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: http://bit.ly/cDinWH
Good marketing and let me know if you use any of these ideas!