Failing at Paid Search? Maybe You’re Just Measuring It Wrong.

The lack of an appropriate and complete tracking system is one of the most common errors, or omissions, that B2B marketers make in setting up a paid search program.
Paid Search Tips
It’s easy to see why. Google, for example, provides basic tracking services – impressions, clicks, cost per click – automatically and at no charge as part of their default set-up. Going beyond that basic set-up, a critical step in being able to gauge the true success of any search campaign, requires a modest investment in time and resources that most companies figure they can live without.

The foundation of a strong search campaign is knowing what you want to achieve. Are you trying to generate downloads, registrations, page views, sales leads, qualified leads, sales? How are you defining that goal: Is someone filling out a registration form, hitting a particular page, meeting certain qualification criteria? Your search campaign should measure:

1. how many of those desired actions are taking place
2. how much each desired action is costing in the aggregate, and
3. which precise keywords are generating those actions at the lowest cost.

Keep in mind that you may have separate goals for certain parts of the program. For example, you may wish to measure the performance of “branded terms” – the name of your company, product names, names of competitors – based on impressions, or even ad position, whereas more generic terms will be measured on Cost Per Lead or Cost Per Qualified Lead. Read More »

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5 Sales Tips My Kids Learned from Watching Shark Tank

Confession: at our house, we watch a LOT of reality TV. One of our favorite series – and one of the few reality shows that’s also family-friendly – is ABC’s Shark Tank. I love the brash personalities, the high-stakes negotiation, and seeing entrepreneurs achieve their life’s dream. Our children love the banter, the friendly insults, and watching people get rich.

shark tank selling tipsBut there’s another side of Shark Tank that I appreciate, and that is: it’s great sales training. The entrepreneurs who appear on the show are all pitching a product, a service, the Next Big Thing. Some of them are good at it (selling, that is), and some are well, just plain awful. As someone who’s attended a few sales training classes in my day, I have yelled advice at the TV a few times during the show (often along the lines of “TAKE THE DEAL FOR PETE’S SAKE”), much to my kids’ embarrassment.

Here are the top 5 sales tips my kids have learned from those outbursts:

1. Know your facts.

There are two things that impress the sharks. One is sales (revenue). The other is someone who knows their numbers – revenue, margins, manufacturing cost, cost of customer acquisition. Even the greatest salesperson in the world can’t close if he/she doesn’t know the facts. And nothing deflates buyer confidence more than a lack of knowledge. It sounds like you’re just making stuff up. Read More »

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Key B2B Demand Generation Strategies for 2015

Recently I sat down with Amanda Nelson, Director of Marketing at RingLead, a leading provider of cloud-based data solutions that make it easy to analyze, remove, merge and prevent duplicates in Salesforce. We discussed what’s new, what’s working, and what’s on the horizon in B2B Demand Generation.

This interview originally appeared in the RingLead blog, and is posted here with permission.
demand generation trends
(AN) Hello, Howard. What is the first B2B marketing strategy that marketers must consider for 2015?

(HS) Content is everything these days. In our business, demand generation and content marketing are nearly synonymous. It’s almost a cliché to say so at this stage, but without quality content, it’s virtually impossible to generate maximum return from both “top of the funnel” lead generation, lead nurturing, or customer marketing. Good content is the fuel that feeds demand generation success.

A content map is a very useful exercise and one that every B2B company should initiate and then maintain over time. It’s an effective way to identify gaps in your content library in terms of form factors, selling stage, and key personas.

(AN) Are you looking at new B2B marketing strategies or tried-and-true approaches this year? Or both? Why?

(HS) One of the great things about being a demand generation marketer is that our business is constantly changing. Experts say that marketing has changed more in the last five years than in the twenty years that preceded it. 2015 is no exception. Even as much of our demand generation work at Spear is founded on tried-and-true principles (Sell the Offer, Not the Product!) we see some very exciting new demand gen channels entering the fray. Read More »

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How to Measure Email Success in 2015: A Call to ROI

No matter what your marketing resolutions this year – more content, better creative, etc. – no improvement matters if you can’t measure it. Since email continues to be a dominant channel for most B2B marketers, let me suggest that a good candidate for #1 on your “to do” list for 2015 is to improve the way you measure email campaigns.

email metricsImproving email campaign measurement won’t generate more leads or better leads, in and of itself, but it will help accomplish both those goals by providing the data necessary to identify what’s truly working. Unless you’re measuring true email performance – no change you make to copy, design, mobile-friendliness, offer, deliverability, etc. will matter because you’ll never know if those changes are having a genuine impact.

As a B2B agency, our firm creates and executes dozens of email campaigns every month, and that experience tells me that a large percentage of B2B marketers, even at companies that otherwise do a very sophisticated job at demand generation, fail to measure or compare email campaign performance using any metrics other than opens and clicks.

News Flash: opens and clicks do not measure the success of an email campaign.

The only way to really gauge email success is to measure the impact that leads generated by a campaign have on pipeline and revenue. Nothing else really matters. A campaign can generate a phenomenal open rate, an astonishing click rate, and even hundreds of leads, and yet contribute virtually nothing to the business. Conversely, an email campaign can “fail” at all of those metrics and yet make a real impact on the bottom line. Read More »

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Steal This Technique for Your Next Sales Email

One of the basic rules of good, direct marketing copywriting is that a call to action should always be specific. In other words, it’s always better to present the reader with a very precise, preferably tangible reason to respond. So, for example:

sales email tips“Click to download our free white paper”

is infinitely preferable to:

“Click to learn more”

and “Call me for a free 10-minute consultation”

is more effective than:

“Call me to discuss how we can help.”

The less you put the onus on the reader to decide why he/she should click or call, the better. Conversely, the more the reader is forced to decide or ponder the reason or topic for that click or call, the greater the likelihood of hesitation. As the saying goes, he who hesitates is lost.

I was reminded of this principle earlier today when a colleague forwarded an email received from a inside sales representative at a technology company looking to partner with our agency. We get bombarded by these emails every day, and my colleague had been ignoring this particular rep steadily, until he received this email (company name omitted): Read More »

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