Archive for the ‘Online Lead Generation’ Category

Webinar: Leveraging video for lead generation

Swyzzle and SalesFusion will host a webinar tomorrow, March 10th, at 2:00 pm EST on “Leveraging video to increase lead generation”.

Webinar: leveraging videe for online lead generationThis is a compelling look a the growing role video plays in the lead generation process. This live webinar will cover a variety of topics that will help you explore new ways to leverage video in your marketing mix.

You can sign up by clicking this button:

http://www.msgapp.com/c.aspx?l=CHZD0000010904084000YYY1AD

The session Agenda includes discussion around…

  • Video’s growing role as a selling tool
  • Integrating video into demand generation
  • Use cases – how, when and why to use video
  • Video and Social Media – the YouTube effect
  • Video as a prospecting tool – the email tie-in
  • Extending your webinars with video
  • Tracking video metrics

The use of videos and other multimedia is growing in popularity amongst savvy marketers. there are a myriad of new technologies and channels in which video adds to richness of your campaigns.

SalesFUSION and Swyzzle have teamed up to provide an in-depth review of the trends, tactics and metrics you need to be aware of relative to this.

Targeted Television Post on MediaPost.com

Targeted TV on MediaPostTake a look at this article on MediaPost.com that captures the reasons for our focus on “targeted television” for marketing and lead generation. Specifically, it talks about how video ads’ performance drastically improve when targeted to the right demographic audience. People always prefer information – whether entertainment or promotion; whether stories, video content, or advertising – that is tailored to their interests.

The article also addresses an important concern for marketers who want to use video in email campaigns – where to get good video creative – saying that existing 15-second and 30-second spots can be used effectively for email marketing. If you have the budget and enough time to produce custom video for marketing, that’s what you should do. But if not, you can use existing video content from your media library with very good results.

Advice on Lead Hand-off from Marketing to Sales

Technology Executives Roundtable (TER) LogoI was at an Technology Executives Roundtable (TER) event on Marketing ROI earlier this week. It was a panel with three members, all marketing executives, who were asked the typical questions for a panel like this: what marketing programs work for you, how do you measure ROI, and how do you track ROI for the marketing campaigns you run. These are always good questions to ask, since the answers change as markets and marketing tools evolve.

A member of the audience asked the question, “How do you qualify leads as ready to hand from marketing to sales and track them?” I commend the panelists for their candid answers. Each responded that his or her company had problems either with sales and marketing agreeing on when a lead should be handed off or with tracking the lead from when it entered the marketing funnel and tying it to sales opportunities and sales. The answers surprised me, especially because these are sophisticated marketers for well-marketed companies.

Here is my advice:

  • Start with agreement between the top sales and the top marketing executives on the definition of a Sales Lead. Arrive at the definition by asking the sales exec, “Would you want a lead if they did this (attended a webinar, for example)? How about this? Or this?”.
  • Then, use that definition to qualify leads for every campaign you run. Track the actions of all contacts that are part of a campaign and identify the sales leads. Hand them off to sales, and get feedback from the sales team. The definition may need to be refined.  Lead follow-up is a challenge in itself, but by handing the right leads over, you’ll get more enthusiastic follow-up from the sales team.
  • Typically, about 5% of the marketing pipeline are sales leads that are ready to be handed to sales. 10% of the pipeline are close and should be watched carefully by marketing. Our marketing team scrutinizes that group – those that responded to actions that are not quite strong enough to qualify them as a sales lead – looking for key target customers and companies that are in strategic markets. Sales people will want to call these leads because they may know of an opportunity, share contacts or turn into advocates for your company when the sales opportunity arises.

As with any panel these days,  there was plenty of talk about Twitter, Facebook, and blogging. What kind of marketing expert would you be if you left out Twitter and Facebook, right? These were all B2B marketers, so I’m pretty sure the hottest lead they ever got from Twitter or Facebook was when to be at Gordon Biersch if they want to run into Stephen Fleming. Actually, the most interesting marketing tip came from Gary Brooks when he said Bomgar spends about $2000 to prepare a custom business case for specific target customers – with about a 40% close rate on a face to face meeting – kudos for that.

The session was excellent, and got me thinking quite a bit. If you’d like to know more about lead generation, hand-off and follow-up, feel free to post comments or pop me an email.

Improved Lead Scoring for Marketing Campaigns

Improved lead scoring

Lead scoring improves follow-up

Our product development team is in the midst of an upgrade that will enhance our lead scoring for multimedia marketing campaigns. The benefit of this improvement is faster lead follow-up during the lead generation campaign. One of the most difficult challenges in lead generation campaigns is to ensure that highly qualified leads are contacted promptly (detailed in this post).  As the marketing campaign happens, the hottest leads will be flagged for immediate follow-up — improving the marketing campaign ROI.

How does it work? The lead scoring technique measures and scores how the people who respond to your Swyzzle campaigns (your leads) watch and interact with the Swyzzle show. The viewing habits of all viewers and interaction with PromoPad items below the show and other factors are collected and analyzed to compute the score. Some of the factors which are included in the scoring include:

  • Total Length of viewing time - indicating quality and viewer interest in the show
  • Number of views - indicating level of interest in the content of the show
  • Number of clicks on PromoPad items – showing interest in a particular topic related to the item clicked.
  • Number of repeated segments viewed during a session – showing interest in a particular portion of a show
  • E-commerce item clicks on PromoPad - indicating specific interest in a product offered during the show

As data is collected for each new lead generation campaign the analysis learns and improves, producing more refined results.

Look for the new lead-scoring within the next several weeks. In future releases we’ll be adding other new features to drive higher quality multimedia-based lead generation.

Lead Follow-up: The Challenge of Online Lead Generation

In many companies, Sales complains that they don’t get enough leads from Marketing, and Marketing complains that Sales doesn’t follow up on the leads they are given. It almost sounds like the beginning of a joke. Unfortunately, many lead generation campaigns fail because no one follows up on the good leads that are generated.

Lead Follow-up: the link between Sales and Marketing

Lead Follow-up: the link between Sales and Marketing

In my fantasy, Marketing hands Sales all the leads they can handle and Sales follows up on every single lead, closing every opportunity. Everyone is happy, and everyone makes lots of money. The problems begin when you have expectations like mine.

Because of performance pressure, Marketing tends to send weak leads to Sales. Sales often doesn’t follow up because the leads are weak, saying it’s a waste of time. However, when a well planned and executed lead generation campaign is conducted by Marketing, quality leads will be the result. The leads must be segmented as quickly as possible by Marketing so that they can be passed on to Sales while they are still “hot”. Sales must be prepared to follow up on with these leads within 24 hours to reap the full benefits of the campaign. There is nothing worse than wasting a good lead. Sales must follow up on the leads promptly, before they get cold. That means they need to trust that they will get good leads, and that they will take the time to act on them. Marketing must communicate to Sales about the current campaigns and give guidance on how to follow up on the leads.

It’s important to think of lead generation as a funnel (see Understanding the Online Lead Generation Funnel). In a typical marketing funnel, the best 5% of marketing contacts are strong enough sales prospects to passed to Sales. The next 10% are close, but not quite fully baked. Marketing should monitor those 10% and pass contacts that are from marquis customers to Sales, and continue to cultivate the others. For example, if your company produces drink production equipment a lead from Coca Cola should be passed to sales.

Lastly, Marketing should track the follow-up. Marketing needs to track leads through the marketing funnel, then through the sales funnel and then through the lifetime of the customer. The lifetime value of a lead is the true measure of the success of marketing campaigns the marketing organization.

Email Marketing Campaigns: Increase Your Email Open Rate

Email lead generation is a funnel (see our previous post on Understanding the Online Lead Generation Funnel) for qualifying prospects who are most ready to buy. Every contact you send your email to enters the top of the funnel. There are two reasons contacts drop out before even receiving the email: due to bad or incorrect email addresses, and due to spam filters. The first problem should be handled by continual cleaning up of your opt-in contact list, which we’ll save that for another post. Avoiding spam filters has everything to do with a good subject line – which we talk about below. Once your message makes it to the recipient’s inbox, there are some important things you can do to entice him or her to open the message.

What’s a good open rate?

Open rates vary anywhere from 15%-35% based on industry, but mostly you should expect 20-30%. You should watch your open rates carefully, and track them based on subject line, day of the week, and time of day. Aside from Saturday and Sunday, which you should avoid, the day of the week you send your email affects each industry differently, and in some industries may not matter at all. If you have no data, begin by sending on Tuesday through Thursday. Then test Monday and Friday to see how they compare. Time of day can also affect open rates. For example, in some cases Monday morning is a bad because people come into work with a full in-box.

Email subject line – avoiding spam filters

Email Spam detector is like the Egg-dicator from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Veruca Salt flagged as spam

If you actually ARE a spammer, our advice won’t help you much. We’re just trying to keep legitimate email marketers from stumbling unknowingly into the spam folder. There are some pretty simple guidelines for avoiding spam filters. Most spam filters work by assigning points to “spammy” things in emails. The more spammy things you do, the higher your score. It’s kind of like the “Egg-dicator” in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When the score exceeds the threshold set in the recipients email settings, your email drops into the spam folder (like Veruca into the bad-egg garbage bin).

First, avoid pitching the deal-of-the-century. Don’t talk about money, urgent one-time offers, money back guarantees. Also, be careful with percentages. Since spam filters flag anything that looks like a mortgage offer, things that look like a mortgage rate can get caught.

Here are some other spammy things to avoid, both in the subject line and the email:

  • Exclamation Points!!!!!!! (one’s okay!)
  • USING ALL CAPS IN EITHER THE SUBJECT LINE OR EMAIL!
  • Spammy phrases: “Click here!”, “Act Now!”, “Buy Now!” and “Why Pay More”
  • Bright Red or Green text
  • Using Microsoft Word to create your HTML email (this creates sloppy HTML associated with lazy spammers)
  • HTML email with nothing but one or more images very little text
  • Using the word “test” in the subject line
  • Sending a test to multiple contacts in the same company

Crafting a good email subject line

So good – you aren’t spam and didn’t mistakenly get put in the spam box. How do you entice your recipient to open the email and read your message? Easy rule of thumb: be honest, sincere, and state the value you intend to provide in the email. A common mistake is to treat the subject line like a catchy tag line. Catchy, ad-like subject lines can actually reduce open rates. Consider what the distribution list you are using opted-in for. If the opt-in was for new product announcements and industry news, try to craft your subject line to fit into one of those two categories. Just make sure that’s what your giving them in the email.

Deliver on the value you offer

Email marketing is an ongoing process. Like business and life in general, people appreciate good quality content and valuable information. Think about what your market wants and needs. Offer the information and entertainment they are looking for. And every time you offer something, make sure you deliver it.

Learn from each email marketing campaign

Each email you send is both a message and a test. Measure and track open rates, click-throughs and number of leads against the day and time of day. Make improvements each time and learn what works and what doesn’t. Your results will get better and better with each campaign.

Multimedia Marketing Campaign Production Tools

Many of our marketing services customers want to become self-sufficient running B2B online lead generation campaigns by building their multimedia production expertise. To help them out we created this list of some of the equipment and software that we use to produce multimedia content, so we thought we would share it. We selected these products because they produce a very high quality for the price tag. All of these tools work well with the Swyzzle Multimedia Authoring System for creating multimedia for use in multimedia marketing campaigns and B2B lead generation.

Content creation

If you’re trying to create original from scratch, these are some of the tools you may want to look into.

Swyzzle Multimedia Authoring System

Swyzzle Multimedia Authoring System

Swyzzle Multimedia Authoring System - after you have created content using other tools, use the Swyzzle multimedia authoring system to pull it all together. You can create a show from videos created using Keynote and the Flip, add images you created or touched up using Illustrator and PhotoShop, and add voice over and music you recorded.

Apple Keynote - Keynote is great software for creating slide presentations. There are lots of effects and transitions to choose from. If you’re a PowerPoint user (I am), you’ll be surprised at how much better and easier it is. It’s pretty complicated to open a Keynote presentation on a Windows computer, but you can export to a Quick Time movie. You can then upload your movie to video sharing sites and use it in Swyzzle shows.

Flip Camera - there definitely are better video cameras for video quality, but for recording video at events like concerts or festivals you can’t beat the Flip. It has remarkable audio quality with an internal microphone. We don’t recommend it for video in a studio.

Adobe Illustrator - use Illustrator to create original images using vector drawing. It’s pretty complicated and expensive for the average joe, so unless you expect to be drawing often you might leave it to an expert.

Adobe PhotoShop - use PhotoShop to create or touch up photos and create effects. Same goes for Illustrator.

Microphone - there are lots of good microphones with a wide range in prices. We recommend an inexpensive stand microphone for $10-$20 for good quality sound as a minimum. Higher end microphones start around $60. Just don’t use the built-in microphone in your computer. Experiment with microphone placement before recording to prevent clipping and breath sounds.

Screen Capture and Recording

These software tools are used for capturing what’s happening on your desktop. Create an image by selecting an area on your screen. Create a video by selecting an area on your screen and recording whatever happens in that area. In some cases you can add voice-over or web cam video to the capture.

CamStudio - we used CamStudio for screen capture for things like software tutorials. It’s a very powerful tool, but also expensive. Now we like Jing, which is cheaper and easier. CamStudio has some additional video editing, transcoding and audio features that we don’t really need.

Jing - Jing is a web application for capturing screen images from your computer and recording what you’re doing on your computer. You can turn on your microphone and add audio to the video. The free version only saves videos as SWF files, so you’ll need the premium version to create usable mpeg4 H264, or to save the file to your computer.

Additional screen capture tools we have not tried, but you may want to evaluate include Adobe Captivate and ScreenFlow for Mac.

Video Editing

CyberLink PowerDirector - PowerDirector is an inexpensive full-feature video editing software package. You can crop your videos, fix lighting problems, add audio tracks and more. There are many other video editing tools, but PowerDirector is excellent for the price.

audio editing software

Audacity software

Audio Recording and Editing

Audacity - free, open source audio editing software. Audacity is very versatile. Take existing mp3s and edit them, clean up voice-over and soundtracks for your multimedia. Amplify audio, remove noise, cut out sections, add delay, etc.

Video Transcoding

ffmpeg - converts virtually any form of digital video into any other form and lets you change the video and audio bit rate, quality sized, etc.. It works with video from digital cameras, digital video cameras, iPhones, Flip video, and more. It is a completely command line program with hundreds of switches and settings. It’s complicated and clunky, but incredibly versatile. Don’t mess with it unless you are serious. But if you’re serious, you’ll like it.

Is Your Lead Generation Providing Value to Your Market?

I ran across an interesting post on Paul Dunay’s blog, Buzz Marketing for Technology. In his post, “Shadow Pipeline – accounting for the missing dollars“, he writes, “Just because you decided to throw an event at the beginning of the year doesn’t mean anyone wanted to buy your solution or even had the funding to buy your solution. Budget cycles dictate this ebb and flow.” He makes a great point that a lot of technology marketing departments miss.

When I talk to people about B2B online lead generation, they act like their entire target market is in the midst of a purchase. You have to stay in contact with your target market when they aren’t buying so that when they are ready buy they know and trust you. And you need to be providing value to your target market so they want to hear from you. How? Give them tools and answers that help them do their jobs better every day. Share what your customers are teaching you about best practices, new products, and industry events.

Provide real value, and your future customers will remember you when it’s time to talk.

Use Your Recorded Webinars for Online Lead Generation

The traditional way to use webinars for lead generation is to invite people to register for a webinar that educates your customers about new solutions to their problems, and builds upon your reputation for thought leadership in your industry.  This is a great way to qualify prospects that may be ready to buy within the next year, and push them into the sales funnel (see Understanding the Lead Generation Funnel). Unfortunately, most of your invitees will miss your webinar because they are busy during the scheduled webinar session.

Here’s the good news. Webinar platforms like  WebEx and GoToMeeting can create a recording of your webinar. So you can get more out of that webinar inviting prospects to watch the recorded webinar — that is, by using it as the offer in an online lead generation campaign. Let’s say you invited 2000 contacts to participate in a webinar. Typically, you will get 100 or so people to register for the webinar, and about 20-25 will participate at the scheduled time.

After the webinar, you can conduct a follow-up email to the original list, inviting them to follow a link to a landing page with the recorded webinar. Statistics show that about 200 people will follow the link and watch some or all of the webinar, increasing the leads by a factor of 8-10x.

If you are a company with channel partners, such as VARs or distributors, you can also give recorded webinars to your channel to help them improve sales. Normally, webinars include an introduction that is branded for the corporation, followed by the webinar and then a Q&A session. You can let your partners re-brand the introduction and execute their own email campaigns. They benefit from the webinar and improve their brand without the expense of running the webinar. The corporation controls the message, so there’s no risk of conflict in the message the channel is delivering to the market.

There are several things that Swyzzle does to make it all easy:

  1. You can upload the recorded webinar to Swyzzle and create a simple show containing the webinar. Add links within the show to other web pages that visitors can click to delve deeper into your subject.
  2. Without editing the recording, you can create a customized channel branded introduction using your logo, website and contact info prior to the start of the webinar. This is an easy way to leverage well-produced informative webinars and engage potential customers in a dialog with your company.
  3. Swyzzle tracks the viewing of the show and provides detailed reports that identify and qualify your leads so you can follow up with sales calls.

We also provide lead generation services turnkey, so you can offload the whole thing to us.

Understanding the Online Lead Generation Funnel

To run effective online lead generation campaigns, you should think in terms of a lead generation funnel. You start with a group of opt-in email contacts, and send them useful information prompting them to take actions that turn them into qualified sales leads who eventually buy your product or service. When you send out the email to your contact list, all of the contacts enter into a lead generation funnel.

Most sales organizations already think in terms of a sales funnel, where through the sales process, prospects become opportunities that turn into sales. The lead generation funnel is similar, converting contacts to qualified sales leads. The analogy of a funnel comes from the fact that a large number of unqualified contacts enter the top of the funnel, and a smaller number of qualified leads exit the bottom of the funnel.

The Online Lead Generation Funnel

The Online Lead Generation Funnel

In the picture above, you can see that everyone you send the email to enters the funnel. We are showing 100% of the emails successfully received, although usually there is a small drop out because email addresses change and bounce. Typically, somewhere between 5 and 30% open the email in their email client. Why such a big range? Well, it varies mostly due to the subject line and the relevance to the group of contacts the email went to.

The email should include a call to action. Examples include an offer for valuable information, an invitation to view a video or multimedia, an invitation to a webinar or other offer that a prospective customer would want. The call to action will get the contact to “click-through” to a landing page.

A good landing page should include additional calls to action that push your contacts through the last stage of the funnel. This is where most landing pages fall short. Usually, the landing page has some information, along with a form to request more information. Many visitors are actively looking for products, but don’t submit a request.

The visitors that click through to the landing page are the most valuable leads, representing between 2 and 10% of the emails. The problem is out of that 2 to 10%, only 1 in 20 will request more information, meaning that .01% to .5% of the total will make a request. Most times, campaigns identify only those requests as qualified. Wouldn’t it be better to see a range of qualification levels, based the level of interest and action from the landing page?

Qualifying the landing page visitors is an important part of Swyzzle’s analytics and reporting. If your landing page has a Swyzzle show on it, you will know how much of the show your visitors watched and when they watched it. You can offer other documents or even a click-to-buy link, and see what interested them. This increases the number of leads by 20-50 times, while dividing the leads into levels. You can give the hot leads to your sales team, and also use your information to improve all your other lead generation campaigns.