Marketing Automation is Your Sales Team's Best Friend
Did you know that a sales team can waste up to 70% of their time contacting people who aren’t ready to buy? Marketing automation can significantly reduce the time your business spends contacting unqualified prospects so they can spend more time contacting those who are ‘sales ready’. Businesses that employ marketing automation increase their qualified leads by 451% and revenues by 417% (Focus.com).
How does marketing automation work for energy service providers (ESPs)?
Marketing automation is a lead generation technology that detects, scores, and ultimately, generates a steady stream of qualified leads for your sales team. These are the steps to make marketing automation work for your company:
- Obtaining contacts: First, collect your website visitors’ contact information by having them fill out an online form in return for valuable content. For example, visitors could fill out a request a quote form, gain access to your business’ case studies, or sign up for your company’s mailing list. This will also give you the information needed to track and contact this lead in the future.
- Lead scoring: Marketing automation platforms like ActiveConversion rank your most qualified leads based on their online behaviours. This allows you to prioritize your leads so that you only contact those who are the most qualified.
- Handoff to sales: Once leads are qualified, your marketing automation platform notifies your sales team with a detailed intelligence. This automated analysis will send the most qualified leads, their contact information, and their needs for your sales team to follow-up on, at the right time!
- Measuring your performance: Unlike traditional marketing, marketing automation allows you to track your online marketing performance to determine what marketing strategies are working for you. This is done by calculating ROI for any online marketing campaigns such as banner ad, email, Google AdWords, and social media campaigns.
Upcoming post: LinkedIn Marketing. 65% of business users have acquired a customer through LinkedIn. We’ll discuss how oil and gas service providers can use LinkedIn for lead generation in the next post.
Getting inbound calls for energy service providers
Say you're a company in the natural gas extraction industry and need on-site medical support, and don't have a preferred vendor yet. In the past you would go to an industry directory to find a medical service provider. Now you can just do a quick Google search on your smartphone to get the information you need instantly. Inbound marketing makes potential clients' searches work for you.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing works by gaining customers' interest, makes your business easy to find online, and draws your customers to your website. It does this by using marketing like SEO, social media, and blogs.
How does inbound marketing works?
Why should energy service providers use inbound marketing?
- Your website attracts visitors: A great way to attract
visitors to your website is to optimize for search engines. MICA
Controls increased their total web traffic by 100% over 4 months after
implementing a targeted SEO strategy.
- Convert website visitors into leads: Integrating an automated lead generation system like ActiveConversion in your website lets you know who your visitors are and what they are interested in.
- Nurture leads:
Make sure you maintain a good relationship with your leads by sending
them something of value - case studies, white papers, etc.
- Converting leads to sales:
Once your leads become 'sales-ready' and you have a good understanding
of what they are looking for, you're ready to pass the leads on to your
Upcoming post: Marketing Automation. Did you know that a sales team can spend up to 70% of their time contacting people who aren't ready to buy? With an automated lead generation system like ActiveConversion, your sales team will receive a constant stream of qualified leads.
- Over 90% of buyers will search for your business. They prefer to learn about your offerings at their own pace by browsing through your website and other online information.
- Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing leads.
- The closing rate from inbound marketing leads is 13% higher than outbound marketing leads.
- Rather than relying only on sporadic referrals, inbound marketing will get you the inbound calls your business needs!
Labels: activeconversion, energy service providers, ESP, Inbound marketing, lead generation, search engine optimization, Website
Energy service providers need marketing too!
Energy service providers (ESPs) need marketing as much as other companies.
The question is: what kind of marketing is the best fit?
say you run a small ESP that services natural gas compressors in Grand
Cache. Your primary competitor, S & K, offers identical services in
the same city.
Encozo, a midsize oil & gas company,
has a compressor meltdown near Grand Cache. John, the project manager
at Encozo, is assigned to search for a service provider to have the
compressor repaired immediately. If John doesn't remember or know a
service provider, he'll go on to Google and search "natural gas compressor
maintenance service Grand Cache".
The first search
result that comes up is S & K. John sees that S & K has a
professional looking website that contains all the information he's
looking for. John has heard good things of S & K before, so he calls
them up and gets dispatch to send out a technician.
Guess what? You just lost an excellent opportunity to win a new customer without even knowing it.
Why? Simply because your competitor's online marketing is far superior to yours.
found on Google is extremely important. Research shows that 94% of
online users do research online prior to making any purchases, and 61%
of them say search engines are their tool of choice when they're looking
for services online.
In the following weeks, we'll be
giving you a well-rounded four post series on how to increase your
online presence in this ever changing advertising landscape and
ultimately, getting the phone to ring for your business!
Upcoming post: Inbound Calls.
Did you know Search Engine Optimization (SEO) leads have a much higher
closing rate than traditional marketing leads? An impressive 14.6% for
SEO leads versus 1.7% for traditional marketing leads. We'll be
discussing this and more in the next post.
Labels: energy service providers, ESP, Google, online marketing
Top Ten Worst Website Mistakes:
In honour of our 'Worst Website Contest'
1. What is this Website Even About?
If a visitor can't figure out what your website is in less then four seconds, you've failed. Sorry about being so harsh, but online visitors have short attention spans these days and if they aren't immediately intrigued or even know what they're looking at, they'll move on.
For example: http://www.genicap.com/Site/
2. Getting in the Way of a Sale
When a visitor decides they want to buy, contact you or register for your offering, they better be able to do so easily! This means having what are called 'Conversion' elements available on all pages. The last thing you want to do is lose a sale after you've already 'Converted'.
Click for more information on Conversion:
3. Thinking your Website is your Marketing Strategy
Understanding that your website is only PART of your Marketing strategy is the first step. Next you need to figure out where your website actually fits into your strategy. Look through the other marketing channels such as radio, search engine marketing, social media, or print to see what makes sense for your strategy and come up with an implementation plan.
4. What's Content?
One of the most important elements on your website is the content. This isn't just for the visitors convenience but is also a large factor in search engine optimization. The best content strategy you can implement is frequent updated content, keep posts regular and content updated. Even if you lack website design, content can be a driving factor in return visitors. Don't underestimate content importance.
5. Too Much Material:
Okay, don't take number 4 too seriously. it doesn't mean you need to load the content all on one page. Too much content scares visitors. Break up your material into separate and relevant pages so visitors don't get overwhelmed and can find the content they're looking for directly instead of having to read it all to get their information.
6. Navigational Failure
Alright, this one's pretty simple, but it seems like some people still don't understand. Navigation must be simple and consistent so visitors can get around on your website. This isn't an element where you should be taking design liberties, keep it simple. Think about your customers and their needs first and design the navigation for ease.
Check out this Navigational Failure with about 30 options on the first page:
7. Website Design
After you've created an easy to navigate, conversion based website with relevant and updated content, you need to think about visual appeal. Look at other websites to get a better idea of acceptable design.
Here's an extreme example of what not to do:
8. Contrast! Contrast! Contrast!
Most importantly make sure there's a contract between your background and the text color, so visitors can easily read it. Not much point in the content it if's unreadable. However, it's also important to understand the contract of colors in your website. Obviously the website above is a horrible example of this, so below we've provided an example of contrast used well:
9. Substituting Graphics for Text
although it may seem like a minor detail, but by putting graphics where text should be you're doing a huge disservice to your search engine optimization. Search engine's can't identify graphics, they only locate text. This is especially important for any promotions or products.
10. Finally, the absolute WORST mistake you could make:
NOT ENTERING our 'WORST WEBSITE CONTEST'
With $5,000 towards a new website up for grabs what do you have to lose by entering your website? All entries are kept anonymous, and maybe you'll actually win! Thinking you've seen worse websites? Well our criteria isn't solely on the visual design. As you've learned from this post there's more important elements we're judging which is largely based on the traffic your website receives, search engine optimization efforts, content and much more.
So what's the harm in entering?
Labels: Google, Marketing strategy, Promotion, search engine optimization, Web design, Web Design and Development, Web search engine, Website
A Quick Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Part 1 of 5
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
is becoming increasingly important in the marketing process and more specifically in drawing potential customers to your website. It only requires a few simple things to improve the SEO on your website and ultimately increase traffic. With the high usage of search engines to find sites, SEO is a practical investment when it comes to an online marketing plan.
SEO can be broken into four main areas including: keyword research, on-page optimization, content development and link building. Follow subsequent blog posts for more detail and depth on ‘The Four Key Concepts’.
1. Keyword Research
Although many spend little time on this process, it creates the backbone of your SEO and is important to invest time in creating a successful campaign. You want to ensure your keywords are Relevant
and Conversion Friendly
; that they have an Ample Search Volume
and are Realistic
A common mistake is to target all your keywords to the homepage; however targeting different keywords to different areas of your business maximizes optimization.
2. On-Page Optimization
This means making sure your website is search engine friendly. A couple essential factors in on page optimization include creating Clean Code
which should include the natural use of your targeted keyword, and XML sitemaps
, which helps Google find specific pages on your website.
It’s important to produce engaging content for visitors as oppose to focusing efforts on search engine directed content. Here are a couple steps to follow in producing content: Brainstorm
topic ideas from other sources online, collate
ideas by identifying a few headlines and key points to your piece, and refine
by identifying keywords that search engines can target. Next produce
your piece, but don’t force the issue, and lastly, share
among as many channels as possible.
Google talks about the importance in encouraging links to your website, instead of building them yourself. Here are some low cost tactics that can help you with this; make sure Article Submissions
are targeted towards high quality websites, create press release submissions
to spread the word, and guest posting
on relevant websites that may help you to produce content directed towards their audience.
Even though you’ve completed ‘The Four Key Concepts
’ you’re not quite done. All of your efforts can be wasted if you don’t analyze your performance. Best practises for analyzing your website will be available in subsequent posts along with a more in depth look into ‘The Four Key Concepts’.
Labels: keyword research, keywords, link building, online press releases, search engine optimization, Web content, Website, website copywriting
5 often forgotten tips for developing strong web content
Don’t try and sell, just connect
Connecting with a potential customer is important, just as pushy sales people, or annoying television commercials can kill a sale, so too can pushy website content. Your web content should find a sweet spot between selling, and being product information. If you attempt to sell too hard, you will lose a portion of your audience, and if you are too vague, you will lose all. It seems like a conundrum that is hard to escape, but if you are able to engage a reader with real problems that your product or service can solve, then you can hook their interest.
Expressing the needs of previous customers, and how you were able to fulfill those needs is an excellent way of addressing this issue. Many customers want real world examples of how a solution will help them, giving them relatable content builds trust and connects with your audience/potential customers.
If you have the numbers to back up your claims, USE THEM. Taking your readers down the garden path of flowery language and vague statements will kill your credibility. If your products works and you have the proof, do not be afraid to share it. These real-world numbers will differentiate your content from 98% of the content on the web.
Be a layman
Avoid jargon whenever possible. Leave fancy words and complex acronyms to trade journals and message boards. Your content is meant to appeal to the broadest demographic possible, and using industry lingo and hard to pronounce words can alienate readers. For most readers, compelling content beats technical content, and the use of Jargon sets a tone that gives the impression the writer is difficult to engage. You don’t have to engage your readers like children (unless they are) but find a personable tone that anyone can understand and relate to.
Skip the details
Readers are generally interested in the net result. While a few may be interested in what bells and whistles makes your solution work the way it does, the bulk just want to know how it can help them. The end result is the key point of information for 90% of readers, and excessive details and background information becomes boring and is unnecessary. Don’t make your readers determine the benefit of your solution AFTER they’ve wrapped their head around all you’ve explained to them. Your web content should not be a test for the reader, give them the answer, and those who want to know the how will seek it out.
Break it up
Since the dawn of the internet, the average reader’s attention span has dropped. Moby Dick, in all it’s glory is too long a read for a lot of people, but breaking the text up into installments is a good way to increase your readership.
Breaking up a topic into several parts gives you more posts, and gives your readers a reason to come back to your blog. If you can write an engaging pt.1, you better believe that interested readers will come back for pt. 2. This results in more traffic for you, and a more engaged reader. This will also allow you to take a rest between sub-topics, allowing you to refine and focus pt.1, without having to worry about pt.2 right away.
Researching a product for your business can be a real chore. By breaking up your content into smaller parts, you give the reader an opportunity to read at their own pace, and allowing them to easily skip to and from sections of your content that most engage them. For those marketers that use a website analytics system, you can determine the level of interest based on the number of pages a customer views. A reader that visits all 10 parts of your article is highly engaged compared to those only visiting one or two parts.
: Jim Wong, Professional Services Manager, FP iMarketing
Labels: Attention, Content Management, Customer, Site Management, Web analytics, Web content, Website
Gated Forms and Your Website
Have you gone to a website to download a specific document and had to fill out a form to get to it? If you have, you've used a gated form.
Gated forms allow website owners to:
Which materials should I be putting behind forms?
- gather data on who uses their website and marketing materials
- find which resources are most popular so they can add more of what people like
- collect email addresses of interested visitors to start conversations.
How long should a gated form be?
- Is this marketing material I want everyone to see? If so, leave it public. It's hard to make sales when you're asking for personal information from people who aren't committed to your product or service.
- Is this a resource I have put a lot of time into creating with a large value for visitors (ie whitepapers, case studies etc). If so, this is an ideal resource to add a gated form to.
The short answer is: as short as possible. The longer a form is, the less likely a visitor is to fill it out. We recommend only asking for a name and email address, and possibly a phone number if necessary for business objectives. The whole idea of gated forms is to trade a bit of their information for a bit of yours. The more fields you add to a gated form, the less likely people are to fill it out. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have 10 visitor's name and email addresses sent to me than one visitor's information that includes a phone number and company information.
: Martha Boulianne
Labels: professional websites, web marketing, website forms