How to Build a Company Culture that Helps Marketing

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How to Build a Company Culture that Helps Marketing

As managers, we all strive to develop an atmosphere of success and teamwork. When you can develop a culture that respects those in your office and encourages success, you’ll notice many immediate benefits.

  • Workers will become more motivated.
  • Employees will feel valued and know the role they play in the success of the greater organization.
  • They’ll also feel more confident handling day-to-day situations and solving problems.
  • You’ll be able to spend your time more productively, too, by not having to handle issues your employees now feel confident dealing with on their own.

When your employees feel valued and content, the impact can stretch far beyond the office walls. Happy employees present a more enthusiastic and helpful face for your brand to potential customers. Your company’s reputation for caring for its employees and its customers will spread. Referrals will grow, and your marketing efforts will have a greater impact. In short, this type of fantastic company culture can help the bottom line.

So how do you achieve this type of business-friendly dynamic in your office?

During hiring

Building a fantastic company culture begins during the hiring process. Make hires based on two main factors: skills and how well the candidate will fit with the culture you’ve created or are trying to create. Many companies focus solely on finding the person with the best qualifications, without taking into account how well that person will fit in with the rest of the team.

Ask questions during the interview that speak to the values you seek. When you’ve found a candidate that appears to work well, consider having them do a trial project with your team to see how well they get along.

Among current employees

Educate and empower your employees so they feel confident taking control of their interactions with customers. Teach them how to delight customers not by just telling them or giving presentations, but through examples and demonstrations. Build a culture that focuses on under-promising and then exceeding customers expectations at every turn. Teach employees to focus on solving problems for their customers. Develop concrete buyer personas that employees understand completely, so they can quickly gauge what customers seek when they speak with them.

At the same time, empower your employees. Let them know they’re trusted and responsible for solving problems and finding new ways to help their customers. Have clear guidelines about when employees should ask for help and when they need to come up with their own solutions. This will help employees better assist customers and solve their problems. Customers will be happier knowing they’re speaking with someone who can actually do something, rather than just relay messages.

Creating a positive culture and work environment does more than make your organization a great place to work. It can also help boost marketing efforts and improve the bottom line. By helping your employees, you’re improving the face of the brand your customers see. You might be amazed at the impact it can have on your

​efforts.​

How Much Value Are You Providing Customers Online?

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How Much Value Are You Providing Customers Online?

Imagine you’re a student struggling to understand a difficult concept in one of your classes. A friend who aced the class last semester offers to help but ends up just regurgitating the same information you already got from your notes. Frustrated, you ask if they can give you any insight that might help you better understand the subject. "Sure," they reply, "but that wouldn’t be fair to the rest of your class because it would make it too easy for you."

Sound far fetched? It probably is. After all, who would show such little interest in helping their friend succeed? Yet, for many companies, that’s precisely the attitude they take with their marketing content.

How helpful is your content?

We’re all turning more and more online to learn about products and make intelligent and informed buying decisions. In response to this trend, many companies broadcast themselves as the expert and want people to turn to them.

Their content, however, is far less than helpful.

Rather than actually answer industry questions or help customers learn about their products, these companies simply repackage the same general information found elsewhere online and remain vague about the advice they give.

They’re afraid that by ‘giving away’ too much information, customers will not have a reason to hire them. In the process, they’re missing a key part of the marketing puzzle: building trust.

Instead of giving customers a reason to hire them, they’re driving them away in frustration over the lack of information they provide. Potential customers end up visiting competitors’ websites and getting the information they seek there instead. The unhelpful content meant to entice customers actually destroys opportunities to build trust and credibility.

How you can avoid this scenario

The solution to this problem is straightforward: provide valuable content. Listen to the questions that customers ask and use them to generate blog posts. Write helpful articles that will actually inform the reader and guide them in making better decisions. Use the Internet to build a reputation as an approachable leader in the industry.

Consumers today want answers and help navigating your industry. Like a student seeking help in a school subject, these customers aren’t going to stick around someone who just tells them general information they already know. To convert your customers, you need to be the helpful authority.

High School Loyalty and Brand Community

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There’s something about high school that inspires loyalty for decades after graduation. For an outsider looking in, it can be difficult to understand why people care so much about their past high school experiences. Whether it’s journeying hundreds of miles for a high school reunion or feeling offended when someone insults the old sports hero, high school loyalties run deep for many people.

Why?

High schools have built an incredibly strong community within their walls. The students have countless shared experiences together, from classes and teachers to events and activities. These common moments help to tie the collective memories together.

This same sense of community, which helps bring high schools such strong loyalty, can also prove helpful in the business world. Building brand loyalty can lead to higher numbers of repeat customers and more referrals, both of which are excellent for the bottom line. Here’s how to go about building a community around your brand.

Create shared experiences

Help customers get to know each other and your representatives. Host get-togethers and customer events. Get involved in your local community. Raise money for a national charity, or sponsor regional fundraising events. All of these are fantastic ways to bring your customers together, improve your reputation, and get your brand in front of new potential customers. They’re also great conversation starters with followers later on social media or in blog posts.

Encourage connections

Invite existing customers to tell stories about using your products or services on various social media platforms. Have contests where people take pictures of themselves with your product or share stories of how your service helped them. This type of sharing builds credibility for your brand and helps participating customers feel more connected to your company. It helps encourage a concept known as the ‘bandwagon effect,’ where people are more likely to try a product or service when they see others doing so. Having customers share their experiences with your brand helps all customers and potential customers see themselves as a part of a desirable group, which increases loyalty.

Highlight clients and employees

Show prospects the people behind the reviews and the employees who will be helping them succeed. Highlighting past clients and employees in this manner serves two purposes. First, the person highlighted will enjoy and appreciate the attention cast upon them. And second, other customers will feel a connection to the person and thereby feel a strong connection to your brand.

Building a strong community around your brand can help tremendously when building brand loyalty. Just like a high school looking to encourage its alumni to come out and root for the home team, creating a strong loyalty can serve your company well for years to come. Keep the above three tips in mind and start coming up with ideas to build loyalty for your brand.

What Relay Teams Can Teach Us About Teamwork

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Few people exemplify skill and teamwork better than a well-coached relay team. Whether at the Olympic Games or a high school track meet, the relays are often one of the most exciting events.

Relay teams typically consist of four of the most highly skilled runners at a particular distance. But skill alone isn’t enough. The teams must practice together to get their timing and execution just right. It takes a great deal of teamwork to win a relay event.

In a relay race, runners must pass the baton from one to the next within a predefined zone. If they fail to make the handoff within that zone, they are disqualified. At the same time, the runner receiving the baton cannot start their leg of the race from a complete stop. The amount of time they’d lose would be astronomical. That means the runner handing off the baton and the runner receiving the baton must time their running perfectly so that the second runner can pick up speed while still receiving the baton within the zone. This requires a level of precision that can only be developed with practice and considerable communication. When a team masters this aspect of running a relay and combines it with phenomenal skill, they can accomplishes incredible things.

How running a relay relates to running a business

Like running a relay race, running a successful business requires more than just having talented people. You could hire people who are absolutely genius in their respective roles, but if they can’t communicate well together, they won’t accomplish much.

Building a successful team in a professional environment requires finding employees who can accomplish their jobs effectively, but also fit together as a group. When a relay team is working together, they understand how their roles fit together to form a cohesive unit. The same is true of your organization. Everyone on your team must be clear about their individual role and how it relates to the end goals of the organization.

The handoff

As with a relay team, the handoff is critical in business, too. Every member of the team has their own job to do, and handoffs dictate how well potential leads and prospects are passed from one department or team to the next. When these handoffs are handled well, leads are moved seamlessly down the sales funnel, and relationships develop and grow.

The perfect handoff occurs when the members of the team know how to communicate with one another. They understand each other’s respective roles and strengths and know how to work together for the betterment of the team. For example, in a team with weak communication, the marketing department might hand off a lead to the sales team before that lead is ready to move along. However, when the two departments communicate and understand each other better, they improve their handoff skills, boosting the odds of conversion and success.

Track and field can be a source of entertainment, but also inspiration. The next time you see the sport, watch carefully how well the relay team fits together. Use some of their insight when planning your hires and organizing your business.

Back to Basics: The ‘Why’ in Creating Valuable Content

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Back to Basics: The ‘Why’ in Creating Valuable Content

When it comes to producing valuable content, countless marketing and business professionals will tell you that you ‘should,’ but not many delve into the ‘why.’

"You need content to bring customers to your website!"
"You need content to keep up with the digital age!"
"You need content because that’s what your customers seek!"

These responses are the ‘reasons’ most often given for spending time creating content for websites and marketing materials.

In truth, creating valuable content will help you grow your business and improve your bottom line. Here are two key ways it accomplishes this:

1. It helps you build trust with your customers.
People don’t accept advertisements at face value. They choose brands based on how well those brands meet their needs.

When customers go online, they want to find answers to their questions. They want a brand to understand the problems they face, offer solutions, and explain why their products are the best at meeting those needs. When a prospect finds a company that answers their questions again and again while also providing them with a service that comes with good reviews, the decision to buy becomes a no-brainer.

Valuable content builds a reputation of authority and leadership in the minds of customers. They come to see you as someone who really knows your industry and feel confident knowing they can turn to you whenever they have questions. This increases loyalty and the potential for future sales.

2. It’s more likely to be shared, increasing your brand’s reach.

Customers today live on social media. Just about everyone has a Facebook or Twitter account. People use these profiles to share things that interest them and offer value they think others might appreciate. When you provide your customers with repeated value, you enhance the odds your material might be shared on these social sites. When content is shared, it automatically increases your reach, while also building credibility in the minds of all those who see the share. Customers tend to trust referrals more than standard advertising.

How to develop content that can work this way

The potential for quality content is incredible. Your task is to learn how to capitalize on it. Here are six steps to get you started:

  1. Research and identify the ‘ideal customers’ you want to reach.
  2. Learn as much as possible about these ideal customers.
  3. Determine the common questions and problems that face these customers.
  4. Develop content that addresses these questions and problems in an informative and helpful way.
  5. Share the content on blogs, social media, emails, newsletters, and other places to draw attention to it.
  6. Repeat the process regularly to stay current.

When you take the time to develop valuable content for your customers, you’re investing in helping your business grow. Take the time to create content your customers will appreciate, and watch the impact it can have on your brand.

5 Ways to Increase Visitor Engagement in 2015

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5 Ways to Increase Visitor Engagement in 2015

As you prepare your marketing plans for the year, one of your chief priorities should be website visitor engagement. As engagement increases, so do brand loyalty and conversions. Engagement helps page visitors begin to build a relationship with your brand. This in turn helps to increase their trust in what you have to say and makes them more likely to end up buying from you. Here are a handful of changes you can make to greatly enhance your visitor engagement and see measurable changes in 2015.

Make content easily shareable

Encourage page visitors to interact with your brand by sharing your content. You can accomplish this by making your content interesting and easy to broadcast across various social channels. Enable social share buttons on every piece of content you produce, and share the content yourself on a variety of social networks. If your content provides high value and is timely, readers will be more likely to want to share that information with their connections.

Use gamification and promotions

Use fun contests and games to encourage page visitors to remain on your website and tell others about your brand. There are a number of different types of games and promotions you can use. For example, have customers solve puzzles to earn coupons. Encourage them to share your brand with friends to earn points. Run contests on your social media pages that invite people to tell stories about their successes with your brand. Use these opportunities to encourage communication and build a relationship between page visitors and your company.

Encourage feedback

When customers know their opinions are valued, they’re more likely to feel loyal to your brand. Customers appreciate companies that go the extra mile to help them and make their experiences memorable. Encourage this level of engagement by letting customers vote on different topics they’d like to have featured on your website, leave reviews of your products and services for others to see, and offer opinions and feedback about your brand and their experience with it. Your page visitors will enjoy having their voices heard, and you’ll gain better insight on your customers, which can help you improve your marketing and customer service efforts.

Remember customers

Work with your website developers to create a website that will remember customers and their preferences when they return. Simple things, such as automatically filling out forms or remembering products that the customer looked at the last time they visited, can be excellent for boosting engagement. Such conveniences will make it easier for customers to convert, while at the same time helping them feel as though the services they’re receiving from you are personalized to their specific needs.

Make recommendations

In addition to remembering customers when they return to your website, add functionality that provides solid recommendations based on past purchases, too. Consider websites such as Amazon that offer recommendations based on the buying habits of others who have bought similar products in the past. These services encourage people to dive deeper into the website, increasing their interaction and improving the odds they will convert. Similarly, make sure your calls-to-action always fit well with the topic and intended audience of the content you’re presenting.

Increasing visitor engagement on your website can help your brand take its marketing efforts to new levels for 2015. Keep the above tips in mind, and see how you start building stronger company loyalty in the new year. If you’re ready to start developing a new marketing campaign, contact us today to get started.

Nurturing Leads from Every Angle

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Nurturing Leads from Every Angle

When it comes to successfully nurturing leads from your marketing efforts, you already know you need to stay on top of email with potential clients. Email is a great way to stay in touch with customers, reach out to them periodically to see if they’re ready to buy, and even just remind them about your company. While email is undoubtedly a useful tool in the world of marketing, it isn’t the only way to successfully turn a lead into a sale. Here are a few other tools you should keep handy as you work to nurture new leads.

Understand who your customers are and where they are in their purchase journey. Then use that information appropriately.

A buyer’s journey includes all the research and decision-making steps they take as they prepare to buy a product. Some customers are just starting out. They’re looking for general information about their options and what factors they should be considering. Other buyers have narrowed down their search to just a few options and are looking to be convinced why one is superior to another. Still others are just about to make a purchase but just want to verify the product information. Understanding the buyer persona and where people are in the buying process will allow you to create targeted ads, messages, and content for customers at every step of the journey, increasing the odds they’ll make a purchase.

Make sure your website makes it easy for customers to move through the buying process.

Your website should be designed to encourage people to move through the sales funnel, exciting them about your products and making them eager to complete the transaction. Personalization is a fantastic way to accomplish this. Have your website greet people by name, especially if they’ve visited before.

Use retargeting ads

Retargeting ads can be extremely helpful for bringing customers back to your website, especially if they’ve left items in your site’s shopping cart. Customers have a tendency to visit pages while they’re doing research, but then leave the page because they’re not ready to make a purchase yet. Retargeting ads can help bring customers back to the page and remind them about your products and why they’re superior. Even better, have your page remember the customer the next time they return. Remember what items they looked at or what they seemed interested in. Customers will appreciate the extra effort and the added ease in finding what they’re looking for.

Make the most of social media

Keep an eye on social media for mentions of your company. This will alert you to customers considering your company or investigating your industry. You can then swoop in and make contact as they’re beginning their search. Social media is also a great tool for remaining in contact with potential buyers and past buyers. Like people’s status updates, retweet interesting things they have to say, and generally show interest in them. It will make them see you and your company more favorably, while also helping you remain in the forefront of their mind as they prepare to make a buying decision.

Nurturing leads is critical to persuading customers who are considering a purchase. While follow-up emails certainly play a role in bringing customers to the checkout button, they’re not the only factor. Use some of the ideas above, and begin improving conversion rates quickly.

Performing Regular ‘Checkups’ on Your Marketing Campaigns

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Performing Regular ‘Checkups’ on Your Marketing Campaigns

Well-baby checkups are one of the most important health precautions new parents can take to ensure their child is growing properly and remains in good health. At these appointments, vaccines are administered, growth charts are established, and the overall health of the child is monitored. Within the baby’s first year, new parents will bring their child in several times, with fewer appointments after that as the child ages.

Even as a child grows older, however, regular checkups remain important. Schools will require them for sports teams. Camps and similar activities want records that show the child is up-to-date on their shots. And parents don’t want to wait for something to go wrong before bringing their child to the doctor.

As a business owner, you should think of your marketing campaigns like a child. Just as a child needs regular checkups, your company’s marketing will benefit from regular ‘checkups,’ too, even if nothing is actually wrong.

Why are checkups so important?

Yearly physicals can help doctors and parents stay on top of a child’s overall health, even if everything seems to be going well. Doctors can address minor annoyances that might not seem to warrant visits themselves, while also watching for potentially unnoticed signs of problems. This kind of preventive care allows doctors to keep their patients in better health.

It works the same way with your marketing campaigns. When things are going well, it’s easy to put off running diagnostics and doing checkups. However, even if a campaign is bringing in customers, regular checkups are still important. Breaking down the campaign piece by piece and examining it can help you find potential weak spots where customers are slipping through the cracks, so you can repair those rough spots and improve your conversion rates.

Diagnostics and regular checkups can also provide a warning if something is about to go wrong. For example, if you find during your examination that most of your customers are coming through a particular channel, you can devote the time and energy necessary to make sure that channel continues running smoothly, while also investigating what might be holding up the others channels you’ve been targeting.

What should you look at?

At a child’s physical, the doctor will listen to the heart and lungs, examine the nose, throat, and ears, and perhaps administer shots. A marketing campaign checkup should also look at the bare bones of the process. This includes looking at where customers are coming from and where they are being lost. Start by breaking down the sales funnel and determining who is leaving at each stage. See if any aspects of your marketing campaigns are attracting so few customers that they’ve become a waste of money. Determine if they can be improved or if they should just be scrapped.

Research what competitors are doing and try to improve even the strongest aspects of your campaigns. Survey customers to see what they wish could be improved about the process.

Yearly physicals are important for monitoring and improving the health of all children, and regular checkups are important for your marketing campaigns, too. Regularly get out your data, sit down with the marketing team, and break down campaigns step by step. Yes, such checkups will require time, but they can help make your campaigns more efficient, improve conversion rates, and help your company grow.

Is It Possible to Succeed in an Over-Saturated Industry?

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Is It Possible to Succeed in an Over-Saturated Industry?

The Internet makes it easy to see just how many businesses are vying to compete in an increasingly competitive atmosphere. At times, it seems there’s a business or product for just about any want or need. So how do some people manage to successfully establish new companies and find their way to positions of leadership in this hyper-competitive marketplace? How is it possible to break in when it seems as though your industry is already saturated?

Determine what unique qualities you have to offer

Think back to why you got involved in your industry. Chances are there was something about this particular business that piqued your interest — some aspect about it that made you know you could succeed. Perhaps you saw some unique ability or talent in yourself that you knew others couldn’t match. Uncovering that ability and finding ways to market it are the first steps to building your niche.

As consumers, we’re increasingly aware of all the options available to us to buy products from just about any vendor anywhere. While this can make it daunting as a business owner to think about just how much competition we have online, it also makes it easier to find a specific niche to fill.

Your niche might consist of just a few thousand people around the world. Before the Internet, it would have been impossible to reach those people and have a productive business. With the Internet, however, you can now market to your specific niche and build a successful company.

Develop personal relationships online and in person

Personal relationships are more critical now than ever before. Customers expect to be able to speak with you, ask any questions they have, and receive specific answers quickly. While many companies have begun to realize this important truth, many are still lagging behind. Taking the time to develop this kind of relationship with customers can help you stand out against the competition. It can also help nurture customer loyalty, which will provide added stability as your company grows.

As you’re building relationships, make sure you’re also nurturing contacts within your community. Sponsor local groups, charities, and events. This is a great way to connect with people on a personal level and encourage them to try your company. Such connections help to build brand awareness and recognition in the community. That way, when people are ready to make a purchase, they’ll be more likely to turn to you because of your constant presence and overall standing in the community.

Use every tool at your disposal

You have a number of tools at your disposal for getting the word out about your company. When you’re competing in a tight industry, you need to take advantage of them all. As you’re designing your logo and marketing materials, use color psychology to create the best possible impression on potential customers.

You can also use the modern tools of website design to your advantage. Track your visitors and find out where they’re coming from and why they are or aren’t making purchases. The better you understand your customers’ actions, the more you can do to improve your marketing and services to reach them.

It’s not easy to find your way to success when it seems as though there’s already a business to address any problem out there. Take advantage of the above techniques, and it just might be possible to be successful in an already saturated industry. Contact us today if you’re interested in learning more about how our marketing techniques can help you get ahead.

Do You Know Why Your Customers Like You?

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Do You Know Why Your Customers Like You?

Most business leaders understand the importance of market research, particularly during the startup phase. Those interested in starting a business should research their potential customer base and determine how successful their product or idea will likely be within that particular market long before building their first prototype or contacting their first client.

Yes, we all know how vital market research is for startups, but it’s equally important for well-established businesses — even highly successful ones. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let research fall by the wayside once your company has begun seeing success. Don’t. The need for market research doesn’t go away once sales start coming in. Instead, it offers valuable insight you can use throughout your marketing campaigns to successfully grow your business.

What marketing campaigns can tell you

Marketing campaigns offer unique insights into what your customers are actually thinking. All too often, we as business owners think we understand our customers, only to realize our own assumptions have colored our perceptions. Perhaps you thought your customers valued low prices, only to discover when you shrunk your customer service staff in an effort to lower prices even more that what they had really valued was your outstanding customer service. Market research and surveys of current and potential customers will let you know exactly what your customers appreciate about your products and services and what needs to be improved.

Understanding the virtual customer is a bit more difficult, because people will stumble upon your website for a wide variety of reasons. Knowing customer wants can lead to higher conversion rates, a better social media experience, and a better reputation that spreads significantly faster than ever before. Customers who have good experiences on your website are more likely to spread the word about their experience on social media, which can be very valuable for growing customers. To get an accurate picture, monitor a variety of sources, including social media and web traffic.

Where can this help?

In marketing

When you know exactly what it is your customers already like about your products, you’ll have a better idea about what to emphasize to new customers. The traits that already appeal to existing customers are likely going to be the ones that appeal to new customers, too. This will help you build more targeted campaigns and reach your audience more efficiently.

In making business changes

When you’re looking for ways to improve, say, your customers service procedures, market research can tell you which steps in the process matter the most to customers. Customers will have opinions about each step, whether in the buying process, the return process, or the customer service process. It’s often too difficult to completely revise everything, but knowing which parts matter the most to customers can help you optimize your revision process and make customers happier faster and with fewer resources spent.

Knowing when and how to expand

If you follow the first two steps well, chances are there will come a time when you want to expand. Maybe you’ll be looking to add more products or expand into new markets or both. Regardless of your goals, market research and having an intimate knowledge of your customers will give you the insight you need to complete this important business step wisely.

As you grow your business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations and neglect market research. Understanding what makes the process so critical can help motivate each of us to stay on top of the research and find greater success. If you’re looking for help getting a research-based marketing campaign off the ground, contact us to get started.

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