marketing

Don't Be Bland With Your Lead Nurturing Strategy

Much like a good dining experience has an enticing appetizer, embracing entree, and attention-grabbing dessert, a company's lead attraction and nurturing processes should be cleverly organized into a three-part, customer-clinching powerhouse.

It's your responsibility to ensure that you're serving up the kind of content that keeps the buyer interested and engaged at every step. You've got to put in a little extra effort to make your audience feel wanted and valuable.

It might come as somewhat of a shock to know that at least half of your qualified leads are nowhere near ready to make a purchase when they first convert. Another little secret: they're not going to budge if you stick to outdated selling strategies. Frequent sales calls are out of the question. Your aim isn't to become a pest but rather a trusted source of valuable content.

This is your chance to serve up some piping hot ToFu, MoFu & BoFu content. If you're not sure what that is, stick around and you'll find out.

Creative Lead Generation Approaches for the 21st Century Salesperson

Say what you like about sales, no matter how you look at it, the entire lead generation process is a tough gig. It's even more of a challenge when you're forced to rely on traditional approaches. When your days are filled with sending cold emails and painstakingly scraping together lists, it's hard not to feel despondent and demoralized.

The fact of the matter is that when you're going through the cold calling and cold email process, most of these people don't really want to talk to you. Sales can be somewhat of a lonely road if you're sticking to the old school script.

It's important to switch up your tactics and take a more modern approach. If you don't, you'll fall behind. It's time to reach your lead generation goals while adding value for your prospects. It's time to network and build relationships instead of focusing on the hard sell.

PR that actually works: FOUNDER-LED PR

As business people, we find ourselves navigating a somewhat unfamiliar landscape of disruption. The rise of digital media and social networks has us all clamouring for new (and better) ways to turn ideas into successes. In this new age, PR is crucial not only to your start-up but to your professional image as well.

In my information scouting ventures I found a great video published by Stanford Online, in which Sharon Pope, Head of Programs and Marketing at YC Continuity, gives a great walkthrough on how to think about PR and work with the press. (You’ll find the video on Youtube)

We all know how important PR is. We also know that PR and product innovation go hand in hand. While it’s entirely possible to drum up media hype and score some interviews in prominent magazines and on popular websites, this content isn’t going to guarantee your eventual success if your product isn’t “amazing” enough to warrant that kind of hype. Having faith in your product is the first step in a powerful PR program.

Start-up founders are quick to search for outside services, and PR is no different. Founder-led PR, however, is a better way for start-ups to create a PR program that packs the right amount of punch. While it’s true that PR firms know their way around what’s relevant in the news, as a founder, you have something the media wants: the real inside scoop. Reporters want to hear from founders; this is the end-spokesperson for them. Establish a direct line with reporters and you’ll find them coming to you further down the line when they need a subject matter expert in your domain. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. They can be your voice in the media and you can be their fountain of niche information when they need it.

Hiring an outside PR firm can deprive you of the process of defining your own business and simplifying your message. This is the foundation of your brand identity, and tackling the process internally will be invaluable in every aspect of running your business. Building up an internal PR team that knows your message is a more effective and affordable way to connect with the media. You could pay tens of thousands of dollars in monthly retainers to outside PR firms before getting a single story out there; which isn’t necessarily the best use of start-up funds.

 

Here are 5 simple steps you can focus on to make your founder-led PR program a success:
 

1. Develop Your Company Identity

- What do you do?

- Who is your ideal customer?

- What primary problem are you solving for your customer?

- What is your KPI? How is it growing?

- Do you know who your competitors are?

- What makes your product better than that of your competitor(s)?

- What are your plans for the next year?

- What made you uniquely qualified to start your company?
 

2. Define Your Business Goals and Discover Your Audience

-  Do you want to finance growth?

- Do you want to recruit the best talent?

- Do you want to land strategic partnerships to foster growth?

- Do you want to drive product trials?

- Do you want to secure a research grant?

- Is your audience investors, potential customers, or potential partners?

- How does your priority audience get their news?
 

3. Discover Where You Want Your News to Be Read

- Which top 5 reporters write articles that gel well with your image?

- What stories do your top 5 reporters write?

- What angle pushed these reporters to write?

- What angle are you looking for?

- Can you find a connection to them? Is there a way for you to get an introduction through someone?
 

4. Know What to Say and Where to Say It

- Do you want to share news about your product launches, fundraising, metrics, big hiring announcements, or stunts?

- Do you want to share insights on non-company related news such as politics, new market innovations, contextualizing other company announcements, or general entertainment?

- Do you have a way to contact reporters to pitch your ideas?

- Do you have a blog for reporters to click through for reference (don’t add email attachments)

- Do you want to give a particular reporter an exclusive scoop for their eyes only?

- Are you taking an embargo approach and contacting several reporters with a pre-brief?
 

5. Be a Valuable Source of Information

- Are you keeping an eye on Google Alerts and RSS Feeds for news?

- Are you watching HARO (Help a Reporter Out) for potential news stories?

- Are you searching Twitter for #journorequests and #PRrequests?

- Are you participating by sharing your opinion on articles that interest you?

- Are you giving your real thoughts instead of shameless self-promotion?

- Are you participating in Q&A sessions on Quora and Reddit?

- Are you creating your own content on platforms like Medium or your own blog?

 

Developing your own PR strategy is an important part of establishing your brand. When you break them down, these 5 steps are completely achievable. It’s all about taking the right steps and being thorough in your approach.

15 free online tools for marketing and sales professionals

Our 15 top recommendations for anyone within sales and marketing to improve their productivity and improve customer acquisition. 

 

1. aytm.com   Conduct Primary Surveys with a panel of 25m people
 2. profound.com  Purchase research by chapters from 200 research publishers
 3. companycheck.co.uk   Check who is the director and address of a UK company
 4. spyfu.com     Find competitor's SEO / PPC strategy
 5. semrush.com   Keyword analysis of competitors website using Google Adwords
 6. www.domaintools.com  See who owns the website
 7. BuiltWith.com     What technical tools the website is built using
 8. rapportive.com    Verify emails right into your gmail
 9. voilanorbert.com    Find anyone’s email addresses
 10. freeconferencecall.com   Free global conference call facility
 11. answeramerica.com   Inexpensive phone answering service
 12. ninjaoutreach.com    Find influencers in your industry
 13. onalytica.com     Find influencers for the article you have written
 14. numbeo.com     Compare eco-social conditions between 2 cities
 15. copyscape.com    Review where is the content copied from

Big Data in Event Marketing: 2016's Biggest Trend

Big Data has been described as being “the accumulation, storage and manipulation” of very large data sets, and has been a steadily growing trend in the event marketing industry in 2016. Jan Sysmans, DoubleDutch’s Head of International Marketing, believes that the use of big data will replace the industry’s reliance on anecdotal evidence alone. Marketer’s decision-making changed completely when web marketing, email, and digital advertisements became commonplace. Another change is due with the digitization of the event marketing industry, granting marketers access to a wealth of deep data resources.

Sysmans also believes that laptop usage will decline in favour of mobile devices, paper handouts will be increasingly phased out by digital content, and an increase in useful data being collected through techniques such as polling, sentiment analysis, and “real time lead and contact scanning”. Additionally, attendees have shown an interest in actively participating in events, allowing them to mould the event to their liking. Liz King, the Chief Event Specialist of Liz King Events also predicts a big focus on data collection as planners gain experience and skill with accessing and successfully channelling big data. “I’m excited to see how planners will embrace big data and all the changes we’ll see at our events because of it.”

Zeta Interactive CEO, David Steinberg believes that big data’s event evolution throughout 2016 and the years to come will include five main areas of improvement. The first of these is the unification of databases into one highly efficient, user friendly combination of transactional and predictive data. He believes that the next logical step will be the need for real-time data streaming from an array of devices, along with a method of harnessing and actioning them in real time to streamline the process and deliver an exceptional experience for attendees. Steinberg also predicts the rapid adoption of increasingly available and accessible machine learning tools, many of which are already gaining momentum. He also believes in the increased popularity and advantages associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as the re emergence of meta- and master-data with the aim of improving usability and security.

Experts and industry insiders tend to agree that 2016 is a big year for the adoption of big data technologies and techniques, which will revolutionise the event marketing industry and lead to even more impressive, popular events.

Keeping Up with the Evolution of Marketing

Marketing is constantly evolving, always growing to include new ideas, new combinations of tactics, and new insight into current practises. At the moment, marketing is heavily focused on social media channels to an unhealthy degree. Forbes.com’s Daniel Newman recently wrote that, “Social media is one platform of many, a tactic that does a great job of supporting broad campaigns but flounders by itself.” It’s important for marketers to realise that there is more to a holistic strategy than simply excellent social media figures. Social media should exist as a supplementary, supportive entity, rounding the end-user experience to be more palatable and accessible. Unfortunately many highly effective, more ‘traditional’ tactics often fall by the wayside. One such example is the careful creation of owned emailing lists - which can be curated to be of specific interest to each of your user groups. There are many advanced tools online that allow your clients to do the work for you, allowing them to toggle their areas of interest for themselves, giving them full control over the types of information they receive. In an article for Fourthsource.com, Warren Duff emphasised the importance of email tailoring; “If you’re going to deliver your marketing messages via email, do it right: this means displaying subscribe fields prominently and providing easy access to an email preferences centre.”

Content marketing is another often overlooked aspect that should be part of a comprehensive strategy.  Brianne Carlon, Rush of the Business2Community, wrote that every content marketing strategy needs to include interactive, bite-sized, personalized content - a trifecta that makes up the foundations of modern content marketing. Getting this combination right is tricky, “but if you can master the creation of quality content that stands out from the rest, operates seamlessly on mobile and offers a personalized experience, you will not just survive 2016; you’ll thrive.”

Keeping in line with the trend of deeper engagement and tailored experience, is the reemergence of relationship marketing into a prominent position in the makeup of any rounded marketing strategy. Clients want to feel valued, a stipulation that has the power to dictate long term customer loyalty, or utterly destroy a company’s reputation if ignored. There needs to be a large degree of accountability, reliability, and supportiveness in the business-client relationship. The key to making it all work is neatly summed up by PCMag.com’s Brent Johnson, “At the core of relationship marketing is a focus on working together—you and your customer—to jointly accomplish your goals.”

Advantages of Writing White Papers for B2B companies

For those who missed out yesterday Goodman Lantern launched a research paper on Advantages of Writing White Papers for B2B companies. White papers have repeatedly proven to move prospects through the sales funnel and benefit businesses especially for sales within a business to business environment. According to Ric Mccarthy at GM Digital "For us White Papers have proven to be a very effective form of business communication".