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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Reach Great ROI on Influencer Marketing Plan

The fact is, there is loads of research to show that influencer marketing has one of the best ROIs of any marketing plan. According to a study done by SocialChorus, influencer marketing campaigns can capture up to 16 times the engagement of owned or paid media. Influencer marketing agency Tomoson also found that businesses generate, on average, $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing. Thirteen percent of those businesses make $20 or more per $1. Influencer marketing is the most cost effective way of advertising and generates a very high ROI.

While social media has created the ability to generate highly targeted marketing campaigns, many businesses have little to no idea how to create and measure what ROI an influencer marketing campaign gives them. To that end, follow these four essential tips to help launch the best campaigns ever:

# Find the right influencers

This cannot be overstated. First and foremost, define your audience. Obsess over them. What details about their lives can you define and utilize in creating the ultimate demographic? You need to know exactly who you are targeting to find the influencers who will reach your audience.

Then, find the influencers who are creating for your audience, in your niche. Ideally they are influencers who can and are catalyzing their fans to click. They are creating high engagements on their page, which will translate to your ROI.

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make in hiring influencers is always going for the cream of the crop– influencers who have millions of followers. The problem with a large reach is that often, the demographic width of a large audience is too wide for a niche product, and costs too much money for a good ROI. Aim for a mid-level reach with an influencer who most suits your demographic, targeting the audience that will be likely to click-through.

# Utilize your metrics

The idea that social media marketing cannot be measured is highly outdated. There are plenty of tools out there to measure the impact of your influencer marketing campaign’s ROI, and more are coming out every day.

First, start with basics like tracking and measuring your Facebook and Twitter metrics. It’s easy to look up metrics by date, time, location and more, so start there.

Next, make sure your campaign includes monitoring mechanisms. Hashtags and promo codes let you monitor sales, usage and click-through rates, making them invaluable in calculating your ROI. There are also plenty of alternate routes, like link shortener company Bitly. They’ve connected their shortened links to metrics that allow you to see a host of data that was otherwise difficult to track.

Last, use those metrics to isolate and target your audience in an even more keen way. Pay attention to your audience reception. The temperature of your audience’s reaction indicates where your company is soaring — or falling short.

# Play the long game

Traditional marketing is an immediate return that can be seen and measured over a short period. Influencer marketing carries the same weight, but it is a long game. You’re building relationships and trust, and that takes time and effort. Influence is something you earn, not something you buy.

Keep in mind that the demand for your product or service could — and most likely will — extend well into the future, even after you’re done with your campaign. Don’t stop measuring just because you’re done with your ads.

# Reward your influencer

Rewards for your influencer need to reflect the relationship that you’re building between you two. Money is great compensation, but should be mentioned with caution. Influencers can also be paid with product, shout-outs, discounts and even commissions, if that is a good fit. Remember that you are building a relationship where the influencer should leave feeling loved, important and well-compensated for their time, effort and brand loyalty.

In addition, I recommend designating one or two employees to be the initial and continuing contact for your influencers, creating a genuine and ongoing connection. The more like family they feel, the more genuine love they will feel for your business and, by extension, your product or service.

To conclude, there is really no legitimate balk nowadays for not including influencer marketing in your campaigns. With so much information coming at consumers every day, trust, authenticity and word-of-mouth advertising are your best tools when getting your product out there. Keep using the tools, and you’ll see an incredible ROI.

Focus on Mindshare to Build Startup

Prioritizing mindshare over market share doesn’t mean you have to ditch your metrics mentality. Mindshare focuses on long-term ROI grown organically from a small group of key influencers. When you build an army of brand advocates, sales will naturally follow.

Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to attract clients. Even the biggest brands in the world, including Apple and Starbucks, deliberately focus on wowing clients and inspiring referrals rather than mass advertising.

Strive to dominate the thoughts of the few, and you’ll turn 100 raving fans into salespeople. But these niches must be intentional. In the gifting industry, for example, we could essentially market to anyone in business who wants to show appreciation to important clients or colleagues. After narrowing our scope to a few key niches — longstanding financial advisors, professional sports teams and entrepreneurs of fast-growth companies with at least $5 million in revenue — we’ve started to become known in these circles and be referred amazing opportunities.

Today’s digital landscape is crowded and noisy. Staying front and center with a handful of influencers is much more effective than adding to the commotion. But that can only happen when you concentrate on the few vs. the many. Here’s how to shift your focus from market share to mindshare:

# Become your audience’s new normal

Pick your places to stand out in consumers’ minds, then go 5 percent further. Seth Godin talks about this in his book “Purple Cow.” You’re either remarkable or invisible. Your brand has to truly be different if you want to attract raving fans, so don’t hold back.

# Embrace the artifact

Many people consider gifts to be a piece of swag. But swag is simply a tangible reminder of your brand, often in the form of cheap pens or USB drives that go untouched. Artifacts, on the other hand, are meaningful reminders of the relationships you’ve established.

I prefer to give world-class, practical pieces that include the entire family and are regularly used outside the office. Some of my favorites include handmade personalized cutlery sets, leather totes and reclaimed wooden headphones (yes, they exist) — unique but universal gifts that people have never received before.

# Remember that less is more

Dominating mindshare among thousands as a small company is next to impossible. Instead, pare back the numbers, and allocate 80 percent of your resources toward your core clients.

# Show that you’re human

People buy from people, not companies. Connecting with clients outside the office is imperative. The deeper the connection, the more ingrained you’ll be in their daily thoughts. Ideally, you want to invite clients and their significant others to your home, perhaps for dinner.

# Don’t limit your love

Dazzle the entire office, from interns to admins — not just executives and decision makers. Leaders are busy and easily forget. A powerful way to stay on their radar is to build relationships with their staff, especially their assistants. Shower these people with genuine attention, and they’ll make sure the executive is thinking about you as well.

Don’t let short-term metrics cloud your long-term vision for your startup. By nurturing relationships with a few influencers now, you’ll appear authentic and approachable. And when these people get a taste for the exceptional company you’ve built, they won’t be able to help but share the love with others.

Guide to Optimize Network

There’s a theory in matters of business networking that more is better. Fatten up the ol’ Rolodex and you’ll soon be climbing the ladder/locking down your angel round/scoring clients. It’s not true. Relationship capital—your web of contacts and their web of contacts—like a truffle or a well-appointed wardrobe, traffics in quality, not quantity. Keep your network lean.

Rather than glad handing every suit in the room, focus instead on engaging thought leaders and influencers and offering your own no-strings-attached time and energy.  You’ll find the investment pays off in unexpected ways. Here are eight ways to get the most of your own relationship capital.

# Curate. Collecting piles of business cards is not building a network, it’s creating clutter. An effective network is comprised only of people who can help you solve problems. Not simply C-suite bigwigs, but influencers of all types.

# Give. In his book Give and Take, Wharton professor Adam Grant makes the case for increasing your success by helping others. Give referrals and advice freely—literally. When you expect nothing in return, your connections will be predisposed to helping you, and each other. A five-minute favor is all it takes to set up a relationship that could mean a lot down the road.

# Diversify. The shortest path to innovation is insights from people of different backgrounds, industries and levels of experience. Your network should produce not one or two but 10 different paths to your goal.

# Find bridges. Curating contacts and building a strong network can be time-consuming work. Set up your primary circle of connections strategically. Focus on people who are what Cal-Berkeley professor Morten T. Hansen calls “bridges,” those with their own powerful, regularly leveraged networks. Your primary contacts will not always have the solutions you need but, being well connected, they will know people who do.

# Nurture your MVCs. “Most valuable clients,” that is. They are your most important brand ambassadors, essentially another branch of your marketing team, with all the business they refer. Stay engaged with the ones who seem most involved, even if they’re not actually your biggest buyers.

# Engage face-to-face. The next time you’re at a networking event, leave the phone in your pocket. Focus on the other flesh-and-blood humans in front of you. Take periodic coffee meetings with random members of your network. It’s a small investment of time that keeps you on their radar.

# Express gratitude. Always, always say thank you, no matter how small the favor.This may seem obvious but don’t forget to let those who help you, know that they did. It will make your mom proud and cement the value of the helper in your network.

# Use it. The easiest way to optimize your network is to not let it languish. Don’t be afraid to reach out with a phone call, email or quick bite. But don’t over-ask. No one likes a pest.

Tips to Success for First Crucial Meeting Prospect

Obtaining a face-to-face meeting with a prospective buyer is hard to secure, painful to schedule and expensive to attend. And yet, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars being funneled into online presentation tools like WebEx, GoToMeeting and, nothing really beats an in-person meeting with a new prospect.

Can you imagine Apple unveiling to the press the Apple Watch over a WebEx? Of course not! The face-to-face meeting allows the salesperson to collect context about the buyer, subtleties such as body language and political nuance, that will be beneficial as the sales campaign evolves. The prospect sees that the selling team is are competent and credible professionals who can help the buyer think through and solve the problem at hand.

Below are tips to give your best face-to-face.

# Electronic device etiquette. Turn off your phone. Not silent. Off. If you  take notes on a tablet, silence the  annoying keyboard clicks. Whoever is presenting needs to make sure that their email client is turned off. It’s highly distracting to have email notifications interrupting your presentation.

# Give Cliff’s notes. Kick-off the meeting by telling the audience exactly what they will learn. Promise them that you have structured the agenda to optimize for their time and that you will conclude your material 15 minutes early. Say that you’ll be happy to stay behind for additional questions. Most times, you will find a few audience members stay behind well beyond the allotted time.

# Manage the introductions. If there is a large audience, eschew the roundtable introductions. They will take far too much of your precious time. Pass around a sign-in sheet to satisfy your needs. Besides, you should already have a rough sense as to the parties represented. Keep in mind the buyer’s team usually already knows each other.

# Be a Boy Scout, be prepared. Upon entering the conference room a few minutes before start time you invariably find that something is broken. Which is why you come prepared with your own projector and mobile WiFi. Something always goes wrong at this step, so prepare for mishaps.

#A Cut the fat. Do not begin the presentation with a slide that says some form of Our History or Who We Are or Our Vision. This is a surefire way to lose your audience. They already know just enough to have allowed you in their building and now want to know about youroffering, not your company.

6. Speak authentically. Be prescriptive about your offering. Talk about it within the context of a broader solution. Be transparent about the strengths and opportunities for improvement of your offering. Suggest a willingness to partner together to fill whatever gaps may be identified.

7. Find the influencer. Many times you will find that the most influential voices on the buyer’s team do not have a corresponding position on the org chart. This is a classic example of hierarchical power versus influential power. Be sure to read the room to identify these folks. They can very quietly hurt or help your efforts.

Getting the first face-to-face presentation involves a ton of hustle. So, don’t blow your only shot to make a solid first impression. Preparation, etiquette and authentically engaging the audience will be your aces in the hole to help you earn a second meeting.