In our last post we discussed success stories from our Marketing Roundtable at Photonics West. Participants were pleasantly surprised by the success of activities such as webcasts and social media; however, not all activities you try will generate stellar results. Here we’ll share a few more insights as to which tactics are better bets and which you should avoid or stop altogether.
1. Scoring your leads.
You probably already know the importance of scoring or categorizing leads for sales (hot, warm, cold or A, B, C leads). Scoring is generally based on whether someone A) expressed an interest or readiness to buy in your product, B) are considering various options, or C) are not ready to buy. Minimally, you should work with your sales team to develop criteria that will allow you you manually separate leads into these categories; however, if your company regularly gleans a large volume of leads, you might benefit from a more sophisiticated automated lead scoring system such as the HubSpot or Salesforce CRM.
Because A, B, and C leads have different needs and expectations, your follow-up should be different for each group. A good lead management system can help you organize these actions and nurture your leads accordingly.
Tip: Pay attention to the timing of your tradeshow follow-up. You'll want to communicate with leads after their post-show purge of built-up emails, but soon enough that you're still relatively fresh in their minds. In past years we’ve found that traffic peaked across our optics customers' websites from a week to two weeks after Photonics West. Look for trends in your own metrics to help you decide when to reach out.
2. Setting up nurture campaigns.
Email nurture campaigns are a great way to streamline and personalize the follow-up process, especially for B and C leads who need a bit more time to "warm up" to your brand or product. Far from simply sending a quarterly newsletter, nurture campaigns involve a series of actions (usually email offers) that aim to move the prospect along a desired path. For example, you can offer cool prospects an eBook download while offering hotter leads a webinar invite or product demo. Whatever the offer, it should provide value beyond just a sales promotion.
A sophisticated lead management system such as Hubspot can identify and categorize prospects based on where they are in this process, while automatically triggering the appropriate follow-up actions. While this is most easily done with leads gained from inbound marketing, you can also manually enter leads (e.g. from a tradeshow) into a workflow.
3. Teaching better booth behavior.
Often when our customers think they need a new booth design to improve lead count, it's really their booth behavior that needs help. Download our Booth Staff Training Kit, or see the slideshow below for quick tips.
1. Social media strategies that aren’t working.
This doesn’t mean you should halt social media completely, but just take a step back to decide if you’re going about it the right way. If you’re posting self-promotional messages and receiving no response (or even unlikes/unfollows), try posting curated content, like industry-specific news articles, instead. Or switch up your network. You might, for example, find that your Facebook friends respond best to event photos and lighter content, but that your LinkedIn followers will click on your product updates and app notes.
2. Buying lists.
This is not effective, and given international privacy laws, often illegal. It can also result in high email bounce rates that damage your credibility and sometimes, your ability to send future emails. Save yourself the headache, and stick with clean lead generation activities that help you build your database. Some ways to do this:
- Offer content downloads on your website that require a form.
- Use CTAs on your site to prompt visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or blog.
- Give contacts the opportunity to opt-in to different types of email communications. Someone might be interested in your eBooks and webinars but not want to receive company news, or vice versa; providing choices can help you keep them as a contact.
- In-person introductions work, too! Just make sure that whenever you collect leads at a tradeshow or other event that you compile them in a central location, such as a CRM. And as discussed above, the better you can segment these lists, the more you can tailor content that will resonate with these prospects.
For more advice on cleaning up your contact database, see our slideshow:
3. Focusing on geography.
Many companies we work with like to emphasize their local facility, even though a good percentage of their sales are international. Their language and image have yet to catch up with their current business reality. If you’re a global company, embrace that! Just be careful about using phrases like “world leader” unless you have testimonials or other proof points to back it up.
Exception: "Made in the USA" is valid and important for companies with a heavy U.S. focus.