Ever feel stagnant in your marketing efforts, when what you have been doing is not getting the desired results? All of us who practice marketing have faced this challenge. It can be difficult and disconcerting, especially when faced with quarterly B2B revenue growth pressures. Fortunately, all is not lost if you are willing to consider, and try, some new strategies. Following are nine fresh marketing ideas that have worked for our clients and our own marketing initiatives.
- Create customer incentives. Reviews, referrals and social sharing are great revenue and profit accelerators. Effective rewards include offering discounts on future purchases, extended terms (e.g. one free month of service, gift cards or other cash-like bonuses public recognition). Our software client created a ‘Customer of the Month’ program to showcase interesting usage of their products.
- Create an infographic. Infographics are simply visual representations of data or information. They are meant to be visually appealing and concise. Our experience shows that infographics generate 3-4 times as much awareness and leads as similar information presented in text only form. Here is an example of an infographic we created to showcase the B2B Value Hierarchy.
- Write an eBook. Having written and published six books on marketing and technology (three with outside publishers and three self-published), plus several for clients, I’ve learned about the challenges and benefits of eBooks. If possible, leverage content you are already creating for other purposes. For example, 5-6 blogs/articles become a white paper and 5-6 white papers become an eBook. For more information, here’s a recent article on the subject titled: Should You Finally Write Your Business Book?
- Send handwritten notes. You may be thinking that this is not such a big deal but your willingness to engage in such a personal form of communication will get you noticed and responded to. Yes, it will take more time than firing off the canned email, but the effort will be rewarded by much greater impact. By the way, I don’t recommend that you send those faux handwritten notes that are obviously mass produced. It can leave a bad taste and your prospects aren’t fooled.
- Turn your text into rich content assets. Lots of us have written documents that are a bit stale and sitting on a cyber shelf. Reinvigorate some of these assets with a content refresh and reproduce them in audio, video or slide formats on platforms like podcast, YouTube and Slideshare. Rich media formats tend to generate greater search traffic, viewership and response.
- Swap contact lists. The right contact list (whether email, physical mail or telephone) can make a big difference in results. Why not find a complementary (not competitive) business that sells to a similar market, and trade each other’s lists. For security (plus better response), each company can send the email or physical mail promotion on behalf of its partner. We arranged such a mutually beneficial arrangement for two companies in the Chicago area – one of whom sold industrial equipment and the other who provided high-ticket service. Since one of the partners was much larger, we limited the list swap to 10,000 for each company. One company gained 345 new contacts/leads and the other almost 500 – a far better result than their usual promotional efforts.
- Make a bold prediction. It’s tough to go viral in the age of intense content proliferation. To stand out, you can benefit from making one or more predictions that are outside the traditional position. For example, if artificial intelligence is a factor at your company, you could write a provocative article on “Why AI is destined to fail.” Alternately, you could take the other side of the argument: “Why AI will crush humanity.” Just make sure that your bold and/or controversial viewpoints are aligned with what you do and reinforce your key messages.
- Try a new promotional medium. All of us can get caught up in the same promotional patterns – sending the same offers to the same target audience, using the same media. Break out of this rut by trying a new way to communicate with prospects. This could be email, old-fashioned direct mail, or pay-per-click platforms like LinkedIn, Google or Bing. You test PPC at very low cost by taking advantage of the free $50 or $100 offers to start your account.
- Attack your competitor. This strategy may seem counter-intuitive but we have seen it work very well. It’s usually better if you execute this strategy against a larger company, not one of your size or smaller. Results are even better if the large company gets offended and counter-attacks. This may frighten you a bit but in reality, your mega competitor will often unknowingly help you gain market awareness and hopefully, a slice of their market share.
I hope you have great success in using these fresh marketing ideas, as well as your own creative and non-traditional strategies to grow your B2B revenue.