Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Automated Marketing Creates An Automated Response

Yesterday I received an automated marketing message via Twitter and it read as follows:

“We think it’s wicked awesome that you’re following us and hope you’re getting value from our perspective on leadership. If we can help you with your self, professional, or team leadership we would love to lend a hand. Not sure what leadership and management skills to improve? This download with 27 areas will help you decide (link removed).”

People in business receive daily automated marketing messages via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and email. For most their automated response is:

“Ignore” or “Delete.”

If the purpose of marketing is to attraction attention, hopefully positive attention, the action of ignore or delete is not the desired result.

Of course SMB people have limited resources including time and money. The solution of an automated marketing appears to be doable.

This leads to the question of “How do I reach my ideal customers with these limitations and still use the benefit of today’s Internet automated marketing technology?”

Possibly instead of making a sales pitch, maybe a better response would be to ask to verbally talk with the individual. The use of a calendar scheduling technology provides an opportunity for the other person to verbally connect with you.

LinkedIn provides a canned automated marketing invite, but you can personalize it (at least from the desktop). The personalization should indicate why you extended the LinkedIn invitation.

When you accept an invitation, send a personalized message asking what prompted the outreach.  If the individual appears to be a potential sales lead to a center of influence, ask if a phone meeting is possible and provide some dates.

Remember…

People buy from people they know and trust.  Just because people followed you or your SMB via a social media channel does not mean they know and trust you. Knowing and trusting takes time.  The last action you want a sales lead to take is to ignore or delete your marketing message.

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Why Social Media and Not Email for Small Businesses?

Some interesting research suggests small businesses prefer social media over email marketing.  In marketing and sales research conducted by Ripl (mobile application software provider), revealed the following:

  • 55% for Facebook
  • 43% for Instagram
  • 19% for Twitter
  • 41% for creative and graphic design
  • 7% cited email

Email marketing as a marketing channel came in third to social media posts and blogs (websites).

Why Social Media and Not Email?

Of course, the first answer to this question is resources. Small businesses have limited resources.  Not only money, but time, energy and emotions are also in short supply.

Possibly, many of these small businesses have had negative experiences with email marketing. Their email boxes are cluttered and overflowing with sales pitches of buy this or buy that.

Lack of education is another reason.  Unfortunately, many who engage in small business marketing focus on social media even though these providers have a very limited social media presence.

Probably the best and most overlooked reason is these small businesses lack a well researched strategic plan. Without a solid strategic plan, small business owners and salespeople engage in Captain Wing It behaviors where they spray their marketing all over the place and then pray something will stick.

Doesn’t it make sense to track the right things to product the right results to avoid misdirected actions and misguided decisions?

The real WHY behind the preference for social media over email marketing returns not knowing what to track and results in poor actions and bad decisions. Then what happens is social media becomes the fall back marketing action.

If you want to make better decisions, then CLICK HERE to schedule a call with Leanne Hoagland-Smith to learn what options you have that respect your limited resources.

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True Sales Leaders Take a Moment to Be Personal

What with all the impersonal marketing and social media outreach by those who believe they are sales leaders?  If people buy from people they know and trust, doesn’t it make sense to be somewhat personal in your marketing, prospecting and general business behaviors?

Of course, this doesn’t mean invading someone else’s privacy, but a little personalization goes a long way to start building that trusting relationship.

A Tale of Three LinkedIn Invitations

What does it take to be personal through LinkedIn invitations?  Not much.

Here are two recent examples of sales leaders who made not only made their LinkedIn invitations personal, but gave me the reason for their wanting to connect with me.

Example #1 Hi Leanne! – We both contributed to the June edition of the Worldwide Coaching Magazine. I would be honored to be part of your network! Best regards from Quebec City!

Example #2Hi Leanne, We share several connections and groups. I would like to add you as a connection. Best

After reading these two LinkedIn Invitations, how do they compare with the pre-formatted, impersonal one offered by LinkedIn?

Hi Leanne, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network

If you are like me, there is no comparison. Now some will say LinkedIn mobile platforms do not allow for personalization.  My response is make a note of the person’s name and wait until you get to a desk top.

Your first contact with an almost complete stranger should be as positive as possible.  Again, you want to begin to build trust.  True sales leaders understand the importance of that first contact, the second contact all the way up to the 12th and beyond contact.

Being personal goes beyond LinkedIn invitations or other social media channels.  Picking up the phone just to reconnect with someone or sending a handwritten note card all reaffirm that you are in that group of sales leaders who truly care.  President Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

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Gratitude Is a Two Way Street in Business and Life

Is it just me or has gratitude become a less traveled street than in years gone by?  What happened to personal thank you cards or even small gifts to acknowledge the work efforts of others?

Have we become so conditioned to he or she “is getting paid to do” whatever that we have forgotten this simple, human gesture of gratitude?

The reason for this question is because of some recent interactions with a local health care facility and its staff.  Words could not express my personal gratitude for the care a loved one received.  So I bought a couple of cards and some candy and presented these sincere gifts of appreciation to the healthcare staff.

When I presented the gifts, I could see the staff members were quite shocked and pleasantly surprised by this action. My sense was my action was not typical of other customers to this health care facility.

Then I spoke with a close friend whose husband is a neurologist.  She confirmed that such gifts of gratitude are indeed rare because people believe the people are being paid to do a job and a simple verbal thank you is enough.

Actions of Appreciation Abound

Social media provides both a marketing channel and incredible opportunities to express one’s gratitude.  These expressions can be sharing the posts of others to actually commenting and thanking anyone who shares your social media postings. By taking these actions of appreciation, you are demonstrating you are an authentic, caring human being who appreciates the efforts of others.

Writing thank you notes or even just a “thinking of you” note can bring a smile to someone else’s day.  Our email IN boxes are full with a lot of buy this or buy that sales pitches. Receiving the handwritten note or card delivered by the USPS makes it stand out away from all the other clutter we receive.

One of my colleagues, Dan Waldschmidt, attempts to write at least two thank you notes a day to stay grounded and connected to others.  He totally understands that gratitude is a two way street both in business and in life.

 

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Are You Missing this “A” in Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing has truly been a blessing for 97.7% of all U.S. businesses with under 20 employees. These SMBs with limited resources (people, time and dollars) can now take advantage of grabbing the attention of their sales leads and beginning to build a relationship.

Content marketing further allows these sales hungry professionals to further educate and differentiate their businesses from their competitors.  Yet, these same forward thinking sales leaders are forgetting this essential “A” in their 21st century social media marketing.

So what is that “A?”

Amplification

The plethora of social media channels allows for one message to be shared (think amplified) and this amplification costs nothing. Unfortunately, the super majority of SMB owners and sales professionals fail to build amplification communities.

Imagine for a moment you have 1,000 twitter followers.  The average number of followers is 707. Then consider the impact of building an amplification community of 10 other liked minded professionals who have at least 1,000 followers. Your message has now been amplified 10 fold.

LinkedIn allows people to follow you and becomes a potentially “de facto” amplification. Here other professionals can share your updates to your LinkedIn articles.  Sometimes you may need to encourage others to share your postings through a direct request on an article or through internal LinkedIn emails.

Facebook and Google Plus also allow for your postings to be shared.  The challenge is how to get others to share your marketing message. The answer is to build your own amplification community.  You may have several different communities depending upon your target audience and your solutions.

There are other tools to help with your amplification such as Hootsuite or Hubspot. These sites provide the opportunity to make multiple postings of the same content marketing message.

Remember, there are thousands of SMBs seeking to grab attention.  By understanding how to amplify your social media marketing messages will increase sales.

 

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The Real Problem with Social Selling

Let’s stop with the Naked Emperor and speak the truth about social selling.  It isn’t selling. I repeat it isn’t selling. Now for some this is considered heresy.

social-selling

Credit www.gratisography.com

Social selling or social media selling whatever you want to call it is marketing using social media channels to deliver the message. This entire get on the band wagon for social whatever is sales quick sales fix for some and a quick opportunity to make fast bucks for others.

I will return to Peter Drucker who believe and said a business has essentially two functions:

  • Marketing
  • Innovation

He also said when marketing is done well, selling becomes almost effortless. (paraphrasing)

Yesterday I saw a social media post about “how to develop a social media strategy.” None of the answers went to the heart of the problem.  No one asked “Do you have a strategic plan?”  If so, then it is from that document you derive your marketing strategy.

Short cutting the strategic planning process is a proven recipe for failure.

This individual was confusing strategy with tactics as many do.  The strategy comes from a comprehensive strategic plan that looks at both internal and external strengths, limitations, opportunities and threats.  From this data another result is the completion of the ideal customer profile or profiles.

Whatever social media channels are selected (tactic) is based upon where the company can find their ideal customer.  Of course with all the data about the traffic and deliverables about social media, no wonder people can get easily confused.

The best analogy is fishing. Those who successfully fish go to where the fish they want to catch are not vice versa.  One doesn’t go to the ocean expecting to catch a walleye pike or one doesn’t fish a mountain stream looking for red snapper. Also one doesn’t use a fly to catch a sunfish.  The bait is your message.

Fish Where The Fish (Sales Leads) You Want Are

Use the Right Bait (Message)

I understand all the hype about social selling.  I also know a lot of SMBs have spent lots of profit dollars with little results.  Yet they are “sold” this lie that social selling will increase sales.  No good marketing will increase sales provided you have the right message and use the most effective channels.

P.S. There are no quick fixes in sales, leadership or success.

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Just Make Sure Your Email Headline Is Marketing to the Right Sales Leads

Today I received this email headline “You’re breaking my heart.”  First thought was “Great, now I am on a porn or foreign dating service distribution site” and my second thought was “Why didn’t my spam program catch this?”

So curiosity had me open the email given it did not have a virus. The email was from a digital firm marketing their social media analytics product. Wow, I never would have thought.

For me the headline after reading the rest of the message turned me off. My analysis follows each sentence.

Hi, Leanne Analysis: At least this person used my first name, but I didn’t know him or her.

I’ve had trouble getting in touch with you, but wanted to reach out one more time to try to connect. Analysis: Hmm we are both on LinkedIn and since you had my email address you could have reached out to me there or even call me as a quick search will give you my phone number.  The reason for your trouble is your email marketing, pardon the expression, sucks.  I wonder how much you paid for this marketing garbage?

If you are not ready to talk about how (insert product) can make you’re life easier, that’s no problem. Analysis:  No stated facts as to how this product claims to do what it does. Inserting some return on investment might have me somewhat interested.

You can always just watch a quick demo (url link) at your own convenience. Analysis: Why would I waste my time watching a video when I don’t have any motivation to watch it.  This email marketing message has not created any urgency on my part to take action.

Are you free later today to connect? Analysis: Most business people schedules are jammed pack.  Marketing and sales research also suggests Thursday is the best day to call sales leads.Since you have not created any urgency, again why would I want to connect with you.

And if there is someone better I should reach out to, please put us in touch. Analysis:  This shows you have not done your ideal customers and sales leads research.  Very bad.

Each day I could share a really bad email headline or email marketing message.  My advice is to just be careful and do not give your sales leads reasons to increase their sales objections before you even verbally connect with them.

 

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What’s So Wrong with this LinkedIn Invitation?

LinkedIn is a great social media site to increase business contacts and when done well will increase sales. Yet there is a correct way to write a LinkedIn invitation to connect and so many wrong ways to write a LinkedIn invite.

LinkedIn-invitationThis morning I received this invite (I have deleted any specifics to ensure the sender’s anonymity):

Please accept my connect request. I will then scan and send you a VIP $200 **** Savings Card. Activate and it comes with 110% lowest cost guarantee on ***** and all other ***** needs as an intro to a new ***** search engine. It can become a huge fund-raiser.

Beyond not having this specific need, I am not into any fund raising activities.  After reading this poorly pitched sales pitch, I thought “what a dolt!”

This LinkedIn invitation lacked being authentic outside of the obvious sales pitch. I wonder what LinkedIn training she had that even suggested this was an appropriate message to send with the invitation?

Personalizing the standard, boring invite of “Hi (insert your name) I’d like to join your LinkedIn network,” makes good relationship building sense. However using that same invite as an obvious sales pitch stinks to high heavens.

People buy from people they know and trust.  I may not know you, but I can check out what shared connections we have as well as your profile.  Sometimes I will accept LinkedIn invitations from people I personally do not know. However, I do have a process to ensure the invitation was authentic and not just an attempt to expand the other person’s database.

When will people recognize that marketing even social marketing is not selling?  Marketing is all about attracting positive attention.  LinkedIn invitations such as the one I just shared do not in any way meet that first desired end result of marketing.

With all the emphasis on social selling, I believe it is time to redirect those efforts to social marketing because unless people buy you and your company, they will never even consider your social selling solution as exemplified by this great example of what not to do with a LinkedIn invitation.

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Look Beyond the Keystrokes to Build Key Relationships

Having those key relationships is essential in our personal to professional lives. Yet with technology, it appears we are being limited by how we communicate and interact with others.  Suddenly we become conditioned to stroking the keys instead of actually speaking with another human being.

key-relationships

Credit www.pixabay.com

How often do we hear about people eating either in public or at home busily typing on their keyboards and ignoring everyone else at the table?  Some businesses and families now require the smart phones to be placed in a basket or in the center of the table with severe penalties for anyone who touches his or her smart device.

The Irony of Human Behavior and Key Relationships

Isn’t it ironic that human beings who are social creatures in their efforts to be even more social have isolated themselves through the stroking of the keys? They desire key relationships yet keep those very same people at arms length through today’s technology.

This goes to this essential question: What are we afraid of?

Now some may say they aren’t afraid, but this is a matter of convenience, of saving time.  Really?  How many times are texts not read or emails not returned?

Social media has probably exacerbated this problem of not physically talking with others.  We can say we have a thousand Facebook Friends or LinkedIn connections and yet how many have we personally communicated with? How many real, key relationships do we truly have?

Are we using these numbers to reinforce our own self-esteem, self-worth while insulating ourselves from potential emotional harm?

Staying personally in touch with others is very difficult especially as our communities expand regionally, nationally and globally.  Yet it can be done through the very same technology that is limiting real human interactions.

Years ago we heard these words from a telecommunications provider “Reach out and touch someone.” Possibly it is time to heed those words, make a phone call, meet with a friend, colleague and truly connect with another human being one on one.  Who knows, you may actually enjoy the experience?

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Time to Stop Being Chicken Little in Social Selling

For SMB there have been many changes within the market place.  One of the more far reaching changes has been this concept of social selling where salespeople leverage the Internet through social media sites for everything from marketing to relationships building to targeted prospecting.

social-selling

Credit www.pixabay.com

Just for clarity social selling in today’s marketplace is defined as when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.” (Source: Hubspot)

I would revised this definition with the following changes in red “when salespeople use social media to interact directly or indirectly with their prospects, colleagues and centers of influence. Salespeople will provide value by:

  • Connecting to their prospects’ value drivers
  • Answering prospect’s questions
  • Offering thoughtful content
  • Facilitating an ongoing emotionally compelling sales conversation

until the prospect is ready to buy because the prospect now knows and trusts the salesperson.

Even though I believe in simplicity, the power of social selling is built upon the existing long held sales tenet that people buy from people. In today’s technology driven world, many sales experts fail to reinforce this long held sales tenet.

Today, many SMB owners and sales professionals have yet to jump into this new marketing and selling channel. Possibly their delay is because they lack ab overall business growth plan (think strategic planning).

And for some who do engage in social selling, their focus in 100% on sales pitches and not on building relationships. As to their content, much is old, rehashed and not emotionally compelling.

Jumping into social selling arena requires some intestinal courage and taking a leap of faith. Of course having a solid marketing plan within the overall strategic plan is a big plus.

Salespeople must never forget people buy from people they know and trust. Engaging in social selling is a natural extension of that first sales buying rule.

What to know the other 2 sales buying rules? Click Here

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