Well, I don't really know that for sure, but then again - do you?
When was the last time you worried if you had bad breath? Going into a meeting? Hot date? Job interview?
What did you do about the nagging uncertainty? ...Mouthwash? Gum? Ask a friend?
See, that's the problem. Bad breath is a silent stalker and an intimacy killer. You really can't tell if you have it - and practically no one but your mother will voluntarily tell you if you do.
The same is true for marketing communications. You can put a lot of thought and effort into what you tell your prospects and clients. You've developed tons of good information to put your best face forward, build your brand and create a connection between you and your buying audience. You've created multiple channels - from your search engine optimized website to email campaigns to white papers and video presentations to banner ads - all to convey that great information...
But are they working? Or is there some invisible barrier that is turning off potential prospects, costing you lost business and revenue? How do you know?
Good news - unlike real life personal interactions, where you can't really ask the "Hot Date' if your breath offends - you CAN find out if prospects are backing away before getting to know you. You already have the tools...your website is your company Breathalizer!
No matter how big or small your organization, from a Fortune 500 to an up and coming start-up, you can combine the information readily available from Google Analytics (for free) or any number of more sophisticated tools (with comparable costs) with the data you're gathering from your lead generation programs to see if your marketing communications is drawing them in like honey, or making them drop like flies.
Every B2B marketing professional knows they need a strong website - it is the company's face to the world and often center of their lead generation universe. Smart marketers rely on analytic tools to monitor various metrics, like site traffic. But are you measuring the right things? And most importantly, are you creating places that ask the visitor to share some of their information with you?
It isn't until you create a TWO WAY communication that you have the opportunity to convert a site visitor into a lead. Are you creating opportunities for two way communications? Do you have Landing Pages tied to the key product or service areas of your site, offering valuable, relevant information to visitors interested enough to let you send it to them? If you answer yes, then you already have the means to measure your marketing communications effectiveness. If your site visits are strong, but nobody is "Converting" (i.e. filling out the form to get the free information), then you've definitely got bad breath.
The offense may stem from the perceived value or relevance of your offer (Hint: a "Free Needs Assessment" is great for someone that is ready to buy tomorrow but most of your site visitors will translate that offer into - "Warning - A salesperson will be bugging you from here on out!"). Or maybe the malodor is the fact that you're asking for their bank account and Social Security number just to download your Case Study.
Whatever the barrier is to getting conversions - you now have the ability to test and evaluate: to compare the number of site visitors to the number of conversions, and the number of conversions for each offer you provide. Now you're on your way to measuring whether your lead generation program is working - or if it has a problem.
So start thinking about your offers and calls to action - do you have different ones that appeal to buyers in different stages of the buying process? Are you helping the newbies who are just leaning about their perceived need as well as actively pitching those that are in the later stage selection process? (More on lead nurturing in an upcoming post). Are you testing the effectiveness of various communications styles and tones?
The systematic use of multiple testing parameters, including comparative offers, different fonts, colors, page layout etc. are tactics commonly used by B2C companies. But for B2B marketers who are communicating complex services of high value and long sales cycles, the use of landing pages and the testing around them to monitor their effectiveness is the best defense against bad breath.
Need help developing your company's lead generation program and website "breathalizer"?