Getting people who lived the story to tell the story………

2014-09-14 21.35.10Some years ago I decided I wanted to write the story of Neller Software for a number of reasons … and along the way developed an approach that I think applies to writing of any modern history book in a very cost effective and rewarding way.

But why is the first question when it comes to writing a book. Well…… Neller Software has played a very siginificant role in the birth and development of the Computer Software industry in Australia

And it had played a very signifiant role in my life and development in three different periods and in three very different ways.

1, I was sent to work there by my employer at the time Chrysler Australia to help complete a Payroll system we had bought

2 As an employee who went there as a techo and came out a few years later as a marketeer – an Analyst programmer who went on to become Product Manager

3. As Marketing Director and shareholder when the ownership changed and I was between jobs …. more about me and that later….. in the book. Continue reading Getting people who lived the story to tell the story………

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Forget Testimonials – Think Memories

20140524_093001For as long as I can remember I have been highly cynical of Testimonials posted on websites …. in fact the more a business has, the more cynical I become. Generally they either feel like they have been written by someone like me for a client or written by a real customer struggling to not speak in marketing babble.

As such I have avoided where possible using Testimonials for my clients unless I can find ways to add credibility – inclusion of a real picture for example. And more recently I have dropped the term Testimonial and adopted the term Memories … a much softer and, in my opinion, a more genuine sounding description.

Of course the memories are always good ones.

In line with this concept we have recently developed a new Campaign for our client Property Asset Planning.  For some time we have used the website address FindOutTheFactsNow.com as a slogan across all of our campaigns to imply that unlike our competition we deal only in the Facts.

But in an investment business that talks about reducing tax and increasing wealth it is not possible to substantiate some of the facts in a manner that is acceptable to CAD – Commercials Advice service which provides classification and information services to advertisers, agencies and production houses in relation to television commercials and infomercials and effectively governs what Free-to-Air TV stations will run.

As such we decided it was best to use the memories of our clients to tell the real facts that we wanted to convey to the general public in a series of Television Commercials to air on Network 10 over the next few months. Continue reading Forget Testimonials – Think Memories

What’s your Headline?

My Headline is “Helping People make profitable sales using digital media.”

When we read the paper – plenty of people still do – we scan the headlines and then the pic and if that gets us in – we will read the first paragraph.

In an age where we are being bombarded with information we increasingly need to process it quickly and decide if we are interested.

Hence I believe we all need to develop a Headline to defines what we do in terms of the benefits we bring to people and back it with a paragraph that adds value to that.

In fact your headline should develop interest and prompt a question ….  while your paragraph should answer it … even if not asked!

When we ask people what they do when we are at a networking event we actually mean “what can you do for me?” or “what is it that you do that is of interest to me?”

If I meet someone and they tell me they are CEO of XYZ Ltd all I know about them is their job title and I can them allocate some level of importance.  However when the next person tells me they are CEO of ABC Pty Ltd I still don’t know much about them.

In fact if I asked 50 CEOs what they do they would all tell me something different …. so why tell me your Title when I really want to know your headline.

So work out your headline and your opening paragraph and for print communication – eg your LinkedIn profile – use a photograph that sums you up as best you can.

This approach is working for me and I am sure it will for you. Save your time and mine by giving me your What’s In It For Me line and not your Job title.

LinkedIn gives you the hint. When you are completing your profile  it asks for a Professional Headline …. but almost all that I see are just a repeat of the person’s current job title.

Social Media? – It means the world to me!

When I was asked recently  “What does Social Media mean to you?” I answered off the top of my head and instantly – It Means the World to Me! I always try now to answer in Twitter speak concise and engaging….

This may sound trite and perhaps sarcastic – but I mean it!

Social Media means the world on so many fronts. For a start Access to the World geographically and demographically.  This week on LinkedIn I hit 10 million plus in my Three Degrees.

What does this mean – If I get an important message to my 800 plus direct connects and they each do the same and their connections followup as well…  That message will hit 10 million worldwide in an instant for zero cost to me.

If only I had something that important to say!!

But it also means the world in terms of access to your world – business and /or social.

It means unprecedented access to people you don’t know. People who may be interested in what you have to say.

But don’t take my word for it

“Technology is shifting Power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment and the media elite.  Now its the People who are in Control.”               Rupert Murdoch

It doesn’t matter if your “world” is around the corner or around the world you can access it now without relying on the heritage media.

It’s not just about access to broadcast a message though … its more about reaching people who are listening and ready to engage.

So define your audience and craft your messages specifically for them and then let people listen …  but they will only listen if your message interests them. And if they listen it doesn’t matter where in the world they are … they will find you!!

But you must also listen before jumping in.

When I deliver Sales training I explain the most important skill in sales is the art of listening by telling people to look in the mirror and see if they know why…

Well you do have two ears and only one mouth…God must have been telling you something…. is my answer!!

But there is much more to making sales using digital media – Social Media is a key part … but only a part.  You need to surround and support it with Listening Web Pages (more about that later), Search Engine Marketing, Social CRM, AdWords etc etc.

But your the world can find you if you are prepared to listen rather than shout.

B2B LinksIn for Relationships and Sales

With the continual growth – 1 new member every second of every day – and the accuracy of its info its not surprising LinkedIn is becoming prime real estate for B2B Sales prospecting.

According to US research from OneSource, the use of LinkedIn for B2B sales prospecting has increased by 47.8% since last year,

And of course it not just LinkedIn around 20 percent of those polled planned on increasing their use of  blogs, Facebook and Twitter for prospecting purposes.

However, still the overall majority still do not use social media for prospecting.

The most popular approach for gaining qualified leads remains outbound prospecting (cold calling), which was rated 3.7 out of five for effectiveness, followed by the company website (2.9), inbound calls (2.6) (waiting for the phone to ring), email campaigns (2.6), shows & events (2.5), social networking (2.1) , direct mail (2.1)  and webinars (1.8).

It seems that still the majority of sales people in B2B sales, in particular, still think that at best Social Media is for B2B sales …. or even worse it is of no value in sales at all.

While other research suggests that it is time to re-evaluate this thinking – Early this year Hubspot research showed that 45% of US companies who have used LinkedIn for marketing had acquired a customer through the site. Company blogs were considered effective for 43% of respondents, while Twitter for 38%  and Facebook for 33%.

Social Media is The New Relationship Selling because it is all about listening and understanding what the market/prospect needs.  It is old-fashioned business and that is how good sales people have always operated.  Building rapport, relationships and listening for problems for which they have a solution.

LinkedIn is the place to find B2B prospects and build relationships, Blogs are the where you can build Credibility, while Twitter and Facebook are great places to let people know who you are and what you do.

If I offered to supply a sales person with unlimited free access to a database with 65 million professionals from over 120 professions and almost every country on earth, who are largely tertiary educated and have household incomes of $100,00o plus and aged in main 30 – 50 they would jump at it….

Well I am … its called LinkedIn!!

Your website sucks …… (and so does mine!!)

A Great Example of Web 2.0 site design – lots of whitespace and readable engaging content

For some time I have been suggesting that there is no place for the Website given the collection of Social media tools that can be deployed to present, develop and promote your brand.

But I have had a re-think and done lots of reading on the subject and have done a complete turnaround…   I agree 100% with the thoughts expressed by Mitch Joel in his outstanding book “Six Pixels of Separation – Everyone is Connected – Connect your business to Everyone”.

“Your Website Sucks (mostly because it was an afterthought and now its the main calling card for your business)”  – Mitch Joel

There is no point in a digital marketing campaign building Facebook Fans, Being LinkedIn, Having quality Followers on Twitter  , deploying advertising and tactics to make sure people find you …. unless they want to interact when they do find you.  And there is where a Quality Web 2.0 website comes into play.

What people find when they get to your site needs to be in line with their expectations…. and that’s not all about design, look and feel, buttons, navigation and functions – although the overall design etc is an important part it is only a small part of the overall exercise.

It’s the content… the interaction … the ease of use … and the relevance of the messages that people come for and return to stay in contact.

The problems I see with websites are generally a result of the people chosen to build the site …. normally A Graphic/Web Designer or an IT/Technology person/company … or a combination of both.

A good-looking well designed site is important (in fact vital) but not as important as the overall picture – engaging content, relevant technology and a site that is marketable. But above all the site needs to be in sync with the organisations strategic goals and provide an environment that not only interests visitors but engages them.

In general I would never recommend a company that is totally focussed on technology to develop a website and I would certainly never give ownership of this most important marketing communications tool to the IT Department.  Would you get a techie to develop your marketing brochure and manage your advertising campaign …. well why put them in charge of the website … it’s a marketing tool that utilises technology in the same way that a brochure utilises a printing press.

It is the fear of technology that drives people to Tech people/companies and in general they end up paying way too much because they have no idea what they want and what it should cost!

However, there is good news there are organisations that have developed into or been formed to be full service digital marketing and communications providers that can leverage all of the best of the above but more so put into a highly cost-effective and relevant form that will serve the needs of the client.

Our business has moved from PR and Communications to Digital Media/Marketing and Communications because we understand the market needs and we have developed a range of Alliance Partners (Graphic Designers, IT experts) who can work with us to provide the appropriate solutions based on our interpretation of the marketing and business needs of the client.

It always gets down to budget but our aim is to provide the optimum solution to meet budget requirements…..  but at the end of the day it’s about crafting the right messages … and that generally is the hard part …   Getting people to talk about their businesses in clear, genuine and authentic terms without engaging in marketing speak,  A great team of people working with us … as a opposed to a loyal, dedicated workforce.

In my next blog I will outline the sort of content that is needed today and provide some ideas on how to gather and present it.

But for now here are some tips from Mitch Joel’s Website Checklist.. with some hints from me thrown i.

  • Clean, fresh, easy to read, lots of “white space”
  • Easy to navigate – a click or two away from anything
  • Appeals to the type of person you aim to attract – based on some Buyer Persona profiling
  • Written in everyday language that the consumers expect and understand. As you would speak to a friend or colleague when explaining what you do !!
  • Dont just do it in text … it is now easy and cost-effective to add a variety of media – (Pictures, Videos, Audio etc ) throughout the site .. not just the home page
  • Make sure there are lots of relevant calls to action wherever and whenever appropriate – throughout the sign – sign up for News, become a Facebook Fan etc
  • Linked to all of your Social media Channels (eg LinkedIn, Facebook, Blog, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr) – in one place bringing together all the forms of content and interaction that you are engaged in
  • Ensure that the site is Search Engine Friendly as you are playing the Game of Getting Found and the competition is fierce. Blogs, News, Quiz, Links to/from other sites, Status Updates from your social media links will all help here by constantly changing the content. Refreshing and Refocusing!
  • Use some form of analytic tools (eg Google Analytics) to track effectiveness of the site in terms of ongoing activity.  See what changes work best.
  • Ensure that the site is developed using tools that allow you to make changes easily as you need … don’t tie yourself to a web developer that needs to do the work . It’s your site and as such you must own it …  But make sure you have an ongoing support agreement to ensure that you get backup for the things that you can’t manage yourself…  and to get updates to the tools you use to keep them relevant.
  • Make sure everything on the site is relevant to and in sync with your overall marketing objectives.
  • Use lots of “testimonials”  to tell your story in the words of those you help – preferably in video, at least in pics … dont rely on words … they could have been written by someone like me paid to do so for a client …  Not that I would !!!