Poster Printing – The Offline Marketing Powerhouse

0
Poster Printing - MyStartupLand

Marketing is incredibly important for any business. It is the driving force behind making your business a success and making sure that you see the number of sales and leads that you hope for. The only trouble with marketing is that there are so many different ways that you can approach it, and not every way is going to work for your business or for your industry.

One of the most old-school ways that you can choose to market your business is with poster printing. It might seem a little on the retro side, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective. In fact, posters and leaflets could even become one of the best ways to market your business, outside of the digital world.

Let’s take a closer look at why poster printing could be the offline marketing powerhouse that you are looking for.

It Is Cost-Effective

There are no two ways about it, printing posters for your business is much cheaper than other marketing methods. When bought in bulk you can get posters for a few pence each and this means that you will have ample resource for advertising. If you compare this to the amount that an online or magazine advert can cost you, you can see why smaller businesses may decide that poster printing is the right choice for them.

They Are Flexible

A great thing about posters is that they can be designed to meet exactly what you are looking for. There are a number of shapes and sizes that you can pick from, depending on what it is that you are looking to advertise or market. You can also customize them to appeal directly to a particular audience. This is great if you are planning on displaying your posters in a variety of different places and think that they could do with some different touches.

You Can Make Changes As You Need To

Whilst the last thing that you are going to want is to have to re-print a whole assortment of posters that you have already paid for, there are plenty of opportunities that you can take to check what the design is going to look like and whether or not you think it will work. Ideal if you are not sure 100% what the finished article will look like.

They Are Always On Display

When you display a poster, it is always there for people to see. Rather than being like a flyer whereby the may be popped in the bin or in a pocket, a poster is always there. Your aim should always be to place them in an area that will see a good level of traffic, as this will gain the maximum exposure for that poster that you have spent so much time making.

They Don’t Have A Time Limit

Unless you are advertising a time-specific offer or an event that you want people to attend, you don’t need to worry about your poster becoming out of date. This means that you can buy them in bulk and store them away, ready to use at a later date. Definitely showing that they are an investment that is worthwhile making for your business.

 

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why posters are a great offline marketing option. Rather than being out of date, they are a sure-fire way to get some visibility and brand awareness for your company, as well as hopefully achieving some more sales too.

Thinking that you may want to try poster printing out for yourself? Then chances are that you are going to want to try out cheap poster prints. After all, if you can save money whilst still having an effective alternative to market your business, then this is a great way to boost your sales.

 

Is offline marketing part of your overall marketing strategy? Do you have experience with poster printing? Would you recommend this strategy to other startup founders?

Top 5 Ways To Track Offline Marketing Success

0
Offline Marketing Success - MyStartupLand

If you are investing money into your marketing, then you are going to want to make sure that it actually works for your business. With digital marketing, this can be relatively easy to do, thanks to the variety of tools and gadgets that are out there to help you. However, the same might not be true for offline marketing. Understanding how to track offline marketing success becomes crucial for any company thinking to implement a wider variety of marketing activities. 

Offline marketing comes in different forms and for the most part, they are a physical approach to marketing as opposed to that on social media or website. So, how do you know that they are definitely working?

Use A Certain URL To See Who Is Visiting Your Website

Chances are, even if you are taking an offline approach to your marketing, it may point to your website in some form. One of the best ways that you can try to ascertain whether or not your offline marketing is having the impact that you want is by using a unique URL which will direct people to your website. You can then check how many visits that URL has had, which will give you an idea of how successful your posters have been.

Create Discount Codes

Another way that you can track the success of offline marketing methods is with discount codes. If you are planning to use a variety of different offline approaches, then you can use unique discount codes to allow you to compare which one has worked best for you. Not only are they easy to put in place, but giving your customers discount codes also means that they are much more likely to want to shop with you.

Ask Your Customers 

This may sound straightforward, but it is an incredibly effective way to track how well your marketing efforts are working. If a customer comes in to visit you in store, calls or perhaps visits your website, then you could ask them to confirm where they heard about you. This is an incredibly common approach and shows you where these customers are coming from.

Use A Unique Email Address

If your offline marketing campaign is asking your customers to email you with their queries, then it might pay to create a unique email address that is going to only relate to that particular campaign. The great thing about this, is whilst it is incredibly effective, it is easy too. Plus setting up an email doesn’t take long and doesn’t cost you that much money either.

Check Out Your Search Volume

One of the simplest ways that you can see if your marketing campaign is working is to take a look at the traffic that you are seeing come into your website. If it increases after you have set up your offline campaign, then there is a good chance that those posters and leaflets are having an effect on how many sales, leads and visitors are checking out what you can do for.

Just like online marketing, offline marketing can be fully tracked to see if it is working.  You might just have to take a slightly different approach to what you would take if you were running it digitally.

Offline marketing comes in a variety of different forms. The chances are that you are going to have to figure out which one is the right approach for you. If you think that posters are going to be the route to take, then take a look at Colour Graphics. As experts in all things graphics, they can help transform your offline marketing methods and ensure that they work perfectly for you and for your business too.

[INFOGRAPHIC] Top Startup Locations In 2018

0
Top Startup Locations - MyStartupLand

Location, location, location. 

Traditionally, location was a real estate mantra. The better the location, the higher the property value would have been in the eyes of the buyer. In the startup world, location plays an extremely important role in success. A high concentration of startups in a specific location can be translated, most of the time, with a high number of investors, talents, and opportunities to grow. At the same time, having a high number of startups around yours means high competition to attract any of the above-mentioned advantages.

Can We Predict Patterns Associated With Startup Location? 

The below infographic provided by Crozdesk analyses 19,188 currently operating SaaS, PaaS, Iaas, and enterprise software companies, as well as 20,883 funding rounds to determine whether the location is directly related to development patterns on a regional level.

As for other industries, the US is without any doubts the region with the most startups holding the highest investment value. Europe is in the second place, but startups in this region are very far away from the US counterparts.

What Are The 5 Top Startup Locations Worldwide? 

Silicon Valley gets the gold medal. The concentration of startups and fundings in the area is the highest worldwide with 16.14% of startup concentration and 38.68% of total funding worldwide. Following, there are New York, Southern California, Boston Area, and finally one European city, London.

It’s important to notice that the report, in some cases, has clustered different cities under one single area, considering their geographical proximity.

The full SaaS and Cloud Startup Report 2018, can be found here.

SaaS and Cloud Startup Report 2018 - MyStartupLand

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Importance Of Social Commerce

0

Social commerce in the last few years is playing an always more important role in the traditional eCommerce world. Social media companies are now working together with eCommerce websites to deliver a new and exceptional experience for shoppers. The basic goal of social commerce is to enable shoppers to use social networks to make eCommerce transactions.

How Is Social Commerce Influencing The Traditional eCommerce? 

Shoppable Instagram feeds or “buy” buttons on Pinterest and Youtube are just a couple of examples of how social commerce is reshaping the online shopping world. No one is missing on this trend, as users change the way they shop. Even traditional “giant” eCommerce shop are implementing social commerce techniques to attract new users. For example, eBay uses Daily Deals on Facebook.

According to Facebook, there are about 450 million users who visit buy-and-sell groups on a monthly basis. Seeing this new trend, Facebook developed a new service, called Marketplace in October 2016. The concept follows the same idea that eBay and Amazon use.

Social media users can now directly shop on eBay Daily Deals through the Facebook mobile apps. eBay implements a bot (ShopBot) that helps users narrow the research to find the right product, among millions of listings.

The infographic below shows how social media platforms are becoming more commercial, while eCommerce platforms are becoming more social. Social commerce is a trend that will grow in popularity in the next years with no doubt.

Startup Growth Hacking – The Ultimate List Of Free Growth Tools For Content Marketing

0
Startup Growth Hacking - MyStartupLand

Startup founders face constantly the decision of whether to invest or not in certain tools, be it for sales, product or marketing. In the early days of any startup, free tools, and growth hacking techniques are highly regarded by startup founders. Growing business with minimal investment looks appealing to the most, however, with so many tools available the decision can be a tough one. Startup growth hacking was for a period of time so “famous” that we could see more hackers in marketing teams than elsewhere. Things now have changed slightly, but growth remains at the basis of all startups needs.

The list here below is focused mainly on marketing and content creation activities.

Keyword Research

Content marketing is becoming every day more relevant for any type of business. Understanding how to communicate and connect at an emotional level with the desired audience is crucial to growth. Triggering interest for purchase and generating leads for the sales team to follow up are the most important factors in a well-planned content marketing. Researching keywords by topics of interest is what makes any startup content marketing strategy significant for success.

Google Keyword Planner

Google is the go-to-place for most (if not all) marketers. Without double-checking on Google how well specific keywords are doing, the part of content marketing focused on keyword strategy is lost.

This free tool, among many others provided by Google, helps marketers identifying the right keyword to talk about as well as popularity, creating a combination of keywords usable in different content pieces.

Google Correlate

In the list of the top free keywords research tools, Google takes the podium without any doubt by providing yet another free tools for marketers. Google Correlate is often overlooked but can help marketers create a large keywords list.

Google Correlate - MyStartupLandThe way it works is very simple. Google Correlate will show you what are other words that are searched together with the keyword you are looking for. Understanding this additional piece of information, marketers can easily differentiate and increase the number of keywords to work on.

UberSuggest

If you rely heavily on Google Keyword Planner, then you will want for sure to check out UberSuggest. It is an additional growth tool to the usual Google Keyword Planner. It basically suggests keywords outside of the Google Search Engine, giving you a wider option for keywords to use.

UberSuggest - MyStartupLand

A great feature of this free tool is that you can have next to the keyword of interest, just a letter, and the tool will automatically suggest a series of words associated with that letter.

KeywordTool.io

Long-tail keywords have been regarded by many as the main strategy for small businesses and startups. Competing on major keywords can be very difficult and expensive. Therefore, understanding which long-tail keywords are working for the desired audience is crucial to attracting new users through engaging content.

Keywordtool.io - MyStartupLand

KeywordTool.io generates a series of keywords through Google Autocomplete, which takes into consideration several factors, among which keywords popularity.

Soovle

Sometimes marketers rely on Google Autocomplete to get some additional ideas for keywords or topics to write about. If you have ever done so, Soovle will be a definitive step up in your research process. This free keyword research tools combined different sources for autocomplete suggestions. The suggestions are not always the most sophisticated ones, but without doubts, marketers will get new suggestions to use for their growth strategy.

Sovle - MyStartupLand

Keyword In

This is by far the simplest keyword tool available online for marketers. Literally, any person looking to combine a group of words into actionable keywords usable for content marketing can easily use Keyword In. Because it’s a tool that “simply combines” all the words you input, the results might not always match expectations. For this reason, it is good practice to reiterate the research few times.

Answer the Public

This tool is one of the newest free resources available for marketers. It’s relatively straightforward tool and provides results for any keyword research in a visual way. The list includes questions associated with the specific keyword searched, as well as prepositions, comparison, and other associated long tail keywords.

 

Content Ideation

When looking at marketing growth, content creation comes straight after keywords planning. After an in-depth analysis of keywords with the tools above mentioned, you can now look into content ideas and creation. The content itself is going to be the essence of your growth marketing strategy.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is THE tool that will help you finding trending topic across categories and industries. It is extremely simple and intuitive. Using BuzzSumo will give you an idea of what topics work best based on social engagements. There is both a free and a paid version, the paid one is a very strong solution, but the free one does its job in helping many marketers out.

BuzzSumo Engagement Analysis - MyStartupLand

Reddit

With its “old” look, Reddit is still extremely relevant for content creation. Marketers can easily look for subreddits of interest and check immediately what’s trending. This “tool”, however, only gives you an idea of what’s happening within Reddit, rather than the whole web, so you need to be careful when picking up the right topic. Having said that, Reddit has a massive user base, so if it is trending on it, there’s a very good chance that the topic is indeed interesting.

Quora

This is the ultimate Q&A website. It is possible to find all type of questions, divided into categories. Thanks to its structure, anyone can find easily what are the most researched questions with the highest number of interactions by its community. The great thing about Quora is that marketers can search by keywords, finding questions by the niche of interest. In this way, you can have both trending topics and great answers from which to create content.

Risultati immagini per quora

FaqFox

This is a free online market research tool that can also help marketers understanding topics popularity. After entering a topic or keyword, you can either enter websites to scrape or choose from a selection of popular content areas (for example, business, marketing, tech…). This will result in a list of answers your prospective audience is searching for.

AllTop

AllTop aggregates the best websites online. Everything is divided by category to make it simple for the users to find whatever they are looking for. The dashboard is also very easy to navigate, you can find top blogs in specific industries with their latest 5 blog entries. This is without any doubt, an endless source of content ideas for all marketers.

Risultati immagini per AllTop

Planning & Collaboration

When planning content creation is crucial to also understand the timing with which everything is scheduled and how your marketing strategy will benefit from it. With the following tools, you will be able to get a wider idea of planning content as well as enabling a stronger collaboration among teams or team members.

Trello

Trello is a free online project management tool. It uses boards and cards as a visual way to present tasks and organize them. Creating a Trello board for your marketing calendar is a simple visual way to assign, organize and store content.You need to move content from card to card to note its status, such as published, pending, in creation, among others.

Risultati immagini per Trello

Google Apps

Calendar and GDocs are two of the most used tools across different industries and professions. The calendar function that Google offers in its suite of products has a wide variety of templates to use and simplify workflow planning. You have also the ability to create separate calendars, such as one specific for “Marketing” to track activities and plan a team effort.

Slack

This is a popular and well-designed platform offering instant messaging, file transfers and powerful message search. A little bit like Skype, but with better functionalities and widely adopted for company internal communication. The great thing is that it has many features and dozens of integrations with other tools like Trello.

Asana

Asana is another powerful project management tool, similar to Trello. It allows users to assign tasks to other members, add followers to projects and keep an eye on deadlines. It is used by many companies to track project flows and strategic planning.

Risultati immagini per Asana

Distribution And Amplification

Content planning and creation are just two steps of a more complex strategy to reach the desired audience. Today with an overflow of information and content online, you not only compete with tons of similar material but on several different platforms. On top of that, you compete with pretty much everyone trying to have a presence online, be it solopreneurs or huge corporations with great capital resources.

Content creation should be around 20% of the time you spend on this task. The rest should be devoted to amplification, i.e. reaching every possible corner of the web to be in front of your desired audience.

Buffer

This is a tool to help marketers scheduling their social media activities. It allows to pre-schedule posts for different social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and also Instagram. It helps you also by re-posting old content (or “re-buffering” it). Despite being a great and easy tool to use, the important factor here is that you should have an already established and engaged social media following.

Risultati immagini per buffer

Hootsuite

This is a tool similar to Buffer. It helps you schedule social posts in advance. The interesting thing is that through Hootsuite, you can also evaluate who is clicking on what and can help you create simple contents among your followers.

Risultati immagini per hootsuite

OnePress Social Locker

This is a bit of a controversial way to increase social engagement and amplify reach. With this WordPress plugin, you basically force users to share your content before unlocking the content on your website. Depending on the popularity of your website, this might work, however, if you are not there yet, or your content is not so popular, you might annoy a potential reader.

Risultati immagini per OnePress Social Locker

MailChimp

Email marketing is the easiest way to distribute your content to your current readership and potentially gain some extra amplification. Being focused on distribution, MailChimp doesn’t necessarily help you in gaining new users, but thanks to few interesting features, you can plan most of your email marketing effort.

 

These are only free tools that we considered interesting for startup growth hacking. Marketers might find one tool to be more useful than others, or if your company is big enough, prefer a paid tool or version rather a free one.

Do you have any tool that you prefer the most when planning your startup growth? Any additional tools we might have forgotten? Share your thoughts in our comment section below.

 

Tools For Startup Founders: SUMO

0
SUMO - Tools For Startups - MyStartupLand

Summary:

SUMO is one of the most commonly used tools on websites. It can help startup founders in generating more traffic, email signups, shares and much much more.

What Is It? 

SUMO is a web-based platform providing a suite of free online tools. These are:

  • List Builder – lightbox pop up to build email subscriptions
  • Share – function to share on mobile/web your website content
  • Welcome Mat – full-screen call-to-action shown to visitors
  • Heat Maps – tool for understanding where people are clicking (or not)
  • Scroll Box – email collection box
  • Google Analytics – easy integration with GA for your convenience
  • Discover – way to get more traffic
  • Smart Bar – floating bar appearing at the top or bottom of the website.
  • Highlighter – function that makes your content tweetable
  • Image Sharer – share website images super easy (with a link to your post)

Is It Free?

It is free if you are OK with having a “sponsored by SUMO” at the bottom of any of these functions. There are paid plans to remove these and make them completely customizable.

 

What Are The Top Cities For Working Remotely In 2018?

0
Top Cities For Working Remotely - MyStartupLand

Working remotely has had over the last few years a huge impact on the work environment. Millennials see the possibility to work and travel as way to “escape” from the traditional work lifestyle, with 68% actively considering this option.

Being location independent, however, is not something new. It has always existed. The main different with few years back is that digital nomads embrace the lifestyle of travelling and working with less dependancy from one employer.

In our frenetic society for many of us achieving a good work-life balance has become an objective. Having the possibility to travel freely, but still work is without doubts an option today thanks to the technology available.

In case you are thinking to change your lifestyle in this new year, Venture With Impact has put together the top cities for working remotely in 2018.

 

Top Cities For Working Remote - MyStartupLand

4 Ways To Attract And Retain Sales Leads

0
Attract And Retain Sales Leads - MyStartupLand

Whether we want it or not, we have all been a sales lead at some point. Signing up for a newsletter or answering a telemarketing call are just a couple of examples of how often we “turn” into sales leads for some business out there. Being a lead is when you open the door to a company.

Leads are like liquid gold in the world of sales.

What Is A “Sales Lead”?

According to Investopedia, a sales lead is a prospective consumer of a product or service that is created when an individual or business shows interest and provides his or her contact information.

Companies acquire sales leads generally through ads, events, opt-in forms, direct emails, and other marketing efforts.

For any entrepreneurs looking to start a new business, without any doubt, generating sales leads is the most complicated task they will need to overcome. Building a great product that actually solves a problem is useless unless companies don’t have people who want to buy it.

You can’t sell without a lead, you can’t have sales without clients, it doesn’t matter what business you are in. Finding those who are interested in buying is hard, and that’s what makes salespeople very important in any company.

Don’t be fooled though. Sales leads are not clients yet. They are potential customers.

Sales Lead Generation Process

In the last decade, technology has made a great impact on the way businesses generate leads. Artificial intelligence and chatbots, just to name a couple, are playing today a crucial role in this technology development.

Back in the days, “world of mouth” was one of the main ways to promote a business, exposure was limited and local. Newsletters were rare and any form of traditional marketing was expensive.

Thanks to the Internet high penetration, at least in the developed world, even small businesses can leverage the web to generate interest in their product or services. Investing in some sort of digital marketing makes sense due to the low-cost barrier.

How To Master Lead Generation

Building a solid lead generation system is not an easy task and having in place a variety of processes is crucial for success. Like any other B2B business, if you are not generating leads online, you are missing out. Recent studies have shown that those business that generated 60% of their leads are 200% more profitable than those who don’t.

Generating sales leads online is not only wise, it’s non-negotiable.

Keep an updated blog

Companies blogs are a natural extension of the business. Blogs indicate success and engagement with your audience. Above anything else, content marketing can be seen as a source of help and advice for your prospects and clients. In the last year, content marketing has become relevant more than ever in finding ways to attract and engage the desired target audience.

Content marketing can help you in establishing your business as the go-to-source for prospects’ and clients’ problems.

Some Information

  • 88 percent of B2B companies currently use content marketing as part of their lead generation strategy
  • B2B companies with blogs generate 67 percent more leads per month over companies who don’t blog
  • Firms that post at least 15 times per month get 5x more traffic over those that don’t blog
  • The most successful B2B content marketers allot the biggest portions of their budget to content marketing: 42 percent of the total budget
  • B2B marketers measure blogging success mainly by the quality of sales leads their content marketing efforts net

How To Master It

Content marketing is a long-term strategy. You won’t get sales leads after hitting “publish” on that blog post. It takes time, months, sometimes even years (if you don’t invest) to start getting traction.

The best content for your business is from those who are working within your organization. Brainstorm internally to write down the most common problems and try asking your clients what issues they face. Keep a regular schedule for your blog. At Tenfold, we are big on content, and we try to publish as soon as an idea comes to mind.

Visual Content To Attract Your Desired Audience

Most marketers might think that visual content is mainly for B2C industries, however, those marketers might forget that those decision makers in B2B industries are people too. Despite many not being a fan of visual content, this sits on top of the list of ways to increase social shares and engagements. Social shares drive traffic to your website. If the content is good, then this traffic will be translated into sales leads.

Some Information

How To Master It

If you can write a blog post, you can also create infographics. The essential ingredient in a solid infographic is data. Online there are many tools that can help you create visually appealing infographics, even if you have no graphic design background. Obviously having someone within your team who can support the design will create something that is far away from what you can make with these tools, but, in case you don’t have designers, don’t shy away from trying.

Here below are some visual content ideas:

  • Videos
  • Diagrams and Illustrations
  • Infographics
  • Slideshare Presentations

And online tools you can use to create them:

Increase Your Ranking In Search Engines

Search engines exist to help people find things they need. Considering the huge amount of content available, it’s not an easy task to rank number 1 on major search engines. One of the major problems for many marketers (but not only) is how to get up there and gain organic traffic.

Ranking high in search results is a guaranteed way to generated leads. Your business will get more traffic to your website and grow the desired audience engagement.

Some Information

How To Master It

In the last few years, search engines have become smarter than ever. Ranking systems get updated continuously to avoid black hat SEO activities as well as making sure that the result of any research gives back the most relevant information. Back in the days, using tricks to get higher ranking was the norm.

With time, however, Google, together with other search engines have been putting a higher emphasis on valuable, relevant and helpful content. Content marketing is today one of the most important digital marketing “tricks” your business can do. Creating useful and relevant blog posts for your desired audience will create more engagement on your website, which consequently will help your business rank higher.

The returns of getting steady organic traffic are incredibly valuable, therefore you cannot ignore this. You can study SEO or hire an expert to take care of several aspects of how the whole search engine world works to align it with your business goals.

Paid Advertising On Social Media And Google

Paid advertising is probably the biggest question mark for many business owners. To understand whether it is worth or not is often a struggle, due to the fact that many entrepreneurs don’t know the basics of digital marketing.

If you have a good strategy around PPC can be very rewarding, but it needs to be done correctly. You are investing your company funding to attract users by paying for their attention if done without rationale you might be attracting the wrong leads.

Some Information

Generate Those Sales Leads

There might be other thousands of ways to get sales leads in your business, however, these four have been tested and have brought in revenue for many different companies. Remember that any lead generation strategy needs time, patience and testing to get the most out of it.

If you work on your marketing message correctly and are wise on the way you invest and act in digital marketing, sales leads will come to your business.

 

Have you tested successfully any other activities to generate sales leads? Did you try any of these four and got some good (or bad) results? Let us know your thoughts and experience in the comments section below.

How To Hack Content Marketing In 2018 – 12 Actionable Steps

0
Hack Content Marketing - MyStartupLand

Content marketing has changed the way we consider online user acquisition, retention, and engagement. Marketers need to create and distribute simple, actionable and frequent content to engage audiences. With so much content published daily, it is, however, more complicated than ever to reach enough readers and eventually convert them into leads. Understanding how to hack content marketing is crucial for any website owner looking to increase and monetize their audience.

Online reach can definitely be tackled with paid marketing activities. However, reach isn’t the only answer to users monetization. Reaching a wider audience can certainly help you maximise the chances to convert visitors into paying users. Remember, however, that’s not a guarantee if you don’t work on your content marketing strategy.

Understanding how to hack content marketing is essential to any company using online channels as their main means of communication and user acquisition.

Today, most of us rely on the Internet to inform ourselves on topics of interest (on both personal and business level). Content marketing is what makes or breaks a company business strategy. Are you willing to gamble on it?

53% of professional marketers say that blog content creation is their top inbound strategy with direct impacts on their lead generation strategy.

In 2017, almost 90% of marketers implemented content marketing to attract new and retain existing users. However, writing blog posts or white papers just for the sake of it yields little returns. In the same study, as a matter of fact, only 28% of marketers considered their company content marketing strategy to be sophisticated or mature (down from 2016)

Content Marketing Strategy Level - MyStartupLand

Your content is navigating through an ocean of blogs and competing to get users’ attention. You need to create a strategy to hack content marketing that will help you acquire new users and gain more traction from your online communication channels.

Here below we take a look at 12 ways to hack content marketing and create a sustainable content marketing strategy for your business.

1. Write What Your Audience Wants To Read About

Start with basic brainstorming. Your team should sit weekly, if not daily, to think about what content is worth sharing with your audience.

  • What do they want to read about?
  • What do they want to learn about?
  • What’s trending now your industry?
  • What makes the headline today in your industry?

After brainstorming internally, move the research externally.

There are different ways online you can have a look at what content is “buzzing”. Don’t focus on what could become viral at this stage, actually don’t focus on it at all. Virality is something that follows if you write the right content.

There are different sources online to find out what’s trending. I usually have a look at the following:

  1. Buzzsumo – Very simple and intuitive tool. It gives you the right information on the most trending blog posts going back one year. There’s a free and paid version.
  2. EpicBeat – Very similar to Buzzsumo, but the search is limited to the past 3 days. A small difference is that EpicBeat provides an overall engagement average per topic.
  3. Google Alerts – These are simple alerts from Google delivered directly to your inbox. I use them to get daily/weekly news about specific topics or competitors. It doesn’t give you engagement metrics but will provide you with an overview of what’s been shared online.
  4. Twitter – Although it might not be the coolest Social Network to be on, Twitter allows you to get an idea of what’s trending online right now, as well as checking what people in your industry are talking about.
  5. Google Trends – Another free service from Google, that can help you find what’s trending in specific regions and categories. No engagement metrics are shared.
  6. Social Mention – This is a smart tool that analyses content on several websites, not only limiting the research on major SNS but also going through Digg, Youtube and anything else that has user-generated content.
  7. Reddit – The good old Reddit gives you an idea of trending topic per subreddits. You would need to take this information with caution though as it is limited on what’s going on Reddit rather than the whole web.

Have a constant look around and develop a routine in checking those websites that you find more relevant to your business. Don’t limit yourself to a unique source to determine what’s trending online.

2. Write Valuable Content 

Content needs to have depth. As a definition, in-depth articles usually have more than 2000 words, with 2400 being the best in terms of engagement. A few years back it was thought that length would also have a positive influence on Google ranking. Although this has not been proven, long blog posts are usually filled with important and relevant information that is worth sharing.

Length should be a synonym for interesting content above all. Think like your audience. Picture your ideal readers and write in a way that you think will be interesting for them.

To write a meaningful blog post, you need to gather enough data to back up any claim you make. Giving references through external linking will give your posts credibility and it will be easier for your audience to trust what you are writing about.

Once you will start creating this type of content, your brand will gain more visibility, so that you can also think about approaching influencers in your industry to either feature them or ask them to link to your content.

3. Make Shareable Content

A consequence of writing in-depth blog posts is that your content should be also more shearable. However, content doesn’t get shared just because it has depth. You need to work on all the elements of the blog post, starting with the headline.

Clickable headlines have become a harsh truth in the ocean of content we find today online (think also about those clickbait headlines…). In most cases, you have got 8 seconds to make an impact on a potential reader. 8 seconds are not that much. The attention span of our potential readers is very very thin.

Can you afford to spend time in writing awesome content, just not to get noticed?

Crafting awesome headlines is something you need to master! Remember that 8 out of 10 people will only read your headline before making a guess on whether to read the rest of the content or not.

4. A/B Test Everything But Most Importantly The Headline

A fundamental part of online marketing is A/B testing. You need to make sure to test different iterations of the same activity. This can be related to specific call-to-action (CAT) on your page to attract new subscribers or different types of content to check which one yields to better engagement and lower bounce rate.

A/B test is at the basis of successful online activities.

Without any doubt, the most important thing you should A/B test when it comes to content marketing is the headline. The aim is to optimize click-through-rate (CTR). You want to create content that is shareable, for sure, but as said, your potential website visitors take about 8 seconds to decide whether your title is catchy enough and relevant to them. Don’t stick to one style, try different ones and then see which one brings the best results.

A certain David Ogilvy once said:

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”

5. Use Different Formats In Your Content 

Due to the abundance of content users find online, engagement has become more complicated. If your brand is still relatively unknown, competing exclusively on written content might be tougher than you think.

What about using multimedia content to engage users in a different way?

Creating a video might not be something for everyone, however, with video content you can summarise a long article and increase the time spent on your website. Use video as a summary and then let the user decides whether it’s worth going into details.

Remember that you don’t need to be a pro to make good video content, you can literally use your mobile phone, a small mic and a tripod (all for less than $50) and you are set to go.

6. Use Giveaways

Valuable content is not the only answer to users’ engagement.

Have you written an article about how to increase lead engagement online? What about creating an easy-to-implement cheat sheet that summarises the important steps to take?

Are you giving valuable information on specific steps to use in the everyday strategy to achieve certain results? What about creating a small ebook that gets deep into details about how to achieve this successful strategy you have been crafting?

You can also have a simple “resource” page where you write about products you either use on a daily basis for your blog as well as presenting “products you love“. You shouldn’t be using a straight affiliate marketing approach. Be honest and credible, remember that you are using this as a way to engage users and make sure they will eventually come back for more premium content.

Be creative and don’t follow any specific guidelines you might find online. Understand what’s valuable to your audience and create extra-free content for them. It can be an online course about “Successful Opening Lines For Your Sales Emails” or perhaps a simple email free course, sent to specific users who subscribe to this particular event. Make it somewhat exclusive, so that users are more interested in joining it.

7. Gather Already Available Online Resources In Useful Lists

At this stage, you should be aware that online users have a limited amount of time and don’t want to waste it on websites they don’t find relevant.

However, the Internet is full of content. Tools for better SEO, tools for increasing email conversion, tools for ABC, and so on… Literally tons of blog posts put together an always bigger list of some tools your audience might find useful.

What about crafting the “ultimate list of…” or “an updated list of…”? Do a quick online research and if in the first few pages on Google you find that the highest number of valuable tools for a specific activity is 50, then go the extra mile and gather 60, 70 or even 100 if you can.

Gathering information takes time but requires less investment in terms of creativity. Focus on viral content, don’t just make an ultimate list of something your audience doesn’t really care about.

8. Capitalize On Current Trends

Online trends are coming and going very quickly. If you are able to catch on a specific trend early on and write about it, you might be able to catch a good portion of online users.

To make sure you capitalize correctly on these new trends, you need to spend some time collecting the right data and don’t forget to give opinions about these. This will bring value to your audience and they will see you as a premium source for future reference.

The best way to be on top of the wave of what’s happening is to be connected to the right online resources. You are not going to be able to beat online magazines that have tons of content curators, but you might be able to give a different perspective on those topics that they might not be covering. Find those specific sources that are considered as references in your industry and follow them.

Lastly, remember that writing about it doesn’t translate into immediate virality or traction among your audience. You will need to find ways to publish this content around with guest blogging and using social media in the right way.

9. Become A Guest Blogger On As Many Websites You Can

This is probably the most important one. You are not necessarily fishing for backlinks (although this might help to get your blog more traffic). You want to be recognized as a reference in your industry by sharing valuable information.

Guest blogging is difficult nowadays for several reasons. First of all, you need time to create unique content to share on other platforms. On top of that, you need people to recognize the work you are doing, you cannot simply approach any relevant blog or website and ask to become a contributor. You need to work your way up to those websites. Start with the smaller ones and slowly build up your reputation.

The audience in your industry will start noticing you and perhaps follow back on that link in the author description. It’s a long process but needed to create the right online authority.

10. Think Beyond Your Content

Content marketing by itself is certainly a great way to increase traction among your audience but you shouldn’t be limiting yourself to that. There are other ways for you to engage the audience and convert them in possible users.

Some ideas to look at:

  • Youtube – make videos and post them outside of your website
  • Podcasts or audio interviews – get other people on your website to talk about specific topics, in this way you don’t can simply moderate rather than creating the content
  • Online Courses – as said above, you can use online courses to enrich your content, but you can actually post it on several platforms that will give you access to a whole new audience, such as Udemy, Skillshare, Teachable, LearnWorlds, CourseCraft, among others (a quick Google research will give you a bunch of interesting results)
  • Slideshow – summarise some of your best content in slides and have it on SlideShare for example, but there are much more online.
  • Quora – the best way to get you noticed on topics you know about. Answers to questions in a way to push your content to new audiences.

11. Schedule Your Social Media Shares

Your audience might not be in your time zone or perhaps engage on social media at a different time that you do. For this reason, you need to make sure to share your content on social media at a different time during the same day. Yes, it’s OK to share multiple times (within a certain limit) the same content during the same day.

Think about how much content it’s shared on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, if you post every 6 hours, you are most likely reaching a different audience. And if you write in English, you might want to catch the audience in Australia as well as the one in the UK and also in San Francisco.

On your Facebook page, this is easily done as it is an option in the posting section. However, on Twitter or Instagram, this is more complicated. Buffer is a good option and has a FREE version for small business owners. There are obviously tons of other options should you not be a fan of Buffer, here’s a list for you.

12. Use Tweetable Content or Quotes

Making sure to post your content on social media at different times during the day is crucial, but what about letting your readers share your content online.

You should have share buttons on your content, that goes without saying. I personally have them both above and below the fold. In this way, users can easily share my content without having to scroll down or up. They don’t have to look for it.

However, if you want to take this a step further you can make your content tweetable with some tools. If your website is on WordPress there are quite a few plugins you can use, such as Click To Tweet, Highlighter by Sumo, among others.

To make your content tweetable, you need to make sure you write bold and great statements. Once again, you need to think like your audience and generate statements that they will want to share.

 

Content marketing should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. You cannot ignore it and you should not underestimate its importance and power. Your competitors are already taking advantage of it, are you?

Most importantly, as seen at the beginning of this post, most marketers out there are using content marketing but they don’t think their company is giving the right importance to it. This is something you can capitalize on very quickly by making sure you create engaging content, as well as capturing those visitors and transforming them into leads for your business.

Do you have any other suggestions on how to hack content marketing? Are you implementing any of these hacks in your content marketing strategy? How do they work? Let us know your experience in the content section below.

7 Ways To Have A Successful Lead Management Process For Your Sales Team

0
lead management - MyStartupLand

Does your company have a defined lead management process in place or is your sales team managing incoming leads in an unstructured way?

Growing revenues is the only thing that every company is looking for. One of the core ingredients to grow revenue is without any doubt lead management.

Leads can be generated in a number of ways. Companies put emphasis on getting more leads adding constantly new tools. When it comes to managing them, however, a lot of businesses are shooting in the dark. Usually, loose processes that don’t have a strategy behind when it comes to reacting to inbound leads are in place.

After generating leads, your ability to move prospects along the company sales funnel begins with lead management.

Here we take a look at 7 ways to have a successful lead management process for your sales team.

Have A Common Definition Of Lead

What is a lead? Is it a contact number? A sign-up? A prospect who has expressed interest after a few interactions?

Organizations define leads in different ways – and that’s fine. The key is to unite your sales force under a single, well-understood meaning of a lead.

This is one of the biggest points of disconnection within companies. Sales departments consider X as a lead while the rest of the company believes Y constitute a lead.

When does a prospect become a lead? This is the question that has to be answered clearly and communicated to all departments.

It has been shown that 90 percent of the leads that come in never get the first contact from sales. Whoever is in charge of the lead generation process never gets around to determine who the correct person to receive the lead is. It’s either routed to the wrong person or it is actually not a lead as the sales team defines it.

In both cases, the salesperson won’t be in the best position to move the prospect along the sales funnel. They will be making some attempts to turn them into closed sales but will hardly achieve the desired results. This will result in salespeople turning their back to those leads and moving on to hotter leads.

To be effective in selling, the sales force, staff, departments and the rest of the company need to have a categorical definition of what a sales lead is.

When does a prospect become a lead? When should a contact be forwarded to sales? These are important questions that need to be answered.

Treat Lead Nurturing Seriously

Sales and marketing are like siblings or at least should be. They live together–but don’t always get along. Sales teams complain about the quality and quantity of leads received from marketing. This is one of the biggest issues that many organizations face.

There are usually two reasons behind this complaints.

  1. Leads are not enough
  2. Leads are not perceived as good enough

Developing prospects in sales-ready leads is a big challenge for many organizations, perhaps the biggest.  Lead nurturing is the answer to this question.

The importance of nurturing leads in keeping the pipeline filled should not be overlooked.

Bad leads may just be deemed “bad” at the beginning, but eventually turn into a closed sales. According to a study by SiriusDecisions, 80 percent of bad leads in B2B go on to make purchases within two years. Correct lead nurturing programs prevent the “forced churn” that the inexistence of such would cause.

Discovering opportunities within bad leads is only possible when sales nurture leads. Assuming that prospects are ready to buy on the first call is just bad selling. If your sales team hop on a call with the idea of closing the lead straight away, then your sales managers have done a bad job in coaching the team.

Moving prospects along the sales funnel by showing them value is at the basis of good lead nurturing. Content, service and constant connection are major points in this process. Sales enablement teams help bridge the gap between marketing and sales. Nowadays such role is getting more relevant for companies of all sizes. They calibrate marketing collateral so the material provides value to the sales department in a selling situation.

Know Where And When Leads Come In

Did the marketing department set up an inbound marketing campaign and leads are now pouring in?

Lead sources must be tracked. What piece of content did the lead encounter? Did you get their contact through organic search, social, referral traffic or paid ads? Were these referrals from other customers?

Why is source tracking so important? Because in this way your sales team will be able to understand what attracts that lead to your company and therefore adjust their pitch accordingly.

It’s also important to track lead sources to put in place a scalable and repeatable process for success. What is the average number of touches before a visitor turns into a lead? What sequence of touches works best in converting visitors to leads? All these questions need to have an answer in order to predict correctly future sales

Distribute Leads Fast

Determining which salesperson should handle a lead is very important to create a smooth process. If this hand-over process is not done quickly enough, your company might lose sales.

Leads go cold quickly. You don’t want to risk it.

Studies show that salespeople need to respond to leads within 48 hours of a prospect providing a mean for contact to increase the likelihood of closing a sale. Considering, however, how sales has evolved in the last decade with online communication taking over and how the means of capturing leads have changed, the time has already dropped dramatically.

In a study of 1.25 million sales leads across 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies in the U.S.A., it was found that companies tend to be 7x more successful in lead qualification when they get back to prospects within an hour of receiving the contact compared to those who delay the first contact. Stretching that to 24 hours or longer, the immediate response to leads netted 60 times more results.

Just think about the last time you found a product or service interesting. Didn’t you wish they got back to you faster? How many times have you opted-in, left your email or contact number and no one came back to you? Didn’t your interest naturally fade away?

Fire Up Your Sales Force About Each Lead

Many organizations suffer from an unmotivated workforce. When it comes to lead management, an energized sales team can make the difference between lost or a won deal.

Motivation, however, is very subjective. Salespeople are motivated in different ways. So, how do you keep salespeople excited and motivated each and every day?

Motivation is fully achieved when salespeople are in the position to succeed. If the leads are hot enough, have enough information, and are qualified to really close that deal, salespeople will be motivated. The prospecting team needs to do a great job at making sure that all the information is present to make a touch with the lead. It’s important to extract information from prospects on each interaction of the lead management process.

Making sure that the leads passed on the sales team are close enough to the decision maker is also key to not frustrating your salespeople. Making sure that they have what needed to perform at their best is key to success.

Treat The Prospects Like Customers.

Leads are engaged and nurtured until they decide to buy in. Then, salespeople move on to the next lead. This process can become mechanical, bringing the service level down.

To prevent this from happening, reinforcing the idea that prospects are customers (in the making) is something sales managers should focus on. A customer-centric sales approach is at the basis of an effective sales process, treating leads like just another number on the list is not going to cut it. Your sales team should be providing value from the very beginning.

Here’s a way to do it: Show them the magic. Give them a slice of a customer’s life

Measure Your Team Efforts

It’s not unusual for sales organizations to be lousy when it comes to keeping and analyzing data. Looking at closed deals is much easier and might give a good picture of sales activities. However, having closed deals as the only metric for success will not help managers and reps improve on their activities.

 

Closed sales is an indicator of performance for a longer period.

As a sales leader, you want to make sure that your reps have clear in their mind what are the key indicators that contribute to success. Deciding what to measure and why you want to measure it, is part of your job. With the current technological advancement any organization can now capture data in realtime. The only component that needs to be determined is what needs to be monitored.

Once KPIs are identified, it will be easier to determine the ROI of your activities and their impact on the pipeline.

Final Considerations

When you don’t plant, you don’t harvest. Leads bring life to sales teams. If lead management is not done properly, results might not be scalable.

Consider the amount of resources allocated to generating leads. They’re liquid gold for businesses in growing influence and revenue.

 

How is the lead management process in your company? Does your organization have any specific activity in place to make sure lead management yield to best results? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

The Future Of Lead Generation: 7 Tools From The Future

5
Future of lead generation - MyStartupLand

Lead Generation has been facing constant transformation. Old processes combined with new technologies have developed into new tools that help daily sales reps and marketers identifying more valuable leads. The future of lead generation is here and we have taken a look at 7 tools from the future.

How Did It All Start?

Back in the days, everything relied on word of mouth and door to door activities. As time passed, lead generation shifted towards newspapers, followed by radio and then TV. Today, thanks to technology, the lead generation process is mainly done through the Internet.

The past was not scalable. Every company needed an enormous number of reps to walk door to door and spread the word about their products. Even with newspaper and TV, the costs were not always accessible to everyone. If you had a small business, most likely you would opt for a local newspaper section or TV station, giving you limited reach, hence limiting your lead generation possibilities.

Nowadays, technology has enabled most businesses to reach beyond the limits previously set by location. Not only that, these new tools are now available at a fraction of the cost with a much higher success rate.

The results of lead generation shouldn’t be the end goal. The lead generation process is part of an invincible sales strategy. The end goal for every organization is to create an unstoppable sales machine.

The key to successful lead generation is to connect with some specific type of audience, not as a target but with respect to their behavior.

Before diving into the tools, let’s first take a look at the major technological changes that are shaping this industry.

Artificial Intelligence

The introduction of machine learning and Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly the biggest technological advancement of the 21st century. AI is helping many sales reps across several industries and will surely become the biggest revolution in lead generation and sales history.

I’d be more worried about being replaced by another salesperson who is empowered by intelligence than by a machine.”

PETER SCHWARTZ | SVP, STRATEGIC PLANNING, SALESFORCE

AI In Lead Generation

It shouldn’t be a surprise that AI is going to be the driving force behind the lead generation process in the next couple of years.

According to DemandBase, businesses implementing AI in their sales process get 59% better close rates for sales, 58% increase in revenue, 54% more traffic and engagement and 52% higher conversion of leads.

Future Lead Generation - MyStartupLand

 

AI allows you to track all potential leads by getting integrated with current systems. It is currently used by many new tools that help marketers and sales reps.

Identify And Nurture Leads

Nowadays a lot of people might visit your website but only a fraction of them turn into paying customers. It becomes then important to track all visitors and identify the best prospect. This is why lead nurturing is important and AI can help businesses achieve greater results.

AI can help sales reps with lead nurturing by tracking down the best leads and further by sending each one of them, emails with customised offers and information about products and services.

AI keeps track of all the current customers and also notices other prospects.

Chatbots

Chatbots can simplify the life of many businesses and sales reps. Multiple questions (usually those in the FAQ section) by multiple prospects can be answered at the same time, letting sales reps and marketers focus on negotiation. Those bots translate these conversations into data, that can be extremely useful for future conversations. With chatbots in place, businesses can gather an enormous amount of data compared to a few years back. This can then be funneled into a spreadsheet for further analysis.

Faster Customer Support

Businesses of any size can use AI for better and faster customer support. Artificial Intelligence has the capability to respond to most questions related to products and services.

AI can also tackle predictable queries and issues users could face while using your service. With artificial intelligence, a business can be saved from the pain of appointing highly trained executives to answer basic users questions and on the other, be able to keep customer service active over the clock.

Lastly, a faster solution to problems will help the business create long-lasting relationship and trust by users.

The Future Of Lead Generation

The technological development can deliver unimaginably results and help businesses locate, nurture and convert potential leads into paying customers. Here below 7 tools that are shaping the way lead generation is and will be done in the future.

Growlabs

Growlabs uses machine learning to facilitate outbound sales teams in the prospecting phase. With Growlabs sales team can specify the type of business and contacts they want to target and the platform automatically generates leads, start sending emails and vet first responses.

Growlabs combines machine learning with over 350 million prospects to target the right leads for your business. The tool then automatically collect information on how the team interacts with the prospects, suggesting the best time to reach out and follow-ups.

Aeroleads

Aeroleads is a next-gen and extremely intelligent data mining tool. The tool can help you generate prospects for in Google, Yahoo local, LinkedIn, CrunchBase, among others.

prospect finder chrome plugin

The first step to start using AeroLeads is to add its Google Chrome extension. The software has been developed to generate a list of leads that match your requirements set in advance.

It delivers a list of the most relevant leads latest after 2 days after filling in the requirements form. A very important feature to bring up is the integration with Salesforce, Zapier, HubSpot, MailChimp, Pipedrive, Insightly.

Growbots

Growbots is another great tool for lead generation. It combines AI and machine learning to facilitate the process and proves to be a great fit for outbound sales teams.

The tool automatically generates details of the best contacts available in the market based on the research provided. Growbots has an API integration with Salesforce and supports other CRMs through CSV files upload.

All this becomes possible only thanks to its unique AI algorithm.

Conversica

Conversica has developed an artificial intelligence system thought to automate the first contacts with leads to validate their value and then give it to a human salesperson.

The AI-powered sales assistant is responsible for contacting those who expressed initial interests in the company. The interest is defined as white papers download, badges scan at conferences, or simply a request for more information on the company website. The contact information is then placed into the sales funnel where the process begins. The names are loaded in a list and salespersons are assigned to them.

Leadfeeder

Leadfeeder uses Google Analytics data to collect information on companies visiting a company website. The tool connects quite smoothly with your CRM and marketing systems, which means that the leads are passed automatically into these systems and are ready to be reached out.

Thanks to its technology, a business is not only able to see the company name but also track whatever they visited on your website, giving your sales people an easier way to approach the prospect.

Bitrix24 [updated]

Bitrix24 is presented as a free collaboration suite of over 35 tools. The combination of different apps, allow your whole company to be connected and experience one unified approach to each system (HR, CRM, Lead Gen, Email Marketing, Customer support, among others).

Bitrix24 is available as a SaaS or on-premise, depending on the company needs. If your company is actually not that big (up to 12 users) most of the features come for free. The application of this tool is by no means limited to the lead generation process, as it has as the main aim to connect the whole company and reduce your hassle in finding different apps for every single department.

Hubspot [updated]

Hubspot is another great tool that combines different activities to facilitate usage within the company. The claim is to be a full stack of software for marketing, sales, and customer success, with a free CRM available. Not to bad at all.

Sales-Prospects-2.png

Hubspot offers a wide variety of tools that are very simple to implement. The ultimate goal? Turn that website visitor into a lead and then give it to the sales team to close the deal much faster than usual. All this powered by AI tech to track in real-time your website usage.

 

As noise increase online, lead generation tools will become more and more important for every business. Understanding what your business needs are and which tools satisfy these is not an easy task. Try out and see what works the best for you, don’t commit in advance.

Do you know any other tools that are shaping the future of lead generation? Share your suggestions with us in the comment section below.

The Ultimate List Of B2B And B2C Sales Strategies Differences

0
B2B And B2C Sales Strategies Differences - MyStartupLand

One of the most important aspects of a sales manager role is to define an on-target sales strategy. Your B2B/B2C strategy is a make or break. You may have the best talkers, presenters and deal makers in your team. It’s going to be a long and difficult sales cycle if you have a mismatched strategy.

To get to the right strategy, your first step is to distinguish between B2B and B2C. The sales strategies that you employ are quite different, depending on the target audience.

Here are 6 key differences between B2B and B2C Sales Strategies.

B2B And B2C Sales Strategies Differences #1: Lead Pool

The lead pool size is a major differentiator between B2B and B2C sales strategies. With B2C, you are most likely targeting millions of people who need the product your company is selling. For example, let’s assume you’re selling cornflakes. To zoom in on your target audience, just count the number of people who have breakfast every day. In case you want to even target a broader market, your marketing team could design a campaign that sells cornflakes as snack and dinner alternatives.

For B2B, on the other hand, the lead pool size shrinks by the millions and is more defined by the specific requirements of each company. Let’s assume that your company is selling cornflakes-making machines. This will limit your lead pool to companies that might need these machines, such as Trader Joe’s, Kellogg’s and Nestle. You don’t even have those artisan cornflake makers in your target audience unless you can convince them to turn to machines.

Given this reality, a standardized approach is not going to work. Similar companies will go after that very same small-sized lead pool. You will need to be specific while pitching your solution.

For both B2B & B2C sales teams, here’s a good quote by SEOmoz CEO and co-founder Rand Fishkin regarding the lead pool: “Best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.”

B2B And B2C Sales Strategies Differences #2: Required Product Knowledge

Your sales team needs to know what they’re selling. There’s no question about this. This stands true, regardless of whether your industry is focused on B2B or B2C. As Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of HubSpot, says: “People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction.”

Both B2B and B2C sales teams should know product features, design details, advantages, and disadvantages. Competitor knowledge is a must too. Nowadays buyers are more sophisticated – in both B2B and B2C industries. Buyers will know already something about your product and will ask questions. Therefore, having as much knowledge as possible becomes a necessity.

The difference lies in the depth of product knowledge required. Buyers in B2B have different information requirements from B2C ones. A mother buying cornflakes will want to know calories and sugar count in the product, as well as price and taste. Your sales team can train to answer these questions relatively quickly and become experts soon.

Compare this to a B2B sales team. Your team needs to know the specifications and technical details of the product. They need to know how this fits into the system – hardware, software and human-powered – and processes of your target companies.

An effective B2B sales team needs continuous training, thorough product knowledge, and experience in product presentations and fielding questions from executive-level prospects.

B2B And B2C Sales Strategies Differences #3: Number Of Decision-Makers

In a typical B2C buying scenario, the decision maker is usually one. In our cornflake example, it is the mom, her tastes, budget and preferences that your sales team will need to consider. There might be a chance that the husband or kids might play a role – but that’s not always.

In a B2B scenario, the decision-making process is a lengthy one that involves several stakeholders. According to CEB (now Gartner) executive advisor and author Brent Adamson, the average number of B2B stakeholders is 6.8, as of 2016. This number has likely increased today.

There are several factors to explain this, such as globalization, the decentralization of decision making and solutions packages (instead of singular products). Whatever the case, your B2B sales team should employ a strategy that factors in several key decision-makers.

B2B And B2C Sales Strategies Differences #4: Expected Response

The response to sales strategies is on opposite ends when it comes to B2B and B2C efforts.

You strive for an emotional response from your B2C clients. There might be some facts in your proposal. Yet, the end goal of your marketing outreach is to gain customer loyalty. You want them to love and prefer your product, even if there are better options in the market.

With B2B clients it’s a different situation. Corporate purchases – such as cornflakes making machines in our example – are usually on the top end of the price scale. These are investments that need thorough consideration, especially when it comes to the expected costs, returns, advantages, and disadvantages of a specific option. Rarely emotions play a role in this.

B2B buyers are more likely to approach their purchasing decision with rationality.

B2B And B2C Sales Strategies Differences #5: Decision-Making Process

In the B2C scenario, the decision-making process is quick – almost impulsive. People buy out of habit or they buy in-the-moment. The decision is influenced by advertising, word-of-mouth or habits and cravings. Product awareness and presence will certainly help your product in the selling process.

In a B2B situation, however, the wooing period is longer. There are several people making the decision, and you need to convince each one of them. You will go through a lot of phone calls, meetings and demos if you’re keen on closing the deal. And, this can take months.

B2B And B2C Sales Strategies Differences #6: Length of the Business Relationship

B2C business relationships normally are considered as one-off transactions. The focus is right there at the point of purchase. Preferences and loyalties can change and do change in such environment. The cornflake-buying mom today may decide next week on another brand; or, she may choose to switch to eggs and toasts for breakfast.

With B2B prospects it’s different. The whole purchasing process is an investment for both sides. Your sales team puts in months of their time and effort attending to the requirements of the prospect. You nurture your lead and provide necessary information and content. Follow-ups, meetings, and presentations to all stakeholders are a reality that happens over a long period of time. Your buyers put in their time and effort too to find the best-fit solution for their needs.

The expectation of this mutual investment is that it’s a long-term relationship. It is never a one-off transaction because there’s going to be a consistent need for maintenance, support, and upgrades. The stakeholder’s purchasing decision will take a long time because it’s a crucial one for their business. Choosing a business partner is not an impulsive decision.

 

What’s your experience with B2B and B2C sales strategies? Do you experience differences in the sales process? If so, which ones? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Product Knowledge In B2B Sales: All What You Need To Know

0
Product Knowledge In B2B Sales - MyStartupLand

The B2B sales process is long and sophisticated. Before a client makes a purchase, they have to be assured that they will be getting the benefits promised. They need to feel secure about the salespeople they dealt with, the brand they’re entering business with, and the product they’re purchasing.

Salespeople need to be able to communicate pricing, quality, after-sales services, payment, onboarding processes, and delivery in the clearest way possible. Yet, the purchase will not only rely on the salesperson’s ability to clearly communicating these things. The rep must get the prospect’s trust and confidence; that what they’re saying is true and can be relied upon.

Product knowledge In B2B Sales

Inside sales teams often deal with high-ticket b2b deals. In order to deliver results, they need to know your product inside and out. This way, they can sell with confidence and be able to get the prospect’s trust through their competence.

Inside sales reps with insubstantial product knowledge will hurt your sales organization. When a rep reaches out to prospects with a limited understanding of your solution, all conversations are hinged on luck. There might be a chance that the prospect already knows about your product and decide to buy anyway, but are you willing to risk it?

Product knowledge in B2B Sales is essential for any sales organization. To foster positive customer experience and create trust between reps and prospects, showing strong expertise in your solutions is crucial.

Understanding The Basics

To create an army of competent sales reps, you need to instill product knowledge right from the beginning. Salespeople should be able to answer basic inquiries regarding your product and place it in the right context of different challenges.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How will the product benefit customers in your industry?
  • What are the products basic characteristics? (Software type, platform, function)
  • How is it delivered?
  • What are the conditions of use?
  • How much does it cost?

Apart from these basic points, it’s essential for salespeople to understand why your company is the best choice to get this solution from. Having enough information to state your brand value proposition against the competition is an absolute necessity.

Salespeople need to have the ability and resources to relay these details as quickly and efficiently as possible, be it through writing or conversation. Sales collateral needs to be readily available for reps to review and send to prospects as needed. That said, they shouldn’t rely on these documents wholly. B2B prospects are easily turned off by a rep who has to refer to a document in order to answer a simple question. Salespeople need to be able to answer basic questions in a simple and customer-centric way without pulling up files.

Something to look out for is sales reps talking to prospects in technical jargon. It may be common internally to talk about features and benefits in technical terms. From the prospect’s perspective, however, the benefit in real and practical terms is what really matters.

Personalizing Customer Interactions

After a deal has been closed, what the customer often remembers is their experience with the sales rep. The way a rep behaved and talked during sales conversations plays a major role in their decision to purchase. Customers prefer that they’re not treated just like a lead. This is where the customer service component of sales comes into play. You need to be interested equally in helping them solve their challenges as you are in getting the deal closed.

To bring good customer service into every sales conversation, reps need to have deep product knowledge. It is only through this knowledge that reps will be able to cater to customers with different challenges.

Highlighting Benefits Over Features

Knowing your solution’s list of features helps your prospect make an informed decision. However, features only translate into zero value for your prospect.

Having a deep product knowledge in B2B sales allows reps to tell prospects how your solution will make a difference in their operations; whether it’s going to make their operations more efficient, their employees more productive, or their pipeline fuller and more active.

Product Knowledge Training

Here are some ideas on how to train your sales reps on product knowledge in B2B sales.

Explain The Importance Of Product Training

Begin each product training session with a story or a quote that emphasizes the importance of knowing your product thoroughly.Lookup influencers in the business space. Read their articles and features. Find a quote or a short anecdote that demonstrates the importance of product knowledge. Make sure that you’re able to tie back the quote with your reps’ experiences on the sales floor for better recall.

Use Games To Make Product Learning Fun

Gamifying training is a great way to get your reps involved and have fun in the process. Incorporating game mechanics into product training has been a proven approach–use quizzes, contests, even incentivized games to get better engagement in your training programs. Creating this fun atmosphere around learning about your products will reinforce product knowledge while not adding to the stress of their everyday jobs.

Employ Memory Exercises

Pop quizzes and other memory exercises should be incorporated into your sales reps daily operations. These activities help them be always on alert when it comes to keeping up with product updates and basic product knowledge. Sales managers could assign a rep each week to enforce these exercises during work hours in a way that doesn’t disrupt operations.

Product Training Software

Using product training software should facilitate learnings across the sales floor. Through guided self-learning, your sales organization can save on training costs and maximize rep efficiency. Most product training software also comes with analytics functionality that allows leaders to customize training modules according to the rep’s performance.

Capture Customer Feedback

Getting the feedback from your customers is crucial in getting first-hand insight into how your reps are performing during calls. Knowing what your customers really think allows employees to understand what works from the perspective of their prospects. Use surveys, feedback emails, or even follow up calls to directly ask your customers about how reps handle calls. Knowing these details will help sales leaders design programs to improve product knowledge, customer service, and call handling in general.

—–

Reps who are knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the product they’re selling are those who are most effective in delivering real value to prospects. In nowadays competitive business landscape, it’s important to equip your teams with the necessary information to win clients. Make sure to invest in development training for your sales reps. As Maurice Clapton said, “Knowledge pays off more than any other investment.

 

Do you have any other ideas on why product knowledge in B2B sales is crucial for success? Would you add any other point to those above-mentioned? Share your thoughts in the below comments section.

5 Ways Marketing Can Help B2B Sales

0
5 ways marketing can help b2b sales - MyStartupLand

Increasing B2B sales isn’t simply a matter of putting out your shingle and hoping that more customers will come your way. Businesses who purchase from you want to believe they have the right vendor in front. Because B2B sales is more complex, there are more people involved and there are higher price points. It can sometimes take months to close a B2B sale. Understanding how marketing can help B2B sales is fundamental to every business looking to gain more traction within its audience.

How can you “tilt the playing field” and make sure that when the customer is ready to buy, YOUR company is the only one that comes to mind?

1. Collect Honest Feedback

Feedback, whether received through surveys, in-person interactions, or email, is vital for both technical improvements to your site or funnels and your customer-facing work. Yet, in-depth and actionable feedback from clients is difficult to receive. It’s important to automate the process and encourage clients to provide as much as possible.

Talk with your clients. Find out what they liked and what they didn’t like. Talk about the number of steps that they took to get to the sale and the process that they went through. Ask them what about your company caught their attention. There are several touch-points where you can implement automated feedback collection.

Your customer’s needs are constantly evolving. By listening to what they are saying and being ready to implement the changes needed you can stay ahead of the competition, making more sales for your company.

2. Try Video

Among several reasons why you should have video on your website, the biggest one is that it’s one of the most effective means of selling your company’s product.  Customers and clients engage with video, often watching and engaging with the shorter ones for the entirety of the clip.

Still not convinced? Here are some stats about video marketing.

  • 43% of customers want to see more videos
  • 9% of marketers name video as the type of content with the highest ROI
  • 4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it
  • Shoppers who view video are 1.81x more likely to purchase than non-video viewers
  • 4 in 5 customers believe that demo videos are helpful

Depending on your products, your videos can have many purposes.

  • How-to videos explaining a single part of one of your products.
  • Explainer videos outlining what your company does.
  • Funny videos designed to get others to think about your product.
  • Video testimonials creating trust to persuade new clients.

3. Upselling and cross-selling

Upselling and cross-selling have increased sales of B2B and B2C companies for ages. Upselling simply offers a higher version of the product itself. Cross-selling offers related products to your clients.

Upselling

Amazon is one of the best companies implementing this. For instance, If you place an order for a laptop, you will inevitably be asked whether you want to upgrade the memory card or get a better one. While it might seem like  a logical thing to do but shown to billions of people every day can really boost your sales. The intent behind this is showing the customers that he could get a better product by spending a little extra.

Cross-Selling

The McDonald’s sales force are also pros at this tactic.  Cross-selling offers your client something different but related to the initial product. You’ll most likely be asked “would you like fries with that?” or even, “will that complete your order?” every single time. In this way McDonald’s customers will take a look at the menu for another few moments, thinking about their next tasty treat.

Cross-selling and upselling tactics can be applied to nearly any business who wants to improve its bottom line and increase sales. By offering multiple versions of the same or related services, you can create a selling juggernaut with your “warm” clients.

4. Events

Local events can boost your bottom line like nothing else. Putting a face to the name of the client and vice versa will also create mutual trust. Savvy businesses regularly hold events to keep their brand at the top of their customers mind. Certain has gathered over 75 statistics for a larger view of the event marketing picture. Here are a few:

  • 84% of consumers repurchase the product promoted at the event, after their first purchase (EventTrack Study)
  • 51% of marketers surveyed believe that events strengthen existing customer relationships (Marketing Charts)
  • 60% of marketers use tradeshows and events for face-to-face customer meetings (Marketing Charts)
  • 58% of marketers believe that events and conferences are important ways to improve customer experiences (E-Strategy Trends)
  • 31% of event marketers believe that trade shows, conferences, conventions, and channel events are essential to doing business in their target markets (Marketing Charts)
  • 69% of B2B marketers consider in-person events effective (Sensible Marketing)
  • The top 5 B2B content marketing tactics: Social Media Content (92%); eNewletters (83%); Articles on your Web Site (81%); Blogs (80%); In-Person Events (77%). (IMN Inc.)

The event that you hold doesn’t have to be formal. You can go on Meetup.com and create an for your clients to attend. By offering your clients something different to get them in the door, you are getting your brand to stand out and receive more sales. 

5. Case studies

Whether Your business constantly generates data and whether you have hired a marketing agency or you are the one doing all the SEO, leveraging that data into the creation of case studies is crucial. Case studies generates are “social proofs” to get more clients interested in your product or service because it’s measurable proof of what your company does.

73% of buyers used case studies in B2B purchasing decisions (2016 DemandGen Report).  The great thing about Case Studies is that you simply need to collect material rather than creating something from scratch. Look at your customer successes. Is there something you can use for successful case studies?

 

These are 5 simple ways marketing can help B2B sales. These are by no means the only way to capture customers attention. Each of them has their pros and cons, but all of them have the chance to increase your bottom line.

What can you do to increase your company’s bottom line? Do you have any other tips ready to implement for small-business owners? Have you tried any of the above-mentioned and seen some results? Let us know what you think in the section below.

Lead Generation: What’s Trending in 2017?

4
Lead Generation Trends 2017 - MyStartupLand
Lead generation is the art of attracting potential customers to your business and converting them into buyers. This activity has seen a rapid development in the last decades. Although it is still common to generate leads through conventional channels like personal referrals or telemarketing, the internet has established itself as the preferred lead generation channel. Even the modern field of online marketing is changing at unmeasurable velocities. Lead generation techniques are a clear sign of this shift. Many start to prefer an inbound marketing to an outbound strategy.
 
It is estimated that only 17% of marketers last year considered outbound marketing practices to provide the highest quality leads Traditional techniques such as social media to generate awareness and email marketing to nurture captured leads are still commonly used in the sales funnel. Yet, the actual lead generation process of converting visitors into prospects makes inbound the king. Traffic plays a key role in this process. HubSpot estimates that at least 80% of the companies not meeting their revenue goals have less than 10 000 visitors. Nonetheless, no inbound strategy is complete without proper lead generation techniques.

Lead Gen Priority - MyStartupLand

There are hundreds of diverse lead generation strategies being implemented, some more successful than others. Among all the noise in the market, there are some clear trends that apply for this year and keeping up-to-date with the latest technologies and tactics will ensure that your company doesn’t miss valuable conversions out of your inbound visitors. Here are the five most promising trends in online lead generation for 2017.
 

1. No single channel, no unique device

Diversity is the name of the game in 2017. The time where lead generation channels were limited to a few alternatives, like the telephone or email, are long gone. Today you not only have many channels which you can choose from, even within a channel you have hundreds of options. Think of social media: LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the list goes on. Great opportunities exist within this huge diversity. The key lies in leveraging the most important ones for your desired target group and combining them with adequate strategies. Nonetheless, one thing is certain: just a few channels, let alone a single one, will not suffice for a successful strategy.
 
The same applies to devices: limit your online business to a single device and you are almost certainly doomed to fail. With the increased usage of mobile devices, an online marketing campaign can no longer be focused on desktop computers and laptops alone. Last year there were 2.6 billion smartphone users globally and it is estimated that this number will grow to 6.1 billion by 2020. In the USA, at least two-thirds of the population use a smartphone to access the internet. Thus, mobile friendliness is vital for every single online business nowadays. From display to functionality, SEO to traffic measurement, online businesses need to provide not only a UX that is adapted to mobile needs, but they also need to focus on the adequate lead generation tactics and technologies.
2. Quality-driven content marketing = quality lead generation 
In the inbound community, it is popularly stated that content is king. Studies show that per dollar spent, content marketing generates at least 3 times more leads than conventional marketing techniques. It is a great strategy to attract traffic through SEO techniques and also guide a customer along the Buyer’s Journey with proper educational information. However, there is a popular belief that although this technique does help increase audience numbers, it does not ensure high-quality lead generation. This is something that is bound to change and has already been changing for a while.
 
The immense amount of content offer available on the web is increasing with every single day. This has resulted in a large content offer which usually consists of a huge part of mediocre content published towards SEO goals and a small part of valuable content. The second one is extremely important from an inbound marketing perspective and will see an increase in the next years. Companies will start focusing on acquiring content professionals. The aim will be towards content quality instead of quantity and frequency. Moreover, content will be tailored towards specific audiences and customers along specific phases of the Buyer’s Journey, instead of looking to attract a more general public based on virality.
3. Customized lead generation tools 
Just as with high-quality content, lead generation tools are starting to be customized to fit the lead’s requirements, provide a more engaging user experience and thus generate more contacts for your business. A study by Econsultancy and Adobe showed that B2B marketers considered customer experience and personalization to be the most promising marketing trends in the next years along big data. One-fourth of them even mentioned customer experience as the single most important opportunity. Engaging content will ensure that the inbound traffic can more be converted towards potential customers. Moreover, personalized experiences from the earliest interaction phases between your leads and your business will give potential buyers a further reason to hang around.
 
Boring contact forms on a separate page are starting to appear less attractive than customized, gated content in online presentations or videos. Other great examples are quizzes and calculators, which have a much more appealing effect than a regular contact form or newsletter subscription and thus provide a more interesting variant to convert visitors into leads. Even integrated microsites that allow you to track specific user engagement are gaining large popularity.
 
Which tools you use depend on the public you address. Combining different strategies with diverse tools can help find the adequate approach. And if you’re dubious about the success of adapting your lead forms towards your customer experience, remember that Expedia generated an extra $12 million a year just by removing one field from their regular contact form. Image if they introduced interactive lead generation tools…
4. Data-driven lead generation 
In the age of information, data is essential. 42% of marketers consider that lack of quality data is their largest obstacle towards quality lead generation. Detailed information on prospects’ behavior provides valuable insights on his journey along the sales funnels. This helps sales reps take more accurate decisions based on specific data analysis. From tools like Google Analytics, to lead scoring systems, tracking the behavior of leads and registering it in large databases that can be analyzed will be essential. This trend in data analysis is reflected in three main aspects:
 
  • Big data professionals: The increased need for professionals in analyzing large amounts of data on lead and customer behavior.

 

  • Data Analytics Tools: From Google Analytics to CRM solutions such as HubSpot or Salesforce, there is a clear increase in the usage of tools that provide a statistical analysis of customer and lead behavior.

 

  • Machine Learning: Although still in its infancy, machine learning is bound to be large in the following years, with lead scoring systems and other smart data being managed by artificial intelligence.

 

5. Automated prospecting 
The term marketing automation is by far more popular in the business environment nowadays than Napoleon Bonaparte was at the beginning of the 19th century in France. It is a trend that is changing the way marketing and sales are done online. Over 70% of businesses are currently using or implementing a marketing automation solution. The overall investments of companies in marketing technologies have surpassed that of advertising. A company’s CMO on average invests more in automation technologies than a CIO in IT.
 
There is no question that marketing automation is big. However, CRM tools and automated lead nurturing have been around for a while, so what is the actual innovative trend here? Two words: automated prospecting. Automated lead generation has been introduced by diverse tools. These not only generate lead data and capture contact details from inbound traffic, they also automate or semi-automate activities such as lead scoring and even follow-ups. This gives marketers and sales reps more time to concentrate on other key activities along the sales funnels, such as closing main deals. Prospecting is usually one of the most resource-intensive activities of a company. Thus the possibility of automating most of these steps is bound to have a brilliant future for both, sales and marketing.
 
AS the VP of marketing from Google Cloud Alison Wagonfeld brilliantly pointed out:
“Marketing still needs art to go with the science.”
No matter how effective the new marketing and sales technologies are and how significantly they are improving the way business is done, we should never lose track of the human side of the business. A healthy balance between both will ensure great success for your business in the years to come.
What’s your experience on Lead Generation? Which one among these trends do you believe will have a major role in 2018?

Online Marketing Methods To Revitalise Dead Traffic

0
How To Revitalise Dead Traffic - MyStartupLand

Understanding how your website performs and users interact with it, is vital for any company success relying on a digital presence. Digital marketers, as well as startup founders in the early days, ask themselves questions that are crucial to their website success.

  1. Where do we find additional traffic sources?
  2. How can we minimise bounce-rate?
  3. What happens after a customer purchases something on our website?

Overnight Jackpot or Long-Term Strategy?

Most of us might think that the answer is to simply spend more on marketing in the hope to hit the jackpot overnight. Although that might be a strategy, it is not available to everyone.

Creating a sustainable inflow of users who actually spend time on our website is a long-term commitment. Understanding how to revitalise dead traffic through online marketing methods is a must for every professional dealing with an online presence.

There are several key points that every startup founders and marketers need to take into consideration if they want to achieve success.

Understand Your Audience Lifecycle

Every business should have a clear understanding of how their users’ lifecycle looks like. To what are they sensitive? How can you take advantage of this information to create more interest and deliver better results? What do you need to do to make sure they just don’t get lost on your web pages?

Ensuring that the user journey is as clear as possible as well as asking constantly for feedback can be key to enhance your audience understanding and gain more from them.

Track Your Results

Nowadays, tracking performances of any activity is a must for every professional involved in digital marketing. You cannot simply make a decision based on your feelings. Every decision should be data-driven and that is the only way to advance in the right direction rather than spraying and praying.

Automation Anyone? 

Have you ever thought that you can automate most of the activities you are manually doing on daily basis? Implementing automation tools can improve first of all internal morale as boring tasks are automated, but also this will yield better results as you will be able to continuously improve on these tasks (as you will have more free time) as well as, once again, tracking their performance.

 

The below infographics shows in details the great journey of ColourGraphics and how they managed to put together an online strategy which delivered an astonishing additional £119k to their business. It takes time and effort, but it’s possible. Their story should be an inspiration to every other startup out there struggling to create a winning online presence.

 

How To Revitalise Dead Traffic - MyStartupLand

6 Financial Steps Startups Need To Take In Consideration Now

2
Financial Steps Startups - MyStartupLand

Financial decisions matter the most when a company is in its infancy. Every little thing that the new company does – advertising, production, even rent – will take their toll on a limited budget. Since most startups don’t have much money to spare, it can be difficult to find the right balance between all the projects that need funding. Understanding what are the financial steps startups need to take in consideration is key for success. 

So how do you organize your funds and prioritize what to spend your resources on? How do you simplify the process and eliminate the inevitable headache?

There’s actually a few financial steps startups should consider to do just that.

Use Separate Bank Accounts

One of the most important steps you can take is to separate your business and personal banking accounts. It can be tempting to keep the cash flow in your personal account; who doesn’t like money, after all? But by doing so, you’re making it much harder to distinguish between your personal and business assets.

It also acts as a security measure by ensuring that a simple mistake with a portion of your finances does not affect your personal and business life. Managers can eliminate the temptation to appropriate business funds for personal use by paying themselves a salary instead of merging their finances with that of the business.

Just think how much your decision making could be influenced by trying to hold onto that money, too.

It is also particularly important for entrepreneurs who think that they might sell their business in the future. The buyer will want a thorough understanding of the business’ finance history. This can be difficult if these are mingled with the owner’s finances. The simplified taxes can also be beneficial here since they make the sales process much easier.

Measure Cash Flow

Good records are at the core of every successful business. It is vital to keep track of the source and size of every piece of revenue. This allows founders to understand where the business is doing well and where it is suffering. It might seem overly meticulous to track certain expenses, but those need to be documented so that they can be cut as low as possible.

You can track these numbers by hand but it can be done more efficiently. Instead, it’s best to use accounting software that can track most of the information automatically; these programs usually provide an analysis that’s easier to garner information from as well. That ensures that no one forgets about any valuable information.

Get an Accountant

Taxes are extremely complicated. These play a critical role in the financial steps startups need to consider. Most businesses can claim a variety of deductions and use other techniques to reduce their tax burden. Very few people, however, have the working knowledge required to make that happen. Therefore, a proper accountant can save you a lot of money.

Accountants aren’t exactly cheap, but they can prevent many costly mistakes during tax season. The savings almost always exceed the cost as well. Since they tend to get flooded with requests near tax season, it’s best to cultivate a long-term relationship with a talented accountant to make sure that their services are available when necessary.

Invest in Customers

No business can make money without customers. That’s usually the biggest issue facing startups: How do we attract customers and make them aware of our brand? That means it’s crucial to invest heavily in discovering leads and attracting customers to the business. You’ll also want to invest in research to identify the business’ core demographics.

This is another one of the reasons that it is so vital to track income and expenses. That information will help to determine how much money the business can invest in these efforts. It should be a healthy portion of your budget, but you’ll have to measure that against the rest of your expenses.

Plan for Benefits

Employee benefits are a rarer commodity than they used to be. Now, employees are specifically looking for job opportunities that offer benefits as well as a competitive salary. They also appreciate benefit packages, such as support for a 401k plan.

Investing in benefit packages is expensive, but they make it much easier to attract good employees. The best workers can usually have their pick between several employers and they will pick the one that offers the best deal.

Even if your new business cannot offer expensive benefits, there are alternatives. Flexible hours, easy telecommuting and similar offers can be very effective. Not only can they lead to a more pleasant work environment and attract employees, but they are also fairly cheap for businesses to offer. One of the biggest benefits you can offer is by being an employer who they can connect with and feel empowered by – and that’s not nearly as common a job perk as you think it’d be.

Acquire a Business Credit Card

Most businesses need credit at some point. When people are working and buying in bulk, the ability to lean on credit is extremely convenient. Traditional loans are the most common choice, but they aren’t always appropriate for daily expenses or short-term credit. Instead, it’s wise to invest in a business credit card.

The card acts as a buffer against financial problems by ensuring that the business can make purchases without waiting for its usual income streams to provide the funds. That ensures that there are no unnecessary delays. It also makes it possible to consolidate most bills into a single place, which makes the administration process easier to handle. You will need to pay the bill in full each month to avoid interest fees, but a business that does so can use a credit card to great effect.

There are plenty of ways to help your startup’s financial situation, but they all begin by learning more about what your company’s needs will be. If you can effectively diagnose your expenses and income sources – and effectively record them – then you’ll be primed to watch your business flourish.

 

Do you find these 6 financial steps startups need to follow useful? Have you got any other important step you take on a daily basis to make sure your startup is successful? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

D&O Insurance for Startup Founders: What You Need to Know

0
D&O Insurance - MyStartupLand

Does my startup need D&O insurance?

If you aren’t asking that question, you probably should be. D&O insurance—with the “D&O” standing for “Directors and Officers”—is a form of liability insurance that many businesses carry. You are unlikely to find a large enterprise or corporation that doesn’t have D&O insurance coverage in place. As an entrepreneur, though, having D&O coverage might seem like a luxury you can’t afford yet—especially since you might not even have any directors or officers to speak of yet!

However, D&O insurance is often essential to the growth and longevity of a startup. While you may not have high-powered executives or a big board of directors and stakeholders yet, your goals as a business likely involve reaching such a lofty place. In other words, the answer to the question above (“Does my startup need D&O insurance?) is almost always yes. Perhaps the more important question is why.

What Is D&O Insurance?

To understand why your startup probably needs D&O insurance, we first need to appreciate what exactly D&O insurance covers. Essentially, D&O insurance is coverage for lawsuits and claims made against a company’s directors and officers. Executives, board members, and other high-ranking business officials have a lot of power within a company, but they also face a lot of scrutiny. If a director or officer makes a decision that leads to claims of mismanagement, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, noncompliance with laws or regulations, or other similar accusations, those individuals are the ones in the crosshairs—not the company itself.

D&O insurance kicks in when these claims occur, covering legal costs, fines, and other expenses related to a claim. In essence, it shields your directors and officers from legal or financial liability, thereby preventing a situation where an executive or board member would be expected to handle costs related to a claim personally. It creates an environment where directors and officers can lead a company and make tough decisions without worrying about gambling their personal finances and assets with every choice.

The Importance of D&O Insurance for Startups

As a startup founder, your first impulse might be to adopt something along the lines of the “It couldn’t happen to me” mindset. Certainly, bigger corporations with more money in their coffers and more headline-worthy business decisions will be bigger targets for lawsuits and overall scrutiny. The more visible a company is, the more it has to watch its back. However, big corporations with their big coffers also have an advantage that your startup doesn’t: they have the cash and resources to handle lawsuits and legal claims. In other words, between paying for D&O insurance and paying to fight or settle a lawsuit, the former option is always going to be the more affordable path.

If you and your fellow co-founders are serving as the directors and officers of your startup, then having D&O insurance can give you the peace of mind to operate your business fearlessly and agilely. The stereotypical perception of a startup is a fast-paced environment where decisions are made quickly. Quick, decisive leadership is often vital in the startup space, as it allows new companies to pursue key opportunities as they come, adapt to overcome new challenges, and stay ahead of the curve. However, it also sometimes means that startup leaders aren’t considering the potential risks of every decision they make. This factor often leads to more mistakes, which can bring about the kind of legal speed bumps that D&O insurance is there to cover.

The other big reason to have D&O insurance is that, if you want to grow your business, you essentially have no choice. Are you looking for investors or venture capitalists to back your brand? If these people buy into your company, they will want to own stake and be involved on the board. To protect themselves, investors will stipulate that you must have D&O insurance before they give you a dime or sign on the dotted line. Similarly, if you are looking to hire a new CEO to steer your company toward success, that person is going to have the experience and foresight to demand the protection that D&O insurance provides.

Conclusion

In the simplest of terms, running a business is about making one difficult decision after another. Being able to make those big decisions quickly and decisively is why CEOs and business owners get paid the big bucks. However, being in that hot seat is also risky. There is always the chance that the decision you make will be the wrong one, and even small mistakes in business can snowball into significant legal issues. Perhaps you are courting investors or trying to attract a big-name industry executive to your team, or maybe you are just trying to grow into the CEO role in your own right. Either way, the leaders of your startup need to be protected, and D&O insurance is the only thing that can provide the protection you need.

What Marketing Channel Is The Most Effective For Startups

0

Launching a startup is just one small step towards success. However, having a great product alone won’t help bring in clients. Marketing a bad product, on the other hand, is not going to turn into a success. Marketing can play a major role in a startup growth. But what marketing channel is the most effective for startups?

Unless you have raised enough money to allocate a decent budget on marketing, you are most likely faced with the tough choice of choosing one channel over another, without really knowing what could work best. Making sure that every effort taken is measured and planned is key to success (or at least not to waste any money).

Understanding what’s behind SEO, Email Marketing, Video Marketing, Social or Content Marketing, among others can result in an impossible task for a small team to tackle. And why are we forgetting about Offline Marketing? Should you ignore it completely?

Startup marketing is a whole science that doesn’t have a clear and unified methodology. Starting by understanding what is what and then going back to your original plan and implementing the right marketing plan is, to say the least, difficult.

ColourGraphics has helped us understanding what is the best marketing channel for your startup according to each channel capability:

What type of marketing is most effective for startup - MyStartupLand