Marketing Tips is a weekly feature at Marketing Binder. Allen Stafford provides a weekly marketing tip to help you better market your business.

Lead Generation Path Way

Prioritizing Your Lead Generation Strategy – Part 3 of 3 in a Series

In part 1 of this 3 part series, I discussed Setting Lead Generation Metrics for your lead generation strategy. In part 2, I talked about Establishing Lead Generation Goals and using the S.M.A.R.T method to write goals.

In part 3, the final part to this series, I discuss 4 categories of prioritization for your lead generation objectives along with several types of tactical communication vehicles to help communicate your message that drives leads.

Looking back to part 1, you assembled your lead generation team and answered several important questions for setting key metrics. You and your team also identified areas of focus from these questions. Now it is time to categorize, prioritize, and generate your leads. We’ll begin by prioritizing your leads into the categories listed below.

Lead Generation Category Breakdown

Is your lead generation priority to:

  • Generate awareness
  • Acquire prospects
  • Nurture prospects
  • Qualify sales readiness

Category Explanation:

Generating awareness allows prospects to learn more about your business and expertise. Generating awareness activities may include:

  • Creating content for your website
  • Blogging
  • News stories about your business
  • Press Releases
  • Tradeshows
  • Community events
  • Seminars
  • Social Media networks
  • Search Engine Marketing, like PPC
  • Paid email broadcasts

Acquiring prospects is the process of prospects identifying themselves by giving you permission to contact them. This can occur through:

  • Landing pages on your website
  • Business card collections at trade shows and events
  • Calls directly from prospects
  • Direct mail responses

Note that acquiring prospects typically occurs through the generating awareness phase. When awareness is created about your business or product, interested prospects will inquire for more information through several types of communication channels.

Nurturing requires prospects to actively engage with your content. Content can include videos on your website or third party websites. Content may also include blog postings, infographics, or webinars.

Qualifying sales readiness is where the prospect meets a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) definition and signals sales readiness. (See Sidebar for more on MQL)

A few ways to qualify a prospects sales readiness include, but are not limited too:

  • Providing quotes
  • Giving DEMOS
  • Product/solution webinars
  • Consultation
  • Providing trials

Once you identified priorities to these four categories, the next step is to develop your tactical marketing strategy. Tactical marketing is the “how is it going to get done” part of your strategy. How will you communicate your marketing message to prospects to generate awareness, acquire, nurture, and qualify them?

Below is a list of various types of marketing communication vehicles to carry out the tactical strategy. Note, this is a partial list.

  • Website
  • Direct Mail
  • Email Broadcasts
  • Social Media
  • Event Marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing (Pay-per-click ads)
  • Company Blog
  • Video

SIDEBAR: What is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MGL)?

A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a lead generated by one of your tactical strategies that your marketing team feels it is a qualified lead. It is a lead that is pushed to the sales team based on predetermined set of metrics. For more information on identifying and qualifying MQL’s, see this article titled, “7 Steps to Defining a Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL).”

Next Steps

Generating leads takes some planning. Gather your lead generation team, which could be your marketing and sales team or just a few key stakeholders of your small business. Identify your objectives based on a set of key metric questions, prioritize, and execute your strategy.

Measure the success and quality of you leads throughout the process. If you find that you are not meeting your objectives, analyze the reasons why and make adjustments to your plan to correct for the deficiencies.

Custromer Reviews

6 Ideas for Improving and Avoiding Negative Customer Reviews

To survive and thrive in today’s digital, customer-driven, market environment, you need to stay one step ahead of your customers. Customer’s, empowered with social media and consumer reviews sites, can help build your business or destroy your business with their online reviews.

According to the 2105 BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey, 92% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. That’s up from 88% in 2014. Star ratings are the number 1 factor consumers use for judging a business. Of those considering making a purchasing decision based on start ratings, 13% will only consider buying from a business with a 1 or 2 star rating. Restaurants and Café’s are most vulnerable to review-conscious customers were 60% of consumers make their decision to visit a food establishment based on the reviews.

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Source: BrightLocal.com

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Source: BrightLocal.com

Knowing how to manage online reviews is critical to the survival of your business. Below are some tips and ideas for managing online reviews and developing a positive review culture with your customers.

6 Ideas for Improving and Avoiding Negative Customer Reviews

Provide Excellent Customer Service
If you begin with a good foundation in customer service, getting positive reviews will be easy. Listen to your customers, be attentive to their needs, and being pleasant all factor in to having excellent customer service. When customers are treated well, fairly, and with urgency, then they are more inclined to give positive reviews.

Under Promise, Over Deliver
This goes together with providing excellent customer service. Going the “extra mile” (working extra hard for the customer) has its rewards. Customers are pleasantly surprised by your actions and reciprocate  by providing good, positive feedback.

Ask Customer for Reviews
When you’re providing excellent customer service and going above and beyond to accommodate your customers, then it’s time to ask for the review. Simply ask them if they would consider leaving you a good review if they liked the service received while at your place of business. To make it convenient for your customer, offer free WiFi so they can use their mobile devices while at your business.

Make Reviewing Your Business Easy
Provide links to your review sites on your website, emails and newsletters. Also, add all social media and review site icons on in-store displays or advertisements you mail to your customer list. Consider adding QR Codes to your in-store signs and displays or direct mail pieces so customers can easily access your review sites with a single scan of their mobile device.

Ask Family and Friends for Reviews
If you have done business with family and friends then ask them to review your business. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help from friends and family, especially if you do not have any reviews yet and you need to build your online review presence.

Respond Quickly to Negative Reviews
If you receive a negative review, respond quickly and with facts, not emotions. Keep your cool and respond professionally and politely. If you can solve a customer’s problem, do so by having them reach you privately via email or calling the business. Help them work through the reason they gave you a bad review in the first place. Once you can solve their problem, you can ask them to reconsider the negative review and either remove it or change it.

Next Steps

Customer have who are unhappy with a business or product will not only tell friends and family, they will tell the world via online review sites and social media. Be proactive with your online reviews. Make a plan to check the review sites you are on. If you see something that is not flattering about your business, work on correcting it immediately. Remain professional and have patience as this process can take time.

Lead Generation Goals

Establishing Lead Generation Goals – Part 2 of 3 in a Series

In part 1 of this 3 part series on Establishing Lead Generation Goals for Your Business, I introduce a series of lead generation metric questions to ask your sales and marketing team. By answering the questions in part 1, you began to formulate your lead generation goals. In this section, part 2, I discuss the process for Establishing Lead Generation Goals.

Looking back at part 1, where there any answers to the questions that resonate with you or your team? These are the building blocks to your goals. They help you determine what you are trying to accomplish with your business.

Essentially, are you seeking more social media conversions? Perhaps you are interested in increasing brand awareness with your business or product and services. Maybe you are seeking more leads or better-qualified leads that result in higher conversions.

The answers to your questions do not necessarily lead to one specific lead generation goal. It’s possible, and probable that you want to create multiple lead generation campaigns, each with their own set of goals. The questions in part 1 are just to help you understand what is important now, and what you may want to focus on at a later date.

Once your area, or areas, of concentration are established, the next step is developing measurable goals. See the article on “Writing S.M.A.R.T. Marketing Goals” for a detailed explanation on writing time-bound, measurable goals.

Finally, establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are essential for gauging success in reaching your lead generation goals.  KPIs are the litmus test to each established goal and if you are on the right path to achieving success. If you are not meeting KPIs, it’s time to make adjustments to your strategy and/or goal. If you are hitting your KPIs, then your goal may be too easy and you need to make changes to your goal. See the Sidebar below for an example of establishing KPIs.

SIDEBAR: Establishing Lead Generation KPIs

To establish Key Performance Indicators for lead generation goals, let’s assume that one of your S.M.A.R.T. lead generation goals is to generate 5 new qualified leads in your pipeline per week from a specific landing page on your website. For simplicity sake, let’s assume you are currently generating 3 qualified leads per week from this specific landing page. To acquire the 3 qualified leads, you are publishing 3 new pieces of content to you site weekly and that drives 300 unique visits to your landing page.

To get to your lead generation goal of 5 new qualified leads per week, let’s make the assumption that you need to drive an additional 200 unique visitors to your website. As a result, you need to publish 2 additional pieces of content, a total of 5 content items, per week.

The KPI you set to get to 5 new weekly qualified leads is 5 new content pieces per week. In theory, this should get you to your goal.

If you fall short of the 500 weekly unique visitors after you publish your 5 content items per week, you are not reaching your KPI, and thus, you may be at risk of missing your target goal of 5 new qualified weekly leads. At this point, you will need to explore why your KPI is lower than expected. A possible outcome could be your content is not the right subject matter for your target audience.

Next Steps

Once you establish your lead generation goals and campaigns, you are ready to develop the roadmap and plan for reaching your goals. This is the topic of part 3 in Establishing Lead Generation Goals for your Business.

Setting Lead Generation Metrics – Initial Questions Part 1 of 3

In part 1 of this 3 part Marketing Tips series on lead generation goals, I examine the initial questions to ask your lead generation team as a primer to setting your lead generation key metrics and goals.

Setting Lead Generation Key Metrics

Your first task is to establish benchmarks for both a sales and marketing processes. Depending on your company structure, you’ll want to work with your lead generation team to tackle and answer the following questions.

Your lead generation team may consist of you, your sales staff, and marketing team. It can also include top level key decision makers (or the C-Suite), depending on the structure and size of your company. If you’re a small business, your team may be just you and an employee or your spouse.

Creating two categories, sales and marketing processes, answer the following questions with your team.

Sales Processes

  • What is the average sales price for your products or services?
  • What is your average sales cycle? Is it one week, 6 months, or some other time duration?
  • What are your quarterly revenue goals? (you can establish yearly goals, but it’s best to set quarterly goals to measure your progress and make corrections if you miss your target goal for one quarter.)
  • What are your current percentage of leads that turn in to a sale?
  • How do you define an opportunity and what are the steps it takes to move that opportunity toward a sales. (see sidebar below for an example opportunity)
  • How many influencers does it take at a prospects business to influence a sales? (See sidebar for an example)
  • How is your sales team divided? Do you have inside sales, outside sales, or a combination of both?
  • What are done with leads that do not turn into opportunities? Are they discarded/deleted? Do you remarked to these leads?
  • What percentage of leads generated by your marketing department are considered “good” leads?
  • Where does the sales team look outside of marketing to find good leads?

Marketing Processes

  • Is your business currently participating in any lead generation programs? If so, what are they?
  • Is your company actively engaged in blogging?
  • Is your company producing content? If so, what types of content are they generating? Infographics? Webinars? Videos?
  • Are you active in social media streams as a company?
  • Assuming you are using a Customer Relations Management (CRM) tool what happens to those leads once they are entered into the system?
  • What is the cost per lead? This can vary depending on the types of products and marketing channels used.
  • Do you have a lead scoring and lead nurturing program?
  • Do you currently track marketing metrics? If so, how is this done?
  • What is the conversion rate for leads generated from marketing to opportunities? From leads generated from sales people to opportunities. Is there a difference in lead quality?
  • What are your sales success rates from leads?
  • How does marketing contribute to the sales pipeline?
  • What is marketing’s contribution to closed sales revenue?

SIDEBAR: Defining a Sales Lead Opportunity

lead-generation-pipelineGenerally speaking, an opportunity is a contact or account that has been qualified and is 75% or higher probability of turning into a sale. The sales person will have qualified the opportunity by having made contact with them, provided them with supporting marketing collateral, and discussed sales options. In other words, the opportunity is in the sales cycle.

As the old sales adage goes, “The opportunity is a deal that you have the possibility to close.”

Next Steps

The answers to these questions are the beginning to developing your lead generation goals. Goals are very different for each organization and are dynamic in nature. That is, they can change as the business climate and company goals change. This is why revisiting your lead generation goals on a quarterly basis with your team is important.

In part 2, I help you formulate goals and develop a path toward a lead generation plan.

Customer Loyalty Net Promoter Score

How to Easily Gauge Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction

One simple way to measure customer loyalty for your business, product, or service is to use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) introduced in 2003 by Fred Reichheld and Bain & Company. The NPS serves as an alternate method to traditional customer service satisfaction surveys where any person can administer the survey.

How NPS Works

The Net Promoter Score calculation is based on customer responses to the ultimate question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company, product, or service to a friend or colleague?” 

Based on an 11-point scale respondents giving a score of 0 to 6 are known as detractors. Respondents providing a score of 7 or 8 are  passives, and respondents giving a score of 9 or 10 are known as promoters. See table below for description of each NPS category.
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NPS Survey Score Diagram

NPS Calculation

The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who are detractors from the percentage of respondents who are promoters. The NPS is represented as a number, not percentage, between -100 — where 100% of the respondents mark 0 — and 100% — where 100% mark 10 on the survey. Passives are used to calculate the average percentage, but not used in the final calculation for arriving at the Net Promoter Score.

See the Marketing Math section for the Net Promoter Score Formula and Calculator.

Organizational Responsibility

The organization or business must adopt the concept of using the NPS to gauge customer loyalty and providing support to customer who give a low NPS score. Customers who respond as either detractors or passives should be priority and a follow-up call given to decide how the organization can correct what caused the customer to give a low score.

How to Deploy an NPS Survey

The Net Promoter Score is typically deployed following a sale or service call. Using either internal or external email platforms, organizations can send customers the NPS survey. SurveyMonke.com offers pre-designed NPS templates for gathering customer data easily.

For more information on the Net Promoter Score, try one of the recommended readings listed to the right (top if you are on a mobile device) or visit this site.

daily-marketing-tip-guerrilla-marketing

How to Steel Customers from an Anchor Store

Daily Marketing Tip #2 – Explanation

This marketing tip is inspired by an event I witnessed several weeks ago. While driving to a retail shopping center, I witnessed a young man standing on the center medium of the centers entrance. In his hand was a sign that read, “Cactus Cantina Serves Breakfast Too!” and an arrow pointing in the direction of the restaurant. This was Guerrilla Marketing at its best! (See Sidebar below for details on Guerrilla Marketing.)

What makes this tip so great is the center has what’s known as an anchor restaurant (a major restaurant that is responsible for drawing a majority of the customers). The anchor restaurant is an IHOP — International House of Pancakes. The restaurant advertising is not known for serving breakfast. To increase their breakfast business, they had a sign twirler (a person who stands outside with a sign and twirls or dances with it, attracting attention), stand on a center medium and directing traffic toward the cantina. The best part, this was happening at peek breakfast time on a Sunday morning, when the IHOP is packed and wait times are long.

If you have a retail store or restaurant and there’s an anchor store or restaurant that is receiving a lot of the business, use a sign twirler or other attention getting device to steel customers away from the anchor business.

Resturant Marketing Tips

Promoting Your Restaurant’s Menu Through Social Media – Daily Marketing Tip #1

Daily Marketing Tip #1 – Explanation

By now, if your restaurant or food establishment is not on social media, you’re possibly losing out on potential business. In Marketing Binders premiere Daily Marketing Tips section, I discuss the need to post good images of your food dishes / products to your social media stream, consistently during peak serving hours.

Here’s why. We are a technological society enamored with social media, specifically sites such as Facebook (where we find an abundance of food postings). Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and a whole host of other social sharing sites. According to statista.com, cell phone usage is projected to reach over 2.6 billion users worldwide, with both Android and iOS comprising the majority of cell phone users. What does all of this mean for your restaurant business? A lot of potential customers thumb surfing through social media on their phones.

By showcasing your new menu items, “hot” sellers (pun intended), and other favored (or not so favored) menu items, frequently on social media, you help entice potentially hungry customers into visiting your restaurant. But, timing is everything. The key is to post just prior to and during your peak serving hours. If you’re posting food images all day long and too frequently, you can create follower burnout. Additionally, posting too many food pictures all day long does not pair well with a good content strategy for social media.

A Note on Social Media Content Marketing and the 4-1-1 Rule

An important rule to note when frequently posting self promotions is the  4-1-1 Rule for Social Media, popularized by Joe Pulizzi of The Content Marketing Institute. The rule states that “for every self-serving social media post, you should post one relevant post and share four pieces of relevant content written by others.” The 4-1-1 rule gives you the opportunity to have dialog, build awareness of your business, as well as keep in touch with followers without being too pushy.

If you are promoting content written by others on your site throughout the day, self-serving posts during a few hours of peak serving should not pose a concern.

Marketing-Tips-Daily-Home-Header

Welcome to Marketing Tips Daily

Welcome to the Marketing Tips Daily blog, a new section here on Marketing Binder, where I, Allen Stafford – a marketing professional with 17 years of marketing experience – will bring to you, the small to mid-sized business (SMB) daily marketing tips on a variety of marketing subjects that include:

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