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The sound of marketing

June 28, 2016 by Marketing Donut contributor

The sound of marketing{{}}In marketing a great deal of time and money is spent on communicating; after all marketing is about connecting to audiences and "speaking" to them about your company, product or service.

Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of marketing will be familiar with the terms tone of voice, share of voice and the need to cut through the noise in the marketplace and be heard. In the digital world that we live in the plethora of tools and channels to communicate with your target market is almost endless, and endlessly bewildering.

But have you ever stopped to think about the sound of marketing? By this I mean what does your company sound like? Don't worry - this is not one of those esoteric exercises that gives marketers a bad name, where they focus on navel gazing and not the bottom line.

So what does your business sound like when it communicates with your target market? Let's break it down a little:

Written word. What sort of language do you use when communicating with customers? Is it clear and simple or does your sales collateral contain lots of technical terms and abbreviations?

Spoken word. When your employees speak to customers or prospects, what sort of words do they use? Is the emphasis on listening rather than speaking?

Images. Are the images that you use in your brochures and on your website engaging and linked to what your company does or offers or are they bland and instantly forgettable?

Video. In a multimedia world, what sort of videos are you sharing with your customers? Are you telling an engaging story to educate and entertain or did your prospect switch off after two seconds?

Audio. Please don't tell me Greensleeves is your music on hold! Maybe I am being flippant but if a picture paints a thousand words, sound enables your customer to create a picture of your company in their mind. Think about the accents they hear and the tone of the voice they listen to if they are waiting for their call to be answered.

What if you are selling abroad? Do you assume your French customers speak English fluently? Unless you are targeting ex-pats everyone knows that local marketing is done best when you use the local language (and it's more than a change of spelling for US customers).

The next time you are planning a new marketing campaign or launching a new product or service, think about the sound of success. As you map out your tactics think about what you want to say and how you want say it.

Look at tools such as videos, ebooks and podcasts as well as your website, email and trusty brochures which you use to converse with your customer. If you are marketing to a global audience think about translation services and using native speaking voice-over artists. It's not just about sign-ups, downloads and transactions, it's about hitting the right note with your marketing.

Copyright © 2016 Armin Hierstetter, founder of

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Do you need a new approach to selling?

June 20, 2016 by Andy Bounds

Do you need a new approach to selling?{{}}Today, you'll make lots of sales. You might be selling:

  • Products or services to your customers;
  • A proposal to a new prospect;
  • The idea to your children that it's time to go to bed. Right now.

But, despite its importance, many of us don't like the thought of selling. It's almost a dirty word.

Perhaps this is because we've all been on the receiving end of an idiot salesperson's pushiness. But there's something else: all the words to do with selling - selling, proposing, pitching, influencing, convincing, persuading - are from the sellers' point of view.

So sellers tend to feel that selling is something you do to someone. And that means the recipient can therefore often feel they're having something done to them.

But selling shouldn't be like that. It isn't one-way; it's a joint thing. You and your customer are agreeing to work together to do what you propose, whether that be to:

  • Buy something;
  • Accept your proposal;
  • Go to bed.

So, when you sell, be joint. The easiest way to do this is to start with their objectives and then show how your suggestion fits with them. Keep it short and simple - your preparation needs just two steps:

  • Find their objectives (the best way to do this is ask them);
  • Work out how your suggestion (your "sale") will help achieve them.

Do it this way and you both benefit. You both value it; and you both enjoy it. And, since you're both happy, selling has become a joint thing.

Copyright © 2016 Andy Bounds, communications expert, speaker and the author of The Snowball Effect: Communication Techniques to Make You Unstoppable. You can sign up for his free weekly tips. This blog first appeared here.

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Posted in Sales | Tagged selling, sales | 0 comments

Top tips for live streaming on Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab

June 13, 2016 by Gemma Went

Top tips for live streaming on Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab{{}}Unless you've spent the past year hiding under a rock, you'll be no stranger to the live streaming phenomenon.

Increasingly, businesses are starting to harness the power of this informal, off-the-cuff form of video marketing and get some spectacular engagement. But it's not all about the amount of shares, comments, hearts or props you receive while live - you can take it further.

Live streaming is actually a powerful way to build your email list - and anywhere in social that should be your aim. Your email list is filled with contacts you own, not contacts that could disappear if a platform ceases to exist.

So how can you use live broadcasts to bolster your mailing list?

Create bespoke landing pages

Whether you prefer Periscope, Blab or Facebook Live, you will always have the option to pop a link in your bio. Take the time to create a bespoke landing page for each platform you use, and use that instead of your standard URL. Use the space to offer content tailored to that section of your audience.

You should also embed a sign-up form here to capture your followers' email addresses.

Provide exclusive content

Once your broadcasts are over, you'll be left with some great video content. Turn those replays into content for the people on your list.

You could also offer exclusive live streams to those that sign up, by creating a private Facebook group with the sole purpose of hosting your Facebook Live sessions.

Schedule, promote and capture

Blab is great for planning your broadcasts in advance. You can set up your live sessions ahead of time and share the link to your heart's content.

Consider creating a specific landing page for each blab, so that users have to enter their email address to receive the link. You can then provide reminders prior to the broadcast, and offer the replay after the fact.

Encourage interaction

Live streams are super-simple to share, so make sure you encourage live viewers to do just that to increase your chances of being found by even more users.

With Facebook Live in particular, it's worth your while to get your audience engaging - the more interaction you get, the more organic reach your stream receives.

Copyright © 2016 Gemma Went, digital marketing consultant. You can download Gemma's Livestreaming Guide here.

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Confessions of a direct mail junkie

June 02, 2016 by Dee Blick

Confessions of a direct mail junkie{{}}I'm a direct mail junkie (please excuse the pun!). I cut my teeth on direct mail 33 years ago and since then I've generated some £10 million of sales from direct mail for businesses big and small.

Now I'm no longer the lone voice in the wilderness proclaiming the many benefits of direct mail for small businesses. Direct mail is very much the comeback kid. More of us are reaching for a pen and paper when we want to grab the attention of prospects or clients.

Why should direct mail be part of your marketing mix?

  1. It's fantastic for generating meetings with cold prospects. In the past two years, I've been running quarterly direct mailshots aimed at small businesses for one of my clients, an accountant. We've added 15% to their fee income from direct mail alone. The main call to action in the letter is to "get in touch and book a meeting at no charge".
  2. When it comes to impact, direct mail beats many marketing tools hands down. A snazzy envelope in your corporate colours; a lumpy element to add intrigue and you're pretty much guaranteed your envelope will be opened and the contents read.
  3. You can target a handful of folk or thousands in one hit. And you can increase the response to your initial mailshot by adding in a cold call, an email, a follow-up mailshot or a charming introduction on social media.
  4. It's a proactive tool that puts you in charge. You're not relying on people finding you online; you're targeting them.
  5. Despite the hike in postage costs, direct mail is still the ultimate shoestring marketing tool. Often it only takes a letter and a business card to whet the appetite of a cold prospect or encourage a client to get in touch.
  6. And, if you are planning a campaign using email, add direct mail as an additional element to build on awareness and interest.

But how can you avoid falling into the junk mail trap?

The big worry with direct mail is that your envelope and its contents are going to be chucked away without so much as a backward glance. So how do create mailshots that don't look like junk mail?

  1. Get under the skin of the audience you're targeting. What are their underlying needs? What are their present arrangements likely to be? What's happening in their world that could impact positively or negatively on their desire and ability to do business with you? Capture your thoughts. You'll need them later on when you're crafting your messages.
  2. Clean and accurate names and addresses. Squeaky clean data is at the heart of all successful direct mail campaigns. So, if you're buying a mailing list, ensure your list provider is a member of the Direct Marketing Association. Ask for a sample of 6-12 names and addresses and check their accuracy. Are you provided with a named contact? Is it the contact that you need? Ask for their mailing accuracy guarantee - it should be at least 95%. If you're planning on making telephone calls before or after your mailing, make sure the list has been cleaned on a daily basis against the Telephone Preference Scheme.
  3. Gather your compelling messages. Would a couple of client case studies convey that you're a safe, trusted and experienced pair of hands? How about a few lines of genuine unedited testimonial from delighted clients? Can you provide facts and figures to support your promises? Make a list of the top five relevant benefits you believe will encourage the person to contact you.
  4. Be clear on what you want the person to do once they've got your message. It's unrealistic to expect a cold prospect to buy on the strength of one communication alone. But, suggesting a meeting, a phone call or an email to express their initial interest are realistic calls to action.

Copyright © 2016 Dee Blick, a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing and an Amazon #1 bestselling author of The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Book and The 15 Essential Marketing Masterclasses for your Small Business.

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How to use Snapchat to promote your business

May 25, 2016 by Gemma Went

How to use Snapchat to promote your business{{}}Snapchat started life as an app for people to share photos with their friends - perfect for silly snaps of your night on the town.

Over the past few months, however, it has experienced a surge in popularity; and not just with teenagers. Businesses are starting to realise that creating off-the-cuff informal content is a fantastic way to build a more personal connection with prospective clients.

But how does Snapchat go beyond the selfie and fit into your digital marketing strategy?

Repurpose existing visual content

If the imperfect nature of quick snaps is a concern for you, recycle the imagery you’ve already created for other platforms. This is also a good idea if you like to put a lot of effort into your snaps - the app can be pretty buggy and you don’t want to lose all that work.

Although the Snapchat app doesn’t let you upload content from your device, you can get around this by using the third-party app Snap Up. Not only can you upload graphics and video segments, but you can also play around with this app's range of custom filters and fonts.

Research your prospects (and your competition)

The screenshot is Snapchat’s version of a swipe file and it remains one of the simplest ways to research potential clients as well as the others in your field.

However, Snapchat has a nasty habit of notifying the creator whenever you save a snap - not great for when you want to stay incognito.

Snapkeep is a fantastic (and free) way to save unlimited snaps without telling anyone. It will also allow you to replay a snap as many times as you like.

Review your story

Create a back-up of your Snapchat stories to inspire and inform your strategy going forward.

If you sign up for My Snap Memories you’ll be sent a copy of your full Snapstory at the end of each month. Store them in Dropbox to free up some space on your smartphone.

Record your impact

Each snap or story you create comes with its own analytics, which can help you develop your content further.

Saving your analytics is simple. Just set an alarm for just under 24 hours from the moment you publish your snap. When your alarm sounds, log into Snapchat, view your snap and screengrab the stats.

Copyright © 2016 Gemma Went, digital marketing consultant. You can download Gemma's Simply Smart Snapchat guide here.

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Posted in Online marketing | Tagged Snapchat | 0 comments

Two free tools to help you write better headlines

May 19, 2016 by Sarah Orchard

Two free tools to help you write better headlines{{}}Do you struggle to come up with compelling headlines for your blog posts or subject lines for your marketing emails? Me too.

The good news is that new online tools can help you review and improve your titles and headings so that they work much harder for you.

So how do you come up with a killer headline?

It all comes down to something called the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score. A whole load of research has gone into this and now a simple test can give you an actual rating that can be used to judge how well your headline will be received by the audience reading it.

The Emotional Marketing Value is a score that looks to assess how a group of words follows these emotional harmonics, and how likely they are to elicit an emotional response from a reader. Clever stuff!

The Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer is a tool based on research that has been made freely available by the Advanced Marketing Institute. Using it can easily provide you with such a score for your blog post title or email subject line.

It's really easy to use. You can just copy and paste your marketing headline into the box and it will give you a calculated score of your headline’s EMV Score as a percentage.

What's a good score?

The English language contains approximately 20% EMV words. Most professional copywriters’ headlines will have 30%-40% of EMV words in their headlines, while the most gifted copywriters will achieve scores of 50%-75%.

A perfect score would be 100%, but that is rare unless your headline is fewer than five words. The best I’ve scored so far is 70%. That's not too bad but there is always room for improvement!

Co-Schedule also offers a blog post Headline Analyzer which does much the same thing and gives you some handy pointers on areas for improvement.

Copyright © 2016 Sarah Orchard, expert contributor to Marketing Donut and a consultant at Orchard Marketing Associates.

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