Recently we exhibited, for the first time, at the Microsoft TechEd
show in Orlando. We were extremely excited to showcase our latest product, specifically designed as a plug-in for Micosoft System Center Configuration Manager, the Universal Imaging Utility System Deploy Plug-in (UIUSD)
This show offered a large, and very focused demographic from which to gather a substantial number of qualified leads. And we weren’t disappointed. We met some terrific folks, and had a great time (aside from the heat and humidity.)
One of the things that often happens at shows, and was prevalent here, is that when we give away free T-shirts we tend to get swamped with huge numbers of people. The common exhibitor reaction to this phenomenon, and the reason most give swag away, is to capture as many leads as possible.
We don't agree with the typical exhibitor, and here are three reasons why we don't want to scan every Conference attendee:
They only want the free stuff
If you’ve exhibited at shows, you’ve seen the type. They have a giant rolling bag, plus whatever bag the expo floor was sponsoring, and they walk around with wide eyes scavenging pencils, t-shirts, finger darts, and whatever else they can get their hands on. They might as well have “Not Interested” tattooed on their foreheads.
A worthless lead is a time waster
We try to spend as much time with each visitor as possible. But when there are T-shirts to be had, things can get a little crazy. So we don’t give away a T-shirt without asking one question, “Are you responsible, or do you know the person responsible for OS image deployment?” If they answer no, we give them a T-shirt and send them on their way. If yes, then we scan them right away and try to engage them for more information. If we scan a worthless lead, then I have to manage that lead. I have to score it separately and try to keep it from infiltrating the rest of my qualifies leads and thus, wasting my time when I open it, recall it’s lack of significance, include it in a segmentation list, or try and score it. If there’s a chance I can cultivate a lead, I will. But if there’s no hope, I don’t have enough time, to add a worthless lead as a time waster.
Email to worthless leads does brand damage
If your email inbox is anything like mine, as a marketer we receive countless junk emails a day. Somehow, in spite of all efforts to the contrary, my email ends up on a list to which I didn’t subscribe. My very first reaction when opening such an email, is profoundly negative. I don’t care who the company is, if they have sent me an email that has nothing to do with me, I get irritated. If I see that company name again, my automatic feeling toward that brand is not a good one.
I want to create a new lead and opportunity any chance I can, but not at the expense of having the recipients initial response to our brand be a negative one.
Are there any other reasons why you wouldn’t scan every attendee?
White Papers are interesting assets. Their origin as dry, technical documents has given way to a mix of content that often includes a blatant sales pitch. The best provide a solution to a prevalent problem, and are chock-full of valuable, usable content for the reader.
Good White Papers are really hard to write.
I wrote our first White Paper several years ago. It was a fair initial effort that took a great deal of time, contained some relevant information. But isn’t exactly at the top of my list of go-to assets.
When we launched our new product, the Universal Imaging Utility System Deploy Plug-in for Microsoft SCCM, I wanted a valuable, usable asset and maybe even a decent lead generator. So I had our recent White Paper written by a professional. (The @ppum Group did a great job and was a pleasure to work with)
But are White Papers really worth the time and money to market?
Unfortunately, the answer comes back yet again, to the same thing I’ve talked about all too often – good content. If the content is good, really good, and relevant to the reader, and provides knowledge or a solution, it is totally worth marketing. The big problem is that the White Paper universe is saturated with poorly written pieces. Or worse yet, filed under the wrong category. It can be extremely tiresome to sift through countless company-sponsored White Papers trying to find anything useful.
The other difficulty comes from the large cost associated with promoting assets like White Papers through paid content syndication. Some of the largest conglomerates, while still offering free submission, charge thousands of dollars a month to promote and track the leads associated with said White Paper. I don’t know about your budget, but mine certainly doesn’t have $75 a lead with a 125 lead minimum readily available for one site, let alone multiple.
So if good White Paper content is worth marketing, how can one accomplish it on a small budget?
-I mentioned the free submissions available on many content syndication sites – that is a good place to start.
-The next tip is something I figured out about two years ago. You can optimize the heck out of a .pdf for great SEO results when the White Paper is hosted on your website. First, under the properties section in Acrobat, you can add meta data to help search engines find your asset. Then, you can hyperlink any images or links that you didn’t already have hyper-linked through InDesign or word or whatever you wrote it in. Lastly, under Tool>Advanced Editing, you can TouchUp Text Reading Order. This actually tells the browser in which order you want it to read the .pdf which can be extremely helpful with keyword and header content.
-A lot of White Paper writing sites will recommend submitting a press release to promote your asset. I have mixed feelings about this one. Part of me thinks that any press is good press, and there are plenty of free PR sites. But does your White Paper contain content that is remotely as significant as your latest new product? Basically I ask myself, even if my White Paper is terrific, is it newsworthy, and does it warrant me pestering the journalist who’s desk the release will ultimately cross? The last thing I want is to have someone glaze over anything associated with our company. (This, of course, assumes that journalists pay attention to our companies in the first place.)
-Social Media is a pretty solid tool for continued promotion. Assuming you’ve done your job of garnering followers with similar interests to your company, strategic posts highlighting particular aspect of your White Paper can be very effective. This is true particularly if you have designated landing pages and an automated marketing system (we use Pardot) to track interactions. I used to use Hootsuite to plan out a weekly or bi-monthly post to Twitter or LinkedIn until we started using Pardot.
Those are my main ways to promote our White Papers, what are yours?
In the next few weeks we will be releasing a new product to the world. We’ve spent almost a year on development.
It’s going to be a great product, and bring real value to our future customers.
In order for me to type that last sentence confidently, a great deal of work had to go into not just the creation of this new software, but in determining market need, saleability, and perhaps almost as important as the quality of the product – who my target market is and how to get them to buy it.
Needless to say, the market need for the Universal Imaging Utility System Deploy Plug-in (UIUSD), after speaking with quite a few Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) admins, is pretty ripe. The software is priced competitively, and we feel that reception will be overwhelmingly positive.
The biggest issue?
Our target market is almost too defined.
You read correctly, I did just declare that we know EXACTLY who our target audience is and where to find them, and I made it read like it actually might be a slightly negative thing.
The reason I feel this way is due to the extremely specific, and small number of individuals to whom I need to market.
As an illustration, the advantage of our existing product is that target messaging carries with it secondary, and even tertiary possibilities depending on the interaction. For example, our current product, the UIU, is designed to work with any operating system cloning and deployment solution to reduce the number of OS images an organization needs to maintain down to ONE by, among other features, handling all the drivers needed for any hardware component. The messaging is such that any entry-level help desk individual, IT Manager, all the way up to CTO or CIO of any company utilizing anything like Ghost, Altiris, Zenworks, , Acronis, FOG, ImageX, etc., can be made aware of the time-saving benefits.
In contrast however, the UIUSD is a plug-in specifically for SCCM and as such, our target market is limited to SCCM admins only in Enterprise environments actually utilizing SCCM. In addition, the innate complexities of the robust SCCM platform greatly reduce the likelihood that anyone in the organization not intimately familiar with SCCM would benefit from the kind of targeted messaging able to generate quality leads.
So on one hand my job with our new product is easy when defining my ideal prospect, but on the other hand, quite a bit more difficult in planning campaigns that reach the exact right person at the exact right time.
Won’t stop me from selling the heck out of our awesome new product though.
Have you ever had a target market that was too specific?
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|About Adam Murphy -
Adam is the President and Owner of Big Bang LLC and espouses a pretty progressive small business philosophy based primarily around hiring the right people and getting the hell out of their way.
|About Nate Bauer -
Nate is the Marketing Director for Big Bang LLC and pretty much spends his days tip-toeing on the pinnacle of how to most effectively implement strategy given the wide open cookie jar of small business marketing possibilities.
|About Kelley Burian - @kelleyburian
Kelley is the Sales Director for Big Bang LLC. Responsible for everything from GSA contracts, resellers and international customers, she has her hands full doing whatever she can to make sure our valued clients are thrilled with our fantastic products.