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Will Social Media Replace Telemarketing?

Can Social Media Replace Telemarketing ?

 

Social media is the rage, there is no doubt about it. With the Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and pictures all catching the attention of a huge number of people, it does have a lot of potentials for a professional lead generation campaign. It is new, it attracts a lot of prospects, and it can certainly help you engage them in a conversation. Surely, this is the best way to attract more B2B leads. It could very well replace telemarketing, right? Well, some marketers might disagree. Before you start saying that those who beg to differ are relics of the past, we must first identify the reasons why social media could not replace telemarketers in generating qualified sales leads.

For one, social media is just that, social. It is merely a platform in which to engage prospects in a conversation, probably about things in common and interests. While it is good to talk to business prospects, the problem here is that some marketers are tempted to replace their entire campaign process with social media – which is a very bad move. Social media is meant to communicate with prospects. Other methods like telemarketing is meant to convert prospects into qualified sales leads. Believe it or not, calling people on the phone is a much needed medium for inside sales people.

Another point to consider are the required steps in qualifying business leads. Social media will help you find prospects, yes, but it is not that efficient in qualifying the prospects. Indeed, there will be some details that will not be clear through this medium. If you want to be sure that your prospects will indeed become viable leads, then you need to perform a more in-depth check on them. And you can only do that by talking directly to them. Even if you cannot do it in person, at least you can use the phone for the job. A skilled lead generation specialist will be able to wring out the true details when the call.

Of course, there is no reason to look at social media as below telemarketing. Indeed, both should be working side by side. You can only say so much on the phone without the prospect losing you. In case you need to say a few more details, social media services can provide that. You have to admit that these can be very powerful tools for inside sales. There are a lot of opportunities that can be found this way. And there are other tools available, like email and blogging. These can help you bring more customers to your business. Which will be all good for you.

Basically speaking, the aim here is to make talking to prospects easier to make. Sure, cold calling may have its detractors, but this is where social media can help. While talking to prospects in blog posts and tweets, you can create there an opportunity, an opening in which you can directly communicate with them on the phone. That will help you get the job done better.

Is Social Media Strategy Killing Your Website?

Before social media dominated the world of marketing, it started as a convenient way for marketers to generate sales leads and keep in touch with prospects. However, what used to be a place where prospects can have a glimpse of a brand or company has also now become a platform where they turn into customers even before they visit a website. In fact, nowadays, more and more advertizers are using social media sites such as Facebook for calls-to-action such as to sign-up to a newsletter or even purchase a product.

But most of the time, social media function as they are supposed to – attract and engage potential sales leads who might get interested to visit your site. What is alarming however the fact that in some companies, the exact opposite happens: While their social activity increases, their website traffic drops or remains unchanged.

Here’s how you can keep social media marketing from killing your website and have the best of both worlds in your business lead generation campaign:

Create real content for your website.

Emphasis on the value of real website content has increased significantly these days. By real content I mean, relevant to your target audience – something that you would want to recommend, share, or bookmark. Does it have to be great? No. However, it has to be original and not just a reference to other content for the purpose of getting more backlinks and higher rankings on Google.

Never push your products on Social Media sites.

Your website is the best place for you to do that. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn were never meant to be used to sell products. Use them to promote your main website in order to increase its popularity, drive traffic, and enhance its value in the search engines.

Use social media for sales lead generation, not branding.

The purpose of social media is to create an engaging community where you can motivate prospects to visit your site. When it comes to establishing a strong, recognizable brand, nothing beats having a corporate website. Never try to do it using your Facebook page. Rather, use your social engagements to drive traffic to your site where you have better chances to convert qualified sales leads.

 

 

5 Helpful Tips To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile For Better Lead Generation

For the business to business sector, the indispensable social media choice is definitely LinkedIn. More so than any other social media platform available, LinkedIn has attracted the attention of mostly business people because of its professional appeal. This is also the reason why a lot of business people and b2b marketers use it for their online lead generation campaigns in addition to their website. To get the best results for your online marketing, you have to make your profile as professional as possible. Here are 5 tips to turn your company’s LinkedIn profile into an effective b2b lead generation tool.

1. Upload a professional photo.

Having a photo on your profile helps it become more “official”. But don’t just upload any photo of yourself on your LinkedIn page. To get the attention of the decision makers in your market niche, upload a photo of yourself in business attire as it has been found that people respond better to these types of photos. You will have a better chance of getting qualified business appointments when you appear professional right from the start.

2. Don’t waste your invites.

LinkedIn allows only 3000 invites, so you must use these wisely. Don’t just randomly invite people whom you are unsure about. If you have think that that person is a qualified business lead, then research about him first. Check his website or his profiles on other social networks. Once you are sure that he is a qualified business lead, invite him to be your connection.

3. Use keywords for your profile.

Just like your website, if you want to be visible when your business leads search LinkedIn, use your target keywords to describe yourself. Use these to describe your experiences, summary, skills and expertise. The more you use your keywords, the more chances you have of showing up in searches for these keywords.

4. Get recommendations from your previous clients.

Recommendations are a great way for your potential business leads to find out how you work without needing to ask your clients. You can ask your existing and previous clients to write a few sentences to recommend you, your company, or your products to anyone who might view your profile.

5. Join relevant groups.

LinkedIn groups allow like-minded business people to share their thoughts or discuss matters that are important to them. Joining groups relevant to your niche will not only give you access to getting a lot of qualified b2b sales leads, but also to the knowledge that they have shared to the whole group.

21 Location-Based Marketing Strategies To Improve Lead Generation

As the competition for b2b leads and sales leads becomes more fierce, you will need more capable weapons to help your business remain competitive. As discussed in the previous posts, location-based marketing is one of the rising stars among these marketing strategies.

There are so many things you can do to make location-based marketing an effective lead generation tool. So if you want to test the waters and get a feel of whether this marketing strategy is the best for you, here are 21 methods on how you can do better local marketing to get those much needed leads.

1. Encourage check-ins whenever you sponsor conventions, seminars, trade shows, and other events.

2. Use various analytics apps to measure your engagement with visitors to your establishment.

3. Offer incentives for people who check in at your place.

4. Use location-specific tags for your blog posts such as the name of your state, city, or town.

5. Spread awareness by creating real badges that your sales and business leads can wear or carry as a sign that they’ve checked in at your place.

6. Offer discount coupons for those who achieve a certain number of check-ins.

7. Submit your complete contact info on online directories for all search engines so that you are more visible.

8. Remember the 7 F’s (fun, fame, friends, flirt, fancying, following & freebies) when trying to improve engagement with your business location.

9. Use mobile marketing in conjunction with location-based offers.

10. Partner with relevant third-party establishments that your business leads frequent and promote your products there.

11. Make your company or business website mobile-friendly.

12. When telemarketing, check to see if location-specific products, services or promotions help increase interest and sales rate.

13. Utilize location-specific keywords on pay-per-click campaigns for businesses in the repair, consultation, food service, and similar industries.

14. Monitor tweets and reviews or tips sent from or about your business location.

15.Use SEO to optimize your website and blogs by adding specific locations to meta tags and meta titles.

16. Don’t just wait for your clients to drop tips at your place, encourage your employees to give tips for your business prospects and sales leads.

17. Host location-based games at your place such as sharing the best photo taken at your office or who can hold the mayor title for the longest duration.

18. To further increase your visibility, connect to popular spots and venues in the city by mentioning these in your blog posts and in the directions on how to get to your office.

19. Get yourself and your team to master at least one location-based app such as Foursquare, Yelp, Gowalla, etc.

20. Reward the client who achieves the “Mayor” badge for your business location with a special discount or even a special feature blog post.

21. Acknowledge your Twitter, Facebook and other social media evangelists who share their check-ins to their friends on other social networks.

General Motors: “Social Media Is A Waste Of Time”

General Motors (GM) has announced that they are pulling all their ads on Facebook because the social media giant (and social media in general) didn’t prove to be of much help for the company. At least that’s what GM claims. But according to Ford: “It’s all about the execution. Our Facebook ads are effective when strategically combined with engaging content and innovation”. This message was a tweet sent by Ford right after GM’s announcement.

GM is a company who relies much on traditional marketing, but because of this, their profit for 2012 has yet to see significant improvements. Although there is nothing wrong with using traditional marketing for their generation of sales leads, GM needs to realize the fact that a large percentage of their market spend large amounts of their time online, specifically browsing through social media sites. GM is not new to social media use, but the problem lies with their apparent inability to grasp the concept of social engagement. Since they joined Facebook, GM’s official fan page has garnered less than 400,000 (381,140) likes, a rather sad statistic for a brand recognized worldwide. This author is admittedly not a follower of GM, so I would not be able to comment about their social media campaigns. However, considering the limited number of likes (compared to those of other international car manufacturing companies: Ford-1,508,597; Toyota-966, 119; Honda-2,067,482; Hyundai-2,443,293; Nissan-880,676), the statement about social media not helping with profits, and the affinity for traditional marketing strategies, it’s safe to say that GM has not been making genuine efforts to connect with their sales leads online. GM seems to have a hard time realizing that customers of recent years are vastly different from those of years ago. If they really want to improve their profits, then they should provide something of value that would attract their sales leads.

For b2b companies who are also contemplating which marketing strategy to implement, GM’s marketing issues should be a lesson. Traditional marketing by itself can no longer sustain a company. Various communication channels must be utilized when marketing products and services to remain relevant, visible and valuable. Traditional marketing such as emails, TV spots, newspaper ads and telemarketing should be augmented with online strategies including search engine marketing, content marketing and social media marketing. All these channels must be utilized to achieve the best results in completing the sales process, from generating business leads, successfully setting business appointments, to closing sales.

Utilize Your Comment Box Wisely!

Utilize Your Comment Box Wisely!

There is a high chance that your company is using a popular social media channel for sales and marketing purposes. That is all well and good. But are you really using this marketing tool to its best capacity?

Social media channels are seen by most marketers today as an excellent tool for sales lead generation and especially for advertisement purposes. Websites like Facebook and Twitter allow your customers to “share” and “retweet” your announcements and promos, providing you with a larger audience and letting your followers feel like they are a part of your company. But this is not the only way your customers will interact with you through your Facebook or Twitter account.

Social media presence is seen by active online consumers as a way to communicate directly to you. When your target market is unsatisfied with the service or product you have provided, they will not hesitate to post a comment on your account’s wall stating their dissatisfaction for all the world to see. You might think that regulating which comments appear on your wall would be the easiest answer. Well, it can be. Except there is a better way to deal with such expressions of opinion.

These comments can be a great way for your company to show how much you care for your customers. This functionality of social media is often neglected by marketers, which leads to a large percentage of disgruntled consumers. Why not leave those unsightly comments that appear on your company’s social media wall and instead focus on finding a remedy for the stimulus which instigated the comment? Then, post the solution or answer as a reply to that initial comment, rather than just leaving a “please contact our support hotline” message. People will see this as a sign that your company actually has a live social media presence. Not just one of those fan pages created to advertise a brand and then left to collect dust in cyberspace.

Companies who respond to user queries and issues are more likely to retain their customers, and having solutions handed to them directly will provide better satisfaction for your customers. A satisfied customer will not think twice about referring your brand to his or her friends and relatives, inadvertently becoming your brand evangelists and providing great chances of generating more sales leads for your company. Additionally, when others encounter the same problem, they can check your social media wall and find the answer there. This would lead to a good chance of people “sharing” or “retweeting” your solution, which equates to more publicity for your company.

These discussions and queries can be also used by your company for optimization of products and services and future marketing decisions. The multinational corporation, Dell, is already taking advantage of this strategy, so why shouldn’t you?

Should Marketers Pin Their Hopes On Pinterest?

Pinterest has been stirring up excitement for users, marketers and investors this 2012. Marketers familiar with  the site have been touting it as the next biggest lead generation tool.

Operating on open beta since 2010, the site has been awarded the best new startup of 2011 by Techcrunch on its annual Crunchies Awards. The recent addition to the social media family is securing its niche in the art of hogging: DIY crafts, recipes, fashion, beauty products, tourist destinations, home decors, gardening ideas, etc. Practically anything on the internet that you find interesting. It’s “pin” button will allow you to take any content from anywhere on the web and pin it on your theme board.

For now, the site is invite-only. This is probably because, as a startup, the developers are still doing ongoing modifications to the site, and the invite-only policy is to prevent overwhelming their servers while they roll out site updates. That, or it’s just a marketing tactic to instill a sense of security or exclusivity to the users.

The site’s users are mostly female (a whopping 82% of the users are female, making it the most gender-biased social media site) who pin anything from manicured fingers to interior decoration. All pins are represented by an image, to which a link is attached that would take the viewer back to the original site should they want to view the original post. Pinterest is an image-heavy site, which makes it highly attractive, and the clean background is pleasing to the eyes.

So what makes this online scrapbook so effective? Should marketers join Pinterest?
To get a better perspective, here are a few of Pinterest’s statistics:

It’s true that this new social media will do wonders for businesses catering to women, babies, and children in particular. But UK’s pinterest user statistics reveal that there are actually more male (56%) users compared to females (44%), and more than 20% of these users have income ranging from $100,000-$150,000. Now that’s something for marketing people to think about.

Pinterest’s backlinking capabilities also offer great SEO opportunities for your company’s websites, providing excellent lead generation potential. Also, the user’s pins usually reflect what they need and want; which provides a great standard for enhancing your sales and marketing strategies to better appeal to your target market.

Since it’s an extremely visually stimulating site, marketers who have businesses that deal with anything but creative are having doubts on whether it will help with lead generation from their target market. However, companies offering like, say, automobile services, can still use this site to attract customers and inevitably generate sales leads by utilizing colorful and informative infographics, or create upcycled crafts from old automobile parts that customers can try themselves.

Perhaps the most important thing for marketers is that they have to be present where their target market is. It’s the same thing as Facebook and Twitter; being where your market is increases your chances of being noticed. And the markets are currently congregating in Pinterest.