How to Get Your 2017 Marketing Off to a Strong Start

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2017-growth-planningAs 2016 rapidly winds down, we’re all looking forward to 2017 and the opportunities and challenges it brings. Here are some tips to focus your marketing strategy to get the most out of 2017.

  1. Make sense of your numbers.

Over the past year you’ve likely tried several new things with your marketing and kept some of your old tried-and-true tactics. Now, it’s time to look at the data you’ve been collecting and see what is working and what is not. Take a deep dive and calculate your ROI to really get an accurate sense or what’s helping you generate leads and profit. Figure out what you want to stick with, what you need to rework, and what you need to abandon.

2.  Test and retest.

Your 2017 marketing plan will still need to be tested regularly to ensure it is continuing to work. Don’t be afraid to try new things. A layered approach works best. Keep in mind that you have many new resources that work and cost very little. Social media help you reach your target market for very little expense. Lead generation and search marketing are also cost-effective while delivering qualified prospects.

  1. Have a plan for retaining good customers.

Keeping loyal customers is good business. What are you planning to do in 2017 to retain them? Create a plan (discounted rates, referral incentives, etc.) that directly addresses the needs of your loyal customers and encourages them to continue to do business with you.

  1. Develop new content.

Use what you learned in 2016 from your sales people, your customers, your prospects, and the competition to create content that hits the mark in 2017. Keep your website updated with fresh and useful content to make the most out of each visit your prospects make to your site.

  1. Stay connected.

One of the most important parts of your marketing strategy is ongoing maintenance. You have to check in at least once a month to see how things are really going – not necessarily what you’re hearing or what you think. The numbers don’t lie. Set aside one day a month that you are committed to putting the time in to make sure your strategy is on track. If it’s not, make the necessary adjustments.

Happy holidays and a very prosperous new year to everyone!

 

Six Ideas to Make Your Next Webinar Successfully Drive Leads

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I’ve done a lot of webinars throughout my career. What I like about them is that they enable you to connect with your prospects in a very personal and specific way. And when you do them right, they are also really great at driving leads. If you haven’t considered doing a webinar, I think you should. And, if you’ve already done webinars, I think this information will be helpful for you too.

  1. CONSIDER PARTNERING UP TO DOUBLE YOUR REACH

I know, it seems counterintuitive to think of sharing the spotlight when you are doing a webinar to promote your brand and drive leads to your business. But, here’s why I suggest finding a strategic partner for your webinar. When you partner with a complementary company, you are able to create a much more interesting message that appeals to twice the prospects – yours and theirs.

  1. CREATE AN ACTUAL PLAN OF ATTACK

Another advantage to having a webinar partner is that the workload is shared. However, even if you don’t partner with another company, it’s crucial that everyone involved knows the expectations and what their role is in completing the job. Create a plan and distribute it to everyone involved. Not only must you decide on the content of the webinar, but you also need to address the promotion of the webinar. More on that later.

  1. CREATE CONTENT THAT IS INTERESTING AND MEANINGFUL

Whether speaking just to your audience or to a shared audience, the goal is the same: create meaningful and interesting content. What is the message, who will say it, and how will they say it? You want to use fresh ideas that build on the other content you have already created – something they can’t Google and find on their own. Webinar attendees want to learn about new ideas, tips, tactics, industry secrets, etc. There need to be good takeaway ideas. Also, it’s so important that you have someone who is comfortable in front of the camera doing your webinar.

4.  DEVELOP A PROMOTION PLAN

Webinars are no good if no one sees them. You have to have a plan to promote the webinar. You’ll need to create a compelling landing page that entices prospects to sign up to attend. Then, share links to the landing page via your social media and e-mail campaigns. You should also consider writing a blog about the webinar and posting links to it on your social platforms as well.

  1. USE YOUR WEBINAR TIME WISELY

During the webinar, you will want to engage with your audience in real time via live tweets. Your tweets should include screen shots of interesting data, key information via a quote, photos – whatever is beneficial and of interest to your prospects. And, make sure you respond to all questions.

  1. USE YOUR TIME AFTER THE WEBINAR WISELY

Just because the webinar is over doesn’t mean that its effectiveness is too. Build off the momentum of your webinar. Create a blog that recaps the webinar. Include photos, video, charts, etc., to engage those who missed the webinar.

Webinars are great lead generators and a necessary component of your content marketing strategy. They allow you to reach your audience like no other medium, simulating an in-person conversation. Take advantage and consider adding at least one webinar to your 2017 plan.

Why Your 2017 Strategy Needs to Address Multi-Channel Marketing

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You’ve likely heard the terms cross-channel marketing, multi-channel marketing, and omni-channel marketing. They all mean the same thing. These terms refer to the process of engaging with your prospects across all traditional and digital channels and devices. I prefer the term multi-channel marketing, so that’s what I’ll use for this post.

While multi-channel marketing sounds good (and it is), the challenge occurs when you go to communicate with your prospects across multiple devices. Often the focus is on the device and how to communicate on the specific device. The focus always has to be on communicating to the prospect first and the device second. It’s always about the right message to the right prospect. We are marketing to people and not smart devices. Smart devices just happen to be really effective tools for getting our relevant and timely messages to our prospects.

Multi-channel marketing is important. To remain competitive you need to ensure you are delivering a seamless, fully connected message across platforms. You need to stay informed on all of the digital changes and new technologies happening to better understand your multi-dimensional prospects. Here’s why:

Consumers (on average) own 7.2 devices per household. They use 3 or more on a daily basis. Marketers typically only see 1. (Source: Adobe Analytics & ADI Device Use Survey)

Nearly 40% of transactions involve multiple devices, and 30% of consumers complete their sale on a mobile device. (Source: Criteo Mobile eCommerce Report)

Over 50% of marketers say that cross-channel measurement and attribution is occupying the most time and resources in 2016. This number is expected to increase in 2017. (Source: Winterberry and IAB)

84% of marketers feel that a comprehensive cross-device strategy is essential for success though only 20% feel very confident that they’re serving the right message on the right device. (Source: Atlas by Facebook)

Marketers need to close the gap between our marketing messages and our marketing devices. To effectively market across multi-channels, we must first pay attention to the prospect and then the device.

 

How to Beat the Holiday Slump

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Everyone knows the holidays can be anything but jolly when it comes to your e-mail campaigns. From November to January, just about everyone notices a dip in their leads. Here are some tips to help you ride out the remainder of the holidays and get a better response from your e-mails.

 

CHRISTMAS E-MAIL TIMING

  • The week before Christmas Eve has a high e-mail response rate, so if you’re sending during the holiday season, this is your sweet spot.

NEW YEAR’S EVE E-MAIL TIMING

  • Another high e-mail open rate occurs just after New Year’s Day. Four days after to be exact.

You’ll want to keep these fast-approaching dates in mind and plan your holiday e-mail communications accordingly.

 

Why User-Generated Content Must be Part of Your E-Mail Campaigns

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ugcUser-generated content (UGC) is content that comes from your customers most typically these days via their chosen social media platform such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blog posts, etc. UGC is like gold because it helps you connect with your current customers and prospects in a more personal and relevant way not possible before. UGC can (and should) be used in your marketing to both reinforce brand loyalty while also attracting new prospects. It works!

• Seventy percent of consumers place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally written content. (Reevo)

• Twenty-five percent of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. (Kissmetrics)

UGC works great to build consumer confidence in your brand. It brings a human quality to your product or service that helps build a trust relationship. And, e-mail is the perfect platform since studies show consumers prefer e-mail for marketing communications. And, UGC in your e-mail to prospects is like letting them talk face-to-face to your loyal customers. You can’t beat that.

A word of caution here. One thing I can’t stand is when I see a testimonial, but it’s cloaked in a veil of secrecy. That doesn’t work. Make sure you use at least the first name of the person whose UGC you are using. You may also want to provide a link to their social site. This is the only way your prospects know you are using UGC from real people. That goes a long way.

UGC helps build brand loyalty and sales. Use it strategically to speak to your prospects where they are in the buying cycle. If it’s your first communication with a prospect, consider using several UGC that show the different products or services you offer. Then, as your prospect gets closer to buying, you may choose to use a more in-depth UGC testimonial with a strong call-to-action.

Trends in User-Generated Content

One trend in UGC is to sponsor a contest. Actually, this one works really well to generate UGC! That’s a win-win. Your customers will jump at the opportunity to post UGC for a chance to win something of value to them. Yes, you must offer something that they will actually want. And, be specific about what you want the UGC to contain. Must it picture your product? If so, indicate that.

Another hot trend in UGC is to partner with a charity and encourage your customers and prospects to participate by posting a photo of themselves with the purchase, using the hashtag you’ve promoted that they should use.

UGC has taken off and is here to stay because it is a very effective tool for building a relationship with your customers that also works to drive leads. You can leverage UGC to build trust and demonstrate your brands uniqueness. Using UGC on some of your e-mails will help boost your credibility and sales.

3 Ways You Can Make Your Online Newsletter Better

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E-Mail ImageThere are plenty of tools out there that have made it easier than ever to deliver an electronic newsletter. However, ease of use is not a substitute for good content. The hard work still needs to be done there. Here are three steps you can take to help your newsletter promote your brand and drive sales.

  1. Build a Database of Engaged Prospects

You want your newsletter to go to prospects who actually have an interest in your product or service. Respect their time and their in box. If they decide they no longer want to receive your newsletter, respect that.

  1. Recognize That Your Newsletter is a User Experience

Sending a newsletter via e-mail is a great opportunity to build a relationship with your prospects. Make sure you deliver information that is relevant to your prospects – not necessarily just information you want to share. There has to be a reason why prospects should want to read your newsletter. And, create a schedule and stick to it. Prospects want to know when they are going to receive communication from you. If you promise to reach out to them every week, make sure you do that.

  1. Always Start at the Beginning

Prospects opt-in to your newsletter at different times, so not everyone sees all of the same information. That can cause some confusion. It’s a good idea to catch prospects up by doing a series of e-mails geared directly to doing just that. Here’s where analytics can help you. After sending a welcome e-mail, you will want to follow up with strategic e-mails that highlight important information that may have been missed due to when the prospect entered the buying cycle. Choose past newsletter content that has scored the highest at converting to sales and send them out in a campaign.

Newsletters can be very successful at driving sales if you make sure you approach the opportunity correctly. Follow these three steps to get your newsletter on track.

How to get Your Mobile Marketing to Perform

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mobile-marketingWe all know that mobile devices have become the preferred media for prospects looking to buy. Given this, it’s important you have a mobile marketing plan that is responsive to this fact so you can effectively reach your prospects where they are. Here are four tips to help you make sure your mobile marketing is up to par.

  1. Make Sure Your Website Is Responsive

Sure, you have to have identify keywords for your industry so your website comes up on a mobile search, but it’s equally important what happens after that. If your website doesn’t come up in a format that is viewable on mobile devices, you will lose prospects. And, you’ll lose your Google ranking due to poor functionality. Not good. Make sure your website is responsive. That means it automatically adjusts to the device it’s being viewed on.

  1. Get Comfortable With Mobile-Only Social Media Platforms

Social apps that cater exclusively to mobile devices are growing in popularity. Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope are some names to know. Regardless of the social media platform you are using, the same rules apply: make sure your message is relevant and timely, true to your brand, and effectively communicated on the chosen platform. You might be tempted to zap one message out on all of your social media accounts, but I would caution you to not do that. You don’t want to bombard your followers with the exact same message across several platforms. Instead, choose your content and your platform wisely.

  1. Make a Mobile App

Apps are the new mobile addiction, with a recent Gallup poll indicating that about 90% of the time users are on their phones, they are using apps. A mobile app is a term used to describe Internet applications that run on smartphones and other mobile devices instead of a desktop computer. So, if you don’t already have an app, it’s probably time you consider developing one. It increases prospect engagement and the useful data you can collect on prospects while also strengthen your brand presence.

  1. Make It Easy To Buy Anywhere

Prospects looking to buy want the option to buy where and when they are ready. It used to be that as long as your website was set up to accept payment, you were good. Not so anymore. Your prospects want mobile payment options on as many platforms that allow it like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Prospects don’t want to leave their desired mobile platform to go to another site to pay. This is good news for you because the fewer the steps in the purchasing process, the less chance your prospects will become distracted or hesitant, and the greater the chance of increased sales.

These four steps are really focused and will definitely ensure that by following them your mobile marketing will perform like never before.