Over the last six months, we have had a number of small businesses come to us with website security and management issues. These were mostly WordPress websites that had not been maintained effectively. In one case, the business had experienced a website outage for 10 days! While this business was able to function, many businesses could not operate without a website functioning properly. If your site went down for an extended period, what would the impact be for your business?
Schwab is investing millions of dollars in the RIA Stands for You online campaign. It is an opportunity for clients of Schwab Advisor Services to put the marketing muscle of Schwab to work for their own firms.
By focusing the campaign online, Schwab is validating the power and growing importance of digital and social media channels and marketing programs to attract new clients and referrals. The beauty of the web: it is measurable and trackable.
One of the major challenges of attracting the attention of prospects online is fresh content. And Schwab is providing a great deal of this (educational documents, logo, videos and more), for RIAs to customize and integrate to enhance their own online marketing efforts. Plus there is a dedicated website and a social media presence.
By John Nielsen
Lead scoring is the process of evaluating and assigning points to prospects and leads using marketing automation tools. Points are distributed based on the attributes associated with a qualified lead. It is important to understand whom you are marketing to when managing a campaign, sending irrelevant content to your followers is a quick way to lose. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, below are a few tips one can easily follow to update your contact lists and help identify priority focus using lead scoring.
There are a range of terrific CRM solutions out there and we have tried several for both client installations and our own team’s use. We settled on Salesforce.com based on the richness of functionality, the level of demand we see with our own clients and some excellent integration opportunities.
In addition to integrating fully with our marketing automation solution to pass through inbound marketing leads and see lead scoring, we have implemented Cirrus Insight as a browser widget for contextual integration with Gmail. We like Cirrus a lot, though until recently, we were a little bit frustrated by how it co-exised with Rapportive – another fantastic solution recently acquired by LinkedIn. That problem has now been solved!!
Check Out Cirrus Here! (this is an affiliate link which would earn us some brownie points with Cirrus and you might get a discount!)
CRM systems are notorious in their complexity and lack of success in many cases. Organizational and cultural dynamics play a big role. CRM systems offer a great deal of promise yet so often don’t deliver. With today’s economic pressures it is as critical as ever that firms increase sales without increasing the cost and complexity of selling.
One area getting more attention now is relationship management technology. Clearly LinkedIn has made a huge impact here and now new tools are emerging to help relationship-intensive businesses take better advantage of their enterprise contact and relationship assets.
New tools like Datahug, Gist and others are helping businesses manage information about the organization’s extended relationships (employee’s and firm’s) with individuals and customer/client organizations. They do this by mining the email database and social networks for connections and relationships. This can dramatically impact deal intelligence, qualification and positioning and drive up win rates.
Yet for many years, CRM deployments have consistently under delivered on the promise. The adoption of any CRM-related technology must be approached with a view of the people, process and technology impacts. Relationship intelligence is part of what we call “Revenue Systems” and selecting the right tools and embedding them effectively in the organization requires careful thought and planning.
Done well, these new relationship intelligence technologies can be a powerful ally in firm-wide deployments – helping to increase win rates, inform bid decisions and enhance the tailoring of winning value propositions.
We are often asked about the business case for marketing automation. In the end, it is a numbers game. There are plenty of operational advantages of course – sales and marketing alignment, single solution replacing point solutions, etc. But, in the end, it is about revenue.
So how does marketing automation increase revenue?
We were fortunate to escape the confines of the office in order to attend a NEDMA (New England Digital Media Association) Conference at the Boston Common Hotel and Conference Center. From the moment we walked up to the second floor, we were immediately submerged in innovative ideas and new data that will help shape future marketing campaigns.
An effectively designed website is only one element of an effective web marketing ecosystem. To achieve effective web presence and drive qualified leads, we developed an easy to remember mnemonic “AEIOU” (attract, engage, influence, optimize, understand).
AEIOU helps to consider the strategies that make up a digital marketing strategy. But to really power the strategies, companies need marketing automation tools. Platforms like Hubspot (www.hubspot.com), Act-on (www.act-on.com) and Marketo (www.marketo.com) and many others are very powerful ways to manage multi-stage buyer processes and map content and engagement at each stage of the process – nurturing relationships from awareness to customer.
When budgets are a little smaller or the sales cycle is a little less complex, we often recommend using a component-based approach as a marketing solution. Some of our preferred solution components and web services include:
In selecting these solutions, we recommend that you find sets of solutions that work well together with strong APIs and integrations. If your needs are not too complex a component based approach can be a very affordable and effective way to deliver marketing automation.
Advice on looking beyond system features to find a product that will meet your needs today and tomorrow
Marketing automation systems are a great way to improve marketing capabilities and productivity. Your success with this technology depends heavily on your ability to choose a solution that will adequately fulfill your firm’s needs. With the wide variety of marketing automation systems available, this can be a daunting task.
It’s an easy mistake to select the system that is simply the most popular in the market or has the flashiest features. Just because the product is popular does not mean it will work well for you, and fancy features might look attractive, but unless they are useful to you extra features add unnecessary cost and complexity. Any system that you consider must at least be capable of tracking website traffic, sending mass e-mails, and reporting data; anything less is not worth considering, and an abundance of extra features should be carefully evaluated for necessity.
Your best bet is to look beyond popularity and determine what your firm needs most from the system. Define how you plan to use the system, what advantages you hope to gain, and what financial value you would like these advantages to bring. Once you set clear, prioritized goals of what your firm is hoping to achieve through implementing a marketing automation system, you will be able to narrow down the specific details and features the right system will need to provide, thereby greatly narrowing your search.
The next step after finding a system that seems to fit your firm’s particular needs is to carry out a test. Design a specific scenario based on how you plan to use the system and have the vendor demonstrate its execution. This will allow you to see the features that you will need to use in action without getting distracted by the features that you will not use, and will overall give you a better understanding of how the system will work for your firm.
Another important factor to take into consideration is the system’s references. At the very least, exploring a vendor’s references will give you an idea of the kinds of companies that have found success in using the system. You might also be able to glean some insight into the implementation process. Furthermore, you should take into account the usability of the system and what user support is available.
Once you determine through these factors which marketing automation system is a good fit, you will be able to maximize the value of your system and will be well on your way towards improving your firm’s marketing strategies.
At the Schwab Advisor Services meeting in New York yesterday, about 40 advisors joined to discuss a broad vision for achieving a digital presence with social media. In describing the “how to” I shared ways of thinking about digital presence and the role of social media. To help describe ways to get started, I outlined strategies that included actions for revenue strategy, revenue systems and revenue programs. But even this breakdown of strategy and planning recommendations are a lot to tackle for a busy advisor getting started with social media. I often get the question – “OK, but what are the top three things you suggest? Here are three things I would start with to get established online:
1) Solid Website – all roads lead back here, so make sure you have a foundation you are pleased with and relevant content as well as the ability to engage your audience to download items and register for interactions.
2) Professional LinkedIn Profiles – This is the easiest to manage from a compliance point of view and it is very well aligned with the advisor business of referrals and relationships.
3) Active Content Sharing – With these two platforms in place, a steady stream of relevant publishing will help place you in the minds of your audience as knowledgeable and help reinforce your credibility when it is time to make a decision.