Blog >> Lead Generation

Anthony Campisi Jun 15

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


Written by:

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.

CONTACT US

Discuss your goals for growth with our team.


0 Comments
Darcy Grabenstein Mar 22

Not All Leads Are Created Equal


Written by:

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.


0 Comments
Darcy Grabenstein Sep 27

The ABCs of Effective CTAs


Written by:

When researching best practices in copywriting, you can find a plethora of articles about headlines, email subject lines, SEO content and more. An equally important (and perhaps more important) element to research and refine is the call to action (CTA). According to Unbounce, more than 90% of people who read the headline also read the CTA.

Why is the CTA so important? This is the desired action you want your target audience to take as a result of your communication. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, the CTA could be a simple “Learn More.” Want to sell products or services? Be direct with a “BUY IT” button.

It does not matter whether your focus is B2C, B2B or what channel/tactic you use — email, direct mail, website, banner ad — a strong CTA is crucial. And it does not matter what industry you’re in — hi-tech, higher ed, pharma, tourism, retail — you still need a compelling CTA.

What’s not a compelling CTA? “Click here,” for starters. You’ve got to give them a reason to “click here.” From an SEO standpoint for web content, “click here” does nothing. And from a user experience (UX) perspective, it’s not exactly user friendly. Change it to “Learn more about our EMBA programs” and you’re on the right track. Adding a sense of urgency (“SHOP NOW”) can boost the click-through rate (CTR). All caps (“FIND OUT HOW”) vs. lowercase (“Find Out How”) can also increase response.

Design is another key component of a successful CTA. A button calls more attention to the CTA than a simple text link. Color, shape, icons (such as an arrow) and positioning of a CTA can impact its CTR. And don’t forget mobile. Buttons should be at least 44 pixels square to avoid errant clicks by large thumbs.

Here are several examples of click-worthy CTAs:

CTAs

When it comes to CTAs, there definitely can be too much of a good thing. On a landing page, where your goal should be to generate leads, you should have only one CTA. On the thank-you page, where you want to drive visitors back to your site, it’s OK to go hog-wild with links.

How do you know if your CTA is performing? Make sure you include a tracking code on the URL you’re linking to. Then check your analytics for click-throughs.

When in doubt, test. You could say that’s my mantra. But be sure to test only one element at a time to avoid skewing your results. After you test, apply those learnings to your next project.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.


0 Comments
Darcy Grabenstein Aug 20

The Importance of Thank-You Pages


Written by:

When an online lead-generation campaign is launched, many organizations obsess over the banner ads, the keywords, the landing page content and, of course, the form used to capture data. However, the online marketing doesn’t end the second your prospect has dutifully filled out the form and clicked “submit.”

The prospect should then be directed to a thank-you page that includes even more information about your product or service. Keep in mind that, on the landing page itself, extraneous links are discouraged. These will only draw attention away from the form and its call to action, which is your main goal here: generating leads.

On the thank-you page, however, you have the opportunity to redirect the prospect back to your site. You also can provide additional details about your product or service.

Here are a few examples of content you can include on a thank-you page to keep the prospect on your site — and engaged with your brand:

  • Your logo. Chances are, the prospect is just becoming familiar with your organization. Reinforce your brand by including your logo prominently at the top of the page.

  • Links back to your site. Omit these, and you’ve lost the prospect for good. (At least, until you follow up via email/phone/letter on the lead generated from your landing page form.)
JHU thank-you page

The Johns Hopkins University EMBA thank-you page includes a strong call to action and links back to the site.

 

  • Images. This is an optional element, but who says a thank-you page must be text only? If other pages on your site have a header image, include it here for consistency.
    Disney Thank-You Page

    Disney does a great job of using images and brand reinforcement,
    but falls short when it comes to links.

     

  • A video. Even better than an image, include a video to engage the prospect. It doesn’t have to be long (in fact, the shorter the better).

  • Downloads. If a digital brochure is your incentive for filling out the form, then you’ll obviously have a link to the PDF on your thank-you page. You also can link to other brochures and downloadable information.
Seattle thank-you page

The Seattle EMBA thank-you page includes a link to view a digital brochure
and several other links presented in a graphic format.

 

  • Upcoming events. For an online retailer, this could be an upcoming sale. For an organization, it could be a webinar, in-person meeting or online chat. Take it up a notch and include a calendar widget that allows the prospect to register and add the event to his/her own calendar.
Illinois thank-you page

The University of Illinois EMBA landing page includes a calendar widget and links to its blog and social media sites.

 

  • Contact information. If the prospect wants to send an email or speak to a human, make it easy to do so.

  • Social media. Have a presence on social media sites? If so, include their icons and link to your pages.
VandyTY

Vanderbilt’s Americas EMBA thank-you page includes several links back to the site, a download link, and links to its social media sites.

 

  • A link to your blog. If you have a blog, consider linking to it (assuming that the content is fresh). This will give the prospect insight into your company and its “personality.”

  • Testimonials. The thank-you page is the perfect opportunity to include success stories, quotes and more. Remember, you’re still in the process of “selling” the prospect at this point.

  • A call to action. Don’t assume that your prospect isn’t ready to make a purchase or other decision. Include a visible call to action with the option to buy, sign up, apply, etc.
Arizona Thank-You Page

The University of Arizona thank-you page prominently displays its logo and includes a strong call to action.

Failure to include at least some of these elements on your landing page could mean missed opportunities for your organization.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.


0 Comments
Diana Altobelli May 27

Lead Generation – How To Keep Users Engaged On Your Landing Page


Written by:

Getting a lead to sign up for a newsletter, fill out a form or give up any personal information is quite the task. However, in most lead generation cases you might think that the second you get a user’s information that your job is done. Hate to break it to you, but that is far from the truth.

I am the type of person who needs interaction right away. I am more inclined to make a phone call or contact someone directly rather than submit a form. What you are gathering is that I am impatient person who needs to be heard now! I blame my instant gratification as a side effect of today’s society. However, even though with my personality and thought process, I wouldn’t necessarily eliminate myself from the target audience. That’s because something extremely enticing can still sway me to fill out or sign up for something.

As a prime example, last night while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I came across an article “8 Sephora Hacks Every Girl Needs to Know.” Being a girl, I clicked on it (good title, gorgeousingrey.com, you got me). Anyway, as I continued to read it, I found some “OK” information that I already knew and a few hidden gems that I found to be awesome.

The sixth hack was for Sephora’s free shipping on online purchases. However, Sephora normally only offers free shipping on purchases of $50 or more. But who knew it had a Flash Subscription where you get free two-day shipping no matter how much you spend? The subscription is for an entire year, and it’s only $10. Depending on how much you shop there, it could be very worth it and, in my smokey eyes, it’s a great incentive for Sephora lovers.

sephora flash subscription

I obviously had to share the news with a friend of mine…

Where I am going with this is that even though it was not a form or newsletter signup, it was still a paid subscription-based offering that even got me thinking, “This is a great deal.” So when you are creating a landing page or form submission, make it worth it for users. Provide them a limited-time offer to increase a sense of urgency. I see this with many clothing websites and e-commerce sites offering incentives the second you jump on their website. Sign up for our emails and receive 15 percent off your first purchase.

Many customers or users searching for your information will jump at the chance to gather free information or a discount. Any way to effectively engage with your new leads is crucial to success. It doesn’t stop there, though. Once you capture their information, the interaction should not end. Politely thanking your new lead with a thank-you page and a confirmation email are other touch points that could help build the relationship.

What about social media? Why not add social sharing buttons on your thank-you page? This not only lets users “like” and follow your profiles but also maybe lead them to share their experience, contest or limited-time offer to all their friends and family. These interactions enable you to publicly engage in real time and create brand awareness. This is another great opportunity to build an even deeper relationship with your potential new customer.

Along with user engagement on your landing page, content strategies can help increase activity. For instance, make sure your users can clearly decipher what they are getting from your page. Create a sense of urgency if there is one, and write features in bullet-point format so a reader’s eyes can quickly scroll through. And lastly, be sure to keep it clear and concise and use testimonials. A majority of our purchases and decisions are based upon referrals.

As you can see, a lot goes into landing pages, thank you pages and continuing communication after a lead is captured. It takes strategies, compelling content, communications plan and offerings to entice the end user. So what are you doing to keep your users engaged?

Diana Altobelli is a search marketing specialist at Annodyne. 


0 Comments
Darcy Grabenstein Apr 1

Don’t Be Fooled By Metrics – Focus on Quality, Not Quantity


Written by:

 

Jester

Every year, my family tries to pull off an April Fools’ Day joke with other family members and friends. Last year, my son (it helps that he’s a lawyer) drew up a very detailed eviction letter from his condo association (including the letterhead) and sent it to his roommates. The letter cited various lease violations, such as having a grill on the balcony (guilty as charged). His roommates fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

When it comes to lead generation, however, misinterpretation of metrics is no laughing matter. You’re only fooling yourself if you take the results at face value.

It’s important not to be shortsighted when analyzing your organization’s leads. The tendency is to look at immediate results, make a determination as to the lead’s quality, and move on to the next lead. In doing so, you may be bypassing leads that could convert down the road.

When tracking leads, you must look at them throughout the marketing lifecycle. Only then will you be able to accurately classify them as poor or promising prospects.

Another pitfall that many marketers fall into is the numbers game. If you’re running a promotion and generate a huge number of leads, don’t consider it a success. You’ve got to weed out the dead-end leads first. Once you do, you’ll then be able to follow up on the solid leads and calculate conversions. That’s what determines the true success of any campaign.

You’ve also got to take into consideration the goal of your campaign. Is it to build brand awareness? Grow your database? A sweepstakes may be great for brand building, but if you’re using it to grow your database, think again. You may be surprised at how many new email “subscribers” unsubscribe once the sweepstakes is over.

At Annodyne, we emphasize the importance of lead scoring with our clients. Using our proprietary Annotrak™ technology, we help clients track and manage leads to determine the best prospects and reveal the marketing channels they use. By distinguishing “hot” leads from “cooler” ones, clients can make the best use of their time, following up on the most promising leads.

Don’t be foolish. Analyze your data carefully, then implement the campaign changes necessary to optimize your lead generation and conversion.

Darcy Grabenstein is senior copywriter at Annodyne.

photo credit: osseous via photopin


0 Comments