Posted in Marketing

The Top 5 Referral Marketing Ideas for New Businesses

Do you have a brilliant business idea that’s taking off? Are you at a point where you have a product and your customers love everything about it? Have you considered leveraging the power of referral marketing to help even more people discover your product? There are numerous referral marketing ideas that can help you increase your sales.

Consider this – nowadays, a business has to sell more than just a product. You have to sell a full customer experience; An experience that has inspired your customer to share your products with friends and family.

Marketing conditions are continually changing. Unlike a decade ago, businesses these days do not only sell a product or service to customers, but also an experience. They are given a full experience that will inspire them to share the product or service with friends and family – all of whom are potential customers. Word-of-mouth referrals are the most effective way to grow your business, and this is especially true when you are just getting started as a business.

According to Entrepreneur, an ever increasing number of businesses in 2015 and beyond will try to be more open to feedback from their customers. Here are a few referral marketing ideas on how you can make the most out of your customer referrals.

1. IMPROVE YOUR REFERRAL MARKETING STRATEGY

A Nielsen Trust Study from 2013 showed that referrals are the most trusted form of advertising. This information should be good motivation to establish a solid referral strategy, one based on various referral marketing ideas.

Research is the foundation of any marketing strategy. When you want to craft a good referral marketing strategy, the initial research should include the basics, such as understanding customer desires and needs. But we also advise you to conduct research on any potential referral channels, such as news publications, influencers (bloggers and social media influencers), as well as finding all possibilities to produce customer reviews and opinions online.

Once your research is done, use the data to find the right referral marketing ideas, and then craft a successful strategy which includes:

– Exceptional customer service. Give customers or potential buyers a reason to engage, care about and tell others about your brand. Satisfied clients provide great referrals that are invaluable to small businesses

– The 80/20 rule of referral marketing

– Shareable product experiences. A simple Facebook post, Twitter tweet or Instagram selfie can now reach hundreds, if not thousands of potential customers in a few seconds.

– Referral marketing program. Consider including an obvious incentive in your referral marketing program. Customers are more likely to refer friends and family when there is a valuable incentive involved. If the incentives are worthless or undesirable to the company’s existing customer base, the customers won’t be interested enough to participate in the referral program. Make the program more visible by placing signs in stores and using any internet marketing tools that apply.

Influencer. Find a person who is sufficiently influential in your niche. It doesn’t have to be a celebrity; A popular blogger, YouTuber or Instagramer will do the job.

References. Use references as referrals because people consider other people’s opinions before determining whether they should purchase a product or not.

2. FOCUS ON ONLINE REFERRALS

Referral marketing can be highly effective in an online environment due to the popularity of social media and sharing sites. Internet referral marketing can potentially spread information faster and to a wider audience than most offline marketing strategies.

These days, average customer reach is much larger than ever before and for many people with strong social followings, it can be enormous. Customers now have the power to make or break a business by what they say about it online.

According to research carried out by social media experts, 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14% trust advertisements. Perhaps that’s why online communities are so good at generating business referrals.

Dropbox, an online file storage company, implemented a very successful referral program in 2009 asking users to tell their friends about the service. The program offered rewards for both sides in the form of additional free space.

This program came to be very fruitful. Namely, by 2010, 35% of daily sign-ups were the result of a referral, while signups had permanently increased by 60% overall. The company estimated that within a 30-day period (April 2010), their users had sent more than 2.8 million direct referral invitations.

Dropbox debuted as a Y Combinator startup in 2007. It now has 300 million users and more than 500 employees. Follow the trend and take advantage of the variety of social media approaches to increasing your referrals. Brainstorm on various referral marketing ideas and try them out.

3. USE CONTENT AS A REFERRAL TOOL TO FORGE STRONG REFERRAL RELATIONSHIPS

Most often, customers are too busy to leave referrals, even though they are satisfied with the product or service. In situations like this, valuable content can generate referral introductions in ways that are constructive and valuable as opposed to shallow and fruitless.

Valuable content is an effective tool for attracting strategic partnerships as well. While many business owners focus most of their referral efforts on customers, non-competing businesses that serve your target market can be one of the most potent sources of referrals.

4. CONNECT WITH RELATED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

The old premise “It’s not what you know but who you know” is still very popular in the business world. Even though you may be skilled and dedicated to your new business, your chances of success will rise exponentially when you connect with the right people.

Many companies collaborate with complementary businesses and cross-promote to each other’s customer bases. In order to promote your business, identify a connection that would be interested in setting up a barter program with you, one in which you’ll work for them and refer new clients to their business and vice versa.

Networking is the key to obtaining more customers and earning brand trust. For this reason, view every moment as a potential networking opportunity and watch your business grow.

5. SEEK CREATIVITY IN REFERRAL MARKETING IDEAS

Having a variety of electronic devices available to you and your customers, you have infinite possibilities of creating inspirational referral marketing ideas. If your client is willing, try to capture a testimonial on video. This can be a really powerful asset. Offer them an incentive to motivate them to make a creative referral.

Another idea you can try is thinking of a witty way to ask for referrals. There is an interesting example of a computer repair company using stamps reading “We Crave Referrals” on every paper that customers receive – including newsletters, marketing material, and invoices.

Remember, the best referrals are the ones you don’t even have to ask for. Thus, provide your customers with an exceptional experience that will make them eager to share it with others. Try various referral marketing ideas and see how they work for your business.

Posted in Marketing

Market Timing and Market Forecasting

A few decades ago, it was widely believed that the most effective way to analyze the markets for trade was to determine the fundamentals, such as the number of bushels in storage, the current demand figures, the expected harvest yield, etc. Many assumed that Technical Analysis was not useful. Reasons given were that price action is random, or that it ignores the fundamental factors of the underlying asset. The facts are quite the contrary.

Many have come to learn that the old ‘buy and hold’ strategy can be a costly one. Stories abound of those who have found the value of their portfolio has only broken even (or lost value) after holding for several years. The financial crisis of 2008 highlights one of several historical periods where investors have lost millions. While it is always a good idea to know a company’s financial health as well as their future potential in sales/profits, what may be a healthy financial statement and outlook today can look a lot different tomorrow.

Technical analysis focuses on price movement, anticipating price direction based on its ebbs and flows (ie. swings, cycles, etc.). Fundamental factors of any asset is built into price action, as the market discounts everything. In addition, history tends to repeat itself and this repetitive nature of price action can be anticipated and taken advantage of.

Many technicians rely on various indicators that help expose some aspect of historical price data for the use of timing. Where one indicator might highlight some underlying cycle pattern that could help anticipate the next trend change period, another indicator might highlight a markets overbought or oversold condition, all relative to past price action.

The technical analyst relies heavily on price charts. Certain patterns often repeat giving the technician a heads-up to a potential price break. Such patterns are given names, such as the ‘Head-and-sholders’ pattern, the ‘wedge’ or ‘flag’ formation, etc. All of these technical approaches are useful to some degree.

Precise market timing is crucial in today’s volatile markets. Without greater precision in timing, the trader is exposed to a higher degree of risk and can leave more profit on the table.

Let me illustrate this.

For the sake of discussion, suppose that the price range of each trading day is 50 points. If your allowable risk exposure (how far you will allow the market to move against your position) is 50 points, you must enter the market on the exact day you expect the move to start in your favor to avoid being stopped out with a loss. If your allowable risk exposure is 100 points, you must be accurate in your timing within +/- one day to avoid getting stopped out with a loss. This highlights the importance of precision market timing.

Now in the real world, each day the price range varies from the next. Depending on how effective your market timing approach happens to be, you may be able to risk less than the average range in points. The less precise your market timing approach happens to be, the more you should initially risk on the trade.

While market timing itself can be loosely done using standard technical indicators, trend lines and moving averages, precision market timing is achievable with good market forecasting methods. Market forecasting for market timing purposes is extremely effective because, unlike most technical indicators that are ‘leading’ or ‘lagging’ in nature, a good market forecasting method can forecast a market turn to an exact day of a trend change. Giving any market forecasting method a small deviation allowance of +/- one day can give any trader an incredible edge in predicting market turns for the purpose of precision market timing and trading.

Some traders are historical legends having used market forecasting methods for precision market timing purposes. Who has not heard of William Delbert Gann (better known as WD Gann)? This financial trader is famous for developing several technical approaches, such as the use of Gann angles or the trend indicator. His forecasting methods included the use of the Square of Nine, cycle analysis and market geometry. By using ‘market forecasting’ tools such as these and others, he is famously reported to have many times turned a small amount of money into a large amount rather quickly.

So there are two main points that I hope you have garnered by reading this article. Point #1 is that in order to better manage your risk exposure and maximize your profit potential, the more precise you need to be with your market timing approach. Point #2 is that the most precise way to time the markets is to take advantage of market forecasting techniques, where often you can time your trades to the exact day of a new move.

There are many market forecasting secrets, methods and techniques that you can learn right now to improve your market timing. Some are good, some not so good. I have spent over three decades learning, testing and discovering market forecasting approaches. When I started, there was not much available as there are today. So it has definitely seen some growth over the years and therefore you should have no problem finding the approaches that will fit your style of trading and investing.

Posted in Marketing

Why Your Business Needs Digital Marketing Services

Modern world screams technology from every angle, people are well occupied with their busy and demanding schedules, and don’t have time to look out for different brands, products and upcoming projects through the means of offline marketing, such as: paper-based newspapers, books, communication methods and traditional TV and radio broadcasts. In the current scenario internet and mobile phones are the most picked method to share any information, so when the term Digital Marketing is discussed, customers can access the information any time and any place as per their convenience. Internet and globalization have shrunk the world to an axis point, where people from all over the globe can access the information via computers, tablets or mobiles. Digital marketing is indeed a blessing for the business owners, where they can influence the image of their companies via digital marketing and can reach up to a larger chunk of customers globally.

You Should Do Digital Marketing

In the era of technology, where Smartphone rules our life, we feel bound to access the product details online only through, mobiles, computers or tablets. A business turns does not mean the huge traffic on the product website, but that traffic converting to leads or boosting the sales. Online Marketing, is a tool which works on your customer’s psychology with the attractive content, ads followed by various other marketing tactics, Digital Marketing tools and techniques provide business owners the best chances for competition, survival and even for the business boost.

Asking Price

The first and the foremost reason to opt for digital marketing is, but obviously the cost-factor, which is quite economical, being compared to traditional offline marketing methods. To illustrate the fact a TV ad or newspaper advertisement can cost huge and with no guarantee of being noticed by everybody, on the contrary an email or social media campaign, can reach out to a mass population globally.

Reliable Customer’s Feedback

Another benefit, which really suits the need of the business, is the real-time and reliable customer feedback and reviews to upgrade the services with time. With digital marketing pattern business owners don’t need to spend excessively on surveys and customers’ feedback, but the unbiased information can be attained through internet marketing and ultimately win the customer’s trust. The better revenue growth expectancy of either small or medium enterprises can extend to 4 times much better by using digital marketing techniques, since it lets the product available to go larger and farther reaching markets both locally and abroad.

Brand Recognition

Online Marketing proves beneficial for the brand reputation, with satisfied customers and their real-time feedback, business owners can reach to other potential set of customers. This helps the business owners to make the brand reputation go viral as expected, further opening new doors of opportunities for reaching bigger markets and attain business growth.

Conversion Optimization

Since the current era is turning more digital, than people do have the access over their gadgets at every time and business owners can remain available with their product, regardless of their time-zone restrictions and ultimately a larger reach to the consumers would lead to conversion, because the consumer would get what they are looking for a per their convenience. Without conversion, all the traffic would mean nothing and all the other marketing efforts would end in despair. This is the sole reason, why business owners put more efforts towards the digital marketing campaigns.

Key Digital Marketing Tools

Digital Marketing can be done in various ways, below mentioned are a few of the major keys, although with the upcoming innovative technology methods, more would be added to this list.

  • Websites and SEO content
  • Blogs
  • Internet banner ads
  • Online video content
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Mobile marketing (SMS, MMS, etc.)

When a customer walks into a shop, the first step he/she follows is to inspect the product and then might leave without buying anything. Undeniably a larger number only come and go and very small groups make a buy. Even if the product website receives tons of website visitors daily or weekly, but none of them ever convert, then it’s alarming, because it leads to clear indication that the business will also cease to exist. Digital Marketing helps the business owners to utilize the tried and tested marketing tactics, which not just attract the superfluous traffic, but highly potential target traffic and would ensure the survival of the business.

You can get in touch with our team to discuss further your concept to bring into reality. The discussion would help you to gain a better ranking of your business.

Posted in Marketing

Email Marketing Tools To Increase Traffic

The 21st century has signaled new and more efficient ways of promoting one’s business and products to various marketplace without having to spend much in traditional advertising. New technological advancement made the use of internet marketing not only as a fad but a way of life. Internet marketing has been a very reliable way of increasing one’s sales. However, success in internet marketing depends a great deal on how the internet marketer uses the various amount of internet marketing tools out there.

Internet marketing has been the preferred marketing method not only by small and medium business but also by corporations across the world. However, it is more popular with home-based business due to its efficiency and the minimal costs involved with it. The proper use of email marketing tools will determine how fast one can get a potential customer to become a real customer. However, a good internet marketer can identify the target market from potential customers who may be patronizing a competitor’s products.

While your potential customer is presently a real customer of your competitor, you still have a great chance of turning him into your real customer if you use the right email marketing tools. One such tool that works perfectly well for most internet marketer is the use of follow up emails. These potential customers may have already bought from your competitor but the problem is that customer may have felt ignored or disregarded for lack of a follow up mechanism. By wooing that potential customer through follow up emails that contain value and offers, there is a chance that sooner or later, he would become your real customer.

The secret is with determination and persistence in intensively sending follow up emails to the potential customers. Other marketers refuse to spend time with a prospect or a customer who do not respond after one or two emails. By looking at this as a method of wooing or courting, the effective email marketer will continue to pursue the potential customer without let-up.

Another effective email marketing tool is the use of viral e-books which may be a new concept but is definitely as effective as the other marketing tools. By the way, it is called viral marketing for its ability to be passed on like a virus, from one person to another.

Viral e-books can be your ticket to success in terms of increased website traffic. People who are interested in a certain topic or issue have no choice but to download your e-book particularly if they have benefited from the e-book topic. Thus, the number one rule in creating your e-book is that it must be on a topic that would be of interest to your target market and to their contacts, making the e-book a good material for passing on.

Of course, you have to get a very good writer who will create your masterpiece but that would be a minimal cost considering the multiplication effect it will have on your online business. You capitalized on one e-book which would be passed on several, sometimes hundreds or more, people with buying potential. This is probably one cost with a huge return on capital.

Do not scrimp on your e-book because it is the reason why people will visit your website. An e-book which does not present a valued topic will just as easily be thrown to the next garbage can or in the case of computer users they can just easily delete your e-book link.

When you get your e-book done, you must make sure it is in a format which would be capable of being opened and read by majority of computer users. You can choose from an e-book with an executable format or EXE format or the more popular PDF format. Most marketers prefer the PDF format as it is easily downloadable provided the user has am Adobe Acrobat reader which can also be easily downloaded free of charge.

In choosing the format of your e-book, remember that people generally have an aversion for everything difficult. Thus, you must choose a format which is downloadable-friendly and which can easily be passed on from on e computer user to another.

To make your e-book truly of viral quality, it must be on a very useful topic that will appeal to your target market. People who get hold of your e-book must also have a good beneficial motivation, financial or otherwise, to pass on the e-book to their contacts. People who can add their links when passing the e-book will have more reason to pass on your e-book to their contacts.

The more e-book you have on various topics, that all lead to your website, the larger the scope of your reach.

You may also want to try using a viral video which follows the same principle of a viral e-book except that it is in a video format. People who like your viral video will share it on to others and you will get more traffic to your website. However, make sure the viral video will be of interest to as many people as possible to make it really viral.

Posted in Marketing

Simple and Powerful Marketing Ideas

A lot of small businesses and especially franchises struggle with marketing. This is especially true when the time comes to decide where and how to invest a limited budget. With the wide variety of marketing tools and techniques out there, it can be tough to be a marketer. One needs to be adept at choosing effective and easy digital marketing for franchises.

Sure, you can go out and research all the different digital marketing ideas for franchises. You can spend a few years trying to implement all the conflicting advice and eventually get results. Alternatively, you can hire a small business marketing consultant to save you years of trial & error.

Whatever option you choose, you still need to understand the commonalities behind any successful marketing strategy. Getting your basics in order will help you choose effective and easy digital marketing for franchises.

The crucial point in marketing is to take some time to research trends in your industry, and discover your customer needs and behaviors. Based on the information you gather you will be able to make a plan and develop a strategy for effective and easy digital marketing for franchises. This way, you can make the most of any budget you dedicate to promoting your business.

You have the opportunity to use numerous digital marketing campaigns for franchises, for a small amount of money. Word of mouth and referral marketing are practically free, but at the same time they are some of the most powerful marketing strategies.

It’s important to remember that whatever you do to spread the word about your business, it has to touch your customers on an emotional level. It’s the secret of effective and easy digital marketing for franchises. Some of the most successful companies in the world have achieved their best results when they’ve used experiential marketing. It’s because they managed to reach deep into people’s emotions.

Give your customers an outstanding brand experience and you’ll make them your ambassadors.

EFFECTIVE AND EASY DIGITAL MARKETING FOR FRANCHISES

1. DEVELOP AN AWESOME WEBSITE

Regardless of the type of business you run, good online presence is a must. The hectic modern lifestyle leads people to search for products and services online and make their purchasing decisions on the go. Moreover, studies show that more than 70% of internet users do their shopping through mobile devices, so you need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.

Another crucial point that you need to take into consideration is the optimization of your website. SEO is one of the most powerful tools for a successful online marketing strategy. Taking your place on the first search engine results page will wipe out your competition in no time. It will improve your image and bring the customers to you.

Look at your website as a place where customers can find solutions for their needs. Provide as much helpful information as you can, and do it in a language that your customers will understand. Assure them that you are there to help, not sell.

2. DEMONSTRATE PERSONALITY THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media can be your greatest asset if you know how to use it. It gives you the opportunity to show some personality regardless of how serious your products or services are. It enables you to get to know your customers and connect with them on an emotional level. With social media, your brand can easily become your customer’s trusted friend.

Memes, comics, and infographics are some of the most powerful social media tools. They are visually appealing, aren’t time-consuming, and allow for people to get the message at a quick glance. Find a way to incorporate them into your brand tone and entertain your customers. People like and share this type of content, so it will drive up good referral traffic.

Real time marketing is another insanely powerful technique to grab your customers’ attention and go viral on social media. Choose an event that can be somehow related to your business and use it for promotion; it’s great local digital marketing for franchises. Just be careful with this and make sure that you won’t insult anyone with your witty marketing move. Otherwise, you may end up with tons of negative publicity.

3. SHOW YOUR EXPERTISE

If you want to convince people that you are a leader in your industry, you need to demonstrate your expertise. The easiest way to do this is to start a blog and share your blog posts through social media. Use catchy headlines and write on trending topics related to your industry to show that you’re in the know.

You can also use an opportunity to be a guest speaker at an event or a class, or host your own event. This will boost both your personal credibility and your company’s credibility. Just remember to direct your online and offline demonstration of expertise to your key audiences. Address their pain points and offer your expert solutions.

4. LISTEN WHAT CUSTOMERS HAVE TO SAY

You can’t develop a real connection with your customers with one-way communication. Use every opportunity to listen to what your customers have to say. Encourage reviews on your website and comments on your social media profiles. This will eliminate the anxiety of the unknown for the prospective customers, and show your current customers that you really care.

Develop a strong customer service. It’s one of the best and the most overlooked ways to ensure spreading a good word about your business. Try to provide customer service through every possible channel – live chat, Skype calls, phone calls, and emails. Ensure your customers that you are there at any time.

5. BE KIND AND GENEROUS

Start a loyalty program and use it to show your kindness. Treat your loyal customers as if they are your closest friends. Send them handwritten thank-you notes, seasonal greetings, birthday cards, and small surprise gifts. These small and kind gestures will make them your loyal and active ambassadors. You’ll have their families and friends as your customers in no time.

Show kindness to people who are not your customers, too. Give them the opportunity to experience your product or service and the chances are they will want to purchase it. You can also produce creative, branded items and use them as giveaways.

Give something back to society and your company will be associated with these good deeds. You will surely feel good while doing it and people will appreciate it. Donate some of your product or services to a non-profit organization sponsoring a charity live auction. You can also sponsor other charity events such as marathons, or sponsor a little league in your neighborhood.

Posted in Marketing

5 New B2B Sales and Marketing Strategies

B2B Sales and Marketing leaders should evaluate adopting these 5 new B2B strategies to achieve their goals:

DELIVER COMMERCIAL INSIGHT

The Challengerâ„¢ marketing model challenges the traditional model to align marketing and sales, creating a collaborative marketing and sales strategy that creates a cohesive and smooth customer journey without a marketing and sales disconnect.

The Challengerâ„¢ model incorporates both marketing and sales teams to enhance the efforts of both teams and provide insights at all touch points, both human and digital. Building a cohesive strategy between the two teams not only helps generate qualified leads, but moves customers through the buyer stages resulting in brand loyalty and increased revenue.

COLLABORATION BETWEEN B2B SALES AND MARKETING

We all know communication is key for bettering any relationship in your life; that stands true while communicating with your marketing and sales team. Consistent communication between these two teams is necessary to not only generate quality leads, but to deliver valuable insights along a buyer’s journey.

“No matter how the CRM industry evolves, getting the sales and marketing teams to synergize is goal number one. Every success grows from their collaboration and free exchange of ideas, because you can’t serve the customer right when your best people are working blind.”

Marshall Lager

Encouraging lead alignment sessions around the customer journey with marketing and sales leaders will help generate high-quality leads and maximize revenue growth.

B2B SALES AND MARKETING PLATFORMS JOIN FORCES

The most effective way to integrate marketing and sales teams is to leverage platforms that connects marketing leads with sales opportunities. More specifically, a platform that captures marketing leads by campaign source and then seamlessly scores, qualifies and alerts the appropriate business development representative. By integrating and configuring your marketing automation and CRM platforms, marketing and sales teams can deliver on the customer experience at every touch point along the way.

NURTURING LEADS IN SYNC WITH BUYER JOURNEY

When B2B sales and marketing strategies are in alignment with the customer’s expectations as they go through the buyer journey, there’s a greater volume of quality leads that will make their way from awareness to purchase.

However, when there’s a gap between these teams, there’s a disconnect and usually results in lost revenue. For example, “Leads that come from online marketing materials close about 25% of the time, and leads that come in from sales – without the help of marketing – close at a rate of 1.5%”. When the traditional sales funnel is swapped with a sales and marketing buyer journey, there’s room to improve sales ready leads.

CONSISTENT GOALS & METRICS

Without clearly defined and shared goals, alignment is challenging at best. It takes a commitment to collaboration, defining common goals and it takes hard work.

Begin with how you will define and measure:

  • Scoring inbound leads
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Sequencing of human and digital touch points
  • Service levels for responding to leads
  • Marketing contribution to closed won opportunities

Understanding the shifts in the buyer journey and how to adapt B2B sales and marketing strategies are critical to evolving in our world of constant disruption.

Posted in Marketing

How to Kick-Start Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Developing a B2B content marketing strategy that aligns content messaging with your target audience is no small task. In fact, 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a content marketing strategy.

The development of a fundamentally customer-focused marketing strategy will blaze a trail for a B2B content marketing strategy to reach new customer engagement and acquisition goals. By ensuring value is delivered to your customers, the B2B content marketing strategy will fall into place.

Here are a few key tenets of B2B content marketing strategy to kick start the process for you and your team:

1. Determining your content point of view. Here’s a hint: Make it customer-focused.

2. Ensure once you start executing on content creation, you can measure your efforts. Another hint: Make sure it’s driving a tangible business outcome as well.

3. Align your team’s talents with the type of content being created. Last hint: Not all marketers think the same way.

Customer-Focused Point of View for Content Pays Off

Content marketing strategies developed to engage customers with your brand start by aligning content with the point of view of your reader. Delivering information both that the customer sees as valuable and that aligns with your brand should be the underpinnings of every B2B content marketing strategy.

In a recent study from Forrester Research, they provided the example of Kraft Foods launching a site (kraftrecipes.com) to share recipes and food ideas using their products. By shaping purchase decisions, encouraging buyers through the journey through value-driven content, Kraft Foods had buyers that were all-the-more inclined to purchase cream cheese for “that casserole recipe I saw online”. They delivered value to customers by encouraging a purchase decision as opposed to pushing a coupon.

With a customer-focused point of view regardless of the buyer type (B2C and B2B buyers), position your content to deliver value to your customers. Similarly, through customer-centered content, you can actively shape purchase decisions through a B2B content marketing strategy that drives leads which, in turn, fuels revenue.

Prioritize and Set Content Goals

In a recent survey of content marketing maturity, Forrester found that 52% of B2B marketers were in the early stages of assembling a content strategy and executing it. While B2B marketers seem to be embarking on a more customer-focused approach to content development, a key tenet to a closed loop model for your B2B content marketing strategy is tracking buyer interactions with content at each stage in the purchase life cycle.

Providing buyers with content that is useful and valuable to read, watch, or interact that encourages forward movement in the buying cycle is a B2B marketer’s dream. And yet if those interactions are not measurable, how do you know your content strategy and supporting tactics are effective?

To kick start your B2B content marketing strategy that produces customer-focused content, ensure your team is taking a practical approach to content creation aligned with short-term goals. Meeting and rewarding these short term goals will push your team to drive increasingly buyer-aligned content. This will inevitably result in customer interactions that contribute to increased revenue. These longer-term objectives ensure content drives tangible business outcomes.

Align Talent with Content Creation

Balance your team to align strengths with content creation requirements. Buyer-aligned content that captivates, inspires and challenges is a different focus for most B2B marketers. Marketers whose background include a mix of product marketing, sales positions and even direct marketing may be challenged to make this shift.

Climbing to new heights requires planning and preparation but it also mandates physical and mental stamina. Applying that principle to strategy development versus plan rollout and execution, B2B marketers need to consider skill assessment and training as a critical tenet of B2B content marketing strategy. When the team is ready to hit the trail, talent needs to be aligned with a type of content creation that sees through the buyer’s point of view, interweaves a compelling story and is appropriate to the content application.

So, begin with your team to consider what content will deliver value to your customers. With this customer-focused lens, a B2B content marketing strategy will achieve the following:

  • Address buyer concerns to engage
  • Motivate them through the buyer journey
  • Build support from bottom-line-thinking executives.
Posted in Marketing

7 Game-Changing Marketing Trends You Need To Know About

Over the last few years, technology has changed a lot. The pace of change in technology is very fast. It is getting even more difficult for marketing firms to keep up with this change in technology. So what kind of technological change should you expect soon? You need to be prepared for these upcoming changes. Here are some, coming very soon:

1. Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is also known as customer relationship management (CRM). It is focused on long-term engagement and relationships with the customers instead of short term relations. The aim of relationship marketing is to emotionally engage customers with the brands. This leads to free word of mouth marketing and loyalty. It is different from traditional marketing approach because it is not focused on individual profit generation.

2. Marketing Automation

Market automation refers to the latest technologies and software that are designed for marketing departments. These software and online channels are used to promote products at different platforms like emails, blogs, social media and websites.

3. Location-Based Marketing Technology

The location-based technology uses mobile phone location for marketing the products. It is another direct marketing strategy. An opt-in is usually activated to process this type of marketing. What actually happens is that when opt-in is activated it starts tracking the location of device holder and sends a text about nearby product or service which is available. This includes any free coupon schemes or any discount deals. This technology actually bridges the physical gap between customers and the available products in their nearby places.

4. Virtual Reality

One of the most prominent marketing strategies that should be utilized by every marketer is virtual reality. Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences. It can be aimed at sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch. It is used in the depiction of business products, games, movies, and arts.

5. Ephemeral Marketing

Snapchat is one of the best examples of ephemeral marketing. It is one of the latest leaps in technological development. Marketing firms and businesses can use it for their own benefit. Ephemeral marketing means providing something to the customers for a very short period of time. This has many advantages. For instance, when discounts and special offers are announced like this for a limited time period it will enhance the excitement of customers. Similarly giving a sneak peek of the new product, which is not yet launched in the market, could also increase the excitement of people. In this way, people will be more attracted towards the product.

6. Search Past Search Engines

Many social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are trying to create their own search engines. It will also boost the marketing opportunities for the marketers so they need to be prepared for this change.

7. The Internet of Things

Internet of things is actually a network of physical objects. For instance vehicles, devices, buildings etc. which are electronically connected with each other. For marketers, it means that their data is more easily accessible to the customers so they can market their products more efficiently.

Posted in Marketing

2 Things You Need To Know About Successful Marketing On The Internet

Most people who offer advice on how to market products on the Internet don’t know what they are talking about. Most of the advice is a rehash of advice given to people 20 years ago about using direct mail letters, classified advertising and other forms of direct marketing, and then applied to the Internet.

And most of the advice is wrong, wrong, wrong.

In a series of articles in this department, I’m going to tell you what you need to know about successfully marketing your product or service on the Internet. And I’m going to tell you why so many people fail to do it right.

Internet Marketing is a Game of Two Halves

Marketing on the Internet can be summarised with just two basic strategies – these are either Push Marketing or Pull Marketing. Here’s what I mean.

1. Push Marketing

Push marketing is pretty much what it sounds like. It is the strategy of ‘pushing’ your product ads into the faces of potential customers, hoping that if you ‘push’ enough, you will eventually find buyers. Prime examples of Push Marketing on the Internet are spam email, pop-up ads, and intrusive banner ads. All try to ‘push’ their way into your focus, and get you do something you really had no interest in doing. Most of the self-proclaimed Internet marketing ‘gurus’ advise you to heavily invest in ‘push’ marketing techniques. (Most of these same gurus don’t bother to mention that the three things consumers dislike the most about the Internet spam, pop-up ads, and intrusive banner ads – all push marketing.)

2. Pull Marketing

Pull marketing is the strategy of offering detailed content, information, tools and resources on a specific topic, which serves as a ‘magnet’ to pull visitors to your site when they search for that information in the search engine. Pull Marketing works because most people who use the Internet are in ‘search’ mode – searching for a solution to a specific problem or a specific product they wish to buy. Internet users in search mode use the search engines as their ‘find it fast’ tool – particularly Google. They go to Google, type in the item or solution they are searching for, and then view a list of sites which may offer the resource they are searching for. When they find a site offering solutions, they are ‘pulled’ to the site by the content or resources on that site. When they get to the site, they already know what they want, and if they find it there, they often buy on the spot.

The vast majority of purchases made on the web are made as a direct result of ‘pull’ marketing. A web user searches Google for a specific product, finds it on a site, and buys it. No banner ads, no spam, no pop-ups involved.

The real reason most people use the Internet is that they can find almost anything they are looking for – solutions to problems or products to buy. They start at the search engine, and are ‘pulled’ into the sites that have what they want. Pull marketing is the natural behaviour of the vast majority of Internet users.

Push or Pull?

Most of your Internet marketing ‘gurus’ will tell you to concentrate your Internet marketing efforts on different forms of Push Marketing. And most of these same people just so happen to have a push-enabling product to sell you. In fact, if you check, you’ll find that most of these marketing ‘gurus’ have never sold anything themselves except their Push products. Most seem to work on the ‘bigger fool’ theory of marketing – which is the belief that there is always a ‘bigger fool than me’ out there willing to fork over money.

If you look past the marketing gurus and start to track the success stories of small companies and individuals on the web, you’ll see that the real success stories invariably attribute their success to ‘pull’ marketing. They created resources on a specific subject or topic, the search engine gave their sites high placement for key words relating to those topics, and visitors found the site through the search engines.

The vast majority of these small sites never used spam, never used pop-ups, and never used banner ads. They just provided resources on their sites which acted as a magnet to pull visitors to their site. And it is unlikely you’d even know about these sites unless you searched for the solutions or information they offer.

Lotto Mentality?

I think the major reason we still see so many people get involved with the kind of Push Marketing consumers so deeply despise is that many would-be entrepreneurs have ‘Lotto mentality’.

They think that paying for a spam campaign, or obnoxious banner ads, or intrusive pop-ups can overcome having an unwanted product. And they think if they send out millions of emails, surely enough fools will fall for the offer to make the seller some money.

Truth is, it rarely ever happens. Instead, in the case of the spammer, the spam creates angry consumers who complain to the seller’s web host, and the site is taken offline. If the seller is unlucky, he will become the target of the spam vigilantes who make it a personal vendetta to cause grief to spammers.

My advice – when it comes to Internet Marketing, avoid intrusive Push Marketing. Instead concentrate on building a content rich ‘magnet’ site which pulls those with a specific interest to your site. Create the kind of site they will want to visit often, recommend to friends, and add to their favourites list – and you’ll be on the road to success.

Posted in Marketing

Beating The Market Is Harder Than You Think

The world is oversupplied with oil, U.S. interest rates are rising and international prospects look dim, with slowing growth in China and persistent troubles in Europe and Japan. How should investors react?

When asset prices decline, people naturally want to take action to alleviate the pain. Yet sometimes no action is the best reaction. Trying to avoid the next market meltdown or identify the next hot market is a siren song for all investors, but even professional investors are collectively unsuccessful when they try to time buying into or selling out of particular investments. For the 15 years ending December 31, 2014, only 19 percent of stock mutual funds and 8 percent of bond mutual funds survived and outperformed their indexes, according to data from Dimensional Fund Advisors and the Center for Research in Security Prices at the University of Chicago.

Knowing a bit more about how the markets work can help you understand why maintaining a consistent, diversified approach to investing is the right philosophy for achieving long-term success, regardless of the crisis du jour.

Understanding Valuation Principles

The basic theory behind investing is easy to understand: Buy low; sell high. However, determining what an investment is worth, and thus which investments are underpriced and which are overpriced, is not as easy as it seems.

U.S. Treasury Regulations define “fair market value” for federal tax purposes as “the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.” Essentially, this describes what happens in the stock market every day. Two independent parties reach a mutually agreed-upon price at which to trade an investment.

This definition also encapsulates one of the theories of valuation: An investment is worth only as much as someone else is willing to pay for it. If people are enamored with tulip bulbs, Beanie Babies, tech stocks, real estate or gold, they might pay ever-higher prices that seem to have little rationale. The buyers of a seemingly overpriced asset might just be hoping they find a greater fool who will buy it from them at an even more inflated price. The possibility that they are, in fact, that greater fool scares many investors.

On the other hand, there is another theory of valuation that says each investment has an intrinsic value, which can be determined through due diligence. Most investors consider this intrinsic value when they try to price an investment based on the current value of its future cash flow. However, this second method is not as robust as it sounds, because it still relies on the investor’s assumptions. The future cash flow of most investments is not certain, regardless of how much research an investor performs. As a result of this uncertainty, any valuation can be justified based on a given prediction, though thoughtful analysis should still result in a more accurate assessment of intrinsic value.

Market Efficiency

Each investor makes certain assumptions about the future and has reasons to buy or sell an investment. Every time a trade occurs, it is another affirmation that two parties agreed on an appropriate fair market value for the investment at that time. In this way, the market incorporates the collective wisdom of all investors’ different predictions of the future.

The degree to which a market’s prices are accurate and its mispricings are unpredictable is known as a market’s efficiency. Efficiency varies by markets. Markets with more participants, a freer flow of information, better-informed participants and more trading tend to be more efficient than markets that lack these features.

But markets are not perfect, and mispricings occur from time to time as a result of many investors either choosing to ignore intrinsic value or incorporating incorrect assumptions in their fundamental analysis. These mispricings tend to be random in efficient markets, and it is hard to know when your viewpoint is smarter than the collective wisdom of the market. You should only attempt to outperform an index if you believe that you, or someone you hire, can secure a sustainable advantage versus other market participants.

Avoiding The Temptation To Time The Market

Many of us think we are smarter than the average investor, so we should be able to outperform the market. We read headlines about the hedge fund manager or other star investor who profited handsomely by accurately predicting the last unexpected event. The next time you hear about these predictions, remember this quotation from Malcolm Gladwell: “If you make a great number of predictions, the ones that were wrong will soon be forgotten, and the ones that turn out to be true will make you famous.”

One investor may get several predictions wrong before getting one right and may be too early with his or her prediction. In hindsight, we will recognize such clairvoyance, but before the unexpected occurs, multiple experts would likely predict wholly different scenarios. The majority of professional investors underperform the market, and those who consistently outperform may do so by chance.

While experts who have a contrarian viewpoint that is ahead of the market might outperform the market as a whole, individual investors will have a much more difficult time succeeding. If you expect a recession based on something you read in The Wall Street Journal or heard on CNN, it is likely pointless to trade on that information, because that possibility is already incorporated into the current market price of investments. Similarly, if you read a story about a company’s breakthrough product, it is also too late to buy that stock. Trading based on your own theories should only result in excess profits if your viewpoints are more accurate than the market’s view as a whole.

If I expect gas prices to go up next week, I will fill my tank today, even if I have plenty of gas. If I expect prices to go down, I’ll roll into the gas station on fumes next week. Markets work the same way to incorporate people’s expectations of the future.

If a region, sector or company is likely to produce higher output in the future, the stock market often takes notice of this and prices the expectation into the current valuation. The stocks go up, even though the good news or growth has not yet arrived. So if investors already anticipate substantial growth in a country, that market’s future returns might not exceed those of a slower-growing economy, since the faster growth was already accounted for in the original market price. An investment is most likely to outperform when its prospects or earnings exceed the market’s expectations.

Under these circumstances, growing a portfolio is not as easy as identifying the market with the highest potential for growth in future output, and investing accordingly. One of the biggest mistakes investors make is trying to trade based on a very accurate prediction for which the market has already accounted.

Investors can get a little more information about how expensive a company or market is by looking beyond recent stock market movements. Just because markets have declined does not mean their value cannot fall further. Nothing in the laws of math or the markets prevents an investment that has fallen 50 percent from declining another 90 percent. For this reason, you should not concentrate your portfolio in an area that has had recent trouble with the hope of it bouncing back.

Experienced investors often look at certain valuation metrics to give them an idea of how expensive an investment is. The most widely known of these measures is a stock’s price-to-earnings ratio, but there are several others, including its price-to-book value, price to cash flow and dividend yield. These measures provide more information than just looking at a market’s recent moves, and they can be compared across time and across markets to determine a market’s relative valuation. However, again investors as a whole might be correct to seemingly over- or underprice a market, and it is hard to know when the market is wrong.

You can find substantial support to prove that almost any valuation is right, and probably just as much to prove that it is wrong. Cheap markets can get cheaper, and frothy markets can get more expensive.

Those who invest in the market do so with the aim of maximizing their profits. Unless you think you know something of which others in the market are unaware, think twice before changing your portfolio. Markets quickly incorporate new information into prices, and you are unlikely to be trading ahead of the crowd.