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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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Turn Your Social Profiles into Demand Gen Machines

by channelmaven on November 20, 2014

For the past few weeks (and years) we’ve talked a lot about Social Media. Why it’s important, in Channel Partners Benefit from Social Media (more than you might think). How to find content, in Never Fall Down the Content Rabbit Hole Again. And how to succeed, in 8 Simple Steps For Success with Social Media. The list goes on and on. But, before you create awesome content and start gaining followers it’s imperative to spend some time polishing up your profile. Why? It’s the first thing people look at when you post on social. Think of your profile as the heart of your online persona. When fans and followers find your profile, make them want to stay and connect because that’s where the opportunity for a relationship lies. What do social relationships mean to you whether a solution provider or IT vendor? MORE BUSINESS FOR YOU!

Where do you start? You start by thinking about your audience. Every social media platform is unique and was created for a different purpose. To get the traction you want on social, create each profile separately while keeping the best practices of that particular platform in mind. At Channel Maven Consulting we believe the two most influential B2B social media platforms are LinkedIn and Twitter. Today we will focus on them.

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LinkedIn:

LinkedIn was created as a business-oriented social networking service. Their official statement reads: “Operating as the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 332 million members in over 200 countries and territories.” As opposed to Facebook, your Linkedin connections are likely to be current employers, colleagues, classmates, and industry peers rather than friends and family. The voice of your profile should be formal, informative and concise. Think of it as your online resume though LinkedIn is for so much more than just finding a job. Are there keywords you can use to become more searchable? Is your reader stuck on one topic because you have provided too much information? Consider the ten-second rule; if you had 10 seconds to make an impression would your reader stay or would they leave? Find a reason to capture their attention.

Use this checklist to set up a profile that will make them want to stay. Profile Checklist

The bottom line is to keep your overall goal in mind. Is there someone you’re trying to strike a chord with? Are you working to become a thought leader in your industry or target market?  After you’ve taken these steps and built a robust profile you are ready to utilize LinkedIn for the reason it was created. Connect. Find. Be Found. Power Your Career. Learn and Share.

Twitter:

Twitter is another incredibly powerful platform where you can create loyal fans and establish credibility as an industry leader. With over 500 million tweets sent per day and 284 million monthly active users, perfecting your profile is crucial if you want your tweets to stand out. If you read our blog, @Mentions and #Hashtags and Tweets Oh My! (link) you understand the importance of applying @ and # into your tweets. Keep that in mind as you work on creating your profile. Are there keywords you can apply in your bio? If for instance you specialize in Channel Marketing, lead with that hashtag. That way if anyone searches #ChannelMarketing you will consistently come up in the search results. As always the most important thing to keep in mind is who your target audience is and what they might be searching. Unlike LinkedIn, which is more formal, Twitter gives you a little wiggle room to add some personality. Here is an example of a bio that incorporates both personal and professional objectives.

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If you will be representing your company but also plan to post personal views, it’s important your readers understand that your views are your own.

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Use this checklist to create a well-balanced profile. Profile Checklist

Twitter’s mission is: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” More than any other social platform twitter allows you to caste a wider net surrounding a larger audience. Give yourself the opportunity to harness this power through creating a profile that is polished and well maintained.

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Conclusion:

Today we focused on enhancing your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply these tips and tricks to any other social platform you want to build a presence on. You’re planning on joining on Facebook, posting pictures on Instagram or pinning on Pinterest? Awesome!  All this advice is universal across every platform. If we could give one single takeaway it is to know your audience. Who do you want to find you? What do you want them to see? What lasting impression will you leave…Give your online presence the time it deserves for the traction you’re looking for.  Why?

More traction= More connections.

More connections=More relationships

More relationships= More opportunity for Business

Go Get ‘Em

Photo Credit: sironaconsulting

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Channel Partners Benefit from Social Media (more than you might think)

by channelmaven on November 7, 2014

In today’s marketing landscape, Vendors and Channel Partners are increasingly aware of the importance of social media and how a lack of time often causes it to fall to the bottom of our to-do lists. You might be surprised if we told you there is one very good reason, beyond simple exposure and reach, to carve out time for social, but there is, and it’s SEO.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO is the art (and science) of helping search engines realize your site’s relevance to a topic in order for your site to be found in search. Many, factors play into SEO like; new and returning visitors, number of pages visited, how long they stay on your site, URLs, content, where visitors go after they leave, how many links you have from others sites to yours and vice versa, to name a few.

Most people, especially those whose main focus is not marketing, don’t know that social media is increasingly more important for today’s SEO and inbound marketing focus.

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Photo Credit: Pitstopmedia.com

 

It’s pretty easy to see how social makes you more visible and posting content that links to your site increases your site traffic. But that’s not the end of it.

A few years back the dominant strategy to help your SEO had a major component called “link building” where companies actively came up with strategies to entice other sites to link to them. The more inbound links you have, the more often and thoroughly search engines index your site. That is still true because links to your site show that you’re an authority in your niche. Being relevant and knowledgeable helps you appear at the top of a search for the keywords you want to rank for because it’s a search engine’s job to return the best options to the human who is searching.

Link building still matters but it has been reengineered and works a bit differently now. Writing relevant content that other sites link to and reference in their own content is the new link building. But guess what else? Yep, social media, which wasn’t as popular a few years back, is now a major player in this new era of link building. That means social media is a critical component in SEO and SEO, of course, drives visitors to your site via search.

Here’s why:

Retweets, shares, faves, likes etc inform search engines that the public approves of your content. The more your links are socialized, the faster, deeper and more often your site is indexed by search engines, which improves your page rank and impacts your placement in search results. In other words, social sharing is now a virtual “up-vote” for your site’s SEO.

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Photo Credit: TheSocialMediaCompany.ca

 

But that’s not all social media does for SEO.

Followers factor in too as does the profile. Because search engines index social sites too and your social profiles link to your website and display your preferred keywords, they help your SEO. Making sure your profile matches your site is important, but it’s the followers that matter most when determining your SEO value on social. It’s easy to buy a chunk of fake followers but it won’t help your SEO. Only taking time to cultivate a following of engaged, active users helps SEO because it’s easy for search engines to understand the number of followers vs. how engaged they are and rank you on that measurement.

SiriusDecisions, an analyst firm that works in the channel reported: 67% of the B2B buyer’s journey is now done digitally. That means finding you online and getting the information a buyer needs to make informed decisions happens, before they contact you. That said, the importance of SEO is bigger than ever and the role social plays in the ability to find you on a search engine should not be overlooked.

buyer's journey

Photo Credit: agilebusinesslogic.com

 

The next time you have to explain why social is important, remember the shares and clicks extend reach because that’s important too but don’t forget to mention SEO. Search engines are paying attention to social. They know who is using it by your profile’s connection to your website and they’re watching how engaged your followers are. The more people click on a link from social, the more traffic you get, the more authoritative you become and the higher your page rank is. Page rank determines where you land on search.

So, yes, it’s still difficult to measure the ROI of social but we can see how it impacts SEO in Google analytics and we can logically understand the importance of social media.

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5 Simple Tips for Growing Your Twitterverse

by channelmaven on October 30, 2014

You read our 10 Great Places To Find Twitter Followers and @Mentions and #Hashtags and Tweets Oh My! Let’s move on to increasing engagement.

Engagement refers to people interacting with your Twitter feed. This includes retweets, favorites, and following along with @Mentions and direct messages. The big deal about increasing engagement is that your reach increases. Reach determines influence and influence establishes leadership.

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1.     Increase engagement:

    • Post frequently – you can’t over post on Twitter. Guy Kawasaki recommends posting 50x/day and reposting the same content every 8 hours for the first day. This is a hard cadence to maintain (trust me, I tried it for a month!) The point is: the more content you push out, the more followers you get faster and followers = exposure
    • Post interesting content
    • Use #hashtags frequently but only when they’re relevant
    • Use @mentions to amplify your reach

2.     Pushing your content:

How your tweets are worded is the most important consideration: Tweets are 140 characters, including the associated link. Tweets MUST be written like a headline. The same techniques that apply in journalism and blog titles plus understanding the psychology of why we click on Tweets is critical when you are posting your own content.

Your content will increase SEO and bring inbound traffic to your website so when posting content that belongs to you the goal is: Get as many retweets as you can to spread it wide (get more clicks) to accomplish this, you have to entice followers to stop what they are doing (surfing twitter) and click the link you provided instead of clicking the millions of other links in their feed that’s whizzing past at lightning speed.

3.     Pushing someone else’s content:

The goal is to provide good content and get followers the Tweet language needs to be clear and interesting but is not nearly as important as when you are promoting your own content. This is true because yes, you want to be seen as someone who posts good, relevant content but the end result of SEO and inbound marketing is benefiting another person/company so the end goal is not as critical to your business.

4.     Not every Tweet has to have a link:

In order to keep up a steady cadence with Twitter, tweets don’t have to always contain a link. They can be pictures, quotes, cartoons, infographics, or commentary from you. These types of tweets keep you engaging with your followers, take less time to find and help keep your twitter stream at the front of the “fire hose” of tweets.

5.     Consistency is key:

Twitter has algorithms – I don’t know the specifics but I do know, from experience, that the more consistent you are with posting, the more they put you in front of others as a “suggested connection” for people to follow.

Schedulers like Buffer help can help with consistency. It’s better to post 5 per day than 25 per week over random days. Both ways net 25 posts per week but only one is consistent. With a social scheduler, you can more easily “set it and forget it” by spending one block of time scheduling tweets for a whole week.

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