how a free download generates business

case study of a successful free download

In the last two months we’ve covered strategies for generating new business with free downloads — everything from digital coupons to white papers. If you need to catch up, use these links to check out what makes a great free download and how to maximize their effectiveness by industry. This month we’ll wrap this three-part series with a closer look at a successful promotion.

the LinkedIn solution

Sometime in late 2013, I started noticing that a lot of my clients were talking about LinkedIn, and commenting that they really didn’t know how to use it. They didn’t understand why they needed to be there, what the advantages were, or what to say about themselves. Continue reading

the best prospects for free downloads

who do free downloads work best for?

Last month we covered what makes a great free download, but their effectiveness varies by industry, and every market handles them a bit differently. Look closely at the top performers and you’ll see they’re essentially doing the same thing, but how you present and package your download matters: Continue reading

what makes a great free download

Late last year I mentioned that a free download is a great way to grow your email list and encourage other forms of customer engagement. But what makes giving something away for free worthwhile? Here’s a quick rundown of traits that make a “free” report compelling to your buyers — and more likely to drive new business.  Continue reading

eliminate guesswork about your buyers

In the last few months, two very different clients of mine discovered unexpected and game-changing insights about their target markets. In both cases, we’ve been working on updates to their visual identity and positioning strategies, and some of the changes we’re contemplating are dramatically different from what they’ve done in the past.

This could be scary, but both client teams are feeling confident about the decisions we’re making because we’re not changing direction blindly. Instead, we’re making conscious shifts in direct response to information obtained from surveys of their best customers and prospects.

The surveys revealed that much of what we thought we knew about our customers was correct. But we also got some very surprising information that uncovered customer needs and desires our current marketing plan wasn’t taking into account. We found that many of our assumptions didn’t match the reality of how we were perceived by our customer base. In some cases, the survey data even identified organizational issues that needed to be addressed.

Both clients had the same reaction. They realized right away that the unexpected information made the entire survey process worthwhile. In response, we were able to re-orient our new positioning and identity changes to take advantage of the opportunities that were revealed.

Continue reading

four ways to grow your email list

Email is still one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new prospects and build loyalty, but it’s not the digital Wild West it used to be. Since 2003 it’s been illegal in the United States for businesses to send unsolicited email to anyone who doesn’t have a prior relationship with the company (see the CAN-SPAM Compliance Guide for full details). More recently, new anti-spam legislation went into effect in Canada on July 1 of 2014.

While the effectiveness of anti-spam legislation is open to debate, the good news is the email practices these laws prohibit are the ones that don’t work well in the first place. The most successful email marketers build their lists using opt-in strategies like these, all of which are still legal throughout North America: Continue reading

inbound marketing—the art of making buyers come to you

I’m at the Inbound conference in Boston this week, learning lots of exciting stuff about how to attract attention and generate new business for my clients. I can’t wait to share some of these insights with you, so here’s a quick bulletin with my first impressions from the event.

Hubspot, the organization behind the conference, defines inbound marketing as follows:

Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close and delight over time.

Good examples of inbound marketing include your blog content, online articles, website content, valuable email marketing (in other words, content that helps your reader rather than giving them a sales pitch), social media, and other tools that engage the interest of your prospects by encouraging them to form a closer relationship.

Stated more simply, the key to inbound marketing can be summed up like this: it’s about helping, not selling. Continue reading