Viewing entries tagged
marketing

Social Media – the Small Business Owner’s Checklist [Infographic]

Comment

Social Media – the Small Business Owner’s Checklist [Infographic]

Social media can be confusing. You know you need to do it, often feel intimidated, sometimes get sucked in so it saps time from other valuable business actions. More worrying, how do you prove that it has an ROI (return on investment)?

There is much advice out there, and it's changing constantly. So, wouldn't it be nice if there was one place where you could stop, take a breath, and really have a clear view on how social media can help your business in today's world? Real help, in a practical manner.

Comment

Is “Emotional Marketing” the Best Way to Connect with Customers?

Comment

Is “Emotional Marketing” the Best Way to Connect with Customers?

According to the Small Business Association, “All humans feel four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.” Of course, no business wants to spur feelings of disgust or anger with their customers, but as the SBA adds, “creating strong emotions—either positive or negative—can help build a bond between your customers and your business,” which is definitely a goal all businesses share.

If you’re looking for a stronger connection with your target audience, here are tips on emotional marketing that might resonate with your target audience…

Comment

Marketing or Customer Service... five pointers

Comment

Marketing or Customer Service... five pointers

When it comes to operating a successful business, nothing’s more important than communicating effectively with your customers. Adopting the wrong tone in your marketing or sales messages, neglecting to reach out in formats where customers generally “live” and failing to reply to inquiries in a timely way can damage your brand now and into the future. Where is the line between marketing and customer service? Read on to find out more...

Comment

What to Include in Your B2B Marketing

Comment

What to Include in Your B2B Marketing

Nowhere is the celebrated “buyer’s journey” more relevant than with B2B companies and their customers. With the vast array of digital resources at their command, these customers embark on the journey by conducting extensive research, comparing companies and exploring social media—sometimes well before they make direct contact with the business they’re most interested in.

As a result, B2B companies need to “up” their marketing game, in order to be ready when the buyer’s journey leads to them.

Here are tips for key elements and action steps for a marketing plan that keeps your business “top of mind” for current and prospective customers...

Comment

What is a ‘Buyer Persona’ and How Can It Improve Your Marketing?

Comment

What is a ‘Buyer Persona’ and How Can It Improve Your Marketing?

These days, it’s virtually impossible to lump all customers together and try to market to them the same way. Thanks to ecommerce and other consumer-empowering changes in the marketplace, the audiences you aim to serve have moved from one large, undifferentiated mass to many subsets with individual tastes and preferences, needs and challenges.

If you’re not careful, your team can waste valuable time and resources chasing after unqualified prospects who don’t really want or need your products. That’s what happens when a business relies upon a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.

So, how can you adjust your marketing efforts to identify qualified prospects and best serve your company’s various niche markets? One key strategy involves building “buyer personas.”

You already have broad-based demographic information about your customer base. But creating buyer personas “takes that a step further to include psychographic information based on actual current client and target prospect research to focus on why your target customer makes a purchase decision.”

Here are four tips to help construct buyer personas that fit your business and industry:

Organize your search for relevant data. A thorough profile of your customer emerges from numerous sources. Start by asking your current customers why they buy your products or services (as opposed to those of your competitors). What specific problems do your offerings solve? How do these products improve their own businesses and/or lives? Also, reach out to former customers and ask for candid assessments of what you did right (and wrong) when they were buying from you.

Look at trends and solicit online information. Most leads follow a certain pattern or trend; the key is analyzing the data to see what those patterns indicate. Have your sales team look closely at which customer appeals are most effective, and with which group of customers. Compile information relating to customer age, gender, location, job title, education level, etc. Make sure the team understands why customers make the decision to purchase your products—and, conversely, why other prospects choose not to buy.

Focus on solving problems. One or more buyer personas will emerge from all this data. You’ll have a fairly sophisticated profile of what your customers are like. The key from there is looking beyond who these people are and concentrating instead on what it is they require from you and your business. What problems do they face that you may not have considered before? Are there ways to upgrade your products to better solve these problems?

Create an ideal customer experience. By understanding a buyer persona, you can alter your messaging and the content you share on your website and social media. This will inform every stage of the marketing process, including product packaging and advertising, and customer follow-up after a purchase is made. You know the people you’re marketing to, so you can reframe your message in ways that genuinely resonate with them.

Often, crafting a buyer persona will narrow the scope of your leads—since you’re not trying to attract everyone with one generic message across the board. There’s always a concern when your team is reaching out to fewer prospects. But, by leveraging buyer personas and other pertinent data, the result will likely be a higher percentage of qualified leads, ready to move through the sales funnel, with less time and money spent on the qualification process.

Want more advice on improved marketing strategies for your business? Drop us an email to find out how we can help you.

Comment

It's not about features and benefits – it's about the story.

Comment

It's not about features and benefits – it's about the story.

Stories connect with customers better than any other marketing message... find out how to move away from feature/benefit marketing to something much more powerful...

Comment

Your Hallway

Comment

Your Hallway

The most underrated scene in the Wizard of Oz is the hallway leading up to the audience with the great and powerful one. Find out what hallways and marketing / public relations have in common...

Comment

What is the question?

Comment

What is the question?

There is only one questions you need to ask in marketing... what is it? Well, it's simple and it drives your sales success... find out more here...

Comment

Comment

Why Our Marketing and Technology Departments Should Merge

In the past, marketing and technology were considered two vastly different functions. Nothing could be more different today. Marketing is about creating a customer experience. Read the full article here...

Comment

Comment

How to sell in today's marketplace

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, author Daniel Pink notes in his new book To Sell Is Human, 1 out of every 10 Americans works in sales. Is that less than before? Certainly. But have the Internet and online shopping brought the sales function to the precipice of extinction, as so many have predicted? Not quite, Pink writes. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data (replicated by corresponding statistics in other developed countries) vastly understates the amount of "selling" going on when we consider what selling, according to Pink, really entails: "persuading, influencing and convincing others."

This is what he calls "non-sales selling." Most people, Pink explains, are involved in non-sales selling, no matter what their profession. Examples cited by Pink include physicians who sell patients on a remedy, lawyers who sell juries on a verdict, teachers who sell students on the value of paying attention in class, entrepreneurs selling to funders, writers selling to producers and coaches cajoling players to play their best. In fact, it’s no longer completely accurate to see producing and consuming as the two most important economic activities, Pink writes. "Today, much of what we do also seems to involve moving," he explains. "That is, we’re moving other people to part with resources — whether something tangible like cash or intangible like effort or attention — so that we both get what we want."


Why Sales Is So Important

Why are so many people devoting their valuable time to selling when the practice is allegedly in decline? Pink offers three reasons:

  1. Entrepreneurship. The past few years (thanks in great part and a bit ironically to the Internet) have seen the rise of small entrepreneurship — small shops or one- or two-person enterprises selling, as Pink writes, "services, creativity and expertise." For these small-business owners and micro-entrepreneurs, there is no dedicated sales force to bring in the customers; they are their own sales forces.
  2. Elasticity. Once upon a time, Pink writes, "if you were an accountant, you did accounting." However, intense competition and economic conditions have forced organizations to go "flat" — or at least flatter. As a result, functions are no longer rigidly separated as in the past. Job descriptions are broader and usually involve some kind of selling.
  3. Ed-Med. Education and health are among the fastest-growing industries, and as the examples of the teachers and physicians above demonstrate, much of education- and health-related work involves non-sales selling. "Of course," Pink notes with characteristic humor, "teaching and healing aren’t the same as selling electrostatic carpet sweepers. The outcomes are different. A healthy and educated population is a public good, something that is valuable in its own right and from which we all benefit. A new carpet sweeper or gleaming Winnebago, not so much."


The New ABCs

When selling is mostly "moving" people, the old rules of selling no longer apply. After making his case for the predominance of non-sales selling in our lives, Pink outlines the different strategies for 21st-century selling. He begins, in the second section of his book, by showing how the traditional mantra of selling, "Always Be Closing," has been replaced by a new set of ABCs: Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. Attunement is to be in harmony with those around you — which is why, Pink writes, extraverts are not the best salespeople. They don’t take the time to become attuned. (Introverts aren’t necessarily the best, either, Pink notes.) Buoyancy is knowing how to always be "afloat" in a difficult world of constant rejection, thanks to one’s resilience and optimism. Clarity, in Pink’s approach, refers to the art of problem finding — different from the traditional emphasis on problem solving. Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity are the attributes of the new successful salesperson. In the final section of the book, Pink outlines the three core abilities — knowing how to pitch, how to improvise and how to serve — required to succeed.

Pink, a best-selling author whose books include Drive and A Whole New Mind, has once again expanded his readers’ perspectives on how the world really works, with insight and humor bolstered by solid research.

So what does this mean to marketing and PR?

From what we can tell, marketing and PR becomes even more important when we're not involved in the heavy sales cycle.  Need to persuade? Need to motivate? Need to build credibility? You need PR.

Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity are the attributes of the new successful salesperson.

And if you need Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity you need PR.

Comment