to narrowdoneEuropean vps hostingstudy done knowledgestormbuildwithvisitwhichknow wellsales

Category Archives: CRM and lead generation

Multi-devices have enabled us to be the curators of our lives

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Marketing Automated Technology, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing | No Comments

We are a nation of multi-screeners. Most of our time is spent in front of a screen. 77% of us view TV with a device in our other hand. Google’s latest research uncovers our cross-platform behaviour as we use multi devices often at the same time to achieve our goals. With technology advances in online devices, we can now choose how, when, what and who to engage with 24 x7. We are the curators of our lives.

Key findings of Google’s Research includes:

Two types of screening behaviour:

  • Sequential screening where we move from one device to another to complete a single goal
  • Simultaneous screening where we use multiple devices at the same time
  • Google has found that nine out of ten people use multiple screens sequentially and that smartphones are by far the most common starting point for sequential activity.
  • 80% of searchers happen on smart phones as a spur of the moment
  • We spend on average over 4 hours in front of screens a day to communicate, Browsing the internet – 81%
    Social networking – 72%
    Online shopping – 67%
    Research/Search – 63%
    Managing Finances – 46%
    Planning a trip – 43%
  • The time spent on screen devices per day is broken down as follows:
  1. TV – 43 minutes
  2. PC/Laptop – 39
  3. Tablet – 30
  4. Smartphone – 17
 What does this mean for marketers?
Is our attention span getting shorter? Google’s research suggests that multiple screens make us feel more efficient. So we are multi-tasking and multi-screening! I know my attention is at least fragmented between all the devices I have. If I see something on TV and want to probe deeper, I go on my iPad. Even my seven-year old plays with his Super heroes or reads his comics and then Google games, download Apps and connects with other gamers online, all at the same time.
We are on-line more than ever before and because it is easy and available part of me does feel like I have the control to choose what I want to consume, perhaps for the first time.I know I am not alone in this feeling. Most of my peers now choose when and what to watch on their iPad not TV. Conversations revolve around the latest App someone has found for recipes or to help our children read online. We are seeking out our own unique interests and communities to enrich our lives, learn and just have fun. Our behaviour has changed markedly even over the last 18 months.

We are so connected and able to be responsive and “always on” or impulsive. This has huge implications for marketers as we aim to understand the environment that our customers live in. We need to understand this new multi-screen and multi-tasking behaviour to design the best experience for our customers. With around 10% of media interactions non-screen based, if you are not online and connected you are invisible. It is easy to predict with this changing landscape that new opportunities will and have be created for all sorts of businesses. As customers decide what to pay attention to and what to ignore,  it is more important than ever to understand your customers behaviour as part of your marketing strategy. This attention and empathy to customers creates opportunities from the  from the the smallest business which now can gain visibility by reaching a new audience.
The key for truly great marketing is to know your customers and this means their likely behaviour. Understanding this ever connected landscape is step 1. Step 2 is building a strategy to navigate through it to ensure you are in the right place, at the right time with the right resources.
 Google now has a great info graphic describing our new behaviour.

 

Is your content a commodity? Why you need to think like a producer.

By | Branding, Content Marketing, CRM and lead generation, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

“Marketing is broken. Social media won’t save it. Online ads won’t reinvent themselves. Google’s acquiring. Public relations is changing. The music industry is reinventing itself. The movie business is struggling. Newspapers are dying. Your email inbox is full. Your mobile device is always on. Your DVR is recording. Your iPad apps are updating. I don’t need to tell you that the media business is in flux.If you’re going to survive in a world where everything’s changing, you’re going to have to think differently.” Hard to argue, right?

As Andrew Davis book Brandscaping is a very interesting take on how we should approach marketing. Rather than the current fad of creating loads of content much of which is seen as a commodity he states we should all be acting more like producers and try to find the right content for our audience. “Brandscaping is bringing like-minded brands and their audiences together to create content that increases demand or drives new revenue for the products and services you sell.” I really like this approach because it is based on supporting those who actually create the content that your audience will love and support them.

There are four  great reasons why I love this approach. 

1. Most of us aren’t brilliant writers. Let’s face it we don’t run a copywriting business. So it makes sense to focus on what we do really well which is our product or service offering.

2. I don’t think outsourcing this to a marketing team or copywriter is the answer either because often they are good writers but don’t understand our business or don’t have the passion or creativity for sustained engaging content.

3. By aligning your business with a someone or an organisation that is already providing content for the audience that you serve. Support them. A perfect example of this is Ducttape Marketing support Hubspot because they create a lot of How too documents. The opportunity to build a brandscape is to position your business with a undiscovered talent that can create content to drive demand for the products or services you sell. Think like a producers not a marketer.

4. Just because you are creating content don’t assume your audience is consuming it! In fact if you create poor quality content it could have the opposite effect to consumption. The amount of information created is created at an unbelievable pace. The key is to find the most effective channels for reaching your own particular audience and to get them to consumer on a regular basis. You want a relationship, so focus on reach and quality and relevance.

I ask myself this question: If I stopped by blog today would anyone notice?

It would be fair to draw the comparison between films like the latest Bond Movie Skyfall and their obvious product placement to sell more of a brand but the distinction Davies makes is that the alignment needs to be authentic and have the same set of values for the audience to buy into the partnership and for the association to work as a marketing tool.

So if you want to leverage content as an asset rather than an expense. Creating content relationships and sharing audiences, tapping into multiple niches, pooling your resources with other brands that value the same audience makes sense.

Davis describes three elements to a successful brandscaper:

1. Confidence to back the content of others with a belief in them and their audience no matter how small, is valuable.

2. Show humility by understanding that your customers care more about just your products and services.

3.Willingness to pool resources and share your audiences will allow your marketing budget to go further.

I will add one more

4. Choose your partners carefully. Think “what would your customers also like.” Align around values.

Some potential partnerships:

Nespresso store in Chadstone and Apple. They both have the same audience and could work together around topics like convenience, design and quality.

Dan Murphy could have a wine TV show like Gary Vaynerchuk’s.

Business Bank with Marketing Critique of small businesses plan as a TV channel (just putting it out there!)

Lorna Jane fitness clothing  and chef Justine Schofield

How to make a start

1. Join a LinkedIn group that your audience is participating in and contribute frequently.

2. Seek out the best tools or resources share them with your audience. (name the source and get permission always)

3. Brainstorm a good hook. It could be critiquing something, creating interviews with industry experts, 10 top tips.

4. Identify and explore content holes in your market.

5. Look for a great idea to serve your market. Someone might have built and app your audience would love. Share it, promote it. Underwrite it. A start-up looking for a partnership?

6. Who already owns our audience?

7. Where does our audience live online?

8. What sort of talent can we work with to make our brand more relevant, more often?

9. What content does our audience already have a relationship with and how can we embrace it?

10. What products/ services do our customers buy before they have a need for us?

 

Should we be investing in social CRM tools?

By | CRM and lead generation, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Social business refers to this new paradox that we are all facing as small business owners. The way we do business is changing. Our customers want to connect with us in their preferred channels, not ours. This I can see already the line blurring the way we engage with customers. I am constantly checking email, text, mobile and social media. With new aggregation CRM tools out there, should we be investing in a social business and these new interface tools? I for one am interested in anything that gives me more insight into my clients and makes finding that information easier to manage!

IBM describe the benefit of social business:

“When you inspire your workforce to innovate and collaborate more productively, you create tangible business value. When you anticipate needs and deliver exceptional experiences, you delight your customers and create advocates. When you integrate your business processes with the right social tools, you secure a competitive advantage and pioneer new ways of doing business“. The opportunity to collaborate, innovate, listen and create better experiences is now made easier with social tools and creating an initiative around a social business model.

Kathy Herrmann explains a social business as “the model centers on engaging, collaborating, and connecting with customers, partners, employees, and other interested parties. ” The reason I believe that as small businesses we should adopt a social business practice is because it focuses on the customer as the central part of your business ecosystem.”

Kathy explains that social CRM or SCRM is the platform to use to narrow the focus to the customer, making them central to the business. “SCRM is all about building genuine conversations with customers.”

I think that today whether we like it or not, business is social and so integrating social tools into your business system is becoming essential. It is step one in creating better informed and smarter employees and a delivering better customer experience.

SCRM tools allow us to:

  • Engage, collaborate, and create with customers, partners, and employees. Crowdsourcing is one example.
  • Capture and share traditional, transactional data with the unstructured data prevalent in social conversations and stored among social networks. Having one dashboard for all communications is becoming increasingly important. We don’t just email, we text, Skype, Facebook and connect in many online portals and mediums.
  • Deliver a high quality customer experience that includes at least some personalization by including contact attributes from the contact’s social profile. We have moved way beyond automated email blasts. 1:1 communication and personalising the customer experience online is now possible with technology.

Social tools  are sometimes add ons to the traditional CRM platforms. I have been investigating a few over the last couple of weeks and here are my top picks for small business.

  • Social listening solutions, allowing companies to monitor the public web and capture social conversations occurring about their brand, products or services. Examples include Radian6, Sysomos, Attensity, Inside View and Visible Technologies. My pick is sprout social or google alerts as a starting point for small businesses.
  • Community solutions, allowing companies to engage and influence interested audiences as well as empower peer-to-peer based interaction and support. Examples are Facebook, Jive Software, and Lithium Technologies. My pick for small business is a relevant small business blog and Facebook or LinkedIn (B2B). If you are retail then, Pinterest is worth using.
  • Social connectivity solutions, allowing companies to connect CRM solutions with popular social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to monitor social activity, integrate social stream data with CRM transactional data and participate in conversations with greater context. Examples are Salesforce Service Cloud, RightNow CX. Topsy, Mailchimp (Social Experience). My pick for small business is Nimble.
  • InsideView is providing sales consultants some great intelligence for building insight and connections by leveraging your network and the web.

Benefits of social CRM tools:

  • 81% received product purchase advice from friends and followers through a social site according to ClickZ
  • Sales – empowers teams to connect with the right experts to meet client needs, connect with clients and get to know your prospects better than the competition and engage with clients and prospects in new ways resulting in 49% high client retention and 25% in quota performance according to VCC case study.
  • McKinsey’s Global Survey in 2010 says that 9 out of 10 companies report measurable benefits from social business.

According to IDC  “The appetite for workspace strategies and the related requirement to review enterprise application strategies are driving the adoption in Australia of social business tools, particularly in the banking, financial services, insurance, distribution and services and government sectors.”

The tools have been adopted because of their ability to shine the light on opportunities and been used to identify target verticals where quick wins are likely and where a different go-to-market approach may be required.

The starting point for small business is to have a social business strategy. It is sound to start listening to your customers, competitors and the industry to collect as much insight and data to make better business decisions. Start by listening and then engaging where your customers are. Some of the tools above will give you a heads up for very little investment in time. I use Nimble for example to see who has tweeted about me, who is connecting with me on LinkedIn or posted to my Facebook wall. It summaries all the social interaction on one dashboard. It also enables me to add in data about people from their other online profiles and fill in some blanks which I love.

So if you want to use the information that is out there in the social business environment some of the tools above give you a great start. At the end of the day business software offers portals that allow your customers, partners and vendors to collaborate with you is no doubt the future, allowing you to get closer to your customers and partners, move quickly and seize opportunities.

 

B2B and social buyer behaviour

By | CRM and lead generation, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology, Online Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Selling Through Social Media to Close More Leads
Selling Through Social Media to Close More Leads
InsideView

This Info graphic explains some of the behavioural changes I am seeing in the B2B space. People are accessing, connecting and researching online and using social tools to do this. CRM social aggregators like Nimble and Inside View are giving a 360 view of customers. In today’s economy B2B companies are decreasing their marketing dollars and spending more online. A recent survey by B2B Magazine revealed that over 48% of those surveyed were increasing their online marketing spend.

In a recent study done by KnowledgeStorm of B2B technology decision makers the following statistics were revealed:

  • 90% Participate in Video
  • 80% Participate in Blogs
  • 80% Participate in Wikis
  • 69% Participate in Social Networks
  • 53% Participate in Podcasts

In the same study it was shared that of 69% of B2B buyers use social networks “primarily for business networking and development.”

At a minimum B2B businesses should at least be involved in communities and social network where there customers already are. Explore the opportunity to reach out to key influencers in your target market and optimize your content and social media applications for syndication.

Social media enables you to :

  • Share your expertise and knowledge
  • Tap into the wisdom of your consumers
  • Enables customers helping customers
  • Engages prospects through customer evangelism

Here is a video about this B2B changing space.

Prospect Plan. Do you have one?

By | CRM and lead generation, Sales Process, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

According to Simon from Sandler training most businesses might a financial plan and maybe a marketing plan but many don’t have a prospect’s plan. This is an issue because activity creates the opportunity for sales. Activity moves the prospect to a potential customer.

Simon explains there are several activities that classify as sales activity including ” Networking, social media, cold calling, asking for referrals, giving talks, seminars, trade shows, writing articles, posting press releases, email blasts”

Simon explains the different between competent and posses as sales professionals.

“Professionals have a plan and they execute the plan. Imposters (aka “order-takers”) wait by the phone, hoping it will ring. Some will wait by the computer, hoping the next incoming email is their ticket to riches. When asked about prospecting, they make excuses about being too busy, “putting out fires” with existing accounts. Or they say they have too much paperwork and reporting to do, or blame poor marketing materials. Order-takers are great at rationalizing poor prospecting performance.”

Simon has some good questions you should ask as a small business owner.

1.If you are a business owner or partner, how well have you done making rain?

2.If you have a sales team reporting up to you, which team members are real hunters, and which are order-takers?

3.Do you know the difference?

4.Which ones are better compensated?

5.Are changes in order?

Having a list of activities that incorporates a sales and marketing approach can improve the chances of converting prospects to customers. This plan will also help work out what approach is more successful so you can do more activities that work.  Be it cold calling, emailing, success stories or bundling offers, this planned approach is an under valued approach that can ensure that your prospects can followed up and given the information and incentive to buy.

As a small business owner how do you create activities that move potential prospects down your sales pipeline.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Do some follow up with anyone you have formed a relationship with. Send them an email with some valuable information. Phone then and ask them if they have a need for your product/ service.

2. Focus on some prospects that are likely to have a need and then offer them a taste of your product or service to move them to an interested prospect.

3. Send the interested prospect a proposal and follow up with a call.

4. Invite your prospect out for a coffee.

5. Start networking at a local event to find more prospects

Here are some other tactics from CJ Hayden from the Raintoday website.

  1. Write articles. Putting your expertise in writing and sharing it with publications your target audience reads is a powerful—and very professional—way to let more people know about your unique talents. Submit your articles to magazines, newsletters, ezines, blogs, or websites that serve your niche and watch your visibility grow. If you aren’t a strong writer, hire professional help to edit or even ghost write your compositions.
  2. Speak at conferences or events. Appearing as a speaker allows you to broadcast your expertise to three different audiences: the people who attend your talk, the people who are invited by the sponsoring organization but can’t attend, and the people you tell about it before and after. If standing in front of a room makes you too nervous, serve on a panel of experts instead. You’ll get to sit behind a table and speak from notes.
  3. Do media interviews. Being interviewed for magazines, newspapers, blogs, radio stations, or television programs can spread the word quickly about your capabilities. Landing interviews is not that hard to do if you remember to start small. Begin by approaching easy targets like association newsletters, neighborhood newspapers, lesser-known bloggers, or local cable programs and talk radio.
  4. Tell stories. One of the secrets to effective articles, talks, and interviews is to tell stories about your clients. When you describe your clients’ challenges and accomplishments, you reveal the value of your role in helping them without having to boast about it. You can use the same technique in sales presentations to prospective clients to boost your credibility without appearing arrogant.
  5. Ask for and use testimonials. Whenever you do a good job for a client, ask them to write a simple thank you note describing what you did to make them happy. Then make their kudos available on your website, brochure, or other marketing materials. Let your clients tell others about your brilliance, and you won’t have to say it yourself.
  6. Build a portfolio. Artists and writers aren’t the only ones who should capture their best work in a portfolio. You can collect photos, graphs, spreadsheets, reports, project schedules, program outlines, and other evidence of your accomplishments and display them on your website, in a marketing kit, or in a PowerPoint presentation. You don’t have to sell people on your abilities when they see for themselves what you can do.
  7. Create products. Packaging your work into merchandise that prospective clients can take home and sample gives them a compelling way to discover your real value. Products like ebooks, audio recordings, and home study courses allow you to showcase your expertise and increase your credibility. They can often be advertised more widely than your services, giving you yet another avenue for getting your name known.

Promoting your small business online. Five top tips and tools

By | Business marketing, CRM and lead generation, Facebook Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

As a small business, no doubt by now you are venturing into the online world in trying to promote your small business. No doubt you have heard about Pay-Per-Click, social media and other tools but promoting your business can be expensive and ineffective if you are not given the right advice. You can also spend a lot of time experimenting with out getting great results, time we all don’t have.

Here are my Five Top Tips and Tools for Promoting Your Small Business Online. Remember it is not about traffic. The name of the game is getting leads and conversions or sales!

1. A website presence

You need to have a website that says what you do, who for and why they should use you. Your website is your shopfront and is 24×7 so you need to invest in one that is professional and represents your brand. A key tip is that it is easy to manage and a content management system that you can update. Content and relevant fresh content is a very important way to drive visits to your site so you need to be able to add new content regularly. It is also important that you add google analytics to your website so you can see information about how your website is working.Here is how to do that in a video. To build a website you can view my apps and see which platforms I like or our how to section on how to build a website. It is also a good idea to see how your site looks on a mobile device with go mobile app and build a mobile version using wire node. You can also use a tool called Lucky Orange to see how your website works from a customer perspective and we love that!

Remember if your website doesn’t have a call to action you are wasting your money. A call to action is the step you would like your prospect or customer to take. It needs to be appropriate. A free trial, download, meeting, sample etc. You need to nurture the relationship overtime.

2. Pay-Per-Click

If you build it they might not come is very true for a website. You need to spend as much time on building your website as you do promoting it. This may start with some initial SEO and directory listings to ensure you are found but I suggest a Pay per Click campaign to ensure you are on the right track and for some great feedback quickly.

Maybe you have heard about other small businesses getting great results with Pay-Per-Click, but it looks like a lot of time to manage and you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Maybe you just aren’t sure you know where to start, what to do or how to do it? Pay Per Click campaign can you get immediate results. You get immediate feedback, you can see which keywords are performing and then you can tweak it very easily to get it to actually to bring you the sales. The key tip is set a very restrictive budget. Don’t set the budget that Google tells you to set.  Set something that you are comfortable with.You’ve got to watch it very, very carefully at the start and also think about whether this is the right thing for your business too. Using google keyword tool you can start to work out what keywords bring you traffic. You can also use Wordstream which gives you more information and I think is better than Google’s keyword tool. Remember, while google domains advertising online it is not the only medium. Now you can advertise in LinkedIn and Facebook. Both are more affordable than Adwords and might be a more relevant medium depending on your audience. They key tip is to track what works. Display advertising can be good but you have to be really careful with that.  It’s less controllable than pay per click or SEO is and so you can run through a lot of money very quickly and so the thing with that is you have to decide which of other sites where my customers are really engaging and you really need to know the demographics of your audience to engage in display advertising. If you choose to use a consultant which is a good idea if you are educated in the process, and if they say that they can guarantee you a 1 page off google, run! It takes about 6 months to get any real effect on google using AdWords but I wouldn’t lock in for longer than that in a contract. Raven tools is a good aggregator tool for looking at many online metrics if you want to do it yourself.

3. SEO

So once you see the keywords that are performing in your AdWords campaign, it’s really easy to then start doing your SEO and setting up an account on SEO and then you can sort of see the things that you want to follow on social media as well. So if you know the keywords that are performing for you with Pay Per Click, you can use those keywords to actually follow those keywords on Twitter and see where the conversations are happening and then engage in those types of conversations. If you set up a Google Alert you can track what is being said about you (or your competitors) to see what words people are using to describe you. Remember you should have SEO on your website as a given but tweaking it is really important. The descriptions for each page appear to be more important than the key words but google is always playing with this.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is an important part of online marketing and often overlooked by small businesses. Customers need reminding you are out there. It is not spamming if it is valuable information and you always provide an opt out function. To have an email campaign you need a list. You can start with your existing customers but often small businesses haven’t been in the habit of collecting names, emails, mobiles etc. START!! You also can have a landing page on your website with a form and an attractive offer to start this lead generation process. Don’t try and run an email campaign using Outlook because you’ll get blacklisted all over the place on a bunch of the ISP’s.  So you want to use something that is guaranteed to kind of get through to your customer and by using a good email solution and that can really make a difference in the deliverability of your emails. I use Mailchimp because it integrates nicely with my form generator wufoo and it has great social sharing tools and analytics but there are many tools out there including some fully automated marketing software like Infusionsoft or Hubspot.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the next level of online marketing for a small business. Many have started to play with Facebook or Twitter but without a real strategy.

Facebook is more geared towards the consumer environment in that retail businesses can use it to make offers and run contests. Having said that it is a great engagement tool for local businesses to share content and build an online community. Having a blog can position you as an authority in a B2B company and can gain you credibility amongst your peers. I find a blog, email and PR strategy very important for a service based business, while a Facebook, Twitter and social interaction strategy  more relevant in a retail business.

You need to monitor the conversation on every social platform. This can be daunting for the small business owner, so it is important to only engage in those tools you are going to manage and use. It is better to be committed to LinkedIn and leverage that as a forum rather than be on Twitter and Facebook and U-tube if you have a HR business for example. Choose where your audience is and go there.

I like social aggression tools like sprout social.

Finally as a small business you can’t do everything all at once so start with one of these tips and do it well. Learn about it. Add google analytics to your website and understand what is happening so you can make better business decisions.  The real measure of effective online marketing is leads, contacts in your database, new opportunities and returning customers that buy again. You can control how much it costs you to create leads and work out what is the right mix for your business if you are informed about the tools you need to be aware of.

If you need more information visit me at macinnismarketing.com.au

 

Take our Marketing Health Check I'm marketing savvy!