Category Archives: Marketing 102

Channel Partner Marketing

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. Marketing and networking - the face behind the blogParticipate 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 best selling tipscustomers 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.

presentations7. 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 SEO for phrases and keywordschanged, 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 Social media networkspartners, 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 Social media consultant fore hire - cost effective and gets results.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?

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4 Simple Website writing tips, tricks and tactics.

 

 

 

 

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:

Social media deadline1. 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.

marketing urgency2. 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. Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 11.12.40 PMSocial 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! 

Marketing action

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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Keywords versus Long Tail Keywords for SEO

Keywords and long tail keywordsWhat 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 KeywordsLong 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.

Long tail keyword targetingStill, 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.

SEO ranking keywordsHighly specific long tail keywords tend to be far easier to rank well for SEO than the more generic single keyword or double keyword phrases.

How Your SEO is impacted by your website’s speed.

Website speed and SEO 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 speed and SEOSite 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.

Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, His 10 Rules for Business Success

Jack Ma is the richest man in China, 18th richest man in the world and worth 29.7 billion dollars. He was rejected for employment many times – he couldn’t even get a job at KFC in China! He applied to Harvard 10 times. Never give up! Jack started with 18 employees Alibaba Jack Maand  now has over 20,000. This 8 minute video provides insights into his business success creating the global trading company, Alibaba,  From a branding perspective, Jack provides insight into the Alibaba name and “genie” logo.

Some of his rules for success are obvious, but Jack makes them seem more important to do: Don’t let rejections defeat you, keep your dreams alive, focus on culture (mission and values), ignore naysayers that your idea is stupid, get inspired, stay focused, and branding – create a name people can easily remember. Also, make customers your number one priority, look for opportunities (he explains what kind), and have passion in what you do.

Sales Presentation: Engage Your Audience

Presentation skills

Seven ways to improve customer presentations:

  1. Provide a “Want” – not an Info Dump!  Be conscious of making sure the audience comes away with information that has value to them and not just pontificate of your knowledge. Give them just enough information that makes them “want”more – your products, services, expertise, a follow-up meeting, etc.
  2. Lead them with numbers. Tell your audience where your presentation is going. For example list 3-5 main points, tell them what you are going to tell them, and number the points! People like numbered lists because they know what to expect, where you are in the presentation, and it also helps them to better remember your presentation points.
  3. Create 3 basic parts to the presentation:  1. Introduction. 2. Content (which should contain 3-5 numbered points). 3. Conclusion: tell them what you told them.
  4. Communicate nuggets of info. Keep it simple. Make sure each point has an intro and conclusion so the audience can take away identifiable nuggets of information. It also makes it easier for people to take notes and retain the main points of your speech.
  5. presentation tipsTake your audience on a journey. After quoting a fact or a statistic to validate a point, engage the audience with a metaphor or tell a personal story. It makes it easier for the audience to understand and remember your points.
  6. Create a great first impressions at the podium. Looking to the back of the room, and slowly side to side lifts your head up higher and gives the impression you are confident and knowledgeable about the topic you are presenting. Avoid darting your eyes back and forth and around the room –it makes it appear that you are looking for a way to escape.
  7. Use vocal variety and pauses. Vocal variety shows passion as a speaker. It’s like a hit song that has a melody and a chorus, soft and loud –and just the opposite of a monotone presentation. Vocal variety creates subliminal dynamics that keeps the listener interested and engaged.