Channel Maven Consulting
Channel Maven Consulting

Who is Channel Maven Consulting?

Call us crazy. We’ll admit, we’re a little off our rocker with passion for making channel marketing teams succeed. That’s just what happens when you get a team of strategic channel experts working to understand individual client’s channel marketing and communications goals. What we really want is for you to see what happens when we help drive more effective relationships “to” and “through” your partners. LEARN MORE »

From Our Blog

SEO – It’s More than Just a Game

by channelmaven on December 18, 2014

Showing up at the top of search results can help business grow exponentially and content is a major player in the SEO game. So, can partners create and distribute content in a way that helps their site’s SEO?

First, in order to score points with search engines, we have to think like them.

Prior to 2011 when major search engine algorithm changes occurred, marketers spent countless hours writing keyword-laden short snippets of content and built backlinks by contacting sites and asking them for links. This system worked well until links became a commodity, bought and sold to drive up the SEO value of websites and suddenly, spam began showing up in searches.

 SPAM

Photo Credit: hormelfoods.com

 

If we think like a search engine, we see how 2011’s methods don’t help us return relevant content for a human searching.  So, search engines began demoting the search rankings of sites using those tactics. They also released new guidelines like: 300 word minimums for content.

Panda, the name of the algorithm change, was the point in history when marketing took a turn from pages on sites to posts. Blogs became more popular and more focused, and sites that did a great job of creating content for human consumption were rewarded in SEO value.

This is where we’re at today. Content has to be relevant and helpful, interesting, funny, amazing, and/or eye catching. It also has to not only provide value for the human, it has to compel us to share it, come back to it, and take time to read it. All of which are part of search engines ranking your site in search results.

But wait. Search engines are still computers, right? Right. So how can they tell your content is fabulous? Keywords, still factor in but not in the same way as before. Since keyword dense content does not win the favor of search engines (anymore), what can we do to hedge our bets on both the human and the search-engine-bot sides of SEO?

Search-Spiders
Photo Credit: SEO-Hacker.com

 

The first part is simple (wink-wink). Write compelling relevant content that’s worth sharing. Deliver new ideas, new perspectives and share it on social media where other people will see it and share it. Search engines factor social media into your SEO. The more shares and favorites/likes you receive, the faster and deeper the search engines will index your site. So, share your content liberally.

Accomplish that and compose your content in ways that make it easy for search bots to analyze and you’ll make huge strides in SEO value. But first you have to know what search engines scan for. We recommend using Yoast SEO plugin if you have a WordPress site. It makes this complex SEO conversation much simpler and gives you instant feedback on your SEO value before you post an article.

SEO gear
Photo Credit: SEO-alien.com

 

Basically, with or without an SEO plugin, there are some key elements to focus on:

Keyword – choose one keyword or key phrase for the topic of your content. In this article, we’re using ‘SEO’ as our key phrase. Remember, as you write the content, chosen keywords are expected to be in the exact order and used more than just a couple of times. For example if my key phrase is: ‘SEO’ then ‘search engine optimization’ or ‘search’ by itself doesn’t count because it has to be verbatim.

SEO Title is what you see as the title on search and might not be the same as the title. Titles are written to attract humans to share. SEO titles are written to attract search engines to share and they don’t have to be the same.

Meta Description is the words below the SEO title that describes what the article is about. By default, it will be the first 156 characters of the article, which may or may not be the best words to describe your point.

Yoast SEO Example

Other factors that Yoast will help include other SEO pitfalls so you can correct them before the article is indexed such as:

  • Keyword density
  • Readability
  • Outbound Links
  • Use of H2 Headings
  • Keyword/phrase density
  • Keyword appearance in the first paragraph
  • Word count (above 300)
  • Title less than 70 characters

So the next time you sit down to write a blog, remember: writing content that’s relevant and share-worthy while also hitting SEO targets is the one-two punch that will help your site rank better in search.

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We’re Hiring!

by channelmaven on December 9, 2014

Are you a self-starter with a ‘can-do’ spirit and have experience in demand generation? Are you looking for a position with the opportunity to wear multiple hats? Channel Maven Consulting may just have your dream job!

“Channel Maven Consulting is looking for a highly motivated full-time Marketing Consultant for a growing, strategic, channel marketing consulting firm located in Boulder, CO. The Marketing Consultant will play a key role in managing client accounts and assisting them with traditional and social marketing. We seek an experienced marketing professional who gets things done with a smile and delivers excellence in every encounter with clients. We are a B2B organization so this candidate must have B2B experience.”

This position is well suited for someone looking to join a dynamic and growing team who can get the job done without a lot of structure. Do you have channel marketing experience? Great! Do you like dogs? Even better. Find out all the details by clicking here.

If you or someone you know is perfect for this role we encourage all qualified applicants to apply.

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Willy Wonka’s 4-Step Guide to Writing Irresistible Social Media Posts

by channelmaven on December 4, 2014

If you are an avid social media user, you have probably seen your fair share of social posts – some good and some bad. It may seem easy to create great posts and you’re right – it is! If you read our 8 Simple Steps for Success with Social Media you are well on your way to mastering social. And with these key elements, you should have no problem growing your audience and creating killer posts.

Wonka Meme

                                              Photo Credit: MemeCreator.org

 

1. Content is Key

In Wonka terms, content is the “Golden Ticket” to creating killer posts. Your content should be both relevant and interesting. Don’t mistake this, however, for being industry specific. While industry specific content is crucial, your audience will also appreciate lighter easy-going content. The goal here is to give your followers something they find helpful, useful, interesting or relevant. Don’t give them content they regret clicking on. And, as always, remember the 70/30 rule. 70% of content relevant industry information and 30% about your company.

 

2. Know Your Medium

It is equally important to choose which platform is appropriate for your message so, writing content specifically for that platform helps. LinkedIn can support over 400 characters per post, inviting you to deliver more meaty posts. On the other end of Wonka’s chocolate river, Twitter moves at the speed of sound and is nearly impossible to over post on. Be sure you are using each platform to its fullest potential and check out Twitter Newbie? – @Mentions and #Hashtags and Tweets – Oh My! For more tips and tricks to increase engagement and cut through the Twitter noise.

willywonkaboat_zps0dfd5a0c

Photo Credit: siochembio

3. Make your Posts Irresistible

Writing killer posts is basic psychology and intuitively we all know what makes a great post. It hooks you and reels you in, much like the many temptations of Wonka’s chocolate factory, and makes you want to click it or share it.

Here are a few examples to help you write great posts with a hook:

Example 1 – Tell them What they’ll Get (or not): If you click this link, you will not be sorry. If you don’t click it, you might miss out.

Example 2 – Ask for Feedback: I think this, what do you think?

Example 3 – Tempt them with a Break: This is the funniest/cutest/saddest thing I’ve ever seen so you should click.

Example 4 – Provoke their Competitive Side: You need to know this or you’re behind the times.

Example 5 – Solve a Pain Point: This or that made me a better (fill in the blank) marketer, parent, worker.

Using these examples as guidelines, it becomes easier to draft posts that are tempting and well worth clicking.

 

4. Keep it SOCIAL

The name says it all – Social Media is meant to be social. The reason we post is to build a social presence and engage with our audience. Try to form your posts in a way that leaves them open-ended and invites discussion. For instance, looking at example # 2 we are directly inviting our audience to engage with us.  It is important to mix up the types of posts to spur the ongoing discussion on social.

 

Is there more to creating killer posts than listed above? Absolutely. We could go on and on, but ultimately it comes down to you. You have that unique attribute that makes you, you and gives your posts personality. Much like Charlie learned in Wonka’s chocolate factory, you must find your own way to make things work!

 

 

 

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Help Partners Make a Killer End-to-End Marketing Plan

by channelmaven on November 25, 2014

It used to be that a successful marketing campaign simply needed a catchy jingle or a memorable tagline. Now, we need so much more just to create the tiniest amount of buzz. This becomes even more complex as a solution provider when you have limited marketing resources and you are trying to sell multiple solutions from multiple vendors.

Is social or marketing automation the answer? What about webinars and blogs? Even if you’ve dabbled in each of these arenas, it’s hard to gain traction without a fully integrated marketing plan.  So, Partners, how do you build that plan?  And Vendors, how do you provide Partners with the resources they need to be successful?

Does anyone else feel like their marketing strategies are like a frustrating game of Whac-A-Mole?

How do you put down your rubber mallet and launch an end-to-end marketing campaign?  A marketing enablement resource can give your Partners the depth needed to convert leads into customers and discussions into deals. Think of it like a supercharged V8 engine. Your campaigns or main components are the driving force behind your Partners’ initiatives. Social media and automation are the pistons and spark plugs that continuously deliver your message. And, the right end-to-end enablement resources are the fuel to keep it all running. Without any one of these pieces, the engine wouldn’t run properly. That is perhaps why many Partners are becoming frustrated with their campaigns. They have all of the right pieces; they just aren’t putting them together properly.

Wac-a-mole
Photo Credit: Urban Anomie

 

So, how can I turbo charge my next product launch or campaign in 10 minutes or less?

From a marketing best practices standpoint you want to first have a website or at least landing page that someone could, well, land on.  Then have a piece of valuable content that the prospect wants to download.  That content needs to solve a pain point or teach the prospect something that they’ve been struggling with.  Finally, point prospects to that piece of content from an email, from the Partners’ websites, and (most challenging) from the Partners’ social platforms

    Kyle_Benson

Kyle Benson

 

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down and talking to Kyle Benson, Director of Worldwide Channel Demand Marketing for Citrix, to ask how they enable Partners to do just that. He shared that Citrix has focused their efforts on creating a powerful yet easy to use end-to-end demand generation resource – one that allows Partners to promote their brand as well as get their joint messaging out. Benson added that, “Around each key play at Citrix, we have created an entire arsenal of supporting documents and programs that can be quickly customized to add depth to a Partner’s next campaign or launch. We are essentially giving them the fuel to ignite their marketing engine from cobranded email templates and videos, to short / long form social strategies and 3rd party white papers. Or, if events are more their cup of tea, Partners can go into the platform and personalize seminars with scripted presentations, landing pages and even harness powerful registration capabilities.”

Citrix has invested a lot to ensure partners can make that fully integrated plan a reality. Benson also added, “You can then upload your prospect list and automatically set up reminders and thank you emails, with all of the leads generated being passed directly to Partners.  Once partners have leads,  we take it a step further by providing sales enablement collateral that aligns to the various stages of the sales cycle.  I can’t over-emphasize how important this is. ” These additional resources not only beef up your strategies but offer your customers valuable information around every bend of business. Whether they’re being invited to a webinar, delving into a white paper or receiving a targeted email, it keeps your marketing engine revving strong.

What’s the science behind why this works?

In a nutshell, consumers have changed the structure behind how they spend money. They are no longer satisfied with the status quo; they have options and plenty of them. And, business leaders now have the resources at their fingertips to make the wisest, most informed decision. In fact, a recent CEB Global study appropriately entitled, “Why Solution Selling No Longer Works” reinforces why end to end strategies are so effective. They surveyed more than 1,400 B2B customers across industries. The study revealed that 57% of a typical purchase decision is made before a customer even talks to a supplier. So, that white paper or presentation really can be the difference between simply having a conversation or sealing a deal.

How can you Enable Partners as Well?

Looking to better enable your partners?  There are a bunch of platforms out there that provide website syndication, marketing automation, social automation, and marketing support. When you’re looking for platforms ensure that they understand how your partners want to engage with you and they provide the services (content, analytics, support) you need to better enable your partners.  Factors to consider include price (watch for add-ons), number of partners enabled, user interface, the platforms abilities to work well together and to integrate with other marketing platforms including those that partners or corporate might be using.

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Testimonials

“Our partners are more engaged and doing measurable demand generation…the marketing guidance that the Channel Maven team has provided our partners is priceless.” Read more>>
Tracy Staniland, Asigra

“Channel Maven recently developed and executed a flawless series of workshops for our Solution Providers…their expertise and experience in channels and social media are a great resource for both channel programs (vendors) and Solution Providers.” Read more>>
Barbara McFadden, AT&T

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Be The Vendor Your Partners Want To Work With
Be The Vendor Your Partners Want To Work With

In this short eBook, we share important points learned through advising and collaborating with some of the top vendors and manufacturers in the channel.

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Building Successful Channel Programs
Building Successful Channel Programs

In this short eBook, we talk about building a competitive channel program in today’s crowded environment.

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Are Your Solution Providers Engaging?
Are Your Solution Providers Engaging?

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Speaking Appearances

Microsoft World Partner Conference July 8th

Barron’s Top Advisory Teams Summit July 17th-19th

IPED Social Media in the Channel Workshop September 10th-11th

Oracle Open World – Social Media Rally Station September 22nd-25th