Archive for May, 2016

Working With a Marketing Consultant

Good marketing consultants know marketing inside and out. Some will even have expertise in your field. However, none will know your business and customers like you do. Before they can devise a strategy, they’ll need to pick your brain to learn some key things about your customers and offerings:

1. Buyer Personas

Most marketing consultants will begin by figuring out who your buyers really are. This isn’t necessarily the person who uses your product or service. For example, if you offer productivity tools for busy executives, your buyers may be the executives themselves — or their assistants or the IT people in charge of managing business tools.

Buyer personas are the foundation of any good marketing strategy because the value propositions, messaging, and channels will be tailored to each persona.

2. Benefits and Differentiators

Marketing is all about convincing people to take the next step that brings them closer to becoming your customer. People often focus on WHAT their product does — its features. Your marketing consultant will need to know WHY people care — the benefits.

If you offer an army of virtual assistants, your customers can use your service to offload low-value tasks. That’s a great feature. However, the compelling BENEFIT is that your customer gets all of that time and brainpower back, so they can apply it to the higher-value tasks that they never actually get to do.

3. Buyer Journeys

Marketing is about optimizing each buyer’s journey, making it easier and more compelling for them to take each next step — ultimately becoming a customer.

Gather details about your current sales funnel to give your consultant a head start:

  • How many people visit your website?
  • How do they find you?
  • How many interactions does it take before someone buys?

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Your Email Marketing Efforts Start with Your Data Quality

The advantage of email marketing is that it allows you to reach your customers directly. No longer dependent on clicks to a broadly distributed web ad, you are able to target your promotional material directly to the people who are most interested. But how can you accomplish this? No one likes receiving the unsolicited emails that fill our junk folders every day. The secret to keeping your advertising copy out of the spam folder and providing value to your customers is data quality.

Data quality consists of targeting the correct demographic and ensuring that those on your list have already expressed interest. Pulling general email lists from other sources will have the

opposite effect, only serving to alienate potential customers when you want to provide a service for a need they have already expressed. A properly targeted mailing list with quality, current data is without a doubt the most powerful tool in the advertiser’s toolbox, but there is often confusion on how to build this list.

The first data quality principle to follow is market segmentation. Divide your customer base into categories based on their expressed interests and your prior business relationships. For example, if you’re selling books and Customer A reads crime novels, she should be added to the mailing list for crime fiction and not for romance. Based on the data, separate your customer classes, market to their interests and you will see a far higher conversion rate.

The second data principle is to build your list organically from previous sales. You should never miss an opportunity to collect an email address after a successful interaction since that will allow you to reconnect for future promotions with a client who already knows and trusts you. Remember, every successful sale is the best advertising for a future sale.

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3 Benefits of Having Good Data Management

According to businessdirectory.com, data management is the process by which required data is acquired, validated, stored, protected, and processed, and by which its accessibility, reliability, and timeliness are ensured to satisfy the needs of the data users. Now, in your own applications, you might have mountains of data to sift through, taking upwards of six to eight hours a day to sort, filter, subtotal, copy and paste; all of this taking away time that could be spent gathering leads and securing deals. You might think, “Isn’t there a better way to process this data?” There is, and it can be easy for you to get at this problem if you keep in mind these three essential benefits of having good data management.

Good data management minimizes your potential for mistakes, as well as any damage that could be caused by said mistakes.

Let’s face it, mistakes are a part of being human. But when you’re manually copy and pasting, dragging, dropping, and parsing through mountains of data all by yourself, you’re needlessly increasing the chances that something will go wrong. Using solid data management can keep your data consolidated, build alerts into your system, and prevent catastrophes from ever occurring.

Good data management makes you money.

Businesses suffer when they don’t have policies or processes around their data. It’s as simple as that. But you don’t have to be just another statistic. Sound data management can allow you to keep your information straight and have quick access to answers you’d better have, which again, will give you more time to grow your business.

Good data management lets you deal in reality.

With clean data, clear policies and processes, a business owner can finally deal in reality and achieve their success.

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The Most Common Direct Marketing Mistakes

After the hard work, energy, and overhead, the last thing any business wants to do is fail at marketing properly. All businesses would prefer to be in the black than the red, and this comes down to marketing. Many start-ups and small businesses attempt to approach marketing themselves, but this does not guarantee success. In some cases, it is the lack of experienced savvy or knowledge of marketing that prevents success. The need or want to gear your marketing to everyone and anyone, the lack of real, genuine testimonials and the lack of a unique brand are commonly overlooked.

Do Not Market To Everyone

This approach may work, but the majority of the time it is best to know your market. Specific marketing is referred to as ‘niche’ marketing. This is knowing your audience and their needs. Any business model is competitive and shark-like in their marketing, but knowing who you are marketing to reduces the wasted money on people who cannot afford or need your product or services.

Use Testimonials

You’ve started your business and obtained clients and customers. Request real testimonials. The more genuine they are, the more believable they are. In this current world-wide environment, people base their decisions on rating systems. Where once word of mouth was a business’ bread and butter, the internet has become the primary source for recommendations and market finding.

Have a Unique Selling Point

Your selling point is what makes your business special. You must set your company apart from the growing markets. Branding is key to marketing and without that specialized unique selling proposition, you may find that you blend in with others in the same niche are you. The more brilliant the selling point, the greater chance of successful marketing.

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Customer Testimonials are Marketing Collateral for Your Business

Testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers speak volumes about your business, and there’s no better way to show that your business delivers with integrity. With online reviews readily available for most any product or service, customer testimonials are now part of the sales and marketing process. Potential clients looking to do business with you want to know if previous customers and clients are happy with your service or product.

Ratings and point scores offer an at-a-glance measure of your business’s quality of service, but they lack a personal perspective. A customer testimonial gives the potential customer a personal view of what it’s like to have your product or service, and the positive feelings associated with it. When we read anything from another person’s point of view, we automatically picture ourselves in the same situation. When a potential client reads a positive customer tutorial, they get a mental preview of themselves being satisfied with your product or service. That kind of positive emotional association is immensely helpful in converting that potential client into a buying customer. When it comes time to put money down, they already feel good about what they’re getting, because they know others did the same thing.

Some customers like giving testimonials and writing reviews, and will give one at any opportunity. Some customers, though, as much as they like to read reviews and see testimonials, won’t offer one of their own up, unless you ask them. So, ask your satisfied clients for testimonials and reviews! They won’t all want to, but remember that every review and testimonial you get gives you more credibility, and every potential client gets another opportunity to see themselves in the satisfied customer in front of them.

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What Are Your Printed Collateral Options?

After much thought and research you’ve decided that printed collateral is exactly what your business needs to reach the next level of success. Now all you need to do is select the printed collateral options that will work best for you and your company. Here at Latka Communications we understand that each business has unique printed collateral needs, but here are some common options that can work for your company.

Business Cards

Business cards are probably the most important print collateral option your business can invest in. Your business card is a lot like your handshake in that the impression it leaves on potential costumers and clients can make or break important deals. Not having a business card to present to these potential clients is similar to forgetting to introduce yourself and can lead to many missed opportunities. The importance of a good business card really cannot be overstated, so be sure to get it right.

The Sales-Package

Nowadays a lot of companies are moving away from printed materials to strictly online materials. That’s a riskier strategy than most realize. Online materials puts the sales initiative onto the client. You have to cross your fingers that a potential client will root around your online documents and take away the important pieces by themselves. Printed materials gives you back the sales initiative. You can highlight and point out the most important parts to really hit home your sales pitch to your client with printed collateral. Printed brochures, product fact sheets, estimated invoices, and so much more can be incorporated into your very own printed sales-package.

Odds & Ends

The odds and ends like envelopes, letterheads, envelopes, and more are great printed collateral options to tie everything together and present a complete and coherent image for your business. At the end of the day it is this coherent, professional vision that printed collateral brings to your business that will help you make the important deals.

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How Can Your Marketing Collateral Draw More Attention?

One of the most often misused tools of any business, marketing collateral can be leveraged in amazing ways. Defined as the collection of ads and media used to support and grow one’s business, marketing collateral is often thought to be mere accessories to a business when, in all actuality, they can be the very lifeblood of any thriving company. Not to worry. If you need help finding better ways to use your marketing collateral to garner more attention, keep reading.

Appeal to Emotions

First and foremost, one of the best and easiest ways to better leverage your marketing collateral is by using writing copy that appeals to the emotions of consumers. For instance, if you are selling bug spray, showing a woman in a swarm of angry mosquitoes would be a very great way to appeal to the emotions of consumers. By doing this, you will find that more customers are compelled to try your product as the jolt to their senses will leave them looking for a new solution to their issue.

Call to Action

Another important element of marketing collateral is to ensure it includes a quality call to action, or a word or phrase requesting that the customer purchases your product or service immediately. Although this may seem like a minuscule task, by presenting the customers with a problem and insisting that they immediately try your product and service to fix it, many customers will find themselves drawn to your page or site in order to quell the unpleasant emotions being created by the mere thought of experiencing the scenario you have presented.

Overall, marketing collateral can be a highly influential tool. Nevertheless, unless you are aware of how to use these tools effectively, they amount to little more than collateral damage.

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