As far as words go, “salesman” is a relatively new one. Before the word “salesman” entered our lexicon, European immigrants brought the term ‘drummer’ to North American shores. As villagers and townsfolk went about their daily lives, they would often hear a loud drumbeat kick up in the distance. From every corner of town, people would come in search of the source of the noise until, finally, they’d stumble upon someone with a cart full of goods.
It’s where marketers get the phrase “drumming up sales” from.
And whether we think of ourselves as salespeople or not – we are. From applying to a new job to drumming up new business in a region, sales are the lifeblood of what most of us do. And the best way to keep that blood flowing is through one thing: lead generation.
Regardless of what business you’re in, leads generally is important. But now, instead of trying to draw attention with a catchy drumbeat, we bring in business through sales and marketing. So, what exactly is a lead and how do we go about getting good ones?
The Basics of Sales Leads
A sales lead is a set of contact information (Name, Address, Phone, Email, etc.) from a person or business, which could facilitate a future sale. Traditionally a lead is a single person who represents a business that is looking to purchase your companies’ goods and/or services. Leads can be influencers or decision makers. The one attribute all leads have is that they’re related to a potential sale.
From there, leads can be broken down into two subcategories: qualified and disqualified.
Qualified leads are leads that produce immediate business. Instead of showing a passing interest or making comments about the potential to work together, they have a defined idea of what they want done and how. In most cases, qualified leads have the following in common:
When you’re trying to decide which type of lead to sink the vast majority of your time and resources into, it should always be qualified leads. They net you the most income and opportunity for your effort.
However, not every person who claims to be interested in doing business with us actually will or can. That’s where we get into category two: disqualified leads. This is the type of lead you don’t want to invest as much of your time and energy into. Maybe they’re interested in your service, but aren’t able to afford what you do or are uncertain how the two of you could work together at this time. Typically, you can tell someone is a disqualified lead if they do one of the following:
Knowing someone is interested in your business, but unable to take you up on a present offer may seem frustrating – but it’s a good thing! A disqualified lead, while the churn rate may be high, still retains the possibility to convert into a qualified lead. Moreover, disqualified leads can be great for something else: referrals. While you don’t need to spend an excessive amount of time on these types of leads, it’s always important to use these opportunities to network. When we build relationships with others and they’re impressed with our work, that can lead to organic referrals and future qualified leads.
Next post, we’ll review how to take these two types of leads and create concrete actions plans around them.
In the world of digital marketing, it can be easy to imagine that the most valuable type of impact you can make is a paid one. However, according to studies conducted by Impact BND, organic search leads to a 14.6% close rate, whereas outbound marketing leads only have a 1.7% close rate. In fact, some statistics point to 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.
So what is SEO, and how does a person go about growing their reach organically?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): A Primer
In layman’s terms, search engine optimization, or SEO, is a means of increasing your website’s traffic – and therefore it’s visibility. Most of this work is done through what we call “organic” or “non-paid” foot traffic on search engines, like Google. A search engine’s job is to piece through and rank all of the information found on the internet pertaining to a certain topic. Depending on how well your site is set up to present that information is what gives you a certain “ranking”, or order on a searching site.
Your goal, then, is to make sure your website and the content you produce is designed to give you the best possible ranking. For instance, my company is called NextStep. If someone who was interested in marketing and my company typed “nextstep marketing” into the Google search bar, my rank in the list of answers shows I have a high SEO score.
The objective is to increase your SEO score by creating custom, unique content that is powerful in its messages, provides your customers with valuable information, and shows you’re an expert in a topic or field. Because the more unique, valuable and highly rated the content, the less you’ll be competing with others.
And the less you compete with other’s for digital space, the higher your ranking will be.
The Power of SEO
When you take the time to invest in optimizing your website and its content, you’re ranking will increase. In other words, your website will be easier to search and find. This, in turn, increases the traffic on your site – aka “organic” SEO. So why does this matter? Does organic SEO really make that much of a difference compared to paid search ads?
Well, according to New Media Campaigns organic SEO is “about 5.66 times better than paid search ads.” Why? Simply put, people want honest, thoughtful information. While paid advertisement can be useful, the value of SEO is that it is generally created when people put thought into the content they’re creating and how they’re connecting with their audience.
While a largely impersonal, data mine approach may work for companies like Amazon, when the average consumer is looking for a business, they look local. In fact, nearly 86% of people who look for a particular type of business simply use Google Maps to see what’s in the area.
So, if you’re wanting to make sure you’re one of the first results that pops up the next time someone needs to book a massage or find a new doctor – your best bet for gaining some of their mindshare is by creating and maintaining organic SEO.
Tips and Tricks
For more information about creating a plan that will increase your SEO, contact us here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nextstep Marketing LLC Receives 2018 Best of Charlotte Award
Charlotte Award Program Honors the Achievement
CHARLOTTE October 21, 2018 -- Nextstep Marketing LLC has been selected for the 2018 Best of Charlotte Award in the Consulting Services category by the Charlotte Award Program.
Each year, the Charlotte Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Charlotte area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2018 Charlotte Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Charlotte Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Charlotte Award Program
The Charlotte Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Charlotte area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Charlotte Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.
SOURCE: Charlotte Award Program
Charlotte Award Program
In grade school children are taught PEMDAS, an acronym meaning Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract. It is a tool to ensure that the correct solution is found when solving complex math equations. That is the role of Sales Operations teams.
Sales Operations work as a brain or a logic board in a computer. They take in complex data, analyze it, synthesize it, and return output intended to keep things running smoothly. Sales Operations teams achieve this by examining training, sales teams, and system management and then implementing strategic plans that streamline the process from marketing all the way to closure of sales.
First, a sales Operations team analyzes the company itself. What is the product? Who is our target market? What are our company objectives? Using these questions, the process is begun. They analyze the market trends, the metrics of how the company is performing in relation to the above questions. They then take this preliminary data and work towards addressing blockages in the flow of sales and effectiveness of tactics across all components of the various branches of the company. This often begins with the sales teams.
Sales teams need to be efficient, prepared, and capable of carrying out their practices and procedures. Sales Operations will often begin with creating hiring procedures with Human Resources in order to create an excellent talent pool. From this baseline they then move towards providing that talent with everything they need to stay motivated, skilled, and on top of their market.
Sales Ops will help sales agents with product knowledge, backed by quality content, so that they can better inform their clients which leads to trust and loyalty. Sales Ops will then structure territories, incentive programs, and training programs to keep employees happy and competitive in their market. As the sales team moves forward with these various elements and strategies, Sales Ops will analyze the incoming data and adjust over time so that the sales team can remain competitive. But Sales Operations work with the sales team is not just about the human element.
Sales Ops is in charge of what tools of the trade the team will utilize to make their work efficient. This includes proposal building software, automated email scripts, CRMs, and other technological aids that allow the sales team to not become bogged in the minutiae of daily operations. The important balance that Sales Ops also needs to strike however, is not then bogging the team down with too many, or too complicated, technological aids. The goal is always efficiency in the system. Though sales, and the sales team, is the chief focus of Sales Operations they must also work closely with other company elements.
Sales Ops needs to be in consistent communication with all high-level members of the company. This includes C-level executives to heads of marketing. Communication in the company community ensures that the procedures Sales Operations is trying to enact do not break with company objectives or cause friction with the departments sales works closely with. Sales Ops can also help create marketing strategies with the marketing team based on the data they receive from sales, keeping everyone focused on the right target even as it shifts over time.
The goal of Sales Operations is efficiency. The product of the modern age, Sales Ops teams are becoming more prevalent and more skilled with each passing year, and their importance cannot be overstated. By working with all levels of company management, analyzing the data, and organizing the company marching orders Sales Operations are designed to help keep everyone on target, on message, and most importantly in the black.
Come back soon for our future breakdown of roles in a Sales Operations team and common tools of the trade.
Is your business keeping up with the digital revolution? If you want to generate more leads and increase your customer base, it's best you create a website. If you’re not tech-savvy the prospect of creating a website may seem daunting, but we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to be a tech geek to build your website.
Weebly takes the coding out of website design and building so all you have to focus on is dragging and dropping templates and text to create a website that represents your business in the online world. There’s a reason that over 40 million people and businesses use Weebly to power their websites.
Here are 7 reasons to like Weebly websites:
1. Ease of Use
Weebly is the simplest website builder out there. Using its drag and drop format to build a professional website could feasibly be done in just a few hours. Even the most advanced templates and tools on Weebly are simple to understand and easy to use.
2. Flexible Templates
Not only are Weebly’s templates up-to-date, eye-catching, and trendy, they are beautifully presented on all screens. No matter if a visitor is viewing your website from a home-based computer, a laptop, a tablet, or a mobile phone, the website will always display the appearance that you created.
Every business wants their website to show up on Google and other popular search engines. Weebly provides its website builders with a tab dedicated to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which has all the options and advanced settings that makes it easy for Google and other popular search engines to find your site.
4. Widgets and Tools
Weebly’s widgets and tool make your website more interactive and user-friendly, which keeps people on your site longer and increases the chance of visitors becoming customers. You can place the chat widget on your website, making it convenient for visitors to communicate with you or other representatives of your business. Weebly tools like Accordion and Tabs allow you to format your website in ways that are visually appealing and comprehensible.
5. Powerful Blog
Blogging is one of the best ways for businesses to build their online presence. Using keywords in your blog posts can even improve your SEO! Thankfully, Weebly has bloggers covered using the same easy-to-use drag and drop format. Weebly’s blogs can stand alone or be incorporated into a larger site depending on your needs.
“What we set out to do is empower smaller merchants to have the same checkout experience as Amazon. Let’s give them the tools to effectively compete," David Rusenko, Weebly’s CEO says it all. Not only are Weebly-based e-commerce sites easy to build, they have a smooth user-interface, making it easy for customers to get the products they need and want.
7. Visitor Statistics
Every business owner knows to track their stats. Weebly provides a free Hit Counter, which accurately tracks the amount of visitors to your site by their IP address. The provided statistics help you run your business more easily, giving you data that reveal which of your marketing tactics work best and bring in more traffic.
If you’d like more information or any business consultation to help your business grow to its potential, feel free to contact us!
Weebly Websites Charlotte, Weebly Websites Austin
They lurk in the shadows. They feed when no one is watching. And you invited them in.
They are your monthly and annual subscriptions and they are here to suck you dry.
For many people, both professionally and personally, keeping track of where money goes is a universal concern. With the rise of auto-renewal and subscription services it has never been easier to lose track of who is getting paid what and how much they are being paid.
“Vampire Debt” is the process by which these subscriptions and auto-paying services begin to accumulate and drain your bank account of money, but are done quietly and slowly enough that it goes unnoticed. Thankfully there are ways to kill vampires.
As in many circumstances the first step is identifying the problem. In this instance it begins with a series of questions.
• How many subscriptions or auto-pays are currently operating?
• Who and what are they and what value do they provide?
• How much do they cost?
• Are they all being paid from one account or from several? If several, how many?
These four questions should begin to frame the problem fully and allow for ample understanding of the current situation. From here the problem can begin to be addressed fully.
Following the diagnosis comes the decision making process. Examine the items and determine what services or subscriptions are critical. If it is used daily or is the cornerstone to the system, designate it as “Keep”. From there take any other service or subscription and weigh its value to its cost. Systematically move through each service and designate it as “Keep” or “Cancel”.
Once everything is labeled it is time to consolidate. Begin by shutting down all services or subscriptions designated as “Cancel”. Then take all the services marked “Keep” and place them under as few payment accounts (credit cards) as possible. If they can be moved to a single card do so. That will make it easier to manage and maintain monthly.
With the vampires removed the final step is vigilance. At least twice a year re-do the process as needed and make sure any new services stay within your current system. In no time at all your Dracula sized will be reduced to little Vampire Bat.
By: Paul Davis, Jr.
With everything you have on your plate, why should you prioritize reputation management? Because 81% of online shoppers conduct research before they make their big purchases, and your company won't make the cut if it's dogged by dissatisfied reviews or negative journalism. Here are 4 ways to keep your online reputation strong and attractive.
1. Address false claims. Do regular online searches on your company name and products. See what the competition and your customers are saying about you. If it's not true, intervene, and don't forget to involve your legal team if necessary.
2. Correct misinformation. If you see false information published about your company or its products, don't just call it out. Provide the correct information and request that it replace the false material. If this is impossible, request that it be displayed as an addendum where it will have maximum visibility to site visitors.
3. Answer common questions accurately. Potential and existing customers often ask the same questions repeatedly. Draft a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document and post it on your website. Make sure it's available to your customer service staff. Making your answers consistent makes misunderstanding far less likely.
4. Appreciate positive feedback. When you get glowing reviews or testimonials, make sure to offer your thanks. Satisfied customers are your reputation's lifeblood, and they are (unfortunately) less likely to take time to write a review than someone with a gripe. Make sure you show your gratitude!
Reputation management is a key element of any digital marketing strategy, and these 4 concepts will help your company shine in the online marketplace. Do you have more questions? Let us know, and we can help you build a strategy tailored to your organization's needs.
Tags: The Importance of Reputation Management, Online Reputation Management, Reputation Management a Digital Marketing Strategy
Today's online marketplace is highly competitive and most businesses that are looking for growth and ways to attract potential customers will need to establish a strong online presence. Having a good online reputation is key to attracting new clients or customers to receive products or services from prospective companies.
What Hurts An Online Reputation?
There are many ways in which an online reputation is negatively impacted. This includes false claims that someone has placed online, misinformation that is dissuading, and complaints. Any of these linked to a particular business can hurt the overall impression that online viewers have regarding a company. Taking steps to minimize the impact that negative information has on a business through reputation management is highly effective.
Steps To Take Control
Managing an online reputation consists of more than simply addressing negative information. It also incorporates the use of positive customer interaction. For example, it would benefit a company to leave a thank you to customers that leave positive feedback. It is also a great idea to interact with customers that have questions about products or services that a company may offer. Answering questions appropriately can also drive traffic to a website. Closely monitoring all of these interactions and occurrences is the best way to improve and maintain a positive online reputation.
Reputation is critically important for all sizes of business. Preserve online reputation by using an experienced company that can monitor and address concerns that could affect company image. For more information contact us. Incorporate every advantage for boosting image and reputation to boost website traffic and sales.
Tags: Importance of Reputation Management, Reputation Management Services, What Hurts Online Reputations,
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. These are all household names that harbor a dark secret. Reputation. That's right. Your reputation is built around your image on social media sites. This is the first place in which people search your name and you wouldn't want a bad rep to ruin your business image. With our Reputation Management, worrying about what you post on social media becomes a thing of the past.
Here are 10 Quick Tips About Reputation Management.
1. Have a social media presence:
Having no social media presence can be just as bad as having a negative presence. Facebook, Twitter, etc. can all help your business succeed and grow with positive reviews and engaging content. It also helps customers connect in a way that is preferable for them, resulting in more customer loyalty.
A proper blog will help drive traffic to your website. Using the proper SEO tactics can make or break your blog. Once there, clients can read more about your business and how you can help them.
3. Ignore the trolls:
Too many times, well-meaning businesses allow themselves to interact too much with customers. Arguing with the public is a big no-no and will only hurt your credibility.
That's right. Apologize. Apologizing not only shows that you are in control of your actions, it shows that you care enough about your customers and clients to make things right.
If a client complains about a product or service, listen to them. They could be voicing something that other customers are feeling but are too afraid to say. Listen to complaints and come up with a way to rectify the situation and keep the client satisfied. This is how you gain a loyal following.
Be bold, be creative. Adding a bit of flair to your online presence can do wonders for separating you from the competition. People will remember that you stood out as a leader and will return to you because of it.
7. Rep Watch:
Have someone check all your online presence frequently, to catch any mistakes as they may come up and to deal with any negative reviews swiftly.
8. Press Releases:
Writing press releases for new products and services can be a great way to get the world out quickly across all platforms. You'll have a definite edge up on the competition that doesn't. These also rank high in Google keyword searches.
Wikipedia should never be ignored. With the ability for people to edit a page at a whim, it's imperative you keep an eye on your Wikipedia page (if you have one) almost daily.
10. Hire a Reputation Management Company:
Social media and online web presence in general can be a hard thing to manage on your own. Please contact us and we can help you optimize your web and social media presence so you can focus on making the most of your business.
NextStep Marketing Reputation Management
Reputation management is a tricky business. With the growth of social media platforms, businesses have found it increasingly difficult to maintain a positive presence on these platforms. For many, striking a happy balance between social media involvement and a positive reputation is tough, especially considering the amount of time it takes.
However, there is now an easy way to create and maintain a strong and positive presence online. Thanks to reputation management services, brands and businesses can carve out a niche for themselves online. Here are three reasons why we love reputation management services.
1) Help you fix PR disasters...or rather, avoid them completely
Reputation management services can help businesses solve crises in a timely, and efficient manner. No business is safe from a public relations nightmare or two, but having a service to help actively prevent these incidents is necessary. Everyone makes mistakes, and no business is immune to that.
Having the right team to help manage a crisis when it arises is a major stress relief for many. Employing the right reputation management services ensures that you can operate your business free of PR disasters since they are able to help you actively avoid those.
2) They help you establish a consistent voice for your brand
Businesses often struggle with creating a personality for their brand. Some prefer lightheartedness, while others prefer a more serious tone for their business. Reputation management services can tap into what your brand's personality is, and keep it consistent across the board.
Rather than trying to tackle it on your own, let the service make your brand stand out. By having a clear and consistent voice, your brand can stand out and attract and retain loyalty from customers to cement your positive reputation.
3) Provide key insights on engagement with customer base
Reputation management services are on the forefront, engaging with your customer base. Since they are interacting with them so much, they can give you valuable insights on what content resonates with them so you can tailor your strategy accordingly. Use their feedback and observations to carve out a marketing strategy tailored to your customers and what they are interested in for a more personalized experience.
For more information on reputation management and how it can help you, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Carolina Reputation Management
Charlotte Reputation Management