Prevent Prospects From Wasting Your Marketing Dollars

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To deal with sales-resistant prospects, many B2B companies use white papers as part of their marketing mix. Generally, this type of report — which ranges from 5, 10, 15 pages or more — provides a case study of how your product or service solved a customer’s problem.

Eric Gagnon, a sales and business development consultant and author of The Marketing Manager’s Handbook, says: “White papers communicate with the reader without resorting to the usual marketing hype found in many brochures, ads, direct mail or other standard B2B marketing deliverables. I think this is a very important feature of white papers, and explains their growing popularity.”

A recent story in Target Marketing proves the popularity of information premiums such as white papers, guides and related educational information in the direct mail world. The article noted in the second quarter of 2006 the Who’s Mailing What! Archive recorded 24.3 percent of premium mailings contained information freebies.

Many companies also use a white paper as part of their opt in email marketing strategy. A visitor to the corporate website gets a white paper in exchange for providing his or her email address.

Once you’ve got the prospect into your marketing loop, you increase the chances of converting him into a customer.

But too often I see companies require that a web visitor only provide his name and email address. This can attract freebie seekers into your subscriber list. You don’t want to spend time, money and resources marketing to people who won’t buy your product.

The best way around this problem is to demand more qualifying information from your prospect. The minimum info you should require before making a white paper available to web visitors is:

-First and last name -Job title -Company name -Email address

Other required info could be the prospect’s website address and phone number.

Some B2B websites won’t accept subscribers using free email addresses, such as Yahoo or Hotmail. The theory is people using such addresses are more likely to be freebie seekers, not quality business prospects.

To help better understand if a web visitor is a hot lead or a marginal prospect, ask him to answer some questions. This mini survey can provide valuable marketing intelligence.

Below are some questions you might ask web visitors. Some may not be appropriate for your particular industry, so think about what essential information you need to qualify prospects. Then create relevant questions.

-Have you ever purchased a product similar to [name of product] If so, what brand?

-Do you authorize the purchasing of products like ours?

-What is preventing you from purchasing our product today?

The biggest concern many marketers have about creating a questionnaire is how many questions to ask. Too many and you may drive away even a red hot prospect. Too few and you end up with little useful marketing intelligence. The only way to know for sure what works is to test. Experiment with the number or content of questions.

One way to speed up the testing process is to use a split-testing program on your website. If you’re not familiar with the concept, split testing splits your audience into reading two or more versions of your sales copy (or, in this case, survey questions) to see which version results in more sign ups.

After reviewing the answers, divide your subscriber list into hot prospects versus marginal. Then you know where to allocate most of your follow up marketing initiatives.


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David Coyne is a copywriter and marketing consultant who specializes in B2B. Get his FREE report “Multiple Ways To Make Your Advertising More Responsive” and other marketing bonuses at his site http://www.dc-infobiz.com

Prevent Prospects From Wasting Your Marketing Dollars
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About David Coyne
David Coyne is a copywriter and marketing consultant who specializes in B2B. Get his FREE report "Multiple Ways To Make Your Advertising More Responsive" and other marketing bonuses at his site http://www.dc-infobiz.com WebProNews Writer
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