Leads – The corporate world is so obsessed with this simple, yet so complicated word. It is the typical high-school examination report card for marketing professionals! Situations are different but interpretations are the same, isn’t it? The bottom line is “Generate maximum number of leads in the minimum amount of time”. But what exactly qualifies as a lead? Let’s find out.
A business thrives on customers. But do we realize that there are a lot of layers before one can actually get not just a product-needy customer but also generate the right amount of leads for an offering. There is a lot of difference between prospect and consideration. It is absolutely necessary to bridge this gap.
Let’s re-visit the marketing funnel. It all begins by creating ‘awareness’ about an offering. It is the most crucial level as the other layers depend on its impression. This offering can be a product or service. It can range from a mobile phone to a luxury car or for that matter, a charity drive to a corporate summit. Deeper down the funnel is the ‘consideration’ phase which is followed by the last phase that is ‘purchase’. This is the ultimate goal for all marketers, getting customers to buy their product or service.
But what did we miss? What about those guys who considered your product but needed some nurturing? Let’s take an example of the recent content marketing campaign done by us for Act-On, a Marketing Automation Software seller. They began by providing some knowledge to the audience, explaining to them some modern marketing concepts and eventually where they would fit-in. It did not come as a surprise to us that the campaign was a success. Not only did they get direct prospects but also people who now had the intention to get the product after learning about its nitty-gritties. They attacked the top layer of the marketing funnel which is definitely wider and began by nurturing the audience there and eventually got more business. Here is an article on lead-nurturing.
|An Optimal Campaign|
Here is a contrasting example. A famous brand tried to sell its product through our modes of advertising. Leads were generated. But we think they did not leverage the full benefit of the campaign. They could have achieved much more than what they got by imparting some info about the current business scenario mapped to the utility of their product/service. They tried to tap the bottom-most layer of the funnel for direct leads and ready-to-purchase prospects.
|A Sub-optimal Campaign|
The same phenomena were observed in many other campaigns done by TradeBriefs. Below is a comparison. The numbers have been generalized.
So you see educating and nurturing the audience is a must. This can be done by providing them with some knowledge regarding the value of an offering instead of rushing directly towards instant lead-generation. You may get a few numbers but what about those who could have become a customer, but were not fully aware of the potential of that offering?
Basically, this is the path that joins awareness and consideration, crucial as well as effective. Can we tap it? Of course, in fact we should. There are numerous ways through which an offering can have an efficient awareness phase. Case-studies can be provided, an e-book can be made available or even a webinar can be created. You can also have blog posts, research papers, videos, podcasts or even a white paper. This will help in achieving a psychological edge in the minds of the audience. It will also help in building your brand bigtime!
The conversions will be slow but very steady! Give some more time to a campaign to maximize the gain. Undoubtedly, it would be highly beneficial in the long-run. May be 10-odd leads today could touch 50 in a month!
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TradeBriefs has won the Technology Off Campus IDG Ventures Award at the IvyCamp Challenge 2015 . The IvyCamp – Business Plan challenge is a multi-step evaluation process to select the best business plans among the business plans received which will be eligible for funding through IvyCap.
TradeBriefs produces industry-specific newsletters for professionals. Last year, it introduced a partner model where opt-in members/prospects of companies and associations could take advantage of TradeBriefs’ content and technology expertise to create custom daily newsletters for their members. The first partner to sign up was Retailers Association of India. This was followed by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
Following this, TradeBriefs has rolled this model out to several new partners, including eTailing India (eCommerce) and Great Place to Work Institute (HR). “Each newsletter is carefully curated by an editor who understands the space,” says Sree Vijaykumar, Managing Director, TradeBriefs. This helps corporate decision-makers and professionals stay knowledgeable about their industry in just a few minutes a day.
Ashish Jhalani of eTailing India agrees. “TradeBriefs is a valuable partner for eTailing India. The daily briefs powered by them are something the entire industry looks forward to every day.We havereceived tremendous branding and leads for our events through this channel, as more and more industry professionals opt in to stay informed and knowledgeable.”
Here are TradeBriefs’s current partners.
It started with Minaz Adenwala, Marketing Manager – Gartner (and a TradeBriefs Software subscriber), thinking about ways to attract new audiences to Gartner’s events in India. There are 2 role based summits in Mumbai and a Symposium/ITxpo conference in Goa that Gartner conducts in India every year. “The TradeBriefs Software audience seemed like a good fit, so we started with a partnership where we offered them branding at our event in return for promotional e-mailers to their audience,” says Minaz. “However, we soon realized that a deeper relationship was in order, to really take advantage of the audience engagement that TradeBriefs has.”
The result was a native advertising campaign within TradeBriefs newsletters. Readers were segmented to include CEOs, CIOs and the next level of reports.They were further segmented into 2 groups – top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel.
The top of the funnel folks were those who had heard of Gartner but had never really engaged with the brand. The way to get them into the Gartner funnel was by providing them access to exclusive content that added value to their job roles. The objective was educating them about Gartner. Once they saw value in the content, they were more likely to respond to offers to attend Gartner events (fyi – The annual Goa conference is priced at at Rs 73,650 plus taxes). Below is a screenshot of the content included in the newsletter followed by the lead capture form, most of which gets pre-populated since readers have submitted their profile information to TradeBriefs before.
The bottom of the funnel folks are already convinced about the brand, but needed more information about the specific event, pricing, etc. Here the approach was to gather their inputs on specific areas in IT (BI, ERP, Cloud, etc) that were of interest to them and create a custom agenda from the event and send it to them. Note that there are 9 parallel tracks going on at the Gartner annual conference at any given point in time, so it’s physically impossible to attend all sessions. Readers appreciate the customization and are more likely to actually attend once they see the specific value to them. This was enabled through native advertising again, but with a more direct approach. Below is a screenshot of the content in the newsletter followed by the custom lead capture form, which captured the reader’s preferences.
In either case, Gartner sales team members were told to educate these prospects about Gartner events, the speakers, the analysts and the whole package, through a series of emails, followed by phone calls to the more likely prospects. The native advertising within the daily email newsletters delivered several hundred leads, mostly CIOs and direct reports. We’ve analyzed why this campaign worked vs some other approaches and here are our conclusions.
Intuit India is a fully owned subsidiary of Intuit Inc. USA. Located in the southern city of Bangalore (also known as the Silicon Valley of India), the India office was started in April 2005. Currently it has around more than 500 employees. It is one of the two development centers of Intuit outside the USA, along with Intuit Canada.
Intuit India was looking to generate qualified leads for Intuit QuickBooks, a flagship offering targeted at SMEs across industry segments. The offering had to be positioned as a cost effective, easy to use, convenient product that can make their life easy as far as accounting hassles are concerned with zero paperwork. Since the pricing is reasonable for the SME segment, the challenge was to push the message as hard & fast as possible to ensure maximum conversions
Since the challenge here was to make sure that the target audience for this exercise needed to be targeted continuously to become trial customers, we recommended the following approach
Adobe Systems Incorporated is an American multinational computer software company head quartered in San Jose, California, United States. The company has historically focused upon the creation of multimedia and creativity software products, with a more-recent foray towards rich Internet application software development. It is best known for the Portable Document Format (PDF) and Adobe Creative Suite, later Adobe Creative Cloud.
Adobe India was looking to generate qualified leads for Adobe analytics, a flagship offering targeted at CIOs of large organizations across sectors. The peculiarity of the case is that CIOs in India had cross functional dependencies on CMOs & other business heads. The offering had to be positioned in a way that’s appealing to all decision makers including the CIOs through continuous & engaging content converting them to actionable leads
Since the challenge here was to make sure that the target audience for this exercise needed to be educated more on the field before actually become hot leads, we recommended the following approach
In the world of content marketing, the winner is determined not by how much content they share, but through how effective, relevant & insightful they content is. Though the effectiveness of content marketing varies from one customer segment/industry type to another, here are 6 cardinal sins one must avoid at any cost
1. Not timing your newsletters
Sending out newsletters is not always a good thing to do. Especially when you have a large distribution list and your content dissipation frequency is chaotic, be assured that your prospects would be least interested in what you send. Also, the gap between content consumption has to be optimal, i.e. no going overboard on content as well too less content.
2. Mixing up messages
Be clear. You want your content led newsletters to work for a specific purpose. Mixing educational content with sales related content may not go well with most of your prospects. You may use tools to visualize a customer journey and ensure that each segment gets only what’s relevant to it
3. Not knowing when to ‘prompt’
There would come a time when you would be convinced that your prospects have warmed up to the idea of considering purchase of your product/service. Through consumption behaviour, sort out those prospects who score high on engagement metrics. Send out dedicated messages ONLY to them. Keep optimizing this list over a period of time and you would have a ready list of qualified leads built steadily over a time period
4. Judging your campaign too soon
Content marketing has a typical long tail behaviour. There would be prospects who may have specific needs and form a ‘niche’ among your prospects. Identify and segment them accordingly. Create content for your long tail of prospects. They might turn out to be your most loyal customers one day. Content marketing doesn’t work well in the short term. You require multiple levels of refinement to be able to make it work. Don’t lose hope
5. Not listening to social conversations
How does one arrive at an average prospects’ need? Listening to conversations is key to do this. Track your users on the web. See what they talk about you and your industry. Find out what they’re interested in. Refine your content around trends that affect your average customer faces on a daily basis.
6. Not keeping up with trends
We like our food fresh. Prospects apply the same to content. Your prospect may be looking out for something on a topic and if your content is well optimized to match the need, you have a better chance to convert them to leads. Enriching one’s knowledge is an inherent human need. Be well placed to capitalize on that
Wikipedia defines content curation as
“Content curation is the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest. Services or people that implement content curation are called curators. Curation services can be used by businesses as well as end users.”
In an era where there is no dearth of content, marketers are wondering if they should invest in new content at all. The web is full of blogs/sites with insightful content ranging from what cars to buy to best hotels to stay to awesome things to do around the world. Sites like Scoopwhoop, storypick & Buzzfeed thrive on virality of content to drive more traffic and in turn, ad dollars. With content available in abundance, here are 5 compelling reasons why marketers should look at curation instead of writing fresh content
1. Curation identifies content that’s hot and ‘sells’
In what is known as ‘collaborative filtering’, marketers can actually pick up content that’s actually got eyeballs glued on the web. Your clients are always on the lookout for something interesting and if you could get it to them before your competitors do, you stand a better chance at gaining better mindshare
2. Its cheap, and it works
Since content has already been generated by a third party, you don’t run the risk of spending money on creating it. At the best, you might have to invest in an editor who could do the work for you. Curation also involves summarizing full articles into small paragraphs that convey the gist of the whole content. Most of your prospects don’t have the time to read though every article and enrich their knowledge. Give them in a nice newsletter and see how they’ll love it
3. Buffet vs a la carte
Curation allows you to pick small portions of good, insightful content from the web and serve it to you on a platter. You can choose the ones you want and ignore the ones you don’t want. This in turn would tell you what your customers want and can help you design the buffet better
4. No copyright issues
One thing marketers fear today is the threat of getting sued by publishers for copying content without permission. But curation doesn’t copy content in whole. They would summarize the gist and link the piece to the original source. This way, the publisher would get back links and more traffic. Show me one publisher who doesn’t want heavy traffic on their site
Tradebriefs does it for you. Ask us!
We at Tradebriefs pride ourselves in the work we have been doing in the content curation space in the last 5 years. With daily curated insights from 1000′s of publishing sources, we ensure that we don’t miss out on crucial happenings across 9 industry sectors daily. With 7,50,000 + happy subscribers and 5+ industry associations tied up with us, we have raised the bar continuously in bettering ourselves.