Tag Archives: Marketing

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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Social Media – Make Yours Great Again!

Social mediaMany times we get caught up in doing the part of social media that is fun, easy or more interesting – and ignore the nuts andMarketing trends 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 …

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Don’t overlook the importance of domain names, and editing the titles of pages and content to make them more SEO friendly.
  5. Make sure you have your keyword phrase in the title, first paragraph and at least two other times on the page.
  6. 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.

social media strategy

Are you old-school or new-age sales?

Technology sales personIf I was evaluating a technology-based sales person with a lengthy resume, I would base it on more recent sales history – no farther back than the last 10-15 years. Back 20+ years ago computer and technology sales people could boast big impressive sales numbers because sales were “easy” compared to selling in today’s  highly competitive marketplace. Why? The world was switching over from paper and fax machines to computers and networks. Plus, connecting to the early stages of the Internet. Every company was buying technology and computer related products.

Back then the sales approach was totally different – you could make an easy sale on computers and networks based on price or superior technology because it was changing so quickly. Companies were buying entire telecommunications and computers systems – they were all basically building from scratch.

computer sales

Now successful new-age sales sells the “value” of a company’s technology – because there isn’t as much difference between the competition as there was in the early technology days. Yes, most companies now think they have something new and different, but typically not different enough for the customer to recognize or understand the difference without a lot of marketing and sales communication.

A new-age sales person articulates value propositions and creates the perception in the customer’s mind that the product and company is unique and offers a better value than the competition. That takes additional time, effort, and patience

best selling tipsAdditionally, it is equally important for the new-age sales person to partner with marketing because a successful sales person is part of the sales process and not the whole process. They are patient and learn how to become an important part of the “social media engagement” process. The new-age sales person understands how social media marketing and a company’s website are now an integral part of the entire sales process, as they are not the lone-wolf sales person glad-handing and selling like the good ole’ days.

How these “simple tricks” get your emails read.

Whether you’re a millennial or an old dog, here are some easy and new tricks to get higher readership out of your emails.

tricks to writing emails

This blog’s subject line (which could also be an email), uses these 7 tricks that are likely to get more readership:
  1. Putting quotation marks around a phrase or statement increases readership
  2. The word “How” makes people think (rightly) that they will get some advice.
  3. The word “these” makes the advice sound specific.
  4. “Simple” makes it sound easy – and the word “easy” in the subhead also increases readership – because people hate hard work.
  5. “Tricks” makes it seem easy as well.
  6. The phrase “get your emails read” increases readership because it makes the sentence active – that simple approach does the trick.
  7. The word “your” helps, too, because people are interested in themselves.
Eight more tricks you can use …

marketing tricks1. When providing a list, use numbers instead of bullets to increase readership. Readers typically finish reading a numbered list to see if something resonates with them – and refer to the number of solutions or tips like I did using the number “7.”

2. Use the words “you” or “your” it’s certain to increase readership.

3. But that’s not all. (Use bold text for subheads or as an introduction to paragraphs like I did in this long-winded blog – it breaks up lengthy text and creates more visual interest).

Getting people to read your text4. The subhead needs to encourage people to start reading your full story – it’s a bit like an appetizer in a restaurant.

5. Does the use of questions keep people reading?  Yes, because they suggest answers to come, so does a list of specific examples – because when someone suggests something to you, you often say to yourself, “What do you mean?”

6. Did you notice that the paragraphs in this blog vary in length? One is only nine words long. The mind enjoys variety, and the empty spaces allows the eyes to rest.

7. “Use simple words everyone knows. Then everyone will understand.”

email tricks for readership8. Should the writing style be the same as casual chat? Typically it’s more formal – but writing is really nothing more than a well-organized speech. And when you write you have time to think things out and arrange them in ways you cannot in the rush of a speech.

Wether you are new to the game or an old dog learning new tricks, keep your message simple and to the point – because people have little time to dig for what they are looking for.

 

The Best Email Marketing Campaign Tips: 7-10

best practice email campaigns

7. Customers have specific needs and what they consider value-based content. Because of that, it is best to divide the email list of customers into sub-categories which allows you to send even more highly targeted information to you customers – it could be by product categories, geographic location or even by titles of decision makers. The key is to more closely match the customers needs with your messages. Sometimes being made aware of other products they may not normally buy in addition to new versions of what they do buy, would be of value to them and another way to segment the lists. You could also provide referral bonuses for repeat customers or special introductory offers for products they don’t currently buy as a way to test them out.

email strategy of coordination8. Channel coordination. By using the same product promotion, language and images in social media, the website and the email campaign, it creates an integrated approach that enhances the brand and helps the customers remember that product that they may not be currently buying. Reinforcing a message is always a good thing, and if action is required, make sure it is up front so you are not telling a long story before getting to the call-to-action.

9. Test best time to send.  According to direct mail research studies, the best time statistically to send an email is between 2pm and 5pm. The largest volume of emails people get is typically between 10am and 2pm. You could also do an A/B split test for the emails and look at open rates from the email analytics so you can optimize the lists.

strategic email

 

10. Design and layout. Of course the email needs to be visually appealing but where the pictures and graphics are located, the headline, subhead size, and text formatting is a science unto itself. When I worked at AT&T we commissioned an outside firm to do readership studies of ads, website, product packaging designs and other marketing materials. We would have test groups look at the messages and lasers would track their eye movement, as well as we tracked when they stopped reading and lost interest. So designing an email to be effective involves helping the reader to move their eyes in an order that feels natural to them so they read the content you want them to read in the order you hope they will. In a nutshell, people read messages best that are designed in the shape of an “F”. Best at emailingHeadline is read left to right, then down to a shorter width subhead or image, back out to a longer subhead or larger image then down to a narrower width text content. The goal of the headline is to get the reader to the subhead, and the subhead then to the text – but pictures and graphics not carefully placed or sized can interrupt that flow, causing people to skip ahead or bypass key parts of the message. The design is as important as the content of the message – and an effective layout can move people to read the entire message.

Creating the best and most effective sales presentations: Part 1 of 3.

 

The best sales presentation

When some sales people make a presentation, they assume that the most effective way to gain acceptance and buy-in from prospects is by dumping all of the features of their product or service in their customer’s lap, hoping that somewhere in that pile of information, there’s a nugget to make them buy. The reality is that when they are trying to communicate value to a prospect, they must first gain the prospect’s attention. That is the first obstacle to overcome, because most people really don’t listen to what the salesperson is saying, they just simply remain quiet and wait for their turn to talk. People love to talk more than they like to listen to others. So now what?

They key to engaging your prospects is to construct your presentation around their needs and what kind of listener they are; as opposed to overwhelming them with what you have to offer.

The way you construct your presentation to fully engage them, is to understand how they listen and absorb information. There are three general ways in which people listen and absorb information – Visual, Auditory, and People-Persons. First, the visual people relate to the world generally by the way they see things. When they speak, they will use terms like “I see, what you’re saying” or “I can see why you would think that way”.

Visual people better relate and “get” your message by seeing pictures, diagrams, flow charts, and other descriptive imagery. Visual people also like to observe others and may be fascinated with photography or things that generally involve envisioning. They will remember concepts, product names and the value you offer – as a result of a visual cue that they receive. Also important, is the “professional look” of your brand, and they will compare your brand’s image to your competitions brand. If you look cheap, they will think your product is cheap, and they will expect your prices to be cheap too.

Sales Presentation tips

 

Visual people listen better when following a visual story and the value you have to offer – when it is clearly written down. When trying to influence a visual person, your best bet is to provide them with visual examples,  “proof on paper” of what you’re speaking about. Talk to a graphic like shown above.marketing piece that is specifically designed to be left behind – that summarizes your presentation, is more effective for them to not only remember your points, but be able to retell your story to other stakeholders in the decision making process.

It takes patience and a little extra work to create a presentation that appeals to all three types of listeners. I’ve heard comments like, “I don’t have time for that, I have sales calls to make” or, “I have no idea how to vary my presentation to appeal to all audiences, I just use what the company gives me”.  In the long run, making the effort, or hiring a consultant who can create those tweaks for you, will Businessman Running In Front Of Sale Signmake for a higher percentage of sales wins for you and your company. You can run around from call to call – putting lots of lines in the water and hoping for a big hit, or know how to cast an effective sales presentation and catch more customers on a regular basis.

The next two blogs will talk about the other two ways people listen and absorb information – and how to identify the other types of listeners, follow this blog, and you will get a ding when the next blog is posted.

The Secret of Writing an Attention Getting Headline

How to write an effective headline - easily!
Headline writing method using words like Secret, How, Who, Method, and Get Rid of…

Here is a method that is helping websites to get more hits and traffic. Writing a great catchy headline can pull in visitors of websites, blogs, and other social media, as well as readers of ads and other marketing materials. Headlines are your first impression! So what’s the secret of writing an effective headline? How do you write a headline like a pro? I have 10 ideas that won’t shock you, but they are effective. Here are the first 5, and the next five attention-getting ideas will be in a follow-up blog – so “follow me” to make sure you don’t miss the next 5 headline writing ideas.

5 Ways to Create Attention getting headlines

 

1. The Secret of [blank].  This headline format is used quite a bit, but that’s because it works so well – share perceived insider knowledge and translate it into value for the reader. For example;  The Secret of Writing a Successful Headline, or The Secret of Creating Financial Independence.

2. Little Known Ways to [blank]!  For example: Little Known Ways to Get Blog Readers Attention, or Little Known Ways to Lose Weight Quickly and Safely. You can make it a stronger by adding a number – 5 Little Known Ways to Save on Your Air Conditioning Bill, or 10 Little Known Ways to Grab a Reader’s Attention.

3. Who Else Wants [blank]?  Starting a headline with “Who Else Wants…” is a classic advertising strategy that implies an already existing desire for what you have, whether it is knowledge, products or services. For example; Who Else Wants to Make Money Working from Home, or Who Else Wants my Secrets to Writing a Catchy Headline?

4. Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank].  Simply identify your target audience and the value you can provide them, and then just fill in the blanks. For example;  Here is a Method That is Helping Vacationers to Save Hundreds on Travel Expenses, or Here is a Method That is Helping Marketing Professionals to Get More Leads.

5. Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All.  A classic formula that identifies either a painful problem or an unfulfilled desire that the potential customer wants to remedy. For example; Get Rid of Your Credit Card Debt Once and For All, or Get Rid of Joint Pain Once and For All.

Headline writing tips: 5 of 10Those were the first 5 of 10  Secrets of Writing an Attention Getting Headline. The next five will be in a follow-up blog, so please  “Like” if you did so, and  “Follow Me” to make sure you don’t miss the other 5 headline writing tips.

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