Mary Green

Five Steps to Account Based Marketing

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Account Based Marketing is a specialized approach that has been proven for B2B industries. Traditionally, marketing has focused on producing a “wide-net” funnel where marketing is used to position a brand in such a way that a wide unknown net of interested individuals can engage and learn specifically about the brand. Instead, with Account Based Marketing, the approach is much more direct, allowing Sales and Marketing teams to work together in delivering very personalized content to targeted accounts by identifying the top priority accounts. A multichannel approach, designed to engage those accounts directly, can then be delivered. This allows both sales and marketing to work in sync to ensure the most targeted, profitable leads are receiving the right marketing material.

Below are the five steps required for the Account Based Marketing “Rinse and Repeat” Approach:

Step 1: Identify Accounts

Gather intelligence from sales teams in terms of most profitable/engaged targets for marketing to focus on. In order to select the best accounts, marketing needs to work directly with the sales teams. The main considerations for choosing accounts should be high yield, product fit, competitor’s customers, and strategic importance.

Step 2 Profile Accounts

Once the accounts have been identified, the next step is to profile the accounts

  • Identify the key decision makers in each account
  • Identify the key influencers in each account
  • Build value propositions for influencers and decision makers based on their group
  • Build a map of where they are most likely to consume information
  • Based on the information, find all contacts within a given account that fit your profile

Step 3: Create Content

Content should serve to deliver the main value propositions to prospects. This can be delivered through various channels including digital advertising, drip email campaigns, and direct mail. Examples of content can cover client testimonials, white papers, case studies, blog posts, etc.

  • Top of the funnel content will introduce the audience to the brand
  • Middle of the funnel content will continue to sell and re-engage potential prospects
  • Bottom of the funnel content will continue to sell and push prospects to contact sales

Step 4: Launch the Campaign

After the content has been created, you must launch, monitor and optimize campaigns on a regular basis. During this step, it is critical to define the appropriate sales and marketing workflows and how information will be communicated.

Step 5: Measure and Analyze

Define the appropriate KPIs for the campaign. Set up the appropriate goals and tracking via Google Analytics and Data Studio to ensure there is a positive ROI from marketing initiatives as a whole.

As a final step, rinse and repeat.

Three Prospecting Tools that Won’t Break the Bank

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Any business owner can relate to the common struggle of filling the pipeline with potential prospects. They have a target audience in mind that can consist of company size, job title, or any other defining criteria but don’t know how to get in touch with these people. What many business owners don’t know is that there are tools out there that have been created to specifically address this issue: getting direct contact information for a target audience. What is even better, is that most can be setup within minutes and won’t break the bank. Below are three potential prospecting tools business owners can consider when addressing their prospecting needs.

Lead IQ: Allows companies to build prospect lists off of individual LinkedIn and AngieList Profiles. It guarantees a 95% delivery on all verified emails and will also tell you the confidence score for unverified emails. It easily organizes leads into a Google Sheet or CSV file and syncs directly with Salesforce. Setup is simple and prospecting can begin in just 5 minutes. They do have a free trial that provides individuals with 50 free credits (a verified email = 1 credit). Monthly subscriptions can range from $50 for 150 credits to $225 for 1,000 credits. There are also custom team packages available upon request.

Hunter: Allows companies to enter in a website domain and auto generates a list of emails associated with that website and the confidence score for each email. It also allows you to download leads as a CSV and can sync directly with Salesforce, Pipedrive, Zoho or Zapier. Hunter also provides an email verifying tool so if a business already has an existing list of email addresses and wants to check on which are verified and which are not, they can upload a bulk list and get those results. Monthly subscriptions can range from a free account that allows for 150 requests (1 request can be either a domain search, email finder, or email verification) to $399 for 50,000 requests.

Anymail Finder: Allows a business to type in a potential prospect company and select “all employees” and will generate a list of any verified emails for employees within that organization. It also has a LinkedIn integration piece that allows companies to quickly build lists of people. An organization can also upload a large list of domains and contacts and Anymail will auto-populate the list with verified emails. They have direct server validation and only charge for verified emails. Monthly subscriptions range from $18 for 200 verified emails to $199 for 10,000 verified emails.

These prospecting platforms are still in the infancy stages (most are less than 3 years old), but are beginning to pop up more frequently around the web. For minimal investment, most companies should at least look into setting up a free trial and if the lists they are generating look promising, look into the plan that makes the most sense for their need.

Marketing Automation – What Platform Makes the Most Sense

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Marketing Automation has become one of the hottest topics in the industry over the past few years and because of this, there has been a surge in platforms that have some form of automation available. With so many options, it can be difficult to decide which makes the most sense for your business. The following post will provide a high level break down of marketing automation platforms and outline the process a company should take when deciding which type to move forward with.
First and foremost – there are really two levels of automation platforms available.

1. “Automation-lite”: These are existing email service platforms that have added automation extensions to remain current with the times, but have not perfected all capabilities. Some examples are MailChimp, emma, and iContact.

2. “Automation-heavy”: These are platforms that were made specifically for automation and this is their bread and butter. Examples consist of, Marketo, Act-On, Salesforce Pardot, HubSpot, and Eloqua.

How do I determine which level is appropriate for my company? Look at the below descriptors and select which best describe your company:

1. Customer base:
a. Fairly homogenous target market = automation-lite
b. More complex / less uniform customer base = automation-heavy

2. Content:
a. You have a need for more generic newsletters and batch and blast emails = automation-lite
b. You want to produce tailored, targeted content = automation-heavy

3. Results:
a. You want to know your bounce, open, CTR, and unsubscribes from an email = automation-lite
b. You want to measure the results of marketing across multiple channels and tie it to revenue = automation-heavy

4. Lead Nurturing:
a. You already have a steady stream of leads that convert and the customer journey is short = automation-lite
b. You want to nurture leads through a buyer funnel and your customer journey is long = automation heavy

Now that I’ve determined if I need lite or heavy automation, how do I choose the specific platform?

1. Take a closer look at the available feature sets: Platforms of similar level of automation will possess many of the same features, but there will be some that specialize in some features over others. Determine what is the most important to your business and see if one stands out among the rest.

2. Price can be a deal breaker: Most platforms charge by the number of marketable contacts so this is something to keep in mind when assessing price. The price can vary quite a bit, if you are between two platforms with similar features it may simply come down to the lower price tag. Keep an eye out for year-over-year price increases in the proposed contracts because something that may look cheaper today, can end up being more expensive down the road.

Yelp: Can I do anything about those irrelevant reviews?

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Yelp was founded in 2004 as a forum for crowd-sourced reviews and has always been known for standing behind the customer. Yelp’s algorithm, in which it decides which reviews to bring to the top of a company page, has always been questioned by small and mid-sized business owners. Is there any controlling Yelp? In many cases, Yelp will allow users to stand behind their reviews, but there are some examples where they will side with a business owner and take down a post.
According to Yelp’s Content Guidelines, there are scenarios that present themselves where a business owner can fight back. We ran into a situation with one of our clients where a review had nothing to do with the user experience and the person hadn’t done business with the company. In just one day we contacted Yelp’s Customer Support, showed them the review in question, submitted the post for final review by a Yelp moderator and successfully confirmed that the review was rescinded. Below are some cases directly from Yelp’s Content Guidelines that demonstrate when Yelp may stand behind the business owner.

Can I report a review if the person who posted it didn’t buy anything?

Yelpers are allowed to post reviews as long as they had some kind of consumer interaction with the business. Usually that means that they bought something, but it can also include a broad range of other consumer experiences like browsing the store or calling to ask about pricing.

Business owners should feel free to use their business accounts to publicly or privately respond to any inaccuracies in the review.

Can I report a review that doesn’t focus on the core consumer experience?

Yelpers should share the full range of their likes and dislikes about a business as long as they relate to their own experiences as a consumer. Comments and concerns about a business’s politics, corporate philosophy, or employment practices should be directed to Yelp Talk, not a consumer review.

If you see a questionable review, please report it. Our moderators will focus on whether the reviewer describes a personal consumer experience or if their comments are overshadowed by other commentary. By and large, however, we typically let people stand behind their reviews.
Although we rarely end up reversing our original decision, it doesn’t hurt to have someone else take a second look. If you’d like to have us re-evaluate something that you’ve already reported, please contact our Support team.

5 Tips to Create a Successful Email Drip Campaign

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Drip campaigns are an easy way to provide timely information, generate leads, and reengage with current or past customers. A drip campaign can be defined as a multiple touch point outreach strategy that actually “drips” emails to individuals based on the actions taken. Below are five best practices to consider when building out a drip campaign.

Establish your objective

Every campaign should have a clear objective. There are three main reasons you would want to use a drip campaign: to stay top-of-mind, to inform, and to reengage. Once a goal is established, this will dictate the actual content that should be included along with the timing associated with the drip. Every email created within the campaign should strive to get you closer to achieving your objective.

Tailor your campaigns

People hate spam, so avoid flooding in-boxes with useless information. One way to avoid your emails being viewed as spam is to tailor the message to your target audience. Drip email campaigns should be segmented and contain relevant information that addresses the needs and concerns of the audience the campaign is targeting. With a drip campaign there are multiple touch points, so make sure each email within the drip tells a story and that the story makes sense.

Encourage action

Every email that falls within a drip should require a certain action to be taken. Whether it be to download a white paper, to watch a video, to request a demo or to schedule a meeting – there needs to be an action for the audience to take. Drip campaigns should be set up so that whatever action a person takes will determine the next email they will receive. A well thought out drip campaign will require an action and based on that action, a person will receive one of two (or multiple) messages. For example, if person X downloads a whitepaper, they receive drip A. If person X does not download the whitepaper, they receive drip B.

Determine appropriate timing

There is no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to determining the timing of a drip. In most cases the first few touch points are a bit closer together and then over time get more spread out. The timing will be influenced by the objective of the campaign. If the objective is to stay top of mind, it may be best to drip emails once a month whereas if your goal is to educate someone to make a purchase, the sales cycle of your offering will dictate the timing of each drip. Know your audience and the underlying objective of your drips to determine a frequency that is appropriate for the task at hand.

Measure your success

Every campaign should be measured to determine its success. Look first for the obvious measures of open and click rates, but then take another step to measure the conversions of the actions you required. For example, how many downloads came directly from each drip, and what clients have we heard from due to our reengagement emails. At the end of your drip campaigns, go back to the original objective you decided on and examine how the outcomes of your drip got you there.

5 Tips to Optimize Your Company’s LinkedIn Page

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You can only make a first impression once, so make it a good one. If people don’t like what they see online, they can simply click a mouse and find a new solution – it is critical to capture people’s attention right away. As an individual, and company, a great place to start is LinkedIn. Below are five ways to ensure you are optimizing your LinkedIn Company Page.

Tell a story

People want information and they want it quickly. Companies should see their overview the same way they would see an elevator pitch – provide enough background about the company that answers the obvious question of what it is that you do. Utilizing key words will also make it easier for individuals to land on your page. Take advantage of the Specialties section by listing out SEO terms that provide further evidence to what the company’s skills are.

Make it visually appealing

Companies can customize their profile icon as well as the banner that appears on the company homepage. Placing the logo as the profile icon allows for instant brand recognition. The banner can be used in a multitude of ways – to show new company accomplishments, promote unique offerings, or have a creative image that ties into the overall brand.

Track everything

Company Page Analytics provide an admin the ability to gauge what viewers are interested in and what type of demographics are looking at their page. Companies should use analytics to test everything they can to gauge an overall sense of engagement and adjust with any necessary modifications.

Showcase your groups

LinkedIn’s purpose is to serve as a networking tool and make connections. The Featured Groups section of a page allows you to show other groups your company participates in. This can be used to expand the company’s network by connecting with other group members and also demonstrate that you are connected within your industry and are aware of what is taking place outside your company walls.

Promote action

Having a LinkedIn profile and not staying active can almost be more harmful than not having a LinkedIn profile at all. Any action on LinkedIn can be seen as another way to reach out to industry peers and keep your company top of mind. It also can demonstrate you as a thought leader; so share different industry-related articles, ask questions to followers, and share company accomplishments. The key is to increase engagement with your followers using LinkedIn!