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With almost 8  billion lonely souls roaming the planet, it should come as no surprise that the internet boasts 4.4 billion users. That’s right, we said half of the world’s population actively uses the internet.  Roughly 75% of those users report having an average of at least 7 different social media accounts. Those same bandwidth loving users spend roughly 140 minutes per day, poking, texting, tweeting, and posting till calluses take the place of finger tips.  

It’s pretty darn impossible to overstate the very real presence of the internet in our daily lives. The internet has become the primary way we communicate. In the wake of its inception, the birth and infancy of social media has almost organically defined the concept of social selling. Perhaps that’s part of the problem.

Social Selling: A natural extension of the social media world

Social Selling” seems more like a buzzword to describe a natural extension of the social media world than it does an established marketing practice with clear metrics. In a recent study of sales enablement optimization published by emarketer.com it was revealed 38% of all business respondents were not sure how social selling was working for their company. That response came from teams that are already spending valuable marketing dollars on social selling efforts. 

It seems that while social selling has allowed for lots of easy opportunities to attract new conversations, the ability to effectively monitor and target has become difficult.  Ease of access and sheer volume of resources have begun to render the attraction powerless. 

The great cycle of marketing has certainly introduced no shortage of buzzwords, but what keeps the big wheel turning never changes.  It all starts by building a personal relationship of trust. Simply put, the driver has always been cultivating, maintaining and providing for relationships of trust that lead to sales. No matter where you find those magic moments of interaction traveling along the silk road that is your customer journey, clearly, authentic client relationships are king.  And let’s be honest, it simply doesn’t make sense to throw money at social selling when valuable opportunities for scale exist unexplored within your current client base. In a recent blog from Seth Godin we are reminded of the value leaving some stones unturned

“If it’s the wrong stone, walk away. Infinity is a trap. Pick the right stones and cherish them as you turn them over.”

Role of Social Media in Customer Relationship

When we take the time to form relationships that cultivate a mutual interest in a reciprocal rewarding exchange, authenticity can’t help but take the lead. Social marketing has one problem that it can easily be seen and dismissed as opportunistic, manipulative and intrusive. When a cop sits outside a bar at 2 in the morning waiting for drunks to empty onto the street, so he can start a “conversation” they call it entrapment. What is the current relationship you enjoy with your clients? Can you afford to risk that paramount real estate with sloppy tactics?

A more intuitive approach lends deeper focus over time to retention, and overall customer satisfaction.  A natural byproduct of this path is a proven result, happier clients that spend more money and are much more likely to return and recommend. 

In a recent poll presented by the Nielsen’s Harris Poll Online and Ambassador, 82% of consumer respondents reported seeking the recommendation of friends and family before making a purchase. Where B2B consumers are concerned, reducing or removing the risk of potential loss by simply working with a trusted vendor that brings focus to real long term satisfaction makes a lot of sense too. Simply searching for opportunities to generate “conversations” through the use of social media and thereby sell a product once misses the mark.

Google’s illustration with “Tour Guides”

Google illustrated the point exactly some years ago with its advent of “tour guides,” regular site visitors that were given the opportunity to rate and review the services they already knew very well for monetary incentives. By identifying and rewarding these visitors, relationships between the vendor and consumer were vastly enhanced. Vendors received authentic reviews from customers that already enjoyed there products effectively turning them into raving fans. These tour guides in turn were much more likely to continue using the service as they had a vested interest in the success of the venture.

Are you really taking a look at how your client perceives your narrative or are you just waiting for the next conversation? Do you have a visceral understanding of your client’s narrative so you can offer helpful insight that strengthens relationships mutually, and maximizes scale potential? Start by fostering personal relationships of trust with your existing base. Its as simple as truly taking the time to understand and deliver.

The post Social Selling, Already Going the Way of the Digital Watch? appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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Expanding the Journey

Conversion rate is one of the most forgotten areas for today’s businesses . A careful combination of copy writing, engineering, design and UX/UI is necessary before your leads can be turned into actual sales. It’s inevitable to lose some customers along the way (that’s why it’s called a funnel!), but even those can be kept to a minimum.

We’ve all heard the quote, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Sometimes the customer journey feels like a thousand miles of spaghetti junction. How did they hear about you, how were they contacted in return? how, when and where were they when they decided to purchase? Our customers journey is one we all think we understand intimately but taking a closer look at a few key elements may mean the discovery of a world of new growth and sales opportunities.

Discovery

The first step is to take a close look at operations. From the moment you turn on the lights, you set the expectation and the pattern for operations.  Your first touch sets a routine that has delivered success. However, sometimes we can blind ourselves in the habitual execution of day to day operations. Like a horse with blinders, you see the same thing each day. You consistently address the same performance indicators, produce the same reports, and continue to deliver the same results. So, where do you go from here?

Well, hidden just beneath the surface in the execution of your daily operations lies real value waiting to be leveraged. By taking some time to map out and internalize the customer journey, you can identify touchpoints, or every point at which you interact with your customer. Once a map has been drawn, suddenly out of the recesses of your operations comes the real message that your product is sending, and your persona becomes clear.

Intent

Now that the customer journey is mapped, and touchpoints are identified and understood, the results are exposed. The message you are sending, and how you are sending it becomes self evident. It also becomes easy to see if your message is effective. What degree of consistency does it carry across all channels of contact and delivery. How can you control intent? Are you using your customers journey to effectively control the need for your product?

In a recent newsletter from marketing weekly, they illustrated a wonderful example of how one team found a way. A couple of years ago, it seems Tourism Australia was trying to increase American tourism dollars.  Even though more Americans were travelling, the same number were visiting Australia each year.  When they looked at the pipeline, things appeared to be running as well as could be expected.  It wasn’t until comparing their own performance to that of their competitors, they realized where the problem was.

While Australia was converting a modest 30% from consideration to intent, the UK was converting a whopping 58% Several of their other competitors were seeing similar conversion rates. It was then that Tourism Australia could map touchpoints and then identify pain points and take it one step further to create a very successful campaign (maybe you remember the Superbowl ad where they faked the launch of a Hollywood blockbuster with Chris Hemsworth) that has widely been credited for a continual rise in american tourism revenue. Intent jumped to 80%!

Conversion into Sales

The quickest path to sales growth is a higher converting pipeline. Once we understand our buyers’ journey, we can develop a strategy to expand their experience, filling in the gaps and removing any pain points that are getting in the way of higher conversion rates.  The best marketing dollars are spent taking a closer look at how you do what you do from the customer’s perspective these days. Before you go off half cocked launching into a new stream of advertising, before you add a “digital marketing campaign” remember cultivating a deep understanding of your customer’s journey through mapping and analysis is the quickest way to realize the growth potential that you already possess.

The post Four Keys To Double Digit Sales Growth in 2019 appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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There is nothing more human than storytelling. According to International bestselling author and celebrated historian Yuval Noah Harari;

“Humans think in stories, and we try to make since of the world by telling stories.”

 We communicate our thoughts through the crafting of narrative. Narrate stories of the experience we had at the Olive Garden, or the time that wonderful North Face raincoat did its job, and you stayed dry. We tell the story of our favorite baseball game. We use stories to teach, and to share.  So, it should come as no surprise that the failure to use narrative in business can mean the loss of revenue, and eventually, real purpose. It can mean the difference between a company drifting off slowly into the sunset never to be thought of as anything more than a blurb, and one that occupies capital real estate, ever-present in the forefront of the consumers mind. It is truly the difference between good and great.

Once we take the time to identify and craft a strong brand narrative, the subject of the story is suddenly humanized. With its newfound humanization, it carries the ability to transcend the barrier of disbelief and dissociation.

So, what is your Brand Narrative, how can you identify it and make it start working for you?  The first step is to reach back and give some thought to why you got into business in the first place. There was excitement at the onset, and a lot of positivity.   All of that energy was based around the launch of a product or service that would change the way people think about how they get things done.  Think about what makes you special.  What makes you unique?

The Story of GoPro’s Brand Narrative

Almost twenty years ago, avid surfer, skier and motor sports aficionado, Nick Woodman was looking for a way to share images of himself and friends doing what they loved best, action sports.  Woodman started with a 35 mm camera strapped to his wrist with some scraps from an old wet suit; GoPro was born.  Since its inception, GoPro has risen to be recognized as the clear leader in the action camera marketplace.  They underscore founding principles and energy by leveraging direct consumer feedback.  The birth of YouTube helped spread the message and kicked things into overdrive providing a platform for GoPro users everywhere to share the story.  GoPro recognizes the strength of their brand comes from the way people continue to use the product.  By attaching themselves to that narrative, and working to support and create more, they continue to stay relevant.

The connective link of storytelling has been a success for many companies.  Some outdoor enthusiasts founded The Yeti cooler company in 2006. They were looking to make a product that would survive their adventures.  Yeti continually strengthens its narrative by providing space to spotlight and share stories that highlight the brand’s core values. E.g. strength, durability, outdoor passion etc.

Brand Narrative in B2B Sector

The strength of brand narrative doesn’t just stop at the consumer level though. The Business to Business sector is also now widely adopting Brand narrative.

In a recent issue of Marketing Weekly, Alicia Tilman, the CMO of multinational business and client solutions software giant SAP was highlighted for her bold strategy.

“We didn’t have a brand narrative, something that really articulates our purpose and what the value is we are looking to provide to our customers, that would serve as the anchor for our campaigns, sales strategies and innovation.  Creating a narrative that works to do all of that and then serves as the anchor for everything you do from there helps to protect our purpose and authenticity.”

https://www.marketingweek.com/2019/06/06/b2b-marketing-inspire-consumer-marketing/?ct_5cf9294923646=5cf9294923647

According to Tilman, historically the focus of B2B sales has been connecting with the client company goals. Instead the focus should be on connecting personally, and that’s something Tilman says needs to change.  Creating a strong brand narrative allowed a connective theme to tie together messages, campaigns, ethics and values.  The Brand Narrative allowed for the focus to be drawn on results rather than operations, because the result is the end user.

Winding-Up

Make sure your story is cohesive from platform to platform.  Remember, each platform has a different audience.  Twitter, Instagram, Facebook all have different core users, so it is essential approach each with that in mind.

In the end, authentic stories engage, create a moment, and communicate authenticity to the customer, but its more than that.  Stories remind us of our values, should be the thread we use to connect entire fabric of our brand narrative. Brand Narrative has the power to unite both company and client alike. Its why we do what we do with pride.

The post Brand Narrative – The Art of Storytelling appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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By Chris Low

As an innovative competitor, you know the value of a good marketing intern. With emerging social technology advancing at an unprecedented rate, it pays to have a fresh set of eyes.  You’ve posted on Upwork, Indeed and the local college job boards.  You have a good pool of candidates to sift through, but which candidate will match your investment of time & money? Which candidate will offer new insights, and push organizational goals to new levels?

Organizational Goals

There are several considerations when making your decision, but perhaps the first thing is to address the goals and expectations of your internship program.  If your only goal is to stuff envelopes, answer phones, and deal with the overwhelming backlog of necessary filing, then perhaps a good secretary is in order.  If your team is ready to coach and invest in the development and future growth of your company, set new marketing expectations, and find new insights, you need a good marketing intern.

Marketing Strategy

 Another important factor is your current marketing strategy.  Maybe your current marketing objectives are project oriented, like the launch of a new website.  Perhaps your concerns are related to the ongoing maintenance of your social media presence.

Experience

These days there is a lot of niche work out there. However, the perfect intern for your team probably brings a little exposure to a broad range of marketing activities. Some examples may include, generating a regular and active social media presence or professional and clear, “cross platform” communication skills (the ability to communicate effectively on more than one social platform). In a growing world of content marketing and SEO optimization, precise writing skills are a must, and familiarity with accessible research tools is always helpful. Keep an eye out for candidates with website development, and design experience, they can offer key insights into your current internet presence.

Interpersonal Skills

So, you’ve narrowed it down to the applicants you think might bring the most relevant experience to the table. Now how do you tell which one is the right “fit.” Just like finding a long-term employee, selecting the right intern means figuring out how your prospective addition will work with others and behave in professional situations.

What kind of energy does the individual bring to the table.  Do they have passion? Are they hungry?  Remember taking on an intern is a big investment; you don’t have time to waste on people that don’t display the same level of engagement as the rest of the team.  An internship may not be a long-term job, but a good intern treats every opportunity as if it were long-term.

Critical thinking skills are imperative for your new apprentice. The ability to take information from several sources, and understand the appropriate response is just as important as the necessary initiative and drive to act.  Remember an intern is completing their education process. It is crucial that they not only ask questions, but that they ask the right questions.

One of the best things an intern can bring, is a special sense of honesty, and humility. Once you have found these qualities, look to nurture and support them by encouraging open dialog. In the same way, It’s important to take the time to identify a candidate that actively promotes open communication with you.

Conclusion

At the end of the day remember, look at each prospective intern as if she might one day be permanent. What kinds of traits do you look for in a long-term employee?  Start leveraging these few tools and suggestions when you are considering the next step for your internship program. Chances are, you may have underestimated the role a good marketing intern could play in your organization.

The post Selecting the Right Marketing Intern “A Perfect Fit” appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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IGTV Monetization: Is It Possible?

Instagram launched almost a decade ago and has since grown into the world’s most popular photo and video sharing app. More than four billion posts are liked on the platform each day, and almost 100 million new posts are published to the platform. In 2018, Instagram decided to expand on its offerings by introducing the launch of Instagram TV, also known as IGTV.

After Instagram posted an official announcement for the launch of IGTV on the 20th of June 2018, many creators quickly started to rush to the platform to take advantage of the features. This allowed people to create useful content for their fans – the idea behind IGTV is to provide long-format video content that holds real value.

Monetization Methods For IGTV

Instagram’s TV feature made quite a wave after the company officially announced it, but publishers had one concern – if they spend time and resources to create content, how will they be able to monetize their efforts.

Unfortunately, to date, Instagram has not yet revealed official plans for implementing a native advertising platform that could award creators for the video content they upload to the IGTV platform. Some publications have noted that Instagram is currently exploring different ways in which they can allow creators to monetize the platform and earn an incentive for the hard work they do when they create new content for this platform.

Even though there are no official monetization programs implemented into the IGTV platform yet, this does not mean creators are completely helpless when it comes to earning some cash for the content they create. The goal here is to be a little creative – in order to monetize content that is published to IGTV, and creators need to think outside the box.

Publishers who have an existing brand can easily incorporate products, services, and other details into a video that they upload to the IGTV platform. This way, they are able to drive traffic back to their online properties, which could definitely land the brand some extra leads and possibly even drive their sales numbers up.

For internet marketers who are producing informative content that educates their audience, a range of different opportunities would also be available. Whether a thorough tutorial is provided on the platform or the publisher is providing a lesson on a useful topic, it would still be possible to integrate details on a website or blog that the publisher runs. This way, the audience can be motivated to visit the website to find out more about the publisher and their content – which, in turn, could land them clicks.

Conclusion

IGTV has become a popular platform for creators and fans alike. While the platform is growing quickly, Instagram is yet to reveal a native ad format or another type of monetization strategy. This, however, does not mean creators are not able to take advantage of IGTV in order to obtain leads and new customers. Creative thinking can help a business grow when they take to IGTV with their marketing efforts.

Related Articles:

How to Make Money with Instagram Stories

Can IGTV Finally End YouTube’s Monopoly Over Internet Videos?

The post IGTV Monetization : Earn Money Through Instagram TV appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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Many businesses make the mistake of focusing too much on what they should do with social media that they completely overlook what they shouldn’t be doing. Here are the top 10 don’ts of social media:

  1. Don’t Like Your Own Posts – this makes you look desperate!
  2. Don’t Neglect Your Profiles – choose your main social media accounts and never let them go idle.
  3. Don’t Post Without a Plan – posting things mindlessly will not help you and might even get you in trouble. Create a posting plan and follow it.
  4. Don’t Connect with Everyone – carefully review a profile before following/befriending it.
  5. Don’t Forget to Network – never stop making connections and building quality relationships on social media.
  6. Don’t Forget About Privacy Settings – make sure your accounts are secure.
  7. Don’t be Spammy – don’t spam the newsfeed of your followers with things that are useless to them. Focus on helping your audience and advertise/promote only when it’s relevant to a post.
  8. Don’t Ignore Comments – reply to audience feedback whenever you can, especially to comments that ask a question or express a concern.
  9. Don’t Delete Negative Comments – this will give the impression that you are not doing anything to solve the issue.
  10. Don’t Fully Rely on Automation – you can use social media schedulers to post for you and chatbots to answer frequently asked questions. However, add a human touch by having someone monitor your accounts and reply to comments, suggestions, and reactions.

The post Social Media for Business – What You Don’t Do is Just as Important appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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We are in the digital world and digital marketing has completely overtaken traditional marketing in terms of effectiveness and importance. Keep your strategy up to date. Here are the top five digital marketing trends to watch in 2019.

  1. Artificial Intelligence – AI has the capacity to better understand consumer patterns and behaviors by analyzing data at a rate millions of times faster than humans are capable of. AI can be used for scouring databases, finding prospects, scanning social media conversations, and more.
  2. Chatbots – these allow you to promptly answer repetitive customer service questions each and every time. Chatbots can also be used to warm prospects, schedule sales appointments and help make purchases.
  3. Smart Speakers and Audio – these enable visitors to make audio queries on your website and receive the appropriate responses. It’s like having your own Alexa.
  4. Local Influencer Marketing – going local will be even more emphasized in 2019. Small and medium businesses will race towards forming partnerships with local celebrities for long-term campaigns and promotions.
  5. Live Video – video will continue to be the king of content marketing. Businesses will conduct regular Live Video Events to further connect with their audience.

The post Top Five Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019 appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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Social media is one of the most far-reaching and effective marketing channels today. Here are the 10 types of social media and how each can benefit your business. We’ve also included three of the most popular examples for each.

1. Social Networks – used for market research, brand awareness, lead generation, relationship building, and customer service.

2. Media Sharing Networks – used for brand awareness, lead generation, and audience engagement.

3. Discussion Forums – used for market research.

4. Bookmarking and Content Curation Networks – used for driving brand awareness, customer engagement, and website traffic.

5. Consumer Review Networks – used as social proof.

6. Blogging and Publishing Networks – used to engage with your audience, build your brand, and generate leads and sales.

7. Social Shopping Networks – used to build awareness, increase engagement, and sell products via new channels.

8. Interest-based Networks – used to engage with your audience and build brand awareness.

9. Sharing Economy Networks – used for bringing in business.

10. Anonymous Social Networks – avoid at all cost. They’ll do more harm than good for your business.

The post 10 Types of Social Media and How Each Can Benefit Your Business appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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Maximizing available resources is one of the most prevalent challenges for startups. Let’s tackle how to develop a killer content strategy without spending a single cent.

  1. Save on your content marketing strategy – every paid online tool has a free counterpart.
  • Save money on tools – use tools such as Google Docs, WordPress, and other free web tools and plugins. Most of these only require you to create an account.
  • Save time – create in bulk, update immediately, plan ahead, and focus on the big stuff.
  1. Understand your audience – Every single piece of content you create should manage to connect directly to your readers.
  • Use Google Forms to create surveys that will let you understand the frustrations, pains, and desires of your audience.
  • Ask correspondents for a brief 10-minute conversation with you on Google Hangouts.
  1. Make an inventory of all current content – you need to know what you currently have in order to know what you still need.
  • Create a content master list on Google Sheets.
  • Update your master list each time you publish new content.
  1. Decide what new content to create – compare your current content to what you’ve discovered in your earlier survey.
  • Create a master list of content ideas on Google Sheets.
  • Create a master list of resources you plan to use as inspiration for new content.
  1. Create an editorial calendar – schedule when you’ll write, edit, and publish your planned content.
  • Create your editorial calendar using Google Calendar.
  • Once you’re comfortable with using the calendar, you can increase the volume little by little.

The post How to Develop a Killer Content Strategy for a Startup with No Budget appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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The best app is worthless if consumers can’t find it. If you don’t optimize your app page, your app will inevitably fail. Given below are 5 App Store Optimization (ASO) hacks you should definitely try.

Name the app very carefully – the app name should give potential users a concrete idea of what the app is about. Stack the most important app information toward the front.

Incorporate competitive keywords into the app title and description – include the most relevant keywords in your app name and app description. But make sure the copy remains enjoyable to read despite all the keywords it contains.

Perform market research to pick the best price – identify the best price to set by gathering information about your competitors as well as your potential users.

A/B test the screenshots and overall user interface – use A/B testing code generators such as Google Content Experiments, Optimizely, and Visual Website Optimizer to determine which screenshot will work best for your app.

Consider localization – translate all the language elements of your app to the local language and change cultural elements when applicable.

The post Boost App Downloads With These 5 App Store Optimization Hacks appeared first on PinchForth | Grow Faster.

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