Tag Archives: Marketing

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.

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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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Create better marketing materials in less time!

How do you make something better in less time? For larger companies and small business, these not so shocking ideas are simple but very effective.

Think Process. Ugh, process stuff? Yes but wait, do you have a simple who-does-what list for developing marketing materials – from conception to final signoff? Where does it start, and how many people are in the review process? It could be as simple as creating a check-off list in an excel spreadsheet.

8BallPut these 8 suggestions in your pocket. Create a form or guide to help someone get started when writing a marketing piece that asks these 8 questions; 1. What is the purpose of the piece?  2. What are your customer’s needs?  3. What are the solutions to the customer’s needs? (Make sure you are communicating value, click here later if you need help on what value is)  4. What is the company’s expertise and value to meet or exceed those needs?  5. Why is your solution different?  6. Is there a compelling story to support the product or service?  7. What is the desired out come for the piece?  8. What is the call to action?  When the person starting the marketing document passes the answers to these questions on to the next stage in the process, it should make things go much smoother.

Who is adding value and who is just a pass-through? What value does each person add by participating in the process? Here’s a simple, yet shocking idea: Create a short list of bullets that helps each person know what value they are required to add to the process, so when they pass it on to the next step, the next person has what they need without backtracking.

BottleneckGet rid of bottlenecks in your process once and for all. Is there a step or two in your process that takes longer than you think it should – based on the value being added and the time it takes to move the piece to the next step? No finger pointing or blame, because everyone is busy, but if there is a bottleneck there could be many reasons for it. It’s typically the process that needs fixing, not the people. Most times it’s either not the right person in a process step, or they are having to add value that people before them left out because the people before them are lazy and just wanted to move it off their desk, or the required input and value each person adds wasn’t properly defined in the process.

Any process could be improved with specific requirements of the value each person adds – but if you are creating value-based marketing materials from start to finish in 2 to 3 weeks, then you probably have a pretty smooth running process.

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The Secret of Mobile Marketing Strategies

5 important items to put on a mobile marketing to-do list…

It’s official: Mobile laptops, iPads, smart phones, tablet computers, have overtaken the desktop as the primary point of contact with consumers. Test it yourself when you are on your Facebook page – social media mobile devicesyour friends who are online are displayed with a green dot, note how many are listed as “mobile.” Everywhere you go people are checking their mobile devices for text messages, emails and accessing websites while they are in a “waiting mode.”  Here’s 5 items for a mobile marketing to-do list:

1. Use a flexible template. Marketing success depends on making sure your website, blogs and emails are using responsive design templates – designs that automatically adapt to the devices on which they are being viewed.

2. Consider the demographics of your customers; if they are younger they are more than likely on a mobile device, if they are older on a desktop computer. You need to better focus your marketing approach and not just send out a single message that applies to all social media channels, but specific messages that are formatted for each channel.

3. Create short content. In mobile marketing, the most important point is to make sure your “content” is king. Use fewer words to communicate the most important value of your product or service because when people are on mobile devices, they have shorter attention spans and time. To best engage customers, make sure your clickable items are seamless and smooth.

4. Repeat your message. It has been said that someone needs to see a product as many as three times before they actually take action and buy. What they’re shown doesn’t necessarily have to be the product itself. Brand awareness, complimentary products or comparable items can also be effective.

On the left the PC shows three columns of content, in the middle the iPad shows two columns, on the right an iPhone shows only one column of content from the original website.
On the left the desktop computer shows three columns of content, in the middle the iPad shows just two columns, on the right an iPhone shows only one column of content.

5. Test your messages. Test for things like spacing, image rendering, and multiple columns on a desktop computer may appear as only one column on mobile devices, with the columns being “stacked” – keep that in mind when determining which information is on the left, right and middle columns, (see above example). Finally, do what most don’t do – test your website, emails, and social media on different mobile devices, because you may be in for a shock at what you see!

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