That ‘Save Time & Money’ headline on your homepage is lazy-ass messaging. One of the primary reasons? It’s too generic. Too clichéd. When every one of your competitors is saying the same thing on their homepage, it quickly becomes meaningless.
You see this on B2B websites especially, where the jargon-ridden content looks like it was literally Command + C / Command + V’d on every website in that industry.
The result is that ya’ll become indistinguishable from one another. Customers, left with no other choice, look for others point of differentiation to make sense of the noise. Namely, your price.
The bad news, though, is that this problem isn’t reserved for just your homepage copy. The same me-too, copycat approach also extends to your marketing tactics. You use the same messaging, in the same channels, and wonder why CTR’s and conversions look so… average.
Whereas the ‘unicorns’ are busy doing things differently to get outsized returns. Here’s how to extend that to your lead generation efforts.
How Salesforce Became a $100 Million Giant
Aaron Ross originally published Predictable Revenue back in 2011, but it’s already firmly established itself in the startup lexicon.
This concise, actionable guide outlines the primary strategy Aaron used to transform Salesforce into a revenue-generating machine; adding $100 million in recurring revenue without resorting to cold calling.
Early in the book, he outlines three basic methods of lead generation for most B2B companies, along with their Pros and Cons.
Source 1. Personal Referrals
Personal referrals are obviously one of the best ways to grow a company. These people are basically pre-sold, and it generally takes very little effort to close the deal.
The problem? Unless you’ve got some product with insane network effects, growing through virality alone is incredibly rare.
That means there’s not enough personal referrals coming in on a consistent basis to scale revenue in a meaningful way. And there’s not a whole lot you can do to proactively grow more referrals.
Source 2. Inbound
Inbound is wonderful. It works.
What’s wrong with this approach?
Nothing per se. As long as you’ve got time. For starters, inbound marketing is insanely time-consuming.
Crafting a single blog post can take the better part of a day (at least three hours for the good stuff). Now do that several times a week, on top of designing, building, and writing email campaigns, scheduling all this stuff, responding to social messages, and working on larger offers or campaigns.
The ROI from these methods also take some time to ramp up. You’re going to (ultimately) rely on getting most of your growing, targeted traffic from search engines, which means your site’s strength needs to grow over time in the eyes of the Google Gods.
So there’s always…
Source 3. Outbound
‘Cold’ tactics are icky. Depending on your approach, their results also suck.
Most cold emails, for example, aren’t even getting delivered. So it doesn’t matter how many lists you have if peeps ain’t seeing nothing that you send them.
And nobody enjoys being that spammy guy (or gal) on LinkedIn, blowing up everyone’s InMail with useless garbage (at least, I hope they don’t).
Aside: Since when did LinkedIn become some sleazy new mashup of MySpace + Tinder?! Go ask the females in your office how many LinkedIn creeps they’ve heard from recently.
Here’s where the Predictable Revenue approach is a game-changer for traditional outbound methods. It places a heavy emphasis on account-based marketing (or selling) to ‘get a foot in the door’.
And it’s been wildly successful when done right.
For example, Funnelholic shared their results, going from the typically mediocre reply rates of 2-3% for most email campaigns to:
- 60% open rate
- 31% reply rate
- 15 net new meetings
We can even take this a step further: do you honestly think decision makers — generally the highest people in an organization and the toughest to reach — are signing up for webinars? No.
They’re too busy to sit through a lame 90 sales pitch. Instead, those are going to be full of ‘manager’ level or other practitioners who’re stuck in the weeds, looking for tips and tactics (but unlikely to hire you for anything high-priced).
The good news, though, is that you can do ‘outbound’ in an ‘inbound’ way; leveraging the best of both worlds to get results. You can even layer on Facebook ads to amplify performance.
How to Incorporate Facebook Ads with Complex Sales
Every day you come across a blog post that reads: “Facebook vs. Email”. As if they’re mutually exclusive and you have to decide between one or the other.
But they’ve got it all wrong.
The ‘customer journey‘ people take to eventually convert is a mess. It’s all over the place. They hit different avenues, mediums, channels, and devices; regularly bouncing around in a very non-linear fashion.
That means it’s not Facebook vs. Email, but Facebook + Email.
Because ‘omnichannel shoppers’ are becoming the norm. And their lifetime value is 30% greater than single-channel ones.
Facebook provides a few powerful ways to support and integrate with your efforts in other channels.
Their custom audiences have been around forever, allowing you to create specific segments of people off of email addresses, phone numbers, sites (or links) visited, etc. That means you can retarget pretty much anyone — even a direct mailing list.
But wait, there’s more!
Facebook also recently announced new ways to track and increase offline sales:
Advertisers now have a way to connect transactions that take place in-store or over the phone to their ads. The offline conversions API allows businesses to match transaction data from their customer database or point-of-sale system to ads reporting, helping them better understand the effectiveness of their ads in real-time.
Advertisers can use the offline conversions API to:
- See real-time results as transactions occur in-store and over the phone.
- Gain demographic insights about people who purchase.
- Optimize future campaigns.
With Facebook ads now, you can not only integrate with other online channels like email but also offline ones like direct mail.
Step #1. Start with Direct Mail
There’s a reason your mailbox at home is still full of coupons in 2016.
Incredibly, direct mail still works. 60% of recipients also visited the promoted website according to a USPS study (with first-time shoppers being the most influenced).
This even applies to B2B scenarios, where one agency used direct mail to target companies north of $30 million and received a 25% response rate.
It’s different. And that’s why it stands out; receiving an above average response rate despite being so simple.
Most ‘off the shelf’ direct mail pieces (where you can simply go in and customize a logo + text) are a Google away. Otherwise, companies like Lob are popping up to enable companies like Amazon and Square to send physical mail through APIs.
If you want to do something custom, start by becoming BFF’s with smart, local commercial printing shops. They should have a variety of ideas for different materials and design concepts that other companies have used in the past.
From there, it comes down to creative execution to define how it’s going to look and feel.
Remember: you’re shooting for targeted, specific, personal and memorable. That means a hand-written note, some personalized findings for said company or prospect, and some ingenuity.
This Topo article has some more ideas, along with a clever anecdote about how one company sent out an empty iPad box to executives before a big conference, urging them to pick up their gift at the company’s booth.
Step #2. Determine Your Tracking Methods
There are two primary, easy ways to track direct mail results.
The first is unique phone numbers. Typically 800 ones, that track back to a major account, company, segment, industry, city, region, etc.
The second is personalized URLs. You set up custom domains (for vanity and memorability’s sake) and simply refer them to the intended place. We’ll focus here as the goal is to get people back to your site and combine multi-channel tactics with Facebook ads.
For example, using referring domains you can send people to a specific landing page created for their company. Or you can send them to a portfolio / case study section that highlights work done for companies just like theirs.
The (redundant) point is that you can get hard-to-reach, specific people back to a carefully crafted message. And track the whole thing. And, retarget them.
Step #3. Now Combine with Facebook Ads
This approach is great for longer, consultative sales that take awhile to develop. That’s why it takes 6 – 8 touches to get a sales lead.
One clever direct mail piece ain’t gonna cut it. So there need to be follow-ups, in multiple channels over time, to get results.
Fortunately, Facebook’s custom audiences allow you to add a pixel code to create an audience of people who hit a specific page (or URL). That means you can create one for all those peeps passing through the referring domain you just set up.
AND, it means you can create different campaigns for those who bounce vs. those who browse around, download an intro offer, etc.
Best of all, these retargeting campaigns are pre-crafted and automated, helping you land those second, third or fourth touches without requiring you to manually do all the work.
Marketing campaigns shouldn’t be a process of simply ticking boxes and doing what everyone else does. Otherwise, you can expect the same average return.
The ones who break out with significantly above average results do so because they’re blazing their own path and not copying those ahead of them.
One of the best channels ripe for experimentation that’s suddenly becoming en vogue again is good old fashioned direct mail. But especially when you combine it with today’s technological advancements and other complementary channels.
And with automated Facebook ads, you’re able to retain the same laser-targeted approach while also combining it with timely reminders that automatically deliver the number of touches required to generate hard-to-reach sales leads.