I spent a weekend binge watching YouTube so you didn’t have to - yeah, I know, I'm good like that. After a hard week searching for gems at the old content marketing agency mine, I spent a weekend in my jammies, strong coffee in hand, eyes going slowly rectangular with a little arrow in place of each pupil.
Topics: Content Marketing
In the hierarchy of marketing, there is an unofficial ranking of ‘cool’ brands to work for. Top of the list? Luxury brands and beer (nothing surprising there). Middle of the pack might be banking - big budgets, and looks good on the CV too. And way, way down the bottom of the list you’ll probably find B2B firms.
Topics: B2B marketing
Some phrases and words I hear too much...like 'story telling', like 'reach out', like 'low hanging fruit' make me feel irrationally cross at the word. Not even the people saying the word (well ok a bit the people saying it) but more cross at the word itself. I would like to tell the word off for being so verbose and bold in the way it trots itself out on stage night after boring night like it is sooooooo much more important than the rest of the words.
I love Nandos. Cheeky, funny advertising, reasonably priced high quality food with friendly staff who know their free range (happy before dying) chicken. Their irreverent brand positioning can be seen consistently from their salt shakers through to their TV advertising. Beautiful marketing.
Topics: brand strategy
I need coffee.
Seriously, this is important.
I need a coffee before anything else. Before conversation, before driving and definitely before emailing. Preferably a double-espresso that packs a punch and turns me into a coherent, vibrant and much more likeable version of myself.
Hands up who loves cold calling? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Sigh. While it's meant to be a great means of lead generation, quite frankly being on the receiving end of a cold call is just dreadful and uncomfortable and unwelcome and like most people, my aim is to slip past it as fast as I possibly can.
Topics: Lead generation
Show off: boastfully display one's abilities or accomplishments
- Oxford Dictionary
In the days of healthy self esteem and self actualisation, of positive parenting and praise. I'd like to reflect back to not so long ago when one of the biggest crimes in suburban Australia was to be 'Up yourself'. That's right one of the worst things that could be thrown in your direction was 'YOOOUUUU LOVE YOURSELF'. Usually followed by 'right Sharon?'
Young and old alike were terrified of encouraging a society of raging narcissist zombies who were going to eat them alive with their self obsession.
Topics: Content Marketing Agency
If you're a SaaS company, you know your customers. Your product was probably developed because you knew exactly what your customers were after. The success of your company is also dependent on your customers. You need people talking about you on social media, recommending you to colleagues or friends and basically shouting your name from the rooftop.
Topics: SaaS Marketing
Two years ago I read The Millionaire Next Door, the revised, revised, revised edition. Why didn't they revise the title? What's one million dollars going to buy...one house! Anyway if you haven't read it let me save you $9.45 on the Kindle version and tell you in six words how to be rich - Be quite tight with your money.
After years of reckless spending, I decided to throw my all into this book. The first thing to go was the car. I needed a bigger one, so instead of upgrading my Audi, I downgraded to a Honda. I felt very smug about the money I’d saved on the purchase price and future service bills, which of course would be put into better investments. (Think self satisfied laugh and cat stroking in manner of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in James Bond)
Two years on however I find myself gazing longingly at European cars. The gorgeous rear of the Audi Q7, the handsome and bold stature of the Range Rover, the badge of a Volvo XC90 sitting just so, below the wiper blade.
I tell myself stories of five hour family car trips that would be spent laughing and joking. Of an interior cabin filled with the sound of Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, where my children and I would sing in perfect harmony and my superior vocals would finally be recognised. Of the love and admiration I would receive from friends and strangers alike on my fine choice of stylish vehicle.
Non of this is logical of course. It is all emotional. In real life, my children would still drop their food crumbs all over the floor, I would still feel car sick when navigating the Great Ocean Road. I would still be forced to turn off the Sound of Music for Taylor Swift and there would still be impossibly rude shouting from the back seat of 'SHUT THAT UP!' when I was mid way through belting out 'High on the Hill was a Lonely Goatherd. Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo'.
My life with a European car would be exactly the same and quite frankly, logically it is crazy town to spend close to $100k on a car but the reason people do and the reason I want to, is all to do with emotions.
But that's cars, I hear you scoff, everyone gets emotional about cars. When it comes to B2B technology people are making much more rational decisions. Well, it turns out, they are not.
Antonio Demasio, in his book Descartes Error studied people that had suffered damage to their emotional brain centres which rendered them unable to feel. With IQ and rational centres of the brain still perfectly intact, these people stopped having the ability to make any decisions - even small ones.
Contrary to what science believed for the majority of the 20th century, humans make emotional decisions about absolutely everything and then find every logical reason in the world why they should actually go with their heart.
In a field like B2B technology that has a lot of complexity, intricate product details, logical systems and processes it is very easy to forget that this technology is being bought by humans. Those pesky beings who make decisions on everything whether it be personal or business based on emotion.
Emotions in a business sense rely on things like the purchaser or client knowing that you are going to make them look good, that you are going help them with the issues that give them pain, that you can be trusted not to rip them off, trusted to deliver and trusted to work.
So just how do you do marketing that appeals emotionally?
1) Make your brand positioning single minded - people's brains are full. Full with work, with family, with friends, with multiple email accounts, with multiple devices, they are on multiple social media platforms, they read multiple news sites, they are tired, they can be hungry and sometimes they are even hungover. So if you are at all confusing or overly detailed in the message you are delivering there quite simply isn't enough room in people's heads for you.
2) Entertain, engage or educate - facts are hard going. Humans are hard wired to absorb things that are interesting to them. We gravitate to things that make us laugh or make us cry, that have insights directly related to the struggles or the joys we have experienced. We like it when brands engage with us or educate us on how to improve our business or personal performance. And when people like you, they buy from you.
3) Be visible - In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman tells us that people trust other people the more they see them. Not necessarily because the people we see are anymore trustworthy than strangers but purely because we have been exposed to them. Brands are no different, people will choose you over another brand because continual presence rightly or wrongly equates trust.
So slowly put down the product manual, step carefully away from the functionality charts and give your customers what they really want..something from the heart. Although on second thought, maybe not a cuddle...a cuddle might just be a little too much heart. It is business after all.
Topics: brand strategy
Ask anyone to recommend some reliable B2B lead generation ideas, and sooner or later they'll point you towards LinkedIn - but likely with no real clue of what to do when you get there. So, you fumble around, stalk a few good-on-paper profiles, maybe make a few connections but get no further.
So is Linkedin really the fast track to 'swipe right' of lead generation ideas?
It makes sense to see why LinkedIn is billed as the social network for business, but why does it seem so hard to make a connection? I don’t know about you, but at times it kinda feels like a bar at the end of the night, with everyone talking past each other, desperate to find The One before it’s too late.
Because it’s so easy to reach people in the right role and the right industry it makes sense that it features highly in the list of lead generation ideas. But because of this ease, LinkedIn has become a bit of a meat market for sales prospecting, as I’m sure you’ve experienced yourself. And obviously this sort of behavior has left people feeling just a little allergic to any overtures from someone they don’t know well.
More importantly, your The One is not necessarily out there drink in hand, swaying to Taylor Swift and looking hard for you too.
To make sure that this strategy is worth investing your time in, you first need to understand the reasons LinkedIn users visit the social media platform; to reconnect with past colleagues, update their profile, participate in groups and research – in effect, they come goal oriented.
I'm sure you know how hard it can be hard to capture the attention of someone focused on something else, and this can make marketing irritating or just plain invisible.
So like at the beginning of any good long-term relationship, it pays to take it slow. LinkedIn, like any social media is a long term game when it comes to effective relationship building (in fact, you'll find that many B2B lead generation ideas tend to require a long term focus).
Think of it like this. You wouldn't barrel into a room and ask for someone you’ve only just met to buy from you or give you personal info, and while it's virtual, social media is exactly the same. You need to find ways to solve their problems or enhance their lives and not come in fast with the hard sell.
Filling your little black book
When you do first reach out, you're likely to get a better response if you spend the time crafting very personal and targeted messages that show you know about, and are interested in them or their business. To put it bluntly, there’s nothing memorable about getting that standard ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn’, and while they may accept your invitation, it's a guarantee that who you are will quickly be forgotten.
Instead, find something genuine to say that they can respond to (compliment their approach on another social network if you follow them, comment on an aspect of their background or identify a shared interest) otherwise the next move will always be yours to make.
It’s a fact that we respond well to people who like us, and by being a regular in their news feed you can begin the cycle of ‘know, trust, buy’, important in all sales relationships. Take the time to stop in regularly and interact with your contacts’ status updates by commenting, liking or sharing their content, and celebrating their successes.
Be irresistibly interesting
Curate external articles, research or reports that might be of interest to your target market, by setting up Google Alerts, or using a tool like Medium, Flipbook or Feedly. Focus on topics that are tangential to your service or product and see if you can use them to create discussion - you'll find this idea helpful for other forms of social media lead generation too.
Be impossible to ignore
Draw greater attention to your own content by 'blogging' on LinkedIn rather than posting links to a blog in a status update (to do this, click the pencil icon in the ‘share an update box and you’re away). This is particularly potent because your connections get an alert that you’ve posted new content. As soon as we at The Revery started doing this we noticed a huge increase in comments, likes and sharing from our connections.
Getting out of the friends zone
If you’re thinking about sending them an InMail, provide them something of use before you 'go in for the kill' of asking for a coffee meeting. As an example, I got a great response once from a connection when I came across an article with an interesting take on his industry. I sent it across to him with a humorous comment, asking nothing in return. This opened the barriers to a light-hearted conversation, and he later came back to me asking me to present a proposal.
Ah, true love.
Looking for some other lead generation ideas? It might be time to reconsider your B2B marketing strategy.
Topics: Social Media