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.

5 Things You Can Learn From The Best Performing Sales People

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.