If you’re a business or website owner, you’ve probably heard one of the many acronyms and terms used to describe online advertising. “PPC”, “SEM”, “paid search”, “display advertising” or simply “paid media” are among the most common terms to describe sponsored content delivered via search engines and website pages across the web. You’ve seen banner ads while reading the news. You’ve probably clicked on ads in search results at one point or another without even realizing what it was. Online advertising is such a big part of our day-to-day lives that we barely notice it.

So what does this mean for you as a business owner, looking to leverage your website as a lead generation tool? It means that you have to have a presence on these advertising networks equal to or better than your competitors. Now, I’ll often hear something along the lines of: “I don’t have the budget to match my large competitors, but I want my business to grow. What can I do?”

The answer is actually quite simple: You don’t have to waste money targeting everyone –  like many of your competitors likely are. The key to success is to target only the right prospects. This strategy is called Account-Based Marketing. Many channels are involved in account-based marketing online, and PPC is one of them. There are many ways to leverage PPC in an account-based marketing strategy. Here are some tricks of the trade!

  1. Remarketing to your email list

 

Google Adwords allows advertisers to import email lists of existing subscribers to create what advertisers call “remarketing” campaigns. These campaigns are powerful because they allow you to choose at a granular level who will see your ads. Once a user is in a remarketing list, you can craft unique messaging, specific to that segment, highlighting a deal or promotion to drive them further down the funnel.

 

2. Understanding your current customers

Ok, so this one isn’t “ABM” per say, but understanding your current customers’ day-to-day pains and the solutions, or “gains” your business provides them is a crucial part of crafting messaging to new prospects. Understanding your current customers in order to choose keywords that will be relevant to your list of prospects is the key to success. Ask your current customers if you can interview them.

Want to bring more prospects into your funnel but don’t know exactly who they are? Try some of these techniques to build your prospect list while maintaining the core characteristics of your best converting customers:
3. Lookalike audiences on Facebook

 

Lookalike audiences are exactly what they sound like; audiences that “look-alike” or are similar to other audiences you currently have in your account. Say you have an audience that consistently performs well for your Facebook ads. Using this list, we can create a lookalike audience and Facebook will automatically find users that mirror the list’s demographic, psychographic, and purchasing characteristics. No more guessing which additional segments to target, Facebook rounds up a list of prospects for you!

 

4. Similar audience lists on Adwords

 

Similar audience lists are another powerful ad hack that many search engine marketers have in their toolkit. Similar to Lookalike audiences, the lists are built by Google based on the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your original list.  These lists can be applied to campaigns across the Google Display Network, Search Network, and even Google Shopping (the side bar featuring products that shows up when you search a purchasable product).

 

5. You’ve heard it a million times… Content is King

 

Many times marketers use this phrase to describe the importance of incorporating well-written blogs and social media posts into your marketing mix, but this idiom also applies to front-end products and sales collateral. What type of valuable content can your business leverage as a lead magnet? You likely already have content that you could easily re-purpose as a gated resource to get users in your funnel. Gated content means an email address needs to be entered to access the information.

 

Once you have this resource, use CTAs (strong Call-To-Action words, like Shop Now or Download The Guide)  and ad copy to promote it via paid channels. This increases CTR (the Click-Through-Rate, or how many people click your ad), traffic, and you guessed it – LEADS. Try crafting this collateral in such a way that you’ll weed out unqualified leads and only speak directly to your ideal prospect list.

Paid digital channels can produce quicker results than most online marketing channels. For this reason, many focus solely on PPC and forget that it is just one part of the marketing machine (albeit, a very crucial part). It’s important to keep in mind how your PPC initiatives play into the BIG picture and affect/support your other marketing tactics. Using paid channels to target hyper-niche segments of pre-qualified prospects is the best way to get the most out of your media budget.

 

Good luck!

 

B2B lead generation is made up of groups of activities that are challenging to quantify. Sales and marketing are sectors of your business reliant on quantifiable information, but the ambiguous nature of lead generation is a deterrent for many marketers. In this article, we’ve broken down the top online practices for B2B lead generation.

How much is a lead worth to my business?

Is every lead really worth the same amount?

How can I drive more leads if my product is expensive?

If you’re a B2B business owner, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions more times than you can count. Fortunately for you, we have the answers! In this article, we’ll show you how to break down your user funnel to attract new customers all while providing them value along every step of the way.

 

Funnel Lead Generation Tactics:

 

Value Ladder:

A value ladder is a way to structure your sales efforts to appeal to your target audience at different phases in their purchase lifecycle. It gives you a competitive edge because it offers customers value at every tier or rung of the ladder.

As your lead ascends your value ladder, they’re offered more value, either in products or services offered, or another value-added concept. These are usually broken down into tiers, with the top tier being the most profitable end goal for your business.

Tiers:

Initial Offer

  • The initial product or service you offer that ideally cover the cost of advertising, or freebies, such as lead magnets. The goal is to qualify prospects and find people interested in your products.

 

1st Tier

  • The mid-range products and services you offer generate profit while simultaneously building trust. An e-book or other paid professional guide is a great 1st tier offering.

 

2nd Tier

  • The high-to-mid range products and services you offer generate profit. By this stage, customers have purchased from your brand and are ready to move to higher tier items. Membership and continuity programs are a perfect fit for this tier. The user gains values from continual content and profit is maximized with recurring revenue

 

Top Tier

  • The most extensive product or service offering your business provides. Although only a small percentage of customers will ever get here, they will become your brand advocates and generate considerable revenue. Use this customer to create whitepapers and testimonials to show to potential customers lower in the value ladder.

 

Lead Magnets

Lead Magnets are the freebies you give away to grow your list and get people in the door. The perfect Lead Magnet will offer value within five minutes of the offer being accepted. The goal is to qualify and capture leads, who can then be entered into an automation that guides your prospect along your sales funnel.  

 

Lead Nurturing

Taking care of your leads is akin to guiding them through a system of education, value-addition, and customer service that you have designed specifically for your business. Once you generate a lead, you have to take care of it, and guide it along its life cycle path.

A cornerstone of lead generation is lead nurturing. The process is customer-centric, anticipating what customers would want before they even know they want or need it. The process is as follows (with a few deviations depending on your product or service offering):

 

1) Identify the problem your prospect needs to address

2) Highlight a couple of ways the prospect might start to think about that problem

3) Suggest one specific way to solve that problem

4) Ultimately, demonstrate why you are the right one to help fix that problem

 

Social Relationship Building

In the B2B business sector, there’s rarely a ton of buzz surrounding your product or service. A healthy social media following is an imperative duty for nearly all businesses, however, getting too caught up in the number of followers, likes, and other measures of the sort can be misleading.

Social media as a lead generation tool is a simple and powerful way to build and nurture relationships. The key for B2B businesses is to use social media as a way to influence and add value for your prospects. Rather than shooting 100 arrows and hoping something lands amongst your target, shoot 5 arrows at a specific target with such detailed precision that there is virtually no chance of missing.

The key word is engagement. Quality most definitely trumps quantity when it comes to contemporary social media practices. Engage in groups, provide helpful and informative answers, and become a reliable resource of high-quality content tailored specifically to your industry, your client’s needs, and your brand.

Give a few of these processes a try: Lead generation takes time to become effective, so have patience and diligence.

Yes, B2B lead generation can be all-consuming: why not let us help you with the brunt of the work? Contact us to see how you can start generating leads, now! Visit www.ajaxunion.com.

 

 

In an age where prospects are more educated than ever, we the marketers need to be able to offer tailored information based on what stage the prospect or lead is in. Marketing funnels are completely about stage, and without staging your efforts, you will end up with one hot mess of a marketing campaign.

Think of marketing funnels as you would a fine dining experience. Your meal typically will begin with an appetizer, followed by your main course, then dessert. The server knows not to offer you something off the dessert menu when you first sit down at your meal. Guiding your prospect through a lead marketing funnel is only natural, and easier than you may think.

Marketing’s three-course meal can be broken down into the following three categories: ToFu, MoFu, Bofu.

 

TOFU: Top of the Funnel

This is the very top of your sales funnel. You’re dealing with a larger audience of leads, and while there is targeting involved, you’re not discouraging anyone nor filtering out too many leads at this point.

You should be offering lead magnets, freebies, and showing off your brand to the new prospect. This can be in the form of relevant blog articles,  videos, or free seminars. Call-to-actions come into play once your lead seems to be a conversion opportunity, meaning they’ve stayed on your webpage for longer than two minutes, etc.

Your goal should be to educate your audience, identify any problems they may be experiencing which may have led them to your page, and begin to position yourself as the industry expert.

 

MOFU: Middle of the Funnel

The moment your lead converts from the initial ToFu offer (say, they signed up for your newsletter because they downloaded a free white paper or content asset from your website), they enter the MoFu stage.

At this point, your lead still isn’t quite fully qualified, and many times the lead will drop off here if what you’re offering isn’t matching their needs fully… and that’s totally okay. That is the point of the MoFu stage: don’t get discouraged when a lead drops off! It’s better to qualify at this stage than the latter, or the next one.

In this stage of the funnel, your content should continue to educate but also start the process of positioning your company as the solution to the lead’s needs and challenges. You want to build credibility in this stage, cementing your business as THE solution for their problem.

 

BOFU: Bottom of the Funnel

You and your lead have created a relationship at this point, and they may be ready to take the next step. You had the proverbial main course, and now comes the sweet stuff: The profit for you, and the solution for your lead.

This is your chance to go in for the sale via the information that has been shared previously between you and your lead. This is where a trial run comes in handy, or a discount code: you want to ease your lead into their purchase by incentivizing the first purchase and providing value, while establishing urgency around making the purchase.

Many companies have developed methods to automate this process, however, depending on your business, automation may or may not be the best option. The most important goal is to remain honest, and provide value to your lead every step of the way, and to not get discouraged if a lead falls off the funnel.

The key to success is to track prospects at each stage of the journey so your sales team will be set up for success. Your marketing team will gain valuable insights, and your business will thrive!

 

Marketing Automation is a second beating heart, thinking brain, and breathing lungs for your business. You may not have the resources to hire someone to manage all of your customer and/or client interactions.  That’s the beautiful power of Marketing Automation. Powerful technology takes the place of a human being and frankly, sometimes does the job better.

Still unsure of what Marketing Automation can do for your business? Or even what it is? According to Hubspot (whose Marketing Automation platform is THE most popular amongst marketers everywhere),  Marketing Automation refers to “the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions, such as email, social media and website actions.” We can almost 100% guarantee that you have been at the receiving end of an automation at some point in your life.  

Those constant Amazon emails – you know, the one with the “If you love 10-Pack Solid Gold Golf Clubs, You’ll Also Love…” subject lines – are a prime example of Marketing Automation. Trust me, there’s no sad, pale little man sitting in a basement somewhere sending you those! (*Disclaimer* If there is, I’m really sorry and I’d like to personally thank you for not judging my Amazon searches.) The POINT is, Amazon has a really robust Email Automation program that you’ve no doubt enjoyed.

Most businesses, both B2B and B2C, can implement powerful Marketing Automation software to increase upsells, reduce cart abandonment, nurture warm leads, and so much more.  But the challenge lies in finding the perfect Marketing Automation platform for your business. As a digital marketing agency with 10+ years of marketing technology experience, we’ve tried our hand at several platforms, and we’ve learned one thing: one size does NOT fit all. Every business has different needs and will, therefore, require different functionalities in their technology,

Here’s how to choose the best Marketing Automation platform for your business.

A brief intro to the biggest contenders in the Marketing Automation game: For years Hubspot, Marketo, and Pardot were the three most commonly used automation platforms. Organizations in every industry were thrilled with the toolbox of these platforms, and the UX and technology suited their needs enough to get by. As time passed, handfuls of new technologies boasting “A more powerful CRM” or “We’ll help you send better emails” were thrown into the ring. By the time 2017 rolled around, you’re looking at hundreds of MAPs with thousands of users each.

So how do you cut through the noise to find your MAP match? Follow these steps.

 

  • Define Your Automation Needs
  • Research and Compare
  • Trial Run and Recon
  • Finalize!
  • Make it Rain

 

 

Step #1: What are your automation Needs?

Gather your marketing team in a room and clearly map out your marketing strategy. Outline your efforts for every stage of your marketing funnel. For example, what messages do you want to send to people who have NEVER heard about your company before? Where do you want to display these messages to give them maximum exposure to your target audience?  Once your strategy is clearly defined, you can identify where a machine could be doing the work, and where a team member must be involved.

An example would be: Johnson’s Wholesale Liquidators is looking to increase the number of manufacturers and retailers who pass on their extra SKUs to JWL. Their strategy is to send out a newsletter to their current providers as well as a list of contacts the CEO, Tom Hicks, has forged a connection with on LinkedIn. While these emails can be custom-crafted in Gmail by the CMO, Larry, it would save JWL considerable time, funds, and energy to offboard this task to a MAP. So Email Automation is a Need.

Additionally, they want to get very granular with their user journey. If a potential provider clicks on a link, JWL wants them to receive an entirely different follow-up sequence. So Unlimited Sequencing is a Need.

While social media marketing plays an almost negligible role in acquiring new providers, JWL understands how important it is for brand credibility and B2C marketing. So an SMM manager, either baked into the software or available as an integration, is a Need. Keep refining your Needs, and throw in a few Bonuses. If the MAP can provide  Search Marketing tools and A/B testing, that’s great, but not a must-have.

 

Step #2: Research and Compare

This is the fun part. Ask friends in your industry (or even competitors!)  what Marketing Automation Platform they use and why they like or dislike it. Compile a list of personally recommended MAPS. Then hop online for additional options.  Try and narrow down the options as you research. If you see a negative review over the course of your research that scares you, cross the platform off your list. Choose your top ten based on reviews, functionality, pricing, customer service/support, and UX- you don’t want to get stuck with a platform that’s devilishly tricky to operate.

Once you have your top 10, compare how many of your Needs and Bonuses each includes. If you find one MAP that “does it all” – congrats! You’ve found your dream platform! If you’re stuck deciding between a few and simply can’t choose – don’t worry. It’s all part of the process. Here’s a good plan: choose your top three contenders. Create a test project for each and try it out for a trial period (if your software doesn’t offer a trial…you may want to dive a little deeper into their customer service reviews).  Which brings us to Step #3-

 

Step #3: Trial Run and Recon

Let’s give this baby a test run! Have your marketing team test out the software (or softwares if you’re still undecided) for the trial period. Don’t migrate all your content just yet- create a test project for the trial. Have them carefully monitor and take notes about their experience. Specifically:

  • How simple is it to create campaigns within the platform?
  • Did you find the software intuitive, or did you “have to get the hang of it?”
  • Were the campaigns you tested successful?
  • How easy/difficult was it to interpret the data and analytics the MAP spat back?
  • Was the support team responsive, patient, and helpful?
  • Would you rather stick pins in your eyes then look at that layout all day?

Ask them to be perfectly honest, as this decision will likely impact them for the year or so. In fact, maybe kick off the recon meeting with your own scathing review to encourage that open atmosphere. The team is going to disagree on some things, particularly if you’re testing more than one MAP at a time. People are going to choose favorites and fight for their choice – but that’s healthy. Your team will benefit from bouncing the pros and cons off each other, and will eventually come to a unanimous decision.

Step #4: Finalize!

Give your account manager a call – it’s time to sign on the dotted line!

 

Step #5: Make it Rain

It’s time to set up your automations to perfection and start making money while you sleep. Set up those babies, and let the platform do the work for you! Of course, some light maintenance will be necessary, and interpreting the data should (hopefully) be a weekly task, but as far as sending emails, drafting social posts, writing blogs, sending site messages, etc. etc.: you are off the hook!

So that’s our strategy for finding the perfect platform for your business. To help jumpstart your research, here are some helpful resources detailing several Marketing Automation platforms and their functionality. Happy Reading!

 

The Best Marketing Automation Software of 2017 [CHART] by PCMag.com

Best Marketing Automation Software by g2crowd.com

https://www.ngdata.com/top-marketing-automation-software-tools