- Need to know if someone has opened an email you've sent? Why not check out Hubspot's great free tool for gmail users http://www.getsignals.com. Nothing cheeky about this, it just uses pixel tracking to see if and when an email has been opened. Great for testing subject line open rates. It also provide some great business intel when you are on a website of any company you may be researching.
- When you have a busy day on the road or researching any number of leads on the fly and need to keep things front of mind, a great way to do this is to email yourself a topline note. This puts the note/sitelink/reminder top of the inbox so you can deal with it later that day. Don't open the message until you are ready to deal with it, or assign the email to an 'event' in your diary when you can manage it, but at least you'll know who it's from!
- Free LinkedIn and and Google AdWords credit can be a great way to test lead generation campaign ideas and see what works. Why waste ad budget on small tests, just ask anyone you know who doesn't use their LinkedIn ad credit to send their vouchers along. And for some free starter AdWords credit see here (you may need to spend a bit for this one). My advice is to do the research on how to make ads and landing pages that convert, as well as planning your campaign (from content strategy to lead capture), before you waste the credit on weak ads and promotions.
- Need some free tools for online meetings? https://www.join.me is a great way to screen share (check out the free account version), whilst of course most know the benefits of Skype for that international reach! Or http://www.anymeeting.com is ad supported for the free account, so you can use a platform like this to hone your webinar skills then upgrade when you have your sessions down to a tee.
- Google Alerts is a great way to keep track of those top prospects activity and get instant updates on any intelligence you can use to trigger a 'keep in touch' or other action to help build that relationship. Free, easy to set up and often more valuable then you'd first think when you see the interface. Well played Google!
If you want to know more or need help in developing a lead generation solution for your business, then get in touch with us at ID London.
Just a few thoughts off the top of our heads, but please add more in the comments section below if you've got some juicy ones!
I'm sure the great Einstein would have also figured women in this equation when he expressed the above, but when it comes to delivering for your business, clients and customers, the focus should always be on providing a best in class service, whatever size your business and whatever your business area, as a focus on the glory will often leave you falling short.
People buy people
Customers (prospective and existing) may not always buy in to your company. I have been in a number of situations where the company's reputation precedes it, and that's not always a good thing! When it's a case for the negative, you have to work twice as hard to ensure that whoever you are engaged with understands you are not your company but an individual and, if you believe in what you do, that you will go that extra mile to right any previous wrongs and be the one to change people's perceptions about how your organisation does business.
That's valuable. To your company, your customers and yourself. Success can often be misconstrued with delusions of grandeur. The reality is, you get better at everything as you learn more, so your measure of success will constantly shift as your abilities and knowledge grow.
The best business people and CEOs I know:
Often it's as simple as doing what you said you would do that sets you apart in the marketplace, and building a reputation for such is something that I would class as successful.
You may have been watching the Brazil vs. Germany World Cup match aghast tonight (or not if you are a German fan!), but whichever team you support, losing 7-1 was a beating not many could have predicted for Brazil.
I often look for inspiration for business thinking from all aspects of life, and this football match in particular had some key learnings for us all.
Without going into the gory details of the match, here are my 5 top thoughts that we could all use to enhance our game:
1. Don't take you eye off the ball!
Sometimes it's hard to stay focused on what's important. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, but having well defined goals helps to keep you focused and on target.
2. Don't rest on your laurels
You may have pulled off the biggest deal or project of your life last month, but that was last month! You need to keep moving forward. When it comes to success people often have short memories, and unfortunately it's often the failures that are most remembered. Don't sit around bathing in the glory of that last win, get yourself focused on the next goal sooner rather than later.
3. Be a real team player
Maximise the value of the people around you. If you are good at what you do then you know you have certain strengths and weaknesses. Don't always go it alone. You can learn a lot from others by giving them the opportunity to share their insights and experiences with you. Being a team player can often get you to achieving your goal quicker than if you try and do it all on your own. And give back - if someone asks for advice try and help them, it can often lead to new opportunities further down the line.
4. Take the lead
Brazil tonight were lacking their captain due to previous match penalties, but that gave others in the team the opportunity to shine and lead their team (and country!) to a win. However, no one stepped up, in fact the opposite happened and the whole team fell apart as there was no leadership. You may not think you are a leader, but you never know unless you try!
5. Learn from your mistakes
You can't win 'em all! But you can use the loses to improve your strategy. Pick up the pieces when things go wrong and get back in the game. Take responsibility and improve. The best business people in the world have had many more failures than successes, it's just a matter of hard work, good timing and considered decision making.
Want to discuss this further, get in touch via our social media contacts.
Marketing agency new business strategy has traditionally focused on a direct approach. Cold calling was considered by both new business people and agency management as a key tool in getting in front of prospective clients, but in the age of social media and content marketing is a cold call really the best use of anyone's time?
Of course a direct conversation can save a lot of time and achieve cut-through, but the term 'cold call' depicts someone with a list of names and numbers hitting the phones and generating meetings. Not much intelligence behind that in a highly competitive and well versed industry.
However, with the advancements in search platforms and online marketing tools - from Google products to LinkedIn, email and webinar platforms - there are ever increasing ways to engage prospects and build relationships.
And that is the key - relationship building, and it takes place on many fronts. From delivering relevant, insightful and useful blog content and site pages, to events, research and more, there are a number of ways to generate a meaningful conversations with a prospect that allows you to engage with them on their terms, or what you have framed as 'their terms', but actually forms part of your new business and sales outreach programme.
MultiChannel Lead Generation
Really it all boils down to having something interesting to say. Do your homework.
As some would do; in phoning up a prospect and giving them some agency creds info and a talk about why you are the best agency to deliver their next website - a very inward looking one way conversation, and prone to a 'no thanks, not right now' response.
A better approach - which may take more time, resource and investment, but in general delivers greater returns - is to deliver a value based exchanged; "based on what we understand about your business/products/services, we have developed this research for you", or "we'd like to invite you too...", or "we have a great free tool that will help you quickly"..., are just a few ways that you can differentiate from the crowd and really add value to your prospects way of doing business.
This also delivers the opportunity/leads through an almost 'warm call' situation where you (the supplier) gain the value of a direct call with the prospect, but by providing something meaningful in return for their time on the phone and the interruption into their day.
This almost pull marketing approach (the content/tools you are developing) can be managed through a joined-up and multichannel lead generation programme, which is a where a modern new business person can thrive.
Additionally, you need to put yourself out there. Learn the platforms and technologies that deliver powerful insights and that can help you better understand how to attract leads. For new business, sales and marketing has almost merged. You need to understand the marketing channels, tracking and analytics tools you can leverage, as well as the old skool telephone skills and event/networking strategies, that when combined get you the most value from your time.
Innovate, engage and convert.
So, the answer to the question is yes - it's always worth a call, but only if you have something meaningful to say. And only if it's part of a wider strategy to engage prospects across a number of fronts.
Is creating content and tools - that pull in prospects you can truly engage with, top of your new business agenda, or are you going to carry on with the traditional cold calling route...take our ID London new business poll below!
For more ideas on how you can develop your agency new business strategy contact us to discuss
With the UK economy getting back on track, we wanted to take a look at one of the key processes that keeps the country's ad, creative and marketing agencies alive...or is the reality of the pitch process really holding back creativity, ROI and the ability of agencies to help clients take their business to the next level:
Sources: Marketing Magazine, IPA and ISBA
Ever more clients are seeking out the agency that really knows their business, understands their challenges and has the experience to quickly get under the skin of it, but is the pitch process the best way of building this relationship, and is the cost of the lost agency pitch detrimental to client agency relationships in the long-term?
Has the ability of marketing agencies to focus on the work, creativity and innovation, been hindered by the requirement to comply with often complex procurement programmes, let alone the cost and man hours involved in the pitch process, and the need to share often valuable intellectual property with clients who have too many agencies in the process from the get go, or haven't delivered a clear enough brief.
We'd be keen to hear views from both sides of the relationship as we take a hard look at how to shape the best process of winning new business coming out of the recession, and the new business strategy of winning without pitching.
Are you an agency trying to get ahead of the game, if so then check out our agency page here.
And if you have more to add in terms of content with regards to this, then we'd love to create a series of articles related to this post and would love to hear from you at ID London or @IDLondon_newbiz.
"Luck is the residue of design" - the wise words of Wesley Branch Rickey born in 1881. An innovator in US Major League Baseball and a man that started to break down the race barriers in the US through sports.
I love this quote as I often look around at successful business people, politicians and creators (actors, artists, musicians etc.) and wonder how did they make it big, how lucky were they to launch that hugely successful product, platform, land that role or hit that shot ?
In my view luck is what you make it or as quoted, a residue of design. It's the same when it comes to growing your business. Yes you can get 'lucky' to a degree and land that big contract or launch that next big product consumers 'must have', but in reality and underneath it all, there is always a huge amount of planning, analysing and optimising that goes into nearly every successful venture that you see around you.
A lot of ideas are not a 'light-bulb' moment of the creator that came out of the blue whilst in the shower one day...
More than likely it came through a process of learning, development, failure, analysis and optimisation. Then when the stars are aligned and all things fit together coherently, a successful model will arise and it all becomes obvious! This may take a matter of months, it could be year or decades, but understanding that there is a process - recording information and data, analysing and learning from this - will undoubtedly improve your success rate.
So, all things considered, when you have developed an idea, have a solid strategy and process in place, luck will become a side effect of persistence, good planning and process. As when all things are in order then the outcome should be what you intended, be it a successful business, an Oscar winning performance or a time machine (well maybe not the last one!).
What's your thoughts on business strategy, how do keep your perspective fresh and innovative thinking alive?
Share a comment below!
Free google tools everyone can use for business growth, Sales, marketing, product development AND MORE
Every business needs to take all the advantages it can to keep in front of trends, the market, competitors, and often just to keep pace with the ever increasing internal revenue targets or cost reductions.
What better way to do this then with free tools that you can access online, that give your team powerful insights, often using real-time data, without any real cost apart from the time it takes to learn how to use them and extract the data.
Why not arm all staff with relevant tools - from the finance department to recruitment and the sales team - as better access to information is a powerful tool in itself when used correctly, and you never know where that next 'big idea' could come from.
Here we look at just a few examples of what's out there, but it's always great to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments below.
A Few Free ONLINE Tools:
Some of these tools are really simple and can provide you the information need without you having to repeat a process, as with Google Alerts. Google's free alert tool allows you to input a search criteria, in a specific language, from a specific region, even how often, and then Google will do the hard work and pull the data from the 'keywords' you enter from recent news, blogs, financial info and other data. Great if you are on the lookout for new product launches from competitors or seeking information about a trend, as just a couple of examples.
Just FYI - 'keywords' are words that people input into the Google search bar to pull information from the web (usually from websites). For example, 'flights to Paris' contains the keywords 'flights' and 'Paris', which is what Google will use to return the most relevant information to the user at the time, and often most relevant to the location from which they enter the 'keyword search term' into the search box.
Google Adwords has number of useful tools hidden inside. AdWords is Google advertising platforms (aka Pay-Per-Click ads). All you need is a free Google account (or to register an email account with Google) to access the range free of website analytics and advertising tools (you can even get a free Google email address here).
Once you have your Google account you can then login to AdWords and look under 'tools' tab at the top of the page. Remember, you don't have to spend any money on advertising to use this tool, but have a look at 'keyword planner' under 'tools'. Here you will find a number of 'keyword tools' that will allow you find out the search volume (or number of monthly searches for a keyword or group of keywords) for a term - e.g. the term 'dog food' is entered into Google 9,900 times each month by people in the UK. This is great if you want to understand what kind of terms are popular or not. And great if, for example, you want to see how popular a specific keyword term is in one country or another, or what term people are using to search for a specific kind of product (e.g. more people may search for flight to Paris rather than flights to Paris, which makes one search term more valuable than another).
Moving on from this is the Google Trends tool. Similar to Google keyword tools, but this time you can see how the search volume for a keyword fluctuates over a period of time. So great if you want to map out when to spend money on marketing a product throughout the year, as here you can check seasonality of a search term. There are also all sorts of interesting trending data you can pull from here too, so have a play!
Lastly, one for inspiration, is Google Think Insights, which is where you can sign-up for their newsletter or visit the site to find out about new Google tools (such as brand impressions, which is a really cool way to find out about a brand and what they are up to online), access marketing information and thinking, but also access the suite of existing Google tools and news.
All in all, I think Google does a great job of providing access to information in some interesting ways. All easy to use once you get in the swing of it and often it's just addictive taking a look at how a new trend is taking off. Beware though, most of this is geared towards you spending money on Google ads as a business at some point, so get what you need from it (especially whilst it's free!).
Any questions? Contact me directly.
New website, new content to share and so of course that means new social profiles!
We want to get our content out there, share some ideas with you and hear your ideas on new biz and lead generation tools, strategies, opportunities and issues!
We already have the ID London twitter profile so do follow us there, but you can now see pics from our recent trip to the Powerboat P1 London event at our Google+ page.
We'd love to hear from you, so tweet and comment and let us know your views on business today!
The UK #SuperStock Powerboat (@PowerboatP1) season kicks off this week at the London Docklands. We've been invited down as part of their team to meet with potential sponsors and invite our network to join in the event and activities, with potential for getting out there on the water, eek!
SuperStock is gaining an ever increasing popularity in the UK with six main race events across the country, and with a few other special events to boot, each one drawing crowds in excess of 250k+. And this is without the international TV (Sky Sports) and media coverage pre and post event! Huge!
With businesses looking for new ways to engage audiences, powerboat racing can give you the required and often much needed 'content' for an effective content marketing strategy - building a brand story around your sponsorship of such an exciting sport - which is proving ever more a core channel in brand building and online marketing.
With the additional benefit of live events to engage audiences and customers on the ground, it's a great low cost of entry sponsorship to test things out with, particularly if you are seeking international brand visibility.
Speaking to one of the powerboat pilots, Andy Wilby (@andywilby22), who manages the Typhoo boat, he has had his mate over on business in China emailing him about the fact that he is on their TV in a Beijing hotel, having been interviewed about the UK race event the weekend before!
I'm just hoping my back holds out if I do get taken out on the Thames for a ride of a lifetime!