Tag Archives: Networking

Do’s & Dont’s of Making Sales through Social Media

Think of social media outlets as online focus group just waiting to be tapped for ideas. The more value you provide the more likely they’ll be willing to participate and contribute. The average visit in an online B2B community is 10 minutes with 1 visit every 5-7 days. Finding these online platforms gives companies an opportunity to strategically connect with potential customers in a meaningful and deeper interaction.

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Join An Online Community

  • DO establish an authentic persona for yourself, which is ultimately going to represent your brand.

  • DO nurture the community, provide valuable insights, stay on top of current trends in order to create critical mass and active contributions among members.

  • DON’T bombard the communities with posts asking them to visit your site and purchase your products. In other words don’t just drop your sales pitch in as a post for the day.

  • DON’T repeat posts. Don’t post the same word-for-word update across all 5 of your social media channels. Don’t send the same tweet out every day at 11am. Switch this up, create that authentic and transparent voice behind your brand.

Find the Best Place to Connect with Prospects

  • DO the necessary research to find out where your audience is and where they are having conversations.

  • DO spend time on blogs and comment sections, you’ll be surprised at how many people are already talking about you or what you do.

  • DON’T spend a majority of your time on Facebook if you’re trying to get the attention of C-Level executives.

  • DON’T waste time on platforms that aren’t relative to your audience. If there’s no engaging conversation happening it may be best to leave that platform behind.

Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

  • DO research into the different groups. Many of these groups are extremely niche and often relate directly to your product or service. LinkedIN is great for B2B sales.

  • DO provide valuable information and answers to members that are asking questions, become an expert in your industry.

  • DON’T post incessantly to the point where you’re going to get yourself bashed by other members or even banned from the groups.

  • DON’T use the generic LinkedIn message when connecting with someone. Put some thought into why you believe a connection to that person would be valuable for both of you.

Build the Relationship

  • DO spend time developing relationships. Good relationships will turn into leads!

  • DO share content that resonates well with your audience. The more they can identify with your posts the more loyal they’ll become to you, so much so that they’ll share with others extending the reach of your relationships.

  • DON’T ask a lot from your fans. Be mindful of their space and news feeds. Too much begging and asking could cause them to leave you.

  • DON’T stay silent if a mistake is made. We’ve all seen them happen, when a company Twitter account gets “hacked” or a thoughtless post gets posted at the wrong time. The worst thing you could do is stay silent during a case like this. Fess up, own up to your mistake and don’t lie to you followers. Don’t underestimate the power of a sincere apology and when possible, make light of the situation.

As a consumer, what are some of your biggest pet peeves that you see brands do?

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Pet Industry Tips for Trade Shows

Pet Industry Trade Show questions answered by pet business expert, Andy Darmohraj, Senior VP of American Pet Products Association. Global Pet Expo is the largest pet product trade show in the world with over 1,000 companies coming together for 3 days.

He leaves us 3 main pieces of advice:

1. Plan ahead! With trade shows giving you such a limited amount of time, planning ahead is crucial to your success. Check out the trade expo’s website, find exhibitors you’re interested in meeting with and set up appointments during your time there.

2. Prepare for a long day.

3. Have fun, there’s a reason you got into the business you’re in. Network, network, network!

Prior to attending let buyers know that you’re going to be there whether that’s through direct mail, advertising or sending out a brief email blast. Include a small teaser or something that will encourage them to visit your booth! Trade shows are one of the best places to find the newest most innovative products out there. Make sure you make your time worthwhile and establish connections that will continue to add to your success.

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Leveraging LinkedIn for Your Small Business

While the general public views LinkedIn as a place to connect with recruiters and post an “online version” of their resume it’s also an exceptional platform for businesses to seek out and capture some very targeted leads. It provides a great opportunity for you to promote your product and/or services where many conversations around topics specific to your industry are most likely already happening. If you haven’t taken advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer, now is the time to start.

Finding leads on LinkedIn:

  • Use the advanced search opportunity to find members based on location, company, industry, job titles, size of company, etc.

  • Check out who’s been viewing your profile and reach out to them, they’re probably looking at your profile for a reason.

  • After you connect with users, send them a message thanking them for the connection. None of those generic messages either, it doesn’t take much to add a little personalization to it.

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Building Brand Awareness & Credibility:

  • Post engaging and relevant updates 3-4 days a week from both your own personal page and from your company’s page. LinkedIn is known to have a peak time between 12pm and 3pm during the workweek.

  • If you have more connections than fans on your company page – which is most likely the case – make sure you’re linking to your company’s page. Linkedin just recently added the @ mention feature making it easier to grab the attention of specific individuals and lead your connections directly to your company’s page more easily.

  • It’s important that you’re active in at least 5 groups pertaining to your industry. The people here are most likely already interested in what you have to share. Start sharing relevant content, engage with other user’s posts and generate conversations.

  • We highly suggest creating and hosting a group of your own as well. Build up a community that’s centralized around your brand and become a resource for your members by establishing a forum for them to share their best practices, obstacles, new ideas and opinions. This will help create credibility of your brand amongst your target market. We recently started one of our own, Your Pet Business Networking Group as a place to share ideas, meet other pet industry professionals and provide a networking opportunity for ourselves and other members

  • Encourage your current customers to leave recommendations on your company profile. Personalized recommendations, ratings and reviews are a HUGE market right now. Consumers are constantly seeking out what others have to say before making a decision to purchase a product or use a service.

What to do once you’ve created a LinkedIn Group:

  • Promote, promote, promote! If you have a monthly newsletter that you send out to your subscribers, include invitations to your LinkedIn group in it.

  • Once you build up your Group, it may be obvious that you have some very prominent and powerful members that contribute to the group. Need new content for your blog? Promote these members while doing so! If they’re introducing a new product or service of their own what better place to shine the spotlight on them than your company’s blog and within the group! The group members will be more apt to share the content with their audiences which in turn will help create brand awareness for you.

  • Avoid being too salesy or pitchy. People join LinkedIn groups because of the low-key relationship that’s expected of them. They don’t want to feel pressured into buying anything, but rather find a place to seek out information at their own convenience.

What are some of your favorite aspects of LinkedIn? What tactics work well for your small business, which ones don’t? Feel free to share in the comment section below, we’d love to hear about them!

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Best Sources for Lead Generation

The following are some of the best and inexpensive sources of lead generation. A lead is more than just a name and an email, it’s seeking out someone who is actively interested in the the product or service you have to offer. Focusing in on some of these methods will help you capture more sales-ready opportunities for your sales team to turn into new business and eventually increased revenues.

1. Your Website:  Perhaps the easiest way to get leads is through your own website, it’s not too time consuming and there’s no need to constantly update it as long as it has all the essentials.

  • Always, always make sure you have a visible contact number or email on your site.
  • If you’re capturing leads through a newsletter subscription then make sure you have sign-up forms on every page of your site.
  • With forms, it’s almost always best to ask for as little information up front from the customer as possible. Too many requests can often deter the customer and cause them to bounce right away. If you’re unsure about what information to collect, try a split test (1) requesting name and email only and (2) requesting name, email, phone, industry, company, job title, insight into their marketing goals, etc – see which one works best for you and garners the most sign-ups.
  • Adding photos or testimonials to your site is always a plus as it helps to add a greater sense of authenticity and credibility.

2. Networking Events:

  • Make sure you’ve perfected your elevator pitch! The last thing you want to do is ramble on for 10 minutes about how important your company is and how greatly it would benefit this person you’re speaking with. Have something ready that’s quick, concise and to the point.
  • Use names, one of the greatest compliments you can give someone is remembering and addressing them by their name. It’s a sign of respect and it’ll gain you respect in return.
  • If you can’t solve all the challenges and obstacles of what this person is looking for, let them know you’d be happy to make a connection to someone who will.
  • Networking events are great for building a sense of authenticity into your brand. Knowing the business owner or the voice on the other end of a future phone call helps put the customer at ease and makes them more comfortable.
  • Don’t go to networking events immediately seeking out the people who you think could use your service. Help those that may not be able to help you and get to know the ones you’ve met in the past, even better.
  • Map out a follow up process!

3. Social Media Engagement: Using social media for lead generation can be fun and easy but extremely time-consuming.

  • It’s important to do the necessary market research to figure out where the majority of your audience spends their time. You don’t want to be wasting precious hours on LinkedIn if most of your customers are hanging out on Twitter all day.
  • Creating a blog is a great way to get conversations started and keep them going (it’s also a great way to get traffic back to your site where they could potentially see those newsletter sign-up forms!).
  • The power of promotion is huge! Any content you’re creating whether it’s on your blog, an infographic, or video, etc it is incredibly important to promote 100% of them through your social media channels. And don’t limit it to promoting just once. Hootsuite is great for setting up scheduled posts, you can set up a 2 week old blog post to go out a few times next month.
  • Social media makes it so easy for us to take our “offline skills” and put them to use to develop and foster complex relationships online. Throughout your conversations always be genuine, always be of help and make sure all responses are prompt and thorough.

4. Trade Shows:

  • Prior to a trade show it’s a good idea to send an email or invite to pre-registered attendees or those who attended the previous year.
  • Instead of wasting time and money and handing out swag bags filled with logo pens and other trinkets to the masses, take a minute to just engage and converse with all those passing by. If you do plan to spend money on promotional items, do something out of the ordinary! USB drives and magnets are too generic, you’ll just blend in with the other 500 brands out there.
  • If your industry is data driven, make sure those important factors are advertised at your booth. For example, being a video marketing company like Chicago Pet Video, we want our audience to know important facts; 42% of business executives have made a purchasing decision based on an online video and 60% of execs will watch a video, before they ever read the text on the screen. These are facts that will help generate interest in how we can better help consumers with their potential needs.
  • Once you’ve generated a list (or collected information) of visitors, don’t wait weeks to follow-up. Create a meaningful follow-up piece of content that you can send in an email, something that’s targeted toward them rather than just using a typical sales pitch template.

5. Referrals From Current Clients: Referrals can be the easiest and most powerful way to expand your business as long as they’re done correctly.

  • Referrals are a great head start for your sales team but it’s still important to build the relationship and work through the sales cycle from start to finish just as you would any other situation.
  • If you over-deliver, have great customer service and offer a product that already WOWs your current customers, it’s possible that they’re already out there selling for you. They will be some of the most genuine and hardest working sales-staff you’ll ever have.
  • It doesn’t hurt to create a mutually beneficial arrangement where you give the referrer some kind of valuable reward, it lets them know they’re appreciated. When deciding on a reward make sure it’s significant. Determine the value of a sales lead and how much it typically costs you to convert a new customer and base your referral reward around this.
  • Add a “refer a friend” link to emails, websites and newsletters. Make it as easy as possible for people to tell their friends about your product or service.
  • Just remember if you’re taking care of your current customers, making them feel special and delivering amazing results, your outlook for getting referrals is going to be good. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask!
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If you lead, the rest will follow.

What sources of lead generation do you use most with your product or service? Have you eliminated any specific sources or focused more heavily on some versus others? Tell us your story!

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