I had the pleasure of speaking at Marketing Velocity, Cisco’s event for its premier channel partners. I have worked with distributors and channel partners for several years so doing a workshop with them is like coming home again. 🙂 For channel partners and distributors, the most immediate and critical challenge is to increase leads. I created a custom presentation to talk to the owners, sales managers and marketing teams about how to increase sales conversions. Here are the quick take-aways from my “7 Ways To Increase Conversions with Digital Content” workshop:
Rule 1: Change your mindset
You need to unlearn what you’ve learned. I made it very clear that digital marketing starts with your home base: your website. The minimal requirement of your website: communicate your products and services crisply. The next step is to seamlessly integrate demand gen into your website. Having “contact me” or “1-800 number” is not enough. You can do more by adding e-mail lead form, getting leads via content downloads and installing live chat. You need to evaluate your space, content, copy writing and add lead gen tools wherever possible without being intrustive and “sale-zy” Make an effort to rethink your web space.
Rule 2: have a plan
What I shared in rule 1 are tactics. Tactics alone won’t increase the conversions. You need to have a solid marketing plan to properly unite the key marketing mix together. I emphasized tying marketing strategy to business goals. After all, channel partners and distributors’ marketing is about driving sales. Make sure everyone (CEO, sales and MKT, even product teams) agree on the overall marketing strategies and tactics. I call it the “Marketing 2-pager”. During the workshop, I showed the audience how to write the 2-pagers. Below is the template I used to create a simple summary of a marketing plan.
Rule 3: Know your outbound channels well
Based on my client engagement experience and leading workshop in different companies, most CEOs and sales personnel don’t have a strong grasp of their companies’ outbound marketing channels. I strongly believe that they should have a holistic view of their companies’ marketing mix. The benefits of understanding your outbound channels are:
- Each channel can be tied to lead gen efforts
- Understanding which channels generate most leads
- Grasping how marketing budget is allocated and building synergy with sales initiatives
Having a complete view fosters in-depth discussion and collaboration between sales and marketing.
Rule 4: Use a clear call-to-action (CTA) on outbound marketing outreach
Once you understand your marketing channels, it’s important to understand how each channel maps its demand gen effort. You can design how you’d like to guide your customer’s engagement paths. For example: each paid key word may drive to different pages on your website. Not everything drives to your home page. You need to lead your prospects to relevant places depending on the channels they use. Below are the different paths for keyword buys. Define your CTA and the nurturing paths for each channel. Conversion paths are different from channel to channel.
Rule 5: The devil is in the content
Marketers tend to focus on formats of content to produce without putting enough emphasis on content development. Format, such as video, blog, PDF etc., does matter but at the end of the day it’s your approach to present your information. Attention has to be paid to your writing approach (aka story telling), image selection, design layout, and even user interaction with your content. It’s the whole enchilada. One example I used is a white paper. A white paper is informational, it doesn’t have to be dry (aka, PDF format). You can make it interactive and engaging. Check out the interactive white paper examples from Ion Interactive.
Rule 6: Repurpose, repackage and reuse (RRR) your content
Digital content is expensive to produce. Make the most out of it. There are several ways to RRR your content. Take into account how your customers use the different marketing channels. Repurpose a long-form content into snackable and digtestable content for social media outreach. Consolidate various blog posts into an e-book, if it makes sense. Below are just two examples of RRR your content.
Rule 7: You need to invest in technology
Here is the ugly truth that no one wants to talk about: digital marketing is money pit. You can’t create one set of content and expect it to work for each channel. The image may need to be cropped or the size may need to be adjusted for different channels. Copy writing may need to change between Twitter and LinkedIn. One-size-fits-all just doesn’t work for online marketing. In addition, to fully maximize leads and sales conversion, your back-end needs to be integrated. That, unfortunately, takes money to do, and you may not get it right the first time. It’s not cheap. I KNOW, because I am constantly tinkering with my website and trying new integration tools. This is not something that channel partners and distributors like to hear, but that’s the reality that they need to understand. They need to budget marketing dollars especially they want to offer new services in Cloud, machine learning, artificial intelligence and solution-based services.
During the 3 days, I got a chance to understand Cisco’s product portfolio better. I met channel partners and distributors around the world. We talked about their challenges and pain points and I shared some of my thoughts on what they need to do. The conversations sparked several topics for my future online course and blog posts. It’s a win-win-win!