Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Not Everyone Loves Networking But LinkedIn is a Gold Mine for B2B

June 25th, 2019 by Dean Troth

Not every business owner loves networking. Nor are they all on LinkedIn. However, in this blog post, I argue that LinkedIn is a gold mine of opportunities particularly for B2B.

In B2B relationships are vital. The business owner getting out into the business community and meeting people is how we bring in leads and opportunities. Some see LinkedIn not as a networking opportunity but a waste of time, full of picture-perfect professionals with hyped up qualifications and over embellished achievements, trying to fast-forward their careers, rather than serious business people. Others feel that the only time they hear from anyone on LinkedIn is when they are being sold to. However, for business owners and those in business development, LinkedIn is full of new business opportunities, more than any other platform or forum, online or off.

Although there are obviously employees using LinkedIn as a tool to advance their careers, and sales people who don’t take the time to know you or add value, we have found it to be a very useful tool for business owners in building credibility as an expert, and generating genuine conversations that lead to meaningful relationships with people who want to do business i.e. your ideal client or customer.

People are built for relationships. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Sure, business is business, but business is never impersonal. If you look at your business revenue using a pie graph, chances are that a large proportion of your business has come from clients with whom you or someone in your team has a solid trusting relationship.

Networking is nothing new. In the past, networking happened mostly through ‘word of mouth’, conferences and at ‘real world’ industry networking events. You attended these events when you could. But how comfortable were you?

LinkedIn Outreach for growing your business

If you are like me, some events were fantastic business opportunities. You had lots of positive conversations, met a load of interesting people and collected a handful of business cards. You followed up three or four for a meeting over coffee, that led to new business opportunities. But these events were rare. At other events you didn’t meet anyone. You were late or tired, so stayed back, in the corner, and spoke to the three or four people you already knew well. You got home late. There was no real benefit to you or your business in being there. And thinking back you, realise that whether you made five new contacts that led to profitable business deals or none, it was pretty close to random.

LinkedIn removes the random
With over half a billion business people on the platform, and growing rapidly particularly in the last few years, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network by far. This means that most people you would like to do business with are spending time on LinkedIn.

We have seen that LinkedIn helps business owners have meaningful conversations, with people they haven’t met yet, like never before. Instead of walking up to a complete stranger and hoping there is some way you can connect and hoping there may be mutual benefit in knowing one another, in LinkedIn you can make sure you are approaching the right people, and know how you can add value to them, up front.

Should I accept a connection request?
I’ve had business owners ask me whether they should accept invitations from people they have ‘never met’. I like to think about the answer to the question this way: “If you were at a business networking event and someone you hadn’t met before tried to strike up a conversation with you and then offered you a business card, would you ignore them and walk away or would you engage in a conversation, accept their card, and spend a little bit of time to find out who they are and what they do?”

Of course, if you approach people via LinkedIn in a way that isn’t attempting to have a real conversation, then you will likely not get very far … just like at a physical networking event.

Imagine LinkedIn as your own, ongoing private networking event

Regardless of dates or times, or busy calendars and pre-commitments, 99% of people are always available to make it to your LinkedIn event! Depending on your personality type, you can choose the size of your event: to have 125, 25, 5 or 2 people in the room at once. The biggest difference is that you get to choose who is in the room and which companies are represented. They all receive a personal invitation from you. But it doesn’t take months to organize. It only takes minutes on each. You choose the time and date that’s convenient for you to engage, and the people you contact can respond when they are free as well.

Even better, you get to choose the topic of conversation and you get to research the people you’re speaking with and take your time to develop your ‘pitch’ or ‘spiel’ before they even say ‘Hello’ or swap business cards.

All the pressure is removed. You’re totally in control.

So where to start?
We recommend you start by having a company page and that you and everyone in your business is associated with, which has a professionally written LinkedIn profile. Your profile needs to contain far more than a basic outline of your CV. You should put more effort into crafting your headline, summary piece and seeking recommendations than you would ordinarily put into your resume.

Write for Your Ideal Client Persona
Like every good website, your LinkedIn profile should not be written from your standpoint. It should be written from the perspective of your ideal client or customer. But that raises an interesting question – who precisely is your ideal client or customer? In fact, if you sell a variety of products / services, there are possibly different ideal clients for each one. In such a case, pick the most important persona and focus on that for your profile (posts can be written for the other personas – more about that in a moment).

For starters, you need to have a clear picture in mind of the attributes of this person. What industry and location are they are in? What companies do they work for? What interests and level of experience do they have? We call this a client or customer ‘persona’. It’s a word picture (and often stock photo) that describes their personality type, their external influences and needs and also their motivators and emotional state.

Personas help you to be more targeted in everything you write or produce – not just your LinkedIn profile or articles and videos you share but also on your website, your email newsletters, or even your proposals and marketing materials. The digital marketing team at Contactpoint can certainly help your company define your target personas and compelling content to address their needs.

Next you need to identify what specifically you and your company can do for the persona, that sets you apart from your competitors. This type of language will also hopefully position you as unique and a thought leader against the many other individuals and companies in your field or sector.

Prepare to Connect
Armed with a clear picture of your target market, you should identify how you can add value to the prospect, before they have engaged your services; often that will be by providing useful information. You likely will already have information assets available to share with people you contact via LinkedIn, if not, we can assist you to brainstorm ideas and prepare such content.

We recommend that you think from your ideal client’s viewpoint. How they would like to be approached? What they might need in order to understand your organisation? What would help them in their day to day role? How you could collaborate together for mutual benefit?

Think about how a conversation may transpire; offline and online won’t be that different.

Connect
Now that you are prepared, LinkedIn provides tools to make it easy to find relevant people that fit within the persona you have described.

  1. Connect with each person, including a tailored note to ensure that the conversation gets off on the right foot.
  2. Continue the conversation using the information and value you had previously prepared.
  3. Be on the ready to arrange a meeting by phone or in person to discuss how you can work together.

LinkedIn Outreach: A New Business Case Study
At Contactpoint, we’ve recently been helping a client to develop his network and grow his digital transformation business. He has deep expertise and decades of experience in digital transformation, particularly in the big data and analytics space. We started by helping him to improve his professional profile on LinkedIn, including a professional headshot, and a headline that positions him as a thought leader.

Next, we worked with our client to identify his ideal individual lead with his ideal client account and the problems they may be looking to solve. His ideal leads were senior IT executives, usually the CIO or CTO, within mid-cap companies (annual revenues of $100M to $1B) across three different sectors in Australia looking to move their data and application servers to the cloud on their road to big data analytics and the use of AI. Then we began to target and build lists to outreach to, whereby we used many of the sophisticated targeting tools available on LinkedIn Premium, to identify and then reach out to appropriate individuals.

Finally, we assisted in the creation of thought leadership papers that could be shared via LinkedIn messages or email to start to generate some high-level conversations. Like many business owners and professionals, our client started the journey feeling somewhat uncomfortable reaching out to people they had never spoken to in real life. After all, what would you talk about? How would you get them to engage?

We took the time to tease out ideas and carefully craft several statements to use in personalised outreach. Our approach is always ‘softly softly’, one-on-one, personalised and professional. We always seek to add value up-front. For this client we’ve been using the ‘research approach’, whereby each conversation contributes to a higher purpose or understanding (the last thing you want to appear is too ‘salesy’).

Regardless of where you’re starting from, Contactpoint can help you build or refine your profile. We also have the skills, experience and expertise in-house to write (or edit) articles that position you as a thought leader in your sector or field. We can assist you to reach out and connect with dozens, if not hundreds, of decision makers working for your ideal clients or customers.

Most people don’t like doing business with strangers. LinkedIn means those on your ideal client or customer list don’t have to be strangers any longer. You can start a private conversation, share people you know or things you have in common, then add value to them or help in their role. Hopefully this means you’re not strangers when you speak over the phone or meet up for coffee.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The What and Why of Inbound Marketing

June 26th, 2018 by Heather Maloney

Inbound marketing (aka ‘permission marketing’) refers to the strategy of attracting leads for your business via company-created digital content. That content addresses the needs which your products or services fulfil or problems which they solve, resulting in the right people (those trying to solve that problem or fulfil the identified desire) approaching your organization, and working their way through your material in order to self-select or qualify themselves as a potential customer.

So, inbound marketing is a strategy. You need to assess whether it is a strategy that is suitable for your particular business and marketplace.

Inbound Marketing Strategy

Why Inbound Marketing?

Because everyone hates being sold to … it’s that simple!

When was the last time you were on the end of a cold call, and you thought “oh yes, why not spend the next 15 minutes listening to this offer about why I should switch electricity companies?” And even if you have engaged in such a phone call lately – perhaps to the person from a very worthy charity, rather than the electricity provider – did you end up buying / donating or just wishing them a nice day?

If you are in sales, and you only have to talk to people who are already in the market for your products / services, your job is so much easier.

Inbound marketing the focus is on providing help or value, rather than making a sale. The sale will come as a natural result of providing value and solutions.

Inbound marketing also addresses the new buyer behaviour that we have seen evolve over the last decade; customers carrying out personal research and practically making the decision with regard to what they want to buy, before they ever talk to a vendor. Also, with the proliferation of paid TV, many more free to air channels, internet radio, and free video content, ensuring that a more traditional advertisement is seen or heard is a lot more difficult. This article provides many statistics showing how effective inbound marketing can be compared to outbound marketing.

Please note, I am not saying that traditional marketing no longer works … I heard a presentation from a career telemarketer just last week, explaining the benefits of lead generation via cold sales calls. You need to ensure that your choice of marketing strategy is right for your market and your ideal customers.

Fleshing out your Inbound Marketing Strategy

If you decide that an inbound marketing strategy is right for your organisation, then you need to:

  1. Plan the content you are going to create in order to solve your prospects questions and engage them in their journey of discovery, building trust in your organisation, and desire for your products and services.
  2. Determine which tools or platforms you will use to make your content accessible to prospects.
  3. Create the content!
  4. Disseminate the content and make it easy for people to find, and/or pay for traffic.
  5. Measure and analyse the results, improving the content over time.

Clearly implementing an inbound marketing strategy requires effort and co-ordination of a variety of activities. Utilising a team of resources will help you implement more quickly. Tools such as a content calendar will help you to plan out the creation and distribution of your content in a logical manner.

Which Tools should I use?

Inbound marketing = making your marketing material extremely accessible so that your prospects can easily find the answers to their questions or solve their problems (i.e. find your products or services), when they are actively looking. Your content must add value, and guide prospects for whom your products and services are a good fit, towards the point of purchase. Some people will be in a hurry and will purchase immediately that they find a solution, so being able to buy from any piece of your digital content is important. Other prospects will take their time, evaluate multiple options, test you out, and then finally purchase days, weeks or months down the track. For such buyers, your content needs to educate and build trust.

The following tools are useful in implementing an inbound marketing strategy:

  • Search engine optimisation (‘SEO’) – this activity is very important for ensuring that your digital content ranks above other organisations competing in the same space. Over time you want to “own the topic”, that is, be on the first page of results for every search on relevant words or phrases. SEO obviously needs content in order for search engines to point somewhere. The following types of content will deliver high ranks in the search engines the mostly quickly:
    • Blogs – either a blog on your own website, or blogs published on other popular websites, pointing back to your website.
    • Videos – most commonly distributed via YouTube, giving you access to people searching through this video search engine.
    • Reviews – usually in 3rd party platforms such as Google Reviews. However, they can also take the form of testimonials in your own website, including video reviews.
    • Website content – including online courses, guides, survey results, reports and research, white papers, diagnostic tools.
    • Press releases – often distributed via dedicated PR sites.
  • Pay-per-click advertisements (‘PPC’) – whilst this might sound like traditional outbound marketing, because you can configure your ads to only appear in response to searches for specific keywords or phrases by people located in a particular region, PPC ads can be very useful for bringing visitors to your website who are trying to solve a particular problem. PPC is very useful for bringing in immediate readers of your content while you are waiting for your organic ranks (SEO) to improve. Google Adwords and Bing are the main two platforms for PPC ads, because they are the most used tools for searching for answers to problems. PPC ads must be supported by dedicated content on your website, also called ‘landing pages’. People who click on your ad will arrive on your landing page. To get the best return on your investment in that click (you are paying per click), it is important that the content delivers on the ad, and then takes the visitor along their journey of [hopefully] deciding to buy from you.
  • Social media – people talk about topics on social media, as well as talking about their lives. Find where topics related to your products and services are being discussed, and then get involved in the conversation. Posting your own content in your social media accounts will also help people to find your content when they search for it in the social media platforms ? most social media platforms use hashtags (#) for helping people find content on a particular topic.
  • Social media advertisements – this is PPC within social media platforms. The difference is that for some of the social media platforms, you can configure your ads to only show for people who match very specific demographics.
  • Email and SMS marketing – once people have identified themselves as actively seeking to solve a problem or fulfil a desire, hopefully for your product, they may subscribe to receive future email and SMS messages from you. To inspire visitor opt-in for email / SMS there must be compelling value contained in your digital content. Often your blog content and other website content will be pushed to subscribers in a logical manner.
  • Marketing automation – tools which automatically send a choreographed series of content to subscribe to learn more about your products and services. The more sophisticated of these automation tools will start and stop the delivery of your content, based on the manner in which your prospect is interacting with your content.

One of the great advantages of digital marketing tools is that they enable you to measure the interactions of people with your content, and identify where visitors are dropping off. This can help you to improve your content and marketing process over time, and therefore increase the rate of conversion of visitors to paying customers.

As part of our digital marketing services we would be delighted to help you determine whether an inbound marketing strategy is right for your organization, define and plan your strategy, create the required content, implement, and analyse the results.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Social is now Normal Media

January 21st, 2014 by Heather Maloney

An article written by Brian Solis just over a year ago described social media being the new normal. I’ve been banging on about social media for a few years now, but in the last 6 months or so, I’ve noticed a change in Australia… people (media and the general public, young and old) now include social media in their conversations as a matter of fact, rather than as if it’s the latest cool thing, or as if to say “we’re on it too, but we don’t know how to use it”.

There are definitely areas, and segments, where social media proliferates more than others. We’re seeing it feature heavily in:

commerce – research for products and services, reviews, recommendations, complaints
promoting causes – both in the not for profit sector, and grass roots causes such as in response to tragedies
news – both personal updates about life, as well as discussion about historical events as they happen
events – promotion of events and then during events the audience / attendees engage in deeper involvement in live events, TV and radio programs using social media tools
education and innovation – information sharing and collaboration / discussion around specific topics
leisure / games – my mother who is 30+ years older than me recently relented and signed up for Facebook in order to participate in the online game, Candy Crush, with her sisters and she now shares more on Facebook than I do.

An interesting example has occurred recently in the estate where I live. The estate has a body corporate with a moderated online forum. The moderation takes days sometimes to allow posts on the forum to appear after submission… and if there’s any concern about the content of the posts (i.e. they don’t say the “right” types of things) then the posts may not make it, or be delayed for weeks. So residents have taken matters into their own hands, and setup a group on Facebook where they discuss issues. It’s of course not moderated, and therefore posts are instant and engagement is arguably deeper.

I know some of you are still sceptical about social media. No matter what your business is, you need to be thinking about where and how you can get engaged in the [not so] new place where the relevant conversation is happening. It has the added potential benefit of boosting your search engine optimisation.

We’ve recently added a relatively new Facebook feature to the Note Couture ecommerce website, which allows comments to be added by visitors alongside a product (in this case an illustration which you can add to personalise stationery) within the website. These comments will also simultaneously appear in their Facebook timeline, and are therefore not anonymous, giving them greater credibility. Of course, we’ve configured the Facebook Comments integration to include a thumbnail of the product into the Facebook timeline, which will encourage the commenter’s friends to click through and visit the website. To close the loop, Note Couture can moderate the comments that are added using this mechanism, to deal quickly with inappropriate content. You can see an example here: I love this illustration!

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Using email as part of your Inbound Marketing Strategy

August 28th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

Inbound Marketing is one of the newer marketing buzz words that I¡Çm sure you have heard about from time-time. But with the marketing landscape moving at ever increasing speeds, many business owners miss the definition of these new marketing strategies for their business.

Inbound marketing isn¡Çt complicated, however, and can be easily applied to your business.

At its essence, inbound marketing is about giving your customers the opportunity to engage with you; it is bringing them to you rather than you going to them. The term has come from the premise of ¡Èpermission marketing¡É that was made famous by marketing guru Seth Godin and ties in with the move away from telling clients what to do via fliers, print advertising and TV advertising (outbound marketing) and, instead, speaking with your customers, not at them, and allowing them to grant permission for you to market to them.

A good example of inbound marketing is rather than using the traditional marketing technique of direct mail to sell your services to unknown contacts, you develop a regular Blog on your website that discuss topics within your business services, highlighting your knowledge-base as a leader in your industry. Your Blog posts will give you more qualified leads from prospects wanting to contact you due to your expertise.

Much of inbound marketing is related to the use of Social Media, which goes beyond the platforms of Facebook and Twitter and includes such things as adding your details to online directories that allow for customer feedback, and the writing of BLOGs, articles and email marketing campaigns. Also consider e-books, videos, whitepapers and podcasts.

A quick test of your inbound marketing is to Google yourself and your business name. If you are using the technique well, then a number of links from different sites will appear in the search result, all leading back to your business website and contact details. For an example, see the image below.

Example Inbound Marketing Links from web search

How does email marketing work within your inbound marketing strategy?
Email marketing is a critical component within your business¡Ç inbound marketing strategy. As your target audience (after reading your articles, blogs and other social posts) opt in to hear more, your organisation has the opportunity to take each subscriber through a series of messages to help them solve a particular problem, or understand your organisation better. Alternatively, if the subscriber signed up to receive updates / news from you, these types of messages can provide valuable and practical examples of how your products / services can benefit the subscriber. An eNudge Email marketing message also gives you and your readers the opportunity to share your message in various platforms, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, allowing for new prospects to find you and learn about your industry knowledge.

Inbound marketing allows you to start building a customer relationship before a person has had any telephone or physical contact with you.

In addition, a good inbound marketing strategy will organically work on your Search Engine Optimisation!

To discuss how eNudge and our Message Series (systemizing a series of communications) can assist with your inbound marketing strategy, contact us via 1300 137 628 or info@eNudge.com.au.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Online Technologies to consider for your business

May 30th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

The following online technologies have broad application across many industries, to help you increase awareness of your brand, products and services, strengthen relationships with existing customers, build community around your brand, position you as a thought leader in your industry or area of expertise, increase sales, and generate more leads.

Do a mental stocktake on how many of these technologies you are successfully employing:

  1. website – there are some businesses that still don’t have a website, or have a site that presents their organisation in a poor light, so I can’t leave that off the list. Your website may have more than one objective – make sure that it’s achieving your goal/s, whether that’s to generate leads, automate distribution of valuable information, build your credibility, facilitate sales…
  2. email marketing – despite the scourge of spam, and how long this medium has been used, it’s still the greatest tool of many of our clients for generating sales and enquiry, increasing customer retention and providing better service. You should encourage visitors to your website to register for your regular emails, but also promote this through offline channels (think business cards, brochures, invoices…).
  3. SMS marketing – a well executed SMS campaign can generate an immediate response. Of course, as per email marketing, you’re going to be obeying the Australian Spam Act to the letter, so an SMS won’t be a surprise to your customers.
  4. blog – pointing your readers to your website’s blog will drive traffic to your site (where hopefully they will explore more than your blog, or read related posts and add their comments), and allow them to interact with you and others on your chosen topic. It has the added advantage of being great for your rank in the search engines, especially if you choose your topic heading well and utilise social media and SEO friendly URLs.
  5. social media – dubbed “the personalisation of business”, the astute use of social media can help your organisation connect on deeper levels with your customers, understand your customers better, build community around your brand, and establish you as a thought leader within your industry or area of expertise. And it doesn’t have to take up vast amounts of your precious time.
  6. pay per click online advertisements – for the right category, a well written online ad linking through to a strategically written landing page, can be very productive for generating sales and enquiries. Social media and the proliferation of rich information about the website visitor’s preferences and behaviours, now provides the opportunity for very targeted ads.
  7. video – a powerful medium for connecting with a wider audience. Video allows you to convey your message much more richly than text and imagery.
  8. mobile applications – the use of mobile devices to browse the web and carry out web based activites has increased exponentially over the past few years. Every B2C website should strongly consider having at least a mobile friendly version of their website. Apps provide a unique opportunity to deliver market leading tools, build loyalty, and increase customer retention.
  9. online surveys – don’t groan! These used a strategic points in the delivery of customer service, or customer enquiry, can allow you to deliver the right clients to your sales team, and gather rich information about your customer’s desires.
  10. QR codes – a smart phone readable bar code allowing you to quickly take a customer to your web page after they scan the code you’ve placed in your email, on your printed poster, on a billboard…

When employing these technologies, you should endeavour to link them together to gain cost effectiveness, richer engagement and provide a consistent message across all fronts. They should also reflect your offline marketing.

If you would like to discuss the appropriateness of any of the above technologies for your business, and exactly how it could be used for your benefit, feel free to get in touch.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Google Plus… what’s it all about?

July 6th, 2011 by Heather Maloney

I’m looking forward to trying out Google Plus when it becomes more broadly available than the current field test stage which is only open to a select few by invitation only.

You can take the tour from here: https://plus.google.com/up/start/?sw=1&type=st to learn about it.

I think that the concept of Circles really fixes a difficulty with other social sites – the ability to replicate online the different “circles of people” that you mix with in real life.

As soon as Google Plus is readily available, we’ll be exploring it to see how it can help our clients’ businesses, so stay tuned.

Here’s a great article which considers the differences between Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, and what the advent of Google Plus may mean for social media.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Subscribe to our monthly

Contactpoint Email News

Our enews is sent out approximately monthly, and contains information on latest digital technologies, and how these can be used to help your organisation grow.

To subscribe, simply fill in your details below: