Tag Archives: strategy

Lead Generation Tactic – Webinars!

webinarA webinar is an interactive web-based seminar used to give, receive and discuss information. They are an excellent way to convey information to a broad and diverse geographical area at a low cost and can be a useful tactic to generate leads. According to Henry DeVries, marketing coach and writer specializing in lead generation, the #1 lead generation tactic is seminars/webinars!

The execution of a webinar requires planning, preparation and organization. WorkSmart runs a number of webinars for various organizations and businesses and recently discussed the 10 Best Practices for How to Organize a Webinar on their blog.

Pick a topic that will resonate in your industry or among current clients. Have there been any changes to the industry? New legislation? Industry trends? The best webinars are informative, lively and will be perceived as valuable to the target audience. Here at Strategic Guru, our webinars on the nuts and bolts of social media have been well-received in the past.

We couldn’t agree more that practice, practice, practice is extremely important. This is a good way to work out all the kinks and become more comfortable with what you’re speaking about. Be sure to test your platform multiple times to be sure technical difficulties are avoided. Holding a mock webinar and presenting to a colleague using all your tools is essential.

Another good tip is to be confident. Yes, rehearsing your talk helps with confidence, but you need to believe in what you’re speaking about and sell it to your audience.

As the linked blog post above notes, engaging your participants is crucial. Keep the participants interested by asking questions and lead them to pursue further information. Webinars are a great way to engage potential customers, rather than just blasting your message out. Remember, social media is a two-way street.

For more information on planning and executing a great webinar, check this out: 10 Steps to Running a Knockout Webinar!

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Filed under Marketing strategy, social media

Internet Marketing Channels – Which Is Right For You?

internet_advertising_250x251Of course, there is no right or wrong answer to that question. It all depends on who your market is, how they prefer to be reached and at what cost. Internet marketing channels provide different results at different costs – display advertising, affiliate marketing, email marketing, pay-per click advertising (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), viral content campaigns, and conversion rate optimization (CRO). Ask yourself some basic questions before choosing one of these channels – What are your company goals? How much are you willing to spend on your marketing efforts? Who are your available resources – in-house or outsourced? Understanding your customer or prospect is essential. Spending a large portion of your budget on SEO, for instance, may not be appropriate if much of your business comes from word of mouth.

Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz came up with a formula for choosing the right marketing channel – compare your budget with your company goals and see what marketing channel will meet each goal – be it driving web traffic, building brand awareness or educating your market.

goals-budget-priorities

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy when determining what internet marketing channel(s) to use. Each business is different and should optimize its strengths to their advantage when initiating marketing efforts. Talking to a strategic marketing expert may help you craft a targeted plan based on market knowledge. Give us a call to talk more.

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Filed under Web Marketing

Back to the Basics

data driven salesAs the old saying goes, time is money.  Companies are looking for ways to trim their budgets and reach a more targeted audience with less.  Here are four quick ways to use the information you have in your customer database to your advantage:

  1. Make a list – many marketers have data in several different locations; consolidate this information and store it in one location that is easily accessible.  Also, be sure to rid your list of addresses that have bounced in the past campaigns; practicing good list hygiene can lead to a higher open rate.
  2. Become one with your IT personnel – Don’t consider the IT staff your enemy; marketers need them to grow business opportunities.
  3. Identify basic, but relevant customer data points – find information that will allow you to reach your target market with information that is of significance to them. Such as customer IDs, purchase history, sales data, and order values.
  4. Conduct a test drive with e-mail – E-mail marketing continues to grow and drives the most ROI versus any other online-marketing channel.  Like a scientist testing his or her hypothesis, use a control group and test group to test what works and what doesn’t.  For the test group, use a data-driven campaign.  For the control group, use standard messaging.  For example, the test group is selected email addresses that are relevant for the targeted campaign, while the control group is randomly selected email addresses.

Test and Learn – Send out the pilot e-mail and track the results using web analytics.  Use the information to build a more integrated approach for future campaigns.

Don’t expect high numbers right off the bat.  Remember: “Slow and steady wins the race!”

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5 Rules for the Social Media Playground

Jumping (or dipping a toe) into the social media pool is great – after all, you do want to increase your online real estate.  But it’s important to understand a few guidelines first:

  1. Are you prepared to engage? It’s important to understand that social media is a two-way street.  Sure, it’s a relatively easy to way to broadcast messages to your marketplace.  But the market talks back –and it’s crucial that you engage with them.  A Facebook page for a well-regarded television drama posts exclusive behind the scenes videos but doesn’t reveal the date of the next season premiere, despite fan pleas.  Don’t leave your customers in the dark.
  2. Make the Commitment Lifestyle guru Oprah (@oprah) made a big splash recently by joining Twitter and sending out her first tweet, albeit in all caps.  But she’s only sent 44 messages since April 17th, indicating that she’s not a loyalist.  It’s important to set goals for your social media campaign and then execute.  An abandoned Facebook page, Twitter stream or blog sends the wrong message.
  3. Be interesting What does your target want to hear?  What are the issues in your industry?  How can you relieve pain?  No one cares what you had for lunch — unless maybe it’s the special at your restaurant!  Understand what information you can share that’s worth knowing.
  4. You can’t control the conversation Understand that social media can’t be controlled.  People are talking about your business or industry, whether you participate or not.  You can’t suppress negative comments, only respond to them so better you be there than not.
  5. Social media offers no fast fixes Social media campaigns usually can’t deliver the same kind of metrics as other marketing tactics. A good plan should develop over time and results will emerge over time.

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Filed under Blogging, Facebook, Flickr, marketing basics, social media, twitter, Web Marketing

Cary Named Top City in North Carolina for New Biz Ventures

cary, north carolina

cary, north carolina

BusinessWeek and ZoomProspector recently released a study which named the best city in each state for small business startups.   Our very own Cary was named the winner in North Carolina and the proprietor of our downtown neighbor, Ashworth Drugs, was quoted. Read the full article for the selection criteria and more on the other cities named best for entrepreneurs.

Cary has 3.39 startups per 1,000 people and 36 small businesses per 1,000 people.

Is the team here at Strategic Guru surprised? Not a chance. As a strategic marketing agency that works with many of these very startups, we understand why Cary and the Triangle metro area is a great place to start a new venture. Proximity to Research Triangle Park, Raleigh, and several highly regarded universities (UNC, NC State and Duke among others) provides Cary startups an educated workforce and a deep talent pool.

Thinking of starting your own business? Need smart thinking on  marketing strategy consulting, lead generation, or internet marketing strategy? Talk to the Guru.

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Filed under cary, Entrepreneurship, north carolina, startups, triangle business

A Few Reminders on How to Improve Your Website

I was reading this post over on Marketing Pilgrim and I thought it was worth sharing.

From a talk given at SMX West (Search Marketing Expo 2009) ’15 Stupid Things You Can do to Your Website’ is a quick sketch of some key things to keep in mind when launching a new website or revamping an existing one.

Here are a couple of points I liked:

2. Using bad keywords—ones that are too competitive or no one is searching for. Michael suggested picking mid-range keywords and work your way up.

13. Mass email using BCC and not using email services. Using an email service provider is highly recommended for sending to large lists of recipients.

14. Below the fold calls to action. Ensure calls to action are above the fold and in order to check how the page appears on different screen sizes undertake browser testing.

The point on keywords is well-taken.  It’s important to review your keywords frequently and track their results with an analytics program such as Google Analytics.   What words emerge from your initial research as achieveable may not drive traffic to your site through organic search.

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Filed under Calls to Action, marketing basics, Web Marketing

Email Design Pivotal to Campaign Success

envelope1As marketing budgets tighten among companies of all sizes, folks are looking at low-cost tactics that are trackable and measurable. Because your company is known to customers and you have determined which recipients have opted-in to your list, e-mail design and messaging is the most critical element of this a campaign’s success.
Here are two points to consider when crafting an email campaign:

1. “Less is more” for an effective e-mail. An email with a shorter copy and fewer graphics work best. A clean presentation helps potential customers see your message clearly and eliminates unwanted confusion.

2. Bring in customers with a call to action. Clearly marked calls to action are important so that the customer knows the who, what, why, and where of your e-mail communication. An email with a weak or missing call to action is as ineffective as simply not sending a message at all.

Stay tuned for more email marketing tips in March.

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Filed under Calls to Action, Email Marketing, marketing basics