March Marketing Minute: Improve Your Inbound Marketing

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Did you catch our Marketing Minute this month? If not, no worries! Read below to learn all about why your organization needs inbound marketing and learn tips from one of our marketing strategy specialists.

At the end of the day, the fact is that many organizations don’t focus enough on inbound marketing. In traditional marketing, you send your message out to the masses, consistently spending time and resources hoping that your target market responds. With inbound marketing, you lay the groundwork, and your audience comes to you. And, while it takes some work, in the end you’re left with a marketing campaign working on its own to help drive sales inquiries for your team.

Sounds good, right? So, what can you do to implement this type of strategy for your organization?

Click here to watch as Director of Marketing Strategy, Samantha Lake, shows you how you can implement a successful inbound marketing campaign, and don’t forget to read “Can Inbound and Content Marketing Replace Your Sales Force?” after.

4 Metrics to Effectively Track Print

While it sure can be fun to generate personalized URLs and QR codes and then put them on a piece of printed material (direct mail, flyers, brochures, etc), the real enjoyment can come from the time you spend actually tracking and measuring how things are working.

Online printHere are four metrics that may help you track print effectively:

  1. The number of people that scanned or clicked: Half the battle of launching a successful marketing effort involves simply getting someone’s attention. How can you make your message stand out from the clutter of other messages that the recipient may have received? Well, pay attention to the group that at least takes some action on your response mechanisms. Even if they do not actually respond to your questions on the landing page, the act of scanning a QR Code, typing in a URL, or sending a text message involves effort. That bit of effort may indicate a bit of interest in your message; thus, those people should be treated differently than those found a home for your printed materials in their waste basket.
  2. The number of people that responded: Yes, we love these folks. They took the time to visit your response page, enter some contact information, and perhaps answer a few questions. Make sure that you are ready to embrace these inquiries as quick as possible. Of course, pay attention to the data that they provide to you! If they shared preferences on how they prefer to be contacted or in what they’re interested in, make sure that you respect and honor that.
  3. Where the responders are in the pipeline: At some point, leads are handed off between marketing and sales departments. However, marketing’s job is to support sales the entire way through the pipeline. Thus, marketing folks should have the ability (and the desire) to see where the inquiries and leads they’ve generated have moved down to in the sales funnel.
  4. Actionable intelligence from the responders’ feedback: We often tend to look at each response and lead as its own entity. This is good and understandable. However, we should also look at the data from a high-level perspective. Take the time to look for trends — when do people click? When do they respond? What answers are being provided/selected by the majority of folks?

Answers to these four metrics should certainly help us to grasp whether our current printed materials are effectively reaching our audience. But more importantly, they should also help us to create and launch better marketing efforts in the future.

How to Boost Your Mailing Revenue in 2015

As a mailing house, you provide at time-saving service for your clients that makes their business run that much more smoothly. But, no business should rest on its laurels, so it’s always a good idea to turn your thoughts to what you can do to make your business that much more successful and see some great results in terms of increasing profits. The key to kicking your mailing revenue into high gear is to take a two-pronged approach: streamline your service to provide the best service you can in the most efficient way, and look at what you offer your clients to see how you could help them and increase your profits at the same time.

Streamline Your Service

When it comes to boosting your revenue, start by taking a good look at every aspect of your mailing business and figuring out what is working well, and where you are seeing some waste or hold ups in your processes that need addressing. From handling incoming orders to getting the timing right on production, preparation, and posting, the simple act of looking at each process and seeing what works and what doesn’t can help you to streamline the way you run your business.

Expand What You Offer

Your customers know they can rely on your services, but what else could you do for their business? The more comprehensive a mailing service you can offer them, the better. They’ll know they can turn to you for advice and help and for a complete service that supports their business.

From design services that personalize each piece of mail, to purchasing mailing lists or helping clients figure out their target market, expanding your services is an important part of giving your profits that desired boost.

Let Your Customers Know Why They Should Choose You

So, you’ve got your mailing business running efficiently, and you’ve given serious consideration to what you can offer your clients to put you head and shoulders above the competition. Don’ forget the vital step of letting your clients know about it. There are many steps you can take to self-promote your business, and you can also use a matching service to assist you in getting maximum exposure and finding the right customers who need your services. Sites such as MyMailConnection.com are available to help businesses find you and match your print or mail business with potential customers looking for work.

Take advantage of these opportunities and make sure your marketing materials make it clear how you can help your customers’ businesses to grow and be successful. Then, they will have compelling reasons to do business with you.

With care, attention, and the willingness to grow and go the extra mile for your customers, you can make your mailing house more successful than ever, giving you a bright future.

4 Essential Sales Skills Your Modern Sales Team Needs

Most businesses and associations understand that the old, high-pressure sales tactics of the past are no longer useful. Today’s businessman wants solutions from providers who actually understand the modern business environment – and who are dedicated to helping their clients succeed.

That means you might have to update your sales team’s skills to deliver what your customers and members want. Here are the four essential sales skills your sales reps need to brush up on:

Conversations and Relationship Building

In order to be successful these days, you need to build trust with your customers and members – and that starts with building meaningful business relationships with them.

Your sales team needs to know the industry inside and out, as well as your audience’s unique business world. Having this knowledge will enable them to ask intelligent questions to learn what your audience really wants and needs from your business or association, and offer solutions to help them succeed.

You can also build these relationships by using your industry knowledge to educate your customers, members, and prospects. By offering them new ideas and perspectives on their business challenges, you’ll show them the value in doing business with you.

Social Media

Maybe it goes without saying, but it’s an important point: Social media is an essential tool for any modern sales professional.

Just about everyone is on at least one social network. Many people use social media to get suggestions and reviews for products and services before buying. Your audience may check out your social media profiles to see how you interact with your customers and members, and they may tap their networks for more information about you.

Your sales team needs to understand how people use social media, and which social platforms your audience is most likely to frequent. They also need to know the basics of these networks, so that they can use them to learn what your audience is looking for, and to help build those all-important relationships.

Collaboration vs. Selling

Another crucial skill for modern sales reps is the ability to collaborate with your audience to come up with effective solutions to their specific needs.

Including buyers in the planning process will ensure that they’re more engaged with the solution and more satisfied with a successful outcome. This translates to a stronger relationship with your business or association, and a higher likelihood of future purchases.

Adaptability

While not as concrete as the other skills on this list, adaptability is an important trait for your sales team. Things change fast these days – whether it’s a new social network, a new business challenge, or new technology that changes the way businesses interact with your organization.

Your sales team needs to be flexible enough to adapt quickly to these changes and adjust their approach to meet changing needs.

With these sales skills in your team’s toolbox, you’ll be well on your way to selling more solutions and becoming more indispensible to your customers, members and prospects.

Making Inbound and Content Marketing Work for You

Do inbound and content marketing mean the death of the salesman? There’s no doubt that the landscape of sales has changed dramatically over the last few years, with traditional tactics such as cold calling or door to door sales waning in popularity thanks to inbound marketing and the rise of content marketing. This is good news for customers, who can find what they want when they want it instead of fielding unwanted calls. It’s good news for businesses too, making it easier to focus on the customers who are most likely to buy. But where does that leave your business sales force? Is there a place for the salesman of old in the new landscape of inbound and content marketing and encouraging the customers to come to you? The answer is a resounding yes, if you employ some flexibility and make the best of both worlds.

Selling Has a New Face

Make no mistake about it, an important part of content and inbound marketing is driving sales, but in a more connected and less pushy way. Good inbound marketing acknowledges that increasingly more people are looking online for what they want and that your job is to have useful, engaging content ready for them when they reach you.

Good quality content and well planned inbound marketing don’t replace sales – they help to drive them. By giving your visitors the information they want, you are encouraging them to do business with you. That’s where inbound marketing and traditional sales meet.

A Warm Welcome and Useful Follow Up

Inbound marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, part of your marketing plan should be to foster good connections with your customers by giving them a strong sense of your brand’s personality and the people behind your online presence. A welcoming presence that makes your customer feel valued is a key part of any marketing, inbound or outbound. As well as in your content itself, consider how you can generate that feeling when following up on leads generated by your inbound marketing efforts.

Engaging with customers who have shown strong interest in your content means utilizing your sales force to talk directly to people who are already interested in what you have to sell. By looking at the content that piqued their interest, your sales force can start a conversation that hones in on a customer’s immediate problems, concerns and needs.

Invite Your Customers and Be Ready When They Arrive

Instead of seeing your marketing and selling departments as separate, it’s time to realize that the two can offer each other valuable insight. Your marketing department understands your customers and can craft the content that will invite them to your digital doorstep. Your sales department understands how to qualify leads and how to talk to your customers to hone in on their needs, figure out how you can help, and close the sale.

By working together, your marketing and sales people can formulate a cohesive strategy for catching the attention of customers who are looking for just what you are selling, and communicating clearly with them when they arrive. You’ll still be selling, but in a much more focused and responsive way that is better for you and your customers.

Choosing the Right CRM System for Your Business

Would it make running your business easier if you had access to all the data you needed about each customer at the touch of a button? That’s the magic of a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management system. A good CRM system does much more than store all the data you need. With the right CRM you can share vital information with your whole sales team and track your prospects from start to close of sale, making sure that every customer interaction is tracked and no one falls between the cracks. With so many CRM systems available, the choice can seem dizzying. To find a system that will make your entire sales process run like clockwork, make sure it offers the following top ten features:

  1. Complete tracking. The right CRM will allow you to track everything from potential sales leads right through to finished sales. You should be able to check in on a potential lead and see where they are in the sales pipeline with no trouble.
  2. The full picture. You should be able to access your full history with each client easily.
  3. Easy to learn and implement. You can expect a learning curve, but a good CRM won’t give you a headache while you figure it out.
  4. Automated follow ups. You’ll find a lot of stress is lifted from your shoulders when your CRM allows you to set automatic follow ups such as emails that are triggered by an event or after a certain time.
  5. Centralized access. All the information should be accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection, giving your entire team access to the sales information they need on the go.
  6. File sharing. You may have documents that support your sales process. The right CRM system will give you a place to store these and share them with your team.
  7. Sales forecasts. Your CRM needs to put all the data to good use with informative sales forecasts.
  8. Customer experience. The right CRM will deliver relevant messages to customers and prospects in a seamless process.
  9. Intuition. Your perfect CRM system will fit in well with your sales processes and collate your data in a way that makes sense.
  10. Prioritizing. Not all customers are equal and the right CRM will make it easy to highlight the customers who are most likely to buy.

Choosing the right CRM software is a time and effort-saving investment that will give you more time to focus on your business.