Is this a Channel Marketing Strategy or building a collaborative relationship?
One of my new customers was asking about a variety of marketing activities he thought needed to be done. As I reviewed what his company had and didn’t have, I started writing a brief email response. As I was writing, it turned into more of a marketing questions and suggestions email. Yes, I know I should have held back and presented it as a high-priced strategy for a Channel Marketing Plan, but I thought it would be more helpful for his company to get tidbits of their needs and what could be done combined with what are they are doing now. It gives the customer a sense of collaboration and builds relationship trust. I hope you find some value in this as a starting point with your company or customers –
Here are 10 Things to do to Help the Marketing Efforts for Channel Partners:
1. Analysis and Planning – Identify sales and profit by market segment, (rank industries by the greatest need for your product), and which of your products are hot and not – that could help determine growth opportunities. Evaluate competitors marketing, websites, products and services – what are they doing and is it working? Who are your competitors? The marketing program should identify timing of marketing initiatives throughout the year – I typically use a spreadsheet to manage marketing timelines, so channel partners know what is being pushed/featured/announced and when.
2. Channel Marketing Support – You probably have deeper marketing resources – expertise and available funding, then most of your channel partners. Glad to see you are currently providing templates and some optimized product photos for brochures –but you need to have a more organized system for distribution of product photos and text content. What about content and marketing direction for direct emails or case studies? You should consider hosting webcasts and product demonstrations that channel partners can either participate in, or communicate to their customers when they are. Does your company offer co-op or market development funds, to reimburse channel partners for approved marketing initiatives?
3. Build Awareness – A search-optimized website can improve search authority, but awareness is having a presence in your various regions and/or countries to build word-of-mouth and referrals. Participate in or sponsor business networking events. Are your products unique enough to write as news or press releases, to distribute to local, regional and national editor lists? Research and seek speaking opportunities at relevant events, like local business organizations and tradeshows. There should be someone at your company that could travel around to speak as an expert authority on your product niche.
4. Webcasts and Live Demos – You really need to develop frequent webcast demos/events on relevant topics. Promote and communicate those events via email and social media channels. Does you or channel partners attend and sponsor local or vertical marketing, relevant networking and trade show events? The home page of the website then could include a sidebar list of upcoming events, (online and at business organization’s meetings). Then we could add an events page to the website with archives that potential customers and partners could continue to access for additional information.
5. Direct Marketing – The purpose of all marketing is lead generation. So are your sales people managing a customer database with marketing automation software or contact manager? It is really helpful to code, track and report leads to be able to continually improve the results of that process. Are there potential prospect lists of members of associations that you belong to? Belonging to organizations is a great place to start a direct marketing campaign. Ideally you use telemarketing qualification to identify decision makers and contact information, or just sending out marketing info to potential prospects or providing them at meetings is a start.
6. Referral Program – As you know, more than half of business leads is from referrals, or it should be. Ask clients for referrals by requesting references and testimonials. Also, identify highly networked clients and ask for referrals from them as well. Recognize referrals with gifts and thank you notes. Systematically cultivate and give referrals. There should be a customer testimonial on all most every page of the website.
7. Content Expert – Is there someone at at your company that can be or is the subject matter expert for your niche? They need to be speaking to business groups and organizations as well as develop case studies and white papers, (which are great for social media blogs). Creating surveys and industry studies is also content that channel partners could use for their marketing efforts. Then you could use and repurpose that content for the website, blogging and social media channels. Use the created value-based content for your credentials kit when submitting proposals.
8. Website Improvement and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Your website is really the base foundation of marketing programs. A website needs to have content added to it frequently. Search engine bots scan websites frequently, and if nothing has been added or changed, the website is consider stagnant and typically drops in rankings because the website does not have fresh information. Does your site rank on the top page search results for keywords – nope not even close. We need to create a baseline now to compare after future SEO efforts). Then at some point I need to run search engine optimization diagnostics to identify issues and problems – and then fix them.
9. Blogging – This is a great tool for distributing all of your fresh new content. Blogging has many benefits to a marketing program including helping with search engine optimization. Blogs should integrate with the website and other social media outlets. It helps to build indexed pages for search engines, and distribute content through bookmarking and social sharing.
10. Social Media – Social media is marketing. It can build search engine authority, and generate leads. Do leads come from channel partners, or where do the majority of leads come from? Build-out social media profiles including LinkedIn personal profiles and company pages, a Facebook business page, Twitter profile, and the YouTube channel profile. After those are created, links need to be added to the your website and blog. It sounds complicated but much of that content already exists in brochures and the website.
I hope this helps as an overview of potential planning and prioritizing what needs to get done next. It is easy to pick the easy stuff to do, and focus on what can be done now. But also consider much of the above is for long-time vision planning, which takes time, and does not have immediate results. The results show up later, which in the long run drive the company to more sales and profits for a longer period of time. Consider if the competition is only doing half of the above, and if you do most or all of it – who is going to win the marketing and sales battle?
Action! Telling a story about the value of your product or service engages people’s emotions – and creating a sense of urgency can be a great way to motivate a customer to action.
Read this blog before it’s removed in 12 hours! Here are typical call-to-action infomercials: “Limited-time offer!” Or “Call in the next 15 minutes to get this one-time offer!” Or “One seat left at this price!” Emphasize the urgency of your product or service by solving a customer’s problem. You want your story to encourage your customers to act — not just when they’re ready, but NOW!
• Here are 4 simple writing tactics for creating a sense of urgency:
1. Most important – set a deadline. As procrastinator knows, nothing focuses the mind like a looming deadline. Set a goal and tie it to a date and even a time — and think about how you can add this to your call to action. People are far more likely to take action the closer the deadline gets.
2. Create scarcity. When people sense an opportunity is running out, they are more inclined to take action. For example: “Get your tickets now — only 10 products left at this price!” Yes, you have read that approach over and over before – because it still works! Tell a story that creates a sense of urgency with a customer’s problem, or them missing out on potential success.
3. Broadcast a sense of urgency on social media – it provides instant feedback. Social media provides real-time interaction. Gather insight into what resonates with your site visitors by offering a variety of urgencies, approaches, and formats. Try sharing stories that amaze or inspire others to act. Take advantage of the fact that social tools are built to allow people to interact and share. Let your site visitors and followers help you spread the word and attract new supporters. Use your website or blog’s analytics to see what works best – experiment!
4. Action! Keep your call-to-action message simple and specific. It’s easy to say no or think, “I’ll get to it later” – to an offer that sounds complicated, but harder to say no to an offer that is easy to understand. Make sure your website writing tactics create a call-to-action that is clear, quick, and easy, and people will be more likely to act NOW.
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The top category is the biggest one and represents the largest number of people – potential customers. You initially capture potential customers by creating awareness – they find your social media site through a search. The bottom category represents the smallest number – those who have made the purchase, your committed customers.
Now, here are the 5 steps to follow to construct your simple online sales funnel.
1. Create a landing page that has an impact! Your website’s landing page is the first impression for your potential customers. Take time to make sure that it visually looks great with headlines and subheads that provide value, (confirming this is the best place to be). A good website-design landing page gives the impression that is offering information the site visitor is looking for and not be inundated with “buy this” or “time is running out” phrases. That said, encourage visitors to sign up for some sort of list, or subscribe to the website. This gives you that all-important contact information, which becomes your first line of communication to start them down the sales funnel.
2. Develop a front-end special offer. The next step is to shift potential customers from “interest” to “consideration” which leads to buying your product or service. When developing your front-end products and associated upsell offers, try thinking – “How will this help create more desire for the next special offer I’m going to present them with?” In other words, at this step, you need to be “pre-selling” on the next step in the funnel.
3. Give an upsell offer on the back-end. Offer your customers who just bought or are about to buy an opportunity to upgrade or add-on to their purchase. Once they have just about clicked the button to buy your product or service they are more likely to buy an upgrade. Why? Because they have found your product or service to be the best value – the reason they are about to click the buy button. Create an offer that will deliver even more benefit to the customer. That also means you make more profit because an upsell typically involves a higher margin item or service.
4. Offer a downsize option. In the same way that you encourage customers to upgrade in the upsell step, this element of the funnel calls for you to offer a downsize option to customers you are about to lose due to price. Your product offering maybe out of their price range but they still want something similar or less quantity of what your special offer promotes. Consider this a way to engage a customer unable to buy from you due to budget constraints. Those constraints may change if they like your product and come back.
5. Follow up! The last step in the sales funnel is to follow-up with the new customers you have acquired and ensure they are happy with their product or service. A great way to accomplish this is to offer a membership-based rewards program. This will allow you to remain in contact with customers, giving you the perfect means for telling them about new deals and services.
Many times we get caught up in doing the part of social media that is fun, easy or more interesting – and ignore the nuts and bolts of our social media strategy. So, as a reminder here is 6 basic social media marketing activities to do on a consistent basis to make your blogs and websites great again! No fake info here …
- Take the time to really evaluate the market like a customer would, and then see how your social media sites stack up against the competition. What are they doing to stand out and be different?
- Determine what you want your social media to do, (inform, develop leads, sell, increase brand awareness, etc.) before you attempt to add creativity and marketing flair. Social media plan.
- Create a sales funnel that generates leads or revenue while also serving as a helpful resource to online prospects. (The 5 steps on how to create a Sales Funnel on your website in a future blog).
- Don’t overlook the importance of domain names, and editing the titles of pages and content to make them more SEO friendly.
- Make sure you have your keyword phrase in the title, first paragraph and at least two other times on the page.
- Keep a close eye on your Social Media analytics so you can figure out what is and isn’t working on your website and make adjustments accordingly.
What everybody in social media marketing needs to know about SEO and keywords. Keywords are typically just a single generic word. It may be a general term used to help capture searchers who are higher up the sales funnel – in the research or informational stage and can help bring awareness to your site. A single word possibly has a lot of competition for that word – plus, the majority of the traffic may not be looking for what you are selling.
Long tail keywords are a keyword phrase that has at least three, and sometimes as many as five words in the phrase. They are more specific and usually longer than more commonly searched for keywords. For example, “shoes” versus “men’s black leather shoes.” These highly specific key phrases are better-focused on customers who are much later in the buying cycle because the keyword phrase is much more focused on what the buyer is looking for. Long tail keywords will help capture people who may be looking for something specific and are therefore much more likely to be in the buying stage. The closer you target a person at the buying stage the more likely they are to make a purchase or take another desired action.
Still, you need to ask, “How can I differentiate myself from others in my industry?” Quality content and marketing ideas that are more memorable are all things that you need to take into consideration, in addition to choosing your long tail keywords for SEO.
Highly specific long tail keywords tend to be far easier to rank well for SEO than the more generic single keyword or double keyword phrases.
Slow Speed Kills SEO. Many websites don’t seem aware or care that their load times are painfully slow – especially the big-image, scrolling home pages that are glamorous and visually impactful. Site speed and the content itself can all impact the likelihood of someone staying on your site if it loads slow guess what happens?
Site visitors get impatient and immediately click back to the search results to visit another site. When that happens, it’s a signal to Google that your site may not be the best fit for that search – and down goes your SEO ranking. I use a page speed tool to analyze and optimize each site page throughout a website. If you don’t know how to address the issues slowing your site and your sliding SEO rankings down, consult with a professional.