Posts Tagged ‘inbound marketing’

By Axel Kuhn

Last July, I wrote about the increasing emphasis in B2B marketing on justifying marketing investments, and the drivers behind this shift. Marketing Accountability and Return-on-Marketing-Investment (ROMI) are part of the new business mantra.

Research shows that over 85-90% of companies now recognize Marketing Performance Measurement as a significant priority. And yet less than 10-15% of these companies have any comprehensive process in place to measure marketing performance or ROMI.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a great tool that has just been released: A powerful but easy to use ROMI calculator that lets you quickly determine the marketing ROI of turning your current website into a magnet for inbound sales prospects. In other words, investing in Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation.

The calculator delivers one of those quick “back of the envelope” calculations that entrepreneurs depend on for their decision making process.  The tool includes interactive features to allow you to play “what-if” scenarios. Even better, it provides best-practice guidelines on what kind of traffic you should expect on your website, and what conversion rates you should aim for as you convert visitors to active visitor, to identified prospect, and finally to new clients. And don’t be scared off if you are not a financial or accounting genius, because the calculator includes step-by-step help for each input you have to provide.

The calculator highlights in red any ROI below 15% as unsatisfactory. However, results for most companies end well in the “green”. In fact, most mid-sized B2B companies that are still relying on traditional marketing and sales find that their potential payback from an investment in Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation is better than 50%.  And that’s a very attractive return relative to most traditional marketing initiatives.

Smaller companies might argue that they need a minimum ROI that is even higher, given the scarcity of cash, and the fact that this scarce cash must compete with other critical needs in salaries, product development, and manufacturing. However, I would argue that for many small companies, getting those first few reference clients and “crossing that chasm” into targeted market segments is everything. So, I would be willing to invest my small business cash if it generated “in profile” customers, and an ROI of 50% or better.

But it’s your call. You can check out your ROI opportunity by using the calculator at (http://www.inbound-marketing-automation.ca/romi-calculator/), or remain in the dark. And once you’re fully armed, don’t let any marketer convince you to invest in a website marketing scheme without crunching some numbers first.

Post by Axel Kuhn, President, www.inbound-marketing-automation.ca

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Axel Kuhn

For any business, prospecting for new business opportunities is the key to growth and survival. Unfortunately, prospecting using traditional sales and marketing techniques such as advertising, trade shows, and cold calling has become inefficient and prohibitively expensive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with limited resources and budgets.

Luckily, Marketing 2.0 techniques such as Inbound Marketing and Sales & Marketing Automation offer a much better way.

Did you know that today more than 90% of B2B buyers start their purchasing cycle by looking for solutions and suppliers on the Internet?

Chances are prospective buyers are searching the Internet right now for solutions exactly like those your company offers.  Are they finding your company? And if they find your company, does your website engage them with content that establishes your company as a thought-leader in the industry, worthy of adding you to their short list of suppliers?

If your answers are NO, then you are missing out on one of the most cost-effective ways for companies – including SMBs – to prospect for new clients, channel partners, and other complimentors vital to your businesses’ future.

By leveraging the new paradigm of Inbound Marketing, and Sales & Marketing Automation, you can easily turn your website from a static “web-brochure” into a powerful business development tool. In essence, your website must accomplish 4 specific steps:

Step 1.              Attract. Using techniques such as focused Search-Engine-Optimization (SEO) and Pay-per-click Advertising (PPC), and selective Social Media Marketing (SMM), you can successfully drive highly relevant traffic to your site.

Step 2.              Engage. With low-cost content such as whitepapers, online videos, and webinars, you can cost-effectively establish credibility in your industry as a “thought-leader”. No matter how small your company.

Step 3.              Convert. Make it easy for prospects to convert from an unidentified to an identified sales lead, by giving you their online business cards (name, title, contact information, etc), so you can establish a permission-based 1:1 relationship. Without this critical step, valuable prospects will come and go from your site, without your knowledge.

Step 4.              Nurture. Using sales & marketing automation, you can nurture prospects with multi-touch email campaigns, offering prospects relevant information based on their individual interests, until they are truly “sales-ready”, and ready to be contacted by your sales team.

In upcoming posts we’ll go through each step in detail, including how to accomplish each step, with real-life examples relevant to your B2B company. Next week’s post will feature how to attract, and what you need to know about SEO, PPC, and the latest trends in Social Media Marketing for your SMB organization.

In the meantime, if you want a quick look at how your website ranks relative to others in attracting prospects, HubSpot offers a neat little tool that automatically grades your site and tells you where you need the most attention. It’s a good starting point.

In addition, if you would like some insight into the powerful shift from traditional marketing to marketing 2.0, and how to harness the power of Marketing 2.0 for your company, you can access our whitepaper on Marketing 2.0 here.

Axel Kuhn is President and Co-Founder of Gossamar Inc. Gossamar specializes in optimizing the web presence of small and mid-sized B2B companies to deliver “More Sales Prospects of Higher Quality at Lower Cost” by taking advantage of the industry shifts to Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation.

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By Ingo Koenig

Guess who knows best what customers dream of, need, and value? You guessed right; customers themselves.

So why not integrate them into the product development process? What is the use in first secretively developing what we think should be the newest gadget or, what is often called these days, “disruptive technology”; and then failing to communicate its value proposition to the target customers? Failing because we can’t really reach them through outbound marketing (i.e. shouting really loudly at someone, somewhere).

The best marketers and most innovative companies in the world already partner with their customers in product development. They literally let their customers do the creative part of new product’s development for them: finding really new customer benefits or experience. All that these intelligent companies have to do then, is design and build these ideas into technology that delivers this customer benefit. Ideally, when it’s ready to roll out, it can be announced at a single eagerly awaited event, like Steve Jobs presenting the products to a cheering crowd of unpaid product co-developers. This would generate enough outbound marketing to sell the product – good job!

Surprisingly, all this can be achieved without giving away any valuable intellectual property. What it needs is a step-by-step approach to engaging the customers.

Inbound marketing, social online networking and blogging help to create awareness, identify and then slowly engage interested and creative customers. These engaged individuals can then be directly addressed via email and invited to join the closed club of privileged customers allowed to help the company with new product development. A strong and fruitful relationship is created, boosting the customer’s status within the community, and keeping those precious product ideas flowing freely into the product development pipeline.  The best thing of all, is that it’s all been approved by the customers themselves, right from the beginning.

Ingo studied business administration and economics at Kiel University where he received a PhD in economic policy and also earned an MBA from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, USA. Visit www.koenigconsultants.ca

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By Ingo Koenig

In B2B markets, the Internet has changed the way we do business significantly. Not only is the amount of information about products and services offered almost infinite but also it is slowly and steadily changing the way we all make our purchasing decisions. Who does not first quickly look up a company, product or service before making a purchasing decision or prior to meeting a representative of that company?

The image we’re developing of companies is today largely influenced by what we see and experience of them online. We go to their homepages to find the nearest outlet or subsidiary, look up product features, find out who our best contact person is, who the CEO is, and if we’re actually their target client, and in general, how do they differ from their competitors.

We click our way through the company’s website following our interest, instincts, and curiosity. We pause to download documents, enlarge pictures, watch corporate videos and sometimes even take the time to read what has actually been written there.

We are leaving our silent footprints all over the homepages of these companies. What a wealth of information for marketers! If only they could see, hear, and understand what we’re doing.

In the old days of marketing we used to shout at our clients. In typical Outbound Marketing fashion,  we’d try to make sure we’d be heard above the noise, we’d shout a lot, everywhere, and at everyone. True, we tried to do our homework and be more specific as to what to shout at, whom, and where.

But now, thankfully, we don’t need to do that anymore. The innovators and visionary marketers don’t see much value anymore in trying to stand-out above the cacophony of commercials, advertising, and telemarketing surrounding us. Now, thanks to Inbound Marketing techniques, we prospects/clients are actually whispering at the companies through the Internet.

All that marketers needed was a hearing aid and a vision correction system to see, hear and then understand our needs, interests and desires being made visible through our online activity and behaviour. People surfing a company’s homepages, are actually the ones that do care about the company and who have actively contacted it, virtually of course. Why not whisper back?

We believe intelligent collection and analysis of this digital-footprint information will allow creating customer knowledge in a revolutionary way and at a depth never seen before. No survey can yield such unbiased results on what customers are actually really interested in, what touches and moves them, and certainly not at the low costs afforded by Inbound Marketing techniques.

Next week I will look at how this new Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation can dovetail with and help drive your strategic product development plans.

Ingo studied business administration and economics at Kiel University where he received a PhD in economic policy and also earned an MBA from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, USA. Visit www.koenigconsultants.ca

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