Viral Solutions: Your Chief Marketing Officer | Marketing and Business Strategy
By Thomas von Ahn
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.
For many years, the sales and marketing industry has been engaging in a battle between automation and personal touch.
There’s a fine line between the two, and until recently, it hasn’t been easy to tread.
No matter what primary method your company uses to sell your products/services, you’ve likely been missing a key ingredient that turns that battle into a dance.
That ingredient is conversational marketing.
What Is Conversational Marketing?
Developing a church annual report and making it available to the public (particularly current members) is a smart decision—and one that’s strongly recommended.
Because doing so not only demonstrates full transparency to your congregation but also encourages greater involvement. When people see that their efforts actually bear fruit, they’re more inclined to give. And as a result, your church can begin to grow even more.
It may not seem like a high priority, especially considering everything else you have on your plate, but creating a yearly report and releasing it to those in your community is well worth the effort.
“In my years as chief operating officer for global operations at Joyce Meyer Ministries, I was always so proud to show all the incredible work we accomplished around the world… It was so humbling.”
If you want to show how your church has grown, improved, and helped this year, it’s important to take a step back and look at what a church annual report actually is…
What Is a Church Annual Report?
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
It’s easy to become addicted to shopping on Amazon. As much as we might want to support local businesses and stop feeding the giants, we can’t help but love the whole experience of making a purchase on the retail superpower.
And why wouldn’t we? Amazon makes it so darn easy to buy whatever we need. In 3 clicks, we can be in and out of a purchase, and in most cases, it’s for a great price and will be delivered in a couple of days.
Amazon is certainly shaping the expectations of customers. And that’s why e-commerce businesses need to learn how to perform shop page optimization and more so they can deliver the shopping experience their customers have come to expect.
Shop Page Optimization Tips for E-Commerce Usability
You’re a walking disk of data, and so are your customers.
As marketers, we love that, right?
With almost nothing analog left in the U.S. and cloud-based storage of customer information being so cheap, data is being collected all over the place in massive amounts.
What if you could use the data you’ve collected (possibly without even knowing it) to make predictions about your business and ensure your outcomes are more on target?
You absolutely can with predictive analytics.
What Are Predictive Analytics?
Predictive analytics are… well, just what they sound like. It’s using existing data to discover patterns and trends that help businesses make predictions about future outcomes. It’s like a weather forecast for your company, helping you know whether you should bring an umbrella or cancel the event altogether.
Predictive analytics uses probabilities, what-if scenarios, and risk assessments in an organized fashion to propel a certain outcome. Here’s how it works:
Imagine you were planning a wedding and your goal was to host 100 guests at the venue of your choice. Yet, you never researched venue locations, created a guest list, or invited a soul to the event—you just expected everyone to show up…
Ummmm, sounds crazy, no?
Well, that’s how we feel when we see businesses with lofty sales and revenue goals executing tactics randomly without a solid marketing strategy or actionable steps on how to achieve said goals.
This is marketing suicide. You can’t just post on Facebook, send Google ads, and blast your email list without an understanding of WHY you are doing it, WHAT success looks like, and HOW this will help you reach your targets.
You NEED a framework.
In this series of articles, we are talking about the RACE digital marketing planning framework, a construct introduced by Smart Insights in 2010 to provide some much-needed structure to businesses that are looking to make an actual impact with their marketing strategy.
RACE stands for the following:
In Part 1, we talked about the Planning and Reach stages, discussing ways to reach more customers and increase traffic to your online properties.
In this article, we will move on to the next step of the RACE framework, ACT or Interact.
To understand how these stages live and breathe in your marketing strategy, let’s look at the customer journey. Each stage of the RACE framework connects to a particular stage of the customer journey (or purchase funnel), which can help you identify the tactics that make sense to execute during that stage.
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.