You can do it; data helps
Are you forming a marketing plan for 2013? Below are my thoughts on doing it well; you can also get a PDF of these tips.
1. Own it.
… Or not. If you get the right B2B marketing pro in your corner, their advice should more than cost-justify. But you don't necessarily need a pro to develop a sound b2b marketing plan. You might reasonably self-serve if you place very high importance on, for example:
- Saving cash
- Keeping all marketing communications efforts centralized
- Building skills internally
- Leveraging free resources available
2. Soak it up.
… The data, that is. Hopefully you've been looking at least weekly at your analytics, and know what's resonated and reached your audience the best. If not, it's time to dive into those numbers. (And if you don't have such numbers at all, that's a Problem. You may need to switch your marketing platform and methodology so you're able to see what's working.)
See what is working and what isn’t measuring up -- what you can measure, you can improve. The Hubspot Calculator is a great way to sort out what you need to do and what might not be worth the time or money. Consider your growth goals:
- How much?
- By when?
- What happens if you don’t achieve these goals?
Try to get a handle on what percentage of new revenue comes from inbound marketing now, e.g.:
- What is the average revenue per new customer?
Once you figure your lead-to-conversion rate, you can better calculate:
- How many monthly leads do we need to support the new customer goals?
- What's an appropriate strategy for attracting those leads?
- Who will execute on the strategy? How are they accountable?
The best is to base answers on examples and statistics from your analytics. If you need sign-off on the plan, beef up your case by drawing case studies, examples, and data from Hubspot and MarketingSherpa. That way you will justify spending using real-life results and plan new programs based on actual trends.
… The more spread out you are, the more resources you need to ‘win’ at execution. So keep it tight.
Which tactics are likely to be losers? Be wary of these, in general:
- Cold contacts — even if one can find some crafty way to legally email lists of strangers, it's a bad idea. Time is better spent pulling in prospects and building a permission-based house list.
- Cold calling — even if the caller can get past the front desk and voicemail jail, interrupting an executive is getting off on the wrong foot. (A guy cold-called me the other day to pitch me on his cold-calling skills. He ran into a hellstorm of irritation on my end.)
- Flash – I've seen companies spend months and drop tens of thousands of dollars on developing flash movies for their sites. But even if they do some advanced stuff to ensure search engines can ‘read’ such movies, stats show that most busy business decision makers skip them altogether.
- Snail mail — if you've recently published a book or guide that speaks to your audience, do send copies to high-value prospects. That can sure warm up connections. If such content isn’t handy, focus developing it.
Factor in the effect of combining several tactics. Assuming your website is a hub for lead generation, consider building traffic and leads by combining search engine optimization with compelling blogging and social media promotions. Added together, these three tactics are much more than the sum of their parts. On the flip side:
- A great blog that isn’t promoted or easily found is a waste of valuable content
- Similarly, great Twitter and Facebook promotion that leads to a boring blog post will underwhelm visitors
- A great search engine keyword campaign that tactics for maximum exposure
Hubspot makes the case that companies that blog have 55% more website visitors than those who don’t, especially if SEO optimization and social media promotion is used effectively. So start sharing your knowledge with the world of potential clients.
Eyes on prize
Marketing is a means to an end. You need the quickest path to improved visit-to-lead ratios and improved profitability. That requires creating compelling offers that live behind landing pages designed to collect qualified leads. This can come in the form of:
- Tip Sheets
… It will be very hard to hit the targets if, after all the careful planning, the actual content offered is fluffy, boring, or obviously dated. It will be feasible to hit the targets if the content rocks and you put it behind a hard-working landing page then use a respectful drip email campaign to follow up.
Tell me how it goes