Tag: Marketo Marketing Blog

Customer Engagement: How Well Do You Know Your Audience?

The results of our 2017 State of Engagement Report are in, and there’s good news and bad news.

I’ll lead with the positive:

  • 98% of marketers have customer engagement strategies.
  • 82% believe they have a deep understanding of their audience.

What that says is that our customers want to be engaged by brands in meaningful ways, and marketers have gotten the message.

The bad news? More than half of customers think brands could do a better job of engaging them. That’s a serious disparity between how well we think we know our audiences and what our customers have to say on the matter.

1:2 of Consumers-Brand Engagement

Let’s go back to that first stat for a second. Almost all of us are investing in engagement, but many marketers are missing the mark. There are three major reasons why this might be happening, and several potential resolutions to consider—let’s take a look:

1. Marketers are Focusing on Engagement for the Wrong Reasons

Most customers believe that their interaction with brands are primarily transactional in nature, and few customers feel like brands are making an effort to build a relationship with them. This may be the root of the engagement perception disparity.

The number one reason why marketers invest in engagement is to boost conversions, but “buy now!” is a transactional, and frankly, linear goal. And relationships are not linear things.

Think of it this way: you meet someone new and develop a friendship with him. You think your new friend is interesting, but he’s always asking you to invest in his company. Over time, those constant requests will inevitably leave you feeling like he only wants to be your friend because he hopes you’ll eventually invest.

To truly engage customers, the goal of engagement must be to develop a relationship—with all the meandering that brings—and connect in a meaningful, authentic way. I promise it will lead to more revenue in the long run, too.

To do a better job of engaging customers, marketers need to evaluate how they define engagement and create goals along with journey that transcends the “buy now!” impulse.

2. Lack of Executive Buy-In Sinks the Best Intentions

Only 56% of marketers believe company executives are aligned with their engagement goals. The C-suite isn’t as convinced that marketers’ engagement strategies are worth the effort—and that’s with a clear push for conversion attached. Now, your new end goal is building relationships. That’s even less likely to drive executive alignment.

Marketing teams must take charge of educating senior leaders on the importance and benefits of engagement. What works best? Consider:

  • Research on your customers’ behaviors, expectations, and demands.
  • Case studies that highlight the successes of other brands that were focused on relationship-building.
  • Examples of competitors’ engagement initiatives.
  • Internal experiments—even if they’re small in scale—that can produce outcomes to share with leadership.

And, consider your audience: executives want to see the bottom line. That’s not a bad thing. What it means is that it’s important to come with plenty of evidence, bring leadership along in your thinking, and stand your ground with data as you advocate for the right way of engaging customers.

Finally, it helps to find an executive sponsor (like the CMO!) who is aligned with your thinking and can coach your messaging to the rest of the leadership team.

3. Engagement Efforts are Spread Too Thin

There’s a lot of inefficiencies that result from a volume-driven engagement strategy. In the digital world, marketers can be everywhere at marginal cost, so we’re often being pushed to add, “one more channel” or to make “one more send.”

But does this more, more, MORE! approach pay off? Findings from Marketo’s The State of Engagement report show that marketers are investing in almost all channels at higher rates than customers are using them:

Channels Currently Being Used Overall

With finite resources, there is a natural toll on the quality of participation on these channels and, more importantly, across these channels.

Instead, you may be better served to ramp down where you’re saying stuff and focus on what you say—that is how relevant and consistent your message is for the intended recipient. Only 15% of B2B and 16% of B2C customers stated that their lack of engagement was the result of brands not offering engagement on the channels they prefer. On the other hand, more than one-third of B2B customers and more than half of B2C customers stated they weren’t engaged because brands send too much irrelevant content.

Irrelevant Content

Instead of focusing on expanding brand presence across multiple channels, marketers should adopt the right tools to identify their most important channels, measure how effective their efforts on those channels are, and drive consistency and relevancy in the experience across channels.

Closing the Customer Engagement Gap

Though marketers are more focused on engagement than ever before and are more confident in their efforts, customers and buyers still aren’t feeling particularly engaged. To close this gap, marketers need to redefine their engagement goals and metrics, secure leadership alignment, and reprioritize their efforts to focus on the channels and initiatives that truly drive engagement.

How are you measuring and responding to customer engagement? What has changed in your strategy in the last year? I’d love to hear about your findings in the comments.

 

The post Customer Engagement: How Well Do You Know Your Audience? appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/customer-engagement-well-know-audience.html

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B2B Lead Generation Strategies for 2018 Plus 5 Strategies to Kick to the Curb

With a new year fast approaching, now is the time to re-evaluate what lead gen strategies are worth keeping and which outdated habits should be kicked to the curb fast. Certain strategies, like content marketing and SEO, are enduring no-brainers that will continue to allow you to thrive in 2018. Others are pushing their way to prominence thanks largely due to shifts in how your audience desires to be engaged with on and offline.

The big secret to effective lead gen in 2018 is knowing when to adapt to newer trends that work and are increasingly relevant, and when to optimize those marketing strategies that may need a tweak or two.

In this blog, I’ll show you lead generation strategies you should adopt or hold on to for 2018 and the strategies you need to let go of to stay on top in the new year.

Do: Take a Second (and Third) Look at Mobile Marketing

As of 2015, most of Google users access the search engine via mobile phone. Therefore, it only makes sense to optimize mobile marketing efforts for lead generation purposes.

In addition to web page responsiveness, it’s very important to consider the mobile-friendliness of:

  • Content should be examined for font color and size, as well as paragraph size. Make sure it’s easy to read on a mobile phone.
  • Ads should be less intrusive and less ad-like—especially on your site.
  • Email should be mobile-friendly. At least 20% of your email list will be accessing their email on their smartphones. And don’t just create an email template that works and forget about it. Email clients are constantly updating and rendering of your email on mobile could change from time to time.

This may sound obvious, but in fact, a lot of websites, emails, and ads are not mobile friendly. And your audience is starting to notice. Content designed to generate leads is often making a first impression, so make it a good one on every device.

Do: Stick to Social Media Marketing via Business-Friendly Networks

Social media is a popular sales channel for B2C brands, but it can be just as effective for B2B lead generation. A focused strategy—especially on professional networks like LinkedIn—can target and get the attention of new leads.

  • Fill up the business page. Make sure your company profile is complete and robust, so users who are unfamiliar with the brand can quickly understand who you are and the unique value you offer.
  • Post awareness-stage content. Brands frequently post in-depth content to LinkedIn—either directly on the platform, or by linking to the company blog—but include a balance of entry-level content as well.
  • Participate in different LinkedIn Groups. Many marketers are intentionally involved in LinkedIn Groups that relate to their industries, but preaching to the choir doesn’t generate new leads. Follow your buyer personas to Groups related to their industries, and offer genuine, unbiased help.

Do: Convert to HTTPS

Effective October 2017, Google Chrome has started adding a label on forms, on HTTP sites. Users will now see a “not secure” warning if your site hasn’t been converted to HTTPS.

Which means that the amazing resources you’ve created, and the strategic landing page you’ve designed, might be showing errors to visitors. It’s too soon to tell, but the coming months may provide insights on dropping numbers of download—and conversions—because users were scared away from “not secure” forms.

Do: Up Your Content Marketing Game

The importance of quality content marketing is a well-beaten drum going into 2018, but that doesn’t mean you should walk away from it. It’s true that 89% of B2B marketers rely on content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, but that’s because more and more B2B decision makers look to content for making important buying decisions.

It’s just time to up your game. The internet is flooded with content marketing, but it’s by no means flooded with outstanding content.

Kick it up a notch to make sure you’re standing out:

  • Use video. If you haven’t started with video yet, it’s time.
  • Make it fast and mobile-friendly. Mobile is only going to continue to grow, attention spans are only going to continue to shrink.
  • Marry it to SEO. Google is the average person’s portal to the internet. If they can’t find your content, it might as well not be there.
  • A/B test everything. Don’t guess what your audience wants, test it. From subject lines to video ads to content length, to the color of a button: test and tweak.
  • Make it relevant. Don’t ruin your content strategy with irrelevant content. If your audience is looking for something, give them what they want.

Do: Embrace Automation

Users increasingly expect unified brand experiences across all their channels, personalized communications, and individual attention—even before they give you an email address. A smart engagement platform is the only way to deliver that kind of communication at scale, especially as your company continues to grow.

Recognize visitors by IP address, master the art of retargeting, deliver answers to questions when they need them, and more. One marketer can do this for a handful of potential leads, but a good system can make everyone feel like one of the favorites.

As you focus on what’s working, it’s okay to let go of what is not. Here are 5 things to stop doing in 2018.

Stop: Using Social Channels That Don’t Work

Most social channels provide their own analytics, so make them part of your regular routine. Examine which of your networks are getting the best engagement and compare those with industry averages. Don’t keep a social channel that isn’t working for you simply because you feel like you “have” to be there.

The channels that are best to engage B2C consumers may not be the best channels for B2B customers. Continually test, measure, and check your engagement levels as social channels are never a set-it-and-forget-it strategy.

Stop: Gating the Wrong Content

It’s possible that website visitors will casually offer up their name and email when prompted, but highly unlikely. Further, even if some surrender their email addresses for a white paper, most expect to access lighter content, like infographics, without the form. Make sure you’re offering a real incentive in exchange for a name and email address.

And don’t hesitate to gate really good content downloads. Lighter pieces and end-of-journey content such as pricing sheets should be ungated but research and meaty content should not be free! Too many marketers are missing loads of lead gen opportunities because they’re shy about gating their best content.

Stop: Isolating Marketing Strategies That Work Well Together

It’s time to tear down the silos. Traditional marketing doesn’t have to be entirely replaced by digital marketing. Combining SEO, PPC, ABM, email, web, social and more can maximize your lead generation possibilities. When reviewing successful (or even unsuccessful) strategies, consider whether or not there might be any benefit to combining marketing strategies into a single, cohesive, integrated campaign.

Stop: Cold Calling and Email Blasting

Still cold calling in 2017? Research shows that the call back rate for prospects is below 1%! That percentage is deflating enough on its own without the revelation that it takes an average of 18 calls to get through to a potential lead in the first place. Compare that outcome to stats that show a good subject line is enough to convince 33% of recipients to open an email.

Whether it’s cold calling, buying mailing lists (say hello to the spam folder!), or keyword stuffing, certain lead generation attempts are obvious no-no’s in 2017. Can we expect them to be anything else in 2018? Probably not.

Stop: Creating Content That is Redundant and Behind the Times

When it comes to content marketing, nobody likes a parrot. It may feel convenient to merely repeat what other B2B authority brands have stated, content that only repeats but fails to offer a new perspective is ultimately useless.

Additionally, stop auto-generating content. Several platforms cropped up in recent years offering to automatically generate content based on a keyword, but these programs—by necessity—can only find and rearrange content. It can’t generate new ideas and insights, which means it will never produce outstanding content.

Research your competitors to see what they haven’t said or what trends they’ve overlooked. Leads are looking for fresh content, not info they’ve read several times elsewhere.

Start 2018 With Your Best Foot Forward

Make 2018 the year that you fill the funnel with the RIGHT leads. Every brand, industry, and audience will work differently, so keep your eyes glued to those metrics and A/B test all the things.

Start by reviewing the lead gen strategies you’ve been using this year. Determine what has worked, how well it has worked, and what hasn’t worked at all – and stay honest. This will set you up to kill the things that aren’t working, and create some benchmarks for new strategies in the coming year.

What plans do you have for 2018 when it comes to B2B lead generation? What strategies are on your list to cut? Tell me about your planning in the comments!

The post B2B Lead Generation Strategies for 2018 Plus 5 Strategies to Kick to the Curb appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/b2b-lead-generation-strategies-2018-plus-5-strategies-kick-curb.html

How to Avoid the “Not Secure” Warning with Google Chrome Browser Changes

Earlier this year we all saw the first of a series of planned changes to how Google’s Chrome browser will display HTTP web pages without TLS/SSL encryption. To move towards a safer web, Chrome began displaying a “not secure” warning in the address bar of websites that collect passwords or credit card information. Now, the second step of Chrome’s changes is upon us. And this one is expected to have a much broader effect.

In late October, Google released version 62 of Chrome browser with two significant updates. First, Chrome began labeling all non-HTTPS pages in incognito mode as “not secure;” and, most importantly, Chrome also began adding the “not secure” warning in the address bar when visitors start typing any information on HTTP pages.

Here’s what this now looks like:

HTTP Google Warning

According to Google, “Passwords and credit cards are not the only types of data that should be private. Any type of data that users type into websites should not be accessible to others on the network, so starting in version 62 Chrome will show the “not secure” warning when users type data into HTTP sites.”  Not surprisingly, this change has been getting a lot more attention, and site owners have been rapidly adding certificates for TLS/SSL to secure their pages from HTTP to HTTPS.

In addition to this, we know that a third step is coming—we just don’t know when. At some point, Google has said that Chrome browser will add the “not secure” warning for any requests to HTTP pages. That’s huge! Google is making it clear that a safer web is one where unencrypted web connections are discouraged. That means we’re moving towards a future where HTTPS page encryption is going to be a standard requirement for web pages.

In this blog, I’ll share some web security fundamentals and give you some ideas on how you can plan to avoid the “not secure” warning coming with Chrome browser changes.

Let’s Start With the Basics

Before we dive right into what you need to do, let’s start with some basics. I’m going to keep it at a pretty high level in this post, but there’s a ton of information online—even some Web Security Fundamentals from Google.

What is TLS/SSL?

Transport Layer Security (TLS) and its predecessor Secure Socket Layer (SSL) are security protocols that encrypt the exchange of data between web servers and clients. This data encryption is vital to help prevent malicious parties from sniffing or eavesdropping into data as it traverses the web—which is especially important when it’s personal data, like passwords, credit card numbers, or other personally identifiable information that is shared. To secure those communications while in transit, companies purchase and apply TLS/SSL certificates, enforcing that requests to the site are made via HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) instead of HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol); essentially encrypting the data exchange and providing authentication to ensure that communication is happening only between the intended parties.

Why is it important?

With unsecured sites, i.e., those serving up HTTP pages, it’s possible for hackers or other parties to see the information shared between you and the site you’re visiting.  While this may seem farfetched or like the plot of an episode of Mr. Robot, it does happen! That’s why Chrome is making moves to encourage HTTPS—a move that will likely make HTTPS the new de facto web standard—for data security, increased search ranking (yes, page security is a ranking factor), and ultimately better conversion rates.

What Should I Be Doing to Secure My Pages?

If you believe as I do that HTTPS is going to be the new standard, then I bet you’re thinking about what you actually need to do to ensure your corporate web pages and your Marketo landing pages are secured. The three steps below are meant to get you started on the right path.

STEP 1: Check if your Corporate Domain is Secure

While the title of this step sounds like you need to have mad technical skills—you really don’t. All you need to do is to type your corporate website URL into any browser. For me, it’s opening up Chrome and typing, www.marketo.com. You’re looking to see if the address bar says HTTP: or HTTPS: and/or if using Chrome, you’re looking for the green lock and word “secure” when your page loads. If you see HTTPS, your corporate site is secure. It’s that easy.

If your corporate site is not secured, you may want to do a quick audit of your pages. You’ll want to note the address of any page that has a form or collects information. With the recent update to Chrome 62, it’s those HTTP pages that collect data that will display the “not secure” warning in the address bar. This list will also give you a starting point for the discussion you’ll need to have with your IT and web teams in the next step.

STEP 2: Meet with your IT and Web Team

It’s now time to enlist your experts. Schedule a time to meet with whoever is responsible for your corporate website. You’ll want to be sure they know of the changes to Chrome browser, and you’ll want to know of any plans that may already be in place to secure your corporate pages. The good news is that they may already be aware of the changes to Chrome. In mid-August, Google emailed notifications via Google Search Console to site owners who have HTTP pages with data entry. This notification explained that these pages will be marked as “not secure” in Chrome 62, and it even provided a list of affected page URLs (SearchEngine Land did a nice write up on this communication if you want to learn more). If your webmaster received this message, that would likely make a much smoother conversation with them.

On the other hand, if your IT or web team is unaware of the recent Chrome browser changes and the impact on collecting data from your pages on your site, below is a list of links that should help brief them before you meet.

To have a productive meeting with your IT or web team, here are some topics we recommend that you cover:  

  • What is your company’s policy for securing web pages?
  • Who is your point of contact for web projects like creating, updating, securing pages?
  • Does your company have any projects or initiatives already in progress to secure pages?
  • Who’s responsible for purchasing TLS/SSL certificates to secure pages?
  • How are certificate renewals handled?
  • Are there any steps that marketing needs to take when creating new pages on your corporate site?
  • When adding new technologies to your technology stack, is there an audit to determine if pages/content/data needs to be hosted or served securely.
  • What other platforms might serve your forms, landing pages, images, or content?

Be sure to really dig into that last item on the list. While your corporate website serves pages from your servers that your IT/web teams can secure, many third-party platforms may also serve your pages from their servers. In fact, this is so important that it deserves to be its own step, leading us to Step 3.

STEP 3: Consider 3rd Party Platforms That Serve Your Pages

So far, you’ve checked your corporate website to see if it’s serving up secure pages, and you’ve met up with your IT/web teams to be sure they know that the recent changes to Chrome may require avoiding “not secure” warnings. Now, it’s time to consider all the 3rd party platforms you’ve got integrated with your technology stack that might host or serve pages, content, or assets. You may need to work with those vendors to secure the pages they serve. Third party vendors could include your marketing automation tool, email service provider, or content management system.

While the changes to Chrome will affect all landing pages across the web, when it comes to your Marketo landing pages, you have two options. The first is to do nothing. Your landing pages and forms will continue to be served over HTTP and will work as before. The only difference will be the “not secure” notification that Chrome will add in the browser’s address bar when a visitor enters data on your page.  The second option is to add Secured Domains for Landing Pages to your Marketo subscription. This will create a secure landing pages server on our side to serve your landing page requests via HTTPS.

Marketo Secured Domains for Landing Pages

Marketo’s Secured Domains for Landing Pages secures any and all landing page domains defined in your instance to serve via HTTPS. Here’s a brief overview of the process:

On the Marketo side, we’ll install a new server endpoint and install the necessary security certificate(s) to create a secured landing page server for your instance. This will allow us to serve page requests for all your landing page URLs over HTTPS. In the past, our secured services required you to provide a TLS/SSL certificate and private key to Marketo, but we now we manage this process for you—as well as certificate renewals—making it easier than ever to secure your pages.

On your side, you’ll need to review and update any hardcoded links on your landing pages and unapproved/reapprove your landing pages before the cutover from HTTP to HTTPS. Once you’re ready, we’ll coordinate a time for the cutover, and enable your instance for secured landing pages. From that point forward, your pages will be served via HTTPS.

Moving your pages to HTTPS—whether it’s your corporate pages, your Marketo landing pages or other pages serving your content—helps to ensure that you’re providing critical security and data integrity to help protect your visitors’ personal information.

Want to learn more about Secured Domains for Landing Pages? Please see our Marketing Nation Community post on Secured Domains for Landing Pages, or contact your Marketo customer success representative.

How are your IT or web teams addressing the Chrome browser changes? Let us know if you have tips to share for adapting to these changes!

The post How to Avoid the “Not Secure” Warning with Google Chrome Browser Changes appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/avoid-not-secure-warning-google-chrome-browser-changes.html

5 Factors to Consider When Segmenting Your Customers

Everyone knows all the usual suspects for customer segmentation. Easily collectible demographics data such as age, gender, and location, are easy wins for companies looking to personalize their marketing materials. In the next few years, the tools that we use for segmentation will give companies an even more significant understanding of each customer on an individual level. Machine learning and automation are increasingly being used to improve data analysis. These tools will quickly become the norm for any digital business. Still, there are some common misconceptions about the best practices for segmentation.

In this blog, I’ll show you five factors to consider before you begin your segmenting your customers. 

Customer Behavior is Just as Important as Customer Details

Effective segmentation digs deeply. It involves an analysis of customer behavior, not just quickly available data like customer details. What actions are customers taking once they hit your website? Do their actions resemble those of other customers? Does there seem to be a trend? Not many brands dive into segmentation as customer actions as thoroughly as they should. For example, many companies sort customers based on who abandons their cart on ecommerce sites. In these cases, companies might offer a discount or reach out to ask if they had any questions about the product.

But what if you segmented that group even further? Further segments could include those for customers who never entered their credit card information, customers whose credit card has been denied, or customers who failed to enter a single detail after adding a product to their cart. By tracking and sorting customers based on their behavior on your site, you can better inform your marketing materials and customize your messages for each customer type. You can then design your landing pages to target specific customer types. Landing page builders like Unbounce are helpful tools for this since they let you design your landing pages and other marketing materials according to your segmentation of customers.

Automation and Machine Learning are Inherent Parts of Effective Segmentation

A big reason so few brands haven’t used segmentation to its full potential is that sorting through all that data can be tedious. It can take days to sift through data by hand and properly adequately categorize each person to ensure your assessments are accurate. And accuracy is important here: you wouldn’t want to send out customer emails only to find that you have miscalculated or missed a data point.

Automation and machine learning have re-shaped digital marketing and segmentation in particular. An excellent engagement platform can provide hyper-targeting that examines the customer journey and then automatically optimizes your marketing materials for specific customer types, helping you interact with customers on a more personal level. These tools will become the standard for all brands doing serious business online, simply because of the added value they provide.

Micro-Segmentation Builds Trust

Customers love brands that understand them. That’s why it’s so important to speak to their pain points in every piece of marketing that you create. Customers want to know that companies understand their needs, pains, and desires. They also want to be assured that the product you offer will solve their relevant problems.

Micro-segmentation is about sorting your customers into more specific categories. In typical segmentation, you might have customer segments based on who lives in Denver, who has a job title of Vice President, or who is above the age of 50. An example of a micro-segment would be a segment that includes all three—50+-year-old VPs who live in Denver.

According to an Infosys survey, 78% of customers stated that they’re more likely to buy from a company that sends them more targeted offers. Building that initial trust is incredibly important—customers who have been buying from a company for 30 or more months spend 67% more per order than they did on their first purchase. Micro-segmentation helps you win that trust by allowing you to speak to customers’ most significant concerns.

Segmentation Research Should Inform Product Development

At its core, segmentation begins with learning more about your customers. After all, the more you know about your customers, the more you can tailor your marketing to their unique problems, preferences, and desires.

Segmentation data should go beyond marketing; it should also be used to inform product development. Startups often pivot to find a market that needs solutions, and proper segmentation can help them pinpoint the best market. While no established business is going to do a full-fledged pivot in the same way that a startup would, many could benefit from more customer data involvement in product development.

Since detailed customer data is one of the most powerful tools available to companies, companies should design a product based on data-informed facts, rather than on their own assumptions.

Customer Needs are Not Static

A big mistake that brands make during the segmentation process is to stop their analysis as soon as they place customers in their respective segments. These customers will forever remain in that segment—even if additional data is collected in the future.

The problem here is that customer needs and preferences change over time. Today’s customers might be in a completely different place in life than they had been a year prior. Continuously working to correctly categorize customer types will help you more accurately target customers in your marketing and sales strategy.

Personalization is the Future

In-depth segmentation of your audience gives you more opportunities for personalization. It allows you to gain a detailed analysis of each customer so that you can tailor your sales and marketing efforts accordingly. While segmentation itself isn’t a new concept in digital marketing, the tools that we have available are making micro-segmentation increasingly feasible for companies of all sizes.

Segmentation can make or break your business. As more companies move toward the possibility and potential of an audience segment of one, it is paramount to create segmentation that can scale. How have you utilized segmentation to improve your customer’s experience? What tips will you implement from the advice given in this blog? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments.

The post 5 Factors to Consider When Segmenting Your Customers appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/5-factors-consider-segmenting-customers.html

Three Tips to Create Sales Personalization at Scale

As a sales development representative, I am rejected on daily basis. Some leads are kinder than others and let me down easy. Others are short and direct in their response. Now, I get it, we have all experienced the unannounced sales call, interrupting our daily routing to sell us products we neither want nor need, thus making it easier to empathize with the frustration asserted by the voice on the other side of the phone line.

But when it comes to turning a few of those “no’s” into a “tell me more,” there are a few tricks that I have learned that other sales representatives can adopt to turn their luck around.

In this blog, I’ll give you three tips to create sales personalization at scale to help you move from rejected to connected.

Make the Sale Personal

As sales representatives in today’s day and age, we are fortunate enough to have a wealth of information at our disposal thanks to the internet. From individual prospect information to company/industry updates, there is almost no limit to the amount of personalization ammunition we can use at our disposal. But when it comes to delivering this level of individualized communication scale, via either telephone or email, we must be strategic.

Most organizations use sales enablement tools to equip their sales team to deliver mass and quick communication. But, before pressing send on those pre-constructed, vanilla emails, use this opportunity to add a little spice to the mix. Quickly adding a dash of personalization to your email can go a long way to increase their response rate. Looking for ways to personalize? Think industry specific news, noting their expressed interest in your product, or even a commonality about their professional career make-up.

By adding even a tiny bit of personalization to a specific campaign can drastically increase your outreach efforts and show that you have actually taken the time to learn about your prospect, and have earned the time to speak with them. Don’t jeopardize hurting your brand by sending mass, insincere, sales campaigns that not only waste your time but annoy your prospects, pushing them farther away.

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is key when you convince a prospect to buy or even consider buying your product. When it comes to selling the pleasure of your product, versus selling to pain, John Barrows clearly defines our problem as “the main reason most of us are stuck in the world of selling pain is because, unfortunately, most of us get stuck selling to people below the ‘power line,’ or non-decision-makers.” Selling to pain can have its benefits, by focusing on the time-consuming, menial processes that are eliminated by the implementation of the product. Showing empathy for daily frustrations and offering tangible solutions creates a level of desire for the product.

Yet, when it comes to selling to those who are outside of your product’s daily sphere of interaction, that is where you sell the hopes and dreams of grander marketing opportunities. Especially when you are looking to convince a company to invest a significate amount of capital in your product, showing them tangible and meaningful impact your product can have on their growth and long-term success, outside of feature/functionality, is going to be the ultimate decision maker.

Strike When the Iron is Hot

Staying top of mind is key for sales representatives to be successful in their space. With so many companies competing for an individual’s attention at any given moment, waiting too long to connect with an interested individual could mean losing their attention altogether. Now, I am not so much referencing the leads that are hot, reaching out to you to buy your product. That is a given fast-mover. I am more so suggesting the leads that are engaging with your brand, yet need a little nurturing, and a little push, to get them qualified to be a sales-ready lead. By being able to understand how a prospect is engaging with your brand in real time, you can leverage their attention to push that conversation and meet them half-way through their solution search. A timely interaction could just make the difference between, now and never.

When it comes to sales, there is no magic formula or secret sauce that makes a prospect reply to your outreach. Even a poetic and personalized email cadence can still land in the deleted folder, and a prospect who regularly visits your website could declare themselves uninterested in a purchasing conversation. Certain tricks work for some representatives, while others are left with negative returns. That is why the real secret to sales is that if at first, you don’t succeed, try again—but maybe this time with a different subject line.

With these three tips, you’ll move from rejected to connected in no time. Tell me about your tips and tricks to stay top of mind as a sales development representative. I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.

The post Three Tips to Create Sales Personalization at Scale appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/three-tips-create-sales-personalization-scale.html

How to Show Off Your USP (Unique Selling Point) and Gain Conversions

A unique selling point (USP) defines your company, highlights the advantages of doing business with you and sets you apart from the competition. It also gives your company focus, because you won’t try to be everything to everyone. To reap the best business benefits, you need to fulfill your own unique USP.

Today’s business landscape is oversaturated in nearly every industry. For example, if you sell web hosting services, you have a lot of competition, and there are only so many ways to differentiate yourself. The best thing to do is to survey your competition. What is the USP for each of those businesses? How can you stand out from the crowd, provide something unique? Your USP can be anything from the best customer service around to a specific specialty area.

In this blog, I’ll explain five ways to show off your USP to gain conversions and stand out from the crowd. 

1. Solve a Problem

One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition is to solve a problem for the consumer. For example, if you run a blog about jewelry, what is one issue that people who buy or own jewelry have? Perhaps it is figuring out what their jewelry is worth and you can offer an online estimate tool.

Figuring out a problem to solve is as easy as polling your current customers. Ask them what questions they have. You also can search on forums related to your topic to see what people are posting and asking questions about.

Take the meal kit delivery service, Blue Apron, for instance. Their USP is, “Fresh Ingredients, Original Recipes, Delivered To You.” They have provided all of the ingredients in the right proportions to take all of the guesswork and grocery store headaches out of cooking.

2. Collaboration

Even though you might think you should just stick to a single niche, sometimes the way to differentiate your business is to collaborate and provide one or two solutions even better than one company could offer alone. Being one of the first to offer A and B will be your USP. Your selling point is being a one-stop solution for both things.

You have a couple of options here. You can either bring both solutions to the consumer yourself, or you can collaborate with another company to offer a package deal. The key here is to bring two solutions or benefits to the table for consumers. If you can do it for a reduced price, so much the better.

One example of such a collaboration is the Honeywell and Lear Corporation. The two companies have come together to try to create some security solutions for autonomous vehicles. One concern consumers have about automated cars is the possibility of hacking into the computer system. The two companies are working together to overcome this concern and provide security to companies who build these cars.

3. Make Your Proposition Visual

Visual marketing is powerful. 37% of marketing professionals indicate that visual marketing was the most critical type of content for their business marketing. According to FastCompany, this is likely because site visitors share and remember more images and info on social media.

Another advantage to creating a visual element to your USP is that you show other businesses instead of just telling them. So, instead of just telling another company your USP, you would perhaps provide a detailed chart or image.

SpeedPro doesn’t just show off which products they provide for other businesses to grow through text, but they also make the entire process visual for the business owner. If a business was looking for an event graphic, they could see at a glance what types of items SpeedPro provides.

4. Find a Specialty

As a business, it is crucial that you find a niche area. This allows you to really hone in and specialize on that one unique area and develop a USP around it that will let you come up with unique taglines, marketing materials, and advertising that shows off your expertise in that area.

You can find your niche by thinking about what you do best. Next, look at your competitors who offer the same thing and figure out how you can specialize even more. What is still unique about you or what can you make unique?

Just because you have a specialty area doesn’t mean you can’t ever branch out, though. It’s okay to grow your business and offer more products and services, but always consider how they meet your USP and how the new additions can shape your business and allow it to fulfill its potential. Once everything is running smoothly with the first niche, you can add more.

Intermedia offers cloud IT management for businesses with a niche focus on cloud-based business IT services. They seem to have figured out that a problem for medium-sized businesses is managing their IT needs and have come up with a simple solution.

5. Staying Current

When it comes to showing off your USP, you need to stay on top of the newest trends and ideas in your industry. It doesn’t do you much good to hit a unique point only to discover that no one cares any longer. Or, your competitors may be copying what you do, making your unique selling point not so unique.

However, if you’re consistently studying the markets, new trends, interviewing customers and potential customers, and watching the competition, you will always be a step ahead. You’ll come up with new ideas faster than your competitors can copy your ideas, which is key to your success as a business owner.

Flowcrete offers some interesting flooring options, particularly for businesses. One way that they keep their site current is to provide a flooring blog. The blog is mostly a collection of short stories written for B2B decision makers. They show customer projects, share reviews and offer inspiration. It’s a pretty unique and interesting take on a blog.

Define Your B2B Business

Defining your USP is vital for both business growth and developing brand loyalty. Because you’ll have a narrow focus, you can concentrate on building your customer base within that niche. A clearly-defined USP is one that will stay with possible customers. When they need that specific need filled, they’ll think of you first, and you’ll watch the conversions roll in.

What is your brand’s USP? Has it changed throughout the development of your company? Tell me about it in the comments.

The post How to Show Off Your USP (Unique Selling Point) and Gain Conversions appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/show-off-usp-unique-selling-point-gain-conversions.html

How to Measure Digital Marketing Metrics and ROI

Research shows that email, social media, and websites are the top three channels for engaging with consumers. Whether they’re using mobile or desktop, the majority of your customers use these channels to learn and compare products and services. They are also best used for engaging with the customer before and after purchase. If executed correctly, all three can work together to form a smooth, positive experience. And after all of your hard work creating the campaign, you as a marketer are tasked with measuring the metrics and return on investment (ROI) of your campaigns. But measuring your digital campaigns’ ROI can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. With so many numbers out there to crunch, how do you know which ones to focus on?

You can use soft metrics like impressions, engagement, and visitors which are essential for shaping your marketing strategy into a winning game plan. Or you could focus on hard metrics, like spend and revenue, and are typically where your execs’ will focus. Both hard and soft metrics feed into calculating ROI

You can think of ROI metrics as three separate categories: front-end, middle, and back-end.

  • Front-end metrics, such as click-through-rate (CTR) and engagement ratio, tell you if your content is relatable enough to inspire action by your target audience.
  • Middle metrics note measures like conversion rate and bounce rate that show you the number of leads inching closer to client status.
  • Back-end metrics like pipeline and revenue show you not only how your marketing efforts have been hitting the company card but also how much revenue you’re receiving in return. These are the usual metrics for measuring your financial ROI.

In this blog, I’ll cover how to measure digital marketing metrics and ROI for email, social media, and website landing pages. 

Email

Email has come a long way since its inception—the year when Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff” swayed all of the hips—to where we see it today, and it continues to be a primary source for brands to engage with their consumers. Whether it’s through newsletters, inquiries, or purchase confirmations, email remains a quality avenue of information and communication between consumers and brands. Thanks to new advances in technology and email marketing services, we now have more efficient ways to carry out campaigns and access to various ROI metrics.

If you’ve run an email campaign before, then most of the following metrics should be familiar to you. But as email evolves, it’s important to keep an eye out for new updates and features—there just might be something new to add to your reports. Don’t forget! Incorporate tracking parameters in your emails, so you know where to attribute any leads and successes.

When measuring the initial success of your email campaign, especially when using A/B testing, pay attention to the following:

Bounce Rate. Are there any emails that failed to send? Remove false emails from your list, so you don’t continue paying for inactive addresses. Plus, a high bounce rate will count negatively towards your campaign and might even label you as SPAM.

Open Rate. Are your emails not getting opened? Test a new headline (or several) to catch their attention.

Unsubscribe Rate. Hello, darkness, my old friend. This metric is an easy way to determine something is wrong. If your consumers are getting turned off by your content, at any rate really, put on your Batman mask and investigate.

Clicks & Click-Through-Rate (CTR). How many clicks are your emails receiving? Are they clicking your links or images? Give your consumers a reason to engage with your email.

Conversions & Conversion Rate. How many people are following through to your email’s end goal? You can have a high open and click rate, but if you’re not converting, then there is room for improvement. You might need to make some adjustments to your email and/or your landing page.

Leads. Add up the number of conversions earned on your emails and note any replies and regularly engaged subscribers. These are your leads—follow up with them!

Though these are important metrics, they may not be your campaign’s sole reason for success. If your campaign’s goal is to bring in pipeline (expected future business) and revenue (dollar dollar bills), the success of these metrics depends on bringing in as many conversions as you can to generate a monetary return.

Ask yourself these questions once you have a fair amount of data from your campaign and/or tests:

  • How many of these conversions became quality leads that led to pipeline? What is my pipeline-to-cost ratio for this campaign? For this quarter, month, etc.?
  • How much revenue did this campaign generate? At what rate?
  • How much did each email, open, click and conversion cost? How much did it earn?
  • Where can this campaign improve to help these ROI metrics grow?

All of these metrics give you a solid summary of your email campaign with great detail to make adjustments and record ROI.

Social Media

Remember the early days of Facebook when you were so stoked the first time you hit double-digit likes? Triple-digit? For new brands and small business, likes were hard to come by at that time, and it’s probably not getting any easier. If it wasn’t already apparent that Facebook and other social media platforms are legitimate advertising spaces, Facebook recently announced that they are testing the removal of organic page posts in a few countries. Organic content reach has been running out of steam for years now, so this move essentially brings business pages to a “Go Paid or Go Home” mentality.

With Facebook ads, in particular, coming to a wild west shootout between brands, where bullets are replaced with four bits (look it up), it’s going to be very important that your marketing campaigns take precise aim rather than a good ol’ shotgun blast. Build on your strategy and take a deep look at what has or hasn’t been working in your previous campaigns. Facebook’s Insights tool offers a good amount of data from your page as a whole to an individual post.

Before you spend dinero (that’s money) on your next campaign, take a look at these metrics:

Engagement and engagement ratio. Are people reacting, commenting and sharing your boosted posts? The #1 obstacle to consumer engagement is irrelevant content, so find out what it is that gets them to act on your posts.

Clicks and click-through-rate. Engagement on your ad is fantastic, but are consumers actually clicking on your call to action? Choose the route that gets more people to your website over the one receiving plenty of blind-shares and likes.

Though Facebook Insights are great for front-end metrics like engagement ratio, clicks, and click-through-rate (CTR), you won’t have much data on conversions & conversion rate from your website. To really maximize the data—and your spend—out of Facebook, be sure to implement the Facebook pixel on your website for “conversion tracking, optimization, and remarketing.” The way your Facebook fans convert on your campaign depends on what goal you set. If the goal of your campaign is to fill out a form on your landing page, for example, the pixel will record that as a social conversion. These goals are triggered by actions on your Facebook page, and a follow through on a call to action (CTA).

To see how many leads you generate from your social marketing efforts, be sure to include tracking parameters in the URL you are advertising. From here you can see which campaign(s) bring in the best lead conversion rate. With this data and tracking in place you can determine how Facebook and other social platforms are contributing to your pipeline, therefore allowing you to gather more data on pipeline to cost and the cost/earning per click and post.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How many of these conversions became quality leads that led to pipeline? What is my pipeline-to-cost ratio for this campaign? For this quarter, month, etc.?
  • How much revenue did this campaign generate? At what rate?
  • How much did each impression, click and conversion cost? How much did it earn?
  • Where can this campaign improve to help these ROI metrics grow?

You’ll want to look and pull reports from both Facebook Insights and your web analytics platform to get the full picture of your paid social campaign’s success.

Website Landing Pages

Consider your website as a digital Disneyland: it’s where the magic happens. Though, instead of a shirtless giant mouse in short shorts selling you an overpriced funnel cake, it’s where you send your potential customers to find quality content and information on your products or services.

Be sure to take a look at these metrics on your website analytics using your tracking parameters:

Traffic. See how many visits your landing page received from your campaigns.

Unique & Returning visitors. This is the number of individuals who came to your page and how many kept coming back!

Total page views. Note any other pages visited on your website after your landing page.

Time spent on your page. Not only can you see how long people are on your website, but it also lets you know if your visits are engaged or immediate exits.

Conversions. Whether it’s an online purchase or signing up for an event, find the value generated from users that complete a goal on your website.

Use these initial metrics to gather details as you go further down the lead conversion funnel from campaigns, to website, and finally to revenue. Pulling consumers in through email and social is the first step, now you have to retain them. Pay attention to the bounce rate and exit rate on your landing page or website from these campaigns. Are people exiting at a high rate without converting? Might be a hint that you need to make some adjustments to your site. You could have a significant campaign that falls flat if your landing page doesn’t match your consumer’s expectations.

Is your website generating newsletter signups and email inquiries? These are leads! Perhaps a consumer came through a campaign and didn’t convert initially, but they came back to your website later for more information. Signing up for a newsletter or filling out your contact form can become a potential lead for you to continue your marketing.

Your website also has metrics that your social and emails may not: direct sales attribution. With transactions and revenue records on your site, you can see how much money your campaigns and website are generating. This gives you an immediate sense of ROI, but these are not the only two metrics to look at when it comes to money. If you operate through eCommerce, make sure to look at your cart retention rate. How many people are following through with their purchase after placing an item in their cart? Be sure to always test every function of your campaign, including following through on a purchase, to make sure that everything is working.

Take a look at the funnel visualization data to follow your buyer’s journey on your site. Your campaigns can bring you revenue outside of your initial promotion, so it’s a significant additional metric to see which campaigns and actions are contributing to conversions and sales. Here you can measure each channel’s contribution to your website’s success and compare it to your social metrics and email metrics.

Moving Forward

As marketers, it’s vital for us to pay attention to every detail to ensure that the customer journey is flawless, enjoyable, and shareworthy enough for them to recommend their experience. When presenting campaign data, create your reports using high-level reviews to provide knowledge on where the financial investment is going and how exactly it’s bringing a return. Email and social campaigns work directly with your website for a smooth customer experience—if you do it right. Not only do these metrics help you determine your overall ROI, but it also enables you to find room for improvement on each channel.

What metrics do you measure for your digital channels? How have you adjusted these as innovation happens in the digital space? I’d love to hear about your best practices in the comments.

The post How to Measure Digital Marketing Metrics and ROI appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/12/measure-digital-marketing-metrics-roi.html