3 Ways Sales And Service Have Changed With David Meerman Scott

The rise of the Internet has completely changed the way in which businesses sell and market their products or services to customers. While this innovation has opened up a world of opportunity for so many businesses, there are sure to be some that are a bit weary of all this change.

That is where David Meerman Scott comes in. As an online marketing strategist, professional speaker, and best selling author of ten books covering a wide range of topics within marketing and public relations, Scott helps businesses take advantage of all that digital marketing and social media has to offer. 51iFXA8g7yL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Mitch Jackson, CEO of Human.Social, recently sat down with Scott to talk about his latest book “The New Rules of Sales and Service.” In it Scott emphasizes the importance of using real-time customer engagement, big data, content, and storytelling to grow your business.

I had a great time listening to Jackson and Scott discuss some of these topics and more during their 30-minute interview you can find here. Below are my 3 key takeaways from their talk.

1. Buyers are now in charge

For the first time in human history, buyers have all the power. In the past buyers have essentially been forced to trust the seller. Yes, you could have flipped through a consumer reports magazine or asked your friends for advice, but at some point or another, you had to hope that the seller was providing you with a fair price and a good product.

Now the buyer can research thousands of similar products from all around the world in one simple search. This increased access to a global marketplace has given buyers the knowledge needed to make better decisions regarding their purchases. Businesses must now carefully consider how to provide a better product or service than competitors instead of merely hoping someone will buy from them.

2. You need to be accessible to customers

Before the dawn of the printing press the primary way people communicated was verbally. Now we are experiencing another communication revolution centered around the smartphone. Still, a lot of businesses don’t realize how this revolution applies to them.

Scott mentioned OpenCycle, a premiere bike manufacturer, openlogoas a terrific example of a business that takes advantage of this new age of rapid communication by demonstrating their care and concern for customers. Gerard Vroomen, owner of OpenCycle, makes himself available to any customer that might have a question or comment about one of his bikes.

While this seems pretty simple, most businesses fail to extend the same measure of customer service and engagement. Social media tools have made it so easy to stay in touch with customers, but you have to remain committed to doing so.

Think of social media in the same way as exercise. You need to ingrain it in your lifestyle so you no longer think about whether or not to do it. It is simply part of your daily routine. The faster you do this, the faster you can begin demonstrating the value you bring to customers.

3. You operate on your buyer’s time

Real-time conversations taking place on social media have flipped selling upside down. Instead of looking for more people to sell to, businesses can now use social media to engage with customers that are ready to buy now.

Begin by focusing on the needs of the buyer and what is valuable to him or her. As strange as it may seem, you will sell more when you stop selling. Write a blog post or record a podcast sharing your expertise and knowledge about the industry in order to solve the customer’s problems. Tell your story to customers in the market and show them why they should buy from you.

Interested in hearing more from Scott?

Check out Scott’s free SlideShare, The New Rules of Selling, for a deeper look into some of the topics I mentioned above. You can also download his book, World Wide Rave, to learn about how to spread your ideas and stories to millions of people around the world.

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Listening To Customers On Twitter

There’s an old saying that the customer is always right. While that might be up for debate, there is no denying the value in listening to what your customers have to say.

One of the best ways to keep track of conversations about your business is using Twitter. If you already use Twitter to post valuable content and engage with customers regularly, congratulations! You’re doing a great job.

The bad news is this might not be enough. If you have more than 1,000 customers, it can be nearly impossible to keep track of everything being said about your business. That is where social media management tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck come in handy.

      

If you’re wondering how the heck to use these tools to monitor conversations about your business on Twitter, check out the Do’s and Don’ts of social media management tools like Hootsuite.

DO Search for Key Terms

Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow you to search for tweets containing specific words or phrases. For example, if your business sells pizza, you might conduct a search for pepperoni, deep dish, and thin crust. You should also think about keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing on social media by searching for terms like cheeseburgers or tacos (sorry if I’m making you hungry).

The beauty of this feature is that it allows you to jump in on conversations that you otherwise would not have been notified of, thereby increasing awareness of your brand and enabling you to see the entire conversation about your business, rather than just what people choose to tag you in.

DO Be Timely

Show your customers that you care about what they are saying by joining conversations as soon as possible to maximize engagement. Just think about your own life. If someone started a conversation with you, would you wait a few days to respond? No, and the same applies to Twitter.

DO Create Lists

Lists on Twitter enable you to segment your audience based on their interests and conversations. For example, if you have a diverse product line, you may want to create a list for each product and then categorize customers that tweet a lot about a particular product or maybe even categorize customers based on geographical location.

The luxury of these lists is that they allow you to see tweets only from the people you have added to each list, giving you yet another way to monitor and engage with customers talking about your business.

DON’T Automate Responses

Please, do not give the same generic response to each customer, inviting them to visit a “Contact Us” form. This defeats the whole purpose of using tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck. Set aside some time throughout the day when you can check Twitter and provide timely, helpful feedback to customers and engage with them by following the conversation about your business.

DON’T Become Hostile

Being able to see a larger conversation about your business through searches on Hootsuite is great, but sometimes people choose not to tag you in a tweet for the simple fact that they intend to say something negative about you and are afraid of you seeing it.

If you encounter criticism, address it head on so that customers can see you are both engaging and realistic. You will make mistakes, but honestly acknowledging those shortcomings and fixing the situation is a great way to demonstrate excellent customer service you want to be known for.

DON’T Be Inconsistent

Twitter doesn’t lend itself well to procrastination. Conversations take place in real-time, which means you need to be prepared to listen to what your customers are saying all the time. The workday might end at five, but you can be sure the conversation on Twitter won’t.

Now this doesn’t mean that Twitter has to control your life. Develop a schedule of when to check Twitter and for how long. Then stick to it! Experiment by monitoring conversations about your business at varying times of the day to see when most of your customers are active. You should also use tools like Twitter Analytics or Tweriod to see what tweets you send draw the biggest engagement and when your followers are most active on Twitter.

Want More?

If you’re interested in learning more about ways in which to improve you ability to listen to customers beyond social media management tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck, check out 3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Listening for Content Marketing Success from Don Stanley, owner of 3Rhino Media, a digital marketing consultancy. You won’t be disappointed.

3 Mistakes To Avoid With Your Google AdWords Campaign

Online advertising is growing like never before and in two short years it might even overtake TV ad spending. At the forefront of this rise is Google AdWords.

Lauded by many as a great way to drive traffic to your website, Google AdWords has the potential to make a positive and negative impact on your company’s bottom line. If executed correctly, a Google AdWords campaign can increase sales and pile up conversions. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, it could drain your marketing budget in just months.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this story about an entrepreneur who burned through $20,000 of Google AdWords campaigns in return for $500 in sales.

Now, you may be a bit hesitant about diving into Google AdWords. I don’t blame you. It is challenging, but make no doubt about it, the results can be substantial.

Avoid these three common mistakes to make sure your Google AdWords campaign doesn’t leave you empty handed:

1. Failing to Use Negative Keywords

Google AdWords allows you to choose negative keywords, which are keywords that are not descriptive of your product or service or related to it in some way.

For example, if you sell dress shoes for men, you won’t want your ad appearing in a search for “men’s basketball shoes.” Listing “basketball” as a negative keyword will ensure you aren’t targeting people searching for basketball shoes vs. dress shoes.

With Google AdWords you pay each time a person clicks on your ad. Negative keywords are an effective way to increase the chance that the person clicking on your ad might actually buy your product.

If you’re not sure what keywords you want to avoid, do a quick Google search of primary keywords you are using. The search results will tell you what Google deems to be relevant for those keywords. If you see a bunch of links with keywords that have nothing to do with your business, add them to your negative keyword list.

2. Failing to Customize Ads

Ad groups within Google AdWords allow you to segment ads into groups that are made up of similar keywords. This helps to make sure you don’t stuff all of your keywords into one ad group and end up showing everyone the same ad, regardless of what they searched for.

By creating multiple ad groups with about 20 keywords in each, you can optimize your ad to match a keyword much more easily. Now someone searching for a specific product can be shown an ad that directly describes that product instead of your business as a whole or perhaps your entire product line.

The goal is to closely match the title and copy in each ad with the actual keywords searched by each person. If you can show them you offer a solution to their problem, chances are they will click on the ad.

3. Writing Confusing Copy

You will only have someone’s attention for a second or two if you’re lucky. Don’t overcomplicate your ad. There is nothing more frustrating than pouring money into a Google AdWords campaign only to see it fail because of a poorly written ad.

When writing copy for an ad, remember to:

  • Have a clear Call-To-Action
  • Highlight your USP
  • Link to a relevant landing page
  • Include 2-3 keywords
  • Monitor, evaluate, and adapt

Think You’re Ready?

Are you ready to put these tips into action? Comment below and let me know how your Google AdWords campaign is coming along. I’d be happy to help you in any way I can.

The Beginner’s Guide To Repurposing Content

You’ve heard it all before, “Content creation is so important for your business. Develop a content calendar and stick to it!” Easier said than done.

If you’re like most small business owners, time is of the essence. And while you may get excited over the thought of sitting down and cranking out a blog post or podcast you know your audience will love, sometimes life just gets in the way.

Yes6a00d8341c71f853ef01348178fdc5970c, producing quality content takes time and resources, but one thing that business owners ignore far too often is the importance of repurposing content. The ideas behind your content don’t have to be confined to a single post. You can continue to gain value and drive engagement from posts long after hitting publish. Don’t know where to start?

Here are a few ideas on how to repurpose your content:

Create an Infographic

Visual content is much more appealing than a block of text. In fact, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. An infographic is a terrific way to break down a lengthy blog post into a few main points readers can quickly digest.

Don’t be intimidated if graphic design isn’t your forte. There are a bunch of great resources that can help you create a professional infographic that will catch your readers’ eyes.

These are some websites that I’ve found to be very helpful when creating an infographic. Check them out and see how they can make your content stand out from the competition:

Upload a Presentation to SlideShare

slideshare_550x150SlideShare serves many different purposes. If you recently gave a presentation, upload it to SlideShare so that those who couldn’t make it to the event have a chance to see your content.

You may even decide to create a slide deck from an old piece of content. For example, you could break down a 45 minute podcast into 10 simple points that encompass some of your best ideas. Dedicate one key point to each slide so that readers can go through the slide deck in a matter of minutes.

In the same way that you struggle to find the time to produce great content, readers also might be in need of a few quick tips rather than a 2,000 word essay. Make it easy for them to gather key takeaways from your content. Having a slide deck that highlights points from a more in-depth podcast is a great way to increase the chances of reaching your target audience regardless of their busy schedules.

Target Different Audiences

Infographics, SlideShare, e-books, and white papers are all examples of unique ways in which to present your content to an audience. But don’t forget to carefully cater to each member of your audience. Chances are that your audience will be made up of a wide range of people. Varying languages, cultures, and demographics all influence the way in which an audience member consumes your content.

Screen-Shot-2013-12-06-at-11.31.55-AM-300x283It can be almost impossible to create a piece of content that speaks directly to all of these people. That leaves you with the opportunity to repurpose content for different groups within your larger audience. Extend the lifetime of a great idea by targeting specific industries or niche groups within those industries. Adjust the tone and voice as needed for each group.

By the end you’ll have multiple pieces of content centered around the same idea that address specific issues or problems different audience members might encounter. This hyper-focused content will dig deeper on pertinent issues and provide greater value to those readers.

What’s Next?

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of repurposing content. If you’re interested in learning more about ways in which you can repurpose your content, pay close attention to industry-leading blogs like Hubspot and The Sales Lion. These are excellent resources that will teach you more about repurposing content and provide tips for creating great content your audience is looking for.

6 Ways To Win In Business From Gary Vaynerchuk At SXSWI

Each year thousands descend upon Austin, Texas for South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWI), a five-day festival showcasing top emerging technologies and startups from the digital community. Presentations and panels offer attendees the opportunity to hear and interact with some of the brightest minds in the marketing and digital industries.

One of the biggest names in attendance at this year’s event is Gary Vaynerchuk. Perhaps best-known as the co-founder of the social media brand consulting agency VaynerMedia, Vaynerchuk is also a top speaker and author on the topics of social media, brand building, and e-commerce. He has written three New York Times Best-Selling books including, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right-Hook.”

On Saturday, March 14th, Vaynerchuk took the stage at SXSWI with Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, to tackle the topic of What It Really Takes to Win In Business

Read on to find out what Vaynerchuk said are the steps you need to take to make sure your business wins.

1. Be Self-Aware

Audit yourself and your business. What is it that you are good at and how can you use those strengths to help others? Too often people worry about improving their weaknesses instead of putting themselves in the best position to succeed.

Hone in on your craft and strategically construct ways you can maximize that talent and quickly spread its value to as many people as possible.

2. Be Empathetic

Ask yourself, in what ways do you show your customers you actually care about them and not just their money? Shortly after graduating from college in 1998, Vaynerchuk grew his Father’s liquor store (now known as WineLibrary) from a $3 Million to a $50 Million business by 2005. One of his keys to success? Empathy.

To this day, each customer that makes a purchase from WineLibrary is thanked for his or her order by an actual employee that simply picks up the phone and calls that customer. No gimmicks or tricks.

Just think about it. That person chose your business over thousands of others that probably offer a similar product or service. That’s a pretty big deal. Go the extra mile for your customer and make it clear to them that you are invested in their well-being and success.

3. Be Willing to Change Your Mind

The world around us is constantly changing. Social media is a great example of that. In just the past decade, tools like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have completely altered the social media landscape.

The same applies to your business. If you are not willing to adjust to the way in which people communicate with one another, learn about your product, and buy your product, your success will be short-lived.

4. Stick to Your Word

This point goes back to a pretty simple idea: how can you expect customers to place their trust and loyalty in your business if you are not trustworthy yourself? We live in a world where everything is documented. Social media has the ability to capture the good and the bad.

Live up to your promises and slowly begin building a community of customers that not only remain loyal to your brand, but also are willing to spread word of your excellent product or service to their own network.

5. Hire Team Players

Many of you have probably come across this dilemma. You have that one employee with amazing skills and experiences, but for some reason he or she can’t get along with the rest of the office. Do yourself a favor and get rid of them.

If they don’t play nicely with your employees, chances are they aren’t going to leave a good impression on your clients either. Look for employees that have the humility and empathy needed to function effectively with the rest of the team you have.

6. Protect Your Employees

There are things in life that are simply out of our control. The death of a family member or an unexpected car accident. When these things happen to your employees, make their lives easier by having their back.

This type of understanding will go a long way toward creating a strong reputation about you and your business as a great place to work. In addition, you’ll be amazed to see the extra effort employees are willing to put into a business they are proud to work for.

Did I Miss Something?

Did you get the chance to hear Vaynerchuk speak at SXSWI? Comment below if you think I missed an especially important point from his keynote!

Why Social Media Matters For Your Business

Contrary to what you may have seen this past week, social media isn’t just llamas and dresses. Sure social media has its fun side, but the value behind all those likes, retweets, and favorites can’t be ignored.

For the first time ever, businesses have the ability to reach and engage with millions of potential customers using social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Each day new platforms continue to emerge while existing ones experience rapid growth each month. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

  • Facebook has more than 1.39 billion users, 890 million of which visit the site daily
  • There are 52.7 million Twitter users in the U.S. alone
  • LinkedIn has 187 million unique visitors each month
  • 13% of all Internet users are also on Instagram
  • 400 million snapchats are sent each day

Hopefully you now have a sense of how prevalent social media really is. Still, you may be wondering what all of this means for you?

As with most marketing tactics, an effective social media strategy requires careful planning and time. So if you’ve seen the light and plan on diving head-first into social media marketing, take a step back and grab a seat, we’re not done just yet.

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when it comes to social media is trying to do too much. Although each social media channel presents its own unique opportunities, the reality is you can’t be everywhere at once. Avoid stretching yourself too thin by deciding which social media channel is right for you.

Facebook

By far the biggest social media channel, Facebook is a great way to target specific segments of customers you want to reach. Narrow your reach based on information such as gender, age, interests, and geography. While they are effective, direct ads and boosted posts don’t come cheap. Be prepared to pay a hefty price for that loyal audience you try to build using Facebook.

Twitter

Listen to what your customers are saying with Twitter. Used primarily to create brand awareness and promote website content, Twitter provides businesses with the chance to interact with customers in real-time. Reach out to unsatisfied customers and develop a strong reputation in customer service or drive conversation and engagement with hashtags.

LinkedIn

Sometimes referred to as “Facebook for grown-ups,” LinkedIn is a way in which businesses can monitor and contribute to discussions with business professional in their industry. One particularly important feature on LinkedIn is “LinkedIn Groups.” Gain tremendous exposure for your brand by joining and establishing groups professionals in your industry will want to be a part of.

Instagram

Take advantage of the rise of visual media by getting started with Instagram. You may want to seriously consider using Instagram if your business targets a young female demographic since about 70% of Instagram users are female between the ages of 18-35.

Snapchat

Like Instagram, Snapchat features a predominantly young user demographic. Unlike Instagram, Snapchat is only now becoming a promotional tool for businesses. With the recent introduction of the “Discover” feature, it will be interesting to see how Snapchat continues to evolve. If you are looking to target teens and young adults, keep a close eye on Snapchat so you don’t miss your opportunity to reach potential customers.

See One that Fits?

So now you have an idea of what social media channel is right for your business. Check out these terrific resources to get you started on your path to social media success.

What Do You Think? 

If you’ve used social media to promote your business, share your experiences in the comments below. If not, let me know what keeps you from doing so.