Posts tagged: Landing Pages

Why anyone can use video in B2B marketing & why they should.


With all the things we do to make B2B marketing interesting, attention-getting and memorable, it’s a fact that there’s nothing like video. Video personalizes and humanizes communication in a way that words and even still pictures cannot do. It adds a human touch to marketing messaging that can be beat only by a face-to-face meeting. I’m not diminishing words and pictures, but, living in a world raised on television and movies, we’ve all been trained to respond to moving and talking pictures.

The arrival of YouTube in 2005 has made it remarkably easy for anyone to put video on the Internet, even a small B2B business like mine. In fact, I did just that in 2012 when my SEO resource, SharpNet Solutions, recommended that I could boost my Website’s SEO performance by adding video. Which it did.

I was so pleased with the result and with the company I chose to do the work that I recommended to the San Diego Direct Marketing Association (SDDMA) that they invite Greg McKinney, Founder and President of Webstorytellers, to be a speaker at one of their luncheon events. So, on Tuesday, I joined my fellow SDDMA members to hear what he had to say. Here are some of the highlights:

Why use video — the stats.*
If B2B marketers are not yet convinced about using video, these powerful stats may convince them. These numbers are based on reality today and don’t even include the projections on the huge future of video:

  • The average user’s visit to a text-and-image-based Website lasts only 43 seconds. For a Website with video, the average lasts 5 minutes and 50 seconds.
  • Customers who watch videos of products or services are 85% more likely to make a purchase.
  • 75% of executives surveyed say they watch work-related videos on business-related Websites at least weekly. More than half watch work-related videos on YouTube at least weekly.
  • 65% of senior executives have visited a vendor’s Website after watching a video.
  • It’s estimated that 75% of U.S. smartphone users watch online video on their smartphones and 26% of them do so every day. 50% of tablet users watch online video content.

Ways to use video.
There are many ways to use video. The best approach is to have multiple videos that cover all these options. Length should depend on the location and purpose of the video. Like all marketing issues, length should be tested for each product and market.

  • Testimonials and Customer Stories: One of my clients took advantage of a customer summit to record video success stories told by their customers. These were then edited into quick video testimonials for use on their Website. They also turned the full stories into case studies, which were put into a very popular content text-based offer.
  • Meet the CEO/President/Owner/Employee, etc.: There are few faster or more effective ways to personalize a B2B company to its prospects than showing an exec or employee talking about the company, its mission, its commitment, or the benefits it offers to customers and clients. Greg recommends that these recordings NOT be scripted.
  • Product Sales: One of my B2B ecommerce clients is adding video descriptions to products on their Website. They’ve made a huge impact on the company’s SEO and product sales.
  • Present the USP: B2B marketers can present their unique selling proposition (USP) in a quick video statement that adds life to the words.
  • Promote the Offer on Landing Pages: Videos produce better conversion from search engine ad or banner landing pages.
  • Enhance Page Content: A video can be put on every page of the site to support or enrich the content of that page with testimonials, product details, etc.
  • Video on Emails: Just like a video can enhance a Website, Web page or a landing page, it can do wonders for generating readership and response to prospect or customer emails.

What to pay for video.
The answer, of course, is, “It depends.” Companies can produce their own videos in-house for very little. But no company wants to project an amateur image. Using a professional video firm can significantly enhance the quality and results. Some resources are willing to do a simple animated video with voice over (like the one I had done) for around $1000. Using interviews, announcers, animation and more might cost an average of $5000 and up.

Video can be a cost-effective investment in better SEO, a more compelling Website and landing pages that convert. If I can do it, anyone can.

*The sources for the stats are available on request.
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The most popular posts from B2B Marketing Smarts in 2012.


What follows are the five most popular blogs posted on B2B Marketing Smarts in 2012. They are not only packed with useful information on B2B marketing best practices, but they can give B2B marketers a little insight into what their competitors may be researching, reading and implementing now and into the coming year.

In case you missed any of these, here they are again for your review.

Also at this close of the year I have the opportunity to wish all my readers a rewarding and successful 2013.

Take your B2B trade show booth from boring to spectacular.
This guest post from Daniel Frank suggests how the right activities and practices can significantly improve the number of visitors to a B2B trade show booth, the time the visitors spend at the booth and how that visit can stand out from the competition.

Two B2B marketing rules that cross all forms of communication.
Don’t miss reviewing these two basic rules that, when followed, consistently enhance the readability and impact made by a B2B marketing message.

B2B marketing’s 10 most common copy mistakes.
Regardless of one’s marketing experience and background, there’s likely at least one rule here that a B2B marketer could be missing. Check out this list and see if there isn’t some little improvement that could enhance the impact of a marketing communication.

B2B content marketing: Be noticed in this attention economy.
Thanks to the Internet, smart phones and more, demands for our attention have multiplied tenfold. Here are a few elements that B2B marketers may have missed that can help their messages stand out when trying to reach their target markets.

Use others’ B2B marketing landing page wins to boost yours.
Here are eight ideas that have been tested by others and have proven to improve the conversions from B2B marketing landing pages.

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Making B2B marketing landing pages something to CRO about.


The content in an online session I recently attended made me very happy. The session was about maximizing and tracking online conversions. These efforts are now referred to as CRO — for Conversion Rate Optimization.

What made me happy was that the session confirmed that the landing page best practices I know are still valid based on current and extensive testing.

Many of my B2B marketing clients have a prospect universe that is too small to run statistically valid testing. So I continue to recommend that these B2B marketers follow the tested learnings of others, as that is their best way to maximize conversions.

Here are the landing page best practices that were confirmed in this session, plus a few I learned during a session at the recent Direct Marketing Association‘s annual conference:

  • Having only one “call to action” on a landing page creates a 240% higher conversion rate.
  • Having the landing page take more than 5 seconds to load drops conversion by 47%.
  • Visitors have a 3-second attention span. Redirects on a landing page create a 37% higher abandon rate.
  • Forms must take way less than 45 seconds to fill out.
  • Every added field on a landing page form loses 6% more registrations.
  • Using the same images on the email and the landing page raises conversion by 20%.
  • Having the landing headline match the PPC ad headline is a must; otherwise, the B2B marketing effort looks like a come-on and not a legitimate offer.
  • The word “Click here” continues to substantially outperform the word “Submit” on the landing page action button.
  • Simplifying the messaging and the presentation lifts conversions. Copy and design should direct the prospect to what they are to do and not distract them with too much on the page.

It’s smart for B2B marketers with a large enough prospect universe to test various landing page approaches and designs for themselves. But following the above rules consistently shows the highest CRO. So, testing or not, I suggest that these are the best CRO practices to follow.

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Converting B2B marketing click-throughs in 50 milliseconds


Tim Ash, in the latest version of Target Marketing magazine, makes a dramatic point about how critical it is to make sure a landing page follows all the right practices to maximize conversions.

In his article “After the Click“, Tim lays out specific must-dos for landing page productivity. He says, “Getting people to click on your email link or banner offer is irrelevant if they don’t see what they expected to see, can’t find what they came for or are just plain turned off by your landing page.”

As the CEO at SiteTuners and author of Landing Page Optimization, Tim knows his stuff. He reports on research estimating that marketers have only 50 milliseconds to capture a person’s attention. Tim reports, “Recent findings in neuroscience are giving marketers insights into how the brain reacts to new information, what it likes and what it rejects. For example, the brain is frustrated by:

  • Tasks that take too long to resolve;
  • Clutter; and
  • Messages that distract or don’t apply.”

I’ve often written about the importance of keeping messages simple so B2B buyers can “react” to offers without ever having to stop and think. Tim refers it as “first impressions.” That’s why I thought it might be time to repeat the highlights of my “5 Biggest B2B Marketing Design Mistakes” to help B2B marketers creating landing pages make the right visual impression:

  1. Never reverse body copy out of a dark background (headlines are OK, but not body copy).
  2. Keep lines of text short from left to right to maximize readability (no more than 70 characters per line).
  3. Never treat copy as purely a design element.
  4. Use pictures whenever possible.
  5. Don’t hide your call to action.

Tim adds to these instructions on other ways to keep the design uncluttered. He adds:

  1. Keep your colors pleasing and neutral.
  2. Use standard fonts large enough to read without straining.
  3. Make text easy to scan.

The other point Tim makes is one I have also advised clients to remember for years — to have a single call to action. Those who click through will stop and get confused if the landing page gives them choices. Remember, B2B marketers don’t want prospects to have to think. They want prospects to react.

Tim clearly states that the landing page is not an “afterthought.” It’s the biggest part of a B2B marketing campaign that must convert click-throughs into follow-throughs.

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Use other’s B2B marketing landing page wins to boost yours.


Most smart B2B marketers already know that the design and copy in a landing page have huge impact on the success of online B2B marketing campaigns — or even offline, if the call to action is to visit a URL.

Many B2B marketers, however, don’t have a large enough universe of prospective customers to conduct valid testing on their own. So it’s handy to have so many others conduct tests, and, from those tests, establish the best practices the rest of us can use.

Last week I experienced two landing page-related events that brought these best practices back into my focus.

One was a discussion with a client marketing team about the creation of a new landing page template. The other was the arrival of an email link to the 2012 Online Testing Awards Winners from “Which Test Won.”

The discussion included reports from several team members on landing page best practices they had picked up at recent Webinars. Most of the testing was done with B2C products and services and less for B2B, but those that would most affect B2B landing pages include:

  • Make sure the landing page headline and content continue the messaging that began in the PPC ad, banner, or whatever message directs the prospect to the landing page URL.
  • Have a strong, clear and quickly visible call to action.
  • Use directional cues to direct attention to the CTA, such as arrows.
  • Keep the landing page to a single purpose.
  • Show a visual of what is being offered — white paper, checklist, etc.
  • Use video, which has been shown to boost conversion by 80% (I don’t know if this is B2B or B2C, or if it even matters).
  • Keep the message clean, short, clear and easy to read.
  • Keep the registration fields required to receive the offer as short as possible.

The biggest surprise that has come out of landing page testing is that indicating required fields with asterisks actually reduces response.

The 2012 Online Testing Awards Winners provide a wonderful opportunity for us B2B marketers to test our own instincts about what’s best on a landing page. Each test provides the two pages tested, lets you vote, then reports which version really won the test and why.

It provides fun and instant insight into how small changes to landing pages can make a big difference in results.

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5 B2B marketing ideas you can implement (almost) instantly.


I’ve been delinquent in keeping up with my favorite blogs and staying up to date on today’s latest B2B marketing practices. Today I tried to catch up. All of the advice was very good — excellent, in fact — but it was also painful advice. That’s because, without exception, every post concerned big-picture B2B marketing strategies, the kind that require revising existing processes or implementing new ones. They are changes that need to be made, but could take months to implement.
Most of the B2B marketing teams I know are happy to just get a product launched or complete programs to drive booth traffic at their next industry event. Making any necessary but complex changes to marketing processes has the word “later” stamped all over it.

With this in mind, I’ve been on the lookout for ideas on small, but quick improvements that B2B marketers can make to at least feel like they’re moving the success of their programs up a notch. Here are the first five I’ve found.

  1. Boost content downloads: I read advice from Jonathan Kantor of The White Paper Company. He recommends that marketers provide site visitors with a free sample of part of a white paper before asking them to register to get the rest. Once engaged, they are more likely to register.
  2. Increase landing page performance: From the Pardot Marketing Automation‘s white paper on “Best Practices to Successful Landing Pages” I pulled out this little gem. They say that the most effective landing pages are those that reflect the look and feel of your Website, but do not allow for navigation to your actual homepage. Prospects can easily get distracted and click away from your landing page, losing the chance for you to get them to do what you were inviting them to do in the first place. They say, and I agree, that it is more appropriate to place links to the company site on the “thank you page” they see after registering.
  3. Lighten the burden of creating nurturing content: Reading the terrific Hubspot eBook “100 Inbound Marketing Content Ideas” spurred an idea. I remember that, when a colleague finds an interesting piece of content, they send me a link to it. There’s no reason why one of the elements in a nurturing campaign couldn’t do the same thing. B2B marketers can find valuable information that others have created (not competitors, of course) and forward a brief description and a link to the content in a nurturing email. It looks less like “self promotion” than sending one’s own materials and the content has already been created.
  4. Get a longer life out of email and direct mail content offers: Personalized URLs (or PURLS) have been around for a long time. It’s true they’ve lost the attention they once generated. Yet, a paper from Easypurl, Inc. does promote one benefit that I believe still has much value — that PURLs have a longer life than promotional URLs. Consciously, we know that using our name in a URL is not really personal, yet something with our name on it still makes a connection that other URLs do not. The Easypurl paper says that PURLs “have a long response tail.” For this reason, I think they still have value.
  5. Get better results by using the word FREE in subject lines and emails: A collection of articles on email marketing from Email Labs (now part of Lyris) that I saved supports a point that past testing by some of my clients has proven to be true. It says, “Perhaps the most common misconception in email marketing is that you should ‘never use the word free.’ By itself, the word free will not cause any of the major spam or content filters to reject your email. (Though it is possible that some corporations or user-driven spam filters might be set to delete emails containing the word “free”) So why then would you risk using free when there is a chance, albeit small, your email might be filtered? Quite simply, better results. In our experience across various clients, when used correctly, the word free can provide a powerful boost to your results.”

 

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3 simple technologies B2B marketers can love.


Has the day come when technology can replace the B2B marketer? I think not. But two Web-based analysis tools, and a tool for interacting with B2B event attendees, may help them be a lot more effective.

  1. AttentionWizard.com is a “Visual Attention Prediction Tool for Landing Pages.” Technically, it “simulates human vision during the first 5 seconds of exposure to visuals, and creates an eye-tracking heatmap based on an algorithm that predicts what a real human would be most likely to look at.” Ranging from $27 to $197 per month, this tool tells B2B marketers scientifically how the layout and organization of their Landing Pages might enhance or detract from its performance. I believe it offers a free trial.
  2. OfferGrader™ was discovered by Dale Underwood of B2B Conversations Now. It is the site builder’s first attempt at “a tool that would help our B2B clients gauge the strength of the call-to-action offers they provide on their websites to assist with b2b lead generation.” One look at the site told me immediately that, even if you don’t run their analysis against an actual site, it gives you a pretty quick list of the elements that would improve its performance. It’s in its trial form now; therefore, there’s no cost to try it.
  3. David Meerman Scott of WebInkNow has focused a few blogs lately on QR codes. Although I think they’re very cool, I also know that they are new enough right now. So usage is small and not without some technology barriers. However, Scott’s latest post on the subject does point out two excellent uses of QR codes for B2B marketers at trade shows and conferences that are well worth reading.

Check out these tools and posts. I think B2B marketers should find them to be interesting additions to their portfolio of solutions.

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Inbound and Outbound B2B Marketers Have the Same Challenge


As usual, I started my day reviewing various opt-in emails and visiting favorite blog sites.

Inbound and outbound B2B marketers may fight over which method is best, but elements in two of the communications I read today reminded me of the big challenge common to both — and that is “control.”

First I read Steven Woods’ excellent Digital Body Language post on “Who and What Do We Trust?” In it he talks about how today’s access to information is changing the way businesses build trust with prospective customers. He says, “With the changing dynamic of how the conversation happens, there is also a changing dynamic of how trust is developed.”

Then I received an email invite from BtoB Online to attend their Sept. 30th Webinar “Beyond Content Management: 4 Ways to Engage Your Visitors and Achieve Online Marketing Success.” The opening of the invitation states, “Marketers need to be able to take control of their site visitors’ online experience in order to increase conversion.”

Although these two communications are focused on different areas of the B2B marketing and sales process, they both address the issue of “control.” Prospective business buyers do what they want, when then want and how they want. It’s a marketer’s job to do everything possible to influence those actions.

Inbound B2B marketers conduct SEO, are active in social media, conduct AdWords campaigns, post content on targeted informational Websites and more. Outbound B2B marketers send out content or sales offers through direct mail, email, and telemarketing. These two groups fight and debate, but both approaches are essential for success in today’s B2B marketing worlds and both groups have the same challenge of attempting to “control” the actions of their target B2B market.

Every B2B prospect and situation is different, but there are human traits and circumstances that B2B marketers can leverage to help take more control over their prospects’ actions.

B2B marketers must know that today’s prospect has limited support resources and is over the top with work. Every marketing decision, practice and communication should be based on seeing the prospect in that light, as follows:

  1. Keep communications short and to the point.
  2. Make it clear, quick and easy for prospects to act on what is being offered.
  3. Speak to prospects in the first person and communicate the benefits they will gain from acting on the offer.
  4. Be sure to offer information that has real value to your target market. Check out Ardath Albee’s Marketing Interactions Blog on “When Thought Leadership Isn’t” for insight on how marketers can help make their company a prospect’s trusted resource.
  5. Communicate differently to different titles. Goals and problems vary from title to title. Communications should be versioned to address those differences.
  6. Communicate and make contact often enough so that the company being marketed is top-of-mind as the prospect moves through every step of the buying cycle.
  7. Give the prospect a clear ‘next action’ in every communication.

From tweets to AdWords to landing pages to email invitations to Website pages and content libraries, the marketer’s ultimate goal is to control the prospect’s actions as much as possible. Control comes from understanding human nature and using the practices that leverage that understanding.

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6 tips for B2B landing pages that land business.


In the history of the human race, information has never been so readily available. There’s hardly a subject in the world that isn’t discussed and accessible online — from the genealogy of Goofy to what Brad Pitt orders when he goes out to dinner.

If one is looking for a business solution — software, consulting services, ink cartridges, training materials or thousands of other products and services — it is easy to find, right from the desktop. Then there’s a ton of advice for those businesses selling those products and services — to which I am very happy to contribute.

With this plethora of advice and ease of getting it, I am baffled when I see emails, landing pages, websites and other marketing tools that do not follow best practices.

A landing page has the attention of a prospect for so little time, it’s important that everything works. So what set of tips should be followed? Those that have come out of multivariate A/B split testing in the real marketplace. For those not familiar with multivariate testing, the subject is nicely covered by Mona Elesseily in “Getting Multivariate Landing Page Testing Straight!” on Search Engine Land.

Companies should do their own testing with their own message to their own market. But lacking the time, budget or willingness to test, the next best thing is to implement the findings of those who have tested.

Here’s what the marketers who have tested landing pages have found:

  1. Message Presentation: Assume the prospect will not read the copy but give the page a once-over. So the core of the message must be communicated through headlines and subheads.
  2. Visuals: Include a photo or two if possible. Photos of people make a company seem personal and approachable. Use captions with pictures. Captions are a great way to emphasize an important point, and they actually get read.
  3. Focus: Focus the message and the call to action on responding to the offer being made. Any navigation options that take prospects away from getting them to accept the offer on the page will diminish response. If you want to provide more info, such as testimonials or product details, turn the landing page into a microsite and put that information on secondary tabbed or pop-up pages. But don’t send prospects away from the offer.
  4. Flow: Look at your page and make sure the headline and message flow easily from one point to another. Companies like eyetracking.com actually measure how the eye moves through a message. If a message does not follow the natural flow, that too will diminish response.
  5. Offer Placement: Make sure the offer and call to action are the first things seen when the email is opened. Then they can be repeated several more places on the page.
  6. Response Form: Put the response form and fields on the landing page. Every additional time prospects are asked to click-thru to another page will reduce response.

For those who test landing pages, the marketplace has spoken. There’s no reason not to maximize click-thrus by following the practices they have found to work best.

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Being a “control freak” is good for B2B marketing.


Way too many marketers out there are making my job much too easy. That’s because, in spite of the information being discussed on informative blogs (like this one), in Webinars, by opt-in marketing publishers, content syndicators and even books, they don’t have a clue.

 

My job is easy because all I have to do is make one simple recommendation and clients, if they follow that recommendation, can see a measurable difference in the results of their marketing.

 

 

The recommendation I make is to NOT send prospects directly to their Web site (no matter how good it is) but to direct them to a special landing page that is specifically part of the campaign. That way you can track their response, get their contact information and provide them with a secondary offer after responding (more about this in a future post).

 

Using a campaign landing page as the primary call-to-action on your emails, banner ads, search ads or even from your direct mail marketing is a fast and direct way to increase your campaign ROI. It furthers the story you began in your initial message and gathers contact information. This approach has also been shown to increase conversion rates, as the more prospects interact with your company/brand the stronger their connection to you.

 

These days, of course, when you first connect with new prospects, many of them will take it upon themselves to go into Google, type in your company name, find your Website and check you out. They may or may not make it back to your offer.

 

But the more you can control their actions, the more trackable leads you add to your nurturing and sales pipeline. This is when being a “control freak” can be a good thing.

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