Lipiec 2010


    B2B Marketing: Thought Leadership Rules All

    Top B2B marketers know that there are a couple primary objectives:  Building new business and becoming a thought leader.
    According a recent Economics Intelligence Unit study, 56% of B2B marketing execs state that “positioning our company as a thought leader is a top objective”.  1/3 of those who responded also stated that they felt thought leadership was the key to marketing their services over the next 5 years.
    So why is thought leadership becoming so popular to the point of domination in B2B Marketing?  Some cite that it’s more important to focus on lead generation and nurturing of those leads, however many take the position that thought leadership does just that.  If you’re swaying between the two, here are some things to keep in mind:
    1) In B2B marketing, you’re no longer the one that is hunting, but instead you’re being hunted.  In the past, the marketer had to go out and actively engage, or market to, CEO’s and other company reps in order to make business contacts and generate leads. A recent study by Forbes and Google actually reveals that over 60% of senior executives are clicking “search” as much as 1/2 dozen times each day while looking for business related information.  Thanks to the web, marketers are now having those leads come to them.  This puts a lot of emphasis on being a thought leader and proving authority, credibility and knowledge.
    2) There’s a marriage going on between social media and thought leadership.  B2B social media marketing is in place to build brands, and create momentum for awareness as well as loyalty and credibility – all of which strengthen lead generation efforts.  Since prospects within social media are always on the prowl for good information, this makes social media an excellent channel for thought leadership. Couple that with the fact that over 70% of B2B buyers utilize social networks for either personal or businesses communication (or both) and you have opportunity for massive lead generation over the long-term.
    If social media is becoming the dominant channel for B2B marketing, then thought leadership is dominating B2B marketing.
    3) Customers also want to know “how” among other things.  Before social media exploded as a means of disseminating information to the mass markets, public information about a company was centered on what the company did and little else.  Now, people involved with or connected to that company through networking also want to know how they’re doing it and why.  Not only that, people want to see personality and they want to know what sets each company apart.
    Companies are no longer untouchable brands, out of arms reach like a red carpet celebrity.  They are living breathing things, and people want to interact.  This is a point where a brand has to prove they are “sentient” and capable of thoughtful, engaging interaction.  Otherwise they’re just another hamster in the cage.
    Thought leadership should be the focus of every company that is engaging in B2B marketing, especially through social media.  It is through that process and marketing strategy that business will generate more leads and connect with those leads on a deeper and more meaningful level.


    Are You Hiding Your Social Networking Profiles?

    What your audience can’t see can hurt you.
    Here’s some proof – I had a recent conversation with a long time client who had been discussing social media marketing with me, and was curious how he could invest more into Twitter to gain a larger following.  We discussed a few tidbits of information and common tactics before I looked through their current marketing strategy, including the website – I was a little amazed that nothing I saw indicated that they even had a company Twitter account.
    It boils down to simplicity at this point - If you’re inadvertently hiding your social networking profiles, personal or business, then the market isn’t going to be able to locate you easily – if at all.
    With that said, you don’t need to just showcase the network profile links on your company site and hope for the best.  There are a number of places you can leverage to get more traffic, and that includes offline marketing.  Just look at the billboard Ashton Kutcher put up.  You just need to get creative with your offline marketing.  If you can put words on something, then you can put your twitter ID there as well.
    Make it visible on your website: Aim for optimal placement on your site or blog – preferably somewhere above the fold.  Upper navigation, the sidebar or as a simple signature in your posts are optimal choices because the eyes of your visitors are naturally in those places.
    Encourage sharing: There are a number of tools you can utilize to encourage sharing that point back to you and utilize your own Twitter ID.  Start with the TweetMeMe button for your content, as well as the Facebook “like” button integration.  Sharing plugins like Sociable or Sexy Bookmarks can help bring traffic back to you where you can generate new interests for your social networks.
    Bribe people: You can use additional methods to bribe users into following you by letting them know that your social network consists of VIP’s.  Those VIP’s get special info, value, discounts, special offers, limited products, pre-launch info, etc.  Give them a reason to want to follow you.
    Use directories: You can submit your Twitter identity to Twitter directories to push more eyeballs toward your social networking profile.  Utilize lists like WeFollow to get targeted followers whom are interested in what you post about.
    It takes time to gain traction using Twitter, and unless you can pull of a sweet viral trick (like the recent Old Spice Guy vids) it’ll take continual networking and engagement to get people on your side following you.
    Placing strategic links, sharing insightful content and engaging your current audience will help you to continually grow that following base – not with just warm bodies, but with targeted traffic that brings you results.


    Creating Value In Social Media – Knowing What To Do & When

    There is a vast difference between simply deciding to do something and knowing what to do.  That difference separates the winning team from the losing team.  There are simply too many people and organizations that jump on the social media wagon simply because everyone else is doing it.
    If you simply do what others are doing then you move from being a strategic thought leader to a lemming.  By coping and following the herd, you have the potential to get a bit of what everyone else is getting but you’re not likely to get anything new.
    It’s also rather simple to mimic the words of another as well as their actions but you just don’t get the deeper meaning and value of what’s being said and offered.  You can mimic everything except for what they know.
    That knowledge is reflected in how well you do that which you know and understand.
    If you do something you know nothing about, the results show poor results that reflect directly on you.  You can’t point at the people you’re following for your own mistakes.  They’re yours, you own them.
    With that said, would you continue to follow?
    Knowledge is an Art
    Call science all you like but the practical application of knowledge throughout each day begins to look less like scientific calculation and more like an art form as decisions are strategically played and plans are built.  Gaining the knowledge to make that happen takes time.  We don’t create masterpieces overnight, and rarely in youth.  We certainly don’t create a masterpiece through replication.
    At least not one that we can own.
    Progress in social media and marketing will often follow learning curves where that learning is gained from the observation and focus of what is happening as a result of current developments in and around a certain strategy or project.
    The art comes into play by understanding and knowing what to do with the information and knowledge you’ve gained from observing and learning.  Observation isn’t intended to breed replication. It’s intended to help you understand the whitherto’s and they whyfor’s.  To foster growth in your own knowledge as a marketer or a business trying to break into social media.
    In essence, knowledge and the application thereof is about creating new value for people as opposed to smearing garbage in their face.  Peddling copied content does nothing to create new value.  You’re just reheating old value.
    Eventually it loses its flavor and goes bland.
    The Social Media Melting Pot
    So many people have turned social media into a factor for replication.  They’re trying to apply old methods that no longer carry any value to a system that demands real value and it’s breaking that system.
    Social networking and the technology that we’re playing with, when used correctly, provides people with a channel for new value where they can pick up and run with the escalation of knowledge.  This new knowledge should help solve problems and create a magnetic stir around important brands.  Old, stale communication methods, outdated marketed and blatant advertising do absolutely nothing to propel the escalation of knowledge.
    A large portion of people and organizations aren’t using social media to its true potential.  Instead of pushing new value, over 70% of users are simply pushing messages that have been recycled instead of trying to create something new that can be helpful.  This isn’t just everyday users, it’s organizations as well.  If anyone wants to see results, then that requires they do something completely different. That different take or different action requires that you know what to do at any given moment as opposed to simply “doing” because someone else is doing it
    It might seem like you need to read minds and predict the future but it’s not as difficult as it might appear.  You simply need to observe and learn what people want, then apply that knowledge so that you know what to do in order to provide the solution.


    Social Media Marketing: “Why Should I Do Business With You?”

    If you want to survive in social media marketing, you have to stand out among your competitors.  In order to do that, you need make sure that you’re doing things differently.  If you want to make sure that your marketing within social media is different then you obviously need to know what they’re doing.
    There are countless businesses that are ready to tell the world about all the ways that they’re unique – how they stand out from the herd.  Low prices, excellent customer service, superior and rapid shipping, awesome staff…
    Those aren’t qualities that make you stand apart.  Those are standard expectations.  You have to deliver on those or else you sink.  Since most businesses in operation right now aren’t sunk, it’s safe to say that they’re all hitting those marks most (if not all of) the time
    There’s a question that consumers are asking about your business, especially when they start spotting you through your social media marketing efforts.
    “Why should I do business with you?”
    If you want to answer that question, you need to know your business.  Included in knowing your “business”, you know your market as well as your competition.
    If you want to better understand who you are in relation to your competition start asking these questions.  Not just about yourself but about your competition.  With a little investigative work you can get all the answers you need:

    • You may be using social media for marketing, but are you in deep?  Are you engaging people in a manner that makes you stand out in a positive light?
    • Are you marketing differently than the industry norm?  Everyone has a Facebook page and they talk to people on the wall.  What are you doing differently on Facebook?
    • Are there new leads, comments, dialogues and questions filtering down the pipe more… or less?  Why?
    • Do the prospects you meet with your social media marketing efforts have a reason to pick up the phone and contact you?  Do you give them reason to take ANY action?
    • Do you know why your existing customers like to do business with you?  It might be something unique – are you leveraging it?

    Unique is the focal word here.  That’s why businesses online strive to develop a Unique Selling Point (USP).  It’s a marker that makes them stand out within their niche.  It’s the unique spin they put on everything they’re doing.  They may very well be selling the same blue widgets that everyone else is peddling but what they have to say about their widgets has consumers salivating for them.
    Most of them don’t even know what a blue widget is but it sounds interesting enough.
    Our blue widgets have proven to actually help B2B companies sell more X without the added expense of Y.”
    That’s the kind of USP that gets people interested
    When you fail to establish any clear indicator on why the prospective customer should do business with you as opposed to the competition then the only remaining variable left for that customer to base their decision on is the price.
    It might seem like a good idea, but price competition alone does nothing but destroy value.  In the end, you lose overall because you’re not gaining loyal customers.
    If you want customers to do business with you for reasons other than the fact that you’ve distributed a lot of coupons and slashed prices, then give them a reason to do so.  If you can create the perception of real value, customers will attach to you and come knocking in droves.


    Reinforce Your Social Marketing With Patience and Consistency

    I’m a rather big fan of consistency, along with patience.  Regardless of the situation, I’ve learned that those two things can see me through to the end whether it be bitter or prosperous.  Most often it’s prosperous.  This is important for any kind of social media campaign.
    These traits cannot be bargained away or shut off when it comes time to connect with people.  If you want to represent yourself correctly, you have to greet people through them whether that’s online or offline.
    You have to be honest with yourself when it comes to your business.  You simply can’t expect to build a huge network of people in a matter of days.  If you want to have a network of targeted prospects and customers you have to invest time. You must patiently choose those people you connect with.  There is no end to this game, it’s something that will go on forever.
    Marketing online is never a short-term tactic. It requires long term effort based on strategic moves.  Essentially, it’s a chess game with an unlimited number of pieces to be taken with no chance of a check-mate.
    As that network grows over time and you connect with people interested in your business then some will become customers, others may even become friends.  You may even connect with a few people that become major players in how you do business. This should be an enjoyable process for you, something that you can look back on and relish. 
    Networking and social media marketing has significant value to you and your business, so be patient.
    The other point to hit on – consistency.  This tends to be a bit more difficult for some people and that’s entirely understandable.  To be consistent is to be boring.  The repetition, the monotony.  It’s not at all fun, and certainly not entertaining.  The whole novelty wears off after a while doesn’t it?
    Unfortunately there are things that you need to do on a regular basis.  Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly.  Yes, those tasks all seem to be draining and menial but they’re important.  If you were to stop doing your menial tasks, think of the consequences.  Garbage builds up, paperwork isn’t filed, payroll doesn’t get done, etc.  laundry?  yeah that can back up on your pretty fast.
    Building a network through social media marketing is something that takes consistency. Trying to connect with just 1 person each day is far more effective than grabbing a mass following over the course of two days then doing nothing for weeks on end.  Imagine if you added 3 people per working day over the course of a year.  Without getting into the gritty details of people leaving or joining on their own you’d potentially be networked with nearly a thousand people by the end of a year – and that’s not even factoring in other people following you because they found you and took interest.
    Don’t feel like doing anything spectacular today?  That’s fine.  You don’t have to be a superstar marketer every day, you just need to be consistand and patient.  Everything else will follow.


    Top 10 Social Media Marketing Tidbits For Small Business

    From someone who’s been involved in small business marketing for many years I can say with authority that a lot of business owners tend to work too much in their businesses and not enough on their businesses.
    Small business owners tend to get so focused on those things that keep business rolling along as usual that we never make any real time for tending to things that help us work on our business.  Either that or we’re just not able to devote the brain cells because they’re being soaked up by everything else we’re working on.
    It’s not necessary to do a million things out of the gate to help leverage your business’ online presence but it’s important to do something.  If the only thing you do within the next year is implement a better social media strategy for your small business marketing plan then your business is still going to be better off.
    Want to get started on that?  Here are 10 things to consider:
    1. Meet customers where they gather, don’t expect them to come to you.  If your target market is in a specific network or community then go there and engage them there.
    2.  Content equates to value and credibility.  If you can provide information to people so that you’re helping them make an informed decision against a purchase then you’re providing value. Not only will people return for more information but they’re more likely to make a purchase from your site when the need arises to do so.
    3. Demonstrate, with authority, that you’re an expert in your niche.  Use channels that your competitors due not to push your valuable information and expertise; video, audio, articles, blogs.  Cover deep info as well as quick tips to show your prospects that you can provide information that will make their purchases more sound and their choices a lot easier.  You can demonstrate that you can in fact deliver what you promise and your experience says so.
    4. Put on your Blog hat and participate.  This goes deeper than just posting your own blog content.  Get out into the world of blogging and start participating on the blogs of other writers.  Offer up guest posts and try to make intelligent comments that spur conversation among other.  Do it with gusto and show that you are an active participant – that you’re not just out to self-promote.
    5. Make sure you give more than one reason for people to gather around you.  It shouldn’t just be about making a sale.  Provide some excitement through a sponsored event or meetup for your prospects and customers.  Give them opportunities to orbit and interact around you.  Hosting events can bring a lot of exposure for businesses.
    6. You don’t need to be informative all the time.  If it’s appropriate to do so, have fun.  Give tidbits that provide some personality to your business and offer a little silly (even inane) back and forth with some of your prospects.  Putting personality to your business helps brand you in a positive light (just remember you don’t have to act like Dane Cook to be fun, remember your professional boundaries)
    7. Use a network of sites to leverage and combine your online and offline relationships:  Not just the social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook but also free communities and message boards like Yahoo Groups.  These can lead to meaningful conversations that help you refine how you run your business and deal with your customers on a daily basis.  The feedback can give keen insight into positive changes you can make within your business to provide better services to your target market.
    8. Be bold and strut your business.  Share photos and video of you and your staff in action.  These can be comforting to people who aren’t familiar with your skills.  Multimedia can do a lot to install trust in a company
    9. Turn your customers into evangelists for your brand.  Use people to create a buzz around who you are and what you do. Make contests that involve people wearing gear with your name on it or slapping your logo up in random places.  Travel photos with your shirt in them, etc.  Have those people post their antics to your site using photos and video so you can create a community out of people endorsing you.
    10. Lastly of course is engagement. You can’t get anywhere without it.  And I’m not talking about general engagement in your business.  I’m talking about engaging your prospects, their followers, your followers, your customers – everyone online that falls into your target market.  If you can spend 15 minutes each day engaging your following then your business will be better off at the end of each week.


    “Social” Marketing – Just Because You Can Share Doesn’t Mean You Should

    I’ve spoken before about the importance of a strong social media presence in marketing.  It’s the direction in which the web is moving, where people are immediately connected based on the social networks where they exist (and subsequently interact).  A distinction should be made here: A strong social media marketing presence is not an overbearing marketing presence.

    This is one of the most difficult truths for people to accept when it comes to their marketing efforts.  Just because we have countless ways to connect (there are well over 9,000 social networks) doesn’t mean that the audience we have wants to hear from us on an hour by hour basis.
    It’s hard for some marketers to accept that they’re not that interesting… and what they have to say isn’t top-shelf, biblical truth; though there are many who insist that their own perceived successes rocket them to the top of the pedestal as king mentor.
    This can be seen in nearly every one of the popular social networks, in particular within Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  In these environments we often see people who engage for the sake of engagement, forcing their stance not only into other conversations like a bus trying to park in a single car garage.  They’re also seen starting (or attempting to start) conversation with unending posts.  Some tout themselves as phenomenon’s, others are less bold with titles but remain confident that their experience can save YOU thousands of dollars – “so listen up.
    Putting yourself in a position where you’re trying to brand yourself as an expert, offering help to others through social media marketing, is a slipper slope.  It’s extremely easy to slip and fall into the habit of making others feel put upon, exasperated or even mildly offended when you take the position that you can teach them something and incessantly make it known to them that you can do just that. When you’re marketing in social media and you routinely tell people that you can teach them this, that and the other you’re essentially giving people the impression that you find their knowledge on the subject to be inferior.
    On the other side of the spectrum, constantly flinging posts into the social media megaverse that are nothing but gobbledegook, providing little value, is just as bad as forcing your “valuable information” on those around you.  Either way, your intention is not to provide value but instead to position yourself in a better light.  Self-gratification has it’s place, and it’s not within your network.
    You’re going to bore people. Not only that, but you’re going to brand yourself with a certain reputation that most business owners and marketers don’t necessarily aim for intentionally.  Are you really investing all this time and effort just to waste it in the long run?
    In the realm of social media marketing, there is a staggering amount of one way dialogue going on.  A lot of “talking at” people.  Social media has made it easy to connect with people while remaining disconnected.  The result is that it’s so much more easy to create post after post of stats, facts, links or useless retweets as opposed to actually having a conversation or connecting with another individual.
    Think you’re not guilty?  Have a mirror and reflect:
    Do you often update your social media accounts multiple times a day with useless “valuable” content without actually connecting with the people in your network?
    When was the last time you started a dialogue through social media where someone walked away with something of value that you didn’t force on them.
    Do you only “engage” your following when you feel like you have something valuable to promote?
    How often do you fire off mass promotional messages?  Does it outweigh the number of times you connect with people?
    Compare the number of times you start conversations within social media to the number of times you join into an existing conversation to connect with people.  Do the results show that you care more about what you want to talk about, or what they need to talk about?
    Food for thought Mr. Miyagi


    Warning Signs Of A Weak Social Media Strategy

    Putting your brand out into social media through marketing is a lot easier said than done.  There is myriad factors that you have to consider in order to create and execute a social media strategy that works.
    Unfortunately too many brands jump in without a strategy (or a poorly put together one) and the train wreck ensues.  Here are some warning signs that you’ve got your hands on a weak social media strategy.
    Lack Of A Social Networks Focus
    It’s easy to get caught up in the social media marketing hype, where companies are jumping onto the backs of multiple social networks in an effort to have the most impact.  Just because there are multiple networks though doesn’t mean you should get your hands into all of them.
    Instead of engaging numerous social networks with your marketing, where your efforts will be considerably watered down, focus on just a few where you can target those efforts and create a storm of influence and buzz.
    Lack Of Responsibility
    Once you’ve established a presence within a social network, you have a responsibility to update it and keep the information fresh so that you provide the most power behind your brand.  If you have no activity within your profiles then people viewing it will quickly lose interest and the value of being involved in that social network is lost.
    That’s the point where they move on to the competitor.
    You have to remain consistent when implementing a social media strategy.  If that means delegating the responsibility to an employee or hiring a team to handle the social media work then you do what is necessary to keep the interest and engage your following.
    Bigger Is Not Always Better
    Social media strategies require small steps to accomplish the goals within that strategy.  If your strategy consists of nothing but major steps that are long term accomplishments with no small milestones then you’ll quickly face development and engagement issues with your audience and fan base.
    Small steps, like replying to conversations often, monitoring analytics, listening and adapting to market speak are vital to the success of your social media strategy.  You need to consider how your day to day activities align with your strategy.  If they don’t, then make them.
    Lack Of Measurement
    This one scares a lot of companies right out of social media marketing, mainly because it’s not always clear how to measure the impact of social media.  The fact is, the metrics you use are no different than your other marketing strategies. You just need to identify what will be your key performance indicators so you can define the effectiveness of your social media strategy.
    Without analysis in the proper areas, you won’t have any way of knowing what did and did not work – of course with that you won’t have any clue where to make improvements either.
    A Complete Lack Of Strategy
    Granted, signing up for social networking accounts is the first step toward exposure within your market because you’re opening up the ability to start building relationships.  With that said, just because you have an account and you randomly post content doesn’t mean that you’ve got a social media strategy.  What you have is activity.
    If you’re not honest with yourself about whether or not you have a sound gameplan then your efforts mean nothing.  If you haven’t developed a social media strategy, then it’s time to get started.
    Here are some questions to ask yourself to get you started on the right path:

    • Why are you participating in social media?
    • Are you looking for exposure or leads?
    • What’s your expected ROI?
    • What are reasonable goals that you want to hit within a timeline? (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year)
    • What’s your content strategy?
    • Why are you posting content?
    • What are you going to post?
    • How will you incorporate outside media into your content

    Why You Should Gird Yourself Against Social Media Contagion

    Social media (and social media marketing) is all about relationship building which in the grander scheme of things means brand building for businesses and business owners.  Those relationships are very important to the success of any given social media marketing campaign, but they can also have other profound impacts.
    A major downside, as illustrated by John Cacioppo (A professor at the University of Chicago), states that people are potentially subject to the effects of social/emotional contagion.  His studies show that loneliness, like many other emotions, can be transmitted via social networks.
    The findings of the study suggest that is you have a direct connection who is feeling lonely, then you’re 52% more likely to feel the same way.  If the connection is a friend of a friend, then you’re 25% more likely.  If there are 3 degrees of separation then it’s down to 15%.
    Imagine the implication this can have within your own social media marketing.  If an individual within your network (such as a fan) is angry, hostile, lonely or emotional in any way that gets vented on you then you’re far more likely to transmit the mood yourself.  Even as a business owner, the “off” behavior of someone within your social media network can influence you.
    As you build your brand up and grow your connection, involving various contacts in your communication and updates it’s going to be crucial that you monitor your own reactions to those individuals.  This includes how their comments sit with you.
    No doubt we’ve all been witness to people who lack any form of courtesy within social media, asserting their opinions and positions on others in ways that we all know wouldn’t fly (or likely even occur) of those people met in offline world.
    I’ve personally noted people interacting in cruel and often critical ways that I find staggering, and it’s important to consider that this will occur within your social media marketing campaign and the networks you’re involved in.  Mainly because any negativity always has the possibility to become magnified and spread to others.
    That’s how heated discussions begin.
    This is important from a business stand point for a number of reasons – especially to business owners.
    First, if you happen to become rude, cruel, negative or critical you will most certainly cause damage to brand and rapidly change the way people look at you.  This kind of thing can affect not only how your business is perceived but also impacts who will want to work with you.  Ultimately, your bottom line takes a hit.
    Second, since private conversations online tend to rarely be private, anything you can having a lasting negative impact.  Even something said via e-mail, because you never know what other people will share.  What started out as something like a simple, thoughtless remark can quickly spread online to your detriment.  In social media marketing, viral activity goes both ways.
    Don’t let this scare you away from social media marketing and networking with the right people, you just need to be mindful of the influence other people can have on you, your mindset and your brand.


    Rethink Your Social Media Policy: Get Employees Involved

    Those companies that have begun dipping their hands into the social media watering hole are being greedy.   They’re not letting anyone else in on the pleasure of what social media is all about.  They should be treating it like a Democracy – that’s what the internet is all about anyway.  Instead of leaning heavily on one position or small group of people, companies should be mining their entire pool of employees both for promotion and for content.
    Why close employees off to social media?
    Instead, empower them and educate them so that they can do it right.
    While there are certain to be a number of employees within your workforce that will respond with disinterest or something along the lines of “I don’t know what to write about”, there will likely be plenty who are happy to share their voice and their ideas to contribute to the company.
    If you press the quiet ones who have nothing to write and help them dig into themselves, you (and they) will discover that do in fact have a voice and an opinion that can contribute quite a bit.
    Everyone Has A Voice In Your Company
    The fact is, everyone has ideas and information, especially the people who aren’t “experts” in a specific field.  Why?  Because rarely are the experts the ones that are in the trenches doing the work every day.  If you want to know what’s going on within the frontlines of a war, in grim detail, you don’t go talk to the general – you go to the trenches and you talk to the soldiers that are dodging bullets.  Non-experts, the work-horses, are valuable sources of content within your organization.
    They may not consider themselves to be top-shelf writers, but they also don’t spend their time specifically touting their expertise.  They simply exist within your organization, and they tend to know a lot about the work they do for you.  After all, that’s why they work for you.  They’re in a unique position because not only do they understand the position of the organization, they’re about as close as you can get to an “street consumer” without leaving your company.
    Their minds tend to work on the level of the consumer as opposed to functioning on the business level because their heads aren’t in the numbers all day.  They have a good chance of bringing up ideas and content that will more readily connect with the average buyer or consumer within your market.
    They might not be very good at writing – heck they might be terrible writers – but enlisting your workforce in content creation will help them find topics that they know a lot about that relate to your company.  You can flesh out these concepts and start adding them to your content or editorial calendar
    Get A Sharpener
    If you don’t have a single person with a lick of writing talent, then hire someone who can shape the content into something that is real, valuable and digestible.  That individual can also help build employees up so that they’re better at creating, writing and building content on their own to become brand ambassadors.
    Above all else, don’t stop with content production.  Don’t make the mistakes of other companies by fencing in your employees.  Let them blog, let them interact within social media, let them spread the message across their networks.  The stronger the voice of your employees, the farther your brand will reach.


    Are You Crippling Your Drip Campaign?

    The drip campaign is a great way to ease new leads into your sales process and educate them in a consistent manner – all through an automated process.  This is a great supplement to any sales team you might currently have because those automated emails can help replace the typical Q&A period that tie up sales people.
    Keep in mind that a campaign like this won’t replace your sales people but instead supplement them and make their job more targeted.  Instead of having to respond to every lead, the sales people can respond to every lead that responds favorably to the campaign.
    This increases the conversion rate overall, and productivity increases dramatically.  Like any marketing campaign however there are some things to consider that may go wrong.
    You drip too fast
    Many marketers have a tendency to overestimate how many emails people can put up with in their inbox.  While some campaigns can get away with quick emails every couple days (or even every day) it’s best to limit emails to once a week at most.  This reduces the potential for others to get annoyed by the influx of emails and also reduces the amount of content you have to put together.
    The last thing you want is unsubscribes or spam submissions.
    You’re overly promotional
    Marketers suffer from this in almost every medium, especially social media.  It’s just as easy to fall into this.  Getting too many emails selling “junk” is one of the main reasons that people unsubscribe.  You should be aiming for value in every message you’re sending – try to get at least 3 educational messages for every 1 promotional email you send.
    You’re Double Dipping
    It usually happens by accident, but sometimes marketers lose track and add people to the same campaign more than once.  The result is a double torrent of email marketing to that inbox.  Modern email marketing services like Aweber require that people signup and confirm so depending on your service you may not have to worry about this.
    You’re not monitoring activity
    In order to get the best leads to the sales funnel you have to monitor which lead is doing what and to what extent.  If you’re not keeping track of opens, link clicks, page visits or form submissions then you’ll have no idea how to tailor your campaign to improve lead clicks or which leads your team should go after.
    You forgot to plan ahead
    Really far ahead.  Some people will be ready for a purchase well before the end of your drop campaign and marketing ends.  Others will run through the whole course of content and still need a little more to convince them.  You should have something in place to deal with those few partially interested prospects to keep them engaged and educated until they’re ready to convert.