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New Email Marketing Program – Part 2

Posted by on Feb 14, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Brandwidth Solutions Email Marketing Tips

by Scott Fuhr

As we covered in last month’s post, you can use email marketing to promote an upcoming trade show appearance, to produce multi-touch campaigns, or to help with webinar marketing. This month, we’ll take a look at some real-world examples of the areas that we covered.

Try Testing Your Email Subject Lines with an A/B Test

As a reminder, A/B testing is the art of testing a portion of an email before deploying the entire send. The goal is to improve the open rate – and hence your overall engagement from your audience.

Wondering what a real-life example of a test looks like?

Here’s a real-word example of an A/B test we did for a client to help them promote an event (insert your own event’s name):

  • Subject line A: How to Get the Most from [Your Event]
  • Subject line B: Insider Tips – How to Get the Most from [Your Event]

In this case, 25% of the audience got subject line A and another 25% got subject line B for the test portion.

The winner?

Subject line B, with a 35% higher open rate over subject line A in the test. We then sent the remaining 50% of the audience emails using subject line B.

This likely resulted in at least ten more opens overall that would not have occurred without the test. In the email marketing world, that can be significant.

Experiment with a few of your own and see if you can move the needle on your results. Some additional A/B testing ideas can be found here.

Provide Value with Multi-touch Campaigns

One of our clients recently held their annual customer event. Instead of sending out one email promoting the event and hoping that people would come, we built an entire multi-touch email campaign was built that included reach-outs before the event, sends that occurred during the event, and post-event touches that included a save-the-date notice for the next event.

What does a multi-touch email campaign look like?

Below is a sampling of the schedule and one that you could consider building around all types of events:

  • Email 1: Early Bird Registration
  • Email 2: Call for Abstracts
  • Email 3: Early Bird Registration Reminder (A/B Test)
  • Email 4: Letter from the CEO About Importance of the Event
  • Email 5: Presentation Highlights and Promo Rate Ends Reminder
  • Email 6: Hotel Block Deadline and Introduce Event Mobile App
  • Email 7: Highlight Social Event (to Registrants Only)
  • Email 8: Last Chance to Register
  • Email 9: Day 1 Highlights – Sent During Event to Attendees Only
  • Email 10: Downloadable Content Offered After Keynote – Sent During Event to Attendees Only
  • Email 11: Day 2 Highlights – Sent During Event to Attendees Only
  • Event 12: Thanks for Attending (to Attendees Only)
  • Email 13: Save the Date for Next Year’s Event

Email #10 was sent to all attendees immediately following the CEO’s opening keynote address and offered a related topical white paper download. This email achieved a 48.4% open rate and 21.4% click-through rate. As we mentioned last month, an event-related email typically achieves an open rate of 21-30% and a click-through rate of 3-11%.

Tip: Consider offering an exclusive piece of content that event attendees get in advance of your other audiences. Attendees will feel like they’re getting extra value from the event and you can evaluate what kind of email open rates you get for this type of “live” content distribution.

Email Templates Can Improve Results

How many times have you received an email on your mobile device and when you try to read it you have to move the screen around to read the whole message? What has likely happened is that the email wasn’t optimized for mobile devices, and this is where templates can help.

Many email systems come with pre-selected templates you can choose from, and I recommend trying one of those to start with to get better mobile results.

Here’s an example of one of our favorite templates:

Example Email from Brandwidth Solutions

While some templates may not be to your liking exactly, there are often simple options available to remove and add sections (like header banner images, photos, logos, and text areas). The template above was used to promote our own blog posts to our audience, and 25% of the opens on this particular blog promotion in December 2019 were opened on a mobile device.

Tip: If you’re not sending mobile-friendly emails, you’re disappointing a good portion of your audience – which may lead them to unsubscribe or delete it before being read. It has been suggested that as many as 15% of users will unsubscribe when a mobile email displays poorly.

Most email marketing systems also have an option to choose a mobile preview, showing you what the email would look like to recipients opening it on a mobile phone or other device. See if that feature can help you adjust your headline spacing and other features so it is mobile-friendly. Not all devices will show your email exactly as you wish, however you can maximize readability using this feature.

There are some additional mobile display tips available here.

Improving your email program – even just your open rates – doesn’t mean you need to move boulders. We can help you get more ROI out of email. To start a conversation, call us today.

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.

Effective Trade Show Booths: The Dos and Don’ts of Booth Design

Posted by on Feb 7, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Effective Trade Show Booths: The Dos and Don’ts of Booth Design

Photo Courtesy of LGM Pharma

by Larry Worden and Deb Harrsch

There’s a lot of information out there about the best ways to exhibit at a trade show and follow up with leads (including on this blog here, here, and here). What I don’t see a lot of information about is what your prospects are thinking when they attend a trade show.

Let’s take a short journey from your customer’s perspective – and figure out what could make your trade show booth one your customers want to visit.

Why Are Your Prospects at the Show?

Let’s first think about why your prospects are at a show like AACC, for instance. After all, it’s not all fun and games or an excuse to get out of the lab for a few days.

They might be attending because they are in an acquisition cycle. If they are, this means they want to have a close look at your technologies, and the advancements and efficiencies of your equipment or assays. They need to talk to your R&D personnel and service staff to understand what you have, its operational life span, and what’s on the horizon for you.

Or – if they aren’t looking to buy right away – they’re investigating new technologies or solutions from up-and-coming companies. They’re also talking to staff from companies they currently use to express concerns or seek solutions to challenges. No matter where they are in their purchasing cycle, they are always studying available techniques and innovations. They also are researching what they need in order to bring new testing capabilities into their labs.

Trade Show Booth Elements: What Works and What Doesn’t

Open, Clearly-Organized Booths

Show attendees prefer booths that are open and welcoming. Your booth is not a castle to be defended. Visitors don’t want to feel like a mouse in a maze. Lay out your booth in a way that allows visitors (from outside the booth) to select the product areas they want to visit. Use signage to help your prospects navigate your trade show real estate.

Appropriate Booth Lighting

It’s surprising what people remember about your booth. Lighting is one critical element to consider. Of course, you want to highlight important areas, but you don’t want to make it hard to see what you’re highlighting. You want to make the experience of your booth calm and relaxing – not have visitors feel as though they need sunglasses or are under a harsh spotlight. You can still highlight important areas, but use more diffuse lighting. Consider placing the lighting higher above your exhibit or use lower-wattage bulbs.

Walkable, Comfortable Flooring

Believe it or not, your booth flooring choice matters. Yes – everyone recognizes that your booth staff needs (and deserves) some padding. Visitors also appreciate the relief from those unrelenting concrete floors. But, you need to be certain that the matting you choose is trip-proof and easy to walk on. I’ve heard some of those plush carpeted booths referred to as “walking through mud,” “quicksand,” and “a mattress” well after a show ends. Consider the floor choice of your booth.

Provide Interactive Experiences

Prospects enjoy being able to self-direct their booth visits. Nobody likes the used car salesman treatment. Many visitors feel that booth staff often hound them and can be too aggressive. Allowing prospects to interact with the information in your booth and approach your staff when ready is a far more effective way to advance the sales conversation.

With the technology available today, automation is a valuable tool for your visitors. Provide multiple interactive screens with presentations and allow your customers to educate themselves the way they choose. But, ensure you always have enough staff on hand to help visitors on demand.

Give Opt-in Educational Presentations

Short 15-minute presentations are a hit with attendees, but only if they provide solid information. Your prospects have a lot of ground to cover at these shows and they don’t appreciate their time being wasted. So, consider holding a small schedule of brief educational seminars and focus on content – not fluff.

Booth Staffing

Trade show attendees aren’t just looking for the equipment they need right now. They’re also exploring what they are going to need two to five years from now. Your prospects are digging into what products you have under development and how they might serve future needs. Also, you should be aware that your customers could visit your booth with very specific questions on technical issues they may be experiencing with your products. So, it’s critical that you have the right people staffing your booth.

You need staff from R&D, service, sales, and marketing. People with real experience with your products – whether they are developers, service personnel, or trained sales individuals. What you don’t need and shouldn’t hire are professional actors or presenters. Believe me – your prospects will know, and they don’t like it one bit. They are scientists and they want to talk to people who can solve their problems…who can get into the technical aspects of using the kit.

What is also extremely important to your prospects? Your staff needs to stand out. Make it easy for your customer to identify who is staffing your booth. One simple way to do this is have everyone wear the same color shirt.

How to Save Money and Deliver an Effective Trade Show Booth

Let’s talk literature for a moment. It drives me crazy that people insist on bringing a ton of high-dollar literature to a show. Guys, let me tell you – it’s going in the garbage. You spend a ton of money, cut down a bunch of trees, and it ends up in the trash. Did you know that 64% of trade show literature is thrown away?

Think about the last time you went to a trade show. You walk the floor, pick up a bunch of literature, take it back to your room and then – as you’re packing – you say, “Oh gee, I can’t possibly take all of this home.” So you do a quick sort through it and take only a few pieces back. The rest? Into the waste bin it goes.

Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring anything. Just carefully consider what you do take. We advise exhibitors to bring limited literature and use a PDF version of your brochures as a follow-up to nurture your contact. By providing a PDF, your customer can share the literature with their colleagues and other decision-makers. You might also consider stocking your booth with less costly print pieces and perhaps holding some of your higher quality literature in the back to give to highly qualified prospects.

Whatever you decide to do with trade show materials, make sure they are valuable and communicate the benefits your kit provides users.

So, Let’s Recap

Your trade show booth will be more effective if you:

  1. Staff it with people with actual experience with your products.
  2. Design your booth to be open, welcoming, and easy to navigate.
  3. Choose appropriate lighting and avoid bright, harsh lights.
  4. Watch your flooring choice.
  5. Provide interactive experiences and allow visitors to self-direct their visit.
  6. Hold 15-minute educational seminars.
  7. Make sure your staff is easily identifiable to visitors.
  8. Bring the minimum amount of lower-cost print materials and follow-up with electronic marketing materials.

Need help organizing and implementing a trade show booth plan? 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.

Larry Worden co-founded MDxI in 2006 and is now the principal at IVD Logix. Larry has spent 40 years in the fields of medical and scientific marketing research and syndicated data services. Today, he focuses on the in vitro diagnostics marketplace, providing market information solutions to clients using qualitative and quantitative market research methods. Contact Larry at 214.434.1923.

New Year, New Email Marketing Program

Posted by on Jan 17, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Brandwidth Solutions Offers Email Marketing Tips

by Scott Fuhr

Happy 2020! The New Year is a new opportunity to consider what’s working well in your marketing and what can be improved for the coming year. For email marketing, that can mean tweaking the foundations of your program.

Respondents to a recent study from Marketo indicated that the most effective type of marketing technology (martech) was “marketing automation/email/CRM.” Furthermore, they also marked “increasing marketing ROI” as the number-one challenge to the success of a martech strategy.

As we covered previously, you can use email marketing to promote trade show appearances via pre-show marketing and post-show marketing. These efforts can include email sends to a show list beforehand, and multi-touch campaigns, drip campaigns, or lead nurturing campaigns to the trade show attendee list after the event. You can even use email for webinar marketing.

Email isn’t going anywhere soon.

There are many different ways to customize your email marketing campaigns so they can perform beyond your expectations, including:

  • A/B testing
  • Multi-touch campaigns
  • Template approaches

And, while having a fancy marketing automation platform is helpful, you can also perform many of these approaches in simple programs (like Constant Contact). The point is to get started somewhere.

Testing Email Subject Lines

Let’s look at A/B testing. This is the art of testing a portion of an email send before deploying the entire send, with the goal of improving the open rate. While testing can be based on different portions of the email – like the subject line or the send-from address – the most common I see is based on the open rate of two different subject lines.

Instead of sending your email out to your entire list, you can make two different subject lines to test (A and B). You send subject line A to one-fourth of your list and send subject line B to another one-fourth of your list. After you send that test, you determine which subject line had the higher open rate. Then, you send the winning subject line to the remaining one-half of your list. The idea, of course, is that the remaining emails will naturally have a higher open rate than they would have without doing the test.

Multi-touch Email Campaigns

One of our clients recently held their annual customer event. Instead of sending out one email promoting the event and hoping that people would come, an entire multi-touch campaign was built around the event that included at least eight sends prior to the event, sends that occurred while the event was live, and post-event sends that included a link to a satisfaction survey. A post-event email we did for this event to attendees that provided the satisfaction survey link garnered a 41% open rate and 15% click-through rate. According to Emma and Eventbrite, an event-related email typically achieves an open rate of 21-30% and a click-through rate of 3-11%.

Tip: Make several of the pre-event emails more personal by highlighting some of the individual speakers and what they’ll be covering that’s unique to the event. This approach puts faces to the speakers’ names, and potential attendees can see the value of the content before the event even starts.

A comprehensive email marketing program like this takes potential attendees on a journey that highlights what makes your event different, conveys the benefits of attending, and invites attendees to keep in touch after the event ends. The result: relationship-building that leads to sales. You’ve now started building a foundation for a relationship or are continuing to nurture one through these regular communications.

Enhance Email Campaigns with Marketing Automation

Multi-touch campaigns can be enhanced by marketing automation technology. Platforms that provide this approach allow you to take email marketing one step further by automating some of the tasks of relationship-building.

For instance, typically we set-up email programs that automatically provide a white paper or other thought-leadership deliverable when a recipient opens the email and completes a form. A list of the leads can be provided showing who downloaded the deliverable and these can be passed along to the sales team for follow-up. Someone who actively downloads your content is more likely to have a conversation with your team. According to Demand Metric, 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.

Programs can also be built to provide an automated cadence of emails over time. Think a segment of prospects needs to be introduced to your organization and, as such, they are put on a program that delivers them information about your products and services over a period of several months to warm them up. You’re staying top-of-mind. And, for those with marketing automation platforms, all the results from these emails can be delivered straight to your CRM and the platform can even score your prospects according to their interactions with you.

Get Better Results with an Email Template

How many times have you received an email on your mobile device and when you try to read it you have to move the screen around to read the whole message? What has likely happened here is that the email wasn’t optimized for mobile devices.

Using a template approach can easily solve this issue. Many email systems come with pre-selected templates you can choose from, and I recommend trying one of those to start with to get better mobile results.

Exclusive Tip: We’ve found that an average of 23% of our emails were opened on a mobile device over the last six months. If you’re not sending mobile-friendly emails, you’re disappointing a good portion of your audience – which may lead them to unsubscribe or delete it before being read. It has been suggested that as many as 15% of users will unsubscribe when a mobile email displays poorly.

While some templates may not be to your liking exactly, there are often simple options available to remove and add sections (like header banner images, photos, logos, and text areas).

If you have graphic designers on staff – and we do – enlist their help to create some of these images for your templated email sends. This will help create an overall cohesive look and feel for your brand and get recipients of your emails used to identifying your messages with your organization.

Coming Up…

In our next post in February, we’ll look at some real-world examples from the areas above. Email marketing can be nebulous and is an ongoing work-in-progress as technology evolves. The good news is that we can help you get started with your program or can enhance your current program.

Start increasing your open rates and ROI from email – get going by calling us today.

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.

Acquiring Lab Customers: Demystifying the B2B Sales Process

Posted by on Jan 10, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Brandwidth Solutions - Acquiring Lab Customers: Demystifying the B2B Sales Process

by Larry Worden and Deb Harrsch

Do you know why you lost that big sale to the hospital lab? Chances are you don’t. Not really. All you know is that you submitted the RFI/RFP response and…nothing.

MDxI (Market Diagnostics International) surveyed a sampling of laboratories and found that the main reasons vendors weren’t chosen to provide services were:

  • Failure to meet the basic requirements of an RFI/RFP
  • Delays and lack of focus on the customer’s evaluation process
  • Absence of a solid relationship with decision makers
  • Ability to meet the customer’s requirements efficiently and economically
  • Challenges in prior service delivery
  • Aggressive sales tactics or personnel
  • Lack of appropriate assays

If anything here rings a bell for you, then you’ll want to dig into the following information.

How Customers Make Buying Decisions in Hospital Systems and Laboratories

M&A in the hospital and laboratory space has increased in the last several years, leading to fewer opportunities due to consolidation. But, the vendor selection process hasn’t changed. The length of the buying decision for lab and hospital laboratory systems has also remained the same – a nine-to-24-month time frame.

MDxI reports that virtually all labs have a similar 13-step process for identifying needs and potential vendors, producing RFIs & RFPs, evaluating vendors, and ultimately choosing a supplier. As a sales rep, you’ll want to study this process to ensure that you understand what your target customers will expect from you.

Behind the Scenes in the Lab – 13 Steps to Successful Vendor Selection

  1. Identifying the Need: Lab staff drives the process when older equipment needs replacing.
  2. Establishing an Evaluation Team: Participating team members typically include the lab manager, section supervisor and key medical technologists. Team members may also include the medical director and an IT representative. The lab manager is the team lead.
  3. Gathering Preliminary Information: Team members research and identify potential vendors through web searches, laboratory trade shows and conferences, and conversations with lab colleagues.
  4. Notifying Potential Vendors: Once the evaluation team has qualified a selection of vendors, they invite those companies to present to the team.

When can you ask to be included in the evaluation process? If your company already sells to the lab in question, or if you have developed a relationship with the potential customer, you can ask to be included in the evaluation process at this stage.

  1. Developing and Prioritizing Evaluation Criteria: The team will create a categorized list of requirements in order of importance.
  2. Issuing the RFI: During this key phase, all potential vendors are provided the lab’s list of requirements. You may need to visit the lab to ensure your company thoroughly understands the lab’s layout and workflows. You must make detailed recommendations on how your solutions will address the customer’s needs.
  3. Sourcing Additional Input: The lab’s evaluation team will continue to gather information on all the potential vendors. They’ll tap third-party resources to validate your claims. Sources could include: CAP proficiency survey results to review equipment performance, adverse incident/recall information, MD Buyline service ratings, and site visits to labs which use your equipment.
  4. Rating Vendors: After gathering all of their research and your RFI answers, the lab evaluation team begins ranking the potential vendors against their requirements.
  5. Narrowing the Playing Field and Sending the RFP: Once the rankings are completed, the team sends out the RFP. Typically only two or three vendors are in the running at the time of RFP.

If you have a strong relationship with the lab manager and your company is not invited to participate in the RFP, you can ask to be included in the RFP process. But, be warned, it may not be in your best interest to participate. Many labs prefer to restrict the RFP process to only those companies they believe best meet their needs.

  1. Vendor Presentations: Vendors may be asked to present their responses to the RFP directly to the evaluation team.
  2. Assessing the Finalists: If the finalists are tied or if none of them can provide the perfect solution, the evaluation team requests additional information or alternate solutions from the vendors in question.
  3. Selecting the Best Vendor: When all the information has been submitted, including the financials, the evaluation team meets to vote on the winning vendor.
  4. Negotiating and Signing the Contract: Once the team has selected the best supplier, the contract is then negotiated and signed by the business manager or procurement department.

Knowing your customer’s process allows sales teams to add value at critical stages of the buying process.

What Your Sales and Marketing Departments Need to Do

Now might be a good time to review what ‘customer acquisition’ means. As BusinessDictionary.com states, it’s “The process of persuading a consumer to purchase a company’s good or services.”  Yes, there’s a cost associated with customer acquisition as well, but what we really need to think about here is the process.

The process involves both sales and marketing. The sales team is responsible for the customer relationship and driving the sale. MDxI shared that there are certain do’s and don’ts to sales rep actions.

Do

  • Communicate monthly or quarterly with your contacts. Ask your contact which they prefer and follow directions!
  • Connect by email or make an appointment.

Don’t

  • Don’t assume a phone call is better. Customers report it’s hard to get on the phone.
  • Don’t show up without an appointment and expect your contact to be available.
  • Don’t go around laboratory decision makers. Executive teams, administration, or purchasing will not help you get your foot in the door.
  • Don’t try to visit your contact too often – they’re busy.

Marketing is responsible for making sure that sales has everything they need to nurture and close the sale – from marketing collateral to white papers and case studies to web content the customer may access prior to speaking with a sales rep.

Marketing needs to work closely with sales. Regular communication delivers a crucial understanding of what the customer needs to know. With that information, marketing can design exactly the right tools to enhance your sales efforts.

How to Win at Customer Acquisition

What happens when sales and marketing work together? Sales success. When MDxI surveyed labs to understand what was behind successful sales, they found that the key drivers were solid relationships and time and attention to detail.

  • Relationships: When sales establishes a solid relationship with all the key decision-makers in a lab system – and maintains those relationships over time – regardless of their status as a customer or future customer, they are invited to bid. These relationships provide the sales rep with inside knowledge of open bids. They also allow sales reps to ask decision-makers to participate in upcoming vendor selections. If you can’t bid, you can’t win a sale.
  • Time and Attention to Detail: It takes time to develop a relationship. It also takes time to respond to an RFI/RFP thoroughly – and ensure that each step of the acquisition process is completed by the deadlines requested. Customers are watching and they will notice if your team doesn’t meet expectations. You need to show decision-makers that you value them and their business. If not, guess what? No sale.

But, don’t assume that these are the only keys to winning new lab customers. MDxI found that breadth of product lines, automation capabilities, and other contracts with the customer also played important roles in driving vendor choice. While you may not be able to do much about current contracts with a health system, your marketing and sales teams can certainly ensure that your potential customer understands the scope of your product line and advantages of your automation solution.

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.

Larry Worden co-founded MDxI in 2006 and is now the principal at IVD Logix. Larry has spent 40 years in the fields of medical and scientific marketing research and syndicated data services. Today, he focuses on the in vitro diagnostics marketplace, providing market information solutions to clients using qualitative and quantitative market research methods. Contact Larry at 214.434.1923.

Should You ‘Dumb it Down?’ Write Smarter: 5 Rules for Marketing Copy

Posted by on Dec 5, 2019 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

5 Rules for Marketing Copy

I’ve got to agree with Alison Davis: I’m not a fan of the expression ‘dumb it down.’

As she points out, the phrase first emerged “as movie-business slang in the 1930’s, and was used by screenplay writers.” It was used to describe rewriting content “to appeal to those of little education or intelligence.”

It feels cruel, however, and as someone who works with scientific firms to convey complex ideas in digestible formats, it incorrectly summarizes what our team does.

Besides, do we really need to dumb it down? Are we actually getting dumber?

As it turns out, no, we’re not.

I’m with Davis when she says, “I love the fact that people everywhere are getting more intelligent.” That’s right, a recent meta-analysis found “an average gain of about three IQ points per decade, or roughly 10 points per generation.”

(Yes – that means our children are probably smarter than us.)

But how smart or dumb we are (or are becoming) isn’t the key takeaway. What matters is that the ways in which we all consume content have been changing. Reducing our content to the lowest common denominator isn’t the right answer. Understanding how people consume it is.

Do you seriously want to deliver something that is considered ‘dumb?’ And how far down should you go?

For our life science, pharma, healthcare & B2B clients, we can’t dumb down content. But it can be synthesized, and rendered into formats that lend themselves to rapid consumption.

Scanning Society

So if, in fact, people are becoming smarter, that means we have to write smarter. Let’s face it – people don’t read like they used to. Even as far back as 2008, research found that only about 20% of online text was actually read word-for-word.

Why?

It’s a numbers game. Over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day, and it’s only going to grow from there. By 2020, it’s estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth.”

The scanning-instead-of-reading phenomenon isn’t new, and as marketers, we see it across every industry. And when you are tasked with conveying complex scientific or technical concepts, it affects how you develop and present content.

Writing for the Journey

The ‘we need to dumb it down’ school of marketing thought is that people are moving so fast, they won’t stick to a traditional buyer’s journey anymore. It’s too long. They don’t have the time or attention span. So because some marketers think there is no longer a customer journey they put every possible piece of information in their materials right up front.

It’s not true.

The buyer’s journey still very much matters – but how they consume content on the journey itself is changing.

Here are 5 rules for writing copy:

  1. Be clear about your value.
    Be sure to communicate your value proposition but leave them wanting to know more. Don’t try to cram every product you offer into one piece of content. If you give away your entire message up front, the reader will be overwhelmed and your message lost. Focus on simple and clear language that targets your customer’s pain points. Your materials should be a conversation in which you clearly share elements of the value of your product or service.
  1. Deliver scannable content.
    Since you know readers are going to scan your content, it’s important to ensure your content is clear. Your value proposition should be easily identifiable, and readers should be able to take away key points from every piece of content you produce.
  1. It’s a journey – not a pit stop.
    In many cases – especially at the start of the buyer’s journey – your content serves as a first touch. Make sure it’s a relatively quick read that makes them want to learn more. Whatever the content format – web, brochure, case study, landing page, email – provide a path for prospects to follow to acquire further information. Ensure your links are clear and easy to follow. The journey needs an easily-decipherable path in order to bring the reader along the path and into your funnel.
  1. Create visual impact.
    The data or technical information you share with prospects and customers is critically important, but it also has its place. Being (rightfully) proud of their accomplishments, some companies want to emphasize it and so they’ll overwhelm a content piece with multiple visuals.Let’s just talk software marketing for a minute. Imagine a brochure with multiple screen shots. Now imagine that the screen shots are so small that no one can read them. How well do you think those visuals are going to work to attract your potential customers? They aren’t. If you think that screen shot is a selling point, you’d better make it big enough to make an impact.
  1. “Me, me, me…we, we, we…us, us, us.” Arrghh. Please stop.
    Long after marketers (should have) learned that bragging and self-congratulatory writing won’t help sell products or services, many companies (with their marketers in tow) are still at it. They fill brochures with references to “We at ACME Corp.” I get it…you are proud of your company, its products or services, and its accomplishments. But customers want to hear you talking about their problems and their challenges. They need to know you get it, so they can feel confident that your solution adequately addresses their needs. There you have it – five rules for developing copy and keeping your content smart. Remember, prospects are smart and getting smarter. They are also consuming content in quick, scannable bites, but that being said – a prospect will read every word if they are interested in the value you provide.

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.

How to Redo Your B2B Website

Posted by on Nov 12, 2019 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

How to Redo Your B2B Website

Last month we explored the first phase in the development of a B2B website. It doesn’t matter if you’re redoing your current site or you’re just starting out with your first website, you need to lay a proper foundation before beginning to design.

If you haven’t checked out what you need to do in phase 1, take some time and read it now.

Are You Ready for Phase 2?

In phase 1, we laid the foundation for a successful website by:

  • defining the customer’s journey of engagement with your products and services,
  • identifying the ‘look and feel’, your value proposition & key messaging, and
  • aligning the navigation with your customer’s journey.

Now it’s time to dive into phase 2. This is when you’ll build the site and launch.

Phase 2 takes time. The amount of time phase 2 of a website development project takes can vary greatly. Much depends on the scope of the project. Some of the factors which will drive the length of your project are: how large is your site, how complex is the design, and how quickly can your internal team turnaround approvals? There are more variables, but these three are some of the key factors.

What does ‘building the site’ mean? It includes:

  • actual design of the site – both user experience and visual
  • choosing images
  • coding and development of the site
  • creating or uploading the website content
  • writing and adding the meta tags and description
  • any changes in navigation
  • thorough testing before the site’s launch.

When we design a site, we use the ‘look and feel’ developed during the project’s phase 1 as well as the links to the websites your team liked (and didn’t like). As I mentioned in my last post, we also take into account the user experience (UX). The work we do around UX always results in better design, better content, better navigation, and most importantly, a great experience for your customer. Our user experience expert ensures that your website is actually useful to your customers. I always say that your website is not “yours” – it belongs to your customers. It’s about your products and services, but it’s for your customers and their needs.

All of this information is used to develop the home page and page templates for the internal pages. The internal pages would include pages such as “About,” “Services,” and “Products.” More time is typically spent on the home page design since it is usually (but not always) the first page a visitor encounters.

When you design your website, you need to be certain that you’re choosing the right colors – and you need to follow your brand guidelines. If you don’t have brand guidelines, you run the risk of having all of your sales and marketing materials – of which your website is one – not look like they are from the same company.

Imagine going to a trade show and receiving marketing collateral. Then you decide to visit the company’s website and when you get there it looks nothing like the collateral you picked up. How would you react? You might second-guess doing business with that company.

You want to avoid this situation and that is why it’s important to ensure that you’ve chosen the right colors and your brand guidelines are followed.

Choosing Picture-Perfect Website Images

Selecting website images that make sense for your company and your message is another key aspect of developing a website. You may choose to use stock photography, hire a photographer to create custom photos, or engage a graphic designer to develop images for you – or all three.

If you use stock photography, you’ll want to be certain to select images that aren’t seen everywhere. And if you choose to do a photo shoot or develop graphics, you’ll need to review the photographer’s or graphic designer’s work to ensure that the content and quality of images you receive fit your website’s messaging.

While we typically source the images and photos, your team will review and approve all of the images.

Website Content

If you’re re-doing your website, you may already have much of the web copy you need. But, if you’re doing a new website or your company has developed different messaging since your last website was rolled out, you’ll need to create new website copy. Sometimes it’s far easier to create new copy instead of trying to update old language – which may not fit the new organization or design.

Development and Testing

Your new website will be built in a staging environment. This ensures that your live site is not impacted by any development activities.

Once your site has been completed, it’s time to test it. No one wants to roll out a website with mistakes or broken links! It is industry practice to test the site in different browsers and on different devices. Your team will also review each page of the test site and we’ll make any final changes to content, layout, or images you need.

Website Launch

And finally it’s launch time. Phase 2 of your website development initiative ends when you take your website live.

What Happens in Phase 3?

You may or may not need a phase 3 for your website development project. If there is an outstanding list of items that need to be completed and didn’t fit the budget in phase 2, you’ll need to assign these to a phase 3 initiative.

Typically, if you have a phase 3 of your web project, it’s likely because your customer base needs the website to be translated into multiple languages.

But, should you do translations?

There is no simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to this question. In some markets, like pharma for instance, English is the language of choice. In other industries, it is not the preferred language. So the answer to whether you need to translate your website depends on your audience. Ask yourself (and your sales team) what your market wants. Does your audience demand your website in local languages? Knowing the answer to this will determine whether you need to invest in website translation.

Two Quick Tips

Here are two quick tips to remember as you’re thinking about translating your website.

  1. Be sure that if you do make the move into multi-language websites, you always keep them up-to-date. It is critical that you do not drop this task from your list of to-dos when it comes to keeping your website current.
  2. If you think there is a possibility of translating your site later on, it’s important to communicate this to your designer during the initial design process. This is key, since as they source images for the site, they’ll need to know not to choose images that have writing in them. The writing in photos won’t be translated when you translate your site.

Website development projects are intense and complicated, but – if done properly – they provide a significant return on investment and increase in customer engagement. If you’re ready to re-do your website and need help getting started, 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.