Anthony Campisi Jun 29

7 Steps For Building A Reliable Lead Generation System


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All businesses have goals for growth, but occasionally struggle to achieve them. The challenge with reaching a unique goal isn’t that the goal itself is too lofty or unrealistic. Often it’s in the lack of a reliable system that gets a business from “here to there”.  Without a reliable lead generation system in place, achieving goals becomes increasingly more difficult.

As mentioned in this 2017 Inc.com article, many organizations lack an organized strategy for generating new leads. Instead of randomly sending out prospecting emails and making sales phone calls at sporadic intervals, companies should plan out a systematic, consistent strategy for lead generation.

7 Steps For Building A Reliable Lead Generation System

 

1. Research

When it comes to generating leads, it’s not just about creating new inquiries. It’s about attracting new business opportunities from the right kinds of clients. Otherwise, you’ll be handing your sales team leads that they’ll have a hard time closing.

When it comes to research, you want to identify three main attributes about your ideal client:

- Demographics, such as regional information, revenue or net worth, and age.
- Psychographic information, such as what they care about most as it relates to your product or service.
- Media information, meaning where they’re likely to be open to receiving information about your company whether it be online, on their smart phone or at an event.

Without identifying all of the specifics about your perfect target audience, you’re likely to miss out on marketing opportunities.

2. Messaging

Once you have a solid understanding of the people you’re targeting, figuring out what to say to them comes next. All too often, companies launch a marketing campaign with the expectation that people are going to respond to a message that might as well just say, “Buy This!”

However, attracting your customers starts with either a headline (if they’re reading about your business) or an experience (if they’re meeting you for the first time at a networking event or conference).

The first thing a prospect notices about you must be memorable and intriguing. And these days, with busier-than-ever jobs and technology distracting your prospects away from your sales messages, your main task is to clearly communicate the benefit you’ll deliver in exchange for their valuable time.

Once you’ve gotten their attention, your job is then keeping it.

3. Getting Out There

Being in the right place at the right time isn’t due to luck. It’s due to careful planning.

By executing the items mentioned in steps 1 and 2, your marketing should be aimed at the right people, with the right message, in the right places.

No longer is marketing about just “getting your name out there”.  It’s about crafting carefully orchestrated messages and publishing it in places where you know your target audience has a presence.

Does your business have goals for growth that you’re struggling to achieve? Find out why by taking this quiz.

4. Continuously Improving Campaigns

Once your campaigns have launched, don’t just sit back and wait for leads to come in. Instead, review early metrics against your goals and look for opportunities to make adjustments.

Rarely do marketing campaigns instantly perform out of the gate. It’s often through relentless attention and tweaking that goals are eventually met over time.

5. Won/Lost Analysis

A key aspect of a reliable lead generation system is not only creating leads, but creating new deals for the sales team. In other words, the leads that are collected make their way through your sales process and turn into new business.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that every lead converts to new business. However, by scoring the leads that are generated, you’ll have a better grasp at knowing how your marketing is working.

Not all marketing methods that generate the most leads are necessarily the methods that generate the most won opportunities. By scoring your leads and then tracking each lead back to its marketing origin, you’ll gain the critical intel you need to make wiser marketing choices moving forward.

6. Technology

In order to measure marketing effectiveness of every part of your lead generation system, technology is required. Some quantitative items your technology should evaluate and measure for you, include:

- Open rates and click rates of email campaigns – Website traffic and highly visited pages – Sources of leads generated – Quantity of leads generated per source

In the absence of a robust, comprehensive marketing tool, measure the impact of your marketing by recording data in a simple spreadsheet.

Capturing quantifiable marketing data and measuring it over time will help you improve your marketing as mentioned in step four.

7. A Strategist Managing It All

Creating a reliable lead generation system involves strategy, creative thinking and keen analytical skills. Identifying someone within the organization to manage marketing deliverables isn’t enough.

A marketing strategist knows how to execute marketing, measure it, and challenge its performance by constantly presenting new things to test. They’re neurotic about attempting to out-perform the current state of your marketing. It’s this passion for optimization that ultimately creates your reliable lead generation system.

 

Struggling To Build A Lead Generation System And Meet Your Goals?

Find out why by taking our quiz.

Contact Annodyne

Discuss your goals for growth with our team.

 


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Anthony Campisi Jun 15

Why We’re Adding A Service For Mid-Sized Companies


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Since launching Annodyne over sixteen years ago, we’ve been dedicated to helping organizations meet their growth goals through marketing. In the very early days, we concentrated on the small-to-mid-size market. From there, we developed industry-specific offerings serving the needs of large healthcare companies, as well as offerings specifically for higher education institutions.

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve recently added a service for mid-sized companies that returns us to our roots in the SMB Market.

ANNODYNE FOR BUSINESS

Annodyne for Business designs custom marketing systems to achieve a business’s goals in a way that’s both repeatable and reliable.

Our approach to marketing for mid-sized companies is unique. We have a proprietary process called MaxResults to initiate, manage and analyze not only the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns we manage for our clients, but also the real impact they have on sales growth.

Each client’s assigned Marketing Strategist uses our custom designed software, to perform a closed-won and closed-lost analysis. This offers our SMB clients the critical step most organizations miss: ensuring the leads are actually turning into new business.

Struggling To Build A Lead Generation System And Meet Your Goals?

Find out why by taking our quiz.

Contact Annodyne

Discuss your goals for growth with our team.

 


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Darcy Grabenstein Mar 22

Not All Leads Are Created Equal


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A lead is a lead, right? Wrong.

There’s a big difference between a lead and a qualified lead. The latter is someone whose interests/behaviors indicate that he or she is likely to be a good prospect. In the Executive MBA world, this means the lead is more likely to enroll in an EMBA program than other leads.

Lead scoring is a methodology used to identify “hot” vs. “cool” leads. It is used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead may have for the organization. The resulting score is used to prioritize leads. “Hot” leads should be followed up first, with “cool” leads later.

Before you can score your leads, you need to obtain some information about them. You can do this several ways:

  • Include an inquiry form on your website and landing pages
  • Capture demographic information when leads call to get information on your EMBA program
  • Collect information via forms at open houses and other events

Among information you’ll want to track is which program(s) the lead is considering. If this particular lead is interested only in a traditional MBA, be sure to share that information with your MBA colleagues at your institution. Likewise, you’ll want other programs to share leads who show an interest in your particular program.

A word of warning: While you want to capture demographic information via your online forms, you also don’t want to scare off prospects with too many form fields to complete. You must strike a balance. Focus on capturing basic information first; once you have that, you should follow up via phone and/or email to learn more about your prospects.

You can use other methods to find out what programs a lead is interested in. On the web, you can monitor visitors’ activity on your website. Attributes such as where they clicked, how long they spent on certain content and whether they requested more information could tell you a lot about their particular interests.

So exactly how does lead scoring work in the EMBA realm? Truth be told, it works basically the same as in any other industry. You gauge prospects’ interests/actions and rank them accordingly.

To determine how interested prospects are in your institution overall, see how many different web pages they visited on your site. You also can see repeat visitors, and track how often leads visit your site in a given time period. If this coincides with your registration deadlines, you may have a “hot” lead on your hands. Another factor that may contribute to a lead being considered “hot” is whether the lead’s company will help fund the employee’s studies. Once the best leads are determined, your admissions team must work to guide them through the application and enrollment process.

If a lead is identified as “cool,” that lead could simply be researching in advance of making a decision down the road. Eventually, such leads could prove to be equally valuable, but not in the short term. However, you don’t want these leads to fall through the cracks. You must nurture these leads. Keep in mind that committing to an EMBA is a big decision, one that has a longer buying process than, say, purchasing a new piece of workout equipment.

How can you keep cool leads on your radar, and keep your program top of mind among them? Keep the lines of communication open. Remind them about upcoming seminars, deadlines and events such as class previews. Executive education courses are a great way to introduce your institution, its faculty and curriculum to prospective candidates. In addition, if you see that a decent number of leads are coming from a particular geographic area, go to them. Schedule an information session in a location convenient for a majority of your leads.

While lead scoring saves wasted time/effort after the fact, many overloaded EMBA marketing and recruitment staffs simply can’t devote the time to it up front. That’s why it’s important to automate the process. First, set up a point system for assigning points to leads. Determine prospect actions and behaviors that correspond to the various lead scores. Then weight those actions/behaviors in terms of the likelihood that the prospect will convert.

Annodyne’s proprietary lead tracking and lead management platform, Annotrak™, automates lead scoring and more. Leads are color coded for easy identification: red distinguishes high-priority (hot) leads from blue low-priority (cool) leads. Annotrak also tracks social media activity and multichannel marketing performance, and can send tailored email messages to your leads.

No matter how you capture leads and their demographics or how you prioritize them, you must remember that it’s more than just data. It’s all about relationships. In fact, this entire process is referred to as prospect relationship management. Your admissions team must work to develop relationships with prospects at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.


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Darcy Grabenstein Feb 23

Make Your EMBA Program Stand Out from the Crowd


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Transformational. Life changing. Experiential. Professional development. Leadership potential. Executive coaching. Career advancement.

These are all words/phrases used to describe most Executive MBA programs. Could they be used to describe your Executive MBA program?

Therein lies the problem. Most EMBA programs end up sounding and looking the same. How is a prospective student expected to distinguish between your program and that of your competitors?

Think of your EMBA program as a product. Then you must determine its unique selling proposition (USP). This marketing concept was first put forth as an advertising theory back in the 1940s, yet it still remains relevant today. A USP is what makes your product/service different from all the others out there.

Domino’s Pizza does a great job of incorporating its USP into its marketing communications:

“You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less —  or it’s free.” Like a good tagline, a good USP is specific to your business and/or industry. In other words, it’s not enough to simply say, “We provide great value.” How do you provide great value?

Following are other ways you can make your EMBA program stand out from all the rest:

  • Exceptional ROI. Is your EMBA program the least expensive in your city? region? state? the nation?
  • Fabulous faculty. Are your faculty members noted for their research or publications? Have they received awards? Do they have industry experience? Students want to learn from those who’ve “been in the trenches,” so to speak.

  • Innovative curriculum. Most EMBA programs cover business fundamentals. But what types of electives are available? Do you offer specializations in or tracks according to areas of interest?

  • Impressive cohort. Is the caliber of your cohorts head and shoulders above the rest? EMBA students learn from each other as well as from their professors. This could be a big selling point.

  • Brand equity. Is your program ranked? Does it have exclusive accreditation? Is it part of a business school that is ranked or widely acclaimed? Is it part of a prestigious college or university? It’s OK to piggyback on the brand of your parent organization.
  • Program format. Many schools tailor their program schedules to meet the needs of working professionals. Is there anything about your program that is especially flexible? Do you offer a hybrid of learning environments or formats?

  • Leadership development. Do you go above and beyond basic executive coaching? Do you go the extra mile when it comes to careers and placements? Do you take leadership development to the next level? What about executive education?

  • Global reach. Does your EMBA program have an international component? If so, how does it differ from all the rest? The University of Texas at Arlington, for example, is known for its China immersion and Asian Business Studies Graduate Certificate.

  • Alumni network. This extends the value of your program beyond graduation. Where are your alumni now? We’re talking both geographically and in terms of positions at their respective companies. You might just find a trend to capitalize on, such as a track record of success in a particular industry.

Another way you can distinguish yourself is through your advertising. Think about foregoing the traditional students-in-classroom imagery and use an image totally unrelated to academia. This will make your ads eye-catching, which is the first goal of any ad. Your messaging, however, will still resonate with your audience.

If you’ve read the above bullet points and still are scratching your head over how your EMBA program stands out, this could be a wake-up call. Perhaps you need to revisit one or more elements and tweak them to make your program more enticing to prospective students.

Annodyne can help you determine your USP with services such as brand identity and messaging workshops, competitive intelligence and communication assessments.

Visit us at Annodyne.com

. . .

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.


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Darcy Grabenstein Feb 1

How to Shorten the EMBA Decision-Making Process & Increase Your Program’s Bottom Line


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The decision-making process for a prospect to enroll in an Executive MBA program is painfully long. Statistics show that this process can take up to two years. So what can you do to speed up the process? Develop —  and implement —  a pull-through digital enrollment marketing strategy.

EMBA Decision-Making Timeline

                      Source: GMAC mba.com Prospective Students Survey 2014

Audience targeting is a key component of any successful marketing strategy, online or offline. Don’t throw a wide net; targeting will produce better results. Why? Because you will be delivering relevant content. If you bid on keywords that are too broad, you may be wasting your online advertising dollars. To promote a Healthcare EMBA program, for instance, both the keywords and the ad messaging must be specific. Otherwise, you may receive a great quantity of leads but not quality leads. Quality leads will be more interested in your EMBA program and, therefore, more likely to commit sooner.

Timing is everything. While you want your online ads to appear prior to your program deadlines, you also want prospects to see them at key stages in their decision-making process. Keep in mind that, although these two timelines may intersect at certain points, the overlap may be minimal. That’s why you should schedule ads throughout the calendar year, not just based on the academic calendar.

So what are some of the stages that prospects will go through on their path to enrolling? Here are a few common stages:

1. Considering an EMBA
2. Deciding what type of EMBA program
3. Seeking information
4. Applying
5. Enrolling

The Adult Audience Journey

Just because you get a prospect into the funnel, that doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing. Bottlenecks can pop up anywhere:

• Cost of program (more important to self-financed than employer-sponsored prospects)
• Concerns regarding work-life balance
• Questioning ROI of EMBA degree

Your program positioning and digital marketing strategy must address and overcome these and other obstacles. You can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, by offering incentives for early enrollment. First, financial incentives will help to bring down the overall cost of an EMBA. Second, incentives can help shorten the decision-making process.

What kinds of incentives can you offer? That depends on your program’s pricing and operations budget. Some programs offer scholarships, waive application or GMAT fees (some programs waive the GMAT altogether), or pay for textbooks. Other programs offer incentives to specific groups, such as military veterans.

If you find that work-life balance is an issue for prospects, take a look at your program format. EMBA programs must be willing to rethink traditional models in order to appeal to professionals with limited bandwidth. Programs with flexible scheduling will have an advantage over those with rigid formats, and may prompt commitments earlier in the decision-making process.

Your digital marketing strategy must demonstrate program ROI. How? Include testimonials on ROI from current students and alumni. If favorable, compare your tuition to that of other EMBA programs. Survey your alumni to find out how they moved up the career ladder (and how quickly) and how much their salaries increased post-graduation. Collect stats, and then use them to your advantage.

Digital enrollment marketing is more than just “setting and forgetting” a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign. Your strategy should be made up of many components: keyword optimization, banner and search ads, landing pages, search engine optimized (SEO) web content, social media advertising, retargeting campaigns and more. Your online campaign also should be consistent in visuals and messaging with offline marketing.

Don’t forget to monitor your campaigns. Tracking results will reveal which components worked best, and which fell flat. Then tweak your campaigns for optimal results.

A coordinated, consistent, ongoing marketing effort will produce the best results and, ultimately, shorten the prospect’s decision-making timeline.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.


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