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3 Steps To Generate More Leads With Marketing Automation

marketing automation

Marketing automation is a powerful tool for businesses to use to generate leads. Marketing automation software, like Keap, helps you automate many of the repetitive tasks involved in lead generation and marketing, freeing up your time so that you can focus on more important aspects of your business. You don’t have to be a marketing guru, or an IT expert, to create automated campaigns. Marketing automation is the best way for small business owners with limited time and resources to generate leads that convert into sales. In this article, we will discuss how marketing automation can help you get more customers by generating leads and nurturing them until they are ready to buy!

Not everyone is ready to buy on their first interaction with you, so it’s important to continue to nurture them, building relationships and trust all along the way until they’re ready to become a customer. Think of a garden full of green tomatoes…there is nothing wrong with the tomatoes, they’re just not ripe yet! It would make no sense to rip them out of the ground and start over simply because they’re not ripe yet…they just need a little water and some tender loving care, until they become red and ripe and are ready to eat.

And yet, small to medium-size business owners often seem to think they need more leads…more leads…MORE LEADS! …in order to grow their business, when nothing is wrong with the leads they have in the first place, they’re just not ripe yet – they’re not yet ready to buy.

So how do we capture more leads and nurture them into paying customers?

Step One

Step one is to take the time to identify what’s important to your customers. Who are they? Where do they hang out? What do they read or who do they follow? What PAIN do they have, and how can you help them solve it? What are their fears, and what are their possible objections to the sale? The better you understand your audience, and the more specific you can be about who your ideal customer is, the more they are likely to hear you and connect with you. They will seek you out!

After you’ve identified who your ideal customer is and what’s important to them, then you need a strategy. You can’t just “wing it” and hope for the best – that never works!

Once you have your customer insights and strategies in place, then it’s time to execute these ideas with a marketing automation software like Keap. With Keap you can create automated campaigns that are personalized and relevant to the individual. Imagine a pet store with customers who own dogs, cats, and fish. The dog owners don’t care about cat food, and cat owners don’t care about fish tanks. With Keap, you can send dog owners relevant information about dogs, and cat owners relevant information about cats. This is called “market segmentation” and helps your customers pay attention because they are receiving only relevant information from you about things they care about.

Step Two

Step two is to set up an automated system that can segment your leads according to their interests, nurture them with relevant information, and give them a “Call To Action” – a small offer that’s easy to say “yes” to. Remember – the most difficult buying decision your prospective customers will ever have to make is the first one, because it fundamentally changes their relationship with you. So make the first purchase an easy one!

Step Three

Step three is to track everything. Metrics are important – knowing where your leads are coming from and what they respond to allows you to better focus your efforts and resources on what’s working best.

To sum up: The best way for small business owners with limited time and resources to generate leads that convert into sales is through nurture powered by marketing automation.

For more information about Marketing Automation or for a free trial of Keap, visit www.zebramarketingsolutions.com.

Stop Trying to Be Everything To Everybody

target audience

In today’s fast-paced, mobile world, it’s more important than ever to have a laser-like focus on your target audience. But if you try to be everything to everybody, you may wind up being no one to nobody. There is so much content out there that people can’t pay attention anymore unless they’re drawn in by the most relevant information. This means that email newsletters and blog posts go unopened when they don’t seem like something worth paying attention to–so how do you make your content interesting enough for people?

Focus on your audience’s needs. What are their pain points? Use what you know about them to speak directly to their concerns and desires–instead of throwing everything at the wall for a chance that something will stick, focus on giving people only things they are actually likely to want.

There Are Riches In Niches!

By focusing your efforts on one target demographic instead of trying to appeal to the masses, you can give people information that is truly relevant and important to them. The more laser-focused you can be, and the more you can zero in on understanding your ideal customer, the better you will become at responding to their needs to better serve them. When you understand them, you can start to think like them, become part of their “tribe,” and it will be easy to speak their language.

At that point, you’ll have a huge competitive advantage over any other business trying to make inroads with your target audience. It will become easier and easier to acquire more of your ideal customer, and you will no longer be attracting potential nightmare customers who are not a fit for you or what you offer.

What are the benefits of niche marketing? Niches can be more profitable than broad-based campaigns because they allow for greater focus and specialization. They also generate higher customer loyalty when people feel like their needs are being addressed specifically to them.

Finally, niche marketing is easier than market-wide campaigns because it’s less time-consuming and requires smaller budgets for testing.

In today’s fast-paced world, the most important thing you can do as a business owner is narrow your focus while still maintaining true authenticity with your audience. It seems counterintuitive, but the more you narrow your focus, the easier it will be to target a specific demographic and find success.

If you need help targeting your ideal customer, contact Zebra Marketing Solutions or set up a complimentary consultation!

8 Shocking Mistakes Killing Your Bank Account

Starting, running and growing a business is not easy. If it were, everyone would do it! And though it can be challenging, it can also be extremely rewarding. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may start out with a dream of owning a successful business and then find themselves struggling to pay the bills.

Here are 8 shocking mistakes that could be killing your bank account…

8. No business plan or poor planning

You may have a good idea, or a dream. Maybe an invention! And you may know all the reasons you think it will be great for the world! But it’s important to also have a plan of how to successfully bring it to market. What’s in it for your customer? How will they benefit, and how can you grow relationships and trust with people who might be willing to buy? Can you offer a quick and easy first purchase – an “entry point offer” to get your foot in the door for larger purchases later? If you’re a coach or consultant, have you clearly defined your services in terms of freebies, low, medium and high ticket items? And how do you plan to move people up the ladder? Many people jump into business without taking the time to make a plan or do the research first. Without a solid plan, it may take longer to get started than anticipated, which may leave your cash supplies depleted.

7. Not having a clearly defined Ideal Customer

It’s not just about what you’re selling, but who you are selling it to! It’s difficult to define the benefit you are offering your customer if you don’t know who your customer is! A common mistake that small business owners and entrepreneurs make is in not being specific enough about whom they serve. If you try to be everything to everyone, your message may get lost, and you may find yourself being nothing to no one. If your message is too broad, you may not be heard at all because people may not realize that you’re talking to them. So pick a niche! There are riches in niches!

6. Not enough leads and not filling your sales pipeline

Think of your business like a funnel. At the top of the funnel, you have lots and lots of people who may or may not know about your business. As they learn about your business and start to engage with you, they enter the funnel. As their relationship with you grows, they keep sliding deeper into the funnel, to your higher ticket offers. And at the very bottom of the funnel are your raving fans! Now imagine that at each stage, there are fewer and fewer people. You must start out with lots of people at the top of the funnel –  your leads – to end up with enough people at the bottom – your sales. If you’re not getting enough leads, and not nurturing those leads to grow their desire to purchase your higher ticket offers, you will struggle to make sales. You must cast your net wide, collect your leads, and then nurture them along each stage of your customer journey!

5. Trying to do it all

There are certain things in your business that only you can do. And certain things that you could probably offload to someone else. Often, especially in the startup phase, we try to do it all. Unfortunately, not a lot of us are just naturally good at everything. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to recognize the things that we may not be so good at, and delegate them to someone else. Delegating those tasks will allow you to focus on the things you are good at, allow another team member to focus on what they are good at and improve the quality of work done all around. It may even make for a happier and less stressful work environment!

4. Getting bogged down with busy work

Busy work is an unfortunate side-effect of almost any business. And there are ways to keep from getting bogged down in it! From online calendars and appointment scheduling to automated lead capture and nurture campaigns, marketing automation can help take the busy work out of your marketing and sales process! Automating or outsourcing busy work can help you free your time to grow the business.

3. Refusal to pivot or inability to adapt quickly enough

“We’ve always done it this way,” is not a good line for a business owner. Think of Kodak’s failure to pivot from 35mm film to digital photography…while competitors were popping up offering customers what they wanted – digital cameras, Kodak continued to focus on selling film. And they are no longer a major player in the photography market. This point is particularly important amid current market conditions, with the coronavirus pandemic causing rapid shifts in the way that people not only do business but live their lives. The needs and desires of your customers may have changed, and the way that they wish to do business with you may have changed. Ask them what they want! And then give it to them…

2. Lack of Data

Know your numbers! It’s important to have clear visibility into your monthly revenue and expenses, so you can assess your profitability and if there is a gap to close, you know exactly what is required to close it. If you are spending money on marketing, you should be tracking your monthly spend in each area or channel, and your conversion rates in each area or channel, so that you can measure your ROI or Return On Investment, and then optimize your strategy to spend more in the areas that are giving you the highest return.

1. Limited Mindset

As mindset coach Belanie Dishong says, “Nothing exists in the world that was not first imagined.” Ask yourself – do you see your wildly successful business? Do you have a clear picture of your desired end result? If you can’t see it and don’t have the vision, then how can you expect anyone else to? Become clear on what the business that you desire looks like, and then paint the vision for your audience, so that you can bring others along with you. BE the wildly successful business owner now, and your vision will be realized.

Download 3 Simple Tips to Put More Money In Your Bank Account,” or Schedule a Complimentary Consultation with ZMS today and we’ll share with you some actions you can take right away to put more money in your bank account.

4 Thanksgiving Marketing Campaigns to Get More Leads & Sales

Thanksgiving Marketing Campaigns

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. Thanksgiving Marketing Campaigns may be the last thing on your mind. You may be deciding whether or not to visit with family this Thanksgiving, or lamenting a planned socially distanced holiday with family over Zoom, and you may be asking when, WHEN will things be back to “normal?” Yet, the very essence of Thanksgiving is about being grateful. We must look beyond these circumstances and appreciate the abundance we DO have in our lives – our family, friends (even if we can’t be with them as usual), food on our tables, the roof over our heads…and our customers!

In keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving, any successful marketing campaign must be centered around this theme. And so, no matter what you are thankful for, it’s always important to let people know you are grateful for them. That’s why many businesses take the time during Thanksgiving to thank all of the stakeholders surrounding their business – their partners, vendors or suppliers, clients, prospects and acquaintances.

Also, in keeping with good ol’ American capitalist tradition…Thanksgiving has become a time of shopping! There’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. People are ready and willing to spend some money, so if you’re not on the ball with your Thanksgiving marketing campaigns, you may be missing out on some growth and sales opportunities!

Here are a few marketing campaign tips you can try this holiday season to express your gratitude and give your business a boost!

  1. Give Thanks to Your Customers, Prospects, Partners and Vendors! There are many ways to express your gratitude to those who make your business tick. Send a paper or virtual greeting card, a small gift or an email letting them know how much you appreciate them and the relationship you have. Post your thankful thoughts on social media using a graphic or a video. Or give them a call the old fashioned way!
  1. Offer Exclusive Deals Via Email and Social Media. Entice customers with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday deals! Some companies even start running promotions early, to beat the buying rush and give customers more time to get excited about their offers. Start a Black Friday deal on Thanksgiving and run it through Cyber Monday for a 5-day bonanza! Use email to notify customers already on your list and social media to entice new customers.
  1. Create Valuable Thanksgiving-Themed Blogs. Thanksgiving is a time of celebration – and can also be a time of challenge for your customers. Think of a challenge that your customers may be facing this holiday season and write a blog post to help them solve it. Maybe they’re lonely, don’t know how to cook, worried about taking time out for the holiday…whatever it is, be there for them! Give them valuable tips that they will appreciate.
  1. In-Store and Online Giveaways. Want more followers on your Facebook page? More email list subscribers? Ask people to like your page, post what they’re thankful for, and enter them into a drawing for a valuable prize from your business! Ask them to subscribe to your email list for your exclusive offers, and enter them for a prize. Get creative! Be sure to let them know how grand the prize is and publish the winners!

I’m sure you’re excited to get started with your Thanksgiving Marketing Campaigns! Keep the spirit of gratitude in your heart, in your messages and in your offers and blessings will surely be returned to you this Thanksgiving!

Download your copy of “19 Proven Ways to Capture More Leads – Today!” or Schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session with ZMS and we’ll give you some new ideas you can implement right away to start generating more leads in your business.

3 Tips for Determining Product-Market Fit

How do you know if your market really wants what you’re selling? Well, if they’re already buying it, then they must want it right? How do you know you wouldn’t be selling more of it if it fit your market’s needs just a little bit better? Providing value is the name of the game. It’s critical for the market you’re trying to serve to understand the value proposition of what you’re selling instantly. The quicker your customer can understand the value, the more you have achieved product-market fit.

Here are 3 tips for determining product-market fit quickly:

  1. Understand your customer’s current needs and foresee future ones. If you don’t know your customer very well, it’s going to be hard to really understand what they need. So figure out where they hang out – tradeshows, networking events, figure out which publications they read and read them too, join their social community groups, and find a mentor who can show you the ropes. Developing a deep understanding of the problems your customers are facing allows you to relate to them better and builds trust and credibility.
  2. Focus on one significant value proposition. I see small businesses all the time who get carried away with communicating too many features and benefits, rather than focusing on one significant value proposition. What tends to happen is – their customers don’t hear them. Narrowing it down can be difficult, but it’s an absolute game changer. Look for emerging trends in the industry you’re serving, determine where competitors fail to solve problems, and focus on one major pain point to solve for your customers.
  3. Build credibility. The best way to do this is by telling a story – you be the guide, and let your customer be the hero! Make your customer the center of the story, recognize their problem, offer a solution, and explain how you are the most qualified to help them solve the problem (give specific examples of cases where you helped someone solve a similar problem successfully), and give them a simple process to follow to work with you.

Need some help determining product-market fit for your business? Contact Us or set up a Complimentary Consultation for more information!

Why Starting a Business is Like Riding a Bicycle

I recently embarked on my 10th Houston to Austin, Texas MS 150 bike ride – a 160-mile ride to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) research and support. I was on the bike for about 14 hours over 2 days, I burned over 7,000 calories, and there were a whole lot of hills involved. In between thinking about my tired legs and how many miles I had to the next rest stop, I had a lot of time to think about life too.

People ask me all the time about this ride, “How do you do it? What’s the secret?” And I tell them, “There’s no secret, you just keep pedaling, that’s it. And when it gets tough and you don’t think you can pedal anymore, you keep on pedaling until you get there, and you just don’t give up.” There’s a lot of suffering involved with endurance road cycling…especially when the weather presents a challenge. Wind, rain, cold…can definitely wreak havoc on your ride. And when you add in the hills too, it can really get tough! But then some rides are fantastic! Sometimes the weather is perfect, and the wildflowers are blooming, and I think, “Wow, I’m the luckiest person in the world!” And on some rides, I’m thinking I feel great, and then suddenly the road turns and I’m riding uphill, battling a head wind. Then the road turns back and I’m flying downhill effortlessly!

As I was riding the hills on the MS 150 this year, it occurred to me how similar the feeling is to starting a business. Sometimes I’ve got it all figured out, and everything is going according to plan, and I feel like I’m on top of the world! And before I know it, it’s not quite as perfect a situation as I thought, and now I’m solving challenges, and I may not know when those challenges will be resolved. And I just have to power through it and keep on moving! And never give up, because waiting around the corner is the top of another hill – another high point!

I recently heard Dave Asprey, Founder and CEO of Bulletproof Coffee speak at a Digital Marketer conference. He recommended tolerating a cold shower every morning to develop your mental toughness. I feel like for me, cycling has taught me the mental toughness and stamina required for entrepreneurship. One of my favorite quotes is one by Albert Einstein, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” So, when life gives you lemons….don’t forget to just keep moving! (After all, lemonade can be very refreshing after a little exercise!)

For more information on powering through and powering up your business, please contact us for a complimentary consultation!

Shifting Away From SEO: Succeeding In A Changing Digital Market

If you’ve spent any part of the last five years in any field of marketing and you’ve likely heard about the wonders of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to promote your business. Though with the fast moving pace of today’s hyper-connected digital world, the power of SEO is quickly fading into more focused and strategic methods.

Just as Google has changed over the last half decade, introducing newer algorithm updates and mobile first initiatives to make searching better for users, so too do businesses need to adapt to get their message and content across. The ability to adjust is the benchmark for which businesses will either thrive or falter. Brand content must engage with and convert potential clients and customers on the platform and device that they spend the most time on.

To stay ahead of the momentous shifts in the digital world, it’s important to understand and tailor your approach in a more forward-thinking manner.

Shifting the focus from SEO to content convergence

Content alone doesn’t ensure successful conversions, just as SEO alone doesn’t ensure that your audience will engage with your content. As the fields of data and analytics grow, they offer a greater opportunity for businesses to understand their consumers and create more intelligent content to deliver a successful campaign.

Content should be based on clearly defined data of audience, engagement, and conversion metrics which are all trackable. Using both organic search opportunities and social content is also often a more strategic way to boost visibility and engage with a relevant audience.

Creating more shareable and higher achieving return on investment content such as videos, infographics, and articles also allows you to capitalize on current trends and stand out from the crowd while still giving you opportunities for site links, shares, tweets, and others.

Make it mobile

In today’s world mobile has surpassed the desktop and your business must be ready to meet users where they are: on mobile devices.

In this mobile-first world you should have a good understanding of mobile user behavior and purposes in order to tailor your experience to exceed those expectations.

Having a fast loading website is half the battle in winning in the mobile field. The majority of mobile users usually take to their smartphones to do research – whether it is to find a restaurant or to look up a topic – make sure that your business meets them there and can then use that content to convert into sales.

Understanding these key frameworks and adapting them to your business is the true key to success in this vibrant and connected marketplace.

Want to learn more about how content marketing could work for your business? Contact Us or set up a Complimentary Consultation for more information!

Will Marketers Be Replaced by Bots?

In a world of Siri and Alexa, automated phone systems, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence that’s becoming more and more sophisticated – sometimes it seems like humans may be starting to take a backseat to the world of automation. Like maybe Skynet is real!! We sit glued to our phones rather than interacting with each other. We spend more time on Facebook than in real person-to-person conversations. So what does this mean for the world of digital marketing? Is the secret just to ride the wave of automation, and automate more than our competitors to win the race?

According to Ryan Deiss at Digital Marketer’s recent Traffic & Conversions Summit, in the face of increasing automation, the future is in real human interactions. In other words, bots and automation are there to facilitate human interaction, rather than replace it. You may have heard of ChatBots and Facebook Messenger Marketing. These are both great tools! And they are there to start a conversation, not replace a real human. They are great for filtering leads according to interests, and moving people to the next step, but they are not meant to close the deal.

That being said – the amazing thing about Messenger Marketing and ChatBots is that you are meeting people where they are used to interacting! People are used to chatting on messenger, opening links and videos from their friends, and interacting with people there, while less and less people may be willing to interact with your brand over email. And the best part is, Messenger Marketing and ChatBots are still relatively new, so it’s still early enough to beat the wave!

Want to learn more about how Messenger Marketing or ChatBots could work for your business? Contact Us or set up a Complimentary Consultation for more information!

The 3 Types of Marketing Emails, and How to Use Them

The key to success in email marketing is sending the right type of email at the right time. It’s important to understand the types of emails that businesses send, and how to use them. So take a look at these 3 types of marketing emails, and think of how you are or how you might use them in your business!

1. Promotional Emails – these are the most common type of marketing emails, and their purpose is to make an offer to your email list. The offer could be promotional content, a white paper or webinar, a brand announcement, a new product release and more. A whopping 66% of consumers have made a purchase as a direct result of an email marketing message, so it’s no wonder promotional emails are so popular – they work!

2. Relational Emails – these deliver value to your customers by providing free content and information, such as subscriber welcomes, newsletters, blog articles, surveys, social updates and more. Relational emails may not make an offer, or sell a product or service directly, but they are designed to build relationships with the customer by adding value up front. For example, when your email subscriber receives a piece of high-quality content in your e-newsletter, he or she is interacting with your brand in a deeper and more meaningful way.

3. Transactional emails – these are sent in response to an action that a customer has taken with your brand. They include messages such as order confirmations, receipts, coupon codes, shipping notifications, password reminders and more. This type of email is often overlooked as an opportunity to give customers an idea of the voice behind your brand, and what it is like to do business with you. Do you deliver what you promised? Do you respect your customer’s wishes? The leads and customers on your email list are observing how you do business, and transactional emails are a big part of that!

The purpose of email marketing is to move a customer along their customer journey. From prospect to customer, and from customer to raving fan! Whether it’s keeping a customer excited about a purchase they’ve recently made, or adding value in advance with your e-newsletter, you’ll want to keep these 3 types of emails in mind for email marketing success!

Need some help with your email marketing? Contact Us or set up a Complimentary Consultation for more information!

How to Get Clear on the Value you Provide

I bet you’re clear on what you sell…a service, a product…but are you really clear on the value you provide? Understanding the value you bring to the marketplace is the essential ingredient in digital marketing success. In fact, people don’t actually buy products or services; instead, they buy outcomes.

Imagine a group of people who are discontented for some reason. They may not even be aware of their discontented state, but life could be better. These people are in what we call the “Before” state. No matter what you’re selling, you’re looking to reach a group of prospective customers who are in this unhappy “before” state. Think of your prospective customers, and write down some adjectives that describe them before they’ve experienced your product or service. Are they fearful? Out of shape? Tired? Bored?

Now take a giant leap into the future, to the point after the customer has experienced your product or service. What is their “After” state? Are they calm? Healthier? Energized? More excited?

The outcome, or shift from the Before to the After state is what your customer is buying. This shift is the value that your business brings to the marketplace. And the role of your marketing is to clearly articulate this move from the Before to the After state!

Want to learn more about communicating your value? Contact Us or set up a Complimentary Consultation for more information! (Image credit: Digital Marketer).