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Showing posts from August, 2007

8 Random Things You Would Have Never Known About Me

Since Brian Carroll at the B2B Lead Generation Blog tagged me for this, I guess I'll play. For what it's worth, here are eight random things about me:

1. I think Boston is the greatest rock n' roll band ever.

2. Speaking of music, my trivia expertise is one-hit wonders from the 80s.

3. My mother wanted me to be a priest.

4. I have four brothers. We've all owned our own businesses at one time or another (financial services, trailer manufacturing, wholesale supplies, painting, and marketing consulting in order from oldest to youngest).

5. My undergraduate degree was in industrial engineering. I'm an efficient marketer.

6. I graduated second in my class in MBA school at the University of Minnesota. I would have been first in my class, but I got a B in, of all things, Marketing Management.

7. My wife is named Jolene. Dolly Parton released an album in 1974 titled "Jolene." The engineer on that album was...Tom Pick (no relation). How spooky is that?

8. Two of m…

My Podcast with Marketing Wizz, Paul Dunay

Marketing guru, podcaster and blogger extraordinaire Paul Dunay has developed a reputation for interviewing smart, interesting people about their knowledge of web marketing, blogging and social media tools. In case you missed it, last week he took a break from that practice—and interviewed me instead.

In this podcast, Paul and I discuss blogging, thought-leadership content and how social media sites can be used to drive B2B website traffic. I cited three specific examples of promoting client thought-leadership content through Web 2.0 social media tagging:
Customer stories from telephony migration, voicemail list management and unified messaging software vendor Unimax.
The glossary of business service management terms from ITIL service catalog software provider Kinetic Data.
An explanation of redundant Internet access from bandwidth aggregation and load balancing appliance maker Astrocom.
I also talk about the results of my research on using Web 2.0 social tagging to drive B2B website t…

Optimizing B2B Lead Generation through White Papers

White paper syndicator KnowledgeStorm and the marketing case study experts at MarketingSherpa recently published the third white paper in their series on Connecting Through Content, Putting It All Together—Driving Content Marketing Program Success. The series focused on research and best practices in using thought-leadership content, primarily white papers, to drive B2B lead generation efforts. The key findings from this study include:

Marketers need to make better use of privacy policies to improve registration quality. While marketers rated the quality of lead registration data from their own website twice as high as that from syndicator or other sites, B2B technology buyers said they provide valid registration information regardless of site type—as long as they are confident that their contact information will not be misused. Buyers rate IT publications and vendor websites as the least trustworthy, with just 30% expressing confidence in these sites. To improve lead registration qua…

The ROI of Website Redesigns per Forrester

Forrester Research makes a collection of its past webcasts on various online marketing topics freely available (registration required). I recently checked out one of their presentations from about a year ago titled "The ROI of Web Site Redesigns Made Simple" by Harley Manning and Jeffrey North. Like any presentation from one of the big analyst firms, the research focuses on very large companies, and is vertically unfocused (in this webcast, they divided websites into three groups: e-commerce, manufacturing [including B2B] and financial services), but still provides some nuggets of value for smaller organizations.

Forrester's key findings from their website redesign research:
By Forrester's standards, 97% of business websites fail to earn a passing grade for usability. Among the biggest sins—79% fail at basic legibility (adequate font size and contrast with background). They cite the New York Times website as the gold standard for legibility (not logic, truth or common …

B2B PR - Social Media and Press Release Optimization

Melodramatic and obvious perhaps, but news sites, online press release distribution and social media tagging have radically altered the PR landscape. PR is no longer just about writing press releases announcing your internally-focused company news to select industry media (though you should still do that), but also about writing news releases that demonstrate your expertise and provide valuable content for your prospects. These releases need to be written and distributed differently than traditional press releases, with the goal of reaching both traditional and new media outlets indirectly through increased market exposure.

All press releases and news releases need to be search-engine optimized. Much has been written on this topic, but the best single piece I've seen is Rob Garner's Yes, You Should Still Optimize Press Releases. Rob brings all of the elements together in one excellent, concise post. Among Rob's tips:
Include popular keyword and keyword phrases in the releas…

Possibly the Coolest Tradeshow Toy Ever

More crowd-pleasing than a premium trinket give-away, more alluring than booth babes, even more powerful than free beer—Danish advertising film agency viZoo has teamed with engineering firm Ramboll developed what may be, thus far, the ultimate tradeshow gadget: a giant 3-D holographic projector. Check out the movie here:

http://vizoo.com/showreel_wmvs/EPK_Cheoptics360_XL.wmv

Scott at the MediaPost blog said it gave him a "nerdgasm," a term I find deeply disturbing, but nonetheless, you've got to see this.

The 3-D projector is available in various sizes from a relatively compact 5x5x5 foot unit up to a massive 30x30 behemoth, with prices ranging from 85,000 Euros (about $100K) to 575,000 Euros (close to $800,000). Both indoor and outdoor models are available.

You can more about the Cheoptics 360 XL here.

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Email Campaign, Newsletter and Banner Ad Click-Through Rates (CTR)

When planning online advertising and email promotion budgets, it's critical to calculate the likely ROI upfront whenever possible, as well as to establish campaign benchmarks. The first step is understanding the average and likely range of CTRs for various programs. The growth in online advertising, the proliferation of enewsletters, the emergence of new forms of information delivery such as RSS and the emergence of social media sites have all affected CTR, so planning based on current data is crucial.

It can be challenging to find current statistics, but based on several studies, these are typical CTR ranges for email newsletter ads, email campaigns (blasts or internally-produced enewsletters), and banner ads.

Email newsletter advertisements
Open rates range from 28-40%, with an average of about 33%—meaning that roughly one-third of the subscriber base is likely to see your ad. The Advertising Is Good For You blog tracks these statistics from DoubleClick.
The average CTR for indust…

PR and Blogging Outreach: Macro Issues

This content has been moved to PR and Blogger Outreach: Macro Issueson the Webbiquity blog.

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Contact: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

Quick Personal Note on the 35W Bridge Collapse

Thank you to everyone who emailed inquiring about the safety of my family following last week's tragic collapse of the 35W bridge here in Minneapolis. Thankfully, my family and I are safe, as are our close friends and relatives in the area.

Still, it is amazing and a bit frightening how close to home a disaster like this can hit, even in a large metropolitan area. Two of those listed as "missing and presumed drowned" are just two degrees removed from me professionally. And two of the confirmed dead were neighbors.

Patrick Holmes, a young father of two and a baseball and soccer coach, lived just four blocks to the north of us. Paul Eickstadt, the driver of the truck so horrifically engulfed in flames in the initial videos of the collapse, lived just a few houses down. A couple of years ago, when our little dog went missing and my kids were frantically scouring the neighborhood on their bikes searching for her, it was Paul who found her and returned her safe and sound.

We a…

Viral Marketing for B2B Lead Generation, Part 3: Caveats and Links

Viral marketing campaigns can work for B2B lead generation with the right media and promotional methods. Even with the most careful planning and execution, however, not every campaign will be a huge success. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when design viral marketing programs:

Viral Marketing Caveats
To maximize your odds of success with viral marketing, create a yearly plan for viral campaigns (the operating principle here is that even baseball's best sluggers don't get a hit every time they step up to the plate, but more at-bats generally means more hits).
Humorous campaigns are the most likely to be passed around—but white papers or other content that addresses real-world business problems and solutions are more likely to drive responses from IT buyers and influencers.
Very few viral campaigns really “explode” online; half produce a decent return, but less than 1 out of a hundred is a true “home run.”
Avoid using a committee to create viral campaigns; these have the…

Viral Marketing for B2B Lead Generation, Part 2: Viral Promotion

Part 1 of this series rated the various types of viral media; this post focuses on promoting your viral content to get maximum exposure and pass-along. Once again, these recommendations are based on personal experience as well as research from the experts at MarketingSherpa.

Top Viral Promotion Tactics
Sending an email to a house list is the most commonly-used form of viral promotion. It's not the the most effective tactic, but nearly everyone does this because it costs virtually nothing. Obviously, this tactic isn't available to start-up companies that haven't built a house list over time, and emailing to a rented list should always be done with great caution.
Getting mentioned by relevant and influential bloggers is one of the most productive means of viral promotion (and free, other than the outreach effort). Independent bloggers don't want to be corporate shills, but they do love to write about cool stuff.
Having your campaign cited in online industry trade online pub…