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A Recap of Everything Marketers & Advertisers Need to Know

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A Recap of Everything Marketers & Advertisers Need to Know

When rumors started swirling about Twitter changing its name to X, I couldn’t believe it at first. But then, in July 2023, as I searched for my favorite blue icon on the phone, I found a black icon instead. It had actually happened!

Elon Musk had indeed decided to rebrand this popular platform, choosing to dismantle something iconic. Something that has existed for 18 years.

Download Now: Free State of Marketing Report [Updated for 2024]

Some people say it‘s his ego; others think it’s a marketing move, seeking more attention. Whatever the reason, I was disappointed like many other users.

Twitter had its own vibe, and I expected something big and better with the new name and logo. Some changes did happen, but there weren’t many improvements for regular users.

Curious about the impact, I researched and spoke with marketers to understand how these changes affected them.

Let’s see what I found out.

Big Shifts in the X-sphere (Formerly Twittersphere)

It’s been over seven months since Twitter became X, and yet we still refer to it as Twitter.

We‘ll keep retweeting and never reposting, won’t we?

Breaking that habit is tough, and it’ll take some time for us to fully accept this change. Obviously, the name change was the first and most significant alteration.

So, here are all the changes the platform made in 2023.

Rebranding — New Name, New Logo

In July 2023, Twitter officially became X.

Elon Musk announced the change on his profile, and people went crazy in the comments:

User’s comment about rebranding

Musk, also known for founding PayPal as X.com in 1999, legally changed Twitter’s domain to x.com.

Elon Musk’s announcement about rebranding

The rebranding reflects Musk’s ambition to create an “everything app” like WeChat. This type of app combines messaging, social networking, e-commerce, delivery services, and online banking.

Musk explained that the old Twitter name didn’t fit the platform’s expanded capabilities, so the change was necessary.

Musk’s post about the new Twitter name

Analysts and experts shared their views about this with TIME magazine:

  • Jasmine Enberg from Insider Intelligence believes Twitter’s brand is closely connected to Musk’s personal brand.
  • Allen Adamson from Metaforce criticized the move, calling it an “ego decision” that could lead to quick business decline.
  • White from Vanderbilt mentioned the difficulty of building trust with a new name, especially for payments.

But, were these concerns valid or just hot air?

Twitter’s revenue in 2023 was $3.4 billion, marking a 22% decrease from the previous year.

This data suggests that the rebranding move indeed had a negative impact.

Twitter annual revenue 2012-2023

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Moreover, Twitter’s financial health took a hit in 2023 due to a nearly 50% decline in advertising revenue and significant debt.

Here is the source confirming the information stated above.

Musk’s post about X’s negative cash flow

The comments below this post were a mixed bag. Some users backed Elon Musk and were willing to pay more for a subscription because they believed in the platform.

However, others poked fun at him, calling the move poor and unprofessional.

No Login, No Use

June 2023 was a month of the biggest Twitter shifts, so users got another surprise—they couldn’t see tweets or profiles without logging in.

X News Daily update

Elon Musk was concerned about how AI companies, such as OpenAI, were using Twitter’s data.

For instance, check this:

User’s post about AI browsing Twitter

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So, he made it tougher for non-logged-in users to get in.

Some believed this move aimed to attract more users for ads, but it faced criticism for making Twitter less user-friendly and disrupting research that relied on Twitter data.

Another reason for this decision is that Twitter’s research from 2015 showed that over 500,000 users were using Twitter without logging in. At the time, there were about 300 million monthly active users.

Now, with even more than 500,000 logged-in users, just imagine how many extra users are browsing without logging in today. We’re likely talking about millions, at least.

Monthly active Twitter users by year (in millions)

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Musk also shut down third-party apps and made it impossible for developers to use Twitter’s tools.

Fortunately, this change was temporary.

Now, X lets people browse without logging in again. However, you’re not able to see any of the replies or additional posts in a thread.

X’s announcement about temporary measures

More Words, More Fluff

Just a few months after bumping up the character limit to 10,000 (April 2023), another update arrived in June for Twitter Blue users — they could now post tweets up to 25,000 characters long.

Increased character limit on Twitter

Earlier in the same year, there had been an increase from 280 to 4,000 characters.

Longer tweets for Twitter Blue subscribers

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However, each of these changes caused Twitter to crash for many users worldwide.

Reading longer tweets on the website or app was difficult at first, with poor structure and readability issues. However, this problem has improved over time.

My take on this: I have mixed feelings, to be honest. On the one hand, I’m glad that I can finally read the whole text without loading threads.

On the other hand, Twitter no longer has its charm where people have to express thoughts, statements, and information in the most concise way possible. Now, we have a lot of fluff and overly long posts (like on LinkedIn and Facebook). I miss the original allure of Twitter — say more with less.

Global Expansion & New Subscription Plans

In March 2023, Twitter Blue went global, spreading its subscription wings to over 20 European countries (Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Sweden, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Bulgaria, Malta, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Austria, Cyprus, and the Netherlands).

Before that, it was US-only.

Priced at $8 a month or 8 euros, it offered perks like the blue checkmark, tweet editing, NFT Profile Pictures, and longer tweets. The coolest new feature was definitely hour-long video posts. Users also got two-factor authentication via SMS, which used to be free for everyone.

Then, in October 2023, X rolled out new subscription options.

Introducing new X packages

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There’s now a $16 per month “Premium+” tier that’s ad-free and a $3 per month “Basic” tier without a verified checkmark or some creator tools. Premium+ enhances reply visibility and grants full access to creator tools. The Basic tier, similar to the $8 Premium one, has fewer ads but lacks the verified checkmark.

But how many users actually want to pay for any of these plans?

Here are the results, according to our recent study:

  • 22% considering X Premium.
  • 41% staying free users.
  • 31% not using X.
  • 6% unsure about premium.

X hopes these changes will boost revenue amidst user and advertiser concerns.

News Headlines — Gone and Back Again

In August 2023, X announced removing headlines from news articles.

Yes, Musk had already downgraded posts with external links to keep users on the platform, but removing headlines seemed so random and nonsense.

He said it simply looked better and kept arguing with users who disagreed.

X changes how news links show up on the timeline

By October, the change was made, and headlines disappeared. Users did not like this change. They found it impractical, confusing, and just plain nonsense. Look at the example below — it’s clear why people didn’t like such a format. A single image with no context just doesn’t cut it.

Sam Parker’s thoughts about the new headline format on X

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Surprisingly, Musk actually took users’ criticism into account this time and brought back the good stuff.

Hence, headlines made their comeback in January 2024. Now, they appear at the bottom of images, not the top.

Verification Chaos

Changes to Twitter’s verification system have stirred up quite a storm, too.

Initially meant to verify notable users and tackle misinformation, the blue checkmark became more of a status symbol over time.

But Musk’s decision to scrap the old system and let anyone with Twitter Blue get verified caused chaos. It blurred trust on the platform and confused users.

Even though X tried to fix it by automatically verifying big accounts, the mess persisted.

Then, on April 20, 2023, X wiped out legacy verified badges from Twitter.

Elon Musk’s post about removing Blue checks

This move, aimed at simplifying verification, sparked jokes and memes among users.

User’s meme in the comments

Daily Tweet Limits

On July 1, 2023, Elon Musk changed the rules on X again.

The company limited the number of tweets we can read per day. Verified users used to get 6,000 posts, unverified got 600, and new unverified accounts had 300.

Musk stated that the changes aim to tackle “extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation.

Musk’s announcement about daily limits

Those numbers increased the SAME day after people got mad in the comments.

So, at this point, verified accounts can see up to 10,000 tweets, unverified ones get 1,000, and new unverified accounts have 500 to look at.

An increase in daily post limit

Monetization — Pay-to-Play

Back in February 2023, Musk announced a plan for X — creators to earn from their posts.

In July, the program launched, but there’s a twist — to cash in, users must subscribe to X Premium (ex Twitter Blue).

The worst catch? Only interactions from other X Premium subscribers count. Many subscribers are right-wing, Musk fans, or meme accounts sharing stolen content.

As a result, initial payouts mainly went to them, setting unrealistic expectations.

Now, feeds are full of their content chasing the dollar, sharing stolen viral content and low-quality posts.

The best thing about this whole monetization mess is the hilarious memes again:

Fake Musk’s post meme

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With lots of talk about the monetization program and inaccuracies on X, Musk made a post in October 2023.

He announced a new rule for creators: If Community Notes corrects a tweet, the user won’t get paid for it. This change aims to prioritize accuracy over sensationalism on the platform.

X Creator monetization update

Will it work?

Who knows, but at least there’s hope for better content on X.

How Marketers Can Still Win on X (+ Data and Expert Tips)

Now, let’s see how marketers manage through these shifts.

I interviewed some of them and put together the best tips on how to win X under Elon Musk.

1. Optimize your post length to keep users on your profile.

When you’re tweeting (I guess I’ll forever use this word), understanding character limits is key. Originally, tweets were 140 characters, but now it’s 280 for standard users.

Most characters count as one, but some count as more — emojis, for instance.

But, if you’re a premium user, you have a chance to write more.

So, what’s the sweet spot? Should you really write a wall of text and the whole article on X? Will this be a top or flop post? Well, it depends. But, according to so many negative comments about this character count increase, people obviously don’t prefer long-form posts on X.

Users’ comments about longer posts on X

I talked to Andrea Bosoni from Zero to Marketing, and he says that growing on X has become similar to TikTok. You need to get a lot of views, or no one sees your stuff at all.

“What most marketers don’t realize is that one of the most important factors the algorithm rewards right now is how much time users spend on a post. So, longer posts with more than 280 characters can work really well if they’re interesting enough to make people click on the read more button,” Bosoni says.

At the same time, Bosoni continues, “users don’t want to see a wall of text, so if your post is too long, they’ll just bounce back without reading it.”

Bosoni found a sweet spot in the 50-100 word range. “This length tends to get a good number of comments,” Bosoni says.

Here are some of Bosoni’s posts that prove his points:

Andrea Bosoni’s posts on X

2. Try live streaming to reach people who prefer another type of content.

Live video on X is another powerful way to engage your audience. Here’s why it’s worth trying:

  • 20% of US adults aged 18-34 watch live-stream videos multiple times a day.
  • In Q3 2023, live video was the third most-watched online content, with 27% of viewers tuning in.
  • Cable companies are losing subscribers, while streaming services are booming, reaching $30.3 billion in 2022.

3. Tweak your DM approach.

X is full of scammers, fake opportunities, and people trying to sell everything under the sun. But if you can grab someone’s attention with the first sentence in a DM, you’ve got a winning ticket.

Thus, Cleartail Marketing found great success with X’s direct messaging feature for personalized outreach. Magee Clegg, the CEO, shares more on the strategy:

“By combining this with detailed keyword research and precise audience segmentation, we managed to increase a technology client’s lead generation by 35%,” Clegg says.

Clegg notes that her team made conversational, non-salesy connections with prospects related to ongoing X chats. They then “used these as soft entry points for relationship-building that led to more informed and warm sales calls,” according to Clegg.

Here’s what I suggest for the best DM outreach on X:

1. Personalize your outreach to increase your chances of getting a response. And no, personalization isn’t just about adding someone’s name at the beginning of the message. Show you’ve read their post and understand their problem and pain points before offering anything. Start with casual conversation.

Hint: I always start conversations with, well … truth. Either I refer to their posts or comments that have evoked certain emotions or curiosity or explain why I want to connect. It works 80% of the time.

Build relations first before pitching anything.

2. Don’t be afraid to follow up. It’s easy to miss messages in the DM inbox, so send a follow-up message after 2-3-4 days.

3. Social media users expect fast replies. If you get a reply from someone, make sure to respond promptly to increase the chances of ongoing communication and potential partnership (or whatever your goal may be). Turn on notifications to stay updated on messages.

Never hesitate to follow up — example.

Also, here are the latest updates you need to know about X’s direct messages:

  • You’re limited to sending 500 Direct Messages per day. Once you reach this limit, you’ll have to wait until the next day to send more.
  • If you’re messaging accounts that don’t follow you, you may need to verify your phone number.
  • Sending the same message or link to multiple accounts can be seen as spam. If reported, you won’t be able to send messages for a short period. Wait at least 30 minutes before trying again.

4. Use advanced search features to monitor emerging trends and topics in your niche and convert commenters into customers

X’s advanced search feature lets you fine-tune your results for specific date ranges, people, and phrases. For instance, you can search for something like “best hiking trails,” “local yoga classes,” or “best SEO course.”

Here, let’s learn how Matthew Montez, Founder of The MBC Group, uses X’s advanced search and Twitter Lists to increase footfall for a coffee shop chain.

MBC tested a campaign for a regional coffee shop chain that focused on engaging with users who tweeted about coffee within a certain radius of their stores. The team used geotags to pinpoint potential customers and employed snappy, personalized replies with incentives to visit their nearest location.

This approach not only increased foot traffic by 15% over a period of three months but also significantly boosted the chain’s Twitter engagement metrics, demonstrating the power of localized and responsive social media tactics.

Here’s how to use advanced search:

1. Log in to X.com and access advanced search.

2. Enter your search query.

3. Click Advanced search or More options > Advanced search on the results page.

4. Refine your search by words, people, places, and dates.

5. Combine fields for better results.

5. Build community and connect on X to create a thriving following.

Just like anywhere else online, you need to build a community on X to survive.

David Miles, CEO at PPC Machine, recommends that marketers engage with their followers and others in their industry by liking and replying to their tweets. Team should recognize and amplify their voices. Beyond that, he recommends hosting chats or AMAs to foster discussion.

“A strong, active community will boost your reach and credibility. Also, amplify influencers’ content, give them a shoutout, or ask them questions to start a conversation. If the relationship develops, explore co-creating content or hosting an event together,” Miles says.

Moreover, Miles recommends joining X communities to connect with like-minded users or creating your own group.

Communities offer a sense of belonging and support and make more people recognize and fall in love with your brand.

X Communities

X communities update: In October 2023, X adopted a Facebook Group-style member vetting feature to improve its Communities. So, now, you can ask members to answer a question and agree to your group rules before joining.

6. Participate in X Spaces to build communities.

X Spaces is a feature where you can have live audio conversations, connect with others, and share ideas in real time. It’s similar to podcasts, but you don’t have to be a guest to participate actively — simply join, listen, and speak.

If it’s your Space, others can request to speak, and you can approve or decline it.

X Spaces

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X Spaces update: Very soon, X Spaces will have a video feature. Users will be able to turn their cameras on or off during the broadcast.

X's designer announces video addition to X Spaces

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Posting Through Uncertainty

We all feel uncertain on the platform now, expecting new surprises (or shocks) every day. It seems that’s Musk’s way of leading X — keeping us on our toes.

But despite all the uncertainty and changes, X still has great potential for both personal and business use. There are plenty of opportunities to stay informed and connect with the right audience.

And that made X the talk of the town.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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