Infographic – Content Marketing Needs to Convert to Leads

I have a lot of clients who get really excited about the content marketing piece of their online marketing strategy. What’s not to get excited about? Hopefully, you’re passionate about what you are doing!

Content Marketing can work, but just creating content to create content, isn’t the best way to market your product or services. It’s not good for your personal or company brand either… most people would rather get fewer high-value nuggets of great content, versus daily floods of marginally interesting tweets.

Here’s a quick Content Marketing Success Map that I use for deciding what content and topics to publish about:

1. Before you go off writing that masterpiece Ebook, or Video series, take a moment to find out exactly what issues, problems, or questions your ideal prospect is trying to solve. You can do this on LinkedIn, by reviewing the discussions in highly targeted LinkedIn groups (the groups that your ideal prospect is a member of and engaged in). Find the topics that get a lot of comments. Read through the comments. What are the issues? What can you help with? Can you add value to the conversation? If so… then add that topic to your Content Marketing plan.

2. Create a blog post, and if it’s a video, embed it in a blog post. The idea is to provide your content on a site where you can capture leads, most probably through email with programs like Aweber.com or Mailchimp.com. In an SMB or Enterprise, tools like HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, and Act-on can help manage the process.

3. In the blog post, acknowledge the pain of the issue. Then, provide a partial solution. (This isn’t about giving away the house, but it’s got to be short and sweet.) Think 90 second video, and 250 words. If you did provide value to your prospects, and they felt more confidence in themselves to take the next step, they’ll willingly subscribe for more info or part II.

4. Now you have them in your Lead Nurturing system… continue delivering small tips that will move your prospect closer to their goals.

A Guide to Marketing Genius:  Content Marketing 

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How to build a Professional LinkedIn Profile that Engages

Social Selling Square One
You’re prospects and clients are on LinkedIn, and they’re looking for Trusted Advisors.

If you want to build relationships with them you’ll have to learn a new way of selling. It’s called Social Selling!

One of the first steps in creating a social selling presence, is making sure your LinkedIn profile entices, educates and nurtures your clients and prospects.

In many cases, your professional LinkedIn profile might be your prospects first point of contact with you.

Buyers have changed. They are reading your LinkedIn profile before they return a phone call or set up a meeting.

Knowing and recognizing this fact, is different from acting on it.

Successful social sellers know this and use their profiles to build trust and authority.

To create a client-centric profile you have to think like your ideal client persona.

Why are they on LinkedIn?
What issues are they trying to solve?
What are they trying to learn?
What kinds of discussions are they having?

If you know this kind of information, it’s much easier to build a profile that match their needs, and opens the door for building trust and authority.

Your clients and prospects want to learn from you. They want to learn about why your products and services are something they should consider. They want to know that you understand their needs. They don’t want to be sold!

5 Quick Tips:
1. Create a Headline that speaks to your prospects. What problems do you solve?
2. Use your Summary section to build relatedness and sell you authority and strengths.
3. Use Rich Media videos, presentations, blog posts, or sales & marketing pdfs to education and engage your prospects.
4. Use updates to share stories and articles that are relevant to your prospects.
5. Make a daily practice of connecting with people in your industry, prospects, clients, fellow employees, and other industry professionals.

In a Social Network environment, your prospects want “subject matter experts” not “revenue producing experts”.

How to leverage Senior Executives for Social Selling on LinkedIn.

networking introductionOne of the fastest ways to get up to speed on LinkedIn and Social Selling is by connecting with your fellow employees and especially your senior management teams.

It’s simple, free, and the results can be truly amazing!

As a seller, when you use LinkedIn for prospecting, the search results are going to show profile snippets based on your connections.

When you find a decision maker, or possible member of the buying team, one of the first steps is to connect with them, or contact them directly, or to start building a relationship.

One of the most effective ways of selling is through referrals or introductions.
This is where your fellow employees and senior management come in.

As a LinkedIn user, you probably have hundreds of closer connections on LinkedIn, including many from previous companies, college, etc.

Most of us don’t know the names of the companies where our extended network of friends work. Heck, we probably don’t even know their job titles. Your senior executives and fellow employees are just the same. Additionally, they don’t know who you are prospecting, either.

But as a seller, what if you could tap into the professional connections, or “golden rolodex” of your senior management, and vast networks of your fellow employees.

With LinkedIn, you can.

If you were connected you might find connections like this:
The Director of Marketing at your prospect company, is connected to your VP of Sales, and went to business school together.
Is there a good chance they know each other well enough?
Now the Director of Marketing might not be the Decision Maker, but they might know the Decision Maker, and they might even be a part of the buying team.

Will knowing this change your sales approach?
Will it help you sell?
Will it shorten your sales cycle?

Yes!!! … it’s just one of the tactics of Social Selling with LinkedIn.

Steps:
1. Create a customized email, telling your fellow employees why you are requesting a connection with them.

Some employees won’t want to connect, and that’s fine.
That’s why I think it’s better to say something along the lines of “I’m tasked with building our companies professional network on LinkedIn”.

2. Connect as far up the company you can. All the way to the CEO and other executives, if possible.

The executive and senior management, and owners, have the connections. They built them over time. They went to business school, the senior executives have 20+ years of connections. Their friends are working at companies all around the world. They’ve probably worked at lots of different companies, themselves.

Will your senior management or other employees help you connect, or refer you?
I hope so, you’re both on the same team.
Their paychecks come from your ability to connect and sell.
They might have some reservations, and that’s OK, because this is a brand new way of selling.

If you want support from your sales managers and executive management, send them a link to this blog post.

When scaled up across a large company, it’s amazing what connections can be found.

Shannan Kato is a great example, “50% of my revenue last year came from introductions, with a majority of those being introductions from fellow co-workers and Management.” Shannon works for LinkedIn and sells LinkedIn Sales Solutions.

Additionally, if you’re a sales manager, or executive, there’s an even easier way to leverage your employees and their LinkedIn connections… it’s called LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and an add-on product called “Team Link”.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can leverage LinkedIn as a seller, or across your sales team, contact me.

Infographic – Understanding The LinkedIn Ecosystem

I came across this great infographic that shows the different parts of LinkedIn and how they fit together.

infographic

Warning – Nigerian Scam Spreading on LinkedIn

You’ve probably gotten those emails suggesting that “some Minister died and they need to give money to you.”
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It’s the typical Nigerian “419″ scam, named after the Nigerian Penal code number.

Well, those emails are coming to your LinkedIn Inbox, and soon!
The worst part, is they are much harder to spot, as the scammers are imitating Real, Senior Bank Executives.

Here’s what the guys at HotforSecurity.com reported when they found this strange email in their LinkedIn Inbox.

Be careful out there, and remember to mark those profiles as Spam as well as the emails. I don’t know if anyone at LinkedIn is looking at these, but if the trend continues, at least there will be a log of profiles and emails.