Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FREE Lead Gen for Small Business

Just finished updating my monthly post for my consulting business on Craigslist and thought I'd do a quick post. You already know that Craigslist is a mostly free, online classified space for buying/selling just about everything under the sun. Remember too that there is also a Services section where small (and not so small) businesses can advertise their products and services.

Each month I post this for LMG Consulting:

It's free, easy and drives respondents to my website (and new white paper landing page). I've received a number of emails and calls from prospects, and right now am working on a project proposal I received thru CL. It also directs another link into your website which helps w/your search engine rankings. Not bad for about 5 mins work each month.

Monday, April 27, 2009

'Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time'

I spoke recently with a prospective client about if/how his company should go about implementing a lead management (lead gen) system. He's unsure where to start as it all seems quite daunting -- how to begin the process, the expense, the resources required and the fear of the unknown are all giving him pause.

I mentioned to him that he should 'eat the elephant one bite at a time'. For a company that has never attempted to deploy some sort of system, I frequently tell them to start small and work your way up. Rather than immediately looking at tools and automation (which I do agree provide the right foundation for a true lead gen model), I suggested to him that he first simplify and brainstorm the ifs and whys of implementing a lead gen strategy. What does the company hope to gain from a strategy (i.e. objectives)? What is the value of such a system? Are the sales and marketing teams aligned as to what each should expect from lead gen? Does sales have the resources/bandwidth to handle lead flows or will new lead follow-up be sporadic and uneven? Does marketing know what a sales-ready lead is, and ensure their hand-offs achieve an agreed threshold? Can sales and marketing communicate and work together if a demand gen policy is in place, working to constantly update and improve the system?

Once these questions have been answered, a basic framework can be created that spells out quantifiable objectives, basic processes and how to collect and measure the lead flows captured, the types of tactics/programs they think would resonate and a means to input results back into the system to improve performance. If the resource isn't already in house, at this stage it may make sense to invest in an outside expert to help you with this framework and ensure you're on the right track. It's not necessary to right out of the gate leap to vetting lead management systems and making huge $$ investments in tools before you have an idea if your company is ready to maximize their value. Find out first if your company is ready to adopt a lead culture and way of thinking.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Download My Latest White Paper! 7 Secrets for Generating Leads in a Recession

I'm very excited to announce the availability of my latest white paper 'The 7 Secrets for Generating Quality Leads in a Recession', now available on my web site here (you can also click the image).

In it I write about my experience in working with some of the world's largest and most successful B2B companies to out-perform, out-market and and out-hustle their competition in the daily battle for new prospects, leads and customers. The paper describes how you can quickly establish a social media marketing strategy (for next to nothing) to drive demand, how to make your offers laser-focused by building them through the AIDA funnel, how to use inbound marketing to help prospects find you and the basic steps in a successful lead management process.

I think it's a great, quick read that provides some useful tips... hope you agree!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Marketing Automation Made Easy(er)

Had a chance to meet this week with Howard Sewell, Founder and President of Connect Direct, a demand generation agency with offices in Northern California and Seattle (Howard also writes a terrific blog called Direct Connections). Howard's agency has been providing outstanding demand gen and direct marketing services for tech companies since 1990.

We talked about a number of things, including the adoption of marketing automation tools like Marketo that help companies to better execute, manage, track and measure their lead flows. We both agreed that companies like Marketo have come a long way in creating tools that are considerably easier to deploy campaigns on and allow you to focus on getting campaigns out the door rather than spend all your time trying to figure out how a tool works.

If you have previously looked at these types of tools and threw up your hands in your frustration, the time might be right now to take another look and see what they can offer to you.

White Paper Coming Monday!

I'm putting the finishing touches on my latest white paper on generating quality leads in a recession and will have it posted on Monday. In it I talk about how some of the world's most successful B2B companies out-market their competition for prospects and leads during tough economic times. I also discuss some of the latest ideas and innovations in lead generation including social media marketing, targeted offer development and inbound marketing. Keep an eye out for it Monday!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today's Cool Links - Apr 15, 2009

In Three Lead Generation Tips From HubSpot's Lead-Gen Guru nice video from Hubspot's Prashant Kaw, who talks about the importance of conversion all the way through the funnel. Allows you to trace which channels provide you the leads that actually close.

This story on ClickZ Revive the Lost Art of Direct Response Copywriting Online provides some good tips in writing your direct marketing copy. It reminded me how important a good direct response copywriter is to the success of your campaigns.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Top Tips to Increase Marketing ROI from Industry Thought Leaders

I thought this was good post today on Marketo's site Increasing Marketing ROI: The Top 5 Tips from our B2B Thought Leaders on how to increase campaign ROI. It's consistent with what I've been discussing recently about the importance of inbound marketing (being found, creating compelling content), as well as the significance of lead nurturing, testing and integrating all your various channels to make sure they're working in concert.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Foundation of Social Media Marketing

Ran across another article this week that affirms the three (3) primary aspects of a social media marketing strategy (SMM), which I thought I'd review here.
  • Content - the information, data, thought leadership, thinking, ideas, solutions that a company communicates out (makes available) through various digital forums (blogs, websites, online media, online videos, ebooks, digital content syndication, webinars, RSS feeds, etc.)
  • SEO - by tagging your content with appropriate keywords and by ensuring the development of more inbound links to your valuable content, you are making it possible for your prospects to find your brilliance
  • Social Media - lastly, when that content, those links, cross the chasm into social media networks, they take on a new relevance and credibility. As the information is passed along, it takes on a greater value (the personal validation of the person passing along the information), is further amplified and more apt to reach viral status.
Robin Niefield talks about the intersection of PPC, SEO and social media in At the Intersection of Search and Social.

Interesting take by Augustine Fou in The ROI for Social Media Is Zero where he suggests that there really is no social media, but social networks that a company can only hope to gain entry to by making their products or services 'awesome' and talked about. What's key is simply providing a place where they can talk. And if you're paying for social media as media, you're probably doing it wrong. Make certain to read through some of the reader feedback/ comments at the end of Augustine's article, some great points made.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Today's Cool Links - Apr 8, 2009

In The Tipping Point: Understanding the Impact of Twitter Jason Burby on ClickZ talks about the ubiquity of Twitter and how it has crossed the chasm into the mainstream.

Also on ClickZ in
Want to Be a Better Media Planner? Get Social Hollis Thomases discusses social networking ideas for media planners.

Yesterday on MarketingProfs
Five Reasons to Change Your Registration Page (and Boost Conversions) Amy Gesenhues gave some great ideas in which to improve your registration pages. I'm an especially big believer in simplifying your reg pages, cutting out 'escape' links before you can get a respondent's data, asking only for incremental data as you take the respondent through the funnel (don't ask for everything at the first interaction) and lastly, making certain that you are not 'giving away' too much of your value for too little respondent data.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Email Deliverability Tools

Jeanne Jennings at ClickZ has a story out today on Two Free Email Deliverability Tools which help identify and address potential deliverability issues related to your sender's reputation. I've used both and they are effective.

Sender Score gives you in their words 'an indication of the trustworthiness of an email source and provides you with information about where that source stands in comparison to other email senders, and how it is likely to be evaluated by email receivers.'

EDS Alerts (from Email Data Sources) monitors e-mail sent from a specified IP address or domain name.

As Jeanne states, when used together both services can ensure that your emails are being delivered safely (and legally) from whatever ESP you might be using.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sneak Peek of My Latest White Paper

I'm very close to finishing my latest white paper 'The 7 Secrets of Generating Quality Leads in a Recession'. The paper describes several key elements, new platforms and innovative ideas found in lead generation frameworks developed by some of the world’s most successful B2B companies and shares the best practices that enable them to consistently out-market their competition during tough economic times. In addition it discusses some of the challenges and issues to look out for in deploying these elements, enabling any size company to survive, compete and even flourish in any type of marketing environment.

It should be available for download here on my blog and on my website by early next week... keep an eye out!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Today's Cool Links - Apr 1, 2009

And no, this is not an April Fool's joke...

3 great social media articles this week all found on ClickZ:
  • In Social Media 2009 = Search 2002 Gary Stein relates potential trends in social media to what happened when search burst on the scene several years ago
  • In Social Media Integration Tips from SES NY Harry Gold provides some tips and tricks for integrating all the elements of search, social, online media, and Web site technology he came across from last week's Search Engine Strategies in New York
  • Finally on a more personal level is Dave Evans' article on How Individuals Can Build a Robust Social Presence, describing ways in which you can create a personal social media presence and exploit the potential for yourself
And finally on a separate topic, in Top-Load Your E-Newsletter for Better Performance Karen Gedney on ClickZ talks about how one company nearly doubled their enewsletter open rate and CTR by top-loading their design with content and the table of contents. Screen grabs of the before and after are available in the article.