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Client growth

Amplify your marketing content!

Amplify! Six out of six – my final part of six sections to consider in your content strategy (recap: Set Goals, Know your audience, Niche down, measure everything, listen then amplify!).

If you’ve nailed the first five steps, then you’re well on your way but one last thing – put your content in the exact right place for your target audience, the people who are engaging with it, being advocates for your business, for your team- your biggest promoters and your target audience and where they specifically need to see your business name in lights.

The options for ‘amplifying’ or channels are endless;
1) Online – you’ve got social, SEO, PPC, email marketing, google/online ads, virtual events, virtual networking, online PR, WOMM, influencer marketing, partnerships, business listings/ directories and blogs

2) Offline – (took me longer to think of all these!)- physical post/ piece of content printed and delivered, guerilla marketing, advertising, print ads, TV, radio and in-person real life events!

To go back through all six parts – here’s where I’ve posted the first blog so you can scroll through at the bottom of each page: https://lnkd.in/gjDpJRbj and you can also click back and forth through our articles at the bottom of the page.

And here’s a really great quote to inspire you to follow the steps;
“The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run. It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.” — Seth Godin” 

Where do you amplify? And what have you thought about the six sections I’ve gone through? Look forward to hearing your thoughts

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Client growth

Measure everything!

When it comes to your content marketing strategy, you’ve got your goals written out (my first part of six posts) so it’s watching those results but a bit more too. 

Some examples include giving away a white paper/driving traffic towards web based results, executing email marketing campaigns, receiving direct contact in a sales capacity and social posts (in the capacity of earned media). Google Analytics is clearly a favourite tool for analysing unique hits, popular content pages, referral traffic etc.

The best article I’ve found on what to do to get started in analytics is here: https://lnkd.in/gt3DQW-g

My personal and probably fairly basic go-tos:
1 – Always love a content drill down – what are you most popular case studies or blog posts? That is huge for informing if you PR was successful, which projects are most interesting to prospective clients and hires and what content is the most interesting on your blog.
2- Acquisition / Sources – who is linking to your website and make sure it isn’t unwanted – check who is linking to you and why and what they’re saying for your own reputation management and those sources that are working – maybe think about investing in that platform for your marketing spend for next year
3- Look in All Pages and ‘Average time on page’ are people really reading your content?
4- Same report but then Bounce Rate – if its a high bounce rate then maybe something on that page isn’t working

What do you measure? What do you wish you were measuring but you’re currently not?! Confession time!! 

Categories
Client growth

Sales strategies for agency owners

How to approach ‘sales’ is different for different types and sizes of businesses but there are some common themes and thinking where I can hopefully shed some light and provide some food for thought. 

Every business leader needs to have an idea of where they want to be in 3 years, even if it’s just the back of napkin plan, but something to aim for will give you 2 key things (1) an aspirational end goal (2) a position to work back from to where you are now and allow you to envision the steps necessary to get there in reverse order.

When it comes down to a ‘Sales Strategy’, I write them regularly for clients, it’s part of any thorough marketing strategy and ties in with a company’s positioning. Who you are as a brand and your business’s core values in combination will dictate who you work with and vice versa; who you want to work with will influence the brand’s TOV. A good sales plan needs to be ‘SMART’ and rigorously monitored to keep you accountable to it. If the sales plan is well designed but sales are not converting, it is usually because the business is not staying on top of its leads, pipeline and deal closing. You will know your weaknesses, and if you need to outsource tasks or even the writing of it, make that decision for your business, to help you get to your 3 year goal. 

Next, (as mentioned in my earlier article* <add link here) and I can’t stress this enough, you must make time for your sales! Make time to research and cold call new prospects, make the pitch relevant to their business, ask open questions, chase up proposals, chase up leads and catch up with your network. Get on top of all SQLs and MQLS, you’ll be glad you did! For every proposal I write, I expect about a 50% success rate. If you’re losing more than that, look into why and always ask when you have not been successful, but don’t take it personally, there’s always something to gain whether it’s a contact or knowing they aren’t the client for you. 

Pricing Strategies – this is a big topic and one I can hardly get into lightly, but there are a lot of philosophies and thinking here. Heard of Blair Enns?! He is passionate about value-based pricing, but that won’t be right for every business and potentially not during a recession and not always for a brand new client. Know your value and stick to it. Be consistent. Know what you are and what you are not, do not try to be what you are not it will dilute your brand and reduce the effectiveness of your client delivery. 

Closing strategies – the phase ‘always be closing’ some may say is out-dated but I think the message behind the technique is fundamentally valid, and, if used with robust emotional intelligence, will more often than not convert leads into clients. Once you have a client, it’s up to you to keep them loyal by constantly reaffirming why they work with you through the value you consistently add. 

You are done. No need to say more, no need for small talk – so many get the sale then talk themselves out of it with irrelevant chit chat. Do not commit this cardinal sin, instead: be professional, concise and above all respectful of their time and your own. 

Happy hunting.

Categories
Client growth

My Top 5 Tips for a Tip-Top Year!

Aaahh, 2021. A brand-new year, and hopefully a brand-new chapter for all of us, too. In other words, an opportunity to ensure you’ve pivoted in the direction you know you need to head: visualising and planning for the clients you want to target, the headcount you want to achieve, and the profits you are determined to report.

I’m being asked a lot “where do I start?” – well naturally it depends on what you have done before, and I can certainly help business on that deep analysis. Perhaps you’re already storming ahead, and just require some fine-tuning? Or, perhaps you’ve done the groundwork and are keen to ‘dig deeper’ this year: Or, like many firms, you might want to go back to basics and rebuild your business a little differently. Whatever stage you are at, I can help you. And, of course, remember that the groundwork always sets the scene for future in-depth analysis. So, as a “Light Guide to the Basics”, here’s what I would suggest:

1)    Measure where you are right now

It is so important to check the temperature of your brand; where (and how) your business is listed; what people, sites or bots are saying about you; how many followers you have; and who’s visiting your website. When you input a new lead into your CRM, do make a note of how you connected: were you introduced by a mutual contact? Did they find you via a search engine? Did you meet by online networking? Essentially, if you don’t track all of this, how can you know what’s working, and what isn’t?

2)    Tidy up your sales pipeline

Business owners and sales professionals often grow to hate their chosen CRM software, so do keep asking if what you’re using right now still suits your business needs. Don’t be embarrassed if your ‘tool’ of choice is a simple Excel spreadsheet: personally, I’m a big fan of Excel; all areas of my life are logged in a spreadsheet somewhere, but dig a level deeper, and check if the columns and formatting are working as well as they could. Maybe you need something more dynamic… more analytical? There are a lot of sales CRM that are free that might suit your sales process better. Ideally, you should allocate a dedicated amount of time each week to track and act upon your sales pipeline. So, whatever your choice of solution, make it works 100% for YOU, at your present stage of business development. And acknowledge that it may well change over time – because it probably will!

3)    Diarise time for creative inspiration and new business

I’ve worked with enough creative businesses – including some incredible minds – to know that spending time on client work, then supporting your team is how your days and weeks are going by, but is never going to get you the business growth you’re actually capable of. Schedule time in your diary to go down the rabbit hole of reading, scrolling, Googling…whatever it takes to seek out valuable inspiration. It’s worth it in order to conjure lots of ideas; and it will certainly benefit your client base.

On the flip side – do prioritise achieving your business goals. Your company may have a mission, but without a solid sales plan or an idea of how to attract and reel in those companies you’re desperate to work with – how are you going to do it? You do have to be in the right mindset, but half a day a week (let’s say a minimum of 3 hours) should get your head straight, and should motivate you to start chasing those leads, turning them into opportunities and winning more work.

4)    Write your idea of a sales and marketing plan

To me, sales & marketing sit in the same box. Marketing draws them in, but for the purpose of sales. And, really, 2021 is just like any other year: it has four quarters and 52 weeks, so your commitment to developing sales targets and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely) marketing plans should still apply. Being a business leader means you’ll always have a lot of ‘urgent’, ‘critical’ tasks to attend to; but, without the compass and map that your sales & marketing plans should provide, how will you know where you’re going?  

5)    Ask for help!

Ah yes. This old chestnut! I know that marketers, outsourced business developers, PRs etc don’t always have the best reputation. But if you pick the right expertise to partner with you, getting the right help can be a massive time-saving exercise. You went to the effort of getting a great accountant, right? So, do the same for the other aspects of your business that you want managing perfectly. After all, at the end of the day it all boils down to money.

So, those are my top 5 tips on where to start (if you haven’t already!) Sending you all my very best wishes for a profitable, killer year, and if you want to learn more about External Marketing’s expertise, you can contact me on zara [@] extmktg.co.uk, #externalmarketing #salestargets #marketinggoals #B2Bmarketing #creativeminds #positivity