Business & Marketing Tip: Following up with leads and relationships

A mutually beneficial client winning strategy

Marketing education is a big part of our overall new business strategy. At Creative Agency Secrets we strive to find ways to connect with our potential clients and be a part of their marketing success whether they work with us or not. We hold complimentary marketing management and idea calls, host free marketing seminars, create appraisals for websites and so on. But what makes it all work is our ability to follow up with the people we meet and educate. It’s one of our core lead generation and client winning strategies, and it could work for your business as well.

What following up does for your business

Staying connected develops relationships between you and your prospective clients or friends. This means you build up a network of people who can use your services, direct you to new clients and endorse your work.

Here’s a case study of a sports equipment online retailer we manage marketing activities for called Space Saver Rowing Systems. The client was so impressed with our work that when their manufacturer started looking for marketing assistance, the client directed them to us.

In another example, we worked with Zeald website designers to host a free marketing event. From that connection we gained several new clients, among them – European Auto Spares. We followed up with them individually after the event.

We’ve got loads of these stories and all because we helped our contacts in their endeavours and kept up communications with them.  In short, following up with people can net you leads and create a healthy flow of revenue for your business.

relationships casKeep the relationship flowing: the different ways we follow up

Meeting summaries for prospective clients – summaries are quite common, usually in the form of a dreary PDF or bullet-pointed word document. Along with that, we like to include anecdotes or a friendly sentence relating to something new we learned about the prospective client from that meeting. This gives those who joined the meeting more reason to read the email and even better, a reason to reply. To the right an example of a regular email following up a business meeting.

Something that we love to include in these that makes all the difference, is a link to one of our helpful blog posts or free eBooks. We look for a related topic in the email, then link a keyword or two and mention it may help. For example, if the email pertains to construction an email campaign, we might link to our cold emails eBook!

Newsletters – if you run a regular newsletter about your personal or company activities, invite your contacts to it. Make sure first that they’ll get something out of your blog posts and focus on explaining that to them. Newsletters don’t only inform, they help keep you and your business in the minds of others. This can make the difference between whether or not they think of you when new work arises. For an example, sign up to our newsletter list and see what you learn.

Related business – categorise your past clients and business friends by business type. This lets you update contacts in different industries on related updates to your activities or information you find.  To make the most of this, as soon as you form a new business relationship you should create a related industry update alert via a tool like Google Alerts. This way you’re following the industries most related to your activities and the alerts remind you that you have a connection to that industry. Then you can report any exciting news you find straight to them.

Us? Well, we’ve created our subcontracted services listing for exactly this reason. It’s an activity we do whereby we list all the work we can’t do or isn’t related to our services, and those listings get picked up by other businesses with the right set of skills for the job. It’s a fairly simple information sharing activity but with huge potential impact. As a result, people loves connecting with us.

Follow themif you keep up to date with the activities of your contacts you can provide more relevant input or updates. This is another exercise making sure you keep your follow ups linked to you with context as opposed to random email drops asking them how they are.

Daily tasks for this would include reading LinkedIn status updates. Weekly or monthly tasks include reading your contacts’ newsletters. One way we keep up with our industries and clients is by setting Google Alerts searching for company names. We also set an event on our Google Calendar that has a list of company websites and blogs to read up on in the description.

In Summary

Be diligent and consistent when you’re following up with people. Sometimes they are busy or skip emails, life gets in the way. Keep trying while not being too aggressive and you’ll grow on the minds of your clients and leads. Change up your approach to be more informative if a friendly nature doesn’t catch their eye. For example, you could direct them to tools or blog posts that will directly improve their way of business or provide them with a new opportunity. We posted up several examples of catch up emails and following leads through email that we’ve written previously to help you on your way.

Many of these ways to follow up with contacts can fit into your day to day activities, especially if you’re a marketing agency like us. If you spot yourself working on something that could help out some of your business contacts, send them an email and keep up to date. But more importantly – keep your business in their minds, and leading with a positive impression.

 


The blue icons opposite are part of our 8-Step New Business Development Methodology.  6 Create Opportunities icon5 Relationship Development icon

Click each icon to find more blog articles on the topic – educate yourself in modern marketing

 

 

Cluetrain Original

Cluetrain has New Clues – time for newbies to read the original!

I listened to the FIR podcast #790 and found that Cluetrain has been updated!

Cluetrain Original

Cluetrain Original

New Clues published in January and numbers 52-67 apply to our marketing communications world in particular. [see below]
Oh, and also pay attention to number 100
You want to know what to buy? The business that makes an object of desire is now the worst source of information about it. The best source is all of us.
It will be hard to adhere to them – because marketers are busy fouling their own nest, much as we did with banner adverts, SEO and oh-so-many other internet tools which we over-exploited so the makers ended up changing the rules to exclude our actions.
Seems to me ever more of a message about the quality of content, ease of discovery and honesty of presentation.

Your marketing strategy for 2015

If your marketing strategy for this year even remotely resembles what you did for the past 5 years tear it up.  Forget it.  The businesses who will thrive understand Cluetrain, they present their wares at least in part in a Cluetrain-format and will reap the $$ rewards accordingly.
Just call us if you think you want to change and don’t know how.

Rant over.

Now, what do you think?
I’m going to get my whole team to read Cluetrain original next week as their homework!

New Clues for Marketers

The New Clues that directly relate to the practice of marketing. Numbered from the original. Read more

FREE eBook: Cold Emails – Doing it right and netting yourself leads

Cold Emails Book CoverEmail is a vital tool to growing your business. It’s non-invasive, interactive, and most of all – integral to business communications, so often get noticed.

One way to use email is through cold emailing, which is emailing to people you don’t know. It can come across as underhanded, but when done correctly it’s a marketing practice that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Find out about cold emails and how to write them in our free eBook…

Cold Emails – Doing it right and netting yourself leads

In this eBook, we’ll go through how to:

  • Write cold emails that encourage a response.
  • Tailor your cold emails to the right clients.
  • Personalise cold emails.

Looking for more insight on how to build great email campaigns, and sell directly to your audience? Contact Us!

Christmas Campaigns That Shine

Christmas campaigns may seem like a gimmick, but they work. That’s because it’s a time of year where people are looking to buy and as a result, customers are far more communicative.

Hellmann’s Christmas Advert

Look reactionary by planning early

Planning early has many benefits. For example, you don’t want to get a campaign stopped behind bureaucratic doors and miss your chance to launch it at the best of times. If your campaigns are pre-approved you won’t miss those good opportunities to launch them when they come by.

Nothing says “viral campaign” like a relevant one that comes out as soon as a meme starts. Start planning your campaigns early, and plan multiple variations for different situations. Then all you need to do is keep your finger on the pulse throughout the run-up to Christmas period and unleash your chosen campaign when the best opportunity arises.

Here’re a few campaign ideas:

  • Relevant product promos – promo your 2015 calendar when advent calendars start getting popular.
  • “Still time to buy” reminders – customers often rush for purchases just 1 week before Christmas, so a little timely reminder can go a long way.
  • Discount codes & free delivery – while most common of Christmas campaigns, a time-liimited discount campaign is often short and sweet enough to catch more attention.
  • Extended returns period  – take the “giving mood” approach and develop a relationship with your customers.

One things for sure, each campaign must decide on a clear goal. Review previous campaigns, check their strengths and weaknesses, then carefully plan out how you’ll support your campaign goals through action.

Focus on increasing dialogue with customers (not necessarily hard sales)

Christmas is a great time to develop customer relationships as well as just push sales. Use the increase of inbox opens and social media interactions to build your email lists and get more in touch with your customers. Outside of capturing emails you could also push feedback forms and surveys to capture behavioural data which can improve all your 2015 campaigns as well.

You could:

  • Simply wish Merry Christmas via email or pop-up box.
  • Run social media competitions that require email opt-ins, but instantly give a discount when a customer enters.
  • Re-engage with past buyers by offering them something special for doing business with you again.
  • Have fun and test out marketing platforms you wouldn’t normally use, potentially opening your exposure up to a whole new crowd.

Offer something DIFFERENT

Make an impact and stand out from the crowd by doing something different. Implementing a wishlist on your website (EXTRA: can use data for targeted mailing!), personalising your promotions and running some exciting social media competitions are a few ways to have your company look both professional, and interested in its customers.

The question you need to ask yourself now is – “what’s the best Christmas campaign for my business”?

7 steps for creating your Christmas marketing campaigns

STEP 1: Collect and assess behavioural data from past campaigns.

This should be as straight forward as going into a database and looking through campaign statistics. If you’re not doing this already, a simple excel spreadsheet and recording past campaign data should be your next course of action!

STEP 2: Think of 5 opportunities/ circumstances for sending campaigns.

These opportunities should be periods around Christmas (start of advent calendars, last week before Christmas, etc). Try to find opportunities that can easily be related to what you offer as a company.

STEP 3: Write up these campaigns.

Carefully plan out each campaign with action lists and then make sure you’ve got the content ready to go for each action.

STEP 4: Schedule campaigns that can be scheduled.

If your campaign is time dependent, schedule it and make an alert to remind you when it goes out. Once it is live, you should still have to take action (such as sharing your campaign via social media), so have that ready.

STEP 5: Create daily Google Alerts for topics that the remaining campaigns can react to.

If you’ve created some reactionary campaigns for the holidays, make sure you’ve got ways of identifying when they can best be activated. We use Google Alerts to track conversations so that we can react to them, and it’s a great way for looking for that perfect campaign launch opportunity.

STEP 7: Recap on all campaigns (analytics and assessment).

Once is all said and done, sit down and have a good look at the results of each campaign and how they went. This is very important as it will help you create more successful campaigns for the future!

 

Looking for fresh ideas and assistance on your Christmas marketing?

Drop us an email and we’ll be happy to brainstorm ideas for you!

ModComs pitch pack video

B2B video brochure – cool sales tool

Matt O’Neill is the Managing Director of ModComms – a company that produces The Pitch Pack, he sent us this neat video pack which business to business marketers

ModComs pitch pack video

ModComs pitch pack video

can use to open new leads.

How does PitchPack work?

The pack is a bit like a card brochure – you open it that triggers a magnetic switch which opens the power – a logo displays for a second while it warms up and then the first video plays

A typical pack has 4 videos – they come with volume controls and the larger packs have more videos on them.  Al the components are built in – from batteries, speakers to CPU.

They are encoded to Xvid format – the reason to use a specific codec is that it is lower file size with max picture quality.  A standard has 256 mg memory of which 170 is usable the rest is operating system.  so it gives about 17 minutes of video playback.

Finish watching, close it like a book and that switches it off.

In the spine there’s a little USB port you can charge the battery and uploading the videos.

If a client wants to use it the production process is firstly to design the outer pack – card wrap – using a standard Adobe Illustrator template.  The videos have to be produced and then you have all the assets.  These are sent digitally to China.  The factory sends back a prototype in digital print (not litho).  Sometimes there are small amends, it is signed off for manufacture and production.

One thing is critical is quality assurance with Chinese factories -we include two rounds of this – locally it’s checked in Shenzen and then it’s sent out and we check a few samples too.  Then we dispatch – sometimes it’s a bulk delivery, other times we do the fulfilment individually.

As part of the marketing it’s important that the telesales follow up to fix the meetings.

What types of Business use PitchPack?

It’s any B2B organisation providing a higher value product or service.  Tech companies like it, hotels, consultancies, engineering groups and some internal comms – high level changes across global senior teams.

Integration wit the sales funnel – the clients using account based marketing principles.  Some use it for the ‘door opener’ – grab attention of a senior decision maker.  It’s critical to have a structured follow up process.  Or use it as a leave-behind or a send-after to answer questions.  Salesman can film themselves on a mobile phone giving the answers and then include other videos too.  Those companies that are a bit more sophisticated and using lead scoring, for example, the score triggers sending a pack.

Personalisation – we are used to it with paper mail, but when you show the recipient that there’s an introduction just addressed to them – it’s flattering.  Anecdotally we hear it is very powerful.

Results – using a campaign with a global software company – we did a small run of 250 packs of which 240 were distributed.  They got 23 meetings with decision makers and they’ve got 4 deals with an average value of GBP250k each.  That campaign cost 5k on the packs themselves, 7k producing one video and re-used another couple of videos.  Total campaign cost 16k.

Why should our readers try the service?

Video is growing – mobile traffic about 50-70% of mobile traffic is video now.  Cisco predicts that 1/5 of the world’s population will access video online by 2016.

As a medium, video creates feelings of trust and so when brands use real people or show people doing real things curiosity is triggered.  When making video for marketing purposes don’t put everything in.  Leave them wanting more.

Confidence in the brand is built and sometimes amusement.  If you can make video for business funny you will have next to no competition because there’s so little out there.

With that popularity it’s a blessing and a curse – the competition will only get more furious.

Marshall Mcluan said the medium is the message in 60s and these packs are both – it allows people to explore video in their own time in their own way wherever they happen to be.

This is an easy differentiation tool – stand out from the crowd.  I remember in 2005 there were personalised USB sticks but now these are ubiquitous.  This type of marketing tactic is now at its 2005 moment but in 3-5 years it’ll be old hat.

If you are producing video for the pack, the content can be re-used across other media – home page, landing pages, powerpoint, email-able files.  The results are pretty tangible – looking at it in pure numbers.

2 Marketing Communications icon4 Profile raising icon6 Create Opportunities icon

New business development copywriting: Stalled prospects

September is the time business gets down to work after the summer break.  Blair Enns at the Win Without Pitching team say this is the perfect time to clean out your list of prospects and new business opportunities.

Find out which ones are going to buy and which aren’t worth your time chasing further.  Blair writes

Below is a simple email template that you can use to raise deals from the dead. It works throughout the year but this week, more than any other period in the calendar, is when it works best.

THE EMAIL

It was taught to me as The Takeaway but I refer to it by the subject line that I prefer: Closing The Loop. Draft it, modify it if you dare, but send it to all those prospects you were talking to over the summer about real projects only for them to disappear on you. That’s the intended purpose of this email – to raise deals from the dead and solicit a response from someone who has been avoiding you over the summer.

Your natural inclination is probably to do the opposite of what I’m about to suggest. Resist. Do not send an overly polite email. Do not make excuses for your prospect’s behaviour over the last few weeks. Do not email in pursuit of a yes or even an answer. No, your mission is to strip away all emotions and matter-of-factly just let your prospect go. Below is how to do this and then what to expect afterwards.

Ready?

Read the detailed email Blair recommends

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Trade show B2B marketing tactics – selling tech to the masses

Trade show stands are a strong component of most technology B2B marketing programmes and they are a great place to sweep up new leads for your service.

Our client, FeedBlitz, briefed Creative Agency Secrets to deliver collateral, case studies and a slide deck for their stand at the New Media Expo NMX in Las Vegas, formerly called BlogWorld.

Take a quick look jay-baer-case-study and erin-chase-case-study

Case study collateral for FeedBlitz Jay Baer

Case study collateral for FeedBlitz Jay Baer

2 Marketing Communications icon4 Profile raising icon6 Create Opportunities icon

erin Chase

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Guest Post: How to Create a Powerful Sales Presentation – Chris Gallagher

As a business development agency with an involvement in the entire sales process, we help our clients to influence the brands we’ve created opportunities to pitch to.

This article of insightful tips helps you to structure a professional and powerful sales presentation so that you can pitch your agency with conviction, confidence, and clarity.

Tip 1: Define the objective of your presentation

Are you looking to persuade (e.g. sales meeting), inspire people into action (e.g. budget decision makers) or educate (e.g. brands will want to know you understand their industry and target audience therefore new interesting insights will add credibility to your presentation). In a pitch or sales meeting situation, you will be looking to do all the above. The presentation content should then reflect your objectives, which can be measured quantitatively or qualitatively.

Examples of measurements are:

Sales: Did you win the project or progress to the next stage?

Inspirational: When questioned, do the decision makers commit to both the principle and action associated with your presentation topic?

Educate: Did your insights create further discussions?

Tip 2: Understand your audience and venue

Sometimes the presentation title defines the audience.  Sometimes it’s the audience who define the title.

Things to consider on your audience are:

* Who are the people attending your presentation (marketing, finance, procurement)?

* How many will there be, and from what backgrounds?

* How will your audience be dressed, and expect you to dress (ideally the presenter should be aligned in appearance to the audience. In large corporations, shirt and tie is expected. In Marketing Communications, if you are targeting other agencies i.e. white labelling work, it’s more likely to be smart casual. Pitching this wrong can create a barrier to building rapport with your audience.

In terms of venue:

* The size of venue needs to be appropriate to the number of expected attendees.

* Ensure that you know exactly what technology is available to you and take what you need to with you. Even where the venue supplies this, always have a back-up plan. A decade ago this meant having printed copies for all your audience. Now it’s more likely to be a laptop and USB to store your presentation content

Tip 3: Using PowerPoint or video presentations

Using a poorly prepared and visually unattractive presentation can decrease the overall value of your content, as well as the perception of its delivery.

A few simple rules to avoid this happening are:

  • Make the presentation visually interesting. In an ideal world, video should be used, but this can be impractical if you need to edit your presentations frequently (e.g. sales), where PowerPoint will suffice. That said, you can easily embed a mini-video presentation within an otherwise editable presentation. This can be driven by some small headers on the front page of a presentation, alongside your company logo (typical headings for a sales presentation can be “testimonials”, “financials”, and “proposal”)
  • Do not overuse words and bullets. The rule of thumb here is that if I can present or read the content of your presentation without you being there, then it is a poor presentation. Only rely on key phrases or topic headers. Additionally, a thirty slide PowerPoint with nothing but bullets on it will bore your audience to sleep. Imbed “interest peaks” into your presentation (see below).
  • Do not under use or over use animation. Often people feel the need to overuse animation, which can become distracting and over the top. Equally, dropping an entire slide into view means that the audience will inevitably read ahead of where you want them to be. Bring each salient point in as required.
  • Make sure that you know in advance how much time you will have and plan your presentation accordingly. In sales presentations, if the client reduces the time you have to pitch, do not rush through a one-hour presentation in fifteen minutes. Discuss the most salient points or re-appoint to another time.

Tip 4: Create “interest peaks”

A standard presentation is 40 minutes in length. In this time, your audience will be at their most attentive in the first 10-12 minutes, and the last 5. This is because people “drift off” during presentations that are heavy in content, visually dull, or poorly presented. To counter this it is important to continually keep your audiences attention by offering new, interesting stimuli in terms of content and delivery.

Good methods of achieving this are:

  • Anecdote – People like to hear a good, relevant story.
  • Quotes – It is common to open and close presentations with quotes, which make an important point related to the presentation title, or to inject some humour.
  • Jokes – On that very subject, jokes can keep audience energy high, but only if they are tactful, relevant to the presentation, and funny.  Do not stop and wait for rapturous applause, because if it isn’t forthcoming you will look very silly indeed.
  • Video or film – Changing the media you use will inevitable re-engage those lost during the presentation.
  • Using different presenters – A single person for a long period can become dull. If it is realistic, and assuming both are good presenters in their own right, this can help to keep a longer session more engaging.
  • Activities – It is said, “you remember 10% of what you hear, up to 80% of what you hear, see and actually experience yourself”. Where possible get your audience involved in appropriate activities.

Tip 5: Body language

The key mistakes made by inexperienced presenters are:

  • Shuffling from side to side
  • Playing with pens, watches, or anything you’re holding
  • Staring at a single point or at the back of the room. Equally it’s poor etiquette to look at the screen whilst presenting. You should know the content, and even if you do not, use confidence cards for guidance. Remember YOU are your best visual aid in making presentations interesting.

Chris Gallagher is the Strategic Development Director for UpFront Business Development