How to get started and drive growth leveraging Digital Marketing

How to get started and drive growth leveraging Digital Marketing

How to get started and drive growth leveraging Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a trending topic right now and so it is quite obvious that across all physical and digital conversations, the topic comes up quite often. If you are talking to business owners or CEO’s, they are gung-ho and are keen to use digital marketing to drive their business growth, but most of them are not sure what steps they need to take. They just end up engaging with some amateurs/firms in digital marketing, who burn their dollars and end up giving a very bad feeling. With this post, I intend to talk about the constituents of digital marketing, how you need to plan the mix for your business and what you need to put in place in terms of metrics, so that you know whether you are making progress in the right direction and at what velocity.

Before we get to digital marketing, let me briefly touch upon the topic marketing, as it has been around for several years. A simple definition – Marketing is everything that you do for your brand, products/services so that a sale can be facilitated and you can earn revenues. This typically includes the simplification of your products and services, brand communication about what you stand for and values that you deliver, awareness initiatives to make sure that your products/services are in front of your target audience at all times and specific lead generation/ promotion initiatives to ensure that you are able to engage meaningfully with people who want to do engage with you. The rest of the cycles are typically managed by sales like proposals, negotiations and closure.

If I were to take a gist of the above section, then marketing is about effectively reaching out to your target audience (at optimum budgets) and creating a positive influence enough to create an intent to buy/engage with you for your products/services. Now let us add digital to this mix to get to digital marketing. If we effectively reach out leveraging digital mechanisms, then we are using digital marketing. This could mean a mix of website, SEO, SEM, Social media, Email marketing campaigns etc. Sounds very simple, then where is the complexity?

Everything depends on what you are trying to sell and to whom? Depending on what you are trying to sell, your objective from digital marketing mechanisms will vary. So if you are selling capital equipment or large projects, then your objective from digital marketing mechanism might be just to create excitement and set up an appointment for your sales person. If you are selling hotel rooms, mobile phones, etc, you might want to go the entire distance and achieve the sale, right from your digital marketing efforts. Makes sense?

At Xenia, we have been pre-dominantly in the B2B space, so I will talk a bit more about our B2B experiences. Here are several things that you need to have in place and things that you need to consider before you put together a full-fledged digital marketing strategy for your business.

  • Simplification of your offer

As a business owner/CEO, you are the organization’s best salesperson, but can you be in front of all your customers to convince them to buy your product? Probably not and as you scale, you will employ a dedicated sales team to do this job for you. In that case, it is essential that key elements of your product/service are really simplified and are available in multiple digital and physical forms, which can be used by the sales people during the sales process. These can include digital assets like presentations, videos, flyers, brochures, e-books etc. which can be also deployed across digital marketing mechanisms

  • Defining your relevant target audience sharply

Focus is the name of the game. If you keep your target market definition very sketchy, then your efforts are going to be all over the place and efforts will take place in multiple directions, leading to frustrations. If you have a clear definition of your target market, then a variety of initiatives can be planned to start reaching them across social/emails other digital marketing mechanisms regularly.

  • Defining your digital marketing channels

It is a misnomer that digital marketing does not cost you money. It does, for sure, but the quantum is substantially lesser than traditional marketing mechanisms like media/TV ads and trade show sponsorships. Once you have defined your target audience to a level of detail, the next level of analysis that you need to focus on is how can you reach them. What mediums will be the best. Would that be across social media mechanisms like Twitter, LinkedIn or third party posts or should that be facilitated through a regional AdWordss campaign run on Google or a specific reach out campaign leveraging FB, LinkedIn & Twitter ads. There is no ‘one’ strategy that fits all. This strategy needs to be customized based on what you are selling and to whom you are trying to sell to. At Xenia, this is usually the first part of our engagement with clients, where we help them define these elements upfront.

  • Get your metrics in place

Any reach-out needs to be consistent, whether you are doing social promotions, email marketing campaigns or anything else. You will never get success out of just one reach-out. The entire strategy needs to be put in place. Also the performance metrics should be defined ahead of the campaign, so that you can track to it and gauge how successful your initiatives have been. If you cannot point to hard metrics like a qualified lead handover to sales, then focus on softer metrics, but be sure to have these metrics in place

  • Listen, Adapt, Improvise

You seldom get things right the first time. Your strategies are based on what you think will sell to your target audience. If you are not getting the desired results, spend time and effort and improvise. More you can get closer to your target audience and factor in both primary and secondary research, you will be able to pin-point themes that you can use across your content and campaigns that will appeal to your target audience.

Twist n Turn is the name of the game and I am not talking about your steps in a disco. The more you are able to listen, adapt and improvise, the better will be your results. Go ahead and put your best foot forward, track your metrics and see your digital marketing strategy drive results for you.

Of course, we are just a call away, in case you would like us to help you with crafting and managing your digital marketing strategy.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa | @xeniaconsulting

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8 Tips that you can implement to start leveraging LinkedIn for your business

As you network with people, it is common for you to hear about how LinkedIn is fast replacing the business cards holders that people used to maintain. LinkedIn is used extensively by businesses to effectively reach their target audiences and start creating a positive impression about their products and services. It is used both as a thought leadership medium as well as a channel to reach people directly, soliciting for business. How exactly do you put together a strategy for your business for LinkedIn? That may be one thing, that’s been on your mind for long, but have not been able to answer. Here are some tips, based on some of the engagements that we are currently doing, managing LinkedIn profiles for our clients and really propelling awareness metrics for their products/services.

Tips to start leveraging LinkedIn for your business

Tips to start leveraging LinkedIn for your business

1) Complete your profile

Make sure that you have a completed profile. Your profile should talk to your potential customers and help build confidence. Make sure that you use the right keywords and highlight the right experience through your profile. A professional headshot goes a long way in making your prospects comfortable about who you are. Have a good headline, which talks about your unique skills and capabilities.  Your profile should also have a clear CTA (Call to Action) letting visitors what to expect and why they should contact you.

2) Expand network, but don’t spam

Expand your network by connecting with people who you know or have references into. If you have too many requests that go unaccepted, then it is quite likely that LinkedIn may block you from sending any further requests. Moving to a paid account does not solve this problem. Remember social networking is like a cocktail reception party. It provides great networking opportunity, but you still need a warm connect. If you accost people, they may not appreciate it

3) Join LinkedIn groups and contribute

Join relevant LinkedIn group, which have a congregation of your intended target audience. Contribute in these groups. With just a few responses, you can quickly become a trending contributor on the group and can build good friends. Once you are able to establish this credibility, you can slowly start sneaking in your content as well and people will not object. As a member of a group, you can send upto 15 free messages to members within the group.

4) Be genuine

When you are participating in a discussion or responding to a post, be genuine. Just posting for posting sake will mean that you are not generating enough value for your prospects. Knowledge and experience are on your side and what you have is unique. By participating in posts or responding to posts, you are not essentially giving any of your knowledge, but only helping to generate more curiosity and demand for your business

5) Be consistent on LinkedIn

Decide how much time per day/per week you can spend on LinkedIn and be consistent with your decision. Being on and off on LinkedIn may not help you create a consistent presence that you are trying to build. If you are generating content on a regular basis, make sure that you are able to promote that content with text or image posts multiple times, so that you can engage with your potential prospects effectively. Here is where Xenia can help as well.

6) Accept connection requests

As you send connection requests, so will others send requests to you. Make sure that you accept these requests. If there are several connection requests that you have made, which have not been accepted over a period of time, withdraw these requests so that you have opportunity to send more requests over time. This is called as ongoing account maintenance and must be done.

7) Effectively leverage LinkedIn Pulse

Pulse is LinkedIn’s own blogging platform. Leverage it to post content. While posting, make sure that you complete the keyword tags and also post an interesting image for the header. You can promote the blog via social share buttons on LinkedIn. If you are a premium account user, you will also come to know how visitors are interacting with your post and can potentially provide you meaningful leads. Every pulse post can be promoted across groups to spark off discussions or posted on your Share across LinkedIn, Twitter to keep the interest alive. Your posted content can also be converted to white paper like documents on your company template to keep the engagement active and generate more business leads.

8 ) Move from online to offline

As you nurture some of your relationships using LinkedIn, make sure that you start moving these relationships offline as well. Move into emails/calls so that you are able to build that relationships and potential business with your prospects.

We hope this checklist will be useful for you as you plan your LinkedIn strategy. If you need help we are just a call away. Do take a look at what we offer in terms of Social media marketing and some examples of how we have delivered results to customers.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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A 10-point marketing campaign checklist to ensure success.

Way too often, marketers, under pressure from their seniors, CEOs launch into campaigns even when they do not have all elements of the campaign figured out. The result most often is sub optimal results. It is always helpful to start with a written plan, that communicates the various pieces of the campaign and clearly sets expectations.

A 10-point marketing campaign

10-point marketing campaign checklist to ensure success

Here is a checklist that will help you put this campaign plan together.

1) What is the premise/hypothesis for the campaign?

Why do you think the campaign will succeed? Is it because of a market situation or a because of a seasonal phenomenon that you are aware of. When you have your ears to the ground in terms of content research, you will know the trending topics in the industry, which you can capitalize on to create campaign ideas (& also content ideas). Your content research can span across media, competitors, events as well as editorial calendars of leading publications. The more trending the topic (the more real the pain), the more likely will be your campaign success.

2) Set campaign goals

What are you expecting the campaign to accomplish, can you talk of measurable results from your campaign that you foresee. It is best to be as specific as possible. Your end goals may be business leads and revenues, but also think in terms of measurable intermediate goals like clicks, calls, contacts, registrations, referrals, etc.

3) Define your TG (Target Group), including segment definition

Who are your targeting your campaign to. Is it a specific market segment, is it to specific job titles, is it to specific regions? Be clear about these definitions and create a dashboard of what these segments mean in terms of numbers. You might need to create different offers/promotions to different segments and may need to tweak your messaging.

4) Define the offer

Come up with a compelling offer, that will WOW your target audience. This could be a free evaluation, free test orders, special initial pricing, price lock, discount offers, or any number of things. The greater the appeal it has for potential customers, the greater the response will be.

5) What are the components of the campaign?

What channels will you use for the campaign and what will be its components. Will you need an email campaign tool, integration of data with some systems, a landing page? Will you be planning some content pieces as a part of the campaign? Where will you be hosting these content pieces, on a blog, on LinkedIn or as assets on your website. Having created content, how will you promote your content and what will be the destination landing page across these assets and what will be the objective of this landing page.

6) Define the stakeholders involved and what you need them to know

As you launch into specific offers, you might need support from your finance team for pricing offers. Your operations team may need to ramp up to support additional volumes coming in as a part of the promotion. Your technology will need to be robust to support the additional volumes expected. Your customer service may need to be equipped with the FAQ related to the promotion etc.. Think through several of these pieces

7) Determine your budget

Define your budgets for the campaign. Are you providing mementos, gifts, lucky dips as a part of the campaign? Are you planning advertising, advertorials? Define the high level cost items and include them in your campaign budget for approval, right up front.

8 ) Craft your key messages

It is necessary to focus on the benefits of your product or service, when you write about it. Features are what makes benefits possible. Customer never buy features, they buy benefits. As you craft your message, focus on the benefits that you are able to drive or your target audience. Also make sure that your messages have emotional appeal, as that is what drives most of the purchasing decisions.

9) Defining automation and nurture workflows

If you are using marketing automation tools, make sure that you have defined your campaign workflow and scenarios well. Based on transactions that your TG is doing on the reach-outs, you can trigger automated workflows, which could include specific nurture oriented messages.

10) Analytics and reporting metrics

Decide on the analytics and reporting metrics for the campaign. Make sure that you can capture these metrics easily and can report frequently. Reporting these will ensure that you can track early signals from the campaign and can factor in corrective steps, as needed to ensure campaign success.

We hope this checklist will be useful for you as you plan your integrated campaigns. If you need help we are just a call away. Do take a look at what we offer in terms of campaigns and some examples of how we have delivered results to customers.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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6 Steps to planning the perfect Email Campaign

People will tell you that email campaigns will give you a 10-15% open rate and a 2-5% click rate. This is considered to be good by most standards. While this looks closer to the industry standard, did you ever realise that 85-90% of people that you are trying to reach are not even opening your email? That is pretty bad, considering all the effort marketing is putting in to plan promotions, offers and putting together the email marketing program.

Email marketing

6 Steps to planning the perfect Email Campaign

What if I were to tell you, that with some simple and practical corrective steps, you can achieve upwards of 75-80% opens and as a significant rise in your number of clicks and responses? You would not believe if, of course. But this is what we have been achieving for some of our recent campaigns. What then is the secret sauce?

Is it the offer, is it the timing, is it the subject lines or is it the message itself? Well it is a combination of all of that & more

1) Get your subjectline right

The subject line is the only thing that a reader sees apart from the name of the sender. The moment the sender is unknown to the reader; the chances of the email being read reduce significantly. If the subject creates value for the reader, then you might still have a chance of the email being read. Create intrigue with your subject line, but don’t spam with words like FREE, offer, promotion etc. Keep it very topical and talk about the value to the customer upfront. Relate to the challenges the customer is facing right now. If you would like to know how this works for you, feel free to get in touch and we will guide you how this can apply to your business. Download our marketing campaigns capabilities.

2) The message – Establish a reference

The first 2 lines in your message – It is important to establish reference and some credibility. If you do not have a reference point and this is a cold email, relate to challenges that the reader can relate to. Try smartly to see if you can include an event related reference (Most of the people do not remember all the people they met at an event). This section plays an important part in the email. It opens up the reader to a listening mode.

3) The messaging core – Bring in proof points

You may be delivering great value as a product/solution, but bring in elements of how the reader’s industry peers are benefiting from the product/solution. Bring in a bit of competitive fear. Relating to the industry and to some names will bring in the ‘inner circle’ feeling among your readers. You will start getting accepted as a player who knows what is happening in the industry and therefore able to help the reader better.

4) Define a clear expected action

If you are talking about the offer, be sure to take him to your landing page. If you want him to send you an email/phone, make sure that you bring those elements into the email. Keep the section short, yet crisp. You may want to tell a lot more details about the offer, but keep that agenda for the landing page. In the email keep an objective of getting the reader to the landing page.

5) Have a clear and documented follow-up plan

A single email seldom gets you result. Get into a conversational mode in your emails. Talk about the email that you send earlier and follow-up with the reader at a reasonable frequency. Based on the transactions people have done in the previous mail, plan follow-up emails that take into factor that intelligence. Finally, this is a conversation and if you take up topics where you left before, the conversation is bound to be a fruitful one.

6) The timing for the emails

What are best times to send emails – not Monday morning and Friday evening for sure. Mid-mornings are usually good, so you are sure that bulk of the overnight email volumes have been cleared. Sometimes if may be a good strategy to engage on weekends as well. Your email does not get lost in volumes of emails. Using EDM tools, you can also schedule your emails for different regions at different times. Analyse your results to find out when you have got some of the best response rates. What works for everyone may not work for you. It is for you to try this out yourself. Of course, if you need help, we are just a call away.

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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5 simple steps to get LinkedIn working for your business growth.

Leveraging LinkedIn for business growth needs to be an important part of your business strategy. While a lot of entrepreneurs create a profile, connect with people and are able to build a network, they don’t do much beyond. What’s the point of having a network that cannot help you in your business growth?

5 simple steps to get LinkedIn working for your business growth

5 simple steps to get LinkedIn working for your business growth

Take a look at some mindboggling statistics from LinkedIn and you will almost immediately realize the importance. The statistics are a bit dated, but interesting nevertheless. LinkedIn has 332 million members, 2 new users join every second, 42 million unique mobile visitors per month,107 million users are in the USA alone, Average time a user spends on LinkedIn is 17 minutes per month, 25 million LinkedIn profiles are viewed every day, one in three professionals on the planet are on LinkedIn, you can increase your LinkedIn views by 11 times by including a photo

What are some practical things you can do leveraging LinkedIn for your business?

1) Complete your profile with keyword tagging

As you sign up for LinkedIn, one of the first things you do is to start filling in your profile. Nowadays, LinkedIn profiles are almost resembling CV’s and can also be used by potential recruiters to consider hiring you.

While you build your profile, make sure that you highlight the keywords in each section. The headlines are meant to catch attention, so make sure that they are done with the target reader in mind. As you complete your education details and past employment details, make sure that you are able to link to respective universities and companies that you have been a part of. That way, you can start building your connections using your past colleagues or your university batchmates.

2) Create a LinkedIn company page

Company pages are your brand identity on LinkedIn and should represent information about your company at a high level. Below are some of the common objectives that company pages can help you achieve as well as some key metrics to track.

Common Objectives:

  • Brand awareness
  • Thought leadership
  • Lead generation
  • Event registration

Key Metrics:

  • Page Followers
  • Post Clicks
  • Engagement
  • Comments
  • Inquiries
  • Leads

Action items to make your Company Page successful:

  • Create a plan that enables you to post at least 3-4 times every week and then slowly graduate to multiple posts per day
  • Dedicate resources to engage with and respond to followers’ comments
  • Change header image every few months

3) Create LinkedIn pulse posts

Over 1 million members are publishing more than 130k posts a week on LinkedIn. Interestingly, approximately 45% of readers are in upper ranks of their industries, managers, VPs, CEOs.

LinkedIn is a great place to publish original content that aligns with your network on the platform. If you create content elsewhere on the web, you can also repurpose that content (and link to the original content) through LinkedIn to expose your community to more of the content that you’re creating.

Common

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• Thought Leadership

Key Metrics:

• Post views and profile views

• Demographics of your readers

• Likes, comments and shares

Action items for publishing:

  • Create content that matches what you feel passionate about and what your target customers would be looking for
  • Recommend bi weekly or monthly publishin

4) Share relevant posts on LinkedIn

Once you are up and running on LinkedIn, it does not make sense to be a silent spectator. Think about the people that you have among your connections. What will they be interested to read? Share relevant posts. As long as you are not sharing direct competitor posts, any good read will be helpful for your contacts.  Engage with people actively, comment on posts, participate in groups.

5) Participate in LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn allows you to join 50 groups. Find out the groups that are relevant for your business and join them. You can also participate in discussions happening in groups and showcase your thought leadership.

As you can see, there is no shortage of opportunities for publishing and amplifying content on LinkedIn. However, it takes time and effort to begin building your content credibility on LinkedIn. If you want to get started but need the help of content marketing experts, contact Xenia Consulting for more information.

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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7 must-have collateral items for every small business.

To remain competitive, you need to provide information about your company and your products/services to employees, investors, existing and potential clients on an ongoing basis. Your company’s success depends on how well you communicate what you have to offer. What’s Your Story?

7 must-have collateral items for every small business

7 must-have collateral items for every small business

This, in turn, may depend on how well you prepare collateral items (brochures, newsletters, fact sheets, press releases, and other electronic and printed promotional materials), ranging from company and product fact sheets to biographies of key team members. With diminishing attention spans, these documents should not only be brief and to the point, but should also leverage graphics to communicate more effectively.

Every business should always have the following seven items on hand, ready to distribute

1. Company Fact Sheet

Potential investors, employees, analysts, and members of the media should be able to learn important facts about your business with a quick look at your fact sheet. A company fact sheet should include the following information:

– The date the company was founded

– Location of headquarters and any affiliate offices. This can include

images.

– Names and brief backgrounds of founders and senior-level management. These can also include photographs.

Contact information

2. Product or Service Fact Sheets

Keep a fact sheet on file for each of your products or services. A product or service fact sheet should include the following:

– The product or service’s function or value

– Distinctive features that set your product or service apart from the competition

– Clear articulation appealing to the relevant target segment about the promise of the product/service

– Comparison to similar products or services on the market

– A statement about quality and reliability

– Cost comparisons

3. Vision & Mission Statement

A vision & mission statement serves multiple purposes: It can motivate you and your employees, provide direction and focus as you make decisions, and give new hires a sense of the purpose of the company. It can also provide a confident and clear statement to potential investors, lenders, and members of the media.

4. Company Background

Whereas the company fact sheet is essentially just that — a list of facts — this document is written in paragraph form and should include more detail. In a sense, it is the history of the company and can be told chronologically or not, as long as you convey a real sense of the company and its worth.

Images are helpful — a picture of your headquarters, your best product, your top people, or team shots — will help people get a better sense of who you are.

5. Client List

Prominently display a current list of your clients, partners, and (if appropriate) vendors. This information will be of interest to employees, investors, existing and potential clients, and media, as well as the general public. Your willingness to display this information builds trust, shows confidence, and establishes you as a serious player in your field.

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6. Press Kit

When you open your business or launch a new product, send out a press kit. Press kits are easily released online as well as by mail and are a handy way to pitch your business at a trade show. Your kit should include the following elements:

– Your company’s logo featured prominently

– A personalized letter pitching your company, product, or service

– A press release

– Company fact sheet

– Product fact sheet

Articles written about your company

– Your business card

– Company background

7. Clip File

Assign someone in your office the important job of collecting and maintaining any articles written about your company, employees, events, and so on. There are companies that provide clipping services; you can also set up Google Alerts to make you aware whenever a certain name or term is mentioned online.

Note:

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If you are thinking about mounting a PR blitz, consider hiring a firm to track where press kits are sent, make sure they are received, and then monitor the press for mentions of your firm.

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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Content Marketing to drive market leadership and expand segments

Whether it is software products business, IT/ITeS services business, consumer goods, automobiles, housing, banking or utilities, each industry has its own version of marketing strategies. One of the commonalities across these industries is the increasing usage of content marketing and the level of engagement that they have with their potential and existing customers leveraging digital marketing mechanisms.

Content Marketing to drive market leadership and expand segments

Content Marketing to drive market leadership and expand segments

Clearly there is a reason why content dominates the world of marketing: It allows businesses to leverage their knowledge, exhibit their thought leadership and clearly stand out from their competition. Besides being cost effective, content marketing provides value that quickly builds relationships with both prospects and customers.

It also creates brand loyalty, establishes a business as a trusted industry resource, and helps customers educate themselves to make informed buying decisions. If you can think through the buying cycle of the potential buyer and provide him with useful resources/guides that can make his journey more comfortable.

Content marketing also helps you rebrand your business as it evolves. Consistently delivering fresh content helps your brand keep up with changing leadership, shifting business strategies, mergers and acquisitions, and added products.

Although content marketing is crucial for any business to stay competitive, it certainly isn’t easy. Effective content marketing requires creativity and a well-designed content strategy. A good content marketing strategy helps ensure that all pieces of content are in line with the business model, while making sure content is planned with profitable results in mind.

Whether you’re rebranding your business, or you just want your content marketing to outshine the competition, help is available.

Two recent examples

  1. 1. Software product suite for managing payroll

I recently met with a co-founder of a business into providing a software product suite for managing payroll. The solution has been well received and provides most of the functionality that any business would look for, from a payroll solution. They have already won over several brands and their target is to start reaching out to the blue-chip companies and start winning them over.

Clearly a sales chase into blue chip accounts is going to be very sequential and will involve a serious sales effort and that too from sales guys who are well accomplished. (not the typical junior sales hunters). Knowing that sales budgets are always limited and most of these chases will also require significant travel, what could be other options that the company can lean on.

Surely they can lean on content marketing, but what can they do that will help position them as a market leader and will help them generate a buzz among their target market.

They can invest in creating a content hub that talks about the common challenges of Finance & HR heads. The content topics used can be the most relevant and trending topics that people care about. The participants can be the very people that they want to build rapport and relationships with. The audience can be the whole wide world.

What you are talking about on the content hub is not self-promotional content, but you are talking about industry pain areas and providing a perspective, from the experts themselves….and of course once in a while, you can always pitch in with what your product is able to achieve and what the company’s vision is, and how that links very well to solving common industry challenges.

Doing this consistently will make sure that they win friends at the targeted prospect they want to convert to customers and will also reach out to a lot more people, who will build affinity with the brand and can start acting as your referral ambassadors, besides of course buying it for themselves.

Of course, I am not able to share too much details, for confidentiality reasons…

  1. 2. Company in manufacturing of RFID devices

I recently met the founder of a business into manufacture of RFID devices and solutions related to RFID. While they are doing business in some of the sectors like time and attendance tracking, access cards, tracking goods movement, safety applications etc. the opportunities are just tremendous. There are so many industry sectors to which RFID based solutions can make a lot of sense. How should the company plan to expand into existing segments and also venture into newer segments.

Do I hear you saying – Invest in more Sales? – Very expensive and very difficult. You know my answer and certainly content marketing can add a lot of firepower to their reach-outs. One of the first things that they can do with planned content marketing is simplify the relevance of RFID based solutions in different industry segments. This can be done through several content forms including videos or informative infographics or even short content posts leveraging graphics.

Every content piece can focus on some specific and relevant areas, trying to highlight the current industry challenges and how a RFID based solution can address the challenge. Having developed this content, through a focused list building exercise and an organized campaign plan, they can also reach out to several potential prospects with their value proposition.

If they are able to deliver value through their content to the target market, the likelihood is that when the prospects think about doing something to address their challenges, this RFID company will be the first one they will think of and they will call them in.

A lot of organizations have used white papers, webinars, podcasts in the past, but in several instances, these have tended to be self-promotional in nature. It is possible to generate content that will provide resources/value to your target market in some way, and yet not be perceived as overly self-promotional.

At Xenia, through our services in marketing content management & content research, we have been doing that for customers and driving lead generation for them. Our hit ratios are still in the 5-10%, but the rest of the 95% do not get put off. They are only getting gradually closer and building affinity to our customer brands (because we are providing them immense value & not annoying them)

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

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4 ways to quickly improve sales productivity.

As we step into a new FY, most organizations would have made decisions related to their business goals and would have identified the key sales people that are going to help achieve this goal. While you may arguably have some of the best sales people in the business (that is what everyone likes to believe), it is important equip them with the right resources and help them perform to their potential and drive business growth for your organization.

4 ways to quickly improve sales productivity.

4 ways to quickly improve sales productivity.

1)      Dovetail marketing organization to build awareness and generate leads

Sales carries organization goals, but marketing needs to support them with awareness initiatives, so these goals need to be dovetailed down to the marketing organization in measurable parameters. If marketing does not build enough awareness, there will be no leads and sales will have nothing to work on, for closure. Expecting sales to go the full distance from awareness to closure is expecting too much

2)      Train the sales team on your business offerings

In most of the instances, sales training is across one or two calls (C’mon Isn’t sales expected to hit the ground running?)  Sales teams create their own opinion about what they have heard and it may not be always true. They typically start going to the market with what they have understood and so perform at suboptimal levels. Marketing should take over the responsibility to ensure that they understand business offerings well.

3) Set a governance/ review mechanism

Setting a schedule for quantitative and qualitative reviews is very important. Tracking down opportunity movements to closure is what will get you new business. Also tracking commitments by month to the actual numbers will ensure that the sales guys will remain under pressure to perform well.

4) Have an incentive plan/ commission plan

Do make sure that the compensation for your sales team is incomplete without they being able to earn their variable pay (this could be based on incentives/commissions). Make sure that decisions related to incentives/commissions are fair and transparent.

Some of these measures sound simple, but get difficult to track and implement. A strong MIS and reporting culture in the organization can put some of these initiatives on track.

At Xenia, in our sales performance improvement initiatives, we focus on getting this done for our customers.

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Role of Graphic design in building awareness about your product.

Patience is waning across all age groups and people no longer have the time to go through traditional forms of content. Brochures/Flyers are slimming down in size and content. Companies are reducing the number of slides on presentations and trying to make it more visual instead. There

are several alternate forms of content distribution that are becoming very popular like Instagram, YouTube, Slide share, which are more amenable to quick consumption, across multiple devices and are easy to share as well.

Graphic design in building awareness about your product

Graphic design in building awareness about your product

As you start communicating about your products/services, building awareness and affinity towards your brand is one of your first objectives. With diminishing attention spans, it is best that you deploy visual means to communicate your values

How can graphic design help in external communication?

1) Events presence – The display panels/banners that you host at your booth need to talk about the values that your product is able to deliver. What better way than to use visual and graphic content. Presentations and videos that you plan to show at the event will need animations and graphics to deliver the message efficiently

2) Brochures/ Flyers & Promotional handouts – it makes sense to make your brochures/flyers as visual as possible. The promotional handouts that you host at the booth can have subtle branding elements, that will help your recall

3) Campaigns – Neatly designed HTML campaigns can communicate your values more efficiently than long texty emails.

4) Advertising – Both digital and physical advertising demands that communication be more visual and graphic oriented and have minimum text.

5) Social promotions – As you promote your product, event or any content that you publish, the themes that you plan to use in social promotions can be more visual and to the point. This will help drive larger number of hits to your content piece

6) Content marketing – As you create multiple pieces of content including case studies, white papers, e-books or any other documents, it pays to build them on nice design templates. A well-designed marketing piece helps the audience see past the graphics to the message, but it’s the appealing graphics that reel them in.That helps improve recall as well as portrays you as a far more professional organization. How can graphic design help in internal communication?

1) Internal and Facilities branding – Building your company identity starts on the inside, so your employees must be committed to the brand. What are the traits/attributes you would want your employees to display Graphic design can help strengthen that sense of commitment? What does your company stand for? You can communicate that through well designed posters or through animate videos on digital media.

2) Corporate stationery & Promotional items – Your employees will be surrounded by stationary, uniforms, publications, and more items that will remind them about the company core positioning.

3) Facebook promotions – As you engage with employees on Facebook across the different initiatives that you drive, creating well designed banners can help engage the audience effectively.

I hope you found this useful.

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How to leverage content marketing to drive lead generation

Lead generation seems to be the number one agenda for most people that I talk with. Companies try a lot of different mechanisms to drive lead generation, the most popular that I have heard of being cold calling. Cold calling has its own benefits, however, I feel it has too many negatives that we

should be aware of, before we decide to sacrifice our company’s reputation and branding as we decide to go that route. I am listing some that I have on the top of my mind.

How do you leverage content marketing to drive business leads.

How do you leverage content marketing to drive business leads.

1) Cold calling creates negative branding – At best you can get 3-5% results and for the rest of the 95%, you are creating irritation/annoyance because you are disturbing them from their current routines and are talking about something they have no interest in

2) Cold calling is extremely operator intensive – So if you do not have the best person (which is very rare, as turnover in the field is very high), then how he is communicating about your company does end up contributing to negative branding

3) Lastly, in this world, where, as a buyer, you can search what you want, someone pestering you for something that they want to sell sounds generally annoying and creates a negative vibe.

So then, what else should companies do? They still have their lead generation targets. Well, why not invest in content marketing

Noooohhh, that is too long term… I want my leads for this month,

how can content marketing

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help me (common objection that I have faced) I will try to address some of the common objections and provide some tips on using content marketing to drive lead generation.

1) Inside out vs. Outside in

When you take the traditional sales approach, you are talking inside out. My product or service does this and is able to provide these benefits… blah blah… When you decide to take the content marketing route, you are trying to take an outside-in approach. In the current market situation, these are the challenges, and this is how you will be able to address them using my product/service. Seems simple, but how do you do this without being overly self-promotional while you seek to become a thought leader on the topic.

2) Plan content marketing themes in line with your brand positioning

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What are the values your product stands for? Use these themes to build content themes, as you start to build following and thought leadership.

3) Research what the target market wants to hear about

Content research across competitors, media and events can help you understand what the buyers are worried about and want to hear more about. If you can address these topics and link it back to what you offer, in perspective, it is easier to get your content marketing to drive leads/inquiries for you.

4) Bring in the experts

People always value third party opinion. Rather than you talking and preaching about the topic, it makes sense to bring in views from the experts (that you have access to). Third party views bring in a lot more credibility to your content

A lot of organizations have used white papers, webinars, podcasts in the past, but in several instances, these have tended to be self-promotional in nature. It is possible to generate content that will provide resources/value to your target market in some way, and yet not be perceived as overly self-promotional.

At Xenia, through our services in marketing content management & content research, we have been doing that for customers and driving lead generation for them. Our hit ratios are still in the 5-10%, but the rest of the 95% do not get put off. They are only getting gradually closer and building affinity to our customer brands (because we are providing them immense value & not annoying them)

I hope you found this useful.

Comments welcome

Regards – Atul Dhakappa

@xeniaconsulting

Like our Facebook Page

Follow our LinkedIn Page

Posted in Business Development, Case Studies, Content Services, Demand Generation, Key Accounts Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Collateral, Marketing Content, Marketing Outsourcing, Marketing Strategy, Messaging, Products Marketing, Sales Enablement, Thought Leadership Content | Tagged , | Leave a comment