Ten Strategies for Business To Business Marketing

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1 Ten Strategies for Business To Business Marketing Done right, can be the most highly effective medium for communicating with your customers, clients, or prospects. Measurable and inexpensive, allows you to cultivate customers and keep awareness of your brand alive. Newsletters that provide interesting and valuable information can help customers to qualify themselves and help you realize both sales and customer satisfaction. And promotions can have a substantial impact on revenues. For example, a well known hotel chain recently sent an message to about 8,000 recent business customers who had opted-in to their mailing list. Their offer for discounted hotel rooms received a 45% response and resulted in the selling of 2,000 rooms. As with any marketing effort, there are certain strategies that can help ensure the success of your marketing efforts. Here we offer ten key strategies that we have found to contribute significantly marketing success. Strategy One: Only to Opt-In Subscribers There are lots of ways to acquire lists of names to mail to. The worst way is to put people on your list who don't know you and who didn't ask for your material. This approach exposes you to accusations of spamming and blockage and even blacklisting by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and services, as well as retaliation from antispam vigilantes. The best method is to build your own lists and then to safeguard your subscribers by mailing only to people who have expressly opted in to receive your messages. You can encourage people to 'opt-in' in several different ways. Start by asking people you contact on sales calls and visitors to your Web site for permission to send them your newsletter. Do the same for people who attend your trade show exhibits and conferences. Make subscribing as easy and unthreatening as possible, by collecting only the minimum information necessary to get them the information. No matter how easy you make it for people to subscribe to your list, no one will subscribe unless you provide value. Make sure your newsletter contains information that is of interest to them and with a relevant connection to your organization. If there s a budget, offer special incentives and promotions for people willing to subscribe. Strategy Two: Make it easy to get off your list Now that you have your mailing list, it is vital that subscribers who want to remove themselves from your list can do so easily and reliably, otherwise you risk alienating them altogether. We recommend the following: 1. Provide instructions on how to remove a name from the list within every message that you send out.

2 2. Prevent unintended subscriptions in the first place; use to confirm EVERYONE entering your subscription list. This simple method involves sending an message that asks for confirmation of apparent subscription requests. Once the subscription is confirmed, delivery can begin immediately. This will help protect your lists from both intentional and accidental abuse. 3. Provide a web-based unsubscribe process that gives immediate feedback. Strategy Three: Keep Your Messages Focused Be prepared to support MANY different lists, each according to the interests or needs of its audience. For example, new product notices, press releases and investor-relations newsletters may have different audiences and are different enough in their content to call for a distinct look and feel. Clarity is incredibly important. People read faster than conventional print. So get to the point quickly and telegraphically. Equally important is relevance. To be sure you address the interests of your customers, don t be afraid to ask them. Wherever you can, allow subscribers to select their own preferences for certain topics or fields of interest and whether they prefer to receive your messages in HTML or plain text.. Strategy Four: Mail Just Often Enough To Keep Their Interest Too many ers over-do a good thing thereby killing the medium that offers the greatest promise of rewards. With a great list and relevant content, more isn t always better. The best story and the most compelling presentations get stale if your readers see them too often. To stay in their good graces, mailing daily can be deadly. Even weekly can be too much, if there s not enough fresh material and variety. Unless you re publishing real news, watch your frequency. Test longer vs. shorter intervals between issues. Let your customers tell you how much of you they want to see. Strategy Five: Personalize and Customize Your Messages Personal messages sell. Talk to your readers one to one in personal terms. Make them feel that you understand their circumstances their goals and their pain--and your marketing campaign will be much more successful. This doesn t have to be time consuming or costly effort if you have the tools to bring the customer s variable data to the message making process. The following are just a few examples. Personalize Your Addresses Yours and Theirs Nothing smells of spam more than a from address line that looks machine made. So make sure your comes from you with your name and your company clearly identified.

3 Second, address the message to your recipient by name and not by list name, "Recipients of the xxx newsletter." These subtle changes can make a world of difference to your success. Compelling Subject Lines Does the title of your article make people want to open and read it? The subject line is one of the most important elements of successful marketing, but most marketers still don't know how to craft a good one. Think of the subject line as the purest distillation of your marketing message. If you understand what motivates your target audience -- what their pain points are in relation to your product or service -- you have a good chance of getting their click. Personalize Your Tone Avoid impersonal we speech. Selling is one to one communication not preaching. Adaptive data systems can help you match the content of your message to the interests of your recipients, but make sure the variable information flows naturally within the message using personal words like "you" and "your" in the message. The tone and feel of authentic conversation between the I of the writer and the you of the reader will help to establish the authenticity of your communication. Address Reason Through Emotion People say they buy for logical reasons but they really buy with their hearts and their guts. Addressing the personal and private pain of your customer is the perpetual dark secret of successful direct marketing and sales. If you touch the right nerve the right way, you win handsomely. If you come across as glib or inappropriately familiar, it sounds phony and you lose your chance. More on personal and private appeals to fear, greed and other irrational emotions in subsequent newsletters. Personalize Feedback Invite your readers to respond to your communication and provide a personal address to do so (preferably the same one that's in the "from" line in your envelope). Listen to what they have to say and address their comments and concerns whenever it makes sense. Strategy Five: Create Relevant Content Content is critical. The best way to ensure that subscribers stay on your list is to provide them with content that is interesting and relevant. For instance, if your company develops accounting software, you may want to provide a newsletter that contains information on critical new regulations and the business problems they can cause, as well as user tips and tricks, and special offers on new releases. If your site provides the latest sports news, a newsletter with the latest headlines would potentially be of interest to your prospects and customers. No matter how good your newsletter or promotional offers are, if it isn't interesting to your readers, they will unsubscribe from your list.

4 Strategy Six: Use an Automated Sequence of Messages To Educate Prospects Automated, sequential can be a great way to educate prospects about the benefits and features of your product and to hit those buttons that heat up a warm or cool lead. Use sequential at the beginning of the relationship while the prospect's still engaged with your product. Sequential doesn't require lots of creative resources, just a commitment to develop content based on your unique selling proposition. Throw in customer testimonials, quantitative data on cost savings, or increased efficiencies to make it stronger. Don't forget a clear call to action and contact information. Timing is key. Send at least weekly, until the sequence is complete. Once you've developed the creative, you can use it for a year or more, as each prospect only sees it once. The ongoing cost to run the program is minimal. With CheckBoxMail you can stage sequential mailings from your desktop. Strategy Seven: Create Landing Pages that Help Customers Say Yes! Without a successful landing page, your campaign is going to flop. The Web page your readers click to does the heavy lifting. Use concise yet friendly copy to request the basics, usually no more than name, title, company, phone number, and address. Then make it easy and fast to download the offer. Ideally, it's a sequence of quid pro quo pages. You politely ask for contact information to collect a lead. In return, your reader gets the opportunity to specify whether and how she wants to continue a conversation with you (by e-newsletter, phone, postal mail, etc.). Strategy Eight: Adopt Quality Review BEFORE You Send Remember that customers' and clients' impressions are based on your communication with them. Duplicate s, s that are poorly proofread, or information that is not relevant will reflect poorly on your company. An enforceable quality review process is essential. Review what you are about to post via the web. Test by sending a sample preview posting to yourself or to a review alias through so that you can check formatting. And test across platforms and to different clients and web browsers. What looks good in one format may look very different in another environment. And make sure that machine you "send" your from to your list is behind a firewall and suitably password protected. (Spammers LIVE to find ways to post to other people's lists!) Strategy Nine: Seize every opportunity to make the right lasting impressions In many cases, the non-verbal impression your material presents is as important to its success as the more obvious verbal content. Make sure your whole newsletter

5 process is creating the impression you want. A lot of what we re talking about comes under the heading of old fashioned courtesy. Send a "Welcome" message to new subscribers Send new subscribers your most recent newsletter Send a "Goodbye" message when users unsubscribe Provide archives of past newsletters on the web If you contract your newsletters to an external service, make sure the web interface is consistent with your corporate image Provide your subscribers with the option of plain text or HTML Strategy Ten: Measuring success. Success isn t about click-throughs, although it's nice to boast of a double-digit response. It s not even about conversions (i.e., those who clicked through to the landing page, filled out your form, then downloaded your white paper). It's about sales. marketing to business is a long-term game. The medium is fluid and fast. The decision-making that goes into the purchase products or services can often seem very, very slow. Tools that accelerate the process such as intelligent marketing can be indispensable to your long term viability.

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