Tag Archive for buyer persona

9 Tips For A Successful Email Marketing Campaign

9 Tips For A Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is still an indispensable marketing channel. How do you get your emails to stand out from the others in your readers’ inbox? Here are 9 tips for you:

1) Appeal to your buyer persona: Any marketer can write a generic email to his/her prospects, but it takes a real conversion expert to nail down the precise content that addresses your customers’ needs, lifestyles and even apprehensions. When you can define the likely customer profile that buys your product or service, you will have the capacity to think of a ready answer to address your customers’ challenges. By placing ourselves in the shoes of our prospects, we can better pre-empt their purchasing decision.

2) Focus on the beef of the message: Each email should have one clear message. I know this practice goes against those who publish regular ezines or newsletters with multiple articles or sections, but the benefits are:

a. You take less time and effort to complete an email
b. You can space out your content into an email series
c. Your readers are more likely to act on a strong call-to-action

So the point here is to avoid excessive content. Create the specific message using brevity and conciseness. Your customers will respond more positively to a message that is easily understood and goes straight to the point.

3) Exclusive specials to email subscribers: Offer special promotions and discounts that are only available for those on your mailing list. Or provide valuable information that is not included on your website. Another way is to use gated content to ‘force’ website visitors to subscribe to read the full content. Sending holiday messages or birthday greetings (plus birthday-only promos) to enhance the business relationship.

4) Branding: Whatever distinctive design elements and styles your company already uses, such as logos, fonts, and color schemes, should be incorporated into the emails you send out too. This will cause your readers to instantly recognize your company.

5) Strong call-to-action: It’s best to begin with the end in mind. Tell your readers exactly what they have to do. Make your links or graphical buttons stand out.

6) Take advantage of preheaders and make email previews work to your advantage: A preheader displays the initial line of the email body, with the text highlighted. Gmail and many other email platforms show this first line right after the subject line, so that is one easy way to get the attention of a subscriber.

7) Always proofread any correspondence that you send: This may seem obvious, but it is easy to get caught up in the informality of emailing. It’s just email, right? Actually, that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Every e-mail you send is a direct reflection of your business.

Whitelisting: Remind your readers to whitelist your email address so that your emails will not land in their spam folder.

9) Mobile-responsive design: With emails being read on a gamut of devices, it becomes necessary to design them for readability across the board.

Following these 9 tips will go a long way to ensure you can run a successful email marketing campaign. Are there other tips I have not covered. Feel free to comment below. Have a great day!

Design A Social Media Marketing Plan With These 7 Sets Of Guidelines

How To Design A Social Media Marketing Plan With These 7 Sets Of Guidelines

I received feedback and questions from readers on the nitty-gritty details behind the 3 essential social media advice. Thanks to them, it got me thinking about creating a social media marketing plan. Now, such a plan would be customized differently for each individual and company. It could be dynamically updated from time to time, and so this blog post only sets out to raise the guideline questions that will help you formulate your own social media marketing plan.

1. Define types of conversion goals

A famous goal-setting axiom by Stephen Covey goes to say that we must “begin with an end in mind”. In social media context, your fans and followers can have one or more reactions to each of your postings:

a. ‘like’ a post
b. share/retweet a post
c. leave a comment
d. directly message you
e. click through your destination URL in the post

Sometimes the way you craft your post may get your readers to take action on their own, but to encourage engagement, you can regularly prod them with instructions like “Please share this post to your friends. I’m sure they will find it interesting,” or “Please like this. Thanks!” or “To learn more details, please click the link to the next page.”

Knowing what your conversion goals will turn out to be for most of your social media posts will help you determine how you are going to craft them, what content formats would be suitable (see below) and how you are going to mix up the various content on a weekly basis.

2. Define S.M.A.R.T. metric goals

By definition, S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

a. Specific: Visits, leads or customers
b. Measurable: Provide a number
c. Attainable: Understand benchmarks
d. Relevant: Relates back to overall end goal
e. Timely: Include timeframe

A S.M.A.R.T. goal statement: “Increase _____ by _____ ( starting at this amount _____ and go to this amount _____ per ____ ) by this date _____.”

Example:

a. “Increase number of new Facebook fans from 156 in January to 250 in February.”
b. “Increase 15% engagement rate with Instagram followers by end of February. Write to 5 more new followers every week.”

3. Identify target audience

As someone in business, you should already know your main prospect demographic—the people most likely to purchase from you, so you begin with identifying the followers whom you are going to increase engagement with and provide more personal attention to.

Criteria for identification include geographical location, occupation, which social networks they frequent on, gender, marital status etc. Of course, if you have a detailed buyer persona profile to work with, referencing it will make the work easier.

4. Identify content types and formats

Some suggestions:

Format: short text (one- or two-liners), a 600 x 400 graphic, an infographic, video link, website link
Type: questions or quiz, invite followers to share experiences, product/problem feature, news, trends, quotes
Tone: serious, funny, informative, reflective, inspirational, educational

Lastly, the content to be published must align intrinsically with an overarching or defining business theme so that your social business page can project a certain gravity, cohesiveness or consistency that gets readers understand your positioning, knowledge and expertise.

Theme: lead generation, social media, landing page design etc.
Topics: main topic, weekly sub-topics

5. Identify actions and strategies

a. What content to publish throughout the week?
b. Who is responsible for various social media roles e.g. publishing, engagement, graphic design, content research, paid advertising etc.?
c. Datelines?
d. How much budget to set aside for paid social media promotion?

6. Editorial calendar

You do not have to design an editorial calendar from scratch. Google “social media editorial calendar” and you should find some in various designs. Customize them to fit your needs. At the very least, a calendar should have the following features:

a. Social media channel (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram)
b. Post
c. Format
d. Date
e. Staff responsible

Most likely the calendar is designed in an Excel spreadsheet. Create new tabs for each month. Plan out the content to be published for one full month in advance.

7. Analyze results

The major social networks have their built-in analytics with which you can analyze the click-through or engagement performance of your posts. Discern which topics work best for you and perhaps you may consider focusing on these topics more often. Did certain types or formats of content get more shares or ‘likes’ than others? Which days of the week get the most readers? Which social networks do you find the most comments or engagement on your posts? These are questions you can ask to help you improve your social media marketing efforts.

As another saying goes, “Fail to plan and you plan to fail.” Having a social media marketing plan is better than none as it helps you to think ahead creatively what content to publish regularly so that you can extend your online reach to attract more fans and followers to your cause.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

Sales Communication: 5 Tips For Enhancing Your Sales-Closing Capabilities In The 21st-Century Marketplace

5 Tips For Enhancing Your Sales-Closing Capabilities In The 21st-Century MarketplaceIt’s great that your website is doing well at generating sales leads, but the seller’s journey is far from over. As your marketing or sales department begins to disqualify prospects and take note of the few good ones, you can’t help but feel like you are walking on a tightrope: one bad move and the hot lead could say, “I’ll think it over,” or mention some other excuses and s/he gradually slips away.

It’s a real bad feeling to have when all your efforts come to nought. It may be true that somewhere down the sales process, bad strategies rear their ugly heads, and so it is time to identify who or what is at fault and remedy the situation. It is also true that the failure to convert leads into sales arises due to external forces beyond your control.

You see, we cannot discount the fact that the online marketplace has evolved such that merchants and sellers have no choice but to adapt to changing consumer trends. In days past, sellers would diagnose prospects’ needs, align those needs to their solutions and sell the solutions based on a ‘match’ that is wholly ‘conjured’ by themselves whether they actually solve those needs or not. Now with the Internet, consumers can have all the accessible research data at their disposal, to define a solution for themselves, and compare competing sellers to find the best possible match for their pre-defined solution without having to approach sellers at an earlier stage and suffer through listening to their promotional bias.

In a sense, this is good news because according to a study by the Corporate Executive Board, prospects are up to 57% closer to a purchasing decision by the time they make first contact with a seller. If that seller is you, it means that the positioning of your solution is convincing and strong enough to sell on its own.

We present 5 sales communication tips for enhancing your sales-closing capabilities in the 21st-century marketplace:

1) Seek customers’ feedback: Much has been said about following up on prospects in order to guide them closer towards the sale, but following up on customers after the sale is just as important to gauge how well your solution or product is working to solve their problems. You could ask them to rate specific features of your product, how long a time period does it take to solve their problems, or if there is any improvement they’d like to see in future product iterations. Translate positive feedback into an emphasis of strength by retooling your promotional copy, and also publish feedback as customer testimonials to boost the positioning of your solution.

You can also research similar competing products to yours and see if you can further differentiate your positioning in more unique ways.

2) Shorten response time: This practice is much stressed by our director, Stanley. Within 3 rings of the phone, it must be picked up. When an enquiry email comes in, reply to it, or call the person back within 5 minutes. The impact is unmistakably massive: Prospects are almost always impressed by quick response. Any length of time you can reduce in the buying process through quick response and resolving any questions that could affect their purchasing decision accrues to their benefit and yours too. This raises the bar on your competitiors, while your prospects can’t help but remember you the most.

3) Know your hot prospects intimately: Presuming you come across a prospect who knows more then most, it’s time to ‘switch’ your sales approach towards selling on the prospect’s terms. Do some research on the prospect’s professional background through social media, his/her business, the history of his/her interactions with your website, lead score, CRM records etc. Standard templates can only get you so far. On the other hand, such research helps you understand a particular buyer persona, personalize the sales process, create conversations and plan for meetings. Having an intimate understanding of where your prospect is coming from can boost his/her perception that you care, and this in turn increases the likelihood of a sale.

4) Seek common ground by asking first, telling later: During meetings, get prospects to talk first so you can align yourself or your positioning to them in an agreeble manner. It’s like what Dale Carnegie said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Ask them about how their problems or challenges arise in the first place, what information have they gathered as part of research, and “What help are you looking for?” Asking questions help you determine from what angle the prospect has positioned his problem as a priority, so you can ‘attack’ from that angle and gain his/her trust. Any experienced salesmen who know their products at the back of their hands should be fearless at asking questions because they know they can always be in control of the conversation. It is why you are just as much qualified as the lead to arrange for a meeting in the first place. Yes, trust yourself on that. If you can’t come up with a satisfactory answer on the spot, you can always get back to them later after doing your own research.

5) Persistent follow-up: Again, follow up on prospects every step of the way to clear all their questions, while giving them some time and space to think through your offer. It could take between 5 to 12 follow-up instances to close the sale. According to Dan McCade, it could even take up to a year to close a sale. More importantly, following up prevents them from turning cold.

Have You Applied These 6 Landing Page Optimization Tips?

Have You Applied These 6 Landing Page Optimization Tips?

A good landing page conversion rate is 3.5%. The exceptional record conversion rate is at least 11.45% (source: Wordstream). Look no further than this post for 7 optimization tips to make your own professional landing pages better.

1. Optimize Your Headline

Search engines want to do refer as many users as possible to websites and content that are most relevant to what they are looking for. The headline can be said to be the most important page element because they are what compel visitors to click, read, share or subscribe.

Therefore, when crafting your headline, keep in mind these best practices:

a. Keep it short: The headline must be succinct, to the point and “packs a punch” in a way that it is impressive to visitors who instantly know your offer is THE one they are looking for.

b. Keep it keyword-centric: Include choice keywords within different headings tags (like h4 and h1) and bold or italicize your headline. It helps with SEO.

c. Split-test your headline: Spend considerable time writing your headlines and split-testing to improve them. A compelling headline grabs the reader’s attention in 7-10 words.

2. Optimize Your Copy

In the same way that you optimize your headline, your copy (main body content) should also be concise and compelling enough to arouse curiosity. The more relevant the copy is written to target a particular buyer persona, the more intrigued the targeted visitors will be, leading to more visitors-to-leads conversions.

Use short sentences and create white space with smaller paragraphs and bullet points. Bullet points are a great way to hone in on key aspects of your offer and make the information easier for users to digest.

3. Complementary Image Or Video

Professional landing pages that include a relevant image give visitors a tangible idea of what they will receive and make landing pages much more visually appealing. The right kind of images and videos go a long way in establishing trust with the prospect.

When you provide a video, you can try short and long versions to see which is more effective or preferable, but it really depends on how much crucial detail needs to be conveyed. The video should not be longer than 1 minute.

The good thing about videos is you can also upload them to YouTube, link them to your landing pages and optimize the video page with keyword-laden description. It is suggested that video is 52 times more likely to show up on page one of Google search result than a text article if the keyword competition is not so keen.

4. Include Social Sharing Buttons/Links

Social sharing buttons are a common feature on professional landing pages now. These links enable visitors to easily share your landing pages with their connections on social networks like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter, extending the reach of your landing page beyond your own network of contacts, fans, and followers.

5. Attractive Opt-In Forms

Keep your subscription forms short and sweet. The less information asked in a form, the higher the chances of prospects filling it. Try to keep fields at a minimum by only asking information that is relevant and important to your business.

Keep in mind that people are more resistant to give up their information these days, especially because of the increase in spam. Add a privacy message (or link to your privacy policy) that indicates their personal information will not be shared or sold.

Concerning the call-to-action (CTA) button, words like “Submit” will make visitors feel stressed and not want to submit anything. Instead, try “Download Whitepaper”, “Get Your Free Ebook” or “Join Our Newsletter”.

6. Continuous A/B Testing

The best way to improve landing page performance is to keep testing new page element designs and ideas with A/B testing and keep optimizing your landing pages. To discover the best way to test your website, you can read the following article “Discover 7 A/B Testing Tips For A Successful Inbound Marketing Website“. It provides lots of effective ways to conduct an A/B testing by checking the CTA buttons, headlines, hyperlinks, etc.

Inbound Marketing In Singapore Needs A Serious Jolt!

Google Trends

The screenshot you see above is captured from Google Trends. “Inbound Marketing” as a key phrase first appeared in 2007 and has been on an upward trend. Today, it is widely practiced around the world and is gaining popularity in Japan. We expect tremendous growth in South-East Asia for the adoption of Inbound marketing in 2015.

I used to hear that South-East Asia is behind the United States in technological trends by 10 years. We at iSmart seriously hope that Inbound Marketing catch on fast in Singapore, not just because we are in the business, but because outbound marketing is getting less viable by the day as the marketplace evolves. Many local marketers are not highly aware of new development in digital marketing methodologies, yet the potential for going Inbound is huge when Singapore is considered the most connected country in the region, with broadband Internet penetration close to 100%! Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines also boast a sizeable Internet user base.

It’s up to us to evangelize the long-term benefits of Inbound Marketing. With ECommerce getting more prominent of late, we are confident that Inbound Marketing is sure to follow next.

Singapore marketers must be thinking, “What’s so special about Inbound if it’s any different from digital marketing?” When I first got in touch with the Inbound philosophy, I could not tell it apart from my earlier Internet marketing experience either, but the subtle difference is there. In fact, you’d never realize email marketing can take an outbound approach as much as an Inbound one.

For example, every time you blast out an eDM mail and hoping and praying someone will click it, that’s outbound. On the other hand, a website visitor arrives at one of your landing pages and download an interesting ebook offer. Thereafter, a series of scheduled email messages is sent out to him on a 3-day interval to nurture his interest until he becomes sales-ready: that’s Inbound.

Outbound: First, you execute a marketing action, then prospects react within their choice.

Inbound: First, prospects signal their interest by their top-of-the-funnel action, then you follow up on them.

Which marketing approach is easier…much easier? There is no debate: Inbound is the way to go because it builds on prospects’ interest that is already there; they come to you on their own initiative. At any point in time—not even in the closing stage—there is no hard selling. Even traditional business owners would have a few good ‘Inbound’ moments, like when you pick up a call and someone whom you have never prospected asked about your products and services. Would you be happy to receive random leads like this at no extra advertising cost? Sure you would. Inbound Marketing is touted to lower lead generation costs by 60%!

I think one of the strongest component of Inbound that sets it apart from digital marketing in general is its follow-up process. Many corporations in Singapore may have an email database here and a blog there, but they’d never know how various digital marketing elements can gel together to become comprehensive. Inbound Marketing, through the use of HubSpot, the world’s no. 1 Inbound Marketing software, is a holistic approach to converting a cold lead into a warm Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) which ultimately becomes a customer, and throughout the process, the marketing execution is timely (saves time) and cost-effective (saves money).

Inbound Marketing Is Hard

Inbound is not just list building: landing pages are strategically positioned along the buyer’s journey to frame a lead’s problems or challenges and offer corresponding solutions.

Inbound is not just content marketing: articles are written not generically, but with a sharp focus that is relevant to the readers depending on their buyer persona and where they are along the buyer’s journey.

Inbound is not just email marketing: emails are written to be helpful, informative and conversational and sent to the appropriate segmented subscriber list to engage subscribers and build closer relationships. The dialogue and nurturing process breaks down leads’ defenses so they can be more open to speaking to your sales team later.

Inbound is not just search engine optimization (SEO): selected keywords lay the foundation for remarkable content to be written for searchers first, then the search engines. This paves the way towards better understanding of your buyer personas’ queries.

Inbound is not just closing the sale: Too much money, time and effort had been spent to acquire customers only for businesses to neglect them. It is a grave mistake and a huge let-down to customers. According to the White House Office Of Consumer Affairs, “It is 6, 7 times more expensive to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one.” Inbound customer service goes above and beyond to build trust and lasting relationships as a critical priority to creating the Inbound experience. When customers become promoters of your business, you gain 3 very powerful intangible benefits: social proof, marketing leverage and competitive advantage.

It is clear to us that Inbound requires a higher marketing school of thought in order to provide a fuller customer experience in relation to our businesses. Singapore companies have always been ahead of neighboring countries in terms of business practices, so it is high time that we must uphold our leading position by continually updating our marketing strategies to meet business growth goals.

Inbound is the next wave of marketing to maximizing your growth potential. If you are not sure how to get started, do not hesitate to call us or drop us a mail, or you can apply for a FREE website evaluation. We relish a challenge that helps us on both sides to grow in knowledge and expertise in 2015 and beyond.

3 Big Mistakes Rookie Inbound Marketers Make

3 Big Mistakes Rookie Inbound Marketers Make

The common mistakes made by new Inbound Marketers are:

1. Not properly reaching your target audience

Marketers want to convert as many leads as possible, but if their marketing reach is too broad, it could fail to create interest among the right people (buyer personas) looking for content on whatever their interests are.

Get creative. Find ways to stand out from the crowd, such as offering a contrarian perspective and unique content. Furthermore, try to appeal to the decision-makers for the purchases of B2B products or services. They very unlikely spend their time reading blogs and following Twitter feeds, and thus being an audience for your content. If you don’t find ways to reach the decision-makers, you may not be acquiring quality leads.

2. Not focusing on the buyer’s problems.

Inbound Marketers should focus on creating content to help the buyer with their problems and address their concerns. Often, rookie Inbound Marketers focus too much on their own products or services, rather than the concerns of their prospects and their respective stages of the purchasing cycle. Prospects at earlier stages of the purchase cycle are mostly looking for educational information rather than being sold something.

3. Not keeping content understandable.

Just because someone reads your tweets and blog posts doesn’t mean they understand what you are trying to say. More often that not, your readers won’t be experts on your products or services, hence they are finding out more about them online. Keep it simple and try not to use terms that are too technical. Also, you can use marketing automation to facilitate the buyer-seller interaction, giving your prospects an opportunity to engage with you for further inquiries.

I hope you’ve learned from these mistakes and will be able to have a smooth road towards mastering Inbound marketing*!

Discover The 5 Major Aspects Of A Successful Lead Nurturing Campaign

As the marketplace moves online, the majority of leads are not going to do business with you in the first instances. Lead nurturing becomes a key component of one-to-many marketing automation. The whole experience of the way leads interact with marketers and receive input from them becomes more process-based and systematic. Marketers can now collate a complete set of data based on the leads’ history of interaction to qualify them further down the marketing funnel.

This ‘input’ that marketers offer to leads is valuable content that educates, keeps them engaged and warms them up. A consistent and automated dissemination of content establishes a strong brand presence at the top of prospects’ minds even as leads and marketers do not meet, until the leads send a strong signal like filling in a telephone number in a form or agreeing to a product demonstration. When online lead nurturing can produce such revealing data, that’s how powerful and effective the marketing process can become.

Consider the following factors in setting up a proper lead nurturing campaign:

1) Set your goals.

funnel

In popular understanding, there are 3 parts to a marketing funnel:

a) ToFU (Top Of The Funnel or Awareness stage): The prospect is experiencing a problem and requires knowledge to better understand what he is going through and why.

b) MoFU (Middle Of The Funnel or Consideration stage): Having understood and defined the problem, the prospect is considering the various options to solving it.

c) BoFU (Bottom of The Funnel or Decision stage): The prospect has shortlisted possible solutions to his/her problem and will finalize his purchase decision.

The goals of each part of your funnel is to prepare your leads with the necessary information and usher them to the next part. They always have a choice to opt out, thereby disqualifying themselves out of the funnel, but you want to focus on the leads that remain in the funnel.

2) Define your market persona.

interview

Before the marketing process begins, you must first define the type of prospects to target. Instead of spending important advertising dollars on drawing in the wrong set of prospects, construct a market persona based on the majority of your customers and concentrated around their needs and wants. By creating a buyer persona and nailing down your clients’ needs, lifestyles and even apprehensions, you will have the capacity to think of a ready answer to address your clients’ challenges. By placing ourselves in the shoes of our prospects, we can better pre-empt their purchasing decision. It’s so much more effective to zero in on the right leads this way because it is very difficult to measure the degree of favorable response to mass marketing.

To give you a hint, you can start by asking current customers or prospects the following questions:

Role:

  • What is your job role? Your job title?
  • How is your job measured?
  • What is a typical day?
  • What skills are required?
  • What knowledge and tools do you use?
  • Who do you report to? Who reports to you?

Goals:

  • What are you responsible for?
  • What does it mean to be successful in your role?

Challenges:

  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • How do you overcome these challenges?

Company:

  • What industry or industries does your company work in?
  • What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?

Watering Holes:

  • How do you learn about new information for your job?
  • What publications or blogs do you read?
  • What associations and social networks do you belong to?

Personal Background:

  • Age
  • Family (single, married, children)
  • Education

Shopping Preferences:

  • How to you prefer to interact with vendors (email, phone, in person?)
  • Do you use the Internet to research vendors or products? If yes, how do you search for information? What types of websites do you use?

As your leads answer these questions, you will find it easy to segment them in order to present to them the most appropriate content in their context. It also demonstrates your perfect understanding of their needs and challenges at any particular point in time, thereby maximizing the impact of your marketing messages.

3) Design your content

contentdesign

As you are already aware, the content in your emails plays a major part in lead nurturing by influencing the thinking process of your readers to be in line with your goals. The mindset behind your writing is to identify a problem and the need to solve it, impart knowledge and benefits, and emphasize action and accompanying results on the readers’ part. The regularity of messages queued and released on schedule within a workflow enables you to build ongoing relationships with your prospects/clients while keeping them engaged.

Although the content may be carried within emails, the content itself can take many forms, like a whitepaper, blog post, video, webinar, infographic etc. You could start with offering general advice that reflects the depth of expertise your company has. Instead of mentioning your products or services straight away, write some tips that your readers can easily apply themselves to solve low-level problems when they are in the ToFU or BoFU stage.

Overdeliver in this aspect of content marketing to the point when you have no choice but to propose a commercial solution to a larger or high-level problem. By then, your leads should also feel comfortable and find you trustworthy as a solutions provider. Even so, there is yet another way to qualify different types of buyers according to low-ticket, mid-ticket and high-ticket purchases. It is not very often that prospects will buy big-ticket items if they can’t perceive such a value. You can “whet their appetite” for future purchase by offering a cheap product like a more exclusive e-book, a recorded video tutorial, a 2-hour solutions-based coaching session etc. And only when they are ready that you can invite them for a free demonstration or trial use to orientate them for your flagship product.

Therefore consider how your emails are designed to deliver content that guide your leads along a well-defined buyer’s journey.

4) Set a timeline for your marketing funnel

timeline

This correlates with point 3 regarding the length of time by which you can afford to overdeliver on free content to nurture your leads. Although there is no fixed rule of thumb to how long the time could be, it is said that 75% of your leads buy within 18-24 months. It also depends on the degree of sophistication of the product or service you are selling. How you come to settle down on a definite timeline depends on how much content you have come up with and how you space them out at regular intervals. Be free to experiment with the way you sequence your content delivery, but it is of utmost importance that you must trust yourself that you did all you can to win over your prospects with your selling proposition, and thereafter you must discard the leads whom you perceive as remaining disinterested.

5) Define metrics for marketing campaign performance

metrics

Testing and tracking for results remains to be an integral business practice for all forms of marketing, therefore you must define the result metrics of your lead nurturing campaign or sales cycle, such as email open and click-through rates, social media reach (retweets, Facebook likes, fan/follower growth rates, impressions, shares etc.) and lead conversion rate. Metrics are the details that tie in with the goals mentioned in point 1.

As time goes, you will begin to discern and separate the non-performing marketing strategies from the good ones, and you want to improve or filter out the non-performers and concentrate more energy on the ones that work. Results will influence your future decisions on how to tweak the offers you send, the email subject lines, calls-to-action, content, landing page design etc. As the saying goes, “the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.”

There you have it: the 5 major aspects of a successful lead nurturing campaign. In summary, you first determine your goals and metrics and how long you expect to reach them, know who you are targeting and identify what content to disseminate. The setup process can be time-consuming, but in the spirit of Inbound Marketing*, ultimately it will be beneficial to improving your lead quality at lower cost and your bottom line.

Are you generating enough leads for your business? Not satisfied with the quality of your leads as you hoped for? If you like us to examine your lead nurturing process, call us or write to us for a free consultation so we can give you a FREE website assessment and take your business to the next level!

* Inbound Marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

Discover 3 Inbound Marketing Strategies For Your Business Expansion

Discover 3 Inbound Marketing Strategies For Your Business Expansion

Let’s recall the last time you were out in the street and an enormous billboard caught your attention. Did you immediately visit the advertised website? Or did you proceed on your journey without remembering?

This is a prime example of a fizzled endeavor at an outbound marketing strategy. Consider those “in your face” advertisements you see regularly like those promotions at the sides of buses or taxis or the large print ads taking up 50% of the newspaper. Does this style lure you to find out more about the offer?

Most likely not. Not only outbound marketing “pushes out” ads without a targeted audience or demographic in mind, it regularly consumes up your advertising dollars quicker than you can say, “Where are my revenues?”

What marketers today should know is that effective marketing doesn’t have to appeal to the masses in order to see a return, but instead concentrate on creating remarkable or compelling content that attracts people by piquing their interest. This type of advertising is known as Inbound Marketing*. I share the following 3 Inbound marketing strategies that can develop your business and get results.

1. Construct A Buyer Persona

You have a business. You offer an item or service. Customers are your best supporters as they trust your brand and use it. They picked YOUR business to purchase from and not from your competitors. Instead of spending important advertising dollars on drawing in the wrong set of prospects, construct a buyer persona based on the majority of your customers and concentrated around their needs and wants. By creating a buyer persona and nailing down your clients’ needs, lifestyles and even apprehensions, you will have the capacity to think of a ready answer to address your clients’ challenges. By placing ourselves in the shoes of our prospects, we can better pre-empt their purchasing decision. Beyond that, you can foster a closer relationship with existing customers as they begin to adore your brand and unreservedly evangelize it. It’s so much more effective to zero in on the right leads this way because it is very difficult to measure the degree of favorable response to outbound ads.

2. Build Trust With Content Creation

Effective Inbound marketers must continually engage prospects with informative content. Offering guidance, learning tips, or answers to their inquiries encourages readers to identify closely with your brand. Content design also takes on a variety of creative approaches: blogging, vlogging, ebooks, infographics, videos, webinars, social media publishing etc. As time goes, content becomes the vehicle with which marketers lead prospects through their marketing funnel, ultimately winning them over for the sale. Yes, the sales result is paramount, but I must emphasize the use of content in establishing and building trust in the minds of prospects. When a prospect completely comprehends and believes in your brand, it is natural that they become willing customers.

3. Be Active On Social Media

Consider these statistics as revealed in a HubSpot study:

  1. Internet users spend 4 times more time on Facebook than Google
  2. Number of active users on:
    • Facebook: 1.3 billion
    • Twitter: 645 million
    • LinkedIn: 300 million
    • Google+: 300 million
  3. 74% of marketers saw an increase in traffic after spending just 6 hours per week on social media
  4. At least 35% of marketers have acquired customers on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter

Social media publishing and engagement is therefore integral to your Inbound strategy in converting visitors to leads and acquiring and supporting customers. When you keep customers happy, they can be evangelists for your brand. Their public displays of delight will appeal to their connections and your prospects too!

The more you apply social media marketing, the sooner you will encounter more in-depth strategies, but let’s start with fulfilling basic requirements:

  1. Consider the frequency you are going to publish/post on the 4 major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Plan out the regular timings for your posts so that your fans and followers can readily anticipate them.
  2. Show your personality. Don’t be afraid to show what makes you, your company and corporate culture special and enjoyable to work or associate with.
  3. Design your content presentation. As mentioned earlier, mix up the form of your content with images, videos, downloads, blog posts, quotes, polls, questions etc., but take into account the appropriateness/suitability of the content form for a particular social network, the publishing timing and the persona of your readers. 80% of your content should be interesting and helpful and 20% can be promotional.
  4. Know your buyer persona. I keep coming back to the ‘persona’ because it is important and unavoidable. In the context of social media, knowing your buyer persona thoroughly allows you to get content to them at the right place at the right time. Consider these questions:
    1. Where are they spending time on the Internet?
    2. Which networks? Is it only the big 4 or a niche site targeted at people in the same industry or interest?
    3. Why are they there? For business or pleasure?
    4. Most importantly, what sort of content do they want to read and share?

Taking everything into account, Inbound marketing is about giving and winning client steadfastness as opposed to beating a message into prospects’ heads and trusting it will stick. By applying the 3 fundamental Inbound marketing strategies as stated, brands will eventually see enormous returns for their efforts on less advertising dollar expenditure.

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, Social Media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

Discover 5 Powerful Methods For Designing Your Buyer Persona

One of the biggest mistakes that causes businesses to fail is the merchants ultimately failing to meet the demands and expectations of customers. In other words, the merchants do not know who their customers are. Even if they have great products or services, if they fail to align what they offer with what their customers want, they are simply barking up the wrong tree.

No customers, no business, no sales. It is as simple as that. Therefore it is important to define the type of prospects to target. Instead of spending important advertising dollars on drawing in the wrong set of prospects, construct a customer profile based on the majority of your customers and concentrated around their needs and wants. By creating a buyer persona and nailing down your customers’ needs, lifestyles and even apprehensions, you will have the capacity to think of a ready answer to address your customers’ challenges. By placing ourselves in the shoes of our prospects, we can better pre-empt their purchasing decision.

There are 5 ways you can research your buyer persona:

1) Online Retrieval Of Demographics Data

The process is pretty instantaneous and all you need to do is input product keywords or URLs of other people’s websites that are similar to your business (or your competitors’) into AdWords Display Planner. These are the steps:

a) Go to adwords.google.com
b) Click “Tools”, “Display Planner”
c) Select “Show only estimates for my targeting criteria”.
d) Enter a URL or product keyword
e) Click “Get estimates”.

You get a results display that looks like below:

planner

But as you can see, the data is very limited to age, gender and device usage.

Alexa is another website that can provide demographics intelligence but unless you upgrade, you are just as much limited to gender, education and browsing location data.

focus group

2) Interview Your Prospects And Customers (Pre-Sales)

This is surely one of the most effective way to get a sense of the majority demographic of your customers, but you need to ask the right questions. Here is a sample list:

How old are they?
What is their gender?
Where do they live?
What is their job?
What is their education level?
How do they prefer to stay contactable?
What is their ethnic background?
How much do they earn?
What is their marital status?
How do they spend their free time?
Which newspaper, books or magazines do they read?
What is their favorite TV channel?
What are their hopes and dreams?
What do they wear?
What are their political and religious views?
What are their biggest fears? What keeps them awake at 3am?
What makes them happy?
What frustrates them?
What do they find most relaxing?
What do they talk about with their friends?
Which appeals to them more: function or aesthetic?
What are their hobbies or interests?
What are their attitudes towards certain issues?

You can organize focus groups, walk-in sessions, on-site visits, or make phone calls to conduct interviews. You can also publish the questions in a web page through which visitors can submit their answers collated in an email sent to you.

survey

3) Surveys (Post-Sales)

Conduct surveys to get feedback from customers about their purchases. It could be an immediate, short post-sales survey about the checkout experience, or a survey that occurs one month after purchase to gauge user experience. The answers your customers give you can reveal much about how and what they think, and could be surprisingly quite apart from pre-sales answers in terms of scope or alignment. Sometimes customers may use the occasion to inquire about other products/services. All these information can make you consider if the major customer demographic is thinking along the same line, and whether you need to tweak your marketing strategies based on the survey answers.

Popular online survey tools include Foresee, Qualaroo, SurveyMonkey and WebEngage.

past purchase

4) Look At Past Purchases

Supposed you have a range of products or services. Over a period of time, it becomes apparent to you that some offers sell better than others. Your sales results can tell you what the marketplace needs most, therefore you can reconsider your marketing strategies to target the most in-demand customer segment of the marketplace.

smengagement

5) Social Media Engagement

Social media puts you on the frontline of direct communication with prospects and customers. By monitoring and observing what they say about your industry and products/services, you gain first-hand insights into their expectations. It is also a great time to resolve any issues or complaints that they may have. Doing so in a prompt manner not only reflects that there is real customer support that cares, but also your pursuit towards customer satisfaction.

Also investigate online forums and Q&A sites like Quora. These sites are great resources for problem solving. By researching for solutions, you can better understand how to help your own prospects and position your products/services in a way that shows you really know your customers’ problems.

Customer research is a long-drawn process and it is never-ending because the marketplace keeps changing. However, the benefits of targeting the right customers are enormous. For one thing, repeat sales from old-time customers are easy to get. A high level of customer loyalty exists because your ability to know customers inside out will make them feel they are well attended to. They will even evangelize and refer new customers to you, thereby exponentially growing your business.

Good business does not start with a great product or service, or great know-how or a high efficiency in daily operations. It is simply knowing your customers like they are your friends, and it is a great untold secret to sales riches.

6 Features Your Landing Page Should Have

6 Features Your Landing Page Should HaveA landing page is a single web page that people are directed to after clicking on a search engine result. Its general aim is to convert visitors into leads and it is typically used in Inbound Marketing*. It is the first thing that a website visitor will see and so it needs to be direct in getting its message across, but at the same time, appealing enough that the visitor would want to explore the website.

There are several particular features that a landing page should have in order to achieve its purpose—more conversions.

1. Clarity

Using clear expressions and headlines allow visitors to understand the purpose of the landing page easily and allow them to have a clearer idea of the product that you are promoting.

2. Focus

The entire landing page should have a central theme which it does not deviate from, such as not to confuse the website visitor and allows the marketer to focus on getting a particular message across. There should also be a single Call-To-Action, which encourages the visitor to take up the offer of content in exchange of contact information (and thus becoming leads.) Make your Call-To-Action stand out by using conversion design rules such as whitespace, contrasting colors and directional cues.

3. Rewarding

Nobody gives away their personal details for nothing in return, that’s begging to be spammed. As mentioned above, this contact information is usually exchanged with something of value to the website visitor, such as e-books or whitepapers. It is at the landing page that this trade takes place, and thus where the contact information is acquired. This information can be stored using cookies so that repeated visitors can receive personalized tags and smart fields. Also, this serves the purpose to obtain more information about the lead by asking for other details rather than just names and email addresses.

4. Logos

Branding is important when it comes to receiving the trust of website visitors – after all they’re giving you their personal information. Your company logo reassures them that you are legitimate and not out to scam them.

5. Integrated Networks

Links to your social media platforms indicate that you are connected to other networks which the website visitor can go to if they are interested to find out more about the product. This could be, for instance, a link to your blog promoting your product.

6. Promote

Appealing features of the product along with testimonials, if any, will give the leads a better perception about the product, which in turn helps in the process of turning them into consumers.

Kudos! You now have a presentable landing page. But even having the greatest landing page in the world would mean nothing without the website traffic. Hence, marketers have several methods of pulling in traffic to their websites.

  • In Search Engine Marketing (SEM), websites pay search engines such as Google to display their landing pages on the first page of search results corresponding to particular keywords. Similarly, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) achieves the same effect.
  • Traffic is sent from a banner ad or sponsorship graphic to a landing page specifically designed to address the buyer persona.
  • Traffic is sent from a link in an email promoting the product.
  • Traffic is sent from a blog post or sidebar link (the process of inbound marketing works in a closed loop) to the landing page.
  • If the page you’re currently on is a landing page designed to attract website visitors into the links of networks.

Through these methods your landing page can effectively convert visitors to leads, which in turn can become customers.

When you’ve got your landing page all set up, you can also read How to Get More Leads By Solving Landing Page Problems.

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, social media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.