Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Benefits of Business Marketing Automation

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Brand Management, Research and Trends | No Comments

Business man pointing to transparent board with text: Automation

While marketing automation is still in its early stages, more and more businesses are opting to use this marketing style. As companies now have to work harder than ever before to keep their brands in the minds of consumers, the optimization of marketing automation can help make the entire process easier. Below are some of the benefits of business marketing automation.

  1. Productivity

One of the primary benefits of marketing automation is the elimination of routine marketing or organizational tasks. By removing them, employees and staff are better able to focus their efforts on projects that require more manpower and monitoring.

  1. Increased revenue

While investing in any new software is never cheap, the increased revenue created by marketing automation can offset – and overcome – the costs. More than 78% of marketers identified automation as the key to their improving revenue. Even B2B businesses see the difference; when compared to nurtured sales, automation increased sales by more than 20%.

  1. Customer retention

Using marketing intelligence, businesses can work to keep the customers they have while continually working on acquiring new ones. By gaining more insight and information on customers, automated marketing can help target products or promotions to the right consumers and the right time.

  1. Monitor campaigns

Although data analytics are an important part of marketing, automation provides the ability to instantly measure and monitor the data collected by a campaign. This, in turn, helps you determine the success or failure faster and adjust future marketing strategies accordingly.

  1. Improve accountability

The data collected by marketing automation creates an impartial picture of your company. This not only improves the accountability of departments such as marketing and sales, but can also identify areas that need improvement. This impartial feedback can help insure that all areas of your business are operating effectively.

Marketing automation can provide businesses with unprecedented amounts of data about their customers, while at the same time increasing productivity and identifying areas that need improvement. Because of these benefits, marketing automation can help businesses improve, grow, and better serve the consumer.

How to Create a Great Email Marketing Template

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Entrepreneurship | No Comments

Businesswoman checking email

Instead of individually formatting each and every marketing email, creating a great template can help streamline and simplify the process. Likewise, it creates a cohesive look and brand that customers can easily recognize and navigate. Below are some of the best ways to create a great email marketing template.

  1. Use the right software

Creating an eye-catching email marketing template is not the time to utilize Microsoft Word. Instead, programs like HubSpot, Dreamweaver, and even Notepad can be used to help you create code that won’t go wonky in an email.

  1. Manage email width

If you want to allow your emails to be viewed in Outlook’s vertical preview pane, email widths should not exceed 650 pixels. Likewise, limiting width can also ensure users with slower software or connections do not experience issues opening up your content.

  1. Avoid HTML text

While HTML text, such as the pretty bullet points, may seem more exciting and enticing than their plain text counterparts, they can also cause serious issues with spacing and readability for recipients who do not have HTML rich text enabled. Instead, write content in plain text to ensure all readers, including those on mobile devices, can read your text without issue.

  1. Create a plain text version

In addition to minimizing the use of HTML text, emails need to be accompanied by a plain text version. Not only does this mean that everyone can have the option to view your email regardless of the device or platform they use, it also prevents your messages from getting flagged as spam.

  1. Check your photo formats

No matter how great your email’s graphics are, if they can’t be viewed, they take away from your template. While .jpeg and .gif files are generally accepted – and the most widely used – formats like .png may not open up in certain platforms.

  1.  Include an unsubscribe link

Nothing frustrates readers more than not being able to easily unsubscribe from email marketing they no longer want to receive. Including it as a permanent part of your email template – along with the company name and physical address – ensures that you are CAN-SPAM compliant and that these items are never left out of an email.

Why the Customer Experience Matter So Much

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Business Management and Leadership | No Comments

The Customer Experience is illustrated on a number of sticky not

After the recession in the late 2000’s, consumer spending habits began to drastically change. Gone were the days of purchasing something simply because of convenience; more people are concerned about finding the best value for their money. Likewise, consumers now spend more time reading reviews, doing research, and shopping around for products than ever before.

These factors mean that the customer experience matters more than ever before. Because consumers are more likely to spend their money on a business they are emotionally invested in, companies have been forced to reevaluate how they view, manage, and improve customer experience.

The age of the consumer

While businesses used to control the market, that control now lies firmly in the hands of the consumer. Whereas there used to be a limited local selection of goods and services available, your competition is now a simple Google search away. Because of this, the customer experience is more important than ever. 

Especially for businesses providing consumer goods and services, customer experience can create or cripple the expansion of the business. Online reviews remain one of the primary way consumers select service providers; unfortunately, it seems that only customers who have absolutely fantastic or unbelievably horrible experiences post online feedback. Because of this, one (or more) bad reviews can seriously negatively impact a business.

Improving the customer experience

Although businesses have begun to shift to more consumer-oriented practices, it is often difficult for company leadership to identify with customer experiences. Think of a pilot at the end of a flight; while he considers the trip a success because the flight landed safely, he has no idea the struggles or drama that occurred in the cabin. So too CEOs, CFOs, and other executives are removed from customer experiences.

One way to improve the customer experience is through engagement on social media. Social media provides businesses with unprecedented access to the customers – and their complaints. More and more, disgruntled customers are airing their complaints on social media, sharing their negative stories with their followers. In situations like this, losing one customer can suddenly turn into losing dozens – if not more. Oftentimes, a simple reply to a tweet or post can help consumers feel heard or understood, turning them from bitter and disgruntled into loyal fans.

Another way to improve customer experience is by allowing real consumers to test new software, products, or procedures. Oftentimes, the desire is to have all the kinks ironed out before new solutions are presented to the customers. Unfortunately, this can often backfire, creating situations in which real consumer experiences and input have been disregarded. Instead, green light new services or products in target areas or with selected customers; not only can their feedback help improve your new idea, but customers often appreciate the ability to be trusted to test and review new products.

In the digital age, customer experience can make or break a business. By improving customer experience, you can help ensure that, no matter what happens in the economy, your business will continue to thrive and grow.

How Your Company Can Help in the Community

By | Business Management and Leadership | No Comments

multi-ethnic volunteer group hands together showing unity

Being involved in the community is no longer optional; more and more consumers are looking for companies that give back as well as provide quality goods and services. Because of this, being active in the community gives potential customers a reason to use your business. A 2013 study by Cone Communications found that 82% of customers take into account corporate social responsibility when deciding which businesses to patronize. 

While you may think giving back to the community will hurt your bottom line, it can have a surprisingly positive impact on your business. Below are some ways your company can get involved and help in the community.

1.       Support a local sports team
Whether it’s minor league baseball, high school cross country, or a pee wee football squad, sports teams are often the glue that holds a community together. Supporting a local sports team does more than encourage young athletes and healthy exercise – it also creates opportunities for exposure for your business as frequently as every week.

2.       Create a scholarship
Creating a scholarship fund shows that your business is invested in the future of the community. Consider designating the scholarship specifically for students who want to go into your area of study, such as law, food service, or engineering. Don’t be overwhelmed at the idea that a scholarship will cost you tens of thousands each year; as little as $500 can help defray the costs of books, fees, and other expenses.

3.       Join the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau 
Local organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce help connect you with other business owners in the area. This not only helps you stay informed about issues facing local businesses, but also creates a peer group that can be used as a sounding board for solving difficult problems or brainstorming new ideas. Likewise, membership in these organizations can help improve your business’ image. Studies have found that consumers are 44% more likely to think favorably about a business that is a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and more than 63% more likely to purchase goods and services from them.

4.       Support a local charity
One of the best ways to help the community is by supporting a local charity. In addition to benefiting the community, this also allows you to support a cause you are passionate about or that fits your business. Restaurants may choose to donate day old baked goods to a food pantry, for example, or a pet shop could partner with an animal shelter.

No matter how you choose to get involved in your community, helping others while gaining exposure for your business is a win-win for everyone involved.

The Benefits of B2B Social Media Marketing

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Brand Management | No Comments

Social Media Background

While many consumer brands have begun to shift to a more digitally-focused style of marketing, many B2B companies have been making a much slower transition. Because social media relies heavily on consumer engagement, many B2B companies have felt that social media marketing tactics do not apply to their business or target audience. 

As social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have become a more ingrained part of our daily lives, more and more B2B businesses have begun using them. Companies like Cisco, IBM, and Intel have all run successful recent social media campaigns. By embracing social media, these companies are expanding their potential client base and helping to ensure future success. Below are just some of the benefits of B2B social media marketing.

  1. Increased exposure
    Social media offers unprecedented exposure. Facebook has more than 1.3 billion users per month, with even less popular sites like LinkedIn still boasting an impressive 187 active monthly users. While not every contact will lead to a business deal, the exposure social media provides can help expand your network of contacts. Likewise, a greater social media presence can also help companies stay relevant in the changing digital marketplace.
  2. Increase engagement
    B2B companies are finally catching on to what consumer brands have known for years – social media offers unprecedented access to customers. Media such as video tutorials and customer stories can help increase interest and build loyalty. Likewise, customer service can now occur one-on-one across a variety of platforms; because social media users tend to be vocal about their experiences – whether good or bad – this gives companies a unique opportunity for engagement.
  3. Increase traffic
    Every update, post, blog, and tweet contributes to your website’s search engine ranking. This, in turn, brings more traffic to your site. Next, because the B2B sales cycle is longer, it is important to continue producing consistent, compelling content that will lead to future sales. The better quality content that is either curated or created, the more it will be shared; this further expands your business to customers that might not have been reached before.
  4. Increase market insight
    Using social media can help you get to know your target audience better. Doing so can help you create content that is relevant to them, continue to increase traffic, and lead to future sales growth. Likewise, analytics can be used to evaluate user data like never before in an effort to learn more about your target audience.