Category Archives: Small Business

Small business

The B2B Marketing to Sales Flying Trapeze

This is the second post I promised Arianna Huffington @ariannahuff after we bantered back and forth during a conference in Washington D.C.

The B2B Marketing to Sales Flying Trapeze

Under the Big Top of the corporate circus the most breathtaking act is the Marketing to Sales Flying Trapeze.  First, Marketing and Sales get on their swings and begin to rock.  While Marketing is building momentum through various advertising channels, Sales builds momentum through product knowledge training.  When they get in sync, close enough, the act can begin.

As a potential customer stands on the platform, Marketing swings close enough to grab them, if only for a minute, so they can swing closer to Sales.  With planning and instinct Marketing let’s the customer go flying towards Sales…now here’s where it gets interesting.  We must consider the dynamic of human interaction.

In today’s eCommerce digital world a B2C marketer can find, attract, nurture, lead and close the customer without any human interaction.  With shopping cart abandonment we can even catch those who have fallen from the trapeze into the net and bring them back into the sales funnel.

In the B2B world Sales takes the leads and swings them onto the platform of a closed sale.  With the dynamic of human interaction the number of possibilities is endless.  A phrase, a look, an email just about anything can make the Sales funnel sticky or slick.

But, in the B2B world you want your Sales team to get to that personal human interaction as quickly as possible.  The ease and speed of the sale will be directly proportional to the amount of  informative and motivational materials Marketing can get in front of the prospect.

The Marketing to Sales Flying Trapeze is getting more sophisticated with tools like Salesforce.com, lead scoring and lead nurturing. Marketing can track and retarget, Sales can resurrect cold leads and ask for referrals from existing clients.

Circus performers on the flying trapeze don’t climb to the apex of the Big Top without first practicing.  Marketing and Sales must communicate every step of the way. I’ve always made it a point to carry potential clients throughout the process, taking on the role of the salesperson. I believe this provides greater insight into the type of tools and collateral materials the sales teams will need to overcome objections and close the sale.

To use another analogy – the Sales people are the gunslingers, Marketing supplies the horses, the saddles and the bullets.

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The 3 R’s of Marketing: Recognition + Repetition = Revenue

The 3 R’s of Marketing: Recognition + Repetition = Revenue

This is the first post I promised Arianna Huffington @ariannahuff after we bantered back and forth during a conference in Washington D.C.

Call it a Rule or a Law but it has been working since the time of the Pharaohs:
Recognition + Repetition = Revenue

Recognition – back in the days of Mad Men it was easy, buy a spot on The Ed Sullivan Show and Bonanza and you could reach just about everybody with disposable income. Now there are billions of websites, hundreds of TV channels and everyone is a broadcaster through multiple social media networks. So how do you get the Recognition?

During the @Vocus #Demand13 conference it became more and more clear that the lines between Public Relations, social media networks, journalism, blogs and customer service are blurring. You can get recognition from a great review for your great product from a trusted source on their blog or from a bad review about your poor service that goes viral because you didn’t address it on your customer service hot line in the first place – either way you get recognition. You only want positive messages of your product/service reaching the masses? Well, not everyone can buy a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl or The Oscars to get their product or service in front of the masses in a positive light.

You now have to engage in an Omni-channel “Ontegrated Marketing” approach. Ontegrated Marketing is the integration of all possible online channels with all possible offline channels. Because your potential customers are so fragmented you have to be out there where they are looking or listening when they are looking or listening – and there is no telling when or where that will be. You’ve got to do a little bit of everything all the time. Everyone in your company can be a broadcaster of your message and you can widen your reach and circle of influence.

Repetition – Shotgun to Sniper. Think of every possible channel of communication as a pellet in your shotgun shell. The more pellets and the wider the pattern increase the likelihood of a hit. Once your analytics show reaction and action to your message, begin your repetition. Studies have shown that over 80% of people will have forgotten your message after only two weeks – understandable because we are hit with thousands of messages daily.

This is why companies are trying so hard to engage evangelical customers to continue spreading their message – civilian public relations. With corporate public relations you can’t buy the kind of legitimacy and endorsement that you receive from a positive news story from a respected journalist. Rarely can you drive in a nail with one hit, multiple strikes with the media hammer will nail your message to your customers.

Revenue – ask your Board of Directors or CEO, this is what they want their Marketing Department to generate. NOTE to CEOs – if your Marketing Department does not fail every so often, they are not trying hard enough. You want your Marketing Department to try new things and fail, because, just like Zig Zigler said, “Every no gets you closer to a YES!”

Clint Hughes
‘That Marketing Guy”

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Google AdWords – PPC, SEO and Reality

Do you expect EVERYONE who comes to your site to buy something EVERYTIME they visit your site?  Of course not, that is NOT realistic.

It’s Google AdWords

not Google GuaranteedPurchaseEveryTime It’sClickedWords.  With billions of web sites out there you have to get people to come to YOUR site and get to know you.  Expect them to shop around, but they will come back to your site if you are competitively priced and give them more for their money.

Until you are the #1 organic search results for your keywords, you need to have an integrated strategy combining all your online resources.  That is what is called Ontegrated Marketing.

You WILL get a “halo effect” from an acquisition/branding PPC strategy.  People may come to you the first time from your PPC ad and then return later to purchase.  Your PPC campaign has done its job – it brought people to your site, maybe not for an immediate conversion, but you became known to the customer and they did come back and convert.

Now that you have them as a customer: Did you get their email address? Did you give them a reason for you to keep in touch with them?

You know it is cheaper to get an existing customer back for an additional purchase than it is to get someone to your site for the first time.

These principles pertain to “brick and mortar” retail outlets as well as web sites. Even in this world of instant gratification you need to build relationships.

PPC or TV or SEO or Radio or Social Media or Print or Social Media are not mutually exclusive. With your target market split between hundreds of TV channels and billions of web sites you need a multi-channel marketing strategy to reach your customers where there are.

Let’s talk.

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Social Media Marketing for ASCs (Ambulatory Surgery Centers)

Many ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) across the nation have turned to the Internet for their marketing efforts. Some use social media in an effort to draw in patients, as a high volume of cases is crucial for healthy revenue cycle management. Most ASCs do market on some level, but many may be missing out on the possibilities the Internet affords, especially social media. Social media advertising isn’t cost-intensive, and it can reach many viewers. Here are some ways to leverage a Facebook profile or a Twitter feed to draw in patients to an ASC:

Post links patients will find interesting
Many ASCs that maintain a social media presence make a point of finding and posting articles their patients are likely to find interesting. Centers that concentrate on sports medicine should post articles about that particular branch of medicine and about wellness and other sports subjects, for example. Those that work with pain management might want to curate a continuous list of good resources on how to manage pain and where it comes from. It’s often quite difficult for patients to find reliable information online about their medical conditions, so ASC social media feeds that can help them do so will be perceived as very useful to them.

Of course, it’s also a good idea to post less serious articles as well. Posts about lifestyle news or healthy recipes may be well received, as might the occasional stress-relieving picture of scenic vistas or animals. Anything patients can use or enjoy is likely to be something they’ll want to share with friends of theirs on social media, which can lead to more traffic to an ASC’s own page.

Post information about your achievements
ASCs that receive accolades, do good work in the community or both should publicize these things on their social media pages. It’s the best way to get information out to patients in the digital age, far surpassing press releases or direct mail campaigns. Patients and prospects can’t get excited about an ASC’s high quality of care or commitment to social good if they don’t know about it, after all.

If physicians at an ASC have achievements like awards, publications or their own medical blogs on the side, the social media page of an ASC is a great place to post them, with permission of course. These can help patients get a feel for who they would see at the center if they decided to schedule a procedure, and humanizing doctors can help take some of the fear and trepidation out of scheduling an operation or consultation.

All of these strategies have the potential to increase new-patient volume at an ASC. In turn, this high volume ensures a steady stream of revenue for the ASC. With the help of a revenue cycle management firm, ASC professionals don’t have to concern themselves with trying to get the best reimbursement rates or busying themselves with the business of collections. Their partner firm can handle these aspects instead, leaving ASC administrators to focus on attracting more patients and giving them an experience of the best quality possible.

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Attribution in Online Marketing

For decades marketers have argued, “What is the value of a billboard on the side of the highway?” It is very hard (if not impossible) to attribute what revenue is generated by that billboard.

Now, we argue, “What is the TRUE value of the display ad that I bought on the XYZ web site?’ Few people click on display ads, BUT they do make an impression. Historically, Google has been “a last click in” attribution model. Someone might have visted your site numerous times coming from a display ad, or organic search results, or a PPC ad, or through a link on a blog. But if you were to look at your Google Analytics the revenue would only be attributed to the last way that person came to your site and converted.

So, if they came from a PPC ad you would be able to see revenue and conversion rates – then figure out your net net revenue. BUT, if they click on four different PPC ads and then came to you from an organic search result – the analytics would show low effectiveness of your PPC campaign but good results through organic search rankings.

To complicate the process even more – several of the anti-virus programs that your customer may have on their computer will erase the cookies after 28 to 31 days. Therefore, they appear as a new customer to Google Analytics when they are in fact a returning customer.

Google is now trying to address this with an enhanced program, with a considerable price tag. Omniture also attempts to attribute the proper amount of revenue to the different points of contact throughout the decision making process.

I have found a company that has a very sophisticated process to track the traffic to your site and keep that data for long periods of time. Since this product does NOT rely on cookies to track the customer, you can see the customers decision process throughout the sales funnel.

Would you like to drive BILLIONS in revenue using just a few million in digital marketing dollars? I can prove that it can be done.

 

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SEO and precious metals

 I apologize to you, my readers, for it being so long between my posts.  I have been extremely busy since accepting the position of Sr. Vice President of Marketing for the American Precious Metals Exchange

There is a whole different strategy that is needed when you have to optimize for very competitive keywords.  What I have said in previous posts hold true.  The execution is slightly different.

You need consistency without duplication, and variety within the consistency.  I know it sounds like a puzzle, but in a highly competitive market I can’t let the competition know my secrets.

You can always get to me through my contact page.  I’ll be posting again soon.

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SEO, SEM, PPC, email conversion rates

Last week I did some research on conversion rates for SEO, SEM, PPC and email.  I dug around through the following sources: the DMA (Digital Marketing Association), Marketing Profs, Marketing Sherpa, LinkedIn Answers, Fireclick, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Lyris, Adchemy, Conversion Chronicles, Jupiter Networks, Blue Corona Interactive, Statbrain, Alexa, Quantcast, the Web Analytics Association, Microsoft’s Atlas Institute – Digital Marketing Insights, CoreMetrics and eConsultancy.
 
The general “rule of thumb” is between 2 to 8%.  This holds true for people coming to your site from various sources for various activities – whether to register (for newsletter, webinar, etc.) through to purchasing from your site.
Caveat – if you are holding a special promotion or heavily discounted sale your conversion rate should increase accordingly.
Here are a couple of charts I found: 
 
Vertical Conversion
Rate (%)
Catalog 6.1
Specialty stores 3.9
Fashion/apparel 2.2
Travel 2.1
Home and furnishing 2.0
Sport/outdoors 1.4
Electronics 1.1
All verticals 2.3
Source: Fireclick Index
View Chart Online
Fireclick issues a weekly report gathered from the data of their customers – just Google the Fireclick Index.  Good info.
 
Here is what I could find for “rule of thumb” averages for email campaigns.

User-triggered campaigns
Open rate: 27%
Avg. CTR: 9.3%
Avg. conversion rate: 2.3%

Lifecycle messaging campaigns
Open rate: 26%
Avg. CTR: 9.3%
Avg. conversion rate: 2.3

Click-stream based campaigns
Open rate: 33%
Avg. CTR: 14%
Avg. conversion rate: 3.9%

More as it develops.

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“Ontegrated Marketing” – the new buzz phrase

Ontegrated Marketing = SEO + SEM + SMM + PPC + Online Display + Mobile Marketing + Engaging the consumer.

Alright, you heard it here first.  The new “buzz” phrase is going to be “Ontegrated Marketing.”  This will mean integrating your online marketing to include a mix of organic search, pay-per-click, display ads and social media to build your brand and drive revenue.

First of all, thanks to iProspect and comScore for conducting the extensive Real Branding Implications of Digital Media – an SEM, SEO, & Online Display Advertising Study (November 2010)There is a lot of very useful information is this study.

Back in the Mad Men days your integrated marketing consisted of the prime trinity of TV, radio and print.  Today your marketing mix needs to include ALL channels – your customers are spread out everywhere. Now, consider how many pundits are saying that computers will become obsolete and everyone will be doing everything via their smart phone.  The new wild card in this deck will be Mobile Marketing.

Integrated Marketing will include Ontegrated Marketing.  You will need to integrate all your “traditional” marketing channels (TV, radio and print) together with email marketing and your digital channels (SEO, SEM/PPC, Online Display, Social Media AND Mobile Marketing).  The number and variety of online channels will continue to grow.  It’s time to accept the new world.

There’s even a formular for this new marketing buzz phrase: Ontegrated Marketing = SEO + SEM + SMM + PPC + Online Display + Mobile Marketing + Engaging the consumer.

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Why Consumer “Like” Brands on Facebook

Nearly 40% of Consumers “Like” Companies on Facebook to Publicly Display Their Brand Affiliation to Friends

As Facebook grows, we’re able to learn even more about the behaviors and preferences of its users. As Facebook continues to change, new stats surface to give us an even better idea of how consumers on Facebook prefer to interact with brands and companies. A new report released by ExactTarget and CoTweet found that discounts and “social badging” were the primary reasons consumers Like brands on Facebook.

Nearly 40% of Facebook users who become fans do so to receive discounts and promotions and 39% become fans to show their support for a brand to their friends. Just as interesting is how these stats compare to Twitter and email marketing. Only 23% of respondents said they follow brands on Twitter and about 10% say they subscribe to email notifications for the same reasons.

Here are some other interesting facts from the report:

  • 43% of the Facebook users surveyed said they Like, or are fans of, at least one brand on Facebook.
  • 34% of Facebook users say they Like brands in order to stay informed about company activities.
  • 33% say they Like brands to get updates on future products.
  • Among Facebook users who Like at least one brand, only 17% say they’re more likely to buy after Liking that brand on Facebook.

“Consumers use Facebook to interact with friends, be entertained and express themselves through their public affiliation with brands—factors that combine to create a potent viral marketing platform,” said Jeff Rohrs, principal, ExactTarget’s research and education group. “By engaging consumers on Facebook in a way that keeps them entertained, brands have an unprecedented opportunity to mobilize Fans and get introduced to their friends.”

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Social Media and Business

Gen X Driving Social Networking at Work – Not Gen Y, Citrix Online Study Finds

  • Global survey conducted by Forrester Consulting reveals a divide in how generations and nationalities in U.S., UK, France, Germany and Australia communicate and collaborate in business
  • Gen Y’s use of social and collaboration technology lags older workers
  • In-person meetings are still popular – particularly with Americans – but unsatisfactory
  • Significant rise in use of collaborative technologies, but the human touch is important

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.October 19, 2010 – A report commissioned by Citrix Online, a division of Citrix Systems, Inc., surprisingly revealed that Gen X workers – and not those in the younger Gen Y generation – make up the majority of those who use social networking for business, followed closely by Boomers aged 55 and older. According to the data, Gen Y’s use of collaborative technology also lagged others. The survey, conducted by Forrester Consulting, provides a snapshot of how the global workforce communicates as work becomes more distributed and usage of collaboration technologies increases. It reveals a highly-dispersed workforce still favoring meetings, but increasingly using tools such as social networking and video chat to communicate and collaborate.

Key Findings
The study asked information workers of all ages in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia about their business communication habits.

Gen Y does not have the monopoly on technology use and social tools during the work day. Meanwhile, the older generation is getting with the program.

  • Gen Y is least likely to share information via text message (26%, compared to 47% of those aged 55+), and least likely to use video conferencing, video chat and web conferencing tools.
  • Gen Y uses social networking the least frequently (40% of Gen Y workers who use social media for business do so daily, compared to 50% of those aged 55+).
  • Older Boomers (55+) have increased their business use of social media 79% in the past year.

The younger you are, the less you value meetings – and pay attention.

  • Gen Y is least likely to think meetings are efficient. Only 29% of Gen Y workers think meetings used to decide on a course of action are very efficient, compared to 45% of Older Boomers.
  • Gen Y is least likely to pay attention in meetings and barely half (51%) believe it’s very important to do so in meetings to decide a course of action.

Americans have more meetings – and pay more attention.

  • 90% meet in person to communicate and build relationships, more than any other nationality.
  • Of those, 51% meet daily, compared to a mere 31% of French.
  • 75% of Americans believe it’s very important to pay attention in meetings to decide on a course of action, compared to 50% of the French.

The in-person meeting is alive and well, but not necessarily effective.

  • 84% of all respondents have in-person meetings, but meetings often don’t achieve their goals.
  • Only 45% are very satisfied that planning meetings achieve the task in hand, and only 30% believe such meetings to be very efficient.
  • Across all categories of meetings for designated tasks (e.g. review of documents, plan projects or initiatives, decision on a course of action), less than half of respondents believe those meetings are very efficient.

In an era of multitasking, it’s still considered rude in a meeting.

  • 83% believe that side conversations are unacceptable during a meeting, and 77% frown on those doing other work on a computer or smartphone.

We still like to look each other in the eye.

  • Germans like to see others during meetings (75%), while Americans find it less important (55%) though they have the most in-person meetings.
  • 79% of those aged 55 and over think it’s important, compared to 65% of Gen Y.
  • Why? To read body language, say 78%.

Usage among users of collaborative technologies is rising fast.

  • 64% of those who use social networking tools in business use them more than last year. Video chat, team document-sharing sites and web conferencing also experienced significant increases in usage, with 56%, 55% and 52% respectively.

“We know from our own experience that the workforce is more dispersed and mobile than ever, and that people are increasingly turning to technology to help them collaborate with colleagues and customers many miles away. With this research, we aimed to discover exactly how business communication is changing because of new workstyles and tools,” said Bernardo de Albergaria, vice president and general manager, global marketing and ecommerce at Citrix Online.

“One thing is clear: the human touch is incredibly important: the desire to see each other and interact on a personal level is not going away any time soon. There is some tension with the findings between the way people actually work and the communication methods they think are most effective – a sign that things are in flux. Despite admitting that in-person meetings are often inefficient and don’t achieve their goals, workers still seem to like them. That’s probably because people are hard-wired to see people and read body language. This points to a real opportunity for virtual collaboration technologies, specifically video conferencing, to further complement the need for personal interaction, while reducing the inefficiencies of face-to-face meetings.”

Methodology
Forrester Consulting conducted an online survey in September 2010 of 797 information workers evenly split between the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia. Information worker is defined as anyone who uses a computer for work. Respondents were of all ages (Gen Y: 18-30; Gen X: 31-44; Younger Boomers: 45-54; Older Boomers: 55+) and from various industries.

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