|Some reports have marketers spending $135 billion in 2015 on digital marketing collateral, producing a combined volume of 73% more content than this year. With so much more content about to flood the Internet – and your mail box – marketers need to cut through the noise to generate revenue. Here’s how you can keep ahead of your competition, by treating your Marketing Department just like your Sales team.
Just as they build up a picture of the right prospect, the right value proposition, and how to answer their pain, your marketers can use the same techniques to define what your branding and messaging should be to both your existing customer base and to your prospecting avenues next year.
Here are three steering devices to sharpen the conversation between your marketing and sales teams, to ensure that the right message is in the right person’s eye-line when they need it.
Describe Customer Identities
Talk with your sales reps (and customers) to identify exactly who your different target customers are and what they’re looking for. How did the sales process move, what questions did they ask, and how long did it take to get through the decision making process, and how was the decision reached? You have answers to how your sales process works, but you may not have crystalized how that happened for the different corporate personas your customers represent. Once you know that your sales solution is not as ‘one-size-fits-all’ as you thought, you are breaking the code down to simple statements that your customers were attracted to. The Marketing department will welcome the opportunity to re-shape several, different, simple statements, instead of trying to find different angles of one simple Value Statement. Now, you can find the way of delivering the right content at the right time.
Chart Your Marketing Sled Run
Just as your sales department is accustomed to their own funnel, your marketers should be aware of their own conveyor belt – the way prospects move from awareness to sales, and beyond. People don’t move in a straight line from “top of the funnel” to “bottom of the funnel” anymore. They meander, compare prices, read reviews, check out social media, etc. So, what kind of platforms and media are they using to comparison shop?
We have called our Funnel the Sled Run, because it may be fast from beginning to end, but it also has many twists and turns. It is only researching how your customers progress from introduction to sale. You will come to understand the strengths and shortcomings of your current content. From there, you can deploy content resources where their impact will be greatest.
Create Strategic Campaigns
With a Customer ID’s in mind and a ‘lead sled run’ based on data, you can create tailored campaigns with different content elements to ensure engaging customers at the right time. Whether it is by press release, blog post, email campaign, or social network updates to bring people to your businesses’ site, with value-added content and offers to nurture your customers and capture the information you need to maintain interest, and show your expertise.
By treating your marketing department as you expect from your sales specialists, you are helping them do a better job aimed directly at the people you need to expand your business. An added benefit is that your Sales department will feel that Marketing is on their side, and they can count on informative marketing arriving at their prospect’s attention that will aid in the sales process as they move closer to conversion. Your Marketers will know the impact of marketing expenditure, and be able not only access the huge market in the coming year, but to dominate it in your niche.
Another week and another ‘new’ online marketing task to learn: I know that things can get very confusing very quickly when you are new to online marketing. Sometimes, it’s enough to say simply: “I don’t have enough time to learn this.”, and give up. Without trying to add more details to your busy day, I believe that these two terms will be spoken about a lot in the near future, so they are worth explaining. It will help your business marketing, they work together, and they are easier to grasp than you may think. So give me five minutes, and we will see if you have an ‘Eureka’ moment.
Semantic Search, is the future of the Internet. At the moment, to attach two websites to each other, you link the two sites through information and content on your two sites. The more links you have that are trustworthy sites, and don’t peddle simply spam, then the better (more expert) your site becomes. In the very near future, all of the data that you as a person, you as a business owner, all of your business information holds can soon be looked at by ‘the ‘net’ as bits of information about you. This will also include all of those people that you are connected to. The current example is Pizza.
Perform a search on this in the morning, and you will get informational links. Perform the same search during the evening, and you will get different results: Those that show actual purchasing decisions, like delivery, special offers, and closest to you. Why? Because Google knows that if you are searching at this time of day, you are probably looking for something to eat.
Semantics can mean, simply, ‘like’, or ‘alike’. Google makes decisions based on all of the information that it knows about you to make that search as immediate as possible. The information you put online had better bear this in mind to ensure that you have the right information going to the right people at the right time.
Content Management simply means how you lay out the information you want to put out to your communities. What do they have in common with the sites you have linked, with the time of year, with the e-mail marketing you are doing. It is ensuring all of the marketing you are doing for your business is not only correct, it is aimed at your communities, based on what they will be searching for, not just what you want to promote about your company.
These two guidelines should be the basis of what you are trying to market, and make it easier for you to aim your correct message to the people you want to receive that message. So, how can you plan with this in mind? Simply approach it the same way you do with any other business decisions:
• Plan: Create a strategic structure for your content marketing: Look at the communities you are aiming your message at. What has worked before, what do they want to hear, and what do you need them to know?
• Team: This may be just you, but do others have some input into your businesses daily operations that have information that you need to add. Can they be added to the marketing loop, and how. What information are they supplying, and is anyone else in the corporation doing?
• Ideas: Generate a steady flow of ideas for your all of your blog posts, e-mails, social media posts and comments. A weekly meeting, or solo brainstorming session may be all that is required, if everyone comes prepared to expand on those ideas that are already doing well online.
• Production and Distribution: Put a marketing diary together that shows what message is going to whom, and when. Stick to it for a few cycles to note what changes take place to your audience figures, and to put natural spikes and valleys in their correct perspective.
• Audience Development: Who is reading, or accepting your message. Which community do they fit into, and do these communities change over a period of time. Do they grow? Do they splinter? Are you, actually, marketing to the communities that you thought you were. Are you aiming at the right communities?
• Convert & Nurture: How do your ‘touches’ with people grow? Do you have definite steps from introduction to purchase, and – if so – are they all following the plan? Where do you lose their interest, and why? Tweak the plan to take this into account.
• Measure & Optimize: Once tweaked, can the message be repeated? Are there more things to do with a more current marketplace? Ensure that your delivery vehicle (Signpost, website, written collateral) reflect these changes.
Most new additions to marketing – especially on the ‘net – are buzzwords based on age-old marketing foundations: Do you know your customers, how to grow that number and turn prospects into customers, and then keep them with you forever, always spending more. All the tools you need to do this are given to you, just plan to ensure you know what is about to happen.
|In the real estate industry, blogs have become more and more important. Any back-link check on realtors in geographic areas show a list og blog posts from different realtors that have been doing it for a long time. How do you come up with something new weekly?
Most importantly, you will go through a learning curve early in your copy writing ‘career’, when you will find it difficult to stick to one theme. You will always try to open a different paragraph with a different idea. If you start filling these ideas away (I.e. cut and paste them out of your current document ,and put them on the next available page.), you will find that all of these different ideas will become blog posts in their own right.
Secondly, you will learn to listen around the office and to your prospects in more detail, and will receive all kinds of ‘conversational gems’ that show how many people don’t know a fact, or how an upcoming ‘left turn’ in your industry, or your communities might change things in the future. These become blog posts, also.
Almost any new piece of information that come across your desk can be used as a starting point for your imagination to start a post with. You will soon be showcasing your knowledge (and becoming an expert to those that don’t know.), and your passion (which leads people to think that you like to help people. Everyone loves those people.)
The more you get used to promoting yourself, you will find ‘likes’, “+1’s”, and ‘follows’ from people that like what you write. Who are these people? What similarities and differences do you and those people have? How do they all connect together, who else can I attract. It is the sharing by other people that really matter to you, because they are doing what you want then to – sharing your news. So…return the favour, and grow your online community. Watch as it inevitably leads everyone back to your offline communities, and then watch howm many people you did’t knowl but wanted to, join the pack.
It’s not inevitable, but – if you are an expert – it will happen. You can then use them as a sounding board. I recently asked a group of realtors that I don’t personally know, what they are writing about right noew. Guess what – they told me!
There is an inexhaustible supply of subjects. I bet tat you have had some ideas from just using this. Give yourself a year, and start with one blog post a week. See how far you get and, in a year, count how many new ‘friends’ you have both online and in real-life.
So let’s put all of these ideas into action! I have been writing for a little over a year on growing your business utilizing Internet Marketing, but it has all been somewhat theoretical until now. An opportunity came my way this past week that allows me to put all of these plans into action, so for Year Two, I shall concentrate on one project, and share with this blog all that goes on, on an ongoing basis. If you think that your business is tough to market for, then please check out ‘Walter’, and let me know if your problems can be helped.
I visited a local tailor last week. I have lost a fair bit of weight over the last couple of years, and decided to change my current wardrobe, rather than buy more. My wife was shocked, but I was serious: “By resizing all of the suits that I have, and donating what I don’t wear, I can gain wardrobe space, help someone out, and look good. Plus, I will never have to buy any more clothes ever again.” I have used Walter before, but it hasn’t been for a while, and while I don’t have the kind if money that he wants to do this job, I can pay him on an ongoing basis for two months, and build him a website, and try to get him more customers by getting him online as payment in kind.
Why? Because he is a talented artisan that will save me money. His work has been great for me before this. He needs more business, but doesn’t know how to get it. I can help someone, while he helps me. Perhaps this rings a bell with you, but he knows nothing about online business, doesn’t have a computer, still has a phone with a rotary dial, and depends on a sandwich board outside if his store – that is hidden away inside an inside mall. He’s like a great secret that I can help by spreading the word.
He also is in a sunset industry – one that has been taken over by quick fix stalls in the mall, and anonymous back room workers. No-one appears to appreciate his talents as a renewer, alterer, and tailor. My first suit is 20 years old, but hasn’t been worn very much over the last ten – you could say that it’s new. It was also expensive at the time, and wasn’t ‘off the rack’. In my first fitting, he has dropped it by 2 sizes, and I know have a waist, and pants that hang naturally on top of my shoes, not from my hips. I can find my waist, and I have a shape to me, now!
Today is my first sit down with him, where I explain about internet marketing, and how his business can grow. I’ll see how he reacts. Look out for the Walter the tailor website
Had enough of the never-ending ‘Hottest new ways to manage your Business’ advice that floods your inbox? While it’s true that the Internet, and the reach that it offers everyone, has been like a bomb under the desk of every business owner (no matter it’s size.), don’t fall into the trap of believing that everything that all businesses ever did to make their day-to-day work prior to 1985 no longer apply. If you have moved away from certain ‘old school’ management techniques, in favour of letting the ‘net do it, you may well be missing opportunities that your business rely on. After all, centuries of business practice won’t be completely swept away in less than a generation.
If the future of work depends on speed and nimbleness, there are certain paradigms that are required to help these systems work correctly. Keeping these paradigms in mind will oil the wheels of your business, keep it on the tracks, keep it steaming along, guided by its proactive marketing, taking the fuel it needs from its sales funnel, and everyone enjoying the trip of Customer Service.
Take all you can from new media, better processes in warehousing and industrial practices, and the untimed working period, but don’t throw out everything you used to do in order to maximize your businesses’ future. After all, everything old becomes new again, and you may well be better served to use systems you already have in place, rather than blowing everything up in an attempt to be modern. Sometimes, things need to be overhauled, occasionally, they need to be helped along, but if your systems are working, then why change it?
Reporting has gone the way of the Dodo in many companies. This is due to telecommuting, ever changing corporate roles, and other symptoms of the wired world. Just because many employees and contractors are working remotely, it is important for them, and you, to ascertain their goals, and how close they are to getting them. Even if – in the case of a remote sales force – you can access software that shows where they are, and what they are doing at any time you choose, the opportunity to talk to them on an ongoing basis – even if it’s only seasonally – to sit with them face-to-face and ask how business is will always impress on them that you are listening. If you have hired the right person to work for you, and you have given them goals, a fast, regular and ongoing conversation about how close everyone is will help you keep a tab on your businesses’ everyday operation, and teach you some new tricks that these talented people have found. It will also cut down on your workload.
With everyone’s reliance on AI to complete tasks, how hard is it to e-mail you and let you know what is close to completion, only half-way there, or behind schedule. It doesn’t have to be every Friday afternoon, but if your business runs on a tight schedule, you have to have some way of knowing how that schedule is going. Talented employees can be entrepreneurial and excited by taking control over their area. This is a great way to expand the business, but it could also slow up projects that have a Critical Path-type of operating history. Keeping them on their own schedules, as well as encouraging them to do what they have to in order to move the project forward, allows for the best of both worlds.
By moulding your existing practices that work, and changing those that can be managed better, you can have the best of both worlds in your business, but don’t throw out the rules that have managed businesses for centuries, just because it’s not ‘modern’.