Blog

The Pandemic In-Box | Email Marketing Strategy During COVID-19

The rapid onset of Covid-19 forced many businesses to quickly halt or adapt their existing email marketing strategy. Content needed to be evaluated for appropriateness, execution and segmentation strategies reconsidered for a disrupted market. For many, the fast-fix was a letter from leadership discussing how their company specifically would manage the challenges of the pandemic.

What Key Marketing Metrics Matter for Your Website?

Synchronizing your website with digital campaigns offers a holistic view of the effect your marketing efforts have on revenue. We talked about the trifecta of these channels on “How to Measure Digital Marketing Metrics and ROI,” but here we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty of website metrics specifically. Now, I love me some numbers, but it’s sometimes a little boring to be talking metrics, am I right? Instead, we’re going to approach your website in a way most people got their start in business: a lemonade stand!

This blog will help guide you through some key marketing metrics for planning and nurturing ROI through your website.

Website Visitors = Thirsty People

Audience analysis is arguably the most important task informed by your website metrics. These metrics answer the question: “am I reaching my ideal customer?” A quick glance at age, gender, location, and language can tell you if something is up. You don’t have the resources yet to sell your lemonade to someone a couple of towns over. So, focus your efforts on what you can impact now. It’s important to look at devices and tech and interests. Are the majority of your visitors using their phones to look at your website? Make sure your site is mobile-friendly and quick to load. Are you hitting the right age range but not converting? Look at their interests and check if they align with your services or products. These metrics help confirm if your website visitors reflect the buyer persona you created.

Let’s differentiate visitors to visits with users, sessions, and pageviews. Users are unique visitors that have come to your site, which in itself is made up of new visitors and returning visitors who have come for the second time or more. Sessions are the total number of visits to your site while pageviews are the number of pages visited. Let’s say a neighbor visits your lemonade stand (let’s call the stand “My Main Squeeze”) three times and each time debates between four different menu items. On a website that would result in one returning user, three sessions, and 12 page views. How do you determine an engaged user and session? Take a look at the average session duration and pages/session. If most visitors are spending less than five seconds and not visiting other pages, then it’s likely an accidental click or immediate loss of interest, making your other metrics less impressive. That’s the equivalent of people walking past My Main Squeeze without even looking at you or saying hello back. Rude!

Site Content = Menu Items

You have your visitors, now how are you going to retain them? Let’s talk about site content! If you don’t have content your visitors find valuable, then no one is going to stay. Someone might not want regular lemonade but is interested in trying the brownies, sliced fruit, or spicy mango lemonade. Page metrics show you the most viewed pages and average time spent, along with the least viewed pages. By analyzing the behavior flow report, you’ll be able to see how far down into your website they dig and the interactions they make along the way. Take a look at these metrics: session duration, bounce rate, exit rate, and exit pages. These tell you how much time visitors are spending on your site and at which point the pages turn them away. Look at those failing pages and ascertain a reason as to why they are causing your visitors to bounce. Is this page loading too slowly? Does it lack the content the visitor expected? You can find out by looking at search terms and see precisely what they are looking for. Perhaps the content is on your website but not easily accessible. Find the weak spots in your site, test and fix them to keep your visitors engaged.

Acquisition = Bringing in Customers

How did people find My Main Squeeze? Maybe it’s word of mouth, the sign with directions you posted a couple of blocks away, or your choice of location. Find what is bringing you the most traffic and capitalize on it! You can find the answers under the traffic metrics channels, source/medium, and referralsChannels show you sessions brought on by social media, search engines, email and more. Source/Medium offer the same insight but specific to website or service. Referrals are as you could have guessed: where your website was referred from. Are you running several paid campaigns across these channels that lead to your website? Dig even further with acquisition metrics like search queryAdWords campaigns, and URL parameters to see which campaigns are driving the most results. By looking at this information, you will be able to determine where to focus your digital marketing spend. You might learn that you get more customers from cute signs you put up over sending your little brother with samples down the block. Put up more signs and tell your brother to stop eating the samples and help out with the new rush your signs brought in!

Conversions = Buying Lemonade

With so many metrics to measure on strengthening your website, how does this all apply to selling more lemonade? With a robust, well-rounded website and digital marketing strategy, you’ll have a better chance of converting visitors into customers. Saving the best for last, be sure to set up different goals—such as subscribing to your newsletter, registering for an event, filling out a contact form, or making a purchase—and attribute value for each conversion, be it a transaction or future lead. These metrics measure the end goal of your website: to generate awareness and revenue. As you continue to work on your website, you will see changes in goal completions. What on your website is producing the most value? Explore the funnel visualization and reverse goal path functions and follow the path to the point of consumption. Where did they start, where did they go and how did they end up converting? If something is working, keep doing it and think about how to make it even better! By selling your customers on the brownies, it assists in the sale of lemonade to wash it down. This can also show you if they stopped short of a goal completion—another way to improve the user experience. Did a potential customer stop short of a lemonade purchase because you didn’t have correct change? Keep more change handy! Make the process as smooth as possible to remove time for doubt.

Conclusion

So, what’s the main takeaway from this blog? Finesse your website to squeeze out as many goal completions and conversions as possible. With some good old-fashioned marketing know-how, My Main Squeeze visitors will have a better chance of flowing through the funnel and sipping lemonade. Take a look at the metrics I’ve shared here and start testing. What other metrics and insights do you have in mind when looking at your website? Share them in the comments below!

Via Marketo blog.

5 Lessons Learned After One Month of Virtual Events | Field Marketing

It’s no secret that this is a challenging time for field marketers and event marketers. By now, we’re all well aware that we need to pivot from in-person to virtual events – but knowing how to get there and how to achieve your desired result is easier said than done.

For those who specialize in events, trade shows, or field activities, making the pivot from in-person to virtual events is likely uncharted territory. Many of us are figuring it out as we go, experimenting with new technologies, and learning how to fail fast.

We’re over a month into our new reality, and our field marketing team has launched six virtual events. To help as you continue to pivot from in-person to virtual events, I’m sharing the top five lessons we’ve learned so far.

Always Have a Plan B…and a Plan C

Our day-to-day reality is changing fast, and when it comes to events, there are a lot of factors that are outside of our control. What might seem like a fool-proof idea today, could be almost impossible to execute by tomorrow. Having backup plans in place is critical for success.

When we canceled one of our in-person dining experiences, our Plan B was to host the event virtually by having a celebrity chef live-stream a fully produced cooking class from a studio kitchen. As part of that experience, we would also send the attendees meal kits to cook along with the chef.

Shortly after launching, the shelter in place orders went into effect in New York City, taking studio production and meal kit assembly off the table. We then had to pivot to Plan C – having the chef film the video herself in her own kitchen, selecting a recipe that focused on pantry staples, and sending gift cards to all attendees to buy the necessary ingredients.

While the meal kits would have been a nice touch and a studio-produced video might have had more polish, the end result still allows us to connect with our customers in a meaningful way.

Shelve the Presentations

If your inbox is anything like mine, you’re receiving multiple webinar invites every day. While I still think webinars are an important tactic and content is (and always will be) king, what we’ve found our customers really want right now is an experience.

In fact, I’ve watched registration for some of our virtual experiences fill up twice as fast as our previous in-person events.

According to Forbes, the scheduling platform Doodle has seen a “296% increase in group meetings for virtual-only happy hours, cocktail hours, wine/beer/drink social events,” and a “100% increase in group meetings booked for virtual-only yoga, dance, exercise, workout, fitness, aerobics, and Pilates sessions.”

Consider swapping your next content-led event for a hands-on virtual experience, like a baking class, wine tasting, or craft workshop. You can still insert your messaging by having an executive speak at the top of the event or asking your sales reps to interact with customers on video or in a live chat.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Launching an event that isn’t 100 percent planned might make you nervous, but I’m here to tell you to just do it. You need to move quickly in times of change.

Once you have an “MVP” (minimum viable product), go ahead and launch. Put your event out into the market to see how your customers are receiving the idea. Take note of what’s resonating and what’s not, and use that feedback to continuously adapt.

With some of our initial virtual events, we started small by targeting our “MVP” to a single market. We then gathered the feedback from internal and external stakeholders on how that event was resonating with customers. Once we were able to incorporate some of that feedback, we then expanded our efforts to target a larger, regional audience.

Along those same lines, don’t be afraid to try something different. Times of constraint can breed creativity. Not every idea will result in a home run, but as long as you’re failing fast, you’ll be able to continuously improve.

(Over) Communicate and Collaborate

As our team continues to pivot from in-person to virtual events, we’re noticing that some of our field marketing efforts are overlapping with other teams’ campaigns.

We’ve learned that it’s imperative to collaborate with other marketing teams to ensure we aren’t duplicating efforts. We also know that we share an audience with our entire marketing organization, so we need to be mindful that we aren’t overwhelming our customers with too many offers.

Since most people are working remotely right now, make sure you have the appropriate channels in place to facilitate an open, continuous dialogue with your marketing counterparts, and don’t be afraid to over communicate. This could look like a group chat forum or a daily standup via video conference.

In our case, we’ve increased communications in our internal Slack channel with our demand generation team. This has allowed us to quickly relay event dates, share marketing lists, and communicate updates as events evolve.

Test Everything

Without onsite IT support or your typical office setup, prepping technology for a virtual event can be a daunting task. While testing our new platforms, we’ve found numerous issues that could have derailed our events if left undiscovered.

If your event involves external speakers, I cannot stress enough the importance of testing. Test the technology on your own first, and once you have a feel for it, loop in your internal colleagues to simulate the actual experience. Finally, invite your outside speakers for testing.

This might seem like a lot of testing for one event, but making sure everyone is comfortable with the technology will ensure everything runs smoothly on the day of the event.

Via Marketo blog

4 Ways Digital Marketers Can Make Data Work for Them

There’s no doubt that data is a marketer’s very best friend these days. According to Forbes, best-in-class marketers are 56% more likely to use data and analytics platforms and 64% of marketing executives see data-driven marketing as crucial to success in a globalized economy. But, as the importance of data in marketing has greatly increased, the line between art and science has blurred. Is marketing more of an art, or is it becoming a hard science?

Shorter Workday Concept for Employee Retention | Marketing Automation

Marketing automation has played a significant role in making our time at work more efficient. This is not a revolutionary or surprising statement – after all, it’s not hard to imagine that technology capable of automating repetitive tasks would be a time saver.  What once took days now takes hours, and what once took hours now takes minutes.

Embrace Your Human Skills | The Future of Work Is Automated & Human

With all of the hype about AI and machine learning transforming how business is done, it’s easy to focus on automation and data at the expense of letting the human elements atrophy.

It’s obvious that robots are here to stay. And they’re doing more and more kinds of work that only humans had previously been able to do. This has many workers worried and wondering how to robot-proof their jobs, and with good reason as McKinsey reports that up to 800 million workers are expected to be displaced by automation come 2030.

Webinar

How to Maximize Webinar Attendance and Engagement | 5 Strategies

Live webinars are a powerful lead generation and engagement tool. Successful webinars drive revenue and establish your organization as a thought leader in its space. However, maximizing webinar attendance takes effort. Nothing is more disheartening than spending time and advertising money promoting your webinar—only to have a handful of folks attend.

Experiential Marketing | 5 Ways to Overcome Challenges & Build Meaningful Brands

Brands and marketers have long recognized the potential of experiences to tie products and services to personal journeys—by making memories. My company has been doing this for 14 years. As an experiential marketing agency, we’re focused on forming memories through experiences, living by the mantra, “The right moment can transform someone forever.”

The 3 Essentials of a Successful Qualified Leads Program

In a way, sales reps are like nurses or doctors. They take people’s temperatures to determine how they’re feeling. A “hot” prospect is ready to buy. A “cold” prospect is merely browsing inventory.

Before the internet, this heat check was usually performed in person. Sales reps would get a good sense of how interested someone was in their company’s products or services by spending some time with them.

Qualified leads would ultimately receive more attention—the sales rep might play 18 holes with them to help close the deal. For people looking to buy later, an occasional phone call to nurture the relationship would suffice.

But with the way modern customers conduct online research prior to purchasing, the human interaction aspect of qualifying leads has all but disappeared.

Many companies today have turned to innovative marketing automation software to analyze a prospect’s digital engagement behavior and determine whether they’re qualified enough to move on to the next step in the sales cycle.

But successfully qualifying leads for sales means having three key fundamentals in place:

1. A solid definition of “lead”

First things first. What’s a lead? At Marketo, we define a lead as any “qualified prospect that is starting to exhibit buying behavior.” That could mean when somebody begins following a social media account, subscribes to an email newsletter, or browses a product page on a website.

Of course, every business should have its own definition for what a lead is. Why? Because differentiating a lead from a non-lead will help you determine who’s worth nurturing and who’s not.

If you haven’t yet defined what a lead is for your organization, here’s how to get started:

Schedule a sit-down between sales and marketing. Talk about what your target market looks like, who’s in your database already, and what kind of buyers are currently closing deals. You’ll also want to discuss things like when to start lead nurturing and what makes a bad lead.

Marketing operations usually has access to the tools, systems, and data that tell you everything you need to know.

Once you’ve developed a solid definition, write it down. You’ll what to share what you’ve come up with so everyone’s on the same page.

And don’t forget to meet regularly. Your definition of a lead will change as your business grows or your priorities shift.

2. An effective lead scoring system

With a lead scoring system, you can assign values to prospects based on actions they take, behaviors they exhibit, and more. This will help you rank leads to determine which prospects are ripe for nurturing and which are ready to engage with your sales team.

There are four attributes you must identify through your lead scoring system:

  • Lead fit: Collecting information around your prospects’ demographics (title, role, location), firmographics (industry, company size, name of company) and BANT (budget, authority, need, time) will give you an idea of whether they fit your ideal buyer profile. You can capture a lot of demographic and firmographic information through a registration page form. Gathering BANT data may require getting to know your prospects a little bit better—perhaps through progressive profiling.
  • Lead interest: Studying your prospects’ online body language by analyzing how they engage with your brand will give you insight into how interested they are in your product or service. The more interest they show, the more likely they are to buy—and the more heavily you should shower them with attention and valuable content. 
  • Lead behavior: Certain prospect behavior shines a light on where they are in the customer journey. Visiting a website or attending a webinar are the signs of an early-stage prospect. Checking out a pricing page or watching a solution demo reveal buyer intent. You can take advantage of this information by offering early-stage prospects more educational content and passing off leads with high buyer intent to sales. 
  • Buying stage/timing: Knowing when your lead intends to buy is extremely important. If a prospect is just beginning to research a product, it’s not the time to put the hard sell on them. Instead, send valuable information about how the product can help solve their problems. By closely evaluating a prospect’s behavior, you’ll get a firm sense of where they are in the buying journey.

Developing a lead scoring system is a core component of lead management—and no department is better suited to help your company bring this system into fruition than your marketing operations team.

That’s because marketing operations has access to the data required to establish a lead scoring program—so it doesn’t have to rely on guesswork.

3. A culture built on testing and optimization

Like most things in marketing, your lead nurturing program shouldn’t be a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. You’ll want to regularly test what’s working and what’s not so you can optimize your processes.

But what exactly should you be testing? In a word: Everything.

The goal of your lead nurturing program is to provide satisfying customer experiences that align with your audiences’ preferences and ultimately drive sales.

So, scrutinize every method you use to engage with your prospects. Measure how people respond to your social media posts, the offers on your websites, and the material in your videos.

Email nurture streams, in particular, provide a plethora of opportunities to test and optimize. You can:

  • Assess how different variations of a subject line impact open rates
  • See if click-through rates improve by swapping your content type
  • Evaluate whether readers respond better to short or long emails
  • Change the layout to learn what kind of design resonates most with readers
  • Modify send frequency to get a better idea of how often audiences want to be contacted

By creating a culture of testing and optimization, sales and marketing can collaborate to turn qualified leads into surefire customers.

A new frontier of qualifying leads emerges with AI

The three fundamentals above will go a long way toward helping you successfully qualify leads for sales. But like we’ve seen before with the emergence of the internet, there’s always something new around the corner ready to shake up the status quo.

Today, that’s AI.

Sales reps currently spend a lot of time and attention just determining if a prospect is a qualified lead. Sometimes, it’s all for naught, as a months-long engagement could develop into nothing.

Hiring more sales reps isn’t the answer. But leaning on innovative conversational AI and machine learning could be.

Instead of an employee interacting with a prospect, an AI-driven bot could communicate with them. When a person visits a website, the bot can converse with them, help them, and, most importantly, collect the valuable insight needed to decide if they’re a qualified lead.

This allows human sales reps to limit their focus to building relationships with prospects who are actually worth their time.

A chance to transform lead qualification

With a few key principles and an eye on the future, you can do wonders for your lead qualification program. And it won’t be long until your entire organization feels the effects—experiencing more closed deals and higher revenue.

Via Marketo blog