Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Refine your processes. Reach your business goals.

When was the last time you used a map instead of GPS? Or an encyclopedia instead of Google?  Times have changed. Technology has evolved. But have your business processes kept pace?

Many of us have solid business plans. We set goals—but then we revert to old-school processes and practices instead of using efficient, technology-based organizational tools to help us map out and accomplish the tasks and activities required to reach those goals. 

It takes more than good intention to achieve success. I often meet with sales reps who know exactly what they want to accomplish. Their big picture: I want to sell $1MM this year. To make that happen, I need to change the way I service my existing clients, so I will pitch one new idea per month, conduct two business reviews, take the client to lunch quarterly, etc.

These goals are great. But what tools are you using to make sure you’re following up? To hold yourself accountable? In order to be successful, you need to proactively drive the tasks associated with achieving your specific goals. A technology-based organizational system gives you the structure required to manage—and accomplish—those everyday tasks. It allows you to break your plan down into individual tasks, and then prioritize and re-position those tasks, as needed.

Pick a tool that works for you. There are so many technology platforms and apps available for organization. (I use Wrike for project and task management. It’s a cross between a glorified to-do list and a project management tool.)  Wrike displays a dashboard for my day that lists my tasks, including notes, dates, etc. This is my charge: It reflects those things that I’ve consciously and mindfully decided I need to do to accomplish my goals.

Be intentional. You might be using the notes app on your phone or a pad of paper to keep track of your to-do list. I’ve seen sales reps use these “systems” to organize their tasks, only to result in chaos: Their days run them. Using an organizational system allows you to dictate how you spend your day versus letting email and phone calls take control. It’s the framework that leads to a greater capacity of work and more sales.

Make better decisions. Without forethought, most of us hit the easy button: We choose to spend our time in low-impact areas as opposed to those tasks that ultimately lead to bigger results. Using an organizational system challenges you to make the conscious decision to spend your time on high-level tasks, avoiding low-level distractions.

Jump in with both feet. This is a commitment! Incorporating an organizational system into your everyday routine or practice is a game-changer—but, for it to be effective, you must be fully engaged. I use my program to drive all business and personal tasks—it’s what keeps me on track and helps me manage the things in my life that are most important to me.

I challenge you: Formulate your plan, convert that plan into an executional task list, and implement a tool to help you start crushing your goals. Are you already using an organizational system platform or app? Please share your input with us on facebook.

Bob De Garmo

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Craft better CTAs. Get better conversions.

Do I have your attention?

If I do, it won’t be for long: According to, the average person's attention span is eight seconds and most of us read only 28 percent of the words on a webpage. As marketers, that makes it challenging to engage and convert readers.

This is where strong calls to action (CTAs) come in: These buttons or links—on websites, landing pages, emails—are compelling, persuasive statements that move your visitors to act, guiding them through the sales funnel: Maybe you want them to watch a video, schedule a demo, sign up for a subscription, or learn more about your product/service. The right CTA can help you make those connections.

Here are a few tips to make sure your CTAs are fine-tuned to help you net the desired action-activated response:
  1. Be direct. Simple and effective is what you’re looking to accomplish, so craft your message using words that make it clear what you want the reader to do and/or why it’s of value. (Five words or less is ideal)
  2. Use multiple CTAs strategically placed throughout your site or landing page to attract and convert visitors at all stages of the buyer journey.
  3. Make it relevant. Your CTA should be specific to the content on the page—don’t use the same CTA throughout your website.
  4. Optimize for mobile. Remember that many of your readers will be accessing your website or email via their mobile devices, so not only do CTAs need to be brief, they also need to be formatted to make a visual impact on a mobile screen.   
  5. Keep it simple. By keeping graphics clean and uncluttered, your visitors will find your message easier. (Don’t make them search for it!) Hubspot offers a great example of a sleek, well-designed webpage with a CTA that stands out clearly:
  6. Offer a time-sensitive special. Most of us don’t want to miss out on a good deal or deep discount. So, instead of directing your readers to check out your new product, consider adding a “deal of the day” pop-up CTA that prompts the reader to check out your special offer before it goes away.
  7. Provide options. One way to get visitors to spend more time on your site is to offer multiple CTAs that lead them down different paths. Here is a great example from Humboldt County (source: Hubspot).
  8. Test your CTA. A small change in your CTA can make a big difference. You might not expect higher click-through rates as a result of moving your call to action above the fold, or changing the color, or swapping the word “my” for “your” but those subtle changes can greatly affect your conversion rates. Test and then redeploy to keep your content fresh and effective.
I’m always on the lookout for examples of CTAs that work for me. Can you think of any that have caught your attention or compelled you to act? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook.

Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Convert Leads Using Customer Personas. Here’s How.

In last week’s blog, we talked about the importance of creating customer/buyer personas to drive better marketing outcomes—and what kinds of information you should include in those profiles. Remember, you’re digging deep to uncover basic data, as well as habits, interests and other preferences: This information helps you to create an avatar of your target customer(s). By speaking directly to this persona and addressing his/her needs or expectations, you’ll make a stronger brand connection. 

So, where do you get that important data to build your customer persona(s)? Here are a few ideas:

  • Conduct in-person interviews with your current customers.
  • Survey your current customers. 
  • Survey your ideal customers. 
  • Dive into your business data. 
  • Research your Google Analytics website traffic
  • Engage in social media listening. 

Source: Hubspot
The goal is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes to create a detailed and accurate profile. And then, to use that information to your brand advantage by aligning your marketing plan to connect with your buyer persona(s). Here’s some examples of how you can put those personas to work to convert leads: 

  • Use social media channels that align with your customer’s habits (i.e. spend your time where your customer hangs out) 
  • Create brand messaging that speaks your customer persona’s language—and that also resonates with his/her value system
  • Provide special offers that solve your buyer’s problems or add value to their lives
  • Cater your content to your buyer’s preferences: Write blogs, whitepapers and ebooks and/or create videos that speak directly to the needs and interests of your buyer
  • Co-market with companies or influencers that your customers like or frequent: Co-sponsor an event, feature them as a guest blogger, incorporate their product or service in your promotional campaign, etc.
  • Use dynamic content on your website to speak directly to your target buyer
  • Optimize your landing pages: Run A/B testing to see which CTAs resonate with your target customer
  • Audit your existing content—make sure it speaks to your customer persona(s). If it doesn’t fit the model, update it or eliminate it altogether

Are there other ways you’re using customer personas? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook.

Ellen Moriarty

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Use Customer Personas for Better Marketing Outcomes

Microsoft reports the average person’s attention span is just eight seconds. That’s not surprising given the amount of content we consume every day: According to the American Marketing Association, we are exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day. So, as a marketer, how do you make sure your customers don’t simply scroll right by your content?

Make it personal.

By connecting with your audience in more personal and relatable ways, you make stronger and more memorable brand connections. So, it follows that the best way to make such connections is to first get to know your audience or your customers—and then create campaigns that speak directly to them. This is where personas come into play.

Hubspot describes them well: "Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help us all -- in marketing, sales, product, and services -- internalize the ideal customer we're trying to attract and relate to our customers as real humans. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.” develop accurate customer personas, research is essential—you have to dig down beneath the surface to gather the personal data about your customer that paints a crystal-clear picture about who they really are:
  • What is their age and gender?
  • Which social media platforms do they use: Are they Facebook devotees or all Snapchat?
  • What TV shows do they watch: 60 Minutes? Game of Thrones?
  • What are their values: Are they intent on making a difference through social change? Strong supporters of U.S. veterans?
  • What are their digital habits: Primarily PC users? Do they shop using Alexa? 
Click here for a handy persona outline graphic.

The more questions we ask and the clearer “customer” picture we paint, allows us to be more effective in our marketing efforts. Next week, I’ll continue with this topic, offering some tips for where to go to get this valuable customer data and then, what to do with it.

Ellen Moriarty