Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Using Social Media to Keep in Touch with Prospects

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting a booth at a blogger event here at Boston.com. We met many interesting independent fashion bloggers as well as women and men who blog on behalf of larger organizations. As is common at many events, we didn't have the chance to grab each attendees business card, but we do have a list of Twitter handles because the majority of attendees used a hashtag to keep track of event happenings and to share learnings. We'll be able to use social media to keep in touch with prospects since we do have access to their Twitter handles. Here are a few ways to keep in touch, stay at the forefront of prospective clients minds and show off your expertise:

1. Introduce yourself - Make sure your prospects know your name, your business and what they can expect to get from you as either a follower, or a follow-ee. Develop an initial relationship, by providing your basic information and an overview of what you provide on social media. Be sure to also ask about them - find out what they're interested in, their function within work settings, etc., so you can better communicate moving forward.

2. Provide feedback, comments and answers - If you're following prospective clients on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn, be an active follower, so they'll notice you! Provide noteworthy feedback, smart comments and intelligent answers to any questions posed. Demonstrate your expertise on matters related to you or your business, by providing thought leadership to your prospective clients on social media.

3. Understand their needs and offer your services -Spend time listening and understanding the posts your prospective clients send. See what their needs are and if they can be met by the services your business provides. Often express your knowledge through comments and such, and when you feel you've positioned yourself as an expert in their eyes, offer your insight into how you can help!

Have any more tips to add? Please share them in the comments below!

*Offer expires 5/15/13

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tips to Qualify Sales Leads

After someone attends an event, workshop, or webinar, or downloads some piece of content off your website and you've obtained their email address and presumably info about what services they're interested in, it can be tempting to immediately call or email them. Don't do it right away; it will scare the prospect away.  Instead, wait patiently and qualify your leads. When a prospect begins looking into information on a specific topic, they're only at the top of the sales funnel, so to speak, and that means they need to be qualified and nurtured in order to convert them into paying customers. Here are some tips to qualify sales leads at different points of the sales funnel.

1. Create more content - Your leads at the top of the funnel are looking for more information on the services you offer, so create more content. Put out whitepapers, webinars, podcasts, videos, case studies, blog posts, etc. on a regular basis, and your leads will continue to come back to learn more. Soon they'll learn that you are the expert in your field, by reading, listening, or watching the content you produce.

2. Add leads to your monthly newsletter - While still complying with CAN-SPAM (perhaps by adding a line to submission forms that says ex. "by downloading this white paper, you understand you'll be added to our newsletter"), add your leads to your monthly newsletter to continue to nurture the leads. A newsletter is another great way to demonstrate your expertise and leadership within a field. Include in your newsletter information about your services, new content you've posted and ways for leads to find you on social media. These are all useful tactics in nurturing and qualifying leads that have shown significant interest in your services.

3. Invite leads to more free events - If you're using software that allows you track what leads are downloading, reading, watching, or etc. on your site, then you know which leads are interested in which information or services your company offers. With this information, you can nurture your leads that are at this point maybe half way down the funnel, to invite them to attend a free event or workshop, so you can meet them in person. Putting a face to the company is sometimes the best way for a lead to know whether or not signing on with a certain company is a good or bad idea. Demonstrate your expertise and your company's superior services in person, and you'll be very close to closing a deal!

4. Hit them with a special offer - Once you're sure you've got a lead on the hook, hit him or her with a special offer. Offer a free few weeks of service, or a discounted rate to close the deal. Once you've closed the deal, don't forget about retention. You'll always need to nurture your clients and customers in the same ways you do with leads in order to keep them on as paying customers.

*Offer valid through 5/1/13

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Tragedy Updates

We can't find the words to describe yesterday's shocking event. It's horrific and sad, and our thoughts are with those directly affected by the tragedy. For detailed information on the latest developments, how you can help, photos, videos, a place to share your feelings or memories, and the contact info for the FBI should you have seen anything, please follow the Boston.com live blog here: http://bo.st/XCLv4T

We'll be back with more marketing content later this week. 

All our best to you and your families!

The Insights Team
[email protected] 

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tips for Starting a Second Blog for your Business

Some businesses often have more than one blog, if they have more than one audience they're attempting to reach and retain. Often times, businesses will have one blog for customers and one for partners. They have two because the content two sets of audiences are interested in differs. If you work for a business that is thinking about starting another blog, here are some tips we think will help you get the process started.

  • Make sure you have the resources and time to commit to both blogs
  • Determine what the difference in content will be between the two blogs 
  • Know what your two distinct audiences want to learn from your blogs
  • Create a blog calendar for the new blog (and the old, if you haven't already)
  • Decide who from your company is best suited to deliver the content for the new blog
  • Develop the creative for the blog; the look and feel should be consistent with your brand's marketing, but since this is a new blog, you want the creative to be unique and speak to the message you wish to convey
  • Determine how you will reach your target audience to tell members about your blog
  • Devise a plan for retaining both sets of audiences as readers of your blog
  • Link both blogs to the appropriate company social media accounts

Have any more tips to add? Please share them with us in the comments below!

*Offer expires 5/1/13

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tips for Improving your Products or Services

Photo courtesy of smartsheet.com

Our team has been talking about how we can improve our product and service for our clients, so we can retain and gain new customers. A lot of ideas have been thrown out in brainstorming sessions and email exchanges, and we're basing our decisions on a variety of different factors. Below are some tips we've been following that we think will help other businesses decide how to improve their products or services.

1. Look at the data - Data don't lie. Look at what's working from a services, or products standpoint. What are your clients buying and are they coming back for more? Are the majority of your clients participating in one particular program, or buying one particular product you offer? If so, consider enhancing that service package, or product. On the other hand, if you haven't sold many of one of your products, or services, perhaps it's time to stop investing in that area, so you can focus on bettering your other offerings. Analyze your data to improve your products or services, which will help to retain and gain clients.

2. Talk to your clients - Your clients won't lie either. Schedule some time with your clients to discuss what they believe is working best for them from a services standpoint. What are they hoping for in the next round of upgrades or enhancements? What do they need from you to better their businesses? What will it take for them to stay on board with your services? If your business offers products, or goods, talk to the customers who walk through your doors occasionally, regularly, or even for the first time. Find out what brings them in the door for the first time, or multiple times. When you've gathered this knowledge, you can decide which products to focus on improving.

3. Look at what your competitors are doing - Stay in the know of what your competitors are offering. Are they new and innovative service offerings, or products? Do they outshine what you have? Have they enhanced the products or services you both offer at your businesses? Consider all of these things when you evaluate your competition, but also consider what has worked for you in the past versus what's worked for them. Know what your competitors are doing and what it means for your business's growth, but know better what your data shows and what your customers are interested in before you make any major changes.

Have any tips to add? Share them in the comments!

*Offer expires May 1, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Content Marketing: Make your Company's Message Clear

We all know how important is to send a clear message as to what our business's products and services do to help a target audience fulfill a specific need or want. We often are found communicating at networking events, on Twitter, through email marketing, etc., but are our messages clear? Although we preach about keeping the content you create filled with quality text, it's equally as important to make your company's message clear.

Whether you're about to send a tweet, post to Facebook, write a blog post, or publish a lengthy white paper, take a few minutes to analyze the content to see if your business's message is clear. If your message is clear in the content your produce, you're going to accomplish the goals you've laid out for your business, you're going to attract the audience you want, and you're going to gain new customers.

Your message doesn't need to be blatantly clear through your content, but it should always be present. For example, the Insights stripped down message is "we can help you promote your blog to a targeted, established audience of readers on Boston.com," but I've never actually written those words out in a blog post. Instead, I use Twitter, Facebook and this blog to send the message that the Insights team understands clearly best practices in marketing, blogging, promotion, networking, social media and more, and that businesses can trust us for advice on their marketing efforts for their blog and business, in general. Often times I quote research, marketing trends and content to show that we are in the know of all of the latest trends in marketing, and that we can be trusted to know the best methods for our clients and potential clients.

Through your content, you can position yourself as the expert and leader in your field without coming out and saying it directly. As you create more compelling, quality content, readers will recognize that your business can be trusted in the field your business falls in and that will help you gain more clients. So next time you are planning to publish a new piece of content, make sure your message is clear. Always keep in mind that anything you produce should come back to your goals and what your company's messaging is, and how your content communicates that.

*Offer expires 4/8/13