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.
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!
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 @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email is still the king in B2B marketing dominating social media, mail, and all other forms of marketing combined. Although LinkedIn is making inroads on the king, a recent study by McKinsey concluded that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Twitter and Facebook.
So what about email? How can your organization best leverage it? Some of the Best Practices are similar to what you’ll find in the Blog BP. Still, there are important distinctions. Here are the Best Practices for leveraging email.
1) Have a good list. Make sure your list data has 90% + integrity and that its focused. Don't try to boil the ocean by including everyone. Know the right role or roles and focus your list build on them so the message will be more relevant, thereby increasing your probability for engagement with the right people.
2) Plan. Plan the campaign theme, the send schedule, the content, the follow up. Even though the plan will change because of current events, changes in the organization, or a myriad of other variables, having the framework will make your work more fruitful in the long run. Just be consistent in execution.
3) Have a creative headline. The headline is critical...it's the doorway to your message. Believe it or not, most email headlines are poorly written. You have 2-3 seconds to grab a busy person's attention. Make it count. Being creative doesn't mean sensationalize. It needs to simply compel the reader to open the message and keep reading. And it needs to be relevant to the content within the message. Make it authentic and appropriately clever. Often a simple "Touching base" is effective. Another best practice...keep it short. Use five words or less. Two is optimal. Another example headline "Anything missing?" If you want a great resource for testing keywords, check out http://subject-line-checker.adestra.com/. Invest time in your headline. If you’re not good at writing headlines, pay a professional. Yes it’s that important.
4) Write content with hooks. Be compelling and inviting with your content. And it’s about them not your features and benefits. Within the theme you’ve selected, it's about what they can do with your offering. It's about what they will experience and gain. And storytelling is powerful, but at this point only a compelling peek into the story will work. Too much too fast and there is no hook. You only have about 5-7 seconds to hook the reader beyond the headline. And you want to keep them hooked. A compelling email has 4 hooks…headline, salutation, KPI or benefit highlight within the core message, and the CTA (Call To Action). The CTA must be something they need to do to get the result they want. Write it as if you were them reading it in their environment.
5) Listen to the macro data. But balance that with what you know to be working for you. TrackMaven recently released results from their latest study centered on rising above the “noise” of email. Highlights (with notes based on our experience in parentheses) include: send in the mornings and evenings on weekends (generally true), keep the subject line word count under 20 (best practice is 2 with a max <5), use a question mark in the subject line (very effective), keep your word count under 300 (target 50 with max <100 for best results), don’t use images (good for blogging, and social posting, not good for email as images flag spam), use links to share more information (good, link to content you own is optimal). Most people are doing much of the opposite and not because audiences prefer it.
6) String it all together. Since you are working multiple channels to reach the right people, ensure the campaign theme compliments the other channel work you are doing in messaging and timing. Social selling via LinkedIn, conferences, phone calls...whatever you are working, make sure you are thoughtful and deliberate in how you attempt to connect. You don't want your efforts to feel canned. Be as authentic as possible within each channel you work while avoiding becoming inefficient.
7) Measure your results. And adjust. If you can’t track manually, get a tool like campaign monitor or mail chimp. Salesforce.com App Exchange has some bolt-on options as well. The primary KPI is conversation rate...how many conversations did you generate. Other KPIs for email are: open rate, click rate, direct response rate, opt-out rate, and spam rate.
If email is something you think you could improve on with professional management, let us know. We can help with our email management services. Jut give us a call or email us @ email@example.com.