Posted by on Jan 4, 2021 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

Why You Should Take a Breath and Re-evaluate Your Marketing Plans

by Deb Harrsch

Welcome to January 2021! It’s finally here.

We’ve made it through the holidays. We figured out how to visit with our families and how to be safe doing so. We’re still in the midst of this major wave of COVID-19 and we’re all eagerly awaiting vaccines to make life a little easier.

Now, your boss wants to know, “What are we doing for marketing in 2021?”

Before you start reeling off a list of marketing activities, let’s stop for a minute. I think that while you may have started the 2021 planning process in December, this particular January it’s important to take a breath and reset your expectations. I know there is still uncertainty as to what this year will serve up.

We do know we are still in a world where digital communications are the primary marketing method, and that’s not going to begin to shift until at least the second half of 2021. You also must keep in mind that some things will never go back 100% to how we used to market.

So, How Are You Going to Tackle 2021?

Your 2021 marketing will be a combination of how we marketed before the pandemic and what we did last year.

You began a digital rebirth and learned how to function in a virtual world last year, and that same buyer behavior is going to continue this year. This January, you should start your marketing planning with a re-evaluation of where you are now. Have a look at the assets you created last year. Review the work you did around your buyer personas and what your customers’ awareness-consider-buy journey is today.

Take a deep breath and first make sure you’ve matched each persona’s awareness-consider-buy journey with strong calls to action. Then lay out all the assets you have and map them to the journey.

Applying Your New Marketing Skills

Now it’s time to figure out how to apply all the new skill sets you learned about last year – and how you are going to implement them going forward. If you need a refresh on those skills, check out these blog posts:

Next you’ll begin building out – and documenting – your marketing strategy and the implementation plan. This is where integrated marketing is most important, because you can think through and use all the marketing tools in your toolbox. Be sure that you have everything working together and working toward the same goal – your web copy, your white papers, your case studies, and your videos.

2021 Strategies

In 2021 and beyond you’ll need to outline strategies for both virtual marketing and in-person marketing as we start working our way back to in-person meetings. We need to keep in mind that we might be able to attend trade shows in the second half of the year once vaccines are available, but that is up in the air for now.

But, remember that even if we do get to attend trade shows in-person, they will likely never again look the way they did in 2019. In 2021 at least, they will probably become a hybrid model of virtual and in-person. I think that every single one of us over the course of this past year has realized how important the personal touch really is. We’ve tried to duplicate it with virtual events and tried to do it with Zoom calls and it has worked to some degree, but we all know that shaking hands and being together on the trade show floor is important.

There are several good things that have come out of adapting to pandemic lockdowns, however. The situation has given us an opportunity this last year to increase our marketing toolkits, whether it’s:

  • creating assets like white papers and case studies
  • learning to use social media to increase brand awareness and leads
  • reviewing our traditional marketing
  • building story videos, proof point videos, and how-we-work videos
  • or experiencing the cool technologies that build virtual trade shows.

I think that you should be rolling out and using all the new tools in your toolbox both while we’re at virtual trade shows, and when attending in-person trade shows. We’ve talked to clients for a long time about building video tools or interactive marketing tools. Some have executed and some have not, while others are in the process of building those tools. If we consider that at least the first half of your year is still virtual, then you need to dive in and do some videos or podcasting so it’s available in your toolkit.

Let’s Get Going!

We endured a lot last year. We’re still working on coming to grips with the pandemic. We continued building our businesses. We tried to figure out what we needed on the fly. But, we are starting to see a little light at the end of a long tunnel and it’s time to implement some of the strategies we worked on last year. Lay it out and make sure your plans are tight.

If you need help, give us a call.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Dec 4, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Managing Marketing Through the Fog: What We Learned About Marketing in 2020

by Deb Harrsch

This is our last post this year and I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad to see the end of 2020. I know that everyone is tired of dealing with COVID, and tired of trying to find the silver lining. We’re tired of thinking about it and preparing for it every time we leave our homes – and even tired of being at home.

It’s not just about business, it’s about our personal lives too. Everyone is thinking, “What’s it going to look like for the holidays? When am I going to see my family again? When am I going to see my friends again?” And you know what, the answer is this: it’s unfortunately going to be a bit longer. I wish it wasn’t the case.

Yes, it’s hard. There’s no doubt about that. But, the good news is that we can absolutely get through this. It is just another challenge in our journey, and we will all have stories to tell about how we survived both personally and professionally. We just need to be patient and hang on.

We are all managing through this fog of indecision and uncertainty. If anyone still feels like they are the only one feeling that way, please give me a call because I will tell you that you’re definitely not alone.

And guess what? Not only are we managing our day-to-day activities in a fog, but whole companies and sales and marketing and product management departments are managing business in a fog. We’re all struggling for clarity, we’re trying to manage it, we’re all trying to figure things out – and we can’t rely on last year’s data.

How to market without historical data

Marketing departments tend to do things based on data. We ask: “What did we do last year? What publications did we advertise or publish in last year? What trade shows did we do? And how well did that provide sales leads and awareness?”

I don’t think a lot of that data is relevant anymore. While I think you should look at your data and should monitor it monthly, 2020 has been a challenge for all of us. Many marketing departments are lacking clarity and struggling to manage this mass of marketing without any data relevant to today’s environment.

Yes, we can learn from history, and we should always learn from history, but things have changed. We must pay attention to the fact that things have changed. We need to process the change and collect and act on current data while keeping aware that there could be more changes.

What did we learn over the course of this year?

  1. We learned that as organizations we have to be more digitally focused and think more broadly.

As I mentioned, the old data doesn’t apply here so you can’t do the same thing you did last year just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Frequently, marketing departments tend to do the same things that worked the year before. But, now you have to figure out what tomorrow might look like. And yes, that’s going to mean educated guesswork and testing. The best part about this is we get to put on our creative hat and think outside of the box.

We learned that a strong digital strategy is key. Without a digital strategy and without a place for people to find out information about your products or services, or go buy your product, you’re sunk. Take a hard look at your website – are you marketing to your customers? Are you being the thought leader in your industry? If not, it’s going to impact your sales more now than ever, because there’s nowhere else for people to go to get the information.

  1. We learned that we need to be able to pivot our marketing at almost a moment’s notice.

It may be time to pull out our copies of “Who Moved My Cheese?” for a refresher. When someone moves your ability to market in the ways that always worked in the past, as marketers, we need to be able to pivot and that’s not always as easy as you’d like it to be.

For example, look at trade shows. They disappeared – except for virtually – this year and the truth is, you’re probably not going to any trade shows at the beginning of next year either. It’s scary, but very true. And looking ahead to how conferences are held, it may not go back to the way it was. We all learned that trade shows and conferences are very important, but they cannot be the only way to get our message out and reach our customers.

In order to easily pivot your marketing, you need to have a full range of tools in your toolbox. This means the right marketing software coupled with the right content.

  1. We learned that it’s crucial to be organized and have a real marketing plan. When marketing departments didn’t have a marketing plan with a digital strategy and the organizational ability to implement it, they weren’t able to pivot – they were stymied. Instead, what happened was companies tried to bolt together random sections of pipe (the ‘pipe’ being a metaphor for marketing activities) creating a new marketing initiative to replace what had been budgeted based on prior years’ marketing efforts. The result of bolting small pieces of pipe together was a very leaky pipe – those leaks were all their potential leads and customers disappearing through the holes in their marketing.

We learned that you can’t just bolt pieces together. Every time you do, you add a joint and every joint represents a potential problem. You have to think about your audience holistically and create a solid length of pipe – an overall marketing plan.

Marketing is not just a website. It’s not just your print advertising. It’s not just your digital advertising or social media. It is a whole functioning organism that needs all of its parts and systems to work together to keep the entire body healthy.

What this has proven to even the most doubtful of marketing managers is that you need a holistic and integrated marketing plan which includes a strong digital strategy as well as a non-digital strategy. You also need the right messaging and assets to deliver on both those plans.

  1. We learned that the market has shifted and sales and marketing must improve collaboration.

I have talked about how sales and marketing need to be best friends in the past and it’s never truer than right now. Both sales and marketing need to step up. Sales needs to start contacting customers one-on-one to get real facts which drive the development of messaging and KOLs. Marketing needs to use that information to continue reaching out – to keep the brand front and center.

Overall we’ve learned that things can change quickly and we have to be prepared as organizations to not just look at what we have right here and now, but to see the full picture. We have to continually evaluate strategies and how you’re marketing. We must re-think how you spend your marketing dollars.

We need to remember that when we get back to whatever “normal” looks like now, it will change again. 2020 is not the first change, but I do think this particular change has forever altered how we think and deliver marketing in a B2B world. Companies should embrace the holistic marketing approach to succeed.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Nov 6, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

How to Improve Your Ad ROI with Landing Pages

by Deb Harrsch

Do you remember when every ad pointed to a company’s home page on their website? It wasn’t all that long ago either – especially for B2B companies in the life sciences and software industries.

Did you ever experience that? When you clicked on a web address listed in an ad and landed on a home page, did you feel lost and left wondering what on earth you were supposed to do next?

That particular use of an ad spend always frustrated me and left me asking customers, “What do you want visitors to do?” The response I used to receive was typically, “What do you mean, what do I want them to do?”

Yikes!

If you expect to show an ROI for your ad spend, you’ve got to do more than drop an interested visitor on a random web page with no instructions.

What you’ve got to do is ‘marry’ the ad to a landing page. That landing page needs to:

  • Look the same as the ad your potential customers viewed
  • Finish your marketing message from your ad
  • Tell the visitor what they should do next

It’s only by helping your visitor finish their journey that you’ll produce a measurable ROI from your ad spend.

What is a Landing Page?

Let’s begin with some basics. A landing page is a web page built specifically for an ad campaign. It is the spot on your website where someone lands (hence “landing” page) after they have clicked on the link in your ad. It has one goal – to deliver the call-to-action (CTA) of your ad campaign.

Whether your ad is a print ad, Google display ad, a digital ad from a trade publication or a LinkedIn ad, in every single case it will drive to a specific landing page to finish your marketing message and deliver your CTA.

The call-to-action is almost always a form for potential customers to download an asset that will provide them with information they need. Assets include white papers and/or case studies – these are the deliverables for any kind of advertising campaign. The trick is this: you cannot ask people to register for a case study, it would be like asking people to register for a brochure. The best practice is to provide both. Remember, at the end of the day it is about lead generation.

Every single ad should drive to a landing page. In this time of COVID marketing, the landing page has become so much more important than ever before.

There is no option, you’ve got to use them.

Why You Need a Landing Page

Your print or digital ads can’t just drop a prospect onto your website home page – or even a product page. If they do, your prospect will be lost. They won’t know what they are supposed to do next and you won’t capture their information. Your lead generation opportunity will be lost – and also the ROI on your ad spend.

A landing page does the heavy lifting in guiding ad prospects through the journey from your ad to your lead generation tool to your website and its content. It does three things for you remarkably well:

  • One, it finishes your marketing message
  • Two, it guides your customer and prospect on their journey
  • And three, it’s rich in SEO

Here’s what I mean: the prospect clicks on the link in your digital ad or types in a vanity URL and travels to your landing page. The copy on your landing page finishes your message to the prospect and tells them what to do next (e.g. fill out the download form for your white paper). They’ll receive the white paper, and you’ll receive their contact information for follow-up. They’ll then follow the marketing path you set up within your website for them to explore.

In addition, search engines see every display ad or digital ad. And when they touch that ad, they follow the link that goes to your landing page. When search engines get to the landing page, they then follow the links on the landing page to the next step. For instance, if you’re sending them to a case study, it takes them there. If you’re taking them to a blog post, it takes them there. It’s a very rich source of organic SEO.

Where Do You Build a Landing Page?

There are two places where you can create your landing pages. One is inside your marketing automation platform. The other is inside your website.

The easiest – and most comprehensive way is through a marketing platform such as Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot or SharpSpring. Some of our clients have marketing automation tools and we build landing pages in their specific platforms. But, we also have some clients that don’t have a marketing automation tool and we can use their website to help them meet their goals.

Most marketing automation platforms interface with your CRM systems and can track exactly who submits their information on the landing page’s download form. This gives you the ability to log and follow all these interested parties and allows your sales team to follow-up with the people who downloaded your content. You can also use this data to create an email marketing campaign which offers another related piece of content or even create an ongoing drip campaign. In addition, you can see real-time how your ad is doing without waiting for the publication to let you know weeks after the ad ran.

Many companies don’t have a marketing automation platform. While we do recommend one – and there are many reasonably priced ones available now – if a customer does not have one and doesn’t wish to use one, the default is to build the landing page on their website. If your website is developed using a content management system, like WordPress, this is a good substitute and it worked well for one of our clients.

One of our pharma clients didn’t have an automation platform, but did have a WordPress website. We were running an extensive ad campaign for them and needed a landing page. Our goal was to take prospects on a journey and focus the marketing message while ensuring we captured valuable leads. Because their website was WordPress, we had the flexibility to build the landing page right inside their site. The WordPress content management platform allowed us to create and publish a page that was only available to visitors through a unique URL or by clicking on a link in a digital ad.

There is one challenge to building landing pages within a website. It’s more difficult to create what we call ‘clones.’ Essentially, we create one landing page for the ad campaign and make copies of that page – each with a unique URL. Each cloned page with its unique address is assigned to individual ads. While this is more easily managed in a marketing automation platform, it still helps your website’s SEO and finishes your marketing message. It’s also a way to keep costs down.

3 Reasons Why You Need a Separate Landing Page for Each Ad

Why do you want to clone the same landing page? Doesn’t that get messy? Why would you want that many versions of the same page?

Well, no – it’s actually not messy and the reason behind why you want that many versions of the same page speaks to tracking and measurement. You do want to know exactly how each ad performs, don’t you?

I know that when I run ad campaigns for our clients, I want to know – and so do they!

Whether you’re placing print ads or digital ads, you should always create a landing with a specific URL for each ad placement. If you have the same ad in multiple places, but a different URL for each one, you’ll be able to tell which ad placement performed best.

This unique-URL-by-ad-placement approach also serves to measure any A/B testing of ads you do. Say you create two versions of an ad in your campaign and those two ads are placed in the same publication – but you use the same landing page for both. How do you know which performed better?

You won’t.

The only way to differentiate the A version from the B version’s performance is by using a different landing page.

Another reason you want to create specific landing pages is because publications can only tell you what your open rate was and that you received a certain number of click-throughs. (If you are running a gated white paper promotion, the publication will also provide you with a spreadsheet of names.)

Having individual landing pages is smart marketing and you get immediate monthly confirmation of what’s happening, what’s working, and what’s not working. By having your own landing pages, you receive far more data on your campaign, faster. With specific landing pages, you’ll be able to tell exactly who downloaded which asset from the landing page.

One of our clients is a software company with a product that helps labs dealing with COVID-19 research and testing. We placed several ads targeting different audiences. For our first one, we placed a digital publication ad which targeted researchers struggling to find good solutions to help them with the increases in COVID testing. The landing page had a custom URL specific to the ad placement and had 30 downloads. Another ad targeted professionals grappling with how to test their employees for COVID. This was also a digital publication ad with a different publication. This landing page also had a unique URL and had 22 downloads. That same client ran a promotion where the publication created and hosted a landing page for our client. That landing page produced 27 downloads. Having individual landing pages provides instantaneous data on our ads – and how each one is performing at any given time.

What Do You Need to Build an Ad Campaign that Delivers?

As I mentioned, in addition to targeted ad copy and proper ad placement, you’ll need landing pages and assets to deliver measurable ROI on your ad campaign.

But, what are some of the key things you need to do when you create your landing page?

  • Landing page content should be tailored to your ad placement.

You’ll want to be sure you customize the copy and download offering to match the audience of each ad. For example, don’t create copy on the landing page focused on what software needs a researcher wants if the landing page is linked to an ad targeting non-research people (such as an HR professional).

  • Match your download asset to the ad and make it exclusive!

The topic of your downloadable asset (like a white paper) should match what the landing page copy is talking about and offer exclusivity. For example, your download should be created from original content produced by your company that the prospect wouldn’t be able to get by going to your competitor. You can use your company’s mined data to create a white paper and prospects wouldn’t be able to get that information anywhere else.

  • Update your landing pages.

The beauty of landing pages is that they can be updated at any time. As your campaign progresses and you learn more about what works, you can update landing pages to reflect that learning.

Still have questions about landing pages and ads? Give us a call!

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Oct 2, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

10 Tips for Getting Results from Your Life Science Ad Spend

by Deb Harrsch

The year 2020 has introduced us to a whole new situation where the only way to generate leads is through digital media. Because of COVID, advertising has become even more important. In fact, I would say that social media and advertising are the two most important digital channels right now. And both of those are supported by useful and creative content on your website.

After all, where else are you going to get leads from?

That’s why advertising is important to have in multiple formats, from print and digital to publication websites and search engine marketing. Your prospects need to see you in multiple places. If they do, you can generate leads in several ways.

It’s important to put all of the ad puzzle pieces together in a way that makes sense. Your puzzle is your budget for producing leads. Your job is to figure out which pieces fit together to achieve the best results in the most cost-efficient way.

And all of the normal rules are out the window.

There are lots of moving pieces when it comes to developing advertising that delivers solid results. It starts with knowing your audience and developing your ad plan. Because it never hurts to have some useful tips to help you choose your puzzle pieces wisely, here are ten points you’ll want to dig into.

  1. Maximize your publication ad spend

Should you be in every publication your audience reads? Well, sure – if you have an unlimited budget. But, who does? I can’t say that I’ve met anyone with one!

The point here is that you need to choose publications wisely. You also need to understand the audience demographics for each publication – and match that with what you’re trying to deliver. For example, publication A has an audience of 13,000 readers. A solid audience number for sure. But, say publication B has a larger audience – and reaches the same 13,000 person audience as publication A. Which publication do you choose?

Well, if I have a limited budget, I’m not going to run my ad in both. Unless there is something spectacular happening in publication A, I’m going to choose publication B since it has a larger audience for the same market. With a limited budget, instead of spreading your budget across five publications, think about choosing the three which cover your audience best.

Another aspect of maximizing your ad spend is the value you receive. You can stretch your budget by negotiating with publications. For instance, if you run a print ad, you may be able to negotiate a free digital ad – or perhaps a free podcast sponsorship.

We work hard to negotiate with publications on behalf of our clients and publications really do try to help clients achieve their end goal. While our clients pay the publication directly for advertising, we try to make sure that they also get some free value-adds as well.  Many times, publications are able to discount an ad product or provide a free opportunity if we build an advertising package of products with them. While you can’t always make it happen, we try to deliver the value-add. A good place to start is with your ad rep.

  1. Put ads in the right places in publications

Once you’ve got your publication list nailed down, choosing where in those publications to place your ads becomes critical. It’s always optimal to have a mix of both digital and print ads. But, how can you get the most out of print ads?

Editorial calendars are the key.

While editorial content isn’t as important for digital ads, it is extremely important for a print ad. Think about it. If a print article focuses on something your company offers, isn’t that the very best place to insert an ad?

We only ever place print ads where the editorial reflects what our client does. For example, if a publication is running a piece on selecting API suppliers, we’ll run a print ad for one of our API manufacturing clients. We always try to get those ad insertions placed in the feature story itself.

We know that clients have limited budgets and you can’t always do a full-page ad buy. In those cases, our strategy is to do what are called half-page island ads. The reason we choose the half-page island ad is because there won’t be other ads on the page competing for a reader’s attention. The only copy on the page other than the ad is the article copy. You really can’t ask for a more targeted ad placement than that!

As I said, it is optimal to have both print and digital ads running. The best mix is when you place print ads in editorial content specific to your company and balance those with digital ad placements in multiple publications in that market segment. Of course, this strategy depends on the publications that serve your audience.

  1. Make your digital ad buy do double duty

Digital ads in publications have a particular advantage – they are extremely flexible. Once a print ad is published, there’s nothing more you can do until you run another insertion. But, a digital ad can be updated quickly or you can rotate two ads within one ad buy. This is called a split run, and makes your ad dollars work harder for you.

For digital ads, we typically run a three- or six-month campaign with a publication. This ad block usually consists of multiple ad sizes. For example, a large block ad down to a small mobile ad. (This helps us control the look of the ad everywhere.) During this ad buy, our marketing plan may call for promoting multiple products or services to the same audience. When this happens, we’ll start running the digital ads with our first set of creative and then at any time during the run we can swap the initial ads out with new creative.

For example, we are working with a life science software client. They have a product which helps companies manage COVID-19 research. They also have a product that helps employers get staff back to work safely. The publication we identified has a pharma audience – and it tends to be the managerial C-suite. This group of folks has not only the responsibility of getting their employees back to work, but they also have the responsibility of doing research. Both products answer this audience’s needs. Therefore, we are running separate digital ads for both products on this publication’s website. The publication is rotating the ads for us in our ad slot.

Even if you don’t have multiple products, the important thing to remember is that your ad buy can be updated for almost any reason. If you’ve got a new white paper coming out and you’re promoting it, or if you’re going to a trade show (when we can do that again!) and want to drive booth visitors, all of these can be reasons to create another set of ad creative and request the publication rotate them in your ad buy. You won’t even need to tell them when – they’ll automatically arrange it.

  1. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Ads

Don’t forget about search engine ads. But, what type of SEM ads work best? Should you dive into Google Ads and the complex bidding and building process for search ads? Or is there another option?

I am an advocate of Google Display ads. When budget is tight, I’m able to spend less money for a wider audience than I can achieve using search ads. We find that display ads perform very well for our clients – and they are far less expensive.

The reason? Display ads target people who have already searched for something similar to your product. Remember that pillow you searched for a couple of weeks ago? Well, that’s why you see nothing but ads for bedding – everywhere!

The purpose of display ads is to provide you with content that is relevant to your needs. This serves up a niche audience who is already pre-qualified for your ad. Additionally, because display ads rotate, the user doesn’t get tired of seeing the same ad and doesn’t start ignoring it.

Search advertising can be complicated, so it’s important that you work with someone who is Google-certified. You must know what you’re doing to avoid wasting budget. Never forget to measure your ads to see what is working and what needs changing (see number 10 below!)

  1. Animated versus static ad results

There’s a lot of choice when it comes to digital ads. One of those choices is whether to run a static ad or an animated ad. A static ad means the ad doesn’t move or change while it’s on the screen. An animated ad has movement and changes messaging.

You might think that since video is a key content choice today that animated ads perform better than static ones. That’s not actually the case in practice. We’ve found that clickthrough rates are the same. There’s no need to develop flashy animated content for display ads.

If you think about it, how long are you going to wait for an ad to animate on your phone? Not long enough.

People are scanning faster; they are using mobile more and aren’t sitting around waiting for the ad to rotate through its content. And that’s not just for mobile users. They may not even give it that amount of time at their desktops anymore either.

There is another challenge with animated ads. Some publication websites have tight restrictions on the size of the file which limits your ability to put more information in an ad.

We focus our efforts on static ads. There’s no negative to an ad being stationary, because the truth is most of the display ads from Google are, in fact, static – which means users are used to them.

You need to remember, too, that when you run ads in newsletters, Outlook does not accommodate rotating banner ads. In addition to static ads, we mix up the allocation with text ads, making sure we monitor and measure what works best.

  1. Improve performance with A/B testing

This is one area that is continually forgotten in the rush to deliver results. But, A/B testing can mean the difference between an ad spend that didn’t work at all and a successful ad spend.

When we create a digital ad for a customer, we sometimes run two different versions – an A and a B version. It’s a great way to test your ad copy – especially headlines and your call-to-action (CTA). The key to digital ads is a strong headline and a strong CTA. A/B testing allows you to experiment with all areas of your ad to achieve the best results.

More importantly, it gives viewers something new to look at when they’re on that web page – and when they re-visit that page.

  1. Deliver value and receive leads via ads

What good is an ad without giving the audience something of value? It turns out – not much.

We’ve learned that digital ads with deliverables (such as white papers or case studies) perform far better than ads without them. Our secret sauce is an ad that drives to a landing page, which finishes the marketing message begun in the ad. That landing page allows the audience to download (usually) a case study or white paper, giving them real information that helps them understand more about:

  • your product or service
  • how it works
  • how you work
  • what it’s like to work with you
  • results customers like them have achieved.

Another option for you is having a publication run a gated promotion of your white paper. In many cases, this is the better choice for lead generation, because people are more willing to give their information to a publication than they are to a company’s direct landing page. In this case, the publication will gate your white paper and provide you with a spreadsheet of the names and contact information for the people who downloaded it.

  1. Think outside the box with sponsorships

Sponsorships are another advertising opportunity. A webinar or podcast sponsorship is an excellent way to put your company in front of a targeted audience. But, it can’t be just any webinar or podcast topic.

The first step is to always – always – make sure that the content being delivered matches what your company does. For example, we found a webinar was being offered on COVID-19 and research. Well, we have a client with a COVID-19 software product. Our client doesn’t do COVID-19 research, but their product supports it, so they sponsored the webinar. That produced a list of leads for companies doing COVID-19 research, which were perfect targets for the salesforce.

  1. Publication sponsored email campaigns target hard-to-reach audiences

Another product available from publications is the sponsored email. With certain client bases, our only option to reach them is via an email campaign. It’s extremely important to only use this advertising method when you have something newsworthy to promote – such as a whitepaper about a new product offering. With sponsored email, you need to have some solid information or offer with a strong CTA – a new brochure won’t cut it!

  1. Monitor and measure

The key to successful advertising is monitoring what’s happening and measuring your results. Don’t throw money at something without measuring it. We measure social media, we measure email, and we measure advertising. We constantly look at what’s working and what’s not working. If it’s working, we don’t need to change it. If it’s not working, it’s time to change it.

Again, ad buys get snapped up fast, so you’ve got to be on your game. Create your ad plan and make sure that the puzzle pieces fit together. Always be sure you have all the assets in place to deliver measurable results.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Aug 7, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Tradeshows | 0 comments

How to Generate B2B Leads in Our New COVID-19 World

How to Generate B2B Leads in Our New COVID-19 World

by Deb Harrsch

We’re not going to trade shows anymore. In fact, I don’t see us (meaning all businesses globally) going to trade shows for the remainder of this year – and possibly into 2021. This means a couple of things:

  1. We’re not going to have customers or prospects walking up to our booths.
  2. We (sales and marketing) still need to produce leads.

Well, you might say, “But what about virtual trade shows?” It’s a valid point. Many shows did pivot to an online format. Some have worked (sort-of), while others have been significantly less successful at producing leads.

As you move forward with virtual trade events, you should be very careful and do your homework. Ask how the show organizers will provide your company with contact information for attendees. After all, you can’t scan a booth visitor’s card, get their business card, or talk to them at a virtual event.

So, where else are you going to go? Where are you going to get leads from?

You need to find a way to get those leads and be smart with your dollars.

It’s a Digital World After All

We’re living in a very different world. Some people are no longer at their office desks and perhaps they’re not getting their print publications at home. So, now what’s happening? Print publications are stacking up at the office and visibility is limited. Right now, it’s all about making sure potential customers can see you in multiple ways and you can generate leads in multiple ways.

That’s why digital marketing and advertising are important.

In this post-COVID world, social media and advertising have become even more important marketing tactics. At Brandwidth Solutions, we are very focused on lead generation for our clients.

Produce Solid Leads from Advertising

Smart advertising is one way to create leads. It starts with smart spending and ends with creating specific types of digital and print ads.

What I often hear is, “I don’t have a big ad budget.” My answer to that: You aren’t going to all of the trade shows you had scheduled this year, are you? This gives you dollars you can reallocate. Now, I know the trade show companies want you to shift that budget to next year – but perhaps it’s possible to just move the deposit. But you and I both know, if you don’t spend it now, you’ll lose it. So, let’s use those dollars wisely.

Look at it this way: because you’re not going to shows where you would have spent $50,000 to $80,000, you have an opportunity to increase your budgets in other digital marketing areas that are working right now. Let’s use some of those dollars to increase your ad budget, your content development budget, and your social media budget so that you can deliver more leads.

But, all the ad budget in the world isn’t going to produce leads unless you create the right type of advertising. Brand awareness ads aren’t going to cut it. You’ve got to develop ads that speak to the value your company offers. You’ve got to deliver assets that help your prospect (remember, you need to deliver content addressing your customer’s journey). And then you’ve got to collect their contact information.

The World of Life Science Advertising Has Changed

It used to be that life science software, contract pharma services, and lab equipment advertisers had a choice of search engine ads (like Google Ads) or print ads in trade publications. But, the world of life sciences advertising is very different now. There are many more ad opportunities available.

This shift had already started prior to COVID-19. Now, it’s a whole new ball game.

Yes, we have search engine marketing (SEM) with Google Ads and display ads. We have paid social media. We still have print ads.

However, we also have newer products, like webinar sponsorships and podcast sponsorships. Trade publications and association publications have all introduced more lead generation advertising products. In addition to advertising on their websites and in print, we’re now able to sponsor targeted newsletters to specific audiences. In some cases, it may be a vendor ad, but in other cases it’s possible to sponsor an entire newsletter.

Publications also offer promotions of thought leadership interview videos and podcasts. In addition, there are promotions of gated white papers that produce spreadsheets of leads, text ads which drive traffic to your landing pages, and digital ad retargeting.

Choices, Choices and More Choices

Before you can develop an ad plan that delivers the leads your team needs, you’ll have to do some research and make some choices. You’ll need to think through where and how you’ll get the most leads for your budget. You’ll also need to identify all the assets you have on hand – or need to create – to give your prospects a reason to engage. Most importantly, you need to think about your customer’s journey from awareness to consideration to buying.

Or, you can call us.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Jul 8, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

How to Create Marketing Campaigns Using Your Buyer Personas

How to Create Marketing Campaigns Using Your Buyer Personas from Brandwidth Solutions

by Deb Harrsch

Last month, we looked at how to refresh (or create) your post-COVID-19 buyer personas. This month, we’ll look at how to use them to create marketing campaigns that make sense in our new sales environment.

Mapping the Customer Journey

The whole point of a buyer persona is to create targeted social media and marketing campaigns with the content your prospects want. Having built your customer personas based on actual conversations your sales team has held with buyers, you can confidently drive your prospective customer through the customer journey.

Keeping it simple, there are three objectives in the buyer’s journey: awareness, convert, and close. There are a lot of other steps in there, but these are the main stops on the journey.

  1. First, you want to attract prospects and create awareness.
  2. Next, you want to convert them, to make them consider your product or service.
  3. The final goal is to close the sale.

But, the question is, how do you get them to go from awareness to consideration to purchase?

It’s a really important journey. And you don’t want to lose them along the way.

The personas you build dictate everything. They dictate how your website functions and navigates. They dictate the kind of collateral you need and how you’re going to take a buyer from awareness to purchase. How you get them from point A to point B to point C is what persona marketing is all about.

Sales teams understand the journey. This is one reason why marketing needs to work closely with sales. A brochure is not a journey. That’s a factoid. There’s nothing of value in that brochure that’s going to get somebody from awareness to consideration to a purchase. You need more support than that.

The journey needs to make prospective buyers think: “This the best service or product for me.” Your job is to build content and collateral around that journey.

Different Buying Needs

In each company there can be multiple buyers, right? So when you’re looking at your marketing material you have to look at it from each of those personas, because their buying needs and decision-making processes are different.

Our clients typically have several levels of buying personas. For instance, a software client has personas for:

  • The user – the person that will use the software in the lab.
  • Their boss – who will make the buying decision.
  • The IT person who must implement it.

When we’re creating content, whether it’s for the website or marketing collateral, we have to consider those individual personas. Other life science clients can have four or more buyer personas for products or services. In every situation, we need to build content that addresses their individual needs because each of them will be very different.

Think about it – maybe the conversation starts with an influencer, then it moves to the gatekeeper, and then it goes to a decision-maker. In the above case of software, the IT guy may say, “We only want SaaS, we don’t want anything on a server.” The buying person may ask, “How am I spending this money and is it going to deliver ROI for me?” Both of those people are going to need content and value propositions that address their specific needs.

Designing Persona-Based Marketing Campaigns

Using customer personas not only allows you to choose and create material that addresses the pain points and values that your buyers need, it also identifies the marketing tools you’ll use to reach each of those personas. These personas will drive whether you use social media, case studies, email marketing, website FAQs, webinars, or print collateral.

When we build marketing campaigns, we start by creating a working spreadsheet based on our campaign goal and the selected target personas. The spreadsheet clearly states the name of the campaign and what personas we’re going to use in that campaign. We lay out our strategy and we list our goals.

We survey the marketing assets and content we already have available to ascertain whether it fills a need in the customer journey towards our goal. Because what we use for one persona will be different than what we use for another persona, we assign available content to the appropriate personas and where it fits in the lead nurturing campaign.

We then assess what materials we still need to influence the personas’ movement through the stages of the journey. We ask, “What are the materials that we need to build to get them through those three major stages?” And then we build them.

With this working spreadsheet, it’s easy to see what content matches which persona.

A campaign is not just an ad. It’s a combination of all of the collateral, the outbound and inbound marketing tactics, and all of the engagement.

The next step is to build your campaign week-by-week in your spreadsheet. I suggest taking it persona-by-persona and working through each one – assigning the journey stage, each activity and content type, and message to keep them engaged and coming back for more inspiration as they’re working through their buying decision.

Success and Scorecards

No marketing should ever take place unless you’re measuring your results. Guess what? You’re going to give your campaign a score. Look back at and review your goals. Ask what was our goal for lead generation? What were our actual lead generation results? What percentage did we close?

After the Close

And don’t forget after you’ve got them to buy, you need to keep them engaged. Why?

First, your engaged, vocal, and loyal customers are one of the best sales assets you have. Second, you want to keep them engaged because you may have new products or services and new updates for the products they’ve already purchased. You need to retain your customer and keep them viewing you as their problem-solver.

Have questions on how to develop a persona-based marketing campaign? Reach out and let’s talk.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More