Monday, May 18, 2015

Have a focused game plan

Defining success metrics allows you to formulate a game plan for your meetings with prospective clients.

If you know what you need to accomplish, the roadmap becomes very clear for what you need to achieve. If your success metric is defined as your having a comprehensive picture of their challenges with their current provider, you can prepare questions that will expose their challenges. If your success metric is to gather all of the data needed to put together a pricing proposal, the game plan is to ask all questions needed to craft a solution for this prospect.

From a prospect's point of view, they have no time or tolerance for salespeople who show up on their doorstep and ask pointless questions for an hour. They are busy and very sensitive about their time. If they accept a meeting with a salesperson, they expect that salesperson to arrive having done their homework on their company and with a laser focus approach to the meeting.

Remember, sales is a profession. They expect a professional experience. 

How Can Small Businesses Get, and Keep, Clients?

Great article from emarketer...CM

Building strong relationships is key to keeping clients

Small businesses acknowledge that clients are critical to their success: In a March 2015 study by The Alternative Board (TAB), 48% of small-business owners (SBOs) worldwide said their customers drove their success—the No. 1 response when asked how to describe their company culture. As such, they’re putting a strong emphasis on driving new and repeat customers this year—and it’s stressing many out.

In a December 2014 study by Zogby Analytics for Xero, growing the customer base was the top 2015 business priority among US SBOs, cited by 62.2%. However, SBOs are feeling the heat. In March 2015 research by Constant Contact, finding new customers was the leading business concern among US SBOs, cited by two-thirds. Retaining existing customers was also important, at 40%—the No. 3 response behind having enough time. Spring 2015 research by Ebiquity for American Express looked at a different list of priorities and here, keeping current business and revenue sources was the No. 1 company priority cited by US SBOs, at 38%, followed by growing the business (34%). When it comes to bringing in new business, word-of-mouth is still the most effective marketing channel for small and medium-sized businesses, cited by 28% polled in November 2014 by BrightLocal. For those looking to go beyond chatter though, search engine optimization and online local directories were the second and third most effective marketing channels for bringing in new leads and customers, followed by email marketing.

Once they’ve attracted those customers, relationships are key to keeping them. In a March 2015 study by Braun Research for Bank of America, nearly six in 10 US SBOs said establishing relationships with customers was the primary driver of repeat customers. Nothing came close to this, with low prices and prime location tying for second, with just 11% each. Generating leads and closing deals are just the beginning for small businesses. If they want to maintain the customer base they’ve worked hard for, they’ll need to form strong relationships with their clients. If not, they risk losing out to other driven parties in the industry that do.


emarketer - May 11, 2015 | SMB

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Simplify and specialize value

Sales Tips
It's true that most buyers zero in on value, but the definition of value varies from prospect to prospect.

That's why the best salespeople do as much research as possible before contacting the prospect. This way, they can provide benefit statements that speak directly to the prospect's biggest hot-button needs, and offer solutions that help solve their biggest problems.

Personalizing selling points to match prospects' needs keeps the sales call on target and helps ensure that the salesperson doesn't lose the prospect's attention by focusing on benefits that have no bearing on the prospect's business. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bounce Rates...what does your bounce rate say about your site?

Using Google’s definition, a bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)
 
High bounce rates imply that there’s a problem with your website – specifically with the user experience. Common sense says that if users come to your site and then turn around and leave, they don’t like your site.
 

I’m going to challenge that notion.
 
According to Mashable, the average bounce rate is around 50%. That would mean that about half of website visitors leave the site without clicking anything else on the page.
 
Does this mean that people are unhappy with half the websites they visit?
 
Or could it possibly mean that half of the time that we visit websites, we get what we want out of them without needing to click anything else on the page? If that’s true, a high bounce rate could imply that a website is efficient.
 
Let’s look at a non-digital example. If I walk into your store and don’t buy something, does that mean there is something wrong with your store? Maybe I’m just browsing. Maybe I’m planning to come back later with my wife before making my purchase. Neither of these scenarios means that your store isn’t great. I just may not be ready to buy.
 
Couldn’t that be true online too?
 
Or consider this scenario. Maybe I went to your website to read about your business, saw what I needed to see, and decided on the spot to hire you. I pick up the phone, or visit your location without looking at any additional pages on your site.
 
And couldn’t this be even more true if I’m using a mobile device? Most of my website visits on my phone are brief. I need a phone number, or a physical address – both normally found on the home page. When I find them easily, I don’t need to click through the site.
 
And while I’m ranting, even though I have a nice smartphone, that screen is still too small to be surfing the web with my over-40-year-old eyes. If I really want to check out a website, I’m coming back later on my laptop, no matter how “optimized for mobile” your site may be.
 
While bounce rates average around 40%-60%, (Mashable claims average bounce rate is 50%) bounce rates coming from mobile devices tend to be 10%-20% higher than those of desktop.
 
Take a look at these Google analytics that show how mobile visitors tend to view less pages and stay for a shorter amount of time.
 

 
Some claim that if users aren't sticking around, it’s the quality of the leads coming to the site in the first place. They’ll blame high bounce rates on bad pay-per-click or display advertising. One complaint is that the keywords aren't targeting the right audience.
 
Allow me to challenge that notion too.
 
You’re surfing the web. You do a search for a given product or service. Or maybe you’re reading content relevant to something you’re interested in. Later, you see a display ad for that product or service.
 
If you’re interested in the display ad, you click on it. If you’re not, you don’t. Agreed?
 
You end up on the site and bounce for one of the many reasons we discussed.
 
If you weren't a good prospect for the business, would you have clicked the ad in the first place? No. Ads don’t bring the wrong kind of audience to your site – unless the ad copy itself is misleading the prospect.
 
The argument “the ad is targeting the wrong kinds of prospects, so my bounce rate is high” doesn’t hold water. If the ad is targeting the wrong audience, no one will click on it anyway. I know. When I see ads for purses, make-up and high heels, I don’t click on them. You don’t click on the ads that aren’t relevant to you, do you? Of course not.
 
So while decreased bounce rates could indicate that your ads are bringing a higher quality lead to the website, increased bounce rates are probably an indication that your website doesn’t offer a good user experience, you’re getting a lot of mobile traffic, or your ads are misleading.
 
As with other metrics, there are usually a lot of factors that impact bounce rate (both positively and negatively) and a lot of ways to interpret it. It should be looked at from different perspectives and considered along with other metrics on your site.

What do new Google algorithms mean for you?

GOOGLE
Google is making a big change to its ranking algorithm tomorrow. For the first time, mobile usability will affect search results. If you don't have a responsively designed site or mobile version, your SEO will take a nosedive. You can check to see if your site adheres to the new guidelines here. If you or your engineers need a refresher, I highly reccommend Google's Web Starter Kit and Web Fundamentals course.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Is there a single, 'right' way to sell?

Sales Tip
There is no plan, program or technique that's guaranteed to boost sales. A salesperson succeeds with one approach because it’s based on his or her talents and skills. It may fail miserably for another person.

You can gain insights from studying other salespeople’s success. The key is to understand that you must take what you learn and make it work for you, based on your own strengths. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Twelve Strategies For Creating Better Display Ads

In order for a display campaign to be successful, it must have great creative. In fact, Creative can be the most influential element of a successful or failed display campaign. And because creative is so important, here are twelve strategies for creating better display ads.

HAVE A POWERFUL MESSAGE

While design and layout are important, the message of your creative trumps design every time. Customers need to know what makes you special. Why should they care? What's in it for them? So always emphasize the benefits with a powerful message.

 

 
USE KEYWORDS

When you hear "keywords", you probably immediately think of search engine marketing or keyword retargeting tactics. But don't forget how powerful keywords can be in a display ad. Potential customers will only look at the ad for a few seconds at most. Keywords of the products and services that interest them can grab (and keep) their attention.

 


KEEP IT SIMPLE

Because we have their attention for such a short amount of time, it's essential that we don't try to tell them your advertiser's whole value proposition in the ad. You've heard the phrase "thirty-second elevator pitch." This is more like a three-second elevator pitch (if that!), so keep it short and sweet and to the point.

USE AN EXPLICIT CALL TO ACTION

Call now, click here, book now, buy today... tell the customer what you want them to do. You may be surprised how often they do it. Use action words that are short and descriptive.  Placing the call to action in a button makes it more understood as actionable and it is less likely to be overlooked.

PROMINENTLY DISPLAY BRAND NAME 

If we're honest with ourselves and our advertisers, we've had the conversation about CTR and we all understand that most display ads do not get clicked on. Okay, so then let's play to the strength of display: BRANDING. Be sure customers see your advertiser's brand name or logo. That way, when they have a need for their products/services, they'll think of them and search for them by name.

INTEGRATE MARKETING

Hopefully, your advertiser's display ads are a part of a larger marketing program that includes newspaper, radio, television, and/or direct mail. Encourage them to use the same messaging and themes throughout so that the impact of the display campaign is enhanced by the other things they are doing and vice versa.


 

ENTICE THE CUSTOMER

Use words like "special offer" and "exclusive" to grab the customers' attention and draw them in. They also like to compare prices and rates, so when possible, prominently display those as part of the ad.

* Claims to offers, products and/or services as "free" should be made with caution. The FTC has guidelines regarding the word "free" and similar representations.

KEEP THINGS FRESH

Over time, your advertiser's campaign may get stale. Users may overlook an ad they've seen several times. Freshen it up with new images, messaging or even colors, while sticking to the brand's identity. Don't be afraid to try new approaches.

DELIVER THE GOODS ON THE LANDING PAGE

Be sure that there is consistency between the ad and the page users come to when they click on it. First of all, it should look and feel similar. Colors, images and overall design should match. Secondly, if there is a special offer or a specific product featured in the ad, that offer or product should be easy to find on the landing page. 

 

GOOD DESIGN

Grab the customer's attention with engaging and interesting images and graphics. 
  • Have a focal point. This can be an image, a logo, or the offer or call to action.
  • Color is powerful. Use it to grab attention and encourage action.
  • Fonts should be limited to three or less. Avoid script and small fonts.
  • Use white space between design elements.
  • Do not sacrifice clarity of images for smaller file sizes.
ANIMATION

Don't use animation just to use it. Make it strategic. Use it to tell a quick story or to highlight the benefits of your offering. Don't wait until the last frame to tell your primary message or place your call to action. Viewers may miss it. 

 
USE SEVERAL DIFFERENT SIZES

While the classic "square box", "skyscraper" and "leaderboard" are a good starting point, always include mobile (including apps) and Facebook ad creative for more opportunities to reach customers no matter how they access the web. 


BONUS: MOBILE

Never "shrink" traditional ads to mobile sizes. Instead, simplify the ad creative to highlight fewer elements on a smaller canvas. Often one image (logo or product) and a benefit and/or brief call to action is all that should be used in smaller, mobile ad sizes.