Online Conversion Strategies for Websites that Dominate Their Marketplace
The problem with these is that the reader is more likely to fall asleep before finishing the title.

Ask your personas

If you follow The Conversion Scientist, you know that I believe creating visitor personas is the best way to get high conversion rates on your website. The same applies to books, and I have developed several personas for this book.
With this guidance, I was able to choose a book title that combines the right ingredients… I hope. Here’s what I know about my personas.
Most of my personas have heard of The Conversion Scientist through my columns, blog posts and speaking. This tells me to leverage the familiar science angle.
One persona studies marketing, and they are reluctant to read a book that will give them same advice they’ve already heard. Therefore, the title should indicate that it is presenting a fresh way to look at online marketing. Use terms like “unexpected” or surprise titles like “marketing backwards.”
Finally, all of my personas are human, which means they respond to things like metaphors, rhyming and alliteration (the repeated use of a sound in a sentence or phrase). This tells me I should use these tools.
After reviewing these persona requirements, we settled on the following title:
The Customer Creation Equation: Unexpected Formulas of The Conversion Scientist™
The alliteration and rhyming nature of the main title will help people remember the name. It has the important search terms “conversion,” and “customer” in it. The terms “equation” and “formulas” evoke the science theme of my brand.
Finally, the strategies are “unexpected,” and indeed the book contains advice contrary to what you have been told. This was a tough decision for me. One of our personas is trying to solve a specific marketing problem. Calling my recommendations “unexpected” may not appeal to her. She will want to know about “proven” strategies, and I did consider the subtitle “Proven Strategies of The Conversion Scientist.” Yet, I knew she would find value in being “cutting edge,” and “unexpected strategies” should appeal to her.
Did we pick the right title? Which would you prefer to read? Let us know in the comments.

You won’t be converting much of anything if you start with the wrong kind of website. Find out which of five conversion signatures your website should be following with a free video that introduces some key concepts from The Customer Creation Equation.

Can you send a daily email to a business-to-business email list?

 
One of my favorite conversion strategies is the second chance. The second chance only comes when I have a way to continue the conversation; to get someone to come back again and let me make my case again.
 
There is no better second chance channel than email.
 
When entrusted with an email address, and permission to continue the conversation, I have one, two, three or more chances to persuade a prospect to reconsider.
 
In a business-to-business situation — the considered purchase — in which a decision will be made over a period of weeks or months, email is a true friend. And if it is executed with respect, it is a friend to those struggling with a purchase decision.
 
The question is, how many second chances am I going to take?
 

Five Emails an Hour

 
I tell companies that they can send email as often as their content allows them.
 
I once got five emails from American Airlines within the space of an hour. Did I unsubscribe? Did I feel spammed? The emails were telling me the status of a flight I was booked on as its departure time and gate changed. The emails were completely relevant to my situation, and were welcome.
 
If we were to stand by our statement that businesses can send as often as their emails’ relevance allows, we needed to understand the dynamics of a high-frequency email campaign.
 

An Email a Day Experiment

 
The goal of this experiment was to examine the following hypotheses:
 

  1. Sending email would outperform social media marketing.
  2. Sending frequent email would significantly increase my conversion rate.
  3. Sending frequently would cause an unacceptable number of my subscribers to unsubscribe.
  4. Sending frequent email would reduce my ability to deliver email due to spam reports.

 

The List

 
We chose a selection of 2000 names from my house list. This list consists of contacts made through personal interactions, meetings and consultations. It is primarily a business-to-business list.
 
I would call the list a “semi-warm” list having received email from me only quarterly. This list had received emails on January 11 and April 30. The experiment began September 7.
 
Your list could easily be generated from social media traffic or search engine traffic.
 

The Content

 
Because of the frequent nature of these emails, it was important that they provide some value and be entertaining. This proved to be a significant challenge.
 
Each email followed the following formula:
 

  • A non-promotional subject line
  • Relevant copy
  • Link to relevant content online or registration for a live event
  • Offers varied, including an invitation to subscribe to my mailing list, registration for a live workshop and an invitation to a Webinar on writing for landing pages.

 
Subject lines included “Are you the victim of the Email Invisibility Ray?,” “Social Media: Marketing from my La-Z-Boy,” and “Why eight-year-olds beat me at Chess.”
 
Download the content of the emails sent at The Conversion Scientist.
 

The Frequency

 
Emails were sent daily, Tuesday through Friday for two consecutive weeks. Eight emails we sent in all.
 

Test Results

 

Email Performance vs. Social Media

 
We’ve had relatively good luck using social media to drive traffic to my site. However, in Figure 1, you can see that the email resulted in significant increases in traffic, even outperforming our summer social media experiment.
 
Frequent Email Experiment: Traffic
Figure 1: Emails’ Effect on Site Traffic
 
Hypothesis: “Sending email would outperform social media marketing.” True
 
One interesting note is the rise in search engine traffic at the time of the email. This underscores that click-through rate is only a partial measurement of email effectiveness.
 

Increased Conversion Rate

 
It is probably not surprising that sending email to a targeted list is going to result in more conversions. However, keep in mind that my social media networks are also quite well-targeted.
 
As expected, both conversions and conversion rates for new subscribers increased. We can also attribute thirteen (13) workshop registrations to this email series, generating almost $1300 in sales.
 
Just looking at new email subscribers, the conversion rate for our social media experiment were 2.5%. For the period of this email, conversion rates were 7.6%.
 
Frequent Email Experiment: Conversion Rate
Figure 2: Emails’ Effect on Conversion Rate
 
Hypothesis: “Sending frequent email would significantly increase my conversion rate.” True
 

Opt-out Rates

 
This was the metric I was most interested in examining. How would unsubscribe rates change over the course of the experiment?
 
Frequent Email Experiment: Open, click and bounce rate
Figure 3: Open rate, Click-through rate and Bounce Rate for each drop.
 
I consider an unsubscribe rate of 1% or less acceptable and expected in any email that asks the reader to take action. So, I got pretty nervous as unsubscribe rates rose to 3.2%, and stayed well above 1%. Over the course of the experiment, 15% of the list unsubscribed.
 
There are two ways to look at this:
 

  1. We lost 15% of our prospects.
  2. We identified the 85% of list members that are interested and qualified.

 
If my goal with this list was primarily to sell, I would consider the 15% loss to be acceptable and even desirable. This is called Shaping your list.
 
However, my goal is to evangelize conversion and to educate, so the opt-outs represents a pretty significant loss of reach.
 
From a brand perspective, there were very few negative comments, and many positive ones.
 
Given the opt-out rates, would I do this again. The answer is a resounding yes.
 
Hypothesis: “Sending frequently would cause an unacceptable number of my subscribers to unsubscribe.” False
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Effect on Deliverability

 
The other negative effect that frequent emails can have is an increase in spam reports.
 
For most service providers, deliverability is the inverse of the bounce rate. If my emails are reported as spam, we would see an increase in bounces. Intuitively, when shaping a list, you expect bounce rates to drop quickly as bouncing addresses are removed from the list.
 
For our experiment, the bounce rate began at 2.5% but quickly dropped, leveling at an imperceptible 0.06%.
 
One reader was kind enough to let me know that they had “spammed” my email. I used the site MXToolbox.com to see if my domain had been placed on any black lists. However, it would be our Email Service Provider (ESP) that took the hit if spam was reported. This is one big value of an ESP. They keep themselves – and you – off of black lists.
 
Frequent Email Experiment: Unsubscribe Rate
Figure 4: Unsubscribe Rates for the Email Series
 
Another measure of reader interest is open rates.
 
Email service providers count the number of times a special image is downloaded to establish open rates. Since many people have images turned off in their email client, the open rate is not an accurate measure of actual opens.
 
However, I would interpret a steady drop in open rates as a sign that the list is becoming fatigued with my communications. Open rate can also be a good indicator of the quality of your subject line.
 
Open rates were relatively flat, dropping on Fridays.
 
Overall, I believe that few of my readers reported these emails as spam.
 
I attribute this positive outcome to the non-promotional nature of the copy, even though the emails were clearly promoting our email list, workshop and webinar.
 
Hypothesis: “Sending frequent email would reduce my ability to deliver email due to spam reports.” False
 

Conclusions

 
With some simple analytics in place, we can pretty easily establish the ideal frequency of our email campaigns. Based on these results, we should be sending email more frequently. You will probably come to the same result. However, we tested a certain kind of email with this experiment; an email that is informational and entertaining as well as promotional. This style of email requires a bit more work and creativity on our part.
 
The payoff is quite clear.
 
Email is a more effective channel in a B2B sale than is social media. It is also a great way to get more out of your search engine and advertising traffic. When you get an email address, you get a second chance at the sale. And a third, fourth and fifth chance.
 
For the complete content of the emails sent during this experiment, and the results of some split tests conducted, visit

Do you know the things that could make your landing pages really sing?

image of SEM PDX logoThere are marketers out there conducting experiments online to find out what works best; what turns more visitors into prospects and customers. These are bare-teeth marketers who sometimes cross the line of propriety. Some even cross legal lines.
Don’t throw the things they’ve learned out entirely. Even the most conservative brand can use one or more of these well-tested techniques to make their landing pages perform at peak levels.
I’ll be sharing with you fifteen components of high-performing landing pages that you can use in your online marketing.
Join me and with hosts SEMpdx and Online Marketing Summit for “What We Can Learn from the Bad Boys of Conversion.”

  • Overcome your fear of long-form copy
  • Understand the incredible importance of the headline
  • Properly employ the use of bolding, highlighting and the Johnson Box
  • Explore the magic of testimonials and guarantees
  • Behold one of the most tested calls to action on the Internet

I’ll take you through a couple of examples used in B2B marketing including one that even Apple might design.
Register now. It’s free, and I’ll be answering your questions as well.
Contact Brian Massey

If you are not completely satisfied with this post…

There are lots of reasons that someone wouldn’t fill out your lead form, even if your white paper or Webinar are free.

 

“I’m going to get a sales call”

 

“I’m going to get a bunch of spam”

 

“I may not be able to join the Webinar”

 

“They’re asking for too much information”

 

“I don’t really know this company”

Well, even in business-to-business lead generation, you can “reverse” the perceived risk of completing a form, and I cover several ways to do this in my Search Engine Land column "Six Risk Reversal Tactics For B2B Lead Generation.”

In general, you can reverse risk by

     

  • Telling prospect how you will treat their data
  •  

  • Telling prospects what to expect if they complete the form

Read the full article for some ways to communicate these messages.

What are you afraid of?

The goal of my Ion Interactive presentation “What Can We Learn from the Bad Boys of Marketing?” was to shake things up a bit.

Conversion marketing is about bringing visitors to choice. B2B marketers carry this same burden.

Can marketers in more conservative industries use techniques proven to increase online leads and sales in B2C markets?

Conversion-Scientist-Podcast-Logo-1400x1400


Not only should B2B marketers try everything that B2C businesses are using, they risk irrelevance if they don’t.

In my Ion Interactive webinar, I use two B2B landing pages to illustrate how these B2C techniques can be used:Mary O’Brien Adwords Advantage landing page AdwordAdvantage.com and CoverActionPro.com.

  • Long copy
  • Bold headlines
  • Highlighting and bullets
  • “Johnson” boxes
  • Risk reversal
  • Testimonials
  • “Act” buttons
  • Signatures and postscripts

I go as far in the Webinar to state:

“Business to business copy sucks. It’s horrible to read. There is a need, that when someone recommends a site to their boss that you look professional, but it doesn’t mean you have to write like an idiot.”

Certainly you can deliver a high-converting experience without harming your online brand, like CoverActionPro.

You have to work harder. You can’t ask a committee of executives to review your pages. You have to know how your page is performing and how changes are affecting your results.

You can learn more about analytics and their proper application at my AEN Short Course “Web Analytics: Tools and Best Practices” on June 11, 2010.

Enjoy the Webinar and don’t miss Anna Talerico’s Conversations on Conversion podcast.

Brian Massey's social graph

Playing it safe will keep you from getting hurt — and from getting customers

Social media and wrestling. The Conversion Scientist Fast Company columnist Sam Ford offers an insightful and entertaining treatise on how Corporations — and brands and small businesses – can take a page from the world of “professional” wresting.
In short, Ford follows his own advice with this column.
His assertions are well-suited to illustrating what it takes to communicate online; to communicate in a way that gets visitors to stick around and take action.

“An Appropriate Level of Spectacle Is Crucial”

The outrageous costumes, the drama, the crowd: all contribute to an air of excitement that inevitably makes you stop for a moment while channel surfing. This will also stop the visitor that is surfing the Web.
On your site, you need a hook to draw your visitor in. To assume that they are visiting because they know they want to learn about your company is naive. You’ve got to hook them first.

“Humor and Charisma Always Make a Connection”

It is especially true in the B2B world that humor and charisma seem to have no place. “After all, we’re all serious business people here.” If this is your attitude, kiss the customers goodbye.

“Create a Serialized Connection with Your Audience”

Conversion happens around great content. Great content happens more than once.
There are so many ways to send serial content – email, social media, news wires, blogs – that you should be frothing from the mouth to crank out the articles, posts, papers, audio and video to feed the monster. This monster poops business.
You can even serialize an article. For instance, there are 10 tweets in this post alone. Can you guess what they are?

“Shiny New Objects” Don’t Last

This is a corollary to the last item: Big ideas may carry the day, but what about the next day and the day after that?
Marketers need an editorial calendar for your communications. Get the budget and the resources to be a content machine.

“Your Audience Uses You as an Excuse to Build Community”

Facebook groups can work. LinkedIn groups can become vibrant. When this happens, it is because you have found a seed group of fans who love the product and the opportunity to associate themselves with it.
This doesn’t happen because of price discounts. It happens when you join the conversation.
Wrestlers throw each other into the crowd. What are you throwing in to your crowd?

“Your Audience Is Always Performing”

The other thing that works in Social Media is giving your “crowd” a stage on which to become a performer. Blogs offer comment sections, for example. Let them post, upload, rate, review and comment. Give them a stage.
There is more at the Fast Company blog.
Brian Massey's social graph
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