LinkedIn for Lead Generation – A Guide for B2B Companies

Why LinkedIn is Essential for B2B Lead Generation – November 2019

Introduction: Why LinkedIn for Lead Generation?

With over 600 million users, LinkedIn has become the ideal place for social selling. It has the right mix of professional and personal that allows businesses to sell to potential clients in a channel where they will be most receptive. That is why reaching out to people on LinkedIn is much more effective: response rate (inbox messages, connection requests, content engagement) is an impressive 30-40%. Social selling is the future of sales.

If you’re a B2B marketer, your customers are undoubtedly doing research online before they buy.  In fact, the average decision maker reads 10 pieces of content before finalizing their purchase decision. Great content on LinkedIn can lead B2B decision makers back to your site as well. On average, 46% percent of social media traffic coming to B2B company sites is from LinkedIn. With LinkedIn’s advanced audience targeting capabilities, you can ensure that increased traffic is qualified, meaning it contains those most likely to convert into leads. Fully 93% of B2B Marketers consider LinkedIn the most effective site for generating leads.

Some additional reasons why LinkedIn is ideal for B2B lead generation:

  • LinkedIn adds 2 new members every second — so you are likely to find the right person, or people, you are looking for.
  • There are 2 billion member updates per week — which makes it easy to find what potential targets are talking about, interested in, and sharing.
  • You can stay in touch with your network of potential leads at scale through your own content and content you engage with, e.g. commenting on posts.
  • LinkedIn users are using the platform to network, so outreach naturally becomes warmer versus sending out a cold email that you didn’t have permission to solicit.
  • LinkedIn is a platform that enables you to forge meaningful relationships by revealing connection paths between your company and your target account that you can leverage for a warm introduction.
  • And finally, LinkedIn allows you to build a network of potential customers, followers, brand enthusiasts, etc. that will engage with your content and help you establish and scale your brand.

5 Tips to Get Started

If you are not already using LinkedIn for lead generation (shame on you), here are five quick and easy tips to get started:

  1. Define Your Niche Determining your target buyer(s) is probably the single most important prerequisite.  This step is not directly related to your LinkedIn account, but is essential to drive high quality prospects.
  2. Optimize Your Profile - Before connecting on LinkedIn, make sure you have a strong and clear profile. This is your online business card and the first thing people see when they find you.
  3. Post Weekly (Daily if Possible) Status Updates -You should aim to publish at least once a week on LinkedIn to keep your name synonymous with industry expertise and news.
  4. Get Recommendations – Ask coworkers or happy clients to write a recommendation that appears in your profile.  This validates your ability to solve industry pain points.
  5. Leverage Your Marketing Team - Your company’s marketing department should be generating new content and collateral to help you earn trust with leads and close deals. Check in with marketing frequently to see what new content or campaigns they have on their calendars, and how you can frame it on LinkedIn to drive sales conversations.

9 Steps to Generate High Quality Leads

Once your profile has been optimized, you are ready to find your ideal customer.

  1. Build Your Search Query – Your search query starts with your buyer personas. A buyer persona is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer, which typically includes customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.” If you have a buyers persona, use your ideal buyer’s attributes to define your search criteria.  If you don’t have one – or access to one – just think through these three elements:  industry, company size and job role.  From search results in Sales Navigator or LinkedIn’s general search, open only profiles that match your segmentation criteria. (The next section “6 Sales Navigator Best Practices” will walk you through that tool.)
  2. Request a Connection - Once you've created your search query and built a list of prospects, it’s time to connect. This is probably the most demotivating part, as you'll need to make 100 connection requests per day if you want to drive results. (Note:  If you are utilizing Account-Based Marketing techniques, quality not quantity is important.  Determine the right decision makers at your target accounts and utilize LinkedIn requests to reach them.)  Some of them may ignore the request and the ones who do connect may never engage in a conversation.  But over time, this process yields results (see #8).  The connect request should be accompanied with a message that, listen carefully, does not sell ANYTHING. “People like to buy, but they don't like to be sold to”.  This introductory message will start your “drip sequence”, and should say something like:
“Hi [first name], I came across your profile and I decided to reach out because… [share something you have in common or how you liked something they posted].  – Your Name, Your Company, Your Tagline.”

 

 

 

IIMPORTANT:  Why put your company’s tagline at the end of your messages? You want people to associate you and your company with what you can do for them.

  1. Say Thank You - Once someone has accepted your request, send them a “thank you for connecting” message. Don't forget to add your tagline at the end - and again, don't sell anything.
  2. Send something useful -If you haven’t received a response from your prospects; provide them with something of value. Take a look at the prospect’s profile and look for an interesting article you think they might find useful. The more you engage in a casual, human way, the more they will trust you.  No one will respond to you if you try to sell them your product or service right away.  Don’t forget to end it with your name, company and tagline.
  3. Ask for a call -In the last step of the drip sequence, message your potential prospect and ask them to jump on a call.  Explain why you want the call.  Stay casual and friendly and emphasize the benefits of a quick chat.  Again, don't forget to put your tagline after your name.
  4. View profiles This is a great tactic that doesn’t involve sending your prospects anything.  If you’ve been on the platform for any length of time, you know that LinkedIn sends notifications every time someone views your profile.  One of your prospects might be curious and click your profile from the alert they receive, and if they need a product or service like yours at that particular moment, they might contact you.  We’ve seen it happen– a lot!
  5. Post Content  This step is crucial. Why?  There are 9 billion content impressions in the LinkedIn feed every week.  And, out of 250 million monthly active users on LinkedIn, only 3 million share content weekly.  That means 3 million users are getting 9 billion impressions every week – or 3,000 impressions per post.  Think about that for a millisecond - and get posting!
  6. Keep engaging -Don’t sell - just talk to prospects, build a relationship, and see how you can help each other. This is a slow process and might not bring any quick leads but you're in this for the long run.  Even if your prospects don't need your services right away, they are going to think about you in the future. Or they might recommend you to someone in their network.
  7. Don’t Use Automation Tools- This is HUGE.  Your account can get permanently blocked if LinkedIn detects non-human activity from your account.  Sure - automation tools save you a lot of time but they can also derail your entire effort.  If you don’t have the time to build a LinkedIn pipeline (which is understandable), hire a contractor or outside firm to help (like WIZ Advisors – shameless plug).

6 Sales Navigator Best Practices

LinkedIn is a treasure trove of detailed knowledge on potential buyers – and Sales Navigator makes that knowledge actionable with automated tools.

Here are six best practices we’ve collected from utilizing the platform to generate leads for our B2B clients.

  1. Use Premium Search Filters to build a target prospect list based on personal or organizational parameters. You can sort by a number of factors — including geography, sector and company size — and scope the size of each opportunity by filtering by company revenue.  Look for names on accounts where you have a 1st or 2nd-degree connection for a warm introduction opportunity.
  2. Load the list into Lead Builder and filter further by titles to identify the right decision-makers. Use the In Common panel in their Profile to determine what you may have in common with that LinkedIn member. You can also learn more about the prospect by checking out these sections: Following, Groups and Volunteer Experience & Causes.  “Endorsements” in the Skills & Expertise section provides an understanding of what each prospect does well. Use this information in your introductions.
  3. Use Lead Recommendations to receive leads based on presets and saved searches. It will allow you to:  see similar decision-makers and influencers at other companies, have new leads automatically flow into your email, look at the recommended decision-makers and influencers within your target accounts that Navigator sends, and identify new leads.  Open the lead’s profile by clicking on his/her name, or save the lead in Contacts for follow-up later.
  4. Save your TeamLink Searches to keep you updated on your targeted leads’ professional lives. Set up a notification to know when your prospects move to other companies, and follow the same steps as above to start a conversation.
  5. Use Sales Navigator’s Out-of-Network Profile Unlocks to help you uncover hidden leads. Profile Unlocks provides access to all LinkedIn member profiles — even those outside of your network. Users can unlock profiles from search results to gain visibility into sales prospects beyond third- degree connections.
  6. Sync Sales Navigator with Your CRM to keep track of your conversations with all prospects. This will save you from jumping back and forth between two different sites, and provide powerful insights in your reporting.

I hope this LinkedIn article has given you some valuable information to start using the platform for your own lead generation.  If you have any questions about LinkedIn or would like to learn more about our LinkedIn Lead Generation Services, feel free to reach out to me directly: Stacey Wisniewski, Founder and Chief Marketing Strategist of WIZ Advisors, at (615) 934-1817 or stacey@wizadvisors.com.

How to Write a Compelling White Paper that People Want to Read

Marketing Strategy Monthly – Aug/Sept 2019

Introduction – What is a white paper?

People sometimes confuse research reports and white papers.  Research reports are typically the results of months – sometimes years – worth of research, conducted by a particular company, institute or government entity.  These reports are not produced for commercial value.  Instead, they are meant to be shared with, delivered to, or consumed by a like-minded audience.

White papers, on the other hand, are marketing tools that are produced by companies or individuals who have insight into a particular subject.  While white papers could (should) include research, their primary objectives are different.  White papers are written to:

  1. Educate a B2B target audience on a certain topic
  2. Showcase an individual’s or company’s knowledge on a particular subject
  3. Build brand equity and strengthen perceived value
  4. Convince prospects to take a desired action (e.g. visit your website, provide contact information in exchange for the white paper, schedule a demo of your products, or call you to learn more about your services).

Do people actually read white papers?

White papers are now the #1 most valuable piece of content in the B2B buyer’s journey.  Statistics from a recent Forbes article confirm it.

  • 89% of B2B buyers use the Internet in their research process.
  • 75% of B2B buyers said that a winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their choice.
  • 82% of B2B buyers rely heavily on white papers (#1) in making their purchasing decisions. Other content includes:
    • Webinars (78%)
    • Case studies (73%)
    • E-books (67%)
    • Infographics and blog posts (66%)

Here are 10 Best Practices for writing successful white papers.

  1. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-Sensitive) goals for the white paper. Do you want your audience to visit your website, learn more about your solutions, schedule a demo, join a webinar, call you for a quote?  Whatever the action is that you want them to take, determine it - and tell them to do it at the end of the white paper (see #8 – “Have a clear call to action”).
  2. Start with an outline. It seems simple, but writing an outline is the best way to organize your thoughts and ensure that you are telling a compelling, thoughtful story.
  3. Determine key words (to drive search engine results). Whenever you develop content, you should think about it from the audience’s perspective.  What words would they use when they are performing an Internet search on this subject?  If possible, use those keywords in your title, subtitle, and body of the white paper.
  4.  Address your target audience’s pain points in the introduction. Some people will not have time to read the entire white paper (or want to).  It is important to write an introduction that captures their interest.  Discuss your prospects’ pain points and how the white paper will provide solutions.
  5. Include unique, research-driven content. B2B buyers are reading your white paper to become better educated.  Teach them something new.  Whether you have primary research from customers, secondary research from a number of public/private sources, or best practices from years of experience, share them.  Your audience will see you and your company as experts they can trust.
  1. Don’t be salesy. Your audience is in research-mode – they want to learn. Win them over by providing valuable insights and a solution to their problem. Introduce your capabilities in a short overview about your company – AT THE END - but not before (see #9 – Add a short overview about your company at the end).
  1. Insert visuals to break up the text. Your content is always the most important part, but you don’t want your readers to get bored.  Use relevant images and add charts and graphs to show statistics and trends.  Create a graphic in PowerPoint and upload it as a JPG.  Add a quote in a text box with a colored background.
  1. Put your logo and website URL in the footer. You are not making a sales pitch in your white paper, but you can – and should - promote your company in subtle ways.
  1. Have a clear call-to-action (CTA). Whether you want the audience to visit your website, schedule a demo, or call you for more information, specify it at the end – in bold.  For example:

      “To learn more about our solutions, go to www.mycompany.com/solutions or call us anytime at 1-800-244-5500.” 

  1. Add a short paragraph on your company at the end. After the call to action, write a short summary of your business, including capabilities that address the pain points in the white paper (see below for WIZ’s example).

 

WIZ Advisors is a B2B marketing agency in Alexandria, VA that helps its clients drive brand awareness and lead generation through high quality content and digital promotion.  The WIZ Method is a three-step process to drive awareness and lead generation that begins with the creation of a research-driven, industry white paper.  Learn more about WIZ Advisors by visiting our website at www.wizadvisors.com.

WIZ Marketing Strategy Monthly – May/June 2019 – The WIZ Method

WIZ Advisors’ Marketing Strategy Monthly

Date:  June 3, 2019

Topic:  The WIZ Method

 

We are so excited to announce that WIZ Advisors has launched its proprietary service to drive brand awareness and high quality leads for B2B clients.  It is a proven three step process – and it REALLY works.

Here is a one-minute video about The WIZ Method:  “Meet Phil”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKFgxo2nBck

 

The WIZ Method – A Quick Overview

Why does Step 1 of The WIZ Method involve creating a research-driven, industry white paper?  As the slide below illustrates, buyers want to read a white paper when they are researching a B2B purchase.

A white paper can also be spliced in a variety of ways – a blog, an article, a press release, social posts, infographics, emails, etc. – to form a content portfolio (Step 2).  The content can then be launched over a series of weeks in a coordinated cross-channel campaign to drive brand awareness and qualified leads (Step 3).

 

Download “The WIZ Method” Presentation to Learn More

Click below to download our “The WIZ Method” deck, which outlines in detail what the process involves, why it works, and the kind of results you can expect to see when implementing it.

Download Your Copy of “The WIZ Method” Deck here:

https://wizadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/The-WIZ-Method-Final-May-2019.pdf

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how The WIZ Method can drive growth for your business, please contact me directly via email or mobile.

 

Until next month.

 

Best,

Stacey Wisniewski

WIZ Advisors LLC

Chief Marketing Strategist

Email: stacey@wizadvisors.com

Mobile: (615) 934-1817

www.wizadvisors.com

 

WIZ Marketing Strategy Monthly – April 2019 – Video Marketing

WIZ Advisors’ Marketing Strategy Monthly

Date:  April 26, 2019

Topic:  Video Marketing

 

Did you know that video will represent over 80% of Internet traffic by 2022? Or that video drives a 158% increase in organic traffic to your website? Or that social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined?

Consumers prefer it too. 91% of consumers have watched an “explainer video” (video that explains who a company is or what a product can do for you) in the past year. 64% of Internet users are more likely to buy a product or service after watching a video. And, 68% of prospects prefer to learn about a product or service through video.

So what are you waiting for? Video is not just a “nice to have” anymore, it is a MUST. If you aren’t posting videos or running video ads for your business, you are missing the mark.

Click the link below to download WIZ Advisors’ framework on B2B Video Marketing – what it is, why it’s important, three types of video content (“Triple H Video Strategy”), and how/where to promote them.

https://wizadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Video-Marketing-is-Essential-for-B2B-Companies-April-2019.pdf

As a SPECIAL BONUS, below is a video I published on WIZ Advisors’ YouTube channel about Video Marketing. It is entitled “What I Learned about Video Marketing from my 10-year Old” – it’s a summary of my interview with my 10 year-old about her thoughts on advertising, and I think you’ll love it.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8GJWTYE_IXUA9FDSWfgVWA) about Video Marketing.

As a marketing strategist, I am always looking at the latest research on Millennials and Generation Z. My 10-year old represents the generation that follows, a generation that has grown up with YouTube and Netflix over live TV, cord cutting over landlines, and Uber over taxis (she’s never even been in a taxi!). I always learn something new when I talk to her. I hope you do too.

Subscribe to WIZ’s YouTube channel to get all of our videos going forward!  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8GJWTYE_IXUA9FDSWfgVWA

Until next month.

 

Best,

Stacey Wisniewski

WIZ Advisors

Chief Marketing Strategist

Email: stacey@wizadvisors.com

Mobile: (615) 934-1817

www.wizadvisors.com

 

WIZ Advisors Marketing Strategy Monthly – March 2019 – Competitive Intelligence

WIZ Advisors’ Marketing Strategy Monthly

Date:  March 25, 2019

Topic:  Competitive Intelligence

This month we are going to discuss one of my favorite topics, Competitive Intelligence.

A Quick CI Story

In my former life, years ago, I was on a team tasked with analyzing churn.  My company had grown so quickly that we didn’t realize we were losing almost as many customers each year as we were gaining in our top accounts. As a B2B subscription business with high customer concentration, this was an issue. We found that our top two clients – and the biggest players in their industry – did not require their indirect channel to sell our product given regulatory risk.  The indirect channel represented 20% of total client revenues.  Competitors had exploited this and entered the market, providing commissions to dealers to sell their products instead.  Over the course of several years, these players had stolen over 50 percent of our customers in that channel. It took our company two years to convince our clients to change their decision, and partner with us to offer their dealers commissions.  It took another two years to implement that strategy and regain our market share. We were a global multi-billion dollar business who thought we “owned” the industry.  We were wrong.  Small, agile competitors had penetrated the industry under our noses and stolen our customers by providing commissions.

The morals of this story:

  1. Do a proactive competitive assessment on your business at least annually to keep your fingers on the pulse of your industry.
  2. Understand that your competitive landscape may differ, depending on your channels, products/service, and geographies.

Ten Reasons Why CI is Crucial for your Business

Competitive intelligence is essential to business growth, no matter what stage you are in.  You should never use an excuse like “no one else does exactly what we do”, “we own the market”, or “we already know who our competitors are” to avoid doing a competitive assessment.

  1. Develops self-awareness – CI prompts you to assess your strengths and weaknesses vs. competitors, understand gaps, and create strategies to overcome them.
  2. Avoids complacency – If you are the sole provider in an industry, you lose the motivation to innovate – you stagnate. Competitors keep you on your toes.
  3. Builds your brand – CI helps you better communicate your brand by understanding how you provide distinct value to your customer base.
  4. Provides an indicator of demand – If you learn that more competition is entering your market, that may be a sign that demand is strong. The opposite can indicate a mature market, slower growth, margin pressure, and potential consolidation.
  5. Identifies an emerging trend – Competitors may launch new products or services or offer new features when they identify an unmet customer need or technology innovation. CI keeps you up to date on emerging trends.
  6. Encourages differentiation – Competitors will always try to provide a better, stronger, faster, cheaper widget. CI provides insights for you to  deliver differentiated value to your customers.
  7. Uncovers unexpected partners – Competitors that provide something you don’t can expand the market.  This can lead to collaboration, cross promotion, and down the line, potential mergers/acquisitions.
  8. Narrows your niche – If competitors are better than you in a particular area, you may decide to target a segment of the market where you have a competitive edge.
  9. Motivates strategic planning – By focusing on CI, you get out of the day-to-day. CI can provide insights that can lead to strategic decision making around investment, resources and technology.
  10. Prioritizes customer needs – CI provides a path towards a more customer-centric organization. Prioritizing your customers’ needs first will ensure ongoing satisfaction and loyalty.

Source: entrepreneur.com

WIZ’s CI Process

Step One:  Collect all available information on your competitors.  WIZ Advisors designed an infographic on Competitive Intelligence Sources that outlines the best sources for CI and the types of information each source provides.

Click here to access the infographic:  https://wizadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/CI-Sources-Infographic-March-2019.pdf

Step Two:  Summarize it in a matrix using Word, PPT or Excel.  Put each competitor in a separate row and each type of information down each column (e.g. Products/Services, Customers, Partners, Strengths, Weaknesses, etc.)

Step Three:  Turn the information into insights for your key stakeholders.  What risks and opportunities does it present?  These insights should provide the basis for your go-forward strategy.

I know conducting CI can be time-intensive, but I hope I’ve convinced you that it is an essential step in your strategic planning process.  If you lack the resources or time to do a CI assessment internally, reach out.  CI is one of WIZ Advisors’ core marketing services. Until next month.

Best,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stacey Wisniewski

Chief Marketing Strategist, WIZ Advisors

Email: stacey@wizadvisors.com

Mobile: (615) 934-1817

www.wizadvisors.com

 

A BIG announcement from WIZ Advisors….

A BIG announcement from WIZ Advisors…

I can't wait to share this with you.

WIZ Advisors was just designated by UpCity (www.upcity.com) - an online marketplace that certifies and promotes local marketing agencies in the United States - as one of the “Top Marketing Consultants of 2019” and “Top Content Marketing Agencies of 2019” in Washington DC. As an entrepreneur with two years in business, I was floored just to be nominated!

Here are links to the UpCity lists:

https://upcity.com/local-marketing-agencies/lists/top-marketing-consultants-in-washington-dc
https://upcity.com/local-marketing-agencies/lists/top-content-marketing-agencies-in-washington-dc

Going forward, you will start to see these UpCity badges on WIZ Advisors' marketing materials. Be on the lookout!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much for being a part of WIZ Advisors' success.

Best,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stacey Wisniewski
Chief Marketing Strategist, WIZ Advisors
Email: stacey@wizadvisors.com
Mobile: (615) 934-1817
www.wizadvisors.com

WIZ Advisors Marketing Strategy Monthly – February 2019 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

WIZ Advisors Marketing Strategy Monthly – February 2019 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

WIZ Advisors’ Marketing Strategy Monthly

Date:  February 26, 2019

Topic:  Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I hope you enjoyed our inaugural "WIZ Marketing Strategy Monthly" last month, where I shared some insights on Content Marketing, as well as a Content Marketing Framework. You can still access the framework at this link:

https://mailchi.mp/b1ac312c5521/wizcontentmarketing

For February, I thought we'd address search engine optimization (SEO). Most companies agree that SEO should be a priority in driving brand awareness, but few know how to do it effectively.

SEO Strategy: The Four Pillars

"Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic - not paid - search engine results." - Moz.com

An SEO strategy includes on-site and off-site optimization tactics. Onsite SEO focuses on optimizing content and code on your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Off-site SEO focuses on link-building, the process of having reputable sites on the Internet link to your content, because they find it relevant and engaging.

There are four pillars that every marketer must consider in their SEO strategy: indexability, crawlability, content, and links. Indexability and crawlability are related to the coding on your website. I am not a website developer - but lucky for me - there are fantastic tools like SEMRush that will do a free audit of your website and let you know any errors in code that are preventing your site from being properly indexed or effectively crawled by search engines like Google. The tool is extremely user friendly so even non-coders can understand and make the respective updates. The third and fourth pillars, creating and promoting relevant content and having "trustworthy" sites to link to your website, are significantly more difficult and require a longer term outlook with respect to results.

Download our "Quick intro to SEO: A Strategist's Perspective":

To learn more about the keys to executing the "SEO 4 Pillars Strategy" and the challenges you can expect, you can download our SEO Framework deck by clicking on the link below.  In the deck, I have also provided my perspective on why SEO - while important - should be just one of many tools in your brand building toolkit.

https://mailchi.mp/9cbcfbfd3443/searchengineoptimization

Did you know that WIZ Advisors just launched its YouTube channel, where we are posting FUN FACT videos every month on various marketing subjects, like SEO?  Check it out!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8GJWTYE_IXUA9FDSWfgVWA?

If you have any questions about the deck, WIZ Advisors, or would like to discuss your company's specific challenges and needs, feel free to email me or call my mobile directly.

Until next month.

Best,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stacey Wisniewski

Chief Marketing Strategist, WIZ Advisors

Email: stacey@wizadvisors.com

Mobile: (615) 934-1817

www.wizadvisors.com

 

Why your B2B business needs a content marketing plan?

WIZ Advisors Marketing Strategy Monthly – January 2019 – Content Marketing

Welcome to WIZ Advisors’ 2019 Marketing Strategy Monthly!  We wanted to reach out on a regular basis, interact with our network (YOU), and share our perspective on a relevant marketing topic once a month.  And thus, WIZ Advisors’ Marketing Strategy Monthly was born.

Along with monthly insights on a relevant topic, we would like to share a tool, framework, case study – something of value that we’ve created and found useful on that topic – and something we hope will help you succeed in your marketing efforts.

Why Content Marketing?

“Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.” -Jon Buscall, CEO, Moondog Marketing

Did you know that content marketing was voted the single most important marketing activity to drive commercial success in 2018 (based on sample of 117 respondents from for-profit organizations, 66% B2B, 9% B2C and 25% both B2B and B2C)?

Content marketing was the biggest theme for WIZ Advisors’ clients in 2018 as well.  We were asked to develop strategies, create and promote high impact content, and deliver measurable results in the way of:  increased brand awareness, more qualified lead generation, increased website traffic, and relevant PR placements.

Our Content Marketing Process

How did we do it? The answer:  a sound content marketing strategy that begins with a thorough understanding of each client’s target audience.  There are five steps we go through with every content marketing engagement:

  1. Perform content audit – inventory and analyze current content, determine goals and metrics for engagement
  2. Develop buyer personas – develop persona(s) for the ideal target audience for your content; use these personas to create content that matters to your audience’s specific pain points
  3. Create content – types of content (different content for each state of buyers’ journey), themes, channels, call to action, delivery dates and metrics
  4. Distribute content – across earned, owned and paid media
  5. Measure and optimize – determine the right metrics to meet client goals, tools for measurement, dashboard - and optimize, optimize, optimize

Do you have a clear content management strategy for 2019?  Would you like some help getting started?

Download Your Copy of our Content Marketing Strategy Framework

https://mailchi.mp/b1ac312c5521/wizcontentmarketing

If you have any questions while reviewing the deck or would like to set up time to discuss your own content marketing challenges and needs, please contact me directly via email or mobile.

Until next month.

Best,

 

 

 

Stacey Wisniewski

Chief Marketing Strategist, WIZ Advisors

Email: stacey@wizadvisors.com

Mobile: (615) 934-1817

www.wizadvisors.com

Why Starting Your Own Consulting Firm Feels Like Walking a Tightrope

Let’s face it. All of us at one point or another have dreamed of having our own firm. We’ve built careers working for large – or small – companies, learned the ropes (pun intended), developed our skill sets and leadership capabilities, discovered and leveraged our strengths, and worked our butts off driving value for our companies and their clients.

For some of us, that is enough. We like our jobs.  And we prefer stability - the paycheck every two weeks, the annual bonuses and benefits. We don’t need to take the leap. For others, we feel like something is missing. Every time we hear an entrepreneur passionately describing his path to success, we feel a tinge of regret – and think, “that could have been me”.

A year ago, I was at a crossroads in my career. My job had been eliminated and I had to figure out what’s next. I looked at various job opportunities but couldn’t find one I liked as much as my former role. I had two criteria for the next phase of my career. 1) I wanted to do what I love – marketing strategy – for a company whose values and vision meshed with mine. 2) I wanted to prioritize time with my kids – they are 6 and 9 and for too long, I missed important talent shows and soccer games because of work commitments.

So, how did I decide to start my own consulting firm?  And why was it like walking a tightrope?

Takeaway #1: If you overanalyze, you’ll never take the first step.

I am one of those people who analyzes everything. In my consulting practice, it’s a strength. I think methodically through pros and cons, opportunities and risks, and develop actionable strategies for my clients. In my personal life, it can be painful. A question about which hotel we should stay at on vacation turns into a competitive matrix of potential options, each with different price points and amenities.

When I started WIZ Advisors a year ago, I didn’t overthink it. It just happened. A former colleague called me out of the blue in need of my help. He had taken on a job as an interim CEO and needed a go-to-market strategy to present to his Board of Directors in 8 weeks. It sounded right up my alley, so I said "yes".  At the time, I didn’t plan to start a consulting company. I didn’t have a company name, logo, website, tax ID number, suite of services – I hadn’t even calculated an hourly rate. But I had a client. And that is all you need to get started.

Takeaway #2: It’s you – and you alone - on that rope.

Over the course of my career, I’ve been both an individual contributor and a team player.  I prefer working on a team because I enjoy learning and debating with peers, brainstorming with smart people who challenge me, and reaching major milestones together. As a consultant, you get to do that through collaboration with your clients. However, behind the scenes, as a solo practitioner, you are building a firm all by yourself.

Things come up on a daily basis that you never encountered as an employee.  You need to figure out which licenses and permits are required to incorporate in your city and state. You  must create a company brand – website, logo, business cards, marketing materials, etc.  You must develop content, strategic frameworks, social media company sites, capabilities and proposal decks – everything you need to market your consulting services.

All I can say is “thank you, God” for the Internet. Unlike twenty years ago, there are now a plethora of websites with free - or at least, cheap - tools out there to do all aspects of digital marketing (I will address these in my next blog post - “Top 10 Tools for Marketing Success”). Whatever I didn’t know, I taught myself. I didn’t have a team of marketing managers or creative designers on hand to help me. It was just me – and me alone - on that rope.

Takeaway #3: Curve balls will come at you. If you stay calm and nimble, you will reach the other side.

Launching a business is like walking a tightrope - there will always be unexpected challenges. On a tightrope, it may be a gust of wind that threatens your stability. In your first year as a firm owner, curve balls become commonplace. You may launch with one engagement strategy, only to change it several months later.  It’s all about understanding your clients’ needs and evolving your strategy to meet them. For example, I started WIZ Advisors with a consulting model that offers a suite of services on a monthly retainer basis, similar to a large-scale agency. However, I quickly learned that without an established brand and significant client base, that business model isn't realistic.  So, I changed my model.  I targeted smaller companies in the $10-$100M range in my network and offered them project-based marketing services. My clients had the opportunity to gauge my work product before trusting me with more business.  And I formalized my positioning as a niche marketing strategy firm that delivers project-based services to meet individual client’s needs and budget. Given this new model, I also had to alter my marketing efforts to build a pipeline instead of relying on word-of-mouth referrals. I spent time and effort developing my brand in the marketplace and driving higher awareness of my services. I also formed lead generation partnerships with other boutique firms who have complementary services.

Learning to be flexible and deal with change is probably my #1 tip for a new business owner. The first year isn’t easy and things rarely go as expected. Did I at times feel like a tight rope walker in a wind storm? Absolutely. But I also gained valuable insight into what it takes to build a sustainable business – one step at a time.

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