Everyone is asking me the question – should or shouldn’t I be using advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, or any of the other pay-per-click options. First you have to ask yourself the question – is it the right strategy based on my business objectives? Do you want to drive immediate lead generation? Do you have the budget? Are you wiling to change and adjust based on analytical information? If you answered yes, then you should look into these opportunities. With the continuing growth in Social Media it is an excellent way to increase your sales leads and growth in revenue.
Archive for the ‘Lead Generation’ Category
The simple answer – yes! Growth in Social Media advertising has been growing from a low of 20% in 2009 to a high of 55.6% in 2011. The growth for 2012 and 2013 is expected to be from 45% in 2012 to 24% in 2013. These figures show a strong growth for over the past 5 years, reflecting a new and diverse way to go to market. eMarketer is reporting that expected on-line advertising in social media will be approximately $5.5 billion for 2011, a strong growth from the $2.4 Billion in 2009. This continued growth is a direct reflection of the success businesses are seeing through on-line marketing strategies. Digital marketing is continuing to grow and businesses need to determine if this is a growth engine for them. With projections of $10 Billion by 2013, it is apparent that Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are going to continue to grow in popularity. Are you ready?
With more and more prospects using the internet to research prior to making a purchasing decision, content marketing has become even more important. Whether B2B or B2C, your content can provide the necessary marketing to drive the sale. B2B buying is an emotional process that lends itself to irrational behaviour or quick decisions. It is important that your content speak to these prospects. B2B marketers need to eliminate the fear of purchase by ensuring trust is built with the prospect. Content marketing is the first important step to establishing this trust.
First, don’t focus on the benefit or your product or service, but the benefits of employing your product or service for their business. Some of this content should be testimonials, case studies, information guides, presentations, or articles just to name a few. Effective content marketing is key to creating demand for your product through lead generation, lead nurturing, or helping determine the “hotness” of a lead. Content marketing is the key to building the trust and expertise position with prospects and clients.
The most affordable marketing tool is testimonials from a happy customer. It tells the prospects how great you are and is far more credible then if you put it on your site yourself. Testimonials are far more believable and tend to get a more positive response. Here are some suggestions to get testimonials from clients:
1) Ask your best customer to give you a testimonial. When people are happy they are less likely to make comments, so you will have to ask for their testimonial.
2) Watch for comments during conversations that may be extremely valuable. Comments during normal conversation are very heart-felt and are usually unsolicited. Ask them if you can quote them, write it up, email them for approval, and you have a high-quality testimonial.
3) Leverage the use of video – have the client provide a video testimonial. This can be posted on your site, or better yet your YouTube Channel. A powerful testimonial that provides a visual impact.
Testimonials are an incredible marketing tool that will help make prospects see the value in your services from what is perceived to be an unbiased and objective opinion.
It is common for marketers to use white papers to promote their business or ideas to prospects. What better way to show your knowledge then to hand to your prospect information you have written. Some people feel that a white paper is best provided a certain parts of the buying cycle. Some feel it is beneficial in the beginning to establish credibility, others feel in the middle to reinforce the reason to buy, others feel at the end to solidify the need in the prospects mind. Reality is they are all correct, however it should be provided at every stage and a different subject that matters to the reader at that point.
You should have a white paper for each part of the buying cycle, supporting your position at each decision point. For example, your first white paper should provide awareness as to how your solution or product can solve their situation. The next stage when they are researching or negotiating, information that answers questions more in-depth to ensure they see and understand how you can provide a solution. For the last stage, it might be more beneficial to have a white paper focused on cost savings, efficiency improvements, or increased revenue to speak to the ROI of the product. The person approving the deal will want to see the benefit from a financial position, thus making it worth approving. This allows each decision-maker in the process feel comfortable and compelled to continue to the next stage.
An effective white paper strategy should be developed for each stage of the buying cycle, nurturing the process to ensure buy-in at every stage and from every level.
It has been reported that leveraging long-tail keywords will allow you to attract a more focused visitor to your website. A study produced by CONTEXTWEB validates these findings as they have determined that those with an overall smaller reach had a much higher clickthrough rate. Overall, long-tail sites lifted click rates by 24%. The site categories that provided the biggest lift in the long tail were education, technology and computing, and hobbies and games. The value in having visitors through long-tailed keywords is that they are more likely to match the product or services you are offering, thus generating better quality leads. You want to be focused on converting high probability leads versus someone who may be seeking information or more clarity as they are unsure if your product or service meets their needs.
SMB’s have the advantage of being more flexible because of less bureaucracy, much higher levels of flexibility, and much more direct relationships with customers. This positions SMB’s to be better poised to innovate with interactive tools. As a result, SMB’s should focus on the following:
1) Aim for low-hanging fruit – Focusing on social media allows for a lower up-front cost and no special skills sets required. Social media is a much lower cost solution and will allow flexibility in testing what works well.
2) Leverage internal resources – Due to budget constraints, SMB’s are not going to be willing to add additional staff to manage online media. However, leverage the skills currently in-house. A Sales Rep can lead your online blogging/discussions about product performance, maintenance, general information, etc.
3) Leverage technologies/tools that drive efficiency – it is extremely difficult to manage numerous social media outlets individually. The key to managing it efficiently is to use software to streamline the process.
It is clear that SMB’s have the advantage to adopt new media and leverage the existing relationships with their customers. The key is to manage it efficiently, but also maximizing the benefit of the medium.
Social Networking is an effective tool to turn online networking into revenue generation. Leveraging Facebook is a great way to create relationships that can turn into business opportunities. Connecting with old acquaintances can lead to a surge in referrals; a key revenue generator with no additional expense. Here are a few quick ways to gain benefit from these networks:
1) Blogging for credibility – show that you are an expert in your field by providing excellent advice, not selling your product or service. This will make potential customers establish a confidence in you before you even have an initial meeting.
2) Use Status Updates – Help stay on top of mind with your sphere of contacts by updating with information or by sending out simple birthday greetings.
3) Show your personality, not your sales pitch – enter into dialogue with people, meet like-minded people, discuss and challenge assumptions, just avoid being self indulgent.
4) Advertise on Facebook – you can set gender, age, and location information and target directly the customer you are looking for with ease.
It appears that the trend for traditional offline marketing continues to decrease, while online marketing makes gains. Internet’ s share of media has grown by +2 points to 23%, while Newspaper has seen its share drop by 1.5 points based on 2010 to 2008 data. Even more interesting is the fact that Mobile’s share has grown by 2.5 points over the same time. Television continues to hold its leader position by maintaining 40 points of media share. Read more in this interesting article.
The ebb and flow of the economy, coupled with the challenge of stiff competition has increased the importance for the local business owner to ensure they have a competitive advantage when advertising locally. Over 60% of people want to do business within their local area, but how can a business stand out and easily be found by those who are searching for them?
The strategy that works well includes:
1) Using Google Places – using Google’s application allows you to make your business stand out when a potential customer is sourcing a local business. Customers will see you on top of the search engine, allowing front-line visibility.
2) Optimizing your site for your city – When a customer types in “plumber Hamilton”, if you have optimized your site for these keywords then you will have a better chance of coming to the top of the search engine results. Customers who are looking for localized businesses tend to put in the city they are living in, you should focus your keywords to reach this specific group. There will be less competition for the keywords in a local area.
3) Optimizing your site for your postal code– Similar to a city, some customers will use their postal code when searching. When a customer types in “plumber L6H”, if you have optimized your site for these keywords then you will have a better chance of coming to the top of the search engine results.
4) Leveraging on-line site reviews – On-line reviews are a great way to make your business stand out from the competition. Setting up an account on Yelp and asking satisfied customers to provide a review will allow your business to climb in the search engines. You must be careful to ensure that the reviews are periodic, if the system sees numerous favourable reviews suddenly or from the same computer, they will deactivate your account.
Most of us prefer to do business with a local business to help out people in our community. The ability to establish personal relationships and trust is a key factor in our decision. Leveraging the search engines are a rich source of free leads and can help give a competitive advantage over other businesses in the area.