On this podcast, we talk about marketing strategies and tactics. Many of our podcast episodes will cover strategic marketing (segmentation, targeting, positioning, market orientation, branding, and offering development), but we will also discuss tactical marketing (Facebook advertising, email marketing, Google AdWords, SEO, and more)
Our mission is to help you double the size of your business by using time-tested, proven marketing strategies and up-to-date marketing tactics.
When you started your business, you were passionate about it. You were inspired and excited about the idea of doing what you’re good at and being your own boss.
Your business was (and probably still is) your baby. You love your baby, but when your baby is your work, you tend to nurture it too much. Then, you find it hard to turn your brain off from work, and you don’t give yourself breaks.
When this happens, your tasks start draining your energy rather than igniting your passion, and that is not what you signed up for as an entrepreneur!
You’ve succumbed to business owner burnout, and you are certainly not alone. But unless you take steps to overcome it, you can’t be what your business (or your loved ones) need you to be, not to mention you’re probably not having any fun…
Why Does Business Owner Burnout Happen?
Business owner burnout is such a common thing because it is so easy to fall into. It happens for many reasons, but here are the top 3:
A nonprofit that saves thousands of lives should receive funding that is in alignment with its cause, don’t you think?
It makes sense, but in many cases, it isn’t the reality. In fact, many nonprofits that save thousands of lives receive much less than other causes that save only one life.
The effectiveness of your cause and the funds you receive to support your cause have nothing to do with each other. The key to effective fundraising is in understanding the psychology behind it.
Fundraising Psychology: Why Someone Gives & How to Use That Information
According to Future Fundraising Now, donors use mostly their primal brains when they are deciding whether they want to contribute to a cause. The primal brain is primitive. It is all about survival; therefore, it is somewhat irrational.
To understand the primal brain, it’s important to note that…
You walk into your nonprofit and fire up your computer in the hope of doing some “research” to discover ways to boost your donations and increase your supporters.
You’ve hit a wall—not with your passion, but with your growth. What seemed to be flowing last year regarding donations and support is now ebbing. You’re at a standstill. And that can be a bit scary when you don’t know which way to go…
You come across a few ways other nonprofits have boosted support, so you figure you’ll give them a try. You don’t really know which approach will work, but hey, it’s better to try something, even if you aren’t quite sure how it’ll work out…right?
This is the hard truth. Marketing isn’t a game of chance. After all, we are dealing with something that you’ve told others is your purpose, passion, and calling.
The way you market your cause has a huge impact on how people come to understandyour cause. Therefore, doing your nonprofit market research in a strategic way that yields the best outcome and aligns with your mission is crucial.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
The world is made up of imagery, and the brands that stand apart are those with an understanding of how important images are in marketing.
Images are what catch our eye and make us read a headline. They are what makes the biggest first impression with regard to an article, a product, or a brand. They can convey an instant emotion, intriguing us and drawing us in.
We all love images. And the thing is, so does Google. That’s why SEO image optimization can make a big difference in your ranking results.
There are a lot of things to consider for SEO image optimization, and we’re going to take a well-rounded yet simple approach in this article, including image design, user experience, technical considerations, as well as how you can go above and beyond.
Let’s get to it!
We all want to have a successful brand, but here’s a sobering statement for you:
If your business isn’t meaningful, it’s irrelevant.
We’re not making this stuff up. According to a new report by Havas Group, if 77% of brands disappeared today, nobody would care; at the same time, 76% of people expect brands to contribute to their quality of life and well-being.
What is this telling us?
It means the companies that are going to survive are the ones that make a strong connection with their customers. It’s the brands that stand out in people’s minds because they are unique, exceptional, or just downright cool.
Make no mistake—only businesses that have a meaningful brand and make a lasting impact on their customers’ lives will thrive.
You Must Have a Meaningful Brand That Makes an Impact & Here’s Why
If the fear of being irrelevant isn’t enough, there are several other reasons you need to have a meaningful brand…
Let’s cut to the chase… What makes a good About Us page great?
It’s quick to consume and informative. Your About Us page doesn’t always have to tell every detail about your business. In fact, that would be detrimental. But it should tell who you are, what you do, and why. There are creative ways to do this.
It possesses welcoming images, videos, and content. These are obvious, but the images, videos, and written content on the About Us page should communicate that you are about your customer, not yourself.
It contains social proof. Be it testimonials, reviews, or even a story about how you came to find the answer to your customer’s problem, social proof can build authority and help the reader relate to you and your company.
It offers visitors the ability to reach you offline. Include “contact us” information. Some folks are still leery of the internet. If your avatar is one of those people, you especially need to make your contact information easy to find.
It’s easy to navigate and mobile friendly. Copious amounts of content on the About Us page can be difficult to navigate on any device. Ensuring that the page is mobile responsive is a must.
All of these 5 must-haves have a strategy tied to them. We’ll review those so you’ll know what collateral to use and how to best optimize your About Us page.
The Lead Generating About Us Page Mind-Set
When building an About Us page, you’ll want to get into the mind of your potential customer—one who has possibly never visited your site but comes across it in a search (because it’s SEO friendly). The prospect wants to know how your service or product will benefit them.
And because the digital age has allowed us to receive extensive information in a matter of minutes, captivating your prospect’s attention with relevant content within the first 7 secondsof them laying their eyes on the page could be the difference between a lead and a bounce.
Are you stressed out about your first impressions?
Okay, if you’re thinking “7 seconds?! I’ve had sneezes that lasted longer!” then you aren’t alone.
Creating a killer, lead generating About Us page isn’t as daunting as you might think. You need to capture their attention, yes, but only long enough to keep them intrigued and to keep clicking.
Consumers are all over the place, and it’s almost impossible to truly understand a company’s complete ROI picture.
They are seeing ads on social media. They are searching the web. They are reading articles and clicking on links. They are getting bombarded by emails. And they are doing all of this on multiple devices. Mobile is on the rise, yes, but they are still also using their desktop computers, tablets, OTT devices, wearables, smart speakers, and more.
This results in a lot of wasted time and marketing dollars on the wrong platforms. Because how do you know what’s really working and what’s not?
Luckily, cross-device measurement is now a thing, and although it is far from perfect at this point, it is helping to reduce these issues.
What Is Cross-Device Measurement?
Are you posting on Facebook daily?
Engaging with your audience on Instagram?
Blogging once a week?
If so, you may think that your marketing is on point. But, don’t get too comfortable. Executing marketing tactics may help you earn some brownie points, but it won’t increase your real earnings—well, that is, unless you have a strategy in place. Simply going through the marketing “motions” without a strategy and clear objectives is a waste of your time and money.
You NEED a framework.
In this series of articles, we will introduce you to the RACE digital marketing planning framework. The RACE framework was introduced by Smart Insights to provide structure to digital marketing strategy in order to help marketers plan and execute better.
RACE stands for…
Each stage of this framework represents tactics that relate to a specific stage of the customer journey, or lifecycle.
For more information on the customer journey (or purchase funnel), read this article.
In this article series, we will break down each stage of the RACE framework and teach you how to leverage it for your marketing so you can create a well-formed marketing strategy. This way, every tactic you implement helps you achieve a revenue-driving goal. In Part 1 below we will discuss the first stage, Reach.
IMPORTANT: You must create your marketing strategy and set your objectives and KPIs before you start reaching potential customers in this Reach stage. Let’s start there first…
Marketing Strategy and Planning (You MUST Do This before You Get Tactical)
You run a sale and generate some new customers as a result, and you’re ecstatic. And you should be—new customers are always a good thing.
But what are you doing to keep those customers coming back? You worked hard to acquire them, and you are missing a huge opportunity if you leave it at that.
Companies often think acquiring new customers is their most important objective because there is an assumption that those customers will keep coming back. But think about some of your own examples as a consumer. You’ve likely made purchases and can’t even remember where you bought them. Or maybe you just don’t feel any loyalty to the company you purchased it from because you don’t have any reason to.
Just because a company sells a decent product or service at a decent price doesn’t mean new shoppers will turn into loyal customers. It takes some nurturing.
Customer Retention Strategies Are Where It’s At!
When we focus more of our marketing efforts on retaining our existing customers, we increase our profitability and the lifetime value of our customers. Let’s break down just what that means for the success of a small business.
Here are 3 reasons why repeat customers are the key to success…
In Part 1 of this blog, we talked about picking people’s brains in the hopes of understanding what makes them tick. Our mission today is trying to figure out B2C buyer behavior.
But first let us say this: Here at Viral Solutions, we absolutely love delving into the psychology of humans. Not much rivals the study of the true motivations of your fellow earthly passengers.
However, it’s important to first accept that figuring out humans is like herding cats. We are a complicated species, simply due to the fact that we have emotions. We like what the French poet and philosopher Paul Valéry—who was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize 12 times—had to say about psychology:
“The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.”–Paul Valéry
So now that we have admitted the fact that we are all a bit bewildered by the behavior of others and that we can’t truly know the mind of another human, let us say that in this blog post we will do our level best to help you discover the secrets of B2C buyer behavior based on facts we have accumulated, our own professional experiences, and the opinions of experts.
You and I are in this together, so let’s just admit how little we don’t know. By doing so, we all instantly become more empowered because we have humbled ourselves and opened our minds. With these opened minds, we can do our best to tap into B2C behavior to help your business make more sales.
This series began with this Viral Solutions blog post concerning the psychology of B2B customers. That 2-part blog post received such a great response that we knew the natural next step was to extend our study to include B2C buyer behavior.
One important thing we discussed in Part 1 of this series, Sales Psychology: What You Need to Know About B2C Selling, was that, when a business is selling offline, they need to be very emotional, as buyers tend to purchase based upon how products make them feel. Whereas, when you are selling online, you have to tap into desires and pain points, AS WELL as differentiate yourself from your competition.
Viral Solutions was recently featured in a special edition of CIOReview. This particular issue comprised a list of the “10 Most Promising Web Design and Development Consulting/Services Companies – 2019,” and Viral Solutions was named as one of those to watch out for.
For those unfamiliar with CIOReview, this print publication strives to guide organizations through the ever-changing landscape of technology, providing them with insights into IT trends as well as enterprise solutions that aid in improving productivity.
In addition to “bridging the gap between enterprise IT vendors and buyers,” CIOReview offers a wealth of information to business owners who need assistance navigating the technology sphere. Individuals may find CIOReview to be a valuable resource for advice on the following:
Chosen by a panel of CEOs, CIOs, and members of the magazine’s editorial team, the list of rising web development companies highlighted in the April 2, 2019, issue consisted of 10 businesses located across the country—from California to Massachusetts. A few, including Viral Solutions, are based in the Midwest yet provide their services to businesses all over the world.
A couple of members of Viral Solutions’ team were given the opportunity to talk about what they offer in terms of web development and digital marketing services.
Think back to a time when you received guidance from outside of yourself…
Perhaps it was an essay you wrote in college that you asked someone to edit.
Or maybe it was that time when you went to see a therapist about an issue you were having.
In business, it might have been a consultant that you hired for a specific project.
Whatever it is, you sought that outside perspective because you understand the value in it. Other people’s point of view can be absolutely critical to our success in almost every area of life.
So why do so many small businesses handle almost all of their marketing in-house? According to Clutch’s 2018 Small Business Survey, “in-house help is the most common digital marketing resource (43%), but industry leaders say that small businesses that try to handle everything in-house may overextend themselves.”
It’s not a sign of weakness to seek outside help for your marketing. On the contrary, it demonstrates your understanding of the natural limitations your internal marketing team faces. A well-rounded approach to marketing—one that utilizes your internal talent and an outside perspective—is the formula for a winning marketing strategy.
How an Outside Perspective Impacts Your Company’s Success
In a recent article, we explained that most companies don’t have a marketing strategy that is based on sound evidence, data, and experience. Instead, they read a lot of marketing theory and try a lot of different things. That is not the same thing as having a strategy.
When we try to develop a marketing strategy from within our own company, it is completely different than looking at it from the outside. There simply isn’t any way around this. You are too close to your own perspective and no matter how much you envision yourself in your customer’s shoes, you can’t completely do it from the inside.
There are several reasons for this. Let’s look at them now…
Human interaction has plummeted over the years. Face-to-face contact has been replaced by pixelated conversations behind computer monitors and 6-inch glass screens.
But, this hasn’t dulled the power of good ol’ fashioned word-of-mouth marketing, which still drives 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. And though technology has replaced human face-to-face interaction, it has made word of mouth much more POWERFUL than it ever was, giving enthusiastic customers even more channels to spread the word about the brands they love and adore.
So, whether via online conversations or the traditional sit-down family dinner, word of mouth is still one of the most powerful ways your customers can become marketing ambassadors for your brand.
The Power of Word of Mouth – A $6 Trillion Industry
Word of mouth brings in $6 trillion of annual consumer spending, which accounts for 13% of consumer sales. Join the ranks of Amazon, Samsung, Netflix, and Toyota—brands that actively work on customer loyalty and espouse word-of-mouth marketing.
Okay, so word-of-mouth marketing is powerful, but, there’s a problem…
Today’s consumers are more skeptical than ever. Flashy advertisements are not enough to sway consumers to favor your products and spread the love to others. Sharing your products requires trust in your brand, and this takes time (more time than viewing a quick ad).
Here’s the good news though: The recommendation of a friend can slash the time it takes to build trust in your products. People trust their friends much more than they trust you.
So how exactly does this play out?
Facebook is becoming more saturated with ads, which means they are more expensive to run and they are getting less engagement.
Or are they?
Yes, they are, BUT no, they don’t have to be. There’s always a way to beat out your competition and put out Facebook ads that are rockin’ it. All it takes is some creative thinking and staying ahead of all the over-used ad strategies and trends.
That’s what we’re here for, and we won’t disappoint!
We’ve talked about retargeting, custom audiences, and Facebook pixels before. We even discussed how to design your Facebook ads and how to set up and measure your ads, but if you want to kill it with your ads, you need to have a new angle.
In this article, we’ve put together 5 Facebook ads tips that you are most likely not using. We know that because these tips are under-used across the whole marketing industry. Not only that, but these Facebook ad tips produce results most of you won’t even believe!
So, here they are…
5 Facebook Ads Tips That Will Kickstart Your Ads
We see you…
Don’t be paranoid, but we know you are reading this blog post like a squirrel after a nut. You arrived here as a business owner searching for the secret formula for making more sales to consumers.
Maybe you have an offline store and you aren’t getting enough walk-in traffic, and even when you do, they leave without making a purchase.
Or maybe you have only been selling B2B (business to business) online up until now and you know it is time to step up your game and go after B2C (business to consumer) online sales.
When you saw that the title of this post contained the word psychology, you thought, “Ah ha! That’s the answer! I must dig into the mind of consumers.” And you are partially right.
However, what we have to say is about more than just discovering how potential B2C buyers think. It is about rearranging your whole attitude toward B2C sales.
According to a book by Bryan Kramer, when it comes down to it, there is no real B2B or B2C—it’s all human to human.
“As marketers, we’ve been trained to speak, ‘business to business’ (B2B) or ‘business to consumer’ (B2C.) But instead of this creating a simple framework for dialogue between humans, it set forth an unnatural language for marketers, using words like ‘synergy’ and ‘speeds and feeds’ to tell the stories of products and services to their buyers and partners. The fact is that businesses do not have emotions. Products do not have emotions. Humans do. Humans want to feel something. And humans make mistakes.”
Kramer’s book is based on the premise that B2B and B2C can no longer be so easily defined. He argues that, to survive, marketers must appeal to humans’ emotional needs on top of the original need or desire for a product.
You know you need to bring value to your customers by giving them the latest and greatest. At the same time, you strive to keep things running efficiently internally while leveraging your strengths.
The truth is, your company probably falls somewhere between the following 2 marketing approaches: inside-out strategy and outside-in strategy.
So which approach is best, and is it okay to function somewhere in the middle? Let’s get you those answers…
Inside-Out Strategy vs. Outside-In Strategy
The premise of the inside-out strategy is that by building up a company’s strengths and abilities, it will be able to sustain itself by making smart choices. It leverages its internal competencies, such as a talented team, long-term customer relationships, and efficient systems and processes.
On the other hand, the premise of the outside-in strategy is that providing customer value is the only way to success. This approach involves starting with an external market orientation and scrupulously studying customer insights before creating marketing strategies.
The outside-in strategy starts at the end and works backward by looking at what the customer wants and coming up with solutions from that viewpoint. Alternatively, the inside-out strategy develops a product or service and then looks to find ways to create a desire for it.
Whether you have a website designed only for prospective buyers to find you online and direct them to your brick-and-mortar store, or you possess a full e-commerce website where you sell products virtually, there are many ways that your website can help you increase sales.
And the good news? We’re going to cover both scenarios.
First, let’s tackle the issue of a website meant only to help prospective buyers find you online and direct them to your brick-and-mortar store. But before we get into how this type of website can help you increase sales, let’s discuss why you aren’t selling online as well as at your physical location.
In this article from Retail Dive, a survey of more than 1,400 consumers who were asked why they preferred shopping in a brick-and-mortar store rather than online was conducted, and the results were very interesting…
“…female shoppers overwhelmingly want to see, touch and feel products before buying them. Males, on the other hand, skew more toward the immediate satisfaction of taking items home with them. Shoppers at both ends of the age spectrum—younger and older generations—want to see or try products out in stores more than their middle-aged counterparts. Young shoppers clearly convey an ‘I want it now’ mentality versus older cohorts.”
Another article in favor of having a brick-and-mortar store comes from Digiday. In this article, they note the following:
“…regardless of how convenient online shopping is, consumers still like to visualize, try-on and feel products before purchasing them.”
Let us be perfectly clear. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you should also sell online. There are just too many sales that could get away due to you not offering the ability to make an online purchase. In this post from our blog, we stated unequivocally…
“To grow your business to the heights you dream of, it is imperative that you have an online presence and that your sales and marketing team understands the differences between online and offline sales—as well as the psychology of each one.”
With that said, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty on how your website can help you increase sales at your brick-and-mortar store. And make no mistake, you MUST have a website whether you sell online or not.
You don’t need a shiny new stat or a 10-page report to tell you that mobile usage is exploding.
Just watch the pedestrians walking down a busy sidewalk, coffee in one hand and phone in the other. Or people sitting on a park bench or on a bus, gazes fixed on their mobile devices—unknowingly shutting themselves off from the rest of the world.
But since we like proof and data, here are some statistics to show you the power of mobile:
U.S. mobile users consume around 2.5x more minutes per month than desktop users
Mobile commanded 5% of total digital ad revenues in the first 6 months of 2018
Okay, so maybe you know that mobile advertising can be powerful. But you also know that your failed mobile campaigns will tell you that working off statistics and “what could be” is not enough. Just because everyone and their mother use mobile phones doesn’t mean your mobile ads will be effective—let alone be enough to pry people away from their phone comas.
Your ads need to engage and capture attention to get noticed. In this article, we will provide some tips on how to increase engagement and conversions with your mobile ads.
You’ve optimized your web pages and posts for SEO. You’ve properly placed your keywords, improved your site structure, and ensured the readability of your content.
So, why isn’t your site ranking on page 1 yet for your main keywords?
If you’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s when it comes to on-page SEO and you’ve seen some improvement in your rankings but still aren’t where you want to be, it is most likely because you’ve been neglecting the other side of SEO for small business: off-page SEO.
On-page and off-page SEO go hand in hand, and you can’t expect to get amazing results simply by doing one or the other. In a recent article, we outlined the best practices for on-page SEO. In this article, we will focus on off-page SEO for small businesses. Let’s get to work…
How Does SEO Work? The Off-Page Elements You Need to Know
SEO can seem like an enigma these days, and it’s difficult to keep up with the $64,000 question: How does SEO work?
But make no mistake, you can’t expect your website to be seen without it. Too many small business owners create a website and then expect it to automatically bring in leads. It doesn’t work like that.
The good news is that small businesses absolutely can play in the SEO game.
They can even outrank large corporations if they have the right SEO strategy in place!
Let’s get one thing clear…
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of abiding by certain rules and requirements laid out by Google (and other search engines) for the purpose of generating organic website traffic.
Now, what is organic is often perceived as being easy and natural; however, organic traffic only comes in easily and naturally after you put in a ton of hard work and planning.
And there is no simple formula to follow because every business is different. A business that has more competition than another business will require more time and hard work to reach first page results than another less competitive niche.
But, enough of the doom and gloom.
Organic traffic is something every business should work to achieve, and once you start getting results from it, you can expect continued success as long as you continue the work. There are some cut and dry techniques you can build into your marketing strategyto get the rankings you desire, and that’s what we’re going to dig into here.
Business revenue? Unfortunately, still unpredictable.
Whether you like it or not, few things in life can be predicted. This is especially true with your business revenue. Though you can estimate earnings based on past data, market demand, and future sales, there is no guarantee that what you earn will come anywhere near your projections (it rarely does).
Walk into the Shark Tank and tell the investors you are projecting $10 million in revenue this coming year. If earnings estimates were so predictable, every Shark would jump right on the investment, duking it out with each other in the process. Instead, they drill the contestants on every single business figure until they can find something that gives them a glimmer of hope that the investment will pay off.
Go back into the Shark Tank and tell them you already have thousands of paying monthly subscribers. Now, the conversation goes a completely different way.
WHY Is the Subscription Business Model so Lucrative?
The subscription business model is not a new concept. Nowadays, you can subscribe to anything from healthy food and designer shoes to beauty products and beard oil. Subscription services have also been a business model used by the service industry for decades. Think cable, internet, phone, and utilities.
But, subscription services have exploded in the last decade with businesses selling consumables at a faster rate. In Q1 2018 alone, 18.5 million Americans visited at least one subscription site.
The subscription model is attractive mainly because it funnels in revenue monthly, which can remove some of the burden you may carry with constantly finding new customers to buy your products and services.
Sure, even with a recurring revenue model, you will still need to find new subscribers. But every new subscriber has the potential to bring in long-term value—revenue that could continue month over month, year over year.
An ongoing debate exists in the marketing industry that begs the following question: Is it more important to devise a marketing strategy or to execute actions to achieve your goal?
There are good arguments all the way around this debate, but when it comes down to it, the answer is really… neither. You simply can’t be successful without either one.
The problem, however, is that many companies, consultants, and marketers do a lot of “theory” and talking, without taking it beyond that. They can sit around and discuss all the latest marketing tactics and even try to put them in place, but in the end, it’s all for naught if they don’t develop a solid strategy and execution steps to make it work for their business.
It’s like school—you can sit in a classroom and learn all the information and theory that is taught to you, but what good is it unless you can apply it in real life? We all know this, but as marketers, we forget that it works the same way. Understanding theory is helpful, but you need to know how to develop a strategy and execute that strategy to actually see results.
From Marketing Theory to Strategy & Execution
Successful marketing is really a 3-part process that involves following sound marketing theories, creating a detailed strategy, and executing that strategy. Let’s look at each of these steps in more detail.
Follow Sound Marketing Theory
Marketing theory is the science of marketing. It’s the “rules” and guidelines we follow. It’s the methods we use to form our strategies.
If you’ve ever attended a truly great conference, you know how easy it is to get swept up in the magic of it all.
Connecting with like-minded people from all over the world…
Getting to see your industry idols in person…
Walking away with a notebook full of new ideas…
But then you return to work the following week, and reality sets in.
Your internal monologue may sound a little something like this: “There is NO way I can apply everything I learned to my business right this second—at least not effectively. Why should I even try?”
You’re looking at it all wrong, Negative Nancy…
At this year’s Traffic & Conversion Summit, we were treated to a number of eye-opening presentations from some of the best minds in the marketing industry. And in addition to the fact that content marketing is (and will likely always be) key, we learned an especially valuable lesson…
“You know it’s all about the content, ‘bout the content, ‘bout the content.”
Did you read that to the tune of “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor? If not, go back and read it (or sing it) again… because that’s the point we’re trying to make.
Content marketing is everything and everywhere.
After day 1 and 2 of the Traffic & Conversion Summit 2019 in sunny San Diego, it was clear that the major player in marketing is content. But content marketing isn’t just about copywriting—it’s every piece of information on your website. So let’s look at…
What is content marketing?
Why is content marketing crucial?
How can you keep existing customers coming back by leveraging quality content?
But, take note. All of these methods will never work IF, as a business owner, you don’t put your customer first. You might have the best product or service available in your industry, but if your customers don’t feel heard, they will never listen to you.
We must be willing to step outside of our thoughts and beliefs about our products in order to grow.
There is no way around it: To have a highly successful business, you need very dynamic salespeople.
But what exactly are the characteristics of a good salesperson—especially in 2019? In this blog post, we are not going to skirt the issue but instead get right down to it with the following statement…
If you are successful in business, we’d be willing to bet money that when you look for a new salesperson to join your team, you are seeking a mirror of yourself.
Admit it. You want a salesperson who possesses your particular qualities—the qualities that have made you the success you are today. We understand this urge and think it’s a good one. You don’t want to kid yourself, and you shouldn’t be swayed by fancy pedigrees or certificates when you start interviewing candidates for sales positions in your company.
What Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe, says on Twitter totally resonates with us.
“Before you make an offer to someone, think about whether you’d like to have 10 times as many people like them in your company.”
That’s a good point of reference. You really do have to be absolutely taken with the salesperson you hire and wish you had 10 of them. However, in your heart of hearts what you really want is a mini-me who possesses the following qualities that you and all other successful business owners possess:
Driven to Succeed
Cognizant of Human Nature
Capable of Leadership
As a successful business owner, don’t you agree that the qualities listed above are ones you personally possess?
Now let’s dive a little bit deeper into the characteristics of a good salesperson in 2019.
You just launched a new product that you invested a lot of time and monetary resources into creating.
A total of 5 emails, 10 ads, and 3 promos later, your marketing team is chugging down cold ones at your local pub to drown out your dud-of-a-product sorrows.
We’ve got good news and bad news…
The bad news is that this is all your fault.
The good news is that it is fixable. In fact, it is entirely preventable.
Did you know you can actually predict how well your products will do?
No crystal balls. No wishing on a star. Just good ol’ get-your-hands-dirty market research.
Want to skyrocket your growth? Stop leaving money on the table so your competitors can swoop in and steal the profits.
Dig into market research methods and stop relying on guesses and hunches, and instead, start planning your business growth instead of hoping and praying for it to happen. You are better than that.
Let’s talk about how to do market research…
What Is Market Research? Why Is It Important?
360-degree anything is pretty much always a good thing. It signifies a complete picture, a unified solution, an all-encompassing result. In terms of marketing, it indicates a campaign that has left nothing on the table and therefore converts every lead possible.
In Part 1 of this article, we took a deep dive into 360-degree marketing and looked at what it is and the 9 key components to include in your campaigns. Now, let’s take a look at why this type of marketing is worth pursuing and how to create a 360-degree marketing campaign yourself.
Why a 360-Degree Marketing Campaign Is Worth Doing
A 360-degree marketing campaign overcomes numerous hurdles faced by companies in today’s marketing landscape. The consistency of a 360-degree marketing campaign sets companies apart because it creates such a cohesive and solid customer experience. It improves return on investment because companies can stop wasting time on the wrong leads as they nurture targeted customers in a way that creates raving fans.
There are also a number of ways that a 360-degree marketing campaign can be used within a company:
Social media. Email. Google ads. SEO. Content marketing. PR. Direct mail. Lead nurturing. Traditional advertising. Webinars and seminars. Apps. Websites and landing pages.
The list could go on and on as there are no shortage of ways to reach a customer these days.
But to be effective marketers, we can’t look at each of these marketing options on their own. Integrating them into a 360-degree marketing campaign is what makes a company stand out and claim victory in today’s market.
What Is a 360-Degree Marketing Campaign?
Probably without even realizing it, you have experienced time and time again the effectiveness of 360-degree marketing campaigns. And the fact that you didn’t even notice it proves how well it was executed.
Maybe you notice a poster or billboard for a new pair of shoes and then you hear an ad for the same shoes on the radio; you spot an ad for them in your Facebook newsfeed, and then you receive a postcard with a coupon for them in your mailbox.
At that point, you’re salivating to buy them, so you go to your computer to pull up the landing page listed on the postcard, which is specifically designed for that campaign. After you make your purchase, you begin to receive emails from them for similar shoes and accessories you also want to own.
This is the magic of a well-thought-out 360-degree marketing strategy. It feels like the company is everywhere, and the more times you see their ads, the more you want what they are offering.
A 360-degree marketing campaign takes integrated marketing strategies to a new level, with the goal being to cohesively deliver an offer consistently across all touchpoints, platforms, and devices at the right time, in the right place, and with the right message.
This holistic approach ensures that every possible interaction with a prospect or customer is meaningful. It means that when your target market sees a tagline to a campaign on social media, they will also see it when they visit your website or when they receive an email from you.
When a company takes a step back, it can sometimes be a huge step forward. That’s what happened on January 29, 2019, when Infusionsoft announced they are offering a new, much more basic product.
But let’s take a step back ourselves.
Infusionsoft’s announcement also explained that they have been rebranded as Keap—a change that depicts their commitment to simplifying growth for small businesses. In fact, their new name and logo is all about growth, from the arrow-like “K” of the logo, which signifies upward movement, to the color green, which indicates growth.
As CEO and co-founder, Clate Mask, explains, Keap is a play on words that demonstrates their mission to help small businesses “keep going, keep serving, and keep growing.”
Mask told a personal story during a recent interview for Entrepreneur Magazine about his struggles with starting Infusionsoft and how difficult it was to keep going when the money wasn’t there. Especially for his wife, there was constant worry about whether they could survive, and the rebrand speaks to the essence of grit and tenacity that small business owners must have to succeed.
Now a highly successful company, Infusionsoft led the way over a decade ago with their CRM and sales and marketing software. If you are a user of Infusionsoft, and even if you are not a user because it offers way more than what you need, then you know the amount of marketing automation power it holds.
Now, with the rebrand to Keap and with the introduction of the new Keap product, they have expanded to a new market, serving small service providers that haven’t had the funds or means to use their fully loaded automation software.
Clate Mask stated, “We discovered small service providers waste time juggling five to seven tools just to book appointments, send communications, provide quotes or collect payments. That is 50 hours a month that could be spent servicing more clients, growing the business or at home with family.”
2 Product Options: Infusionsoft by Keap vs. Keap
Tapping Into the Psyche of B2B Consumers
In Part 1 of our series on the psychology of B2B sales, we discussed the importance of understanding how B2B buyers think. In Part 2 of our series, we will be digging even deeper into the subject as we show you how to tap into the actual psyche of B2B consumers and learn about B2B buyer behavior.
How should your salespeople approach prospective B2B buyers, and what psychological tactics should they use to understand said buyers’ pain points and desires?
What drives them to make a purchase?
What motivates them?
We find delving into the psyche of the B2B buyer to be a fascinating study in human behavior. If you can truly begin to understand B2B buyer behavior and psychology, your company will be well on its way to bigger sales success.
Below, we’ve highlighted a 3-step process that you can use to determine what makes a B2B buyer tick so your company can make more sales.
If your company is in the B2B sphere, you may believe that marketing on social media is not for you.
You are not alone in your thinking. This article from Forbes states…
“The first reaction to social media marketing by B2B companies is often doubted — until they see the increases in lead generation and even brand new sales channels that sprout from these efforts. The reality is that not being on social media is hindering your growth”
The 5 reasons why B2B companies should not ignore social media are as follows:
It helps in tapping into your customers’ emotions
It allows you to remain present in your customers’ minds without being invasive
It promotes your thought leadership
It gives you the chance to gain your customers’ trust
It allows your company to leverage video content
As you can see, if you are not yet on social media, the time for your B2B company to begin is now. But where do you start, and what social media channels will deliver the greatest results?
The following statistics show which social media channels B2B marketers are using:
If you are in the business of selling your product or service to other businesses—business to business sales (B2B)—understanding the behavior of your website visitors is one of the most crucial aspects of your sales success.
How else can you know what your visitors’ intentions are if you are not plugged into the behavior they exhibit while they are on your website?
That’s why we want to show you the best tools and tactics for monitoring website visitor behavior and how to take advantage of the data you collect to improve your B2B sales.
This article from Influence and Co. is a great resource to get you started if you are not already tracking your website visitors or want to increase your understanding of how to effectively do so.
Here is a quote from that article:
“If you’re not tracking your visitors, then you (and your bottom line) are in for a world of hurt. Forty-two percent of B2B marketers agree that the biggest barrier to their lead generation efforts is a lack of data. Understanding how visitors and leads interact with your site can give you incredibly rich data to help optimize your design, improve your content strategy, and generate leads.”
We’ve said it before, but it’s a message that bears repeating: Company branding is important for all businesses, regardless of size or industry.
It offers you the chance to communicate the values and characteristics that define your business.
It allows you to pull customers in rather than push them toward making a purchase.
It gives you the opportunity to develop loyalty among your customers.
By creating a strong brand that’s recognized and revered by those in your target audience, you can encourage raving fans that buy from you again and again—satisfied customers who trust you and are happy to recommend your business to others.
However, although company branding can go a long way toward building up your reputation and increasing sales, it’s also important to remember that you won’t be able to accomplish this feat overnight.
Branding is about more than just creating a logo. It’s a process that involves building awareness and encouraging loyalty. It’s about optimizing every facet of the customer experience, from your website layout to your facility’s signage to your communication with customers. And when all of these elements are in harmony—having received the time and attention they deserve—that’s when you have a strong brand that you can utilize in your marketing efforts.
Think about some of the most popular and successful companies today…
Apple. Coca-Cola. Google. FedEx. Amazon.
What do they all have in common?
It’s the start of a brand new year, so by now you should have your marketing strategy planned out and ready to fire for the next 12 months.
Is your strategy built on rock-solid principles that will withstand market fluctuations and industry shifts? Are you convinced you will leave the year better off than you entered it?
Hopefully, the answer is “yes.” But, if not, our marketing strategy article series can help you put the pieces together.
We recently gave you a crash course on some of the most important fundamentals of strategic marketing that fuel business growth. Without a firm grasp of these principles, you will fight an uphill battle—and the hill will get steeper and steeper as you climb. If you missed any of the pieces in this series, here they are again:
Learn how to be market oriented, relying on data instead of hunches, which will always steer you wrong. No one knows what your customers want more than your customers.
Discover how to conduct qualitative and quantitative market research effectively to understand your audiences’ goals, problems, and desires.
Learn the principles of segmentation and discover how to focus on a tight segment of people who possess similar characteristics.
Learn how to choose a winning segment to target.
Discover the art of market positioning here and here so your message will be meaningful to customers and allow you to outperform your competition.
Lastly, understand how all of these pieces fit together to form a solid, unshakeable marketing strategy. We started our discussion of marketing strategy in Part 1,where we talked about the 3 strategic questions you must ask and how the purchase funnel can lead to greater leads, conversions, and revenue.
Below is our final piece of this series, wherein we will discuss how to set strategic objectives, determine budgets, and create SMART goals that will guide you to success.
Let’s get to it!
If there is one thing all small business owners can agree on, it is this: The internet is drastically changing the way we do business.
If your small business caters to other business owners—what is known as B2B (Business to Business)—and you have been in business for a long time, then you are a direct witness to the way the B2B landscape has shifted with the introduction of the digital age.
Where before your sales successes were made up of the traditional types of B2B sales strategies—such as direct mail, walk-in customers, cold calling, and meeting with prospective buyers—it has become imperative that you also have an e-commerce presence.
There is no way around it: People, including your B2B clients, like shopping online.
However, we must point out that just because you will be selling online, you and your salespeople need not panic. As stated in “The Future of Selling B2B Online,” an article from Inc.com, “The Internet is not making salespeople obsolete; it’s making them even more important.”
The article also discusses how pundits have been saying for decades that the internet would make salespeople obsolete, but Inc.com says the pundits had it all backward.
In Part 1 and Part 2 of our series Bridging the Gap Between Offline and Online Sales to Accelerate Your Business, we discussed the difference between these spheres and how to get back to the basics by embracing simplicity.
In Part 3 of our series, we will tackle another crucial element of bridging the gap between offline and online sales: understanding which tools are best for you as a business owner to keep track of sales and the most important tools your sales and marketing teams need to help them do a better job of selling and reporting.
Of course, there will be some crossover between online and offline sales and the tools you need if your company does both. If your mind-set up to this point has been that there is a great divide between offline and online sales, this article from Digital Commerce 360 will most certainly change your mind.
In the introduction to the above-referenced article, this important fact is stated…
“Online and offline experiences are no longer either-or when it comes to retail strategies, and we can tie that directly to evolving consumer preferences and innovative technologies that merge the two concepts.”
Although the article from Digital Commerce 360 proves that offline and online sales are already merged, you can still never discount the tried-and-true staples of offline selling.
In this article, One Click Lindsey lists and explains some of the best offline marketing ideas. A few of these offline marketing tactics include passing out your business card, attending trade shows, and good-old door knocking (or canvassing as they call it in the world of sales).
If you are in the business of selling offline, we urge you to take advantage of the 35 offline marketing ideas listed in the above article. When you match that effort offline with the following tools you need for online sales, you can’t help but have a winning combination.
In Part 1 of this article, we outlined 7 digital marketing trends that will help you stand out in 2019. In Part 2, we are offering 5 more tactics, this time focusing on those that center around content.
Let’s look at these content marketing trends now…
The ultimate key to marketing is making sure you aren’t falling into a comfort zone. As soon as you get comfortable with the digital marketing tactics you are employing, the trends shift, and if you aren’t on top of them, you’ll be left behind.
At the same time, it’s impossible to implement all of the latest digital marketing trends into your business. That’s why we feel the best approach is to choose the ones that will help you stand out amongst your competition.
We’ve cut down the clutter and outlined 7 digital marketing trends for 2019 that will give you that edge. Here they are…
We’ve been on a pretty wild (and in-depth) journey recently. We gave you a crash course on the marketing principles that have guided the world’s most successful companies for decades.
Hopefully, by now, we have answered most of your strategic marketing questions.
We taught you how to be market oriented and always rely on the data instead of hunches and “gut” instincts.
You learned how to conduct qualitative and quantitative market research to understand your audience, their desires, their goals, and their problems.
We then discussed segmentation and taught you how to cut the audience “pie” to focus on a tight segment of people who possess similar characteristics.
Next, we taught you how to choose a winning segment to target and then position yourself in your market to become meaningful to customers and gain a competitive edge.
We know it was a LOT to grasp, but there is one more thing we need to discuss, and it very well may be the MOST important part of this entire series.
Even if you execute all of these pieces successfully (market orientation, research, segmentation, targeting, positioning), your chance of success is still LOW if you do not understand how they fit under the umbrella of a high-level marketing strategy.
If you act on tactics without being guided by a top-level strategy, you will encounter trouble in the future, regardless of how your sales look in the short term.
What’s the difference between tactics and strategy?
Do you want your brand (and not your competition’s) to be at the forefront of your customers’ minds?
If you aren’t segmenting, targeting, and positioning yourself, you will never be able to convince your target to buy from you, especially if your competitors have already developed a solid positioning strategy and infiltrated your market…
You need to position yourself correctly to outperform your competition and win over your customers.
Welcome to Part 2 of our 2-part series on market positioning.
In Part 1, we defined what market positioning is and how to create a strategy that clearly defines your positioning statement. We also discussed how to showcase your company to the market so you can outperform your competition.
In Part 2 below, we will further define the nuances of effective positioning and discuss how you can use your brand identity as your greatest competitive advantage.
It’s you vs. your biggest competitor in a fierce battle to win over your customers’ minds. Your weapon is your positioning sword, and whoever has the sharpest, most powerful sword will come out victorious in the end.
Are you confident you will be the victor?
Wait…do you even have a positioning sword?
If you aren’t positioning your company effectively, well, there isn’t much of a battle here. You might as well turn around and go home—that is, if your competitor doesn’t slay you first.
If you want