27 Ideas for Better B-to-B Campaigns
With only three months left in the year, it's understandable if you're running out of creative juice. Coming up with unique, powerful ideas for your direct mail, Web sites, e-mail, space advertising and any of the other media you employ can leave even the best marketing managers high and dry.
Keep those results-oriented campaigns rolling into next year with these tips from a panel of the top business-to-business experts: Bob Hacker, president of The Hacker Group; Richard Rosen, president and CEO of Rosen/Brown Direct; Craig Huey, president of Creative Direct Marketing Group; Russell Kern, president of Kern Direct Marketing; and Amy Africa, president of Creative Results.
Presented at the Direct Marketing to Business conference in Chicago in September, just one or two of these nuggets of wisdom can jumpstart your creative process.
Start testing envelope packages again. The sales letter works, and it will help an envelope package pull two-times better than a self-mailerRichard Rosen
Should you use your URL in your direct mail efforts? If your Web site is not a marketing site, you're killing your leads and/or sales. You should only drive prospects and customers to your site if you've got content that sells like a direct mail package.Craig Huey
Spend time on your e-mail subject line. No capital letters, no dollar signs, no exclamation points and don't use the word "free." Any of these items in your subject line will get stopped by anti-spam filters.Amy Africa
Stories sell in direct mail copy. Start engaging the recipient on the outer envelope, continue the story into the letter and follow through on the order form.Russell Kern
Use fear to motivate your target audience to pay attention to your mailings. Tell prospects about the 15 ways they can get fired from their job, and then promise a white paper that tells them 15 ways they can prevent termination.Bob Hacker
Understand where you are in the selling process, when you create a direct mail campaign for business professionals. Don't start with getting the sale; instead, go for initiating doubt that the prospect isn't doing his job the way he should.Richard Rosen
The letter is critical to your campaign's success, so it needs to have emotion. Develop an entire package around an editorial premium that covers the hottest topic in the target audience's industrygo for a "must-have" reaction.Craig Huey
The signature file of an e-mail should contain the name, title, company name, contact information and a tagline that explains what you're company is about; don't forget to also tell prospects what you want them to do.Amy Africa
There are seven types of headlines: historical; problem & solution; testimonial; product claim; outrageous statement; compelling question; and upfront guarantee. Match the message type to the audience.Russell Kern
If you sell a boring product, you might have better success selling it without mentioning features, your company name or even the product. Try selling just the problem and its solution. People only care about their problems and solutions to them.Bob Hacker
Some marketers are seeing good response to Web videos on a microsite within their main Web site. Once there, people view a short direct response television spot, and it gets them excited to register and learn more.Richard Rosen
One new way to use the magalog format, depending on its size, is to insert it into an industry magazine or distribute copies at a trade show.Craig Huey
To get your e-mail opened, make sure your "from" line contains a real live person's name or another name your customers will immediately identify.Amy Africa
Test the strength of your offer with the following questions: Is it unique? Does it relate to the audience? Does it have a highly perceived value? Does the headline or description offer a simple benefit? Is it compelling enough to stop your audience?Russell Kern
Devote enough space in your direct mail package to explaining the value of the offer. Too often direct marketers assume their audience will figure out on their own.Bob Hacker
It's much easier to sell into an organization if you complement the offer with the tchotchke that boosts response. Don't end up being known as the company that gives away flashlights, as opposed to the vendor that solves its customers' problems.Richard Rosen
Give your offer some life by bundling several premiums together and calling the goody an "information kit." Then take two to three panels on the order form to show a picture of it, either a still life or with a person using the premiums.Craig Huey
You've only got 25 to 40 characters that will be displayed in most people's browser box or window; make sure your pitch fits within this space.Amy Africa
Don't force prospects and customers to respond via the Web, especially top-level executives. You will get higher response if you provide a choice of reply methods.Bob Hacker
A letter should always look like a letter, but a strong graphic element can help pull recipients' eyes down the page for scanning or reading. Help your audience get the message quickly and completely without having to read.Richard Rosen
You can boost the performance of your sales letter by backing up a product statement with a testimonial. Create a special section for testimonials or put them on the order form. You will see further lift if you can use testimonials specific to the audience mailed.Craig Huey
Optimize your list selection, and mailing results, by having your data processing department run a category of title report. You will be able to see what junk titles you're buying that don't fit your campaign parameters, and improve your selection methodologies.Russell Kern
If you find several large groups of similar titles when you select lists for a campaign, tailor your letter with different pitches that fit the needs of each audience. CEOs and senior engineers are motivated by different arguments.Bob Hacker
You need an order form, even if people will reply by phone or the Web; order forms are how we have been trained to respond. The "old" lead generation questions, "Are you going to buy in the next 30 days," don't work anymore. Ask "pain" questions, such as, "How many satellite offices do you have?"
It's hard to find buyers and major influencers at the new technology companies. You can still use title slugs to reach the kind of person who would be responsible for making those decisions. Title slugs get past the mailroom, too, when a specific person is no longer with the firm.You get a large universe of names at a lower cost.Bob Hacker
You need to keep a detailed test log, so you know what's working and why. You'll save money by not repeating mistakes and by mailing your best ideas.Russell Kern
Many marketers know the top people at companies in their target audience, but they don't always identify the middle- or bottom-level employees who either influence purchases or who may soon be the decision-maker. To get to this layer, create an industry-specific newsletter that an executive can send to his or her junior staff; they provide the names and you get a proprietary list of new prospects.Bob Hacker