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Published on August 16th, 2005 | by Janine Popick


Marketing to Businesses

At VerticalResponse, our biggest challenge is to convert a business user to a free trial of our product. We thought it might be time to give some tips on how we do it here at VR:

B2B communication is a much different type of marketing than Business-to-Consumer (B2C), so it’s important to understand the nuances when creating marketing campaigns.

Target Audience       

Knowing what “types” of people you’re marketing to and the language to use when addressing them is crucial for effective B2B marketing. Who in the company is responsible for the purchasing decision? Is it a two-step sale?

For instance, if you’re selling a technical product to a company but your target audience is the Marketing Department, you might want soften the feature set you’re selling and focus on the benefits and cost savings.

Write B2B Copy       

When marketing to businesses, concise but detailed copy always works the best. Avoid the “fluff” and make sure that you provide enough information to keep your readers interested. Keep your copy direct, informative and professional.

The best thing you can do is to easily convey how your products or solutions can reduce costs or increase productivity. it’s the best way to win new business.

The Offer 

The two-step approach is extremely popular in B2B marketing. Offering something of value for free is common. You are trying to gain the trust of the businesses you’re emailing with – now make them an offer they can’t refuse!

The Two Step Approach

Step 1: Marketing to your prospect to get their interest and their name and permission for future marketing.

Step 2: Marketing to them to close the deal.

For example here at VerticalResponse , we put our money where our mouth is, we allow anyone to take a “free test drive” of our product, which gives them all the functionality of our service, but without any financial commitments. RISK FREE is still a great tool for converting customers since they are able to “try before they buy” and ask questions to make sure our service is a good fit for their needs.

Many of our customers have told us that this was the #1 reason they signed on with us since they were able evaluate our product on their own terms. Once they registered and became subscribers to our service, we were then able to send them follow up marketing campaigns to keep them interested and educated about what we had to offer.

Forget the free pen it’s not going to distinguish your company from the masses so it’s not only important to target your marketing campaigns intelligently, but also make sure that any add-ons are appropriate for the audience that you’re dealing with.

The Landing Page: “The Closer”       

Once the recipient clicks through to your website, you’ll want to have a “trackable” landing page for them to hit so you can evaluate the behaviors of your new prospects. The landing page should PAYOFF the features and benefits of your products or services. It should be presented as a quick summary or “overview” rather than a long and detailed description.

Try using a graphic or picture, and some highlights from your email content on the landing page to carry over the theme from the initial email message. You also might want to “test” different versions of your email campaign with different landing pages to see which links or which pages seem to yield the best conversion rate.

Timing is Everything

The timing of your marketing campaign is crucial. From the hour of the day (time zone differences) to the day of the month and even the day of the year (holidays, etc) there are always certain factors that can affect your campaign performance.

You might find Monday mornings might not work best because your recipient’s in-boxes will be too full from mail received over the weekend, you don’t want your offer lost in the mix. You might find mid-week campaigns to perform well, so mail Tuesday through Thursday morning, staying clear of the weekends. There is no universal rule in terms of the perfect time to mail because it all depends on your business and when you think your recipients are most likely to be at their computers.

Case Studies Work!

One of the most common questions we hear from prospective customers is: “Who else does VerticalResponse do business with?” Customer testimonials and case studies are powerful resources when trying to sign a new client. Make sure they are posted on your site. VerticalResponse posts them all over, even on the home page VerticalResponse. Positive comments from a client who is in a similar industry as your prospect can influence their decision to work with your company as well.

If you are currently providing a valuable service to an organization that has similar needs, then you’ll surely want to make your prospective client aware of this during the sales process.

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.

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