Double Your Conversion Rate in Four Steps

Introduction

Increasing conversion rates is a top priority for many B2B marketing and sales teams today. While some B2B marketing campaigns achieve conversion rates of 50% or higher, many are in the 1.5%-3% range. Even though CSOs worldwide identified investments in optimized lead generation programs as a number-one priority, only about half of all B2B marketers currently utilize programs.

Converting a prospect to a customer and a customer to an advocate relies on solid data and continuous communication with customers. By driving more traffic to highly effective web pages, marketers can achieve higher conversion rates that ultimately lead to higher sales and profits.

Knowing that improved conversion rates are key to an email marketing or promotions campaign, many questions remain. How can B2B marketers increase conversion rates without a substantial investment in costly software and IT involvement? What are the characteristics of a successful campaign? What are the steps involved?

This white paper will identify four steps required to double the conversion rates of B2B companies of all industries and sizes.

Step One: Deliver Relevant Content and Targeted Messaging

Email is the marketing channel of choice for B2B marketers today. In a recent survey, 72% of marketers indicated that they use email as the primary means of communicating with their target markets.iii There is also a resurgence in the popularity of email marketing. Although its returns have diminished somewhat in the past couple of years, email marketing still outperforms other direct marketing channels such as print catalogsiv and paid ads.v A Forrester Research survey in 2008 revealed that 95% of marketers use email marketing, with another 4% planning to do so by the end of 2008vi.

To deliver an email marketing campaign’s desired results and increase conversion rates, marketers must deliver content that is relevant to and personalized for their targets. Customized content provides deeper insights about a company, service, or promotional campaign to prospects and customers. In essence, marketers need to start the “right” conversation with the “right” targets. But how do companies go about achieving this? To double conversion rates, successful marketers drive their targets to effective and action-oriented landing pages. These are distinct, stand-alone URLs created specifically for a target market for a specific promotion or email marketing campaign. Landing pages offer detailed information on a particular topic, product, promotion, or event.

When linking these personalized landing pages to targets, however, it is vital that marketers retain consistent branding and messaging. In the interest of delivering highly personalized information to key prospects and customers, a company’s identity often gets lost. Marketers need to deliver consistent messages that speak to the company’s brand and value propositions at all times, or conversion rates will drop and ROI will plummet.

After starting the “right” conversation with the “right” prospects and customers with optimized landing pages, the next step for B2B marketers is to continue that conversation, using many of the same basic principles.

Step Two: Drive an Always-On, One-on-One Dialog

In Step One, B2B marketers become connected with their targets. The goal in Step Two is to stay connected. When marketers stay connected and engaged with their targets, this leads to increased customer response rate, interaction, and advocacy. How can this be accomplished? To continue to deliver personalized communication, effective marketers solicit information such as identity, demographics, and profile details from their targets. This allows marketers to create and deliver continuous information that is customized and personalized to this target, or drive the most relevant content. It allows marketers to “keep the conversation going.”

Personalized URLs, or PURLs, offer an effective tool for staying connected to key prospects and customers. PURLs contain detailed, customer-driven information and communicate relevant messaging, which results in better marketing ROI. Communications populated by customer-driven data contain targeted messages and specific actions that marketers could only dream of 10 years ago. Today’s B2B marketers have the right tools to increase conversions. By knowing how to use these tools, the desired results can be achieved.

At this point there needs to be a reminder about branding. At this stage-as well as all stages-marketers must keep branding top-of-mind. Content that is both personalized and incorporates brand is a tricky balancing act. Customers demand a personalized experience today, but companies need to always communicate their brand to their key targets. When marketers employ these best practice marketing campaigns, they are able to influence the discussion about their brand. This can be achieved as long as marketers are able to optimize content easily, instantly, and continuously.

Step Three: Close the Loop on Campaign Conversions

One of the biggest mistakes B2B marketers can make when deploying an email marketing campaign is to send targets to their company’s home page. To increase conversions, marketers must instead create and deploy optimized landing pages. A landing page is a Web page designed specifically for a promotion or marketing campaign. These pages are designed to close the loop on marketing campaign-related activities; they are used to support marketing, brand, and customer communications and can contain brand messaging, data gathering, or both of these. Optimized landing pages, or pages created with personalized and relevant communication based on valuable data, will double customer conversion rates.

Optimized landing pages are the “missing link” for any promotional or email campaign. However, only half of marketers surveyed indicated that they optimize their landing pages to increase customer conversion rates.vii There are many ways to optimize a landing page. It can be as simple as using a customized headline or customized copy. However, when marketers are able to optimize their landing pages “on the fly,” this results in the highest possible customer conversion rates. This means having the functionality to quickly and easily incorporate personalized data. This functionality enables marketers to deliver personalized thankyou pages, personalized email confirmations, secure lead collection, and even storage for each and every client account. Deploying optimized landing pages will ultimately lead to increased sales and company growth.

Step Four: Access Instant and Actionable Analytics

The “right” conversation with key prospects and customers is continuous and never completely ends. In order to deploy email marketing campaigns that achieve higher conversion rates, B2B marketers need to be able to track clicks, conversion rates, cost per conversion, cost per click, and other pertinent marketing metrics throughout the entire campaign. Every marketer has different needs and should be able to utilize a reporting system that provides instant and actionable analytics tailored to their needs. Effective reporting systems contain the parameters required of each individual and provide access to appropriate information needed to assess each campaign and make any necessary adjustments.

Conclusion

As this white paper indicates, doubling conversion rates with effective email marketing tools is not only possible for B2B marketers but can be accomplished without expensive software or IT involvement. With optimized microsites, PURLs, and landing pages, marketers can provide continuous, personalized content to connect and engage with key prospects and customers while keeping brand top-of-mind.

Optimized lead generation programs lead to other benefits, as well. Continuous, relevant content builds customer relationships and loyalty, thereby converting customers to advocates. This in turn decreases customer churn and increases customer retention, which lead to substantial cost savings. As companies plan to invest more and more on email marketing in the next few years,viii it is imperative they turn to optimized lead generation programs to truly cash in on these investments. By crafting relevant messages to key prospects and customers and incorporating the proper analytics, B2B marketers will not only double their current conversion rates but cultivate loyal customer advocates for the long-term.

Resources

I CSO Insights

II Marketing Sherpa’s “Landing Page Handbook, 2nd Edition”

III Direct Magazine’s Annual Forecast Survey

IV October 23, 2007. Magill, Ken. “E-mail ROI Is Still a Stunner, but Diminishing: DMA.” Retrieved from http://directmag.com/disciplines/email/email_roi_diminishing/ on October 14, 2008.

V February 12, 2008. Marketing Sherpa. “Marketing Sherpa’s Fifth Annual Ad:Tech Survey: Top Web Advertisers Rate Best & Worst Online Tactics & Budget Plans.” Retrieved from https://www.marketingsherpa.com/barrier.html?ident=30337 on October 14, 2008.

VI September 9, 2008. Magill,

VII Marketing Sherpa’s “Landing Page Handbook, 2nd Edition”

VIII September 21, 2007. eMarketer. “Email Marketing: Getting Through to Customers.”

Ways to Compare Your Car Insurance Rates

When you set out to get the best rates on your car cover policy, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available to you and it may seem like you have no way in which to grasp the terminologies and concepts. However, with a bit of self-education and digging, you will be able to fully understand the right concepts in order to save you the most in the end.

It comes as no surprise that everyone is looking to save money on their car premiums, it can be expensive depending on a few factors, these include your age, your past driving record and the amount of claims you have made. So looking at each one individually, will help you have a better grasp of the policies.

* Your age plays a huge part in how much you will pay in premiums. If you are an established driver, you will pay less in premiums than someone that is a brand new driver and a student. This may seem unfair to you especially if you are a student, but you have to remember that your inexperience in driving makes you a greater risk to the insurance companies as a whole.

* Your past driving record also plays a huge role in how much you will pay for your car premiums. For instance, if you have had several accidents in the past, you become a higher risk and therefore are more likely to pay much more than someone that has had no accidents.

* The amount of claims you have filed also determines the premium amounts. For instance, if you have filed claims for small items in the past that were unrelated to an actual accident, it still increases your risk in the eyes of the insurance companies. Therefore, it is often better to not file claims for small items and only make a claim in the event of an accident or theft.

Keep in mind, car insurance comparison can be done online to give you the best view of what is available to you and what you can expect to pay in premiums. Here again, the claims you made in the past, your age and past accidents will all play apart in how much you end up paying. So the cleaner your record, the less you will pay, unless you are a student or very young and purchasing your first policy.

As you get your car insurance comparison rates online, you can then contact the actual brokers and ask any further questions you may have in order to fully understand the policy being offered to you. You may also make adjustments to the plan in order to suit your needs further. You can take out higher voluntary excess in order to lower your premiums, but make sure the voluntary excess is not so high that you cannot afford to pay then in the event of an accident.

Lastly, car insurance comparison is the best option when you are simply unsure of what you need or how much cover you need. Comparing plans helps you to fully understand the various aspects to the policies.

Doctors Want You to Advocate for Your Healthcare

Anyone who knows me knows of my ongoing knee surgery saga. Doctor after doctor, treatment after treatment – it’s frustrating. I’m a healthcare advocate and it’s an exasperating experience for me. I can only pray for the people who need help navigating the healthcare system and don’t know where to begin.

I recently saw a new orthopedic surgeon because the one I have currently cannot seem to understand why I still have pain three months after my surgery. “Well, you don’t have anything wrong with you structurally,” he said. “I am unclear as to why you are in pain.” When you are in pain, you don’t want to hear that your doctor doesn’t know why. More frustration, and no avenues as to how to treat it.

So I called my insurance company to see if they covered second opinions. They did, and I made an appointment with the new one that my physical therapist recommended.

As the doctor walked in with an eager young intern, he introduced himself and shook my hand firmly. It seems like we talked for a while, he didn’t rush me at all. He took the time to ask me what I felt was wrong and give me his opinion about my knee issues. He gave me a new diagnosis and some new different avenues of treatment as well, instead of sitting there with a dumbfounded look on his face. He actually told me that I no longer need a surgeon, that I need a rehab doctor to follow my condition at this time.

Not only that, he asked about me. He wanted to know how my pain affected me and my lifestyle. What my pain kept me from doing. When he asked me about my career, I told him that I was a healthcare advocate. And do you know what he said?

“That’s just great. I meet so many patients that don’t speak up during their appointments because they are intimidated by me. I wish patients would ask the questions they need to and utilize me as their physician. If they don’t, then what happens?”

This plea is coming from a doctor. Physicians want active patients that want to take part in their care (at least the physicians without an ego). Prepare for your appointments and get the most out of them.

Here are some ways to prepare for your appointment and utilize your doctor:

  • prepare your questions and concerns before your appointment
  • make sure you bring a photo ID, your insurance card and any copayment
  • speak with the doctor about your concerns and ask all the questions that you have
  • let the doctor discuss with you what they think is going on
  • if you are diagnosed with something, ask why that diagnosis was chosen
  • if the doctor prescribes a medication for you, ask why that medication was chosen and about its potential side effects
  • do not let fear or intimidation keep you from the goal of getting your best healthcare

Any doctor that you see should be happy that you are an active patient. If they’re not happy, then find another doctor that respects your opinion and wants to have you take in active role in your care.

Check out the ratings on your doctor at Healthgrades.com!