Category Archives: Marketing

Writing for a Mobile Audience: 4 Things to Remember

If you are writing content, you may think that issues related to mobile devices are not something you should be concerned with. Readers using small screens interact with the content you write in a different way. You will need to learn some best practices for mobile content writing to begin to engage with this new and growing audience.

Mobile Experience

Studies show that the experience of reading on a mobile device is different from the experience of reading on a larger screen. On traditional screens, eye-movements tend to start at the upper left corner and move right and then down. On mobile devices, eye-movements tend to stay in the center of the screen. So the way people are engaging your text on a mobile device is fundamentally different than the way they engage content on a larger screen. Your mobile content writing needs to reflect this reality.

Short Solid Headlines

Long headlines can take up most of the screen on a small mobile device. You want to create short and strong headlines that grab attention without taking up the whole screen. Short headlines are easy to scan and digest on a mobile device.

Start Strong

Since so little of your content is on display at one time, you will want to start with your most powerful point. Make the strongest claim or biggest promise up front so that your readers want to continue below-the-fold to find out what you are going to say. Since your readers are out and about, they want to decide quickly whether or not it is worth it to read your content.

Brief Paragraphs

Think about how your text is going to appear on the small screen. A paragraph of more than five or six sentences is going to become a wall of text that is hard to decipher. Short paragraphs are easier to follow on a mobile device. You will want to keep this in mind for mobile content writing.

Focus and not Fluff

In your mobile content writing, you want to be laser focused on your topic. Your readers are on-the-go, and they want to get the essentials quickly. They don’t have time for a lot of fluff or distractions. Say what you need to make your point and finish up. Eliminate any unnecessary verbiage or digressions from your main point.

This is not really about whether your content should be long or short. It is about making your content as long as it needs to be and not any longer.

The advent of mobile smartphones brings a new dimension to the digital world. You have to change the way you write your content to engage these smartphone users effectively.

6 Business Development Tips to Land Multi-Million Dollar Deals

When it comes to startups, if you’re not growing…you’re moving backwards. No matter how good of a product or idea it might have , a business will not succeed without sales. While investing in Facebook ads, capitalizing on SEO trends and writing great content can help bring in sales, your revenue comes from closing big deals.

Closing large deals requires much more than a few cold calls and sales tactics. The deals are bigger, and therefore the requirements and scrutiny are also higher process.

So how does a startup position itself to close deals with the biggest companies in their space? Here is a list of factors that will help you quickly improve your business development efforts and close B2B deals with big companies.

1. Reach out by every means possible.
A warm introduction is the best way to reach a contact but we don’t always have that luxury. Luckily, social media searches can help you get in front of your contact.

Use LinkedIn to search the name of the company and the words that describe the title, role or division of the person you need to meet. Include words like “venture”, “innovations” and “new technologies,” as those teams can be responsible for onboarding new technology. Send a personalized invitation.

Another successful trick is to search for alumni from your university who work at the same company. Ask them for an introduction to the right person or department.

2. Build a product they can trust with their brand.
The best companies cannot afford to tarnish their brand. They avoid taking chances on a product that they don’t trust. You need to pass the “trust” test.

To do this, start with a product of superior quality and value. There’s no way around this. Do not compromise on any part of the production quality or user experience while developing your product.

My friend Andrew Thomas, co-founder of SkyBell and one of the top entrepreneurs in the Internet of Things industry, has closed deals with the biggest brands in their space, including Honeywell, Amazon, Nest and While positioning their video doorbell product, Thomas found success by over-sharing a commitment to their brand.

“We explicitly stated how serious we regarded their brand and worked with their quality control teams to affirm our product quality.” His advice, “prove to them them that they can trust you with their brand.”

3. Ask questions and listen.
Sales boils down to our ability to quickly gain information about the prospective partner and their needs. The best way to do this is by asking good questions and letting your prospect do most of the talking. Asking questions leads your prospect to tell you what they want, how they want it and when they need it. Then you can frame your responses to accurately address their needs. It’s far better than trying to “pitch” them on your product.

It sounds simple, yet produces results. The key is to truly listen to them. Resist the urge to always focus on what you’ll say next. Also, don’t interrupt or speak for them. This helps you build strong rapport based on trust and respect – and helps you be more likable.

4. Create a vision built on mutual purpose.
At big companies, decisions are made by many people of various authority levels in multiple divisions. Success requires that you not only sell your contact on your product – but that you are so clear in defining a value proposition that your contact can then sell the idea to other key people in their organization.

How do you do this? Co-create a vision built on mutual purpose. Work with your contact to define the value proposition in the present and future – with the most amount of clarity possible. Business partnerships work best when your contact owns the solution as much as you do.

5. Don’t sign a deal that harms you.
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re working with the biggest companies in your space. The volumes are bigger, there are more users and the orders tend to have more zeroes. It’s harder to say, “No.” This is something that hurt our company badly. We are in the credit card payments space. We landed a major client in our first few weeks of launching our company. We eneded up losing money because we weren’t sure of everything we were doing. It almost dragged us under.

Resist the temptation to say “yes” to everything. It will do you no good to over-extend yourself and go out of business, which is common with these types of deals. Sometimes it’s the deals you don’t do that are the best decisions you’ll make.

Here are some common land mines to consider:

Exclusivity – Unless 1+1 = 3, avoid granting a partner with exclusivity for certain markets, timing, features or product.
Ramp-ups and lead times – Define a ramp-up schedule to pace your delivery of product and define lead times to properly manage your manufacturing. Big companies can “kill you with kindness” by ordering large amounts of product that you can’t fulfill in time.
Consignment – If you have hardware, consignment is rarely a good idea. You want firm purchase orders before you go build large volumes of product.
Profitability – Unless you are funded as a high-growth customer acquisition model, don’t take a loss on product sales just to placate a big partner.

6. Be patient.
Closing deals with big companies can take a long time. There will be many times when the deal loses momentum. Remain patient and keep a long-term outlook. “We all think we’re persuasive, but sometimes there isn’t much you can do for a deal except be patient, polite and present,” says Thomas.

While times are slow, you should reach out every four to six weeks to provide an update. Send emails with news, press coverage, awards and anything else that will keep them excited about your product. While this may seem annoying, it keeps them in contact and aware of everything you’re doing.

Effective business development efforts bring in the revenue and strategic positioning you need for long-term success. A business development leader must be willing to prospect, handle rejection and keep going. They must create trust with their counterparts and create a vision that results in profitable outcomes for both sides – and then get both sides to act on it. The success of the business depends on it.

5 Ways to Transform Your Blog and Become a Digital Influencer

Today, many superstar bloggers are making six-figure salaries and running their own companies. Armed with only a camera, a laptop and a few strategic props, they have managed to intrigue millions of followers and sign contracts with some of the largest brands in the world. Moreover, growing your audience on social media and improving your blog readership is no longer limited to bloggers. Businesses too have taken notice of the importance of social media and blogs and many are using their blog readers and social media followers to generate interest and drive sales. Here are five tips on how to increase your social media following and become an influencer in the digital space:

1. Strategy takes you to 2 million followers.
The biggest misconception is thinking that that writing great articles and taking countless of photos is enough to become a well-recognized blogger. Although content is crucial (see below), the most important part of winning an audience over is strategy. One strategy to use is the analytics tool on blog and social media; determine what type of content is most shared and liked, and start producing more of it. Another strategy is to study wording in the titles and images that accompany articles in order to determine what attracts audience the most.

2. Content is king.
If you expect to snap one blurry image, or write an article in five minutes so that it may be shared and admired by millions of readers and followers, think again. Before you take a photo, you can: Google the most photographed locations in the area, travel to picturesque settings, plan ensembles, props and layouts, and edit photos using various mobile apps. Studying beginner YouTube photography tutorials can help ensure great quality images. Each article or an image has to have the “wow” factor; otherwise, don’t publish it. Mediocre efforts will result in mediocre content, and your audience will leave. It is better to hold off publishing anything than to publish something that is just OK.

3. Originality wins.
Forget about what they taught you in school, and break all the rules when it comes to being different and getting creative in the digital space. The more unique the content, the more likely it will attract an audience. Polarizing content is ok too. You are not writing to be politically correct and please everyone; people want to hear and see something different. If you are not comfortable with others knowing your identity, invent a nickname. Reposting others’ images (unless they are “shout outs” — see below) or articles on your own social media and blog is a big no. Your audience follows you on social media and reads your blog because they care about your voice/perspective. Posting personal, unique and original content is one trait that all superstar digital influencers have in common.

4. Collaborations are essential.
Don’t expect to become a rock star digital influencer overnight. It takes most bloggers at least a year before they see a real difference. Oftentimes, influencers collaborate on many projects for free in order to help get their brand out there. Offer your unique content free of charge to different websites, magazines, events and any other outlets that may need it. Ask only that they provide credit for your images and/or articles. Locate other bloggers and ask if you may exchange audiences — in the world of Instagram, this is called “shout outs.” You will find that many bloggers/accounts of your size and larger will share your images and give you credit for content free of charge. This concept is incredibly effective and has allowed us to reach millions of new readers and followers.

5. Interns to employees.
“Scaling means doing less yourself” is a pearl of wisdom we received from our mentors. As your audience takes off, hire an intern to help manage your content and maintain/increase interaction with your audience. Providing publishing experience and knowledge to your intern will be invaluable, and you will be able to receive much needed assistance as you grow. As you grow your audience, your goal should be to become more of an editor and less of a blogger. This way, you will be able to focus more of your much-needed attention to creative and business side of things.

If becoming a social media maven has been your goal, these five tips will help you see an increase in your following. If you feel that your business could benefit from social media generated Web traffic, use these tips to drive additional sales. Leveraging our social media can provide us with an immense advantage and open a world of possibilities we never thought possible.

Phone Analytics Are Changing the Future of Marketing

Big data is growing bigger every day. It’s so big, even the U.S. government is putting it to work, with an extensive plan investing millions every year. By 2020, our digital universe is expected to grow to 40 zettabytes (one zettabyte is ~1 billion terabytes) up from 3.2 zettabytes in 2014. About 85 percent of that data is coming from new sources.

Data is important for business success, but without the right tools for analysis, it becomes a double-edged sword. Unless you can understand what the data means and then use it to improve the business — it has no value to you.

There are countless web analytics tools available to help you see how well your online marketing campaigns are doing — but what about phone analytics? With a deeper understanding of what happens with customers on the phone, your business can gain more of a competitive edge.

1. Nextiva analytics: phone call insights

Launched in March 2016, Nextiva Analytics offers the ability to harness the big data hiding in calls into and out of a business. Using the platform, it is possible to get an overview of all the call activity within a certain timeframe, see the activity for a select group of people, and compare real-time and historical data.

“As a data-driven company, we understand the importance of data for deep business insight and agile decision-making,” says Tomas Gorny, Nextiva’s chief executive officer. “Nextiva Analytics provides critical data and analysis to foster growth in businesses of every size. Stakeholders can now view, analyze and act like never before and get exponentially more value out of the NextOS platform.”

While those in the call center industry would likely find the product most useful, the beauty is all businesses will be able to use it to make adjustments to strategy and processes. With more than 225 report combinations and the ability to customize reports and dashboards, it’s easy to turn data into actionable insights.

For many small businesses, workforce management and analytics tools are costly and just don’t fit into the budget. Nextiva’s platform is priced at $50 a month for up to five users, and $5 a month for each additional user, making it an affordable way to tap into what big data has to offer.

2. How businesses will benefit

With phone-call analytics, call centers can keep an eye on quality and customer experience. Nextiva Analytics built-in gamification tools can help keep employees engaged and performing well.

Phone calls are a vital part of marketing campaigns, particularly for the business-to-business market, where calls are scheduled after lead information is entered into a web form. But, without call-tracking data, there’s no way to know how well the sales team is doing with those follow-up calls. Learning how well the calls are working allows you to see where adjustments need to be made.

Which days of the week perform better? Which times of day perform better? Are there trends in the lower performing days and times you could make adjustments to for better results in the future?

Maybe a simple change of script could be enough to boost the conversion rate? Maybe certain agents need more training to effectively convert customers? Maybe you’re spending too much of your marketing budget driving calls early in the sales funnel, when customers would be more responsive to hearing from you after they get information via other channels.

Go beyond analyzing the length, date and time of the call. Conversation analytics allow you to search conversations from keywords, to understand which ones are being used, how they’re used and their impact on the conversation. Find out if agents are using the correct language on calls and how well customers are responding to it.

3. What this means for the future of marketing

As Nextiva Analytics works to add more integrations to their software, it has the power to change the way marketers do their jobs. The more data we have available, the more precise and targeted campaigns can be.

Marketing is already focused on personalization and the mobile shift. Research shows U.S. businesses earn an estimated $1 trillion in revenue with “click to call” commerce. Using the analytics data, businesses can take steps to improve hold times and customer service response, reducing the call abandonment rate and boosting profits. The future of marketing remains reliant on the data we have available — and what we can learn from it.

If your business uses the phone to communicate with customers in any shape or form, skipping an investment in phone analytics could mean missing a major growth opportunity.


Digital marketing is constantly changing with new innovative ways of marketing techniques and tools. In 2016-17, it is expected to evolve even more than past years, the key reason for the remendous growth is credited to digitally globalizedera. Below are the top 3 choices for 2016 marketing growth, which marketers needs to consider for effective marketing strategy.

• Content Marketing
• Real-Time Marketing
• Optimal Formula

Strategic Content Marketing:


Content Marketing has always been important module of digital marketing era., this would increase in 2016. Marketers would be required to be smarter and customer oriented to make an impact with their products and services. Recently, studies have revealed 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. Storytelling is the
new way of content marketing followed by trending topics
to create a buzz.

Real-time Marketing:


Customers share, subscribe etc. on various social platforms.
Marketers need to keep a track of these clients and generate
data on the basis of real-time topics. Companies following
real-time marketing for their product have a better chance
of getting noticed than using old data and topics.
Understanding the real-time metrics is important for
increasing client engagement.

Optimal Formula:


There is no perfect optimal formula for digital marketing.
However, there are many ways to form your own optimal
product formula. Every product has a different targeted
audience and therefore require unique segmentation

An optimal formula is to do that work best for you.

• Measure
• Learn
• Test
• Measure again

Any marketing activity done online for promotion of the product should be monitored carefully to understand the outcomes, which lead to better conversion rates. The implementation of optimal formula helps in reducing the bounce rate and build channels for potential leads. Promoting the content on social and consumer platforms while following a proper timeline is important.

Tools like Mixpanel, Similarweb, KISSmetrics, Pingdom and Google Analytics give you the ability to segment your traffic and user behavior based on different attributes.

6 Ways Businesses Benefit From Seminars

SeminarsPlenty of workers see seminars as ways to get out of the office for a few hours, but the truth is that conferences, seminars, and other industry-oriented events do quite a bit to help a business succeed. Everyone involved in business, from new entrepreneurs to entry-level employees to booming business moguls, has something to gain by attending appropriate gatherings of industry professionals. No matter what you do, there is an upcoming seminar that can help you do it better in these six particular ways.

Learn About New Trends

All industries change, and it is integral to the survival of your business that you change, too. However, anticipating the shifting tides of your industry can be difficult, and a misstep could drown your business. Though reading blogs, whitepapers, and books on your industry can help keep you informed, you will learn more, faster, by attending a seminar.

In-person lectures and round tables usually foster a deeper level of understanding because you are more likely to pay close attention and take notes. Plus, they require less time than digesting the miles of written material published every week. Giving up a week or weekend to a conference every few months is akin to devoting a few years to an advanced degree in terms of what you can learn to benefit your business.

Meet Industry Experts

Every industry has its superstars, and those icons usually congregate at conferences and seminars. The industrial mogul you have always admired will probably speak, giving you the opportunity to learn from your business idol directly. Even if you don’t have a particular role model, there will be dozens of experts willing and eager to share their trade secrets and make connections with promising up-starts. Your business definitely could benefit from others’ success gleaned during an industry seminar.

Receive Feedback for Ideas

Nearly everyone in business has had at least one phenomenal idea to enhance productivity, but sometimes, those phenomenal ideas aren’t as effective as you expected. At industry events, you can workshop your ideas before you put them to work, receiving feedback from peers and experts to improve your likelihood of success. Backed by their own experiences in business, visiting experts and fellow attendees will be able to provide different perspectives on your plans, mitigating the danger of failure and increasing efficiency and profitability.

Find Potential Clients

The networking potential of seminars goes far beyond industry peers and experts; you could easily find new clients by discussing your business in such a setting. B2B businesses are usually most successful at securing leads at industry events, as every attendee is looking for ways to improve operations. Still, B2C companies can spread awareness of their products and build an audience at any gathering of people. Face-to-face interaction is an intensely powerful sales method, and at a seminar, you can demonstrate your passion for your business and answer any client questions while you make sales.

Become Inspired and Motivated

Seminars are good for the imagination. Hearing others’ stories of success will make you hungry to reach new heights with your business in new and exciting ways. When you return to your daily grind, your mind will be buzzing with new ideas to increase sales and improve morale. You might even host your own seminar for your employees. You can use Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau to find and hire engaging speakers in your industry. Work becomes monotonous quickly, but a seminar with relevant guest speakers can motivate you and your employees to push for bigger and better success.


Most immediately exciting, seminars are full of SWAG: stuff we all get. B2B booths usually force small goodies on attendees; items like reusable water bottles, phone chargers, tote bags, and T-shirts are everywhere at conferences. As a result, you go home with a bunch of free, practical items, and businesses get to spread their brand message long after the event ends.

Your business can benefit from SWAG by producing a few handy items and distributing them at seminars. If you don’t have a booth, you can hand out smaller items like pens and flash drives, but you should remember that the more memorable and useful your SWAG, the better. Ideally, attendees will spread news of your business for you in their excitement over your amazing SWAG.

How To Market A New Product

So you’ve invented the next great gadget, and you’re sure it’ll be a hit. In fact, you’ve got cartons of inventory stored in every room of your house that you’re itching to sell, sell, sell. Your test market said they love it, but how can you reach the legions of consumers you’re sure will want to buy it?

Welcome to Sales 101. While there are countless books you can read about sales and marketing, here’s a relatively simple, proven strategy that’ll teach you how to market a product and grow your sales.

Create a Sales Plan

First, define your market as accurately as possible so you have a deeper understanding of exactly who you’re selling to. For example, instead of all women, it may be working women with above-average incomes and kids under age 5. Instead of all men, it may be divorced men in their 40s with six-figure salaries. The more specific you get, the more accurately you’ll be able to target your sales and marketing efforts, choosing the sales channels most receptive to your product.

Next, you’ll need to develop a sales plan. Before you groan, “Another plan,” understand this can be a simple document for your eyes only that’ll help you organize and think through your sales strategy. Write it in a way that makes sense for you. Typically, it should include the following:

  • Sales goals: These goals should be specific and measurable, not something like selling a million units. Base them on the nature of your product and try to break them down into manageable parts. For example, sell 50 units to end-users in 30 days and sell 100 units to local independent retailers in six months.
  • Sales activities: These are your tactics–how you plan to make the sale. You may say you’ll sell direct-to-consumer through a website or via craft shows, for instance. Or this part of the plan may include activities like developing a sell sheet to send to independent retail stores.
  • Target accounts: Your sales plan should also include the accounts you want to sell to. If it’s end-users, for example, plan how you’re going to reach them through eBay, classified ads or your website.
    Timelines: Put dates to all of the above elements so you can define your steps within a realistic timeline. Don’t forget that your timelines should be fluid–if you’re underachieving, your sales plan can help you figure out why and define the corrective steps you need to take.

Finally, follow a proven process for growing sales over time. While it would be fabulous to have Wal-Mart carry your product right out of the gate, it may not be realistic. Most large retailers want to see a track record of successful sales before agreeing to take on a new product.

Build Your Market

To learn how to bring a product to market, begin by selling directly to end-users. This’ll give you confidence that there’s demand for your product and will also create referenceable customers that you can contact for product and packaging feedback before you hit the bigger leagues. So where can you reach your end-users?

The web is one highly effective channel, and you can reach your market through your own website or via a site like eBay. You can also tap into your own personal network as you begin. Host a home party to share your product with friends and friends-of-friends, sell through local community groups and e-mail your network.

Once you get feedback directly from your customers, refine the packaging and price point before approaching your next market–wholesalers. You’ll probably start with small, independently owned, local stores. It’s a good idea to start with them before hitting larger chain stores because it’s easier to get in touch with the direct decision-maker, and they’re more inclined to take on new, unique or hard-to-find items to differentiate themselves from larger stores. To sell to these retailers, be prepared and bring a product sell sheet, photos, product samples (if possible) and a succinct introductory letter to explain what’s in it for them, highlighting your product’s profit margin, features and benefits, and proven sales record.

Expand to New Markets

Once you’ve established sales strength with independent retailers and are ready to support new markets, it’s time to sell to the big guns. Of course, exactly who those big guns are will depend on your product. For some, it’s powerhouse general mass retailers, like Wal-Mart and Target, while other products will fit more specialized but equally powerful retailers, like Williams-Sonoma, The Sharper Image and Sephora.

Note that when dealing with these major accounts, the sale is just the beginning of the deal. Handling fulfillment, returns, rollbacks, slotting fees, advertising and more will require strengthening your business’s infrastructure and resources.

But back to the sale. What’s the best way to approach a larger retailer? Here’s a quick cheat sheet:

  • Get the correct buyer: One of your biggest challenges is finding the right buyer within a large organization, so do your homework. If you’re experiencing roadblocks, consider hiring a distributor or manufacturer’s rep who already has established relationships in your industry.
  • Be prepared: Develop a presentation and have professional-looking sell sheets ready. Your product should also have packaging that’s ready to go.
  • Know your target: Understand what products they already carry and how yours will fit in. Don’t waste your time pitching to a retailer who’s unlikely to carry your product.
  • Take advantage of special programs: Some mass retailers, such as Wal-Mart, have local purchase programs that give managers authority to try local items. And other retailers may have different initiatives, such as minority business programs.
  • Be patient: It can take up to a year or longer before you see your product on store shelves, so don’t get frustrated. And if the final answer is no, try to turn it into a learning experience.

Finally, remember there are other sales channels besides the traditional brick-and-mortar retail store. Catalogs, TV shopping networks and online stores can also be excellent methods to enable you to learn how to market a product online.

Up Your Content Marketing Game

You’ve heard the phrase “content in king” but what do you do when it’s time to actually implement this into your business? This could be an overwhelming concept. Content creation takes time and in some cases it takes money as well. However, the benefits usually outweigh the negatives. Take a look at the ideas below and think about your content marketing strategy for the next few months.

1. Lead Generation

The proof is in the numbers. If you’re hoping to increase your lead generation capabilities by way of your website, content could be a game changer. In fact, recent studies have shown that companies that blog generate 67% more leads than companies who do not. Blogs are perfect for hosting great content.

Lead generation, on and offline, is critical for long-term growth and success. Providing regular, relevant content is a way to see results in this area from the start. It can’t just be any content. Provide something valuable if you want the best results

2. Customer Connection

We live in a world of individuals looking for connections. This is even truer online than any other location. Think about the rise of social media and its integration into our daily lives. >8 out of 10 adults in the United States use social media on regular basis–it accounts for 23% of all time spent online. They’re not just looking for friends, they’re looking to learn more about brands before making purchasing decisions.

To prove the point, a survey by Roper demonstrated that 61% of consumers feel better about companies that take the time to deliver custom content and that they are more likely to do business with those companies than with other brands that do not. When looking to build a connection with customers that directly influences purchasing decisions, custom content must be a priority.

Take time to actually respond to customers on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you’re not only responding to the good ones though. Deleting a negative comment can do more harm than good. Respond positively to your comments and you’ll not only save customers that were about to head elsewhere, but often they’ll be so impressed that they’ll tell others about you as well.

3. Search Engine Rankings

It’s not a secret: for a website to be successful and to drive as much traffic as possible, search rankings matter. Whether you’re outsourcing your SEO work to a business or handling the effort in-house, it’s not just generic web keywords that matter. Regularly published, authoritative content is directly linked to higher search rankings.

Websites with blogs have, on average, 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links than websites without them. Furthermore, search engine crawlers reward sites with regular and recent postings and content is the best way to accomplish this. To put it simply, regular content means higher search rankings. This cannot be ignored.

Make sure to pay attention to the latest news when your company relies heavily on SEO. What used to work a few years ago may actually harm your site now, so can be helpful to hire a professional to keep track of it all. You can at least do basic SEO tactics on your website, such as optimizing your titles and making sure your pictures have text to go with them.

4. Branding Matters

For a company to become a success, it must have a strong brand with a consistent brand message. When you take the time to post content related to industry news, frequently asked questions, how-to’s and basic statistics, you’re giving current customers and potential customers a reason to return to your site to learn more about your brand and to become familiar with what you’re really about. Content is critical to brand cultivation.

Keep your content consistent on all your platforms. Don’t tell jokes on Facebook if your Twitter is all about deadly serious topics, or you’ll confuse your audience. Keep a consistent tone of voice in your writing and make sure you sound like a real person. If possible, have one person handle all of the social media writing so you get the same tone every day. Of course, you’re not going have one person work 24/7, but you can pre-schedule posts to go out any time you want.

Now is the time to consider your marketing strategy for the rest of the year. If it hasn’t been a focus in the past, now is the time to make content a priority.

6 Ways B2B Marketers Are Falling Short Today


As I came back from the B2B Marketing Innovation Summit, put on by Demandbase, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we aren’t doing enough. That I’m not doing enough.

Sure, marketing is changing faster today than it did yesterday. Blah blah blah. It doesn’t matter how fast marketing is changing! The real question is “how are you changing?”

Here are six areas that struck me. No, they aren’t new. But they are places many B2B marketers, including myself, should be doing so much more.

1. We need more actionable insights.
If we have insights we can’t do anything with, we aren’t improving. We are just cluttering our minds and our desks with information that is far more interesting than useful. And as marketers, we are all trying to improve our marketing, right?

We do this by focusing our analysis, but increasingly we have access to new tools or technologies that let us act directly on insights that were never actionable before.

2. We need to test. And test and test and test.
Just spend a few minutes on WhichTestWon and you will quickly see that we can’t rely on our gut. We need to test our ideas and measure the results.

3. We need to move much faster.
Most marketing organizations move at the pace of refrigerated molasses, while the audiences we are trying to reach are moving along like a rushing river. In large companies, an idea that was valuable because it was timely loses nearly all of its value by the time a marketer gets around to doing something with it.

The output of long planning cycles should be a framework or direction that allow us to make decisions quickly and infrastructure that let’s us execute quickly. Not a rigid plan that keeps us from taking advantage of opportunities as they rise.

And yes, it took me more than three weeks to get this published after the event, so I’m looking in the mirror when I say we need to move more quickly.

4. We need to sweat the little stuff without forgetting the big stuff.
Today we are using data to segment our audiences and develop ever more sophisticated and granular programs. As we focus on these smaller and smaller audiences, we risk missing the opportunity to join the larger conversations happening in our market.

5. We need to be more relevant to our audience.
I don’t care one bit about most of the ads I see or even the marketing emails I receive, including the ones from companies that actually want to reach me. We need to redouble our efforts to be relevant and valuable to the people we want to reach or they will just keep tuning us out.

6. We need to master data.
Yes, we all use data today. Many of us see significant benefits from it. But at the root of nearly every item on this list is the ability to do so much more with data and technology today than we could just 24 months ago. And I’ll venture most of us still aren’t doing as much with it as we should.

Why Prospective Students Aren’t Opening Your Emails

Many schools send out blast emails. Any email address in their contact databases, no matter how the address got in there, receives every email the schools send out. In the early days of email (the ’90s), this was an awesome marketing tactic because it worked. No longer.
People want and expect personalized content. If you keep sending information about your criminal justice program to prospective students who’ve expressed an interest in your medical billing certification program – it’s no wonder they’re not opening your emails.

When we say “personalize”, we’re not talking about inserting someone’s first name in a field tag. The most effective personalized emails personalize the content they provide. That’s how you get the right messages and information in front of the right people at the right time.

Our own research revealed that targeting different emails to different personas resulted in a 16% increase in click through rates (CTRs). That’s the increase we saw merely from personalizing content at the persona level.

Persona targeting is only the top level of your personalization options. Segmenting your email database into a multitude of smaller lists is the true key to precision personalization.

A 2015 email benchmark report finds that open rates in North America remain steady at 32%. Of course, that’s the average open rate. And who wants to be average.

So there’s email marketing, and there’s email marketing well. If your school isn’t seeing open rates that get you into the top quarter of performers – take a look at how effectively (or not) you’re personalizing the content you email out.

Here’s our four-step process for improving your email personalization, and your open rates along with it.

Gather The Right Information

You can’t segment and personalize if you don’t know anything about the person behind the email address. Using online forms, surveys, and back-end data collection, you can learn a lot your digital visitors. This includes demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data.

As you collect more data, you can refine your lists. For example, let’s say you create a list for leads that meet this criteria:

That’s not a bad start. But as that visitor continues to engage with your content, you also learn that they nearly always access content via a mobile device and clicked on a Twitter link to get to your blog post introducing a visiting professor from France. Now you can add them to an email list targeting mobile users, who also use Twitter. So the next email they get is one optimized for mobile with Twitter-sized content for them to read and share.

The great thing about smart lists is that your leads automatically get added to the right lists once they meet the criteria. And there’s no limit to the number of lists an email address can be on.

Use this Data Collected to Determine a Lead’s Place in Their Enrollment Journey

The more a visitor interacts with your content, as well as they kind of content they’re focusing on, the better you can gauge where in their journey they are.

Define some content and behavior criteria that indicate to you where a prospect is. Use that criteria to create lists targeting different phases. Behavioral indicators can include more frequently engaging with your content; spending more time on your site, but narrowing their focus to certain pages; shifting their attention from content you tagged for one journey phase to another; they’ve graduated from online content to attending in-person events.

Align Your Email Content to the Lead’s Place in their Enrollment Journey

Where a lead is in their enrollment journey is a critical piece of intel for sending out the most relevant content. A parent downloads your guide on how to select an academy for their child. Is now the time to send them an application package? Not really.

Instead, you send them an email with a short, embedded video interview with a current parent at your school, who’s talking about what was important to them in their selection process. At the bottom, you have a call-to-action inviting them to click on a link to a virtual tour of your school. That’s an email a parent at the start of their discovery phase is more likely to open and engage with.

And if they click on that link? That’s more intel for you to continue to refine the content this parent receives.

Monitor Email and List Performance

How prospective students and parents interact with past emails provides even more intelligence. Do they ignore emails about financial assistance issues, but always open emails relating to your school’s sports teams?

You can select content and email frequency based on whether a lead is opening most of your emails or none. A lead with a high level of engagement may be ready to get pushed into the decision phase. Instead of waiting for the lead to go through a typical, longer email drip process, you can set up a smart list to capture leads that open a specified high percentage of emails over a fixed period of time to cut short the nurturing cycle.

For the recipient who isn’t opening any of your emails: Are they an outlier in this, or are they on an underperforming list? If the list as a whole is underperforming, re-assess whether you’re sending the right content for the specified criteria. If the content does seem related, take a closer look at the criteria. Were just a random collection criteria grouped together because you could, but they don’t really create an actionable segment?

It’s Not Them — It’s You

People do like emails that send them relevant, interesting content. If your leads aren’t opening your emails, then you’re not sending the right emails. Or maybe you are, but your subject lines are snores.

Email marketing isn’t going away. Your competition is investing resources to succeed in email marketing, which raises the bar for your own efforts. Personalizing your email content is the smart way to increase your email marketing returns.