How to Nurture Leads for Increased Sales

In order for any lead nurturing campaign to be successful, it must be part of a comprehensive plan. It cannot exist in a silo. It must be connected to your other lead gen programs and analytics. The beauty of e-mail campaigns is you can select exactly whom you want to send your message to. And you can help direct your recipients’ next step by sending them to your website or by offering a special download – something to engage them. Then, you can use analytics to determine each prospect’s level of interest based on their level of engagement.

You should qualify your prospects based on opens and clicks. Did they open the e-mail? Did they click through on your call to action? This is their way of responding to your e-mails, telling you if they are effective or not. So, choose your content wisely and make sure it’s relevant. Communicate about special promotions, events, offers, anything of interest to your prospects.

Another key to successful lead gen campaigns is to know your saturation point. Do you need to send weekly e-mails or does monthly work best? You want your e-mails to be a welcome sight in your prospects’ in boxes and not a nuisance. Lead nurturing is about engagement. You want to keep prospects as engaged as possible along their buying journey. You want to keep your prospects interested, show them you care, you understand their unique needs, and how your company can help.

Knowing where your prospects are in the buying process is helpful. And how they engage with your e-mails will help you determine whether they are gathering information, considering, or ready to buy.

E-mail lead gen campaigns enable you to learn more about your prospects so you can better communicate with them and nurture them throughout their buying journey. This helps you provide the right content at the right time, moving them down the funnel to a purchasing decision.

 

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8 LinkedIn Changes That Help With Your Marketing


A year ago LinkedIn revamped its system in an attempt to increase functionality and make it more user friendly, a move that came after its acquisition by Microsoft in 2016. The changes are evident from the moment you sign in to your account. The new app-like home page has been streamlined, giving you quick and easy access to the information you want to see – with the goal for you to use LinkedIn more often and stay engaged longer.

If you’re like me, you haven’t taken the time (until now) to investigate all of the changes. Here are the top eight changes that marketers should know about.

  1. More Content

Your LinkedIn home page now features more organic, sponsored, and native advertising content users may be interested in reading. And shortcuts like the “Work” button in the top navigation bar next to your profile picture make it easy to manage your company page as well as your groups.

  1. Easy Messaging

The new and improved LinkedIn makes it even easier to private message contacts. Now there’s a pop-up “Messaging” window on the bottom right of your home page screen that allows you to quickly and easily select one of your contacts and shoot them off a message without leaving the LinkedIn homepage feed. And, when you receive messages, new “smart replies” automation provides three automated replies you can select – no typing required. Adding personalization to the automated message – like: Thanks, Jane – is coming soon.

  1. Easy Searching

New search features offer a universal search box that lets users search by people, jobs, companies, groups and schools. You can search all of these LinkedIn categories with a single, unified keyword(s) – all of the relevant items will come up on one page, and you can toggle between different categories. Before this change, you had to search in each category separately.

  1. Trending Topics At A Glance

LinkedIn is taking its cue from Facebook, adding an algorithm that selects trending stories for this news feed on the top right of your home page. This move makes it easier for users to engage within the system.

  1. More Analytics

 This one is really good. LinkedIn now provides more analytics so you know how other users interact with your content you post. LinkedIn now shows you things like who liked your content, the company they work for, their job title, where they are located, and where they found your content. If that weren’t enough, the system will also suggest additional articles to share with your network to increase engagement.

  1. Native Videos

Remember how frustrating it used to be to try to embed video into LinkedIn?! Now LinkedIn lets you upload native videos directly to LinkedIn using its mobile app. In addition to being convenient, this enhancement also helps the videos on company pages appear more authentic/organic and less “corporate.”

  1. Blogging Interface

Now you can create a blog post from your home page by clicking on the “Write An Article” link in the top box on your home screen. Before you had to navigate to another page called LinkedIn Pulse and write your post there.

  1. Learning Center

The new “Learning” option in your top navigation bar enables you to enter a skill set that are of interest to you and then access pertinent content that informs you on a multitude of subjects that meet your criteria.

With these changes, it’s likely LinkedIn users could start using this platform even more, which would definitely capture the attention of marketers wanting to reach prospects where they are. You may want to consider creating more LinkedIn campaigns and content for the site.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve checked out LinkedIn, I suggest you log on and see how this platform can help your business.

How Recent Changes to Facebook May Affect Your Marketing Efforts

Recent changes at Facebook may affect how we market to prospects using this social media. Facebook has decided to show less news articles, marketing content, and ads to make way for more personal content from each user’s personal connections. Here are the highlights of this news feed change that you should know:

Changing Its Image

At the heart of this change is the controversy Facebook has had over the years regarding its somewhat tumultuous relationship with the news industry. By showing more personal content and less news and advertising content, Facebook eliminates some of their headaches.

Responding To Numbers

Nielsen data shows a small decline in the number of hours people are spending on Facebook. By increasing the amount of personal content that directly pertains to each user, Facebook likely hopes to stop this decline.

Time Will Tell

For those of us who use Facebook for organic distribution by posting content in prospect’s news feeds, it seems we’ll have to wait and see how far reaching these changes are. There may need to be a shift to purchasing online ads on Facebook if content posts are no longer enabled. Facebook seems to be banking on this, hoping advertisers won’t mind paying for ads if they are seen by “happier” Facebook users.

I’m sure you’ll join me in closely monitoring these Facebook changes and their impact on marketers.

Understanding Net Neutrality and What It May Mean to Your Business

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted recently to repeal regulations of Internet service providers, referred to as “Net Neutrality.” Understanding what this means can be confusing. Let’s take a look at an overview of the possible impact for marketers.

Net Neutrality is simply a collection of regulations. In 2015, the FCC adopted historic Net Neutrality rules based on Title II of the Communications Act, giving Internet users the strongest protections possible. This worked to keep the Internet free and open — ensuring users can access and share Internet information without interference from an Internet Service Provider (ISP). This means ISPs cannot interfere with the content you view or post online. Net Neutrality reflects how the Internet has always worked – what we’re accustomed to when we think of Internet functionality.

Since the FCC repealed Net Neutrality, the concern is that ISPs can now slow down content, block content, and charge extra fees for companies to receive preferential treatment — all would be potentially detrimental to most businesses marketing online that rely on the open Internet to advertise their products and services and reach customers. Net Neutrality fosters competition, innovation, and job growth.

Proponents of the repeal claim Net Neutrality micro-manages the Internet and removing it will foster innovation and create competition in Internet access pricing and options among ISPs that will be good for consumers. However, in most locations in the U.S. there isn’t much ISP competition, as they function more like a monopoly.

Regardless of which side you agree with, the debate isn’t over. Over a dozen senators are working on a Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to counter regulatory rulings from federal agencies and would nullify the FCC’s vote. If the Act is passed and the repeal reversed, the FCC could not repeal net neutrality again. I’m sure we’ll all be watching this very closely.

How to Make Your Prospects’ E-Mail Experience Better

E-mail marketing is so effective it’s easy to begin to think of it as simply an engine that drives your sales results. The problem with this thinking is that it removes the human element from the equation. And, the success of e-mail campaigns relies on the human element. Your e-mail must be a personal experience for your prospects. Here are four questions you need to answer to get you headed in the right direction to make your prospects’ e-mail experience better.

  1. Why did your prospects sign up to receive your e-mails?

You have to know the answers to this so you can make sure you meet those objectives. Then you begin the work of striking a comfortable balance between pleasing your prospects and driving revenue.

When you know why your prospects want to hear from you, you can create very strategic content so it’s not necessary to bombard your prospects with too many e-mails, which will only work to turn them off on your brand. Predictive modeling can help you further segment your prospects to ensure a better e-mail experience for them.

  1. How often do you think about your prospects when you develop your e-mail campaigns?

We’re all a little guilty of it. We fall into the trap of thinking of e-mail simply as a tool for driving leads. We sometimes forget that there are living prospects on the receiving end of our e-mails. And, e-mail is a great medium to really address your prospects’ different needs and wants, developing content that speaks to them. Always keep the human element in mind when executing your e-mail campaigns.

  1. Is your content hitting the right note?

I believe e-mail is a great way to have a personal conversation with your prospects. So, even when you’re announcing a special sale, a new product launch – whatever – you need to make sure you are keeping it personal for your prospects. Tell them why it should matter to them. This thinking should start at the subject line with a message that has meaning and relevance to the prospects receiving the e-mail.

Prospects only view your e-mails for a few seconds. To have impact, your e-mails must be “scanable” to easily determine value. Best practices really apply here. Often the urge is to overdesign e-mails, but you do so to your peril. Keep in mind that most prospects view your e-mail on a mobile phone. Keep reminding yourself of that when you’re tempted to keep adding to the design.

  1. Is how you’re saying what you’re saying making a connection?

It’s not only important what you say but also how you say it. The tone of your e-mail matters. The tone should be in line with your brand and reinforce how you want prospects to view your brand. There is a tendency to forget this when creating content for e-mail.

Your e-mails should also set a good customer service tone. Give prospects links to helpful or pertinent information. Don’t make them hunt for it.

E-mail is a personal medium that works wonders to drive leads and sales. It has a high ROI. Make sure you are using it to its fullest potential.

9 Social Media Trends to Watch for 2018

Modern Keyboard With Colored Social Network Buttons.

I came across this infographic by film editing simplifiers Filmora that lists nine trends we marketers should keep an eye on in 2018. A few that got my attention:

  • Video, especially livestreaming, is watched three times longer than regular videos.
  • 30% of our chat conversation will be with chatbots in 2018.
  • Increased brand participation in “dark social” or platforms not publicly visible, like the messaging apps WhatsApp, Messenger, and WeChat.

To see all nine trends to watch for in 2018, here’s the infographic.

How to Design Your Ads So Prospects Read Them

 

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If you’ve been paying attention lately, you’ve likely discovered that marketers like us are trying to make ads look less like traditional ads. Now, why would we be doing this? Because we know our ads will be far more effective if they look more like content!

Here are some popular (and effective) ways to make your advertising look more like your editorial content.

 

Native Advertising

Ads that purposely look like your other content are very effective. Prospects are likely to click on it because they think it’s editorial and not an ad. There’s a fine line here though. No one likes to feel tricked. And, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has weighed in on this stating, “advertisements and promotional messages that promote the benefits and attributes of goods and services should be identifiable as advertising to consumers.” So, while this is a very effective tactic, use it wisely.

Influencer Marketing

It likely comes as no surprise that celebrity endorsements are hugely effective. And today you don’t have to be famous in the traditional sense to be an influencer. Influencers are also people who have created a following entirely through their online activity.

There once was a time when influencers weren’t required to make it known that they were getting compensated to promote a brand. Not so anymore. The FTC issued guidelines (and threatened penalties) that require upfront disclosure. So, while using influencers is smart, do so properly.

Sponsored Editorial Content

Sponsored editorial content can be very effective if not the most powerful of all content related advertising.  Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, provide the perfect platform to not only place sponsored content but also micro-target.  Using the micro-targeting tools provided by Facebook and LinkedIn will place your sponsored content on the targeted audiences page – a winning strategy if the content is written to meet the needs of the intended audience.

Social Media Advertising

Social media platforms are following the trend, and they too have made it harder for prospects to determine what is an ad and what is editorial. Each platform uses a faint “sponsored” or “promoted” disclaimer to meet FTC requirements. Even Google has gradually blurred the line between paid ads and organic ads – no longer flagging ads with a large “ad” box as it did in its early inception.

The point isn’t that we want to trick prospects. The point is that we want to deliver ads they actually want to read. It just so happens the more an ad looks like editorial, the more likely a prospect is to click on it. And, engagement is what we are going for. So, try to make your ads look more like your editorial content (legally and ethically) and you should start seeing higher ad engagement and more sales.