By Brian Hansford, marketing technology practice lead for Heinz Marketing
Every demand generation marketer faces the challenge of poor performing campaign tactics. Tactical execution is brutal because of the detail involved to succeed. Email open rates can be strong but call-to-action conversions are poor. New assets aren’t generating the inbound interest or lead conversions. Event registrations are below the target goal.
There are many contributing factors to poor conversion performance. A deep critical review is required if campaign tactics aren’t performing well. Reviews should be a standard process even if campaigns and programs are performing well. Customer impressions are at stake when B2B marketers get sloppy. Performance can improve with some extra effort.
Critical reviews should not be taken personally. Constructive feedback improves future performance. Remember, corrections and adjustments before a launch are much better than at the end of several poor performing campaigns.
The fundamentals of good marketing are in play. New shiny technology platforms won’t help a set of poorly developed campaign tactics. Campaigns only work with a well-planned strategy and excellent execution. Here are some nitty-gritty tactical items to review.
Cadence – Even the best email will fall flat if you are sending too many emails too often to the same people. Give people a break. Find the right cadence for your audience based on their profile and preference.
Copy – Good open rates or impressions with poor conversions are almost always a result of poor copy and weak offers. Did the copy follow overall campaign messaging guidelines? Is the copy truly well-written? How long is the email? Too long? Too boring? Is it easy for your customer to understand what you’re asking them to do?
Call to Action – Where are the call to action links or buttons? Are they prevalent or hidden with a sleepy color?
Subject Line – Remember – Tell, don’t sell. Strong open rates can indicate a trusted sender and compelling subject line. Low open rates are commonly a symptom of poorly written subject lines. Don’t be shy. Be bold, compelling, and confident stating the value of the message.
Design – Simple email designs with a good color balance help drive engagement.
Headers – Is the header image huge taking up the entire email view pane? Is the header well balanced and supports the overall message?
Sent From Address – How does the “From” name appear in the email? Is it a person or an impersonal auto-generated webinar platform message?
Images – Too many images create loading problems with PC and mobile mail clients. Too many images can be screened by mail gateways and if the recipient doesn’t load them, the email looks terrible with red-x placeholders. If using images of speakers or presenters, make sure they are professional looking and don’t overload the email with a huge headshot.
Links – Test the links. After you test them once, test them ten more times and ask other team members to test them. You only get one shot. Download links on emails, landing pages, blogs, documents, or others should all be tested and approved.
Messaging and Copy – Just like email copy, the landing page should grab the attention of your audience for a compelling reason to engage. Is the copy too long? Too vague? Too shy? Too boring. The B’s in B2B don’t stand for “Boring” so get creative to efficiently deliver a compelling message.
Design – Is it easy to get to the paper, webinar, video or other asset?
Call to Action – Is the CTA easy to follow? Can the user rapidly and efficiently get to the desired paper, webinar, video or other asset?
Form Fields – Find the balance of asking for the necessary customer contact information. Asking for too much information is proven to reduce conversions. Use your marketing automation platform to progressively profile contacts with new form fields if they return to download new assets. Better yet, use platforms like DemandBase and ReachForce to capture contact profile details without interrogating the user.
I am continually surprised how poorly B2B marketers review the user experience. Too often marketers look at how to get database information to drive leads. Look at the workflow you are asking customers to follow. Don’t repeatedly ask for the same information in forms. Don’t send too many confirmation emails. Don’t ask for the same information over and over again, even with auto-filled form fields. A positive customer experience leads to better conversation down the line. Simple, for lack of a better term, is good.
A Word about Mobile
Responsive design is important for any assets from emails to forms to landing pages. But B2B marketers get too focused on making assets responsive without looking at the underlying qualities of the asset. Responsive assets will still perform poorly if subject lines, copy, design, and forms all suck. Focus on the right objective and not the techno-gizmo whizz bang doohickey itself.
Testing and Reviews
Review, edit and test all assets. It’s incredible to see the amount of emails or landing pages with simple grammar errors and basic design flaws. Don’t be that marketer. Review processes may seem tedious when errors aren’t found. The one time a mistake is found makes the extra review effort worthwhile. Don’t launch campaign tactics without a testing process to make sure everything looks correct and systems are operating correctly.
Details matter and sometimes they are hard to see when they are in front of you every day. Take a detailed critical review of your demand generation assets, especially if conversions are poor. Ask colleagues or partners outside your company to provide a critical review. Encourage your team to be open-minded when receiving feedback. Customer engagement and revenue opportunities are at stake! What are the steps you take and the details you scrutinize?