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Free Guide: 22 Practical Strategies For Marketing Online

Today we're happy to release our latest free guide: 22 Practical Strategies For Marketing Online.

If you're looking for more ways to get more leads from your website and social media marketing discover 22 you can use today.

Download your copy of 22 Practical Stragies For Marketing Online

Click me to download your free copy of 22 Practical Strategies For Marketing Online

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B2B Online Lead Generation: 3 Secrets For Business Success

Online lead generation secrets for B2B companiesB2B online lead generation isn't much different than generating leads in consumer businesses. Many business people I know including Marcus Sheridan and John Falchetto agree, and we had fun debating it on Gini Dietrich's content development blog post. So the question is, is there any magic sauce you can use when marketing for B2B leads? Yes and no.

There isn't really a “secret sauce” but there are three secrets I've discovered in my journey. They are:

  1. Despite What They Say, They're Still People
  2. Language Is Everything
  3. Attract The Minions, Catch The Devil

Let's dig in!

Despite What They Say, They're Still People

As business owners, we like to think we're different. To an extent it's true – not everyone starts a business, and even fewer of those that do build businesses that last. But the one thing none of us can escape is this – we're human. And because of that, the same psychology and methods that are used to market to consumers can be translated to work for B2B business as well. Let's take branding as an example.

People purchase brand named items for many reasons, one of which is to be associated with what that brand stands for. Back in the day, there was a saying in business: “No one got fired buying IBM.” That's 100% targeted to a business buyer, and says that if you purchase IBM, your position at work is guaranteed. You can trust IBM to work, work well and make you look good.

That's bold, and all business.

Language Is Everything

The devices we use for online lead generation are fairly standard:

  • Free reports
  • Case studies
  • Presentations
  • Webinars
  • Many others

What's very important is the language you use in these materials. A quick story on this.

I was talking the other day with Gold Partner Lauri Flaquer (a business coach and consultant) about a technology solution she was looking at. She sent me a PDF brochure the company sent her and asked me to take a look. After reading two pages I still didn't know what the solution was or how a business owner could use it. And that was exactly the point.

The brochure wasn't written for me, it was written for an IT person in a large company, someone more focused on stats, jargon and the like. I did corporate IT for years so I'm familiar. So that brochure was written to appeal specifically to the target audience, and would be very effective in that context. Everyone else would be lost.

With all of your materials always be conscious of your customer. Do they like jargon filled copy that takes pages to find out what they solution is all about or are they a busy executive with precious few moments that's wondering how you'll improve the bottom line and make them look good doing it?

Attract The Minions, Catch The Devil

Unless you're the owner of a private company and have all the shares of stock therein, you have a boss. My wife might argue that though I'm in that situation, I still have a boss. When I was the network administrator of a landscape design firm in Orlando, I had two bosses – the person I reported directly to, and the owners of the company. As such, I was always looking for vendors that could:

  1. Show me the ROI of their solution and sell me on it
  2. Provide me with assistance selling to my bosses, specifically information that would appeal to them I could use

As a company using B2B online lead generation this means you need to have two forms of content:

  1. Content that attracts the people that are looking to solve a problem – the minions
  2. Content that can sell the bosses who sign the checks – the devil

The easier you make it for someone to sell what you've got, the more of it you will sell. Especially in B2B.

What Else?

What else have you found works really well in attracting B2B leads online?

Let's talk about it in the comments below!

See you there…

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15 Online Lead Generation Lessons From Direct Response Marketing

When it comes to online lead generation, there's a lot to learn from direct response marketing, the type we practice at Dempsey Marketing. At the risk of sounding mercenary, we're here for business. Never forget that relationships count and we must always treat people like people and provide value. Also never forget that with every piece of marketing you send out it must accomplish a goal – it causes someone to take an action. That's where direct response comes in.

Let's look at 15 lessons we can use to get more leads online.

#1: Avoid The Usual

Whoopee Cushion And Rob

They still make these?!

I'm a fan of direct mail and believe it has it's place in the marketing mix. I was introduced to the 3D Mail company by Bill Glazer. This company can send out mail guaranteed to get attention. In a piece they sent to me they included a whoopee cushion. I haven't seen one of those for at least 15 years and didn't realize they still made them. It got my attention because it was unusual and unexpected.

On the right is a picture of me holding said whoopee cushion. Wonder what I should do with it…

#2: Deliver A Promise Right Away

On the front of the whoopee cushion letter from 3D Mail is bold red text that reads:

“You'll shout ‘Whoopee' once you read my letter inside…”

The geek in me says that's kind of stupid, but the marketer in me says WTF is this all about?! Let's see…

The point being it delivered a promise right away – that if I open the letter I'll be saying whoopee. As it was a thick letter I did, saw the whoopee cushion, and literally said “whoopee cushion!” out loud. Embarrassing? Yes. Effective? Yes. Hilarious? Very.

#3: Welcome Them Inside With Your Promise

Continuing with this letter, once I opened it up I saw anothe headline welcoming me in:

“Robert, You'll Shout Whoopee!! When You Lern How to Really Explode Your Sales With 3D Mail”

They continue to deliver on the promise on the outside of the letter with the first thing I see when I open the letter. How this applies to online is this: if you are writing blog posts and putting them on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) then you're headline is your promise. Once the visitor lands on your website they had better see that, not a post about something else.

#4: Use A Compelling Headline

Use a compelling headline

No, I'm not referring to you.

There's a nifty little plugin for WordPress called Headline Split Tester which allows you to test two different headlines on a post. After 200 views it selects the winner and sticks with it. Very cool stuff.

On the Internet headlines – the titles of your posts – are what get clicks. The same goes for PPC ads. The more compelling the headline, sometimes the more crazy, the more clicks you get and the more leads you can generate.

#5: Write For Your Ideal Customer

Many people harp on this one and I'm no exception. Always write for your ideal customer. Indirectly discuss the emotional benefits delivered by your products and services, and use their language. You'll form a stronger connection faster.

#6: Tell A Relevant Story

People love stories. Danny Brown of Bonsai Interactive wrote an entire ebook in story format. Tell a story when possible, but make sure it's relevant to the point you're trying to make.

#7: Be Conversational

Doggie smiles

Oh I love it! Tell me more. I'm all ears.

Along with the story point, be conversational. The letter I received from 3D Mail read like a conversation. I could almost here Travis telling me what I was reading. Being conversational means using everyday language. If that happens to be geek speak and you're customers are geeks, go for it. Otherwise break out the thesaurus and look up some alternatives.

#8: Have Some Empathy Will Ya?!

When is the last time you had someone telling you what to do and as you were “listening” your head was saying “WTF does this guy know? He hasn't ever done what I'm doing, so how can he tell ME what to do?! What an a…..” That recent? Wow.

When we approach others from a standpoint of empathy, of understanding their situation, we position ourselves to better deliver value. Communicating that value is what gets people interested and helps them become leads.

#9: If I Can't Read It, I Ain't Buyin It

Humongous blocks of text, letters in all caps, white lettering on a black background – all make it harder to read what you have to say. If I can't read it I'm going to bounce, perhaps to a competitor site I can actually read. Ways of making large amounts of text readable are using:

  • Bullets (uh huh)
  • Headlines
  • Pictures
  • Quotes
  • Testimonial blocks

Mix it up.

#10: The Quirky Will Worky

Quirky, not freakish and scary

Have you ever received a bank deposit bag in the mail? How about a treasure chest containing a sales letter and a gift? Ever sent a proposal package FedEx to a potential customer? All of these things make direct mail stand out a pile of plain white envelopes just asking to be thrown out.

I've seen sales pages written like magazine articles. I've seen another that looked like a torn out notebook page. All of these things are out of the ordinary and capture attention. As odd as they may seem, they work, really well.

#11: Write As Much As It Takes

In the world of copywriting there's an endless debate on which works better – shorter copy or longer copy. What the experts – Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer, Terry Dead, Dr. Glenn Livingston, others – all say is write as much as it takes. In tests, longer copy has proven to convert better. As with everything it depends so test this one for yourself. Don't fret over how many words you use – use as many as it takes to get the point across.

#12: Give Them A Reason To Take Action

Why should someone contact you? Why should they fill out that opt-in form? What's in it for them and what will they lose by not taking action? Give them a compelling reason to take action and the right ones will.

#13: Tell Them About Others That Took Action

Proof is a huge element of successful online lead generation campaigns. Every promise made needs to have proof, or better, overwhelming proof. Proof can take many forms with testimonials being the best. If you can, use video testimonials. Barring that audio can work very well. And lastly, written. If you use written testimonials include a picture of the person, their full name, title, company, and state (or province).

#14: Tell Them How To Take Action

Some people argue that it's insulting to tell someone to take action, and they would be wrong. After you deliver great information tell people what the next step is. It's not insulting, it's necessary practice. It's the logical conclusion at the end of the message delivery.

If they should call you – tell them. If they should email you or fill out a form – tell them. If they should click a link – tell them. Don't leave it to chance – the odds are against you.

#15: Talk To Them Until They Tell You To Shut Up

You've seen how the money in your business is in the follow-up. You might not get a response the first time someone visits your blog or you send them a tweet. But I've heard too many stories of business owners consistently sending mail to high-value prospects and getting a call after a few months. If you're trying to land a client that's worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars it's worth it. It may be worth it to you for tens of thousands. Regardless, keep talking to the people until they tell you to shut up.

Enough Already!

Alrighty that's it! Go back to work and use these 15 lessons to ramp up your online lead generation. Then come on back and let us know how they worked for you.

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Online Lead Generation And Social Media: Three Keys For Success

Key for successSuccessful online lead generation using social media requires understanding three important factors. Those three factors are:

  1. People using social media have short attention spans
  2. Deeper relationships are more important than ever
  3. More metrics lead to better results

Let's dig into the details of each of these.

Attention Sp… Sorry, What Did You Say?

“Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003.”

– Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, 2010

We are all dealing with a metric ton of information on a daily basis. All day long our brains are taking in more and more and quickly attempting to filter out what's important and what's not. With so much information only one click away, the challenge for marketers is gaining someone's attention and converting them into a lead as quickly as possible. That's where calls to action come into play.

There are many types of calls to action you can use on a business blog, but by far the most important is one that gets someone into a lead nurturing program. The best way to do that is offer something of value, such as a report, case study or ebook. Then, put a banner at the bottom of every blog post that links to a landing page where your visitor can read about the ebook and fill out a form to get it.

As an example see the landing page for our most popular ebook: SEO Case Study: Front Page Of Google.

Deeper Relationships Count More Now Than Ever

Mark Schaefer wrote a post on the {grow} Blog titled, “Social media and the end of empathy” where he brought up a question very pertinent to online lead generation:

“I wonder about the long-term implications for business when relationships are negotiated through spreadsheets and emails.”

Every single customer and partner of Dempsey Marketing is someone I either first met in person, or someone I met via social media that I started talking with using Skype video chat. My entire strategy with social media is based on getting people, the right people, out of social media as quickly as possible. When you do that you can form a deeper relationship. And with the number of shallow relationships we all form on a daily basis, these deeper ones count much more.

With a deeper relationship people are less likely to forget you, more likely to do business with you and more likely to refer others to you. Continue to seek out and form these relationships – they aren't going anywhere but gaining in value.

More Metrics Lead To Better Results

No pun intended here. While it's easy to fall into the “paralysis by analysis” the more metrics you have the more effective you can be. There are a handful to focus on for your blog:

  1. Number of page views for a post
  2. Number of clicks from your post to a landing page (with an opt-in form)
  3. Number of opt-ins

These three give you a good picture of how well your blog is generating leads. Now if you're as much a geek as I am, or just love numbers, you can use these same numbers to see conversion percentages, specifically:

  • % conversions from blog post to landing page
  • % conversions for the landing page
  • % conversion for the entire funnel (blog post -> opt in)

Using these you can see what you need to tweek to improve your conversions and generate even more leads.

What Do You Think?

What do you think about these 3 factors? How else do you think social media has impacted online lead generation?

Let's talk about it in the comments below!

I'll see you there…

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Marketing Systems: Your Unbeatable Competitive Advantage

There was a point in time where I hoped marketing would be simple. The truth of it is that it isn't, not by a long shot. And while it may be detrimental to myself to say it, inbound marketing isn't simple. There are a lot of moving parts.

There are 4 main parts to inbound marketing:

  1. Getting people to your site (traffic)
  2. Creating leads from those visitors
  3. Turning leads into buyers
  4. Improving over time

Each of these 4 parts has primary and secondary pieces. For instance, we can break down the first part – getting people to your site – like this:

  • Traffic -> Blogging -> SEO + Social Media

As you know social media is another rabbit hole. Not only do we have the big three – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – but there are numerous niche forums and sites as well.

Do You Feel Like Alice?

In one of my favorite movies – The Matrix – Morpheus gives Neo a choice between a red bill and the blue pill. If Neo takes the red pill he goes back to his false reality; if he takes the blue pill he goes down the rabbit hole.

He chose the blue pill. You should too.

If you choose the blue pill and come down the rabbit hole with me, I have very good news for you…

Your Unbeatable Competitive Advantage: Marketing Systems

While inbound marketing has a lot of moving parts, you can, without a doubt, make it happen. I am, and you can to.

Here's a glimpse of my marketing system, titled the perfect customer lifecycle:

Perfect Customer Lifecycle

The Perfect Customer Lifecycle

Every business has a perfect customer lifecycle. The key is in finding yours, and automating as much as possible using technology. I use Infusionsoft.

We'll talk more about the perfect customer lifecycle in blog posts and ebooks, but for now let's outline each of the stages:

  1. Generate interest
  2. Capture leads
  3. Educate / build trust
  4. Convert
  5. Process the sale
  6. Fulfill & wow
  7. Upsell
  8. Create advocates

No matter what type of business you're in, who you sell to, or what you're selling, you have a perfect customer lifecycle. When you have a marketing system that makes it happen, you have an unbeatable competitive advantage that no one can copy.

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More Personalized Marketing Using Opt-In Offers

eMarketer Personalized Marketing Survey

eMarketer Personalized Marketing Survey - Many fail

I'm going to come right out and say it – given the technology today and the amount of information someone will give you to get something in return, there is NO excuse for sending impersonal marketing messages in a one-on-one online medium, namely email.

The only reasons you can honestly give are that you're unwilling or unable to:

  1. Invest in the tools that allow you to do it
  2. Put in the time to create multiple offers that you can exchange for more preference information

We've talked about how many email auto-responders are a big fail – they are too linear. While lead nurturing campaigns rely on autoresponders, you can still ensure that you only send relevant information to each and every person that opts in to your email list.

How?

Opt-in offers connected to your CRM system.

When I say opt-in offer I mean a free ebook, report, whitepaper, video, audio, etc. that you give someone in exchange for some amount of their information. At the very least you should collect their name and email address.

What you want to do is create a host of opt-in offers that all lead back to one of three things:

  1. Your products
  2. Your services
  3. Industry-related topics

For each offer, create a separate opt-in form. Each of these forms should become a segment on your email list. I use Infusionsoft, and with it, I can tag someone based on the opt-in form they fill in. So, if you grab the SEO Case Study ebook, you're tagged with “SEO.” If you get the About Pages That Sell You ebook you're tagged with “blogging.” In this way, I can ensure that I only send you other free content that I'm sure you'll like.

The Infusionsoft plan I'm on costs $299/month and had a setup fee of $2k – there's a lot to the app (CRM, email marketing, e-commerce, and much more). That's a small price to pay to ensure I don't get you mad at me by sending you information you don't care about.

The bottom line here is that by creating a lot of opt-in offers and having that connected to a CRM system that allows you to track the behavior of the people opting in to your forms, you can do more personalized marketing and be way beyond most companies out there.

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Quality Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Doctor with computer question

No, the doctor is not always right...

Usually, the opinion of a doctor counts for a lot. If you're sick and don't know what's going on, you listen to a doctor. If you're in major pain and rushed to the emergency room, you don't stop and question their methods of saving your life. But in some instances, the opinion of a doctor counts for less and gets in the way of their success.

Here's a story about that…

I was hired by a firm to apply my Bullseye SEO method for a client of theirs, a doctor. I did the week of keyword research based on the ideal customer definition we created, found the 6 major keywords, and provided lists of long tail keywords to use for blog posts.

The company built the website, the roadmap pages, and then hired a copywriter to help write blog posts. We submitted a number of them to the doctor for review, and were very surprised by the feedback.

The doctor didn't like them.

We were given a few reasons, but when pressed, were not given any posts that were “up to par” for what the doctor was looking for.

NOTE: if you are going to criticize someone outside of your field of expertise, you had better be able to back up your argument and provide examples. Otherwise you don't have an argument, it's a rather flimsy opinion. That applies to everyone, including me.

Interesting thing about these articles too is that it's the same quality of writing I used to get one of my websites to rank #3 on Google, the one I write about in the SEO Case Study: Front Page Of Google ebook (free download). I've used the same style of blog posts to get more than 211 people on my email list.

Here's an email from one of the people on that email list. I am keeping her name out for reasons of privacy.

I really cannot begin to express how much your e-mails have helped.

It just seemed that everything was happening so fast. I lost my “partner” of 32 years, right after that the “group” of people that I would see a few times a week at the Food Market…..the market closed……then, on top of that, I am moving into a 1-bedroom apartment and have to downsize.

I just want to say that it was a lucky day when I found you on the internet. Thank you.

– BR

Same quality of writing, same level of professionalism. Needless to say I was very excited after receiving that email.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that quality is in the eye of the beholder. To find out what level of quality appeals to your ideal customer you have to put something out there and measure the response. If you don't get that far, you've failed before you've even begun to try.

Don't be a failure. Take action, measure, and adjust accordingly.

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Introduction To The Inbound Marketing Sales Funnel

There are two main online sources people come from to find your site:

  1. Search engines via search engine optimization (SEO)
  2. Social media marketing – blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, forums, etc.

Depending on which source they come, somone can land a few different places on your site, and take a few paths once there.

The inbound marketing sales funnel graphic below shows the typical paths people follow from each of the two main sources. This is very important for lead generation.

In upcoming posts we'll get into this in detail, and we have an ebook coming as well.

For now, please enjoy the graphic and ask any questions or add your thoughts in the comments below.

Inbound Marketing Sales Funnel

The Inbound Marketing Sales Funnel. Click for a larger view.

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5 Tips For Writing A Business White Paper

White papers are a highly effective way to generate leads for your business. At Dempsey Marketing we're releasing one each week. So far we've released:

Those three whitepapers have generated a total of 108 leads as I write this post.

When most people sit down to create a white paper they're stumped by one of a few things:

  1. They're not sure what to write about
  2. They don't know if anyone will care about what they want to write about
  3. They get caught up in the mechanics – what font to use, do you need a cover, what about social media links?!

That's the lizard brain trying to hold you back from success! Don't listen to it. Really, writing a white paper isn't as difficult or time consuming as you may think. Use these 5 tips for writing a business white paper and get those leads!.

Tip #1: Never Underestimate Your Own Knowledge

Just because you know a lot about your industry doesn't mean everyone else does. Never underestimate the amount of knowledge you have in your head that you can use to educate, inform and entertain others, specifically your ideal customers.

Tip #2: Brainstorm Ideas Using A Mindmap

Mindmapping is one of the best ways to brainstorm ideas. In the middle of your map is your main idea from which the other ideas branch out. I'd recommend starting with your company in the middle and then adding branches for:

  • Products
  • Services
  • Problems you solve
  • Questions that arise during sales presentations

From each of these branches even more branches can sprout. Those branches can then become white paper topics.

I use XMind for mind mapping on my Mac, but there are quite a few out there.

Tip #3: Ensure Your White Paper Is Linked To A Product, Service, Or Your Industry

This is a tip focusing on the lead generation aspect of a white paper. I'm not suggesting you sell at all in the main body of the white paper, in fact I'll tell you not to sell in the main body, but don't write something completely outside of your products, services or industry. You don't want to confuse people or make them think your company stands for something when it doesn't.

Tip #4: Record An Audio And Have It Transcribed

Some people prefer writing, some prefer video, and others prefer audio. No matter how you prefer to create your content, one easy way to get information out of your head and onto paper is to record an audio. Once you're done recording, send it to a transcription service. You'll get back a word-for-word written document that you can then edit and format.

I've been using TranscribeNow.net for years and their service is 100% spot on.

Tip #5: Pull In Data From Multiple Sources

Who says you have to be the alpha and the omega on your subject? Is that possible? I think not. Pull in relevant data from reports other companies have put out, and be sure to reference where you got it. Chances are that everyone who reads your whitepaper isn't following all the same sources you are.

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B2B Marketers Focusing On Lead Generation And Conversion

In a recent survey by eMarketer, 55% of respondents said that acquiring leads is their top priority, followed closely by converting leads. And what are those marketers using to get more leads? Content.

Now that's a plan I can get behind! Content is a fantastic way to generate leads and sales, and at the soon to launch Dempsey Advertising we'll make your content work harder for you. But with so many types of content to choose from, how do you pick what might work best?

Content comes in many forms. The forms B2B marketers are using are:

  • Blog posts
  • Webinars & virtual events
  • Whitepapers
  • Videos
  • Data-driven research reports
  • User/peer created content
  • Vendor-sponsored whitepapers
  • Podcasts

Just how much of each is in this graphic from eMarketer:

eMarketer Important Content Types

eMarketer Important Content Types

Here's My Content Lineup

When you're goal is leads my top choices are whitepapers (aka free reports) and videos advertised via blog posts. An occasional data-driven report is good to add to the mix as well.

The reason I'm such a big fan of whitepapers is that many entrepreneurs and businesses, including you, have a lot of expertise that's taken for granted. I bet you could use mindmapping and come up with at least 20 ideas for whitepapers within 10 minutes. That's 2 ideas per minute! You can totally do that.

It's a matter of getting the knowledge out of your head and onto paper, so to speak. Once you start typing you'll find your problem is knowing when or if to stop.