By Bruce McKenzie, Published January 8, 2014
So, you’re creating videos and distributing them through Facebook, YouTube, your blog, and paid media opportunities to generate hundreds to millions of views. Are you forgetting LinkedIn, one of the most important channels for B2B marketers? LinkedIn has documented research indicating that members of the “buying committee” are more likely to connect with vendors on LinkedIn than with any other social media platform.
So, if video = good-for-business (Dell Inc.’s Enterprise Solutions Group’s revenue rose 8% largely because their ramped up video marketing efforts got 6.5 million views), and if LinkedIn = good-for-business, then combining the two makes sense.
Here are three ways to make the combo work for your B2B organization.1. Turn your boring resume-looking profile into an interactive marketing tool
If your LinkedIn profile (or your sales and marketing team’s LinkedIn profiles) reads like an impressive resume, it might sell you (or your team) to HR executives and recruiters. But it won’t do a good job connecting you with decision makers and influencers. Your prospects are not looking at your profile because they want recruit you, but because they are considering doing business with you. Your profile should be designed to sell you and your organization’s products and solutions.
When you read my profile, you’ll see my story which highlights the difficulties I experienced as the Director of Creative Services for International Paper when we needed to produce videos to explain the intricacies of antitrust regulation, printing technology and how quality affects production. When videographers focused on creating visually stunning, award-winning short films, the message IP was trying to communicate often got lost. I share how these experiences shaped the methodology I started to use when I left IP to start my own video marketing firm which creates 2-Minute Explainer® videos that target audiences can quickly connect with.
Right below my summary, you’ll find a one-minute animated video that reiterates our company’s marketing messages in a way that prospects can visualize and remember. They can now see the value we offer, and why it matters.
In my profile’s experience section, I created a number of positions to show how I worked with technology companies in many segments of the IT industry (e.g., services – CA and IBM, logistics – UPS, manufacturing – Rockwell Automation, etc.). There are videos under each position to showcase our work.
If you look at WebAttract President Michael Agron’s LinkedIn profile, you’ll see that he uses videos to describe his webinar management process. He also uses testimonial videos to back up the case studies he provides in his profile.
2. Generate More Leads
Now, with a strong LinkedIn profile foundation that’s filled with engaging videos, you and your sales/marketing team will attract more prospects. Plus, you’ll have more prospects accepting your invitations to connect. Now what?
You need to nourish those relationships until they become viable leads. Most people’s connections become “dead” connections if there is no initial interest. That’s why you need to create a LinkedIn community that’s alive with discussions based on your video content — 72% percent of senior executives research an organization after watching a B2B video marketing campaign (International Data Group).
To help you with your lead generation efforts, you should be sharing these discussions with other LinkedIn groups that your targeted audiences belong to as well. The discussions should then link to your videos, which should include a call-to-action to download your white paper, webinar, ebook or other value-added offering so you can capture leads.
3. Improve Your Outreach Efforts
At some point you’ll want to take your LinkedIn conversations offline (i.e. out of LinkedIn and into a more personal and interactive connection — phone, a video chat, Google hangout, or whatever works for you). Before you do that, it’s a good idea to provide additional material your prospect can watch or read before the call. I know of an organization that provides prospects with an ebook to read before there is a phone conversation. If that organization gets the prospect to read at least 30 pages, there is an 80% chance of a conversion. Now, since visual information can be processed much faster than print, I suggest testing using videos instead of an ebook or white paper.
Videos such as customer testimonials and short product demos will certainly work well in this context. By providing this additional information, you will improve engagement, increase your prospect’s comfort level with you as a vendor, and make the conversation flow more smoothly. Your prospect will begin to visualize how they might work with you before they even speak to you.
In short, if LinkedIn is an underutilized marketing asset, then video content is certainly underutilized in LinkedIn right now. You should be taking advantage of this undervaluation, because it’s easy to do, and because it will make it easier for prospects using LinkedIn for research to do business with you.
By Lee Frederiksen
Lead Nurturing is often something of a mystery to professional services executives. Perhaps because of this, it is often done intermittingly and produces limited results. That’s a real shame.
Repeat business is great but is usually not sufficient. Clients leave and must be replaced just to stay where we are. To grow our firms, we all need net new clients. That’s where lead nurturing has an essential role to play.
Lead Nurturing Defined There are three basic phases to acquiring a new client. The first one is identifying organizations or individuals who might be a good fit with your firm. This initial phase is often referred to as lead generation.
The third phase of the business development process is closing the sale. This is when a specific opportunity is turned into a new client.
Lead nurturing sits between these two phases. It’s the process of turning new leads into opportunities.
Why is Lead Nurturing So Important? The simple fact is that most leads are simply not ready to buy yet.
They may be at the early stages of exploring possible solutions to a business issue they face. Or perhaps they are gathering cost information to plan for an upcoming budget. So your efforts to turn them into a new client right away will be doomed from the start.
Ignoring leads that are not ready to close is also incredibly wasteful. Yet that is exactly what some firms end up doing, accidentally if not on purpose.
Three Functions of Lead Nurturing There are three key functions that lead nurturing can play in the business development process.
All three of these functions are important in that they reduce your costs (by better targeting your efforts) and increase the probability that the qualified leads will turn into new clients.
Traditional Lead Nurturing Approaches Professional services firms have traditionally nurtured leads using one of three general approaches.
Sadly, most of the time these efforts have not produced much and are often abandoned or left to run on “autopilot.”
New Approaches to Lead Nurturing The world of lead nurturing has been evolving. New technology, new buyer behavior patterns, and new research have all combined to offer better ways to harvest the potential of lead nurturing. Here are a few developments that stand out.
Taken together, these developments offer exciting new possibilities to the professional services marketer. Lead nurturing is now both possible and practical on a much larger scale than before.
Lead Nurturing Best Practices Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you develop your lead nurturing program.
A well-crafted lead nurturing program can produce a steady stream of new clients. They will generally be well qualified and positively disposed toward working with your firm.
Often times they are even superior to client referrals. They understand the issues they are facing and are well educated in your approach to solving them. What more could a business developer ask for?
You can download a free copy of our Lead Nurturing Guide and see how we do it here at Hinge.
The word referral, has many meanings to many different people. The fact is, the definition of a referral is often mistaken. Some believe that a name on a piece of paper constitutes a referral. However, that is a lead, not a referral. If you are serious about networking, then giving referrals is an absolute must. It’s not all about you and what you can get out of a networking group or event. It’s about what you do for the people around you. If you are a taker and not a giver, others will soon notice. You do not want to be labeled as such.
Giving referrals and giving them well, should be your self imposed obligation. It is your duty to give them to others in your network. If you have any reservations, get over them. After all, it’s about connecting people you trust to deliver products and services, to people you know who need them. Therefore, you are the one who holds the power to make that connection complete. There should be no reservations about doing it. While you cannot guarantee the sale, you can dramatically increase the odds of a successful referral.
The key to giving great referrals is in following the five step approach outlined below.
1) Identifying opportunity- This step requires you to listen for and identify a need. You may hear, “ My car insurance rates just increased by 30% for no apparent reason.” There’s someone in your network, who sells car insurance. Here’s your opportunity to bring the insurance agent and the prospective client together. Don’t let the opportunity to refer pass you by.
2) Verify the need- Confirm what you just heard and ask the prospect about his or her time horizon. Then tell them you know someone.
3) Mention a trusted partner in your network- This part is very simple. Just tell the prospect there’s a trusted member of your network, who may be able to help. Mention the name of that person, and tell the prospect why you believe it would be a good fit.
4) Obtain permission- Ask the prospect how he or she feels about being contacted to discuss needs. Be sure and mention that the service/ product provider. Once that permission is granted, proceed…….
5) Deliver it on a silver platter- You’ve laid the groundwork for a great referral. Now hand it over. It’s best to tell as much as you can about the prospect, the need, etc. Also remember to give permission to mention your name. That cements the referral even further. The more you share, the greater the odds of a great and successful referral.
Best wishes on giving, and receiving great referrals.
Posted by Don Talbert Sales and Networking Specialist Centurion Business Coach 859-816-2347
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