Welcome to The Pipeline.

Using Content Marketing to Drive Sales1

cc feb 14

The Pipeline Guest Post - Megan Totka 

Using content marketing to drive sales will certainly only continue to grow exponentially in 2014. Nearly every company, small or large, will use this tactic to increase their sales.

If you look back on content marketing, you’ll come across examples that predate the Internet. Content marketing is certainly not a new strategy, but it is one that has been made easier by technology. Several hundred years ago, content marketing was possible, but it was certainly a little tougher to get your sales message out there. A few of the examples offered were John Deere, who published a magazine offering farming tips, and the Jell-O company, who distributed free cookbooks full of recipes using their product. Both companies have obviously done quite well for themselves.

So what should you do to effectively use content marketing to drive sales in 2014? Here are a few things to consider:

Visual content – infographics, which gained lots of popularity in 2013, will continue to be on the rise in 2014. People love getting their information in a visual manner – less reading, more colors. Infographics were used by 51% of B2B content marketers in 2013.

In-person events still rule – a survey of B2B marketers showed that people still think that in-person events are the most effective way to market and sell to potential customers. While most of the time, the Internet is king, in person marketing is still very much an effective strategy.

Strategy vs. no strategy – while we can argue that anyone who is involved in marketing has needed to devise a strategy, not everyone actually records a concrete marketing plan to follow. However, the same survey as mentioned above shows that companies who have a documented content strategy think that they are successful about 66 percent of the time, compared to companies that don’t have a recorded strategy thinking that they are successful only 11 percent.

Content marketing still poses some challenges – the B2B marketing group reported that there are definitely still some challenges to be overcome when it comes to content marketing. Some of the top concerns are not having enough time to produce quality content, a budget shortfall, and a lack of vision.

We all know that sales and marketing need a delicate balance in order to work well without overwhelming your customers. Content marketing is a way to build your brand while offering useful information at the same time.

(Photo Source)

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Surf’s Up! Riding the Pipeline to the Shores of Success1

Surfer

The Pipeline Guest Post - Susan Payton

This might come across as mind-blowing, but here’s the secret to better sales:

It’s not about getting tons of leads into your pipeline. It’s about how you treat them once they’re there.

When it comes to your sales pipeline, if you’re focusing on quantity—and not quality—you won’t realize the conversion rate you could if you instead worked on the following three goals:

  1. Qualify leads early
  2. Direct leads into the appropriate funnel
  3. Customize messages to each funnel throughout the journey down the pipeline

Know What a Lead Looks Like
No, “everyone” doesn’t qualify as a lead. Look at past customers you’d like to replicate. What characteristics did those customers possess? What were the actions they took to arrive in your pipeline? Those actions might include:

  • Downloading a white paper on your site
  • Signing up for your emails
  • Signing up for a free account or trial
  • Visiting a specific page multiple times

Technology allows you to be very specific in the actions you track online, so there’s no reason you should treat all leads equally.

Set up lead scoring criteria to help you identify hot leads early in the process. Assign a numeric value to the transactions that landed them in your pipeline, as well as a lead’s job title—for those B2B marketers—and demographics data if you can get it.

Target, Target, Target
You probably can identify certain types of leads or customers based on your past experience. You probably have seen leads who ask a lot of questions and are slow to buy—if they buy at all. You’ve also probably encountered those who want to make a decision now, and don’t require a lot of handholding. You can probably think of other types as well.

The point here is: you want to break down your initial lead bucket into as many funnels as possible so you can maximize the impact of your marketing messages to each segment. The quick decision-maker shouldn’t get the same automated emails as the questioning customer, because his lead time will be virtually nil.

Master the Marketing Message
Make sure your messaging fits the lead profile. That slow-to-buy lead will want plenty of information about your product, not a promotional offer. The quick customer may respond better to a $10 off coupon via email. Test until you’re getting the best conversion rate possible. One way to do this is with customer relationship management (CRM) software.

That software will allow you to align your offline marketing and sales efforts with the needs of each customer profile. If you’re using CRM for marketing and tracking valuable customer data, it’s easy enough to create categories for customer types, as well as develop a key your sales team can use to know how to best approach a given type of customer.

For example, if it’s customary for a salesperson to call every lead personally, he might not want to do so with a quick decision-maker. It might be unnecessary, and if all of the lead’s other behavior has been online, he might not welcome a phone call.

Track Everything
CRM software will only come in handy if you’re tracking the right information, which is pretty much all information about a customer. Every person who interacts with a lead should make notes about their conversation, as well as provide recommendations for future communications.

You should be able to look at a lead’s profile and get a sense of what he has responded to. If you’re automating email messages, you shouldn’t need to do much, provided the communication is effective. If it’s not, look at results across that particular segment and see if the lack of response is indicative of the bigger picture. If so, tweak the message and try again.

Continue to Tweak the Process
Sales isn’t an out-of-the-box solution for most brands. It’s a continual effort to discover what works to increase conversion and sales. But over time, if you’re paying attention to your leads’ responses, you’ll see better results, making the corrections smaller and smaller.

Your pipeline should net you a better conversion rate (and generate fewer dead leads along the way) if you’re truly paying attention to what makes your customers tick.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, including ChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

Mastering the Cross-Sell2

CC Jun 13

The Pipeline Guest Post – Diana Doherty

“Would you like to add batteries to your purchase?” Nearly everyone has encountered this type of cross-sell. It’s an easy way to increase the sale of anything that requires battery power. The basics of cross-selling, like offering necessary components to an item, are no secret. Take your sales up a notch with master cross-selling techniques.

Important Distinction
Cross-selling and up-selling both result in a larger total purchase in one sale, but they involve different techniques. In an up-sell, you will talk your customer into buying a better, generally more expensive, version of the item they intended to purchase. When you cross-sell, you give customers the opportunity to choose complementary items or services to their purchase. A common example is the extended warranty offered on a product at the time the product is purchased.

Just about every sale is an opportunity for cross-selling. Some methods of creating additional sales are effective in just about any situation (as in the battery example). However, other ways of getting those related sales will differ depending on whether your customer is buying online or at a brick-and-mortar location. With online shopping, you can use all the data about a person’s shopping experience to offer them items they will probably want, even if those other items are unrelated to the original purchase.

Making the Cross
The many ways of offering additional items to your customers can be overwhelming. You may even be concerned too many offers will chase away a sale. Customers appreciate recommendations. Take advantage of the times and places it makes sense to let them know about accessories or other items to help them get more out of a purchase.

  • Tailor Recommendations: If a customer is buying a brand new guitar, it would make more sense to offer guitar picks than a violin bow. Whether online or off, make sure the items you’re cross-selling make sense based on what your customer is purchasing or has purchased in the past.
  • Encourage Customer Reviews and Expert Opinions: One of my favorite ways of finding a new book to read is to check out all the little staff recommendation postcards bookstores post. Whether you collect thousands of reviews per product, like Amazon.com®, or you post a single expert opinion, trustworthy opinions can help you cross-sell by convincing the customer they need an item.
  • Get Timing Right: Spontaneous purchases are most likely to happen if you present an item to the customer at the time of purchase. This is most obvious online with recommended items displayed before finalizing a purchase, and offline with register displays including commonly forgotten items like those batteries.
  • Implement a Post-Purchase Cross-Sell: Use the confirmation email online or the receipt in a brick-and-mortar to offer items accessories and other tailored offers. This is also a good time to offer a small discount or a coupon to the customer on those recommended items, further increasing the likelihood of a future purchase.
  • Offer Budget Bundles: Another popular way to cross-sell is to offer a group of items together. Cable and cellular companies have practically built entire business models from this method. When bundling, all items should have value to the customer, or they’ll likely pass it up.
  • Be Price Considerate: Cross-sells are most effective when they cost half-price or less than the original purchase. Again, this falls naturally in line with accessories to a product, like a screen protector, case, and stylus recommended during the purchase of a tablet. The price of these items is so much less than the tablet that the value of the items becomes more significant than the additional cost.
  • Listen to the Customer: Whether you are personally listening to a customer speak or tracking their online past purchases, really listening to what your customer needs will tell you everything you need to know to offer them cross-sells that make sense and meet their needs.

Customers will appreciate recommendations given with genuine attention to their needs. You’re more likely to close the cross-sell when you offer useful additional items instead of a “top sellers” list of unrelated items or things that are too expensive compared to the original purchase. Track your success with each of these methods and adjust them as needed to master cross-selling to your customers.

About Diana Doherty

Diana Doherty is a freelance writer specializing in SEO content, and is a contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. She loves all things tech, photography, craft, military family life, and business. She earned her BA in English Writing Arts from SUNY Oswego.

How to and Why to Cold Mail – Sales eXchange 2032

by Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

e-mail

If you are a regular at this blog, you know that I am big proponent and supporter of cold calling.  I don’t fall into a camp.  I think clod calling is a necessary part of a multipronged approach for engaging with potential buyers you have not have not spoken to before, or have a means of generating a referral to.  While social media is a big plus, there are times when still the most direct, cost and time efficient to get “in front” of someone is to pick up the phone and make a cold call.

Unlike some others who will tell you to use only one method over another, I have more respect for your intelligence and time than to tell you to only cold call and ignore referral selling, I believe you need to leverage as many tools and resources as are available to you to get you message to the right person.  Furthermore, the reality is that in some markets, with some products, where the audience is not involved in social media, or is unreachable through referral, your choices are limited, especially if your goal is to engage and sell, not just to look cool and modern.

One key reason you want to use as many tools as possible, is that it could take many touch points to get someone to engage, not to buy, but just to engage, depends who you read it could take anywhere between 5 – 9 touch points for the nickel to drop with a potential buyer.  Consider:

  • 48% Of Sales People Never Follow Up with a Prospect
  • 25% Of Sales People Make a Second Contact and Stop
  • 12% Of Sales People Make a Second Contact and Stop
  • Only 10% Of Sales People Make More Than Three Contacts
  • 10% Of Sales Are Made On the Fourth Contact
  • 80% Of Sales Are Made On the Fifth to Twelfth Contact

To make the most of the touch points, you need to mix up the modes of approach.  As with most tools, it is important you use the right one for a desired outcome.  What follows assumes:

• You need to have a direct conversation with the prospect to sell successfully, either face to face or by telephone.  • The e-mail in question is your very first attempt to reach the prospect.

Given the above, especially the second point, you need to determine what your objective is.  If you have never spoken to the buyer, the objective is clear, to schedule a firm time for the first conversation.  It is not to sell, deliver your value prop, start a relationship, or anything other than getting their commitment to speak at a specified time.  You want a call back to confirm the call, or as you will see in a moment, to actually schedule a meeting.  If your goal is different than that, what follows may not be for you.  On the other hand if you have never spoken to them before, and you need to direct, then what other outcome could you hope for?

The Format

Keep it short, two or three lines – in a 140 character world, you need to focus.  Chances are your e-mail will be read on a mobile device, if you don’t capture them in that first screen, you won’t.  You may get one flick of the thumb, the second will be to delete.

The Subject Line – think of how you do things, first question do I know this person? If not, you look at the subject line, if it doesn’t grab you, delete.  If it does, you may open it, as a result the subject line is crucial, as the reader will not know you.  This is why your subject line should be your call to action with a question mark.

Example (from a few years back):

Subject:  Meeting June 30, 9:30 am?

Dear Mr. Prospect,

I am Tibor Shanto Principal with Renbor Sales Solutions, over the last three years we have helped The Business Development Bank of Canada set more appointments with Canada’s small business owners.  I read about The Scotia Bank RV, and am writing to set up a meeting to discuss how we may help you and Scotiabank reach your objective.

How is Monday June 30th at 9:30 am?

Thank you in advance, Tibor Shanto

Result, within 90 minutes, I had response saying the date did not work, but they suggested an alternative time for us to meet.

Doesn’t work every time, about 10% – 20% of the time it does, but it is just one of many tools.  Combined with voice mail, a presence in social media, and you have an effective means of engaging, or at the least, an effective touch point.

An interesting observation, while the perfect result is 10 – 20 percent, I do see a number of people visiting my site after getting the e-mail, and while many may not call back, when I follow up with my next touch point, they are more aware of who and why.  When they visit the site, check out the blog, see what I am up to on social media, I am willing to bet, that some of the appointments I get through other channels with these same people was helped by the initial short and direct e-mail.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

A Passion For Life1

A PASSION FOR LIFE 2

For many, summer is a time to take it back a notch, relax, and enjoy a slower pace.  For others it is a time to bear down and focus on things they want accomplish, they spend time preparing their next adventure and conquests.

If you’re not ready to left the summer drift by, and see it as an opportunity to reignite your passion and take things to the next level, we have good news for you.

On July 24, Legacy Mastery, is presenting a fantastic event in Toronto: A PASSION FOR LIFE, is a full day event pack with today’s EXCEPTIONAL LEADERS who will transform your BUSINESS, PROFESSIONAL & PERSONAL PERFORMANCE.

I know it sounds like a big statement, but the day lives up to it, here is the roster:

  • Tony Robbins – Peak Peformance – Entrepreneur, Author & Peak Performance Strategist World Authority on Leadership Psychology
  • Robert Greene – Keys to Mastery – Best Selling Author , The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, and Mastery
  • Chip Heath – Creativity & Branding – Best Selling Author of Switch, Made to Stick and Decisive Loretta LaRoche – Work Life Balance – Acclaimed Stress Expert, Author, Humorist and Motivational Speaker
  • Joe Plumeri – Success Strategies – Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings (2000-2012) CEO, Citibank North America (1999–2000); Chairman and CEO, Travelers Primerica Financial Services (1995-1999); President and Managing Partner, Shearson Lehman Brothers (1990-1993)
  • Desiree Rogers – Customer Relations – CEO, Johnson Publishing Company, LLC; White House Special Assistant to President Obama; 2009-2010, White House Social Secretary, 2009-2010

A great bill no matter what you have your eye set on, you’re bound to get the inspiration and practical steps you need to succeed.

And As you would expect, as a reader of The Pipeline, you can register now, use the code RENBOR, and receive $100.00 courtesy of Renbor Sales Solutions and the good folks at Legacy Mastery.

These events tend to fill up fast, act now to get your seat, and your $100  discount by using the code RENBOR.

Enjoy and profit!

Tibor Shanto

#Contest – See @Biz @ThisIsSethsBlog! In Toronto0

Art of Mkt 13 logo

 Enter To Win Today & Take advantage of A Special Offer!

The Art Of MarketingCanada’s Marketing & Innovation Conference is coming to Toronto on Wednesday June 5th, and you don’t want to miss this line up.  The line up features:

Biz Stone – co-founder of Twitter
Seth Godin – New York Times Bestselling Author
Charles Duhigg – Author, The Power of Habit
Jonah Berger – Author, Why Things Catch On
David Usher – Musician & Creativity Expert

Better yet boys and girls, you can get a special rate, $50 off, by using the code RENBOR when you register here.

CONTEST

Not only that, but you can be one of lucky readers The Pipeline to win tickets to this great event by entering our ticket give away contest.

Here is all you need to do, Three simple steps, but all three need to be done to qualify to win.

  1. Fill in the form below
  2. Tell me which speaker you want to see most, and what question you would ask them if given the opportunity
  3. Retweet the following: I entered #contest for tickets to see @Biz @ThisIsSethsBlog at #theartofmarketing http://bit.ly/ZhaUnE from #renbor

Remember all three have to be completed to qualify, no tweety – no winny!

Looking forward to reading the responses – Good Luck!

Contest Closes Midnight Friday May 31, 2013!

It Doesn’t End With the Sale: Managing Customer Relationships1

May13

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and attracting new customers while strengthening your relationships with existing ones is a constant challenge. The best way to do so, however, is a matter that often leaves your sales and marketing staff at odds. Your sales force is focused primarily on closing the deal and landing new customers, while your marketing department wants to nurture customer relationships before and after the sale. No matter what your role at your company, however, it’s to your benefit to continue to nurture customer relationships long after they’ve paid their invoices.

Why Long-Term Customer Relationships Matter

We’ve all heard the adage that it’s cheaper to retain a customer than it is to acquire a new one. After all, you’ve already done the wooing. They already love your brand. If you maintain the relationship, they’ll come back to buy other products or services from you, increasing their customer lifetime value.

A customer with whom you already have a relationship is more likely to refer more business to you. They’re happy to tell others about how much they enjoy your brand when communicating through social media, review sites like Yelp, and face to face with friends. A single customer can help attract business from friends and family if they’re happy. And the best way to keep your customers happy is by paying attention to their needs and staying connected.

Managing Your Customer Relationships

Customer relationship management tools like Insightly and Salesforce make it easy to create profiles for each of your customers. You can track critical data like purchases, each customer’s birthday, and communication preferences. Companies use this data to better engage with customers. If you have your customer’s birthday, you can send her a email with a special birthday offer. If you know she has looked repeatedly at a certain item on your website, you can offer her a discount for it. Building a profile is a great first step; if you are in regular contact with a client, take notes each time you speak with them.

Social media is another fantastic tool for staying on top of customer relationships. Since Hootsuite lets you set up custom streams based on your preferences, it’s a snap to set up a stream containing the social media content generated by all your customers. From there, it’s up to you how far you drill down. You could create streams for different types of customers, such as those buying women’s clothes in one stream, children’s clothing in another, and men’s clothes in the last stream. You could set up a search for a keyword that relates to your industry to see who’s talking about it, and connect with them. The possibilities are endless, but what matters is using the info you gather to enhance your customer relationships.

Once you’ve set up customer profiles, it’s simply a matter of paying careful attention to what’s being said, especially if it relates to your product or brand. If a customer’s unhappy with your company, they might not bother to tell you, but reach out on their social network instead. If you’re monitoring your customer Tweets using your new setup, it’s much easier to discover customer concerns—and address them—before the situation escalates.

From a more positive angle, if you notice a customer tweeting about her search for product or service you provide (that they may not realize you offer), your sales team has a fantastic opportunity to respond and develop that interest into a lead.

Email is another great way to stay on connected to your customer. Don’t bombard your customers with emails, but do make your emails frequent and relevant enough to remind them of why they chose to give you their business. Sending one newsletter and one promotional email at specific times each week or month is a good start, but with a little creativity and careful data management, you can create targeted email campaigns for special occasions or broken out by demographic. Using the data gleaned through your customer relationship management software, you can deliver even more sophisticated and targeted messages, such as discounts for a customer’s birthday for example. The better targeted the offers, the better your connection with your customers.

The aim is to keep growing the connection. With intelligent application of the information you gather, you can build real and lasting relationships with your customers that won’t end with the sale.

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Using Social Media to “Prep” Customers for a Sale0

CC April 13

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

Social media websites are a great sales and marketing tool, there’s no denying it. I would venture to say that most companies have a presence on at least one social media site, and if they don’t, they should! Many companies are developing marketing campaigns that are design for both online and traditional marketing.  For the online marketing aspect, they are normally specifically designed for use on social media sites. Ideally, these campaigns will lead to increased sales for the company.

But how exactly should you use social media to entice your customers to make a purchase? There are quite a few ways to go about it –

Use Photos and Video – social media sites are very photo-centric. There are so many sites out there that encourage users to take photographs of nearly everything they do. Some examples would include Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr. By taking and posting attractive photos of your products or services, you are more likely to catch people’s attention than by just describing with words. Like it or not, we have become a much more visually-driven society since the advent of social media.

Promote Specific Events – Company events can draw a good deal of attention from customers. These events don’t even have to be sales-related. One of the main goals in sales is just to keep the name of your company or product on your current or potential customers’ minds, right? For example, take TOMS A Day Without Shoes campaign. Is going barefoot for a day going to encourage people to buy shoes? Probably not. But, it does give TOMS a ton of publicity and perhaps people who have not looked at their company before will take notice.

Feature Satisfied Customers – the great thing about social media is that your customers have the ability to give instant feedback. If you like what they have to say, give them a shout-out on your page. You may even get lucky and they may become a brand advocate.  This can be really helpful for other customers who have not yet bought from you. When they see positive feedback, it might give them reason to buy. For example, if someone writes a great review of a product, that might be able to sway someone who was on the fence before into giving the product a try.

Build Anticipation – this is particularly important if you are planning to introduce a new product or service. You know when you watch television, sometimes you see commercials for stores or restaurants that don’t have locations near you? Then when one opens nearby, you often feel compelled to check it out. For me, this happened with Kohl’s. They advertised the store in my area for several months before one finally opened. The same goes for the social media world. Prep your customers for new and exciting products or services before they launch. This way, the hype will already be there when you do release the new product.

Social media can be a great way to get customers involved in your business and to close sales. Use it early and use it often!

(Photo Source)

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Sales Focus: Online Channels vs. Traditional Tactics0

CofC Mar 13

The Pipeline Guest Post – Megan Totka

The Internet has opened up a whole new world of marketing and advertising tactics. And although this isn’t breaking news, people are coming up with new ways to utilize the web every day when it comes to sales. But are we letting more traditional sales practices fall by the wayside in lieu of solely committing to digital tactics?

In my experience, the companies with the best strategies are making the most of both types of marketing. Finding a winning combination of traditional marketing and Internet marketing can take some trial and error, but it’s worth it for your company in the long run. Consider these perks of focusing on online advertising and sales:

•    Less Expensive
While running a business website isn’t necessarily cheap, there are many ways that you can advertise online for very little cost. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer great outlets for marketing and a variety of tools to help you build your network and share your message.

•    Bigger Reach
It typically costs less to reach more people with online marketing. Using social media accounts and websites can generate thousands of views—even hundreds of thousands for successful companies—each month.  It’s difficult to reach that many people with traditional marketing tactics and a small business budget.

•    More Outlets
There are so many ways to advertise online. Some of the most obvious include social media networks. The biggies include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but there are hundreds of other social media sites that you might consider using based on your type of business and your audience, among other factors. Community-style message boards, blogs, and websites may also be ideal channels to add to your digital strategy.

Although digital tactics can undoubtedly be effective, traditional advertising and sales still carries a number of benefits, too, including:

•    Tangible Nature
Some people like advertising materials that they can see in person or touch. Some examples might include business cards, postcards, or business swag (think branded water bottles, key chains, or pens).

•    Increased Permanency
Marketing campaigns such as billboards or magazine ads can be placed for a longer period of time without needing changes. Online, it’s more necessary to keep content new and changing constantly to not only serve your audience, but also search engines.

•    Appeal to a Larger Audience
Don’t confuse this with having a larger reach. While online advertising may have the ability to reach a higher number of targeted people, traditional marketing techniques reach multiple generations and income levels and typically aren’t as segmented as digital alternatives.

Your best bet as a business owner or salesperson is to find a balance between the two types of marketing. It’s important to gauge your audience to see which kind of marketing best suits your clientele. If you can find the right combination, you’ll be able to reach a huge audience and give everyone something that they want—not to mention using a variety of marketing techniques will help you increase sales and expose your company to new customers.

(Photo Source)

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

How Hosting Contests on Your Twitter Feed can Improve Sales2

Increased sales GP

The Pipeline Guest Post – Kim Willington

Of course you know that social media is a great way to get exposure for your business. What you may not realize, however, is that social media is also a great way to increase direct sales — sometimes right from your feed. The immediate, conversational nature of Twitter makes it ideally suited for promoting your business and increasing sales.

In particular, hosting contests on your Twitter feed can increase your sales, not only in the short-term but also by promoting relationships with customers and generating leads. Here are a few tips for how you can increase your sales by hosting contests on your Twitter feed:

Promote New Products

When you have a new product, hosting a contest is a great way to generate buzz and to sell more of those products. By offering the contest, you instantly get more exposure for the product, amounting to free advertising that gets people instinctively excited about the product. Those who don’t win the contest will feel like they have missed out on something special and will be more likely to go back and buy the product instead.

Follow Up with Exclusive Offers

After a contest is over, you should build on the momentum that the buzz has created for you. You can do so by offering exclusive discounts or other promotions to your Twitter followers and to those who entered the contest. Perhaps you can offer a discount on the product, or you can offer a special free bonus for those who buy the product.
The exclusivity will not only increase your sales, but it will also help you to increase your Twitter following (which can help you build relationships and grow sales later).

Generate Leads

A contest is a great way to help you build long-term brand loyalty and sales by helping you to generate leads. The key is to create multiple methods of entry that work for you. This can include asking participants to join your e-mail list or to follow you on Twitter in order to enter. The more valuable the prize, the more people will enter and the more leads you will have.
Of course, the effectiveness of those leads will depend upon what you do next. Make sure you have a strategy for lead marketing that includes developing an ongoing relationship and encouraging repeat sales.

Twitter can do much more for you than help you promote your brand. If used correctly, it can help you to increase your sales of your own products or to generate additional revenue through affiliate marketing and advertising. Just be sure to strike the right balance between promotion and providing your followers the information they need, and you should see success.
Do you use Twitter to increase your sales? Share your tips for success in the comments!

About Kim Willington

Kim Willington is a freelance writer and researcher, where she has recently been researching service desk software. While away from work, she enjoys antiquing and hiking with her retriever, Spencer.

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