Emotional Marketing for Successful Sales

I came across this website today: ChangingMinds.org. As an online marketer who’s ultimate job it is to develop and execute marketing initiatives that help drive revenue, I found the website quite valuable in helping me understand the aspects of how we can change what others think, what they believe, how they feel, and what they do. In a world where social media is a driving force that significantly influences and shapes people’s opinions, beliefs, and decisions, I think it’s important to remember that when it comes to getting people to buy what you are selling, the way we market and sell needs to change.

It’s no longer about you, your product, or your message. In order to be successful, it all needs to be about the customer. Long gone are the days when someone would buy your product because you said so. Today, buyers rely on transparent, two-way collaboration, reviews, ratings, and specific examples that highlight experiences and emotions – not products.

So where should you start? The first step is to become more aware of your customers’ feelings. Empathize with them and let them know that you understand their pain and genuinely want to solve their problem. ChangingMinds.org offers several sections of information that may be helpful in understanding how to leverage empathy to drive sales. The section that focuses specifically on empathy is particularly interesting. Here’s a quick excerpt:

The value of empathy comes not from understanding the other person’s feelings, but what you do as a result of this.

Empathy connects people together

When you empathize with me, my sense of identity is connected to yours. As a result, I feel greater in some way and less alone. I may well, as a result, also start to empathize more with you. In a therapeutic situation, having someone else really understand how you feel can be a blessed relief, as people with emotional problems often feel very much alone in their different-ness from other people. The non-judgmental quality can also be very welcome.

Empathy heals

Therapeutically, it can be a very healing experience for someone to empathize with you. When someone effectively says ‘I care for you’, it also says ‘I can do that, I can care for myself.’

Empathy builds trust

Empathy displayed can be surprising and confusing. When not expected, it can initially cause suspicion, but when sustained it is difficult not to appreciate the concern. Empathy thus quickly leads to trust.

Empathy closes the loop

Consider what would happens if you had no idea what the other person felt about your communications to them. You might say something, they hated it, and you continued as if they understood and agreed. Not much persuasion happening there! The more you can empathize, the more you can get  immediate feedback on what they are experiencing of your communications with them. And as a consequence, you can change what you are saying and doing to get them to feel what you want them to feel.

See what I mean? Quite insightful and thought provoking.

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Website Redesign & Content Creation

As I often mention, I’m the Online Marketing Manager at Binary Tree. We’re currently in the process of redesigning our website and we’rehoping to go live in the next 6-8 weeks (fingers crossed tightly). The project is very near and dear to the hearts of the entire company, including the Executive team, who are more than eager to see the new design along with the recreated messaging. It’s a project that will redefine the company’s message and position us as THE go-to partner for everything encompassing migrations to Microsoft.

Anyway, I have to say that the most difficult aspect of the project hasn’t been the design, the sitemap, or the navigation, but rather the CONTENT. Populating the CMS with current and newly created content is not easy. Silly me …I thought entering content into the new CMS would be a piece of cake, a no-brainer. But, alas, I was wrong. It’s not that it’s difficult to actually copy-n-paste into the new CMS …it’s not that at all. Rather, it’s the TIME it’s taking to repurpose our existing content, create new content with refreshed messaging, and populate the new CMS with our existing website’s archived content.

So the lesson learned is this …if you’re embarking on a website redesign project, you may want to include in the project’s budget a placeholder for a web content consultant or strategist. Two that I recently came across that you may want to consider (in no particular order) are:

  1. Pybop
  2. Predicate

Well, that’s all for now. Back to work!

Top 5 Things I Learned About Social Media This Week

Ok, so I missed posting last week. I have a good reason though. I won’t get into it but just know, it wasn’t fun. Anyway, here are the top 5 interesting facts,stats, ideas, and miscellaneous news items that I found valuable this week  as a social media and online marketing professional and enthusiast:

  1. Facebook recently announced their geo-location/check-in tool called Places. Social Media B2B wrote an excellent blog post titled, 5 Ways B2B Companies Can Use Facebook Places. I’m an avid Social Media B2B fan/reader and I find their perspective, ideas, and insight on how to leverage Places in the B2B space quite valuable. Read more here.
  2. There’s an excellent post on Social Media Examiner titled, How to Use Your Blog to Drive Social Sales. The post offers great insight on how to leverage your blog to drive sales. Read more here.
  3. I stumbled upon the website, Reel SEO Video Marketing, and was instantly intrigued. The site focuses exclusively on video marketing and video SEO. It’s full of interesting and valuable posts and a great asset to anyone looking to improve their video SEO. Read more here.
  4. I also stumbled upon a great content marketing blog called the PR 20/20 blog. Their 3-part series titled How to Optimize Video for the Web helps answer the question, “so how do search engines index and rank video?”. If you’re interested in finding out, read more here.
  5. Junta42‘s new Content Marketing Institute is full of resources for content marketing training and education. One particular post that I found very valuable is titled Checklist: The 4 Key Qualities of Effective Content. Although the post is simple a reminder of what you must keep in mind when creating and publishing compelling and nurturing content, it’s still worth a read. So, if you need a refresher, read more here.

So here are my top 5. I hope you find them as useful and as valuable as I do. Please feel free to share what you learned this week. I’m eager to hear.

Social Media Needs a Plan

New Jersey based Digital Brand Expressions released a new research report that discusses how
companies are embracing social media throughout their organizations. According to DBE, the study …

“looked at if companies are using social media, how they are approaching its incorporation into business communications, if they have a strategic social media plan in place, and which business units are involved in the planning, measurement, and use of social media.”

Some interesting highlights from the report include:

  • While 78% of respondents indicated that their business is actively using social media, only 41% reported that these activities are covered under a company plan.
  • Of companies with a social media plan in place, 94% include marketing activities within the plan, but only 16% include Human Resources or recruiting activities
  • Of those companies that don’t have a strategic plan but think it is important to create one, the number one activity rated as important to include in a social media plan is allocating resources for ongoing activities

Click to download DBE’s Corporate Social Media Study

Twitter Tips for Businesses

Twitter is an ideal platform for businesses to listen, share, and connect – all key components needed to build lasting relationships with customers.

It’s as simple as that. The best way to catch the eye of a potential customer is to listen to what they say, understand who they are and where they want to go, and properly assess their business goals and objectives. Then, it’s time to share relative and targeted information that will help your prospective customer identify you and your company as thought leaders, “go-to” advisors, and as key industry influencers. Finally, you are ready to connect. Your credibility has been established and your prospect is ready to engage.

Building solid relationships with your customers begins way before the sales cycle begins. Twitter is an ideal place to start cultivating those relationships so that when a customer is ready to buy, they’re already sold.

Content Mapping and Buyer Persona

As I continue to build and execute the social media strategy for Binary Tree, Inc. I’m continually researching ways to optimize, streamline, and align every single aspect of the B2B buyer/seller relationship. Right now, finding ways to optimize and map our content (current and future) to the buyer’s purchasing stage is at the top of my list. Blogs like The Content Factor discuss ways to develop and align content based upon the buyer’s persona and stage. Developing content with a call-to-action that speaks to the buying persona and stage is critical in order to nurture the customer thought the buying process.

The Content Factor does an excellent job explaining and providing examples of the content needed to propel the B2B customer along at each buying stage. Keeping their strategy in mind, I created a content mapping strategy specifically for Binary Tree. Take a look:


4 Steps to Create Your Social Media Initiative

When creating a social media community and networking initiative, follow these critical steps:

1.) Chose your AUDIENCE – Be specific. Do I want to engage with retail consumers, doctors, plumbers, working parents?
2.) Know your GOAL – What exactly do I want to accomplish or measure? What is the desired end result? Again, be specific.
3.) Set your STRATEGY – How will I accomplish my goal? Who will be involved on my end? Do I have buy-in/commitment from all the players on my end? What 3rd parties will be involved.? What is everyone’s role?
4.) Select the TOOLS that fit the strategy – What specific social media tools (when I say “tool” I mean outlets like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, StumbleUpon, Bogging, White Label Social Networks, etc) will help me reach my goal?

Essential B2B Website Design Elements

B2B Website Design Elements

  • Should PROVIDE the visitor with a PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
  • Should have a CLEAR, CONSISE, EASY-TO-USE NAVIGATION
  • Should have an ATTRACTIVE VISUAL DESIGN, ELEMENTS, and ORIGINAL NAVIGATION
  • Should have a CONSISTENT DESIGN that’s APPEALING to a PARTICULAR VISTITOR
  • Should have RICH, STRONG TYPOGRAPHY
  • Should have a FRESH PERSPECTIVE (especially in a somewhat unfresh industry)
  • Should have a COMPELLING CALL-TO-ACTION
  • Should ALIGN the DESIGN with the MESSAGE
  • Should CHANGE MINDS and INCITE ACTION
  • Should POSITION the BRAND as EXPERTS
  • Should PROVIDE SALES with a REASON to ENGAGE
  • Should CREATE BRAND TRANSPARENCY
  • Should PORTRAY BRAND as THOUGHT LEADERS
  • Should encourage COLLABORATION, COMMUNITY, PEER-TO-PEER SUPPORT
  • Should be designed for the SOCIAL WEB
  • Should be CONSISTENT in LOOK AND FEEL across all CHANNELS
  • Should be DESIGNED and OPTIMIZED for SEO
  • Should have MEANINGFUL CONTENT

Social Media Strategy

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