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.


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.


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


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.

5 Strategies to Help You Meet Your Revenue Goals in 2019


Business graphAs we prepare to say goodbye to 2018, the timing is perfect to concentrate our attention on developing a solid plan for success in 2019. That means you need quality prospects in your pipeline and a comprehensive marketing plan. Here are five tactics to help you drive performance.

1. Start small with a very precise target market, then expand.

Disclaimer: this means the number of leads in your pipeline will likely be smaller than normal. However, you’ll work toward gathering analytics that will enable you to cast a wider net to catch even more quality prospects. You’ll do this by capturing critical data about your highly targeted prospects throughout their journey – think: who, when, where, what. By focusing your energy and resources on identifying and speaking directly to a smaller, highly targeted pool of prospects, you’ll have the tools to develop a better long-term and broader reaching strategy.

  1. Respect your prospects’ time and privacy.

Global data privacy laws are being deployed, and they bring with them significant consequences for companies that don’t comply. It is essential in today’s digital world that your prospects and your loyal customers have transparency when it comes to how you will respect and protect the information you gather on them. Have a policy and make it available. Adapt a permission mindset and always use an opt-in option for building your database.

  1. Collect useful data.

I know this seems like an odd strategy, but it isn’t if you consider that a recent survey by DemandGen Report showed that on average more than 35 percent of the data in existing databases is unmarketable and can’t be used. That’s a waste of time, energy, storage, and money. Use 2019 as a fresh start and clean up your database, purging “junk” data like invalid addresses, duplicates, non-compliant, and unstandardized prospect information. This process should be done regularly. It will help improve your targeting results and save you money that can be used for other revenue generating initiatives.

  1. Pick up the pace.

We live in a “now” society. If it’s taking you several days to respond to a lead, you’re taking too long and risking losing a qualified prospect. Start the new year by identify ways you can route your data faster to respond more quickly. At this stage, it also makes good sense to take a look at the stages in your pipeline to see where changes can be made to shorten and streamline the prospects’ journey to a sale.

  1. Measure your results.

Success means different things to different people. Make sure you have agreed upon metrics to measure success. This means you want all the key players to agree on the key performance indicators (KPIs), what technology or tools you’ll use to measure performance, and how this information will be shared. Remember, there is no such thing as bad insights. It’s very valuable to know what’s not working in addition to what is.

The new year is right around the corner. It’s the perfect time to get started on making sure your revenue marketing strategy performs and delivers in 2019 so you meet or exceed your revenue goals. These five tips will get you moving in the right direction.

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


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.

5 Things You Can Learn From The Best Performing Sales People


I work with some of the best sales people in the business, and I’ve summarized a few things that they have taught me about why they are so successful at what they do.

  1. Develop Solid Relationships

You notice I said “relationship,” right? That’s because the top sales people know that it’s not about going for the sale, it’s about building the relationship so the sale organically falls into place. You will have a higher close rate and better repeat business if you foster your relationships.

  1. Add Value Whenever Possible

If you bring value to your communications with prospects, your conversion rate will respond favorably. Use every touchstone as an opportunity to build value and thus momentum in your prospects’ decision making.

  1. Implement A Multi-Channel Approach

Take advantage of all of the different platforms you have at your disposal to reach your prospects. Tailor your messages to these different platforms so you can add value to your prospects wherever they are accessing your information in the sales process. By leveraging a multi-channel approach, you create more chances to interact with your prospects in a meaningful way.

  1. Build Relationships That Lead To Referrals

Top sales reps know the better job they do at building a relationship with a prospect or customer, the greater the chance the prospect or customer will refer them to someone else who could use their product or service.

  1. Educate At Every Opportunity

No matter where your prospect is in the sales pipeline, make sure you have a strategic plan on how and what you want to communicate in order to educated the prospect on your product or service. And, leading sales reps know that the education and courtship doesn’t stop with the sale. These five steps continue throughout the lifetime of your relationship with your prospect, building consistent and lasting revenue opportunities.

The key to better sales is to use today’s technology to spark meaningful conversations that build a lasting relationship, just like we did in the good ol’ days.

Do you have any sales tips you’d like to share with us? If so, let us know.

4 Ways Your E-Mail Headlines Can Have Bigger Impact


As you set about creating meaningful content, don’t forget the power of your headline. In this one line, you must and can accomplish much. Here are four ways you can make the most of your headlines.

  1. This is no place for mystery. Make it very clear what you are talking about.
  2. What do your prospects need to know? Use your headline to communicate the information that your prospects need to know about the topic you’re communicating about.
  3. Raise your prospects’ curiosity. Don’t give everything away in the headline – just enough to make them want to read more.
  4. Imply a teachable moment. You can use your headline to imply that your prospects don’t know about something but should and can read on to find out.

Strong headlines open the door of communication with your prospects. Make sure your headlines get the attention they deserve. Craft your headlines (and your messages) so they encourage your prospects to engage and learn from you.

What strategies do you use when writing your headlines? Tell us about them.

How To Generate More Prospects With E-Mail


When it comes to e-mail campaigns, you’re only as good as your list. If you’re sending your e-mail to the wrong prospects, you’ll get nowhere. And, Internet service providers, spam monitors, and e-mail security services have set standards for what constitutes an acceptable e-mail campaign. So ongoing maintenance of your e-mail list is a must if you’re looking to engage the best prospects. You want your spam complaints, undelivered messages, and unsubscribes to each be under set thresholds to avoid account suspensions from your e-mail platform, penalties, fines, and otherwise lackluster marketing results. Use these four tips to get you going.

1. Invite Prospects to Opt-In

As you are building your e-mail list of hot prospects, it’s important that you ask them to connect with you via e-mail by opting in. A great place to do this is on your website. A small teaser add is usually sufficient with an option to submit their name and e-mail address. Ideally, once your prospect has opted in, it’s a good idea to send a follow-up confirmation e-mail where they can click on a link to start their subscription. This double opt-in process ensures you have a valid e-mail address.

 2. Don’t be Afraid to Purge

In order to have the best e-mail list, you have to remove prospects that aren’t bringing anything to the table as well as clean up any errors. Look for the following issues on your list and fix or remove as appropriate.

  • Incomplete e-mail addresses, bad addresses, dormant ones, or those with typos
  • Duplicate e-mail addresses
  • Two or more soft bounces
  • E-mail to individuals and not generic addresses such as info@company.com
  • Inactive subscribers or those who’ve been on your list for years
  • Honor unsubscribes promptly

 3. Ask to be Added to Address Books

Prospects who subscribe to your e-mails should be more than happy to add your e-mail address to their address book. But, they likely won’t do that unless you ask them to. The reason it’s a good idea to do this is because you want to make sure they receive all of your e-mails and that they don’t go in to junk mail.

4. Keep in Touch

A good rule of thumb is to e-mail at least once a month. This keeps your prospects engaged, but it also enables you to clean up your list by seeing how many bouncebacks you get.

How do you clean your e-mail list so you’re reaching the best prospects? Share your ideas with us.

How to Create an Effective Mobile Landing Page


Last week I talked about the importance of a clickable phone number for your mobile users. Today I want to talk a bit more about mobile prospects and how you need to think about your mobile marketing to them since more and more website visitors are accessing your site from their smart phone.

By focusing on some key elements, you can make your landing pages work much better for you, especially with your mobile visitors who now fully expect and require your site to be operational and viewable from their mobile device.

  1. If you’re promoting a product or service, pick just one. Your viewers don’t want to scroll a lot.
  2. If you want to promote branding content, offer only one piece and make it worth their while.
  3. Make your offer very specific and not a generic promotion.
  4. Provide an icon that when they click on it, it calls your company directly. Make sure the call to action (CTA) call icon is above the fold.
  5. If you want to include additional clickable icons for additional information, place those below the CTA, under the fold.

What are your secrets to creating great landing pages that work well for your mobile visitors? Share them with us.

Why Content Marketing Matters


Everyone is talking about content, but few are actually doing something about it. That’s unfortunate since content marketing is one of the most (if not the most) effective ways for businesses to get double duty from their marketing dollars. How is that achieved, you might ask? Here’s the answer: content marketing improves both your online presence as well as increasing customer engagement. So, if you are looking to drive prospects to your website, then it’s essential that you create good content for them to see once they get there. And, remember the content has to be interesting, relevant, and easily obtained.

Content marketing is the perfect companion to social media because both work so nicely to keep your message and your brand in top of mind. This enables businesses to make more meaningful (and lucrative) connections with their customers. Through the use of white papers, special reports, blogs, newsletters, videos, etc., your content is telling an important story and directing your prospects through the sales pipeline. Here are some tips to help you do that well:

  • Apply a layered approach that communicates a central theme, using content on your website as well as social media.
  • Think about the timing and the vehicle of your delivery so you’re communicating the right message to the right audience and in the right way.
  • Shake it up! Don’t be afraid to try something different. Look at your business the way your customers do, then approach your content marketing to address your customers’ needs.

Content marketing is a powerful tool to help sell. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to reach out to your prospects and develop a meaningful “dialogue” with them to enhance their relationship with your business as well as their loyalty. Follow these guidelines and create a content marketing strategy that will help drive more prospects to your website and convert them to qualified leads.

Share some of your content ideas with us. Let us know what’s working for you.

3 Things That Will Get You More Sales Prospects


If you’ve been reading my blogs over the past 24 months (a big thanks to the 5,000+ of you who do!), you’ve been learning about my experiences using digital marketing strategies to help get my clients better, more qualified sales prospects. Although we continue to test and then test again to improve results, I’ve summarized three marketing programs that will get your marketing initiatives headed in the right direction:

  1. Search Engine Marketing: Search Engine Marketing strategies such as SEO and our own advertising network (which we launched earlier this year) have boosted web traffic and lead generation as much as 50%! Keyword targeting is a very powerful direct marketing tool, and we have moved quickly to recommend to all of our clients that they use this approach.
  1. Website Content Conversion Program: Powerful offers regularly convert your website traffic to prospects. E-books, special reports, white papers, and “kits” work! It’s very important to offer something of value in exchange for a prospect’s contact information.
  1. E-Mail Nurturing & Lead Scoring: Regular e-mail to your prospect list combined with marketing automation lead scoring will help accelerate and prioritize your prospects through the sales pipeline.

If you’d like to learn more, let’s set aside some time to talk.

How To Test Your E-Mail Campaign For Better Results


E-Mail ImageIf you’re sending e-mail campaigns, then you really must make sure you are testing their effectiveness regularly and making tweaks accordingly. Doing so will lead to more clicks, opens, and sales. Here’s how I recommend you approach testing your campaigns for better results.

  1. Develop a control e-mail and test it. Create an initial e-mail and note the results it gets. Then, decide the one thing you want to test. It could be the offer or the subject line. Choose just one. Send the e-mail again and see what results you get. When you have an e-mail that gets better results than your control one, it becomes the new control e-mail that you’ll do further tweaks to. I do this process for my clients like TCBY, Pie Five Pizza, and Hurricane Grill and Wings to name just a few. This is a really powerful tool that enables you to get great results.
  2. Test your mailing list. For lists over 1,000 I like to split it into two groups. Each group gets a different e-mail message. For much bigger lists (10,000 and up), I like to send a test message to a small portion of the list, say 20 percent. If the message pulls well, then I roll it out to the remaining 80 percent.
  3. Test different variables. Here’s where you can get really creative. Test different offers, different design styles, shorter or longer message, personalization, subject lines, etc.
  4. Test your mailing days. The time and day your e-mail is sent can effect your response rate. Consider your target market and what day and time makes the most sense, then test it.
  5. Test your frequency. This refers to how often you are e-mailing. Keep track of when you are sending your e-mails as well as the responses, bounces, and unsubscribes. Look for trends that will help you figure out the right amount of e-mails to send to your list. If you e-mail too infrequently, you’ll likely loose your recipients’ interest. If you e-mail too frequently, chances are they’ll opt out. Find a happy medium.
  6. Keep testing. This is an ongoing endeavor. To keep a campaign successfully, you have to keep testing. Remember though to only change (or test) one thing at a time, that way you know for certain the results your change produced.