3 free tools on Linkedin that will boost your business

Linkedin can be a very expensive marketing tool especially if you are not familiar with how it works. Despite this, it is a great place to connect and network with people in your area or field of expertise.

The big benefit of Linkedin is the ability to connect with decision makers and the potential opportunity of winning new customers. It’s the ideal scenario that every business owner looks for, influence, revenue and growth.

If however you have only just familiarised with twitter and Facebook it can be quite a daunting exercise to get used to LinkedIn’s as the way it works is very different.

We thought that we would help you out and so we have put together some great tricks to help you use Linkedin to its maximum potential.

Cutting to the chase we have collated 3 free things you can do on Linkedin to help boost your business..

1) Download your connections contact details.

Stop spending hours working on mailing lists; you can quite simply download all of your Linkedin connections!

Many still do not realise you can download your contacts list from Linkedin. Yes, you can download your contacts and connect with them offline just as easily as online.

Before I share the link, it is important to remember that whilst people may have connected with you on email, they never gave you their permission to bulk email them. The world of ‘bulk emails’ and mass mailing is still flourishing, but really what people are now looking for is that personal touch that makes you stand out from the crowd!

The download is a great way to drop your contacts.

exportdata

You can download your contacts here https://www.linkedin.com/people/export-settings

 

2) Find new connections

The “How You’re Connected” tool helps introduce you to other LinkedIn users who may be connected to you or other connections you have.

When you visit a person’s profile, the tool (which lives in the right-hand column of the screen) allows you to see who in your network knows that person, and how. Clicking “Get Introduced” opens up a new message where you can ask the person to make an introduction. Using this tool is a great way to view people you want to be connected with and who might be the best person to ask for an intro.

howyourconnected

 

 

3) Use the Advanced People Search Tool

LinkedIn is more and more becoming a database for finding people, connecting with prospective business associates and individuals with very specific competencies and keywords included in their profile.

advancedsearch

Searches can be performed by typing a person’s name, keywords, or titles into the search box at the top of the page. Advanced searches can be performed by using specific criteria such as location, school, industry, etc.

If you are looking for new customers, we can help you develop a strategy and campaign to generate new enquiries and most importantly sales.

Complete the form below and a member of the team will contact you to talk more about how we can help.

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Why use a marketing consultant?

Many people are skeptical about the role of a consultant. Consultants can be expensive and if they are not delivering value they can waste a lot of time and money. There are however great benefits to having a consultant.

Before we get into the benefits, it’s always important to define the purpose for hiring a consultant. It is really easy once you’ve appointed your consultant to throw them more work or projects. Whilst every consultant values more work, ‘mission creep’ as I call it can dilute the effectiveness and muddy objectives and goals. It starts so easy with ‘can you just do this for us too’. I have been in a position where I have had mission creep and it isn’t a great place. Business owners at first feel happier knowing they can pass projects over and leave them with someone else. The problem comes when objectives and lines start to blur. From experience it is always better to have clearly defined projects and timescales.

When mission creep happens, it starts well but six months down the line when goals have slipped, it is easy to forget the additional work that has been added and blame the consultant. Always keep clear goals and objectives, it will get you the best results and avoid confusion.

So here are some of the main benefits for hiring a consultant…

1) Clear thinking.

It is really easy to develop ‘group think’ or ‘industry think’ as company. A consultant can bring a different perspective not hindered by the day-to-day running of your business. The clarity a consultant can bring also is removed from internal politics. Politics happen in every organisation and they are a power and self preservation mechanism. Clarity of thought from a consultant can help you see your options and next steps without the lens of politics or day-to-day management challenges.

2) Experience

The primary reason for bringing a consultant on board is so that you can gain access to expertise which you do not have internally. In marketing trends, methods and processes change. As a consultant, you have to be ahead of the game and be on top of the latest developments in technology so that you can share those developments with clients.

Many consultants focus on specific areas, so engaging their field of expertise is a low cost option compared to hiring a permanent staff member for that work. In some companies they do not have a big marketing team, perhaps just a marketing coordinator. In these circumstances companies can gain high-level experience as and when they need it.

3) Focus

In many organisations it can be easy to get distracted. The amount of times I have heard business owners say “we really need to work on our marketing”. Marketing is a top priority for winning customers, but it is really easy to get consumed in the day-to-day that you never get around to actually ‘doing’ the marketing.

A consultant or marketing company can help take responsibility for delivery. Having a consultant on board can help keep the focus on delivering the work or project. When your business is stretched for resource a consultant can keep things moving forward.

4) Defining Customers

A good marketing consultant can help you define your customer. Understanding your customer, their buying patterns and importantly their persona. This is another vital element of your marketing strategy which can help you win more business and customers. Poorly defined customer profiles can lead to wasting time and money using the wrong tools, to the wrong people at the wrong time. Defining your customer can help you deploy the right tools to the right people at the right time.

5 ways to make your marketing budget work harder.

In a follow up to the previous post, why most marketing campaigns don’t work we thought it would be good to share some of the ways money can be used to make your marketing budget go further.

1) Get a good understanding of your prospective customer.

You’d be surprised how many marketeers don’t understand their prospective customers. Without a good understanding of the customers needs, marketing efforts will be built on ‘gut-instinct’ or supposition. Sometimes shooting from the hip can be a real asset as you can easily over-analyse but it is far better for gut instinct to be confirmed by some research. A poor understanding of your customer or prospective could cause you to market to the wrong audience and distort the results of your campaign, creating interest from the wrong people and increase the overall cost of acquiring a sale / customer.

2) Making the buying process apart of your marketing strategy.

There are many different buying processes, all marketing should fit into this process or have a process to service enquiries and convert them into a sale. In some cases this is done as wholly online process, whereas others have mixed strategy. What plan is in place to handle new orders and enquiries? Can these be handled in a professional and timely fashion?

If you’re embarking upon a new customer acquisition campaign, it is likely they will want more detail than a returning customer. Is this information easily accessible? Does the prospective customer find it easy to obtain this information? These are all critical questions to securing your sales. A lack of accessible information can deter people from making an enquiry or placing an order.

3) Creativity with purpose.

Yes, sometimes creativity can be a waste of money. An agency (who shall remain nameless for legal reasons) once made a proposal to a client of ours for a new marketing campaign. It was slick, professional and well planned. However, there was some fundamental flaws in the proposal. They were too creative.

The concept a mouse sat on an elephant’s trunk. It was intended to symobilise new possibilities and making the impossible a reality. Sounds great, doesn’t it? The concept art was truly amazing. Our client, as a manufacturing business was confused, “are we the mouse or the elephant?” Having some reluctance the concept art was shown to some of their trusted customers. The feedback? None of them caught the symbolism, they either didn’t understand the relevance or thought it was a statement about their capability and their competitors.

Sometimes being too creative is an indulgence, creativity should be a tool for capturing attention to your offering, it should not take the stage itself (unless your a talented designer looking to get an award).

4) Getting to the point.

There is nothing worse than copy which does not get to the point. In times past solicitors and copywriters were paid by the word, so it was in their own interests to make documents as long as possible. Today, we are all pressured for time and ultimately want to know:

  • What are you offering?
  • What can it do for me?
  • How much is it?
  • When can I have it?

A little bit of sales pitch and boasting about your innovative approach or excellent customer service is good, but when there is more management jargon than substance it can be really annoying.

When someone lands on your website, watches your TV advert or receives any communication from you, it should be easy to understand exactly what you can offer. You have seconds to capture someones attention. Those view seconds are critical to gaining an enquiry, quote request or order. So please get to the point.

Here is an example…

“We offer bespoke and tailored solutions to help you drive sales and profitability”.

Question: – What do you do? How can you benefit me? Are you relevant? – “I’ll read it later”

This example could apply to a financial institution, card processing company, online shopping site or a marketing company.The jargon and waffle has created confusion and the wrong kind of questions.

Our strap line: “We help you grow your business through marketing”

Immediately people know what iMARVEL! does and who we do it for.

5) Monitor return on investment.

How many sales are you getting today from your marketing budget? Many would not know the answer, to be fair, sometimes the answer is hard to calculate as marketing done well can repay itself over long periods of time. As an example direct mail has been known to generate orders and leads 3 and 6 months after posting, where as online generally has a much shorter response cycle. The important thing is to have a system in place to record and track performance of campaigns.

ROI is a good way to bring accountability to your marketing costs and will inform you of what is effective.

If you are looking for new customers, we can help you develop a strategy and campaign to generate new enquiries and most importantly sales!

Complete the form below and a member of the team will contact you to talk more about how we can help.

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Why most marketing campaigns don’t work.

It’s our view here at iMARVEL! that marketing is a necessary element of building long term sales and winning new customers. However, many SMEs say that they would hire a sales person over a marketing person. This by no means a scientific explanation but  we suspect that decision makers feel that a sales person can deliver quicker results.

 

We try to break down the difference between marketing and sales like this;

  • Marketing Activity goes to people and creates interest and customers. It’s pull.
  • Sales Activity finds people who are interested and makes sales. It’s push.

 

So here is the problem. Many marketing campaigns don’t work because the are actually a sales campaign disguised as a marketing campaign.

 

Both sales and marketing have the same goals, create customers and sell your products and services.Sales is concerned with converting prospects into customers. Marketing on the other hand creates, leads, enquiries and prospects.

 

Sometimes, marketing campaigns don’t work but not for the reasons you may suspect.

 

All too often marketing is generated from a knee jerk reaction. We see this a lot in small businesses. A bad result on the management accounts can trigger direct mail, e-blasts and a massive marketing initiative. If this is you, stop doing it. A good campaign needs preparation, solid messaging and a strong strategy. All those elements need time. You are wasting money. Marketing campaigns very rarely can be executed to grow sales and acquire new customers on a short term basis, particularly in B2B.

 

Many campaigns have been written off as a failure without giving them sufficient time to get rolling and when they do get rolling, particularly with digital campaigns you need to tweak and adapt them as you go.

 

Marketing campaign also fail when the messaging and audience are not fully considered. You fail to target when your questions are too broad. How can we get more sales? is broad. How can we get more sales from veterinary surgeries? is a targeted question. Targeting forces you to think about the needs of the customer, what will interest the customer and how they would prefer to buy (which then feeds into your sales process).

 

There are thousands of businesses have amazing marketing which generates huge numbers of enquiries but their sales process and marketing is disconnected. They lose leads to competitors because they can’t buy online, you can only buy online, the product information is confusing or the ordering process is bureaucratic. Those businesses have fantastic marketing but poor sales process.

 

If you could double your sales through marketing would you do it?
It’s said that half of all marketing works, the question is, which half. This comes from a throw and stick approach. Throw money at lots of different marketing activities and hopefully some of it will stick. The throw and stick approach works, it’s just awfully expensive! You spend money you don’t need to and lose out on new customers because you didn’t connect with them. If the 50:50 rule is 100% true then it’s not just that your spending money you don’t need to, your losing 50% of your sales.

 

Targeting allows you to decide your ideal prospective customer and tailor messages to them. Instead of mailing 10,000  brochures at £1.25 per unit and getting a 2% response rate, through targeting you could send 2000 tailored mail packs at £3.00 per unit and get a 20% response rate.

Why do most marketing campaigns fail? They are rushed, bland and not connected to the sales process.