Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Five New Year’s Resolutions for B-to-B Marketers

B-2-B marketers are a busy group of folks.  For many marketing departments, the to-do list seems never-ending. There’s always another marketing campaign to generate; tradeshow to plan and attend; eNewsletter to write and distribute; prospect database to build; Adword campaign to launch; and so on.

Before this first month of 2011 ends, it might be useful to commit to a set of resolutions as a way to give focus to efforts.  This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, just a way to place priorities.  Hope it is helpful as we start the New Year of business-to-business marketing. 

1) Test your marketing programs, when you can.  If you have a CRM solution, split direct email marketing messages into A/B groups and test one element at a time.  Test the placement of a download button; test a subject line for the best open rates; test design elements like photos; test headlines.  Use Google Optimizer tools to A/B test two pages of a website. See which message or page gets the largest open rate or conversion rate.  This approach is truly liberating and focuses effort on the optimized, best performing elements.

2) Ask somebody else outside of the organization to review your content.  This is a favorite subject, as my colleagues likely know.  Did you just write a web page, brochure or eNewsletter?  Let somebody outside the organization, who is in the same general industry, read the content and see if resonates or hits the mark.  Getting feedback from folks outside the organization is a low-cost, high impact strategy for improved marketing communications.

3) Make campaigns as relevant and timely as possible.  Here’s a resolution to put into place as much as possible.  Just yesterday President Obama signed a new food safety bill into law, and a Markit Strategies client sent a notice reminding our team of the news.  We quickly sent out a direct marketing message to food industry folks in the prospect database addressing how the client’s products help meet the new mandates.  The message was emailed that same afternoon (subject line: Food Safety Bill Signed Today. Now What?)   The timely nature of the subject line and content helped garner a nearly 8% open rate (that’s pretty good!) and very high conversions responding to the offer, plus a few direct calls right into the sales team.  The timely nature of the message was a big part of the success.  Let’s do that again!

4) Make measurements meaningful.  Measuring success in b-to-b marketing is critical, as long as you choose the most meaningful metric. In the case above, two measurements helped us gauge success: open rates -- the number of emails opened by recipients of the email; and conversion rates --- the percentage of email recipients who visited the website or downloaded a form by clicking on a link in the email.  Likewise, when measuring social media engagement on Twitter don’t concentrate on number of followers, but analyze the type of followers (do they fit a certain profile?), along with their level of engagement in terms of mentions or retweets.  Measuring engagement is pretty significant in terms of social media programs.

5) Keep learning! Try something new!  That means attending webinars, participating with professional groups like IABC Detroit, or attending conferences such as Usability Week conferences by Norman Nielsen Group to keep skills fresh.  Resolve to keep abreast of current thought about social media marketing, SEO and online marketing. Learn a new skill?  Try it out to see if it garners results.

Happy New Year, all! 

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