REV Blog

Spring Clean Your Marketing

Ahhh, spring:  The days are longer, the flowers are in bloom, and hints of summer are in the air.  It’s a time of renewal and regrowth for many things, and that should include your business marketing.   So why stick with the same old lead generation tactics?

Don’t get me wrong:  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  If your current marketing is consistently generating a desired number of qualified leads for your business, then keep doing what you’re doing.  However, if your results have fallen off over time, or your heart just isn’t in it anymore, consider the following five ideas for spring cleaning your marketing.

1.)  Update Your Website

Your Website is your digital sales representative, showcasing your brand to the world, and yet it’s easy to neglect.  Take a look at your Website (don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone it’s been a while since you have!) and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the look still feel fresh, or does it appear dated?  How does it compare to your competitors?
  • Is it mobile friendly?
  • Are the existing keywords/SEO still relevant?  Could you update to produce better results?
  • Is the site’s navigation user friendly?  Ask a friend to find 3-5 specific items on your site and then give you feedback on how easy they were to find.

REV Resource:  If you’d like some expert advice on refreshing your Website, we have several partners that specialize in Web design, SEO, SEM, etc.  Let us know what you may need, and we can point you in the right direction.

 

2.)  Create a Video or Two (or Ten)

Show, don’t tell, is the mantra of today’s marketing.   Prospects would rather watch a video than read lots of text to understand quickly and easily how your product or service can help them.   A professionally-produced video is a resource that you can use on your Web site, on social media, as part of a sales presentation or trade show display, and more.

But if you are concerned about costs, content, and/or the camera-readiness of your staff, here are some alternative ideas:

  • Animated explainer videos are a fun and effective way to educate your prospects on a product or service in only 2-3 minutes.  And it’s all computer-generated, so no need to memorize your lines.  Here’s an example from one of our clients.
  • Go “behind the scenes” to give your audience a more informal glimpse of the personalities that make up your company
  • Interview your customers for testimonials about your company

REV Resource:  Contact our friends at TG Visuals Video Production for an exploration of what type of videos could create an effective visual message for your brand.

 

3.)  Host a Webinar

If you’ve talked shop with me for more than five minutes, you will know I’m a big fan of Webinars.  Webinars level the playing field for small businesses and expand your marketing reach by allowing you to present to multiple prospects all at one time.  Plus, the cost of hosting Webinars is much lower than most other forms of traditional marketing (trade shows, advertising, etc.) and Webinars integrate well with email and social media (other lower cost marketing tactics).

REV Resource:  Check out our 5 Best Practices for a Successful Webinar guide for lots of tips for a DIY Webinar.  Or if you’d prefer us to do the heavy lifting for you (and why wouldn’t you?), take advantage of our affordable Ready-to-Go Webinar Sherpa services services.

 

4.)  Get more social

Whether we B2B marketers want to admit it or not, social media is here to stay.   There are of course, many social media platforms out there; however, we’re going to recommend that you especially focus on increasing your LinkedIn activity—most B2B marketers under-utilize the capabilities of this powerful platform.  LinkedIn can provide you with a goldmine of prospecting possibilities, including:

  • Research target companies, follow their Company pages, and learn who is the appropriate contact for you
  • Follow companies that are highly esteemed in your industry (or that of your target prospects’) to stay informed and relevant
  • Join groups where your target prospects are active, and participate in discussions to connect and demonstrate your expertise

REV Resource:  Read this great article from our archives on maximizing LinkedIn for new business development

5.)  Go Forth and Network

Digital connecting is great, but sometimes we just need to get out of the office and go talk to people face-to-face.  Meeting new people that can be potential referral partners is an effective way to pump up your lead generation opportunities.  The goal should be to connect and build relationships with other professionals that are not competitors for the purpose of referring business to each other.  (Caution:  Don’t be that person who tries to sell everyone your services the moment you meet.)

If you are new to referral networking, or are looking for more/different opportunities, we recommend the following:

  • Check out your local Chambers of Commerce and Rotary Clubs.  (To really get plugged in, volunteer for a committee!)
  • Ask trusted colleagues where they network.  If they are part of a referral networking group, they will likely invite you to visit.

REV Resource:  If you are in the Atlanta area, we highly recommend the Professional Services Alliance (PSA) for business-to-business services professionals, meeting twice a month in Sandy Springs.  If interested, email Tara for details.

Why You Should Consider Podcasting as Your Next Marketing Strategy

Ever considered podcasting as a marketing strategy? Here’s our friend John Ray of Ray Business Advisors to tell us why you should:

Last year I was a guest on a live call-in show on an over-the-air Atlanta-based business radio station. The show host started the hour-long program by introducing me and my business, our topic, and letting the audience know the toll-free number they could call to ask a question. While my host was established and quite good at his craft, and while we had a great conversation, we didn’t get one caller for the entire hour. (I got the impression that such a response was normal.)

Since last year, I’ve been the co-host of “North Fulton Business Radio,” which originates from the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX® (northfulton.businessradiox.com). Our show streams live on the website every Tuesday at 11:30 am, when my co-host Mike Sammond and I interview business leaders on the great work they are doing. Afterward, our show goes into podcast form on our site and other repositories like iTunes.

Recently I saw one of our past guests—a tech CEO who makes a living staying current with the latest trends—and he was effusive in his praise. “I can’t tell you how many people have told me they listened to the show I was on,” he said. “I’m surprised and amazed.”

Consumers of media now want their product on-demand; they want their media consumption to follow their schedule, not the other way around. It’s happened in music and books, and it’s rapidly headed that way in television, so it’s inevitable that audio information and entertainment would be next.

While listenership of terrestrial radio is largely flat, consumption of both streaming radio and podcasts is growing dramatically. (“Streaming radio” airs programming which is carried and accessed through the internet; podcasts are recorded for upload and replay on demand. Live shows like “North Fulton Business Radio” can also end up being made available in podcast form.) According to Edison Research, almost 60% of Americans have listened to internet-based radio in the last month, a proportion which has almost tripled in just nine years. Over the last ten years, according to Edison, the percentage of Americans who have ever listened to a podcast has also tripled, reaching 36%, and representing 98 million people.

Online radio and podcasting is clearly a growth media. If you’re a business owner seeking to produce and share high quality content, consider the opportunities inherent in hosting your own radio show or podcast:

It’s a Great Method of Content Marketing. A friend of mine, Dr. Dionne Poulton, is a consultant who advises on workplace diversity, as well as on the job issues related to veterans and former athletes. Given the frequently sensitive nature of the issues she works on, as well as the mediating skills required in such circumstances, what better way for Dr. Poulton to showcase her skills than to host her own radio show and moderate a discussion with guests of possibly differing points of view?

You Become an Authority. As the world sees you repeatedly addressing important topics with valuable insight, you become the respected “voice” of your vertical or industry. The galvanizing of that reputation in your industry, in turn, brings clients and other opportunities which can be immensely valuable. You are auditioning for opportunities you aren’t even aware of yet!

You Make Great Connections. Hosting a radio show or podcast is a great way to meet professionals in your field. People want to tell their stories and share their successes. Is there any better invitation than “I’d like to have you on my radio show?” It’s a lot easier to get people to respond to that invitation than a sales call. You’ll also be able to give back, offering other individuals and organizations an opportunity to step in the spotlight you create.

One final reason: despite the work involved, you’ll have fun! There’s a great feeling when you make new connections, gain new insights, and build your personal brand and your business, all at the same time.

Want to learn more about podcasting or appearing on North Fulton Business Radio?  You can contact John at jray@raybusinessadvisors.com.

Show Your Customers Some Love

I read an article published on LinkedIn by Appreciation Marketing, and it struck me as a timely reminder of how we can take our customers for granted.

“Do you know the #1 reason why your customers do not return to do business with you again, or refer you business? The #1 reason is because of perceived indifference! Do you know what perceived indifference means? It’s a fancy way of saying they think you DO NOT CARE.”

“Obviously you care, but if the perception is that you don’t, guess what the reality is? You do not care. Perception is reality.”

Ouch! That started me thinking about how I can better show my customers appreciation–how about you? And while the focus in this article is on customers, I believe this same truth can apply to our strategic partners, upon whose referrals us B2B marketers base much of our business. So the challenge is: What can we do to show our customers and referral partners how much we care about them?

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Send a hand-written thank you note thanking them for business earned or referred
  • Offer to promote their events, sales, etc. in your own communications and to your other customers
  • Ask “Who can I refer to you right now?” Maybe they are looking for a specific referral at that moment for a targeted product/service/event
  • Give away copies of a business book that you found particularly interesting or helpful
  • Host a customer appreciation/partner appreciation party
  • Send them some goodies (cookies, chocolates, etc.) from a local business

Hope these ideas help you “show the love” to your customers and partners. Let us know if you have some other unique suggestions!

Five Marketing Ideas to Make Q4 Your Best Quarter Yet

Q4 is here! For some businesses, it’s the busiest time of year as clients are using up remaining 2016 budget. For others, it’s a slower time as clients scale back on business activities around the holidays. For most every business, however, the fourth quarter is a race to finish up the year financially strong and be prepared for the year to come.

If you want to make a difference in your bottom line this quarter, you have to do something different to affect top line revenue. (Translation: You need more leads!)

Here are five ideas for marketing efforts in Q4 that won’t break your budget but will pay off now and into 2017:

1. Run a “Thank You” Campaign

If you don’t have time for any other campaign, this is the one to do. Thank your customers for their business. There is nothing worse than taking your current customers for granted. (Your competitors won’t!) While this may not result in an immediate effect on your sales, think about it this way: When clients feel the love from you, they are not likely to shop elsewhere (keeping existing revenue) and you will be top of mind for referring to others (future revenue). So how to go about it?

  • Send a good old fashioned handwritten note through the U.S. mail. We agree with your mom on this one: a thank-you note is much appreciated. (And it will stand out from the tons of emails in their inbox every day.)
  • Find something of value to offer that says “thank you”: This does not have to be expensive—it could be as simple as a book you enjoyed reading, a report or a published article that would benefit your clients, an online software tool you have found valuable, or an offer to write a LinkedIn recommendation (or help them connect with your LinkedIn contacts).
  • If you have a little more to spend on gifts, some ideas include a basket of goodies from local stores (talk to our friends at Georgia Crafted) or a gift card for your clients to have fun with their families or enjoy a quiet cup of coffee.

2. Kick off a Referrals Campaign for Customers and Partners

We dove into this topic in more detail in a previous post, but to summarize: Be proactive about generating new referrals for this quarter and into 2017.

  • Pick your top 3-5 referral partners and make a date to meet in person for coffee/lunch with each one and compare client stories. If your partner offers truly complementary services to yours, I guarantee you “thar’s gold in them thar hills.” Also a good opportunity to discuss a potential joint event (more on this below).
  • Run a referrals contest for your clients (and former clients) where each person that submits a qualified referral by calling, emailing, or filling out a Web form is entered into a drawing for a desirable prize. Winning motivates!

3. Go Visit Your Top 5 Clients

Choose your five best clients (more if you have time) and plan to meet in person. During that time, let them know you appreciate their business, of course, but also solicit their feedback on what they like about your business, how you can improve your services, and who they may know that could use your help.

Ask them these questions:

  • How would you rate our services from 1 to 10?
  • Is there anything we can be doing better?
  • What other products/services should we be offering?
  • Would you refer us to other businesses seeking [your services]?
  • Would you be willing to let us interview you for a case study or testimonial?

In Q1 2017, you can revisit the clients that agreed to an interview and turn them into 2-3 new case studies and testimonials for use in your marketing mix (print and electronic documents, Website, LinkedIn profile, etc.) If you would like an objective third party to help with this task, let us know.

4. Plan an event. . .

. . . But not for Q4. Unless it’s a holiday party, don’t make yourself crazier (and limit your attendance) by trying to squeeze in your event along with all the other events your contacts already have scheduled. However, you can start the legwork now by doing the following:

  • Choose your target audience—Customers? Prospects? A specific niche market?
  • Decide on a topic and a tentative date
  • Talk with a few strategic referral partners to find one who is interested in hosting the event with you. In this way, you will cross-pollinate your pools of prospects and increase the reach of your promotional efforts.
  • Choose your event type and scout out possible locations (if in-person):
    • Webinar?
    • Lunch and Learn?
    • After-hours event?
    • Day-long seminar/workshop?

5. Add a New Component to Your Marketing Mix

Prospective clients ask me all the time “What is the one thing that is working for businesses marketing today?” I’m sorry to report that there truly is no “silver bullet” for B2B marketing; the key is to work in multiple channels at once, and find which 2-3 channels work best for you. Here are some suggested components you could add to your marketing mix this quarter to generate leads:

  • Webinars – If you have been doing in-person presentations or writing about a particular topic (ex: cybercrime for IT services firms), consider putting together a Webinar to expand your reach (We can help!)
  • Telemarketing – Call to follow up on direct mail letters or emails and, in Q1, to confirm attendance to your event
  • Video – Add video to your Web site and LinkedIn, or send video emails
  • Social Media – Find 3-5 LinkedIn Group discussions in which to participate each week; connect to 10 new followers on Twitter each day, etc.
  • Blog – Add a blog to your Website to improve search engine results and raise your profile as an expert in your Public Relations—Not just for the “big” companies anymore, PR can be a great way for small businesses to get the word out about their unique services or products

If you need help getting started with any of these marketing ideas, give us a call or send us an email. We have a great referral network of partners that we would be proud to introduce to you.

Here’s to a successful Q4 and an even more prosperous 2017!

Heating up your referrals

It’s summertime, and what better time to heat up your referrals?

If we’re honest about it, most of us don’t really have a strategy for encouraging referrals. We sort of take them as they come, and hope more are on the way soon!

While we can’t necessarily forecast referrals, the truth is that we can encourage a consistent stream of referrals if we stay top-of-mind with our clients and partners.

How to do that? Here are three suggestions:

1.)  Ask your clients:

  • After every project/engagement with a client is successfully completed, be sure to ask for two things: a testimonial about your services, and referrals to people they know that could benefit from the same services you just provided.
  • Run a referrals campaign at least twice a year to request referrals from clients (and previous clients). We’ve even done this as a contest, where each client that submits a (qualified) referral is entered into a drawing for a desirable prize. Winning motivates!

2.) Take stock of existing referral partner relationships: Take the time to evaluate each of your referral partner relationship at least once per quarter. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does it still make sense to be partners? How has that company treated your referrals to date? It may be time to make some changes.
  • How often do you meet in person or on the phone to discuss potential referrals? Is it often enough?
  • Are your partners receiving your newsletter, tip of the month, case studies, etc. so they can stay up-to-date with how you are serving clients? (If not, we know someone who can help with that 🙂 )
  • Do you have enough partners? Make a list of all the services your clients may need, and fill each slot with names of service providers you know and trust enough to refer to clients. Be a valuable resource of quality professionals for your clients.

3.) Go forth and visit: Visit B2B referral networking groups in your area that meet at a convenient day and time for you. Yes, I know it’s out of the comfort zone for many of us, but it’s a great way to get to meet potential referral partners. Get a sense of who in the group might complement your services and arrange a coffee date to learn more. You don’t have to necessarily join every group you visit—you’ll find what works for you and in the meantime, you will likely meet some worthwhile contacts. Yes, it’s not a short-term strategy, but the quality of your referrals as group members grow to know, like and trust you will be worth it in the long run.

There are many fantastic networking groups in the metro Atlanta area, but if you need a suggestion, you are invited to visit the one that I facilitate: the Professional Services Alliance. (Click here to request more info.)

Any other recommendations of what has worked for you to encourage referrals? Let us know!

The Cost of Doing Nothing to Market Your Business


Oftentimes I am asked “Who is REV Demand’s biggest competitor?”  And I always answer:  “Indecision.”

It’s quite true that the biggest hurdle we at REV (and I suspect many of you) must overcome in converting a prospect to a customer is to get that prospect to decide to do something, to make a change.   It’s often not the case that the prospect decides to business with another company—it’s that they don’t decide to do anything at all.

In his article “The Cost of Doing Nothing,” Michael Lippig of IDCON, Inc. asserts that:

 

 

“The cost of maintaining the status quo for professional services business owners is enormous. The status quo affects each and every one of us every hour of every day, at work and at home. We have come to accept doing nothing as a safe and acceptable alternative. We even make it the default solution.”

So why do business owners who want to grow their businesses default to doing nothing?  There are many reasons we can recite, including lack of money, lack of time, lack of desire, unsure of what to do, etc.  If we do nothing, it seems like a safe choice that protects our valuable time and resources.  However, there is a hidden cost, as Lippig writes:

“Doing nothing is the management equivalent of a baby’s pacifier. It makes us feel safe and comfortable. But there is a cost to doing nothing. Economists and accountants frequently refer it as ‘opportunity cost;’ what you could do yourself with your resources if you were not doing what you are doing right now.”

By doing nothing different this quarter than last quarter with our marketing, we ensure that we cost our business the following:

  • Your e-newsletter, direct mail, social media updates, prospecting emails, etc. will not go out, and so your prospects will get colder
  • Your customers—past, present, and future—will not hear from you enough to make repeat, expanded, and new business a consistent reality
  • You won’t build your reputation online and offline as an expert in your field that prospects must seek for solutions
  • You won’t invest in that training to make yourself that much more knowledgeable in your field of expertise
  • You won’t connect with strategic partners that can expand your sales capabilities
  • You won’t get off the unending roller coaster of project work and cyclical sales

Make no mistake:  When you decide to do nothing about marketing your business, you are still making a decision.   You are deciding to stay where you are and not grow your business.  You are saying you are comfortable with your current income, profitability, and lifestyle.

(Or as my husband, a die-hard fan of the band Rush reminds me:  “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”)

Of course, sometimes doing nothing may be the best decision for you at this time.  If you have other life priorities that need to take precedence right now over growing your business, it makes sense to maintain the status quo.

However, if you are ready to grow your business, then you have to start doing something to push your business forward (i.e., marketing) and/or stop doing the things that hold you back (i.e., not marketing).

Let us help!  REV Demand offers a free, 1-hour, no-obligation assessment of your business development capabilities (including current marketing strategy and tactics as well as sales goals and processes).  We’ll help you build a plan of action and even offer a kick in the butt as needed.  Click here to request your free assessment!

You're Not Touching Your Customers Enough

That’s right, you heard me.  Do you touch your customers on a consistent basis?  Are you touching them in the right ways?  When it comes to marketing communications (not sure what you were thinking about), we often focus on prospects and neglect our treasure trove of past and present clients.

Recently, I was conducting an interview with one of my client’s clients in order to write up a testimonial.  When I came to the all-important question of “How did you learn about this service and choose to buy it from [ABC Company]?” the answer not only warmed this marketing consultant’s heart, but also pointed out an important lesson for all of us:

“I had done a small project a few years ago with [ABC Company], and I’ve received their newsletter every month since then.  I always appreciated the educational approach and had seen info on [ABC service offering] over and over.   Finally, one day I just picked up the phone and said ‘Sign me up!’”

Notice that this process took years.  If we don’t regularly communicate with clients after the sale (which 80% of salespeople do not), we may miss the long-term payout.

Depending on your type of business, you may see some of your clients every week or month, or at least with some regular consistency over the course of the year.  These clients should have a good idea of what your company does, and you have likely established a meaningful relationship.  However, you also have clients who are less active:  ones who may have bought from you in the past, but are not currently buying or ones who may only think of you for one particular service instead of the variety you offer.

The old Bell Telephone advertisement reminder to “Reach Out and Touch Someone” still applies today.  You should reach out and touch your customers (and this applies equally well to strategic referral partners) often because you are accomplishing multiple objectives when you send that email, letter, or postcard, including:

  1. Providing valuable information that helps their business.  Carefully consider what you’re sending.  Your goal is education first, sales second.
  2. Letting them see through case studies or testimonials that other businesses just like theirs share similar challenges (no one likes feeling alone), and how you’ve helped to solve those.
  3. Reminding them of all your company’s offerings, not just the ones they already know.
  4. For active clients, you are showing them you really do value their business.
  5. For dormant clients, you are rekindling that warm fuzzy feeling from when you worked together in the past, and prompting them to think of you again.

Need some ideas to get started?   Beyond a basic e-newsletter (which still works!), here are some other noteworthy “reasons to send”:

  • Business building tips
  • Recommend a business book or article (can also be shared via LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  • “Did You Know?”  Share a quick tip about your services, or debunk a common myth.
  • Share company updates that affect the customer, such as a redesigned, easier-to-use Website, a new service offering, a contest, a new social media presence, etc.
  • “Thank you for your business”
  • “What can we do to improve our service to you?”
  • “What new service offerings would you like to see from us?”
  • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
  • Invite to an event:  Customer appreciation lunch, Webinar, conference or trade show you are sponsoring, etc.

With all of these ideas, keep in mind the critical question the customer is asking him/herself:  “What’s in it for me?”  Always focus on what the customer would care about, not just what your company wants to broadcast.

If you’re still not convinced, one more example should do the trick:  Years ago, as an inside sales rep for a software company, I was handed a list of 3,000 “customers” to whom I was to introduce myself as their new account manager.  As I worked through the list, I found that only about 10% of those could truly be considered “active” customers.  The rest were people who might recognize the company name, having bought something from us at one point in time, but as one man told me “You’re the first person to contact me from [Company] in 10 years.  I wasn’t even sure y’all were still in business!”  Yikes.   Don’t let this become your company’s relationship with your clients!

By the way, the irony has not escaped me that you are probably reading these words and thinking “Hmmm. . . it seems like a while since I’ve heard from REV Demand. . .”  We (sheepishly) agree!  You can look forward to seeing these types of business development tips coming from us every month from now on.  Scout’s honor.

Let me know your thoughts on touching customers!

Tara

P.S.  Did you find this info valuable today?  Great!  Please share with a friend or colleague.

Lead Generation: One common term with many understandings

What do you think of when you hear the term “lead generation?”

Does the phase bring to mind purchasing contacts from a list broker, collecting business cards at a trade show, or cold calling?

Here at REV, we believe these actions can certainly generate names for us to put in our databases, but are they leads worthy of our limited (and therefore precious) selling time?  Instead, we define “lead generation” as “sparking interest on several fronts from prospects we believe are interested in our company’s services or products.”  We rely on multiple channels working together in an integrated strategy, rather than putting all our proverbial marketing eggs in one basket and hoping for the best. 

(On a sidenote, I’ve always wondered about that phrase:  When I collected eggs on my grandparents’ chicken farm as a kid, I did only use one basket. . . hmmm. . .)

Some of the channels we might recommend include email campaigns, direct mail, social media, tele-prospecting, Webinars, special events, Internet marketing, video, speaking engagements, etc.  Within all of these channels, our goal is to consistently communicate a message that resonates with our intended target audience and produces some sort of response.  From there, we can develop that  response into potential sales for our companies.

Here are some must-have tools we recommend in your lead generation endeavors:

  • LinkedIn: Read this fabulous article from guest author and REV strategic partner Richard Kirby on four strategies for using LinkedIn to find and develop prospects.
  • Webinars:  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again.  Webinars work.  Webinars allow you to communicate your expertise to an audience you know is specifically interested in the topic at hand.  To capitalize on the effort involved in putting on a Webinar, we highly recommend joining forces with a strategic partner to reach as many target prospects as possible in one session.  Need help organizing a Webinar?  Let us know.
  • Contact databases:  While it may seem obvious, we find that often our clients simply don’t have enough contacts in their existing databases.  This may necessitate buying additional contacts or aggressively home-growing your database.  In any case, to make any significant impact on the number of leads you can generate, most companies need 2,000-3,000 contacts at a minimum.   While not the best resource for finding information on small (<$50M in revenue) companies, a subscription to Hoover’s is a valuable resource for researching and obtaining contact information for larger companies in your target market.  If you focus primarily on small-to-midsize companies in Atlanta, Charlotte, and/or Dallas, we highly recommend BusinessWise.
  • Email marketing service or marketing automation software:  If you are going to use email campaigns to generate leads, you need to have a way to track the response from your intended prospects.  At a minimum, you’ll need stats on the opens and clicks for every email sent. This leads to using an email marketing service such as SwiftpageEmail, MailChimp, ExactTarget, etc.  To get a more comprehensive understanding of how your prospect is interacting with your company over time, we recommend a marketing automation platform such as Act-On, Infusionsoft, or Marketo that will develop a “lead score” for your leads based on their email responses, Website visits, social interaction, and event attendance, and can automate the nurture marketing process.  We plan to delve more deeply into email marketing services vs. marketing automation in a future article; in the meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions or to help you choose a service.

Questions or comments on the tools listed here?  Any we missed?  What do you think of when you see or hear “lead generation?”  We’d love to hear from you.

Four LinkedIn Strategies for New Business Development

by Richard Kirby, Executive Impact

When I joined LinkedIn (LI) in 2003, there were less than half a million subscribers. As of January 2013, they now boast over 200 million. LI has become, without question, THE online social network for business.

Are you and your business leveraging the phenomenal potential of LI? In this article, you will learn four key strategies that will gain you new customers and revenues you never knew were possible.

Strategy 1: Attract new prospects by increasing your online visibility. Similar to SEO for your company web site, a more “findable” LI profile will insure that more prospects find your offerings 24/7/365. With 90%+ of buyers researching online before making purchases, it is critical they find you in their LI search results.

So, what can you do to improve your “rank” in LI searches? First, broaden your network by inviting desirable contacts to connect and accepting such invitations when offered. Second, follow the recommendations LI offers when you log on and add information to complete your profile. Third, add to your profile keywords that prospects are likely to use when searching for your products and services (see my profile as an example).

Strategy 2: Encourage prospects to contact you by increasing your LI credibility. Once you have increased your visibility, it is critical that you create an attractive first impression. Major sources of credibility are endorsements and recommendations. Endorsements are likely to come organically from satisfied customers and positive business relationships. Recommendations, on the other hand, will require focused action.

Here is an action plan for increasing your credibility:  Start by making a list of your most satisfied customers and asking them to provide you a recommendation. Better yet, write a brief two- or three-sentence suggested recommendation, send it to them, and ask that they modify it or use it as provided. As you receive recommendations, elect to show them on your profile so visitors can view them.

Strategy 3: Establish and/or improve your LI company page. The previous strategies referred to your individual LI profile. If you are a solo entrepreneur or the principle in a very small company, this may be sufficient. If you are not, then you should create and fully populate a separate company page. You can find information to guide you through the creation of a company page by clicking on Help Center at the bottom of LI pages and entering “company page” in the search bar of the subsequent Help Center page.

Strategy 4: Identify prospective clients and reach out to engage them. You can find prospects on the Advanced People Search page utilizing keywords, company names, job titles, etc. With over 200 million users, you can find many people you desire to engage through these searches.

Don’t have the time or need some help to enact a more effective implementation of these or other business development strategies? Check with REV Demand to see how they may be able to assist you. Good luck and happy selling!

Since 2002, Richard Kirby, CMC, CPC, has been a full time career consultant (coach) to C-level and mid-level managers seeking improvements in their careers.  Richard’s expertise includes career assessments, goals definition, self-marketing strategies, business networking, strategic interviewing, and compensation negotiations. Richard is a member of the Georgia Career Development Association, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Institute of Management Consultants.  You can learn more about Executive Impact at http://www.executive-impact.com.

2013 Marketing Trends: What do Small Businesses Need to Know?

What does 2013 hold for the growing B2B business marketer?  Rather than peer into our crystal ball, we decided to do the responsible thing as your trusted marketing advisor and do some RESEARCH!

In doing so, we found a few interesting stats, such as:

  • On average, most B2B companies are using a combination of 12 tactics to reach prospective buyers, including email marketing, video marketing, white papers, social media, etc.
  • While digital marketing methods reign supreme as top trends, a study of B2B marketers found that in-person events and/or meetings was the #1 most effective method of reaching potential prospects (79% of the surveyed population).
  • 67% of organizations plan on increasing their email marketing budget in 2013
  • On average, email marketing drives 22% of your Website traffic

Along the way, we also found a lot of cool new trends in marketing (mobile apps, virtual conferences), but we want to focus on the ones that will matter to you as a small business (i.e., your company has an annual marketing budget of $50,000 or less).

Let’s focus on 3 growing and very effective marketing trends for small business:

  1. Video Marketing
  2. Webinars
  3. Social Media/Blogs


Video Marketing

The rising use (and declining cost) of video in marketing is great news for the smaller B2B marketer.  With dozens of possible applications for business marketing, video has been shown to substantially increase conversion rates, encourage sharing of content, and create a more engaging experience for the viewer. Did you know?:

  • Cisco claims that 85% of all Internet traffic in 2015 will be video (CRN)
  • YouTube is second only to Google as a search engine.  (Your prospects are looking for answers/solutions on video!)
  • So far in 2012, there are over 190 million Internet users watching online video for close to 30 hours per person per week (ComScore)


Webinars

Yes, we admit we’re biased, but we believe Webinars are one of the most effective and least expensive forms of marketing available to small businesses. But don’t take our word for it:  according to Inc. magazine, “Webinars will continue to level the playing field for small businesses into the future.” (10/31/12)

With Webinars, a small company can appear larger.  The audience never knows if they are one of 5 or 500 in the room, so you can focus on the quality of the prospects that attend rather than the quantity.  Through effective Webinar promotion, you grow your opt-in email list (for future nurturing) and through high-quality content delivery, you provide valuable knowledge to your prospect and let them see you as the expert. 

Here’s some further food for thought about Webinars:  your competitors may not be doing them.  This gives you a huge competitive advantage in these days of “Out-educate your competition.”  According to B2B Content Marketers, only 46% of companies are currently doing any Webinars; however, of these:

  • 72% consider them “highly effective” in driving lead generation
  • 60% are increasing their investment in Webinars next year
  • Webinars still only account for 6-10% of their total marketing budget

Isn’t it time you considered a Webinar strategy for your business?


Social Media

This year, 87 percent of marketers are using social media/blogs to distribute content, as compared to the rate of 74 percent that was reported last year. (B2B Content Marketers)

With the #1 fastest-growing adoption rate among business marketers, social media and blogging are on top of the digital marketing heap.  As of now, the top 5 channels for B2B marketing (by number of articles/items posted) are:  Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Why should businesses focus on increasing their social media and blog marketing in 2013?

  1. Your prospects are vetting you online.  92% of shoppers (B2B or B2C) will go online first to research products and services.  They will trust the recommendations and opinions posted by friends and online connections more than television, radio, magazine and newspaper advertising combined. (Aberdeen Research)
  2. Your competitors are already there (or soon will be).  Why let them have the floor all to themselves?
  3. It doesn’t matter what size business you are.  Social media is the great equalizer of businesses.  Everyone from a “Mom and Pop” shop to Coca-Cola can market a brand online.
  4. It enhances your other marketing channels.  All social media and blog posts should integrate with your Web site, email campaigns, events, etc.
  5. It’s relatively inexpensive at this point.  The true cost of social media is in the time and effort to plan content and consistently engage with followers.

Need help devising your marketing strategy for 2013?  We’re here to help!  Contact REV at (770) 856-2087 or info@revdemand.com.

Receive our monthly e-marketing strategy tips!

Don't worry, your privacy is extremely important to us. We promise to never sell, rent, or share your contact information.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!