6 Must-Track B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Are you using email to send content to your leads and customers? If you’re not, turns out you’re part of the minority.

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Whether you’re a seasoned marketing pro or an email novice, check out the list of our top B2B email marketing KPIs we like to track. But before we dive into the metrics, we need to touch on one major email marketing necessity, goals. 

Email Marketing Goals 

You should know by now that random acts of marketing (executing marketing tactics that aren’t part of an overarching strategy) are a major don’t in our book and that definitely applies to emails. You might be thinking, “It’s just an email.” And in a sense, you’re right. However, all email communication whether it be a newsletter or a simple follow up email post-download needs to be part of a greater digital marketing strategy.

Learn all about Lake One’s Digital Strategy here.

Okay, so how do you go from the big picture down to your email campaigns? You break it down email by email.

HubSpot recommends doing a quick gut check before you send your next email by asking yourself these questions. What is the goal of my email marketing? Is it to grow my subscriber database? Generate more leads? To convert more existing leads into customers?

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

Once you have your goal(s) determined, you’re ready to figure out which metrics you need to track. Read on for our top 6 fav B2B Email Marketing KPIs.

Need help goal setting? Download our SMART Goals template. 

#1. Bounce Rate

What is bounce rate? Bounce rate is the percentage of emails that could not be successfully delivered to the email recipient’s inbox. 

Why we track bounce rate: Emails can bounce for several reasons and fall into two categories, “hard” and “soft”. Soft bounces are temporary problems with delivery like issues with an email client’s server. Hard bounces are permanent problems such as a nonexistent email address and will never be delivered. 

Okay, so an email can’t be delivered, how does that affect you? Our friends at HubSpot say contact list cleanup is a must and we agree. All hard bounces should be removed from your list immediately because internet service providers (ISPs) use bounce rates as one of the key factors to determine an email sender’s reputation. Too many bounces = Spammer when it comes to ISPs. 

#2. Open Rate

What is open rate? Open rate is the percentage of recipients that open a given email.

Why we track open rate: Recipients can’t convert if they aren’t opening your emails, so the open rate can be a great place to start for optimization. We have to disclose though, not everyone is a fan of tracking open rate because it can be an unreliable metric. An email only counts as opened if the recipient also receives all embedded images within that email. Image blocking is an option via email clients- it’s definitely a possibility your number is off. 

So all of the above aside, we still like to keep open rate on our radar, especially when optimizing subject lines and using it comparatively. 

B2B Email Marketing KPIs

#3. Click-Through-Rate 

What is Click-through-rate? CTR is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links in an email. We often refer to the links as the Call-to-Action (CTA) of the email.

Why we track CTR: CTR is a great indicator of how your email is performing and if your content is resonating with your personas. Are recipients actually clicking on the links that you want them to click on? According to Campaign Monitor, the average click-through rate for most campaigns is slightly over 4%. Here are some tips on how to optimize your followup email CTAs for a higher CTR.

#4. Conversion Rate

What is conversion rate? Conversion rate is the percentage of email recipients who clicked on an email CTA and completed the desired action. Think completing a form, signing up for a free trial, making a purchase, etc.

Why we track conversion rate: Conversion rate is the money maker! Both figuratively and quite literally in some instances. The first step in email marketing is getting the user to click on your link in the email and the second is getting them to convert. This is a major metric in determining if you are meeting your goals.

Lead to MQL/Customer Conversion Rate

Depending on your email campaign goals you can really drill down when it comes to conversion rate. It can also spin off into other metrics such as Lead to Marketing Qualified conversion rate and Lead to Customer conversion rates. 

#5. ROI

What is B2B Email Marketing ROI? ROI is the overall return on investment for your B2B email marketing campaign. 

Why we track ROI: ROI is a KPI staple. Just like any other initiative within your company, you need to track ROI. Are you making money? Are your marketing efforts helping the bottom line? ROI analysis can point out areas of opportunity and areas that are burning cash. 

While we’re talking about KPIs, are you tracking your sales and marketing team alignment? Here’s some more info.

#6. Unsubscribe Rate

What is Unsubscribe Rate? Unsubscribe rate is the rate at which email recipients are unsubscribing from receiving email communication from your company. 

Why we track unsubscribe rate: Unsubscribes alone shouldn’t be the only indicator you review for email performance; however, if your unsubscribes are high, check it out! Perhaps your email is too aggressive, your customers have outgrown you, or your persona messaging is off.

Whatever the reason, high unsubscribe rates are like a big flashing light saying, “Change needed here.” 

Smart Goals Worksheet Template

Words to the Wise

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and become hyper-focused on the KPIs, but here are few things to keep in mind.

  1. Keep it in perspective. Don’t rest solely on percentages. Make sure to look at how many recipients are contributing to the data before you go optimization crazy.
  2. Optimize. And then Optimize again. Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you see a number you don’t like, optimize! Emails are perfect candidates for testing. 
  3. Give it time. You want to give your email campaign time to do its thing. Rapid-fire changes aren’t helpful because it muddies the waters of what’s actually contributing to the change. 

Content Optimization: How to Optimize Existing Content

Wouldn’t it be nice if your content was set it and forget it? Technically, I guess it could be, but you’d be remiss not to optimize old content. Why? Because everything changes- SEO rankings and trends, competitors coming in and out and all up in your space, your own products and strategies… 

So, here is a step-by-step process on how to optimize existing content. Don’t go about this all willy-nilly. I promise that if you put a little thought and strategy into a plan, your optimization process will go much smoother with better results.

Optimize existing content

Start with Strategy

Before you begin, think about how (or if) your marketing strategy has changed. Have your personas changed or do you know more about them since you first published? Have you honed in on a specific niche or decided that your niche was actually too small? If you know your objectives well, this step will be easy. You may need to do a little research into your strategy docs, but you won’t otherwise need to do anything concrete here.

Now you need to plan out what content you will be optimizing and how you will be optimizing it. What’s the goal of the content? Conversions? Traffic? Let’s look at CTAs, landing pages, and blogs specifically.

Turn your website into a lead machine. Get our free guide. 

Optimizing Existing CTAs

The goal of a CTA is a click. Therefore, look at your all-time click rates for all of your CTAs. According to Niel Patel, a good click-through rate of a CTA is about 3%. You can either optimize all of your CTAs below 3% or you can start with a chunk of the lower performing ones. How to proceed with your optimization plan will depend on the answers to the following questions:

Questions to Ask on CTA Performance:

  • Location:
    Where is the CTA located? Do I need to add it to more places? Is it getting exposure on those pages or is it buried in the noise of other content? Is it still relevant to those pages?
  • Design:
    How’s the creative? Is it similar to other CTAs? Are those CTAs performing?
  • Root Cause:
    Continuing off the previous bullet, do I think it’s the CTA design or is it what I’m offering that’s ineffective? Do I need to rephrase? Ie- Schedule Your Free Consult vs Contact Us & Start for free.
  • A/B Testing:
    Do I already have A/B testing setup? If so, consider replacing the lower performing of the two and leaving the other as is. If you don’t have A/B testing set up, decide whether you want to replace the CTA entirely or add an option B. (Hint: we think A/B testing is the bee’s knees!) Know that A/B testing will take longer to get meaningful results for smaller audiences.

Optimizing Existing Landing Page Content 

Traffic to your landing pages (LPs) will mostly be addressed in your CTA optimization with the exception of any LPs you have linked in your site’s navigation- like contact us. So, let’s focus on optimizing landing pages for conversion, as that is their main goal. Pull analytics on your landing page views, conversions, and conversion rates. According to WordSteam, the average landing page converts at around 2.35%, but your conversion targets should be 10% or higher. 

Optimizing your landing pages is going to focus on your content and the form + CTA. 

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Landing Page Content:

  • Copy:
    Are you clearly describing your offer? Try rephrasing and/or rewriting your headlines and bullet points. Don’t forget about keywords.
  • Relevance:
    Is your offer still relevant? Optimizing won’t fix the problem, but you might be able to get away with reframing the offer until you’re able to replace it.
  • Image:
    Do you have an image? Is it generic or does it depict what you’re offering? Check your alt tags while you’re at it.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing a Landing Page Form:

  • Form Length:
    Are you asking too much? The amount of requested information should be an equal ask to the value of your offer. A super valuable piece of content will have a higher tolerance for a longer form. Conversely, an overly long form will turn people away if your offer isn’t uber valuable.
  • Form Button:
    Does your button match the offer? Consider making buttons like ‘submit’ into something more specific.

Additionally, heat mapping can be a valuable tool for landing page optimization.  There are several free tools available on the market. With heat mapping, you can see how actual users are engaging with your landing pages. These can give you direct insights into what’s preventing conversion from occurring. Here are some more tips on building a landing page that converts.

Optimizing Existing Blog Content

For blog optimization, we’re going to look at a few different things in combination: internal links, keywords, traffic, and conversions. 

Blog Internal Link Optimization:

Pull out your handy-dandy content audit workbook for this section. The content audit is a document that lists the title, description, type, and URL for each piece of inbound content you have. Having this document will be an easy way to reference all of your blogs and offers in one place. If you don’t have one, pull up your blog listing page and CTA dashboard within your CRM. 

Read through your old blogs and add hyperlinks to your new content where relevant. Same with your CTAs.

Questions to Ask on Optimizing Blog Content:

  • Offers/CTAs:
    Do I have a new, more relevant offer to add to this blog? Before you replace an existing CTA, check if it’s working first. Is a smart CTA a good option where CTAs are working?
  • Blog Links:
    Do I have new, relevant blogs to hyperlink?
  • Bonus:
    Are my external links all working?

Blog Traffic and Conversion Optimization:

One of the main goals of blogging is to draw in organic traffic and the other is for your blogs to lead to engagement and conversion. Break out your analytics again to look at those stats. 

  1. Pull a list of the top converting blogs and plan to optimize for better traffic. 
  2. Take the top trafficked blogs and plan to optimize for conversion.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Blog Traffic:

  • Quantity:
    How much traffic are my blogs getting? Where is it coming from? Has traffic increased over time? This is a sign that it’s starting to pick up steam with SEO. Give it a little push. Has traffic decreased over time? This might be a sign your content is outdated or that your persona’s keywords have shifted to other topics.
  • Keywords:
    How was this blog optimized for SEO initially? Could the keywords use a heavier hand? Sprinkle them in. But also consider if your keywords or phrases changed since this was published. If so, make the appropriate updates to match your new strategy. Here are some tips on finding keywords.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Blog Conversions: 

  • Opportunities for Conversion:
    Where are your conversion opportunities placed within your blogs? Make sure you have one within the top ⅓ of the blog and then about every 300 words after.
  • Relevance:
    Are the CTAs in your blogs performing on other pages? Use this as an indication of relevance and placement. Switch CTAs out if indicated (reference your content audit workbook again!).

Monitor Your Content Optimization Strategy

After you’ve optimized your existing content, keep an eye on it. With any luck, your updates will pay off. However, it is possible they could have a reserve effect. If you set up A/B testing or smart CTAs anywhere, you’ll want to monitor those and potentially make additional optimizations based on your results.

inbound campaign checklist

Key Takeaways on Optimizing Existing Content

  • Make a plan before you start. Consider your keywords, persona, and goals for each content type.
  • Add new content into the old: find places in blogs to hyperlink to new content and replace old CTAs with more relevant offers if they exist.
  • Consider your keyword strategy and search rankings- add key terms into your content to generate more traffic. 

The Conversion Funnel: Inbound Marketing Basics

Conversion funnel by definition can mean a few different things depending on the source, but here at Lake One, when we talk about conversion funnel as it relates to an inbound marketing program, we’re talking about the call-to-action, landing page, thank you page, and follow-up email that supports our inbound efforts. 

Read on to learn more about the key components of a conversion funnel along with some insider tips for implementation.  

conversion funnel

Call-to-Actions

With content consumption at an all-time high among consumers, Call-to-Actions (CTAs) are uber important. 

In Marketing, a call-to-action (CTA) is an instruction to your target buyer designed to provoke an immediate response. Figuratively speaking, CTAs are a hand wave or an arrow saying, “Hey! Look over here. We have something you might like!” 

CTAs use action words to direct the user. For example, ‘download this white paper now’, ‘click here’ and ‘watch the video’. There are so many examples of CTAs, but a few elements stay consistent across the board.

  • Headline: Write a header that makes it clear and easy to see what it is you’re offering.
  • Sub Header: Explain the value to the user of what you’re offering, but keep it concise. Space is limited. 
  • Image: Include an image that relates to what you’re offering to catch the user’s eye and add additional context.
  • Action Words: Here’s where you actually say what action you want the user to take (download here) typically called out by a button or highlighted differently in some way.

Below is an example of a Lake One’s CTAs. Go ahead. Click on it 

LinkedIn Marketing Guide

Landing Page 

Although the majority of B2B businesses are using landing pages, not all landing pages are created equal. 

Landing pages are different than your other website pages for a few reasons and should contain at a minimum, the following elements.

No Page Navigation

Landing pages should be designed to be lean mean converting machines and the full navigation menu can distract users. We want them to submit the form and get down to business. 

Above the Fold

Keep the main gist of your offer (body copy, image, form, CTA, etc.) above the fold. If the CTA is below the fold and requires a scroll, conversion rates could suffer. You want to make it as easy as possible for the user to convert.

Landing Page Copy

The copy should have a header, a subheader, a few sentences that explain your offering in more detail, and then roughly 3 – 5 supporting bullets that talk about the user benefits of your offer and what the user can expect by submitting the form.

Image

Include an image on your landing page that depicts the offer. The image should be sized appropriately and placed in close proximity to the copy and the CTA making sure to add value and not distract the user from converting.

Here’s an example of the type of image we like to use. Click to see the full funnel in use.

conversion funnel

Form

Forms are an absolute must. They are the method you’ll use to capture the lead’s information in exchange for whatever your offering. Make sure that your ask matches the value of the offer. For example, if you have a form 10 questions deep for an infographic, you’ll likely scare away your user.

Insider Tip: My favorite form field is ‘Role’. Role is imperative because it essentially identifies the lead by persona. Role identification allows us to better tailor our workflows, and, not to mention, it gives us better insight into who is actually submitting our forms and engaging with our content. Oh and the bonus is, we’ve found that ‘Role’ is a light ask for the user as it doesn’t hold the same trepidation that company name or phone number can.

Needing help setting up your conversion funnels and forms might be a sign it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency. Learn about the other indicators here.

CTA 

All landing pages must have a CTA that’s clearly visible and intuitive to the user as to what they’re getting and what step to do next. 

Truthfully, the above just scratches the surface on the information available on landing pages and best practices. Here is an awesome infographic by Unbouncedescribing additional elements of a landing page if you want to learn more. 

Thank You Page

Some conversion funnel implementations don’t use a ‘Thank You Page’ (TYP), but we are big fans. In short, a TYP is just that- a page thanking the now lead for submitting their information via the form to obtain whatever it was you were offering. The TYP also hosts an actual link to the file, guide, case study, etc. 

If you’re peeking ahead and seeing that we deploy a follow-up email that also contains the asset link and thinking TYPs are pointless, they aren’t! TYPs have an important job and here are a few highlights on what they bring to your conversion funnel:

  • Trust: For some leads, submitting information via the form in hopes of obtaining an asset can feel a little uncomfortable. They are likely wondering if they’ll actually get the asset, will they start getting spammed and harassed, etc. TYPs are a chance to build trust with your lead by showing them you’ll give them what you promised and you’ll do it fast. 

Learn more about lead follow up strategies here.

  • Conversion: TYPs have prime real estate for additional CTAs. Make sure the CTAs are relevant and helpful in aiding in the next step of the buyer’s journey. Also, insider tip: Make sure the CTAs are not interfering with the user clicking on the asset to download it. It can go from helpful to intrusive quickly.
  • Brand & Site Exploration: Unlike landing pages, TYPs have a full navigation menu and can incorporate links to the company’s social media pages as well. It’s a chance for the lead to explore more on their own.
  • Tracking: Without getting too technical for the sake of this post, the TYP is a perfect place to fire your conversion pixel for tracking. Why? Because in order for the TYP to render, the form submission must be completed. You get the lead’s info, they get the asset. Bam. Conversion.

Follow-Up Email

Follow-up emails consist of a direct link to the piece of content (or whatever the CTA promised) and then an additional CTA to interact with your brand an additional way like a newsletter sign up or to check out your blog.

The emails are pretty simple, but we send them for a few reasons. 

  • User Experience: For example, if your offer is a download of a white paper, how convenient for the lead is it to have the white paper sent to their inbox vs needing to download it and save it right away? 
  • Conversion: It opens the door of communication with the lead via email and provides them with more ways to convert and interact with your brand right from their inbox. 
  • Lead Nurturing: Simple follow up emails can be a great segway into lead nurturing as the lead will have already received their first email from you. It seems more natural after sending the high-value first email to continue a cadence.

Key Takeaways

In summary, now that you know about the elements of a conversion funnel, here are a few reminders to take with you if you put the elements above into practice.

SEO. SEO. SEO.

All conversion funnel elements must be optimized for SEO. Think images, landing pages, meta descriptions, URLs, etc. All of it. 

Optimize. Rinse. Repeat.

Nothing in marketing is set it and forget it, including conversion funnels. Let the numbers be your optimization compass. They’ll point you to where you need to focus your attention first.

Marketing is for Humans.

When in doubt, always remember you’re content was created for humans and so were your conversion funnels. Where is your eye naturally drawn? Can you understand what you’re offering quickly and easily? A little humanity gut check can go a long way.

B2B Sales Enablement: What it is and the Role Marketing Plays in Making it Happen

We often discuss the age-old battle that can go down between sales and marketing. The tale of two disparate teams. Well in case you didn’t know, now it’s all about alignment. And… enablement.

Sales enablement according to HubSpot, is the technology, processes, and content that empowers sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. And brace yourself for this one: marketing plays, or should play, a key role in the sales enablement process for B2B companies.

Whether the above sentence has you ready to fall out of your chair or stand up and clap, read on. We’ll cover why sales enablement should matter to marketers and their role in B2B sales enablement execution.

B2B Sales Enablement

Why Sales Enablement Should Matter to Marketers

Today’s modern buyers are different from buyers of old. The sales process is heavily led by the buyers and dictated by the market. Who specializes in the buyer’s journey and converting leads to customers alongside sales? Marketing.

A Seismic article quoted Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing, as saying the following on an episode of the Sales Enablement Shift podcast, “If you’re in B2B marketing today and you’re not thinking every day about sales, what the pipeline looks like, or how close the organization is to hitting the number, then you’re not nearly as integrated in strategy – let alone tactics or activities – as you should be.” Yaaaasss. 💯

We created a guide to make sales and marketing alignment easier. Click here to get it.

This quote really says it all. If the company isn’t making money, more than just the sales team will be in hot water. The above just drives home the fact that strategy, goals, alignment, and yes sales, should be driving teams company-wide.

Successful sales are everybody’s business, but marketing has the skill set to enable sales to be successful and propel growth.

Marketing’s Role in Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is really less about sales and more about serving the buyer through the buyer’s journey. It results in an empowered sales team that sells at a higher velocity which ultimately equals happier customers.

B2B Sales Enablement

With that being said, there are several ways marketing can move the needle and enable sales.

Lead Qualification

Reporting needs vary from company to company, but one constant is the need to qualify leads. Every B2B company has to have some type of lead qualification process. Marketing’s role falls under the Sales and Marketing SLA, but more specifically, the Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) process. [Read more about SLAs here.]

At a high level, MQLs are leads that are ready to be qualified by the sales team. Once the criteria are set and agreed upon, marketing can help with the implementation and qualification process. When marketing does some of the qualification and heavy lifting up front (digitally of course) it ensures sales are talking to leads that are ready to be talked to. It’s a win for everybody including the buyer.

Lead Scoring is a way to put your qualification process into action. Download our guide to learn more.

Content

A major component of sales enablement is arming the sales team with information they can use when selling. Don’t let your brain pigeonhole you into a sales deck. Information can range from internal best practices to customer-facing sales sheets. According to the TOPO blog, regardless of the form the information takes, it needs to be easy to consume and reusable across the sales organization.

Content Audit

Speaking of easy to use, have we mentioned content audits? Content audits at Lake One are a living breathing workbook that houses all of the client’s content (both internal and external facing). The workbook also notes what part of the buyer’s journey that piece of content serves, the location of the document, the persona, if it is a fit for a workflow, etc.

The best part of the document, though, is the collaboration tab where sales can add content ideas. Think repeat buyer questions, a need for a case study, and more. Marketing can pull directly from the tab to help fill the content calendar.

Email Templates & Automated Sequences

Marketing teams should be pros at nurture sequences (if they’re not, contact us) and pros at moving buyers through the buyer’s journey from a lead to an MQL.

That precise expertise applies to the email template and automated sequences of sales enablement.

How do those differ from marketing based workflows? The email templates and automated sequences can be used pre-marketing qualified lead state or even as a way to qualify MQLs to a sales qualified lead.

Despite the differences, the same basics of sending personalized tailored emails to the buyer still apply. Marketing can leverage their knowledge of lead engagement and automation to enable the sales team.

New call-to-action

Key Takeaways

  • A successful sales team should be everyone’s business
  • Sales enablement is really less about sales and more about serving the buyer through the buyer’s journey which leads to an empowered sales team selling at a higher velocity.
  • Marketing contributes to sales enablement in the following ways:
    • The definition and implementation of marketing qualified leads.
    • The creation of content that supports sales and in turn, the buyers.
    • The creation and implementation of email templates and sequences.

6 Common Misconceptions about Digital Marketing

Digital marketing encompasses all of the different marketing techniques that take place online. It can include any of the following, and more:

  1. Websites/Landing pages
  2. Social media marketing (SMM)
  3. Inbound marketing
  4. Content marketing
  5. Email marketing
  6. Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
  7. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  9. Affiliate & Influencer marketing

There are all kinds of digital marketing companies and experts, critics and avid fans, so there is a lot of information (and misinformation) out there. Here are 6 common misconceptions about digital marketing.

 Misconceptions about Digital Marketing

1) Digital marketing is best suited for large businesses.

A major goal of digital marketing is to increase brand awareness and grow a business. Most small businesses have big aspirations- they’d like to become more well-known with strong desires to find and help their ideal customers. Digital marketing creates opportunities for small businesses that may not be possible with an offline-only presence.

Think an inbound digital strategy might be right for you? Click to find out.

Digital marketing allows you to reach potential customers both far and wide. Many successful small businesses have used digital marketing to grow and scale on a global level even without having a physical location. Moreover, social media provides a means to highlight important information and allows you to have one-on-one or one-to-many conversations, often without any money spent. It’s one of the more cost-effective ways to spread the word about the good work your company is doing. In many ways, it provides an equal opportunity to businesses of all shapes and sizes. You can start small and as you start seeing results, increase the time and money you put into it to increase your returns.

2) Digital marketing doesn’t need to play a part in company-wide goals.

Whatever your larger sales and company goals are, digital marketing should be a part of it. That is to say, it should be included in your overarching company strategy, aligned with your goals, brand, and vision from top to bottom. Sometimes marketing as a whole (not just digital) is put into a corner left to fend for itself. However, we know from experience that the most successful programs are aligned with the rest of the company and aimed at the same goals. Learn more about how you can align sales and marketing here.

3) Digital marketing is basically just creating a website.

If you spend time creating a stunning, interactive website and don’t do anything to promote it, how will people possibly find it? There are thousands of new websites popping up every single day; digital marketing is how you drive traffic to your website.

SEM/SEO paired with a solid content strategy, if done right, allow your information to be found when people are searching for what you offer. Once people actually reach your website, digital marketing efforts will continue to motivate people into a purchase or bottom of funnel action such as submitting a contact form. 

misconceptions about digital marketing

4) It’s too difficult to measure and track digital marketing’s ROI.

There are hundreds of affordable and easy to use tools and methods to track and measure your digital marketing efforts. Many of these platforms are essentially plug-and-play and can be implemented without tech expertise. Even if you need to pull in IT, tracking clicks, conversion rates, site traffic, etc. is far easier than tracking the effectiveness of a radio ad, for instance.  

No matter the method or tool utilized, one of the most important things is to be organized in the beginning and set definitive goals for your different digital marketing efforts. If you start with a SMART goal in mind including specific factors that point to success, along with a timeframe for when to evaluate, that starts you off on the right foot to track how things have gone since the beginning.  

5) Once digital marketing is set, you can forget it.

One of the most exciting and potentially difficult things about digital marketing is the fact that it is constantly evolving and shifting. What was once converting yesterday may not work tomorrow. For instance, short video content (15-45 seconds) was all the rage, but now 1:30-3 minute videos seem to be consumer preference. 

The constant change in the field means that you will need to keep your information and methods up to date or risk falling behind and getting lost in the shuffle. Another example is how Google updates its search algorithms continually. They won’t disclose what is actually included in the algorithm, but we do know that their algorithm values fresh, new information including info on your blogs and websites.

If you don’t have the time or desire to keep up with digital marketing methods or maintain fresh, new information, there are many effective digital marketing companies dedicated to doing that work for you.  

6) Digital Marketing needs to be perfect before launching.

One of the greatest things about digital marketing is it’s different for every company and even every initiative. Your company and offerings are as unique as your customers, and the best way to find what works for how to reach them is through trial and error.  

Here at Lake One, we believe in progress over perfection. So, don’t be afraid to try new things, keep track of what you’ve tried, and the results of those efforts. Put more effort into utilizing the methods that work well and simply let go of the things that don’t.

B2B Smarketing Check: How aligned are your sales and marketing teams?

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

Sales and marketing misalignment can lead to a domino effect of problems such as internal tension, inability to achieve goals, and even revenue loss. Yikes.

But in order to grow and move forward, it’s crucial to assess and understand where you’re at currently with your smarketing efforts. How aligned are your sales and marketing teams?

B2B Smarketing

Here are 8 must-ask questions to understanding your company’s B2B smarketing state of the state.

Interested in some mind-blowing sales and marketing alignment stats? Check out this post.

B2B Smarketing Question #1: Are Teams Speaking the Same Language?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the first areas for assessment is verbiage and definitions. Communication is key but can be extremely difficult if teams aren’t speaking the same language or starting from some place of commonality.

Questions to ask:

  • Do your teams have a common definition and understanding for the following terms?
    • Marketing Qualified Lead
    • Sales Qualified Lead
    • Disqualified Leads
    • Lead Status
    • Contact Lifecycle Stages
    • Deal Stages
    • Traffic Sources (direct, referral, search, etc..)

The above is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the sales and marketing alignment terms, but it’s a start. At a minimum, it should get you analyzing the common ground (or lack thereof) between the two teams when it comes to defining the sales and marketing process.

B2B Smarketing Question #2: Are Teams Targeting the Same Buyers?

We have stressed time and time again the importance of buyer personas. Buyer personas (in conjunction with research) should drive your strategy and be another common denominator among your sales and marketing teams and really, the company as a whole.

Questions to ask:

  • Are buyer personas defined?
  • Did both teams have influence in their creation?
  • Are the personas still relevant or do they need to be updated?

B2B Smarketing Question #3: Are Teams Working Towards the Same Goals?

Sales and marketing can be impactful independently, but joined together and working towards the same goal? Teams will achieve much more.

Nothing sets you on the fast-track to success like SMART goals.

Questions to ask:

  • Do the teams separately have SMART goals?
  • Are the goals well-known among the two teams and agreed upon?
  • Are the goals measured and tracked?

In need of a SMART goal refresh? Then this worksheet is for you.

B2B Smarketing Question #4: Are Teams Promoting the Same Products/Services?

Not all products and services are created equal. Through defining your buyer personas or crafting your smart goals, you likely surfaced key areas of focus whether it be new product offerings, key industries, revenue generation, etc.

For example, if demos have been unsuccessful but consults are effective, marketing likely shouldn’t be pushing demos as their bottom of the funnel offer in the nurture sequences.

Questions to ask:

  • Is sales aware of the products/services that marketing is promoting and vice versa?
  • Are both teams in agreement on the best direction?

B2B Smarketing Question #5: Are Teams Creating Content Together?

Although content creation doesn’t necessarily fall under the job descriptions of the sales team, sales should have an influence in content topic selection. Why? Because they are the front lines and literally the voice of the customer inside the company. Pairing sales’ insight with marketing’s keyword research skills is a great start to creating valuable content for your buyers.

Insider tip: We like to take it one step further and create what we call a content audit. It’s a living document that houses links to all of the content created and breaks it down by buyer persona and stage of the buyer’s journey. There’s also a tab for content requests that’s a direct line into marketing’s content topic queue. Here are some additional smarketing best practices to help.

Questions to ask:

  • What processes currently drive content topic selection?
  • Does sales approve?
  • Is there a way for sales to communicate content requests to marketing?
  • Does marketing have an audit document or something like it?

B2B Smarketing Question #6: What is Marketing’s Lead Handoff Procedure?

Marketing curates leads through inbound or paid media and then at some agreed upon point, the leads need to be passed to sales to be contacted and qualified. There are a few ways to accomplish the handoff. Our favorite is using marketing automation software (HubSpot) to do the heavy lifting. However, software aside, aligned smarketing teams should be able to answer the questions below.

Questions to ask:

  • At what point in the process does marketing handoff a lead to sales? What triggers it?
  • How is sales notified of the lead?
  • What is the follow-up expectation from sales? (i.e. how many days do they have before they make contact, how are they contacting the lead, etc.)

B2B Smarketing Question #7: How Does Sales Provide Feedback on Lead Quality?

In order for marketing to continue to deliver the sales team quality leads, there needs to be a feedback loop. Sales needs to communicate through lead status- the quality of the lead. This ties back all the way up to the first question about definitions.

Questions to ask:

  • How does sales communicate a rejected lead? (marketing automation software or otherwise?)
  • Does sales have a way to communicate why leads were rejected? (Poor timing, bad contact information, no budget, etc.)
  • What does marketing do with the rejected leads? Where are the leads at now?

B2B Smarketing Question #8: Do Teams Have Regular Meetings?

Actually meeting in person, having conversations, and building rapport are critical to sales and marketing alignment success. It’s so much easier to work as a team when you have a strong foundation to work from.

So how do you build rapport? Meetings. But let’s be clear, quality of meetings should be prioritized over quantity. Nothing disengages teams like pointless meetings.

Questions to ask:

  • Do teams have monthly and/or quarterly meetings?
  • Do teams have a way to easily communicate outside of meetings? (Like Slack or Skype)

The trick to these meetings are to make them engaging, yet structured. Here’s an article with some great tips for doing just that.

B2B Sales & Marketing Alignment

B2B Smarketing Key Takeaway: Communication is a Must

Do the questions above have your head spinning or wondering where to even start to begin to achieving sales and marketing harmony?

Start with communication. If there is one commonality that leads to the improvement of sales and marketing alignment, it’s communication. It fuels defining the terminology, the buyer personas, content creation, and the entire smarketing process. Whether facilitated through technology or happening in regular scheduled meetings, it’s critical.

Need a little help with your sales and marketing alignment? You’re in luck because that’s our specialty. Contact us here.  

How to Raise Your SEO from the Dead

If SEO isn’t constantly a part of your ongoing marketing strategy, it’s easy to fall behind. It’s a little like grades or credit scores. It takes some time to build up to where you’d like to be, but it sure is easy to lose ground quickly when you aren’t focused.

If you find yourself coming back to your SEO and realizing that it has died a swift death while the rest of the internet moved on, don’t worry. There are ways to bring it back to life without starting over completely. Here are our tips on how to do an SEO refresh.

SEO Refresh

Resuscitate Your Old Pages & Articles

Chances are, if you’ve had a blog for a few years, you’ve written about some similar topics quite a few times. When a recycled topic starts trending again, take a look back through your blog to find relevant articles.

[Wondering why SEO is important in the first place? Here’s the answer.]

Instead of dedicating the time to writing a fresh, new article, go back through a couple of the older ones and bring them up to date.

  • Add some current keywords
  • Update your headlines
  • Replace any broken links
  • Make sure your spelling and grammar are perfect
  • Update any statistics
  • Republish as new

Google likes fresh content, and people are more likely to click on articles with recent publication dates.

If you want to get more specific with this strategy, you can find the blogs that were high converting but haven’t seen much traffic lately. Aim to refresh those from an SEO standpoint first. Also, take a look at which of your blogs are receiving the most traffic, but have low conversion rates, and build them up with fresh, new conversion opportunities.

This strategy can also work for your older website pages, especially landing pages. Keep in mind that SEO is about the long game, too.

Revive Your Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the top factors that Google considers in ranking. If it’s been a while since anyone has considered your site an authority on a topic, there are ways to remind them. [Don’t have a backlink strategy? Try these easy to tackles tips.

seo refresh

Do some guest blogging

Guest blogging may take a little time as you’ll need to create your outreach targets, pitch to those people, and the write the accompanying articles should you get a bite on your pitch. In addition to the SEO-boosting backlinks, you’ll get with guest posting, you’ll also be creating relationships and building brand recognition.

If you’re not sure where to start, a quick Google search with your keyword plus “guest posts” or “submit an article” should give you a few options. You can also look at some of the most popular blogs in your niche, see the thought leaders that are contributing there, and locate their profiles to see all of the sites to which they’ve contributed.

Create a timely infographic

Part of your job as a marketer is to understand what issues or topics are trending within your industry. A great way to get noticed quickly is to create an eye-catching infographic about a popular topic.

You’ll need to make sure it is relevant and valuable, including accurate and up-to-date statistics. It will also need to be visually attractive so make sure you have a good designer put it all together with an appealing color scheme and graphics.

Next, you’ll need to get it out into the world. Of course, get it up on your website and share it on all of your social media channels. Also, submit it to infographic directories and do some outreach to sites that have shared similar infographics before or sites that are considered authorities in your niche (they’ll definitely want to share content that is relevant to currently trending topics). Follow these tips on identifying your keywords and topics.

Repurpose Your Existing Content

Get creative about how many different ways you can utilize a single piece of content. For example, a great blog article or white paper can also be turned into a podcast simply by reading the article. You could make the podcast even more interesting by pulling out snippets of the article and interviewing an expert on the topic.

An article could also be turned into a slideshow presentation and uploaded onto LinkedIn or Slideshare. You could turn an infographic into an article or vice versa. Another idea is to grab some of your best-trafficked articles or content, do some keyword research, and create easily-shareable social media graphics with high-performing keywords, informative snippets, and eye-catching creative.

With blog series or long-form articles on a specific topic, consider compiling the information together to create a webinar series. Generate buzz, present live, and record it. Then, turn that recording into a downloadable lead magnet to generate even more contacts.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Repurposing options are pretty limitless and can be fun and allow your team to test their creativity and innovation. If you already have great content, repurposing it can save you a ton of time while also allowing you to quickly build up your pool of updated, fresh content.

 

Most-Inspired Content Recommendations from Lake One’s Clients & Partners

Each new year brings with it new goals and resolutions to propel us forward into growth both personally and professionally. So we asked our clients and partners, “What inspired you in 2018?” They replied with their favorite content recommendations and a line or two about why it made their list. From marketing and sales to life purpose, there’s something for everyone to fuel their inspiration into the new year.

Do yourself a favor and keep reading!

Inspired Content Recommendations

Turn your professional development aspirations into SMART goals!

 

Books

Becoming Michelle Obama, by Michelle Obama
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

In Michelle Obama’s memoir, she chronicles the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.

Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey A. Moore
Recommended by: Chris Knutson, TeamGenius

“Although popular in the startup community, this book is relevant for any marketer. The Whole Product concept is somewhat intuitive, but understanding it well is a game-changer!”

Drop the Ball, by Tiffany Dufu
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

In Drop the Ball, Dufu recounts how she learned to reevaluate expectations, shrink her to-do list, and meaningfully engage the assistance of others―freeing the space she needed to flourish at work and to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships at home.

Fanatical Prospecting by Jed Blount
Recommended by: Ryan Ruud, Lake One

“Marketing is only as good as its relationship with sales. Fanatical prospecting gives marketers a front row seat to the importance of the sales role and how marketing can support their sales partners across the aisle. For organizations that have sales and marketing organized together – this book only reinforces that it’s not sales or marketing – it’s sales and marketing.”

Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale Into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days, by Joey Coleman
Recommended by: Garrio Harrison, Fueled Collective


“In Never lose a Customer Again, Joey Coleman shares best practices marketers with a CRM can put in place to turn their prospects into brand ambassadors.”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

This book is a narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens.

The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann
Recommended by: Jennifer Zick, Authentic Brand

“I love summertime in Minnesota, when half-day Fridays and long cabin weekends come around. That’s when I finally kick back and catch up on my reading. 2018 was a great summer for diving in on a few business and leadership books. One of the books I most enjoyed was “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. This book was a two-hour read that tells a great little story centered on the power of generosity. The fictional narrative features a young, driven professional – a true “go getter” – who seeks out advice on how to succeed in his career. What he learns along the way is not at all what he expected, but so much more. This book was especially meaningful to me, as I read it just one year into launching my business, and having experienced first-hand the principles of generosity at play in my life and work. I highly recommend this book to any “go getter”!”

 

inspired reading recommendations

Articles

EOS Worldwide Visionary Mike Paton on the Value of Taking Team Meetings Offsite
Recommended by: Garrio Harrison, Fueled Collective

In this blog post, Mike Paton shares best practices for planning effective offsite meetings and also covers why you should never, ever, have an annual or quarterly meeting onsite.

Julie Lindahl Blog
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

Julie is an author, storyteller and activist who lives in Sweden. She is also a contributor to WBUR Cognoscenti and has been featured on National Public Radio. Read her philosophical approach to life on her blog.

Mark Manson, Life Purpose
Recommended by: Claudia Revermann, Lucent Tax Relief

This is my all time favorite. I’ve found this truly inspirational in a way that cuts through the touchy feeling “finding your why” fad and gets to the down and dirty basics of exploring what makes you tick and why things are important to you.”

Marketing Has a Best Practices Problem
Recommend by: Ryan Ruud, Lake One

“I’ve seen too many marketing programs fall off the rails because they’ve ended up chasing something new without giving any thought to ‘is this right for us? Based off of what we know about our buyers.”

Meet the New Freshmen in Congress: More Democrats, Diversity and Women
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

The congressional freshman class of 2019 is the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House. The group includes the first Native American congresswomen and the first Muslim congresswomen. This article breaks down the newest faces in congress.

The 9 Habits of Highly Successful Content Creators
Recommended by: Rachael Cecko, Lake One

“This is a recent HubSpot article, but it quickly became my favorite for 2018. Creating content can be intimidating, but it’s such a key piece of what we do. I love how this article empowers you through practical advice to become a better content creator.”

The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals
Recommend by: Chris Knutson, TeamGenius

“I love the contrasts between the behaviors of amateurs and professionals. I re-read this article a couple times a year and ask myself the two food for thought questions at the end, which is an exercise I’d recommend to anyone.”

Women of Color Mark History at the 2018 Midterm Elections!
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

Before election day hit, history had already been made this midterm cycle. Read all about the women of color who officially made history on election day.  

Feeling inspired? Put your aspirations to paper with our SMART Goals Worksheet.

inspired reading recommendations

Podcasts

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

This podcast is Oprah’s personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. The goal of the podcast is “to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self.”

Pod Save America
Recommended by: Beehive Strategic Communications

According to the website, Pod Save America is “a political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane. A no-bullshit conversation about politics hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor.”

Seth’s Godin Podcast, Akimbo
Recommended by: Don Ball, Fueled Collective

Seth Godin’s podcast is killer. He’s moving from marketing guru to just plain guru – especially as evidenced by his interview with Krista Tippett for her On Being show.

The future of Coworking
Recommended by: Garrio Harrison, Fueled Collective

The Fueled Collective CEO, Kyle Coolbroth, discusses the future of work and entrepreneurship with podcast host Jamie Russo. He also shares about his coworking story, his first space, and the vision for Fueled Collective.

The Tim Ferriss Show: Derek Sivers on Developing Confidence, Finding Happiness, and Saying “No” to Millions
Recommended by: Chris Knutson, TeamGenius

“One of my all-time favorite Tim Ferriss Show episodes, Derek is brilliant and this episode is full of business and life wisdom. It’s from 2015 but earns a repeat listen by me about once a year.”

Smart Goals Worksheet Template

Lake One’s 2018 Most Read Content

Another year is winding down. We hope you’re finding time to spend with friends and family reflecting on the year that just was and preparing with excitement for the year ahead.

As we reflect on our year here at Lake One, we want to share with you some of the most read, downloaded, and shared content we’ve created as you prepare your organization for 2019.

Lake One’s 2018 Most Read Content

Most Read:

These blogs are some of the posts that were viewed most often throughout the year:

Most Downloaded:

These resources were the ones requested most frequently:

  • SMART Goals Worksheet
    • Goal setting doesn’t need to be rocket science, but it should happen. Otherwise, we’re just marketing without a correlation to a business objective. Our SMART goal worksheet helps document goals to move towards keeping the business moving forward.
  • How to Build a Lead Machine
    • Building a lead machine requires a steady focus. Our lead machine ebook looks at the most common things to keep in mind to drive steady conversion.
  • 2018 State of Inbound
    • What’s on the top of sales & marketing minds of organizations around the world heading into 2019? Read the latest State of Inbound Global Report to find out.

how to build a website that converts

Most Shared:

Across the content we shared, these posts drove the most engagement:

  • Launching Lucent
    • We shared the design story behind a new tax relief startup we worked with this past year.
  • News from the homefront
    • We were thrilled this year to grow our partnership with Hubspot, twice! Leveling up to become Gold partners.

We have a lot of great content in store for you in 2019. Make sure to subscribe to our blog for updates. Here’s a preview of some of the things we’re working on:

  • The Lake One Guide to Lead Scoring
  • The Lake One Guide to SaaS Marketing
  • Interview Series with Modern Marketing trendsetters
  • And more

We’ll see you in 2019!

Four 2019 Marketing Trends You Can Count On

If you’ve been paying attention, the most likely 2019 marketing trends will come as no surprise. With an over-arching theme to connect to consumers personally, we expect 2019 to be filled with content intended to engage and meet consumers where they are rather than getting in their face. Here are the four trends we’d like to call attention to for the upcoming year.

Continue reading “Four 2019 Marketing Trends You Can Count On”