Month: June 2012

Best of Online Marketing: Week of June 29, 2012


Facebook LikeHappy Friday! While you're gearing up for the holiday weekend, take a spin through my favorite online marketing posts from the past week. Learn how to drive more Facebook engagement, lift B2B email performance, improve social media marketing, and more.

11 Tips for Increasing Facebook Engagement

Want to drive more Fan engagement on Facebook? It's easier than you think. Based on research by Dan Zarrella, Heidi Cohen compiled 11 proven tips for driving more shares, Likes, and comments.

Why You Should Optimize for Customers, Not Engines

According to Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing, you'll achieve the best SEO results (more traffic, better rankings), if you develop content that prioritizes customers over engines. In this blog post, he shares why quick shortcuts and easy tricks can ultimately get you penalized, and why content and social media are key to SEO success.

10 Ways to Improve Social Media Marketing

Step up your social media marketing results—get 10 big ideas for improving performance from OMI's Social Media Intensive instructors, right here on the OMI blog. Drive more Fan engagement, connect with customers on Google+ hangouts, measure social media performance, and more.

3 Reasons to Start Testing Your Landing Pages Now

Need to kick your conversion rate up a notch? Start by A/B testing landing pages—even a simple headline test can provide dramatic lift. Over on the Post-Click Marketing Blog, discover 3 key reasons you should start testing your landing pages... now.

8 Ways to Lift B2B Email Performance

For most B2B marketers, email marketing performance can have a profound impact on sales and revenue. On ClickZ, Simms Jenkins shares 8 ways B2B marketers can improve email marketing performance. Use these tips to drive better open rates, click-throughs, and more.

Become a Better Social Media Marketer July 12 - August 16 at our Social Media Intensive

Develop successful, high-performance social media marketing campaigns with our Intensive Program. In 6 short weeks, you’ll learn how to drive meaningful business results on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest as OMI’s lead instructors teach you the most effective tactics and best practices for social media marketing success. Learn More.


Personal Branding for Marketers: 5 Questions with Michael Brenner of SAP


Michael BrennerLess than 2 weeks from now, Michael Brenner and I are presenting the free webinar, Personal Branding for Marketers: How to Build Your Personal Brand and Advance Your Career (July 11 at 2pm ET). Michael is currently Senior Director of Global Marketing at SAP, and I've had the pleasuring of knowing him for a few years now. We actually met virtually through Twitter and his blog—proof that you can develop professional relationships through your personal social media and content efforts.

So, to help prepare for our upcoming webinar (I hope you can join us!), I picked Michael's brain on personal branding, blogging, and whether you should separate your personal and business social media profiles. Here's what he had to say:

1. Why is personal branding important for marketers today?

Because our personal brands and the kind of content marketing that we do are inextricably linked. It is no longer just about hiring a great creative agency, crafting a funny or compelling message and spending lots of money on ads. We have to create compelling content and we need to nurture our networks so that we have the personal influence to share great content in an authentic and helpful way. This is the only way for the marketing of the future to be successful: great content, shared by strong personal influencers.

2. Should marketers keep separate profiles on Twitter and Facebook for personal and business use? 
I always tell people when they ask that question if they become a different person when they walk into the office or a meeting. The answer is no. We are who we are and we need to own it. Our personality is what makes us unique and powerful. The context may be different and we have to respect that a business meeting and family time with our kids are different situations that require different context and norms that must be adhered to. But I like to quote one of my favorite twitter personalities @LisaBarone on this question: decide who you want to be and then bleed it on all your social accounts.

3. How important is blogging when it comes to your personal brand?
Your blog is an opportunity for you to create your own home space on the web. It's the only real way to create I think blogging is really important also because it allows you to share your unique point of view. It allows you to share content you fnd valuable in hopes that others will to. It allows personal brands to become thought leaders.

4. When did you start your B2B Marketing Insider blog? Why did you start it?
I started the blog in May, 2010 because I was asked to drive social media as the head of digital / online marketing for SAP North America. I had always wanted to start one and this was just the little push I needed. I also knew that in order to do social, you have to be social. I was already a year into my Twitter addiction and once I started blogging, I really saw how the power of dynamic personal blog content could be amplified by a nurtured social audience such as the one I built on Twitter sharing other people's content.

I wrote my first blog posts on why I was in Marketing and why I was starting the blog. The key reasons, aside from what I explained above were to claim a stake in my personal brand, to interact with people around the topic, to share my experience and opinions and because I was excited for the journey. I often say blogging is the most important marketing campaign of your life.

5. Any advice for marketers who want to start developing their personal brand? 
First, is just do it. You have to fight the common myths, aka excuses, that you don't have time, that your opinion is not unique, that no one will read it. These are all bull and just defense mechanisms because most people simply have the irrational fear that no one will read it or that they will get in trouble or feel stupid. The fact is that we all have unique experiences and opinions and that the world needs to hear your voice.

Second, is to simply commit to a regular schedule. I committed to 2 posts a week on my  blog and each of the past 2 years, I have delivered about 100 posts, with a few holiday and vacation breaks. I took Seth Godin's advice to imagine that there is just one person out there who needs to read your content. Who is waiting for it. With that motivation, I get through the days when I really don't feel like writing.

Third, is that blogging is very therapeutic. It helps you to process new information, challenges, frustrations and to take those emotions and turn them into something practical and positive.

Last but not least, is the connections. I have met and interacted with the most amazing people (like you Megan). And nothing is cooler then when I interact with someone online, we comment on each other's blogs and re-tweet each other and then we meet in person and have a drink. It's like seeing an old friend even though you just met. The single biggest factor that keeps me going is all the great people I have met along my own personal branding journey.

Join the Online Marketing Institute and Business2Community July 11 at 2pm ET for the FREE webinar "Personal Branding For Marketers: How to Build Your Personal Brand and Advance Your Career". Michael Brenner, Senior Director of Global Marketing at SAP, and Megan Leap, Director of Marketing at the Online Marketing Institute, will share how they have effectively used content and social media for personal branding success.


Best of Social Media: Week of June 27, 2012


SuperfanWelcome back to our Best of Social Media roundup—our favorite posts from the past 7 weeks. This week, use Google+ for your business (consistently, at least!), improve your Facebook ads, create your own Superfans, and more.

How to Create Superfans

JetBlue has them. Virgin America has them. Even Zappos has them—the Superfan. Consumers who are passionate enough about your brand to promote it themselves. But how do you create your own Superfans? Dave Evans shares the unique characteristics of a Superfan, and how your company can create a culture of Superfans, too.

10 Examples of Effective Facebook Ads

Need some inspiration to improve your Facebook ads? HubSpot collected 10 examples of effective Facebook ads, with explanations on why they work, and best practices to improve your own.

Why You Need to Use Google+ [Infographic]

Still not using Google+? You should. Over on the Unbounce blog, Oli Gardner shares how your business can take advantage of Google+, with the help of a nifty infographic. Discover how Business Pages allow you to enhance your brand, quick tips for Google+ success, and more.

Why You Should Try Twitter Search

The next time you decide to do some research on Google, consider using Twitter instead. In this blog post on MarketingProfs' DailyFix, discover how you can use Twitter search to learn about a specific topic, research a product, or get the scoop on a company (and your competitors).

Tips for Measuring Social Media Performance

Think social media marketing isn't quantifiable? Think again. Over on MarketingLand, Candace Marks shares advice for measuring what matters to your business.

Improve Your Social Media Marketing July 12 - August 16 at our Social Media Intensive

Develop successful, high-performance social media marketing campaigns with our Intensive Program. In just 6 short weeks, you’ll learn how to successfully drive meaningful business results on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest as OMI’s lead instructors teach you the most effective tactics and best practices for social media marketing success. Learn More.


10 Ways to Improve Social Media Marketing


Need to step up your social media marketing results? Get 10 big ideas for improving performance from OMI's Social Media Intensive (July 12 - August 16) instructors.

1. Set up a Google+ hangout and connect with customers on a personal level.

Gillian Muessig"Google Hangouts are worth learning about and setting up. A Hangout offers you the ability to meet live with up to 9 people in a video and text chat environment, save the event and broadcast it to the world... or not. It's a great way to visit with customers and connect with them on a more personal level. Think about a bicycle repair shop demonstrating options for repair or replacement parts to a customer, instead of just trying to explain the problems and solutions in a phone call or email. How about a politician holding a personal group discussion with a few people and answering questions recorded on YouTube from many others? And suppose it was all saved and broadcast to millions? Pretty effective, isn't it?" - Gillian Muessig, Founding President, SEOMoz

2.  Create personas for each social media platform.

"Create personas to help understand the audience on each social media platform. While this is a glittering generality, here's a lighthearted way to begin to think about the audiences on Google+ and Pinterest: men are from Google+; women are from Pinterest." - Gillian Muessig

3. Get to know your Fans and wow them.

Emeric Ernoult"Just responding to comments on your fanpage is not enough. If you really want your active and engaged fans to become repeat buyers for life, you have to really know them and let them know you care. They need to feel like they are special. The last time I went to buy some wine, the seller looked at his computer and asked me "did you enjoy that Bordeaux you bought last week?" I was amazed, and wowed for good! These guys knew me and cared about my experience with them. You want to give that same impression to your fans. If they have posted something last week and come back to comment this week, you want to show them that you remember their previous post! To do that, you need some tools, Facebook won't be enough. But the WOW it will create will be worth the investment." - Emeric Ernoult, Founder, AgoraPulse

4. Learn about the OpenGraph.

"Building a fanbase on Facebook and publishing great content to get them engaged is good. But what is great is to build that Fanbase on your website, not only on Facebook! Very few people know that they can turn their entire website into a fan capturing machine. By displaying like buttons on their products' pages AND integrating simple OpenGraph meta data withing their HTML code, they can turn their visitors into actual fans and send them very targeted message through Facebook Newsfeed. This tactic just requires to learn a little bit about the Facebook OpenGraph concept. This is something you need to learn." - Emeric Ernoult

5. Set goals and measure them.

"If you really want to improve your social media presence, make sure you set goals and measure them. Don't just focus on measuring Likes, followers, and mentions. Those are important, to be sure, but with some effective tracking, you can tie your social media efforts back to your organization's main goals—sales, revenue, and customers." - Adam Proehl, Owner, NordicClick Interactive

6. Listen and respond.

"Many marketers use social media as a platform to promote their products. But you'll achieve far bigger wins if you take advantage of social media, and listen, respond, and be helpful WAY more than you promote yourself." - Adam Proehl

7. Tap in to the power of partner marketing.

"Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a small business, you can partner to increase the return on your social media marketing investment. One suggestion to raise the profile of your campaign is to co-brand with a partner. You can provide additional exposure for the partner brand while they lend their brand equity to your marketing. If you have a promotional tab on your Facebook page, for example, consider incorporating partners into the design and messaging. If you're running a contest or giveaway leverage partners to contribute prizing. Partners can provide access to prizes you might not otherwise be able to offer, both material and experiential." - Ben Pickering, CEO, Strutta

8. Don't fall victim to the Field of Dreams fallacy

“If you build it, they will come” may have worked for Kevin Costner in the movie Field of Dreams but it is not a good mantra for running a social media promotion. You can't simply put an app up on your Facebook page and think it will "go viral." Running a successful social promotion requires a well thought out marketing plan that spans the life cycle of the campaign." - Ben Pickering

9. Consistently grow your audience.

"The best way to drive results on Facebook and Twitter is to not only engage with your audience, but consistently grow it as well. To grow your Facebook audience, run Facebook ads (CPCs can be as low as .80) and integrate Facebook with the rest of your digital initiatives. To grow your Twitter audience, find and follow Twitter users that are 1) in your target audience 2) good, potential advocates for your brand 3) industry influencers 4) potential social media partners. But don't just follow them and assume they will follow you back. Add them to a list, and interact with them.  And whatever you do, DO NOT automate this. A bunch of fake followers with unhatched egg or stock photo avatars are not going to help drive business." - Megan Leap (Me!), Director of Content and Marketing, Online Marketing Institute

10. Stay current and participate frequently.

"Keep your organization's social media profiles up-to-date. A profile that is updated once a week (or worse, a few times a year) signals to your audience that your organization has nothing to say and may be struggling. For Facebook, it is a good best practice to update your page at least 2-3 times a day -- spaced apart every 1.5 - 3 hours. Since Twitter moves a lot faster than Facebook, your can participate as frequently as time allows." - Megan Leap

Join OMI July 12 - August 16 at our Social Media Intensive

Develop successful, high-performance social media marketing campaigns with our Intensive Program. In just 6 short weeks, you’ll learn how to successfully drive meaningful business results on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest as OMI’s lead instructors teach you the most effective tactics and best practices for social media marketing success. Learn More.


Developing a Mobile Strategy: 6 Questions With Dave Wieneke


Dave WienekeMobile apps, mobile websites, mobile commerce, mobile search… the time to start forging relationships with your mobile audience is now. That being said, developing a mobile strategy can be overwhelming. Where do I start? How do I know what will work for my company? To help master the basics and kickoff our Mobile Marketing Crash Course (tomorrow at 12pm ET), I asked our lead instructor, Dave Wieneke, a few key questions.  Here’s what he had to say:

1. If I don't have a mobile marketing strategy yet, what is the best place to start?
All good marketing starts with your audience and where you meet them. And while there are many mobile tactics, the core of most firms' mobile strategies is made up of their owned mobile assets: their websites and applications.

I've watched mobile traffic ascend for client firms from being a very small share of traffic deserving the kind of attention we'd give an aging browser, to shares above 40%. That's a primary use case. That means designing interactions around these uses first. It’s a different approach to how we line-up to meet customers online.

In class this week we'll look at unique mobile mindsets that set mobile use apart, the ways that mobile design turns PC based design conventions upside down, and the new business models mobile fuels.

2. What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make in their mobile strategy?
Enterprises have found that it is easier for millions of individual consumers to buy tablets and smart phones than it is to re-engineer to serve them. It’s a disruptive change for enterprises, but not for challenger brands who enter competitive spaces focused on this new traffic. And so enterprises are re-conceiving their operations to be mobile first.

So, the biggest mistake is to miss this opportunity by recreating legacy victories. Remember Palm Pilot, the original mobile device? They promoted the one of the great legacy PC wins - Excel spreadsheets, on Palm Pilot. It’s a generation later and we can see that simply porting over the last era's win wasn't the future. Handheld music could have been a huge win, and photography, but not spreadsheets - the form factor was too restrictive. Mobile is a new foundation, and it is a chance to start fresh with designing new user experiences and businesses.

3. Which companies are doing a good job in mobile now?
Park Mobile is extending a buy button so that people can pay for parking easier, and ZipCar's giving them their car through an app. Expensify is making is easier to travel, Amazon to shop. And its not just companies. Fruit Ninja (a game), Hours Tracker (which helps freelancers bill), and Things (a priority list) aren't companies, but they have huge audiences. If you want to "think like a publisher" and gather audiences, then make great tools.

Whether you use mobile native applications or website, the online experience is increasingly application based. Are Netflix, Twitter, or Google really websites? At some level we know their applications are delivered through web interfaces. Both mediums are led by application experiences.

This turns making great web experiences into a more complex product-like effort, which requires more of a team approach than making the shift to social media does.

4. Do I have to create a mobile specific site?
No, there are in fact many good reasons to make sites that change how to display the same content across different devices.

Elements on smaller screens need to be bigger and clearer to be seen, and user flows need to be simplified. We'll dig in to how this can be done using Responsive Design - so that different kinds of users can have the right experience all from one single content source. And yes, this takes some organization in advance.  But it is harder to maintain one set of content and to avoid duplicate content penalties with search engines using responsive design. We've seen Google shift in this direction, and in the long term this provides more flexibility to innovate and a lower total cost of ownership.

5. What are some of the biggest opportunities in mobile marketing now?
Mobile commerce extends the buy button anywhere. It changes buyer behavior, and is likely the still unrevealed killer application of B2C mobile. But what of B2B? Mobile products can be relationship pipelines that change marketplace relationships through product experiences. One B2B example that comes to mind is Autodesk's mobile app - which has reached more users in under a year than their enterprise design products have over the life of the firm. The app has created huge awareness and rewarded their mobile innovation. Their CEO observed this was the most effective advertising they'd ever done.

6. Where is this shift to mobile taking us long term?
The erosion of mass media started on the Internet, and emerged through social media. Now, because mobile is so personal, it busts up the mass media experience which still partly lived on the Internet. Mobile users have far higher expectations of interactivity, and mobile conventions are evolving far faster than the Internet to keep up with the audience opportunity.

While people had access to PC’s during work and a portion of their day, mobile access is constant. A study I just read showed that 60% of social media is being consumed through mobile devices. The rise in video consumption tracks closely with mobile growth – and mobile viewing has lots of headroom for growth.

Users don’t just want content, they want tools to make their life easier. That means being able to buy in new ways through mobile commerce. Brands are able to use push messaging to connect with their most loyal audiences. The Washington Post has been pushing me breaking news election alerts over the last year. The key to push messaging is that it needs to be focused on in customers’ lives and relevant to helping them in real time.

While video, m-commerce and alerts are all great tactics, the bigger picture is the shift to personal experiences that empower audiences individually. The influence of what brands say about themselves through advertising or marketing is waning. Increasingly, digital experiences embody our customer experiences, and utility to customers. If brands are an accumulation of experiences, then they are increasingly mobile, personal, and organized around the customer and not the brand. Brands are less and less deductively announced by firms, they are increasingly inductively assembled by customer experiences. And mobile is a huge way to reach and stay connected with our markets.

Join us Tuesday, June 26 at 12pm ET for the Mobile Marketing Crash Course, and in just 90 minutes, learn how to create a mobile marketing program that engages, nurtures, and converts. You'll master what you need to do to create successful mobile experiences in your owned media, and leave this course with a to do list to engage your mobile customer base and forge lasting customer relationships.


Best of Social Media: Week of June 21, 2012


While Twitter is down, take a spin through my 5 favorite social media posts of the past week. Learn how to generate more leads on LinkedIn, drive Facebook engagement, use Pinterest for B2B, and more.

11 Deadly Don'ts of Social Media Marketing

Are you guilty of committing the 11 deadly sins of social media marketing? From running on-going contests to blocking negative feedback, these are the deadly mistakes that cause damage your brand and online reputation.

Why No One Engages With Your Brand on Facebook

Are your Facebook updates followed by crickets? Are the only people commenting on your posts members of the marketing team? Fear not! Over on MarketingLand, Courtney Seiter rounded up the top 14 reasons no one is interacting with your brand, with quick and easy tips for driving more Fan engagement.

7 Tips for B2B Pinterest Marketing

Think B2B marketers can't use Pinterest? Think again. On Social Media Examiner, Mitt Ray reveals 7 easy ways B2B marketers can use Pinterest to drive traffic and improve brand awareness.

Who Should Be in Charge of Social Media?

Should marketing, sales, or customer service be in charge of social media? According to HubSpot, all three functions should be a part of your social media program. Discover how they can work together to improve your marketing results and forge lasting customer relationships.

How B2B Marketers Can Target LinkedIn Updates

LinkedIn has expanded their advertising offering with targeted updates. Over on the Social Media B2B blog, Jeffrey L. Cohen explains how B2B marketers can use this new targeting option to their advantage.


Best of Online Marketing: Week of June 15, 2012


Content that SellsHappy Friday! Here's a quick recap of my favorite blogs worth reading this week. I hope they inspire you to start using Google+ again, drive more leads from your landing pages, create email reports your CMO will love, and more.

How to Create Content that Sells

Good content drives traffic. Great content drives sales. On Social Media Examiner, Marucs Sheridan shares 4 simple ways any organization can develop content that drives business. (Hint: it's easier than you think!)

3 Ways to Improve B2B Landing Pages

Want more leads? Improve your landing pages. Over on the Unbounce blog, discover the 3 key principles of a high-converting, B2B landing page. Learn how to improve your design, generate social referrals, and more.

Quick Tips and Tricks for the Google Keyword Tool

The Google Keyword tool is full of information to help you reach your target audience as profitably as possible. In this Search Engine Land article, Jenny Halasz takes you on a tour of 12 key features, and shares how you can use them to improve your own campaigns.

How to Create Effective Email Reports

It's easy to track email campaigns, but effectively reporting on performance is where things get tricky. In this helpful article, email marketing expert Jeanne Jennings explains how to create an email marketing report that resonates with senior management. Best of all, she includes a handy sample report, too.

Why Guy Kawasaki Loves Google+ (and You Will Too)

Guy Kawasaki loves Google+. In fact, he spends more time there than any other social network. If you're not currently active on it (or not convinced that it will last), his 5 reasons for loving Google+ will convince you to use it (maybe).


15 Tips for Marketing Automation Success


Carlos Hidalgo on Marketing AutomationThis past Monday, OMI lead instructor Carlos Hidalgo taught our Marketing Automation Crash Course. His three, 30-minute classes covered the fundamental how-tos and best practices of successful demand generation, lead management, and marketing automation. Our students flooded Carlos with great questions on marketing automation! Here are our 15 favorite questions and answers from the course—a nifty FAQ on marketing automation success.

1. What kinds of staffing, in terms of job titles, should a company have in order to successfully implement Marketing Automation?

In mid-market to larger organizations, you will often find a role that takes over the day-to-day operation, management, and implementation of a marketing automation function.  This role of marketing operations is on the rise.  When you look at the growth of groups like MOCCA (Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance) you can see the value of this operational role and how effective it can be.  That being said, I think it is less about job title more about skill set.  This is the first time in the history of B2B marketing in which marketers are responsible for purchasing and managing their own technology. You need a marketing technologist: someone who not only understands technology but technology in the context of what you are trying to accomplish from a demand generation and lead management perspective.  They are becoming more plentiful out there with trainings like these and with the work that a lot of the automation vendors have been doing to educate their customers.

2. The marketing automation talent pool is shallow at the moment, is it necessary to search for people with specific experience in Marketo or HubSpot? Or is a generalist good enough?

I think a generalist is good enough.  I would put less focus on what tools they know and make sure understand how B2B buyers buy today and what the role of a marketer should be today.  Do they understand process, what a campaign is, taking a theme of content and delivering that to a buyer at a specific stage and how that is relevant?  Do they understand content marketing, buyer 2.0, metrics of analytics?  You can teach the technology, and all of the vendors have training programs.  It is much harder to teach knowledge and skillset than it is to teach someone how to use a tool and a marketing automation solution.

3. How does an organization police itself to ensure both sales and marketing are living up to what they’ve agreed to in service level agreements?  It seems like there are a lot of potential failure points when implementing a marketing automation strategy. 

It is best to start small and simple and benchmark your success along the way.   There is no need to adopt a marketing automation system and choose 25 nurture streams at once.  Start with one, get proficient on it and then move forward.

SLAs are built to keep both organizations on track.  When your top decision makers come together and recognize that SLAs are built to better service and align around the customer, you will generate more revenue.  The discussion of who didn’t live up to a particular expectation goes away, and the SLA exists simply to understand which needs are being met.  Change the mindset and the alignment becomes easier, and you see less failure.

4. What happens to SLA agreements when the VP of Sales or Operations changes during a marketing automation implementation?

If the SLAs are not already a part of your company’s culture then you must immediately integrate them into your DNA.  While you look for a replacement VP, find other counterparts to rely on (so if you are in sales, marketing and if you are in marketing, sales) and teach them the importance of your SLAs.  This won’t be too difficult if your SLAs were developed with a collaborative effort.  If SLAs came down from directors and were simply implemented by the rest of the team, it will be a bit harder.  Get representation from every level from the beginning, so that if someone does depart you won’t feel as big an impact by the vacancy.  I even advocate seeking rep involvement at the marketing and sales SLA level, as well as the involvement of your entry level Marketing Managers.  This way, SLAs become part of the fabric of your organization at every level.

5. Would you advocate marketing automation for companies of all sizes, or is there a threshold at which it becomes attractive?

The size of your company matters less than your company’s goals and marketing maturity.  On paper, a company with $400 million in revenue and hundreds of employees is a perfect candidate for marketing automation.  If their marketing strategy for last year included only two emails, however, any automation would have very little impact and would likely cripple the organization.  On the other hand, a 15-person organization with a defined process and clear understanding of their buyer’s goals is a great candidate for marketing automation.  It is about maturity, what you are trying to do, what your goals are, and what audience you want to reach.

6. What is a realistic timeframe between pulling the trigger on a MA solution and being able to show management that things are happening?

This will vary depending on your average sales lifecycle.  If you have a long eighteen-month cycle, you can quickly show some initial engagement metrics (opens, clicks, shares) but data on pipeline contribution to revenue will take a longer time.  If you are a transaction-oriented company with a short cycle, less time will pass before you can show the impact you can have on pipeline and revenue.  Your CEO is less interested in engagement metrics and would rather see the revenue driven by marketing campaigns that are enabled by automation.

7. Should sales have a say in a marketing automation program?  They comment on campaigns but have no marketing experience!

Yes.  Some of your sales people don’t have marketing experience, but they do have a unique view to your customer.  Marketing is not there to serve sales, sales is not there to serve marketing, but you are both there to serve the customer.  Your marketing automation program must be developed in a collaborative fashion.  This does not mean that you’ll take every piece of input they provide and bring those into your campaign, but they have to be at the table.

8. How much time should I anticipate to get my lead management process developed and implemented?

We have seen companies develop a foundational lead management approach and process in as little as nine months.  We have seen large enterprises take over three years.  A lot of it depends on the complexity of your organization, how mature you are in the lead management maturity curve, and then understanding and getting everyone behind the initiative.  These steps alone, or the change management aspect, can take over six months in larger companies and are often not accounted for in planning.

9. How frequently should our prospects hear from us via email?

Your prospects will let you know.  We did a case study where potential buyers were receiving over 100 emails a year from a particular security vendor, and as a result they all began deleting actual security warnings.  The damage to the company was detrimental.  A rule of thumb would be once every couple of weeks, but if your buyer is very engaged, is showing from a digital body language perspective that they like the content you are putting in front of them, then don’t be afraid to expand on this.  Be sure to not get caught in the email only trap.   Use live events, telephone, direct mail, and social, as part of your multi-channel mix.

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10. What is the average length of a nurture cycle for cold leads?  How many emails should be included in a welcome cycle?

It depends on whether or not you have done this before.  A client who has never gone into a nurture strategy may have a simple four-step nurture program at first.  On the other hand, we have built campaigns with over twenty different steps if a prospect were to run through each one.  It also depends on how much you have to say. No matter what the length of your nurture cycle, make sure that what you are saying at every step of the way is relevant and applies to where your audience is in their buying cycle.

11. Does it ever make sense to include product-focused emails in a nurture cycle for new or cold leads? 

Three weeks ago I attended a major event in our industry, and since that point I have received six different emails from vendors asking me to sit through a demo. I have responded to none.  While sales people are very eager to drive the product, what they have to understand is that today’s buyer does not want to be force fed product.  This is Buyer 2.0.  Empathize with me first, tell me that you understand my problem, you understand my challenges, and then we can discuss product and solutions or services.

12. As a general rule, how long do you think it should take to nurture cold leads to warm?

There are so many factors that play into this.  Ask yourself three questions: First of all, is your content relevant and up-to-date?  A lot of companies are out there communicating noise and buyers don’t understand what you are trying to say. Also consider the kind of reputation and brand promise your company has…does it resonate with your potential buyer?  Finally, what kind of sales cycle do you have?  The longer your sales cycle the longer it will take to move your customers.  Your content, customers, brand, and sales cycle will all define how long it should take for nurturing to show any contribution towards pipeline.

13. How do you decide which segments to start with when developing first trigger campaigns?

Go for the one that is most profitable.  One of the most frequently missed opportunities when companies start nurturing is in their own customer base.  Even though they have already provided you with some revenue, your existing customers are a huge target for potential revenue.  Figure out what segment will be most profitable for you and start there.  If you have multiple solution sets towards multiple SMB, mid-market, enterprise, figure out which will have the biggest impact and start there.  Learn from it and move to the next one.

14. How do I secure the support of my senior management team if I am the newest member of the organization? 

Talk about revenue.  Senior management is focused on contribution to revenue and increasing their overall margin.  Do some research and figure out what you are spending on marketing programs today.  Then find out how many leads you are generating, or what the cost of the sales process is.  Next, go into your CRM system and pull a lead aging report to determine how many marketing generated leads sit in the funnel without being followed up on.  Take the cost of the sales process and multiply it by your lead decay.  This will answer the question of what does it costs your company to not do marketing automation?  Now you have a business case based on revenue lost by your company.

15. What do you think the marketing automation landscape will look like over the next year or two?

We know that Eloqua filed for its IPO so we should have our first publicly traded company!  We will see some more acquisition and mergers in the next year, and ultimately will be left with a few companies standing.  New vendors will continue to arrive on the scene and will service a small pocket here and there.  I think the biggest changes will come as we move towards enabling social media and exploring B2C opportunity as well as B2B.   There are some monster vertical opportunities waiting for marketing automation, including healthcare, retail, and manufacturing.


Best of Online Marketing: Week of June 8, 2012


Martial ArtsHappy Friday! Here's a quick breakdown of my favorite education-focused online marketing posts from this week. Get the 411 on Quality Score, say sayonara to the cliché landing page, rank higher in the SERPs, and more.

18 Awesome Landing Page Designs

Are your landing pages lean, mean conversion machines? Or could they use a little pick-me-up? In his Search Engine Land article, "Death To The Cliché Landing Page", Scott Brinker provides just the inspiration you need to rethink the everyday landing page format, and kick your conversion rate up a notch.

7 Advanced Email Tips for Higher Open Rates and Clicks-Throughs

Are your open rates dropping? Are your click-through rates getting worrisome? From warming up your IP address to optimizing your emails for mobile users, improve your email ROI with HubSpot's 7 advanced tips for email marketing success.

19 Questions and Answers on AdWords Quality Score

If you're like most online marketers, you're probably mystified by the Google AdWords Quaity Score algorithm. But fear not, Elisa Gabbert of Wordstream compiled a trusty FAQ of 19 common Quality Score questions, based on a recent webinar. Learn how many landing pages you should create for your Ad Groups, whether you should advertise on the display network, and much more.

10-Point Content Marketing Checklist

Content is king. But great content marketing is challenging to execute well. Give your content marketing a tune up with Sonia Simone's 10-point check list on Copyblogger. From creating content worth reading, to developing a quality theme, these 10 tips will put you on the fast track to content marketing success.

How to Construct a SEO Friendly Web Page

Better SEO rankings start with well-constructed, SEO-friendly web pages. This great Search Engine Journal post breaks down how to construct SEO-friendly web pages by including keywords in URLs, developing effective meta titles, reducing code bloat, and more.


Best of Social Media: Week of June 7, 2012


Welcome back to our Best of Social Media blog series. This week, take advantage of LinkedIn pages for lead generation, start measuring social media ROI, improve your Facebook marketing, and more.

Female Marketer With an Idea7 Clever Facebook Marketing Tips 

Need to amp up your Facebook marketing? Over at ClickZ, Sundeep Kapur shares how a new event planning company is successfully promoting an upcoming music and arts festival on Facebook. While their budget is limited, their results are anything but.

How to Generate Leads from LinkedIn Company Pages

LinkedIn is often considered the best social network for B2B lead generation. But where do you begin? Start with your company page, and Jeffrey L. Cohen's 5 smart tips for taking advantage of status updates, products and services listings, and more.

Why You Should Measure Social Media ROI

You're measuing the return on invesment (ROI) of your social media marketing efforts, right? If not, check out Social Media Examiner's 5 key reasons you must start measuring social media ROI today. It's easier and more important than you might think.

Expect Advice to Get More Out of Social Media Participation

Tweets, Likes, and comments are nice. But are you looking at the big picture—how your brand is perceived, and the types of relationships you're developing with your social media audience? Get more from your social media participation efforts with these 5 tips for social media participation success from Lee Odden.

How to Decide Which Social Media Platforms to Use

Think marketing on your favorite social networks is driving business? Think again. In this informative post on the MarketingSherpa blog (filled with nifty visuals, too!), learn why developing a big picture, integrated strategy is more effective than simply marketing on social networks, why blogging might be more effective than you realize, and more.