Month: May 2012

Nurturing More Leads to Revenue: 6 Questions with Carlos Hidalgo


In case you haven't heard, today we announced our new partnership with the Marketing Automation Institute (MAI), the leading authority on marketing automation. With this new alliance, we will develop and deliver world-class B2B marketing education, and help marketers navigate the way to more revenue, faster. To help kickoff this new era in revenue optimization, I interviewed Carlos Hidalgo, Executive Director at MAI (he's also teaching our new crash course on marketing automation). Here's what he had to say:

1. OMI is thrilled to partner with the Marketing Automation Institute to deliver best-in-class B2B marketing training and education to marketers worldwide. Can you explain why you decided to partner with OMI, and how you think the industry will benefit?

Since we founded the MAI about a year ago the goal and objective has always been to enable, equip and educate the marketing automation and B2B marketing professional with the education they need to perform their roles in this Buyer 2.0 world in which we live.  In the OMI we found a like minded organization that sees the need in the marketplace and has a mission that is right in line with ours, equipping and enabling through education.  Given that our focus is the same the partnership made perfect sense.

2. What is the biggest mistake marketers make when developing a lead management program?

One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make is they do not go far enough in the development of the process.  Many organizations and even consultancies describe lead management in the context of lead scoring and lead nurturing.  There is so much more the lead management then those two areas and to not expand to an entire framework you will not see the benefit that lead management can bring.

Secondarily, many organizations do not clearly embrace the change management aspect that occurs with a lead management process.  You cannot develop and implement new process and not think about the behavior change that is needed with marketing and sales.  The sooner organizations embrace and drive that change, the faster they will achieve success.

3. Why did you decide to start the Marketing Automation Institute? How did you get involved with B2B marketing training and education?

First and foremost the marketing world that I and many others grew up in has changed dramatically and as a result so has the role of today’s marketer.  We have the change in our buyers to blame for this and quite honestly it is a good thing as b2b marketing is now more relevant than ever before.  However, with this role change came a lot of uncertainty and new skills that needed to be developed.  The questions that were being asked by marketers were a good indication that there needed to be an educational resource and with that the MAI was born in conjunction with a group of industry leaders and vendors.

As for how I personally got involved?  I have always been passionate about ensuring marketers could do their jobs well and have always believed marketing should be a key contributor to the revenue generation of a company.  As a result, I spend a good amount of my time conducting workshops and trainings for clients so I guess you could say this type of education has been a part of what I have done since the my early days of the MA space.

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4. Do all B2B organizations need lead management and marketing automation? Why or why not?

I would not say all, but will say most. I do believe that all need a lead management process even if the company is 2 people working out of their home.  Every organization needs to have a defined understanding of how they will manage a lead once it is generated.  This can be done manually on a very small scale.  For those that have a very small business, I do not think that automation is a mandate.  In many of these instances, an organization can get by with a simple email solution.  However, once you get past a certain size organization where you are needing to tie in your sales data via a CRM system, track multiple leads and sources and have full funnel reporting and metrics, I would say an automation system is a must.

5. How can marketers stay on top of all the latest advancements in marketing automation?

There is so much information out there, some good and some pretty bad.  I think buyers need to be aware that if it sounds to good to be true i.e. 978% increase in leads, trillions of dollars of revenue added to your bottom line, 543% increase in sales conversions, it probably is.  So with that, it is best to go to third party sites that have done the research and also ask other users.  Some sources I would recommend for this are:  Marketing Automation Institute (of course!), Focus, Quora, LinkedIn (plenty of groups you can join including the MAI group, Sirius Decisions, Marketing Automation Times and DemandGen Report.  All of these will provide the most objective information available and on some of them you will be able to dialogue with other end-users and get their experiences.

6. How do you think B2B marketing will evolve in the next 5 years? 10 years?

I think more and more marketing is going to be looked to as a revenue catalyst and a sales enabler.  The changes in our market will keep on coming and marketing will be tasked with enabling the organization to adapt and keep the buyer in focus.  It is an exciting times for B2B marketers and one that should be embrace.  The next 5-10 years, if anything like the last 5 years will be quite an exciting time and will continue to thrust the B2B marketer to the forefront of organization growth strategies.

Want to drive more leads to revenue, faster? Join us June 11 at 12pm ET for the Marketing Automation Crash Course: A B2B Roadmap for Driving Leads to Revenue. In just 90 minutes, Carlos will teach you how to develop a high-ROI marketing automation and lead management program.


Best of Online Marketing: Week of May 25, 2012


Welcome back to week 3 of our best of online marketing blog series! This week, learn how to lift Facebook ad ROI, drive more revenue with email marketing, integrate social media with lead nurturing, and more.

Improve Online Marketing ROI
6 Ways to Lift Facebook Advertising ROI

Running Facebook ads, or considering adding them to your online marketing mix? From crafting your copy to testing your ads, ensure you are following Social Media Examiner's 6 tips for Facebook advertising success, and your ROI will thank you.

How to Effectively Track and Measure Your PPC Campaigns

Get step-by-step instructions on how to effectively track and measure the results of your AdWords and Facebook advertising campaigns. Head over to the MarketingSherpa blog, and learn how to set up goals, create unique URLs, review performance, and more.

12 Common Content Marketing Challenges (and How to Solve Them)

Content is king, and a great content marketing can have a profound impact on an organization's bottom line. But successful content marketing doesn't come without challenges. From lack of internal resources to a lack of content knowledge, Joe Pulizzi breaks down these all-too-common challenges, and provides tips to solve them.

Drive More Revenue from Email Marketing

For many online marketers, email marketing is the most efficient way to drive sales and revenue. But there is still room for improvement. Over on ClickZ, Jeanne Jennings shares 3 key ways to optimize your email marketing program and improve your bottom line.

How to Integrate Social Media With Lead Nurturing

The more your prospects trust you, the more likely they'll be to purchase from you. And a great way to establish trust and nurture relationships is with social media. From monitoring branded terms to integrating social elements within thank you emails, I love HubSpot's 8 key ways to integrating social media with your lead nurturing activities.


Best of Online Marketing: Week of May 18, 2012


Welcome to week 2 of the Best of Online Marketing blog series. From the Facebook IPO to our Optimize webinar with Lee Odden, here is our recap of what you need to know this week to optimize your own online marketing results.

Improve Your Online MarketingHow to Generate Leads on LinkedIn

According to a recent study by HubSpot, LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Twitter and Facebook. Now the question is, how can you actually use the network for your own lead generation efforts? Start by creating your own LinkedIn group, and sending email announcements. Learn more on the HubSpot blog.

Is Social Local Mobile Right For Your Business?

SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) is all the rage these days. But is it right for your business? On Social Media Examiner, Jamie turner shares 3 quick steps for determining if tapping into the local market is a good idea, how to get started, and best practices for SoLoMo campaign success

Can Facebook Really Beat Google? [Infographic]

Sure, Facebook might be worth 100+ billion dollars. But is adversing on Facebook really more valuable than advertising on Google? Not yet, according to this infographic on the Wordstream blog. With the ability to reach 90% of all internet users (vs. only 51% on Facebook), Google is here to stay.

How to Optimize Your Facebook Timeline

While Facebook Timeline launched in March, many marketers are still trying to determine the best way to use it for their business. Head over to MarketingProfs, and discover how 6 brands are taking advantage of the latest enhancement, and how you can, too.

Optimize This! 5 Questions on Content Strategy with Lee Odden

Content is king. And one of the industry’s leading pioneers in integrated content strategy is Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing and author of the new book Optimize. To get a sneak peek of his new book, we picked his brain on blogging, lead generation, SEO, and more. See what he had to see right here on the OMI blog.


Optimize This! 5 Questions on Content Strategy with Lee Odden


Content is king. And one of the industry's leading pioneers in integrated content strategy is Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing and author of the new book, Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing.

We're thrilled that he's joining us this Wednesday for the FREE webinar, Optimize and Socialize for Better Content Marketing, so in advance of the webinar, I picked Lee's brain on blogging, lead generation, SEO, and more. Here's what he had to say:

1. What is the biggest mistake marketers make when developing a content marketing strategy? 

Imagine you've started a new company selling software to other companies. You're excited about the product and you know it inside and out. Knowing that the product is a new solution in the category, the need to educate and nurture prospects with content seems the right approach.

So you list off all the features and benefits of the product, research relevant and popular keywords and go about creating the kinds of content that makes the most sense to you: product pages, landing pages, emails, press releases, case studies, even a demo video and webinars . Sound about right? It's a BIG mistake that companies are making every day.

What's missing in this situation is the customer. That's the biggest mistake marketers make when developing content marketing strategy.  Who are your customers? Why would they buy your software? What are their goals and pain points. What problems does your software solve for them and what kind of information do your ideal customers need throughout the sales cycle? Also, who are your worst customers? Do you really want to optimize and socialize with content to attract them?

A customer centric approach is central to the message in Optimize and it helps readers do the homework of identifying ideal customers and then turn that insight into a content plan that emphasizes SEO and Social Media marketing tactics.

2. Should all companies blog? Why or why not?

The success we've had and that many of our clients have had moves me to say that any company can become more successful through blogging. But the truth is, without making a commitment in resources, staff and a cycle of listening, engagement and creation, business blogging will rarely work.

Blogging is just a tool and tools are only as good as the expertise of the people using them. Companies that have unrealistic expectations about what blogging will do for them and that approach it with chest beating and self interest are not going to attract and engage a community.

Blogging works for businesses willing to put in the work. At Online Marketing Blog, I've been blogging for over 8 years. By sticking to it and continuously adapting our approach to meet both readers and our agency's goals, we've been able to turn an experiment in curating news into one of the most popular marketing blogs on the web. How many agencies can say that?

3. How can marketers tie blogging back to lead gen and revenue? 

Measuring the success of a business blog is no different than any other online marketing effort. It starts with setting goals.  The business value from blogging extends beyond lead generation and sales, although those are certainly the first order of the day for most companies.  Blogging is a communications channel that can work in concert with other communications to add value, reduce or deflect cost, increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Because blogging is so dynamic and works best as a component of an overall content marketing strategy, it's important to develop a hypothesis about what you expect will happen form a successful blogging effort. What does success look like? How will you know you've met ROI expectations with blogging? Answering those questions will be key in setting specific goals.

With goals, timeframe and a blogging strategy in place, then monitoring of KPIs and measurement of performance can be put in place. If goals are customer acquisition, then it makes sense to map the steps a prospect might take during the sales cycle from awareness to purchase and determine what's measurable about that journey.

Key performance indicators can range from rankings to traffic to social shares and referrals from the media and other blogs or websites. Tracking the quantity and rate over time of KPIs should serve as an indicator that your blogging efforts are moving in the right direction to achieve business outcomes like micro conversions (RSS subscribers, email newsletter signups, demo sign ups, white paper downloads, etc) as well as referrals from the blog to pages designed to sell on the company site. Any leads generated there can be attributed to the source of the referral. Of course any contacts or inquiries made directly on the blog count as well.

Blogging promoted through social networks means tracking network size and rate of growth as well as engagement. A blog post can travel far through RSS, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn shares, links from other blogs and of course the potential effect of Google+ shares. Visibility on social networks may not create leads directly, but the touchpoint through social when added to search visibility, email marketing, ads and media coverage all add up to building trust in prospects about your brand. That trust shortens sales cycles, increases order size, improves retention and many other trackable business outcomes.

Not to be redundant, but I dig into this quite a bit in Optimize, so readers should get that and really get the goods.

4. What are some of the biggest challenges marketers face when developing an integrated content strategy? How can they overcome them?

When SEO is owned by marketing and public relations runs social media and content creation is shared across multiple departments, integration of those tactics across a company's content efforts can be a challenge. What brings things together are:

  • Leadership support through common goals
  • Identification of how an integrated approach will help each individual group as well as the company overall
  • Training, process and tools/technology to enable integration of tactics

Find the low hanging fruit for an integration project and share the results upstream and horizontally. Make sure that as different departments work together to integrate Social, SEO and content (as well as other online marketing tactics where appropriate) that there is a feedback mechanism in place for those involved to see that they are having an impact. Even if it's not specific to them, showing a trend line of how something like website traffic, or share of voice or leads and sales have improved during the time integration best practices are in place can be very motivating.

5. What is the most important piece of advice you can give to marketers that need to drive more traffic? 

I'd ask why more traffic? More traffic = more what? Sales? How many sales? Over what period of time? I think you get where I'm going. Identifying specific goals is the first step towards a plan towards reaching them. That might be more traffic. It might be more of the right traffic. I'd take 100 leads from 1,000 visitors over the work it would take to attract 100 leads from 100,000 visitors any day.

Thank you to Lee Odden for sharing his advice on content strategy and SEO. He'll continue the conversation and share more advice this Wednesday, May 16 at 2pm ET  at the FREE webinar, Optimize and Socialize for Better Content Marketing. Hope you can join us!


Best of Online Marketing: Week of May 11, 2012


Website Best Practices12 Ways to Annoy Your Website Visitors

Are you guilty committing one of these deadly sins of website design? From Flash to pop-ups to hidden contact information, Shelly Kramer shares 12 easy ways to annoy your visitors, and lose traffic, conversions, and revenue.

5 Ways B2B Marketers Can Use Pinterest

Want to add Pinterest to your B2B marketing mix, but not sure how to get started? On the Marketo blog, discover 5 easy ways to take advantage of the rapidly growing network. From promoting campaigns to pinning infographics, these key tips will help you get your Pinterest marketing on the right track.

13 Common Call-to-Action Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

The call-to-action is one of the most important elements of a high-performance landing page, but all-too-often, marketers dilute their conversion rate by including too many options, not conveying value, and making the call-to-action difficult to find. Are you making one of the 13 most common mistakes? Find out now on the HubSpot blog.

The A-Z Guide for Location-Based Marketing

As a marketer, you've likely heard the phrase "SoLoMo," which stands for social, local, mobile. But how can you put this popular acronym to use for your brand? Start with these 26 tips for location-based marketing success—the perfect inspiration and know-how to get you started.

Is Remarketing Creepy or Awesome?

Remarketing is a great way to stay in front of visitors once they leave your website. By retargeting ads, you are essentially following your visitors as they browse the web. The end result is that your brand and offers stay in front of visitors long after they leave your site. But does this borderline on creepy, or is it an effective tactic? Find out now on the Wordstream blog.