How to Make a Funnel for Marketing Your Product or Service

by Robert Clough

Think simply posting an ad is enough to generate leads and sales? Nope. You need to take your target consumer on a journey. No, we’re not talking about magic carpet rides. We’re talking about a sales funnel. 

A sales funnel is a series of stages that guide your consumer into taking an action — buying your service or product. Of course, there’s so much more you need to know about sales funnels and how you can craft one for your business. 

Keep reading to learn about how to make a funnel to gain more conversions and leads.

funnel.jpg

How to Make Sales Funnels

While the process of building a sales funnel seems easy, it’s a little more complicated than you think. Here’s a simple breakdown of how you can create your first sales funnel.

Know Your Target Audience

Your audience is the backbone of your sales funnel. Without doing research on them, it’s impossible to tailor your sales funnel to their behaviors. Base your research on the problems they’re seeking solutions for and which social media outlets they use the most.

Generate Traffic

The next step is to bring awareness of your product or service. One way you can do this is through search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. This ensures that your website is visible to your target audience. 

Another way is through social media marketing. Similar to SEO, social media marketing tailors messages for your target audience and brings lets them know that your business exists. These are only a few ways you can generate traffic to your website. 

But just bringing them to your website isn’t enough. Surveys show that 96 percent of website visitors aren’t ready to make a purchase. That’s where the next two steps come into play.

Interest Your Audience

After you’ve brought awareness to your business the next step would be to engage your audience and offer something of value for them. Many businesses like to give away a free product or coupon code during this stage. 

Also, this is the stage where you capture leads. How can you do this? You will offer something in exchange for their email. We’ll talk about the importance of your email list in the next step.

Nurture Your Leads

Now that you’ve got a bunch of email addresses, what do you do now? Produce content to prepare your leads to make a purchase. This is the most critical stage for sales funnels. Studies show that nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. 

During this stage, you want to lead your audience to make a purchase. This is mainly done through email marketing. Create a series of emails that demonstrate the benefits of your product or service and how it solves your target’s problem.

Convert Your Leads

The final stage of the sales funnel is to convert your leads. Now that you’ve communicated the benefits of your product, it’s now time to offer an enticing deal. This could be a coupon code or promotion. 

More Leads and Conversions Are Within Your Reach

The perfect sales funnel takes time to create. It also takes a bit of testing and experimentation. With persistent work, higher conversions are within your reach. Follow our blog for more content on how to make a funnel! 

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Read More

How to Build a Media List for Content Promotion

More than 4.4 million blog posts are published online every day, and more than 500 hours of video content are uploaded to Youtube every minute. Competition is high for online content, and with so much of it produced each day, it’s easy for your content to get lost. It’s like you’ve created the perfect taco, but no one can find your taco stand. Even if you create the most amazing content, people may not find it—unless they have a little bit of help.

Promoting your content can help you get it seen, so it can generate valuable backlinks and increase brand awareness. And to properly distribute your content, you’ll need to create media lists.

Why Do I Need Media Lists?

Media lists are an extremely important part of content promotion. Your street tacos may smell good, but even that ultimate taco stand needs Uncle George on the street corner, wearing a giant taco costume and waving a big sign that points hungry folks to your stand, right? Media lists contain contact information for journalists, reporters, editors, bloggers, and other online writers. Their purpose is to get your content in front of people—the right people—who will share it on their websites and link back to you.

Your media lists should be targeted and specific. You’re trying to reach people who will share and link to your content, and they’ll only do that if your content is relevant to them in some way. Media lists should always target relevant contacts. When they do, you have a greater chance of getting coverage and links. Furthermore, the coverage will be relevant to your website and help you build more authority and credibility in your industry.

How to Build Your Media Lists

Follow the steps below to build targeted media lists for your content, and get you the links and coverage you deserve!

Figure Out Which Verticals to Target

The first thing you should do is look at your piece and decide which verticals it fits with. Start by asking yourself, “what audience(s) will be interested in this piece?” Make a list of these verticals. Keep in mind that each vertical you choose should be relevant to your piece in some way, even if it’s only tangentially relevant. When you’re trying to sell tacos, you want to target people who are hungry and like tacos. If someone is walking by your stand with a burger in their hand, it will be harder to convince them to buy your tacos, so it’s better to focus your efforts where they’ll be effective.

Common verticals to think about are:

  • Technology
  • Finance
  • Travel
  • Health and Wellness
  • Business
  • Lifestyle
  • Fashion
  • Sports
  • Parenting
  • General News

Create a Separate Media List for Each Target Vertical

Instead of lumping all of your contacts into one giant media list, it’s best to separate them. To stay organized, create a media list for each vertical you’ll be targeting. Since each vertical has a separate focus and needs its own email pitch, this will help you send the right pitch to the right vertical. The best ways to build media lists are in spreadsheets or a digital PR platform like Buzzstream. Both of these allow you to keep multiple media lists in one place, add to them continually, and filter or sort them quickly.

Spreadsheets

If you’re going to use a spreadsheet for your media lists, create a workbook for each campaign. Within each workbook, you should have a sheet/tab for every target vertical. The columns in each sheet should include (at the bare minimum):

  • Website Name
  • Website Domain
  • First Name of Contact (you’ll want this when it’s time to send email pitches)
  • Last Name of Contact (you’ll want to tell all the Lisa’s apart from each other)
  • Email Address
  • Notes (another thing that will come in handy for email pitches)

Additional columns you may choose to include:

  • Writer vertical
  • Job title (assignment editor, reporter, site owner, etc.)
  • Location (country, state, city)
  • Relevant content (an article they’ve written or covered that is relative to your piece of content)

screenshot of an example of a media contact list in a spreadsheetscreenshot of an example of a media contact list in a spreadsheet

Buzzstream

Like a spreadsheet, Buzzstream has columns for each field of information above. It also gives you the option to create your own field to help you filter your contacts, like location, vertical, etc. Buzzstream also has different “views” where you can toggle between looking at websites or individual people.

screenshot of an example of a media contact list in Buzzstreamscreenshot of an example of a media contact list in Buzzstream

Unlike a spreadsheet, it has a browser plugin that allows you to add contact information and notes directly from any webpage. It also allows users to easily upload contact information from a spreadsheet and keep multiple media lists in one place. Buzzstream also doubles as a platform to manage all of your pitches and email communications.

However you decide to organize your media lists, keep them separated by vertical, and make them easy to filter through so you can use them effectively.

How to Find Relevant Websites and Contacts

You need to find people hungry for your content. Even if Uncle George was willing to put on that costume and get some attention, you need to find the people that want your kind of content. There’s not one single way nor tool you should use to find relevant media contacts. Rather, there are multiple ways to search for them and various tools that can assist you. Here are some of the best tools and methods for finding websites and contacts you can add to your media lists.

Google Search

Search the name of the vertical in Google to find which sites write about topics in that vertical. Try out multiple queries and experiment with advanced searches. Don’t stop at the results on the first page for each search query—keep going. You might even reach the 10th, 30th, or 50th page of search results.

Example search queries:

  • [keyword/vertical] writer
  • inurl:[keyword/vertical]
  • “[keyword/vertical] news”

Google Alerts

Set Google alerts for keywords related to your piece. You’ll get email notifications that show you who is writing about those keywords and what websites have content related to them.

Check Backlinks to Similar Content

Find a piece of content that’s similar to the one you’re promoting, but on another website. Check the backlinks of the URL of the content piece to see who covered and linked to it—they may cover it again, especially if your content is new and updated. You can check for backlinks by using tools like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs.

Cision

Cision is a PR platform that has tons of media contacts. It allows you to search for media contacts and websites by vertical, job role, location, and many other parameters. Cision will return tens, hundreds, or even thousands of websites or contacts based on your search criteria and export the list as a spreadsheet.

How to Find Emails for Your Contacts

There are a variety of tools out there that can help make finding email addresses for your media contacts a piece of cake.

Search the website

Take a look around the website. See if they have a “contact” item in the navigation. If they don’t, see if they have an “about” tab. You may need to scroll to the very bottom of the page to find a better view of the menu options.

Hunter.io

Hunter.io scrapes websites to find email addresses. All you need to do is search the URL of a website, and it will return all of the email addresses associated with the website. It also has a browser plugin that will show you the email addresses of whichever site you’re on.

Google search

Search the name of the editor/reporter/writer in Google and see what comes up.

Cision

As mentioned before, Cision gives you the option to search the name of a media contact. You can just search the name of a reporter, editor, blogger, etc. and if they’re in Cision, it will bring up their profile with any contact information.

RocketReach

RocketReach is similar to Cision—you can search a name, vertical, or even the LinkedIn URL of someone, and it will give you contact information for a website or person.

Skrapp.io

Skrapp.io will find emails for you, like Hunter.io, if you search the first and last name and the website or company name of that person. It also has a browser plugin to make things quicker and more convenient.

What to Do with Your Media Lists

The best media list does nothing if you don’t use it the right way. Here’s how you can get the best results from your media lists.

Write the Best Email Pitch

Write an email pitch that’s tailored to each vertical. You’re trying to convince your media list contacts to write about and link to your content, so you need to show them that it’s relevant to their site and that their readers will be interested in it.

Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

This is where you’ll need to know the first name of each contact, and you’ll use any notes you’ve taken on them. Address each contact by name and send a pitch that is relevant to them. You may even want to mention one of their articles that you enjoyed reading.

Re-Outreach

If you’ve already promoted a piece of content, it doesn’t mean you’re done with that piece forever. A few months down the road, you may want to try promoting that same piece again. Find more media contacts and create or update your media lists, then write new pitches and send out those personalized emails!

Update Frequently

Be diligent in updating your media lists. It’s a good idea to go over them before you launch each new campaign, or at least every few months. There can be high turnover at online publications, and it’s common for editors and journalists to move around between publications, so you’ll want to make sure you know where each of them is working and what verticals and topics they’re currently covering.

When editors and journalists do move to another publication, many of them will have an auto-response email set up letting you know what their new role is and how to reach them. Remove them from your list or change their information accordingly whenever you receive such an email.

If you’re updating your lists and you aren’t sure if an email address is still working or valid, use MailTester to check it out. Just enter the email address you want to test, and it will let you know whether or not it’s functional.

Get Promoting!

Now that you know how to build media lists, it’s time to get to work! Building media lists can take time, so it’s a good idea to start now. Your media lists can be reused over and over again, so take care to find the most relevant contacts and keep their information updated. Your efforts will not be in vain, as building these lists will help you get links on links on links. And have everyone rushing to check out your taco stand.

The post How to Build a Media List for Content Promotion appeared first on Portent.

Read More

25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign & Engagement Ideas for 2020

B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign Ideas

B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign Ideas

In the business world, you don’t have to look far to see that the number of B2B companies engaged with influencer marketing is growing. As more companies are moving beyond experimentation to conducting pilots, sequential campaigns and always on programs, there is an increasing desire to expand how brands engage with business influencers.

To help B2B marketers solve that problem, I’m going to share a swipe file of sorts of different business influencer campaigns and engagement opportunities. Implementing just a few of these could help a company with a substantial amount of influencer program activity.

Of course just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! As with all effective marketing, it’s important to match up the campaign approach with the criteria for your customers and how they want to engage with influencer/brand content.  Check out the list below and hopefully some good ideas will spark and ignite your 2020 B2B influencer marketing to new levels.

25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign and Engagement Ideas for 2020

1. Conduct a series of video interview with influencers – Pick a theme and topics you want your brand to be influential about, then interview the top experts. The Break Free B2B interview series is a good example of that. The great thing about video is that you can repurpose as a podcast or even as text for social shares and quotes for related blog posts, presentations, reports and newsletters.

2. Engage an Influencer host on a brand podcast@TamaraMcCleary does an amazing job for the SAP Tech Unknown podcast, interviewing other influencers and executives from SAP.

3. Invite Influencers to provide content for an interactive content experience – Of course we’ve been specialized in this form of content collaboration for many years and have numerous examples. The interactive content format is engaging for your audience and also for contributing influencers because it elevates their status and visibility. One of my favorite examples of this is this microsite featuring 10+ influencers and a simulated voice assistant named Penny, who helps you navigate the world of finance, machine learning and AI.

4. Publish a list of top influencers in each industry vertical where you operate – Many companies want to begin developing an influencer program but have no meaningful connections with influencers yet. One of many ways to get on influencers’ radar is to publish a qualitative list of who is leading the field. Then reach out to share the honor followed by an invitation to collaborate. Go beyond one-off lists and make it an annual event like the list we’ve been publishing each year for the past 10 years of women who rock on digital marketing.

5. Add influencer reactions and expertise to a research report – When IT Service Management leader, Cherwell Software released their research report on Work Process Integration and Digital Transformation, they engaged a group of relevant influencers including Dr. Sally Eaves, Tim Crawford and Ray Wang to share their expertise.

6. Enlist influencers as judges in a contest – This is exactly what Alcatel Lucent Enterprise did with their IT Vanguard Awards. Industry influencers were invited to review nominations for IT network and communications professionals. The program created great exposure for the winners, the judges and for ALE, resulting in multiple six figure leads.

7. Engage influencers to interview brand executives either online or in real-time at a conference – The influencer marketing team at SAP engaged multiple influencers to interview SAP executives during the SAPPHIRE conference, an ideal time to connect industry pros with in-house thought leadership like this interview I did with Oliver Betz, General Manager, Innovative Business Solutions at SAP, on innovation.

8. Invite influencers to an event at brand HQ: tours, executive meet and greets, education, social content creation – Adobe does a great job with this kind of B2B influencer activation and hosted 18 industry marketing, design, tech and business influencers to San Jose for a deep dive into topics like CDP, CXM and of course, Adobe’s solutions. The bonus was a fun visit to the company store for Adobe swag.  Here’s a fun video from Ross Quintana documenting the experience.

9. Invite influencers to write a series of articles published on the brand site – Brands that answer buyer questions provide a valuable service. Inviting 3rd party experts to answer those questions through useful content is even more valuable. Keep in mind, in most cases a commitment to writing on a regular basis is a paid engagement with the contributing influencers.

10. Engage influencers to keynote or workshop at your brand’s user conference – Another common form of paid influencer engagement is as a featured speaker at a company event. These engagements can elevate the performance of an event when a talented performer that also has deep industry expertise can inspire the audience.

11. Partner influencers with your customers to interview each other for a web video series – Customer trust in brands is not high but trust in peers and experts is. Creating conversation opportunities between credible industry experts and your clients can inspire truly meaningful dialog that resonates with potential customers.

12. Invite influencers to an event to livestream and document their experience – I have been invited by multiple B2B companies to attend events and share my impressions using whatever media I was comfortable with including Adobe, SAP, IBM, and Oracle. A small number of influencers experiencing a brand event can have a big impact. At SAP’s annual conference, 15 influencers drove 25% of all social media impressions.

B2B Marketing Influencers
13. Invite influencers along with clients and prospects to VIP dinners where your brand presents, sponsors or attends industry events – This is one of my favorite things about attending industry conferences: connecting our clients with top industry influencers. There’s no selling, just an experience and connection that everyone involved remembers – and that top of mind effect is priceless.

14. Create an ebook featuring brand thought leadership accentuated by relevant industry influencer insights – Oracle Dyn created the Cybersecurity Intelligence Report featuring a combination of respected influencers and practitioners as well as an Oracle executive, building credibility by association.

15. Run a webinar or series of webinars featuring an influencer as host or guest and a brand executive – Featuring an industry expert in a webinar is a fairly common influencer activation and the reason is, it works! So why not create a series of webinars to build audience, momentum and a body of content that can be repurposed?

16. Engage influencers to contribute expertise to content that advances a key brand theme – It sounds pretty basic, but I can’t tell you how many B2B brands produce content without any 3rd party credibility. Adobe engaged multiple influencers to provide insights around customer experience management in this interactive infographic in support of the Adobe Summit conference.

17. Feature quotes from a group of influencers for a roundup blog post or landing page – Dell Outlet Small Business added commentary from multiple small business influencers about the value of refurbished computers on this landing page to drive awareness and engagement.

18. Curate quotes from influencer contributions and repurpose them as social shares throughout the year – Modular content means planning repurposing by using templates with influencer interviews and content capture. This makes it easier to create a library of influencer quotes organized by topic for social shares, use in contributed articles, newsletters, blog posts and presentations. Not only does reposting influencer quotes add credibility to brand content, but they also give the influencer ongoing exposure, which they will appreciate.

19. Engage influencers with a blog network, or podcast network to come up with a creative campaign for your brand – The notion of “creator” is most often associated with B2C influencers. But more B2B influencers are adapting and acquiring media creation savvy. Better yet is when influence creators and media publishers bundle themselves together.

20. Invite influencers to an executive meeting or retreat to discuss topics of mutual interest, then publish a summary – Guided discussions amongst industry experts and internal subject matter experts can generate a goldmine of ideas. The Digital Marketing Institute has formed the Global Industry Advisory Champions with representatives from major brands Google, Facebook, IBM, CocaCola, The Economist, LinkedIn and even TopRank Marketing 🙂 to share insights around the state of digital marketing and education. Summaries of conversations are released along with industry research.

21. Engage an influencer to be an Emcee or digital correspondent during a brand conference – A few people I know do this really well. First, Jay Baer and Katie Martell are excellent emcees and influential in their unique ways. Sarah Evans is an amazing digital correspondent that can cover a conference with interviews and commentary to really level up the brand.

22. Make your influencer community available to a publication – 12 influencers including Dion Hinchliffe, Tamara McCleary, and Ronald Van Loon were interviewed by The New Economy publication during the SAPPHIRE conference for this video focused on a key topic of interest to SAP: The Experience Economy.

23. Create a series of blog posts featuring author influencers and their books  – The team at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has published a series of posts honoring top marketing authors that have been well received by their readers and inspiring for authors to share. Even better, is when authors recommend other authors to be featured.

24. Have a tech influencer do an “unboxing video” of a server or other hardware from your tech brand – Many B2C influencer tactics could be cleverly applied to B2B products. Go ahead and search for “server unboxing” on YouTube and you may be surprised at how many there are. Maybe a “haul” video from an office supply store isn’t such a bad idea?

25. Publish a list of the most influential speakers at conferences relevant to your industry – Of course this is something we’ve been doing here on our blog for several years including Content Marketing Influencers / Speakers and B2B Marketing Influencers / Speakers. Publishing influencer lists before the conference can open up conversations while attending the event and complement other outreach afterwards.

BONUS! (Thanks to Debbie Friez @dfriez and Jack Fitzpatrick @fitzJackrick from our Influencer Marketing team)

26. Invite influencers to do software walkthroughs and post them to IGTV, Facebook, and YouTube. They could could also be live-streamed on platforms like Twitch.
27. Host a networking happy hour with influencers and your key customer contacts during a conference or in your city.
28. Co-create a series of podcasts on the influencers channels that include supporting content like blogs, twitter chats/polls and cross-channel amplification.
29. Create an ask-the-expert video series on your brand YouTube channel where influencers join a brand co-host to answer top questions.

While there’s a variety of solid and actionable ideas in this list, it’s really important to lay the groundwork and strategy for an influencer marketing program in terms of understanding what kind of influencers and topics make the most sense for your brand and customers.

Influencers are not magic, but when you develop strong relationships with a relevant group of influencers, the impact on your marketing across the customer lifecycle can seem magical.

If you would like to learn more about influencer marketing for B2B, see these resources and be sure to check out the following list of upcoming conferences where I will be sharing strategies, best practices and case studies featuring B2B brands of all sizes:

February 24-25, 2020 – B2BMX – Scottsdale, AZ
How to Optimize ABM Results with Influencer Marketing

March 19, 2020 – Convergence Summit – Minneapolis, MN
In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience

March 24, 2020 – Pubcon – Miami, FL
B2B Influencer Marketing Workshop

April 20-22, 2020 – Content Tech – San Diego, CA
How to Optimize Content Performance with Influence

April 22-23, 2020 – Content Marketing Conference – Boston, MA
Be Best Answer for Your Customers with SEO and Influence

May 27 -28, 2020 – B2B Ignite USA – Chicago, IL
In Marketing We Trust: How to Build Influence with the C-Suite and on the Street

I hope to see you there!

The post 25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign & Engagement Ideas for 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Read More