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Deliverability:  Conquering The Email Marketing Problem

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Sep 14, 2017 2:00:00 PM

email-marketing.pngFrom the days when Google announced their “email killer” Wave, I’ve heard marketers and consultants say things like, “Email is dead.” My response to those who say that to me is always: “Really? What do you use instead?”  

I usually don’t get an answer, or someone starts rambling on about social media, private communication networks like Slack, or they claim organic (or paid) search is the only viable strategy. They say if people want what you do then they’ll find you, and a marketer’s (or salesperson’s) job is to ensure that the right people can find you.

While there is certainly truth to the statement that people will find you (and no one can question the growing importance of social media, search and the challenge that communication networks like Slack represent) the fact is that email is still the number one tool in the toolbox for managing and developing business relationships. Consider (sources: Content Marketing Institute & Optinmonster):

  • 77% of B2B marketers use email in the marketing mix  
  • 91% rate email as a key piece of content marketing success
  • 2.7 billion people use email
  • 91% of users use email at least daily
  • You're 7x more likely to originate a customer via email than other channels
  • 58% of users cite it as the first channel they go to every day

The problem is that email is a “push” communication tactic, in a “pull” world. Additionally, when you’re sending an email to someone, you are competing for attention in what is probably the noisiest and toughest place to compete - the inbox. This means that your email strategy must rise to a higher standard. Good email marketing simply isn’t good enough.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Lead Nurturing

The 10 Worst Vanity Metrics Every Marketer Uses

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Aug 31, 2017 5:00:00 PM

The 10 Worst Vanity Metrics Every Marketer UsesWhat you measure gets done...so be very careful about what you measure.

The story of Moneyball is a powerful one. Despite its popularity, its central thesis is often overlooked. While many people point to the new analytics that Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane identified that others ignored, the real power (and advantage) was in their ability to determine the metrics that everyone else valued that, in reality, did not lead to success.

The time has come (more accurately the time is long past due) for Moneyball to come to marketing and sales.  

Twenty-first-century marketing, led by the movement to inbound marketing, made a compelling promise: greater insights, fast & better decisions and the ability to separate the “signal from the noise.” Businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries would finally be able to stop debating opinions and feelings and would be able to rely on facts and data.

While it has fully delivered on the promise of more metrics (I would argue too many metrics), it has not delivered on the promise of insights and smarter decisions, backed by facts and data.

The reason? People measure the wrong things. The vast majority of metrics used by marketers and executives are what I call “vanity metrics”. What is a vanity metric? It’s a metric that can make you feel good but is not an indicator of success or advancement.  

If they’re ineffective, you may ask, why are vanity metrics so attractive? For two reasons:

  • They’re easy to measure.
  • They’re easier to control (and therefore they make bosses and clients feel better).

Identifying, tracking and utilizing metrics that actually contribute to success are hard to detect and uncover. I recently shared an example of a set of metrics we regularly use in guiding our business and advising our clients.

I love metrics, but it’s important to note that it’s better to have no metrics than to focus on the wrong metrics. Today I share 10 of the most popular metrics that are used by the vast majority of practitioners but do little or no good.  

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Performance

3 Reasons Lead Generation Efforts Fail

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Aug 24, 2017 5:30:00 PM

3 Reasons Lead Generation Efforts FailI’m in the process of writing a book (more news at that soon) and through that process, it’s led me to review much of what I’ve written over the last 13 years. One area that I found fascinating is that as recently as five years ago I was writing about the need to focus on lead generation.  

Today, I find that I don’t have to convince people of the importance of taking a professional approach to lead generation. Even (most of) those that are not practicing it acknowledge it’s the right thing to do.

However, after ten years of Inbound Marketing, sales development and demand generation “strategies,” sales and marketing executives alike cite the need for greater lead generation as a top 3 challenge. I think it’s earned a permanent position as the #1 priority of marketers in HubSpot’s State of Inbound Report.

With so much money and time being spent on lead generation, you’d think the problem would have been solved by now, wouldn’t you? The majority of lead generation efforts are failing and frankly, they’re annoying customers and prospects while increasing costs for companies. Something has to change.

Having reviewed hundreds of lead generation programs, I’ve learned there are three core reasons that so many lead generation efforts fail.

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Topics: Lead Generation

Good Content is a Commodity: The Keys to Making Content Marketing Work

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jul 14, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Good Content is A Commodity: The Keys to Making Content Marketing WorkAaah, I remember the good old days. You remember them, don't you? You know, the days when creating good content was the key to successful content marketing and inbound marketing?

Don't get me wrong, you still need good content, but today it's a commodity. Let's admit the truth; there's more than enough good content out there on just about every subject. And while there's more bad content than good, and the volume of bad content is growing faster than good content; good content is simply not enough to drive your results.

But, before you jump to the obvious conclusion that this blog post is about the need to create great content, that is not what I'm suggesting. Frankly, as I've been studying the keys to success, I'm increasingly convinced that for most companies, creating great content is not the answer. Simply put, the investment of time and energy (and as a result - money) to get from good content to great content isn't justified - the juice isn't worth the squeeze.

How can I say this? Isn't this content marketing heresay? Look, I'm not saying having great content is bad. Instead what I'm saying is that if you're not utilizing your content (super) effectively, your focus should be on optimizing your process before enhancing your content.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Lead Nurturing, Demand Generation

Landing Pages Not Getting Converted? Here's What to Do About It

Posted by Doug Davidoff

May 4, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Landing Pages Not Getting Converted? Here's What to Do About ItIn Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2016 , both inbound and outbound marketing teams consider “converting contacts/leads to customers” as their top marketing priority over the next 12 months. It’s agreed upon that ensuring landing page conversion is critical.

If you’re not getting the response that you’d expect, or it’s taken a nose dive recently, following are three important keys that will help you refresh your pages. Read on to save time and generate the leads that will make your sales team – and your CEO – extremely happy.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing

The Importance of Blogging: 6 Keys to Writing Effective Blog Posts

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Apr 25, 2017 1:00:00 PM

The Importance of Blogging: 6 Keys to Writing Effective Blog PostsHave you started blogging yet? No? You may be the only person left. I recently learned that 6.7MM people publish blogs on blogging websites, and another 12MM write blogs using their social networks. (Source: Nielson Social)

That’s a LOT of content floating around on the web. Is it even worth your time to write a blog? (I’m sure you’ve got a million other things on your marketing “to do” list.) BUT the answer is yes - blogging provides the opportunity for you provide a clear and consistent message about how you can solve your customers’ problems. Add to that, when businesses blog, they have 97% more inbound links. (Source: Hubspot)

How can you wade through the blogosphere clutter and make sure your information stands out? Following are six key points to writing effective blog posts.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing

Five Reasons Good Sales & Marketing Messages Fail

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 12, 2017 4:00:00 PM

Five Reasons Good Sales & Marketing Messages FailMessaging gets a lot - A LOT - of attention from both marketers and sales executives. For good reason too. An effective message is like a large lever (give me a lever long enough and I can move the world). Conversely a poor message will thrust you into a thorny patch of commoditization and irrelevance.

As you’d expect with something as important as a company’s messaging, significant time and money is spent on the effort. But stop for a moment and do the following:

  • Look at your website
  • Review your sales and marketing collateral
  • Think about how sales conversations are started with prospects

Now, ask yourself, “what is the message we’re conveying?” Are you happy with it? Does it stand out and resonate with customers and prospects? Is it a competitive advantage?

I know the answer for most of you is, “no!” I know this because in workshops I conduct across the country when I ask executives, marketers or salespeople to share their message, almost all of them start off stuttering and blathering about themselves. I can also look at the results of marketing and sales efforts and see that the message isn’t working.

Having been directly involved with the assessment and development of hundreds of companies’ messages, I’ve learned five key reasons that good messages fail.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, B2B Sales Strategy

6 Ways You're Scaring Your B2B Leads Away

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Oct 25, 2016 4:00:00 PM

scare-away-your-leads.jpgEverywhere you look these days, there’s something that’s been designed to give you a chill. From spooky jack-o-lanterns to ghosts and witches to creepy clowns, it’s the scaring season.

In less than a week, kids will be dressed up and invading neighborhoods across the country in search of treats. Where I live, we don’t get many trick-or-treaters. Those who do stop by get a friendly greeting – nothing too scary – and take home a big handful of treats.

In some ways, trick-or-treaters are a lot like B2B leads. Depending on how you present your company and what you offer, they may be scared away before they ever ring the doorbell.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing

Was Adopting an Inbound Approach a Mistake?

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Mar 8, 2016 4:00:00 PM

inbound-mistake.jpgInbound marketing has been greeted with tremendous excitement. It’s hard to believe but just five years ago, few people had even heard of it, and today more than 84% of companies are implementing at least some portion of the inbound marketing methodology.

It’s no surprise that inbound has been adopted so quickly. When exposed to the proposition, it just makes so much sense. I remember when I took my first steps into inbound. I was sure lead generation was going to be a breeze and the opportunity to bring hard measurements meant I was finally going to be able to demonstrate the impact of marketing.

While the excitement around inbound is still high, it’s also suffering from a bit of fatigue as many people have found that it’s not quite the panacea many hoped it would be. The truth is that inbound marketing is really hard. There are a lot of moving parts and keeping it all together is a huge challenge. As for results, many are seeing improvements in lead generation but revenue isn’t moving in the right direction.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing

5 Things to Do if Your Content Isn't Generating Leads

Posted by Stacy Bouchard

Feb 23, 2016 9:00:00 AM

content-not-generating-leads.jpgWhen I joined Imagine – just over a year ago now – part of my role was account manager for one of our newest clients. It was a great opportunity for me to learn how we approach a client engagement from the very beginning and to understand the process that we go through.

The very first thing we do with a new client is develop their buyer personas. As is usually the case, our client had ideas around who their ideal customers/prospects were but they hadn’t documented those ideas or answered all of the necessary questions. When the process was complete, we had identified and defined three primary personas.

From there, we created an editorial calendar and plan for premium content that would be directed at those personas and began to execute. We were confident with our plan. Our editorial ideas were in line with what we had learned about the buyer personas.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing