Labor-saving marketing tips in honor of Labor Day
While you’re enjoying the last few weeks of summer, here are a few quick marketing tips to help you take a break from your hard labor. (more…)
9 simple LinkedIn tips to help increase your revenue
Most professionals have a profile on LinkedIn, but few are taking full advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer. This is a wasted opportunity because LinkedIn is an effective tool to help you get noticed, stay top of mind and build deeper relationships with your contacts. For those willing to spend at least 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn, there are great rewards. Remember that as you take these steps: (more…)
6 things you need to know for more successful blogging
Do you have a blog or want to start one? Blogging has many proven benefits as an integral part of your marketing strategy. However, if you want to be more successful at it (no matter how you define success), you need to consider these 6 fundamental questions. (more…)
Top strategies for marketing your speaking event
Do you speak at seminars? It’s a great way to market yourself, but too many professionals just focus on the event itself and forget about how it can be leveraged both before and afterwards to gain more visibility and attract clients. Whether you are presenting at your own event or one given by a third-party, use these tactics to get the most attention for yourself and the event:
1. Publish teasers. Use your email newsletter, blogs and social media to talk about the issues that will be discussed in your presentation. You want to do more than send out marketing copy describing the event. Give people something educational – information they can use, like quick tips, questions to think about, etc. Your goal is to generate interest in the event and in you. Ideally people will want to register, but if not, it still highlights your expertise and credibility in a memorable way.
2. Conduct a survey. Ask your contacts their opinion about issues relevant to the presentation. Surveys are a great way to promote the event and also will make your presentation that much better because your audience told you some of the things they are interested in hearing about. But keep it simple – only a few questions. You can promote the survey to your contacts and social media network, but also ask the organizer of the event if they can also send out or promote the survey link. By the way, Survey Monkey is a great tool for creating surveys and gathering responses online.
3. Partner with others. If it’s your own event, look to bring in other speakers or sponsors who can add value to the presentation as well as help to promote the event.
4. Leverage the marketing done by the organizer and other participants. If you are working with a third party, it’s great to pass along or “like” the marketing pieces they are putting out.
During the event:
5. Record the event (audio or video). There is so much you can do with this post-event (see below). First check with organizers to make sure you can record it, or if they are recording the event, find out whether you will be able to get a copy and how you can use it. Hire a good videographer who can create a high-quality video and edit afterwards.
6. Take pictures. Post photos to your website and social media.
7. Tweet. Have someone tweet during the event.
8. Take notes. Designate someone to take notes during the event about what questions were asked or interesting points made. This is less important if you are getting the presentation recorded.
9. Interview panelists and attendees. Ask others about their challenges, their highlights from the event, etc. It will make good fodder for follow up content about the event (see below). Remember to get their contact information so you send them your draft if you’re quoting them and links to the final version. Panelists in particular may be very happy to promote your article/post if you’ve mentioned them.
10. Ask people to sign up to get your presentation or other information. You can collect business cards or have people sign up via text message (Constant Contact and other email providers have a way to do this).
11. Repurpose the recording. The event can be made available on your website as an on-demand webinar. It can also be edited into shorter clips for your site, YouTube or other social media.
12. Post and distribute the PowerPoint. The PowerPoint can be edited and posted on your site as well as on SlideShare, LinkedIn profiles and other social media channels. If you are concerned about giving too much away, just post an abridged version. Also send your PowerPoint to attendees.
13. Create related articles, white papers and blog posts. Provide takeaways and recaps, talk about the questions that came up, comments from panelists and attendees, etc. Promote these via email and social media. Remember each piece of content provides another marketing opportunity.
Make the most of your presentation with these marketing tips.
Need help marketing your speaking engagements? Contact us for a free consultation.
Dos and Don’ts of Using Social Media to Grow Your Business
Are you using social media to grow your business? What challenges are you facing? A few weeks ago, I spoke on a panel on “Using Social Media: The Dos and Don’ts to Grow Your Business” for the Organizational Development Network of Long Island. We talked about how social media can help and hurt your business. I’m happy to say I learned new things and got to exchange a lot of tips for how to make the most of social media marketing.
Here are my top dos and don’ts:
1. Do go where you audience is. A common question from the audience was which type of social media is the best. Well the simplest answer is to find where you audience is. If you’re targeting certain types of companies, determine where the company and its key individuals have a social media presence. Are they on LinkedIn? Twitter? Google+? Also look at how they are using each channel. Where are they the most actively engaged? Are they talking to their customers, peers, vendors or others? Yes, you can get into a more detailed analysis about which social media channel is the best, but it basically boils down to knowing your audience – where are they active and where do they look for the kind of information that you could provide to them.
2. Don’t think of social media as either a scourge or miracle cure for your business. Social media is a channel for marketing, business development and building/reinforcing relationships. It doesn’t mean you stop doing all the other things you’ve done previously; nor does it mean that you don’t try it because you’ve done okay in the past with your other tactics and don’t need to change. There was a time long, long ago when few used email marketing or had a website. Now you have both, but you are probably still incorporating networking, advertising, telemarketing and sales, direct mail, etc. Email and websites didn’t replace everything else, but you did change your marketing mix. Hopefully you’re always continuing to test and evaluate what works best for your business. And you should keep doing that as you incorporate social media into your mix.
3. Do dedicate resources to social media marketing. A lot of comments at the event centered on finding the time to deal with social media. Well, it’s like everything else you do to market your business. You have to set aside resources for it. With some types of marketing, the investment is more in terms of money (ex. advertising). Other times, it is more about time. Either way you have to make a commitment to promoting your business. With that said, look at some of the other dos and don’ts in order to help maximize your resources.
4. Don’t use it as a channel to talk about yourself. Yes, you can use it to distribute press releases or talk about your activities, new hires, etc. but just don’t do that most of the time. People want useful educational information; they are less interested in hearing about how great you are.
5. Do leverage your employees. Employees are a great resource for helping you develop the right kind of content to engage your audience. They are the ones fielding questions from clients. They probably have a lot of insights about what clients want to know about and how to craft your message. Employees can also help expand your reach by distributing your content through their own networks.
6. Don’t forget to consider legal liability. Have a social media policy covering what your employees can and can’t do. Understand rules governing advertising, copyright, trademark, trade secrets, publicity, and other problematic areas. If you’re in a regulated industry, special rules apply. You should also monitor what is being said about you for legal purposes as well as for your own reputation management.
7. Do have a plan and goals. Like all marketing (and business), social media works best when you think through who you want to target, how you’re going to reach them and set goals so you can measure how you’re doing. Otherwise you are likely to waste valuable resources.
8. Don’t try to do it all at once. Great, you believe in the value of social media and want to dive in. Even still you should start simple. Build a presence and an audience on one or two channels. Begin sharing content on a regular basis, but don’t be overly ambitious. Come up with a conservative schedule and once you’re reliably following it, then you can increase the frequency. It’s better to scale up slowly, than start with a bang and die with a whimper because you couldn’t maintain that level of activity.
Thanks to ODNLI, Paul Rubell (@www.rdtcontentmarketing.comPaulRubell) at Meltzer Lippe, Jerry Siegel at JASB Management, and a very engaged audience at the event.
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12 ways to promote your e-book or white paper to bring in leads – Part 2
We all hate the prospect of giving our contact information to a new website and being hit with sales pitches. But we’ll sign-up if we believe we’re getting real value out of it. As the business trying to attract leads, you need to provide that value. You also need to get the word out so people know about the great information you’re offering. In my last post, I covered 7 ways to promote your e-book or white paper to generate leads. Here are 5 more:
8. Social media. You should repurpose your content for different social media channels and drive traffic to your website. On LinkedIn, create a short related article and publish it as a LinkedIn post with a link to your e-book. Also share it as an update with your connections as well as posting it to relevant groups. Tweet tips from the book. Use Facebook. Create an infographic for Pinterest. Turn it into a PowerPoint and post it on SlideShare. Make the most of whichever channels your audience uses. Also have others within the firm share it via their own personal networks to expand your distribution.
9. Press release. Create a press release and send it out through a host of available outlets. For some great options, see Mequoda’s list of The Best Paid and Free Press Release Sites.
10. Public relations. If your e-book contains original research or offers insights/analysis on current news or trends, pitch it the media.
11. Partnerships. Reach out to associations, influencers, companies and other organizations with similar audiences who may be interested in featuring your e-book. It doesn’t hurt if you mentioned them in your book (for example, you quoted them, asked them to contribute content, included them as resources, etc.) as long as you’re doing it in a way that’s credible and genuine. People like to reciprocate. But regardless of whether there are opportunities to plug each other, remember the cardinal rule is that your content has to be valuable to your partner’s contacts. They don’t want to promote your sales pitch. Show them why their audience would want the information you are providing.
12. Print version. How often do you save an email or download something and then forget about it. There is something to be said for having a piece of paper in front of you to remind you that you wanted to read it or that you did read it and found it interesting. I believe print is still valued especially when it comes to business-oriented content. And I’m not just saying that because I worked in publishing for many years. Well-designed print materials can make content look meatier and more professional. Print versions can help you attract a new lead as well as nurture existing leads by having a physical product to provide to prospects, clients, seminar attendees, and referral sources as a reminder of who you are. Of course, provide them with the electronic version too.
Are you ready to promote your e-book or white paper? You’ve done the hard part of producing great information. Now make the most of it and spread the word.
12 ways to promote your e-book or white paper to bring in leads – Part 1
Articles, blogs, videos, and other content all help to build visibility and credibility. However, often that content isn’t enough to get people to give you their contact information and become a potential prospect. To get that information, you have to offer compelling and distinctive content which your targets feel is worth the downside of giving up their anonymity. We all know that as soon as we handover our email address, we’ll be getting lots of email to add to the overwhelming clutter of our inbox. So when someone does provide that information to us as a business, they typically have more than a passing interest.
Long-form content like an e-book or white paper is a great way to attract attention, showcase your expertise, and very importantly, get individuals to give you their contact information. But you have to get the word out. Here are 12 ways to promote your e-book or white paper:
1. Website. Make sure your content is promoted throughout your site. Include a call-to-action to download or sign-up for the content on all or many of the pages of your website. Create a landing page with enticing marketing copy and a simple sign up form that won’t discourage registration by asking for too much information. Direct people straight to your landing page when you promote the e-book via other channels. Readers don’t want to have to click through a bunch of pages before they get to what they want.
2. Blog. Don’t just announce publication of your e-book in a blog post. You should publish snippets of it to act as teasers. You can do a series of posts with different content. And remember the post doesn’t have to include verbatim text. Create summaries, checklists, FAQs, charts, and case studies based on the e-book.
3. Articles. Write shorter pieces for your own or third-party publications with references to the e-book version.
4. Email. Again don’t just tell people you’ve published an e-book. Give them interesting content derived from the e-book in your email and e-newsletter to entice people to want to download it. Since you already have their contact information, you’re using the content as another way to reinforce and nurture your lead.
5. Paid advertising. If you have done well with Google AdWords in the past, paid search advertising might be useful. Sponsored ads on carefully chosen websites may also be effective. And don’t forget about social media platforms. They offer multiple ways to pay to have your content featured prominently to a broader and/or more selected audience.
6. Direct Mail. Depending on the topic and your audience, a highly targeted direct mail piece may draw people to your site. Direct mail is expensive so think carefully about who your piece is going to and what message will resonate with that audience.
7. Webinar or live event. A related presentation can boost results. Promote the presentation and e-book individually and together. If you did promote them separately and got someone to sign up, then use the other version of the content as a great way to follow up and strengthen the relationship.
In my next post, I’ll cover more tips for promoting your e-book or white paper.
Get inspired. Invest for success in content marketing.
With 86% of B2B marketers using content marketing, you would think making a business case for investing in it would be easy. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy and successful professional services firms realize that returns are measured in more than just dollars. What are some of the benefits these firms are realizing? Here are 5 success stories to inspire your own investment in content marketing.
The global provider of leadership, management and corporate training began focusing on content marketing last year. The company developed visually appealing “bite-sized” chunks of information, including slide decks, articles and videos. It put special emphasis on featuring material from the company’s thought leaders to give its content a unique perspective. Content was pushed out via email, social media, website and third party publications and press releases.
Email distribution of the content showed the most significant results. Compared to its sales-based emails, content-based emails had a 20% higher click-through rate, 87% lower opt-out rate and generated 388% more leads.
- Your content has to be compelling and unique to stand-out from the crush of information your readers receive.
- Make the information clear and simple to digest. Focus on giving the reader the most critical points.
- Even if you’re getting solid results with your current approach, content marketing can bring better results.
The law firm was part of a 2 month pilot project with LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Before being selected for the pilot, the firm was already actively creating and pushing out content and had embraced online content as a core part of its marketing strategies. The firm promoted the posts via its social media channels and encouraged attorneys to do the same through their individual accounts.
During the pilot, its 25 posts generated 51K page views, 5.5K interactions (likes, shares, etc.) and 380 followers. LinkedIn pulse channels picked up nearly half the posts. It was well received by potential clients. Within the firm, more attorneys are now publishing and sharing content.
- Use LinkedIn as a platform for thought leadership and to build your network and credibility. It provides a great way to share knowledge and reach others who are interested in or need your expertise.
- Be consistent to build readership. You’re more likely to be noticed if you’re regularly putting out informative content.
- Introduce new hires to the publishing platform and encourage them to write and share content.
The IT company, which provides technology solutions for dental offices, wanted to maintain a close relationship with clients as the company grew. It decided to commit to creating a monthly newsletter that would improve client retention and brand awareness. The goal was to make the newsletter friendly, personable and interesting and get clients reading it. An important element of the newsletter was sharing relevant industry news and knowledge. Distribution was to clients and subscribers who signed up for it.
The company doubled its recipient list by promoting sign-ups via social media. The open rate for emails was 36.9%, which is 10% higher than the professional services industry average and got click-through rates of 10% compared to the industry average of 3.21%. Client feedback was also positive.
- Clients appreciate a more personable conversational tone. Don’t sound like you’re announcing or selling them something.
- Focus on getting subscribers to read the content and on staying top of mind. You don’t want to get too focused on high click-through rates.
- Offering your industry knowledge for free shows you’re knowledgeable and helpful and when clients need someone, they will think of you.
The public accounting and consulting firm won the 2013 Killer Content Marketing Lead Nurturing Award for its content program targeting C-suite leaders at financial institutions over $1 billion in assets. The company developed 48 pieces of content in four different topic areas, including executive briefs, case studies, infographics, checklists, Q&As, and a video. The focus was on helping marketers to identify key prospects and track and nurture them until they were ready to make a purchase.
The campaign engaged almost 800 contacts with a 70% open rate and 2 engagements worth $250,000 in revenue.
- Understand why your clients need your services, who makes the buying decisions and when, and what your competition is offering. You want to target the right audience with the right content at the right time.
- Start by looking at all the data you already have on what people are interested in reading and when, where and how they read.
- Use a variety of content formats. Different formats appeal to different readers.
Over the last few years, the RIA firm has been expanding its social media presence and making it an integral part of its marketing strategy. Social media drives traffic to its website and amplifies its content marketing efforts. Each piece of content is leveraged to reach a broader audience. For example, a 15 minute appearance on Bloomberg was shared via social media to thousands of followers resulting in 50 customer leads.
Heron has doubled its assets under management and has been growing in the 40% range since adding social media to its marketing strategy. Prior to its efforts, the firm’s growth was in single digits. The firm attributes its growth to multiple factors, but credits social media with being “a force multiplier” for a good marketing plan.
- Dedicate at least 30-60 minutes a week posting content on social media platforms and use the top 4 social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
- Ask yourself if you would want to see your content on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. If not, don’t post it.
- Social media makes a good marketing plan better, but it won’t fix a bad marketing plan.
Hopefully these case studies will inspire you to look at the short and long-term benefits of content marketing to support your own investment. For more examples of metrics to help measure the success of your own initiatives, see Understanding ROI. Want more case studies? Here’s a good compilation from B2B Marketing Experiences blog.
Want your content marketing to succeed? Think like a publisher.
Thanks to social media and technology developments, professional services firms can publish their own content and attract and build their own audiences to grow their business. But to really be successful, they need to think of content the way publishers do. What does that mean?
Understand your target audience.
Publishers understand their readers. They develop profiles and gather information about who they are, what they read, how they read, their interests, concerns, etc. They also survey their audience periodically. The better you understand your own audience, the easier it is to attract and retain them.
Deliver relevant content for your audience.
Both content marketing and publishing are about providing useful and practical information targeted to a particular audience. Make sure your content is not about you. It’s about what will help readers and keep their attention.
Be reliable and consistent.
Publishers publish on a schedule. They also maintain certain standards for everything they produce. Readers develop expectations and if you want to be a trusted resource, then you need to consistently meet those expectations. Establish an editorial calendar to make sure responsibilities are assigned to specific individuals and publication deadlines are met. Create an editorial style guide to ensure there is a consistent writing style and voice.
Allocate sufficient resources.
Make sure you understand what is required to get the work done and set aside appropriate resources. You don’t want to start a content marketing campaign and find you have to abandon it because you don’t have the staff, money or other resources to continue. Even if you aren’t making money directly from your content the way a publisher might, you are looking to build your business and that means you need to make a real investment in content marketing.
Don’t skimp on editorial and design work.
You want to produce high-quality material. That means making sure your content is well-written and edited and is visually attractive. Bring in professionals to help if you don’t have internal resources.
Promote and leverage it.
Have a plan for how you will get your content in front of your audience. Publishers use multiple marketing channels including direct mail, email, web and social media to drive registrations, subscriptions and readership. They also repurpose content and look for opportunities to get more value out of it. When I worked in publishing, I would identify ways to use existing content to cross-promote, repackage or up-sell related content. Showing related content is valued by the reader and good for the publisher’s business. The same is true of your content. Linking to other relevant material keeps readers engaged and can encourage other actions – like getting them to give you their contact information. Remember to think about different formats for your content. Interesting content can be developed into a wide-range of formats including articles, blog posts, newsletters, whitepapers, webinars, video, live events and books. Different formats will appeal to different audiences.
Test and track results.
In both your marketing and your publishing, you want to know what is working. Publishers develop metrics to measure their marketing efforts against specific goals. They test constantly. On the content side, they also track what stories resonate better than others so they can deliver what the audience wants.
Develop your own distribution channels.
Publishers have a lot of control over how their content is distributed. Some license their content to third parties or use distribution partners, but they also make sure they have their own significant channels where they can build relationships directly with their readers. So make sure your content is always available on your site and that you drive traffic there. If you use content syndicators to increase your exposure, also invest in developing your own channels and compare results. What methods get you the most eyeballs on your content, the most visits to your website, or the higher quantity and quality of leads? Understand the pros and cons of each distribution channel in achieving your goals.
Have a strategy (really multiple strategies).
Creating, publishing and promoting content regularly is a significant effort and should be planned out. What kind of content should you produce? For what purpose? For what audience? How will it be promoted and distributed? What resources do you need? You’ll want an editorial strategy as well as a marketing strategy for each audience you want to target.
Thinking like a publisher in your content marketing will help you stay focused on delivering content that brings results.