If new business is a race, would you say it’s better to spend your time looking forward or backward? Do you run with your head turned backward watching mile markers get further away? Or do you watch those mile markers in front of you get closer? I would highly suggest not looking backward whenever you are running, and the same goes for your new business planning.
As any agency approaches this process of planning, it’s important to note there are two different types of measurements that can change not only how you evaluate the race that is your new business program, but also predict your future success. Those two are Lag Measures and Lead Measures. Let’s break them down.
- Lag Measures – These are backward looking measurements of a result that has already happened.
- Lead Measures – These are forward-looking measurements that are predicting a result that will happen.
In 2018 your agency needs to be looking at Lead Measures and how they can help you forecast revenue, new clients, and staffing needs. Too often, I see agencies looking at only lag measures to determine how they are doing with new business. They look back at measures like number of leads created or revenue generated and then try to determine what will happen in the future based off of those results. Closing a new client in August has no bearing on September’s chances of closing a piece of new business, so why do we forecast this way?
The best example I have seen of an agency using lead measures was based on two factors. First, my agency measured the number of “engaged conversations” that they have each month. An engaged conversation was defined as one where they determine money, authority, and need from a prospect. They knew that if they had five of those calls a month, that would lead to enough pitches to hit their new business goals. The second measurement was based on lead score. Any great new business program will have a marketing automation built into it and that will include lead scoring capabilities. This lead scoring mechanism gave my agency the ability to judge just how effective their sales and nurture campaigns were and allowed them to prioritize prospects to go after. They set a score level of 25 points as the definition of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). The goal was to create 15 MQLs a month, because if they got 15 MQLS, then they could have at least 5 Engaged Conversations. See how each of these begin to predict one another?
As your agency begins to set your new business goals for the year, take a look at all of the different ways that you measure the success of your program. Take those measurements and put them either in a Lag or a Lead bucket. The majority of those will probably fall into that Lag bucket, and it’s fine to track those, but we want to start prioritizing the tracking of those Lead measurements. If you can find two dependable Lead measures, then you have not only simplified what you need to report, but you can also begin to set realistic goals for 2018 that will actually drive you to more new business wins!
Over the years we have seen tons of case studies used as calls to action with varying levels of effectiveness. There are many different kinds of mistakes agencies make when creating these. The top mistakes we often see are simple:
- The case study is too long
- The study only focuses on the solution
Who hasn’t been sent a case study that is a 10-page PDF on all the intricate pieces of a campaign? Next question: Who actually reads all 10 pages? My guess? None of us. Not at first anyway. That level of detail is great, if you have really interested me in taking a deep dive into your agency. But most agencies don’t take the time to develop the problem and results to effectively use their case study as an effective call to action. A case study is not a good intro piece.
Our solution to help make your agency’s case studies more effective as lead magnets is to break it into two completely separate pieces: a teaser and a deep dive.
Teaser case studies are most likely a short landing page that quickly sells the idea and value of the case study. It’s going to concentrate on the three main components of a case study, while highlighting two of them more heavily: problem and results. This is done in small bursts, a paragraph for each at max.
- Problem – Clients want to know that you understand their pain and what they’re going through. Be sure that the problem highlighted in your case study aligns carefully with that pain trigger in your marketing communications.
- Solution – You need to be able to talk about your proprietary solution while staying at a high enough level that you don’t lose their interest. Remember, at this point they care more about their problems and the results we will give them more solutions later.
- Results – You need your case study to show measurable results. Show the reader a shocking statistic. Something that shows what actually resulted from your project. Real numbers are more impactful than words.
The importance of this teaser is that your marketing CTA is driving people over to something that should be both compelling and quickly consumable. Most people are busy and cannot commit to 10 pages of a case study. But if we hit them with a teaser page that gives them compelling problems and results, we can then ask them to commit a larger amount of time to us and our solutions via a deep dive study at a later point.
Those that agree to commit time to your deep dive study are highly qualified, and more likely to engage in a real conversation following their online activities. That does not mean you don’t reach out to those that hit your teaser page. But you should focus on those deep dive prospects immediately.
Understand that case studies tend to be more focused on you and your agency. But our prospects are focused on themselves. Make your CTA all about your prospect, and the teaser study all about your prospect’s problems. Once they are truly engaged, we can tell them about us.
Are you not seeing the leads you need from your email marketing campaigns? You could be using email the wrong way. This powerful tool can produce results, but following best practices is key. Here are some of the top proven practices heading into 2016, and how they can help your business grow!
1. Collect More Email Addresses
It’s time for easy math: The more email addresses you collect, the more leads you can obtain. As a marketer you should be generating fresh, new email contacts regularly. Your contacts’ email addresses may become stale over time as contacts move jobs, opt-out of your email campaigns or abandon old email addresses. As a result, there are many ways for companies to increase their email leads, simply by encouraging more customers to sign up for email messages, promoting a contest or sweepstakes online, creating newsletter-only deals, or offer a birthday club to give something away on their special day.
The most useful tool in accomplishing this is to develop an automatic CTA (call to action) which appears to all website visitors. This simple pop-up form needs to be easy to understand, quick to complete, and rewarding to use.
2. Offer Value in Exchange for CTAs
We mentioned that a call to action should be “rewarding to use” and its important to understand the value of this tactic for both CTAs and the emails you send to your customer list. People don’t like to give away their email addresses in exchange for nothing, so offer regular rewards for viewing emails and collecting lead opportunities. A classic example is sending an email with a unique link to download a discount code for a product purchase. Without that email, the consumer doesn’t get the discount. This confirms early on the value of signing up and reading emails from your brand. It opens the door for more effective conversions down the road. Also, remember to clearly show the value offered in your email headlines!
3. Don’t Go Too Hot – or Too Cold
How many emails do you send out to customers each week? Send out too many, and customers will block your emails or leave them to languish in the “promotion” section of the email client that no one ever visits. Send out too few, and consumers will trash your emails because they don’t even recognize them when they do show up. The middle ground is important to find here. Studies indicate that one email per week is around the best rate to avoid the pitfalls.
4. Format for Mobile and Easy Consumption
If customers can’t read your email, they won’t. If they have to go to extra effort to read your email, they won’t. Due to more and more consumers accessing email via mobile devices, it’s vital that you optimize your messages, make them responsive for mobile devices, and make them very easy to read (avoid that dreaded newsletter format if you possibly can). Ensure that your calls to action appear early in the email, are large, invoke your logo colors, and whisk consumers away to better content.
5. Personalize and Automate
We know that these are both popular buzzwords, but they are also revolutionizing email campaigns. Personalization taps into customer data about recent purchases and viewed products to make customized recommendations and offer unique deals to past customers – results that guarantee a higher number of successful repeat sales. Automation helps save a lot of time and makes sure that customers get emails when they are supposed – right after signing up, after making purchases, when the company has important news, and so on.
Remember, the best email campaigns take advantage of the strengths you already have; When in doubt, consider what already engages your customers and wins their loyalty. With the right timing and format, those things will work through email channels, too! For any additional questions or a look at the latest ways email marketing can help your business, visit AgencySquared.com
Email marketing certainly still has a place in the world, especially for growing agencies looking to acquire new clients and increase client retention. Take a look at several ways email should be used in any marketing strategy.
Creating Customer Databases that Work
One of the most important steps for driving new business is to create and maintain a healthy database of prospects. Yes, there are quick and dirty ways to create prospect databases using lead lists and other things of that nature, but the reality is that those tactics don’t work. However, what does work is building your database off of real email addresses that real prospects provide.
It’s very cost-effective, easy to utilize, and provides some welcome hard data for businesses that may not know much about their customers yet.
Platform for Campaigns and Brand-Building
When it comes to campaigns and brand awareness, many businesses immediately start thinking about social media and blogging. But email is a speedy way to help increase customer participation and purchases in both areas. Always include email notifications or newsletters when launching a new campaign or announcing a new deal – many customers won’t notice otherwise, but a bold email subject line announcing the deal will draw attention. Likewise, more complex email content can also be used increase awareness and brand loyalty (try using or summarizing your more popular blog posts for this).
Building Buyer Personas
To take audience targeting to the next level, you need to know who needs your product or service and the best ways to reach those people. Using emails as login information is a great way to track potential clients, as well as consistently generate valuable data for marketing initiatives. Specifically, use customer habits gleaned from your email databases to create buyer personas, based on the ideal client you want to attract. Of course, this also requires that you tie email addresses to a CRM and marketing automation system.
You can absolutely email coupons and discount codes to your customers to increase business and responses…but this should be done carefully. Email can be a useful platform for customer loyalty rewards, where such coupons and other benefits are sent to long-term or high-purchase customers as a thank you for their business…and an incentive to return.
Future Target Marketing
Finally, your agency should begin customized, personal email marketing as soon as possible. This is a great way to retain customers and use email in a way that few other channels can be used – to craft in-depth and personalized responses. After creating customer databases and building personas, this is absolutely the direction that companies should move to utilize email and win more conversions.