Learn from a small, diversified, group of some of the industry’s most creative minds who have teamed together to create an innovative approach to generating leads and customers through Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.
This session was a panel of Apryl Hanson (BlytheCo) and Wayne Schulz (Schulz Consulting) led by B.J. O’Reilly (ISM). I’m not 100% certain how the description fits the panel but I know Wayne knows more about social media than most others in the channel and, because of BlytheCo’s sheer size if no other reason, Apryl certainly will have a good amount of experiences to share.
We started as Apryl talked about BlytheCo’s different social media products, their magainze and blog. Their second largest search term is their name (interesting – the Blytheco brand must be significant).
Their lead volume is about 5% of all traffic with monthly volume ranging from 20,000 to 60,000 visitors per month depending on the month (I would imagine year end gets heavier traffic). It wasn’t specified if this was uniques, pagecounts, total or exactly what it was.
She stated that lead quality is about 50% which means 1 out of 2 leads go from raw to qualified. This seems to be 50% of the 5% – not 50% of the total visitor count.
Wayne went on to discuss the importance of trying to determine *who* is making the inquiries because there is a big difference between someone just looking for a quick answer vs someone looking for long-term help. Further clarifying this point, Wayne underlined the importance of quickly and effectively filtering these folks to determine who will be serious customers that fit his particular model and ideal customer.
He also discussed the importance of getting people to sign up for newsletters as these people are usually quicker to make a decision and become a customer as opposed to the general, one-time inquiry which oftentimes is a price shopper that is already in discussion with other resellers.
As part of the filtering and qualification process, Wayne is a firm believer in providing starts as pricing to help people self-qualify and determine if they are a good fit from a financial perspective for Schulz Consulting. Wayne has created a fairly high volume of leads and has decidedly kept his firm smaller so it makes sense that he has established a solid methodology to move people along or out.
Wayne commented further about the importance of driving people to sign up for newsletters as this creates a stronger relationship with a higher value over time. Again, he stresses the importance of establishing this connection simply by using inexpensive, easy to use tools such as MailChimp.
He commented about being personal and connecting with people through images and stories. Apryl shared that one of their best hit posts was the one where she discussed shoes and conferences. To me, that makes sense since it’s a human thing – we can all relate so it creates a real connection with most of us.
There was consensus among the panel (and heads were nodding in the room) that the content that you put out there should be valuable, useful and informative. People will only stomach so many articles about how great your company is.
And if you do write those pieces, try your best to make it about your customers and their needs. (Here’s my attempt – it’s a work in process, let me know what you think.)
Wayne recommends borrowing ideas liberally from other industries because most businesses (he stated “resellers” but every industry develops tunnel vision) are comfortable repeating marketing tactics that worked in the 1980′s.
Apryl shared a slide of where BlytheCo’s volume comes from:
- Organic Search 58%
- Referrals 5%
- Paid Search 8%
- Direct Traffic 25%
- E-mail Marketing 1%
- Social Media 1%
What do these numbers tell us? Well … it’s great real-world confirmation that content is king since organic search is primarily driven by content, key words, information that you put out there.
Apryl discussed the importance of creating and tracking landing pages to determine what’s working and what’s not. From my perspective, this is so far beyond where I currently am that it’s hard to imagine this level of sophistication but it’s something that all the larger businesses seem to believe in strongly.
Again, landing pages should be defined around what customers are searching for as opposed to product features. Ex. How do I close my GL would be a common search term.
The discussion shifted to the concept that ideas make the social media team and it’s important to educate your team, your clients and even your prospect on connecting with you on the different social networks. This is easier said than done.
I’m not sure about you but most of my clients don’t see the value of social networking yet. Search engines … yes. Facebook … maybe. LinkedIn … somewhat. Twitter … not at all really.
I’m sure adoption will grow over time at an increasing rate. For now, it’s a tough sell.
The panel discussed using the right tools – such as Hubspot, SalesFusion, HootSuite, TweetDeck, Google Reader, Google Alerts and others. The tools make it easier to create, manage and track your social media efforts.
Watching my word count, I see that I’m around 850 and I’m always conscious of over-staying my welcome. Hopefully the information above will prove to be useful in your marketing efforts.
For me, the session was another valuable presentation here at the ITA. Special thanks to Apryl Hanson and Wayne Schulz for so freely sharing information. For any resellers, I strongly recommend that you subscribe to Wayne’s blog at www.erplife.com where he shares this type of information routinely.
Thanks also to B.J. O’Reilly for keeping the panel moving so well. Out of the various panel sessions I’ve attended over the last few days, he’s done the best job at balancing the conversation and including the audience.
Overall – this was a great, informative session.