08.31.2015

4 Keys to Building New Business Relationships

The success of any business depends largely on its ability to bring new business through the door but it isn’t easy to go out and create new relationships. Here are four keys to help you create new business and build the trust with a client that produces a long-lasting relationship.

Your target is your equal.
There are two sides to this point; It is easy to talk above a client and it is easy to talk beneath the client. Professional relationships thrive when both sides see each other as peers and it creates the foundation for a solid business relationship.

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The first point is to not make the client feel inferior to you. Having confidence in who you are and what you are offering is a good trait, however, you can quickly turn off a potential relationship by presenting yourself as arrogant. There is a fine line between presenting your product confidently and presenting it pretentiously. You may end up making a sale by being this way but you won’t end up creating a relationship, and relationships are what lead to BIG deals.

On the other hand, don’t be intimidated by who you are meeting with. You can quickly present yourself or your product as inadequate or “lesser” by not being confident enough. Understand that you are in a meeting because someone believes that you will provide value and they want you to prove that.

Read the Newspaper.
“Read the newspaper” is something that was told to me at my very first sales position and it always stuck with me. The premise of the statement is that you should be up-to-date on current events and able to speak to a wide range of topics with any potential relationship.

Finding common ground is one of the easiest ways to create comfort with the person you are meeting with and you should be able to speak to a various range of topics with confidence. In other words… relate to them on a level beyond the focus of the meeting and you’ll be more likely to create a personal relationship and develop trust.

Always make a great LAST impression.
First impressions are overrated (within reason). Last impressions – the impression someone has of you after the meeting – are what matter because that is the taste that gets left when you are gone. It’s natural to have an instant reaction when you see someone or a situation for the first time but speaking with someone long enough will either remove all initial stereotypes or it will reinforce them. You should have plenty of time to present yourself and your product confidently and wash away any thoughts that were developed in the first instant of meeting someone.

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I’m confident that I when a meeting ends with me, the client is comfortable with me personally and also trusts that I can provide and deliver exactly what they want.

Learn to say “No” to a sale.
Think back to the subject of this article… “Building New Relationships”. The reason we focus on building relationships is because relationship selling leads to larger, more significant business. Part of this is having the sales maturity to learn that you don’t have to leave a meeting with a deal in place. There are times that you’ll meet with someone and realize that what you offer and what they would like is not in their best interest at that time. Being honest and open about that will create trust and eventfully lead to more significant success in the future.

Example In Action:

I recently met with a business for the first time and went into the meeting anticipating a simple overhaul to the look of their website and some functionality improvements to the way it operates. By the end of the meeting, we learned that their website was tied into a separate program that contained their entire CRM process and directly linked it to client experience on their website.

In short, their website overhaul also meant that they would need a new program written to accompany the new website so everything continued to work the same way. This significantly changed the price (5x the anticipated cost).

Option 1 was to write a whole new program to accompany the website and give them the functionality necessary to allow them to make changes on their own and finally control their website. *This was their main desire for doing a new project.
Option 2 was to try to sell them on changing the look of their site but staying with the same systems that were currently in place.
It would have been easy to lose sight of the clients interest and try to convince them to go with Option 2 but it also would not have solved the main problem that they faced. Which is not how trust is developed and relationships are created.

Instead, we let them know that the only way to accomplish their goals was to go with Option 1 and the cost would be significantly greater than we all expected. We did not end up working together (for now) because the project exceededs their budget. However, they do plan to move forward with this project at the beginning of the year and will be working with us to complete it.

By saying “No”, we traded a low cost sale for a relationship that is going to result in a major project in 2016 and created a business relationship that will last.

 

Jim Blundo is the Vice President at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about him, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the  Sparq team today.

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08.24.2015

4 Notes for Incorporating Pinterest Buy Buttons Into Your Ecommerce Strategy

Ecommerce is in this season and platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are looking to grow their features to meet the needs of business selling their products. Forecasting the future for buyers and social media platforms, it looks like Pinterest is going to be the top dog of networks being implemented.

Pinners are shoppers, and 87 percent of Pinterest users admit to making a purchase because of Pinterest. For the few Pinterest users who haven’t made a purchase, they are planning on it. As a business selling goods or products, it’s your job to be where the buyer is, and cater to their needs. Here are my 4 strategies to implement the new Pinterest buy button, into an ecommerce strategy.

  1. Analytics & Listening

All you need to sign up for Pinterest analytics is a business account and a verified website. From there, like other social platforms, the analytics gives information such the number of impressions, views, repins and clicks as well as demographics like countries languages, metro area, gender, and interests.

As a business, you don’t make decisions for your marketing based on a premonition; you need real numbers, and real data. Make sure when you are beginning to use the buy button, you have analytics set up and ready to go, so that you can cater your Pinterest content to the data your reading. Constantly make changes to your content and your selling based on the data from analytics, and your content will always be catered to the audience.

2. Pin, Pin & Pin Again

Pinterest is no longer just a social media platform, it’s a sales channel. Stats indicate, that it’s not just any ordinary sales channel either, it’s the most BUY PRONE social media platform in the world. That means you need content, and you need it now.

New buy pins will be valuable to your ecommerce strategy only if you are actively using Pinterest as a marketing platform for organic content now. All you have to do is meet those shopping-crazy pinners on their favorite platform, increase your engagement, and flip the switch on buyable pins.

3. Optimize your Promoted Pins.

Using promoted pins are a great place to introduce your buyable pin strategy. There are a lot of similarities in the creation and listening of analytics. With promoted pins, you can select your best pins, adjust your target audience and pay for impressions or click-throughs. Through active listening and tracking the performance of your promoted pins, you can determine their value and ultimate effect on the buyer. To make use of buyable pins, use the data that you’ve gained from your promoted pins to enhance your buyable pins. You already know the best targets, the right interests and demographics, and the right level of engagement. Now all you need to do is make them buyable.

What are some other tips for the Pinterest buy button?

Kait Roth is the Vice President of Digital Marketing at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about her, here. If you have questions about social media marketing, contact the  Sparq team today.

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08.12.2015

4 Ways to Make Your Website an Effective Sales Tool

The goals of many small businesses’ marketing efforts are to turn traffic into leads and leads into business. But often times when meeting with business owners, they have an online marketing plan and website that falls short of their ultimate expectations. Having an effective web presence can be a powerful tool to gain quality leads, and we’ve gathered 4 simple ways to do just that.

 

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1. Make information easy to find

In the industry landscape, a brand now competes on a global scale and with this elevated competition, a website must be able to convey important information in a quick and effective manner. Make sure the most important navigation information is displayed in your website’s primary navigation area. Most of the time the main navigation area is located in the top header. However, most websites make the mistake of hiding important information within sub tabs or drop down menus.With the short attention span of individuals today, a site must provide information to the users in the quickest way possible.

2. Make sure your site is responsive

Mobile devices and tablets today have become the main form of communication. Recognizing and understanding that mobile searches now outnumber desktop searches, businesses must realize that their site needs to conform to mobile regulations. In April, Google announced an algorithm change that placed a higher emphasis on user experience. It is simple; Google wants users “to receive an uninterrupted experience.” So what exactly does this mean?

A user should receive a seamless experience on any device that they browse any particular site on, from desktop to tablet, to mobile. There should be no more zooming in and out or scrolling left to right to read content on a site when viewed in a mobile layout. In many cases users will abort a mobile site that does not layout content and information in a user-friendly manner.

3. Have SEO in place to drive traffic

If a business does not already have an SEO (search engine optimization) campaign in place, their competition most likely does. We live in an age where information is at our fingertips. If someone does not know an answer to their question, they get on Google to search for it. If someone wants to find the best coffee shop within 5 miles, they go a local directory.

We live in a world where “being at the right place at the right time” can make or break your business. For small businesses especially, investing in your online marketing can make a world of difference. A business can invest money into the creation of the most visually appealing website, but if it doesn’t show up when users are searching for your services…how effective can it really be?

SEO is marketing that is built for longevity. If done correctly, your site and online presence will continue to grow for months and years after you have made your investment.

4. Obtain user information through your site

Now that there’s an understanding of the importance for driving traffic to a site and a user has gathered information about the business and services, there needs to be engagement. Whether it’s a site that is heavily trafficked or one that receives twenty hits per day, converting traffic into business is the holy grail of online marketing. There should be multiple ways to connect and find out what the potential customer wants.

Have a phone number, email handle and address prominently placed in the header and footer of the website. There should be contact and quote forms displayed in multiple areas and pages where viewers can easily connect with you. Now that you’ve seen these four ways to make your website an effective sales tool, do you have any to add?

Nick Brucker is the President & CEO at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about him, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the  Sparq team today.

Follow Nick on Twitter & LinkedIn 

08.11.2015

Hootsuite Adds Instagram Feature that Disappoints Social Media Managers

As the news headlines for articles surrounding the digital marketing community began to surface, Hootsuite was integrating Instagram scheduling, social media managers from every corner of the world were on the edge of their seats.

Eager to finally have a tool within the already popular social monitoring platform, managers could FINALLY schedule those Instagrams early in the week and have them properly optimized for time of day…so they thought.

That pesky API was always in the way with the popular Instagram scheduling app Latergram, which sends reminders to your phone to post selected pictures to the photo-sharing app.

At last! Freedom! Productivity! Scheduling! Right? Nope. Hootsuite’s new features does the exact – same – thing.

“Users can schedule content to Instagram from Hootsuite, however scheduling does not mean Hootsuite published the content to that respective Instagram account,” a Hootsuite spokesperson said.

“The user will receive a push notification from Hootsuite at the time they scheduled the image for and then from the Hootsuite notification they are directed into the Instagram app (the image will carry over too) and then they can publish/post the image themselves.”

So now that Hootsuite established that their new feature is basically like having a Latergram extension in their feeds, is there ANY benefit to having it?

The feature does allow social media teams to easily share a single Instagram account, manage Instagram campaigns from within Hootsuite alongside social channels, as well as zoom in on photos. Other than these, not many benefits have surfaced.

While we wait for Instagram to release their API and allow us to schedule, have you found any positives to the new Hootsuite feature?

While we wait for Instagram to release their API and allow us to schedule, have you found any positives to the new Hootsuite feature?

Kait Roth is the Vice President of Digital Marketing at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about her, here. If you have questions about social media marketing, contact the  Sparq team today.

Follow Kait on TwitterLinkedIn Instagram