Archive | June 2014

Use all of your company for Marketing

Many small business entrepreneurs don’t realise the tools they already have to hand to make their company full of salespeople. If the ‘boss’ is the main sales point in any small company, there are online tools available to add everyone’s voice in the company to the overall sales strategy. Although there will always be fads in online marketing, some perhaps a little grey hat, but a little research shows that there are some well-trusted platforms that anyone can use, and help to spread the word about your business that will be a great help.

You don’t need to worry about growing your brand. Today, your company is your brand. Perhaps you worry that your voice won’t be heard among the giants of your industries, but the difference in today’s business environment is only numbers.

Brands such as Dell, Coca-Cola, LEGO and Nokia have trained thousands of their employees to act as brand advocates, listening and engaging in social conversations and exchanging insights with customers to shape and drive their business forward. Your job, as a small business owner is the same, but scaled down to a manageable size. Your first question should be: How do I keep everyone aligned and on the same page?

In the past five or six years, we have gotten used to social platforms being used as a solid base for your marketing. As with other business plans and models, these platforms value has moved from a crude social lead digging to a much more elegant phase in which prospective clients can be discovered, scored and nurtured using social networks and everyday relationship building tools. Let’s call it Social Selling, or at least Social Lead Targeting.

As services such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter grow in importance so too have the tools that mine the rich set of sales data left in every interaction. Nowadays there are ways to assist these sites to talk to each other, and your five or six employees have completely separate online contacts that you can now meld into an ever growing circle of leads, and salespeople.

You don’t even need a full time IT or saes department. Just know what you want to promote, and put a plan in place when you will market that plan. Let’s look at Twitter as a channel an what to do to maximize the interest on it:

  • What are these people interesting in on other social networks?
  • Who are their connections and where is their contact information?
  • Can you compile a marketing document that shows who has shown what interest in what marketing?
  • Can you track their visits to your website, and what they found interest in?

First off, you can easily do all of this and more with little or no tech support for less than $100 a month.

Thus is only Twitter so far, you can do the same kind of discovery and targeting on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ as well with the right tool set up and integration.

By using all of your employees to access and grow their own network, targeted lists and a connected network of your customers and prospects, you can very quickly find what people like about you, and what to change to ensure your marketing is focussed and sharp.

This is called integration, and ‘Hootsuite’ and ‘Nimble’ can be used to do all of these tasks in  a streamlined and timed way.

I can easily build a list in Twitter based on search criteria and then with one click add selected list members to the Nimble CRM tool for a complete picture of the prospect along with unified messaging. So, now if I reach out to that prospect by way of a subtle connection tweet, Nimble captures our entire conversation, shows me the prospect’s social stream and their key connections in one screen.

Social is not so much a marketing channel as it is a behavior that allows for much richer listening, targeting, nurturing, learning and converting. The key is to bake social data and signals into your entire prospecting and sales process as a mindset using tools that put this vital set of data at your fingertips. Don’t forget to track , and continue contact with your prospects

The real skill then becomes using this information to add value!