Effective Communication

You have 2.6 seconds. Make it count by NOT focusing on YOUR brand.

According to a recent research project performed by the Missouri University of Science and Technology, 2.6 seconds, to be precise, is how quickly  our audience forms an opinion about what they are considering to consume.

Win Deals Using Email: A 5 Point Checklist for Best Practice Email Campaign for Your B2B Solutions

Win Deals Using Email: A 5 Point Checklist for Best Practice Email Campaigning Your B2B Solutions. b2b email marketing. email campaign strategy.

A friend recently asked me for some advice about email campaigning. Back in July of 2015, I wrote a piece on email marketing. While still relevant content, it's highly tactical. He's more strategic. So I decided to address the topic through his lens with this expanded piece. While there is a bit of overlap in a few places, feel free to enjoy both blog entries.

Here's your 5 point checklist for winning deals using a single email campaign.

1. Be very prescriptive in choosing your audience. Less is more. Deciders are best. Influencers are ok but don't overvalue them. Be honest with yourself about who those people really are. If you are trying to convince yourself that influencers are deciders, then you're already wasting time...yours and theirs. Also, take time to truly understand and accept that they don't care about you or your brand...unless and until you can provide they get something from you at the right time that helps them solve a problem or meet a goal...in a personal way.

2. Set a simple, achievable campaign goal. When marketing and selling solutions of medium to larger size (like technology and/or consulting solutions for the healthcare space), that goal is 3-5 new qualified opportunities and 1-3 closed deals by the end of the 6th month from campaign to go-live. This model applies per Rep/territory. This math is based on our experience running hundreds of campaigns marketing solutions into the healthcare provider space. When you break down the industry and others similar to it, there are numerical limitiations in the overall opportunity and the probability of striking at the right time. Timing is not everything, but it's close. You have to have an active voice to be there at the right time. 

3. Set a supporting KPI metric for conversations. Recommend 9-12...what you'll need, minimum, for achieving the primary campaign goal. The definition of a conversation is a meaningful exchange with a qualified decider about a pain or goal that you may be able to help them solve. It can be via email, phone, or in person. You ultimately decide the definition of "meaningful". Don't artificially inflate your conversation metrics. It only hurts your progress in pursuing qualified opportunities. 

4. Frame a content and workflow plan that spans multiple (about every other week, no more than weekly) messages over 3 months time with an event as your crescendo. It can be an event within an industry event and/or a webinar. Best events feature a customer as your special guest. Take an educational approach and tone with your content...content they would consider valuable through their lens, not yours. Use a vlog or blog to engage around the top priorities in their industry and the implications to their business and priorities. That means you have to intimately know your customers' world. Invest time in research and ask your customers BEFORE you start creating. Don't sell in your content, rather promote other content around it with links and invitations they would value...other owned (owned by you) blog content, invite to your event/webinar, industry events, and/or a white paper. And remember to record your crescendo event so you can reuse the content in future campaigns.

5. Use a marketing automation tool to execute. With this much content, using a focused list, and possibly involving multiple reps, you need efficiency, an administrative owner, and you need alerts to trigger timely salesperson engagement during the campaign. You also need analytics to gain insights for affirming or pivoting your path. We like HubSpot and CampaignMonitor. Other quality alternatives include Salesforce.com's Pardot, Marketo, and InfusionSoft. 

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. This isn't easy work, but it's rewarding when done right. Our clients have experienced results that include multiple million dollar deals and ROIs in excess of 20x. You can experience the same. Just do it right!


Blogging...10 best practices

Blogging...10 best practices

To blog or not to blog? It’s no longer a question. The answer is YES. Blogging is a great opportunity for your organization to engage target audiences. Why? It can be a path to generate organic growth and position your brand as one of thought leadership in the industry.

Below are 10 Best Practices for Blogging in your business niche.

1) Plan. Before you start writing, get strategic and outline your goals. Then visit with a professional to validate and/or modify those goals relative to industry standards for blogging outcomes.

2) Schedule. Set a schedule for writing and promoting. To do it right, blogging takes an investment of time. You’ll be more effective and more efficient if you schedule it and hold yourself accountable to write 4-5 blogs / month.

3) Know your stuff. Everyone's an expert in something. What are your areas of strength? What do you have to share that you think others in your target audience(s) would find valuable? Write about what you know, what you are passionate about, or what you feel most compelled to tell others. And do so wisely.

4) Do research and read other stuff. Along with knowing your stuff, it’s important to be well-read. The more you read, the more writing ideas and content you’ll be able to produce.

5) Headlines are almost everything. Make them provocative enough to draw people into reading more. If you don’t, someone else will. Invest the time to do this right. Google and ask that one crazy friend for input. If you can afford it, hire a professional to do your headlines. Yes, it’s that important.

6) Ask questions. Encourage interaction! Write something that will get people enthusiastic about commenting. Blog posts can take on a life of their own when lots of people respond and comment.

7) Be concise. Being concise means keeping it short but complete. After you write, proof and cut “word-fat”. You’ll be amazed at how much word-fat we all use. 300-500 words…that’s all you need.

8) Keep it simple. People like simple…and that’s all they have time for. Even people who like to read, have limited time due to constant interruptions. Simple is always better and usually achievable.

9) Organize the information. Breakup text with bullets and lists…everyone loves a list. You’ll pick up a broader audience, and just maybe that one fish that you really want to hook simply because you’re blog was easy to follow.

10) Socialize it. Link, reference, and promote your blog. Reference other related content including links or twitter handles. Comment on blogs you read and tie your comments back to your content. Also, promote your blog to your first degree network via LinkedIn, Twitter, email, text…however you connect with your colleagues and friends. Let people know.

Blogging is a great tool for engaging your target audiences. But if it’s not your thing, it’s still worth doing. And we can help with our blogging services. Jut give us a call or email us @ info@illumeture.com.


Webinars...if you want more out of them, put more into them

Webinars...if you want more out of them, put more into them

Webinars are an effective tool for positioning thought leaders and nurturing leads. But the content of the webinar and the manner in which it is conducted affect the attendee experience.  So, before jumping into your first webinar, here are 8 best practices…

1) Plan. Set measurable goals within the context of your larger marketing strategy and channel campaigning objectives. For example...Attendees: 100, Leads from Webinar: 10, Closed Sales: 3, Revenue: $10,000. There are other goals to consider. Just be sure they are meaningful and measurable relative to your overarching strategic goals.

2) Define. You have offerings designed to meet a need and/or solve a problem. Create a series of topics directly related to demonstrating your expertise solving such a problem or meeting an need. Promoting a Subject Matter Expert within your company is the best way to position webinar content in generating brand awareness, nurturing leads, and new revenue. Don't use webinars to as a long pitch. It doesn't work. It doesn't mean don't talk about how you use your product or how you leverage your intellectual capital in a services business. The best approach for engagement is using a story delivered with authenticity about challenges and triumphs...lessons learned, best practices, etc. That sells better than trying to sell.

3) Promote. Define the target audience and choose the channels in which to reach them with a compelling reason to attend. Use eMail, your preferred Social Media communities, and ask your sales people to invite prospects in their conversations. Tell your customers about it and ask them to tell others. Landing pages are the best platform in which to funnel your channel traffic for sign up. Lastly, be sure to send a reminder at least twice before the event...once 1 day before, and once 1 hour before.

4) Prepare. Make sure you and the Subject Matter Expert are prepared for the webinar. Review the material and cadence for the call at least a day before. Prior to go-live, have someone on your team dial-in to make sure the number is working for participants. This person must send a test question to see what it looks like inside the webinar software. Close ALL unnecessary applications, especially Outlook, Instant Messenger, etc. No need to display irrelevant or confidential info by accident. It’s important to maximize performance and reduce distractions for your audience.

5) Start promptly. Call into the meeting a minimum of 15 minutes in advance. Before you call in, By calling in early, attendees are assured they are in the right place. Set expectations by using pre-webinar slides and announcements such as a clock countdown and agenda. Start 2 minutes past the hour. This gives people time to call in, but does not irritate punctual attendees. Additionally, it sets the tone for future webinars while not disenfranchising latecomers.

6) Set expectations. In your introduction, communicate how you will field questions…whether you'll respond to select questions at the end, or try to take them during the session. If possible, assign a support team member to managing questions.

7) Don’t Rush. When reviewing information or data, don’t move too quickly with your mouse. Often, refreshes takes time to occur depending on user bandwidth. Plan on about 5 seconds every screen change. Have a definitive "stop" to the core material, within the allotted time. It’s a designed pause to bring all audience members to the same place in the content and flow of the webinar.

8) Replay available. Send a link of the replay to all attendees within 24 hours of the close. Set this expectation during the webinar. 10-20% of attendees request the info regardless. Prompt follow up increases long term connectivity with attendees, and it’s the right thing to do.

If webinars are something you think you could improve on with professional management, let us know. We can help with our webinar management services. Jut give us a call or email us @ info@illumeture.com.