5 tips to do B2B Marketing the Tiki-taka way

I was inspired to write this post as I was watching Spain dominate & win the Euro Cup 2012 the other day playing their Tiki-taka style of soccer. Tiki-taka is an elegant style of play in soccer, characterised by short passing and movement, working the ball through various zones on the field, being patient and maintaining possession.

If Tiki-taka style was adopted for B2B Marketing, here are 5 elements that you would incorporate in your campaigns:
  1. Shorter Messages: Be concise and to the point in your emails with a link or two in it with call to actions that inspire action. 
  2. Nurture Prospects: Work on your prospects and nurture/move them through the 5 stages of buying cycle: Awareness, Consideration, Preference/Intent, Purchase and Re-Purchase.
  3. Be Patient: Don't Sell to your prospects, help them buy from you.
  4. Engage your prospects in an ongoing conversation: The longer you can maintain a conversation with your prospects.. the higher your chance of success. Eudcational Newsletters and Nurture Campaigns through the year is a great to keep your prospects engaged and in the conversation.
  5. Passing the Lead: Are you passing the right lead at the right time to Sales? Like in soccer, it's all about team work!! Work closely with your sales team to fine tune your lead hand off process. 
You might be thinking - "Is that it? But this is too simple, I knew this all along!!" like Winston Churchill said "All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope." and now we have Tiki-taka added to the list.

Can you think of another 5 elements that can be added to this list? Looking forward to your comments!! Viva Tiki-taka!!

Disposable Email Addresses

I recently had a couple of users signup and download a white paper and my follow up email to the same users the very next day started bouncing from the id. The strange part was that in spite of a double opt-in registration mechanism in place, I seem to have ended up with email addresses that were valid at sign up but invalid soon after.

A little bit of googling on the domain name of the email addresses led me to
mintemail.com. They offer a nifty little service to it's users where they offer a disposable email address that's valid for 4 hours.

From a B2B marketers perspective this is a nightmare scenario as the Lead Capture campaigns could be capturing worthless contact info that expires in a few hours time.
It sure is a boon to someone who'd like to access whitepapers, surveys, case studies, podcasts...etc of a company anonymously.

Maybe it's time the email validation routine in the registration form also validates for domain names known to host disposable email addresses.

Converting your OptIn database to a social network

So you have a 20K Opt In database of contacts who are interested in what you have to offer on your site. Wouldn't it be great if you could create an environment where these contacts could network and collaborate on topics that you know they have interest in or on topics that you have to offer.

That's were you could leverage something like Ning to create a social network and send invites to your list encouraging them to join your Social Network on Ning. If you could nurture the network a little bit in the initial stages, it should grow into a self sustaining active network with a lot of users and user generated content. And this would provide you a great channel to showcase your brand, and also promote upcoming Events, products etc that you offer.

Email Marketer's Club is a great example of a niche social network on B2B Email Marketing powered by Ning.

Can you afford to make registration optional?

Couple of months ago I was buying air tickets on a travel portal, and found an interesting feature. It had a link which said, if you are in a hurry, purchase a ticket as a guest user itself. Registration was optional on that site.

I fell in love with that travel portal instantly as they gave me the customer the choice of initiating a relationship with them. I didn't have to register upfront to use their service. I bookmarked the site and made my purchase in a giffy. I did eventually register on the site on my third visit to purchase a ticket.

So what do you think, should resources such as product demos, white papers, webinars etc be hidden behind big Lead capture/Registration forms or should you just trust your customers to come back for more and initiate a dialog with you when they are ready?

3 Ways to make your Auto Responder more Personal

Here are 3 Ways to make your Auto Responder setup in your Marketing Automation System more Personal and Humane.

1)Include original message in the reply inline or as an attachment
2)Prefix your automated reply with 'Re:' and the original incoming email's subject
3)Respond after a short delay (5-10 minutes) instead of instantly.

When we normally reply to an email message, the original message is included in the reply automatically inline or as an attachment, the text 'Re:' is prefixed to the original subject and used in the subject of the email, also there is a time delay involved in reading the original email and framing a reply to it.

Making your automated system mimic a normal user could help in making your corporate email communications more Personal and Humane.

5 Ways to Leverage Search KeyWords

Search keywords tell you what the user is looking for. It could be extracted from referral urls coming from search engines, collected from the search box present on your site. These keywords could be stored in the system as part of the contacts profile information.

It could be used
1)For Search Engine Optimization of your web pages.
2)Dynamically change the page content based on these keywords
3)In the email subject to increase open rates
4)In customizing content to be sent to the user
5)Segmenting contacts based on keywords