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The Marketing Edge (299)

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 17:07

Tips to increase your B2B sales potential

Written by Cintia Miranda

Anyone engaged in Business to Business (B2B) marketing and sales can attest that it is not an easy task. B2B requires research, marketing skills and aptitude and - above all else - perseverance. As a small business owner, I perform both marketing and sales functions for my agency. This can be both challenging and insightful at the same time, and over the years I've learned a few helpful techniques in courting potential clients and working with them after conversion.

Understanding the Return on Investment (ROI) of your social media marketing program is crucial for any business. The key step that many marketers and small business owners struggle with, however, is accurately measuring a program's effectiveness and translating that measure into a dollar value.

It is important to understand that ROI is a formula, and it needs real numbers in order to work correctly. So, the first step in measuring the success of your campaign is to establish concrete numerical values. Start by identifying your campaign's goal. This might be stimulating community engagement, increasing website traffic, improving the overall customer service experience or promoting your brand. Next, with the campaign goal in mind, determine the hours of work that went into the campaign, the cost of social media advertisement (if any), and finally, the rate of your gain (profit). Be aware that the profit can be difficult to assess, because its value may vary for different parts of your business. (One-size-fits-all social media campaigns are nearly impossible to measure.)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 14:52

Why Customer Loyalty is Worth More Than Cash

Written by Cintia Miranda

My greatest reward as an entrepreneur is experiencing the loyalty that our clients have for our little business. To me, a contract renewal is worth a lot more than just the financial incentive attached to it. It gives me an enormous sense of accomplishment to receive my client's continued vote of confidence and commitment.

This week I experienced the best day of my life as a small business owner. One of my clients, who owns several retail stores throughout Maine, had been solicited by another marketing firm for a couple of months a huge, national organization. My client's supervising office had given this other marketing agency their blessing to court all of their franchisees, and was even willing to offer financial support for those who signed up.

Jay Goltz recently wrote a very interesting piece for the New York Times about becoming an entrepreneur, covering its pros and cons. To quote Goltz, 'entrepreneurs are definitely not normal people, and entrepreneurship is definitely not for everyone.' So, what exactly drives people into entrepreneurship?

Many factors, including a romanticized idea of freedom and success, lack of available jobs (my own reason for becoming one), creativity and talent that cannot be contained in a cube space, a need for flexible work hours, the over-rated desire to do things 'their way' (even though owning your own business rarely works that way) as well as many other factors. But why do so many of us jump into it, even when we know that the chances of failure are far greater than those of success? Well, Goltz already classified himself and fellow entrepreneurs as 'not normal' and I've known that about myself for a long time!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 12:25

Combating indifference on social media

Written by Cintia Miranda

You know the value of social media and the importance of promoting your company through all the relevant channels. You make regular posts, reach out to your followers and provide links to interesting and informative content. Yet somehow you aren't getting the response you had anticipated people just aren't interacting, and you aren't selling as much as you anticipated. What might be going wrong? For starters, a recent article by 'BusinessGrow' reveals that 74 million Americans alone are considered passive aggressive social media users that is, they might enjoy your content, but they won't respond to it in any way. How can you help your campaigns succeed in the face of such indifference? Read the following tips to help get to the root of the problem.

Tuesday, 03 July 2012 15:59

Making YouTube work for your business

Written by Cintia Miranda

At one time or another, we've probably all been distracted by a silly video of kittens or a quick 'how to' tutorial. From there, it's easy to find another funny video, and another, until 10 minutes later we find ourselves somewhere far from where we began. Based on 2011 statistics (which have likely changed by now) the average Internet user spends around 15 minutes per day on YouTube, with YouTube videos exceeding 2 billion views per day. Because of this, YouTube can be a great marketing tool provided you're doing it right.

The best part about YouTube is that it's free both for you and your viewers. Also, you can brand your channel with your organization's logo and colors, making it an extension of your website.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:56

When good enough is just not enough

Written by Cintia Miranda

I consider myself a straight shooter. From time to time, I've been accused of seeing things in a black and white sort of way. I just don't have time for nonsense, and I don't have much patience for it either. What does that make me? A tough customer with high expectations. But there is a good part about being a pain in the neck, as some might put it: I am continually judging the quality of my own work, which helps me not to fall into complacency.

My first and most memorable boss in the business world used to say that achieving success is easy - the hard part is sustaining it. Sometimes, success can drive a business into complacency, which is a very dangerous path to be on. When things are good for a period of time, people become overly positive about their success. They tend to think that their business will continue on that growth path, which can lead to a false sense of security and lack of a strong business strategy.

In years past (not to date myself), marketers were often able to reuse the same marketing content over and over for a year or two. A set of great case studies would serve your sales team for a few years. Even during my MBA program, we learned from case studies that were five years old and still relevant to the topics being covered in class. However, those days are long gone. Today, marketers struggle to create strong, relevant and current content. I would even venture a guess that content creation is one of the biggest challenges we face nowadays as marketing professionals.

Most organizations have some sort of email newsletter, blog, or social media presence. However, the majority lack the most important ingredient: relevancy. I often subscribe to peer-written newsletters and blogs looking to learn from them, only to find myself unsubscribing within a month or two. A disappointing majority of the sources I encounter lack both expertise and relevant content, which in turn can be detrimental to their brands.

Thursday, 14 June 2012 08:39

Effective SEO = higher conversion rates

Written by Cintia Miranda

Most people have heard of the term Search Engine Optimization (or SEO), and understand its impact on the effectiveness of their website through improved search engine rankings. A site with no SEO is much more difficult if not impossible to find if you do not already know its direct URL.

The most important element of any SEO campaign is something known as link building. Each website that posts a link to your website acts like a vote for your website on search engine rankings. This helps make your website more visible and easy to find when people search for related queries.

Link building must be employed for every page of your website, as Google assesses each page individually and assigns it a page rank not the overall website. This process is called deep linking, which refers to the fact that some of your inbound links go to the inner pages of your website, rather than simply to your home page.

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 16:01

Smart marketers learn from their mistakes

Written by Cintia Miranda

Forbes recently reported a new research study from Stanford's business school, which suggests that individuals who tend towards feeling guilty when they do something wrong exhibit strong performance as leaders. The study involved 520 people and three separate experiments. For each of these experiments, researchers subjected participants to online personality tests that measured their tendency to feel both guilt and shame, among other traits.

Many (if not most) people think that guilt and shame are the same emotion. Psychologists, however, feel that this is incorrect. The difference, they say, lies in the actions a person performs subsequently. After doing something wrong, guilt-prone people often want to correct their mistake to make things right. Those who experience shame, on the other hand, tend to feel bad about themselves, but do nothing to correct their errors.

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