Most vendors sell you hope
Many B2B companies reach out to vendors and ask for a video, or an email campaign, or ads. And these agencies position themselves as the cure-all. Get a video, email campaign, or ads… and clients will start poring in. The promise is compelling. “What if they’re right?”
But most often they’re not. That’s why most engagements with these agencies are essentially one-offs. A practitioner described it to me as a “revolving door of clients”.
They come in hopeful, try the service for a month, maybe get retained because supposedly it takes a few months to see results, and end up leaving within 3-6 months. Because they can’t sustain the losses. Sorry, I know it’s devastating to burst the bubble of hope.
So what can you do?
Minimize your downside
Be very careful which agencies you work with – ask for referrals and case studies in your industry – in order to minimize your downside. If they ask for 30 days notice, give them notice as soon as you sign. That way you’re on the hook only for 1 month and not a minimum of 2.
I’ve done that a couple of times with agencies. An SEM agency spent $5,000 and brought only a few inquiries so it made no sense to continue.
Better yet, try out something with a freelancer or have someone from your team figure it out. It’s not going to be perfect, but it can give you an indication of what results to expect.
It’s become really easy to navigate the Adwords platform for search and video ads (or any other advertising and content distribution). And there are numerous tutorials online to walk you step by step through the process.
That way, you have much better visibility into results early on. If it looks promising, then you can hire an agency to refine and scale up. If not, shut it down and move on to test another marketing channel for your business.
Think strategically about client acquisition
Take a more strategic approach and think of the entire client acquisition funnel. Marketing becomes exponentially sophisticated so you’re probably better off thinking through the entire journey.
First, you want to drive awareness with “top of the funnel” marketing. What do you think would work best for your business, audience, and goal? Go with your gut feeling and test, because it’s likely that your first shot won’t work.
Maybe you need a 15-second ad on YouTube or Facebook to drive traffic to your site. Or an email campaign targeting people who attend a specific conference.
For video, at the top of the funnel you want something short and engaging, ideally fun. Think of the famous GEICO commercials. What are some use-cases of your offering, and is there a fun twist you can incorporate in there?
For email, you’d typically want to craft a 3-5 message campaign. Ignore the over-used click-baity titles because no one falls for them anymore. Whenever I see “quick question” in my inbox I immediately press delete.
And it’s actually a good idea to outsource your email outreach to experts (if you can find the real ones, that is). Sure, there are email outreach platforms if you want to do it yourself, but fully-outsourced services can get you the right contacts, make sure your emails get delivered, and that your primary email addresses don’t get flagged as spam-senders.
Second, you want mid-funnel marketing to nurture prospects and build trust. That could be in the form of thought leadership pieces like white papers on your website and video use-cases to demonstrate the value you offer.
Increasingly, B2B companies are investing heavily in their YouTube channels, where they can host how-to videos, explainers, demos, testimonials, etc.
And finally, you want bottom-funnel assets when your clients are evaluating your solution. Those can be more in-depth white papers and video case studies.
You want assets that clearly demonstrate the value you can offer to a client, what makes you different, and why they should be working with you instead of the competition.
Ideally, clients want to see how well your services worked for others. Can you share hard numbers and ROI, or can you offer a free assessment?
Generally, video content is king
Landing pages, copywriting, and white papers are expensive. They’re a great way to create an aura of legitimacy, but nobody reads anymore… let alone understands what you want them to.
You have to rely more and more on video. Which is a big investment. So you need a careful strategy in order to maximize ROI.
Plan ahead with the help of experts how you’re going to leverage video assets, repurpose them to get the most out of them, and distribute them to the right audience.
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