Are you handy with all things tech? Are you the type to talk your friends through their tech issues?
If so, you might want to consider starting your own tech support business.
Don’t worry if you find the idea of turning your skills into an actual business intimidating—starting a business isn’t rocket science (or even computer science).
It’s just a series of steps, which we’ll take you through below.
When we’re done, you’ll have the knowledge you need to start your own tech support business!
The good news about tech support is that there’s a constant demand. Most companies, even small ones, have a fairly steady stream of technology-related issues. And with new technology coming on the scene practically every day, that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. If you can establish yourself as a reliable and effective service provider, you should be able to find steady, well-paid work.
Also, as a tech-savvy person, you have the advantage of being, well, tech-savvy. You’re less likely than other people to be intimidated by the technological parts of creating a company, like building a website, installing business software, or setting up a business phone line.
The most difficult part of starting a tech support business often isn’t either the technology or the business. Sometimes it’s the people. Often, you’re dealing with clients who are frustrated, pressed for time, and maybe even feel a little foolish that they can’t figure a particular problem out themselves. People in those situations can be cranky and may take their frustrations out on you. It’s important to develop patience, tact, and a thick skin.
As far as the work itself goes, setting up a business is relatively easy, but marketing yourself can be tricky. You have to have a solid grasp of the value you bring to your clients, be able to communicate that quickly and clearly, and learn not to take rejection personally.
And while working for yourself has some definite perks (your boss rocks!), it also means that the buck stops with you. You’re ultimately responsible for every decision that you—or anyone you hire—makes.
Fortunately, you’re also in control, and there are simple steps you can take to give yourself the best shot at success.
You know you’ve got strong tech skills and you’re excited to get your fledgling business off the ground. But don’t quit your day job yet! Before you hang out your shingle, it’s important to build a solid foundation.
Don’t assume that just because there’s a need for tech services that you’re guaranteed to get clients. Before you do anything else, find out what specific skills are in demand in your area.
Begin by evaluating your skills and getting a clear picture of what kind of services you want to provide. No matter how much of a whiz kid you are, chances are you’re not equally skilled at all tasks. There may be some areas of tech support in which you lack skills, experience, or just plain interest. While it may be tempting to say you’ll do “anything,” and wing it when the time comes, you’re better off focusing on your strengths for now. You can always learn new skills later.
Next, think about who needs what you have to offer. Small to mid-sized companies? People working from home? Can you provide remote support or are you strictly in-person? Understanding who needs you what you’re offering will save you time and energy when looking for clients.
Also, be sure to validate that the people you’ll serve are able and willing to pay you for what you provide. This can save you an enormous amount of time, money, and frustration by ensuring that there is a strong, paying market for what you have to offer.
The simplest way to start is with people you know. Ask about the kind of tech problems they face, at home and at work, and try to get a sense of how much they’d be willing to pay for help. Get specific about the pain points they’re dealing with—are they spending money on tech services they don’t need? Wasting time trying to get software to run properly? Or are they worried about data security? Understanding what parts of their technology stresses them out most helps you position yourself as the best solution to their problems.
While you’re talking to them, ask them about how they find tech support (word of mouth? advertising?) and how many hours of tech support they typically need per month.
Researching competing tech support companies in your area is also a good way to study the market. Don’t lose heart if there are already several competitors nearby. Instead, try to find out more about them. You may find that you can provide services or serve clients that they don’t.
If you can find an underserved niche and are confident that you’d like to turn this into a business, then it’s time to start taking steps to make it happen.
A business plan helps you organize all the ideas you have about running a business into a coherent document that answers questions like:
If you think you might ever want to take out a business loan or get someone to invest in your company, a well-done business plan will be essential. For now, you don’t need to worry about perfect grammar or spelling. It’s more important that you go through all the pros and cons of starting your own business, know what it will cost to start the business and keep it running, and have a realistic understanding of how much you can potentially earn.
If you’d like some support, be sure to check out Live Plan, an affordable business plan software that guides you through all the things you need to think about and shares examples and templates that will make business planning a breeze.
Once you’ve validated your concept, it’s time to turn it into a real business. The following steps will help make it official.
Setting yourself up as a legally registered business not only makes you look more professional, it also confers tax benefits and extra liability protection.
In most cases, especially if you’re running the business by yourself, a limited liability company (LLC) is a smart way to go. This type of business entity helps protect your personal assets because it limits your liability to just the assets of your business. In other words, if you’re sued by a client or unable to pay your business debts, your personal assets, like your home or your savings, can’t be seized.
The exact process for registering your business as an LLC varies from state to state. The cost to file also varies, but it’s typically around $200–$300. You can register your business yourself or you can hire a third-party LLC registration company to do it for you.
In most states, you’ll need to renew your LLC annually. This is usually a simple matter of updating your information and paying a renewal fee and can often be done online.
Also known as a “fictitious name,” a DBA is only necessary if your registered business name is different from the name you’d like to work under. Registering a DBA ensures that no one else in your area can use your business name, and also gives you the flexibility of starting a new business without having to create an entirely new LLC. Before you choose a fictitious name, check to make sure no one else has already registered it—most states allow you to check availability for free online.
Fortunately, the process to register a DBA is usually simple and inexpensive and can be done through the same state agency where you registered your LLC. Like LLCs, you’ll typically have to renew your DBAs annually.
It’s not enough to simply register your business. You also have to be able to prove that you’re actually operating a business and not just looking for a way to write off random expenses. Opening a separate bank account is one of the best ways to show that you’re taking your status as a business owner seriously. Added benefits are that it will help maintain the advantages that being an LLC gives you and it will make simplify recordkeeping and tax compliance.
All you need to open a business account is a business name and an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can get from the IRS simply by filing online. We highly recommend Relay Bank, which specifically serves small- to medium-sized businesses. It offers great features such as the ability to set up multiple checking accounts for different areas of your business—so you can pay your taxes directly out of your tax account, for example—and lets you request up to 50 customizable debit cards that you can assign to different accounts and/or different employees. Bonus: there are no minimum balance requirements or monthly fees.
In addition to your bank account, you’ll also need a way to send and track invoices, bills, and taxes. You can hire an accountant or bookkeeper to track all this for you or invest in accounting software. Our review of The Best 7 Accounting Software for Small Businesses can help you find the best fit for your situation.
Any time you’re going in and out of people’s homes or offices, not to mention dealing with expensive equipment, there’s the potential for accidents—imagine spilling coffee on a laptop you’re supposed to be fixing or having a client trip over a cord you left out and get hurt. You could also get sued for libel or slander if, for instance, your advertising is skewed or a tweet is misconstrued.
General liability insurance typically costs $350 – $900 per year for $1 million in coverage and covers you for:
Another type of insurance worth considering is Errors and Omissions (E & O). This protects you if your clients sue you over work-related errors such as project delays or coding errors.
Finally, if and when you hire employees, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance to cover expenses should your employee become ill or injured while on the job.
It’s not enough to be good at what you do—or even the best at what you do. You also have to let people know who you are and how you can help them. Let’s start getting the word out!
One of the simplest yet most effective things you can do to support your business is to create a website. It’s a smart move for any company, and it’s essential for one that offers tech support. Your potential customers need a place where they can find out about your services, read testimonials from satisfied clients, and find out how to contact you.
As a tech expert, you probably have the skills to create a website, but that doesn’t mean you should put a lot of time into building it yourself. Also, be realistic about your design skills—being a tech whiz doesn’t always translate to coherent branding and a beautiful layout. When it comes to your website, it’s more important to communicate clearly with your customers than to show off your tech skills.
We like Squarespace, which is simple, affordable, and comes with beautiful templates that you can use to get a striking site up and running in no time.
Start with your existing network. Make sure to let your friends and family know what you’re doing and ask them to spread the word.
Then start branching out to people you don’t know. Check out your local chamber of commerce and attend some meetings. Look for meetups of small (or not-so-small) business owners or home-based entrepreneurs or whoever your target market is.
And of course, don’t forget social media. It’s a great place to let people know who you are and what you do, and there are often opportunities to jump into conversations with tips and tricks that can help establish you as a tech expert.
We don’t recommend sinking a lot of money or time into paid advertising until you’ve made the most of the free options available to you. That said, there will come a time when you’ll probably have to pay for some kind of advertising. Even then, we suggest you try one form of advertising at a time before moving on to another one.
Remember back in Step 1 when you were talking to potential clients? Hopefully, you asked them about where they learn about tech support services. Facebook and Instagram can be great ways to target local people, but don’t overlook local magazines and papers.
Regardless of the medium you use, always ask new clients how they heard about you and keep track of what methods are getting the best results.
If you’re thinking about starting a service business, you have a lot of options. It can be hard to narrow down what to do for yours.
You want to start a business that offers something unique and draws people to you. We’ll help you work with your service business ideas to choose the one best suited to you and who you want to serve.
A service business is a company created to sell a service rather than a physical product. In other words, you perform a task according to your skills for a customer or client.
These can include many different services, like:
Because of the wide range of possible service businesses, each one operates differently, and there’s no universal business model for all of them.
Creating a service business is about more than coming up with the idea. Let’s look at how you can make your service business ideas a reality.
When you first decide you want to create a service business, you’ll need to come up with the right idea. Within every different type of service industry, there are many options.
No business can fulfill every part of a broad service or industry. For example, IT professionals can’t service every type of technology. Some offer web development services, while others work specifically in the health IT field.
As you think of service business ideas, consider your skills. Knowing your specific talents will help you narrow down your service niche.
When generating ideas, don’t be afraid to write down any that come to mind. There’s no risk when it comes to ideas, and you may think of something you wouldn’t have considered without allowing yourself creative freedom at this point in the process.
When generating ideas, consider what your industry needs.
Many service industries are saturated with people offering similar services. You want yours to be unique enough to stand out among the competition.
This is where you should consider your target audience’s pain points. Know what services are in demand.
You’ll want to research service demand in your area, even if you intend to expand later.
For example, if you want to start a landscaping company, you’ll need to know the types of services that people in your area need for their homes or businesses. Based on that information, you can then start looking at whether they are services you can and want to provide long-term.
Consider whether your ideas are sustainable in your industry. If not, go back to the drawing board and consider something else.
No matter what, you’ll miss something when coming up with service business ideas. That’s why you need to bounce your ideas off others to get feedback.
You can ask potential customers, people who have used similar services before, and people who already work in your desired industry.
These people will have valuable insight into how you can create the best possible business. They can also tell you whether they think your business is a good idea.
At this point, be open to criticism. You can’t please everyone, but it’s worth considering when someone brings up a flaw in your idea.
Think about ways you can solve the problems they bring to your attention.
You may want to connect with someone who can help you grow your business and give you information and feedback as you go. You’re essentially looking for a mentor who knows about building a business like yours.
It doesn’t have to be someone who runs a business in your industry. They could be an industry expert, a former teacher, a parent, or anyone who has the type of knowledge you need to improve your business.
You want someone who supports you and your vision. They should also be able to help you network and get your ideas out into the world.
They also need to be able to give you detailed feedback.
Every company needs a business plan. In it, you should include everything you intend to do with your business. That includes creating a five- or even ten-year plan.
In your business plan, write out your business’s financials, concept, strategy, and anything you’ll need to get your business running. You should also include:
Accounting for all this in advance means you lower the risk of unpleasant surprises.
A business plan prepares you better for the future so that you can make better decisions. It gives you a plan to refer to as you start your business and offers a solid foundation.
Networking lets you meet others in your industry and helps you learn and keep up with industry trends. As a result, you provide greater benefits to your customers.
Networking takes many forms.
You can do it in person by meeting others in your area, going to trade shows and meet-ups, and joining industry groups.
You can also participate in webinars, online groups, and social media to connect with other business owners locally and internationally.
By networking, you can improve your service. It also gets you comfortable talking about what you do and selling your services.
You might plan to run your business as a sole proprietor. However, many service businesses have teams that provide their specific services.
You want to put together a team that understands your business goals and helps you work toward them. Know how to reach the people you want on your team. As the job market changes, you should also change to adapt to it.
That means revamping your interview and candidate search process. Know how to use these processes to grow your business and attract candidates who share your business values.
Having a solid team means having people who can do the work and learn when necessary. They help you offer better services and bring new ideas to the table that help you grow your business. You can also delegate certain tasks to your team, giving you more time to devote to other tasks.
As a business owner, you’ll need to spend time in the office on marketing. When you have a trusted team, you can leave the service tasks to them while taking care of the admin, marketing, budgeting, and other responsibilities.
Marketing is critical to getting clients, both new and returning. It gets the word out about your business and helps you stay top of mind with customers and clients. Without it, you’ll have a hard time growing your business.
Marketing takes many forms. You can market online through your website, by using ads and social media, email campaigns, and in-person by talking about your business to more people. Even in the internet age, word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to market your business.
When marketing your business, keep things consistent across platforms. That means keeping your tone, values, services, and design the same.
Customers like consistency. It shows them you’re organized and know how to catch your audience’s attention and fulfill the promises you make through your marketing.
These tools can help as you come up with service business ideas and work to implement them.
LivePlan helps you in the early stages of planning your business, especially when writing up a business plan. It gives you sample business plans, so you know what to include in your own, plus templates to work from.
It has instructions on business planning and asks you all the big questions you’ll need to start a service business. It simplifies the complicated parts of business planning, including your financials and budgeting. It can even help you get funding with a detailed business plan and forecasts.
With LivePlan’s more advanced features, you can see key performance indicators, create milestones for your business, see financial forecast scenarios, and more. It also gives you industry benchmark data to prepare and keep up with the top performers in your industry.
LivePlan has two packages:
If you’re willing to spend a little extra time learning the platform, LivePlan can give you the tools you need to build your business from its foundation.
GoSmallBiz guides you through creating a business entity, drafting bylaws, building a website, and making a business plan. The platform gives you access to experts to help you grow your business once you get it off the ground. It also ensures that you stay in compliance with business laws in your area.
GoSmallBiz gives you a place to grow your business through marketing, including through email campaigns. With it, you can boost your Google ranking and track your performance online.
GoSmallBiz has several packages that you can bundle to benefit your business as you see fit. Their three most popular include:
Enloop mainly helps with writing up a business plan and financial forecasting. It can even help you generate text for your business plan based on the information you put into the platform.
You can then view your financial forecast to see where you need more funds and improve different areas of your business. You can even compare those forecasts to your competitors. You can see all your business data in colored charts that help you create better plans that serve your business growth.
Enloop comes in three packages:
Enloop offers a free seven-day trial for you to try out its features.
There are some things you can do to upgrade your service business right away. We have a few suggestions.
Improving customer service shows that you’re serious about giving customers the best service. It encourages customers to talk about your business and recommend you to others.
Get feedback from your customers and be open to making changes that benefit them.
Sometimes, improving customer service means implementing better scheduling, engaging positively with customers, or responding promptly to questions and feedback. Doing so will give your service business a boost.
While you’re still going over service business ideas, you should start networking. It can give you a better idea of your industry and help you start your business off on the right foot.
Networking goes beyond events related to your industry, too. Consider any social space a potential venue for networking. You never know who will need your services or who can help you build your business.
Look for people in your industry online and engage with them early on. Whether that means giving advice and posting in groups or engaging with other people’s posts within the industry, social media can help you get recognized.
Your business will need to start marketing even before its launch. Marketing helps you get customers early on and lets people know about you before you’re ready.
You’ll need to keep marketing as long as you want to keep running your business. That requires some trial and error, and the investment should include both time and money. Find which platforms your customers use and market there.
While marketing is a long game, you can make immediate changes to benefit you in the future. Learn what type of ads catch your audience’s attention and use business planning software to see which ones have the best results.
Researching your competition can yield fast results if you do it right. You should be aware of what your competitors are doing with their businesses so that you can improve yours accordingly.
You’ll see what your business lacks as well as what it does better than your competitors. As a result, you can boost your weak spots and fill in the holes in your business before they cause you problems.
You can also get ideas for what other services to offer. You may also see what your competitors do wrong so that you can capitalize on doing it better. Many of these fixes take minimal time and can be as simple as better customer service, faster service, or boosting a unique or specialized service.
Once you’ve started your business, you’ll need more than a business plan. You should have a solid idea of what your customers need and how to provide it. That means understanding and adapting your marketing, providing great content, and focusing on the benefits to your customers as much as to your own business.
While social media is an important part of marketing, you’ll also need to make sure you create a website. Your website has static content about your business and gives you a professional online presence.
You’ll need people on your team who can offer things you can’t. You should connect with mentors for your professional success. You’ll also want to know how to market and work with someone you can trust to capture the tone of your business and put it out into the world long-term.
Today, B2B buyers call the shots and “expect to engage with us using the channel of their choice at any given moment in time” and at any point, they choose in the buying process.
This means revenue teams must learn to relinquish control – leaving behind “old ways” of marketing and sales-driven approaches that inhibit scale and speed to lead – and deploy an omnichannel, buyer-driven strategy that ensures precision in the market, delivering the right message at the right time and for the right buyer.
Join Cyndi Greenglass, president, Livingston Strategies, and Jennifer Goode, director of product marketing, Integrate, as they share strategies to connect and build trust with your buyers.
Register today for “Drive Revenue and Relationships in a Buyer-First World,“ presented by Integrate.
The post Your customer has evolved. So should your marketing. appeared first on MarTech.
If this is your first time, Inside B2B Influence is a podcast series that goes behind the scenes of B2B marketing and highlights insights with top business executives on influencer marketing for B2B companies. At TopRank Marketing we’re doing our best to connect readers and listeners with B2B marketing insiders on strategies, trends, tactics and the future to elevate the practice of growing influence within and outside of B2B brands.
In Episode 17 of Inside B2B Influence we have a returning guest who needs little introduction given his accomplishments and yet, we’d all be missing out if I did not mention that Brian Solis is Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, an 8X best selling author, global keynote speaker, digital pioneer and has been a good friend for over 10 years.[caption id="attachment_30272" align="alignnone" width="500"] Lee, Valerie, Brian – 2008 (Photo: Brian Solis)[/caption]
As someone who has been at the forefront of studying, innovating and practicing influence in the B2B business and technology world, I reached out to Brian for his thoughts on what the future holds for influence at B2B organizations inside and out, what to look for with business influencers and thoughts on how to scale influence.
Highlights of episode 17 include:
Take a listen to The Future of Influence in B2B Marketing with Brian Solis:
In the first ever research report on B2B influencer marketing, you shared that “in a time of darkness, chaos or confusion, B2B brands have an opportunity to be the light for their customers.” As we finish off 2021 and head into another year of the pandemic, what kind of advantage does influencer marketing bring for B2B brands?
I think (B2B influencer marketing) is more important than it’s ever been. @briansolis
Brian: I think it’s more important than it’s ever been and kudos to you for launching that first report. I understand that it was incredibly successful, so thanks for letting me be part of that.
I’ll try to connect the dots this way for those who are listening. At Salesforce, our mission is to help businesses, not just transform, but to be relevant and to thrive in what’s going to be what I call, a novel economy. It’s the word novel, like in novel coronavirus means new and unusual, and that means that we’re heading into new years, a new genre of business without a playbook.
When we take that stance, that means that we have to have a very solid position on how we’re going to help you. What does business look like on the other side? What does every function look like on the other side? Marketing, sales and service? How do they all come together to essentially create the enterprise of the future right now?
And so that’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of thought leadership, a lot of content, a lot of video, a lot of articles, a lot of social media to reach those looking for insights – to connect the dots between valuable information and actions to those who need them.
We have all become marketers now. @briansolis
In that regard, you can’t just have the ideas. You can’t just have the solutions. You also have to have the ability to connect the dots between those ideas and people who need them. So, in a sense, we have all become marketers now. And I think that’s a good thing. I think marketing itself becomes a much more value added, it rises in the ranks of helping to serve, I guess, is the best way to put it, Not just to market or promote or to gain eyeballs, but to serve people.
I think it’s like a call to arms or this enlightenment that gives us a greater sense of purpose, a more noble sense of purpose. So with that said, I have a lot to read, a lot to learn and relearn in these times because there’s certainly a lot of really smart people out there. I’m just hoping to continue to, not just think about ways to help companies, but to also think about ways to reach people their way. And that has me “control alt deleting” a lot of assumptions, that’s for sure.
B2B marketers have learned many lessons from our B2C counterparts including what makes an influencer. B2B influencers are more than experts with industry credentials. They are increasingly creators as well. What are the qualities most important in an influencer that brands should look for?
Brian: Oh, man, let’s start with the question of what makes an influencer. You know, I think back to some of the conversations, how many years have we been having these really these awesome conversations? I really appreciate how long we’ve known each other. We’ve done a lot of really cool things together. I think this is a time where it’s almost as exciting as when we first met. You remember? Social media was just coming together. It was just chaos. It was the wild west. And I think this is that time. I don’t know that people are going to pick up that it’s that time, but it really is. I want to call it out for this reason. What is an influencer?
Because coming into 2022 I think we could all have these visions of some beautiful human being on a beach in Thailand. Somebody walking and seeing their back with their hand extended holding their hand. You know, that’s what I think a lot of traditional marketers think about in terms of influencer marketing. I’m not going to knock it. It has been, for B2C, some of the most innovative, creative stuff that I’ve seen in a long time. There’s nothing to say though, that when it comes to B2B that you can’t be human being either. I think that’s really where we should start thinking about this.
Every single day I get emails, “We need you to be part of this.” Very rarely does someone take the time to read my work and then reach out and talk about ways that we might be able to collaborate. @briansolis
I too, have been the recipient of these types of requests. Every single day I get emails, “we need you to be part of this. We want to give you some content to publish. Can you make a video? Can you do this?” And it’s simply because of the number of people who follow my work. Very rarely does someone take the time to read my work and then reach out and talk about ways that we might be able to collaborate, because there was some idea that they felt could help them connect the dots of markets they’re trying to cultivate.
That’s where it starts: who are you trying to reach and why? And then building bridges between those people who have earned the trust of those that you’re trying to reach, whether it’s a macro influencer, certainly in the B2B world, there are people with a lot of followers, more followers than I’ll probably ever have. And at the same time they have reached the micro influence that is so critical right now. The people that you trust because they will tell you something specific that you need to do and you believe that their insights are going to help you succeed in how you’re measured for success.
I’m a big believer in experimenting. So I’ll experiment with the wide swaths and the big audiences. But I also want to experiment with direct outcomes. If we can together, do some work that helps people make better decisions or move markets or launch products that help other companies, then that’s what I’m talking about.
For example, I remember some of my greatest work in the past, aside from what I’m doing right now. So I don’t know that I’ve ever had so much fun while having such an impact, was back in the day with Google when we launched, we introduced the concept of micro-moments. Micro-moments was our way of helping marketers understand that a mobile first customer does not go through the web journey like a traditional customer sitting in front of a big screen or a laptop journey.
You have to think about TikToK or Snapchat versus amazon.com, right, in terms of how you go through that. The work that we did cast a wide net because Google is very good at that. My responsibility was the micro stuff. Can we beat the drum of micro influence by talking about micro-moments in every single aspect of how a customer goes through the journey and what they’re missing and what they need from marketers, from digital marketers, from web marketers to create that ideal journey.
If I didn’t have that audience, I would go build that audience. @briansolis
So, we talked about micro-moments, we talked about mobile first things. We talked about stats, we ran all kinds of research. We did micro-moments for travel, micro-moments for insurance and micro-moments for auto sales. I was a mad man during that first year to 18 months, every single day developing new content, putting it in the places that were going to reach those people. If I didn’t have that audience, I would go build that audience.
That was my life for a year and a half. And I think the result of that is that everybody knows about micro moments and it’s still important after all of these years today. But that was the hard work, dedicated work of cultivating those communities, not just relying on somebody because they had the numbers.
I think that in this post pandemic economy that’s going to start taking shape, as soon as we can get people vaccinated, that the new world, that next normal needs more work like that. Not just intention to promote stuff, but to build stuff, to help those who are looking for insights, understand that we can build that playbook together.
What is your problem? How has the world changed and how can I help you? Go create (content) around that. @briansolis
I think there’s a lot of people asking questions. There’s a lot of people looking for help. For those influencers who are going to take the time to think about it, not just promote or say something, or try to get a lot of views or clicks or what have you. But to think about like honestly think about, what is your problem? How has the world changed and how can I help you? And then go create around that. That’s the answer to your question. That’s what makes an influencer and it’s not even an influencer at that point. That’s a business partner who’s helping you and helping others solve problems and create opportunities.
One of the significant trends we’ve seen with many enterprise B2B brands is growth of investment in building influence from within. This comes in the form of employee advocacy programs as well as building thought leadership and influence for key executives by collaborating on content with industry experts. How important is it for B2B brands to grow influence from within?
Brian: Such a great question. I joined this company because I wanted to be part of this culture. The Ohana, it is a very special culture, They, we, I should say, believe in that employee advocacy and empowerment. Because the frontline for us are those individuals who are having to help our customers solve some pretty big problems and transform overnight like most companies that got hit in March, 2020 with remote work and e-commerce, and chat bots and automation, and all of the things that had accelerated roadmaps, digital transformation roadmaps by 10 years.
So Mark Benioff, at our big corporate kickoff get together, he talked about how we all need to as individuals, as employees of the organization, not just sell technology, which is a really big thing for a CEO of a hyper-growth company to say. He was basically saying, he wants all of us to think about the outcomes that our customers are trying to solve for and the things that they don’t know, that they need to solve for and go be that go be that person, go be that resource so that they can trust you beyond just being a sales person or a service person.
Employee advocacy is the belief in your people that they can provide solutions and help. @briansolis
That’s a big call to all of us, right? Not just me and my colleagues who do this every single day, but for everybody. That’s employee advocacy. It’s the belief in your people that they can provide solutions and help, not just the things that are going to hit the bottom line. To build relationships, as my colleague Henry King, and I have written about it in a serious this last year, we talk about relationship transformation. What do you want the employee to do, or employees do in aggregate and as individuals? Well, essentially it’s to build relationships.
You know this better than anybody. You build relationships by adding value and consistently adding value.
Business outcomes are natural byproducts of investing in relationships. @briansolis
To do that, it means you have to understand what value looks like. Value is in the eye of the beholder. Then you train, you empower, you re-skill or skill to help people get there. And then you measure that because we’re all in the relationship business. You measure the relationships that you want to see come to life. Then business outcomes are natural byproducts of investing in those relationships.
So then it’s not just a conversation. How can we empower employees to create, to share, to answer questions that maybe haven’t been asked and to answer those questions en masse so that a lot of people find those answers. Essentially you build an infrastructure that can help create that type of advocacy.
I think that’s a pretty big deal, going beyond all of the apps to see, hey, what is it like to work there? You really start to invest in the culture where part of that culture is, you have smart people who are sharing smart things. I think that’s part leadership, but also you need a program that isn’t just about ghost writing for executives. It’s really about giving a voice to the executive who actually believes in those things and scaling them.
Many B2B brands have evolved their influencer marketing practices from experimentation, to well informed campaigns to always on influencer engagement and even building communities of influencers. What’s next in the evolution of influence for B2B brands and customers?
Brian: I think we’re only limited by our imagination. I say that from the bottom of my heart. I want to see more creativity out there. We have been incredibly iterative in the world of influencer marketing.
Do we call them influencers anymore or are they creators now? People are inventing new forms of content creation, which creates new types of consumers for that content. @briansolis
If you think about the B2C world, we’re, gosh, I don’t even know, do we call them influencers anymore or are they creators now? The hyper evolution in the sophistication of some of these creators is incredible. Just look at TikTok and what some of these talented individuals are able to do. And I don’t mean those who are following every challenge. I mean those who are almost like they can work for Industrial Light and Magic. You know, these are people who are taking and inventing new forms of content creation, which creates new types of consumers for that content.
So, I think there’s a lot to learn there. I would also say that there’s also a lot to learn in terms of hyper-focusing on the content that you create and then making it consumable in all of the ways that people want. I’ll give you an example, and it’s also a challenging example.
I just experimented with an idea that I had around what I call Digital Introverts. During the last year there are a large group of people who don’t ever want to talk to another human being when they’re making a purchase. They just got used to being with themselves. And the idea of having to talk to someone creates a lot of anxiety. So, there’s technology, there’s there’s platforms, there’s things that you could use to solve for that if you have to sell something to somebody that traditionally required a human being.
You realize that you can’t rely on one thing to reach everybody anymore. @briansolis
So I thought, here’s an experiment: let’s create, let’s give it a package so that we can find a way to present a new type of engagement, a new type of touch point. It was an article, an infographic, a video, it’s a podcast, it’s micro content. It’s all of these different things, because you realize that you can’t rely on one thing to reach everybody anymore. But then each one of those things, tell me if I’m geeking out too much, but each one of those things, not just the idea, but the packaging needs its own marketing. And that way you’re essentially not just putting this little boat in the water and hope it reaches its destination, every single one has a propulsion strategy, so that it finds the right place to go.
Discovery is also the next big frontier. Who do you want to reach? How do they find information? Where are they going? @briansolis
And with that said, discovery is also the next big frontier. Who do you want to reach? How do they find information? Where are they going? It’s this idea of a deep crawl of how people look for information and we become the solution. This goes back to roots that you and I have talked about over a decade ago around search. When someone searches, whatever that is, whether it’s Google, whether it’s YouTube, whether it’s social media, whether it’s, Hey Lee, where should I go for X, Y, and Z? We have to be the mentally and emotionally available brand or solution in those instances.
So, in many ways it’s reverse engineering what that process looks like, what that journey looks like, what the content journey looks like. So that those things that we’re creating, those products, and those ideas are making their way around.
Now last but not least, make them thoughtful. My goodness. There are so many smart marketers pushing things that are useless out there. So I think as marketers, we should take pride. Have a bar of not putting our name or our stamp on anything that isn’t going to be absolutely useful and helpful to our portfolio. That shows how we’ve been an evaluated resource to the industry.
So that’s a lot there, but I’ll also put a bow on it by saying I was blown away and I think the industry is looking at this with a sort of this curiosity, but also hope and aspiration that this is a success because it would be a game changer. It is already a game changer with Salesforce Plus, right? We introduced essentially what some are calling a Netflix for business.
We look at Dreamforce, we look at all of the content we create, we look at all of the shows we create with our customers, our trailblazers, and we’re going to create a network now of all of that content and new shows and programming that essentially shine the light on the importance of B2B and business transformation. It’s not just a content play now. It’s seriously as important as lifestyle programming, because we spend more time at work than we do at home. I think this is the mainstream time for all our all business professionals. We have a lot to do.
We have a huge, not just a checklist of things to do, we have a huge opportunity, it’s unprecedented. I say that word, I know it’s an overused word, but it is literally not anything that we’ve trained for. And I want to take this moment to let you know, those people who are watching or listening, this is a bigger moment than we may realize. And it’s a bigger moment than maybe those who we work with or whom we report to may realize this.
The future of business is not what it used to be. It is in need of insight. It is in need of empathy. It is in need of solutions. @briansolis
The future of business is not what it used to be. It is in need of insight. It is in need of empathy. It is in need of solutions. It is in need of partners willing to not just push one thing, but help people along the way. And look, I don’t have all the answers, but I’m committed to and I encourage you to be committed to also trying to find them because people do need help.
Those who take the time to invest in finding solutions and experimenting with those solutions so that they work, not just some random idea, are going to be those who help those transformations be their best. We could probably go into a whole show about that, but I think this really is our time. It’s unwritten.
If something works in business and especially marketing, companies naturally want to scale it up. What should B2B companies be thinking about as they work to scale the activities and outcomes from their influencer marketing efforts?
Brian: Well, what are you scaling towards and why? This kind of comes back to the part of the conversation where we were talking about some sort of measurement. How do we define success? You’ve seen this more than most I’m sure. We tend to put the numbers on the things that don’t really carry the weight around that best answer strategy. And also connecting the dots to the discovery. I think that too, is a big measure of success. Are we connecting to the right people? Not just, are we reaching the broadest audience as possible? I don’t care how many retweets or views something gets, I need to know, did it reach the right people and did it make an impact and is there a before and after state?
I don’t care how many retweets or views something gets, I need to know, did it reach the right people and did it make an impact and is there a before and after state? @briansolis
Because that before state is what we’re working to change. That’s the definition of influence. So that after state is what we should measure. And it’s not just one state, it’s a continual progression of having an impact. That’s what I think we should start to really think about scaling.
So go have fun with all of the traditional marketing and continue that. I’m not saying that it’s not useful. This is just very specific. This is a very interesting time. A once in a lifetime, maybe, but there’s a real need to help. And I guess we have to define for ourselves, what kind of help do we want to be known for.
When someone says your name, what will it be attached to in terms of not just reputation, but that expertise? @briansolis
When someone says your name, what will it be attached to in terms of not just reputation, but that expertise? When I wrote X, I became the experience guy and I wanted it to become a the experience guy. When I wrote Lifescale, I intentionally decided I wanted to be the digital wellness guy. These are things that I put everything into and measured and scaled around that while also understanding, what does experience guy mean? Or what does digital wellness guy mean?
Well, on the other side, it means I’m providing help to someone who is trying to figure out how to deliver the next best customer experience by understanding their customer and the digital experiences that they need to create that best experience and what those experiences look like. I put all these measures in place to understand what I was trying to scale towards. I think that’s where we have to think about outcomes for those who read and share our work.
That’s where we reverse engineer, I say that a lot, where we back into the outcome, what success ultimately looks like, and then scale toward that. That’s how I got the name Lifescale of my last book – where do you want your life to be so that you understand how all of the investments you’re making and all of the things you’re doing to scale it in that direction.
Thank you Brian!
Be sure to stay tuned to TopRank Marketing’s B2B Marketing Blog for our next episode of Inside B2B Influence where we’ll be answering the B2B marketing industry’s most pressing questions about the role of influence in business to business marketing. If you missed one of our previous episodes of Season 2, follow the links below:
Help elevate the practice of influence in B2B marketing by sharing your experience and opinions about B2B marketing and working with influencers in our latest research project. The survey takes just 10 minutes and you’ll not only get an advanced copy of our research report featuring insights from Brian Solis and an incredible mix of B2B industry experts, but we’re also giving away some sweet incentives. Take the survey today though, because we’ll be closing it down soon.
If you’ve been creating paid ad campaigns for a while, you’ve likely noticed how competitive online advertising has become. Businesses are spending more and more money on paid ad campaigns to attract a growing number of online users.
However, it’s important to recognize not everyone is in your target audience. There are a billion social media users, but your business may only be relevant for a few thousand.
It’s time to stop wasting money advertising to users who will never convert. Instead, you need to find your “ideal” users and create stellar niche paid ad campaigns to convert them.
It is easy to confuse the terms (paid media, owned media, and earned media), as they all pertain to marketing, but address different types of ads.
When you pay money to a third-party channel like a regional magazine to advertise your business, it’s called “paid media.”
Here is an example of paid media on Twitter.
If you post photos, videos, and other types of online content about your company on your owned social media channels, it’s called “owned media.”
Here is an example of owned media.
When people organically feature your content (without you paying for it), it’s called “earned media.”
This graphic by Oneupweb further explains the differences between paid media, owned media, and earned media:
Now you know you shouldn’t market your business to everyone, so your next question is how do you find the right audience so you can focus your ads (and ad spend) on the right audience.
We’ll discuss and answer those and other niche paid media campaign questions next.
Identifying your target audience is one of the most important steps to launch a successful niche paid media campaign.
Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ways to research your target demographics effectively.
What does your target audience want? Find out by creating a buyer persona. Build an example profile of your ideal customer.
What is their age? Which social media sites do they use? Why do they want to buy your product? What problem do they want to solve?
Answering these questions will help you add nuance to your profile.
The key to success when creating a buyer persona is not in having a comprehensive psychological profile of your audience, but rather knowing their pain points so you can present your business as a solution.
Make a list of things that bother your target customer, and see how you can position your products and services as a “relief.”
For instance, the team behind Tinder, a popular dating service, may market themselves to young adults who feel lonely by positioning their brand as a way to meet new people and form meaningful connections.
Once you identify your target audience, it’s time to start working on the niche paid media campaign.
Start by thinking about your budget. Don’t set an arbitrary figure that you “think” will be enough. Look at the hard data.
Ask questions like:
This may help you come up with a number that offers plenty to work with without overspending.
It also helps if you know which platform you want to work with. Look at the advertising rates on Instagram, Facebook, Google, or whatever other channel you want to use.
Here are factors to consider when setting a budget for your niche paid media campaign.
Pay attention to where most of your customers come from—that platform will be a good place to start.
Setting goals for your niche paid media campaigns helps you track, measure, and improve their performance.
For best results, remember to set SMART goals. These are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
For instance, setting a goal to attract 1 million YouTube subscribers through Facebook marketing isn’t “SMART.”
A better alternative could be:
“Our team will spend 3 hours per weekday posting 1 video on our official Facebook page at 4 pm when the audience is most active, and spend $20 promoting it through Facebook ads with a long-term goal of attracting 50K YouTube subscribers over the next six months.”
The right paid media format will depend on your target audience research, budget, campaign goals, and brand.
Display ads work well for businesses that want to catch the user’s eye. Restaurants, fashion brands, and tourism companies often use display ad campaigns to showcase their businesses.
Paid ads like the ones you see on Google (see below) are ideal for text-focused businesses like writing services, digital marketing teams, law, and agencies.
Another option for niche paid ad campaigns could be influencer partnerships. An increasing number of businesses are working with people with large social media followings to promote their products.
They are often effective because:
As a niche business, however, I’d recommend looking for micro-influencers with more targeted audiences. They tend to charge less but give you access to a carefully curated audience.
I don’t recommend using all the platforms at once, as it can be difficult to master the nuances and optimize multiple campaigns at the same time.
Instead, pick one or two that seem most relevant for your business.
For instance, a photography business may see better results with a niche paid media campaign on Instagram compared to Twitter, since users interested in photography are more likely to use photo-focused platforms like Instagram.
If you want to create an interactive campaign, use chat-focused platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and even Reddit. These tend to be more active and promote engagement due to their user-friendly setup.
Platforms like this work well for giveaways and contests where you need a lot of audience interaction and informal sharing.
While it’s crucial to create well-developed niche paid ad campaigns on one or two platforms, diversifying your efforts is also important. This doesn’t mean using all the platforms.
Instead, diversifying your marketing efforts means experimenting with different formats (see the section above), changing the type of content you post (photos vs. videos), and occasionally cross-posting on different pages.
No matter which platform you use and what your budget is, the results of your niche paid ad campaign come down to your ad copy.
The key lies in making sure your ad copy is engaging, appealing, and offers enough information to drive the viewer to click.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are the essential elements to include:
I also wrote a whole post on PPC ad copywriting to help you create engaging copy.
You’ve decided on a platform, format, budget, audience, ad copy, and your campaign is ready. What next?
You need to get specific with your targeting.
Remember, not everyone is your audience. How do you make sure your ad is reaching the right people?
Most advertising platforms offer detailed targeting options for your niche paid media campaigns.
For example, Facebook offers pretty robust options for targeting your campaign to a very niche group of people.
Use these options to set targeting settings based on your buyer persona, as discussed in the first section of this article.
Instagram, Reddit, Google Ads, and others have similar targeting options.
An important part of targeting your marketing efforts includes using high-intent keywords.
How do you find suitable high-intent keywords for your business? It’s all about keyword research.
Look at your competitors. What are they using? How are they using these keywords? Which ones are and aren’t suitable for your business? Which keywords can form a solid base for your niche paid ad campaign?
Now you’ve learned how to create stellar niche paid ad campaigns. Here are fast tips that will help your campaigns get better results.
Studies show using someone’s name can have a powerful attention-grabbing effect. Use your readers’ names in the ad copy, especially if it’s a newsletter or a sign-up form, so they feel more connected to your brand.
Consider using dynamic keyword insertion, which adjusts copy and images based on user behavior.
Reports show people remember messages delivered via a video better than messages read through text (blogs). Leverage this finding by incorporating more videos in your niche paid ad campaigns.
You don’t need 15-minute videos to get good results. Even a 2-minute video is great for grabbing attention.
If your targeting efforts are fairly successful and you see users partially converting (subscribing but not buying, or adding items to the card but not completing the transaction), use retargeting.
Retargeting options on platforms like Facebook and Shopify let you offer gentle nudges to users.
You can also retarget users who bought from you once but may have dropped off the radar now.
Niche paid ad campaigns are not more expensive than typical ad campaigns. In fact, they may be cheaper because you’re advertising to a smaller pool of people.
You can make niche paid ad campaigns more effective by leveraging influencer marketing, using intent-based keywords, doing thorough market research, and continually monitoring and improving the content and performance of your campaigns.
Create a thorough buyer persona to understand your target user’s needs and pain points. You can also use surveys, track online activity, or simply ask frequent users about their key concerns to get in-depth information about customer pain points.
Use online tools offered by Facebook, Shopify, and Instagram to retarget past users with new ad campaigns. You can also use “abandoned card recovery” features to retarget users who browsed through your products and added them to the cart but didn’t finish the transaction.
“name”: “Are Niche Paid Campaigns More Expensive?”,
Niche paid ad campaigns are not more expensive than typical ad campaigns. In fact, they may be cheaper because you’re advertising to a smaller pool of people.
“name”: “How to Make Niche Campaigns More Effective?”,
You can make niche paid ad campaigns more effective by leveraging influencer marketing, using intent-based keywords, doing thorough market research, and continually monitoring and improving the content and performance of your campaigns.
“name”: “How Do I Incorporate Pain Points in Paid Media Campaigns?”,
Create a thorough buyer persona to understand your target user’s needs and pain points. You can also use surveys, track online activity, or simply ask frequent users about their key concerns to get in-depth information about customer pain points.
“name”: “How Do You Retarget Users in Niche Paid Media Campaigns?”,
Use online tools offered by Facebook, Shopify, and Instagram to retarget past users with new ad campaigns. You can also use “abandoned card recovery” features to retarget users who browsed through your products and added them to the cart but didn’t finish the transaction.
If targeted correctly, niche paid media campaigns are often cheaper and more effective.
Using simple strategies like the ones listed above may help you find your target audience, convert more users, and stand out from the competition.
Which niche paid media campaign strategy will you try using today?
You’re invited to WebOps.21, an industry event for web professionals and digital marketers looking for a better way to jam, riff off each other, and find harmony with their websites.
From awesome keynotes to informative breakout sessions, you can look forward to an impressive lineup of standout speakers, including:
Register today to reimagine your digital strategy and align your teams to the steady beat of innovate, deploy, iterate, repeat. This is peak web, and you belong here.
When: September 28-29, 2021
What: Half day, morning sessions & networking
Learn more & register here: WebOps.21
Lead generation is key in the digital age we live in.
It is how businesses who want more customers get qualified sales leads.
If you’re new to lead generation, here’s a quick sentence to explain: The lead generation business serves as the broker between the business using the service and the business’s ideal customer.
Lead generation companies are wildly popular because many business owners don’t have the time to focus their efforts on finding and securing clients, but still need a way to generate new leads.
There is clearly a need for this type of business, so we love that you are considering starting one. However, before you get ahead of yourself, know that there is more to starting a lead generation company than simply taking advantage of the demand for it.
Starting a lead generation business is no easy feat. You must go through the motions that are required to start any new business, but with a lead generation business specifically, you have to add onto that the challenges that may come your way in the form of competition, long sales processes, security issues, and more.
However, getting into the lead generation space can prove to be very profitable, as more and more companies are finding they don’t have the time or bandwidth to search for these leads on their own.
Read on to learn more about starting your own lead generation business and whether it’s the right fit for you.
Let’s start with the parts of starting a lead generation business that won’t bog you down. These are the processes of getting the business going that you should be able to handle without too many issues.
You want to narrow down your lead generation into a specific niche or category. This will help you to be more successful in your business, as your focus will be on one area.
Start with a general industry, and then get more specific. For example, if you’re interested in a lead generation business for the fitness industry, get more specific with what sectors of the fitness industry you want to get involved in. These could include fitness studios, gyms, trainers, and more.
You may want to pick an industry that isn’t highly competitive and that isn’t oversaturated. This increases your chances of getting more in commissions and having better success.
The more specific you get in your niche, the better.
Having a website that showcases your work is key to finding success in your lead generation business.
It doesn’t have to be a complex website but certainly needs to be one with a custom domain that shows the basics of what you do, along with client testimonials.
To help you in building a website for your lead generation business, you may want to turn to WordPress.
As you can see, WordPress is the most popular website builder online today, and for good reason. It is one of the most customizable website builders, which means it allows for scalability, which will be key as your lead generation business continues to grow.
This open-source application allows developers and creatives to customize as much as they want. If you are looking for something more simple and ready-to-use, WordPress also offers templates that can get you started in almost no time.
With a WordPress website, you can show potential clients your offerings and how working with you will benefit them.
If only all the parts of starting a lead generation business were easy.
But then, everyone would be doing it.
Thus, to find success in your lead generation business, you’ve got to push through the difficult parts. To help you with that, we are sharing here the things you can expect to struggle with so that you can get help in tackling them.
Since this is the heart of your lead generation business, you must do it right.
However, it is not as simple as people may think. There are numerous different ways in which you can acquire leads, and you may have to try your hand at all of them to determine which ones work best for you and your clients.
So you’ve sorted out how to get leads for your clients, but now you’re faced with how to deliver those leads you’ve gotten.
This part may require you to try out a few different options to see what works best for your business.
One way that you can deliver leads to your clients is via Google Sheets. Here you can plug into a spreadsheet all the details you gathered about potential leads.
Another way is with a tool called Zapier.
This tool allows you to send an automatic email to your client that has all the information on the potential leads you’ve gathered.
Once you get busier with your clients, this can be huge in automating some of your processes.
As mentioned above, the first step in the process of starting a lead generation business is deciding what industry to get involved in.
It is smart to go with an industry that is in high demand, but that may not have a lot of competition.
The key to this step is getting very specific in your niche. Rather than choosing something general such as restaurants, get more specific about what type of restaurants you want to target.
Now that you have settled on a niche to focus your attention on, it is time to start building relationships with clients.
One of the best ways to start this is by building a website using WordPress.
Your website will serve as a way to show your clients that you have experience in lead generation and that they will greatly benefit from working with you.
On your website you want to highlight the following information:
WordPress lets you determine the level of customization you want in your website. If you want to build it from the ground up on your own, you can do so. Or, if you don’t have the time or skill set to do that, and don’t want to hire a website builder, then you can take advantage of WordPress hundreds of templates to get the skeleton of the website started for you.
There are a few different pricing packages that WordPress offers, but for your lead generation business, you will likely want to opt for the Business package.
The Business package is best for small businesses and is priced at $25/month when billed annually. Included with this you will get:
Once you’ve got your website up and running, you can start making a list of companies that work in the industry you’ve decided to focus on. This will require some research on your part to see what local and national companies fit the bill.
Once you’ve done this, turn to LinkedIn to find the people at the companies who are in charge of sales, or that are the right contact to approach regarding selling leads.
You can also reach out to these companies via cold emails or cold calls if you can find their contact information online.
This is one of the more tricky yet most important steps in your lead generation business. There are a few different ways that you can charge your clients.
This approach is the way to go if you are well-experienced in the industry.
The front-end model means that you determine with a new client how many leads you can generate, and what quality those leads are. These two things will determine the price per lead.
The risk for this model is lower, which means it is the better option for you as you start your lead generation business.
The hybrid model allows the client to determine what their advertising spend is, and with that amount of money you generate as many quality leads as you can with that budget.
For every lead that your client’s team converts, you get a commission.
This model is quite risky, as you are paying for the advertising spend out of your own pocket. If something goes wrong and your leads don’t convert, you could be out a lot of money.
However, if done correctly you have the potential to make a chunk of money, since this model also offers you the largest commissions.
The model that you opt to go with depends largely on your experience. The more confident you feel in your lead generation abilities, the more you can risk putting money upfront for a client that will result in a higher return. You may find that you start out with one model and then switch to another once you become more comfortable and confident in your work.
A lead generation business is about more than just getting leads.
Once you’ve secured leads for a client, you want to gauge how likely they are to convert before handing them off to your client.
Leads that don’t convert will harm your reputation with your client. You can’t win them all, but you want to make sure that the likelihood of the majority of your leads converting is high.
One way to build a strong relationship with leads is by sending emails that track engagement.
You mustn’t stop caring about your work once you pass quality leads off to your clients.
To maintain strong relationships with your clients, you must request conversion funnel metrics from them. Having this information will allow you to optimize your strategies and see what works versus what doesn’t work.
This is also a way for you to potentially increase prices with your clients if your leads have resulted in high conversion rates. With this information, you can scale your business and ensure that you are being as efficient as possible.
MarTech’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s digital marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.
Good morning, Marketers, and it has been quite a week.
Tuesday and Wednesday were taken up with the MarTech conference. It was virtual, of course, and the amount of work which goes on, not only to prepare it, but to keep things on track when the sessions go live, is formidable. Great work by the team.
The content remains available on demand, of course, and there are plenty of sessions I’ve not yet seen which I’m looking forward to checking out. For example, my favorite DAM presenter Mark Davey, Pam Didner on ABM and Ekta Chopra of e.l.f. Beauty on her CDP journey.
The agenda is still here and you can check out countless hours of valuable video with a free registration.
Every marketer has seen that crowded graphic of the marketing technology landscape, which gets set in smaller print every year as the number of vendor logos balloons, now, to over 8,000 and counting.
“This explosion of software is happening everywhere,” said Scott Brinker, creator of the graphic and also Editor of chiefmartec.com and VP Platform Ecosystem for HubSpot.
Brinker closed day one of MarTech with a keynote addressing this growth in software applications and the transition to digital-first operations that affects how all of us do our jobs. He cited an IDC Technologies prediction that there could be over 500 million digital apps and services deployed using cloud-native approaches by 2023.
“Not all of these are going to be commercially packaged solutions you can buy off the shelf, although there will certainly be plenty — hundreds of thousands of SaaS applications,” Brinker said. “But there will be an even larger number of custom apps built within individual companies.”
As any marketer can tell on a daily basis, the amount of data out there is proliferating. Of course, as discussed in the other Day 1 keynote, the data isn’t always perfect.
But as data continues to grow, the applications to manage and activate it are growing even faster.
“The thing about Big Ops is that it’s not just the data that’s growing, it’s the interactions that every single one of us as an individual is having per day with data,” Brinker said. “That’s actually growing even faster than the data in the world.”
“Marketing operations is one of the fastest growing marketing professions — and it shows no signs of slowing down.” That’s how Darrell Alfonso, who works in Global Marketing Operations for Amazon Web Services, kicked off day two of MarTech.There are currently no fewer than 61,000 job openings on LinkedIn which refer to “marketing operations” in the U.S. alone.
Alfonso drilled down into the marketing ops responsibilities which make it so critical to the modern marketing organization:
It’s clear from the above that marketing ops, far from being back-room button-pressers, are on the front lines when it comes to identifying challenges faced by the marketing organization — as well as being tasked with finding solutions. CMOs should not just look to fill those vacancies with just anyone. They should seek out marketing ops professionals who are creators and builders. What does that mean?
“With marketing operations and martech,” said Alfonso, “you always want to keep the customer at the center and you want to create and invent on their behalf. When you do that wonderful things start to happen…and high-value business outcomes follow.”
With its latest round of funding, Reddit promised to expand advertising options to help businesses drive more qualified leads. Well, it didn’t take long, from what we can see. The latest announcement indicates that ad features are where the platform’s headed. What’s new?
Why we care. One important thing about Reddit is that the communities (called subs) are so niche and specific to certain groups and interests. While they are generally wary of advertising, there’s an opportunity there to really hone in your targeting and find the exact people who would want your product or service. These upgraded advertising options will help marketers do that even more effectively now.
“I’m currently attending MarTech Conference. This is LIT.” Odd Morten Sørensen, Growth Hacker, NTE
Maybe you dream of being the next Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg and striking it rich with your college business idea. Or perhaps you are just looking for a way to make extra cash between classes. Whatever the case, entrepreneurship is a challenging but potentially lucrative task to mix with school projects and commitments. It is definitely possible to come up with a viable business idea while still in college. You may even be able to live out your entrepreneurship dream after graduation and skip the 9-5 grind altogether.
If you’re toying with the idea of starting a business in college, you’ll need more than a vague dream of becoming an entrepreneur to see you through. College is already demanding enough. Starting a business on the side means giving up nights out, funneling any spare money to your project, and juggling multiple responsibilities. So, why go through the trouble of starting your business now rather than after you graduate?
First off, starting your business in college will give you a head start. This is especially true if you have entrepreneurial dreams after graduation. There’s a lot that goes into the planning stages of a business. You’ll need to create a business plan, do market research, estimate turnover and profit margins, choose a business name, and create a business entity. Starting a business in college lays the groundwork for your future empire, allowing you to scale your business after college.
College also offers bountiful resources that you would need to pay out of pocket in the real world. You have access to IT and printing resources, free internet, one-on-one time with professors and advisors, and business courses and programs. Many universities also offer grants and other financial assistance to student entrepreneurs. It will be a shame not to exploit these resources, especially considering you are paying top-dollar for them anyway.
Furthermore, starting a business in school offers the best low-risk, high reward scenario. You don’t have many commitments or assets that starting a business from scratch could jeopardize. And, if things go south, you could always go back to studying full-time. Starting a business in college is hard work. But, the stakes are far lower than after graduation, when your entire life may hinge on your business success or failure. College offers the perfect opportunity to test out business ideas and see what works and what doesn’t.
Finally, starting a business in college complements your classroom education. Running a business is an entirely different ballgame from acing your finals. Your business can help to bridge the gap between learning material and applied concepts.
Business ideas for college students are a dime a dozen. And, the experiences of student entrepreneurs vary widely. Even so, successful college business ventures have some core elements in common. Applying these elements will help you pick a viable business idea that you can execute successfully.
Starting a business is less about you and more about your customers. To state the obvious, a business cannot exist without customers. So while your mind is buzzing with business ideas, remember to consider who your customers will be.
Moreover, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to invest heavily in the business without first identifying your customers. Instead, you need to find out if there is demand for your product or service in the first place. Again, a little market research should help you figure this out.
You’ll also need to conduct a SWOT analysis for your business idea. Identifying the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of your idea will help you determine whether it’s viable.
Some of the crucial questions to ask about your business idea include:
You’ll likely need to obtain funding for your business. This factor alone can make or break a business idea. So, consider how much you need to start your business when evaluating your ideas.
For example, you may have an excellent idea for an app. But, you’ll need to secure funding to cover backend development, design cost, security, testing, and architecture. A simple app with a standard UX and basic features could quickly run you upwards of $40,000. If you can’t secure funding, it may be worth scaling down your business idea, or exploring a different idea that doesn’t require as much capital.
Many student entrepreneurs aspire to grow their businesses after graduation. So, a good business idea should have good potential for growth. This growth may include venturing into new markets to expanding the product range.
To this end, you can tilt towards business ideas in expanding sectors. According to Indeed, some of the fastest-growing industries in the US include transportation, healthcare, financial services, trucking, and real estate. So venturing into any of these sectors offers plenty of room to grow your business post-graduation.
A minimum viable product is one of the best ways to tell if you have a good business idea. But you don’t have to go all out and pay a manufacturer to create the prototype. Instead, you can create brochures or slideshows detailing the product and its features.
Once you’re happy with the response, you can go ahead and build a prototype. Ideally, the prototype should have the minimum features you need for the product to work. Then, you can use the revenue from the product for the subsequent development stages.
This strategy works equally well for a service-based business.
There are a couple of handy tools that you’ll need to execute your business idea.
Writing your first business plan may seem daunting. But, this is a critical tool to help you successfully execute your business idea. For one, a business plan enables you to paint a realistic picture of your venture. The business plan highlights the steps you need to take to launch and run your venture. You’ll get an honest look at what it takes, including potential problems you might face. A business plan also helps to organize resources and approach investors.
You don’t even need a ten-page business plan. One or two pages covering the critical aspects of your business, including company description, marketing analysis, execution plan, and marketing plan, are enough. You are also more likely to follow through with a short, clear, and concise business plan.
Fortunately, a quick Google query will yield plenty of results for business plan templates. A template provides the structure you need to create a business plan from scratch. Additionally, the template will ensure you don’t miss any crucial details.
You’ll need a website for your startup. A business website will prove indispensable in every stage of your business. For example, you can use your website to deliver videos, images, and infographics during product development. Your website will also help to drum up business once you’re up and running.
The good news is that you can build one cheaply. You don’t even need design or coding experience to publish a professional business website.
Web.com is an exceptional website builder for startups. It’s a perfect choice for people who aren’t very tech-savvy. The website builder has a straightforward drag-and-drop design to help you create your website quickly. You can also choose from hundreds of professionally designed templates to ensure your website stands out.
Other noteworthy web.com features include:
You even get access to technicians to help walk you through building your first website. Web.com is also one of the most affordable website builders out there, allowing you can get started at just $1.95 for the first month.
Feel free to check out our Best Website Builders post for the complete picture of the best options on the market. In addition, our Daily Eggspert has done a terrific job reviewing six more web.com alternatives. You’ll also get valuable tips for picking the best website builder for your use case.
One of your biggest challenges as a student entrepreneur will be organizing your time. There’s a lot to get done between school and your startup. So, an organizer will help you plan your time and stay on top of your to-do list.
You can choose a traditional physical organizer. Or, you can go online. There are plenty of organization apps to choose from, including Todoist and Any.do. These apps come with helpful productivity features, including:
Once you’re confident in your business idea, here’s what it takes to be a successful student entrepreneur:
If you haven’t already chosen your major, choosing one related to your business makes sense. Altrnately, you can select a business idea that’s related to your major. This strategy is especially effective for balancing your academic and business performance. This way, you’ll be transferring your classroom study into the real world.
For example, you can use your class assignments to do market research for your business. In this case, successful entrepreneurs are less likely to see you as competition. They may be more willing to share invaluable insights if you’re doing market research or a feasibility study as part of your homework.
Equally, your professors may also be willing to facilitate internships in your field. Professors often have a vast network of alumni groups that they can connect you with.
You’ll want to cut costs as much as you can. But, there are certain business aspects you shouldn’t skimp on. Taking shortcuts, especially where legal and regulatory matters are concerned can come back to haunt you. For example, just because you are a student entrepreneur doesn’t mean you are exempt from compliance issues and business insurance.
Do your research to find out the precise legal and regulatory requirements for your type of business. Some of the basic legal requirements when starting a business include:
It is also worth consulting with a professional and asking them to review all your paperwork. Then, they’ll be able to spot potentially costly mistakes before they happen.
A mentor can help you accelerate your business. You’ll also probably face many of the same challenges as your mentor during your journey. They’ll be able to offer ready answers or solutions to your problems.
College is a great place to find mentors easily. Your professors are a go-to option. Preferably, consult with professors who have experience running a business. Also, make time to network. Join groups and programs designed for student entrepreneurs. These are great places to make valuable connections.
Raising capital for your business may not be the most straightforward task. But, it is possible to do, even as a college student. To this end, explore your financing options and choose the option that makes the most sense. Of course, you can also combine several financing options.
Start with a budget. This way, you’ll know exactly how much you need to raise and where the money will go. This is another area where having a business plan is useful. For now, you may want to stay away from loans. Moreover, you may have difficulty qualifying for a business loan since you haven’t had much time to build your credit score.
You’ll still have plenty of funding options, including investors, government grants, donations from friends, crowdfunding, venture capitalists, bootstrapping, family assistance, and personal savings.
Alternatively, you can make a point of coming up with an idea that doesn’t require large startup costs.
When it comes down to it, school is your number one priority. The harsh truth is that few people create a successful business right out of the gate. It may even take a few tries before you hit on a viable or successful business idea. So, prioritize your school work and graduate on schedule.
You can start by regarding your business as a side-hustle or part-time business. This way, you’ll always be clear on what is vital in case of conflicting schedules. Also, don’t forget to take time off for yourself. Schedule time regularly to relax and reflect.
College offers plenty of free resources that you can utilize for your business. But, be mindful about how you use these resources. For example, free college WiFi can help you cut costs. But, this is a public network. That means you could easily land in legal trouble by transmitting sensitive client information via the college network.
Additionally, there might be a limit to how you can use resources like printers. For example, going over the limit printing your brochures may land you in trouble with the faculty. You could face disciplinary action, including suspension or dismissal for breaking the institution’s rules. Go through your student handbook to make sure you don’t inadvertently break any rules. Also, consult with a trusted faculty member when in doubt.
On the other hand, find out which resources your college offers aspiring entrepreneurs. Many colleges offer such resources, including Small Business Development Centers, placement offices for internship opportunities, software development programs, university incubators and accelerators, and university business consulting.
Make sure you have all the necessary permits for your city or state before launching your business. This should be the case even if your business is limited to your campus.
Next, start getting the word out about your product or service. The college campus offers a ready market. You also have an opportunity to test your product or service viability before your rollout to the rest of the world. You don’t need a big marketing budget just yet. Start by getting the word out about your business within the university. You can hand out flyers and put up posters on bulletin boards, class buildings, and student centers.
Here are two more guides to help you start your college business:
Kickidler is a cross-platform employee monitoring solution for small, large, and remote businesses alike.
With powerful tools like online monitoring, time tracking, and automatic notifications, you can seamlessly automate information security and increase business efficiency with ease.
What makes Kickidler so significant to the industry is its features. It offers multiple view monitoring systems, compressed video and data formatting, and the option to observe a whole department or company at once.
Not only can you track and monitor your employees, but Kickidler also helps you prevent information leakages with its data loss and violation monitoring tools.
Kickidler will help you monitor employees much easier by giving you complete control of each tool to improve efficiency across the board.
Kickidler offers many features that will help you improve your employee monitoring solution. Below is an in-depth look at some of its best features.
Kickidler’s online screen monitoring allows you to view the screen of any employee to see what they are doing at any given time. Screen monitoring is important because it can help you increase productivity in your employees while obtaining data on staff working time.
The online screen monitoring feature ensures that all employees are using office hours appropriately. Kickidler also lets you monitor the screen of any workers who have been a cause for concern––which helps you immediately follow up on any issues.
A unique aspect of Kickidler’s screen monitoring is the quad splitter tool. This tool allows you to view all of your employee’s desktops in the form of a grid for a very intuitive perspective.
The quad splitter tool is similar to those found in CCTV systems, meaning it is high quality and easy to use. Kickidler also lets you include an unlimited amount of employee desktops in the grid, making it simple to view a whole team at once.
There are also different options for the quad splitter tool, including the quad mesh add-on. The quad mesh add-on allows you to highlight a group of screens and monitor a group of select employees more closely.
Kickidler makes it easy for you to understand what each employee is doing. If an employee is currently engaged in private activities, their display screen will appear red. However, if an employee is working on their assigned duties, their display screen will appear green.
The red and green display boxes allow you to figure out who is doing the right or wrong thing at a glance, especially if you’re monitoring a whole team or department.
What else can you do with Kickidler’s screen monitoring feature? Here’s a list of some of the most important tasks you can do:
You receive screen monitoring with all of Kickidler’s paid plans. But there’s also a free version available to all users, where you can monitor up to six employees in real-time.
Kickidler meets all your time tracking needs with fast, easy, and accurate software.
Kickidler is a powerful solution for time tracking because its program automatically tracks and then calculates the time each employee spent working and compiles a timesheet for each one.
Not only will the program track your employees working time, but it will also analyze their productivity. Kickidler monitors and captures their activities in real-time and records violations of work schedules––making it one of the more advanced solutions on the market today.
Kickidler uses an agent program known as Grabber, which you install onto your employee’s computer. Grabber then monitors and records all activity on each computer and stores this on a separate server.
With its intuitive web interface, you have control over every setting in the Grabber agent program. Complete system control ensures that you can view all detailed reports on employee working hours.
Within the central server, you also get access to Kickidler’s productive calendar feature, which lets you create work schedules for individual employees or whole departments in one easy-to-use platform.
The Kickidler productive calendar allows you to configure work schedules, including breaks, vacations, sick leave, and business trips. Your work calendar can now focus on recording employee activity during working hours only, which is especially important for remote businesses.
Kickidler time tracking generates work time reports on data received through each user activity. Not only does it track how many hours per day, week, month, and year your employees work, but it also tracks when your employees are late, leave early, skip work, and work overtime.
The Kickidler program captures these tasks both quantitatively and cumulatively. Meaning you will have an extensive outlook on how many hours your employees are working across the board.
Kickidler time tracking is only available to paid subscribers.
Autokick is Kickidler’s automatic notifications feature, which lets you notify employees of violations in the workplace.
Autokick aims to improve the efficiency of your employee’s work ethic by notifying them every time they violate a workplace order. Whether an employee is late, stays idle for more than 30 minutes, or visits a banned website, a pop-up alert will immediately remind them to get back on track.
Autokick alerts will also remind employees to take a break, so it’s not only focused on workplace violations.
The best part about Autokick is how flexible it is. You can set up individual pop-up notifications with custom work violations for each employee or department. Customization makes it easy to notify specific employees without the hassle of interpersonal conflicts.
The flexibility of Autokick expands to email, too. You can set up an option to send copies of each violation notification to the employee’s email address, making it easy to keep track of persistent violators.
After you set up Autokick, the program works completely independently, making sure that you don’t need to supervise it 24/7––saving you time to focus on everyday tasks instead.
A significant aspect of the Autokick program is its self-monitoring interface feature. This feature lets employees personally view how productive they have been throughout the day with productivity analytics.
An employee can view these analytics at any time during the workday by clicking a button on the system tray. The analytics system provides employees with data in a pie chart format and includes the total time of work, percentages of productive, neutral, and non-productive activities, plus any idle time.
The Autokick self-monitoring interface will help you reinforce a positive work environment by motivating your employees clearly and objectively. In general, Autokick will help you increase the motivation of employees, remove negativity in communication, and increase the autonomy of employee efficiency.
By default, Kickidler disables all of its Autokick features upon installation, so remember to configure this feature in its settings.
Kickidler’s Keylogger software helps you prevent data leakage, control sensitive data, and evaluate the productivity of your employees through their unique keystrokes.
The Kickidler Keylogger will record each of your employee’s keystrokes within each program on their workstation. Including office software, email, websites, and instant messengers. The Keylogger will log each stroke in real-time, where you can then access this information in a fully detailed interactive report.
Each interactive report allows you to monitor the activities of each department while viewing a historical display of your employee’s actions. The Keylogger will also keep track of employee passwords and store these in its secure server.
Although Kickidler lacks in integrations across its general software, the Keylogger software integrates with popular programs for keystroke purposes, such as:
Not only can you view individual keystrokes on any of the given programs, but the Keylogger software also reports the intensity of each keystroke. Keystroke intensity lets you know when an employee was typing instead of repeatedly pressing the spacebar, ensuring that all productivity statistics are accurate.
Kickidler’s Keylogger software is unique compared to other employee monitoring solutions because it can also record a video of every activity on the computer screen. Video recordings will help you identify whether any activities classify as a workplace violation.
All of the information that the Keylogger software collects will help you build a timeline of events. This timeline will allow you to have a comprehensive overview of what each employee did during a specific time.
When it comes to Kickidler’s pricing packages, you have to purchase a license for each Grabber agent program. The pricing packages are affordable––however––the bigger your company, the more money you will save by purchasing licenses in bulk.
Let’s take a look at each pricing tier from Kickidler:
All of Kickidler’s pricing packages focus on the license of the Grabber agent program, so keep this in mind before committing to an employee monitoring solution. If you are a large company or enterprise, it would probably be best to purchase a lifetime license, as it will be cheaper in the long run.
The Offline Version pricing package is customizable, and purchasing this tier means that you won’t need internet access to use the Kickidler software.
Kickidler accepts payments by invoice, Paypal, or through Yandex.Money. Yandex.Money allows you to make payments of up to $750 per transaction, and Paypal allows up to $1,000 per transaction.
These transaction limits are important to keep in mind because Kickidler lets you purchase up to 10,000 licenses for larger enterprises, so it’s easiest to buy in installments if this is the case.
The best part about Kickidler is that it offers a seven-day free trial and a Freemium subscription. After seven days of unrestricted content, your account will switch to the free mode, where you can monitor up to six computers.
With the Freemium subscription, you get access to online screen monitoring and the Keylogger software for up to six computers. Luckily, Kickidler makes it easy to transfer from a Freemium license to a paid license in just a few minutes.
In terms of reputation, Kickidler receives between 4.5 to 4.7 stars on most review sites. When scrolling through dozens of reviews, we found that the most common praise for this product is its intuitive interface and highly detailed analytics reports.
Many users liked how easy Kickidler was to use, from installation to startup. Kickidler’s detailed analytics reports also received a lot of praise, as many users were able to improve their employee monitoring and transform their communication structure using these reports.
Although we didn’t come across many negative reviews for Kickidler, the most common drawback we did find was its lack of cloud deployment and the fact that there’s no mobile app. However, we found a few comments from the developers who are in the process of creating a Kickidler mobile app, which will be helpful to users.
Overall, Kickidler is an excellent employee monitoring solution for small, large, and remote businesses.
With robust features like online screen monitoring, keylogger software, and time tracking, you can create a healthier workplace environment by motivating your employees more positively.
Kickidler is an affordable option, especially for small businesses, and is scalable for large companies. Because of this, we think that anyone utilizing this employee monitoring solution will have a positive experience.
Several things need to go right to not only win over new customers but also to retain them. Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C business, understanding your buyer’s journey is incredibly important in building your initial rapport and ensuring that you’re identifying and addressing unmet needs that will help turn your customers into your biggest advocates.
Register today for “5 Ways Consumer and Market Intelligence Will Help You Understand Your Buyer’s Journey,“ presented by NetBase Quid.
The post 5 ways data can help you understand your buyer’s journey now appeared first on MarTech.
The year is 2021. Women have careers. They have spending power. They are increasingly taking their place in professional and executive ranks.
Yet much of advertising and marketing is stuck in the past, showing women less frequently, with fewer words spoken, less often in positions of authority, but more often shown in a sexual light, according to a recent study by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (GDI).
Modern feminism has been in the mainstream for the past half-century. Women make up half the population — they are not a niche market. Why are advertisers, at best, only now starting to notice this?
The notion that the zenith of a woman’s career is husband-marriage-children “is an idea that has been cemented in our culture for such a long time,” said Jane Cunningham, co-founder of PLH Research, who along with founding partner Philippa Roberts co-authored the book “Brandsplaining: Why Marketing is (Still) Sexist and How to Fix It.”
“In a world where mostly men are in charge, women are encouraged to behave in ways that are pleasing,” Roberts said.
“Women are often cast in the role of not speaking,” Cunningham added. They are not seen leading. They are seen wearing less clothing. “Creative directors have been fed this stuff for decades”, so it is hard to escape when they have nothing to lose by perpetuating it, she said.
That cliché creates a huge blind-spot. Case in point: Third Love versus Victoria’s Secret. Third Love markets bras that fit women. Victoria’s Secret? Well…“It’s a huge missed opportunity,” Cunningham said. “Underwear is for the wearer, not the viewer. Victoria’s Secret tanked for the past five years because they failed to move on.”
Another brand with a positive approach is Frida Mom, which markets a line of products new mothers will actually find useful rather than decorative. Motherhood is a challenging, new job, Cunningham noted, which is not the same as the good wife/mother trope that was pitched in the past.
Yet another blind spot is purchasing power. Women make 80% of the consumer purchasing decisions, and women over 50 have 40% of the purchasing power in the market at large. “They are certainly not a niche,” Cunningham said. Yet they are practically invisible in ads. Older women should be a primary focus for many businesses.
Burger King meant well when it sponsored a scholarship to develop more women chefs in the U.K. But they announced the program with a tweet: “A woman’s place is in the kitchen.” Outrage followed, which subsequent tweets failed to temper. While the tweet was meant to be funny and thought provoking, it became the controversy and failed to uplift the brand.
The incident illustrates two problems: Laziness and lack of diversity, according to marketing consultant Tim Parkin.
“Marketing teams got away with this for a long time,” Parkin said. They will “repeat past successes. What worked before is not applicable today.” Also, women and minorities are poorly represented among the decisionmakers in the C-suites.
In the past, “people put up with it,” noted Parkin. But the culture is shifting and becoming more diverse, and marketing has to adapt to this, he said.
“In terms of the leading media advertisers we partner with, they are acutely aware of the disparities,” said Madeline Di Nonno, president and CEO at GDI. Firms are making some headway on issues of diversity, equality and inclusion, less so when dealing with the disabled, aged and the LGBTQ community, she noted. While men do head these firms, “they recognize the blind spot and the weakness’” she added.
Change is coming at the enterprise level, as diversity is shifting away from being an HR problem to one that is best addressed by a dedicated senior executive who can cultivate diversity, equality and inclusion, Di Nonno said. That change in staffing should lead to a difference in creative contributions that can better reach diverse markets.
GDI can provide useful feedback and guidance. “Some partners use us in the pre-production role, some as an annual audit,” Di Nonno continued. When reviewing ads, GDI will score on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, LGTBQ, disability, Age 50+ and body type. “To create a system of change, there has to be a review process,” she said.
“Do try to learn more about the customer,” Parkin added. “Really be customer-centric all the time.” Here firms can make better use of surveys and community engagement, co-marketing and co-branding with other groups, he said.
Influencers also offer another opportunity for outreach and insight. They can connect with the audience as a partner and not a mouthpiece, Parkin pointed out. Influencers are often used in one-way communication, but can also provide insightful feedback in a two-way role, he noted. “This is not something that can be solved by data alone.”
Gimmicks like “fempowerment” will not work, Roberts said. Brands have “used the fempowerment ideal to sell things,” and it just co-opts feminism instead. Notions like “women can do anything “or “lean in” are only true up to a point. “It neatly sidesteps the idea that anything was wrong with the system or the culture,” she said. Fempowerment is thus a superficial correction, “replacing the male gaze with a male glance.”
The better solution is simpler: “Properly listen to women,” Roberts said. Use the research in a deep way, be open to what you are seeing and hearing, and act accordingly, she said.
The post When it comes to women, marketing is behind the times appeared first on MarTech.
Good morning, Marketers, MarTech is still buzzing.
Our conference has officially concluded, but everybody is still catching up on what they missed. For me, I still can’t wait to see what a brand like Michael Kors is doing to navigate a cookieless future.
There is also Ray Valencia, Director of Digital Customer Experience at Cinemark, talking about strategies in the pandemic-present. The perspective from a Big Three movie chain is immensely valuable and relevant to MarTech, as we continue to assess the conference experience that our visitors value. Amid the busy schedule, I saw trusted sources I’ve interviewed for stories, and also was introduced to commanding new voices in the space.
Join us in the virtual realm to continue your on-demand MarTech journey, or to relive highlights from the past week. Register free and tap into MarTech here.
“The DAM universe is now segmented into three distinct categories that we label DAM 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0,” writes Jarrod Gingras of the Real Story Group. “In nearly every case, DAM buyers find themselves with a desire to advance their enterprises along this phased maturity spectrum. And for better or worse, DAM platforms in the marketplace tend to cater to buyers in one of these phases.”
In his latest contribution to MarTech, Jarrod shows how DAM can evolve from just a basic asset library to a solution that supports marketing activities, to an omnichannel content platform enabling sophisticated mixed-media content.
“Every enterprise lives within one stage of this DAM maturity spectrum, but no one has reached their final destination. Even the most sophisticated enterprises are constantly trying to improve the way they can provide experience creators with the most impactful content.”
“When we say the winners, what really makes a winning stack is, does it actually deliver results for your company?” said Scott Brinker, program chair for MarTech, when presenting the winners of the 2021 Stackie Awards this week. “There’s no external judging for that.”
True. But as a judge, Brinker is uniquely qualified in the marketing technology field. He’s Editor of chiefmartec.com and serves as VP Platform Ecosystem for HubSpot. Of 29 entries in this year’s awards, just five were given the distinction as top stacks: Juniper Networks, Philips, Itau, Betway and SAS.
As in previous years, entrants submitted a PowerPoint slide mapping out their marketing tech stack, showing the ways each component works with the others. This year, MarTech donated $100 to nonprofit COOP Careers for each stack that was submitted.
At the end of Day 1 of this year’s MarTech conference, Brinker had a chance to discuss the stacks with some of the winners and offered insights into what it was about their design that got these stacks to rise to the top.
“The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday called for a moratorium on the sale and use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems that threaten human rights until adequate safeguards are in place to ensure the technology will not be abused,” according to Al Jazeera.
The AI in question refers to those that affect “who gets public services and decide who has a chance to be recruited for a job” with the idea that data collection isn’t totally private and can risk discrimination against those online.
But there could be even wider implications for search engines and search marketers if the moratorium were to actually take effect. Bachelet released a report detailing “the risks of AI technologies, and emphasising that while AI can serve as a force for good, it can also cause catastrophic effects if used irresponsibly.”
“The complexity of the data environment, algorithms and models underlying the development and operation of AI systems, as well as intentional secrecy of government and private actors are factors undermining meaningful ways for the public to understand the effects of AI systems on human rights and society,” said the report.
Yes, AI does help search marketers, but Google’s unfettered and undisclosed use of it could potentially be contributing to this discrimination. We’ve seen it before when Google Ads settings allowed advertisers to discriminate against people multiple times.
Will a moratorium actually take effect? Probably not. AI is so engrained in our technology now. But we could benefit from more transparency around how big tech is using it.
Hat tip to Doug Thomas for the heads up on this news.
“Realistically you only have 18 months of data. Why? Because up until March 2020, that was a different world. We are living in a world since that time that is radically different, structurally different, customers behaving differently, B2B, B2C, it doesn’t matter. Everybody has been changed by the events of the last 18 months.” Christopher Penn, Chief Data Scientist for TrustInsights.ai
The post Can AI threaten human rights?: Friday’s Daily Brief appeared first on MarTech.
LinkedIn Rolls Out Articles for Pages
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has launched a new feature that gives pages the ability to share long-form content on the professional social platform, an addition that comes amidst an array of other new features including an enhanced LinkedIn Live Events experience for creating more robust virtual events, the company recently announced. Adweek
Instagram is Developing a New ‘Montage’ Feature to Convert Stories to Reels, New ‘Favorites’ Listing
Facebook-owned Instagram has been testing a new option intended to make it easy for digital marketers to convert existing Instagram Stories content into brief Reels video clips, including automatically synced audio. New tool options for signaling favorite audience selections have also recently undergone testing on the platform — both changes that could eventually enhance how marketers use Instagram. Social Media Today
Study: Podcast Advertising Drives Sales
33 percent of podcast listeners say that podcast advertising is a good way for brands to reach them, a figure that climbs to 42 percent for the most frequent podcast listeners, while 32 percent of podcast listeners say that they have made purchases in the technology category, according to recently-released survey data. MediaPost
YouTube Adds Traffic & Revenue Data to Mobile Analytics
Google’s YouTube platform has rolled out additional analytics information that can now be found using YouTube’s Studio Mobile app, including monthly and transactional revenue reporting, along with a report showing the performance of various traffic sources, previously only available using the desktop-based dashboard, YouTube recently announced. Search Engine Journal
Reddit Launches New Updates for its Ad Platform, Including Bid Recommendations
Social news aggregator and discussion platform Reddit has added several new features to its advertising creation program as it seeks to attract more brands, including upgraded editing capabilities, the addition of ad bidding recommendations, and better bulk ad editing features, Reddit recently announced. Social Media Today
Chat App Discord Is Worth $15 Billion After New Funding
Online communications portal Discord has seen growth that has attracted an increasing number of brands, and $500 million of new financing has raised the value of Discord to some $15 billion, a figure twice that investors gave the firm in 2020 — growth that has spurred more business users and advertisers to explore the emerging platform. BNN Bloomberg
Twitter Expands Access to Professional Profiles and Ticketed Spaces
With an expanded Professional Profiles test opening to more brands, Twitter has continued its initiative to provide businesses greater exposure on the platform, a move that has also now given more users access to Twitter’s Ticketed Spaces — its Clubhouse-like voice conversation offering, the company recently announced. Social Media Today
Advertising Emerges As Fastest-Growing Source Of Recorded Music Revenues
During the first half of 2021 advertising-supported on-demand audio streaming services saw a 54.3 percent increase in revenue over the same period in 2020, a jump that makes it the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. music industry, according to recently-released data from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) of interest to digital marketers. MediaPost
LinkedIn Launches ‘Dark Mode’ on Mobile and Desktop
Increased accessibility, inclusivity, and reduced eye-strain-inducing blue light are among the aims for LinkedIn’s (client) new dark mode option, being rolled out to the professional platform’s users — which numbered over 774 million according to the firm’s latest publicly-released figures. Social Media Today
What Are B2B Marketers’ Biggest Challenges with Buyers?
63 percent of B2B marketers have said that understanding the changing needs and requirements of buyers was their top challenge, followed by 57 percent who saw finding the correct time to engage on the right channel their biggest challenge — two of several statistics of interest to online marketers in newly-released survey data. MarketingCharts
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:
A lighthearted look at the “share of voice” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist
What the Pandemic Pet Boom Means for Marketers — Adweek
TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:
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The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Marketers’ Biggest Buyer Challenges, LinkedIn’s New Articles For Pages, Instagram Gets Montage Feature, & YouTube Updates Analytics appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
Most marketers have some kind of email program, but are they emailing with a purpose? At the second day of MarTech, Kath Pay, CEO of Holistic Email Marketing, showed how testing emails can improve customer engagement and boost conversions.
Not all marketers are fully invested in testing, in Pay’s experience. “If they’re testing, why are they testing?” she said. “Sometimes the answer is simply because we think we should. It’s not because they actually have that passion for learning, that passion for making incredible uplifts and insights.”
“Email is one of the few push channels and it’s the original push channel,” said Pay. “And what that does is it gives a point of amazing advantage when it comes to certain factors, including testing.”
She added, “If you keep on doing the same things over and over, you’re going to get the same results.”
Email is a customer-centric channel where the copy and other content can speak directly to what a customer is looking for from your brand. It will yield valuable results because the interactions get at a deeper level of truth than, for instance, customer responses to surveys.
“People tend to answer [questions in surveys] to the ideal self, so they’re answering it to a self that they’d like to think that they are, or the self they’d like to think that they will be,” said Pay. “They’re not necessarily answering it to the reality of who they currently are. And so that means you have to take their answers to an informed survey with a grain of salt.”
It’s much more effective to see how customers engage with emails. “Monitoring what they’re clicking and what they’re not clicking, how they’re acting, how they’re engaging with your content, your emails and everything..that’s actually getting to the truth of the matter, what they’re really thinking,” Pay said.
There are many digital touchpoints where people can engage with your brand, including on your website, of course. However, many of those who are engaging aren’t necessarily your customers. Your customers, instead, sit in your database. And they should be engaged with email, said Pay.
“Your database is your target market,” she explained. “It’s made up of first-time buyers, the customers you’re onboarding, the customers who are interested. It’s made up of your second-time buyers, your loyal customers or those customers who have gone away and they’re no longer buying.”
She added, “What your database is, is a whole heap of different life stages that we can actually try targeting within our testing.”
Testing with email yields timely results, it’s high cost-effective and provides the marketer with the ability to test segments, life stages and personas that make communicating with customers more strategic.
“With email we are not having to pay to drive audiences to that landing page, to that PPC ad or social media ad or anything,” Pay said. “We actually have that audience there in their house and we don’t have to pay for that.”
Since all the customers you have are there in your database, at some point in the lifecycle, or as part of a particular segment, using testing to email them should be done scientifically to gain the best results.
“We tend to only try to gain an immediate uplift in what we’re testing,” Pay explained. “But what we want to do is go a little bit further than that and do what I call ‘holistic testing’ which is very much scientific testing.”
She added, “We do very much want to see where A gets an uplift over B, but the second objective we want to be running the test for is so we can gain longer longitudinal insights into your customers. That gives us the opportunity to iteratively improve.”
Gaining further insights through scientific, holistic email testing allows marketers to broaden the scope of insights by improving the email strategy from one campaign to the next, and to roll these insights out to other channels when engaging customers.
As you test different features within your emails to customers, you want to make sure that your brand is actually learning from one email to the next. To achieve this, make the hypothesis clear. That’s the “A” that your email is testing, accordion to Pay. For instance, you might suspect that a short provocative subject line will get more engagement than a more detailed subject line. If the shorter one is proven to work better, future emails should also follow that format.
Also, when results come in, you need to be able to make sure you can rule out other factors that would drive the results you’re seeing.
“You want to be running multiple tests,” Pay said. “And the reason why is because you want to be ensuring that [the results are] not just an anomaly, that there wasn’t something that happened with the weather, or politics, or something in the world or nation that muddied the results.”
After reviewing the results and making sure they’re clear of anomalies, you can then formulate recommendations based on your findings. Apply those recommendations to future campaigns to continue learning more, built on the experiences of the previous rounds.
As more insights come in about what features of an email work best with specific customer segments, these insights can also be plugged into more extensive automated email programs.
“I recommend that when you’re setting up an automated program for email that you set up two streams,” said Pay. “And these are permanent streams, but of course the content and the hypotheses are going to change.
Elements in an email that can be tested include subject lines, special offers stated in the email, images and other assets. The key part of the hypothesis is the link or cause that drives the desired result, that actually converts your customer. A marketer should formulate the hypothesis by saying that the customer will respond favorably “because” of the particular factor you’re testing.
“Once you get a winning result, and this will be based upon time, as opposed to just the volume of emails (in a single campaign), then you’re going to update the hypothesis and replace the losing stream with a new stream that’s supporting your next hypothesis,” she said.
Tracking these results and incorporating them into future hypotheses will enable marketers to break their customers down into better segments and appropriate life cycle stages to drive even better conversions.
The post How testing can give your email marketing a conversions boost appeared first on MarTech.