Top Resources for Marketers – Part 3

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The following is part one of our weekly series on Top Resources for Marketers.

Learning is a lifelong process. Without learning and development, we flounder. Technology passes us by. Potential lies undiscovered and dormant. Old skills stagnate and new ones fail ever to form.

With that in mind, today’s resource is: Buffer Blog

Buffer is a social media company, which offers easy-to-use solutions for social media management for companies and individuals alike. (Full transparency: I use Buffer to post to Twitter and LinkedIn)

But this post is not about their app. It’s about their blog. And that’s because they produce the kind of high-quality content that marketers are addicted to, and for good reason.

To illustrate what makes this such a great resource for digital marketers, let’s take a look at one recent post:

Getting Started with Instagram for Your Business: 8 Simple Steps

The post provides a simple, step-by-step walkthrough for companies looking to establish a brand presence on Instagram. From setting up your profile, to posting, to commenting, and much more. The details are there, with images and graphics used to explain each step more clearly.

It’s an easy read, and offers solutions to real-life problems. And that’s just one type of post you can find. Buffer has become well-known for data-filled posts on social media best practices, using the expertise and experience of people using the app.

For anyone looking to get more bang for their buck in digital marketing, the Buffer Blog is a must-follow.

Zach Heller Marketing Week in Review

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The hardest thing to learn how to do is say no. But for a marketer, saying no is critical. It’s critical to say no when presented with a strategy we don’t believe in, or when we’re offered a new project that doesn’t fit into our schedules, or when we discover that an ad campaign is not delivering the necessary ROI. We don’t have enough time or money to do everything, and so we can’t win by always saying yes. The sooner you learn how to say no with confidence, the better off you’ll be.

Here are last week’s posts, in case you missed them:

  1. Top Resources for Marketers – Part 2
  2. How You Follow Up Matters
  3. When You Follow Up Matters

Happy Saturday!

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When You Follow Up Matters

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In marketing, there are a few instances when it is critical that you follow up with someone. The clearest example is when you have an interested prospect, or sales lead.

Companies acquire, develop, or build leads in a number of ways. Perhaps it is someone who filled out a form on your website, or someone on a list that you purchased, or someone referred to you by an existing customer.

No matter how you get the lead, the follow up is key to making the sale. And when you follow up is almost as important as how you follow up.

When you follow up matters for two key reasons.

First, it is important not to wait so long that the person no longer cares, or does not remember why you are following up in the first place. In some cases, you may be competing with other salespeople/companies to make the sale and reaching out too late will cost you the business.

Second, it is important that you meet a prospect’s expectations in the sales process to give them a positive impression of your brand. A prospect is likely to judge the quality of the product or service they are considering on the quality of the sales experience.

There are three general categories we can put sales follow-ups into. You should decide which one makes the most sense for you.

  1. Immediate. The immediate follow up bucket is for all those times when speed matters. In many cases, the quicker you reach someone, the more likely it is that you will make the sale. This is especially true when multiple businesses are competing for that same customer.
     
  2. Specified time. This is true whenever there was previous contact or communication that indicated a specific time for follow up. Whether you spoke to this prospect already and agree to call back later, or they expressed a desire to be contacted on a specific date, the “when” in this equation is very obvious.
     
  3. After action. In some number of cases, the follow up should happen after giving the prospect enough time to do something you’ve asked. For example, you may have sent them some literature on the product they requested. It does not make sense to follow up right away, given that they would not have had time to read through the information yet.

When you follow up matters if you want to get the sale. We use timing to set expectations. It is important to understand who your potential customer is and what they need from you so that you can determine how and when to reach out.

How You Follow Up Matters

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There are a lot of different business situations that require an appropriate follow up:

  • Following up with a potential employer after an interview
  • Following up with your team after a meeting
  • Following up with a sales lead who has expressed interest
  • Following up with a potential partner after a conversation

Surely there are more. But that is enough to illustrate the point.

No matter what the reason for the follow up, it’s the execution we want to focus our attention on here. Because how you follow up matters just as much as whether or not you follow up.

First, it is important to clearly define the goal, the reason you are following up and the desired outcome. For example, if you are following up with a sales lead who has expressed interest, your desired outcome is ultimately to convert them into a paying customer. But the goal of the initial follow up may simply be to gauge their interest, or set up a meeting, or establish a rapport.

Without a clearly defined goal, you don’t know how to follow up. Recognize that there are any number of ways to follow up. Of course, there are the standard methods – an email or a phone call from a salesperson, using the example above. But what about a text message? Or an automated email sequence? Or a robocall? Or a handwritten letter?

Once you define the goal, it is important to consider your audience. Who you are following up with will help you determine the most likely way to get their attention. For example, a hiring manager that you met with doesn’t want you to call them. And the CEO of a company you are trying to do business with won’t likely pay attention to an automated email.

Design your follow up process for the person you are following up with.

Finally, once you choose the most appropriate follow up method for your goal and your audience, you should test to ensure that you’re correct. What is the success rate of your chosen method? Now try something else with a few people and see if that works better or worse?

Testing is a great way to optimize your follow up process over time anyway. And so you should use it as a check against your gut.

Top Resources for Marketers – Part 2

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The following is part one of our weekly series on Top Resources for Marketers.

Learning is a lifelong process. Without learning and development, we flounder. Technology passes us by. Potential lies undiscovered and dormant. Old skills stagnate and new ones fail ever to form.

With that in mind, today’s resource is: MECLABS

MECLABS Institute is a research laboratory dedicated to learning how people make choices. For marketers, this is the holy grail. If we knew exactly what made someone purchase from us over our competitors, we could build the most successful company the world has ever seen.

What makes MECLABS such a great resource is the amount of content they put out on the subject. And these aren’t simply best practices written by industry experts, these are analyses of real-world experiments.

From white papers, to books, to live videos, there is a wealth of information to be obtained. The more their advice sinks in, and the more you apply it to the work that you and your team are doing on a day to day basis, the better off you’ll be.

In addition to their featured research, you can attend online or in-person training to learn the kind of hands-on skills needed to be a successful marketer.