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Sure Oak: Digital Marketing, SEO, Online Business Strategy, & More
18 minutes | a year ago
How to Drive Sales through Cold Outreach with Lior Ohayon
How to reach out to Lior Ohayon: Finding and pitching leads is one of the more stressful but vital components of growing your business online. You never know where your next big client or project will come from, so pitching your product or service to those most likely to need it is a component of your growth strategy that you can’t afford to neglect. Getting your message to the right audience and capturing their attention is a bit of art and a bit of science. In this installment of the Sure Oak podcast, Lior Ohayon from ScopeLeads helps us understand how to up our game for getting the right leads and delivering the pitch that will help drive sales. Automation Should be One of Your Last Steps, Not Your First There are plenty of tools online that can help you mass-distribute emails and scour the internet for leads, but jumping right into automation can be detrimental if you haven’t first established a foundation of a working and viable lead collection strategy. Take the time to do some manual work to determine quality leads; essentially, you’ll need to decide how you can best mine and collect leads before you begin scaling your operation with tools that can be customized to gather them automatically. Skipping the research and elbow grease to head directly for the automated tools is a good way to get your emails sent to your contact’s spam filters and to waste your valuable time and energy. Experiment to Find the Right Fit Fine-tuning your pitch, e-mail formatting, and lead collection strategies take a bit of time, but the return on investment is well worth it. Give yourself a bit of leeway in the beginning so you can create and send a few different e-mail pitches and templates before figuring which is the most successful in garnering replies and moving potential clients through your sales and marketing funnel. If you’re looking for leads, make sure you’re getting the most qualified potential clients. For example, if you’re pitching a reputation management service, you may want to find local businesses on Yelp or Google Maps who have inconsistent listing data or an ineffective way of responding to negative reviews; these businesses are most likely to need your services. From there, it’s important to find the best contact information for these potential clients, to ensure your message is seen by the right team member or employee. Doing some initial research into vetting leads and honing your e-mail messaging is the best way to improve the success of future automation and lead conversion. Avoid Common Pitfalls of E-Mail Writing and Lead Generation First and foremost, don’t pay for leads. While it’s tempting to dole out money to a broker who can send you a list of so-called high-quality leads, the best pay-off comes from doing your own investigating, as mentioned above. Doing your research does take more time, but it’s worth the pay-off in improved conversions and messaging accuracy. Once you have your leads researched and you have the correct contact information for them, it’s time to send your expertly-crafted and engaging e-mail pitch. Many business owners overthink this part of the process, imagining that they have to be funny, long-winded, or provide links to every resource, website, and client that could corroborate the greatness of their service. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While it seems counter-intuitive, Lior actually advises against linking to your company’s website in your cold emails, as this can circumvent your planned sales pitch and lead the client to decide that your service isn’t for them – well before you’ve had a chance to explain how your product and services add value. You can also skip any attachments and CCing on your cold email templates. Keep it Simple According to Lior, the best way to get your message across and encourage your leads to schedule a sales call can be accomplished in three or four sentences. After you greet your lead, move directly into your reason for contacting them today – don’t waste any time in getting to the point. Next, provide some proof of your previous work by simply stating that you’re collaborating with other businesses in the area or even your lead’s competitors. With the last sentence, include a call to action, asking whether your prospective client has time to speak this week or next. If you’ve decided to include video content in your cold email as a demonstration of your services, you can link to a landing page; avoid sending clients to other sites where your video may be uploaded, like YouTube. If you’re looking to speed up the rate at which you create these personalized emails, include a custom thumbnail instead and ask to be directed to the best person to send the full video content; this tactic can help you gather additional leads at organizations you’re pitching while saving time in the email creation process. Key Insights Do important groundwork for strategy and content creation before employing automated tools Keep your email content short and sweet Don’t take shortcuts, like buying lead lists or going directly for automation software Use a firm call to action in your cold emails Lior’s Takeaways Make sure you have the right contact information for your qualified leads Get in the habit of knowing where your leads are coming from Ensure your email content proves the value of your products or services Work smart; used personalized content to improve lead conversions, but make sure those customized components can be created and sent quickly and easily Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
26 minutes | a year ago
How to turn your Youtube Channel into a Lead Generation Machine
How to reach out to Nate Woodbury: YouTube offers seemingly endless opportunities for video content creation and publishing, and now more than ever, users are interested in seeing this type of content online. But how do you stand out among the noise and how do you get your YouTube content to work for you? If you’re a business owner trying to make your mark online and appeal to more users and consumers, YouTube can prove to be a serious game-changer. In this episode, Nate from Be the Hero helps us understand what you can do to help turn your video content into the ultimate lead generation tool for your business. The Value of Specific Keyword Research Before you start creating content, it’s essential to understand what your audience wants to watch. You may have tons of ideas about the content you’d like to create, and keyword research helps ground and refine those ideas with real-world data about users’ search interests. Using online tools, such as SEMrush (as specifically cited by Nate), can help you hone in on specific and valuable information about what kind of content you can use to populate your YouTube channel. But don’t be blinded by big numbers. Keywords with significant search volume – or online interest from users – are likely what every business is going after. If you’re just starting your YouTube channel or trying to get ahead, you may all too easily get lost in the chatter by going after high-volume keywords. Instead, Nate advises business owners and marketers to look for a smaller pond, where they can be the big fish. Look for specific search queries that may have far less volume but which will be highly relevant to that group of individuals. By appealing directly to nuanced questions, you can position your content in front of users who are more likely to click on your videos and watch them until the end – an important metric for ranking on YouTube as well as overall SEO performance. Making the Jump from Content Production to Lead Generation Developing and publishing great content is just the beginning of turning your YouTube channel into a lead-generation gold mine. Building a following and a community by posting content that appeals to them is the foundation of future lead generation. At the end of each video, it’s important to have a call to action – much like you would add to a website or a landing page. Nate suggests prompts to download digital assets, such as ebooks or online courses. Have a Powerful Lead Magnet Now that your user base feels familiar with you, they’re more likely to continue the interaction by consuming additional content, specifically the digital assets mentioned above. To build your list of leads, be sure to include a contact form or a landing page with a sign-up prompt so you can re-market to these individuals later. As your following continues to grow and as users watch your YouTube content, this list of warm leads will continue to gain steam. Build Community, Momentum, and Continued Lead Generation Building momentum and a community help create a well of leads that keeps giving. While you may have a break-neck content production pace, in the beginning, you will be able to slow production after the first year as new users continue to find and engage with your existing content. However, you don’t need to burn the candle at both ends. Use keyword research tools to collect a year’s worth of topics ahead of time, so you can plan your content calendar into the future. It may seem like a while before you can relax a bit, but this first year of development is an essential part of building a community around your videos and YouTube content, especially since your following will be accumulated from specific keyword research that directly appeals to them. After a year of diligently targeting long-tail keywords, you can enjoy greater rankings and visibility for those more generic and competitive terms. Key Insights Do your keyword research before you film Find the questions people are asking Pick a specific topic to hone-in on Film multiple episodes at a time and roll out publishing Provide digital assets to bolster the list of leads and re-marketing efforts Nate’s Takeaways Your smartphone can get you started easily; you don’t need fancy equipment YouTube content can offer better results and lead generation opportunities than traditional website content Competitors are likely ignoring specific, long-tail keywords Listen to your audience and make sure you’re targeting the content that most appeals to them More from Nate Be the Hero Website Nate Woodybury LinkedIn Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
21 minutes | a year ago
Finding Your Place in Google’s Perfect World with Geoff Atkinson
How to reach out to Geoff Atkinson: Google has a perfect world, and if you want to see long-term success with your business, it’s time your website started living in it. The most successful businesses follow Google’s ideal model, and they’ve seen some huge returns from their online efforts. In this episode, Geoff Atkinson of Huckabuy delves into that perfect world and the methods you can implement to find your place in it. Keep reading to find out more. Google’s Perfect World In Google’s perfect world, all websites would look as if they were built for Google, not humans. This is because the Google bot acts as a “bouncer” that grants your website access to the customers beyond. They’re your most important visitor, and what they look for is different from a human’s perfect website experience. These are the top 3 characteristics they look for. Fast Page Speed and Loading Time For years now, Google has hammered on the importance of having a good page speed and loading time. This is important no matter what platform is used to access your website, so much so that slower websites often see huge penalties in their search engine rankings. These penalties are largely the result of Google’s inability to fully crawl the websites. Google bots have a finite amount of time to crawl each website, and when your pages take too long, they tend to give up and move onto the next site on their list. No Complicated Coding Languages The next characteristic Google crawlers search for is flat HTML. The more simplistically your website is coded, the more likely they will be to promote it. Think of it as UX for Google. You want Google to keep coming back to your site each time you add a new page or piece of content. They won’t do that if you make it difficult to navigate with complicated coding languages. Automation of Structured Data Markup In every algorithm update over the last 5 years, Google has given more and more weight to mobile-friendliness and the structured data of websites. If your website is currently designed without flat HTML, you can benefit from structured data. This is because it helps make your website more understandable, which translates into better indexation, more clicks, more customers, and significantly higher revenue. An example of this would be rich snippets. These enable you to target users who can qualify themselves as potential customers. Don’t worry, though, a complete redesign of your website isn’t necessary to make structured data or any of the other characteristics available for Google. A new “wrinkle” in the website called dynamic rendering now makes it possible for websites to load dynamically based on what “calls” them. So when a Google bot calls up a page on your website, they’ll see a simplified version of the website you show users. Businesses that take advantage of dynamic rendering on their websites see a more defined role in Google’s perfect world than those that don’t. Google just wants to be able to access the world’s information. If you want to succeed, your website information should be made as available as possible. KEY INSIGHTS Google’s perfect world involves simple websites that load quickly. Google’s search bots give up on indexing your site if pages don’t load within a certain timeframe. Dynamic rendering is a great way to give Google a simple website without affecting customer experience. GEOFF’S TAKEAWAYS Wikipedia is a great example of Google’s perfect world. You need to put fundamental architecture into place if you want Google to index your site and know what you’re doing. Websites that get the most benefit from structured data are the ones that are difficult for Google to understand without help MORE FROM GEOFF The Huckabuy Website Geoff’s LinkedIn Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
21 minutes | a year ago
John Bellamy’s tips for developing more conversations and sales with your ideal future customers
How to reach out to John Bellamy: The goal of every business is to engage in meaningful conversations that turn prospects into customers, but many fail to provide the value necessary for those transitions to occur. Many also fail to actually start conversations with their prospective customers, choosing instead to let the fear of failure keep them from trying. John Bellamy of Direct MSGing says this is especially true of LinkedIn, where there’s a lot of potential profit that companies leave on the table. To harness that profit, John recommends approaching LinkedIn with the goal of building a foundation of trust and credibility. Let’s get into what that entails. Your Foundational Assets The entire process for engaging in successful conversations on LinkedIn rests upon the strength of your foundational assets. These are your personal profile and company page. Both of these assets need to share a story that speaks directly with your target market, meaning people should be able to see a clear connection between your profile and the services your company provides. Each page should also include content that encourages engagement and connections. To put it simply, you want people to WANT to connect with you. And you want the decision of whether to connect to be a simple “yes” or “no”, not a “maybe”. This isn’t possible if your foundational assets don’t support the authority and credibility your outreach success relies on. Once you solidify your foundation, your ability to engage in meaningful conversations becomes a matter of marketing outreach. The process: there’s a whole bunch of things to cover. Top level – foundational asset. Personal profile and company page. Make sure foundational asset shares story, speaks to the target market, engaging w/them so they want to connect with you. Once you get that right, it’s a matter of marketing outreach. Most people are okay at sending or accepting a connection request, but few follow up. This is true in sales in general. We believe there’s a cost to that connection. How do you maximize them and get a return on that? What does a proper follow up look like? There’s the process of getting the profile right. We typically look at LI from an OB marketing perspective. Leverage sales navigator, get really clear on the target market you want to reach out to. Send personalized connection request. Typically, send 3-5 messages over the next 45-60 days. Not going traditional internet marketing where you send an email every day. Intention isn’t to get a person to buy something immediately. Want to build connections w/them, add value around what they might require, then have an opportunity for them to take the next step. Nailing the Messaging Sequence Most people are comfortable sending and accepting connection requests, but few actually know what to do from there in order to maximize the cost of those connections and get a return. This is where you can differentiate yourself from your competitors. All it takes is a solid messaging sequence that drives conversations, captures people’s interests, and addresses topics that are relevant to your target audience. This sequence should typically consist of 3 to 5 messages over the course of 45 to 60 days after connect. Crafting Your Messages To begin, though, be sure you send a “thank you for connecting” message that doesn’t go straight into a sales pitch. Instead, make it relevant to the individual person you’ve connected with and include a short video about you, your organization, and your services or product that will drive the person to an optimized page on your website. More than likely, only about 10% of the people will actually click through, but that isn’t a bad thing. Instead, the thank you message serves as a cornerstone piece for the involved conversation you hope to have moving forward. From there, you should make sure your later messages continue to add value and address your targets’ pain points. This will likely require a mindset shift, as unapologetic prospecting isn’t typical in many industries, but it’s important to keep your qualifications in mind when you craft these messages. You’ve become an expert in your industry for a reason, and you know what you’re talking about. That confidence should shine through in every communication and at every touchpoint of the connection process. Without it, your conversations are unlikely to advance past the connection request. KEY INSIGHTS LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool is a great way to get really clear on the target market you want to reach out to. Don’t go straight into a sales pitch after connecting – it won’t work out. You want people to say “yes” or “no” to connecting when they see your profile – NOT “maybe”. JOHN’S TAKEAWAYS The “thank you for connecting” message is the cornerstone piece of a solid conversation strategy. LinkedIn conversations aren’t about having a huge ROI. Instead, your goal should be to provide value and get them interested in learning more about your business. Your personal branding should ALWAYS match the company branding. MORE FROM JOHN The Direct MSGing Website More Tips on Developing Customer Conversations John’s LinkedIn Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
23 minutes | a year ago
Garrett Mehrguth on Getting the Most Bang For Your Buck with Your Marketing Budget
How to reach out to Garrett Mehrguth: Setting a Marketing Budget When setting a marketing budget for your business, it’s important to make sure you use every penny wisely. This means not stretching your company too thin and not assuming your level of income. This may seem like a simple rule, but for many businesses, it’s difficult to execute correctly. That’s why we sat down with Garret Mehrguth of Directive Consulting. In this episode, Garrett explains how to set a marketing budget that gives you the most bang for your buck, as well as the tips he wishes he knew when starting out in marketing. So if you’re looking to outline a marketing budget that can help you reach your business goals, don’t stop scrolling. The Importance of Setting a Marketing Budget Every business owner knows they should set a marketing budget, but do you truly know why it’s important for your future success? The data you use to determine your budget plays a HUGE role in your ability to scale effectively. In fact, if you choose to base your budget on assumptions of what you’ll be making, rather than on your historical revenue, you’ll be much more likely to eventually run out of cash. Think of it this way: your marketing efforts should be bringing in money, NOT sucking your business dry. When you bank on future sales that may or may not come to fruition, you decrease your chances of achieving the revenue and growth goals you’ve set. This is because future sales are unpredictable. The market is always changing, and it’s impossible to plan for every potentiality. However, when you base your projected earnings, and therefore, your marketing budget, on the revenue you KNOW your business can generate, you maximize your ability to scale your company effectively. If that still seems complicated, follow this simple rule. Your marketing budget should be equivalent to 10 percent of the revenue you expect to generate in that same period of time. So if you’re planning your budget for an entire year, it should be equal to 10% of what you can solidly project you’ll generate in revenue that year. Make sense? Here’s why. What Garrett Wishes He Knew BEFORE He Started Marketing When you’re a business owner, you can grow and want to grow, but if you do it too fast, you won’t be able to sustain it. If you can’t sustain the amount of velocity you’re striving toward, then it’s time to tone down your spending. It may sound counterintuitive to grow by spending less, but in truth, it’s all about strategy. People often have an idea that once something “works”, they’ll increase its volume and spend anything. This isn’t the best approach to growth. In fact, the best approach is to actually raise rates while keeping your volume the same. Doing this enables you to bring in revenue without growing too fast. Once you’ve grown your revenue intake to a level that allows you to invest more in your company infrastructure, you can begin to slowly increase the volume of your marketing efforts. Before you do, though ask yourself the following questions: What’s your average contract value? Do you have the ability to service new customers with the same level of care that you have been with current customers? Do you have the capital necessary to service your company’s infrastructure? How does your desired marketing budget compare to your historical revenue? Have you evaluated your historical revenue to determine what your marketing budget should be? Once your answers to those questions are positive, you will be in a good place to begin increasing the velocity of your marketing efforts, rather than just your rates. Don’t Make This Mistake When deciding on your marketing budget, be sure to avoid making the mistake of blind ambition. This ties into the questions above, as no matter how good of a company you are, you simply cannot increase sales velocity without decreasing quality. This means you must grow in ways that are sustainable and not reckless. There are two ways you can do that. The first sustainable method is to become the best business for your price point. While you may not be the best overall, you will be able to compete against competitors who charge similar prices. Your second option is to direct your budget toward scaling and becoming the best overall. To do this, you need to charge more, invest a lot of your revenue, and offer unique, strategic campaigns to customers. Let’s get into how to do that. Structuring Your Marketing Budget for Success Structuring your marketing budget for success is a must if you want to grow sustainably. To do it, Garrett recommends spending more on customer marketing. Doing this will maximize your customer retention abilities and drive referrals, thereby increasing your long term revenue. In fact, your most profitable campaigns, and the easiest ways to generate cash are referrals and upsells. Unfortunately, most companies don’t spend a large enough percentage of their overall marketing budgets on existing customers. Do this, and you’ll stand out like Nordstrom does from Nordstrom’s rack. If you want to structure your marketing budget for success, you should also break down your funnel. Your timing, brand, and product marketing fit are the components that allow your marketing to be successful. When you replace the traditional marketing funnel with a top of funnel geared toward brand impressions and custom audiences, you see more success. This is because the number one problem businesses have is acquiring talent, NOT the new business. So when you follow an impression-based strategy that has mass awareness and volume, you take away the typically high cost of lead generation because more people know about your company and products. This results in lower spending, increased revenue, and significant growth. Simply put, when you lead with a brand and structure your marketing budget according to what you can handle, rather than what you WANT to handle, you’ll be able to grow that much more sustainably. KEY INSIGHTS Become the Nordstrom, NOT the Nordstrom’s rack. Referrals are your lowest cost per acquisition channel with your highest close rate. Your company’s velocity of growth inversely affects customer retention rates, decreasing cash on hand. GARRETT’S TAKEAWAYS Your marketing efforts should be bringing in money, NOT sucking your business dry. Your most profitable campaigns and the easiest way to generate cash is through referrals and upsells. The best way to grow is by raising your rates, not increasing volume. MORE FROM GARRETT The Directive Website Garrett’s LinkedIn Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
22 minutes | a year ago
How to Take Advantage of Changing Content Trends with James Winter
How to reach out to James Winter: The marketing industry is constantly changing, especially when it comes to content. If you want to make it long term, you have to stay up-to-date on those changes. This week, we sat down with James Winter of Brandfolder to learn what trends are currently taking content marketing by storm and how to take advantage of them (and any others that become big) for your business. Biggest Trends in Content Today At the moment, there are two major trends in content that James recommends keeping in mind as you work on your content marketing strategy. The first is the decreasing shelf life of content. This can be anything from videos or photos to GIFs or whitepapers. It doesn’t just mean written content. In today’s mobile world, people are constantly looking for the most up-to-date information. To perform well on different online channels, your content assets need to be regularly refreshed, and in many cases, evergreen. This translates to a need for higher production of assets, meaning you can’t always get away with only producing one piece of content for every one of your social channels. To stay relevant, you have to create relevant content. This means paying special attention to the shelf life of each asset. The second trend to be aware of is the rise of video. YouTube is no longer the only platform where video performs well. In fact, it’s quickly become a solid strategy for reaching consumers and fostering engagement for your business. In many cases, including Facebook and Instagram, ads that contain videos are prioritized over those with only photos or text. The same applies to simple posts that contain videos. This is because videos invite users to engage much more than just words or a photo can do. People relate more to businesses that are relatable. Video helps make your company more relatable by putting a face and personality to it. Although these trends are currently taking the content world by storm, it’s important to keep in mind that they can change at any time. This is where staying aware of the direction marketing is headed comes into play. The most successful companies are on the cutting edge of content and other marketing strategies, as well as SEO and Google’s algorithm focus. There isn’t one particular location you can look to for up-to-date information, but there are still a number of ways to say on top of the changing landscape. These are the two James recommends looking into if you want to stay on top of trends. Staying Up to Date On Changing Trends The first place you should look for up-to-date information on current marketing trends is the list of podcasts for your niche industry. Podcasts are great because they’re timely and you can rest assured the information contained in recent episodes is relevant to what you’re trying to do. The second location you can look to for relevant information on changing content trends is your network. This can include people you know personally, as well as experts in the industry who you only know by their content. And if you have trouble finding the right people to follow, James is happy to offer some suggestions. Just reach out to him via Twitter or LinkedIn. The Bottom Line If you’re still a little reticent about the importance of staying atop current content trends, here’s the bottom line: The creative your company creates is responsible for 85% of your ads’ performance, as well as a large portion of how your website performs overall. If you have the right creative for your content assets, you’ll be that much more successful than your competitors who have fallen into the trap of “over-wordsmithing” and a subpar reliance on relevant, relatable content. Don’t be afraid to prioritize the new trends you learn about from podcasts or your network. You never know how much they can help your business in the long run. On the other hand, the biggest mistake you could make besides not creating relevant content is diving into too many new tactics at once. Be sure any new trends you choose to follow with your content are good for your audience and industry. Just because something works for another company, doesn’t mean it will work for yours. KEY INSIGHTS Podcasts and members of your network are great methods for staying up-to-date on changing content trends. When implementing new tactics in your content marketing strategy, don’t dive into too many at once. Content can be anything from video to whitepapers. It doesn’t always have to be written. JAMES’S TAKEAWAYS The creative you choose is responsible for 85% of ad performance. The rise of video is a major trend to keep in mind when creating content Staying on top of changing content trends is important if you want long term growth in your business. MORE FROM JAMES The Brandfolder Website James’ LinkedIn Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
24 minutes | a year ago
The Benefits of Having a Brand Ambassador for Your Business with Darryl Praill
How to reach out to Darryl Praill: What Is a Brand Ambassador? Every company will say they have a brand ambassador, but not all actually have one. To be a brand ambassador, you must be the spokesperson or one of the designated spokespersons for your company. It’s a personal brand that cannot be attributed to corporate channels. Instead, a spokesperson should be someone who works for or runs your company. This is because people are better able to engage with and relate to a person than a company. So what, besides the obvious, distinguishes a brand ambassador from the company itself? It all lies in personality. This can be defined in any way. For VanillaSoft’s Darryl Praill, it meant a mix of “smartass” and “truth teller”. A truth teller, Darryl says, is an important personality for your brand ambassador(s) to have, as truth tellers are not afraid to constructively tell people when they’re wrong. Although this may sound messy and scary for many brands, it’s much more relatable than the “glorified automated voice recording” personality that is often used. This willingness to engage with people can have significant benefits if done correctly. The key is to know when truth telling is necessary and when it would be a better idea to “agree to disagree” on a point of contention. Here’s how having a brand ambassador who knows how to constructively engage with people can help position your brand as the right choice for those seeking help in your field. The Benefits of Having a Brand Ambassador There are multiple benefits to having a brand ambassador, but the three main ones are reputation, visibility, and influence. Reputation When your brand ambassador consistently reacts to online conversations in the same way, people are much more likely to believe them when they say whether something is wrong or correct. This is where being known as a truth teller comes into play. Having reliable, valid opinions that are backed up by fact helps build an ambassador’s reputation — and your company’s by default. Visibility Having a brand ambassador can significantly improve your brand’s visibility. Remember, people are more likely to engage with a person they can relate to than a faceless company. So long as the content, comments, opinions, and expertise your brand ambassador shares consistently add value to the conversation and convey knowledge, your brand will reach a far broader audience than any of your other marketing methods. This, in turn, will snowball into the higher reputation we just mentioned, as well as more influence in your company’s industry. Influence Every business has competitors, and in some cases, those competitors have been in business a lot longer. It can be difficult to drive the conversation away from your competitors and toward your business, but having a brand ambassador makes it possible to stand out against larger, more established rivals. When your brand ambassador has a well-established reputation as a truth-teller and value provider, they are able to drive the conversation around topics related to your industry. Similarly, the high reputation, visibility, and influence of a good ambassador increases brand recognition. This means when someone from your sales or marketing team reaches out to a prospect, they’re much more likely to have heard of your company through interactions with the ambassador. As a result, the sales cycle can start immediately instead of after your sales or marketing team have managed to establish a relationship with the prospect. Thanks to the ambassador, that relationship already exists. Your team can take that relationship and cultivate it to superfan status much more easily than if your ambassador didn’t reach such a broad audience. The Bottom-Line At this point, you may be thinking “all these benefits sound great, but what do they ACTUALLY mean for my business?” The answer: A huge impact on your bottom-line. If your ambassador does their job correctly on social media, with other influencers, and at events, the following will happen: Better Credibility The ambassador and your company will be seen as credible truth-tellers. Increased Reach You will reach an audience size you never could have hoped for, which means your consequential revenue will increase. Shorter Sales Cycles Sales cycles will be shortened because the brand ambassador helps sales and marketing teams start a trusted relationship with prospects immediately, instead of having to build one. More Inbound Leads When your reach is larger, more people automatically see your company and keep you in mind for their future needs. As a result, more people will start coming to you who are self-qualified and ready to become a client. Higher Closing Rates Having more prospects who are ready to become clients automatically translates to more clients, which means your closing rates are higher. REVENUE When you have a large reach, a positive reputation, and a higher close rate, your revenue is multiplied. What business wouldn’t want that? Build awareness of new brand ambassador If having a brand ambassador has so many great benefits, why don’t more companies have one? Darryl says the answer boils down to a simple fear of becoming messy. He advises anyone who wants to become a brand ambassador for their company to just let their personality shine through. The more consistent, human, and intentional you are in your interactions, the more people will relate to you — and your company by default. Although there’s no simple checklist for promoting a new brand ambassador, you can succeed with common sense and a dedication to the following: Decide who will speak for your company and make sure all your company’s stakeholders know the ambassador may go too far from time-to-time. Be intentional with every comment, speaking engagement, or piece of content you share as the ambassador. Be consistent in providing value with everything you do as the brand ambassador. When on social media, only comment or share when you have something tangible to say. And if you join the conference or trade show circuit, only sign up if the ambassador has a speaking role. Doing this perpetuates the belief that you (the ambassador) are an influencer, as is your company by extension. Approach the above steps with an almost religious fervor. KEY INSIGHTS Brand ambassadors help companies have a trusted relationship with prospects right away instead of having to build one. Conversations as a brand ambassador are fundamentally no different from talking with someone one-on-one. Every company will say they have a brand ambassador, but not every company actually does. DARRYL’S TAKEAWAYS If a brand ambassador does their job correctly, they can have huge effects on your company’s bottom-line. Be intentional with everything you post or discuss as a brand ambassador — it should all add value. Give yourself permission to let your personality come out. That’s how you make yourself more relatable as a brand ambassador. MORE FROM DARRYL The VanillaSoft Website Darryl’s LinkedIn Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
23 minutes | a year ago
How to Successfully Transform Your Side Project into a Full-Time Job with Tommy Griffith
How to reach out to Tommy Griffith: The Side Project Development Phase What circumstances come to mind when you think of starting a business? Do you picture someone working full-time and devoting all their free time toward the development of their project, or do you imagine something different? Quite often, small businesses begin as side hustles with the potential to become something more. Unfortunately, many small businesses fail within their first few years. But what if there was something you could do to give your side project a fighting chance at success? To find out, we sat down with ClickMinded’s Tommy Griffith, who turned his side project into a full-time, profitable business. This week, Tommy shared his secret to success and tips for giving your business ideas a fighting chance in the deadly startup wasteland. If you’ve ever thought about starting a business of your own, this episode is for you. Choosing Your Side Hustle The first thing you need to think about when starting a side hustle is what it will be. Oftentimes, new business owners will choose to do something completely unrelated to their current job description or skill set. Think a doctor selling sandals or a lawyer giving personal training advice. Unless you have passion and experience in the subject, Tommy says this isn’t the best approach. This is because it prevents you from taking advantage of exit velocity when you choose to transition into a more concentrated focus on your side project. What’s Exit Velocity? It’s a term coined by Dan Andrews, who runs a digital marketing group called The Dynamite Circle. Exit velocity is defined as “the amount of professional and entrepreneurial momentum you have when quitting your job and starting a new venture. Momentum can come from a variety of sources: investment capital, experience, anchor clients, industry knowledge, or connections (aka unfair advantage).” Simply put, your knowledge of the industry you work in gives you an “unfair” advantage over entrepreneurs who are just trying to break in using side projects that are unrelated to their skills. You already put so much time and effort into working and learning during your daily job. Why wouldn’t you transfer that knowledge into your side hustle? To give your side project the biggest chance of succeeding, Tommy recommends using the skills you’ve already learned and turning them into a business. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to shift your focus to growth, and hopefully, a transition from side project to full-time. The Biggest Engine (and Secret) for Growing Your Side Project Have you ever needed to finish an assignment that seemed interesting at first, but as time wore on, became more and more boring? Therein lies the reason for many failed businesses. Search engine rankings are all about customer experience, and a major component of customer experience is how interesting and helpful your product and surrounding marketing copy are. Why, then, would you expect a potential customer to be interested in your side project if you aren’t? The answer is that you shouldn’t. The single biggest driver of growth and success with side projects is the creator’s interest. If you aren’t passionate and interested in what you’re working on, your motivation will quickly wane. Soon after, your entire project will likely follow suit. This is why the main idea behind starting a business is interest: yours and your potential customers’. If your project can’t keep your interest, chances are that it will have a difficult time capturing anyone else’s. If, however, the time you spend on your side project feels more like play than work, you’ll be one step closer to preparing for the transition to a full-time focus on your side business. The Transition to Full-Time When it comes to the transition from side hustle to a full-time job, Tommy has one piece of advice: don’t overthink it. In Tommy’s case, he didn’t make the transition until two years after revenue from ClickMinded had surpassed his main salary. And once he finally did make the transition, it was completely different from the image he’d built up in his mind as time wore on. He recommends switching over as soon as you feel ready. Don’t make excuses, and if you want to start focusing fully on your side project, do it. What’s Your Side Hustle? So there you have it: the secret to creating a successful side project when you work full-time. Have some tips you’d like to share as well? Let us know! And if you’ve made or are currently in the process of making the transition to a full-time focus on your side hustle, we would love to hear about your experience. KEY INSIGHTS Working on your side project should feel like play, not work. The single biggest driver of your side hustle’s success is your personal interest in it. When developing an idea for a side project, pay special attention to your exit velocity. TOMMY’S TAKEAWAYS Don’t take too long to transition from side hustle to full-time. If you want to leave, just leave. Invest in a side project you’re passionate about to give yourself the best possible chance of success. Take advantage of your current knowledge base, contact pool, and industry focus. Doing so will help you be more successful in the long run. MORE FROM TOMMY The ClickMinded Website SEO Strategy Guide Digital Marketing Strategy Guide SEO Checklist Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
21 minutes | a year ago
James Gilbert On The Value of Organization Alignment in Customer Experience
How to reach out to James Gilbert: Customer Experience and Why It’s So Important When you’re a business, one of your biggest goals is likely to bring in customers. In the long run, though, it costs significantly more to attract new customers than it does to cultivate the customers your company already has. So what role does customer experience play in this cultivation? James Gilbert of CloudCherry explains how CX can be a key driver of business growth and profitability in this podcast episode. Keep reading for the details. Successful Customers Vs. New Customers People tend to trust companies that bring a human element to their customer experience. This means treating consumers like partners, rather than a sale. Doing this has been shown to reap huge benefits, as successful customers often become advocates that function as an “engine” for inbound sales and referral marketing galore. Bringing a human element to your customer experience doesn’t stop with the marketing department, however. Every department within your business needs to be synced and collaborate to give people the best interactions possible at each step of the customer journey. Companies often struggle with implementing a customer focused mindset throughout their business, as identifying pain points and the best place to begin reform can be difficult. It’s All About Alignment If you’re going to begin a customer experience program, success begins at the top of your organization. Every person in your company, from the CEO to the most junior worker, has to live and breathe creating great experiences for customers. The more aligned your business is on customer experience, the easier it will become to identify and address customer pain points before they become major issues. This applies to every step of the customer journey, from awareness to investment and beyond. Simply put, organization alignment means looking at every customer interaction with the mindset of “how can we give them the best experience”, rather than “what’s in it for me”. If you can do that, your business will be leagues ahead of competitors, and you’ll be guaranteed to see yield from happy customers and their advocacies. To get started, James recommends mapping out every step of your customer journey and analyzing the type of experience those steps provide. Every aspect of your business needs to be geared toward customer success if you want to turn customers into advocates and see long-term growth and profit. Marketing and Customer Experience As you map out your customer journey, it’s important to keep in mind that every person will have a unique path they take to become your customers. These journeys will vary depending on customer personas, the marketing channels they convert with, and much more. To be successful, you will need to analyze every avenue and optimize them to promote customer engagement and satisfaction. Common CX Mistakes Companies Make More often than not, companies seeking to create a solid consumer experience will make the mistake of implementing their plan without first having organization alignment. Every interaction a customer has with your company needs to be backed up, and if even one encounter is off, you run the risk of having your efforts fall flat. Another mistake businesses tend to make with customer experience is pushing consumers into making purchases. Purchases and investments in your company should be the natural result of a person’s interactions with you, not of aggressive sales decks. If you can create a positive customer experience within your sales process, you’ll stand out and make sales without having to press. Everything comes naturally when you have a customer-centric culture. The Role of CX In Long-Term Growth and Profitability A strong company alignment that centers on implementing a positive customer experience is a huge driver of ROI. In fact, keeping current customers happy costs significantly less over time than treating them poorly and focusing your efforts on drumming up new business. Every customer’s experience counts, and ignoring just one negative experience can end up costing you in the long run. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your current customers in favor of new customer acquisition. They make the best advocates and have the largest impact on your profitability and ability to attract those new customers over time. Instead, work toward aligning every part of your company with a CX mindset. KEY INSIGHTS Organization alignment is critical to a solid customer experience. Every customer counts. Ignoring just one negative experience can end up costing you millions in the long run. People tend to trust companies that bring a human element to their customer experience. JAMES’S TAKEAWAYS A strong company alignment that centers on implementing a positive customer experience is a huge driver of ROI. Every interaction a customer has with your company needs to be positive to have a good impact. Look at every customer interaction with the mindset of “how can we give them the best experience”, rather than “what’s in it for me”. MORE FROM JAMES James’s LinkedIn CloudCherry Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
21 minutes | a year ago
Hank Hoffmeier’s Keys to Email Deliverability and Email Marketing Success
How to reach out to Hank Hoffmeier: When you put together an email marketing campaign, there are some factors to take into account if you want it to be successful. Email marketing expert Hank Hoffmeier of iContact shared those factors and his suggestions for yielding a huge ROI from your efforts in this week’s podcast. Here are some of the main highlights of what he and our host, Bryan Reynolds, discussed. Factors to Consider for Email Marketing Success There are a number of components that go into a successful email marketing strategy. The first lies in your ability to actually get people to open the emails you send. It doesn’t matter how well written the body of your email is. If your subject line isn’t enticing enough to click, nobody will receive the message you’re hoping to convey. If you want consumers to actually open and engage with your emails, you’ll need to get inside their heads. Ask yourself whether you would want to open the email if you received it, and use that to gauge whether it’s ready to send. Remember, people are more likely to read emails that are personalized and that convey usefulness. This can be done by using their names in both the subject line and body text, as well as with email content that addresses problems your audience may be experiencing. The next factor you need to consider is your email’s call to action. This is just as important as the subject line, as it brings your readers even closer to becoming paying customers. If your CTA doesn’t drive the point home and entice people to learn more, they won’t click through to your landing page. Once you get your subject line and call to action optimized, your job isn’t done. You then need to turn your attention to the landing page you link to. This page needs to be a follow-up to the content of your email that moves readers even further along in the buying process. From there, stay in contact with your contacts and reach out to any who abandon their shopping carts. Getting Into the Inbox Although all of the above factors are necessary for implementing a successful campaign, they won’t get you anywhere if the emails don’t even make it into readers’ inboxes. Every aspect of your campaign relies on deliverability, so you’ll want to do all you can to ensure you maintain a positive domain reputation. Here are some of the components that affect your reputation: Positive Actions Think of your domain reputation as a credit score. Each time you send an email, providers like Gmail evaluate the actions your contacts take and ding or elevate your score based on those actions. Actions that have a positive impact include opening emails, clicking their links, marking emails as important and marking emails as TINS (this is not spam). The more positive interactions people have with your emails, the more likely providers will be to let your emails into the inboxes of new subscribers. Negative Actions Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate negative reactions to your emails, you can greatly reduce the number of times they happen through personalization and usefulness. Some of the events that have a negative impact on your score include email bounces (invalid email addresses), being marked as spam, requests to unsubscribe, and worse, having your emails go ignored. To increase the likelihood of positive reactions, avoid making the following mistakes. Don’t Make These Mistakes One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is thinking that buying contact lists will help. Unfortunately, it will actually have the opposite effect on your deliverability “credit” score. The same goes for sending emails to unengaged contacts. Although an “are we breaking up” email can be good for list hygiene, constantly sending emails to contacts who don’t want to hear from you will have negative effects on your score. Similar to this is your list hygiene. Hank recommends cleaning out your contact list at least once per year, if not every 6 months. Doing this will get rid of dead weight and increase your deliverability and open rate. Why is deliverability important? Deliverability comes down to relationship building. It’s important to build trust with your audience, and email provides you with a way to develop one-on-one relationships with your audience. To do this, make sure you set your new subscribers’ expectations as soon as they subscribe. How often will you contact them? What valuable information can they expect from your emails? Be sure to establish these details early and get your contacts used to receiving your emails. The more used to it they are, the more likely they will be to remain subscribed to and engaged with your company and products. Remember, people will only open emails that provide value. If you want to see a huge ROI from your email marketing efforts, having a personalized, relatable approach that addresses the problems experienced by subscribers is a must. KEY INSIGHTS Email allows you to be personal and have one-on-one conversations with all your consumers. Email providers give every company a “credit” score that affects deliverability. No matter what your email marketing strategy currently looks like, you should NEVER purchase a contact list. Using a purchased list can have detrimental effects on your long-term email deliverability. HANK’S TAKEAWAYS Email isn’t going anywhere in the near future. It’s just as relevant to relationship building now as it was when it first became a marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter how good your email content is. If nobody opens it, nobody will click through to anything. List hygiene is critical to success. You should clean out inactive subscribers at least once per year, if not every 6 months. MORE FROM HANK Hank’s LinkedIn iContact Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSubscribe on Other Platforms
23 minutes | a year ago
Superfans: How to Get More Activated Customers with Pat Flynn
How to reach out to Pat Flynn: What are Superfans? Everybody is a superfan of something, including you. But your superfan status didn’t happen overnight. You became a fan after multiple moments and interactions with your favorite brand, person, or idea. Unfortunately, too many businesses focus the majority of their efforts on nurturing leads in the beginning of the marketing funnel. While this is important, it’s more critical to pay attention to the experience people have once they become customers. If you aren’t creating moments that bring them further toward becoming superfans, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income says you’re missing out on some incredible business opportunities. In fact, you don’t even need very many superfans to see results. Just 1,000 fans can do amazing things for the growth of your business and brand. These fans are critical to growth because they market your brand without any payment and bring new, warm leads into your brand. To help you turn more of your customers into superfans, we asked Pat Flynn for his tips on taking customers from passive investors to engaged superfans. Here’s what he had to say. How to Take People to Superfan Status In 2007, Kevin Kelly wrote an essay explaining the value of superfans for your business. Although the essay was great, Pat felt it didn’t work well as a “how to” guide for creating superfans. That’s why Pat wrote his new book, called Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, and Build a Successful Business, which functions as the guide that essay was not. So what, exactly, can you do to take your customers to superfan status? There are two main actions you can take. Be Human Showing your personality as part of your brand can go a long way toward establishing a solid relationship with your customers. People want to do business with other people, not faceless companies. Simply put, business is now about P2P (person-to-person) contact rather than B2B or B2C. If you want to see success, it requires personality and relatability. Offer Quick Wins Quick wins make people more likely to invest more heavily in a product or brand. If you want to change someone’s life with your product, you have to start off by changing their day. This is where it becomes important to interact with your customers and get to know their needs. If you can satisfy some of those needs quickly, they’ll be more likely to become superfans and promote your business to others. Utilize Superfans and Grow Your Business Once you’ve brought some customers further up the ladder toward becoming superfans, it’s critical to give them a community to engage with. If you’re passionate about something, you want someone to share it with. Communities like online forums, special pages on your website, meetups, workshops, and conferences give your fans the opportunity to engage with one another and experience more of those touches we mentioned earlier. This, in turn, elevates your brand. Remember, the more positive touches customers have with your business, the more likely they will be to become superfans. It’s also important to maintain this sense of community no matter how much your business grows. In the beginning, you can give your business an advantage over larger corporations by answering every instance of outreach from your customers. And if you hire a team to keep that up as you grow, your superfans will continue to be passionate about your brand and bring more revenue into your business. Help Your Business with Superfans It’s never too late to convert passive customers into superfans. All it takes is some individuality, personality, and a focus on satisfying the needs of the individual. If you can keep all of these in mind as you engage with customers throughout the funnel, you’ll be well on your way to seeing the business growth you’re looking for. KEY INSIGHTS Business is about person-to-person connections, not B2B or B2C anymore. You don’t need very many superfans to see a significant improv...
29 minutes | 2 years ago
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