Why Customer Reviews are an Important Part of Your Marketing Strategy

 

client-reviews.pngWe can all relate to the importance customer reviews play when we are making a purchase, whether for a high-dollar item or a less expensive one. In fact, consulting customer reviews has become second nature for us, a worthwhile step in the buying journey. So, it makes sense that this practice is spilling over into our business purchases as well. About half of all B2B buyers use reviews before selecting new products or services.

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While still a somewhat new practice in the business world, if customer reviews aren’t rolling in, you can use the ones you do have to their fullest potential by including them in your marketing strategy. This will increase their visibility while helping you build a trust relationship with your customers and prospects. This graph shows you why that’s so important.

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TrustRadius conducted another poll that found 76% of respondents in an active buying cycle used customer reviews during their decision-making process.

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The influence customer reviews wield is evident. Consumers trust peer reviews to give them honest, accurate feedback on a product or service to save them from making a bad purchase. Now that we agree customer reviews are important, let’s talk about how you can incorporate them into your marketing for the greatest effect.

4 Ways to Make Customer Reviews Part of Your Marketing Strategy

1. Keep Your Reviews Honest

There really is no such thing as a bad review. So called bad reviews often times point out limitations that are an important component of the fact-finding mission and an important objection that your sales people will know they need to address. Having this information upfront decreases customer dissatisfaction. It also gives you an opportunity to respond to the unfavorable review with a workaround, update, or great customer service that everyone can view. Your customers and prospects want to see that you care. Show them that, and you win their trust, and that wins you loyal customers.

2. Recruit Brand Ambassadors

It’s likely you have many satisfied, loyal customers. However, it’s also likely that most of them haven’t written a review of your product or service. There is nothing wrong with asking a happy customer to write a review. If appropriate, you can also invite them to record a video testimonial or write a guest blog about their experience with your product or service.

3. Make Your Reviews Easy to Find

You want to make sure your customer reviews are very easy to find. You’ll want to feature customer testimonials – written or video – on your website, in e-mail campaigns, and on social media. Stack the content to get the most bang for your buck.

4. Actively Monitor Your Reviews

Depending on your business, you’ll have reviews on the media you control, but reviews of your product or service may also appear on third-party sites. Make sure you are actively monitoring where your customers are leaving reviews and what they are saying. This enables you to get a complete picture and to respond to positive and negative reviews in a timely manner. Again, it’s all about sending the message that you care about your customers’ experience with your brand.

By encouraging, acknowledging, and promoting customer feedback, you are showing your customers and your prospects that you value their opinions and you want to make their buying journey with you a satisfactory one. Customer reviews are a great way to build trust, which goes a long way toward building your business.

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2019 Marketing Challenges and How to Overcome Them

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overcomeThe role of marketing is changing and growing, covering multiple functions and business units now – traditional marketing, lead generation, online sales, digital marketing, etc. Not every company is prepared to handle this rapidly expanding and critical role. Many companies lack the staff, expertise, and infrastructure to pull off really effective marketing.

One of the biggest problems is that it’s not uncommon for the different marketing decisions to happen in a silo. Key players of other marketing functions are all too often unaware of critical decisions, technology purchases, platform selections, and strategy approaches that are being done in different parts of the company. Without a unified approach, opportunities are missed and important data isn’t gathered or analyzed, so necessary changes aren’t made.

These three steps will help you get your marketing efforts back on track for a unified and strategic approach that addresses the broad and ever-expanding needs of today’s marketplace and the challenges facing marketers.

  1. Know What Your End Game Is

We all know the importance of goal setting in determining the desired business outcomes. Equally important is that all key players (including executives) are involved in establishing and implementing the plan. Accountability alongside follow-up is key. Determine who is doing what and when, how it worked, what changes are necessary, and how it applies to the company as a whole.

  1. Determine Obstacles And Your Pivot Strategy

Likely, you already know what obstacles you face – low budget, board members, old or non-existent technology, incompatible platforms, etc. – and that’s good news. Now, you can work together with your team to address these obstacles head on. Brainstorm ideas with those from different areas of your company. You will likely get a broad range of good ideas, but more importantly you get buy-in from your team. No matter what level in the organization, employees like to feel heard and valued.

It’s important to also establish guidelines for when you’ll pivot to a new approach if the strategy for combating the obstacle isn’t working. Keep your communication clear and ongoing. Change isn’t always easy. Often you’ll encounter process naysayers who prefer to keep things “how we’ve always done it.” Ongoing education is critical to get buy-in from everyone in the organization.

  1. Implement Your Plan Incrementally

Effectively addressing your company’s changing and growing marketing needs is a big job – one that takes time. Determine the most critical gaps, the strategy to solve, who is responsible for doing the work, develop an implementation schedule, and create a process for analyzing the data you gather.

Successfully addressing your 2019 marketing challenges involves taking a holistic approach to how your company markets as a whole and working to build cooperation and communication among the key players to ensure your marketing and sales goals are being met.

Demographics Don’t Gauge Your Target Market’s Mood – Why That Matters

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Unknown-1In a climate ripe with data gathering and advanced analytics, the mood of our prospects isn’t often considered. We’ve come so far since the early days of advertising, yet in many ways we still rely on the yesteryear approach to marketing. Think about how we price advertising, which is archaic when you consider it’s best to buy ads one at a time based on analytic analysis. Equally outdated is the basic premise of demographics – a practice that begun in the 1920s – and it’s enduring focus on greater segmentation and third-party data collection with disregard to how we consume media in today’s economy.

In all of our advances, we seem to have missed the boat. Social media is the closest we’ve come to hitting the mark. Only in that arena do we realize that we have the means to speak to our prospects in real time. But, that’s where we tend to stop. We don’t acknowledge that that means we can advertise to prospects frequently, optimizing campaigns around prospects’ given moods.

If You Want a Personal Connection With Prospects, You Can’t Discount Mood

Much (if not all) of our segmenting is hard fact centered; we never consider mood. Yet, we increasingly want to use our technological advances to make a more meaningful, personal connection. It seems counterintuitive, and I’m not alone in this thinking.

We should be putting more emphasis on prospects’ given mood and optimizing from that vantage point. Media buys would then be adjusted to the content that speaks to the prospects’ moods, using real-time reactions. Traditional, long-held demographic segmenting practices alone will not get us where we want to go. We have to dig deeper and consider the moods of our prospects to reach them in a meaningful way.

Is Amazon the Next Great Advertising Platform?

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Amazon continues to experience spectacular growth in advertising revenues, so it’s worth it for marketers to look into this option. Now, that task is even easier. Last week Amazon released its inaugural 2019 Advertising Forecast, which published the results of a survey of 681 digital marketers and advertisers to better understand the challenges and opportunities that Amazon advertising products present.

Here are highlights from the report that I think are worth sharing.

44 percent of Amazon advertisers plan to add campaign automation tools in 2019. While the report shows that currently larger companies with revenue greater than $25 million are using Amazon ad automation tools more so than smaller businesses (under $10 million), both categories are equal in their intentions to use automation tools in 2019.

The tools they intend to use include ones from Kenshoo, Splitly, Sellics, Seller Labs, Prestozon, Pacvue, PPC Scope, Helium 10, Adlucent, Jungle Scout and Ignite, as well as proprietary tools.

Marketers will benefit from keeping top of mind thatAmazon purchases are “bottom of funnel,” which means shoppers log on with a specific purchase in mind. There’s an opportunity to capture some market with “similar products” with an Amazon ad that Kenshoo supports.

Recognizing the potential on Amazon, there are an increasing number of tools being developed specifically for Amazon to help marketers. For example, Teikametrics offers a retail optimization platform that optimizes Amazon search term bids, product keywords and other search parameters, and also supports the deployment of Sponsored Brand ads. Teikametrics takes advantage of the fact Amazon is often both the inventory advertiser as well as the order fulfillment center. Using this tool, sellers can zero in on important metrics like how many ads to run if inventory is low, or whether it is better to increase advertising or lower prices.

As Amazon continues to invest in its advertising offerings, marketers are looking for tools that will enable them to effectively scale and automate their campaign management. Amazon’s 2019 Advertising Forecast signals there is a substantial opportunity for new tools to help marketers do just that and that we’ll likely see ongoing innovation in this area as vendors work to meet growing marketer demand.

 

Three Primary Challenges Facing Marketing Executives Today

Platespinning-homepageToday’s marketing executives live in a very dynamic business environment and face new and complex challenges.  Among these challenges, there are three that I believe are most prevalent. The primary challenges facing sales and marketing executives today are digital integration, meeting marketing ROI objectives, and customer experience.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved with each challenge.

Challenge #1: Digital Integration

The reason digital integration is such a challenge is because marketing operations leaders are often not up to speed on the technology needed to fully bring their organizations into an optimized digital environment. Digital transformation is a necessity for B2B marketing operations and requires multiple marketing technologies.

Challenge #2: Meeting Business ROI

There is often a critical gap in business accountability when it comes to marketing operations. However, with increasing availability of financial metrics accountability, the position of the marketing executive has now become more and more relevant in the boardroom. We’ve moved from marketing being viewed as a nicety line item on the budget to a powerful and far more respected driver and supporter of the company’s revenue growth strategy. Marketing is now considered a must-have for overall business success.

Challenge #3: Customer Experience

Marketers’ new battleground is customer experience. Businesses are now required to pay attention to the experience they are delivering to their customers and would-be customers. The reason? Good customer experience pays in a major, major way. Nothing matches the success of a good customer relationship, and today’s technology gives customers ownership over their experiences. So, smart businesses are responding by becoming far more customer-centric. This means their marketing operations are driven by corporate strategy and operationalized by people, data and technology. This combination delivers a customer-centric approach that delivers real business results.

To be a successful marketing executive, these three primary challenges must be faced head on. This will enable you to transform your marketing operations into a strategic one that is primed to meet today’s challenges with forward-thinking, effective solutions.

 

 

7 Ways to Make Your Prospecting E-Mails More Powerful

Prospecting e-mails are a great way to start and nurture a sales relationship with potential customers. How we say what we say matters. And sometimes it’s the little things that matter most. This infographic presents seven really powerful questions that provide the perfect last punch to your sales e-mail. Take a look and considering using them in your upcoming campaigns.

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Would you like to learn more about lead generation and how I can help you grow your business in 2018? Contact me at dstein@producersdigital.com to set up a time to talk. And visit www.producersdigital.com.