Drew McLellan’s a 25+ year marketing agency veteran who lives for creating “a ha” moments for his clients, clients’ customers, peers and audiences across the land. Sadly, for his daughter, he attempts to do the same thing at home.
Over the years, Drew has lent his expertise to clients like Nabisco, IAMS pet foods, Kraft Foods, Meredith Publishing, Make-A-Wish, and others.
Drew is also one of the world’s top marketing and branding bloggers.
Recently he has appeared in the New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business Week and Fortune’s Small Business. The Wall Street Journal calls him one of 10 bloggers that every entrepreneur should read.
If your company is involved in social media, one of the elements you worry about is if you're sharing in the best way. You want to maximize your company's exposure but choosing the best social networks, the best way to communicate and even the best time of day.
Your blog content:
If you aren't using your corporate blog to fuel your social media strategy, you are almost certainly not as effective and efficient as you could be.
If you are sharing great content on social networks that doesn't exist on your blog or content hub, you are missing out on a huge SEO opportunity. If your content is on your blog, it will generate links and social indicators (likes, shares, +1s, etc.) that will benefit your website's domain.
Blog content is permanent - social content is not. Let's say that you posted a great tax tip on Facebook that received hundreds of Likes. When tax time comes around next year, that post will be long gone. However, if you post the tax tip on your blog, you can re-share it year after year. In addition, the tip will be indexed by the search engines and will likely drive search traffic as well.
How you share content influences the your audience's reactions. Here are some suggested copy do's and don'ts as you compose your next update.
It's not just what you say, but when you say it. Timing your social sharing matters.
The fourth quarter is a very busy time for most businesses for several reasons:
That's why it's not all that surprising that you aren't thinking about the sales/activity dry spell that often comes in January and February. You may be the exception to this rule, but for many organizations, the first few months of the year are often the slowest in terms of leads, sales and revenue. That's why you need to plant some marketing seeds right now.
It's usually around the end of January that someone inside the company says, "Wow, our sales are really slow. We'd better do something." They go into a brainstorming session and come up with some sort of promotion, marketing tactics or special to generate some sales activity.
Odds are, the ideas that get generated at the end of January usually start producing results 30-90 days after they're deployed.
So if that's the case...wouldn't it make a lot of sense to begin those promos, specials, and increased efforts now, sixty days before your inevitable dry spell?
Let's call it your planting seeds effort. You want to generate interest now but deliver the services/goods in January and February. How might you plant some marketing seeds now?
Offer a 2014 budget/2015 delivery deal: You know that many of your clients have a fiscal year that ends in December. They have "use it or lose it" budgets. So why not help them wisely spend those budget dollars? Create an opportunity for them to make a smart purchase in 2014 for things they'll need in the first few months of 2015.
Put together a package: Why not bundle some of your products/services in a way that guarantees usage over the first few months of the year? Set the end date to purchase the bundle sometime in the middle of January. Begin talking about the bundles now and you'll either sell some in December or you'll plant the seeds now and make the sale in January.
Kick off a PR campaign: Maybe it's time to create some buzz? That kind of buzz usually takes some time to build up so starting now means you'll have some momentum in a few months. Be smart - concentrate on a few key publications that will position you in the right way with the right audience.
Reach out to former clients: Now might be the perfect time to re-connect with some of your former customers. Keep in mind that they're (hopefully) doing their 2015 planning right now which might result in their realizing that they are going to need what you sell.
Develop and distribute helpful content: Depending on your industry and your customers, this might be an e-book, a white paper, a podcast, or even an in person seminar. Use this opportunity to demonstrate just how smart you are and how you can help them by sharing that expertise. Use the content to reach back out to potential customers you've already courted, prospects and even current customers.
Mine your referral network: Your best customers are typically more than happy to boast about your work. Now is the perfect time to ask them who else they think might benefit from your expertise/products. Set up those initial meet and greets for the first week of January.
Don't wait until you're in the middle of your slow season to worry about shortening it. If you plant some marketing seeds right now, the slow season may be a thing of the past.
The whole idea was this: Many companies donate their time, their talent and their money to various charities, but it was done without anyone knowing about it or the company gaining any additional value from being a good citizen.
Some would argue that to give without any expectation of reward or recognition is the true definition of giving.
Perhaps that's true. But it's also very small.
Another word for small in this instance might be isolated. If I give five dollars to a charity and don't tell anyone about it, the charity gets five dollars and I get a warm feeling inside. All good. But if I tell my friends about the charity and that I'm giving five dollars and invite them to do the same, now look at that I've created:
Which do you think the charity would prefer?
Now, take that a step further. Rather than just telling my friends about it, what if I aligned my choice of charity with my customer base? Odds are I serve a group of people that I have a connection with and that I care about.
So if I look for a charity that would be important to them and to me, I can amplify the impact I can bring to the charity by engaging my entire customer base to rally around them.
When anyone talks about cause marketing, one of the examples they use is Avon and their commitment to fight breast cancer. They were pioneering in the idea of uniting a cause and a group of customers, for a greater good.
We're all smart enough to recognize that Avon benefits from this alliance as well, in earned media exposure, creating a powerful connection to both their female customer base and their female employee base as well as increased sales.
None of that mitigates the good they do. It's truly a win/win situation. Here's how Avon talks about their efforts on their own website:
"One of the company's largest ongoing projects is the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which is aimed at funding research and access to quality care. Now in its 20th year, the project has donated more than $740 million to the cause, making it one of the world's leading corporate supporters of the fight against breast cancer. Among the successes that Avon lists on its website:
Avon fundraises for these efforts through various methods like hosting the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series and selling Crusade Pink Ribbon fundraising products."
I know your company probably doesn't have the reach of an Avon, but you do have loyal customers who care about the world around them. And I'll bet there's a charity or cause that matters to you and that would matter to them if you made the introduction.
As you work on your 2015 marketing plan - I challenge you to weave in a cause marketing effort. There's nothing that says marketing can't also make the world a better place.
An area of marketing that is often overlooked is how important it is to be mindful when creating a company culture. You don't build a culture to make a sale. But the culture you build, if you're very clear about your organization's values and beliefs, can translate your company's personality and attract right fit prospects. It can also reinforce your current customers' buying decision.
Company culture doesn't just happen. If you want it to really flourish, you need to make it a priority for your business. You need to build/strengthen the foundation of your culture and then nurture its growth from there.
The challenging aspect of corporate culture, of course, is that culture is shaped by the workforce. Which means it's an ever-evolving entity. As employees come and go, the culture can be altered in ways that don't benefit the employees or the organization.
Your culture is too valuable not to protect. Here are a few ways you can ensure that your culture has a consistent foundation that doesn't ebb and flow over time. If the core is rock solid, then it's okay if the details shift a little. Ready to start creating a company culture? Keep these tips in mind.
Create a manifesto: Don't hide your culture. Celebrate it. Capturing the essence of your culture in a statement of beliefs or manifesto will allow you to articulate the key values and behaviors that you want to protect.
Put it in your employee handbook, create a beautiful framed version and hang it proudly in your corporate office and read it out loud to kick off each year's first staff meeting. You could even ask new hires to sign a commitment to honoring the manifesto on their first day of work.
Weave the culture's core values into your job descriptions and review process: Employees know that if something is important enough to be a part of their annual review, then it must be pretty important to the company. You can reinforce your culture by rewarding your employees for keeping it alive.
It's also a built in culture training program for new employees. If they know they'll be held accountable to their job description when review time comes along, they're much more likely to adopt those wanted behaviors.
Make your staff part of the solution: If you teach your employees how your company culture contributes to the success of the organization and then invite them to help you protect it, they'll gladly accept the challenge.
Why not a team that is charged with bringing the culture to life through employee events, customer interactions and rewards programs? They'll probably surprise you with their innovative ideas and enthusiasm.
Hire for culture, train for skills: Identify the attitudes and behaviors that best support your company's culture and hire for those traits. You can teach skills but you can't teach attitude. It's much easier for a new hire to fit into an environment that aligns with his or her own personal beliefs. Trying to force a square peg into a round hole puts a great deal of stress on both the organization and the new employee.
Share the vision: The purpose of a company culture is to support the organization as it marches towards its future. One way to help the employees understand the importance of protecting and building the culture is by sharing the desired end result.
Once they share the vision, they'll be inspired to guard everything that will help you all achieve that vision. If anything, they will strengthen your culture to help you get there even faster.
Your culture matters every day. Purposefully creating a company culture will help you recruit and retain your best talent. It supports how you deliver excellence to your customers and it is a compass that guides you towards even greater successes. Be sure you protect it like the valuable asset that it is.
The post 5 tips for creating a company culture that connects with your sweet spot clients appeared first on Drew's Marketing Minute.
We talk about the idea of creating trust every week with our clients. At my agency, MMG, we call this equation basic marketing math: Know + Like + Trust = Sales. Translated - you will never make a sale if the prospect doesn't know you exist, doesn't like both what you sell and who you are and ultimately, doesn't trust you.
It doesn't matter if you're selling toothpaste (hardly a considered purchase) or expensive professional services (think lawyer or accountant) - the requirements is the same.
This equation has never been more true than today. Consumers are jaded by the barrage of marketing messages they get hit with every day. They're feeling as though someone is always selling at them (not to or with - at) and they're wary of anything that smacks of marketing spin.
If you're not creating trust - they are not going to be reaching for their wallet any time soon.
This is one of the reasons why word of mouth is so powerful. When someone you already trust, be it a family member, co-worker, or casual acquaintance, endorses a product or service, you know they don't have anything to gain by it. Which makes their recommendation even more reliable. It is something you can trust.
So how does a business create that sense of trust between themselves and their prospects? Here are some tactics you should consider.
Delight your current customers: I know it seems obvious but really, when was the last time a business went out of their way to delight you? If someone is caught off-guard by remarkable service or a product that is so superior that they can't believe it - they're going to talk about it. You can't beat the power of that word of mouth. But to get it, you have to earn it.
Let the customer tell you when they're ready to buy: The minute we feel we're being sold at - we shut down. Even if we want to buy something. I was in a local jewelry store recently. I had a healthy budget (several hundred dollars) that I was ready to spend. I walked in and really wanted to just look around on my own for a bit. But this vulture of a salesman would not leave me alone. He kept following me around the store, asking me questions to which I responded with terse, one-word answers.
Then, he finally walked away but only because he was chasing after a more talkative customer. In time I had a question and there was a different salesperson standing there. I asked her a question and she answered it. He must have given her some signal behind my back because she got this very flustered look on her face and then just walked away...and he swooped back in.
I left shortly - empty-handed. And I will check in the window before I ever enter that store again. If he's there, I won't be. (If you're wondering if this was your store - email me!)
I spent my money 45 minutes later. Someplace else.
Make me a promise and then keep it: Give me a guarantee. Offer me a hassle free installation process. Stand behind your work and do it overtly. Don't say - "well of course we'd fix it if we did it wrong" or whatever. Put it in writing. Call my attention to it. Help me get over my worry that I might be making a bad decision. And when something goes wrong - not only should you honor your original promise but you should go above and beyond it. (See delight your customers above)
You know this as well as I do. You can't create trust. But you can sure earn it and when you do, you'll hear the register ring.