By Published On: December 23, 2021

Earlier this fall we attended the virtual MarketingProfs B2B conference and as usual, Ann Handley et al were entertaining and informative. Also, as usual, we had a number of “we could teach this” moments and a few “ah-ha” moments. It’s always worthwhile, either way. Here are some highlights.

Master your marketing automation approach

In a meaty session, Kendra Macdonald had some great advice about how to build relationships online. In a world where meeting face-to-face has been difficult, marketing automation is the engine at the center of content – driving your sales nurture approach – and content is the body that holds it together.

First you need to know the “awareness stages” of your prospect:

  1. Unaware – the prospect sees the symptoms of a problem but has not yet identified it
  2. Problem aware – they understand the problem and are ready to address it
  3. Solution aware – now they understand the product or service they need, to help solve the problem
  4. Product (or service) aware – this is where they do research to find the right solution and make a purchase. And you want to be in front of them when they get here.

The idea is to nurture a prospect along the continuum until they are ready to buy from you. You’re adding value to engage and convert – this includes short- and long-term nurture (drip campaigns, marketing and educational content), sales intent and sales motivational nurture (more specific content) to help the prospect identify/compare the right product and buy it from you), and don’t forget a reengagement strategy for those who didn’t bite, but just weren’t ready to buy yet.

We love this because it addresses the short term and long term needs of the longer cycle of B2B sales and marketing. Sometimes the sales process can take years to complete, so you want to get in and stay in the consideration set until a purchase happens.

Some other valuable tips:

Think differently about problem-solving

As problem-solvers, we appreciated John Jantsch’s idea of thinking differently about solving a customer journey problem. His suggestion – look at your B2B customer journey from back-to-front instead of the usual front-to-back process. Review the contact page first and then walk backwards to find potential disruptions in the journey before your potential customers do. So, when the customer is ready to buy from you they won’t get derailed from their journey.

Break down your brand story

Nick Westergaard broke down the brand story so all can understand – in three stages from Context to Contrast to Call-to-Action:

  1. Context: your protagonist should always be your customer in your brand story (understand what’s in their way)
  2. Contrast: there is no real story without contrast/conflict – everybody loves to hear about a brand overcoming obstacles to get to a positive outcome
  3. Call-to-Action: please have a call to action at the conclusion of your brand story – tell people what you want them to do 

Email best practices improve results

Kaela Mazzola presented a pragmatic approach to email campaign success:

  • Don’t forget to do list hygiene
  • Plan a subscriber reengagement campaign for lapsed customers
  • Delete inactive subscribers periodically
  • Opens alone do not tell the whole analytics story

Another interesting tip that came up – be aware that there are new privacy options through Apple updates that can potentially affect the accuracy of open rates. Check it out.

Why go to all this trouble? Because accurate and engaged email lists mean better results and better results can lead to bigger budgets to get more done.

Website copy that attracts

A favorite quote about how your website should function is from Liz Moorehead: “Your website isn’t a sales pitch, it’s a mirror.”

Your customer should see their situation and their needs being solved written in the copy. Similar to writing your brand story with your customer in mind, the website should speak directly to them. Other advice: write your website copy in an active voice. It’s clearer and more concise. She’s really speaking our language!

As usual, there’s more that MarketingProfs had to share, but that’s it for this article. Contact us if you need help!

About the Author: Megan Devine

Megan Devine
Megan taps into her left-brain logic and right brain creativity—steering the business, bantering with her team, and strategizing on client work. She says it’s her dream job and we believe her. Using her passion and knack for understanding complex connections in business and marketing, she collaborates to create love between brands and customers. She possesses expertise and experience that only comes from persevering in the ever-changing marketing agency world. Megan co-founded d.trio marketing group, now cat&tonic, in January of 2000 and took sole ownership in 2019. Her vision, support, and sheer stubbornness got us through 9/11, the great recession, and a pandemic. She has judged the International ECHO Awards since 2005, has consulted for several organizations, and serves on several boards. Educated at Carleton College, she learned the importance of critical thinking for success. At home she learned the value of a good story.
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