Thursday, October 28, 2010

#1 B2B Marketing Challenge - New Survey

In Aug. of this year, Marketing Sherpa conducted their annual B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey of 935 marketing executives. Of the seven marketing issues reported, 78% of the respondents cited, “Generating High Quality Leads” as their #1 marketing challenge. Note also that this is up from the 2009 figure of 69%.

While over 3/4th's of respondents selected "Generating High Quality Leads", every other challenge was reported by less than 50% of those surveyed.

So the question is: How to Generate High Quality Leads in a challenging economy and on a limited budget?

The answer: Use a white paper lead generation program. Most technology sales, whether in the healthcare, electronics, semiconductor, or security industries work to long sales cycles. By necessity, most of these sales involve consensus building, identifying an evangelist at the prospect, and converting the various stakeholders to your solution. White papers provide just the right marketing tool. If well written, your prospects and evangelists will circulate them as a way to get the word out within their company about your exciting solution.

Using a modest, guerilla marketing-style campaign, you can then leverage each white paper's content in multiple ways. Most marketers do at least the most obvious things: Send to their sales team, post on their website, and email their customers and prospects. But what about turning the white paper into the promotional star? This approach gives your promo a really sharp focus. Take these additional steps:

1. Make sure the White Paper is optimized for your key words.
2. Create an optimized landing page just for the white paper. This gives you an easy way to monitor results and garner statistical feedback.
3. Press Release #1: Send a press release about your white paper to your industry media lists. Be sure to include a .jpg image of the front cover. They will often publish it in a "What's New" section.
4. Convert the White Paper to a Power Point, again optimized for key words. Post on the many PPT sites and include the PPT as a bonus download on your landing page.
5. Convert the Power Point to a video. Many people don't realize that there's a button in the PPT FILE MENU called "Save as Movie." This converts your PPT to video. You can then add voiceover with a variety of easy-to-use programs and post on YouTube and the many other video sites. How you post is important. Be sure to include the WP URL in the posting info as a link to improve results.
6. After conducting your SEO research, conduct a low-budget PPC Google Adwords campaign. In general, it's good to limit the number of your keywords. However, if you operate in a highly competitive Adwords category, research your long tail keywords. Easiest way: Check your weblog to see what search terms site visitors enter to reach your website. Although Google denies it, I've confirmed in multiple campaigns that a Google Adwords campaign, even as modest as $100/mo., is a key factor in boosting your site's SEO.
7. Look into syndication sites for your industry. Research carefully and make sure you understand costs and reporting.
8. And last, PR #2. 4-6 weeks after you've sent PR#1, recheck your release and possibly rewrite the title based on any knowledge you've gained during the campaign to date. Make the date current and then file it on the "free" press release sites. I've compiled a list that results in postings on well over 60 sites. I say "well over" because after you've posted, you'll receive multiple emails asking for confirmation to post on additional sites.

The reason this is an important step: One of the key factors in SEO is back links, meaning that the Google search spiders look for sites that have links to your site. The more you have, the more their ranking algorithm likes it. In addition to providing a boost to your SEO (where your site appears in organic search listings), you may well be pleasantly surprised to find your "free" press release postings appearing in the top 10 of your keyword search results.

A recent posting for a client totally surprised me. Out of curiosity a couple of days after posting the news release, I was astonished to find that when I entered one of the key word phrases, the release appeared in position #3! And three other "free" site postings made it into the top 10 as well. Blew me away and my client reporting increased volume on his website.

By the way, I put the word "free" in quotes for a reason: Although technically free, many of the sites I use have upgrades available. Having posted many releases on these sites, I've learned which upgrades are worth it and which aren't. Be careful. Some have VERY expensive upgrades. However, the total cost for all posting sites is under $200 for posting fees using our recommended upgrades.

Budget Guidelines & Model Budgets
To help you in your 2011 budget planning, I've posted an Excel file on my website with three different White Paper programs based on the above program: Getting into Orbit (3 White Papers in 2011), Shooting for the Moon (6 White Papers in 2011), and Heading for the Stars (8 White Papers in 2011). Download the file at:

Good marketing and let me know if you use any of these ideas!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Innovate the Steve Jobs Way: 7 “Insanely Different” Principles for Breakthrough Success

I recently signed up for a webinar with the above title and found it very inspiring. I've downloaded the accompanying ebook, also worth it's weight in gold. Click here to download the eBook. The webinar was recorded and is available by clicking here. (You will only have to enter just your email on the landing page.)

Feel free to download and also share any inspiring thoughts you might have about it for your healthcare, semiconductor, security software, or other technology products or services.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Use Your White Paper for Lead Gen

OK, now you've completed your white paper and done the first routine things most companies do -- send it to your sales team, post it on your website, and maybe email it to your prospect list.
All of those are important to do. However, if that's all you do, you might be missing the boat. Get a much bigger bang (and better ROI) by turning your white paper into a potent high quality, cost-effective lead generation tool. As a lead gen tool, you can promote the paper in at least these eight low-to-no cost ways:
  • Leveraging content into an article for an industry publication (electronic or print)
  • Getting a press release out to industry media -- many industry pubs publish a "What's New" or "New Whitepapers" section
  • Secondary release of the paper to low cost "free" press release distribution -- results in 60 or more backlinks to your site and improves SEO. Depending on the particular key words or phrases, one of these releases may even hit the top 10 in organic search results.
  • Convert the white paper to a catchy PowerPoint presentation and post on the multiple presentation sharing sites
  • Convert the PPT to a video and add voice over. Post on over 20 video sites (all of which help your SEO -- where your company appears in organic search results)
  • Conduct a small-scale Adwords campaign to support the white paper -- small budget, focused key words, supports SEO
  • Create an optimized custom landing page for the white paper so you can monitor results, leads generated, etc.
  • Post a note about the paper on your social media links, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Once you've launched your campaign, make sure you've got a process in place to track your leads, respond, qualify them, weed out the "time wasters" and forward to your sales team. Be sure to monitor and track the responses on the paper's download page and readership on any syndicated sites where you've posted the paper.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How to Write a White Paper

My first recommendation: Make your white papers readable. I'm guessing that your customers (and the white papers' audience) are mostly either mid- to high-level technical and/or business managers, usually pressed for time. I'd therefore recommend that we keep the papers readable -- 4-6 pages.

It's my experience that the more time spent in the planning and research cycle, the stronger the paper.

White Paper:
1. Preliminary: Paper objective. A white paper "leads the reader's mind" to a positive conclusion about solving their problem and thus, using your product and/or service. So put yourself in your reader's position and then ask yourself this question (which every reader is going to ask one way or another): What's in it for me? Some of the questions that will help you arrive at producing a strong positive response in your reader are:
-- What's the end result we're aiming for?
-- Who's the audience?
-- Why is the topic of importance and the connection to your product and/or service (if not immediately self-evident)?
-- How do you plan to use the paper?

2. Research:
-- Identify available resources in house -- key contact(s) and/or internal documents (might be PowerPoints, internal product/service description docs, etc.)
-- Competitor site research (if relevant).
-- Industry research: What the analysts (Gartners, Forresters, etc.) of the world are saying, recent and/or hot topics in the field, recent related trade articles, etc.
-- Contact information for any appropriate outside resources for the paper such as:
-- Website logs -- to find out the search terms people use to access your site
-- Customers and/or Channel partners

3. Interview the Key Resource people for the White Paper

4. Detailed Outline: This is a crucial step that will make it very simple and easy when writing the final draft.
-- All stakeholders must review the detailed outline. The purpose of this step is to present the proposed title, the first draft of the introduction, about 3-4 paragraphs, and a detailed outline of the body content. This step usually requires at least two iterations, occasionally three. The first draft of the outline often triggers responses such as "Oh we forgot to include this." Other changes and corrections may include upgrading the writer's understanding of the subject matter, correct technical phrases for the field (though we usually research this extensively), and other deletions or corrections.
-- This establishes alignment on the project and makes final approval very easy with only minor edits needed.
-- Sign-off on detailed outline
-- It's critical for all stakeholders to actually review and sign off on the detailed outline. Otherwise, it's too easy to "wave a hand" and say, "Oh, it's fine," and then have a senior manager find serious issues when reviewing the draft. Fortunately, this scenario is 100% preventable by the outline review.

5. Draft:
-- We usually write the paper within a few days after the outline is approved.
-- Review by all relevant parties.
-- Normally, if all parties signed off on the outline, only minor tweaks for the first draft.

My goal as your writer is to make the process for you and your busy business associates as easy as possible:

Easy to reach agreement on the final draft (as vs. multiple rewrites)
Achieve the project objectives (Catchy title, meaty content, meaningful solution for audience)
.... all with as little stress and strain on you as possible

Samples on my website ( include: semiconductors, serial data transmission, healthcare, security, and many more. Or call or email: