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5 Things B2B Marketers Should Be Thinking About for 2017

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Oct 19, 2016 4:00:00 PM

planning-time-of-year.jpgThis time of year brings many things…raking leaves, carving pumpkins, crisp mornings…and for many B2B marketers, planning. That’s right…Q4 is the time to start laying the groundwork for next year.

Planning can be overwhelming. There’s so much to consider and so much to review. Today’s B2B marketing world is changing so fast. Just as you get your head around the latest demand generation trends new ones are emerging.

Couple that with the day-to-day level of craziness most marketers experience and thinking about the future can become a scary endeavor quickly. In fact, I think I’d rather rake leaves….every day…for a month.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

9 Ways B2B Marketers Can Convert More Visitors to Qualified Leads

Posted by Maria Votlucka

Oct 18, 2016 12:15:15 PM

convert-more-visitors-to-qualified-leads.jpgAs an Inbound Marketing Strategist at Imagine, I spend time with my clients every month to review metrics and adjust our plan of attack based on what those metrics tell us. One of the things we consider is the visitor-to-qualified lead conversion rate.

Earlier this year, our marketing manager, Stacy, wrote a post about why your 10,000 visitors aren’t converting to new customers. While obviously, it is important to have visitors, if they never convert to customers that indicates a problem with your approach.

In a recent study, Holger Schulze of LinkedIn’s B2B Technology Marketing Group noted that 59% of respondents said generating high-quality leads is a top priority. And in my personal experience working directly with clients, I would say the priority of generating quality leads for B2B SMEs is closer to 100%.

The first step in that process is for the contact to simply move from a visitor to a qualified lead. If that step is broken, the rest of the process is doomed.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Performance

5 Reasons Your Sales Team Is Not Using the Content Marketing Creates

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Oct 4, 2016 1:00:00 PM

sales-not-using-marketing-content.jpgIn my Twitter feed this morning, I came across a statistic that got my attention. Here it is. According to the American Marketing Association, 90% of marketing deliverables are not used by sales.

WHAT?! 90%?! As a marketer, I am well aware that the sales team doesn’t always use the materials marketing creates for them. But 90%? OUCH.

Why is that? Are we really so disconnected from our sales team (and apparently our customers too) that 90% of what we create never gets used to actually close business?

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

3 Reasons Not to Pursue Demand Generation-Inbound Marketing

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 30, 2016 1:00:00 PM

3-reasons-not-to-pursue-demand-generation.jpgAnyone who knows me knows that I'm a BIG fan of demand generation and inbound marketing. The only thing I may like more is baseball. 

Readers of this blog know that one reason for my fondness is that Imagine provides services in these areas. What many may not know is that we didn't actually start as an inbound marketing or demand generation agency. When Imagine was founded, we actually focused on solving the bottom-of-funnel sales problem. We practiced demand generation and inbound marketing for ourselves but it wasn't included in the services we provided to our clients. 

We were such fans of the impact it was having on our business that we decided to focus our entire business on creating the same success for others. While I firmly believe that the strategies and tactics associated with inbound marketing and demand generation can benefit every company, my experience has taught me that not every company should go down that path. 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Demand Generation

4 Inbound Tactics that Can Impact Trade Show Success

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Sep 27, 2016 1:00:00 PM

tradeshowfloor.jpgUntil about two years ago, I was what is called today, a traditional marketer. I was responsible for a wide range of things. My days were filled with things like writing case studies and ad copy, branding initiatives, graphics support, direct mail campaigns, anything and everything associated with the website…the list goes on and on.

One of my favorite things from my life as a traditional marketer is trade show coordination. I love everything about it. From planning how things will look to executing pre and post show activities to working with staff to target specific attendees…I love it all.

The question is does making the transition to inbound marketing mean that I have to leave trade shows behind?

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Demand Generation

5 Ways to Build an Effective B2B Editorial Calendar

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Sep 20, 2016 2:00:00 PM

build-b2b-editorial-calendar.jpgAs a B2B inbound marketer, I spend a lot of time and energy creating content. Everything from blog posts to case studies to white papers to ebooks…you name it…and I’ve probably created it.

Because I spend a lot of time on content, when it doesn’t perform well, it is very frustrating. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent hours creating something for essentially no gain. When I see two or more strikes in a row, I feel like throwing in the towel.

But throwing in the towel is not the right thing to do. As I have learned, making a few tweaks to the content itself or to the process can have a significant impact on results. And it all starts with the editorial calendar.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

5 Keys to a Balanced B2B Sales Pipeline

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 7, 2016 2:00:00 PM

declining-results.jpgA couple of weeks ago, I was catching up with a CEO I'd met through the speaking I do. He runs a mid-market company and several months ago he told me that he was implementing inbound marketing at his company. He was excited about the potential it brought and had credited the presentation I made to leading to the decision.

So I was checking-in with him to see how things were going. Unfortunately, I wasn't surprised with what he said. He told me, "Doug, we're still committed to inbound, but frankly we need to get our deal pipeline in order first. Sales are not where they need to be, and we are 'all hands on deck' to driving sales over the next 90 days."

I laughed (on the inside) when I heard this. I thought to myself, "Really...you've done little to no work on the top of your funnel in years, and your pipeline is weak. Who'da thought." I wished him luck, knowing that if I check back with him in 6 - 12 months his company will be weaker than it is today (which is weaker than it was 6 - 12 months ago). What's worse, he won't even realize that he's sealing his own fate.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation

Are You Making These 5 B2B Email Marketing Mistakes?

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Sep 6, 2016 2:00:00 PM

b2b-email-marketing-mistakes.jpgI’m sure you’ve heard or read somewhere that email marketing is dead – or at least dying. I know I see blog posts and articles on that very topic on a regular basis. Some people keeping making that declaration even though the data clearly indicates that email marketing is very much alive.

Consider these statistics:

  • 73% of B2B marketers say email marketing is essential to growing their business. (Salesforce)
  • 59% of B2B marketers cite email as the most effective channel for generating revenue. (HubSpot)
  • 79% of B2B marketers say email directly generated ROI for their organizations. (Salesforce)
  • The number of email users worldwide is currently 2.6 billion and is expected to grow to over 2.9 billion by 2019. (MediaPost)

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

3 Most Important SEO Factors for B2B Marketers

Posted by Shannon Henrici

Sep 1, 2016 2:00:00 PM

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today's post was written by Imagine's newest team member, Shannon Henrici. Shannon has several years of experience providing SEO services. We are excited to have her on the team and plan to continuing sharing her knowlege with you through the blog.

SEO-B2B-Marketers.jpgWebsites are a critical piece of all demand generation strategies. B2B marketers spend significant time creating sites that look great, deliver the right message, provide multiple opportunities for conversion and leave their visitors wanting more.

But that is only half the battle. Those visitors need to be able to find your site in the first place…ahead of your competitors. That’s where Search Engine Optimization or SEO comes in. Over the last few years, SEO has changed significantly. Tactics that worked in the past, no longer work. Some tactics have even been “outlawed” by Google.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

6 Reasons Marketing and Sales Development Should Be BFFs

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Aug 30, 2016 12:00:00 PM

sales-development-marketing-best-friends.jpgFriends make life so much fun. If you’re lucky enough to have a BFF or seven, you know first hand the impact friends can have on your life. Good friends are there for you through the fun times and the not so fun times. They provide support, help and advice along with lots of adventures and laughter. Everyone needs friends.

Marketing needs friends too. Within your organization, there are groups of people you work with directly. Sales, leadership, accounting, IT…everyone plays a role in your marketing life. But perhaps the most important “friend” marketing can have is sales development.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales Development