education electric tariff differences

Effective social media tips for B2B

Business to Business marketing is my specialism. The key to robust B2B social media marketing return on investment is persistence, diligence and flashes of genius!

Having said that, you need more that just posting regularly to enable social media ROI. Allow me to explain.

Your customer pipeline

Building authority and demonstrating empathy are the messaging goals that will start prospects moving up the sales pipeline.

LinkedIn updates need to have a balance of product/service information combined with industry discussions.

I set up Google Alerts for key words which are triggers for my client’s industry. One is “Tax” and so we can track that against mainstream news. Here in New Zealand we just had an election and so adding “Tax + election” we can either start discussion threads about this OR answer other people’s questions.

Another is “Health & Safety” and we can look at newsworthy situations where failures happened and start a discussion about lessons and learnings.

Following hashtags can also be beneficial for niche industries.

What B2B marketers get wrong on social

The key for businesses who sell advice is not to give advice on social media.

They should ONLY demonstrate expertise.

The key for businesses who sell products is not to push their products – only to demonstrate the key features of good products (which of course they supply).

The inference is that you are experts and prospective customers should seek you out if they see relevance in what you write and it aligns with their immediate area of interest.

Is this a selling opportunity? Case Study

I posed a question on LinkedIn and garnered a lot of views and comments.

electric car electric tariff

Electricity tariffs for electric cars in NZ

Is this a selling opportunity? Yes for sure.

I got responses in public from Mercury, Meridian Energy and Our Energy Limited and in private I messaged Electric Kiwi, Power Compare and ChargeNet. So about one sixth of the local retail electricity supply industry brands.

The discussion was really interesting and a mix of industry insiders and consumer remarks, including this gem from the CEO of Our Energy Ltd – a disruptor startup in the energy supply industry.

education electric tariff differences

Comparing tariffs is only one part of the EV power story

So electricity companies are all watching, tracking and listening to customer conversations.

And you should be too.

Social selling is not a silver bullet

Many advisers will counsel using “social selling” an irritating phrase meaning sell your services on social media. This is such a problematic term for B2B because when on social, most people do not want to be sold to. They aren’t in “buying” mode on social.

Creating negative brand perceptions is to be avoided.

Having a robust, well-rounded tactical marketing and brand building programme will give you ample opportunity to sell. But only after you have built brand credibility and trust. Therefore multi-touch and multi-channel campaigns are the best route forward for B2B brands. Use with care, is my advise. Oh, yes and do ask an expert what they think about “social selling” BEFORE you hire them.

Rebecca Caroe seated talking

Client references

It’s always nice to have some past clients who either write testimonials or provide references or act as references for new clients.

I was asked recently who my client references are and what I did with and for them.

  1. Armour Safety – supplier of health and safety workplace protection whose PPE stocks blasted off the shelves during lockdown. Now lead importer / distributor for global brands like 3M and Hellberg
  2. MethSolutions – launching a completely new service, meth amphetamine testing in rental properties.  Created a “cause” and persuaded property managers and real estate agents that this was a necessary precaution as an ongoing service.
  3. Baucher Tax Consultancy – became the go-to media commenter on tax when they don’t want a ‘Big 4’ voice.  Started him on twitter, podcasting and blogging.
  4. Interest.co.nz – independent media website focused on “the NZ Economy” – customer survey and migration to paid subscribers, and daily podcast as a new channel.
  5. University of Auckland Connect [computer department] – external profile raising as a leading innovator and a great place to work for recruitment
  6. American Chamber of Commerce – rebranding, regular member communications and membership growth (8%)
Lunch Club sign up page

Lunch for business networking

Back in the day I moved to Auckland in 2012 and since I am networked into the tech crowd, I was an early participant in LetsLunch. An opportunity to meet people face to face for a quick lunch and a business ‘get to know you’ discussion.

It was a blast – I remember meeting Hamish Pinkham and John Humphrey through the group.

Now there’s the opportunity to do it again – virtually.

Introducing Lunch Club

I can’t wait.

The chance to approach people in my locale and to ask them for lunch was so powerful and gave us all a chance to grow our networks alongside the pleasure of eating nice food is something I’d like to do again.

Lunch Club sign up page

Lunch Club for Auckland – let’s get started

So will you join me?

We need 450 people to join the group before a New Zealand Lunch Club can launch. Click the link to subscribe to an “Auckland” club…. don’t worry if you don’t live here – as long as you and I are in New Zealand I think we can make this work.

Lunch anyone?

Slideshare got sold

Today’s discovery. Slideshare got sold.

scribd and slideshare

Slideshare header about Scribd

I was a very early Scribd user…. now I find they’ve bought Slideshare from LinkedIn.

This will change things for many of us who love Slideshare.

  • What happens to my slide decks shared into LinkedIn? [they stay]
  • Who still uses Slideshare [me and my clients]
  • Why is Scribd such a great platform? [sharing document images – especially long ones.]

Why I loved Slideshare

It was the first and most easy way to share decks – create embeddable and downloadable links and also do lead generation from a single place. For folks in professional services this was great if you were using education as a B2B marketing tool. I frequently recommended this strategy for my clients and it remains very effective.

What changes now?

Well, tools come and go all the time. I spend a lot of time cataloguing new marketing software and services which could be useful for me or my clients,  That’s one of the reasons why I’m often such an early adopter of these services [checkout when I joined Twitter for example].

Slides featured on my LinkedIn Profile

The functionality for slide embeds will continue to rest with Slideshare for the time being. But its utility is now altered.

Where and how expertise is shared is not the same and will continue to evolve.  And so, for now, I’m going to be looking closely at Scribd and its functionality.

And don’t forget LinkedIn – what will happen to future slide decks? Will there be alternative software for uploading them? What are the Slideshare alternatives and do they work on the LinkedIn platform?

What does Scribd do for me?

Scribd now also has functionality for reading magazines and books and audiobooks as well as slide decks.  It’s a competitor to Audible, Google Books, Kindle, Flip, Isuue and news or magazine aggregators.

All Slideshare users are automatically given a Scribd login.  Sadly they are only offering 2 months free use to Slideshare customers.

This makes me suspect that the acquisition was just to buy a user base. Sharing your slides isn’t exactly the same use case as using Scribd.

What do you think about this acquisition? Useful? Waste of Time? Who does slides today anyway?

describe your superpowers

Your marketing superpowers

Selling consultancy is hard.  And selling a professional service is doubly hard.

Niche selling is the best way to be – create a tight brief of detailed information what you do and for whom.  Stay focused and don’t deviate.

All easy to say and hard to do.

When a contact asked me “What are your superpowers?”

I’d like to get an idea of your superpowers, your ok powers, and what you don’t do as well. This will help me work out who best to refer you too, and whether you could be a supplier to me too.

I was challenged to write a decent answer.

describe your superpowers

From a Slack channel introduction automation.

 

Rebecca’s Superpowers

Clearly a lovely Americanism – but hey, who doesn’t want to believe that wearing a cape will “enable the user to fly”? superman cape fly warning
  • Business to business marketing – does what it says on the tin.  From strategy to tactics. For your Board, for your internal team, for your agency suppliers and subcontractors.

Subsidiary superpowers

Supporting the big one….

  • Marketing strategy – what is the big picture of what you need to achieve and the (likely) tactics which will get you there?
  • Customer relationship management – the strategy to build long term relationships with people who buy from your business.
  • Building a team who understands what is needed and collaborates effectively to get work done.
  • Briefing – ensuring instructions are clear and understood, delivered within brief and on budget.
  • Copywriting – explaining complex things in suitable language for the audience.
  • Teaching marketing – helping others understand the big picture and where each detail fits into the overall plan.  PLUS how to do marketing.
  • Knowing about new tools, techniques and services. I scan the outside world and am frequently an early user / adopter of new things e.g. Blogging since 2006; Twitter since 2007, Podcasting since 2013.

OK Powers

These are competencies.
  • Website management – using different CMS interfaces
  • Search Engine Optimisation – the words that get you found and the software that ensures your site is indexed regularly.
  • Customer journey mapping – how do customers find you, where and when and how to engage with them.
  • Sales – finding the right prospects, engaging with them and starting the sales conversation.
  • Pitching – when you need to present the best face of your business for a very important deal or contract.
And lastly, what I don’t do.
Do PR or organise parties.

 

 

Rebecca Caroe copywriting, fountain pen copywrite

My copywriting process explained

I write copy for a living.

I write a lot.  Words, words, words. Each project is designed to fit into a particular desired outcome within a marketing strategy and tactical framework. I say that so you understand context.

Context in writing is both important and valuable – but more about that later.

Rebecca Caroe copywriting, fountain pen copywrite

My actual pen and notes for B2B copywriting

How I write marketing copy

Getting a message across using printed words (as opposed to audio, images or video) is a giant challenge. Knowing how long humans have been writing, you’d think that everything that could have been written has been. And yet…. we know that’s not true.  The imagination and skill of mankind to innovate is immense.

My writing is usually business to business copywriting for marketing purposes. That’s my area of expertise. And so the steps I take begin with the outcome. What do I want to happen as a result of a prospect or client reading what I’ve written?

  • End goal is to click through to website
  • End goal is to understand how to write B2B copy
  • End goal is to reply with a  question

These examples are all valid outcomes and each requires very different copy treatments.

The first version is always factual

What are the true, inalienable facts that support the end goal? I list these in a brain dump document. Frequently these are the result of conversations with the client, the internal team and existing customers.

Then I supplement this with some desk research. Reading ‘around the subject’ can come from many sources – newsletters, online magazines, blogs, books. Interestingly, I rarely search social media for this information. My choice – it may suit your needs. The amazing Knowledge Hunter, Geoff McDowell, taught me so much about this subject.

Adding more copy material

From the wider reading I copy/paste and add in more themes, concepts, nuance, examples, phrases and keywords. I also look out for no-nos. These are things I want to avoid.

Sometimes images, colours, layouts and other visual elements present themselves from this research too. That can be very helpful as my brain often leaps forward towards the end result WAY earlier than it’s supposed to. To avoid distraction, I save and note these ideas back in the research document. By noting them, I have preserved the idea; but I’m not focusing on them at this stage. It means I don’t lose the inspiration – I can revive that thought later just by re-reading my notes.

This all contributes to a second draft. This is when I decide the overall frame for the project and HOW does this translate into the copywriting. This could be storytelling, it could be demonstration, case study, questioning, educating. There is a lot more information added, there are more concepts and overall I just write freely incorporating the research information and framing arguments, emotions and logic into one long piece of writing.

This is the place where context comes to the fore. How will the message be delivered, what will the recipient be doing or not doing? Where in the customer journey will they be? What is the outcome or next step goal in this campaign?

Editing and refining copy

This is the part I love.

Precise and concise are watchwords which I hope any client applies to a testimonial about my business copywriting.

Taking what I wrote and simplifying, cutting, removing extraneous information and honing it down into a tight, precise and well-organised message is a repetitive task and it gives me so much pleasure. Sometimes I use a technique of adding in sub-headings (as in this blog) because it helps me to organise and find the big messages in the very long copy.

Often I leave the first opening paragraph until last because it’s so hard. Sometimes I switch the first and last paragraphs – try it!

Headlines and calls to action are a separate challenge and I may do a couple of different versions or give options and let the client choose. This is because they are mostly better-informed about their product or service than I am. Teamwork helps work out what will resonate and achieve the goal.

And then I sleep on it

Yes this is really the final step before showing it to the client, adding it to a mock-up or an EDM. This is important and is one reason why planning at the first step needs to include deadlines and allowances for sleep time.

7 things I’ve appreciated after sleeping on my work

  1. My brain is fresher in the morning
  2. I process ideas while resting
  3. Better re-writes are (nearly always) possible
  4. I can check that I haven’t missed anything out [done this MANY times – but rescued the situation before the client read it]
  5. Reflect on alternative approaches which I earlier discarded
  6. Opportunity to print it onto paper and read out loud
  7. Check grammar, punctuation, capitalisations and links all working and correctly placed

And that’s it. The whole creative writing process for B2B copy.

About the picture illustrating this article.

That’s really my pen and my notebook, photographed this morning as I got a tiny bit of inspiration for a client as a result of doing some research for a different client. It’s odd the way my brain works. And I have learned to respect my brain process and to always seize the moment and make the notes when they jump into my mind. I don’t have to use them – but I’m sure I will lose them if they aren’t captured.

I do not have the neatest handwriting, yet using blue-black ink in an old-fashioned fountain pen gives me both pleasure and the chance to read my words again without guessing what I meant to write. Someday I’ll photograph some of my notes which turn out to be illegible even to me. Generally when I rush to write, legibility suffers.

The unknown part of writing inspiration

The pen also lives in a leather case. My ritual of opening the case flap and flicking back the long cover, unsheathing the pen and unscrewing its lid before writing still gives me a frisson. I never know exactly what will come out of the inky nib onto that pristine sheet of paper, onto the next empty line, or inserted between the paragraphs of print.

And the pen – a birthday gift chosen with care while on holiday. I got the nib re-surfaced by this amazing pen expert who recommended not using ink cartridges. He also explained a lot about the issues of ink/paper and my unique hand/pressure and what a converter is, not a bladder. There is a distinction between them.

So now you know my B2B writing process. What will you do with this knowledge?

 

Brief Rebecca on your copywriting project

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lockdown customer survey

Customer survey during lockdown

Continuing our series on lockdown marketing tips – how about doing a survey of your customers?

  • One goal
  • Few questions
  • Allow freeform answers as well as picklists
  • Make a valuable offer at the end.

 

Analysis of CEO message to customers

Writing tone of voice aligned with brand values is a powerful marketing tool.

This email is so powerful because the structure of this message is aligned to brand values

  1. open Reminder of their mission 
  2. Then acknowledge pain
  3. New tools that support their community
  4. Sign off with a humble acknowledgement

The full text

Dear SoundCloud Creators,

Since our founding, SoundCloud’s mission has been to give people the power to share, connect and grow through music.

As the coronavirus crisis has unfolded, we’ve seen a global outpouring of tracks on SoundCloud — with a 50% surge in creators uploading in the past month alone. But behind this creative response, we know there continues to be financial loss and uncertainty for our creator community.

Last week we rolled out our first wave of creator support — our partnership with Twitch, 50% off SoundCloud Pro Unlimited, a resource guide and weekly creator office hours with our artist relations team — to help with the impact some of you are facing. This felt like a good start, but we want to do more for the long term.

Today, we’re accelerating a series of new initiatives and over $15M in direct investment to support creators on SoundCloud during this difficult time.

  • New direct fan-support button for all creators.
    We’ve created a simple button for your SoundCloud profile to connect your preferred way to receive direct fan support including Kickstarter, Patreon, Bandcamp, Paypal and more. Learn how to get this live on your profile right now.
  • $5M in free promotional support for all creators to drive more plays on SoundCloud.
    For the rest of 2020, we’re giving away all of our Promote on SoundCloud inventory. Tag your SoundCloud uploads #GetMorePlays and our editorial team will select up to 5 artists per week to feature with promotion. More details to come soon on our blog.
  • Immediate launch of Repost by SoundCloud, a new marketing and distribution service.
    Independent artists who want to take their career to the next level can now access professional marketing and monetization services plus industry-leading distribution features. Repost by SoundCloud is available to everyone, no play count thresholds. Learn more here.
  • $10M artist accelerator program to support independent creators’ career growth.
    We are committing $10M to help fuel the careers of independent artists upstreamed from Repost by SoundCloud into our artist services offering, Repost Select. Apply here.

We understand our efforts here are no match for the care providers on the frontlines of this global crisis. But we will continue to look for ways to support our global SoundCloud community, so you can keep sharing music we can all turn to in these challenging times, and long into the future.

Kerry

Rush into eCommerce during Lockdown

Today’s first quick marketing tip is about Competitor analysis – find out what your competitors are doing to market at this time

Open a search window and type your brand name vs.

Wait and see what auto complete suggests.

Then do it again for the suggested name. I did the Warehouse vs and it suggested Kmart. Then I did Kmart vs…

Set up your online shop

Getting online for ecommerce is happening for many brands due to the lockdown.

Ensure that your proposal suits your current need, the speed you need to roll it out and the ability of your marketing team to execute.

The video explains why.