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FACT SHEET
On the Web
• • • HubSpot Website: http://www.hubspot.com HubSpot Internet Marketing Blog: http://blog.hubspot.com HubSpot Company & Product News Blog: http://www.hubspot.com/blog

Overview
HubSpot is an Internet marketing startup whose software helps businesses get found online, generate more inbound leads and convert a higher percentage of those leads into paying customers. HubSpot's software platform includes tools that allow professional marketers and small business owners to manage search engine optimization, blogging and social media, as well as landing pages, lead intelligence and marketing analytics. • • • HubSpot was founded in 2006 by CEO Brian Halligan and CTO Dharmesh Shah and is based in Cambridge, MA across the street from MIT, where the company was conceived. General Catalyst provided $5 million in VC funding in 2007. Matrix Partners provided $12 million in VC funding in 2008.

Products
• HubSpot offers inbound marketing software that allows you to: o Generate more qualified traffic to your website o Capture more visitors as qualified leads o Convert more leads into paying customers o Analyze and optimize every step of the process With the HubSpot inbound marketing software, you can: o Quickly and easily edit your website o Generate traffic by adding a business blog o Improve search engine relevance, ranking and traffic o Collect intelligence on prospects o Analyze your lead generation trends o Analyze search terms and traffic referrals HubSpot requires no technical background or IT support, allowing everyday business and marketing people to easily generate leads and take advantage of Web 2.0 Internet marketing techniques. HubSpot's integrated approach allows for a more efficient way of tracking/measuring the success of your online marketing programs.

Resources
• • • • • HubSpot is a leader in all topics inbound marketing and regularly provides free resources such as webinars, whitepapers, eBooks, marketing tools, videos, communities, blog articles, studies and reports, etc. HubSpot offers free online tools at Grader.com that measure a variety of marketing initiatives’ effectiveness. HubSpot manages an inbound marketing community at InboundMarketing.com. HubSpot offers an ongoing marketing retraining program called Inbound Marketing University at InboundMarketing.com/University. HubSpot produces a weekly Internet marketing video podcast called HubSpot TV at http://hubspot.tv.

Events, Accolades & Coverage
• • • HubSpot regularly speaks at, sponsors and participates in industry conferences and events such as OMMA Global, PubCon, Business of Software, Search Engine Strategies, SMX, Venture Summit, IMS, etc. HubSpot has won awards and been recognized by a number of organizations such as NEDMA, Mass High Tech, MassTLC, AlwaysOn, Red Herring, MITX, ad:Tech, etc. HubSpot has been featured in various media and publications including The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, The New York Times, ABC News, Mashable, TechCrunch, etc. ###

Table of Contents
Campaigns - Screenshot of Actual Presentation ............355

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore .............................................................................. 313
Where & How Do You Get Great Content?.............................. 313 The 3 Rules of Content Relevancy ..................................... 313 4.1 Chart: What Triggers Content Updates? ................... 314 4.2 Chart: What’s the #1 Most Interesting Content? Prospects vs Marketers ................................................. 315 4.3 Image: Sales Cycle Matrix - Blank Example ............. 318 4.4 Image: Content Matrix - Blank Example .................. 319 4.5 Image: Media Channel Matrix - Blank Example ....... 319 Top 12 Types of Content ..........................................................320 #1. Research .......................................................................320 #2. Classes, 101 Education & Glossaries............................322 4.6 Image: Technical Term Glossary Posted Online for SEO - Trade Ideas ...........................................................323 4.7 Image: LendingApps Inc. Sample Email Newsletter 325 #3. Tours & Overviews........................................................325 4.8 Image: Ultimus Explainer Screenshot......................328 4.9 Image: Grip On Tools Video Sample Screenshots ....329 4.10 Image: Sun Microsystems Product Microsite ........330 4.11 Image: Web Site Photos From Real Life - Benton Foundry ..........................................................................331 #4. News ............................................................................331 4.12 Image: Content-Heavy Email Newsletter - All Metals & Forge ..............................................................333 #5. Backstage Pass.............................................................334 4.13 Trade Show Podcast Promotion - GMT...................335 4.14 Image: Trade Show Wrap-Up Notes Sample MarketingShepa .............................................................336 4.15 Image: Trade Show Blog - AD:TECH ......................337 4.16 Image: Flickr Photo Ranking High in Google Results Anne Holland.................................................................339 #6. Personality-Driven .........................................................339 4.17 Image: Email Newsletter With Interactive Ask a Question Buttons - Cincom............................................341 #7 Thought Leadership .......................................................342 . 4.18 Image: Trulogica Landing Page for Hot Leads ........343 #8. Success Stories and Case Studies ...............................344 #9. Q&As ............................................................................344 #10. Company/Product Information: Features, Facts & Specs ..................................................................................346 #11. How-to .........................................................................347 #12. Top 10 Lists .................................................................348 4.19 Image: Email Newsletter Sample - CareerBuilder ..350 12 Useful Content Formats: Tips .............................................351 #1. Articles ..........................................................................351 #2. Audio With Slides .........................................................352 4.20 Image: Malvern Instruments Audio PowerPoint-Style Campaigns - Extensive Menu of Audio Slide Presentations .................................................................353 4.21 Image: Malvern Instruments Audio PowerPoint-Style

4.22 Image: Malvern Instruments Audio PowerPointStyle Campaigns - Typical Landing Page Viewers Are Pushed to Afterward ......................................................357 #3. Blogs ............................................................................358 #4. Books............................................................................361 #5. Ebooks ..........................................................................363 4.23 Image: AlterPoint’s eBook Offer - Sample Email Blast to Rented List With Offer ......................................364 #6. Podcasts .......................................................................365 4.24 Chart: Duration of Podcasts Offered by Technology Companies .....................................................................365 4.25 Image: Podcast Landing Page Sample iPressroom .....................................................................368 4.26 Image: Podcast Offfer on White Paper Offer Landing Page - BearingPoint ..........................................370 4.27 Image: Podcast Landing Page - BearingPoint........371 #7 Press Releases ..............................................................372 . 4.28 Image: Yahoo! News for Search Term Cisco .......... 374 #8. Radio Shows.................................................................375 4.29 Image: Maverick LLC’s XM Radio Campaign Original Pitch Letter to XM .............................................379 4.30 Image: Script of Brief Business Radio Show Maverick.........................................................................380 4.31 Image: Script of Business Radio Ad - Deloitte & Touche............................................................................382 4.32 Image: Deloitte & Touche Michigan Campaign Sponsored Column ........................................................384 4.33 Image: Deloitte & Touche Michigan Campaign Press Release ................................................................385 #9. Speeches ......................................................................386 4.34 Chart: Volume & Quality of Leads Generated by Trade Events ..................................................................386 #10. Webinars .....................................................................389 #11. White Papers ...............................................................394 #12. Video ........................................................................... 401 4.35 Image: Viral Video Landing Page - LiveVault ...........406 4.36 Image: Screenshot from Live Video Event ............407 4.37 Image: Viral Video - LiveVault ................................408 Staffing for Content Creation ................................................... 411 4.38 Chart: How Challenging Do Marketers Find Content Creation?........................................................................ 411 8 Great Places to Find Content Specialists......................... 412 Registration: To Require or Not? .............................................. 415 4.39 Image: Content Funnel With Registration Barrier .. 416 4.40 Image: Content Funnel Without Registration Barrier ............................................................................ 416 4.41 Chart: How Accurate Is Information Input Into Registration Forms? ....................................................... 417 4.42 Image: Open Access Webcast Featuring Contact Sales Link - Red Hat ....................................................... 419 4.43 Image: Registration Form Tests - HP ......................422

B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore
Where & How Do You Get Great Content?
By “content,” we mean any material that is informational in nature and not explicitly a sales advertisement for your product or service. Content could be in the format of a white paper, a YouTube video, an event speech, newsletter article, a press release, etc. It might contain factual information about your product, your happy customers, your thought leadership or it might be about your prospect – how-to tips, industry trends and data So many marketing offers rely on content now that marketers often feel more like editors-in-chief than promoters. Even if you‟re in the minority not using content as a lead-generation incentive, you still have to produce content for marketplace education, lead nurturing, sales marcom and PR. Who could have guessed an English or Journalism major in college would be so useful to a B-to-B marketing career in the 21st century? (Of course, the dream graduate would be equally brilliant at statistical analysis, project management and psychology.) The 3 Rules of Content Relevancy To be a successful editor-in-chief, you have to produce content that your prospects yearn to read, listen to or view. Otherwise, they probably won‟t bother to, and your content investment is wasted. First, content has to appeal to its audience‟s needs and desires. However, most marketers ignore or discount this critical fact. As you can see, most marketers‟ content initiatives are driven by their own internal needs, such as product updates and marketing cycles and not by what the prospects care about, such as their industry or their position in the buying cycle.

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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

4.1 Chart: What Triggers Content Updates?

% of content marketers
New or updated product/service 87.0%

New marketing strategies
Industry news or trends Performance of existing content (strong or weak) Acquisition or new target market New budget cycle 62.0%

75.0%

49.0%

36.0%

17.0% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

Source: MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm, Connecting Through Content Methodology: Fielded in May 2007, N = 2,978

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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

This disconnect between what content marketers think is compelling versus what prospects think is compelling is very clear in this study data from March 2007:
4.2 Chart: What‟s the #1 M ost Interesting Content? Prospects vs M arketers

Case study on how a company used a product to improve a business process New research on some aspect of your industry How-to-guide for using a product/service to better advantage Top 10 list of ways to improve business Case study on how a company used a product to learn something new Interview with top analyst on state of industry 55 53 80 80 50 110 86 106

133 250 124

116

Interview with top executive on state of industry 0

45 29 100 200

End users Marketers

300

Source: MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm, Connecting Through Content Methodology: Fielded in May 2007, N = 2,978

Users ranked all of the kinds of content above – this chart just shows the number of people who gave them a No. 1 ranking. Note: audience numbers have been normalized for appropriate comparison. That doesn‟t mean you can‟t create content about yourself – it just means you have to switch both your timing and your focus slightly, so the content appears to be more about them – i.e., focus on relevancy. Here are our three rules of relevancy.
RULE #1. IT‟S ALWAYS ABOUT THEM (NOT YOU)

People are by nature self-centered. Prospects don‟t care about you; they care about themselves. Copywriters call this the “What‟s in it for me?” syndrome. Prospects are interested in content about themselves, their income, their industry (as defined by them, not you), their department, their organization, their daily
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Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

working life and the future of their career. Content becomes must-read (or must-view) by appealing to one or more of these top five jobrelated emotions:
A.

INFLUENCERS: M ORE IM PORTANT THAN YOU THINK
Too many marketers target only the “ Decision M aker,” w hen actually many other prospects on the committee come into play. Unless the decision maker is also your evangelist (w hich is rare), if you don‟t please multiple people at multiple stages in the cycle, you don‟t make the sale.

Safety – keep your job, keep your company safe in a risky time, safeguard your department, avoid looking foolish, pick the most careful course of action, peer-vetted, proven, time-tested. Ease – make your job easier, save time, reduce stress, how-to, assistance, help, quick-and-easy, simplify.

B.

C.

Greed – salary increases/bonuses, wealth, profits, rewards, more of something, stockpiling. Power – power to convince a boss or committee to agree with you; power to get your budget passed; powerful insights that can change one‟s direction for the better. Ego – knowing or proving you are better than other people; being recognized as outstanding in the company of your peers.

D.

E.

If you are creating content for a lead generation campaign, your focus should be triply prospect-focused because they have shown no interest in you at all yet. To catch their attention, it really is all about them. If you are creating content for prospects further in the sales cycle, including those who are visiting your site of their own accord, you can focus more on yourself because you are now more relevant to them. However, that doesn‟t mean it‟s 100% about you. You still have to filter all your proclamations about yourself through the prospect‟s why-should-I-care focus. See our section on copywriting for more tips.
RULE #2. SEGM ENT BY PROSPECT TYPE

CEOs and engineers may both be involved in the same buying decision, but they definitely don‟t want to read the same information or the same voice. For example, specialists want you to recognize their expertise, by diving in with lengthy details and no fluffy stuff at the start. C-level decision-makers want you to recognize their fractured attention span and need for perspective by jettisoning extra verbiage for a clean and concise executive summary. Creating content for every segment you serve can become expensive. Many marketers want to know how much segmentation is really worthwhile. If the
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Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

prospects consider themselves to be a special segment within a primary group you target, then you should, too. There‟s no perfect segment size: you may have a segment that‟s only 100 people. You may have another that‟s 5,000. It‟s doubtful though that any B-to-B segment would be more than 50,000. A more realistic segment is in the mid-four-figures. What matters is that by segmenting, you can show that this group of prospects responded at such a higher rate that the extra cost of content creation was worth it. Here‟s rough example math: Non-segmented content offer: 10,000 Response rate 1% Content cost $5,000 ––––10 responses at $500 each Segmented content offer: 1,000 Response rate 5% Content cost $5,000 ––––50 responses at $100 each

Overall, specialists, such as technicians, engineers, HR pros, financial executives, sales pros, lawyers and doctors, prefer content that‟s segmented by job function. Generalists, such as top management and marketers, tend to prefer content that‟s segmented by industry.
RULE #3. CREATE CONTENT FOR EACH STAGE OF THE SALES CYCLE

Here‟s the staggering fact: only 38% of business technology marketers surveyed in March 2007 said they create content for various stages of the sales cycle. The fact that so few marketers produce different versions of their email newsletter for prospects versus customers is clear evidence for this. This gives you a significant competitive advantage if you do this thing correctly and your competitor doesn‟t bother to. Prospects have very different information needs at various stages of the sales cycle. We tend to break these into three clumps: Awareness – Are they aware they have a problem/need (or may have one in the near future)? Does the problem/need concern them as much as it should? Do they know solutions exist for that problem/need? Do they know your name brand exists? Do they know your brand is worthy of further investigation? What do they need to learn in order to set up a budget, timeframe and/or committee? Consideration – What education does the committee need to finalize a budget and timeframe? What do they need to know to pick the top three to
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Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

five vendors for their shortlist? What information or data do they need to be able to create an RFP? How can you make sure that RFP defines the project in terms that best suit your particular offering? Risk Avoidance/Decision – How can they feel safe that your brand is the best one for their needs and they should stop looking at other vendors? What‟s the legal contract look like? What‟s the ROI? What do their peers in your customer base say? Worth noting: multiple studies across multiple industries, including engineering, manufacturing, and high-tech show that prospects are definitely seeking pricing information both about your category and about your brand at a VERY early stage in the sales cycle, as well as pretty much continually from then on. You can‟t withhold pricing info until the negotiation stage at the end because, in many cases, you‟ll never make it that far in the cycle, or the prospect will receive misinformation regarding your pricing from other people. That‟s why, before brainstorming your content creation, you‟ll need to create a matrix or chart showing all the people on the committee who might need to consume your content, where in the sales cycle they potentially become active content consumers, what media they prefer to consume and what specific types of content they‟ll find appealing.
4.3 Image: Sales Cycle M atrix - Blank Example

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4.4 Image: Content M atrix - Blank Example

4.5 Image: M edia Channel M atrix - Blank Example

You‟ll want to create a matrix for each market segment you sell to – such as insurance agencies versus insurance underwriters. That‟s because much of your content will need to be tweaked or entirely recreated for each. For example, not everyone is impressed by testimonials from the exact same clients. More often, they want to hear from clients either who most closely match them as peers or who they aspire to be like someday.

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Once you‟ve determined roughly where in the sales cycle you need to fill content holes and whom that content has to appeal to, next you have to actually create it. No easy task. When brainstorming content, we‟ve found it helpful to distinguish between the type of content – such as a thought leadership piece – and the format it‟s presented in – such as a white paper. The good news is that, often, a type of content can be presented in multiple formats. For example, you could spin a single great thought leadership piece into a planted column, an event speech, a podcast interview, a white paper, a blog post, a suggested press interview, etc. Here, for your brainstorming pleasure, are a dozen of the most useful content types for marketing purposes, along with practical tips on each:

Top 12 Types of Content
#1. Research Prospects love to hear about themselves, their competitors and their industry. If you publish studies about them, you not only give them must-read content, you simultaneously prove you really KNOW their world. People like to do business with companies they feel truly understand them. Research data is also a win from a multiple-promotion perspective. You can issue press releases about the findings, run an in-depth webinar, distribute formal report copies, give speeches at trade shows (event organizers love exclusive new research speeches), etc. Plus, much research lends itself to an annual redo – each year, the project gets a bit easier to run because you‟ve done it before and the final report and promo formats can be reused. Each year, the research may also become more valuable content because you‟re accumulating trend data. Lastly, just as with branding, the annual study becomes more and more well-known in the industry the longer you conduct it. In fact, it grows its own brand. The problem with many vendor studies is that they either base findings on inadequate data (such as survey results based on fewer than 100 respondents) or the resulting study is so skewed in favor of that particular vendor or type of solution that it‟s laughable. If your data is thin or your findings are all too selfserving, the end audience will know it and your efforts are wasted. They now trust your brand less than they did before. Where can you get data from? Surveys are a fairly easy source, as long as you have email access to a big enough list of appropriate respondents – assume a response rate of well under 10% and a need for at least 100 answers per question. Consider
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partnering with the publisher of a third-party email newsletter – perhaps another marketer who targets your segment for a complementary product – to get the word out to potential respondents. Or you can do the survey via phone if you need a greater response rate than the one email might give you. Either way, don‟t add questions unrelated to the study and don‟t do a fake survey that‟s really a lead gen effort in disguise. Observational studies can give high impact results, but may take longer to accomplish than you think. An observational study is when you have a staffer look at some public aspect of (hopefully) 100 or more organizations or people. You might review price, product lines, NASDAQ records, marketing presence, CEO-ages, anything really. ... There‟s a lot of drudge work involved, and results may be less black-and-white than you had hoped. Often, real life doesn‟t fall into the neat categories you gave your observer to judge things by. Academic studies and papers can bring significant credibility to your brand as the sponsor and publisher. Business professors around the world are under intense pressure to become published and recognized paper authors – before tenure, their jobs depend on it just as your sales reps‟ jobs depend on making sales. They often can bring teams of students to the table as free human labor. And they are very used to presenting in public, which can help if you intend to promote any speaking engagements. The only drawback is the fact that academics want to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They won‟t spin things your way.

-

Example: When the consulting firm Deep Customer Connections wanted to
land new clients outside the founding partner‟s immediate circle of business contacts, they leveraged a benchmarking survey they had created for the insurance industry. Mike Schultz of agency Rain Today explained how the prospect call was scripted. “Hi, the reason I‟m calling is – we just finished a major benchmarking survey of over 6,000 agents with 22,000 responses, and we know how easy you are to do business with versus all of your competitors. If you want, we‟ll come in and walk you through the results ourselves.” The team then leveraged the new relationships they built during these half-hour study presentations to land new consulting accounts. To their surprise, several industry players offered to underwrite their next study because the data was so valuable.

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#2. Classes, 101 Education & Glossaries This type of content works best if your industry is fairly well-known so prospects are aware they need to be experts in it, but because of recent major changes (either in their jobs or technology, or the law, etc.) they are not experts at this moment. This content can also be fantastic for search engine optimization (SEO) because, nearly inevitably, the expressions you use to teach a class or create a glossary are keyword-rich. Also, search engines like PDFs and PowerPoints nearly as much as they like flat HTML pages, so course materials will get picked up. However, this means that your site (or microsite) is search engine optimized, that relevant external sites link to your educational materials and, most critically, those materials are open access without any registration or password barriers. See below for more on SEO.

Example: Trade Ideas‟ marketer David Aferiat said, “We are relentless,
optimizing every page of the site for SEO.” One of his tactics was to create an extensive glossary featuring a fairly long page of technical information for each term. After noticing that his best-converting traffic came from investment industry bloggers, he began to send them personal notes letting them know it was cool to hotlink to his site‟s glossary as a free educational resource. This way, he would hopefully get more traffic and boost the site‟s search rankings with more inbound links. 13% of Trade Ideas‟ total search engine traffic arrives at the glossary pages now.

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4.6 Image: Technical Term Glossary Posted Online for SEO - Trade Ideas

You can use a variety of media to deliver classes, including email autoresponders (“Sign up to receive a 10-day e-course!”), webinars, online video and other documents posted online. You can even offer the classes in-house as seminars at key prospect locations – this works especially well if you are trying to penetrate a very large prospect organization or extend your account penetration at a current account. The teacher should be someone who is very good at clearly explaining things without using buzzwords. The materials must be sales and marketing-material free. You can include your logo, phone numbers, URL and a small but clear call to action at the end, especially for the next course in the series. But you can‟t be promotional in the class itself. Otherwise, you break trust, so prospects are less likely to convert and are highly unlikely to take another class from you or to tell others in their organization to do so.
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Often, to educate prospects as much as you need to land the account, it‟s best if they take a series of classes from you. You can‟t cram all the required education into a 50-60 minute attention span (which is about as long as anyone will give you per course session in any media.) So, your classes have to be good enough for students to want to return again and again.

Example: Despite aggressive demand generation activities ranging from trade
show speeches to free trial download offers, LendingApps couldn‟t get execs in the commercial mortgage industry to convert because they were pretty satisfied with using Excel spreadsheets and didn‟t see the need for more sophisticated software. Marketer Chris Santo realized his prospects were deaf to software pitches, so instead, he sent his house email list a note from the „LendingApps Training Staff‟ asking what dates they would like to take non-cost beginner and advanced „Video Workshops‟ on loan origination and underwriting. The response was overwhelming. “We received 380 signups from this one email. To put that in perspective, it took us six months to get 500 responses from our other marketing.” Quickly, Santo created a series of 45-minute, Internet-based workshops, casting himself as trainer. Each workshop included three elements, a video introduction, a series of PowerPoint slides with audio accompaniment, and then a demo of the software in action. There no product pitch at all. The software demo section was an illustration of the educational points made previously and was valuable whether the viewer had the software or not. Next, 30 minutes after each class, Santo began calling each attendee to ask how the class worked out and if they had any questions. Again, he was careful to speak as a trainer rather than a marketer. 10% of attendees brought up the topic of LendingApps software of their own accord during the conversation and converted as buyers on the spot.

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Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

4.7 Image: LendingApps Inc. Sample Email New sletter

#3. Tours & Overview s If your product or product line is so complex that most prospects don‟t really understand what you offer, then an overview tour can work wonders. If you are fighting an ocean of look-alike competitors, a tour can help prospects understand how you‟re different. The key is – the tour is more than just words; the appeal is based on images. The idea is that pictures are worth 1,000 words, but they have to be the right images and presented in an appealing fashion. Example: As marketer George Harter explained, prospects didn‟t fully grasp the glories of Ultimus‟ business process software. “The verbal description can get a little verbose. First, you have to define what a business process is, and, suddenly,
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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

their eyes glaze over and they have no idea what you‟re talking about.” To solve that problem, Harter developed a „Two Minute Explainer‟ flash video with help from Business Information Graphics for less than $10,000. The creative team had five rules: Rule #1. Brevity The presentation couldn‟t go beyond two minutes no matter what. So, the core goal had to be pared down. The Explainer would not replace a regular sales presentation – instead, it would serve as a “prequel” to a detailed presentation. Rule #2. Entertainment If you already know your topic makes “eyes glaze over” even for the bestintentioned prospects, you need to add a little entertainment flavor to your presentation. Unlike starting a long speech with a joke to engage the audience, with just two minutes to get the entire message across you can‟t let the entertainment go off-topic. So, the team created a little cartoon character – a purchase requisition with arms, legs and a face – and showed its struggles to move from desk to desk in a typical organization. Rule #3. Frequently-varying visuals Two minutes is a long time for an executive to watch a canned presentation online without a human sales rep in the room to help keep focus. Once the eye drifts for an instant, you‟ve lost them. And what if the phone rings, or email beeps? To combat this, the Explainer featured constantly varying graphics to continually re-engage the eye, including: The aforementioned cartoon Hand-drawn “game play”-style flow charts Classic flow charts Software demo shots Colorful pie charts and diagrams Checklist charts of features and benefits

Plus, the team added a mini-presentation – a constantly changing list of customer names – to the very start of the presentation so prospects had something
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engaging to watch while they waited for the entire flash video to load. (This is critical to reduce your initial abandonment rate.) Rule #3. Tweak software screenshots If you use a screenshot directly from your software product to illustrate functionality, chances are it will (a) contain extraneous information that distracts from your point and (b) be hard to read at a glance because the typeface is too small. So, the team tweaked their screenshots, slicing off unimportant content and blowing up anything they hoped a viewer would read. Rule #4. Graphics must stand on their own The team assumed some viewers would have the sound turned off on their computers, so the graphical presentation had to be able to stand on its own without voiceover. Rule #5. End by asking for the next step As a “prequel,” naturally the presentation needed to carry prospects to the next step in the sales process. The end couldn‟t be “the end.” The last screen prominently featured just three options: A phone number to call, a main Web URL to go to (Ultimus‟ homepage) and fat „Click Here‟ button for more information. Anyone clicking on the button was sent to a brief registration form where they could sign up to view their choice of a canned or live detailed webinar presentation. Scripting the Explainer was possibly the toughest part of the job. The copywriter followed three rules: Copy rule #1. Cut sales talk, buzzwords and jargon – if you are talking about how your company is “the leader” it‟s boring, useless copy. Copy rule #2. Make it (much) shorter than you think. Words give “punctuation” and emphasis to the graphics, not the other way around. Copy rule #3. Assume English is not everyone‟s first language. Ultimus has offices in more than a dozen countries. While some offices decided to translate the narration, others didn‟t and this narrative had to work for all. The marketing team distributed the new Explainer through four key venues – obviously they stuck a link on the home page of the site. They also added a link in any email newsletters and promos that customers and already-engaged
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prospects might pass on to newbies to the field. And, they routinely added a link in lead generation direct postal mail campaigns. However, perhaps the most important distribution path was via the sales team. Harter presented the Explainer at the big quarterly sales meeting and detailed how reps could use it. Plus, he distributed a handy one-page PDF chart to everyone that clearly showed where the Explainer (as well as all other marketing collateral) fit in the sales and buying cycle. The results were outstanding. Ultimus‟ sales reps loved the tool. Inside sales often asked prospects to watch it online while they held on the line. Plus, 16% of Ultimus‟ homepage visitors clicked on a button to view the Explainer.
4.8 Image: Ultimus Explainer Screenshot

Example: When Grip On Tools wanted to penetrate huge accounts, such as Ace
Hardware and Bass Pro, sales reps had a hard time getting their calls returned. Buyers for these chains were deluged with competitor information, and most didn‟t realize Grip On Tools had recently repositioned its brand up-market from cheap products to higher quality goods. Inspired by a promotion he received in his own email from a vendor pitching office coffee services, President Elias Amash tasked his marketing team with creating a video for Grip On Tools sales execs to send to their prospects as a
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hotlink via email. The video, developed by AngelVision Technologies, was a quick three minutes and prominently featured an aerial shot of Grip On‟s giant warehouse, the American flag (emphasizing the firm was no longer import-only), as well as photos of top products. Each sales rep was given a list of hotlinks they could use to send out the video – each hotlink went to the same place but was unique for the prospect and could be measured on the backend so they knew who was watching the video. “People who would never give us the time of day before are now setting appointments,” enthused Sales Executive Mary Feutz. “There‟s not one person I‟ve sent the video hotlink to who has not at least clicked on it.” In fact, the average hotlink sent to an individual is viewed by four people. The resulting sales boost was “awesome.”
4.9 Image: Grip On Tools Video Sample Screenshots

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If your product is physically complicated – such as a complex piece of machinery – but too heavy for your sales reps to lug around in the field, a 3D tour can work wonders. You‟re basically allowing the prospect to get his or her hands onto the equipment, and a hands-on examination can be more powerful than all the words in the world.

Example: Rhodes Klement, Senior Director Branded Advertising in charge of
launching Sun Microsystems‟ Sun Fire X4100 server, knew standard marcom materials couldn‟t do it justice. He explained: “We‟re looking at technical people who normally take the lid off and add RAM. They need to see our well-designed use of space. People who handle these physical machines need a more intuitive, engaging way to review the server than a laundry list or data sheet. They want to look under the hood, kick the tires.” Unfortunately, at 39.3 pounds, the server wasn‟t convenient to carry around in the field for tens of thousands of potential prospects to play with. In addition to all the standard bells and whistles on a product microsite, Klement‟s team developed a 3D online tour and downloadable 3D PDF of the server with help from Kaon Interactive. Prospects could sit back and let an animated 3D tour unfold, or they could actively control the 3D movement, including a “remove lid” option. 5.2% of the 95,499 unique visitors who came to the product microsite during the first 60 days clicked on the 3D hotlink and played with the 3D online for a while – 67% for more than three minutes. Of total 3D viewers, 36% downloaded the 3D PDF to review at their leisure or pass along to colleagues.
4.10 Image: Sun M icrosystems Product M icrosite

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If your prospects need to see your employees or your plant in person in order to feel safer about their buying decision, but personal and/or plant tours may be impossible for all, a photo gallery can work wonders.

Example: Although Benton Foundry is 150 years old, its prospects are not.
Many are fairly inexperienced and switch jobs every 10-12 months. 30% are outside the US, and even the ones in the US have rarely, if ever, personally toured a foundry. When President Fritz Hall said what he wanted on the Foundry‟s Web site, he insisted on lots of real-life photographs to bring the Foundry to life for potential buyers. Then, he personally surveyed prospects who had been to the site to see what they liked about it and how it could be improved. The results, “When they see on their computer a picture of metal being poured, that‟s the first time they‟ve ever seen it. The photo gives them a sensation of what‟s made and how it‟s made. A picture is worth 1,000 words. If I tell you our plant is 220,000 square feet, that‟s one thing. If I show you an aerial photo of the plant, that‟s a totally different situation. People like to see who they‟re dealing with.”
4.11 Image: Web Site Photos From Real Life - Benton Foundry

#4. New s News can be delightful or utterly boring. The judgment is entirely in the eyes of the beholder. Generally, marketers write news about their companies or brands. Product launches, M&As, executive shifts, upcoming events, etc. Most recipients of this news don‟t care that much about it. News about you is far more interesting to you than it is to me. If you can come up with news that‟s about the reader, that‟s an entirely different matter. However, it‟s far more difficult. Partly, that‟s the Internet‟s fault. These days, even niche industry or profession news is both easy and cheap (if not free) to come by. News has become a commodity; there may even be too much of it for your prospects to wade through.

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Therein lies your challenge. You can take two directions: either you can publish convenient summaries of the latest news along with hotlinks, thus providing a public service by saving people the time of having to view multiple sources looking for news themselves. Or you can dig up fascinating, exclusive news about the industry or profession (again, not about you) that‟s to be found nowhere else. If you choose to do the former, you should add value to the summaries by doing some analysis. Great analysis usually talks to the prospect about how the news might specifically affect them. High-impact analysis nearly always has a definite voice and tone as well. The editorializing is from a particular person – a strongminded columnist or writer whom the reader gets to know over a period of time. One way to achieve exclusivity is to invent your own form of industry news – a data chart of some type. Instead of charting and updating the latest box office records or MLB scores, you would chart stats of definite interest to your prospects. It takes brainstorming to come up with a chart and elbow grease to find out where to get the data – but once launched, it‟s fairly easy to keep going over the years.

Example: MetalsWatch, a bimonthly email newsletter from All Metals &
Forge, combines the best of both worlds. Each issue starts with a passionate, notafraid-to-take-sides editorial on the state of the industry by company President Lewis A. Weiss, whose voice could never be mistaken for that of a ghostwriter. Then, the newsletter features its famous-within-the-industry monthly chart. The data is publicly available from a national association, but not in chart format. Then, the newsletter segues into industry news stories and briefs. Results, measured open rates, are double that of typical B-to-B email newsletters. Sales quote requests via phone and Web form jump by 15% on the week of publication. The average resulting sale is in the high four figures.

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4.12 Image: Content-Heavy Email New sletter - All M etals & Forge

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#5. Backstage Pass Everyone wants to feel like an insider in their own profession or industry. There‟s a certain thrill and even a sense of power to it. “Backstage pass” content gives your readers (or viewers) that pleasure. The great thing is that this type of content can be remarkably easy to create on the fly. Just attend an industry live event and report on it as if you were a journalist assigned to cover the man-on-the-street story. Don‟t cover the big speeches (they‟ve been covered in the mainstream press already). Instead, cover nuggets from under-reported speeches or comments and notes from parties, networking or walking the show floor. Ask name-brand speakers at the event if they would do a quick interview with you on the show floor. You can record it and use for a podcast or blog or email a transcript to your readers.

Example: Global Management Technologies‟ marketing team scored a huge
win when they lined up a key client as a case study speaker for a big annual trade show. To maximize the opportunity, Marketing Director Michael Williams asked the client to agree to be taped “live from the show” for a podcast for prospects who couldn‟t make it to the event. The audio was easier than expected. Williams bought a $100 digital voice recorder with a jack for an external microphone and asked the AV team at the show to tie it directly into the PA system for a high-quality recording. Then, his team edited the recording down from 45 minutes, deleting extraneous noises, coughs, gaps and unrelated discussion. They also added theme music and a voiceover describing the origin of the recording and introducing the speaker. The final podcast was 36 minutes – long but not nightmarishly so. In the meantime, Williams‟ team ran a lead generation campaign before and after publicizing the podcast to conference attendees, via Google and Yahoo! PPC ads and to the company‟s email house list. More than nine times the number of people who attended the conference in person listened to the podcast. Of listeners, 16.7% were deemed sales-ready leads, which led to millions in sales. In addition, thanks to the additional leads, the average cost per lead from the trade show itself declined 71%.

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4.13 Trade Show Podcast Promotion - GM T

Not able to attend the event in-person? Ask staff and connections who are there to report on the event for you. Most people can do basic reporting if you give them a handful of very specific questions to ask every single person they talk to. They can dash off answers on the backs of business cards and then email you the quotes. You paste the results into a story on the other end. It‟s easier than it sounds if you have any journalism background or ability.

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4.14 Image: Trade Show Wrap-Up Notes Sample - M arketingShepa

Another way to gather must-read show news is to authorize your own group of bloggers. We counted more than a dozen official and unofficial bloggers covering Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2007. Best ways to handle bloggers at your event or at national events: Get them press passes or comp tickets at your expense, and if they are proven influential and/or friendly bloggers, consider offering a travel stipend. Don‟t assume or imply in any way that you expect a quid pro quo relationship with them or that you would expect to influence what they write. The relationship building and hotlinks for SEO are worth it. Carry hotlinked headlines to their blogged show write-ups in your own house media, such as your company blog, news site section and/or email newsletter. Bloggers love inbound links, and your readership will appreciate a third-party insider view into the event. If it‟s an important show and there is no official show blog, consider becoming the official show blog sponsor. You may have to pay the show organizer a token fee, but they‟re often glad to have an official blog that
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remains live year-long and helps them sell tickets for the next year. Plus, they can even sell sponsorships to it; although, obviously, your ads would get the best spots. You‟ll want to create an independent URL for the show blog and use group weblogging software to manage it. To recruit bloggers, review the show‟s past press list, which often includes bloggers, and also surf blog search engines, such as Technorati.com by keyword references. Then, ask the bloggers involved if they would like a free press pass, exclusive blogger-only speaker interviews, free breakfast in the press room, etc. You‟ll be surprised at how many join your editorial blog board for the show and stick around year after year.
4.15 Image: Trade Show Blog - AD:TECH

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Also, whenever possible, post photos of the event online. There‟s a reason why many trade magazines feature reams of people photos from big trade shows. Everyone who was there immediately opens to see their picture and may pass it along to their friends and colleagues as well. Photos can be tough for two reasons: Because there are many nuances to the right of privacy and publicity laws it is advisable to always obtain a written release from any individual that would be recognized in a photograph. If published publicly, it‟s best if you get permission from everyone who is recognizable to use their image, just so you‟re safe. Either ask verbally on the spot and gather business cards to cover yourself or take photos only of speakers (who are public figures and hence immune from that law), and/or only take photos at your company‟s events, such as user conferences where legal rights to use photos can be written into the ticketing language. In the craziness of the moment, you may not get or recall later correct names for all the faces. Sometimes, this may not matter; people just like to see photos of events. However, if you‟re publishing more than a handful of shots, you‟ll want to tag them with names for usability‟s sake, not to mention search engine optimization. When you post photos, consider doing so both on your site (or blog or microsite) and also on a public photo sharing service, such as Flickr.com. This way, you increase the chances more people will find them and, perhaps, in turn, find you.

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4.16 Image: Flickr Photo Ranking High in Google Results - Anne Holland

#6. Personality-Driven There‟s a reason why famous newspaper columnists make big bucks for a relatively light workload – perhaps a daily or weekly column. People like to read their thoughts so much that the columns become addictive. Very long sales cycle: If you have an extremely long sales cycle, a mustread columnist (or blogger) becomes a handy way of keeping your brand name in front of people without being annoying until they are ready to act. Tiny sales cycle: If your prospects tend to act quickly – they spot a problem, pick a vendor and fix the darn thing in under two weeks – you also need a way to continue pinging them throughout the year so the instant they are ready to act, they‟ll act in your favor. A column in this case should be on a topic that they have sustained interest in through the year, which certainly is not your product or issues surrounding it. So, you‟ll be sponsoring content that‟s more related to them than to you.
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Large horde of competitors: if you are competing in an overcrowded niche, having a strongly flavored column, writing or talking with real personality behind it, may be the key to help you stand out. The personality doesn‟t need to be the same one with each issue – all that‟s required is that you sustain a cult of personality, you wrap your brand around people, and those people hold similar values to those of your brand. Whenever possible, show a headshot of the person. If they‟ve written a book, then show a thumbnail of the book as well – the Fortune 1000 in particular take business book authorship as a sign of credibility. You can gather the material in several ways: One-on-one interviews. The more famous the person, the more your editorial takes a back seat to their words; just print your questions and their answers. If the person is not famous but the information they share is great, then you may want to remove the heavy quotes and rewrite their material so it‟s easier to read. Columns. This is when the person writes or creates the content themselves. Ask to see samples before agreeing to anything. Famous people can be terrible communicators. Also, never assume they will make deadlines; it‟s far easier to get someone to agree to write (or create) content than it is to actually pry the finished product out of them. On occasion, you may need to provide a ghost writer. Excepts and reprints. A great, very much overlooked source of content. Surf through your collection of industry newsletters looking for possibilities. Often, consultants‟ newsletters have the best gems, which haven‟t been seen by many people on your list. Business book publishers may allow you to excerpt a chapter or partial chapter in exchange for the publicity as well.

Example: Cincom‟s „Expert Access‟ email newsletter won MarketingSherpa‟s
Silver Best Of Awards in 2006 for Best B-to-B newsletter because of its mustread content, which is heavily personality and famous-name based. Featured experts have included Al Ries, author of „The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR‟; Dr. David Abshire, Center for the Presidency; Dave Stein, author of „How Winners Sell‟; Marc Seifer, author „Wizard: The Life & Times of Nikola Tesla; Betty Forbes, VP Christian Children‟s Fund; Dr. Paul Persall, author „The Beethoven Factor‟; and Steve Kayser, often entertaining, always passionate rant columns editor.

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This consistently thought provoking lineup has made the newsletter tremendously popular with its 135,000 Fortune 1,000 executive readers, 93% of whom rate the newsletter “excellent” or “good.”
4.17 Image: Email New sletter With Interactive Ask a Question Buttons - Cincom

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#7. Thought Leadership What‟s the difference between thought leadership and personality-driven content? Presumably, the thought leadership is invariably serious (personalities can be slightly more humorous) and the content is either “authored” by a top executive within your organization or by a famous-name analyst and reprinted or distributed by you. Is it worth buying the distribution rights to a famous-name-authored paper, such as a Gartner paper? If you are a lesser-known brand, you have no ultracompelling content of your own and your target market is a follow-the-leader type of executive who is more likely than most to be influenced by analysts, then it‟s a great idea.

Example: TruLogica‟s Field marketing Director Margaret Herndon garnered a
big pile of names from business cards and badge zapping at a major show. She knew some must be solid leads that would respond well to nurturing campaigns but worried about adding the names to her house email list. Just because someone stops by your booth, it doesn‟t mean they want your emails, and the risks of being filtered as an unwanted mailer at the corporate level are extremely high these days. So, she decided to send the names she suspected were the very best a special offer via email to get them to raise their hands more formally as leads and to opt in for further communications. Herndon didn‟t have a compelling white paper ready in-house and knew time was of the essence for high response rates. These names would go cold awfully fast. For under $5,000, she syndicated the rights to a recent Meta Group paper and sent out an offer for it. The landing page was visually similar to TruLogica‟s booth. “Visitors stop by so many booths. It‟s easy to get them mixed up. We wanted them to know where the email was coming from.” The response form was pre-filled with the contact info people had given at the show, so respondents didn‟t have to type in anything. Results were outstanding: because of a large number of viral passalongs, the landing page converted 125% of the list to opt-ins. “We kept seeing this individual continually download this paper and we were really concerned the guy was not able to download it.” Turns out the prospect had forwarded the link to about two dozen other people in his organization.

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4.18 Image: Trulogica Landing Page for Hot Leads

It‟s worth noting, a MarketingSherpa study conducted in partnership with CNET Networks B2B showed that white papers with famous-name consulting firms didn‟t get more downloads than compelling titles by the vendors themselves. (See below for more info on this research.) The thing about thought leadership is that is actually does have to have some quality. Unless your CEO or other writer is so incredibly famous that the marketplace will take any blatherings written by them as masterly information, the leadership has to be great. You can‟t make a bad CEO column or speech great by sticking a “thought leadership” label on it. What if you have access to fantastic minds – true thought leaders – at your organization but they never seem to have the time (or the ability?) to put pen to paper and write formal speeches? You can: Give a forever-on-the-road exec a digital recorder and ask him or her to chat away into it and send in nightly or weekly for you to post on their behalf (perhaps with mild or even substantial cleanup). Offer them their own blog or byline on the company blog, again with remote access from the road.

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Bring a videographer to their desk and interview them on the topic of their brilliance (a friendly interviewer is a must, don‟t make it formal with makeup and fancy lights, people clam up). #8. Success Stories and Case Studies MarketingSherpa‟s PR and Fame reporters have interviewed more than 200 top business magazine and press over the past few years asking them a fairly simple question: how can our readers get more coverage for their companies in your pages or on your site? Of the press who routinely run case study-type stories, nearly every single one gave the same answer: exclusivity. If you‟re pitching a case study, don‟t pitch it to multiple press outlets at the same time. Certainly don‟t issue a press release, making it public record before the press has a chance to react to your pitch. To keep their jobs, business reporters have to bring their editors a fresh supply of exclusives every day, week or month. If you want to make them happy, help them keep their jobs. By the way, there‟s no harm in pitching a case study to a second reporter if the first turns it down. It‟s also a great idea to contact individual press to determine what sorts of client stories they are most interested in for their particular beats (a great story that doesn‟t match a beat won‟t get coverage) and when they want you to spoon-feed a story or line up an interview on their behalf. Top press will only use your case study idea as a jumping-off point for their own interview. You have less (frankly no) control over editorial, but it‟s taken a zillion percent more seriously by prospects, and reprints make great leave-behind materials for sales reps. #9. Q&As Q&As are remarkably easy content to create – you give an expert a list of questions and get back the answers. Depending on the writing ability of the expert and the tone the audience prefers, you may want to help the expert with the final form of his or her answers. Tips: If you ask a question verbally, you‟ll often get a much better response in terms of human-sounding language (i.e., not as stodgy as many written answers), plus you can ask follow-up questions for clarity and then weave the resulting quote into one perfect answer. You can do this via phone with a digital recorder and then transcribe and turn into a great quote. If the expert in question works for a public company or one hemmed by an unusual amount of regulation, such as pharmaceuticals or financial

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investment, be sure to pass the answers by legal and/or investor relations prior to making them public. Try to avoid passing answers by the PR department in very large organizations though (unless you know them personally and they are exceptional.) Corporate PR people tend to share a characteristic with corporate legal – they are there to contain risk, not to help with promotion. That means, often they‟ll rewrite the answer so it comes out as so much corporate gobbledygook and remove much of the flavor and value from the content. Their idea of professional business writing is to replace simple words with big ones and straightforward thoughts with more formally phrased ones. This can crush your readership. It also means your SEO-friendly keywords may be lost in translation. Put keywords into the questions repeatedly even if you think the meaning of the question is obvious from the context of the Web site. The search engine spider may not notice the context as much as you had hope. Example – instead of “What‟s the best pricing?” say “What‟s the best pricing for widgets?” and instead of “Where do you see the future of our industry?” ask “Where do you see the future of the widget industry going?” As with detailed glossary entries, extremely detailed answers can be posted each to a page of their own (with one central page that lists and hotlinks to all questions) to increase your site‟s SEO value.

Example: When MedTech launched a new division offering innovative
polymers to medical device engineers, marketer Linda Bright needed to get lots of keyword-loaded polymer content up on MedTech‟s site pronto. Initially, neither she, nor her co-workers had enough polymer expertise to be able to know what to write. So, she corralled a group of experts – the scientists and technical experts who had developed the polymers. Then she emailed her prospect opt-in list a hotlink to an online survey form with only one question: “What question about material performance comparisons, sterilization techniques, potential Topas(r) COC applications or anything else would you like answered about polymers?” Prospects were given just one week to submit their questions to the panel of experts. As questions came in, the survey system sent an automated „Thank you‟ email to each respondent immediately. Then, Bright personally reviewed and routed the question to the best expert to answer it. She gave her experts a one-week deadline to get back with detailed, non-salesy answers.
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If the question was so specific that it would not have relevance for anyone besides the person who asked it, Bright sent the answer via email directly to that respondent. She posted all other Q&As to a new site section. She also added a few questions of her own just to cover holes. Then, precisely 10 days after her first email requesting questions went out, she emailed the opt-in list again to let them know about the new online resource, a useful Q&A microsite about polymers. Since launch, the microsite has become one of the top five entry pages in MedTech‟s 400+ page Web site, and MedTech ranked in the top three organic search engine results for 25% more keywords. #10. Company/ Product Information: Features, Facts & Specs This may be the content that you spend more of your time on than anything else. The key to success lies in the details. Lots and lots of details. Prospects who get far enough into your site to begin reviewing product information often want as much information as you can give them. Your site should be a mother load for them. More information makes you seem more honest, expert and useful. Among other things, information can include: Real-life product or offering photos Headshots of customers giving testimonials – the more real-looking the better Photo of your warehouse or building, proving you‟re “real” Trade show and events calendar where you‟ll be so people can meet you along with a photo of your typical booth so they know what to look for Headshots, contact info and bios of key executives, including ANYONE who has a personal one-to-one relationship with customers and key prospects (not just top management) Hotlinks to all post-product reviews and press mentions, including a summary of what‟s in the mention so the prospect doesn‟t have to click on each link to find out Historic company info including a timeline Icons of all association and trade organization memberships Specs, specs, specs
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Pricing information (note: people love pricing at all stages of the buying process) Budget-setting tables Comparison tables – between your products, versus competing products For more information about content for Web sites and microsites, see below. Note: Many PR people ask, “How many years of back press releases should we store on the site?” Our answer is always, “All of them.” That‟s because some prospects like historic data. Plus, more site pages equal a stronger site for search engines. You never know when an old press release – even if it‟s wildly outdated – will bring in a piece of traffic that‟s a new valued prospect. You do have to update three items for old press releases though: a. Contact information – a startling number of releases posted on sites doesn‟t include contact information. We‟re not sure how this oversight happens, but it happens a lot. b. Hotlinks – if the release includes hotlinks (and all should), make sure these are not broken. c. Offers – Make sure your display pages for press releases include a list of standard lead generation offers down the right or left side, including a contact form that‟s actually manned. Offers may do you far more good than a standard navigation bar. #11. How -to How-to content is a consistent crowd pleaser. We‟re not talking about instruction manuals, such as how to use your product (although this should be on the service section of your site.) Instead, we‟re talking about articles and instructions that your prospects would find useful in the daily course of doing their jobs. This can include information directly related to the purchasing process (How to select the vendor that‟s right for your needs. How to put together an RFP. How to determine a realistic budget that‟s not overboard, etc.) Or, it can feature information connected to the job-related problem or a need your product solves. Tips: Avoid fluff: A great deal of how-to writing is full of generalizations. It‟s not hands-on useful to a particular person in their moment of need. If it‟s not worth printing out for future reference, it‟s not worth publishing.
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Include graphics: Flow charts, checklists, sample forms pre-filled or not, photos with identifying tags and lines; pictures of hands doing the task in question, screenshots of real-life situations, etc. Add tools: instead of telling people what to do, consider if you can give them a tool that helps them actually do it. For example, instead of writing about how to create an RFP, give them an RFP creator-tool. Or, instead of telling people they should contact their customers with an offer before tax season, give them a Word doc with an actual letter or telemarketing script they can adapt for their own purposes. The key is – don‟t tell me what to do, help me to do it. #12. Top 10 Lists Even before David Letterman started his Top 10 lists more than 20 years ago, numbered lists of information were popular content. Here are 10 ideas for Top 10s: Top 10 Jokes About, or funniest moments in ... Top 10 Concerns, worries, problems with ... Top 10 Ways to Improve/change/fix ... Top 10 Questions Answered ... Top 10 Experts/winners/best people Top 10 Favorites Top 10 Weirdest/Surprises Top 10 Lessons learned Top 10 Wonders of the [insert industry name] World Top 10 Data points/facts/benchmarks

Example: Michael DeHaven, Ecommerce Marketing Manager,
CareerBuilder.com, said, “We were about to go out with an issue and I discovered the PR team had done a release titled, „Top 10 April Fool‟s Office Pranks‟ the day before.” What the heck, DeHaven figured. Why not toss the link into his next issue and see what happened? The story got 11% clickthroughs.

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Over the next six months, the tests included: #1. Headlines with numbers "7 Tips for Improving Your Cashflow" "Top 10 Interview No No's" "Top 10 Recruitment Myths -- Busted" "Top 10 Sales Killers" "5 Traits of Great Leaders" #2. Stories with a controversial angle "Are Your Employees Telling the Truth?" "Eliminate 10% of Your Staff Each Year" "Get Your Underperforming Employee to Quit -- Counseling Out" #3. Humor "Top 10 Excuses for Being Late"

"Since that initial April Fool‟s breakthrough, we have identified four types of communication that appeal to our customers: humor, top 10 lists, controversial topics and interviewing advice,” DeHaven said. Also, the segment of users who had been inactive on CareerBuilder.com for more than a year also had very high clickthrough rates, DeHaven said, resulting in more than 1,400 inactive customers who re-engaged with their marketing communication. Other clickthrough rates: Counseling Out, 14% Interview No No‟s, 14% Eliminate 10% of Your Staff, 4% (“too controversial,” DeHaven said.)

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4.19 Image: Email New sletter Sample - CareerBuilder

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12 Useful Content Formats: Tips
These formats are presented in alphabetical order. You have to select the best format for your particular situation. As noted above, the good news is that you can reuse a piece of content across several formats. Also, not all prospects in a particular segment prefer the same format. So, you‟ll be more appealing to more people with more formats offered. Here are some tips to creating (or repurposing) content for each type: #1. Articles If you are preparing articles that you hope will be published externally – i.e., articles to “plant” – first, pitch the idea of the article topic to the publication in which you hope it will run. Next, ask if they require an exclusive or if it‟s OK if you pitch the same type of article to other media. Finally, ask about preferred word count. Aside from our annual Wisdom Report, MarketingSherpa neither solicits nor accepts any outside articles. Yet, PR people deluge us with prewritten articles they want to plant in Sherpa publications. What a waste of time and effort for all involved! When selecting media to pitch to, also check whether they allow the article‟s author to include a brief bio at the end and whether you can include basic offers (of an educational, non-salesy nature) with a live hotlink in that bio. If you‟re going to the trouble of planting articles, you definitely want that hotlink both for SEO and human traffic purposes. Example bio blurb with offer:
Anne Holland is Founder of M arketingSherpa Inc., a research firm publishing Case Studies and Benchmark Data for its hundreds of thousands subscribers. For a free executive summary including five new research charts from M arketingSherpa‟s new Business Technology M arketing Benchmark Guide go to: http://w w w .marketingsherpa.com/exs/ BizTech08_09Excerpt.pdf

If you create articles for in-house publications, check with a few typical recipients to see what length they prefer to read. Often, writers write longer pieces than readers have patience for, especially online and in a busy business environment. In the past, a feature article could run 2,000 words. Online, most feature articles and columns run 800-1,200 words. However, this is evolving now in many sites and newsletters to around 450 words.
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If the subject demands a more in-depth treatment, then break it into several segments (Part I, Part II, Part III, etc.) or produce it in another format, such as a printable PDF or book and don‟t call it an article. The fact is, the old method of determining word count (how much space on the page you need to fill) doesn‟t make sense anymore. Now, word count is determined by how much information you need to get across; how valuable that information is likely to be to the end recipient; and how much time are they likely to allow for reading it. Word count does not determine value. An article of only 100 words could be 100 times more valuable than an article with 1,000 words. What matters is the value of the information you‟re handing over to the reader, and that‟s all. Very experienced article writers and columnists often write too long from habit. They‟re used to putting out about 800 words per topic and that‟s what they‟ll give you. Inexperienced article writers often write too long because of their school training. Seems like everyone‟s high school English teacher taught them to write a paper in the same format: start out with a broad introductory statement, then narrow it down, then narrow it down further, and, at last, make your point. By the time you get to the point, you‟ve lost your reader. As editor-in-chief, your job probably includes editing articles so they get to the point more quickly. We‟ve found often enough that you can chop off the first 2-3 paragraphs entirely (or boil them down to 1-2 sentences) and wind up with a far more readable article. Don‟t forget to post every article you write onto your website (don‟t send out content in email alone) and include tags with keywords for the content. If possible, tie in your analytics system to track by particular tags so you can see which types and topics tend to get the best readership and/or the highest conversion rate to future inquiries. #2. Audio With Slides This content format is surprisingly popular and easy to produce. It‟s roughly the same thing as a canned webinar. You post PowerPoint-style slides online along with an audio accompaniment. The audio can be called in and taped by any expert you recruit for the purpose. But, don‟t call it a webinar and certainly never allow it to approach webinar-style length. 10-15 minutes is probably a maximum, and even that may be high for some industries.

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4.20 Image: M alvern Instruments Audio Pow erPoint-Style Campaigns - Extensive M enu of Audio Slide Presentations

Example: Malvern Instruments‟ VP Marketing Randy Byrne said, “We needed
to find a way, other than putting a scientist on a plane, to take tech info from our own scientists and deliver it directly to the growing global marketplace.” The marketing team decided to test a new format – an audio + PowerPoint-style presentation they called „On Demand Training.‟ The idea was fairly simple. They would put together a set of slides, perhaps 10 or so, and post these on the site along with an audio feed to talk viewers through the presentation. The tech required less bandwidth for a typical webinar (something prospects in China and Eastern Europe may still have problems with.) Prospects could click
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to listen and view any particular slide or sit back and listen to the entire presentation in order. After extensive tests, Byrne‟s team came up with seven rules to make these audio slides extremely effective marcom:
#1. KEEP IT SHORT

Three to five minutes seems to be the sweet spot, for Malvern‟s market at least. Brevity is tough though for marketers and presenters who are more used to webinars and in-person presentations. Byrne noted, “We still sometimes fail miserably.”
#2. PUT THE GOOD STUFF FIRST

Visitors have control over the presentation experience. They can click around and leave in a heartbeat. Unlike live webinars, where you have a bit of leeway for a few slightly dull intro slides, folks using audio slides won‟t wait passively for the good stuff. Either begin with the most valuable information you can on your very first slide – to convince them to stay – or don‟t bother. As with the art of great article writing, cut the boring intro and hook them with your lead at the very start. If you have far too much content to cram into a 5-minute time constriction, consider cutting it into chunks and doing a multipart series. “We try to make it modular,” noted Byrne. “Someone more advanced might not want to view parts 1-2; they may just want parts 3-5.”
#3. CONSIDER VOICE COACHING (AT LEAST INFORM ALLY)

Often, your most valuable presenters will be techies, researchers, and product managers from your company (not salespeople). However, these usually are not pros with lots of presentation experience. Coach new presenters so they don‟t speak too quickly or mumble (especially if your prospects are not native English speakers). “I‟ve definitely done some voice coaching,” Byrne said. „Scientists can be monotone. A voice needs intonations, especially if you‟re presenting on the Web.”
#4. KEEP THE TEXT ON THE SLIDE LIGHT

As with all other presentations, don‟t put the text of the speech on the slides. Your slides are not teleprompters for the speaker or transcripts for the viewer. Instead, they should function as illustrations of the points you‟re making. Great slide content includes charts, diagrams, relevant graphics and short bullet points.

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4.21 Image: M alvern Instruments Audio Pow erPoint-Style Campaigns - Screenshot of Actual Presentation

#5. STICK TO CORPORATE TEM PLATE

Byrne‟s team created a template and posted it on the intranet so marketers, product managers, sales managers and scientists in other offices could easily create their own presentations. This was especially important since the company has offices and reps in many countries and Byrne wanted to encourage locals to create presentations in their own marketplace‟s language. The operational key was to make the content management and audio recording extremely easy for dozens of users while keeping the Malvern brand messaging on target.
#6. GIVE VIEWERS A SELECTION OF RESPONSE DEVICES

Different prospects might have different favored means of communication, so the team included a variety of options on the very last slide – email, phone and a voice-over call to action. Plus, after the last slide was over, the viewer was automatically forwarded to a highly relevant page on Malvern‟s site for far more details on the topic.

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#7. M EASURE RESULTS AND REACT TO THEM

“We‟re analyzing the heck out of the data,” said Byrne. Key data points include what percent of viewers watch an entire presentation, what get about 50% through, and how many abandon almost immediately. The system is tied into Malvern‟s CRM database, and registration or login is required for most presentations (unless it‟s a product message Byrne wants to reach the biggest possible audience). That way the sales team can see who views what, especially who views many presentations, and who forwards a presentation to others in his or her organization. “The response has been phenomenal,” said Byrne. In fact, after the initial test, Malvern expanded the program to now offering an online library of nearly 200 presentations in six languages. “We‟ve even got people in the far reaches of China viewing them! The penetration has been incredible for us.” Malvern has been offering the presentations for three years now, so you might expect response rates to have drifted down after the initial excitement wore off. Not so. “We know once people view their first one, they tend to come back and view others and they tend to tell other people about them.” As an example, Byrne cited a campaign his team completed where they sent prospects and customers an email invite to view a new presentation of fairly general interest. “48% of the people clicked through. 25% watched the first slide, about half watched half the slides and 25% watched all the way through a 5 1/2 minute presentation.” In addition to the presentations, the team also does a full range of webinars that are first presented live and then available in a canned version on the same site library page as the audio slides. The team began to wonder if they really had to use both formats. “We surveyed the market. We asked if they wanted both tools. We naively thought we could do one or the other.” The response was overwhelming – keep doing both. In fact, the team discovered, prospects tended to break into one of four camps. Some people like information on the Web site, some like downloadable tech notes and white papers, some like webinars, and some like audio slides.

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4.22 Image: M alvern Instruments Audio Pow erPoint-Style Campaigns - Typical Landing Page View ers Are Pushed to Afterw ard

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#3. Blogs According to thousands of surveyed marketers, business executives and press, the most important readers of your company and key executive blogs are (in order of importance):
A. SEARCH ENGINE SPIDERS

First and foremost, blogs are SEO-tools. So use keywords in your headlines and body copy and include useful text links back to your main site, such as links to white papers and other useful content. Check your site analytics to see which keywords search engines are sending you traffic. If your blog isn‟t tied into your main site‟s analytics, there are plenty of external tools you can use for this easily, cheaply and with little technical knowledge, including Google Analytics and Measure Map.
B. JOURNALISTS

Reporters are more likely to surf company blogs looking for story ideas than they are to read your press releases. That‟s because they know everybody and his brother already got your press release, but only a clever few dig out nuggets from your blog. They need exclusive story ideas and great potential experts to interview. Include easy-to-find contact info for every named blogger in your blog and make sure that contact is staffed by a human who‟ll reply to press. Also, consider including bits of information likely to appeal to journalists, such as insider news, pre-launch whispers, exclusive news, behind-the-scenes details, previews, little bits of bitchy, passionate, or mind-stretching commentary about the competition or current business environment, etc. What they don‟t want: pompous essay-style columns by executives stretching to be thought leaders.
C. EVANGELISTS

This is that fan on the prospect committee who has been pushing like crazy for their organization to become a customer of yours (or an even bigger customer). They may be a consultant or other outside influencer, they may be a line-ofbusiness user or they may be a technical expert. They certainly consider themselves expert – or at least more expert and passionate than the rest of the people on the committee. The types of information that appeal to them mirror what works for journalists. They want to feel like insiders. They‟re looking for juicy bits of insider information the hoi polloi don‟t get in an email newsletter or white paper. They‟re also 1,000 times more likely to post comments to your blog than any other demographic. And, they‟ll be thrilled to see those comments acknowledged if applicable by the blog author posting a public reply under their comment. This
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kind of interaction can be priceless. Your best bet is to actively engage them in a blog conversation occasionally, putting questions, such as, „What do you guys think about ...?” at the end of a posting. And, then, publicly reply to the best comments you get. The blog post then becomes an opener for an ongoing conversation with evangelists and other passionate partisans, rather than simply a forum for you to speak in alone. Interestingly, we‟ve found it takes at least 1,000 regular blog readers to start a conversation routinely in the US. Outside the US, you can get a conversation going with as few as 100-150 passionate people.
D. OTHER BLOGGERS

Bloggers read blogs far more than non-bloggers do. If they like your blog, they may hotlink to it, thus increasing your blog‟s SEO-value. Be sure to include a blogroll of highly influential bloggers on your blog (don‟t make a hotlink reciprocal-only; that kind of tit for tat is frowned upon by search engines and bloggers). Also, be sure to cite and hotlink to external blog posts that you think are really outstanding as part of your blog posts. There‟s little a blogger enjoys more than a third-party blog referring and hotlinking to him or her. Blog fans will pay you back big-time over the long haul.
E. EVERYONE ELSE

This is by far the smallest population and the least likely to return repeatedly. They may trip over your blog via a search engine or via a link from another blog. They‟ll read a single posting, or a page of postings at most, and then depart never to darken your door again. Your goal for this population is to convert them to multiple-time or multiple-page readers if possible. Include hotlinks to other pages of your blog, prominently feature RSS and email subscription offers at both the top and bottom of the page and cross your fingers. Some bloggers also tweak their blog post signature (the author‟s name that appears usually below each posting) to include a telephone number, an email address, and even an offer hotlink. The offer should be non-salesy, more bloglike information or edutainment. What makes great blog content? Entire books and blogs have been written on the topic. A few of our favorite tips:  Keep it short. A post can be as short as one sentence.  Hotlink externally. If you never link to anyone else, it‟s not a blog; it‟s an empty vacuum.

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 Get help. It‟s awfully tough to keep an individually-written blog going on your own for more than six months at most. It‟s like playing a game of Frisbee: at first, it was fun to catch and throw a few times, but after a couple of hours you‟re just bored and exhausted.  Keep evergreen posts in the can. Some weeks you‟ll just go blank, or maybe you‟ll be unexpectedly out. Always have a few pre-written posts saved as drafts that you can go live with at any moment.  Keep a blog idea folder. You can keep it in email most easily, and even email ideas to yourself. You never know when inspiration will strike – gather it, save it for when you need a topic and can‟t think of anything.  Be a scoop-seeking reporter. You don‟t have to make everything you say out of your own thoughts or merely summarize and hotlink to external sources. You can be a blog journalist, pinging experts with questions and posting their replies in your blog (let them know you‟re doing that), reporting from the show floor at trade shows, and posting tidbits of exclusive news, gossip, and data you find yourself. For example, one commercial Realtor we know interviews building managers and tenants and reports on new and hot locations.  Text-only can be text-boring. Consider adding real-life photos, reproducing ads, including videos, etc.  Blog several times a week until you reach critical mass. Depending on the topic you cover, you‟ll need anywhere from 50 to 150 postings on that topic for the search engines and blog readers alike to consider you a solid, return-worthy, source of information on that particular topic. If you write on several topics, consider starting different blogs or at least categorizing posting by topic and striving to attain critical mass in each category. Once you reach critical mass, you can cut back frequency a bit; some cut back to once a week or twice a month.  Readability matters. If you hope to attract business readers, don‟t use one of those blog templates with small type of typeface that‟s any other color than black on white background. Consider bumping up the point size of your blog to 12 points for readability if your readership is age 40 or older.

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#4. Books Perhaps the most successful piece of marketing in history is masquerading as a business book. „Ogilvy on Advertising‟ was written by David Ogilvy, for whose ad agency it functioned as a masterful brochure. The book sat on bestseller lists for months and is still in print 25 years later. Want to pull off an Ogilvy of your own? First, consider whether your target marketplace cares about publisher imprints or not. If you are targeting the Fortune 500 or Global 100, being able to say, “My book was published by McGraw Hill,” matters. The same might be true of a highly technical audience who would be impressed by an O‟Reilly-published title. Also, consider whether your marketplace cares if your book is in their neighborhood bookstore or not. If you‟re targeting academia, entrepreneurs or some sections of the small business marketplace, having a book in brickand-mortar bookstores matters. (Getting your book into online bookstores is a completely different matter. Self publishers and vanity publishers can get their works listed on Amazon.) If so, then you‟ll need to pitch your book idea to a mainstream business book publisher, get accepted, and published. MarketingSherpa has written an entire 50-page report on how to get your business book published by a formal publisher; see Chapter 6 for details. If your pitch is accepted and then your manuscript is accepted, you can expect your book to appear in due course in anywhere from three to six months. Unless your name is Lee Iacocca, you‟ll probably be paid something like $5,000 for the endeavor, and only 5,000 copies will be printed. The publisher will do some marketing, mainly via catalogs and a bit of PR, depending on how popular they think the title will be. However, the majority of sales and marketing activities for most books are conducted by their authors. In fact, publishers will accept or reject your manuscript based in large part on how much marketing support they think you‟ll be able to throw behind it. So, don‟t count on a publisher to make you famous – they tend to expect you to do that yourself. If your audience doesn‟t care that the book is in brick-and-mortar bookstores, and name-brand imprints don‟t mean a great deal to them, then consider selfpublishing either by producing the book yourself or by contracting out the work through a vanity publisher.

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You‟ll have to handle all manuscript preparation yourself, including legal, layout, and editing, but there are plenty of freelancers who can help at a minimum cost. Depending on your production values, size, and total print run, your book can cost anywhere from $3 to 20 per copy. Usually, it‟s under $10. You pay the printer up front, warehouse and fulfill the books on your own. Some Web sites, such as Lulu.com, have popped up that will print individual books, but the cost is slightly higher. Either way, you still have to do the marketing for your book, just as you would for a formally published book. However, in these cases, you keep all the funds. If your book becomes a runaway bestseller or you decide to print in bulk for prospecting, your ROI can be phenomenal. Either way, from now on, you are a published author with a thumbnail of a book cover to stick proudly next to your bio everywhere it appears.

Example: “Several of our clients have found us
through our books. That was no accident. We planned it that way,” said Bryan Eisenberg of FutureNow Inc., who has co-authored two New York Times non-fiction bestsellers with his brother and business partner Jeffrey. “We looked at our audience through the eyes of personas and identified a segment of our audience that approached us (and consultants in general) with a healthy degree of skepticism. The books gave this audience a chance to „try before they buy‟ and see for themselves what FutureNow is all about.” The key to generating new business with a book is to ensure it gets into as many prospects‟ hands as possible. You need to go with a mainstream publisher, both for credibility and for placement in traditional bookstores, especially airport bookshops that businesspeople shop at. (See Chapter 6 for a resource to land a book deal with a traditional publisher.) However, you can‟t count on that publisher to serve as the sole marketing engine behind your book. You‟ll need to supplement their efforts, often fairly heavily. Among other tactics, the Eisenberg brothers promoted their books via: Mentions in their own email newsletters to their house list, which they had built to a large size over the years. Reviews by major bloggers and online press covering the niche market they served. Multiple press releases designed to hit keywords in Google and Yahoo News
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Bulk sales to non-competitive vendors who also served the same prospects Multiple copy sales to prospects and customers via Amazon.com Timing was critical. The brothers knew landing on the Amazon.com bestsellers list and then springboarding that attention to The New York Times Bestseller list would propel their book to far greater heights, especially getting shelf space on airport bookstores. For this, they needed to make a lot of sales in a very short time period (preferably in one week) rather than getting a lot of sales over a longer period. So, all marketing and promotional campaigns were set up before publication date to launch in the same handful of days, pushing for a large lump of big sales early on. They measured results by: Featuring “word flags,” self-created terminology used throughout the books that only a reader would use when discussing new projects with them or when discussing their ideas in blogs. Including an 800 number and a URL on the book cover. Including anecdotal stories in the text about other clients that new prospects might refer to, such as, “I want you to do that thing for my company that you did for that company in Orlando that you wrote about.” #5. Ebooks Initially ebooks referred to documents that were readable via a special ebook reader. There were more than two dozen readers and formats, but none really took off except for PDFs. So, when we refer to ebooks, we mean long documents in PDF format. Example: Alterpoint‟s white paper offers targeted IT managers and executives in the Fortune 1000 ... as did 48,000 other white papers. “It is extremely competitive,” admitted Marketing Communications Director Barbara J. Prinsell. To break through the clutter, Prinsell decided to test offering a 150+ page ebook authored on their behalf by famous IT columnist and speaker Don Jones. Alterpoint paid ebook firms realtimepublishers.com, which contracted the author, edited the manuscript, and owned copyright, $10,000 per chapter for an exclusive two-year contract. So, Prinsell wanted an evergreen title that would be a useful lead generation offer for the entire two years. The resulting title: „Tips & Tricks Guide to Network Configuration Management.‟ She promoted the eBook via multiple media including a printed excerpt for trade show handouts, PR, online syndication, ads in third-party email newsletters,
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banner ads, etc. Instead of giving away the entire ebook in one lump, registered prospects received it one chapter at a time via email over a period of weeks. That way, Alterpoint got multiple touches from a single offer. “It‟s been an extremely successful program,” noted Prinsell. In fact, so successful that the firm commissioned another title plus an update of the initial one so they could keep the campaign going indefinitely. Landing page conversion rates averaged at 36%. Emailed chapter clickthrough rates were in the high 20s to mid30s. Plus, some chapters went viral.
4.23 Image: AlterPoint's eBook Offer - Sample Email Blast to Rented List With Offer

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#6. Podcasts The name podcast is misleading because it implies that people listen to podcasts mainly on their iPods. Actually, data shows the majority of at-work podcast listeners are listening in from their PCs or Macs. This means you can podcast to reach the at-work audience. It also means that they are highly likely to be multitasking when they listen to you. That means you have to catch their attention repeatedly in order to keep their minds from drifting off. How? Either put out a brief but frequent podcast around 5 minutes-long, or construct your podcast a bit like „The Tonight Show,‟ a series of short bits of different voices and conversations. Another choice used by marketers, such as Arbor Networks, is to create a highly dramatic story line, sort of like a TV series that keeps you on the edge of your seat both during and between episodes.
4.24 Chart: Duration of Podcasts Offered by Technology Companies

Percentage of podcasts 5 minutes or less 6-10 minutes 11-15 minutes 16-20 minutes 21-25 minutes 26-30 minutes 31 minutes or more 0% 3% 7% 10% 10% 20% 30% 40% 10% 17% 24%

28%

Source: MarketingSherpa, April 2007 Methodology: Analyst audit of 150 business to business sites.

Shorter length (than you think). The perfect length may be 5-7 minutes, although we‟ve heard some great outliers. As you can see from this chart from MarketingSherpa‟s 2007 observational study, most B-to-B podcasts are too long.

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Consider how long a typical National Public Radio news story is. Twothree minutes is average. Five-seven minutes is extraordinarily in-depth. Audiobooks and favorite record albums aside, most people don‟t have the concentration needed to listen carefully to particular audio content without any visual stimulation for more than a handful of minutes. They get bored and drift off.

Repurpose content specifically for the medium. We suspect marketers make their podcasts so long because they are repurposing content originally developed for white papers, speeches, or webinars which, when you read into a microphone can take awhile. There‟s nothing duller to listen to. Instead of moving content directly over from one media to the next, you need to do an entirely new take on the content for audio purposes. For example, instead of reading a white paper out loud, do a Q&A interview on the top points with the writer. (Consider the difference between reading a book yourself and hearing Oprah interview the author on her show.) Podcast in a series, never a one-shot. Podcasts are like email newsletters; you won‟t get the full impact or value of the endeavor if you just publish one single issue. Whatever your frequency, pick one and stick to it. Unfortunately, 47% of B-to-B podcasts that MarketingSherpa conducted an observational study on in April 2007 offered only one episode. We suspect those were marketers dipping their toes into the podcasting pond – “Just testing it.” Their results won‟t be spectacular because, as with any ad or marketing medium, only repeat, sustained messaging does the job properly. Frequency is up to your audience and your content. Again, just like email newsletters, the best frequency is determined by the interest your audience has and the type of content you put out. We suspect that most marketers will wind up with weekly, biweekly, or, perhaps, monthly podcasts. Anything less frequent than that is far too forgettable and doesn‟t build your brand to a rising crescendo. That‟s why some marketers, in fact, say weekly is the best frequency. High-value content: As with online video, the excitement of podcasts has worn off pretty quickly; people won‟t listen to boring content just because it‟s a podcast anymore. Unless the topic of your podcast is clearly direct selling (i.e., “What‟s on sale this week from X”), which we doubt will get few listeners, remove selling or even lightly disguised pitches from your content. People don‟t want to hear about you; they want to hear about the topic at hand and how it might affect them.
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Production values matter less than you think. You can use a $100 recorder and cheap audio editing to put your podcast together. It will cost you more in time than money. However some brands will want to hire professional voice talent (local TV and radio news station staff are more than happy to moonlight for a fee) and use professional editing. No matter which way you decide to go with voices, we strongly suggest you get some quick intro and exit music developed for your brand. That way, when the podcast starts, people get a powerful non-verbal cue that it‟s you. Film and TV composers, such as Michael Whalen, can create theme music for your brand‟s podcast fairly inexpensively. Just posting on iTunes is not enough promotion for your podcast. iTunes has a gazillion podcasts competing for attention; yours is unlikely to stand out. Go ahead and post it there, why not. But don‟t count on it for significant listenership. Offer email and RSS signups for podcast alerts. Since not everyone uses an iPod or iTunes, they may not know when to return to your site for more episodes unless you ping them. Detailed landing pages. Whether you have a landing page for each episode or you have one page for a group of them (the former hotlinked to a podcast Home TOC being preferable), be sure to features lots of descriptive content about the podcast on that page. Key: people want to know how long it is and how large an MP3 file they‟ll download. (Many marketers forget these helpful basics.) They would also like to know what topics are covered and info on any guest speakers. And, if the show is unusually long (more than 10 minutes) add a cut-to-the-chase table of audio contents so people can listen to the bits they really want to without having to wade through the rest.

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4.25 Image: Podcast Landing Page Sample - iPressroom

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How can you get responses from podcasts? Three ways:
A.

You can place a brief sponsor‟s announcement in the middle as if it were a radio show; and/or you can have the podcast host plug an offer at the end of the “show.” Definitely give both phone numbers and vanity URLs as response devices. If you have prospects outside the US, remember, a US 800 number won‟t work for them so you need to include a non-800 number for these folks, expressed as “Outside the US, call 01-area codenumber-number.”) Also, audio-test your vanity URL by calling it out to someone outside your department and asking them to type what you just said. Did they get it right? Or was spelling or misunderstanding a problem? If you have a hard-to-spell name, you may need to buy up typical typos just to be safe. You can place a “Contact us” and/or other non-salesy hotlink or form on the actual download page. This works well if you have a series of podcasts centering around topics that directly relate to your business, such as consulting on a particular topic.

B.

Example: 47% of regular listeners (defined as people who have heard
more than one episode) of iPressroom‟s On The Record podcast series have voluntarily completed a form on the iPressroom site requesting more information on the firm‟s services.
C.

You can place a brief podcast on the landing page for a related offer. For example, if you are offering a new white paper, you could add a podcast hotlink on the offer‟s landing page. Prospects can click to listen to a quick interview with the author while they decide whether they want to register to get the entire white paper.

Example: Marketer Paul Dunay of BearingPoint tested adding a podcast
to a white paper offer page. He noted the original no-podcast landing page got about a 1-in-10 conversion rate. “Once we put the podcast there, we saw that immediately jump to 3 in 10, and, in fact, we even saw that as high as 5 in 10 when it was a really hot topic. So, I really recommend that.”

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4.26 Image: Podcast Offer on White Paper Offer Landing Page - BearingPoint

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4.27 Image: Podcast Landing Page - BearingPoint

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#7. Press Releases The audience for press releases is NOT primarily press. However, your writers still have to keep up the fiction that, indeed, journalists are the end audience in their tone and wording choice. It‟s a polite fiction for the 21st century. Releases are actually pure marketing copy. The readers you have to please are (in order of importance):
NEWS SEARCH ENGINES

Yahoo! News (by far the most trafficked), Google News, MSN News and a raft of smaller ones all “read” the text of your press release electronically and decide which keywords are important in it and how important this release is to be ranked in a list of other relevant news and releases. Then, when a human being searches for that keyword, your release comes up. The art of copywriting releases, especially the headline and first paragraph, so as to appeal to news search engines for appropriate terms, is known as SEOPR (named after the firm that popularized it, SEO-PR Inc.) The SEO specialist for your Web site is as important to consult on your final release wording as your PR firm is ... perhaps even more.
PEOPLE WHO USE NEWS SEARCH ENGINE ALERTS

Many people set up email alerts, „My News‟ pages or RSS feeds on specific terms relevant to them. Your press release would be included in that feed the day it comes out. These may be stock investors, competitors, sales reps for vendors targeting your organization as a prospect, your own prospects in the final stages of a highly considered sales cycle, your employees, or bloggers who follow that keyword in their blogs. They are unlikely to be early-stage sales prospects. There won‟t be many of these people per keyword, but they tend to be deeply interested in the term. If a public company is cited in your release, be sure to include the stock ticker as investors often set alerts by ticker. Pick a day of the week for your release that you think would be best for their attention. If you‟re expecting the blogosphere to run with the story, then post the release a day or two before your best day for news because it will take a while for them to pick it up and post it. So, if you issue a release on a Monday, the blog world may be gathering speed by Tuesday.
PEOPLE WHO SEARCH NEWS ON THE FLY

These people are more likely to be potential prospects, often key influencers on an active research project to learn more about the field as a whole. To attract them, you need a steady presence in news search engines because you never
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know what day of the year they‟ll be searching. This means scheduling a steady stream of relevant press releases throughout the year to maintain visibility. Use your content publishing – podcasts, white papers, calculators, PDFs, case studies, whatever – as the subject matter for these releases. So, every time you have great new content, even something as simple as a very strong email newsletter article that‟s now posted at your site, you can issue a release. (Don‟t promote individual blog posts though, although you can promote the launch of a new blog.) In addition, if general news coverage of your organization spikes suddenly (perhaps there has been a lawsuit, a competitor announcement, front-cover coverage in a major magazine, etc.) your company name and other relevant terms will see a corresponding spike in news engine searches. Immediately whip into action to issue releases to take advantage of this extra traffic. Releases don‟t have to be always directly related to the news at hand, but they need to feature compelling information about your organization. If your release includes a handy hotlink to more information – for example, a hotlink in the first paragraph to download a white paper – these “impulse searchers” may be likely to click on it. However, they‟ll leave as quickly if asked to complete a registration form to get the paper. You‟re better off not barricading the content. See below for more tips on when (and when not) to require registration. Depending on the news engine, your release will be visible to relevant keyword searchers for 21-30 days. As it ages, the release will slip further down in rankings as newer, more relevant news and releases come out on the same keyword. In addition, your release will be included for a much longer period of time in searchable news archives that are sold to very large organizations‟ intranets by companies, such as Factiva. Once your release is out there, it lives nearly forever in the dimly lit bowels of some organizations.

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4.28 Image: Yahoo! New s for Search Term Cisco

SEARCH ENGINE SPIDERS

If your release contains hotlinks – and we strongly advise that it should, especially in the first paragraph – then regular search engine spiders will crawl the links. Carefully use keywords that you would like those spiders to take note of, around the links and in the text of the links themselves. Ask your SEO specialist for help with this if you‟re not sure how. There‟s a science to it. Your goal is to get the Web pages these links go to more attention in search engines, so the pages show up in regular search when people search on those key terms. If that page features a depth of content around the keyword, including a non-barricaded series of pages or downloads (PDF, PowerPoint, Word doc) focused around the keyword, you‟re more likely to be ranked high. Also, if you get more sources, beyond the press release, to hotlink to that page using similar keywords, you‟ll get better rankings. Hence the importance of getting partners and the blogosphere to pick up your release complete with hotlink!
PEOPLE WHO VISIT YOUR SITE

Press releases, by their factual tone and official stance, tend to impress prospects more than your sales or marketing copy will. It‟s crazy because releases are often written by the same copywriters and talk about the same things your other copy talks about. But prospects tend to take them more seriously than other marketing.

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That‟s one of the reasons why you should never use a hypey tone in a release. Respect the fact that prospects value that “news” format and expect the tone to be more formal. During the early consideration phase, many prospects will search your site explicitly looking for press releases as part of their fact-finding mission. Some companies take advantage of this pattern of activity by including as many releases as possible on their site, even releases that were never formally “released” over the wires. If you‟re a new marketer for a lesser-known company and you want to build credibility messaging on the site, posting a series of truthful backdated releases is a great way to do it. Pick major events in the company‟s history to spotlight, such as key executive hires, major client wins, key product launches, CEO speaking gigs at major trade shows, coverage in key media, etc. In effect, you‟re writing a company history. #8. Radio Show s Is your organization located in a “company town” centered on an industry, such as Los Angeles, Washington, DC, or Detroit? Local radio can be a very powerful media for your content. Or, is your organization national or global with a very large prospect base? In that case, a syndicated talk or business radio show may be the way to go. If you are in the advisory business – as a service provider, such as a lawyer, accountant, ad agency, etc. – then you may have the right star for your radio show in-house. The type of confident, entertaining, and helpful person who creates compelling advisory content for a blog or podcast can make a good regular radio personality. If you are in the products business, you may, instead, want to officially sponsor the content created by an adviser of your choice. Your sponsorship might entail everything up to producing the content with their voice. Example: William R. Stark, Managing Partner of management consulting firm Maverick LLC, wanted to do a syndicated radio show featuring their unique type of management advice and get a national network to carry it? Only problem – the overwhelming majority of radio shows of this ilk are actually paid commercials. The talk show producers pay the stations for air time and cross their fingers hoping to either get sponsors or new customers to cover the costs. Stark didn‟t want to go into what boils down to a risky form of show business. He wanted to build buzz for Maverick for as reasonable a cost as possible. So, Stark came up with a general program idea – a 30-60 minute national call-in
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show featuring Maverick‟s consultants as business relationship Dear Abby. Now all he had to do was get it on the air.
STEP #1. PITCH LETTERS

Stark drew on 20 years of business writing experience to craft the most compelling pitch letter he could. Then he FedExed it to high-level execs at NPR, Sirius, and XM Satellite radio among others. “Snail mail has almost no chance of getting through to senior people. FedEx at least gets to the top of their admin‟s pile and may be read.”
STEP #2. FORM AT DEVELOPM ENT & SAM PLE PRODUCTION

XM was the first to bite at the pitch. They loved it, but ... required a drastic format change. Instead of a live 60-minute weekly, they wanted a polished, pretaped 60-second daily show. “We had a plan,” Stark said wryly. “This was not Plan A or even Plan B.” Plus, even if he invested in sample pilot production – which might take an estimated week of his time plus $15,000 hard costs for everything from studio time to voice-overs and music royalties – there was absolutely no guarantee XM would decide to run with the show in the end. Stark decided to take the risk anyway. His pilot production tips: Tip A: Invest in a great template As with a TV show, talk radio shows have a set structure, starting with a bit of music and a voice-over introduction, and then ending with the same. This would be the template into which all future shows would be placed. For a 1-minute show, the intro was 4 1/2 seconds, and the ending was 5 seconds with an official show tagline and exit music. In total, the template was under 10 seconds. But these are incredibly high-impact seconds – so Stark was willing to invest a significant amount of his budget on them. “We hired a very well known voice pro to introduce the Maverick Minute.” Tip B: Hire the best sound engineer you can find “In terms of sound engineering, low cost is not an option,” Stark advised. “It‟s the same difference between being a good golfer and being on the PGA. It‟s not a thin line at all to cross, it‟s a very difficult line. Too many people think quality content alone is an indicator of success. If it was about great programming, we wouldn‟t have so many horrible movies or TV!” You have to feel slickly, professionally produced to fly on network radio. Drop your podcasting-style dreams at the door before you come in.
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The key is consistency. “A great engineer makes sure the talent has the same intonation, depth, and energy level to their voices week after week.” Shows recorded months apart would sound as if they could have been recorded the same day.
STEP #3. SIGNED CONTRACTS

“We are paid in kind, I can‟t discuss the terms of the contract,” said Stark. Suffice to say Maverick is not paying for their shows to run on air. He noted, “We developed the content to their specifications, and they really liked it. That was our leverage.” One other tip – don‟t sweat the length of the contract term if there‟s a 30-day outclause elsewhere in the contract. That out-clause effectively turns your contract into a month-to-month deal as it is. Focus on making your partner so happy later on that they never invoke it.
STEP #4. ONGOING SCRIPTWRITING

Stark noted that writing a script for a 50-1/2 second show is incredibly challenging. “It‟s about 150 words.” How can you possibly impart value in such a tiny space? Tip: Use shorter monosyllabic words to fit more content in. Tip: Give a fact or straight-forward advice – there‟s no time for a debate, complex analysis, or to tell an introductory story. Tip: Be careful using humor because inevitably some people won‟t get the joke. Tip: Serialize your shows, writing several in a row on the same topic, each promoting the next while being able to stand on its own.
STEP #5. TURN AIR TIM E INTO M ARKETING

XM wouldn‟t let Maverick do explicit sales pitches during the minute – nor would that have been appropriate for the format. Blending high-quality advice and an overt sales pitch is always iffy. (Consider the fact that the most-forwarded and influential white papers have no sales copy at all beyond a logo.) So, the call to action had to be passive – a brief tagline mention to find out more at Maverick‟s Web site. To get the most marketing bang, Stark: Assigned a staffer to answer all show-related email within a few hours or even more quickly if possible. That way when prospects emailed they would be met with a prompt friendly welcome.

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Added a „listen to our show‟ hotlink prominently on the company home page. Tested putting a required registration form in front of the online listening part of the site to generate prospects. Contacted clients – and former clients – to let them know about the show, including hotlinks to specific episodes he thought they might personally be interested in. Used the existing radio show as a credibility springboard for pitches for deals in other media, such as a mass market book deal. “It‟s created an amazing amount of good will. They seem to put more stock and credibility in the fact that we do a radio show for XM than something innovative and valuable we did for them as a consulting company.” Why? “They paid us a lot of money for the consulting and we met their expectations. But when they hear us on the radio, that builds a little excitement. There‟s a „wow‟ factor.” As XM‟s reach has grown, Maverick‟s incoming email as a result of the show has burgeoned. They‟ve been getting a couple of hundred emails per month, and site traffic continues to rise. “Lots of those emails are from those senior-level people we were targeting. The majority of those who write to us are in the $60-100k level salary range.” Most often site visitors and emailers are seeking to hear an entire show – turns out that even though the show‟s only a minute, the content is good enough that folks want to hear it again. Or perhaps they only tuned in for the end and want to hear the whole thing. The test that didn‟t work was the required registration form. It generated a few leads, but roughly 99% of site visitors bailed rather than filling it out to get to the content. Since the point was to get a message out broadly, Stark decided to only ask for registration if folks wanted to surf the library of past shows.

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4.29 Image: M averick LLC's XM Radio Campaign Original Pitch Letter to XM

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4.30 Image: Script of Brief Business Radio Show - M averick

Example: Christoph Nagel, Deloitte & Touche (D&T) Great Lakes Marketing
Director, was at a cocktail reception in 2001 talking to some young Volkswagen executives in upper middle management. “After we chatted for a bit, they asked what company I was with. I said Deloitte & Touche. They go, „Oh, we‟ve heard of you. Whatever happened to you guys?‟ I said, „I beg your pardon?‟ They said, „We thought you were number one in automotive high tech, but we haven‟t heard much lately.‟ I was red-faced. I realized we had a major image problem.” Nagel realized that he and his team had no relationships with high-tech reporters, and D&T were considered accountants – not on the cutting edge. This was especially frustrating because several of D&T‟s direct competitors, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young were seen as being high tech

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specialists. How could D&T get on the list, so CEOs would consider going with them instead? Part of the problem was, D&T is composed of hundreds of equal partners who rely on a combination of national branding campaigns and personal relationships with C-level executives to capture and grow accounts. “I likened our practices to a Budweiser Beer wagon with 12 beautiful Clydesdale horses,” said Nagel. “But all the horses were going in different directions, so the wagon wasn‟t moving anywhere.” The last thing Nagel wanted to do was pay to stick D&T‟s logo on a bunch of tech publications. He did not think a simple logo would really build serious branding. D&T‟s brand strength is its people, not its logo. Then, he had a brainwave: Why not build a marketing campaign for the Great Lakes Region by turning some of the partners into trusted local celebrities? He selected eight of D&T‟s 150 local partners, each with a specific niche expertise relating to technology (security, venture capital, HR, etc.) and asked them to serve as official D&T spokespeople. He called them, “Deloitte & Touche‟s High-Tech Team.” Next, Nagel and his team swung into action, inventing clever ways to publicize the team cost-effectively. Here are three of our favorite tactics they used creatively:
TACTIC #1: SPONSORING A LOCAL BUSINESS GROUP

When Digital Detroit, a nonprofit group dedicated to raising the area‟s profile as a tech business center, pitched D&T for a sponsorship, Nagel said no to simply donating funds and sticking their logo on a few things. Instead, he became Digital Detroit‟s dream committee member, proactively supporting the non-profit‟s educational mission in three key ways: a. A Press Tour: D&T rented a bus and lined up an intensive day, from 8am to 2pm, of press interviews with the High-Tech Team and Digital Detroit‟s leaders at every local press venue that mattered, including back-to-back interviews with Crain‟s Detroit Business, the Detroit Free Press, and news radio stations. b. Submitting regular educational articles for Digital Detroit‟s monthly email newsletter.

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c. Appearing at Digital Detroit‟s annual Conference as a team. Team members were advised to stand together at the conference and interact together as a team – similar to that of the astronauts in „The Right Stuff.‟ Nagel‟s team also hired a “Hollywood-style” photographer to snap pics of the team at the show which enhanced their images as celebrities.
TACTIC #2: “INTERVIEW-STYLE” RADIO ADS

Sponsoring all the major tech trade shows in Detroit would be too expensive in the long run. Instead Nagel invented an innovative series of radio ads. Although they were taped internally, the ads sound just like official radio interviews from the show floor, even down to little bits of typical show background noise. Here is a sample of a radio ad pseudo-interview script:
4.31 Image: Script of Business Radio Ad - Deloitte & Touche

Shafran: This is Dick Shafran here at the SAE Show at Cobo Center w ith M ichelle Collins, a partner in the Deloitte & Touche M anufacturing Practice in Detroit. M ichelle, auto suppliers continue to look for methods to reduce their costs. Are they going about it in the right w ay? Collins: Dick, suppliers do face hard times and cost pressures from OEM ‟s. But too often suppliers focus only on headcount reductions and they don‟t change the process, doing the same w ork w ith few er people. When that happens, the cost reductions don‟t last. As soon as the economy turns around, the costs creep back in. Shafran: Then w hat other w ays can they cut expenses? Collins: Suppliers should examine such areas as real estate, including leases; telecommunications; and travel and entertainment. But most important, they should look at the entire company. A supplier should develop a plan that restructures the organization to gain efficiencies that last – and change processes to make production less costly. Shafran: So if automotive suppliers w ant to learn how to cut costs effectively, they should learn about Deloitte & Touche? Collins: Absolutely. We‟ve helped build Detroit‟s auto industry for almost a century. At Deloitte & Touche, Detroit is our home; our w orkplace is the w orld.

As a branding measure, the last two sentences of that script were repeated in every script used for more than a year no matter which Team member was being “interviewed.” The radio spots were carefully scheduled to run during just the days that the live event itself was going on. Often they ran on Detroit‟s WJR-AM (760) which is a news and talk radio station many area executives listen to while commuting.
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TACTIC #3. EM AIL NEWSLETTER-SPONSORED COLUM N

Instead of running standard ads in emailed press, D&T worked a special deal with a top email business daily for the automotive industry, AutoBeat Daily which is read by about 110,000 execs. Each Wednesday, AutoBeat runs an extra page of editorial featuring a column “by” one of the High-Tech Team experts. As many marketers have discovered, it is one thing to get an exec to agree to write a column, it is another to get them to actually write them. They got AutoBeat‟s editorial staff to ghost-write many of the columns for Team members after in-depth interviews. (Link to column sample below.) Columns always end with the direct contact information for the Team member who “authored” them. D&T‟s High-Tech Team were so successful in gaining attention as local trusted celebrities and in turning that attention into new client relationships, that the campaign recently received an award for “Most Innovative New Business Strategy” at the global D&T management meeting. Now other D&T regions are testing similar tactics, plus the Great Lakes Region is busy launching a new Team to become celebrities in the health and healthcare industry. Local reporters now automatically call D&T Team members whenever they need a high-tech-related quote or factoid. Plus, the word is spread nationally. The Digital Detroit conference appearance was successful enough that Nagel has now brainstormed another celebrity appearance event series: A series of “Power Breakfast” events featuring Team members as speakers which are co-produced and promoted by Crain‟s Detroit Business. The radio spots were also successful for driving more press requests, because reporters often thought they were interviews and decided to interview the same experts. D&T‟s clipping service was also fooled and counted the spots as though they were press attention instead of ads. The AutoBeat Daily columns proved so successful (each column results in emails and phone calls to the Team member responsible) that Nagel has re-upped his weekly sponsorship commitment for 2003. While he will not pay to stick D&T‟s logo anywhere, he said he will invest in this type of celebrity expert educational campaign because it works so well.

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4.32 Image: Deloitte & Touche M ichigan Campaign Sponsored Column

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4.33 Image: Deloitte & Touche M ichigan Campaign Press Release

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#9. Speeches Speaking gigs can be a great source of leads and can cost far less per lead than a booth or road show:
4.34 Chart: Volume & Quality of Leads Generated by Trade Events

High Vol & Qual

Low Vol/High Qual

Low Vol/Avg. Qual

High Vol/Avg. Qual

Company road shows/ Seminars

27%

40%

22%

11%

Speaking engagements

15%

38%

32%

15%

Trade show booths

20%

22%

19%

39%

Sponsoring trade events/ giveaways
Virtual trade show booth sponsorship*

14%

20%

36%

29%

10%

21%

47%

21%

0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

Source: MarketingSherpa, Business Technology Marketing Survey, April 2007 Methodology: N=1,038

Start your speaking plans by gathering a list of every event at which you might be able to plant a speaker. Every industry and market segment has literally hundreds of events each year. Track them all on a master calendar (you have to anyway so your user conference doesn‟t conflict with anything major) and set yourself a goal of landing speeches at a number of them. Often, it can do you more good to be a big fish in a small pond than one of a hundred speakers at a larger event. Regional events, partner‟s user conferences and industry-specific events for a segment of your marketplace can have a far higher impact than your own industry‟s annual show. Some companies get so much from this approach that they literally put a speaker on the road nearly fulltime. Their title might be company evangelist, company trainer, company spokesperson. The right person for this probably comes from a training, teaching or service background. Although they are an outgoing people386 © Copyright 2000–2008 MarketingSherpa Inc. It is forbidden to copy this report in any manner. For permissions contact service@ sherpastore.com. For more copies, visit http://ww w.SherpaStore.com

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person, chances are they do not come from sales; therefore, they shouldn‟t be compensated in relation to sales. This person is more motivated by helping people, networking, connecting the dots and explaining things. You can, however, give them a measureable goal of business cards to get from each event. Should you hire an evangelist and put him or her on the road? Do the math. Look at how many shows you could possibly plant them at, roughly how many attendees would meet them and how many resulting leads you might obtain, not to mention industry connections, relations, market research and goodwill. A $250,000 investment, including salary, travel, and support will probably cover a year‟s activity reaching thousands of prospects in a far higher-impactful manner than any virtual relationship could. (Consider: an email touch is worth maybe 50 cents, a webinar maybe $5, an in-person speech and potential connection afterward, $50-$100.) It‟s OK to reuse a standard speech as long as you insert fresh anecdotes and tweak the contents to the niche of the audience. Also, frequent speakers need about five “standards” in their repertoire so no one who attends several events hears you give the same speech over and over. When you‟ve chosen to target a particular event, first consider who the speaker should be. Client-side speakers are far more likely to be accepted by event organizers who can‟t sell tickets with a lineup that appears too vendor-heavy. Clients are also often taken more seriously by attendees, especially those with a herd “what-are-my-peers-doing?” mentality. If the client is not able to do the entire presentation alone (perhaps they don‟t have the technical expertise in the topic), you can try pitching speaking as a team. Or, you can have your evangelist bring an entire panel of clients for a panel session that he or she moderates.
AVOID THE TOP TWO M ISTAKES OF VENDOR PRESENTATIONS

A. Sales pitch (disguised as “about us”) at the start of the speech. Invariably, you will want to start your speech by introducing yourself, “First, let me tell you a little about us ...” From a prospecting standpoint, this is the worst thing you can do. Attendees don‟t care about you, and they are not in the room to hear about you. They care about the topic of the speech. Information about yourself or your company early on is not only seen as a bit tacky, it‟s also easily forgotten if your speech content is any good at all. You don‟t have to impress the audience with your credentials early on. The fact that you‟ve been invited to speak is itself all the credibility you should require. You already earned the podium; next, through the content of your speech, you have to earn the credibility to make attendees care enough about you to be able to pitch them.
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You earn that credibility by doing a value-filled, useful, insightful speech that helps them. Then, at the very end of the speech, not before, you have earned the audience‟s attention and willingness to learn more about who you are. The “About Us” slide should only be one-slide long and should be the penultimate slide in your deck. B. No offer at the end. Your last slide should contain an offer. Some speakers make the mistake of just putting a “Thank you” or “Questions?” with their contact information. In addition to this, include an offer directly related to the topic. Depending on the topic, this could be handouts, a white paper, a T-shirt or a free trial. Ask attendees to write “offer” on the backs of their business cards or a piece of paper with their contact info written on it and hand the cards up to you so you can get them their freebie the minute you‟re back in your office. Don‟t hand it out on the spot – you miss the chance for that extra touch, and people often forget or misplace show materials.
FOUR ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR M AKING THE M OST OF A SHOW

Use the introduction for awareness research See if whoever is introducing you could ask the audience a quick question before you come up to the podium. That quick question can be invaluable for brand awareness research. For example, you might have them ask, “How many of you have heard of X company?” or “How many of you read X‟s great weekly newsletter?” The question should not be an obvious sales query, such as, “How many of you are considering buying ...,” because that‟s slightly offensive and sets up your speech as nothing more than a pitch. If no one is introducing you, which can happen at breakout sessions, ask a friend to play that introduction role. Audiences take a speaker who has been introduced more seriously, plus you get that question answered without asking it yourself. Check if and where slides will be available for attendees to download If your slides are any good at all – especially if they have diagrams, charts, tables or other useful, detailed information that‟s nearly impossible to jot down perfectly while taking notes, the first and foremost audience question will be, “Can I get your slides?” Ask event organizers before you speak how and where speaker slides will be available. Often, slides will be on an official show site that you should reference instead of your own.

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Also, reveal to your customer service reps where speech slides are because they will get occasional post-show queries from attendees. If you speak frequently, the easiest way to handle this is to keep a list of your slides, dates and event names on your intranet where everyone can access them internally. Make yourself visible at your booth after the speech Speakers often are a bit hoity-toity toward the regular working booth staff. You are there to be a celebrity, not to man a booth all day. Drop the attitude, leave the speaker green room and get yourself into that booth or stand very near by it. Attendees who like your speech are likely to drop by your booth on the show floor later in hopes of meeting you. Stay visible at the show at least until after the next major meal break If you are a big, important, busy person, chances are, immediately after your speech you will sweep out of the building much like a rock star to get to the airport or your next meeting. In your mind, you‟ve done the presentation, so your job is over. However, attendees expect that they‟ll be able to catch up with you personally later in the day. They assume that if the show is important enough for a day of their time, it should be important enough for you, too. If you absolutely have to leave immediately, apologize sincerely from the podium and tell people how to get in touch with you. Try to stay visible in the building as long as possible though, at least through the next meal break when people are free to walk around and seek out the speakers they wanted to meet. #10. Webinars Although for you a webinar may be an “event,” your timing and your prospect‟s timing may not match. The key to success is in having webinars available on topics that prospects are interested in at the moment in time when they are interested in them. Promoting a webinar as an event can get extra attention, but then keep canned versions around for as long as the content remains correct and relevant. If you are doing a webinar with a media partner, chances are they may leave the webinar live only for three months and then charge you an additional fee to leave it up longer. Our advice is to strongly consider paying that fee or renegotiate the contract upfront to include a longer canned lifetime. When possible, pick topics for webinars that are as evergreen in nature as possible. The topic should be compelling, yet not insanely newsy. (If there‟s hot news, you can use a live teleconference to do a presentation instead.) That way, even if you only have the internal resources to produce a webinar monthly or quarterly, after a short time your online library as well as your webinars in

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syndication, is packed with lots of compelling titles. The more available titles the better – especially by market segment. You need a breadth of webinars on tap at all times, not a cyclical event.

Example: With help from NeoMarketing Systems, Prudential Relocation was
able to get 30%-40% higher webinar attendance rates from Fortune 500 prospects than is typical. Here‟s how they did it:
TIP #1

Compelling content = fewer polls & no sales pitches. “The more informational and industry-relevant the content, the higher the register-attendee ratio,” said Rizzo, who helped manage Prudential Relocation‟s outstanding webinar series. “If it‟s specific and relevant content, you can hold them past 60 minutes. We see only a 5% drop-off rate between 60 and 90.” Prudential crafts webinar names to indicate that the presentations will be useful. Example: Relocation 2005: Creating a Winning Program for the Year Ahead – A Tax, Legal & Policy Update. Plus, the events are called „Meetings‟ instead of webinars, which may sound more valuable to a Fortune 500 exec. (We don‟t recommend it if your prospect demographic is meetings-allergic though.) After conducting 25 webinars, Prudential‟s team has found the best format tends to be: a. Moderator welcomes attendees and gives quick one-paragraph bios of speakers (always prune and rewrite the bios that speakers give you). b. Two subject matter experts each give a 10-15 minute speech with a handful of accompanying slides (more on slides below). c. 10-15 minute roundtable discussion of questions from attendees Although Prudential allows attendees to send in questions during the live event itself, they get the best roundtable topics by asking for questions on the registration form itself. (Plus, speakers love this because it gives them time to prep even better answers.) What‟s not great content? Attendee polls. “It‟s not really a value-add, results are good for about 60 seconds of talk,” noted Rizzo. “Don‟t use polls to gauge your audience. You‟re not going to be able to

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adjust your content on the spot, and if you don‟t know your audience before the event you‟ve got a problem.” So what can you use polls for? “Entertaining segues,” said Rizzo. Example, during a webinar on personal security overseas, Prudential polled attendees asking which floor of a hotel was the safest to stay on. Then the moderator said, “The majority of you said this, but in reality the safest one is ... and here‟s our next speaker to tell you more about it.”
TIP #2

Best practices in slides (ban pics and long text). Require that your speakers hand in slides at least seven days in advance of the event. This way you can edit as required and have enough time for legal and/or brand compliance reviews. If needed, offer your own team‟s help with slide creation on the speakers‟ behalf. Plus, give speakers branding and „contact me at‟ sales pitch guidelines ahead of time. (For example: Prudential doesn‟t allow outside speakers to put a nonPrudential logo on their slides.) Rizzo gives speakers the following rules for their slides: Only large-type text (remember, viewers are looking at a computer screen and not an overhead projection). No clip art, no pictures of people, no giant company logos and, in short, no graphics that are not charts, graphs or diagrams. Everything else is marketing fluff, and attendees know it. They‟re only there for the valuable content. Give it to them. Briefly outline your talking points. Don‟t give a transcript of your intended speech. You should never read a point from a slide out loud. Folks can read it for themselves. You‟re talking *to* the point, not reiterating it. Limit slides to 25-30 total per entire hour, including your intro and closing slides. This means total slides for all speakers would be 16-20. This is roughly one slide every three speech minutes. Any more slides and you‟re giving too much information for attendees to take in and your speakers are more likely to sin by reading their slides out loud. “It‟s terrible, don‟t ever do that,” Rizzo said. “Whenever I give a presentation, I rarely

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mention any of the words on the screen. You‟re a topic expert. Talk to the entire story; don‟t talk to the slides. They‟re just a prop!”
TIP #3

Pick speakers prospects will want to listen to. Everyone loves to hear what their peers – fellow Fortune 500 execs – have to say on the subject. These are the hardest speakers to line up, so Rizzo suggested inviting them for the roundtable discussion instead of asking for a formal presentation. Your subject matter experts can be in-house or external folks. The topic and points presented are generally far more important than the actual name or company of the speaker. You may not need to pay a famous analyst to speak if your topic is compelling. Besides, wouldn‟t you rather prospects come away thinking that your company is a thought leader instead of the analyst? Rizzo warned, before you make any final speaker decisions, always call the potential speaker and ask for their opinion on the topic. The opinion is secondary – what you‟re really listening for is a voice that your prospects will enjoy hearing. Is the person passionate? Do they speak clearly? Are they horribly boring? Some topic matter experts are verbal duds. Weed them out.
TIP #4

Conduct two dry run rehearsals. You should give your webinar the degree of editing, tweaking, review and polish that you would give any critical piece of marcom. Crazy but true, most marketers spend more time reviewing copy and art for new brochures than they do rehearsing a webinar. Remember that prospects may spend far more time in a webinar than they do viewing your entire Web site. The experience can be far more influential. Plus, your webinar will be canned for future viewing, so it lives on for a long time. Rizzo swears by not one but two dry runs with all speakers on the line together. The first helps everyone get into the flow, sets pacing and timing (a great chance to control long-winded speakers) and lets you know which slides need to be cut or altered. The second dry run, conducted a day or two before the event snaps the elements into place. You‟re working with final slides and final timing. Rizzo suggested
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that you invite internal staff such as customer service, sales reps, and other marketers to this version. Their feedback can be invaluable for final tweaks, plus they‟re forewarned about exactly what prospects and clients are about to experience.
TIP #5

Include a PDF link in the reminder email. “Invariably about 5% of desired attendees can‟t get through for some reason or other – like firewalls or 56k connections – no matter what webinar platform you use,” said Rizzo. That‟s why Prudential always includes a link to a PDF of the presentation in the reminder email that‟s sent to registrants the day before the event. This way folks who can‟t get in can still call in and follow along. (Obviously, never send the PDF as an attachment, because it may not get through. And PDF the slides instead of sending a PowerPoint. It‟s easier for recipients to view and harder for them to alter.)
TIP #6.

Live-event disaster prevention tips. Assign a staffer to act as timer for the live event itself. This person will watch the clock and coordinate with the moderator. The moderator‟s role will be to flip slides, introduce speakers and send IM messages to speakers who need any sort of prompting. (Never let speakers flip their own slides; too often they click to the wrong spot.) Speakers get the best voice quality from good headsets (as long as the microphone isn‟t too near their mouth) or by using one of those speakerphones that looks like a spider. “If they don‟t have an office, make them go in the conference room,” said Rizzo. “Put a sign on the door, and then LOCK the door!” Also, ask speakers to turn off/unplug any other phones and computer programs that might ring or make noises during the event. But, someday the worst will happen. Rizzo remembered an event awhile back: “We were five minutes into the event and fire alarms went off in the building. We said, „We‟re sorry, we know you can hear this interference. We‟ll provide you with the information we promised via email.‟ ” As soon as the alarms stopped, the team went ahead with the event as if it were live, even though none of the 120 attendees were on the line anymore. Then they emailed everyone links to the canned version with an additional apology.

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“You‟re making chicken salad out of chicken. It‟s gonna happen,” Rizzo said. “People understand. It‟s OK.” For more information on webinars, see the webinar section earlier in this chapter. For an overview of webinar platform vendors, see Chapter 5. #11. White Papers Six-12 pages is the expected length for most white papers. Any longer and you should give the document a different label, such as eBook, Special Report, Journal, Study, Guidebook, etc. Any shorter and, despite what we said about short articles being valuable earlier, the white paper won‟t feel valuable enough to readers … especially if they had to leap through a registration barrier for it.
5 TIPS ON THE CONTENT AND DESIGN

 Limit yourself to one specific topic. If you‟re tempted to include digressions, turn them into a separate white paper or other piece of content.  When you‟ve created a core paper on an important topic, such as “Guide to Widgets,” then immediately create a series of spin-off versions for each job function and/or industry you serve. For example, “The CFO‟s Guide to Widgets” might include an ROI calculator, while “the CEO‟s Guide to Widgets” might include a strategic overview, and a “Banking Industries Guide to Widgets” might have a few relevant banking factoids tossed in. Base content would be the same in all three.  Don‟t make up terminology that‟s not already in general use in the marketplace itself. Don‟t come up with your clever names for things. Prospects want to see you understand them and use their language comfortably and extensively.  Match your topic to your goal. If the goal is lead generation and people have to fill out a form to get the paper, that‟s a fairly high barrier. So, your topic needs to be ultra compelling to someone who is probably fairly early on in the sales process. Chances are, that‟s not a paper that‟s packed with technical detail about your product or features of your products. They can get marcom for free and they‟re not ready yet to look under the hood. Instead, focus on a topic they care about, that could help their business or jobs by reading it today. It may share secrets, has a high education content unrelated to specific details about your product and barely mentions the sponsoring company. You got their name; now you can grow the relationship and tell them all about yourselves ... but blaring on and on “about me” on a first date will never get you asked out on a second.

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 If your white paper is meant to appeal to a particular job function, such as techies or engineers, have internal staff with that same job function look over your draft and ask them, „Is this too salesy?” “Is this useful for you?” “Is there anything that‟s missing you‟d expect to make it useful?”
WHITE PAPER CREATION DECONSTRUCTED: BEST PRACTICES
M ichael Stelzner, book author, „Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged,‟ suggested the follow ing best practices for each section of the paper: Topic: Survey existing customers and your sales force to discover issues that are big problems for prospects. These may be people problems, such as morale; process problems, such as issues that emerge from poor procedures; quality problems, such as the results of poor functions; or absent problems that are issues that occur w hen something is not present, such as a mobile phone. Split business benefits and technical information into tw o separate papers for tw o different types of readers. Title: You have three seconds to engage a reader w ith your title. Word it as a benefit promise that overtly explains w hy they should be reading this. Badly w orded example: „Streamline Accounting Process w ith Acme Data.‟ Good example: „Slicing Accounting M anagement Time in Half: New Financial Strategies.‟ First Page: Your first page, especially your first three paragraphs, must be give compelling reasons to keep reading. People skim the first page for no more than 30 seconds and make a “ keep reading” or “ toss out” decision quickly. You don‟t have the luxury of a slow or general introduction. You need to dive directly into the subject and show some benefits up front. Historic Briefing: Your second page, or even the bottom half of your first page, can digress into a historic perspective about the problem. You‟re show ing that you understand the w orld the prospect lives in and you are establishing credibility. Generic Solutions: When you start discussing solutions to the problem you‟re examining, don‟t mention your company or brand name. Instead, w rite the paper as if you are speaking about an entire group of brands or companies w ho all do roughly the same thing. You‟re w inning credibility for the idea of the solution and not allow ing a brand sales pitch to get in the w ay of that credibility. Example: FedEx overnight service from China could be generically referred to as “ International air transit for manufacturers” ; or M onster.com could become “ online recruitment service.” Once you have buy-in about the idea of the solution, at the very end of the paper, you can briefly introduce your brand as a premier example of this solution. Call to Action : On the last page of the paper, feature contact information, additional URLs and even additional offers for w hite papers, w ebinars, trial dow nloads, samples, etc. This is the type to get the audience to raise their hands and accept another offer for the next step in the sales cycle.

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7 TIPS ON GRAPHICS & EDITING

 Include your contact information plus a hotlink URL as part of the standard page header or footer on every page. Don‟t assume people will skim to the last page to contact you.  If you would like pass-alongs, then note this in the front and back of the paper indicating your forwarding and copyright policy. Example: “Copyright 2008 Widget Inc. You are encouraged to pass this paper to peers and colleagues. You may post it online and/or send copies via email or make paper copies. However, please reproduce or pass along the contents in their ENTIRETY without cuts or changes. All other rights reserved. Thank you. For more information, contact 800-555-1212.”  Design your front cover to look just as good when viewed on-screen as in print. Often, covers designed for print-only have swathes of white space under the logo at the top that the reader has to scroll through to get to the actual paper title.  Include hotlinks to additional papers at the end of each of your papers. This requires routinely updating older papers in your library to include hotlinks to newer papers. But when people are on a paper reading roll, they may keep downloading and reading more from you if you make it easy for them.  Get it professionally proofread by an editor on staff or a service such as ProofReadItNow.com. “It‟s truly staggering, the basic level of mistakes that are made. Often it‟s just not good English, and there are spelling mistakes,” said Nick Copley, Former Lead Judge of BitPipe White Paper Awards for which he examined more than 400 submitted white papers per year.  Break out large swathes of text with subheads, bullets and pull quotes.  Eliminate make-it-pretty graphics (aside from your logo and cleanly laidout text), such as four-color pictures, clip art, stock photos or bold washes of color. Extra graphics and colors make your paper slower to download and annoying to print out. Also, graphics scream „marketing crap‟ to audiences seeking useful information. However, useful diagrams, charts and graphs that make your point clearer are a huge bonus.

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9 TIPS ON YOUR LANDING PAGE

 Two images are useful in repeated tests for improving conversions – the first is a thumbnail image of the white paper itself (adjusted so the title is clearly visible to the naked eye). The second is a headshot of the white paper author if well-known or admirable (or logo if it‟s a well-known analyst or research firm.) Test both factors for yourself.  Extraneous hotlinks, navigation bars, “about us” brand information and multiple offers on the same page generally depress conversion rates, sometimes dramatically, if the visitor is landing in direct response to a specific white paper offer. The cleaner, more boring, less confusing the page, the better. A simple, clear, single-minded page with a single column, clear text, bulleted points and one focused objective works best.  On the download page, let people know how large the file is and how many pages are included.  Include a live contact number for the prospect to reach if the PDF download “isn‟t working.” For example, execs at very large companies may not be able to download PDFs because of firewalls. Make sure your service department has copies of all white papers on hand so they can fax, email or FedEx a copy out to whomever contacts them. If you have a popular paper library, you may be surprised how often this happens. And anyone who bothers to contact you to complain is likely a higher quality prospect than average.  Test offering an extra checkbox for prospects who would like to receive a printed copy in the mail. You may be surprised by how many people take you up on it.  Test mailing a printed copy to everyone who registered for the PDF with a note saying, “Thought you might like a printed-and-bound copy for your records or to pass to a colleague.” Stats show that only a percentage of people who sign up for a PDF and get the hotlink actually download the PDF, and even fewer then read it. Following up with a hard copy ensures that your white paper is read.  Include hotlinks to other white papers on the Web page people see *after* they downloaded the paper they wanted.  Never assume that, just because a registrant gave you his or her email address on a form to get a paper, they actually want to receive email from you. Getting vendor email is not the “price of” a white paper, and “quid pro quo” doesn‟t work in this instance. The quid pro quo you got was the
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fact that they are bothering to even read your white paper at all and will, perhaps, pass it along. If you would like to email registrants routinely, you should add a separate checkbox (or checkboxes for multiple email offers) to they can check to request to be added to your list or lists.  Pre-fill registration forms whenever possible for direct mail campaigns. If a visitor comes to your site and they are already cookied as a registered user or they come from the IP address of a current customer or key prospect, allow them to enter directly without re-registering. Note: MarketingSherpa also publishes an extensive Landing Page Handbook dedicated to the science of improving landing page conversions by up to 40%. The Handbook contains many B-to-B examples and tactics. See Chapter 6for more information.
RESEARCH ON WHICH IT WHITE PAPER TITLES GET M ORE DOWNLOADS

In fall 2005, MarketingSherpa‟s research team partnered with CNET Networks B2B Sites, including TechRepublic, ITPapers, Builder.com, ZDNet.com and CNET News.com to determine what factors in a white paper‟s title make it more or less likely to be downloaded. The results, based on 3.5 million downloads over a 24-month period, contain useful tips for years to come:
THREE KEY “A-HA” DISCOVERIES

A-ha #1: You can‟t predict which job titles will read your white paper. Just because a white paper is targeted at a technical audience, it doesn‟t mean that business executives won‟t download it, just as developers are equally likely to download ROI case studies. We were startled by the remarkable consistency in the white papers downloaded by IS/IT folks across the spectrum of job titles from IS/IT Developer through Executive/Senior VP. If a white paper title is popular, it‟s popular among everyone. If it‟s a dud ... you get the picture. This may be explained by the viral factor. Many white paper downloads are passed around within the organization – often by an evangelist for a particular technology who wants his or her fellow committee or department members to become more educated. As you know, those evangelists have unpredictable job titles and are nearly impossible to otherwise target. They can be almost anyone. A-ha #2: Avoid the „clever‟ plays on words. Even though some topics seem to scream for a pun, don‟t do it. Phishing is a prime example, spawning titles like “Hook, Line and Sinker: Phishing Attacks Going Professional,” which few prospects wanted to download.
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We found, in general, titles that are easy to scan and understand were the most downloaded, so some titles can be too clever for their own good. Titles written by marketers with the audience in mind tended to outperform titles written by professional writers who are more in love with verbiage itself. Lesson – even if you have a freelancer or analyst write the actual white paper itself, reserve the title for your marketing department‟s best copy person. A-ha #3: 25% of CNET Networks B2B white paper downloaders were prospects in the “deep consideration” phase of the sales cycle. How do we know? Because those execs had downloaded a paper from at least two different vendors in a single category in a 30-day period. This data startled us because most B-to-B marketers white paper marketing campaigns generate about 12%-15% qualified, ready-to-buy-soon leads. But then, those campaigns are one-off promotions, heavily promoted across house files and outside media for a month or a quarter and then generally archived to make room for the next big promotion. The key here is the word “archived.” Prospects aren‟t ready to buy on your promotional schedule, based on when you happen to pop out a new white paper. Instead, they are ready to buy when, well, they are ready to buy. At that time, they‟ll go on an educational white paper binge, searching archives on many Web sites (especially handy news sites with extensive archives from multiple vendors) to grab the information they require. How can you take advantage of this archive-trolling factor? Try to make your white papers as evergreen as possible so you can keep them up online for a good long time (or periodically refresh the content of a proven-popular title.) Plus, make sure your own site archives are as search engine optimized and easy-tonavigate as possible. But don‟t rely on your own archives alone – syndicate, syndicate, syndicate. The more archives you can populate with your white paper, the more chances a truly qualified prospect will have to discover it at that perfect moment when they are ready to act on the information.
TOP 5 RULES FOR WHITE PAPER TITLE SUCCESS

1. As with email subject lines that executives prefer, use clear, non-salesy wording. Example, the title of the most downloaded paper by serious consideration prospects in the Spam and Phishing category was: “Phishing and the Threat to Corporate Networks.” It‟s sober (not hypey) and to the

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point – names the topic in title and says outright how it relates to the reader. 2. Shorter is better. Fairly consistently, most downloaded titles contained 20% fewer words than less successful titles. Part of that is simply that less popular white papers tend to be very product specific and have long, involved titles. Even so, it may also be that shorter titles get a higher response because they can be scanned quickly by the human eye.

Example: the top download in the category Digital Security was „The Starter
PKI Program.‟ One of the least downloaded in the same category was “An Introduction to Enterprise Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).” The titles say much the same thing, but the first says it quickly and simply. 3. Break longer titles into sections. When the topic is so complex that more words are required, successful titles break the information down using colons and subtitles. For example, in the category of CRM, where white papers tend to use case studies and have long titles, 70% of the top 10 white papers used a colon, compared to only 30% of the bottom 10. One example from the top 10: „Hosted CRM vs In-House: Which Direction Should Your Company Take?‟ 4. Add some „ing‟ to your titles. Offer specific advice on actions to take and what solutions are offered. For example in the area of Security the titles of popular white papers include words such as „Eliminating,‟ „Identifying,‟ Preventing‟ and „Defending.‟ 5. Check search marketing statistics before naming a white paper. When prospects troll the Web looking for archived white papers on particular topics, they‟re using search either at an actual search engine or within the informational site they‟re visiting. If your title isn‟t optimized to include precise words that prospects are searching for, your paper may not appear in the results.

Example: Downloads of white papers with the term “spyware” in the title were
77% more likely to be downloaded by best prospects than white papers with the “anti-spyware” in the title. Sounds crazy unless you‟re a search marketing expert. Turns out that prospects search using the name of the problem they hope to solve far more often than they search using the name of the solution.
TOP 4 WHITE PAPER TITLE M ISTAKES TO AVOID

Mistake #1. Less popular titles talk about impact, rather than actions steps and solutions. For example, in the area of Security, unpopular titles tend to include words like „About,‟ „Impact of‟ and „State of.‟
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Mistake #2. Vague titles aren‟t intriguing, they‟re just vague. In a number of unpopular white papers, we found that the titles went for impact by using a metaphor or catch phrase that didn‟t have anything obvious to do with the topic. It‟s a tactic that doesn‟t seem to work. For example, the low number of downloads of „Wireless Security is Just Like Your House‟ indicate that this title was more ambiguous than intriguing. Mistake #3. Highly technical descriptions and using jargon are sure to limit the audience for your white paper. This may be the point if it‟s for customer service after the sale, but for a piece that‟s intended to be part of the sales process, take out the jargon. Mistake #4. Brand names in titles. There‟s no hard and fast rule here, because sometimes your brand should lead in a white paper title if it‟s a brand that loads of prospects are actively searching for (remember: this is to a large extent about search marketing.) If you are marketing a lesser-known brand, don‟t make the mistake of thinking your white paper title is a great place for brand impact marketing. We won‟t embarrass the marketers behind several campaigns by naming their brands, but suffice to say unknown company names in titles almost always generated a handful of downloads. (It‟s pretty sad to see a paper get only nine or 14 downloads when others in the exact same category get almost 1,000 and the only difference appears to be an unknown brand name in the title.) Some smaller and newer brands try to compete by using a brand name analyst (think Forrester or Gartner Group) in the title. While we‟ve heard plenty of anecdotal evidence over the years that this can add credibility to a white paper and increase downloads, we‟ve also heard many marketers say it won‟t give a paper explosive growth. CNET Network B2B‟s stats bear this out. In no category was a famous-name analyst or research firm paper anywhere near the top most popular downloads. Instead, the most popular were the papers the prospects clearly felt would be the most useful for their jobs. They had a particular educational need or vendorshopping problem and those white paper titles promised to solve it. Useful beats glamour hands-down anytime. #12. Video Thanks in large part to YouTube, online viewer expectations about what makes a professionally acceptable video have downshifted from formal, polished corporate-style videos to far more relaxed, low-budget affairs. It‟s in B-to-B fashion now to “keep it real.” These lower production values, together with lower
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bandwidth costs, make it possible for basically everyone to add video to their content lineup. That said, remember the following: As with audio and podcasting, most video viewers are watching from their desktops, and most are in open office environments where they certainly would not want to look like they‟re slacking off. Your video should be professionally valuable in content if not in expensive production values. Given the small screen size of a typical Internet video, tightly framed views and headshots tend to work the best. You also don‟t want a lot of motion or arm waving. Some brands use professional newsreaders or actors to act as their spokespeople. Other brands strive for an insider tone, showing real company employees sitting at real desks. The more powered by customer and prospect evangelism you are, the more “real” and insider your video should feel. If you‟re trying to appeal to a more corporate, risk-averse, upscale client, go for a polished look. Surround your video screen with useful text and hotlink information that‟s extremely relevant, such as relevant offers (a discussion board, a white paper, a trial download request, etc.) and a text description of the video. This way, people have something to look at and even interact with while they wait the 10 seconds or so that it takes your video to load and start playing. 10 seconds can feel like an eon in Internet time. Your online video should be fairly short. Videos in excess of 10 minutes will probably not be viewed in their entireties. A typical YouTube video is only a couple of minutes long. Here are a few ideas for using video:
VIDEO NEWSLETTER ARTICLES

Marketers ranging as far apart in the B-to-B spectrum as Cisco to the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators have tested adding video to their routine email newsletters successfully. Key: No one puts the video directly into the email itself. You just can‟t get away with that in today‟s ultra-filtered corporate email environment. Instead, they promote and hotlink to the newsletter article as if it were any other normal text article. Readers respond, partly because sometimes it‟s a relief not to have to read everything. Sitting back to watch a brief video (perhaps 2-5 minutes) can be a pleasurable break in the day even if it focuses entirely on business topics.
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VIDEO PRODUCT DEM OS

Example: For the past five years, Agilent Technologies‟ product demos have
been among the most downloaded items from its site, as well as the one thing customers want more of whenever the company does a usability study. Also, demos described as “video demo” get a 5-point increase in click rates from email newsletters. But, as eMarketing Program Manager Brian Bowden admitted, coming up with a winning formula wasn‟t easy. Figuring out a budget for the new demo format was the toughest part. “It was really painful. The first one was a leap of faith. We had no idea what this would be worth to us in comparison with other marcom material.” In the end they chose a budget “in the mid-five figures” to include all aspects of the production, such as scripting, video shoot, narration, Flash file development, Web viewing-format development and file transfer to CD-ROM format. Step #1. Pick a tight focus and avoid “how to use” training info “The demos that haven‟t started with a clear purpose – that were multifunctional delivering tech plus marketing info – seemed to miss the mark. They didn‟t work. We ended up taking them down from our Web site.” Focus can be tough politically. “Inevitably at some point someone says, „Oh, my gosh, we‟re paying so much for this. Let‟s pack as much in as we can.‟ That works to your disadvantage,” warned Bowden. Critical – don‟t make the most typical mistake of confusing a demo with “how to use this product” training materials. Training is not only boring and painful for most people, it‟s also not the reason they‟re viewing the demo. They want to see how your product will solve their problem and how it works, not how to work it themselves. (We can‟t underscore this point enough.) Step #2. Script your demo in pieces with a stopwatch For voice-over narration, figure 120 words per minute in English. Remember to include time for pauses when your Flash demo is running animation you would like prospects to focus on. If you‟re planning to use the same visual for voice-over in other languages, you may need some visual padding. Agilent Technologies needed a demo translated to Mandarin (Chinese), which is “verbose.” German and Eastern European languages also tend to be wordier. The key is to plan for other languages up front instead of translating to too-short demo footage on the back end.
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Copywriting a demo is a lot like writing for your Web site because you can‟t completely control navigation path. Assume your prospect may listen to bits and pieces, probably out of “order.” So, it‟s not a flowing presentation, but rather a series of bits, complete in and of themselves, that don‟t require someone to attend from beginning to end. Isolate your marketing copy into one particular section and then name that section so prospects know what to expect. Demos are more like white papers or technical specs. Prospects are not expecting a sales pitch. For example, Bowden isolates his into a “Why Agilent” section on the demo. Step #3. Make boring products look exciting with video tricks Let‟s face it, whether you‟re talking equipment or software, most B-to-B products are fairly dull to look at. Agilent Technologies has its video producer use every trick in the book to add visual interest ... without going overboard: Instead of using a screenshot or Flash-built demo of your software, shoot actual video of the screen. For some reason, that tiny difference can make your software program come alive. Instead of showing a complete computer screen, have the camera pan in on a corner of the screen and then move slowly about, just as it might pan about when viewing something that‟s not square and flat (a landscape, a rock concert, etc.). In the edit, cut between several visuals such as screens, product shots, the camera moving about the product, the product in use, etc. Each shot might be stunningly dull if viewed alone, but when cut into pieces and woven with the other shots‟ pieces, the shots become actively more entertaining and alive. Add a human element. You may not want a talking head that can be perceived as salesy, but you can certainly show people‟s hands using the product, touching a keyboard, etc. Humans relate more intensely to what‟s on the screen when a human hand is shown in conjunction with it. Don‟t rely on PowerPoint slide-style words showing up on the screen in concert with the narration. (Can you say “worst practice”?) Prospects who choose to view a demo are audio-visual loving people, not big readers. (That‟s why trade show attendees are often different from trade journal readers.)

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Surround your video box online with a warm color – Agilent Technologies used sunny yellow – to add a joyful, happy feeling without distracting from the main shot. Most technology products are in fairly dull colors – gray, black, blue – so you may need a framing color. Step #4. Just like a Web site, your demo navigation must rock While you may give your demo to sales reps to use in the field or have it playing on a repeat loop at your trade show booth, assume that the majority of viewers will be sitting at their computers. The Web has raised demo-viewers‟ expectations about the kind of navigation and usability they should expect. People want power and control. Your Flash demo and/or video can‟t hijack the power of their mouse. Although they are excited by the word “video” (and, in fact, are more likely to click on a link advertising a “video” than a “Flash demo” or “online demo”), they don‟t want to be passive viewers. That‟s why Agilent provides loads of navigation options within the demo. “You need multiple ways to maneuver, not just back and forward,” advised Bowden. Most Case Studies we‟ve done on similar topics have pronounced the longest time you can run a promo video online is about 2 minutes. However, if you provide useful content, lots of useful navigational buttons and clearly labeled section hotlinks, you can get away with a much longer demo. Agilent Technologies‟ are now averaging 10-15 minutes. Also, just like your site, all navigation must be consistent. If several departments produce their own demos to post online, you‟ll need someone high up in marcom insisting these appear to the prospect as if they all came from the exact same production department.
VIDEO PRODUCT INFORM ATION “SHEETS”

Example: In late 2006, Cisco Systems marketers tested turning standard data
sheets into videos. Brian Ellefritz, Senior Manager Customer Relationship Marketing explained: “Our data sheets entail all of the technical facts on a product and are boring as hell and very dry to read. We thought that putting a face to those instructions could make them more enjoyable.” Ellefritz recruited Cisco product managers to act as spokesmodels describing their products in 5-minute videos. Then, the team tested offering prospects a choice of 2-3 text documents versus videos. Within six months, video files accounted for 21% of all data download requests. The average viewer watched at least half of the presentation, which means if you‟re considering a similar approach, make sure your sexiest specs are the ones nearer the start of the video.
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Encouraged, Ellefritz‟s team is busy shooting more datasheet videos. He said, “I‟d advise other marketers that they do not have to be polished. It‟s more about what they say than what they look like.”
VIDEO STREAM ED LIVE EVENTS
4.35 Image: Viral Video Landing Page - LiveVault

Live events certainly have an excitement and urgency factor that canned video doesn‟t. You can also use the “seats are limited” excuse to get prospects to react to invitations. The content has to be exceptionally exciting and set in a moment (and place) in time to warrant your prospects dropping everything to watch on your schedule instead of when it‟s convenient. For example, consider streaming celebrity keynotes from your user conference.

Example: After business training company, Strategic Profits, sold out $2,997
tickets for a two-day Summit, they wondered if they could set up video cameras to invite prospects to view for free. The catch – they‟d only see two hours of the two-day event and they saw a special commercial during that time promoting a new company product. Boosted by extensive affiliate partner promotions, the company garnered more than 40,000 new prospect leads from registrants (in the
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event, only 10,000 could fit on the video feed line; the rest had to wait for a canned version later.) The new product launch, 100 slots in an online training program, sold out within 6 minutes of being advertised in the live video feed.
4.36 Image: Screenshot from Live Video Event

VIRAL VIDEOS

Video has an element of entertainment that lends itself well to viral campaigns. But the mere fact of being a video doesn‟t mean you‟ll automatically get viral attention. Your content has to be super compelling and engaging to the target market. A viral campaign we‟ve done a Case Study on in MarketingSherpa used that element of entertainment – the marketers were trying to appeal to the IT professional marketplace. Since IT pros are known for loving both „Star Trek‟ and „Monty Python,‟ the company hired Michael Dorn, the actor who played Lt. Worf in the „Star Trek: The Next Generation‟ series, and John Cleese of „Monty Python‟ fame. But you don‟t need to spend big bucks on fancy talent to have viral success. If your concept is appealing enough and you do a solid promotional campaign, you‟ll get pass-along. See further on for seed planting tips.

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4.37 Image: Viral Video - LiveVault

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WHICH WORKS BEST: BLOGS, SPEAKING, BOOKS, PODCASTING OR EBOOKS?
Over the past three years, Brian Carroll, President, In-Touch Inc., has tested five content formats to become know n as a thought leader and gain new clients for his firm. M arketingSherpa asked him for his lessons learned from each approach: 1. Blogging Written in the “ first person informal,” Carroll‟s blog gives tips, insights and advice of interest to his marketplace. He almost never mentions his firm, and the blog has a separate look and branded name, but links to it at the top of the page. He has posted one to three times per w eek since 2003, and the effort takes about tw o hours per w eek. Results: High ROI. 12% of the corporate Web site‟s traffic comes from that hotlinked logo on the blog. Just over 5,000 prospects and customers subscribe to the blog‟s RSS feed. The blog has a Technorati “ authority rank” of more than 450 points, indicating that a large number of highly influential blogs link to it. It has also dramatically improved Carroll‟s search engine ranking. “ I w ent from being invisible to being consistently No. 1 for the past five years.” Carroll noted: “ Not everyone is able to be a blogger. The key is that you have to be passionate about the subject. 90% of bloggers quit after three months because they didn‟t begin w ith passion and w ho is this for and w hy are w e doing it.” 2. Speaking Gigs Carroll speaks tw o-four times per month at live events around the country and on w ebinars. He promotes his availability by publishing a „Speakers Kit,‟ PR, through co-marketing partnerships w ith related firms and by submitting nominations for events that require them. Each new speech entails 15-20 hours of prep time. Results: High ROI from a lead generation perspective. Carroll noted: „I don‟t mention my company in my speeches. Bottom line is I w ant to give people w ay more value than they require in terms of the time they are investing. I‟m teaching people the how -to.”

3. Hardcover Book After a fan noticed that his blog bio mentioned he w as w orking on a book (he had intended to self publish), Carroll landed a business book deal w ith M cGraw Hill. It took Carroll about 18 months to finish the manuscript. In addition to a moderate amount of marketing support from the publisher, Carroll heavily promoted the book by running his ow n PR campaign and mentioning the book to his audiences via his blog, podcast, speaking gigs, etc. Results: Low ROI. 6,000 copies have sold so far (only 5% of business books sell more than 5,000 copies). How ever, to make a major impact on lead generation, you need to sell 10,000 copies.
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Carroll noted: “ It‟s got a long tail on it. It‟s a lot of w ork, and most people w ho buy your book w on‟t ever read it. The people w ho seem to care if your book is self-published or not are the Fortune 500 companies. They ask, „Oh, w ho published it?‟ It‟s also a credibility piece that your internal evangelist can share w ith their boss and move up the chain to the executive team.” 4. Podcasting Carroll launched a monthly podcast in M arch 2005 as a spin off from his blog. Each podcast lasts about 20 minutes and takes roughly four hours to produce. He uses interview format, calling expert guests and recording them via the phone. The podcast is promoted via the blog, iTunes and on Carroll‟s other sites and media. Results: M ore than 250 people have signed up as subscribers, 24% using the iTunes platform. “ It hasn‟t been very good for lead generation, but it‟s been really good from a branding perspective.” Carroll has had top customers say they listen to his podcast w hile commuting and w hile mountain biking. Carroll noted: “ Any high school kids can do podcasting. It‟s free. All it requires is a little time and persistence.” 5. Ebooks After w riting his long, comprehensive hardcover, Carroll picked eight top points and boiled it dow n to a 27-page PDF. The process took about a w eek. He now publishes a new version every quarter to give past dow nloaders another excuse to interact w ith him. He does not require registration and hopes for pass-along. In addition to his ow n promotional efforts, including hotlinks from friendly bloggers, marketers at tw o different, noncompetitive companies w ho target the same audience that Carroll does, have used his ebook as a lead generation offer for aggressive promotions of their ow n. This w as only possible because the content is truly valuable and non-salesy. Results: High ROI. 17,50+ people have dow nloaded the ebook so far. Carroll noted: “ It‟s the single biggest visibility source I‟ve seen in terms of w riting a short piece of content. Final note: Naturally, Carroll has considered testing video. How ever, he said, “ Video w orks for some, but it‟s harder to do w ell than other media and I w ould rather put the time into doing something consistently like blogging, w hich is easier.” And the ROI for blogging for his company at least has certainly been proven.

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Staffing for Content Creation
Unfortunately, creating all this content isn‟t easy. We at MarketingSherpa know this perhaps more than others, because content creation is our business. It‟s tough for us to find great researchers, writers and presenters – we can‟t imagine how hard it is for marketers for whom content is not their entire raison d‟être.
4.38 Chart: How Challenging Do M arketers Find Content Creation?

Very difficult Creating a single edition 2% 21% of a newsletter One month of updating a blog Creating high quality sales materials Creating a webinar 11% 28%

Difficult

Easy

Very easy

53%

23%

43%

19%

9%

43%

37%

11%

15%

39%

35%

11%

Creating a white paper

12%

45%

35%

8%

0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

Source: MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm, Connecting Through Content, Part II Methodology: Collected February and April, 2007 N= 3,000

In fact, if your company relies on content for newsletters, search engine optimization, webinars, white papers, articles, columns, blogs, etc., we recommend you consider hiring a staffer (or strong freelancer) with a background in editorial. Unfortunately, hiring editorial talent is one of the hardest HR tasks out there. A mountain of people will apply, but only a tiny fraction will work out. Here are some lessons learned from our own experience: Key: Industry-specific experience or knowledge doesn‟t matter nearly as much as that person‟s ability to judge and create content through the eyes of a prospect that fits the format, quality and frequency you require. You can teach the topic relatively easily. You can‟t teach someone to be talented.
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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

Even super-talented content creators usually have preferences and limitations around project size, deadline speed, text length, media, etc. For example, a fantastic business book writer can be terrible at posting short items to a daily blog. Once you determine what sort of content you‟ll need to create on a regular basis, put together an online survey with questions matching your needs and ask all applicants to fill it out. See Chapter 6for a sample of a content creator survey you can use to evaluate applicants. Then, ask for clips and professional references from everyone who answers the survey in a way that matches your needs. 8 Great Places to Find Content Specialists
CONSULTANTS, ACADEM ICS AND PASSIONATE BLOGGERS

Sign up for email newsletters and blog RSS feeds from every independent writer and speaker you can find who serves your marketplace and creates content (even short blog posts) on a regular basis. You may not end up hiring them, but chances are good that you can arrange to reuse an article, presentation or study they‟ve already created for a very low fee (sometimes for nothing, as long as it‟s a co-promotion.) Be careful to clarify copyright and distribution rights in writing.
FREELANCERS

Reporters for trade journals and business magazines are often more than delighted to accept freelancing assignments from you. Look for their email addresses on the magazine masthead or at the end or start of their bylined articles. MediaBistro.com‟s freelancer bank is also a great resource that includes hundreds of freelancer clips and profiles. Always ask freelancers to sign a work-for-hire contract. Your contract should stipulate who owns copyright, deadlines, kill fees, public byline and who is legally responsible should the work prove to be inaccurate, libelous and/or copied from another source. If you wind up in a long-term relationship with a freelancer, you may also ask them to sign an agreement not to accept concurrent work for named direct competitors.
WHITE PAPER AND CASE STUDY SPECIALISTS

There‟s an entire sub-category of freelancers and small shops that specialize in white papers and/or case studies specifically. Find them by surfing online and by asking your peers who they hired. Select white paper writers by asking how good the writer is at researching and learning new topics quickly. You‟ll want to hear they‟ve been able to produce
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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

papers on topics as technical as yours, but not necessarily in your area of technology. See the sources below to find white paper specialist firms: WhitePaperSource: See this company‟s 57-page report titled, „White Paper Writer Industry Report: Second Edition.‟ The study, released in March 2007, surveys close to 600 white paper writers. http://www.whitepapersource.com/report/ Hoffman Marketing Communications Inc.: This firm specializes in writing white papers for chief technology businesses around the world. http://www.hoffmanmarcom.com/ The Appum Group Inc. WhitePaperSource.com calls them “one of the world‟s top three white papers writers.” http://whitepapercompany.com/ Select case study writers by asking how good the writer is at interviewing clientside sources and if he or she has interviewed professionals at the job function and size company you‟ll require before. Someone who has interviewed only SOHOs may have a tough time with Fortune 500 clients. Case study specialists include Phelon Group.
FULLTIM E CONTENT STAFF

One of our favorite online sources to hire professional journalists is JournalismJobs.com, which has reasonably-priced classified and a great resume bank. If you are looking for someone fairly experienced and you are cool with a virtual (i.e., work-at-home) employee, you‟ll stand a much better chance at getting applications from the cream of the crop. Just make sure they‟ve had previous experience working from home and they have a home office with a door that can be closed. If you have an experienced editorial or content manager in-house, consider staffing your content positions with recent college grads. They don‟t need to be journalism majors, although some newspaper experience can be a major asset. The great news is you can get really smart, hard-working staff for lower wages than you might expect, and they may have an innate grasp of Web 2.0 media that defies your older staff. Our favorite source for these hires is CollegeRecruiter.com

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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

BOOK WRITERS

People who can write lengthy text – ranging from 20,000 to 150,000 words – are rare birds. Very few experts, bloggers, even professional journalists can knuckle down and handle that length. (FYI: Depending on illustrations and layout, assume around 425 words per page.) Never put a writer under contract who hasn‟t written at the length you require. Chances are, they‟ll start with huge evinced passion, then miss deadlines and finally bail on the project entirely. Many, many traditionally published business books are partially or entirely ghostwritten. If you see two names on the cover, or a stranger fulsomely thanked in the author‟s notes, chances are the lesser-known name did most of the writing. Surf the Internet looking for that writer; they probably have a personal site or an online networking account advertising their writing services. Most self-published business books (those not published by traditional firms and available in brick-and-mortar bookstores) are written by entrepreneurs who make a living directly from the sales or by promoting their consulting services to book buyers. They are not good prospects to ask to write a new book or an ebook for you. However, they can make great partners for co-promotions and reprints.
WEBINAR PRODUCERS

You won‟t find many webinar specialists available yet. However, real-world event producers often have the perfect skill set to become webinar and virtualevent producers. And, because of heavy travel, many event producers wind up at some stage in their careers wishing they could make the move to webinars. Again, clarify if the person can work from home and if he or she has to reside in the US or be an American citizen. Some of the best hires may be Brits and Aussies. If content quality is of utmost importance to you, then recruit your producer from an organization that‟s oriented more about pleasing attendees than exhibitors. These are often trade associations and high-ticket conference production firms, such as IQPC, World Research Group, SRI and Institute for International Research (IIR-USA.com).
COPYWRITERS

Copywriters and content writers don‟t tend to switch sides. The skills sets and the pay levels are too different. You can sometimes turn a copywriter into a content person; some dream of it. However, doing the reverse and turning a journalist into a copywriter is nearly impossible. (In fact, professional journalists semiseriously call taking a job in marketing communications, “Going to the dark side.”)

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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

To see whether a copywriter will fit your needs, set a trial that you ask every applicant you‟re serious about to take. Give them a typical item you would need promotional materials for – a webinar, a product, a white paper, etc. – and ask them to write a three-paragraph description of it that would make your prospects fill out a registration form to get it pronto. Promise in writing that you‟ll never use the resulting work, that it‟s a test every single person takes so you can compare apples to apples. Some freelancers will require a payment for this work, so a token sum of $100 is generally acceptable.

Registration: To Require or Not?
For a while, requiring registration was a B-to-B marketing no-brainer. You had some fine content and you needed new leads, so why not make people fill out a form to get it? Many marketers told us, “Registration is the price of content; prospects understand that.” But then MarketingSherpa researchers began to gather and publish a wealth of data that revealed all was not right in registration land. First, conversion rates were pretty lousy. Survey and Case Study data revealed that out of every hundred prospects a marketer‟s promotion delivered to a landing page, only a handful actually filled out the registration form. As many as 98% hit their back buttons and got the heck out of there. The actual data depended on the perceived value of the offer, the length and onerousness of the form, the relevance of the offer to the individual and, of course, the quality of the list the person came from. What didn‟t differ was the fact that the majority of visitors bailed at the barrier. If your only goal was to collect names in a giant potential universe, then perhaps this wasn‟t a huge problem. (But, we‟d posit there are cheaper and easier ways to build a name database.) You would just have to drive more and more traffic until you collected the names you needed. However, if you also needed to educate the marketplace and/or achieve viral reach into large organizations, a registration barrier was snapping your messaging funnel shut at the very top. Here‟s a very rough funnel to demonstrate; obviously, your numbers will vary, but we suspect the general shape of the funnel will hold true.

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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

4.39 Image: Content Funnel With Registration Barrier

4.40 Image: Content Funnel Without Registration Barrier

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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

Secondly, the quality of “lead” gathered suffered, especially as prospects began to lie on registration forms as this data reveals:
4.41 Chart: How Accurate Is Information Input Into Registration Forms?

Always
Name Email Industry Company Name Job Title Company Size Phone Custom Questions 0% 20% 29%

Sometimes

Rarely
72% 68% 59%

Never
22% 5% 24% 7% 30% 8% 31% 32% 10% 11% 11% 12% 10% 100%

55% 53% 40% 38% 31% 27% 39% 40% 60%

18% 23% 22% 80%

Source: MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm, Connecting Through Content, 2007 Methodology: N = 2,978 technology professionals

People are not lying because they‟re immoral. They‟re lying because they are not yet ready to engage in a one-to-one relationship with your brand. They need to learn more, take you out on a few dates, before they make up their minds if they are serious enough about you to volunteer their contact information and formally enter your lead pipeline. Frankly, there‟s nothing wrong with that. If, however, you insist on requiring registration from everyone in exchange for your content, you cut your chances of ever selling anything to the 32% or more of the prospects who don‟t feel comfortable raising their hands just yet.

Example: Chris Grams, Director Marketing Communications, Red Hat, was
frustrated by registration form conversion rates. “We have tons of people coming to the site every day, but you‟d only have 50 out of 1,000 people who filled the form in. Webcasts also dipped in terms of the number of people viewing them.
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Would I want to put a date in my calendar to attend a webcast three weeks from now on something I‟m pretty interested in but I‟d skip if somebody invites me out to lunch that day?” Red Hat‟s team decided to test stripping off the required registration for most (but not all) white papers, canned webinars and streamed videos on their site. They also decided most webinars would be published and promoted only in canned on-demand format instead of being scheduled for a particular date and time. “We make our own „event excitement‟ by putting it on the homepage for a week.” On the brand education front, results were phenomenal. “We used to get 500 people signing up for a webcast; now we can see tens of thousands of people viewing on our site. We also found it makes more sense to open up white papers in most cases. If we do not put a capture form in front of it, let‟s say we‟ll get 1,000 people to view it. If we put a capture form, we‟ll get 50 people to view.” What about lead generation? Grams said, „I don‟t like the idea of forcing people to become leads. I like people to opt-in to entering our sales stream. Our sales team is very busy. They don‟t have time to waste with people who aren‟t that interested or who they have to convince to be interested. It‟s marketing‟s job to convince prospects to be interested!” The numbers support his thesis. Since removing most registration barriers, completed Contact Sales forms on Red Hat‟s site leapt from 1,330 per quarter to 2,660 per quarter in just nine months, and sales growth was sustained and strong. Grams added, “What‟s more valuable? To get 50 leads or to have 1,000 people see your info and the interested ones will contact sales on their own? The future is not about putting barriers in front of information. It‟s figuring out how to better contact people who do want to buy something.”

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Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

4.42 Image: Open Access Webcast Featuring Contact Sales Link - Red Hat

Then come three key questions:
#1. WHEN SHOULD YOU REQUIRE REGISTRATION?

If you keep the sales funnel in mind, the place to require registration is where prospects feel most comfortable with you – they have some brand awareness and product education – and they are at a point internally in their own buying cycle where it‟s to their advantage to begin a relationship with you. So, somewhere perhaps early on in the consideration phase is best. The good news is that this saves the marketing department money and reputation with sales, because you‟re receiving fewer “leads” that have to be qualified, put into your database, communicated with, tracked and updated. The leads you do receive provide far higher ROI for your nurturing and cultivation dollar. One other item to bear in mind – some key prospects may never wish to register with you during the sales process no matter how appealing you make it or how close their organization is to buying. They are often influencers (especially line of business execs, C-level execs and outside consultants/experts/press) whose opinions can make or break the sale. But, this particular buying decision may not be central to their everyday jobs, so they don‟t see a need to engage in a sales relationship with you.
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B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook

Chapter 4: How to Create Content B-to-B Prospects Adore

They don‟t want to get email or telemarketing calls from you. They don‟t want to be pestered. They want to gather information when they need it, make an informed opinion and pass that strong opinion on to the poor sap whose job it is to pick the next vendor. So, you need to un-barricade enough consideration-level content for these influencers that they can use to form their opinions ... and move on to their next project. The less central the buying activity to a person‟s job, the less they‟ll want to register. Example: you might require registration for technical trial downloads, but leave your business-line executive white papers open-access. Another idea – copy successful ecommerce merchants and allow prospects to surf your content by using a “Guest Pass.” They can choose to fill out a form on the spot, or click on the pass to get right into the content. You may be surprised at how many people register voluntarily.
#2. HOW CAN YOU GENERATE LEADS FROM NON-REGISTERED CONTENT USERS?

It‟s not as tough as you think. Just make them another offer. Include offers for further tantalizing information within whatever content they received. Also, prominently feature toll-free numbers, email contacts, show speaking and exhibition schedules, external media mentions, as well as the newest content offers everywhere on your site, microsite and offline materials they might trip over. Never rely on an online “contact us” form alone. (Too many prospects doubt their query will be answered in a timely and helpful fashion by a human being.) Never make the contact form onerous, with required fields of any type, or extraneous questions. If and when these people are ready to raise their hands, they will definitely let you know. After all, it‟s in their job description; they have to contact vendors to move their buying process along. Your job as a brand is to be highly visible and easily contactable. For tips on how to measure and justify non-registered user activity, see Chapter 5.
#3. HOW CAN YOU IM PROVE YOUR REGISTRATION CONVERSIONS AT THE BARRIER?

Here are 10 time-tested and proven ways to bump your conversion rate. Only make newbies fill out forms. Cookie your previously registered users and allow them to enter content directly. If you require user names and passwords, use email addresses for user names and speed your “forgot you password?” processes so folks get the answer lightening fast.
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 Pre-fill forms. If people are coming in who are already on a list but you either suspect that you‟ll get a lot of viral activity or want to ask a few different questions, allow them to land on a pre-filled registration form. Conversion rates can increase by 10 times.  Ask easy, polite questions. If a prospect is early on in the sales cycle, they don‟t want to reveal budget or timeframe because those questions are a red flag “sales rep will call!” If a prospect is a line-of-business executive they may not be able to answer technical questions you might desire. In fact, the sight of technical questions would just raise anxiety in them that the content they‟ll receive will be similarly technical and, thus, unreadable.  Ask different questions the next time they come. You don‟t have to ask all your questions at once. You can ask only a few the first time someone fills in a form. Then, later in the relationship, use surveys, bonus offers, sweeps and email relevancy personalization offers to get more information about who they are and what they want from you.  Ask, but don‟t require. The real estate industry has tested asking for phone number on contact forms but not making it a required field. Results? Often, more people will fill out the form and they‟ll input fewer fake numbers.  Assure email privacy. Place a small, reassuring email privacy tagline next to the field where you ask for email. Add a checkbox or several for email preferences options so people can decide what types of email they want to get and what they do not want.  Design for non-US contacts. Don‟t require US-style states, ZIP Codes and phone numbers. Add a country field if appropriate.  Offer a prominent phone number and call-me back button. This is especially important for trial downloads and contact-us forms when a segment of prospects may prefer to speak to a human being before or instead of filling out an online form.  Re-promote your offer on the page. Include: a graphic of what they‟ll get by filling out the form; a brief description; if appropriate, include a testimonial (happy quote) about that item from a peer or a press member.  No distractions. Get rid of all extraneous content, images, navigational links and offers.

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 Bonus Tactic: Test your registration forms. Through multivariable testing with the help of Optimost, Siemens was able to increase registration form fills on one page by 115%. By testing several versions of their registration form, a division of HP was able to increase the conversion rate from 2% to a whopping 31%.
4.43 Image: Registration Form Tests - HP

HP Registration Form Tests

For more details on registration forms and landing pages, see MarketingSherpa‟s Landing Page Handbook.

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