Category: nurture


Case Studies

Case Studies

GREAT RELATIONSHIPS. GREAT STORIES.

“We work with Nurture Marketing because they deliver. We get results and our partners get results.”
Paula Gil, Senior Marketing Manager, US Dynamics Mid Market, Microsoft
 

Nurture Marketing

“Thanks to Nurture, I am doing well and the business is growing nicely again. Wow, that was a rough couple of years. I kept hammering away and we have been religious with our Nurture program and it does work . . . I had a guy walk in off the street and he said I have been receiving your marketing messages and you are the type of company I want to work with. WOW! Nurture Marketing is working!”
Jeff Hamons, Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
 

Nurture Training

“Nurture Training helped us take an already functioning marketing program and add structure, focus and discipline to its raw edges. We are now executing the marketing plan that was the primary output of the Nurture Training and seeing our business grow.”
Kevin Abel, CEO, Abel Solutions
 

Nurture Training

“Even though I have been marketing in the Microsoft channel for nearly 10 years, I still find the Nurture Training program helpful! Especially having their Helpdesk services to give me a fresh perspective and new ideas on my campaigns. They always respond right away and are willing to spend as much time as needed to assist me.”
Anya Ciecierski, Marketing Manager, CAL Business Solutions Inc.
 

Channel Programs

“It was tough to find a solution that would work toward our overarching corporate goal while remaining viable for individual global channels and understandable across diverse audiences. Nurture Marketing quickly grasped this complexity and was able to help us deliver an execution strategy for the Channel with relevant program content and results-generating tactics that truly work.”
Susan Somersille-Johnson, Head of Global Services Trade Marketing, Nokia

 

 

 

Rules for Email Marketing Bliss

According to the Direct Marketing Association, every dollar spent on email marketing -- this number is an average -- generates $43.62 in revenue. That might seem like an absurdly high return, but it's highly likely that marketers who get those types of results follow specific guidelines and best practices. Below, some rules to set up your email campaigns for this kind of success.

Talk like a person

Remember: we're communicating with people. Stay away from "marketing speak" -- use language that is familiar and personal, like you're having a conversation at a party.
 

Campaigns mean long-term

Marketers often try to say everything at once. There's a lot to accomplish: educating your prospect on your company, demonstrating your company's subject matter expertise, and showing the value of your products or services.

With a campaign, you have the opportunity to convey important points over a long term period. Create an Action Plan for a full year; give yourself the time to create a strong a lasting impression.
 

Customize messages by segment

When it comes to segmenting your lists, the formula is simple -- PITS. Product, Industry, Title, and Sales Pipeline. Different products/services require custom messages to a targeted prospect list, as do different vertical industries.

You don't want to send the same message to the CEO and the CIO. Research has shown that people with different positions within companies react differently to specific words, phrases, and messages.

Segmenting lists allows you to optimize your email marketing efforts and deliver the right messages to the right people.
 

From who?

Don't overlook the "From" field. People receive hundreds of emails a a day and the messages they pay most attention to are those that are from a familiar name.
 

Graphics

Keep your graphics to a minimum and stay away from canned templates. It's inexpensive to brand your own custom look and feel. If you do like graphics, put them at the bottom of your message as part of your signature block.
 

Subject Best Practices

Keep the subject short, personal, honest, familiar, and specific.
 

Create a smooth landing

Every email campaign should also include a landing page that reflects its messaging, through consistent branding and copy.
 

Test

Get in the habit of testing. Experiment with different copy, subject lines, landing pages, and offers. Important tip -- when testing, always change one thing at a time.
 

CAN SPAM

Learn the rules against spam and follow them. It's much more effective to send your messages to a small, targeted list of people you know than a large list of purchased prospects. Personal emails to people you know are never spam.

David's blog

Building Compelling Offers

Learning opportunities. Gifts. Promotions. Incentives. These are all examples of offers -- those items that compel prospects to pay attention to you. Offers should be a core piece of every marketing campaign. Yet, as marketers, we often struggle to find compelling pieces or consider them an afterthought.

Bring these items front and center by taking the time to build up a strong offer sheet. This way, you'll have a substantial selection of pieces that can be used throughout your campaigns, on your website, and in sales calls.

Start by creating an inventory of your current assets. Make sure you identify separate offers for different stages of the sales cycle: for earlier in the sales cycle, learning opportunities (such as educational articles) offer your prospect something that can keep them engaged and open to your messaging. For later in the sales cycle, consider offers that aid in the decision-making process -- trial offers and assessments, as well as pricing and financial incentives.

Tips

  • Create high value offers for the highest value prospects. For example, send your best prospects that hot new business bestseller.
  • Focus on educational timesavers: how-to guides, articles, and survey responses.
  • Hire a freelance writer to create pieces for you. Consider creating a back-catalogue of content that you can use over the course of long term period.
  • Put value behind your service offers. For example, a free assessment is generally perceived as a sales call, and therefore wouldn't necessarily qualify as an effective offer.
  • Avoid gifts and trinkets as a call to action. Real prospects generally won't take an action to win a chance at a free iPod or other item. Instead, use these items at trade shows, raffles, or events.
  • Buy offers when you don't have them. Sources like Harvard Business Review have white papers and articles available for download.
     

David's blog

No More Accidental Referrals

Referrals are often the best source of new business. But like all other marketing activities, gathering referrals is most effective when you have a plan of action. Here are some proven ways to help develop your customer referral strategy:

Make it personal

When asking for referrals, you're talking to people that you already know well. They might be friends; they might be clients. In any case, it's a personal connection. And maintaining that connection is what counts.

When you ask for a referral, you're asking someone to give you something of personal value -- a relationship that they have with someone else. Their reputation is on the line when they recommend your business.

This means that every point of your referral strategy needs to reflect that personal approach. Instead of sending an email, consider the impact of mailing a handwritten thank you card. If you're sending a gift, think about what's meaningful to the recipient -- whether it's a round of golf, a book you both talked about, or a bottle of wine for an enthusiast.
 

One size doesn't fit all

A key part of developing your referral plan is targeting your referral sources. These sources can include family and friends, clients, influencers, and other networking groups:

Family and Friends:

These are built-in referrals who are happy to help because they want to see your success and appreciate the recognition. Help them out by specifying what you're looking for. A lead or a direct introduction? Is there a certain industry, job title, or size of company you're targeting?

Also, keep your request simple -- don't ask your cousin for the names and contact information of the procurement officers in the region's top 150 companies. Instead, he may have access to a professional organization's directory or a list of recent conference attendees to share.

Finally, remember that your business-building efforts are not a top priority for friends and family, so gently remind them within a week or two of your request. Then be sure to thank them with a personal gift -- a Starbucks gift card perhaps, or an invitation to a nice dinner. Nothing extravagant, just heartfelt.

Customers:

Customers can be your greatest source of referrals, but they first need to be treated as your valued customer. Once the sale is made, you can't coast. The bottom line is your customers want information from you that helps them do their jobs better and increases their return on investment. If you provide them with what they want, they'll be happy to help you out.

Just like with your friends and family, don't overlook the personal touch with your clients. One-on-one communications with phone calls and emails work wonders. For key customers, you may wish to invite them to lunch or dinner to get to know them better. If they're not local, an investment in a personal visit once or twice a year is well worth it.

Influencers:

Who are the leaders in your industry or community that can take your business to the next level? These influencers want to be seen as trusted providers with their clients and a source of valuable information. Include these people in your marketing efforts and offer to collaborate on whitepapers, events, or provide special discounts to their employees or clients.

Partners:

Who do you already partner with? Your accountant, attorney, IT provider? Partners are a solid source of referrals since they know that you'll do the same for them. They're confident in your professional ability and gain tremendous business value from maintaining a solid network of referral-worthy providers.

Other Sources:

What other networking groups do you belong to? Professional organizations, charity committees, church, school connections, and even former clients. But you need to tread carefully here -- it's more about giving than getting.
 

Build a library

A library of ready-made referral materials will make it easier to ask for referrals and thank people.

As part of your referral library, create a:

  • A referral elevator pitch
  • A "thank you for your business" letter or email template
  • A "thank you for your referral" letter or email template
  • A "request for referral" letter or email template
     

Narrow your focus

Not everyone you know or do business with will be a referral source. Narrow your focus to the most likely candidates. These can include companies and individuals that have given previous referrals, your company's best fans, and those key influencers who you've identified.
 

Give more referrals

This is where the concept of paying it forward really comes into play. If you give more referrals yourself, you'll find people are more likely to refer potential customers back to you. Often people will make referrals that aren't quite right for your business. Why not pass these opportunities onto others in your network that you know will be a better fit?
 

Created a targeted list

Who are your top fifty targets? Share the list with your best referrers -- including friends and family -- who do they know?
 

Make it easy

Make it easy for your referrers. Even better than business cards, provide a card with your contact information plus your value proposition. Places like 48hourprint.com or vistaprint.com are cost effective websites that can make your card special.
 

Always close the loop

The secret to maintaining good referrals is no secret at all. Send a thank you note to the referrer as well as an update and a status report.


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.
 

Pay

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

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

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

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