Marketing Baby Carrots as Junk Food

Marketing campaign for Baby Carrots as Junk Food

I just read a post on Marketing Daily about a new marketing campaign the carrot farmers are getting ready to launch (read the post here). The campaign promotes baby carrots with the tag line “Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food” and a theme of mocking the chip ads from the major snack companies. Whereas chip companies market their snacks as extreme – you know, extreme cheese, extreme hot and spicy and extreme red and orange- baby carrots have extreme crunch and extreme orange. I mean, how much more orange can you get than a carrot?

I think this is a great marketing strategy, and the irony of positioning baby carrots as competition for junk food at the same time snack companies add “no trans fat” badges to their packaging is pure genius. The campaign includes TV spots, outdoor advertising and online and social media.

According to the post, the campaign launches September 13th in Syracuse and Cincinnati. We won’t see it in Atlanta until after that, but I look forward to when we see it. Who knows, maybe the orange juice people will follow suit? It’s pretty orange too, you know.

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.

Inbound Marketers’ Dirty Little Secret About Lead Generation

Inbound Marketing is getting a lot of attention these days. Companies and consultants who specialize in inbound lead generation help you draw traffic to your website and blog and convert that traffic into leads with landing pages with offers and forms. Read a few blog entries from these folks and you’ll see some very preachy (and self-serving) stuff about the evils of outbound marketing. They talk endlessly about how your customers don’t want to see your ads or receive emails from you. One site even posted a misleading interpretation of the CAN-SPAM law that implied that if someone didn’t ask to receive your newsletter you were breaking the law.Secrets of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a great strategy, and if you aren’t already actively pursuing it you should start. But at the same time you should be skeptical of the spin from inbound marketing evangelists. Even if they say otherwise, the vast majority of them are actively doing outbound marketing. Why? Because inbound marketing isn’t as effective for finding customers who have never heard of you before. It relies on your rankings in search engines like Google. If your website is not highly ranked it takes time to raise your profile high enough to appear on the first page of a search. Outbound marketing such as email lead generation can help by getting the engine revved up so that people searching for product information find your company. Swyzzle recommends a mix, and we believe that if inbound marketing companies are being honest they do too. For example, at HubSpot email marketing is second only to direct traffic in attracting visitors; beating out paid search, referrals, organic search and social media. Email marketing is also their fastest growing lead generation category. Is all that email traffic coming from newsletter subscriptions? I doubt it.

Don’t be misled by the spin. Make sure you’ve got a good online lead generation mix. Swyzzle isn’t anti-inbound marketing. We’re all about helping to provide good, rich content for any form of online marketing – inbound or outbound – and tracking and reporting to help separate the hot leads from the not-so-hot.

Should I be Doing Multimedia and Video Lead Generation Campaigns?

How do you know if you should be running Multimedia and Video Lead Generation Campaigns? Here’s what we mean by a multimedia and video lead generation campaign. These are marketing campaigns that use video (like a YouTube video) or multimedia (videos, pictures, text with audio and links or forms, etc.) to entice a prospect to “raise his hand” and say he is interested in your product or service. Usually, it starts with an email invitation to a landing page on a web site. The email invitation summarizes the content in the show and provides a link directly to landing page with embedded video or multimedia. The video or multimedia should be informative and entertaining.

What’s the alternative to multimedia and video lead generation campaigns? A landing page that contains text and images – that is, a basic web page. The advantages of a multimedia landing page are 1) it is more engaging than a basic web page and 2) you can handle subjects that are more complex. On the other hand, you can pop out a basic web page very quickly and search engines handle them well.

So what’s the answer? Whether you should be doing multimedia and video lead generation campaigns depends on your company and its products or services.

Ask yourself these questions:

Is yours a high-involvement sale?

If your customers need to see a demonstration or take it for a test drive before they buy your product or service, yours is a high-involvement sale. Good examples are complicated electronics or machinery. A multimedia lead generation campaign can jump-start your sale by showing your customers the product as it would solve their problems.

If you need to establish a high level of trust with your customers before they’ll buy, you also have a high-involvement sale. Example: consulting services. Video of satisfied customers, direct results and improvements – almost like a video resume – helps establish that trust.

How much does your product cost? As a rule of thumb, if your product is over a thousand dollars your customer will need to justify the cost and likely want to test drive it.

Is your product or market new or innovative?

With new products and markets, it can be difficult to explain in words what makes your solution better. Multimedia lead generation demonstrates how your company solves problems and interactively, allowing prospects to qualify themselves as a high quality sales lead. You might even set up a series that moves them through your marketing funnel.

Do you have video you could use?

Video production presents a challenge for many companies. Using video that already exists product demonstrations, testimonials, corporate promotions or webinars simplifies multimedia and video lead generation campaigns. Find good quality content that your customers like and use that to generate leads.

Are you generating enough leads now?

Most companies tell us they don’t generate enough leads for their sales team. Multimedia and video lead generation can generate 5-10x the number of leads that web pages can. If your marketing budget includes print advertising or industry trade shows, you should consider reallocating funds to online lead generation campaigns because the cost-per lead is much lower. Online lead generation produces more leads, and those leads can be better tracked for return on investment.

And one important point!

Follow up on your leads. Obvious, right? But lead follow-up is where many companies falter in their lead generation efforts. The likelihood of closing a sale drops the longer the delay before contacting the lead. It is important that you capture your leads and follow up as soon as possible.

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.

Multimedia Marketing Lessons from a Domino’s Web Video Ad

Ever wonder why, in commercials, the pizza looks so good? Online Lead Generation

I’ve never had a pizza delivered that looks as good as the ones in the ads. We thought you’d enjoy this video on how they do it, and at the same time offer some lessons on online multimedia marketing. So, here’s an online video ad for Domino’s that accomplishes all the things you should strive for in a multimedia marketing campaign. This video is entertaining and informative, and the quality is excellent.

Let me warn you, that there’s a pre-roll ad before the actual video, which is pathetic. One day, old school broadcasters are going to figure it out. I hate pre-roll ads, and so does everybody else. And the whole thebubble.msn.com is an awful web site chock full of lessons of what not to do on a video content site. But go ahead and tolerate it just this once.  And don’t close your browser until you’re done, or you’ll have to watch another stupid pre-roll ad.

Watch the Ad:  http://thebubble.msn.com/dominos-pizza-ad

What makes this a good video ad?

Length: 3:07 – The video is a little long, but still short enough so you want to watch the whole thing. We recommend an online video ad duration of 1-2 minutes, but strongly recommend keeping the video ad time under 2:30. If you’re thinking of going longer, your production quality needs to be very high or it will get boring or annoying.

Production quality: very high – This is a big budget video with clips from an actual 30-second spot embedded within it. The things to notice are the audio quality – very clean and consistent, and the video quality- no distracting camera movement, crisp transitions and good lighting.

Informative – a behind-the-scenes look at advertisement production is interesting because while you see ads all the time, you don’t really know how it’s done. It feels like your being let in on a secret.

Entertaining – there’s some light and self-deprecating humor throughout. They don’t seem to be taking themselves too seriously.

General – it doesn’t appear like an ad until the very end when there’s a little plug telling you they should just go to a real store. A shameless plug would ruin the whole thing.

Good content starts with a good subject and ends with good production. I hope this helps you with creating your own online videos.

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.

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