In the spotlight: top tips on being media savvy for business growth
Today’s business environment is hugely competitive, compelling companies to promote their services, image, brand and reputation in an effort to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
The media offers one of the most effective means of achieving this, and the return on investment can be compelling. Clients of Cameron Wells Communications for instance have enjoyed hundreds of thousands of pounds of media coverage annually for a tenth of their investment in media relations (PR) services.
A businesses message endorsed by the media is an extremely powerful promotional tool.
Digital and social media has undoubtedly changed the face of B2b marketing with many businesses redirecting much of their marketing spend to these channels.
So should Direct Mail still have a place in your marketing plan? Is it cost effective? Does it deliver results? Can it help customer engagement? Will it drive sales?
Read our top 10 tips to implementing a successful b2b direct mail campaign.
1. Plan ahead
Set very clear objectives that can be measured. Do you want a sales meeting? Who with? When? How many can you handle each month? Do you want to promote a short term special offer or launch a new service? How many sales or product trials do you require? Set up unique telephone numbers, ad codes, arrange tele-sales follow up or track unique website visitors so that you can measure the campaign success.
2. All about the money
Establish what is an acceptable cost per pack. Before you brief your agency, give clear direction on your budget. Embossing, spot UV and promotional gifts may look fantastic but will they deliver the ROI you need? Don’t forget to include the ‘invisibles’ in your overall pack cost – postage, list purchase, data cleansing, inserting (hand or machine enclosed), labelling and sorting plus follow up all need to added to the creative and print costs.
3.Power of data
Fish in your own pond and use a reputable list broker. Don’t ignore your lapsed customers. Don’t omit non responders to past campaigns. They may be in market this time and interested in your new offering. Segment and profile your most profitable customers and then buy similar data from a recommended IDM or RAR provider. If timing is critical to your product or service, try to buy tagged data with a renewal date appended so you are contacting potential customers at exactly the right time.
4. Know your audience
Who are you targeting? The Finance or Marketing Director? Or the PA gatekeeper who opens the CEO’s mail? What sector do they operate in? What is the size of the business? ‘Who’ drives everything – from the data provider to the concept and tone of voice to the messaging. Get this wrong and even the most powerful Direct Mail pack will fail.
5. Keep your enemies close
Try to get on mailing lists of your competitors. Monitor their on and offline activity. Know what they are up to, what they are saying and offering – then do it better.
6. Make it memorable
Be different. The format and creative execution must have stand out. You have very little time to make an impact. Remember people are time poor and are bombarded with mail – probably from your competitors. Make yours intriguing enough for them to want to open and you’re half way there. Whether that’s through a message that really strikes a chord, a compelling offer or a branded gift which engages them.
7. Power of words
Be single minded – make your campaign proposition obvious. A skilled copywriter will turn your product or service features into meaningful benefits for the end user. Features are ‘so what’ whereas benefits demonstrate how your offer could make them twice as effective or allow them to go home on time by being more efficient. Make them want you as much as you want them. But don’t overpromise. Make sure everything you say is legal. Always check the T&Cs and small print.
8. What should I do now?
Make your call to action clear. There should be no uncertainty about what happens next. Should they call you to arrange a meeting? Email you? Enter a prize draw? Visit your website to arrange a demonstration?
9. Testing testing
Budget and volume permitting you should always A/B split test. Long copy v short copy. Incentive v none. Letter only v full pack. Price v benefit as lead message. With and without email or call follow up. Monitor, learn and refine your next campaign accordingly.
10. How did it measure up?
Always share your results – internally and with your agency. And don’t just track the mailing response rate – it’s the conversion, overall ROI and the projected lifetime value of the lead that will really tell you if direct marketing is working.
HOW TO HANDLE A B2B MARKETING SOCIAL MEDIA CRISIS
Content marketing part 1 – coming up with ideas for new content
Content marketing has become the new bandwagon that everyone has jumped on in B2B marketing. It’s another bit of jargon that can easily be translated, however, and owes as much to human nature as to textbook strategies:
So far, so straightforward. But the internet is awash with anodyne advice from the school of the bleeding obvious. So how do you come up with high quality, engaging, fresh content to fuel your marketing campaign?
Aside from the obvious point about subscribing to relevant enewsletters, LinkedIn groups, Google alerts and RSS feeds so you are amongst the first to know about industry developments, in an ideal world you could also ask your current clients what they want to hear about.
You should then create a schedule so the inspiration doesn’t dry up with enough flexibility in it to be able to respond to new developments as they happen.
At Cameron Wells, we’ve been doing this for clients for 5 years – here’s a case study and a list of ideas which might help:
2. Get the keywords right – but don’t overdo it
3a. Appoint an SEO expert to submit to directories and add backlinks to your site
3b. …or, if you want to do it yourself…
4. Keep adding content
The more content you have, the more opportunity you have to include relevant search terms. The more relevant search terms, the more up to date the content, the more inbound links you have coming in to the site… the higher the listing!
One final point. Remember that Google now serves up personalised search results which reflect your search history. Make sure you clear your cache before you check your listings results as otherwise the results will be skewed and show your site listed as much higher than it might actually be due the fact that you visit it all the time (and so Google thinks it is more important to you than other sites).
Want to know more? Read the 17 myths about SEO in 2015 guide from Hubspot.
As one Creative Director unsurprisingly put it; “It’s the most important piece of paper in the agency”. Get the brief wrong and you will waste valuable time, resource and reputation. And have a really grumpy creative team.
First and foremost a brief must be brief – 2 sides of A4 maximum, 1page is ideal. Remember the left brain, right brain rule of how a creative mind works compared to that of a suit! But brief does not mean it shouldn’t be thorough.
Run through the brief in person if possible and deliver it with passion. Give it the time and enthusiasm it deserves. A good brief should leave the creative team feeling excited and motivated to get started.
In brief – top 10 tips for the brief writer
When you’re ready to put finger to keyboard, here’s what should be included in every brief…
Remember the old adage – you only get out what you put in. You can’t bake a mouth-watering cake with out-of-date or missing ingredients so don’t expect exceptional creative work if your brief is lacking in lustre.
How do I gain tangible return on an investment in social media marketing?
It’s a common question but also one that is rarely answered in any satisfactory manner.
There remains a large amount of confusion around the issue, perhaps due to the prevalence of conflicting opinion and misleading advice.
The bottom line is that, for social media to deliver ROI, it must be aligned with overall marketing aims and, ultimately, the goals of the business too.
A real world approach
One of the major benefits of social media is that it is highly measurable.
Each platform – whether that’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube – churns out a huge amount of statistics to quantify the success of any social media efforts.
But it’s also important to remember that social is not a silver bullet. Despite the number of major success stories, the majority of businesses will not see an instant jump in the number of leads, conversions or sales that are directly attributable to social media.
Particularly when it comes to B2B, social is most effective when it forms one element of an integrated campaign that also includes other elements such as PR, email marketing, direct marketing and telemarketing. It also requires a sustained commitment over time to ensure its potential is maximised.
Do not expect results overnight. Although quick gains can be made by establishing a presence on social media, genuine results will take time and effort, largely by using good content to nurture existing leads and reach new audiences.
Ensure measurement matches goals
The importance of this point cannot be understated.
For example, the company aims might include:
This should be determined at the outset, before any activity has even been undertaken, because the nature of the goal will also determine the channels, tactics and messaging that are used.
When the focus is based on increasing awareness or reach, metrics such as the number of followers on different social channels, the number of impressions received by certain posts, the number of times a video is viewed or the number of times a blog post is read are suitable objectives.
When engagement is the aim, ‘likes’, shares and comments are more fitting, and when judging impact in a defined market, it might be useful to measure an increase in followers from that sector or the amount of people who engage with targeted social media advertising.
Set conversion goals
Even then, these figures only tell half the story and there is a danger of placing too much stock in ‘vanity’ metrics, which might show positive trends but don’t equate to tangible results for the business.
It might be possible to equate positive trends to social media campaigns but it is more difficult to define the exact value of these campaigns.
One way to get around this is by comparing the social activity to an equivalent advertising value. For example, how much would it cost to get your marketing messages in front of the same amount of people, either via traditional print advertising or pay-per-click.
But, as much as possible, it is important to set conversion goals, where a specific action is completed. These might include:
Using Google Analytics it is possible to track how many visitors from each social network complete one of the above actions. Once these leads are in your pipeline, it is also possible to calculate what percentage go on to make a purchase.
Over time, you can use this data to assign a monetary value to social leads. What is the average conversion rate for social leads and what is their average spend following conversion? By comparing these stats against the investment made in social media marketing, it is possible to calculate the return.
Although social shouldn’t be viewed purely as a lead generation tool, measurement is necessary throughout the process to ensure activity is having an impact. Constant review of the figures also helps to ensure campaigns are having the desired impact and changes can be made when necessary.
Tools to make measurement easier
Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube all provide their own analytics but here are some free tools to help you master metrics.
Google Analytics. Absolutely essential for tracking visitors to your website and determining the behaviour of leads from social.
Hootsuite. Free tool that allows you to schedule posts for a number of networks and also provides analytics.
Followerwonk. Analyse your followers and compare to your competitors, or find social influencers.
TweetReach. Discover who is talking about your brand on Twitter and measure the reach of posts and hasthtags.
Klout. Measure influence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and several other channels.
SumAll. Track metrics from your different social accounts in one place.
Infographics have created a marketing bandwagon that all savvy marketeers appear to have scrambled onto to liven up dull topics or simplify complex ones, but how do you make them as engaging and effective as possible?
Here are our 10 top tips to creating the perfect infographic:
Looking for some inspiration? Marketing content engine Kapost has a good selection of B2B infographics here.
Plus here’s a couple we prepared earlier….
Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird… the digital whizzes at Google have been keeping marketeers and SEO specialists on their toes with a constantly evolving search landscape, designed to deliver better, more relevant search results to customers.
It can all get very confusing but there are actually some (relatively) simple do’s and don’ts.
If you’re a marketing-savvy business, chances are you will have realised the potential of a blog and will already have one in motion. But just how do you get it noticed among the masses of content already out there?
Optimising blog content will help to increase search engine visibility and drive more traffic to the site.
We’ve put together a list of the top nine things you should consider when writing a blogpost.