Category Archives: Marketing Tools

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Finding Your Brand’s Purpose

Finding Your Brand’s Purpose written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Jeff Fromm
Podcast Transcript

Jeff Fromm headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I speak with Jeff Fromm, president of FutureCast, partner at the ad agency Barkley, and author of the upcoming book The Purpose Advantage: How to Unlock New Ways of Doing Business.

Through his work at FutureCast, Fromm studies consumer trends and consults with major brands on how to best reach their customers.

On today’s episode, Fromm and I speak about The Purpose Advantage and the major trend amongst companies to embrace a purpose-driven strategy. While it’s paid dividends for some major brands, like Glossier and Bombas socks, it’s been hard for others to make it work. We discuss what any business needs to know about creating an effective business model centered around a meaningful purpose.

Questions I ask Jeff Fromm:

  • What’s the best starting point for a brand who wants to define their purpose?
  • As brands embrace the purpose-driven movement, do they run the risk of disappointing their customers?
  • Is there a process to finding your business’s purpose?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why purpose needs to, metaphorically, be a verb for your business.
  • How to connect your purpose to your business model.
  • How finding your purpose can create a virtuous cycle.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Jeff Fromm:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Gusto Logo_full berry_small

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Gusto. Everyone loves payday, but loving a payroll provider? That’s a little weird. Still, small businesses across the country love running payroll with Gusto.

Gusto is making payroll, benefits, and HR easy for modern small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team.

To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited-time deal. Sign up today, and you’ll get 3 months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to Gusto.com/TAPE.

How to Discover and Embrace Your Creative Side

How to Discover and Embrace Your Creative Side written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Tania Katan
Podcast Transcript

Tania Katan headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with Tania Katan. She is a speaker, bestselling author, and CEO of Creative Trespassing. She’s dedicated her life to embracing creativity and teaching others to do the same.

Her speaking, training, and workshops are designed to help and inspire those who may not think of themselves as creative to overcome their limiting beliefs and tap into their creative impulses. She’s keynoted at many major conferences including CiscoLive!, Expedia, Uber, S.H.E. Summit, Amazon, Etsy, Talks at Google, Humana, and TEDx.

Her work has been featured in The New York TimesUSA TodayHuffPostTIME, BuzzFeed, Money Magazine, Forbes, NPR, and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, among others. She’s also the author of the book Creative Trespassing: How to Put the Spark and Joy Back Into Your Work and Life.

On this episode, Katan shares how creativity can transform your organization and how to cultivate a culture that celebrates and champions creativity.

Questions I ask Tania Katan:

  • What does a creative trespasser look like?
  • How can you be a creative trespasser in an industry that isn’t considered creative?
  • Does every business need a creative consultant or coach, or is it more about creating a culture that embraces a diversity of thought?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to overcome your limiting beliefs.
  • Why vulnerability is an important part in the creative process, and how to make space for vulnerability in your organization.
  • What exercises you can do to help tap into your creativity.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Tania Katan:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Gusto Logo_full berry_small

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Gusto. Everyone loves payday, but loving a payroll provider? That’s a little weird. Still, small businesses across the country love running payroll with Gusto.

Gusto is making payroll, benefits, and HR easy for modern small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team.

To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited-time deal. Sign up today, and you’ll get 3 months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to Gusto.com/TAPE.

Putting Social Media Myths to the Test

Putting Social Media Myths to the Test written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Scott Ayres
Podcast Transcript

Scott Ayres headshotToday’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Scott Ayres, content scientist with AgoraPulse’s Social Media Lab.

Ayres and the team at the lab are testing every question a marketer has ever had about social media. Things like, “Should Instagram hashtags go in the caption on the first comment?” Or, “What’s the ideal length for a LinkedIn post sharing your content?”

Rather than relying on stories from marketing folklore, Ayres is using the scientific method to test different approaches on social media to see what really works.

The Social Media Lab is a great resource for marketing consultants, agencies, and business owners who are trying to keep a lot of marketing balls in the air and get the most mileage out of each social media move, while wasting as little time as possible testing approaches that don’t work. On this episode, Ayres shares some of his findings and talks about the current state of social media marketing.

Questions I ask Scott Ayres:

  • What kind of social media experiments are you running at the lab?
  • How do you account for all the variables that come into play within social media?
  • Any huge surprises that you’ve discovered in your experiments?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to create posts accompanying content on social media that get the greatest engagement.
  • The secret to effective hashtag placement on Instagram.
  • Why what works on social media today might not be effective next year.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Scott Ayres:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Opteo logo

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Opteo. Opteo is a Google Ads optimization software that helps you automate the day-to-day tasks so you can handle more clients in less time.

Opteo frees you up to focus on higher-level strategy aspects of managing Google Ads accounts, and includes over 40 different optimization suggestions to help you manage keywords, improve ad creative, and optimize bids.

They’ll also send you email or Slack alerts about sudden changes in account metrics, so you’re never left wondering what’s happening with your Google Ads accounts.

To get a free, 6-week extended trial, exclusively for Duct Tape Marketing Podcast listeners, head over to opteo.com/ducttape.

Why Customer Service Must Come from the Heart

Why Customer Service Must Come from the Heart written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Jeanne Bliss
Podcast Transcript

Jeanne Bliss headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with Jeanne Bliss, founder and President of CustomerBliss, and the co-founder of The Customer Experience Professionals Association.

Bliss pioneered the role of Chief Customer Officer and was the first to hold the role at several organizations, including Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker, and Allstate Corporations.

She is also the author of several books, including Would You Do That To Your Mother?, which challenges business leaders to get personal and think about every customer service decision they make in terms of whether or not it’s something that would make their mom proud. On today’s episode, we discuss teachings from the book, and what you can do to build a business that creates thoughtful, personal customer experiences.

Questions I ask Jeanne Bliss:

  • How would your company act if every customer were your mom?
  • What are the traits to hire for and train for when looking for a customer service-oriented employee?
  • How do I start to operationalize through the “mom lens?”

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • The role that trust plays in creating a great customer experience.
  • How all layers of the company have a huge impact on customer experience.
  • Why it’s important to blend high tech and high touch.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Jeanne Bliss:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Gusto Logo_full berry_small

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Gusto. Everyone loves payday, but loving a payroll provider? That’s a little weird. Still, small businesses across the country love running payroll with Gusto.

Gusto is making payroll, benefits, and HR easy for modern small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team.

To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited-time deal. Sign up today, and you’ll get 3 months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to Gusto.com/TAPE.

The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation

The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Jason Vandeboom
Podcast Transcript

Jason Vandeboom headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign, Jason Vandeboom.

ActiveCampaign is an SaaS solution built in the cloud that is focused on marketing automation. Managing everything from email campaigns to SMS messaging to sales and CRM is possible through the platform, and their predictive technology can help you to send highly individualized content to the right customers at the right time to generate the best results.

Vandeboom and I talk all things marketing automation and personalization on this episode.

Questions I ask Jason Vandeboom:

  • How do we really ensure personalization?
  • How do we manage customized timing and content within automation?
  • What’s the best practice for getting more information about customers after they’ve initially reached out?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to strike the right balance between automation and human touch.
  • Why it’s important to think about content delivery method as well as the message.
  • Why the future of marketing automation is about individualization.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Jason Vandeboom:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Gusto Logo_full berry_small

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Gusto. Everyone loves payday, but loving a payroll provider? That’s a little weird. Still, small businesses across the country love running payroll with Gusto.

Gusto is making payroll, benefits, and HR easy for modern small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team.

To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited-time deal. Sign up today, and you’ll get 3 months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to Gusto.com/TAPE.

How to Incorporate Marketing Automation Into Your Existing Strategy

How to Incorporate Marketing Automation Into Your Existing Strategy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

When you started your business, you had a smaller customer base and it was easier to keep in touch with everyone. However, as your business has expanded, customer base has grown, and prospect pool has widened, you have more and more people that you’re hoping to reach with personalized messaging.

Fortunately, marketing automation tools can help you get all of that done. Many of the marketing tasks that you do now can be automated in a way that allows you to be targeted in your messaging and frees up time in your day to get other work done.

But if you haven’t used a marketing automation tool in the past, you might be overwhelmed by your options or not quite sure where to start. Today, we’re going to take a look at how to incorporate marketing automation into your existing strategy to ensure that you get the best results out of the tool.

Understand Where You Need Help

There are a lot of marketing automation tools out there on the market. Some are comprehensive, offering features for email, social media, and websites. Others are more niche and are focused on only one or two channels.

The first step to settling on the right tool for you is understanding the gaps in your current approach. This means turning back to your existing strategy. If you had big plans for your social media marketing but are consistently struggling to keep up with a regular posting schedule, that’s a sign that automation of scheduling and publishing to your social feeds might be useful for you.

If you’re having trouble growing your newsletter mailing list, then that might indicate that your lead capturing approach on your website could use some help. If you find that lead conversion is not as strong as you would like, an automated email follow up campaign might help you to keep pace with incoming requests from prospects.

Focus on the Tools that Work for You

Once you have a handle on where the weak points are in your marketing approach, you can then start to hone in on the tools that make the most sense for you. This will also, of course, be dependent on your budget and team’s level of tech-savvy.

If you’re looking for a tool that solves a narrow part of the marketing automation issue, it’s possible to find a low- or no-cost option. If strengthening your social media approach is a goal, a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite can help you to manage your social media post schedule and better engage with your audience.

If you want to improve your email marketing approach, a tool like MailChimp offers all of the basic features you could look for in managing a mailing list.

However, if you’re looking for a more comprehensive tool that brings together site tracking, email automation, sales and CRM, plus other features like SMS messaging, you’ll want to consider a platform like ActiveCampaign, Ontraport, or InfusionSoft.

These all-ecompassing tools have manageable subscription fees for small businesses, and if you have the budget and bandwidth to implement a full-scale automated system now, it might save you from having to migrate from individual tools to something larger in the future.

Prepare Your Data for the Switch

If you’ve been managing your customer list in a spreadsheet or sending out your newsletter through your Gmail account, chances are your data is not in its most organized state.

Part of the power of marketing automation is its ability to communicate with specific subsets of your population based on their attributes or actions. However, in order to take full advantage of email segmentation, you need to teach your marketing automation tool how you want it to communicate with your audience.

As you prepare to migrate your data into a marketing automation tool, begin thinking about how you want to slice and dice your list. This exercise should be driven by how you define your ideal customer. Are there certain features your ideal customer has like age, gender, location, or job title?

You’ll want to be sure that you have all of the relevant data on your existing customers that will make it easy for you to implement an effective segmentation approach. So take the time before you implement the system to scrub your data: get rid of stale contacts, fill gaps in relevant information, and make sure you’re starting your new system with a clean data set.

Once you get your marketing automation tool up and running, you’ll be able to undertake behavior lead scoring to understand the actions that typically lead to conversions, which will allow you to create an even more detailed profile of your dream customer.

Define Your Goals for the New System

Whenever you implement a new tool, you want to be sure you’re getting the most out of it. The best way to do that is to set concrete goals for what you intend to accomplish with your newly automated approach.

When defining those goals, be specific. Rather than, “I hope we’ll get some more interest in our mailing list,” try for something like, “I want to increase our open rate by 5 percent.” This kind of specificity will help you to understand what you need to do to give your automation approach its greatest shot at success.

Help Your Team Get Up and Running

If your sales and marketing teams are used to the old way of doing things, getting used to a new marketing automation system will take a little bit of time. And while a marketing automation tool can take a lot of work off your team’s plate in the long run, it’s only able to do that if it’s being used correctly.

You can help to ease the transition by first clearly communicating the changes. Give your team a head’s up about your intention to implement a new system. If you have employees who have used a marketing automation tool elsewhere in their career, get their advice before you make your final selection. Getting buy-in early on is one of the keys to successful implementation.

Once the new tool has been selected, clearly communicate your goals for the new tool, and make it clear how these goals align with your existing strategy. How will email follow up campaigns help you to increase sales? What will site tracking do for the way you behavior score your leads?

Finally, once you’ve shared your goals and approach, you want to provide adequate training and support during the transition process. Check in regularly with the teams who use the tool to see if they have any feedback or issues, and work to address concerns that might pose a problem in implementing your strategy.

When you’re used to running your marketing efforts without the help of a marketing automation tool, the thought of making the switch can be daunting. But when you’re thoughtful about selecting a tool that complements your existing strategy, you can set you and your team up for even greater success with less busy work.

4 Ways to Get Creative with Marketing Automation

4 Ways to Get Creative with Marketing Automation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

A lot of salespeople and marketers are already aware of what marketing automation can do to nurture leads and convert prospects. When you’re trying to stay on top of communicating with leads, marketing automation can help keep that conversation flowing and ensure that no one fall through the cracks.

But the potential applications for marketing automation technology extend well beyond the bounds of just communicating with prospects. Here, we’ll take a look at ways you can get creative with marketing automation when communicating with existing customers or even your own team.

1. Automate Your Social Media Approach

Social media is the best way to meet your customers where they are online. According to Pew Research Center, most adults have at least one social media account, and most check them daily.

But it’s the daily nature of social media that can make it so difficult to keep pace on this channel. When you need to be creating and updating content for social media each and every day, that takes up a lot of time and energy.

Automating at least some of the social media processes can help to ease that burden. There are a variety of platforms—like Buffer and Hootsuite—that allow you to schedule social media posts across platforms in advance, meaning you can set one day aside each week to upload the following week’s posts, rather than having to do that piecemeal each day.

When you put together a cohesive social media strategy, rather than throwing content up on various channels here and there, it allows you to develop a clear, distinct voice for your business. Having a clear voice and tone helps to build trust, which is not only critical in winning over prospects; it also turns one-time customers into repeat business.

2. Stay In Touch After a Purchase

One of the places where some businesses falter is right after a customer’s purchase. As Joey Coleman noted during his interview on our podcast, 20 to 70 percent of customers disappear after making their initial purchase because they’ve been neglected by the company.

Once you’ve put in all the hard work to convert your prospect to a first time customer, you need to follow through on the promise you’ve made of excellent, attentive service. Marketing automation can help you to make sure you don’t forget about those new customers.

Establish a set of emails that are triggered when someone makes a purchase. Let’s say you own a furniture company, and you have a customer that just purchased a dining room set. The first email that they might receive immediately after that purchase could contain a how-to video that walks them through assembly, plus basic maintenance and cleaning. Several weeks later, you might send a second email checking in on how they’re enjoying their purchase so far. This not only gives you an opportunity to address any issues, but you can also ask for an online review. Your third email might go out in the fall, and contain helpful tips for making the most of your dining space when having friends and family over for holiday dinners.

A set of follow-up emails after a transaction gives the customer the sense that you’re still invested in their experience. It wasn’t just about closing the sale—you genuinely want them to enjoy their purchase. This only helps to reinforce their trust in your business, and makes them all the more likely to become a repeat customer or to refer you to a friend.

3. Build Your Referral Program

Establishing a successful referral program is a great way to make sure that your business always has a steady stream of qualified leads coming from your existing customer base. Marketing automation can help you to grow this program by ensuring you stay on top of communicating with happy customers.

Once someone makes a purchase, this should trigger an email asking for a review or rating. If they don’t review immediately, you should have a follow-up sequence of emails set to go, reminding them to review and offering a way to get in touch with you directly if they have an issue with their purchase.

After a customer does leave you a favorable review, you can then kick off a series of emails introducing them to your referral program, outlining the benefits to them and those they refer, and inviting them to join.

Plus, marketing automation can help you establish a regular rhythm for communicating with all repeat customers, not just those who have signed up for your referral program. Whether it’s with a newsletter or emails alerting them first to new products or offerings, regular communication is a great way to stay top of mind so you’re more likely to be the business they think of when a friend asks for a referral in your field.

4. Use it for Employee Training

Typically, marketing automation is thought of as something to use on an external audience. But there are internal applications for these tools as well. Automating necessary training modules or an onboarding program for new employees can be a creative way to make sure you’re providing your team with the information they need to be their best, most effective selves at work.

Let’s say you own a pet grooming business. After doing some customer research, you’ve discovered that people don’t like your booking processes, so you’ve instituted a new online booking system and have revamped the way you handle incoming calls about booking.

In order to get your team up to speed on the changes, you can create a series of training videos, set to be emailed to your team on a regular basis. Each new email introduces another facet of the new approach, contains a quiz to make sure they’re absorbing and integrating the changes, or maybe a survey asking how customers are reacting to the new system (and if they have any thoughts on how to refine it).

Marketing automation is a powerful tool that can have many applications beyond follow up emails to prospects. When you get creative with your approach, you can nurture your existing customer relationships and even strengthen your team’s effectiveness and engagement.

How to Create Effective Follow Up Campaigns

How to Create Effective Follow Up Campaigns written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Follow up campaigns can be a tricky thing for small business owners to manage. Not only do they take time and energy to create, but there’s always that nagging question: What is the line between being persistent and being annoying?

While it might seem like you’re crossing that line, the reality is that most people don’t take you up on an offer the first time you make it. So if you’re not organizing a follow up campaign, you’re losing out on converting prospects that would have become customers if they had heard from you one or two more times. Or you’re leaving behind the chance to drive customers up the product ladder.

Today we’ll take a look at the elements that go into creating an effective follow up campaign and which tools can help you get it done.

Define Your Goals

The first step to just about any marketing strategy is establishing the why behind it. The same is true for your follow up campaigns. Begin by asking yourself what you want your prospects or clients to do as a result of receiving the campaign.

Maybe it’s getting a prospect to hop on a demo call with someone from your sales team. Maybe it’s getting an existing customer to join your referral program. Whatever the aim is, it’s helpful to get specific about the action you want the person to take so that you can tailor your whole campaign towards driving that action.

Keep Your Messaging Fresh

Anyone who has an email address knows that there’s a lot of mail coming your way every day. If you continue to make the same ask in the same way, over and over again, that’s a surefire way to get your email filtered out or deleted.

Even though you have a goal in mind, your follow up should not just be the same content copied, pasted, and re-sent. Let’s say you own a landscaping business and you reach out to former customers towards the end of winter, encouraging them to sign up for recurring lawn care appointments in the spring and summer.

You set your goal to be having clients sign up for a full package of 10 sessions, but each email should take a different approach. The first one might be a video, showing families spending more time together at the beach because someone else is taking care of their landscaping. The next one might be a set of testimonials from customers who signed up for the lawn care package last year and loved it. The third might be an offer to package your lawn care services with managing spring plantings, and the fourth might be a request to set up a call to discuss the services.

Be Strategic About Your Timing

There is a bit of a science to timing out when to schedule your follow ups. Send the communications too close together, and it starts to feel spammy. Leave huge gaps between communications and your run the risk of missing out on the opportunity to close a sale.

A good rule of thumb is giving at least two days between emails. For the most part, if someone is going to respond to your email, they’re going to do so within 24 hours of receiving it. That means you don’t want to send an email each and every day, but you also don’t want weeks worth of lag time.

The ideal timing will look different for every business. Part of getting the timing right is understanding your sales cycle and your customers. If you’re a B2B, you have a longer sales cycle, and a company’s decision to purchase your product or service likely has to go through an internal approval process. That means that you’ll want to allow more time between emails, so that your contact has adequate time to run your proposal by the decision makers at their company and come back to you—either with a decision or a request for more information.

The timing will be different for an e-commerce business who’s dealing with an individual consumer. Let’s say you’re a clothing retailer who establishes a follow up campaign that’s triggered when someone abandons a cart on your website. Those emails should be grouped more closely together, since it usually doesn’t take someone weeks to make a decision about a new pair of shoes or t-shirt.

Think Beyond Email

Email is a hugely beneficial part of any marketing campaign, and it’s certainly a useful tool for follow up campaigns. However, there are other channels out there. Sometimes in our tech-saturated world we forget about the tried-and-true communication methods like phone calls or snail mail.

With so much mail hitting a person’s inbox each day, sometimes it’s taking a less conventional, more old-school approach to reaching out that can get you noticed. A great follow up campaign will include timed emails, but should also integrate other means of communication. Plus, technology allows you to better utilize old-school approaches. Some of the examples we covered here of tech-enhanced direct mailers include sending highly customized mail to prospects, which include offers specific to that individual or even unique landing pages based on their interests.

Let’s say you run a law firm. You have someone who visited your website and filled out your form, requesting more information about one of your estate planning services. While this can and should trigger an email follow up campaign, you should also aim for a phone follow up. If you’ve sent a couple emails with no response, give your contact a call, mentioning that you’re following up on the emails and are happy to answer any questions or provide additional information. You can also incorporate mailers into your campaign. A few weeks after they’ve filled out the form, send them a pamphlet on estate planning, with a personalized letter attached, offering to speak one-on-one, if they’re interested.

Find the Right Tools to Get the Job Done

Using a marketing automation and CRM tool to track your interactions with prospects or customers and ensure that you’re actually following through on your follow up is a critical piece of the puzzle.

There are a number of tools out there that combine CRM and marketing automation capabilities. Consider a platform like ActiveCampaign or OntraPort to help you manage both the tracking and execution of your campaigns.

A joint CRM and marketing automation tool allows you to keep tabs on all points of contact you have with a person—whether that’s an analog form of communication like a postcard, or a digital one like an email. And the marketing automation component allows you to schedule out email follow ups, SMS campaigns, or other tactics, which can all be triggered by the client or prospect taking a certain action.

So much of making the sale or moving a customer further up the product ladder is about persistence. It’s sometimes difficult for one person to manage it all, but with the help of a marketing automation tool, you can easily set yourself up for success by establishing a campaign that, once you’ve created it, essentially runs itself.

Why It’s Time to Embrace a Real CRM Tool for Your Business

Why It’s Time to Embrace a Real CRM Tool for Your Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Using a spreadsheet or index cards to manage your clients may make sense when you’re first starting out: there aren’t that many to keep track of, and the clients you do have don’t have a long history with your business.

However, as time goes on, your client list grows, your track record with existing clients becomes longer and more complex, and you need a better way to manage these relationships.

That’s where a client relationship management (CRM) tool comes in. CRMs are not just for big multinationals. There are tremendous benefits to the technology even for small local businesses. The tool is designed to make it easier for both your sales and marketing teams to work effectively and drive even more conversions. Read on, and I’ll take you through all the benefits of incorporating a CRM tool into your workflow.

Scale More Easily

A lot of small business owners are happy to manage their client information in a spreadsheet or word document. At the same time, business owners hope to see their companies succeed and grow. When you’re creating your own haphazard method for tracking your customers, you’re practically ensuring an information bottleneck as your business continues to expand.

CRM tools are designed to grow with your business. When you acquire new prospects, upsell existing customers, add new products and services, or begin a new outreach campaign, these tools are designed to meet you where you are and then keep pace as you broaden your horizons.

A spreadsheet doesn’t have the same flexibility; you’ll soon find yourself struggling to add new columns and tabs, and information will get lost in the shuffle. A spreadsheet also doesn’t integrate with your other marketing and sales tools or provide reports and analytics in the same way that a CRM tool can.

Enhance Customer Experience

Customers today are won and lost based on the experience they have interacting with your business. There is a lot of competition out there, and with the digital landscape being what it is, it’s likely that your customer can find another business that does what you do. So it’s a highly personalized customer experience, with strong attention to detail, that will allow you to stand out from the pack and turn your prospects into return customers.

CRM tools allow you to track all interactions with a customer across platforms. When did they last make a purchase with you, and what was it? Did they submit a review of the product or service they bought? Did they reach out via phone, email, or online chat with a question about their recent purchase? Are they on the mailing list for your newsletter?

There are so many ways in which you interact with customers, and it’s near impossible for a human to track all of these touchpoints effectively and accurately. Having this information all in one place allows all members of your team to better serve customers.

Marketers can send targeted messaging to users who have expressed an interest in a particular good or service your provide. Salespeople can be more proactive about reaching out to customers that they haven’t heard from in a while, and can make a thoughtful reference to something they discussed in their last conversation when they reach out to reestablish contact. Your customer service team can see a history of issues a user has had with a given product and can meet them where they are, rather than making the customer rehash their issue each time they contact you with a question.

Knowing what your customer has done in the past allows you to be thoughtful about your interactions in the future. Adding a personal touch to your interactions is what distinguishes your brand. You increase trust—a key part of the customer relationship—when you show that you not only know what you’re doing, but that you care about the customer and their individual needs.

Send Targeted Messages

As I mentioned briefly above, one of the major benefits to marketers using a CRM tool is the ability to undertake customer segmentation based on past behavior.

Customer segmentation is what gives your marketing efforts that personalized touch. CRM tools allow you to group prospects and clients based on a variety of different attributes: where the lead came from, how they’ve engaged with you in the past, what they’ve purchased from you, or demographics like age or location.

You can then easily send relevant messages to those who meet certain criteria in a given group. All leads that came from attending an event you hosted last month can receive an invitation to your next event, complete with an early bird registration discount. All customers who purchased a given service in the past year can be sent a free copy of your latest white paper on a related topic. All of your customers in the Northwest can be notified when you’re speaking at a conference in Seattle.

Now, sending a message about your Seattle conference appearance to your clients in Pennsylvania might lead them to unsubscribe, since you’re clogging up their inbox with irrelevant messaging. But if that same client receives a personalized note from you, following up on their recent purchase and providing them with a training video about how to better use the item that they bought they’ll likely have a very different reaction. Email segmentation allows you to not only build trust, but also make sure that the right offers are getting in front of the right people, thereby increasing the likelihood of a conversion.

Manage Your Sales Pipeline

CRMs don’t just allow you to track the behaviors of existing customers, you can use them to manage your prospects, too. When you can see where all of your prospects are in the customer journey, you can better understand what changes you need to make to your approach to win over more new business.

CRM tools can allow you to see bottlenecks in your sales pipeline. Is there one particular area where conversions just don’t seem to be happening? Once you can see that issue, you can begin to address it. Maybe lots of prospects are eager to sign up for a free trial of your service, but then they’re not converting. That means you should focus on what’s happening with their free trial experience—are they underwhelmed with their experience, or are you not providing adequate follow-up after the trial in order to get them to commit to the paid version?

These tools will also allow you to parse your data based on factors like deal size, expected close date, and last point of contact so that you can direct your sales team to go after the most promising leads or those with the most pressing deadlines attached.

Finally, you can keep better track of the deals that you’ve lost. When you understand when and where you lost out on business, you can then begin to gather the information around the why. Did you drop the ball and wait too long to provide them with information? Did they find a similar product or service at a much lower price? This is the kind of information that allows you to improve your approach with future prospects and ensure your success next time around.

I’m Sold! How Do I Find the Right CRM?

Hopefully I’ve convinced you of the many benefits to adding a CRM tool to your business. But now the question becomes, with the myriad of options, which one is best for you? The systems run the gamut in terms of capabilities, so the real key to finding the right one is selecting the tool that best aligns with your goals and needs.

Just because your friend uses and loves a given CRM for their business doesn’t mean it will serve you just as well. Find the CRM that allows you to collect the data that you most want to track and provides the marketing automation features that are most important to you. You’ll also want to consider your team’s level of tech-savvy and workload and select a CRM that lines up with their abilities and bandwidth.

A tool like Hubspot’s CRM is free to use and is very comprehensive. The downside here is that the tool is complex. There will be a learning curve when you implement any new tech, but some CRMs are more involved than others. No matter what program you settle on, you’ll want to be sure that you’re providing your team with the appropriate training and support to make sure that you get the most out of your new system.

A nice middle ground for small business owners is ActiveCampaign‘s CRM. The system allows for marketing automation alongside more traditional sales and CRM features. The platform is fairly intuitive and they offer a variety of pricing options based on your needs and budget.

Today’s business owners are able to collect a lot of information about their customers and prospects, and it comes from a lot of different sources. As a business continues to grow, it’s nearly impossible for a person to accurately track, manage, and analyze all of this data on their own. And when you’re not able to see it all in one place, you’re missing out on valuable conversion opportunities. Turning to a CRM tool to help you manage the information, streamline the way you interact with customers and prospects, and get specific about the way that you approach each individual can empower you to take your business to the next level.

How to Use Email Marketing to Build Brand Awareness

How to Use Email Marketing to Build Brand Awareness written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Employing an effective email marketing strategy is an essential tool for building up brand awareness.

Many online businesses tend to view email marketing solely in terms of sales.

However, building strong relationships with an email list is one of the best marketing strategies for increasing sales performance and strengthening the position of a company.

When employed well, email marketing can:

  • Foster serious customer loyalty by creating direct links with consumers
  • Leverage ROI of any marketing campaign
  • Establish a brand as a reliable reference point for consumers
  • Decrease email list unsubscribe rates

 In short, email marketing provides one of the most powerful tools for encouraging long-term habitual interactions with a brand.

In this article, we will take a look some highly effective methods for reinforcing brand awareness using email marketing.

These are tried and tested methods for creating trust and authority and building email marketing campaigns that really add value to consumers’ lives.

What’s great is that you can begin using these methods in your email marketing strategy right away!

Why Email Marketing Is Essential for Building Brand Awareness

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing mediums.

It provides businesses with the opportunity to target customers in the place they visit every day – their inbox.

When a user subscribes to an email list he or she has shown a desire to engage with a brand.

This makes them a highly valuable lead and the research backs it up:

  • 66% of customers make a purchase as a result of an email marketing message – Digital Marketing Association
  • Email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers – McKinsey
  • Email marketing yields an average ROI of $38 for every $1 spent – Email Monday

Why is this so?

Because email offers brands the chance to reach loyal customers regularly and directly.

Of course, developing brand awareness among other marketing channels, such as social media and SEO, is important.

However, the fact is that none of the other mediums provide the direct, consistent interactions that email does.

Simply put, it is the most important component to any brand awareness building strategy.

 5 Techniques For Developing Brand Awareness in Email Marketing Campaigns

#1 – Personality and Tone of Voice

Should a brand be serious or friendly? Scientific or colloquial?

The personality of a brand’s marketing communication should be consistent with all points of contact with the consumer.

By keeping to a tone that is representative of its values a brand will instill confidence and reliability in the eyes of their customers.

#2 – Email Campaign Template

Humans are pattern-seeking mammals.

It is precisely this need for pattern recognition that forms the foundation for solid brand awareness.

The easiest way to establish this is with an HTML email template that is in line with the company’s objectives.

It is important to consider the following:

  • Do the fonts, colors, call to action and layout match those of the business?
  • Is the logo being used correctly?
  • Are the company details clearly displayed?
  • Does the email message contain a personal signature or the company name?

Email marketing templates are an opportunity to reinforce brand recognition.

Making an email instantly recognizable will encourage consumer confidence.

#3 – Make Sure That Your Email Campaign Converts

Typically email newsletters that contain graphics tend to perform better than the text-only transactional type.

In addition, users are more likely to open messages from brands they recognize. So be sure to include the company logo.

A compelling image in the top area of the email is one of the best ways to get a brand’s message across and will often determine if the email gets read or deleted.

Don’t forget to include just one “call to action” so that the receiver knows exactly what to do.

A further tip would be to split test all email campaigns. A split test could include testing a different “call to action,” graphic or layout.

The important point is to always optimise the weaker performing campaign to push up those conversion rates.

#4 – Send Out A Welcome Email

The Welcome Email is a great chance to set the tone for all future email correspondence.

Amazingly, there are still many online businesses that don’t use it.

The first few emails are typically the ones in the follow-up series that get the highest open rates – so why not make use of them?

Informing the newly subscribed user what to expect from future email correspondence will make a brand feel much more personal.

To really make a subscriber feel worth something it could be a personal note from the CEO.

You could also offer them a chance to choose the volume of email correspondence they would like to receive (weekly, monthly, etc.).

This would let the customer feel not only that they were more involved but also that they are not about to get bombarded by emails that they are not likely to engage with.

The email could contain a selection of links to choose from and then transfer the subscriber to different lists or add tags based on the links that they click.

From a marketing perspective using an email message to segment users in this way can present many opportunities for email personalization further down the line.

#5 – Create a Matching Landing Page

The email marketing sales funnel is not complete without a landing page that’s customised to match the email template.

From the customer’s perspective there is nothing worse than being presented with a scintillating offer, eagerly clicking on the “call to action” in the hope of redeeming the offer, only to be directed to a landing page where it’s hard to find the offer or worse still one that doesn’t contain the offer at all.

Keep it simple.

If the email and landing page is asking for the customer to carry out a specific task, make sure that they know what that task is and that they are able to perform it.

#6 – Avoid Continuous Sales Pitches

Email campaigns are a simple way to communicate that a brand is an authority in their niche.

A brand that is only interested in sales will find that their email drop off rate is high.

The best way to ensure that customers remain loyal and will bring repeat custom is to offer solutions to problems that they are facing.

By offering solution-focused email content customers will not only remain engaged with the brand but will be eagerly awaiting the next email follow up.

The sales will come later.

#7 – Send Emails Regularly

We spoke earlier about being consistent with branding and tone.

Make sure that you are also consistent with sending.

For example, don’t bombard subscribers with 10 emails in one month only to send them 1 the following month.

Remember to create a scenario where they are looking forward to a message from you.

This way you keep them interested and keep the trust alive!

 #8 – Segment and Personalize

Any company not working on list segmentation and deeper personalization are missing out on a method for solidifying brand awareness.

Segmenting an email list into highly targeted micro-segments allows for more customer targeted product marketing.

Consider that your business is a Day Trading Portal that caters to traders of all levels.

By creating segmented lists of say, beginner, intermediate and advanced traders you now have the opportunity to target each trading group personally.

Rather than alienate beginner traders by sending them advanced trading material the business has the opportunity to nurture the customer by way of beginner trading tutorials, tips, and strategies.

Similarly, the more advanced traders can be kept engaged with updates about various trading platforms, specific trading events, and more advanced investment strategies.

Email marketers interested in optimizing conversion rates have identified personalization and segmentation as conversion stimuli in email content for some time now.

The benefits for brand awareness include minimizing the unopened email rates, decreasing email list subscriber drop off and fostering confidence in the customer that the brand really understands what each individual customer needs.

Conclusion

 The key to developing brand awareness through email marketing lies with consistency, providing solution-focused content, personalization, and highly optimised campaigns.

 A well thought out email campaign can run for many months and keep customers coming back for repeat visits and repeat conversions.

If you’re not employing your email marketing strategy to its full potential it’s time to get to work on content and mailers and start thinking about how to keep those customers coming back.

Never before has there been a greater medium for keeping customers engaged!


About the Author

Simon James Simon James is a Marketing Consultant. He owns a Marketing Agency and Hosting Company. In addition, he runs the blog AffexPro, a tech blog focusing on Hosting, Email Marketing, Affiliate Marketing and SEO.

 

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