Leads are the driving force of any business. They are the engine that moves any company or organization forward. Without a constant flow of leads there are no sales, no profit – no jobs.
Successful businesses know how to motivate everyone to participate in the sales effort. Marketers build sophisticated inbound campaigns with a ton of content to make the audience aware that they have a problem, to position a product or service, offer education on product benefits, provide evidence that the product works, and explain the buying journey.
However, the buying process is changing. Customers do extensive online research before making a purchasing decision, and marketers need to create content on a regular basis. The adage is true: Content is still king. It is what makes your brand get noticed.
Creating content is expensive and the work to produce it seems never-ending: whitepapers, datasheets, e-books, landing pages, emails, graphics, infographics, videos, podcasts, blogs – all in custom formats for different social channels. And that is just the digital kit. Most marketing teams produce print collateral, event signage, and other offline assets too.
Sounds like a lot? A helping hand from a dedicated team would surely go a long way!
Often, employees pitch in to distribute content to prospective customers and share it on social media. That’s great, but is it enough? What can non-marketing professionals do to help generate leads for your organization? And how can those activities boost your personal brand too in the process?
Use Past Successes
An effective weapon in your “buzz arsenal” is your personal success.
Think about how your recent projects made a difference in your organization. Did you deploy technology that improved efficiency, supported strategic business goals, developed new approaches and workflows, or reduced costs for your organization? Share your success with the world.
Perhaps you don’t have a content creation budget. Not to worry – most technology vendors have customer reference programs in place and would be glad to sponsor the content you wish to create, as long as they can use it too.
According to a recent post by Fast Company, content shared by employees gets eight times more engagement than content shared by brand channels, and is reshared 25 times more frequently. Even more remarkable, leads sourced through employees’ social networks convert seven times more frequently than other leads.
Did we just say you can create free content that generates leads that are highly likely to convert? We sure did. Contact your favorite technology vendor and start showcasing the great business benefits you achieved by using their products or services. Your marketing team will be delighted.
Enhance Your Reputation and Professional Influence with Reference Content
Case Studies: These are typically two- to four-page long form stories that include a section describing your company and your offering. A case study demonstrates that your company is a market leader by describing your business challenges, the technology you selected as a solution, and the key benefits you realized.
Most case studies contain a quote from the interviewed person. You’ll get a wonderful opportunity to expose your technical expertise and project leadership skills. Rest assured, your management will read the case study too – and your product knowledge will look great on your next performance evaluation.
Video Testimonials: These are typically short interviews on camera about the same topic – how your company overcame business challenges with the help of technology.
Video is the most desirable type of content. According to a summary from Adélie Studios, businesses using video increase year-on-year revenue 49% faster than organizations that don’t. You will also be pleased to find out that four times as many consumers prefer to watch a video than read about a product.
Videos are expensive to produce, so your sales and marketing team will thank you for getting a video testimonial as a freebie.
Press Releases: Free press coverage is one of the hardest things to come by as a company, especially as a small- to medium-size enterprise. Earned media is one of the most coveted types of exposure opportunities because there’s nothing quite as convincing to a prospective customer as a collection of relevant newspaper or magazine logos on your website.
People tend to instantly trust businesses that were reviewed by a journalist and vetted. Piggybacking on a big launch by your tech vendor is a perfect opportunity to bring press attention to how your company is innovative, an early adopter of technology, and striving to make the life of your customers easier and more rewarding.
Press statements frequently include a quotation, and that puts your name in the press too. Naturally, what looks good on your company’s website will look even better as an accomplishment on your LinkedIn profile.
Other Marketing Activities: Keep in mind that your technology provider also organizes or participates in important industry events. Event venues are covered in advertising opportunities: Sponsors, customers, speakers – they are all exhibited on walls and screens in eye-catching designs.
Industry events are a great opportunity to feature your company’s name and logo on billboards and banner ads at no cost to you – sometimes with your picture and a quote too. That would certainly boost your professional reputation.
Create Thought Leadership through Reference Activities
Speaking Opportunities: Jerry Seinfeld said that everyone’s number one fear is public speaking, followed by fear of death (we did not find that study!). In the business world, people wanting to go into public speaking – whether they fear it or not – sometimes have to pay to get a spot on the stage of even minor industry events. We find that paradoxical.
The opportunity to deliver keynotes, sessions, or booth presentations will sometimes be presented by your tech vendor, especially if you’ve done content for them before and they know that your story sounds good. We recommend grabbing this chance with both hands. Specialized marketers will help develop and prepare your presentation, schedule rehearsals, and may even provide speaker training. It is a great investment in your career development and won’t cost anything. Your minimal investment will pay off many times over the years.
One-to-One Conversations: Hosting a reference call, an analyst call, or a site visit are less prominent activities than being on stage. Nonetheless, they demonstrate a company culture of generosity and warmth.
In addition, these are longer conversations than a two-minute video. Site visits and reference calls give you the chance to elaborately describe your challenges, go into details about bumps in the road, and explain how you triumphed using technology. It will allow you to polish your pitch and build courage for public speaking.
One-to-one conversations also provide your visitor with anecdotes to take public. Word of mouth is the oldest form of marketing and still a very influential one. Actually, according to McKinsey, word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 to 50% of all purchasing decisions. Think of how you can build momentum for your brand.
One-to-Many Conversations: Roundtables, webinars, talking to local or virtual user groups, or regular social media postings are great ways to speak about your accomplishments and position your company as an industry leader and adopter of progress.
It also empowers you to network with like-minded peers who are interested in your skills and your work. Not only does this add to the word of mouth effect, but it is in groups like these that people forge relationships, find mentors, meet investors for entrepreneurial ventures, and discover opportunities to boost their career and lead projects in a new company.
No rock star or movie star ever flies solo. They have an agent who represents their interests in front of music and movie studios, finding them the best gigs, and making them famous. They also have a personal wellness team: a chef, a trainer, a makeup artist.
We want to be your team. To be honest, our cooking is not that great, but we are highly skilled marketers that can represent your best interests when joining your vendor’s customer references program. We make sure that you and your brand shine in all content that is created, get you the best opportunities, and help advance your career.
Get in touch! We’d love to hear your story.