Create a Stand-Out Digital Marketing Campaign

Adcom’s Marisa Pisani made a return trip recently to the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s offices to continue her deep dive into how to optimize digital marketing campaigns.

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    As you might recall, during “Business Growth Boot Camp Part 1: Understanding Digital Marketing & Creating Measurable Results for Your Brand,” Pisani laid out the many channels that are available to marketers today, how they can best be leveraged and the pros and cons of each.

    RELATED: Check out a recap of Pisani’s Boot Camp presentation by clicking here.

    In the second part of this series, Pisani built on the lessons she delivered in Part 1 by explaining how to create a marketing campaign that will catch a customer’s attention and what she sees as the future of digital marketing.

    How to stand out
    Pisani said one of the best ways to make your marketing campaign unique is to offer something of value to your customers, as opposed to hitting them over the head with repeated attempts to sell. Customers, Pisani said, are seeing through the staged, glossy pictures and sales pitches. They want more value than that.

    One of the primary ways to provide this value is by becoming an information source for your customers. Write blogs. Post videos. Share your customers’ values. Become a thought leader.

    For small businesses especially, the idea of creating unique content on a daily basis can seem daunting. The good news is, there are ways to be valuable to your customers and not have it suck up a lot of your time. For instance, consider seeking out content that your audience would find useful and sharing it (with proper attribution, of course). Also, update or even reuse some of your old content that new customers might not have seen (or that previous customers might have forgotten about).

    And a quick tip on the content you share: Make sure you include a clear, direct call to action so your audience knows exactly what it is you want them to do (e.g., download this white paper; read this article.), and take away optional paths that could distract your audience from reaching this intended endpoint. Make it as easy as possible for them to get to the finish line.

    Another thing to remember is that this value-added content doesn’t necessarily have to come from you. User-generated content (where your customers post content, such as videos, of them interacting with your product) and reviews are just as valuable. In fact, this kind of content can be valuable from a search engine optimization perspective as well, as search engines are more likely to rank higher the pages where people are seen commenting on, reviewing and interacting with your product or service.

    The future of marketing
    Looking ahead, Pisani said the future of digital marketing will heavily involve a mix of traditional database marketing and machine learning. That is, marketers will be leveraging automation and will be targeting specific content to users who have demonstrated specific behaviors (i.e., clicked on a similar article, visited a similar landing page, etc.).

    While this will help free up additional time for marketers to use on other mission-critical endeavors, artificial intelligence hasn’t yet reached the stage where it can reason. So, it will still be incumbent on human minds to determine what data (or combinations of data points) are important for automation programs to consider before targeting customers with personalized content.

    This Boot Camp series is just one example of the many educational and networking events COSE hosts each year. Click here to view a list of more upcoming events you can use to help grow your business.

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    Next up: Crowdfunding Legislation Supported by GCP Clears One More Hurdle

    Crowdfunding Legislation Supported by GCP Clears One More Hurdle

    House Bill 10 (HB 10)—a bill that would permit intrastate equity crowdfunding under certain circumstances—has moved one step further along in the state legislative process. GCP and our partners have long been in favor of expanding access to early stage capital and our members are appreciative of the legislature’s desire to implement creative financing and programming in Ohio. 

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    The GCP presented formal, written testimony in support of HB 10. The bill passed the Ohio House of Representatives last summer. On April 18, it was unanimously approved by the Ohio Senate Transportation, Commerce, and Workforce Committee.

    Crowdfunding is meant to assist projects or ventures by raising money, typically via the Internet.  A project initiator introduces a project or venture to be funded, individuals or groups may support the idea, and a platform is used to bring the parties together. 

    HB 10 is similarly structured with federal regulations and established standards that were recently implemented, permitting crowdfunding under federal securities laws.  The legislation would allow for Ohio crowdfunding through an “OhioInvests Portal,” a website regulated by the Ohio Division of Securities.

    The goal of this legislation is a step in the right direction and GCP welcomes the opportunity to continue working with the Ohio General Assembly to foster a strong, vibrant business community in Ohio.


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    Next up: Customer Engagement: 7 Ways to Get Your Customers to Think of Your Sales Team as Trusted Advisors

    Customer Engagement: 7 Ways to Get Your Customers to Think of Your Sales Team as Trusted Advisors

    The “show-up-and-throw-up” strategy isn’t going to cut it when you meet with potential customers. In this COSE WebEd Series Webinar, sales guru Marvin Montgomery explains how to conduct these initial meetings so that your customers think of you as more than just a sales person.

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    There’s a stigma around salespeople these days, and that stigma is that the salesman or saleswoman is focused only on dumping information and making a sale. That is the wrong way to go about handling those meetings, according to nationally known sales expert and consultant Marvin Montgomery.

    During a recent COSE WebEd Series Webinar, Montgomery laid out 7 tips that will get your customers thinking of you and your sales team more like trusted advisors instead of just someone looking to make a quick sale.

       • RELATED: View other COSE WebEd Series Webinars

    One of the most important ways to get your customers to think of you and your team as advisors is to show that you are invested in what they have to say. And one of the best ways to indicate your interest is to show that you are listening. Montgomery discussed seven ways you and your sales team can indicate your interest:

    1. State your purpose
    To get things started, make sure the customer knows that the reason for the meeting is to find out exactly what their needs are and to provide a customized solution based on those needs. Set the expectation right up front that this is not just going to be an information dump on your part, but rather, a two-way discussion.

    2. Ask questions
    If you’re truly paying attention to what’s being said, then you should have some follow-up questions based on what your customer is telling you. Asking questions also surfaces any pain points your customer might have. (Keep in mind that there will be things a customer won’t tell you unless you ask, for instance, previous delivery problems they might have had with a vendor.)

    3. Pause
    When you do ask your sales suspect a question, make sure you pause and let them answer. Remember: You’re there to gauge whether your services will be helpful to this person and, if so, how you can create a customized sales solution that best fits their needs. With that in mind, it’s important to give them time to answer your question. So, ask your question. Then pause. Make a statement or ask another question. Then pause again, and so forth.

    4. Take notes
    Taking notes, either with old-fashioned pen and paper or by recording the meeting with your mobile device, signals to your client that you are listening to what they have to say as well. It also obviously will help you later on when you need to revisit what was said during the meeting.

    5. Stay in the moment
    Don’t assume to know where the customer might be going when they start to talk or race ahead to what might be said. Listen to what they are saying, and, again, ask questions if something is not clear.

    6. Paraphrase
    When your customer responds to your question, try paraphrasing it back to them. This forces you to understand what’s being said and, again, shows you’re listening.

    7. Body language
    A lot of your message is nonverbal in nature so ensure you are nodding, leaning forward and maintaining eye contact.

    Get more insightful sales tips such as this at COSE’s Sales Academy program. And click here to view upcoming Sales Academy programs, as well as other COSE events.

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    Next up: Customer Engagement X Ways to Get Your Customers to Think of Your Sales Team as Trusted Advisors

    Customer Engagement X Ways to Get Your Customers to Think of Your Sales Team as Trusted Advisors

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    Next up: Deal Reached on Federal Tax Reform

    Deal Reached on Federal Tax Reform

    Congressional leaders have struck an agreement in principle on a $1.5 trillion tax bill that if passed, this week, could be signed by the President before Christmas.

    Members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) believe a thoughtful, balanced, and competitive tax environment is critical to the success of our economy and that any reforms made must be all-inclusive and benefit all sectors of the business community.  GCP leadership and staff worked closely with U.S. Senator Rob Portman, who served on the conference committee resolving difference between the House and Senate proposals. Sen. Portman was critical to preserving key economic development tools, like the New Market Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit, which are crucial to advance economic development in Greater Cleveland.

    Click here for a recent piece submitted and posted to Cleveland.com by Joe Roman, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.   
      
    View a recent correspondence from the Great Lakes Metro Chamber Coalition, which GCP co-founded.
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    Next up: Defining the Digital Marketing Ecosystem

    Defining the Digital Marketing Ecosystem

    Digital marketing is one of the most cost-efficient and—considering all the targeting a company can do—also one of the most effective ways for a business to market itself. But the marketing ecosystem is constantly evolving, which is why it’s important for business owners to understand each marketing channel’s unique characteristics.

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    • RELATED: Register for “Business Growth Boot Camp Part 2: Understanding Digital Marketing & Creating Measurable Results for Your Brand.

    During last month’s “Business Growth Boot Camp Part 1: Understanding the Digital Marketing Landscape & Creating Measurable Results for Your Brand,” Adcom’s Marisa Pisani explained to a packed house what the attendees need to know about leveraging:

    • paid search;
    • search engine optimization;
    • display ads;
    • social media;
    • email;
    • text messaging;
    • billboards;
    • radio;
    • TV; and
    • print.

    Following is a brief description of each channel and how business owners can use these methods to grow their business.

    Paid search
    Paid search places your content at the top of search engine pages. The upshot of this is it allows you to quickly capture search traffic. Another benefit: You can control what people are seeing when they input a search term relevant to your page.

    Cost of this method varies, as it’s based on a pay-per-click model; that is, a business is only charged when a user clicks on the paid search listing.

    Search engine optimization
    Search engines, such as Google, seek out pages they believe will provide the most value to users. While algorithms are constantly changing, in general search engines want pages that engage their audience. This is the most authentic way to build your page’s audience and it’s also a long-term play. Pisani suggested beginning with a paid search campaign to build an audience first and then transitioning to more of a SEO approach.

    Display ads
    Display ads are the image-based ads that appear on web pages and are related to a user’s browser history. This is a good method to use to build awareness of a product or service and to capture contact information if it’s linked to a simply designed, easy-to-understand landing page lead-generation form. It’s also a long-term strategy and it’s important for the business owner to understand what the path was that led a customer to their site. Did they see the ad several times, and then come search for the product or service? A good way to tell whether your display ad is effective is through testing. Turn it on for a couple weeks, then turn it off. Was there an increase in traffic to your site?

    Pisani was asked whether a display ad should be linked to gated content. Her answer: not if it’s linked to a product guide or brochure. But if you can gate something valuable, such as an industry report that adds value, users will be more willing to disclose their contact information.

    Social media
    There are a lot of different social channels marketers can take advantage of and be active on and Pisani gave a brief overview of each:

    Twitter: Good for quick hit industry news.

    Facebook: A great platform when it comes to paid social and targeting your business to a very specific audience.

    Instagram: A hub of visual content, including photos and created media.

    Pinterest: Useful to target DIYers. Also, the audience here skews female.

    YouTube: The second largest search engine in the world, YouTube is a valuable place for your business to have real estate. Bonus if you can get footage of people actually using your product.

    LinkedIn: This is a good place to show that you are a thought leader and share valuable content to other professionals who could become customers.

    Snapchat: Pisani said this is a platform that businesses should avoid at all costs, unless your customers are tweens. People are not using Snapchat to interact with businesses.

    Email
    Pisani said email marketing has the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel, so it’s one that should be on your radar. Why? It’s cost-effective, you’re not chasing prospects and, while it’s not a prospecting tool, you can easily build loyalty among your customers.

    This is also a good channel to test different approaches, as it relates to both the buying window and frequency of contact. If you’re sending too much, your audience will unsubscribe. If you’re sending too far out, your customers will forget your message and not buy.

    Text messaging
    SMS, or text messaging, has the highest read rate of all the channels, but it can be very expensive and cost upwards of $20,000. This means, while it’s effective, you’ll need to have a great case for using it (e.g., appointment reminders.) There are also a lot of rules governing text advertising, so consult with an expert before going this route.

    Other advertising methods
    Pisani also spent some time going over the “other” category of marketing: billboards, radio, TV and print.

    Billboards: This is a good way to build awareness, without a lot of commitment as digital billboards can be changed quickly.• Radio: There’s been a shift here, as more users are switching to Pandora, Spotify and other streaming services. These platforms also allow for greater targeting. Traditional radio remains useful, however, especially when paired with advertising on the radio’s website.

    TV: TV has also undergone a streaming shift of late. This allows businesses to see a clearer picture of who the audience is and what the demographic is and what comprises the demographic.

    Print: Print is not dead. And it can be useful in reaching niche audiences that read niche publications.

    Direct mail: This should be a smaller piece of your overall budget. This doesn’t have the ROI of email, but is still valuable way to reach repeat customers.

    At the end of the day, Pisani recommended that businesses test each of these channels and have a presence on several in order to spread their message as affectively as possible.

    This Boot Camp was just the beginning. Secure your place today by registering for “Business Growth Boot Camp Part 2: Understanding Digital Marketing & Creating Measurable Results for Your Brand.

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