Category Archives: B2B Marketing Communication Strategiesv

The B2B Digital Marketing Rules You Should Know

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More and more businesses are beginning to enter the age of digital marketing for their Business-to-Business efforts.  And it is long overdue.  Soon, even every old school law firm in the country will have a website collecting customers instead of relying solely on referrals.  Here are some digital marketing rules you should know to keep your business ahead of the pack and land more customers for yourself.

 

Your website is your most powerful salesperson

Gone are the days of the top salesperson, the storefront with great foot traffic, or the award winning TV advertisement jingle that kids sing the world over.  Enter your website.  Your website is now your most powerful asset and your best salesperson.

Spend the time, money, and care to make sure it is mobile friendly, has clear call to actions, and is generally top of the line.  A great website can take much of the marketing effort out of human hands, attracting customers through search engines, facilitating their acquisition, and closing the sale with little effort at all.

All you have to do is turn around and deliver what the website is promising and your business will flourish.

Focus on analytics that matter, not all of them

 

The amount of analytics, statistics, and data that can be gathered and poured over is enormous.  Unless you have an entire fleet of people assigned to the task, just compiling and understanding this data can take all of your time.

Instead, a better approach is to identify a few key pieces that you want to focus on before you start collecting data.  The rest can be there if you need it, but these few key pieces allow you to easily and quickly understand how you are doing, what to improve or not, and if your strategy is working.  The specific adjustments can take their genesis from the other data, if it fits, but try to avoid drowning yourself in data at first.

Businesses are on social media

As social media sites become more saturated and their users more sophisticated, a key component to any businesses’ social media strategy is to blend genuine interaction and outreach with marketing themselves, and their product and services.

So why not provide them an easy way to perform this genuine interaction?  Reach out to businesses in your industry or closely related to it.  It doesn’t matter whether they are customers, potential customers, suppliers, or competitors, any interaction and social media presence that is not your own personal marketing can help establish trust on that particular platform.

These efforts also can gather new business customers or at least build your brand so that when the business customer arrives at the beginning of your sales funnel they are slightly more familiar with your brand and the path to closing the sale is smooth.

Establish trust and rapport with content marketing

Case studies and other content marketing can not only help your SEO presence and get more customers to your site but can also help you build trust with potential business customers before you ever interact.

A case study about how you helped another business, the results and impact it had, and how you communicated and worked on a personal level with that business to understand their goals can have a positive influence on your corporate image and reputation.

A potential business or business owner can read that study and place himself or herself and their business in the shoes of the business featured in the case study.  This instant connection can be utilized by the rest of your sales funnel by starting the process you described in the case study.

The customer will be more comfortable and let you take them along for the ride since they now know what to expect thanks to the case study.  They now have a bit of trust and knowledge that their B2B experience with your organization will have positive results for all involved.

Unique Marketing Ideas for Startups

By | B2B Marketing Communication Strategiesv, Brand Management | No Comments

Smartphone with finance and market icons and symbols concept

While traditional marketing works well for established companies, many marketing strategies are not designed for new businesses. Instead, startups need innovative marketing ideas to help get their name recognized and their sales going.  

The right marketing can get your business started and set it up for long-term success. These unique marketing ideas for startups are ways to kick start your company and get your business going.

1.       Encourage customer involvement
A loyal customer base can help spread your brand to those who may not normally see your product. Encourage consumers to share your product on various social media sites using hashtags or handles. Likewise, creating a contest in which users submit photos or posts on social media is an excellent way to generate posts, tweets, likes, and shares for your business.

2.       Build name recognition
One of the biggest challenges faced by startups is brand recognition. Get your name out there by giving out bumper sticks or t-shirts to employees or as freebies at events. Likewise, murals, paintings, and chalk on the street can all be used to create name recognition. 

3.       Engage on social media
Social media is one of the least expensive – and most effective – forms of marketing. It also gives brands a unique opportunity to engage their customers one-on-one. Interacting with consumers like this can help build a loyal base one customer at a time.

4.       Identify your target customers
As a startup, you may not have the resources to advertise to the entire market at once. Instead, identify two to three groups of target customers and focus marketing efforts in these areas. Facebook, for example, started for students at specific universities before expanding; now, everyone from middle school students to their grandparents uses the social media service.    

5.       Outsmart – not outspend
While you may not be able to outspend your competition, being a startup gives you the ability to outsmart them. Most large companies are set in their ways and major changes are rarely undertaken. As a startup, you can morph and adapt your business model, product, or marketing to outsmart your competition.

Marketing a startup can be difficult, but it also gives you the unique opportunity to be both flexible and creative. By using these unique marketing ideas, you can help get your startup off the ground and on the road to being successful!

How to Improve Your Email Marketing Subject Lines

By | B2B Marketing Communication Strategiesv, B2C Marketing Communication Strategies | No Comments

Set the Tone words on a computer keyboard button or key to injec

Most people receive dozens – if not hundreds – of emails every day. Because of this, it can be hard to make your email stand out in the sea of other inbox messages.

Your email marketing subject line is often the most important part of your entire message; after all, great body content will go to waste if the message heads straight to the trash folder. To help get more of your messages opened, follow these easy steps on how to improve your email marketing subject lines.

1. Keep it short and sweet
When it comes to subject lines, the shorter they are the better they are. Research has shown that the ideal subject length is around 50 characters. While it may seem difficult to get your message across in such as small amount of space, doing so allows you to distill down your message to one or two key points.

2. Add preview text
Most email providers show the first few lines of an email along with the subject line. Make the preview text count! Pack as much enticing content as you can into the first few sentences to substantially boost open rates.

3. Show readers how they’ll benefit
Entice your readers with subject lines that show them what they can gain by opening your email. Likewise, people love numbers; the subject line “Eight reasons no one is reading your newsletter” is much more likely to get opened than “Reasons your newsletter isn’t successful.” But…

4. Don’t make false promises
A catchy email marketing subject line is important, but you need the body content to back it up. If your emails can’t deliver on what they promise, they’ll be deleted faster than you can say “unsubscribe”.

5. Create a sense of urgency
Subject lines that advertise phrases like “today only” or “24 hour sale” are much more likely to get immediately opened. This sense of urgency helps ensure your message will be read now rather than being put off until later, when it might be forgotten. A similar tactic to creating a sense of urgency is creating scarcity with phrases such as “limited release” or “limited quarantines”.

6. Personalize
Whenever possible, use the recipient’s name in the subject line. If you don’t want to use personalization tokens, use pronouns such as “you” and “your” to make your readers think you’re speaking directly to them.

7. Ask a question
Readers are more likely to open an email that presents them with a direct question. This helps initiate a conversation and draw them in with what you have to say. “Can you live without these beauty products?” is a much more intriguing subject line than “Beauty products you can’t live without.”

International Business Etiquette: Avoiding Business Faux Pas

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Flags of the EU

Travelling overseas for business or hosting international visitors can be an exciting experience. However, cultural boundaries and differences can sometimes lead to extremely uncomfortable – and even offensive – faux pas.

The following areas are the most likely to cause a cross-cultural mistake. By researching the country or culture of those you will be doing business with, you will be able to further avoid any embarrassment.

Body language and gestures

What we may consider innocent gestures or facial expressions might mean something entirely different in another culture. Many cultures consider pointing to be extremely rude and offensive; likewise, a simple thumbs up is an offensive gesture in many Middle Eastern countries.

Even handshakes can lost in translation; in the United States, we often view shaking hands as a way to close a deal, but other cultures see it as a sign that negotiations are just beginning.

Food

It is important to understand the cultural or religious dietary restrictions in other countries. Doing so may help prevent any major faux pas. Before offering an alcoholic beverage to a potential client, consider their culture. Practitioners of the Mormon, Muslim, or Seventh Day Adventists faiths do not drink alcohol, whereas in Russia it is considered rude to refuse an offer of vodka.

If you find yourself at a silent business lunch, do not be worried. Many cultures do not speak during mealtime, believing that the food should be the focus. Likewise, not eating enough in countries like Greece or Italy may be taken as a sign you were displeased with the food offered.

Personal space

How close we stand to another person or how often we touch them varies from culture to culture. In the United States we are accustomed to having a rather large “personal bubble” of 1-2 yards; in most Eastern countries, however, personal space is viewed differently with everyone, including strangers, standing much closer together.

In Mediterranean and South American cultures, it is common to touch or hug acquaintances, friends, and colleagues as a way of connecting. In many Eastern cultures, however, touching is taboo and as much as a simple pat on the back may be offensive.

Navigating the divide between different cultures may seem daunting, but with research you can hope to avoid any major faux pas. While most cultural mistakes can be graciously accepted and forgiven if genuine effort is shown, understanding cultural boundaries when doing business abroad can help you avoid any potentially embarrassing situations.

The Most Important Things to Know About Financing for Small Businesses

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Businessperson With Stack Of Coins

You’ve come up with the idea, you’ve done your research, and just one thing stands between you and being a small business owner: financing.

While there are many choices when it comes to funding your new business, most lenders have similar requirements. Before heading to the bank, take the time to do you research and learn about the financing process. Below are four important things to know about financing for small businesses. 

1.       Have a solid business plan

No matter how wonderful your idea is, lenders are not going to want to invest if you do not have a strong business plan. Your business plan should provide information such as an explanation of the services you’ll be providing, details about your niche, and an overall blueprint for your business.

A good business plan should also include plenty of facts; do your research on your area, target market, and competition before composing your plan. Likewise, create realistic projections about the growth of your business for the first five years.

Lastly, a good business plan does not have to be a novel. It should be long enough to include relevant statistics and facts, but not so long that it is difficult to find or reference information. There are a number of free resources online for assistance in creating a business plan.

2.       Know your credit history

If you have a history of late payments, large amounts of debt, or have declared bankruptcy in the past, you may have difficulty finding financing for your small business. Lenders may use your success – or failure – at personal financial management as an indicator of the potential financial success of your business. 

Before meeting with lenders, research your FICO http://www.fico.com/ score, which is a summary of your credit risk. Your FICO score, along with your credit score and other financial factors, may impact your ability to get a loan, as well as what kind of rate you are offered.

3.       Research specialized loans

Before applying for a small business loan or seeking out investors, research whether or not you may qualify for a specialized loan. There are a number of government programshttp://www.sba.gov/content/microloan-program in place to assist those who may have been previously (unlawfully) discriminated against for small business funding. This includes, but is not limited to, women, minorities, veterans, business owners with disabilities, and business owners in rural areas.

4.       Expect a long process

Receiving financing for a small business does not happen overnight. Before applying you might feel buried in paperwork; many lenders require background checks, resumes, projected financials, business licenses, tax returns, and business plans along with their applications. In addition, many lenders may take as long as 60-90 days to complete the lending process.

Starting your own business can be equal parts thrilling and terrifying. However, having a better understanding of small business financing can help you get your financing and open your business faster.

The Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication

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Image of two young business partners discussing plans or ideas a

When it comes to modern business best practices, the concept of face-to-face communication might seem like an antiquated practice.

Thanks to new technology, alternative communication methods have rapidly replaced face-to-face communication and become a preferred method for many young business professionals. For many, it’s more comfortable and more efficient. Yet, even with the immediate availability and options of business communications in our digital world, many business experts warn not to overlook the value of face-to-face communication.

Here are five benefits of the effectiveness of utilizing face-to-face communication:

Make it personal. Personal communication goes beyond what is said–it can offer insight into your influence and how you make people feel. Engaging and collaborating with your clients, customers and partners allows them a chance to get to know you as a person, making the relationship personal.

Build a trusted network. Many agree that only face-to-face communication can build stronger, more meaningful and longer-lasting relationships. Those face-to-face meetings and conversations are more candid and can lead to long-term relationships that are nurtured online and elsewhere.

The non-verbal factor. Only face-time allows people to read body language, analyze facial expressions and interpret nonverbal communication signals. Those signals allow key opportunities for negotiation, persuasion, engagement, inspiration and quick decision-making.

The “human” connection. When it comes to factors like teamwork and productivity, face-time can offer more context and insight into the bigger goals and objectives of teams, departments and companies.  The impact of solid relationships and cohesiveness can also be seen in engaging processes like brainstorming and idea generation.

Making better decisions. The best decisions can only be made with the best information available. The quality of the decision-making process is often based on complex information, negotiated agreements and the exchange of critical and confidential information, all of which are more effective in face-to-face communication.

Quick Tips to Create Long-Lasting Customer Relationships

By | B2B Marketing Communication Strategiesv, B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Uncategorized | No Comments

A blue nametag sticker with words Hello I Am Your Customer to re

No business will get very far without meeting the needs of its customers and clients. A business is only as good as how it serves its customers, and if you do it right, it will become a long-term relationship.

The truth is that there are many keys and tactics to successfully building relationships with your customers and clients. The end goal is to go beyond one business deal or transaction to provide consistent and continuous levels of service. Without it, you will certainly drive customers away.

So how do you create enduring and long-lasting relationships with clients and customers? Here are six quick tips:

Offer real value. Customers and clients depend on you for knowledge, expertise and information. Find out what they value, inform them, and don’t be afraid to share your expertise about your business or industry. The value will keep them coming back.

Define and deliver communication. Clients depend on you to continually keep them informed without being overwhelming. Find out how they prefer to communicate, and then deliver.

Always be straightforward and honest. You will never cultivate long-term relationships with your clients by hiding the truth in any circumstance. Meet their needs with your products and service, and keep them by being open and honest.

Learn how to engage with your customers. The experience of working with you or your company can matter as much as your product. According to a study, 81 percent of customers are willing to pay for a high-quality experience. Make it a great experience.

Monitor the behavior of customers. If you want customers and clients to become loyal and stick with you for the long term, monitor how they experience your product and then continually improve and adapt.  Prioritize which customers need immediate attention, and react quickly.

Reward their loyalty. Think of your clients as more than just “clients,” and find out about them as people. Give long-term clients preferential treatment and rewards and continually appreciate them. You will lose much more by focusing on new business than taking care of current clients.

Why Did They Buy?

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Business Meeting.

Why do consumers buy what they buy? It’s an age-old question that every business wishes it had the exact answers to solve.

In the simplest terms, customers buy for their own reasons. And the way people buy has changed rapidly due to online shopping, giving consumers more choices – and thus more leverage – than ever before. The advances in ecommerce have also provided invaluable amounts of data, which when analyzed provide a far better understanding of what buyers value when buying than ever before.

It’s long been understood that the buying decision is based on emotional responses based on perceived value or filling a need. Buyers have many options and there are a variety of factors that differentiate products and services, many subjective to each individual.

Some of the lessons learned through ecommerce data likely apply to all buying decisions. According to research by BigCommerce, product quality (56 percent) and free shipping (49 percent) are the top two factors driving purchasing decisions. The most important store feature driving purchasing decisions is competitive pricing (80 percent), while 62 percent of shoppers actually research big-ticket items in stores before buying online. These numbers are just a glimpse into what influences a sale.

Given what business understand about what influences buying decisions, what tactics and strategies can sales people use to increase sales? These are three proven tactics every sales person should know.

Perseverance and tenacity. Historical research shows that only 2 percent of sales occur at the first meeting, and 80 percent of non-routine sales occur only after five follow-ups. The point would be to not give up.

The ‘front of mind’ mentality. As a sales person, when a customer is ready to buy, you want them to think of you and your brand. It’s a fact that many (20 percent) will take more than a year to buy. Maintain effective marketing and communication.

Sell the relationship, not the sale. Successful sales people know that the only thing that matters in sales is relationships. Solving problems, satisfying needs, establishing trust and building loyalty drive the long-term sales process. Successful sales are not about one transaction.

Mobile Engagement You Need to Know About

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Mobile is more than a communications or information tool, it is a global lifestyle. For businesses, brands and organizations, it is both the present and the future in building connections and relationships with customers and consumers.

In laymen’s terms, mobile engagement is defined as marketing via a mobile device that provides customers with personalized time and location sensitive information that promotes goods and services.

There are a litany of statistics that represent why mobile matters. And it matters more each passing day.

Consider that half of the U.S. population uses a smartphone, and that it was estimated by Cisco that there would be more mobile devices on the planet than people by the end of 2013. This infographic shows that 79 percent of people use their mobile device within the first 15 minutes after waking up, and most smartphone users check their devices 150 times per day. By the end of 2015, there will be more people accessing the Internet via mobile devices than wireless computers.

The numbers that prove how addicted consumers are to their phones are staggering. You should be thoroughly convinced that mobile matters.

The reality is that building great experiences and serving customers through mobile marketing is the pulse of consumer engagement strategies for businesses and brands. So what are some mobile engagement marketing strategies businesses can use?

Real-time interaction.
Current mobile marketing is about real-time interactions that build brand value. A mobile device always knows where it is, and brands can unlock that power with hyper-targeted messages based on opportunity and location. Instant feedback from consumers – what they like, what they found helpful, an instant in-store special – are value that bring them back.

Direct interaction.
The social network market might be saturated, but it is still a growing mobile content activity. Integrating an app or ad campaign within a social network to create conversation is useful for any brand.

Useful interaction.
Getting someone to download an app in the crowded market is great, but giving them a reason to consistently use it is another. Consumers are overwhelmed with noise, so cut through it with “sticky” apps that keep users coming back. Customizable content – such as a news feed or mobile chat – create a truly personalized experience that offers brand value.

Seven tips for effective cold emailing

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First there was cold calling. Then, with the digital age, there was cold emailing.

For many in business, cold emailing is the most effective and untapped form of networking, sales, and development. Many people are impressed with initiative, and cold emailing is a way to build a broader network without relying on already established contacts, and for a very low cost (just your time).

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