Pamela Herrmann

Pamela Herrmann & Patty Dominguez are the Co-Founders of CREATE Buzz, committed to helping small businesses get customers and keep customers by taking the overwhelm out of technology, thus creating sustainable thriving businesses that are relevant. They co-host The Morning Would Show bringing the latest in marketing tips and strategies.

BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, MARKETING

10 Steps To Make Your Marketing Dollars Work Smarter

As marketers in the B2B space, the challenge is in allocating marketing budgets strategically to ensure the highest potential return. Moreover, marketing should be considered the effort of creating awareness for your business. It’s how prospective clients are exposed to your business and ultimately evolve into buying clients.

According to Forrester’s “Focus B2B Marketing Budget Gains on Business Outcomes to Succeed in 2014” report, B2B product and service marketing budgets range between 13% and 6% respectively. Interestingly, B2B companies with less than $25 million in revenues represented the higher end of the scale with 13.9% marketing spend.

Regardless of where you lie within this scale, the important thing to note is allocating a marketing investment budget is absolutely essential to create awareness and relevancy. Current marketing investment trends continue to evolve but within those executional tactics the tried and true remain which include the following: content marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing and allocations to upgrading websites.

Here are 10 Ways to Make Your Marketing Dollars Work Smarter:

1. Upgrade your website:
Your website should be considered your marketing homebase. It is essential that it is “viewable” on all digital platforms like mobile, desktop, laptop, etc. What used to be recommended is now required. In fact, companies are not guaranteed to have a presence in search results, done via mobile, if their website is not mobile friendly. An investment in an adapative and responsive design for your website will ensure that your website will show up in the search results when someone is looking for your solution.

2. Invest in cohesive branding
Think of how we easily we recongize major brands by their logo: The swoosh? Nike. Golden arches? McDonald’s. We even connect colors with particular brands, such as green and gold with John Deere tractors. Regardless of your love or hate relationship with these brands, they show up cohesively across all customer touch points in a professional manner. Remember that a professional appearance not only builds recognition online and offline, but also builds trust. An additional benefit to having cohesive branding is the ability to build brand equity overtime, one that could be monetized in multiples of your revenue.

3. Content marketing strategy
According to Smart Insights, who polled more than 600 marketers, the lionshare of focus for marketers in 2016 is on content marketing (53%). Providing quality content online to build apparent authority and expert insights is the objective of content marketing. The name of the game is adding value, which builds subject matter expertise; something your customers and prospects love.

4. Community Management / Social listening
An often overlooked component of marketing is community management and social listening. Monitoring what is being said online is critical to not only protect your brand but also to create engagement with your customers. Additionally, by closely monitoring you can mitigate the compound effect of bad press. Instead you can turn that into an opportunity for client recovery, a very powerful strategy to help gain visibility that you are a brand that cares. But the most important reason for managing your reputation online is because many people take their customer service issues directly to social media.

5. Video Marketing
2015 was the tipping point for video marketing as the go-to medium for engagement. Daily video playbacks on Facebook totaled 4 billions videos per day in early 2015. By the end of that same year, views had doubled. There is no doubt that incorporating video into your marketing outreach is an effective way to create engagement.

6. Strategic Partner Marketing
A strategic partner plan offers the ability to cross promote and potentially accelerate market penetration. Partnerships come in a variety of ways whether it’s financial, marketing focused, supplier relationships, etc., The optimal scenario is where you complement your strategic partner to the extent that you gain a competitive advantage with your aggregated offering.

7. Guest Blog Posting
Blogging is still a relevant way to find your audience. Guest blogging is a great way to drive traffic back to your website, increase sales, and grow your brand. The important thing to remember is that your guest blogging outreach should be carefully targeted towards blogs that your perfect customer is likely to read, and that are credible.

8. Podcasting
One of the newer outreach methods is podcasting. There is a very low barrier to entry if you are interested in starting a podcast about your niche. You can create a platform where you offer expert advice. By including a social syndication backend to your podcasting you can ensure that your content will circulate through the web on a consistent basis. Don’t want to take on another marketing task like podcasting? Go on a podcasting tour, researching the top 10 podcasts in your field. It’s a great way to connect to influencers in your space.

9. Google AdWords
Google AdWords can be a great complement to your social media strategy. By leveraging keywords, specific to your industry, you can be the solution to your perfect customer’s problems. One of the big benefits, is that unlike direct mail or print, Google Adwords results can be closely monitored and measured.

10. App Marketing such as Quora
Resource apps like Quora are a great way to establish credibility. There you can do searches for keywords in your industry and provide answers to your prospect’s most challenging situations. It is also a good source for market research as a way to test a potential idea or marketing campaign.

Tapping into the power of Digital Marketing, a B2B company can gain relevancy that is not only cost effective but can also leave a blueprint online to further build brand equity.

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Best selling author Pamela Herrmann & Patty Dominguez are the Co-Founders of CREATE Buzz, committed to helping small businesses get customers and keep customers by taking the overwhelm out of technology and online marketing. Pamela is the author of, “The Customer Manifesto – How Business Has Failed Customers & What It Takes To Earn Lasting Loyalty”. They co-host The Morning Would Show bringing the latest in marketing tips and strategies.

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BUSINESS, MARKETING, SALES

Explaining The Small Business Failure Rate

Statistics about business success aren’t reassuring.

About 80 percent of new businesses fail in the first 18 months, according to Bloomberg Business research. During the economic meltdown of 2008, for the first time in decades more businesses closed than were started.

“What business owners don’t seem to understand is that what’s required, not only to survive but to thrive, is within their control,” says Pamela Herrmann, author of “The Customer Manifesto: How Business Has Failed Customers And What It Takes To Earn Lasting Loyalty.”

“The typical business owner has no idea how to create leverage, how to utilize new technologies, how to strategize to be competitive, or how to stop the hemorrhaging of cash in the form of failed online-marketing investments.”

Herrmann is co-founder with Patty Dominguez of CREATE Buzz (www.CreateBuzzNow.com), which is changing the way small businesses connect with customers – both online and offline. Dominguez and Herrmann review four business mistakes – and ways to correct them:

Missing the biggest revenue opportunity. Much of traditional marketing focuses on attracting new customers. “But the biggest revenue opportunity is in keeping existing customers,” Dominguez says. Among the ways to keep customers loyal: Always greet them warmly. If they are waiting in line, thank them for their patience and assure them you’ll be with them promptly. Make certain your business is clean and comfortable. Use words such as “my pleasure,” “absolutely” and “you’re most welcome” instead of “sure,” “no problem” or “yeah.”

Tracking the wrong metrics. Business owners often make marketing decisions based on short-term data, like how much money is in the bank or how many sales they made last month. This is reactive — not proactive.

Herrmann and Dominguez say the way to focus on the right metrics is to ask such questions as: How many new leads did you get this month? How much did it cost you to acquire that new lead or customer? What’s the average value of a single transaction?

Failing to manage their message across all customer touch points. Most businesses are unaware of all the ways consumers use technology to find them. Businesses should create a Customer Journey Map so they can see all the touch points across all channels, measure how well they are doing and then identify gaps and opportunities.

Being unaware of marketing fundamentals. Just like an archer tries to hit the bull’s-eye, an entrepreneur tries to reach customers. No matter how many arrows that may be in her quiver, if she doesn’t know how to aim, she’ll probably miss. The same is true with marketing.

“You need to know who you’re marketing to,” Dominguez says. “Why are you marketing to them? What are their wants and needs? When you do you this effectively, you shift from sinking money into fixing problems and into growing your business through strategic decision making.”

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Pamela Herrmann and Patty Dominguez cofounded CREATE Buzz (www.createbuzznow.com), an online training experience that helps business owners and their employees get powerful, positive and practical customer engagement habits that build loyalty. Herrmann and Dominguez co-host the Customers For Life podcast and The Morning Would Show, providing daily motivation.

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2 Key Metrics To Monitor With Your Customers – Everything Else Is A Distraction

A client recently bemoaned that she was investing as much as she possibly could in marketing her business, often times at the expense of her drawing a salary. When we asked her how much new business was coming from these marketing campaigns, she shrugged her shoulders.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” ~ John Wanamaker, Advertising Pioneer

Today we have mounds of data on everything from customer acquisition to customer retention and while this information is designed to create efficiencies and improve the way we do business, it actually only serves to create more confusion. Studies show that having a bunch of information doesn’t necessarily help you solve the problem.

When it comes to getting and keeping customers, there are two key metrics that every business owner should know:

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

If you have an expense line item for marketing and advertising campaigns, then you should be tracking how much new business is coming in as a result of those campaigns so that you can measure its effectiveness. One client had invested $6,300 over a three year period with a glossy magazine that gets drop shipped into a geo targeted area. The seductive pitch of it landing on the desk and countertops of 30,000 of her ideal customers was too good to pass up.

Since she tracks in her CRM how her new customers find her business, it was a simple matter of pulling a report that revealed it was a wasted investment. She didn’t receive even one new customer from that campaign. Further, when you put it in perspective that if she had acquired, for example, 3 new customers as a result of that campaign, her CAC would have been $2,100 (that’s $2,100 for each new client!). Can you get a new customer for less than that? Absolutely! You can get leads for a few dollars in Facebook all day long.

Every marketing campaign should be measured against your CAC. Simply break apart your marketing line item and understand how much is being allocated for each campaign, query your new customers as to how they found you, monitor the results, make decisions as to whether the results are in alignment with your goals then slash and burn what’s not measuring up.

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

Walk into any bookstore, go to the business section and what you’ll find is that the vast majority of them are written about customer acquisition. While acquiring new customers is essential, Gallup estimates that businesses are only doing ⅓ the business they should be doing with their existing customers. That means if you’re doing $1 million in sales, there is a full $2 million in low hanging fruit that is going unpicked. If you want to pull the profit lever in your business, this is the metric to dial down.

The key to increasing profits is to get your existing customers to come more often, buy more and tell others.

Businesses that focus extending customer engagement beyond the first transaction have a higher probability of creating greater customer loyalty, which equates to higher profits.

The benefits of knowing your LTV:

1. You can increase LTV by extending your product and service offerings.

2. You can put parameters around what you would be willing to invest to recover that customer should things go off the rails

3. You now have an understanding of how much to invest to acquire a new customer. For example, if your LTV is $1,500, you can make an investment decision based on real numbers, not guessing. A good rule of thumb is 5:1 ratio (LTV to CAC).

While it’s easy to get bogged down in the process of getting and keeping customers, keep it simple and focus on the two metrics that tell you the true story of your customers. Manage and monitor your campaigns closely so that you can determine your CAC and make swift decisions if they fail to deliver results. Cautiously enter into long term advertising agreements that don’t give you an exit if it’s not performing to your metrics. Keep your finger on your LTV as it is the True North that will guide your increased profitability.

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Pam-250-x-250Pamela Herrmann & Patty Dominguez are the Co-Founders of CREATE Buzz, committed to helping small businesses get customers and keep customers by taking the overwhelm out of technology, thus creating sustainable thriving businesses that are relevant. They co-host The Morning Would Show bringing the latest in marketing tips and strategies.

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BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, MARKETING, SALES

5 Skills That Create A Front Line Dream Team

Front line employees are the lynch pin to sales growth for any organization. It’s most typically the first person your customer sees when they arrive, and the last they see when they leave. They are your most powerful employees because they can influence a customer’s decision to come back, buy more and tell others.

The only difference between you and your competition is the experience your team delivers. Fortunately, the customer experience is one of the most difficult things for your competitors to copy. Why? Because experiences are wholly dependant on the individuals delivering them. The conundrum is that most often these individuals are your lowest paid employees who are only with you for a short amount of time.

If you want your customers to have an exceptional experience every time, that is consistently delivered upon by 100% of your staff, then it begins with a powerful question your front line employees may be thinking, and you must be prepared to answer:

“What’s in it for me?”

WIIFM — You may be familiar with this commonly used marketing acronym to determine what would compel someone to take a desired action. When you understand the answer to WIIFM as it relates to your employee, you’ll unlock the secret to their motivations and help drive their actions to perform for your business at their highest.

What all employees want is to earn more money. How they earn more income throughout their career is by developing skill, knowledge and experience that adds greater value to an organization.

The Life Skills Toolbox Concept

If you want your employees, regardless of their pay scale, to be exceptional, then The Life Skills Toolbox Concept is one that you will want to share with them during the hiring process. It is a mutually agreed upon set of expectations that 1) You will teach them skills that will increase their value and can be added to their toolbox to be used throughout their career, and 2) In exchange, they agree to perform their duties as your brand ambassador using these skills consistently.

The following are 5 critical skills that belong in every toolbox for success that will ensure your employees are taking exceptional care of your customers:

1. Honor the hospitality zone. This is all about making the customer feel welcome and acknowledged. Smile at 10 ft. and greet at 5 ft. Speak first and speak last. Acknowledge those customers standing in line even when assisting others.

2. Personalize and enhance the experience. Individualize the experience by using the customer’s last name whenever possible, add friendly comments, offer products and services based on need. Anticipate their needs and offer upsells.

3. Communicate professionally. Take a cue from the hospitality industry and replace, “No problem” with “My pleasure”. Body language says a lot, train your employees to make theirs positive and open. Keep side conversations out of customer earshot.

4. Take ownership. If you want customers to feel like they are a priority to you then offer assistance, don’t wait to be asked. Find a way to offer options without saying “no”. The customer’s problem is your problem until you can find a resolution.

5. Protect the brand. Your employees are a direct reflection of your company’s brand. While individuality should be encouraged, set guidelines for your employees to follow so that they are proudly representing the brand. Your employees should demonstrate pride of ownership, and your store should be an environment that proudly hosts customers as your guest.

The quality of your customer experience will never exceed the quality of the people delivering it.

The Life Skills Toolbox is a value exchange that every employee should get behind, and if they can’t or worse, won’t, then they’ve just self sorted out. You don’t want that person on your team. The enormous benefit of this agreement to you is that it affords you a system to train against, a way to measure and monitor their performance along the way and your customers will immediately recognize the difference between you and your competitor.

The best way to improve the economy of your business and the economy of our country is to move low wage workers up the income ladder. Regardless of whether they are a part time employee over the summer or with you for the long haul, what employees require is skill development so that as they advance through their career, they have collected skill, knowledge and experience that gives them opportunities to add increasing value to their employers. Investment in your employees’ toolbox creates happier customers, higher profits and employees who are highly engaged, loyal and demonstrate attributes of true brand ambassadorship.

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Pam-250-x-250Pamela Herrmann & Patty Dominguez are the Co-Founders of CREATE Buzz, committed to helping small businesses get customers and keep customers by taking the overwhelm out of technology, thus creating sustainable thriving businesses that are relevant. They co-host The Morning Would Show bringing the latest in marketing tips and strategies.

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