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Friday, January 30, 2015

Lead Generation Tips for Today's Marketing Landscape

According to findings in the B2B Content Marketing 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends survey, lead generation is second only to brand awareness as a major goal for content marketers in 2015. But what strategies should you use? What small tasks can you accomplish each day to earn more qualified leads?

Let’s take a look at 6 ideas that can help you begin your sales cycle. 

1.      Embrace social media.
This concept isn’t rocket science, but it does mean more than just creating a Facebook page. Embracing social media to generate leads means selecting channels that your target audience uses, creating and curating content daily that works for those channels and that is compelling and relevant to your audience, developing a reputation as a thought leader in your industry and talking with your followers, not just to them. While you won’t see an immediate train of quality leads pulling into your brand’s station, you will begin to connect with those interested in your services and begin to foster relationships.

2.      Send direct mail.
Yes, you read that correctly. Direct mail may have its detractors, but don’t count it out when it comes to your lead generation strategies. HubSpot notes that 18-34 year olds prefer direct mail and that it’s an effective lead generation investment when targeting hyper-local communities. Many marketers focus solely on email to generate leads, so direct mail has more of an opportunity to stand out. Work with professionals who understand how to create the right content and who can target the right audience for your brand.

3.      Hold contests on social media.
There are several ways to hold contests on each social media channel, but for the purpose of lead generation, focus on email-gated contests. Followers will need to enter their email addresses before they can successfully enter your contest, and you can also ask for a follow or a retweet in addition to their contact information. If your contests include the submission of videos or photos, you can collect user-generated content (UGC) as well.

4.      Test and use hashtags.
In 2015, using hashtags should be a no-brainer. What some marketers tend to overlook is the need to test hashtags. Having your brand be a part of the conversation on trending topics and participating in Twitter chats are good ways to be seen as a thought leader, but as you become seen as more of an expert, you also want to create your own content and your own hashtags. Ensuring those hashtags will stick means ensuring your message will amplify its reach. 

5.      Create original content for LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is giving its members access to its long-form blog publishing privileges as a way to create a stronger community of professional insights. These blogs can be great resources for lead generation and can be posted to your company’s LinkedIn page as you further establish yourself as an expert in the industry. Create content that is helpful and interesting to your target prospects. Include a specific call-to-action to subscribe to your company blog or YouTube page and to follow your company’s social media accounts. You can also include a CTA to sign up for a webinar or download a white paper, but be careful not to leave your prospects with the feeling that they are being sold to. 

6.      Revise your strategies as needed.
Your marketing strategies are living, breathing entities; as the behavior and needs of your prospects change, so should your marketing. Measure the results of each activity regularly and revise accordingly. There is nothing about your target audience that is set in stone, so how you interact with them and earn them as leads must evolve as needed.

By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360

Friday, January 23, 2015

Make the Multi-Channel Approach Work in 2015

Yearly mail volume sent in 2007: 212 billion
Yearly mail volume sent in 2013: 158 billion
Weekly average of business and marketing emails read by consumers in 2007: 304
Daily business and marketing emails sent in 2013: 100 billion

While email and all things digital remain powerhouses in marketing, direct mail is also an effective medium when it’s part of a multi-channel approach. The numbers above clearly reflect a downturn in print mail pieces, but they also speak to a key direct mail strategy: the use of effective targeted marketing. What does this mean? The age of big data stepped in. For marketers, that meant targeting their messaging to more than mere demographics. For consumers, that meant fewer pieces to sort through and a greater likelihood that targeted pieces received were considered.

In 2015, the intersection of effective targeted marketing and integrated print and digital messaging can optimize consumer engagement with your brand. Here are a few tips to help you plan your marketing and make a multi-channel approach work for your brand:

Personalize your campaigns.
Data selects such as age, ethnicity, gender and zip code are the fundamental bits of information needed to begin any direct mail campaign, but big data is about more multifaceted information. Who are your prospects? What do they like? What are their buying patterns? What are their lifestyles like? This level of data will help you better target your ideal audience.
When you can more strategically target your ideal prospects, you can more effectively personalize your marketing. When your ideal prospects receive personalized marketing, they are more likely to respond to your offer. MindFireInc®, a direct mail tracking software company, studied 650 multi-channel marketing campaigns and found that personalized campaigns consistently and overwhelmingly beat out static campaigns in generating a high response rate from recipients. 
Tell your story.
Brand advocates are the most powerful force in marketing. Do you have customers who can attest to your brand’s way of doing business? To your brand’s products and service? Using their testimonials on your direct mail pieces can not only tell your story but can also build your credibility.
What other stories are meaningful to understanding your brand? Think about marketing pieces you connect with: what types of stories do they tell? Solidify your relationships with your target prospects by evoking emotional responses; sharing your brand’s stream of stories that create its overarching narrative is crucial when earning connections with your prospects.
Mix your marketing.
Print marketing has more than earned its place at the table, and so has digital. 2015 will see this integration pushed further, making both mediums work for your brand. Use your social media footprint on your print pieces to encourage your prospects’ engagement with your brand. Conversations on these platforms build brand awareness as well as brand advocates. Also, track responses with personalized URLs (PURLs). This gives your prospects a way to respond online and gives them a more unique experience with your digital identity than merely sending them to your company website. 

By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Marketing to Your Social Media Audience is A Two-Way Conversation

This week, our social media content focused on a critical topic: marketing to different audiences. Being able to understand the concerns of different audiences and connect with them in meaningful ways is an art that should show through in each of your marketing efforts. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.

We often forget that marketing should open the door to a two-way conversation, not simply a way to for your brand to be heard.

The following list can help you with your social media audience, but many of these tips can be applied to other audiences as well. Think of them as tips to create those two-way conversations.

Establish a level of trust.
Why should prospects trust you? What resources and services can you offer? What interest have you shown in your audiences’ various values and concerns? Your marketing should easily answer these topics so that your audiences will be compelled to open up to you.
Show your social media audience that you’re trustworthy by sharing client testimonials, posting links about trends that affect their communities and providing resources that speak to those trends.
Earn your connections. 
How do you show your audiences the way your business works? How do you put a face to your brand? How do you connect your brand to their lives? What kinds of conversations are you having with your audiences? Beginning such conversations may take longer with marketing efforts such as direct mail or other traditional media, but that’s not the case with social media.  Like Skip Prichard, CEO of OCLC, reminds us that “traditional media shape brand preference," but “digital leads to loyalty.”
Show your social media audience you care about connecting with them by posting behind the scenes videos of your office, sharing interviews with your brand’s leaders as well as team members and engaging with them via entertaining content. 
Bring back story time.
We loved story time as children, right? Of course we did. And we love it as adult consumers as well. Think of the poignant Anheuser Busch commercial honoring New York City that featured the well-branded and well-loved Clydesdale horses. The music, the landmarks, the clopping of hooves and finally the bow of the majestic horses to the New York City skyline come together to tell a story of sorrow, love and homage in just over a minute. The power of storytelling in marketing is irrefutable.
Show your social media audience your effective use of storytelling by creating interesting Vine videos, connecting your marketing to popular and timely topics and shaping your marketing around the human side of your brand. 
Respond to all feedback.
Responding to positive feedback is easy. You can thank your audiences for their thoughts and assure them that what they think matters to your brand. Responding to negative feedback is of course a bit more difficult. You may be tempted to ignore such feedback or to delete it altogether. Instead of following those inclinations, be respectful to your commenters and reassure them that a solution is in the works. (And then make sure it is.) This goes back to our second tip, as it allows you to be open and honest and show your audiences that your business is one that cares about earning their loyalty.
Show your social media audience you care about their feedback by being active on your chosen accounts and providing consistent responses.
Be likable.
Sure, you want to talk to your audiences about their needs and how you can serve them, which inevitably means discussions of business. But there’s no need to be stoic or unpleasant during those talks or for that matter any talks leading into to the brass tacks. Think of how you like for brands to talk with you and what makes you loyal to them. Likability is right up there with price and value for many consumers; you may offer a great deal to your audiences, but if they don't see you as likable, their business can quickly find its way down the street to your competitors.

Show your social media audience how likable you are by listening to them and focusing on more than just the brass tacks. Need inspiration? Check out Senator Cory Booker’s Twitter account

      By: Susan Gail Taylor, Copywriter and Marketing Coordinator at RME360

Thursday, January 8, 2015

RME360 Celebrates Our 20th Anniversary

2015 is an exciting milestone for us as we celebrate 20 years of success

We will celebrate the past and look forward to 20 more years of bringing our clients face to face with new prospects. 

Stay tuned to our blog and our social media for anniversary promotions and exciting announcements in 2015!

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RME360 LinkedIn

RME360 Twitter

5 Tips to Make 2015 Your Best Work Year Yet

Here we are in 2015.

      A new year, a fresh perspective and renewed hope for all things improved, right? You’ve no doubt seen a lot of “new year, new me” posts across social media with lists of resolutions to go with them. It might be tempting to compare those resolutions to last month’s sugar plums dancing in our heads, but there’s no need for things you want to improve to be mere visions in your head, specifically in the workplace.

     Here are 5 ideas to help you kick-off your 2015 in the workplace with more than just a fresh perspective and renewed hope:

 1.     Connect across generations. Workplaces in 2015 are diverse in many aspects, including age. Different generations bring different lessons and perspectives to the workplace table, all of which are valuable and deserve to be heard. While it may be easy to stick close to the lessons and perspectives of your generation, reach out to your colleagues of other generations to bridge any gaps. You’ll need each other as your office moves forward this year.

2.     Learn how to say no. Warning: this may not be easy. We want to accommodate others. We want to offer our help. We want to be polite. We want to please our managers. But learning to say no can help you focus on your own goals and be more productive. You might offer the solicitor a reference to someone else who can help along with your honest explanation as to why you won’t be able to offer your assistance; someone else in your office may be looking for the exact opportunity to help that you need to turn down.

3.     Know when and how to relax and recharge. Again, this may not be easy. In the world of multi-tasking, meetings, conference calls and working lunches, taking a break may seem impossible. Make it possible. Get up from your desk, walk around, make use of your office’s exercise equipment (or napping pods if you’re that lucky), chat with an office friend about anything other than the office, go outside and feed the squirrels or enjoy a visualization activity. These activities are not taking away from your work; they are improving your mental capacity and helping you be more productive.

4.     Have stand-up meetings. You’ve undoubtedly heard of stand-up desks. Super cool idea, right? Well, take that idea and run with it to establish stand-up meetings in your office. This may not work for every type of meeting that your office needs, but it will certainly cut down on time away from major projects as well as your personal goals at work. The idea has the stamp of approval from former Gates Foundation executive Sylvia Mathews Burwell; she’s quoted as saying, “If we all have to sit down, it’s taking too long.”

5.     Be passionate.
Do you have a vision for your work? For your goals? For your team? Your passion for that vision should be present in everything you do. Sure, we all have rough days, but when we care about what we do and the manner in which we do it, we transform our visions into realities. If you’re an employee, transform your vision by going beyond what’s expected with every project you accept. If you’re a manager, transform your vision by collaborating with your employees and by showing them how their contributions fit into your larger focus. 

      By: Susan Gail Taylor, Marketing Coordinator and Copywriter at RME360