The Demand Creator Blog

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Using Quizzes to Generate Leads and Increase Engagement

Quiz TimeEveryone creates content. If I had to guess, I’d say you’ve most likely created at least one piece of content today. Why? Because you want to create engagement. In fact, a primary objective of content is to create engagement. Yet, most content is either unidirectional (blogs, web pages, podcasts, videos, etc.) or very high effort/high cost (social media). This kind of content gets looked at once, maybe twice and then never seen again. You don’t want to bore your audience with the same kind of content over and over. Engagement is better when you can make it participative rather than passive. 

Quizzes are a great way to switch how people engage with your product. They’re often a relatively low-effort way to build participation and enhance engagement (and generate new leads). This form of content is less about reading and watching and more about impact and connection. It means more when people can do things and interact. Quizzes engage more. Your audience is able to engage more of their brain. Sometimes that means it’s more enjoyable, sometimes more memorable, and sometimes it just plants a better seed that will influence your audience at a later time.

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The 3 Jobs Content Must Perform + Your Guide to Giving Your Content A Performance Review

Rain DelayI had the entire client services team together this week for two days. (Check out the awesome picture of the rain delay/postponement we all enjoyed Tuesday night.)

As we worked through the agenda for our get-together I posed a question to each person on the team. Here’s what I asked, “The CEO of one of our clients calls you up directly and asks you, ‘How are we doing with content?’ How do you answer their question?”

We then proceeded to have a conversation that I’m certain is remarkably similar to conversations that take place weekly at growth advisories and agencies like Imagine and within marketing and demand generation teams at most companies. Each person answered the question with a noticeable connection to their area of expertise. There were a lot of “it depends” and a variety of data points like traffic, growth, conversion, bounce rates, time on page, and more.

Like I said, the same conversation that takes place everywhere. The same conversation that has led to the exponential increase in content that has caused a precipitous increase in lead and customer acquisition costs, with little to no impact on outcomes. Many advisors argue, with some legitimacy, that content marketing in general and inbound marketing specifically is no longer worth the cost and effort.

I was not satisfied with these answers. They give no one insight and they end up creating a lot of noise. I’m a big fan of finding the signal and I believe that if you measure something, you best be able to identify that signal and create some scoring mechanism to guide you to where you want to go. So we proceeded with the conversation.

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5 Elements of a Strong Conversion Page

Conversion Page Infographic-1-1-1We don’t have to tell you your ability to convert web traffic into qualified leads is a crucially important component of any demand generation effort. Yet, far too often we see that companies who have invested in marketing automation and in the creation of relevant content fail to pay proper attention to key conversion pages.

Conversion pages are those “critical few” pages whose primary purpose is to create a specific action. That action could be downloading a white paper, initiating a chat, requesting a demo, registering for a webinar, etc. The last thing you want is for your customer to land on your page and be confused and leave or take the wrong action. That wouldn’t only cause stress on them, but it would also cause stress on you. 

In the world of modern demand generation (and to be really, really trite) the only constant is change. However, despite the range and rate of change, there are still some things that are as true today as they were several years ago. People are still people, and if you want to capitalize on the hard work you’ve put into your content marketing, you’ll want to be sure you're following these five success factors of a conversion page. 

While there are dozens (or hundreds) of tips that can help you optimize performance, these five factors are the core attributes of performance. 

The Five Elements of a Strong Conversion Page

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5 Pieces of an Effective Conversational Marketing Strategy

Conversational-MarketingConversational Marketing is a hot topic today. Whether you’re in a book store,  in Times Square, following a bunch of marketers in a Twitter feed, or discussing with forward-leaning demand generation teams about where they’re focused today, conversational is sure to come up early.

I will freely admit that I’m still a bit cynical about whether “conversational” is truly an emerging strategy or just another buzzword designed to make something simple and natural seem complex and difficult so the companies spreading the message can more easily sell their products and/or services (see branding).

I am increasingly being won over that conversation is a worthy topic of focus for growth-focused executives. I believe this for 3 reasons:

  • Demand generation, sales, and marketing are losing their plot and seem to be forgetting their fundamental purpose

  • Buyers continue to change their expectations and desires, and sellers must keep up and create alignment with the buyer

  • The growing focus and capabilities of technology seem to be having the unintended effect of disconnecting

To be clear, (capital C) Conversational Marketing must be viewed through a larger context than “chat,” chat applications, and chatbots. It must be viewed through the holistic prism of corporate strategy. Simply put, the time has come for your company to become a Conversational Company.

This blog post is focused on the key elements necessary to develop and execute such a strategy. It is not focused on the tactical/execution elements. If you’re looking for a great guide to implementing some of the tactics of around Conversational Marketing, I encourage you to download the resource that Drift just released designing The Conversational Blueprint. It’s a great resource and thinking document to guide how you approach conversations in your DemandGen process.

Serendipitously, as I began writing this post, Mark Kilens, Drift’s VP of Content & Community (and before that the leader of HubSpot Academy) tweeted this about conversations:

Conversational marketing The job of a Conversational Strategy is to design and execute the structure to generate “friendly games of catch” purposefully, predictably and repeatably.

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The Real Buyer's Journey, Part 2: Manufacturing Revenue

Manufacturing Revenue Blog-2Welcome to part two of our series on understanding the real buyer’s journey. In the first session, I shared the findings of our in-depth analysis of how buyers progress through their journey and take actions that lead to buying. In this session I'm focused on the other side of the equation, how sellers can align with buyers to increase the likelihood of generating engagement, entering conversations, and yes, successfully making sales.

The approach I share today is based on decades of direct experience combined with in-depth analysis, interviews, and studies. My promise is that if you take this approach, you'll gain the following five benefits:

  • You'll be able to design and execute strong customer acquisition programs much more easily.

  • You'll gain greater predictability and repeatability in your customer acquisition efforts, and therefore

  • You’ll gain greater scalability.

  • You'll dramatically increase the results from the marketing and sales efforts that you are taking.

  • You'll lower your overall costs for acquisition (CAC) and position yourself for an extraordinarily strong customer success program and your team will be happier and healthier.

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4 Rules to Succeed With Conversational Marketing

conversational-marketingI often caution peers of mine to be careful about the echo chamber in which we often find ourselves. When they ask for examples, conversational marketing is the first thing that comes to mind.

About 1/3rd of the regular readers of this blog probably think of conversational marketing as the hottest trend in sales and marketing. Another 1/3rd have likely never heard of it and the middle third have some familiarity with it but aren’t entirely sure what it is or how it applies to them.

Regardless of which third you are, you must recognize that the changes in buyer behavior that accelerated more than a decade ago continue to evolve. Sellers who don’t adjust their tactics to stay ahead of (or at least aligned with) buyers will see decaying results.

There are a few definitions for conversational marketing. I’ve found that the most useful definition comes from combining two of the most popular (according to Google search) definitions. Conversational marketing or conversation marketing is a feedback-oriented, one-to-one approach to marketing that companies use to generate engagement, learn about their customers, and shorten their sales cycle by creating a more human engagement/buying experience. While the growth of live chat and chatbot tools has fueled the increased popularity of conversational tactics, conversational marketing is much more than chat and bots.

The goal of this post is not to teach you the specific tactics or approaches. There are already three great resources for this (and I recommend all of them). Drift has built their Conversational Marketing University, HubSpot has added a strong program on conversational marketing to their academy, and my friend and fellow agency owner Remington Begg provides the most comprehensive set of tutorials, training videos, and tactics on the real-world implementation of conversational marketing that I’ve seen.

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The Lie That Digital & Inbound Marketing Keeps Telling

b2b-sales-myths-vs-factsI remember the datapoint that made me take notice of (at the time) this new thing called “inbound marketing.” Inbound Marketing generates 54% more lead volume at 61% lower cost than outbound marketing. When presented that data, who could argue that shifting your resources from outbound to inbound was the right thing to do?

While I am a (HUGE) proponent of inbound, there are two key fallacies lies with this data.

  1. The first and less damaging lie is based on how a lead is defined.(and it's contained in the very context of the claim that got my attention). An inbound lead is anyone who registers or fills out a form on a website, with no attention paid to the quality or propensity to buy associated with a lead. The definition of an outbound lead (though it varies depends on who you talk to) has a much higher threshold.

    This type of apples to tables comparison is akin to someone making the claim that they can generate a higher volume of leads at a lower cost than someone else can generate sales qualified leads. It's a meaningless claim.

  2. The bigger and more damaging lie (that is still commonly perpetrated by technology and service providers) is caused by treating the lead-to-revenue cycle as a linear equation (generate more leads and you’ll generate more sales in equal proportion) rather than as the more complicated equation that it is.

The rationale further infers that if you generate more leads from inbound methodologies, you’ll lower your cost of customer acquisition even as your growth rate increases and you hit scale. Anyone who has successfully executed high-growth inbound marketing at scale has the financial statements that will illustrate just how big a lie this is.

Let me explain, using one of the most common tools that inbound marketing agencies and advisors use to demonstrate the ROI of working with them.

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5 Rules to Effective Breakup Emails

breakup-emailsIf you’re in sales, there are two things you can count on:

  • You’re going to rely on email as a core communication tool
  • Prospects are going to go dark on you

It’s a particularly frustrating experience when prospects seemingly disappear. Part of the reason for this is that there’s a bit of a time warp from the perspective of a sales rep vs. a prospect/buyer. I advise people to realize that to a sales rep, every day feels like a week, but to a buyer, every week feels like a day.

Take a situation where a prospect who has promised to respond has “gone dark” for two weeks. To the rep, this feels like they’ve disappeared for almost ten weeks. To the buyer, they feel like they’ve missed their promised date by two days.

While that time warp certainly varies and there’s no science behind it, it illustrates the ambiguity that exists. If a salesperson acts too aggressively or desperately, they could create the very problem they’re worried about avoiding. Wait too long, and the prospect could easily forget about things or have their attention diverted to some new issue. (Time kills all deals.)

I sell as only a part of my overall responsibilities here at Imagine, and I deal with at least one of these situations every week. Full-time sales reps may deal with this every day.

This is where the breakup email comes in.

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The Critical Role of Intent in Demand Generation, Sales and Marketing

intent-video-splash-screenWe've been doing a lot of research over the last year into a critical part of the buying process that seems to get very little attention in the design and execution of demand generation: sales and marketing efforts. Anyone who has ever been involved in attracting or acquiring new customers knows that buyer intent is an important ingredient in the customer acquisition recipe.

Intent varies by person, by market and/or by what you're selling. There are any number of factors that are going to impact when and where intent occurs, but somewhere along the buyer’s journey, buyer intent hits a critical point. Intent, initially, does not necessarily relate directly to buying from any particular vendor. Buyer intent refers to the decision that some level of action needs to take place. If you think about the last major purchase or even decision that you made, you can quickly and easily identify that point that separates pre-intent actions from post-intent ones.

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What it Means to be Data-Driven, How It’s Different from Metrics & How to Apply it

Data-Imagine-ImageMy daughter is entering her senior year in high school. I have to admit that there are times where I stop and think how I wish I were in high school today. Now, I don’t have this wish for the common reasons you may be thinking.

You see, when I was in high school it wasn’t cool to obsess about things like data. But today, data is about the coolest thing in the world (well, except for maybe AI). Everyone is talking about data. Big data. Little data. Metadata.

Today, it seems, marketing and sales advisors pronounce their coolness by claiming to be data-driven. Everywhere I look, I see people claiming to be data-driven, but when I look at how they manage process and make decisions, it’s no different than how they did things a decade ago.

Sure, they may throw some numbers or vanity metrics at you, but the way they do it reminds me of how I used to describe statistics. Today, data is like a lamp post to a drunk - it’s used more for support than illumination.

Make no mistake. If you want to successfully grow a business today, you’d better be data-driven. I’m fond of Netscape founder Jim Barksdale’s philosophy: If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.

So, the first step to be data-driven is to understand what being data-driven means.

The first confusion is that there’s a difference between being goals- or metric-driven and being data-driven. There is probably no clearer illustration of the difference than using my favorite example: baseball.

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