How Custom On Hold Messages Help Your Business

34ways_long1 In today’s advanced technology era, it’s easy to forget about technology that’s been around for many years. On hold messaging is one of those. But, customers still value and use the phone. Even with multiple options for communication, customers are still using the phone to connect with businesses when they need them. Spectrio is one of the nation’s leading end-to-end technology-enabled audio and video marketing companies. Here’s what they report about the importance of on hold messaging.

  • 61% of customers prefer phone over e-mail and online knowledge when they need assistance or support. 
  • 69% of customers rated voice as the method that provided the highest satisfaction for receiving support.

A bad calling experience can cause customers to hang up. Most marketing budgets are spent on getting customers to call. All of that marketing can go to waste if the customer calling experience is bad.

  • 60% of callers hang up when left on hold in silence.
  • 34% of callers who hang up don’t call back.

The messages that customers hear on hold can lead to sales. Hold messaging is an opportunity to connect with a highly engaged audience, which is why it can lead naturally into sales, up-sales, and cross-sales.

  • 16-20% of callers make purchases based on the information they hear on hold.
  • 45% of customers initiated a purchase over the phone in the last year.

What Makes Great Custom On Hold Messages?

To get the most out of custom on hold messages, the content must follow best practices. The best messages use the:

Correct Length. A hold message can frustrate if it includes the same message repeated over and over. You want your message to be long enough so that callers hear new information during their wait.

Correct Tone. Like all important customer touch points, the custom calling experience must accurately reflect your company vibe and values. It should reinforce brand consistency, match what is expected in your industry, and also use the language and tone that resonates best with your specific target audience.

Correct Messages. In order to use custom on hold messages to initiate sales, inform customers, promote specials, and keep callers on the line, you need to use the right language and copy. The script must speak directly to your target audience while delivering the most important messages in a salesy, friendly, and concise way.

This list is a basic look at the elements that make an effective hold message. Each of these categories includes a variety of strategies that can make your message more powerful and impactful.

How to Get More Prospects to Engage In Your Social Media

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In the 2017 State of Inbound report, more marketers reported they planned to add social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to their marketing efforts than in the previous year’s survey. The reason we’re seeing this spike is because the use of social media by prospects is so pervasive. But, finding the right platform and right approach on social media to reach prospects can be tricky. The key is to make sure you’re always testing new strategies to see what works and what doesn’t. But, beyond this, we as marketers need to evolve our views on social media. And, not just how we use it but also why we are using it.

For awhile now the goal of social media strategy has been laser focused on generating leads and then trickled down to brand and content promotion. This isn’t a bad plan. It’s a great one – if you are coming at it from the right perspective. The focus isn’t on your company. It has to be on your prospects – what are their interests and goals and challenges? We have to consider our social media an opportunity to be social with our prospects and not promotional. There’s a big difference between these two. Here are some ideas to help you retool your social media approach.

  1. Do Your Homework

There’s a lot of information out there on your prospects if you take the time to go looking for it. And, to make it easier, you can start by looking at the analytics you already have for your current social media campaigns. Which ones got your prospects to engage? What information did they find relevant? Once you know this, design your social media around what you already know is of interest to your prospects.

Make sure if you’re going to share a blog or e-book on your social media that you first make sure the information is relevant to your prospects and then that you present it in a manner that is preferred by your prospects – think infographics, videos, etc.

  1. Think Like Your Prospects

When you start evaluating how to generate more likes, comments, and shares from your social media audiences, think about how you personally use each platform. It’s a good idea to create a detailed marketing persona for your prospects so everyone on your team has a good understanding of whom your messages are talking to. Consider how they spend their time on the different platforms and what it is they want to see on each.

  1. Apply Your Marketing Knowledge to Your Social Media

Most likely, social media is “new” to you, but marketing isn’t. And, social media is just another tool to market to your prospects. So, use your marketing knowledge to make your social media the most impactful. Use tried and true marketing approaches like making sure you have a call to action, you test approaches, and you use professional quality graphics with titles and subtitles when necessary.

And when it comes to creating content, think about how you optimize blog posts with on-page SEO elements, creating titles, headers, meta descriptions, and URL structures to help your blog posts and webpages rank in search engines. Apply this thinking to your other social platforms.

If you follow these tips, your social media engagement rate should increase because you’re creating prospect-centered content on platforms that resonate with your prospects. You’ll see that more of your prospects will begin to like, comment, and share your posts.

 

E-Mail Continues to Prove Its Effectiveness to Reach Prospects…Learn How

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According to a June 22, 2017, article in Entrepreneur, the first marketing e-mail was sent nearly 40 years ago by a marketer named Gary Thuerk from Digital Equipment Corporation. Wanting to promote his company, Thuerk decided to send an e-mail to approximately 400 people. It worked! His company saw a huge spike in sales. And, the rest is history.

While there’s no denying the effectiveness of e-mail, one of the inherent problems for marketers is the reality that prospects have short attention spans. But, there is good news on that front. After analyzing data from billions of e-mail opens from 2011 to 2016, Litmus just released a report that states the average time spent reading an e-mail has increased by nearly 7% since 2011.

That’s great news, but the reality is that attention spans are still pretty short. So, for our e-mails to be the most effective, we need to keep these guidelines in mind:

  • All of your e-mails MUST be mobile friendly. If they aren’t, you will lose subscribers.
  • Make sure your subject line speaks to what is in the content of your e-mail. If it doesn’t, your readers feel tricked.
  • Take advantage of headlines, subheads, and bullets to quickly communicate information.
  • If you are going to use an image, make sure it’s a good one that grabs attention and connects relevantly to your content.
  • E-mails that take a long time to load because there are too many large images won’t get read. Period.
  • Sometimes you need to write a long e-mail, and that’s okay. Just make sure you don’t go over 102kb because if you do, it will likely get clipped by the e-mail provider.
  • Always test your e-mail across platforms to make sure it can be opened and read and that all of the links work.

 

 

Tips to Help You Select the Best Facebook Ads for Your Goals

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Last week I discussed the different types of Facebook ads available. Today, I’m going to cover how you choose among the options.

 

  1. What are your goals?

Like with any ad campaign, before you begin you must first establish goals or what it is you want to achieve with your campaign. Goals can be to drive leads to your website, increase store visits, or encourage attendance at an event, etc. Know your goals and then build your ad campaign around them.

  1. Which ad type(s) are relevant to your goals?

Now that you know your goals, take a look at the list I published last week. Which ones are relevant to your goals? You can see how this narrows things down for you, making your work easier and far more targeted. Another thing you’ll quickly notice is that more than one ad type will apply. Great! Make use of all of them! This is a great opportunity to gain some valuable analytics, testing one Facebook ad type against another to see which one(s) work best for your needs.

  1. Whom are your talking to?

You must know who your target audience is and then speak to them directly. Create compelling ad copy that addresses their needs, concerns, interests, etc.

  1. What is your call-to-action?

Facebook can help here. They supply you with different calls-to-action you can use on your ads. This is another opportunity to test different calls-to-action to see which works best for your prospect.

  1. What does your ad need to look like?

Facebook’s Ads Manager tool can help you with this one too by offering an array of options for your ad design. Not only can you choose between image, video, photo grid, and carousel layouts, but you can also customize your ads for mobile and desktop audiences. And, make sure you vary your design. Don’t use the same template for every ad.

  1. Test, analyze, and repeat.

The real beauty of digital advertising is that it makes testing, analyzing, and optimizing future ad campaigns relatively easy. If you want a high ROI, you must study your data analytics over time and make the proper adjustments.

Armed with these six tips, you should be in a strong position to begin your Facebook advertising. Remember that successful advertising is all about proper layering. You need to get your message out on several different platforms. If you’re not currently advertising on Facebook, I encourage you to give it a try.

How to Include Audio in Your B2B Marketing

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Yes, you “heard” that right. Today, I’m talking about audio and how it can enhance your marketing efforts. Despite the growing number of digital technologies, our affinity for audio continues. According to the 2016 Edison Research Infinite Dial report, online radio listenership has increased by 35% since 2005. And, if you’re thinking that audio is just for the consumer market, you’re wrong. Audio is a great opportunity to create branded content for the B2B market, too. Here are three ways you can include audio marketing in B2B:

1) Create Branded Podcasts

Podcast listenership is steadily rising, creating a significant marketing platform.

Source: Edison Research

Podcasts are similar to blogs in that you need to create content that delivers something of value. Tell your company’s story, interview experts in the field, educate on a specific topic…you get the idea. Come up with an editorial calendar and a plan for distributing your Podcasts. In a pinch, you can use blog copy and tweak it for a Podcast.

2) Create an Audiogram Snippet

This is the cutting-edge technology, aiming to make it easier to share audio. There are apps that enable you to clip up to 45 seconds of whatever you’re listening to and share it with whomever you choose. It turns audio into something bite-sized and shareable, which is pretty cool. You can also attach your own (minimal) copy to the audio snippet, if you’d like.

3) Try Facebook’s Live Audio

It launched in 2016 and has largely been under the radar since. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. It’s also a good option if you are needing to broadcast live from a low-connectivity area that doesn’t support video. Just as with a live video on Facebook, listeners can discover live audio content in News Feed, ask questions, and leave reactions in real time during the broadcast – and easily share with their friends.

I encourage you to consider adding audio to your marketing plan in 2017. It’s a great way to reach your prospects (and loyal customers) in a new and impactful way.

 

 

 

Web Design Trends for 2017 (Part 2 of 2)

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2017 is leaving us with no shortage of new web design trends to take for a spin and see how they work. I always stress that you should NEVER view your website as static. You need to regularly look at it with fresh eyes and see what needs to be eliminated or added. By keeping your website fresh and interesting, you are keeping visitors interested.

Last week I shared six trends in web design for you to consider using on your own site. Today I’m sharing five more.

    1. Duotone

    In the minimalist family, the duotone is a good option when you’re looking to keep things simple while still adding a pop of interest with a monochromatic palette.

2. Horizontal and Vertical Text

Add dimension by breaking the standard text rules. Shake up your text and run it vertically and horizontally. The page can still be simple, but it will be anything but boring.

3. Mix Geometric Shapes and Patterns

This is a great way to add dimension and texture to your website – not to mention visual appeal.

4. Modular

If you are looking for a clean design option that organizes everything into separate modules, then this one is for you. It works well to compartmentalize different categories of information.

5. Text and Image Overlap

Stacking your text over an image adds visual appeal. Just make sure the text can ALWAYS be easily read. Never sacrifice readability for design.

 

That does it. I hope this two-part blog gave you some ideas you can implement on your own website in 2017. Have fun!

 

Web Design Trends for 2017 (Part 1 of 2)

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imagesThe trends in web design are always evolving. To stay relevant, you must direct ongoing attention to the design of your website. Sometimes that means doing a complete redesign, and sometimes it just means making some tweaks to freshen the look.

Today I’m sharing six trends in web design that you will want to look at and consider for your own site.

  1. Ultra-Minimal

This year I think we’re going to see more companies pushing the envelope on what a website needs to look like and what it needs to say. Obviously, this option doesn’t work for everyone. Here’s a good example of the ultra-minimal look.

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  1. Bold Typography

A growing number of companies are choosing to anchor their home page with bold typography. When you go with this option, make sure you keep the rest of the design minimal so the typography gets the spotlight.

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  1. Cinemagraphs

You may not be as familiar with this option. Cinemagraph is a technique of blending the effects of images and videos. Cinemagraphs are typically created as animated .gif files, which makes them easy to use on a web page.

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  1. Experimental Compositions

Who says your website has to look like all the others? Some companies are creating websites that are anything but ordinary. While different is good, functionality is always key.

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  1. Vivid Layers of Color

Bright colors beautifully layered or presented in kaleidoscope are becoming increasingly popular. You can’t beat the visual appeal.

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  1. Illustration

This hot new trend feels more like a refreshing blast from the past. Custom or stock illustrations can be a dynamic addition to your website, adding visual interest that also lends personality to your brand.

 

 

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In my next blog, I’ll share some more web design trends for you to consider for 2017.