Category: Nurture Marketing

Tips for Driving Event Attendance

When you put on an event, how do you make sure people show up? These days it's not enough to simply send a message to your mailing list. Here are some ideas for driving event attendance that go beyond the traditional.

Make it valuable

All the demand generation tips in the world won't do anything unless the event is compelling. Have good, informational content and consider bringing in guest speakers with industry/business expertise. Worried about resources? One powerful event is far more valuable than ten "okay" seminars. Put quality over quantity when you consider your event plan.

Create a demand generation plan

Before you even create the event, consider your demand generation efforts. You need to use multiple touches via multiple vehicles to get the audience you want. Give yourself enough time to market the event. Allow eight weeks for a live event and six weeks for a webinar.

Make registration simple

Don't ask for too much information. Include the RSVP process in your demand generation plan. Make sure you confirm attendance and expect a 30% no show.

Use the local media

If you're driving a larger event to a more “horizontal” market, consider your local business publication. Most will have some type of event calendar where you can place your event.

Go vertical

Work with industry associations that target the same audience. Consider opportunities from “paid for” listings to stories on their websites. See if they'll “sponsor” the event. Their names add credibility and with the right event, you're bringing value to their markets. Offer them the opportunity to sign up people at the event or to send people more info afterward.

Use your auto signature

Create a strong auto signature. Include the value prop for attending the event and distribute it to everyone in your firm for their use.

Use your website

Specifically, your home page. If the event is not important enough for you to feature on your home page and have its own landing page, it's probably not important enough to attend.

Use your blog and social networks

Blogs and other social media are a great way to build excitement for an event. Provide some tips or information that you'll share at the event as teasers. Using an expert speaker? Have the person guest blog for a post or two on the topics that will be discussed and feed those posts to your landing page.

Business card or postcard invites

Create business card or postcard size invites that you and your employees can leave behind with prospects, distribute at shows, tuck into mailings, etc.

Join forces with your business networks

Your accountant, lawyer or other business partners can help you drive events. Ask them to include your event in their newsletters or other client communications and provide them with invites too.

Don't forget the reminders

Remind people via voicemail and email a few days before (and the day of in the case of webinars) to help decrease drop-off rates. Keep your expectations reasonable. Depending on the location of your event, your drop-off rates could be as high as 60%.

David's blog

Turning Cold Lists into Hot Leads

How many times has your company purchased a list, only to find the leads cold and the contact information out of date? Here are some tips on translating purchased lists into sales opportunities, and making the most of the contact resources you already have.

Purchased lists are not qualified leads

When you purchase a list, you're purchasing suspected leads at best. Be prepared to have your inside sales team call each and every contact from a purchased list to verify the contact information and to qualify the lead.

You already own your best list

Your best bet for leads is to focus on updating the contacts you already have. Does your sales team need a boost to make it happen? Consider a friendly competition and rewarding the "Data Master" of the quarter.

Research your market before you buy

What titles, industries, or company sizes have purchased your products/services in the past? Is your market large enough to support your goals? Is your market too large for your budget?

Use the law of attraction

As an alternative to purchasing new contacts, attract prospects to your website through social networking, SEO, or PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns and then use a marketing automation solution to identify their contact information and gauge their level of interest once they're on your website.

Don't forget about external sources

To append your existing data, check out LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Associations, and news sources. These are all useful tools to help your sales team update lists and qualify leads. Incorporate all your contact data into a CRM system to keep all information organized and to make it super easy to track leads throughout your sales cycle.

David's blog

How to Convert Visitors to Customers - Landing Page Tips

A landing page is a one-page extension of your website. You might use it to promote an offer, sell your service, or ask for an appointment. And often, you have just a few seconds to convert your visitor into a customer. Here are some tips on creating effective landing pages.

Looks matter

Your landing page should convey the same style, feel, and tone of your website -- but it's not your full site. Lose the clutter and use fewer graphics. Make sure your call to action is the main focus of your page.

Keep it clean

To encourage your visitors to respond to your offer, deliver a message that is clear, concise, and to the point. Use bullet lists and short blocks of copy.

Headlines are key

Headlines are the first (and sometimes only) thing your visitor reads. Use simple, direct headlines that are aligned with your audience's goals.

Test and test again

Test your landing page with a small focus group. Don't be afraid to ask for honest feedback.

Consider including value add-ons in your calls to action

Different people are drawn to different offers. Try, for example, adding a white paper with your free trial. Your visitors will appreciate having options.

Use testimonials to build trust

Adding a simple testimonial to your landing page adds instant credibility. A sentence or two about why your customer is happy is all you need.

Grammar and spelling

Spelling errors and grammatical mistakes can take away from the professionalism of your company. If you're not a writer or editor, find someone who is.

Only ask for what you need

Only ask for basic contact information -- name, email, company, phone number. Save the rest for a private conversation.

Content rules

Think carefully about who will be visiting your page and write your copy for that demographic. Speak to their problems and concerns, then show that you have a solution just for them. Keep the most important stuff at the top of the page.

David's blog

How to Generate Speaking Opportunities at a Trade Show or Conference

Speaking opportunities are an inexpensive and targeted way to get a strong ROI from trade shows and conferences. It's always possible that attendees who hear you speak will become your clients. Here are ten techniques to get these opportunities.

Join a special interest group

Groups dedicated to the industry you serve are plentiful. The local chamber of commerce, groups of financial planners, IT VARs, and manufacturers are common. Build your speaking resume by starting small.

Nurture the person responsible for choosing speakers

Choose your venue, find out who is responsible for selecting speakers, and create a plan to keep your name and qualifications in front of that person.

Develop a catchy title

A catchy title will attract the attention of the conference organizers and increase the likelihood of getting chosen as a speaker. Remember that it's important to both inform and entertain.

Choose a client pain point for your proposal

Conference organizers use your topics in their ads to attract people to attend. Design your speech to supply solutions for typical pain points of your clients and prospects.

Look at the event website 9 to 12 months in advance

It's not unusual for next year's conference planning to start at the current year's conference. Look at the conference website and get your speaking proposal in early. Consider multiple topics.

Target events that your clients attend

Ask your clients what magazines they read, what associations they belong to, and what conferences they attend. Organizers are very interested in speakers who can draw attendees.


When exhibiting, take advantage of product showcases and sponsorships that give you the opportunity to get in front of an audience, even if it costs some money.

Offer to speak at a regional event

Many conferences have local regional events throughout the year. Offer to speak at one of these events and it can lead to a speaking opportunity at the main event.

Offer to speak with a named client

Ask one of your clients to join you on the podium and present a joint case study or white paper solution. Conference organizers are more likely to choose a named client presenting a real life situation than a vendor/consultant alone.

Join the association that sponsors the event and become active

Joining an association isn't enough -- become active by volunteering to be on a committee. As an insider, you'll know about speaking opportunities and be given an advantage compared to the people that the association doesn't know.

David's blog

B2B Social Media: Finding the Right Marketing Mix

Social media doesn’t succeed in a vacuum. Successful B2B marketing continues to be a combination of inbound and outbound marketing. So what's the right mix?

There's no right answer to this question -- it's unique to each business and the equation must include factors such as budget, resources, and expertise.

In general, social media is not a direct response medium. Limited-time offers still perform best in a push environment. While social media does nurture customer relationships and encourages referrals, it requires consistency and frequency in the messages that you send.

The actual spend will depend on how much you're able to do with your internal resources versus what you have to spend on outsourcing.

Creating a successful inbound marketing strategy

Do your research
  • Check out your competitors. Where are they? Do they have business pages on Facebook? Do they participate in LinkedIn groups?
  • Fish where the fish are. Look for customers at the contact level. Do an online search on your contacts and those you want to be your contacts.
  • Search for industry-specific forums and sites to join and participate in.
Plan and align resources

Possibly the biggest myth about social media is that it's free. Social media costs in both soft and hard dollars. These costs should be factored into your marketing budget with additional consideration to how these costs might impact your organization.

Hard dollar costs can include:

  • Content creation (writers, video development, a revamped website)
  • Subscription costs (services such as LinkedIn)
  • Measurement and analysis tools

Soft dollar costs should include time and labor for all employees active in your social program to:

  • Research sites and communities
  • Write and manage content
  • "Listen" or monitor activity and conversations
  • Stay current on new trends, tools, and topics

David's blog

Why B2B Companies Should Embrace Social Media

Many B2B companies have been slow to move beyond the traditional outbound marketing tactics to a more inbound strategy that utilizes social media.

If used correctly, social media can be effectively integrated into a B2B marketing plan. The key is sharing expertise without asking for anything in return, while keeping your brand top-of-mind. By offering useful information, you provide value and build trust with prospects and customers.

Such a strategy isn't necessarily easy. Many organizations find themselves committing to a social media plan on short-term basis, then pulling back when there aren't immediate results. Effective social media marketing requires consistency over an extended period of time.

Some statistics:

  • Nearly 555 million people are active registered users on Twitter (with 135,000 new users signing up each day)
  • 1.15 billion people are registered on Facebook
  • Over 260 million people have visited a Wordpress blog
  • 30 million monthly visits to Slide Share

Social media is more than just Twitter and Facebook. It's a collection of web, mobile, and other tools that help people share information. Sites like LinkedIn, for example, allow businesses and professionals to stay in touch, exchange best practices, and find potential employees.

Using social media can help you connect with your audience, build credibility, gather information about your market, and ultimately drive sales. Next week, we'll look at specific tactics for creating a successful inbound marketing plan focused on social media.

David's blog

Credibility Tips and Tricks - Part 3

To market effectively, a company must connect with its audience. This connection has very little to do with the size of company, and everything to do with the credibility of the company.

This week we're looking at more tactics you can use to boost your company's credibility.

Take stock of your appearance

If you're committed to invest the time in the message, pay attention to the way you're presenting it.

Poor Packaging = Poor Credibility

A website in desperate need of updating, amateur design or writing, and poorly executed campaigns all take away from the credibility you have invested so much to achieve.

Make a list of all your marketing collateral and take a hard look at your presentation. Consider updating or enhancing these pieces and start tackling them one by one. Work on unifying your message and brand.

Use public relations

It's difficult for most businesses to make the news. Customer wins don't attract much attention, nor do new hires, new offices, or certifications. While these accomplishments certainly have their place in search engine marketing, major publications or news outlets are less likely to pay attention.

To secure your spot in the media, look for existing opportunities that attract PR such as speaking opportunities, awards, and events.

The book Get Slightly Famous by Steven Van Yoder is an excellent resource on the topic, full of great tips on attracting powerful, positive PR.

Join associations

Associations can give you both validity and access.Before you invest in an association you should have an objective and do your research. Are you looking for an association with speaking opportunities? A place to publish your content online or in newsletters? Would you like events to attend or sponsor? Even the largest associations may not meet your needs, so it's important to find those that do.

To help secure opportunities, create a portfolio listing speeches you've made, topics you can lend your expertise to, and articles you've written.

Produce multimedia

Multimedia is an excellent way to allow your audience to connect with you through audio and visual methods. Using tools such as videos, podcasts, and webinars enhances your online presence and credibility.

Be helpful

Credibility aside, we should be as helpful as possible in all areas of our lives -- personally and professionally. But since we're talking about credibility in business here, highlight your activities in the media and in your own marketing whenever possible.

How can you share expertise? You could provide free business builder seminars to local roundtables, mentor students, help non-profits in your community, and offer advice on social media. Whether you search for existing opportunities or create your own, just be sure to enjoy spreading a little goodwill when you get the chance.

David's blog

Credibility Tips and Tricks - Part 2

Credibility: it's the reason your customers and prospects listen to you. This week we're looking at additional specific ways you can build credibility for your business.

The "Non-Newsletter"

Arguably, the most widely-used (and often, poorly used) credibility vehicle is the newsletter. Meeting the need for multiple relevant topics on a regular basis is a challenge for most small marketing teams. As a result, these teams produce quick "filler" content which isn't relevant to the audience.

The solution: switch your newsletter to a "Non-Newsletter" and send a single-topic business bulletin. Create one powerful article each month and stop there. Put any specific info you want to share -- offers, seminars, whitepapers, etc. -- in a sidebar or callout area.

Affiliations and Awards

Affiliations and awards are strong elements to have in your credibility portfolio. They include:

  • Industry associations
  • Relevant partnerships
  • Chambers of commerce

Make sure your affiliations or memberships are listed in as many places as possible (for example, your email footer or your home page). Have a separate page on your site to list all partnerships and affiliations and make sure you're cross-linking to each of them.

Business awards take a little work, but they can add tremendous credibility and bring media attention to your company. Research your opportunities in advance so you're not scrambling to meet submission deadlines.

To find award opportunities:

  • Search online for phrases such as "local business awards" or industry-name awards.
  • Search association sites for awards.
  • Check your competition to see if they've won any awards.

Experts - the Halo Effect

You don't have to be an expert to add credibility to your marketing. It's perfectly acceptable to find materials from outside experts to make your point, address a customer challenge, or help your prospect make an educated decision. You can share a book, a blog post, an article from a business magazine -- anything that brings value to your recipient.

Some of these tactics have an associated "per touch" cost so reserve them for top prospects or in exchange for information. For example, if your visitor completes a survey, you could give them access to a whitepaper from Harvard Business Review.

The Internet offers multiple sources to find your experts. Since your goal is to establish your credibility, make sure your source is trusted. Check out news sites, major publications, or sites packed with industry-specific articles such as Harvard Business Review, or BNET.


Surveys can help with credibility because they're exclusive, they're potentially valuable to the media, and they can position your company as an expert (e.g., "a survey conducted by...").

Try it out first. Consider a "lite" version of a survey in your newsletters or on your website. Ask a question or two and report the answers -- along with your thoughts or solutions -- the following month.

Next week, in part 3 of this post, we'll take a look at more credibility tactics, including PR and brand appearance.

David's blog

Credibility Tips and Tricks - Part 1

Without credibility, the best marketing campaign in the world won't make any difference. Last week we looked at the 'why' of credibility. This week, we look at the 'how' -- specific ways you can build trust with your prospects and customers.

Case Studies

Case studies are an effective marketing tool because much like other testimonial tactics, you're letting a third party prove your message for you. Case studies instantly produce more credibility than any marketing collateral you create yourself.

For the most powerful case studies, keep it simple and short. No more than 750 words is ideal. Use pull out quotes and bullet lists to make it easier to scan. Instead of stock photos or clipart, ask your client for images that highlight their product or service.


They're concise, compelling and extremely useful. A simple quote from your customer is a direct and powerful statement of credibility. Don't be afraid to ask your customers, as most are happy to oblige. Let them speak for you.

Key questions to ask:

  • Who will you ask?
  • How will you ask?
  • Where will you put them?
  • Should you categorize them?

In every marketing activity -- from telemarketing to direct marketing, events, tradeshows, and online endeavors -- consider where a testimonial might fit.

For example, instead of using stock images for your tradeshow booth, print customer quotes on posters or directly on your backdrop. If you're planning an upgrade to your website, integrate quotes into all your pages, not just a running list of testimonials confined to one page.

Since most prospects start in skeptical mode, use testimonials to your advantage. Open a quote with something like "I didn't think we could actually decrease production line overhead until..."


This is marketing after all, and visuals are important. Along with your own logo and images, utilize client logos and images. They don't need to be famous because they're already known to others in their industry -- your prospects. This, combined with testimonials and case studies, will increase the value of your third party references.


Well-written articles will position you as the expert in your prospect's industry and show how you can help them solve their challenges. Many marketers hesitate on this one, knowing that the experts in their company rarely have the the time or skills to create an effective piece.

Outsource is not a dirty word. Hiring a professional writer for your marketing pieces is an excellent solution to not only take the burden off your internal resources, but to impress your audience with a first-class presentation.

You'll need to gather your internal minds to decide on the topics and framework, then let your freelance writer interview, research and write.

Where do I get ideas for articles?
  • Most importantly -- from your own clients and prospects. What are they asking you? What are their concerns? Have conversations that clue you in to what your targets really want to know.
  • Look to industry groups and associations. What are they writing and blogging about? Check out First Research ( for call preparation reports and great information on industry issues and challenges.
What should I write about?
  • Business-builder topics such as:
  • Managing your business
  • How-to articles (such as how to market in a down economy)
  • Book reviews. Check with the publisher to see if you can integrate some points from the book in your personal pieces
  • 'Tips and Tricks' pieces

And when you invest in professionally-written materials like articles or whitepapers, be sure to use them liberally.

Next week, part 2 of this post, where we look at more ways to boost credibility, including newsletters and multimedia.

David's blog

The Credibility Factor

Effective marketing involves much more than overpriced ads and flashy design. There's one important element that's so behind-the-scenes that many companies overlook it completely: the credibility factor.

Credibility Defined

  1. Capable of being believed; believable: a credible statement
  2. Corthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy: a credible witness

These are some powerful words -- capable, believable, confidence, trustworthy -- and all are necessary ingredients for a successful marketing recipe.

Credibility on Any Budget

To market effectively, a company must connect with its target audience. This connection has very little to do with how large or small the company is, and everything to do with the company's credibility.

It's no secret that businesses and individuals buy from those they trust. If you've established your credibility, you've opened the door and given people a reason to listen to you. Without it, all the marketing money in the world can't save you.

Let's think big for a moment. Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart are major players in their respective markets. When they talk, we take notice. Why? Because they've established the credibility it takes for people to instantly recognize their brand and feel safe buying their products or services.

Smaller companies may never reach this level of mass brand recognition and instead need to rely on credibility that comes through other messages, such as:

  • Your experience
  • Your expertise
  • Your service
  • Your customers

This is not a 'second best' effort to establish credibility. Within B2B marketing, the talking about the positive experiences of your customers is one of the strongest messages you can send.

To establish credibility in your marketing plan, make sure you:

Plan, plan, plan

Knowing precisely how you'll execute the credibility factor in your marketing is as important as the overall strategy itself.

Use it everywhere

Don't limit this valuable message to a page on your website. Use it wherever your customers might see it.

Without credibility, your marketing efforts are substantially weakened. Next week, we'll look at specific tips and tricks you can use to boost your company's credibility.

David's blog