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September 2012 archive

Try Before You Buy! Sample ASPE’s Live Instructor-Led Online Training for FREE

Live instructor led training over the internet, sometimes called virtual classroom training or live online training is becoming an increasingly popular form of training delivery.  Busy professionals across all industries and professions covered by ASPE Inc. (including SDLC, IT, Marketing, Energy, Management, Finance and Healthcare) want interactive and live training but do not want to travel or have an entire day out of the office. With live, online training a professional gets a live instructor along with a full classroom of peers going over the material in half-day segments.

The reality though, is that it is tough for professionals to “visualize” the experience.  It can also be tough for ASPE to describe the experience and still do it justice.  So since a picture is worth 1,000 words, we figured experiencing the environment is worth 10,000 words.  We are offering a weekly demonstration session of the live online training environment and giving potential customers the opportunity to “play” with the training tool in our actual virtual training environment. (more…)

Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason 5

B2B is typically neglected with free knowledge resources

If you are a B2B marketer, you probably feel neglected by the marketing industry. Trust me, I feel your pain.

Working for a education/training company I have to wear both a B2C and a B2B hat. We have to market our classes to individual who is going to take the class as well as the company who is going to pay for it. Getting someone interested in a class is the easy part. You can put yourself in their shoes and build out your value propositions. You over come their obstacles to purchase and get them excited. But now there is a slew of obstacles that you face that are out of your control (as the marketer) and out of the control of the potential student.

Think about it. Maybe the student’s supervisor has concerns about them being out of the office for several days in a row. Maybe the approving manager is on vacation. Maybe the department head controls the budget and doesn’t see the direct value the training will bring to a smaller team’s project. These types of variables extend the sales cycle and create the complexity that is B2B marketing. And remember, all of these factors can work in reverse as well. If you market to the department head or supervisor, you can win their interest, but then have to win the individual. Getting all of these stakeholders on the same page is the challenge. And as your product gets more expensive the more stakeholders that come into the equation. Convincing someone into procurement to choose your company for their office supplies is a lot easier than convincing them to choose you as their vendor for the hardware used in their new data warehouse. (more…)

Web Seminar Recap: The Fundamentals of Sales

On Wednesday, September 19, 2012 Clay Pernell (ASPE – Vice President of Sales) presented the free web seminar “The Fundamentals of Sales.” This web seminar focused on the fundamentals of the selling process covered in our own internal sales training including:

  • Five Attributes of Highly Successful Sales Professionals
  • Opening Statements
  • Negotiating
  • Managing Price Expectations/Price Objections
  • Understanding Your Potential Buyers (and their roles)

Selling is a wonderful profession when approached ethically, constructively and helpfully. It can be frustrating and complicated, or it can be very simple. It is not an accident that the top producers in the world of selling are at the top. It is also true that there are no born sales champions. Yes, some people have more talent than others. But, success in selling comes down to some basic fundamentals. Fundamentals, if taken action on consistently, will lead to success.

Listen to a recording of this web seminar in its entirety by clicking View Event Recordings (at the top right).

Web Seminar Recap: September Social Media Updates

On Friday September 14, 2012, Bobby McDonald presented the free web seminar “ What’s New Web Seminar Series: September Social Media Updates.” This web seminar focused on the latest changes and updates to Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

With just under 1 billion current users, Facebook is the giant on the social media scene and is constantly changing.  LinkedIn recently went through a complete redesign and Pinterest has introduced several new important features.  As marketers it can be tough to keep up with all of the changes and updates across the social media landscape.

Why Retailers Should Join Pinterest

I first discovered the joys of Pinterest when I saw a picture of a pair of beautiful jeweled sandals that a friend of mine had “pinned” to one of her boards and then streamed to Facebook. It was shiny, it was a shoe and it was calling my name so I clicked on it. I soon felt the elation that 20 million daily users feel when I discovered I now had the ability to go straight to the source of the picture (and the adjourning online order form). With 20 million daily users, it isn’t hard to fathom that more referral traffic is sent to online retailers from Pinterest than any other social media site.

What makes Pinterest different from other social media sites in this regard? It’s the simplicity of the process. Once you sign up for Pinterest, go to your Goodies page and literally drag the “Pin It” button to your bookmarks bar. After that, anytime you see something that is visually interesting to you, click the “Pin it” button and pin it to the board of your choice. Not only does it automatically pull the picture off the website, it also pulls the link. Since most of the people that follow me on Pinterest have similar interests, they will probably be as intrigued as I was and pin it to their own boards. And that is how the cycle begins.

So what does all this mean for businesses? The word that is being used a lot in reference to retail sale generation is “discoverability.” For instance, if I go to a search engine to find shiny sandals, I have to wade through pages and pages of listings for shoe sites, many of which I have never heard of and have no reference to guide me on their dependability or quality. If I search on Pinterest, I immediately see any pictures of shiny sandals my friends have pinned, which instinctively lends that retailer a sense of trustworthiness in my eyes. I can also search beyond my friend to all Pinterest boards that have shiny sandals tagged on them to discover other pictures of shiny sandals that my friend may have not yet discovered.  For those of us with a serious addiction to shiny objects, it’s a beautiful thing (pun intended). Small business listing their products on Pinterest have just as much of a chance as a much larger organization of being discovered by a Pinner.

Case in point, these are the shoes I found in Pinterest and rushed to buy. They are sold by a company called fibi & clo , a small online boutique store that stemmed from an in-home shoe party company.  Would I have ever found them outside of Pinterest? Probably not.  Am I now a loyal fan of their products? So much so that I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to their products.

Stay tuned for a breakdown of how retailers can best maximize Pinterest to drive customers to sales and to build brand loyalty.

Do you work or own a business that has yet to maximize the full potential of social media. Check out our Social Media Boot Camp for in depth training on B2B and B2C social media marketing.

About the author:
Shelli Dallacqua is the Founder and President of Shelten Media, LLC. She is a member of the NC State Alumni Association and is a keynote speaker on the topics of social media marketing and reputation management. Connect with Shelli via Twitter by following @ShelliDallacqua, on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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Ten Online Marketing Terms You Need to Know

Reprinted from John Jantsch’s Open Forum Online Marketing Blog

Online marketing is just like any other industry in that it is full of jargon and acronyms that are unique to that industry alone. In order to stay on top of the game, you need to know what they mean and how to use them in order to be successful. Many terms and acronyms you already know, like SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click). But there are some that you might have never heard before, or maybe you’ve heard but weren’t sure what they meant. Here are ten online marketing terms that you need to know now:

  • CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization). This is an important aspect of online marketing because it helps marketers understand how effective their calls-to-action are on a website. Planning for CRO is vital when you are selling a product or service, asking visitors to sign up for your newsletter or any other action.
  • Contextual Advertising. This form of advertising is offered by most major search engine advertisers, like Google. It places your ads with Web pages, blog posts and news articles that are related to your business. By matching your advertised search terms with Web content, there is a higher chance of click through and conversion.
  • Day Parting. This means setting up your ads to display only at certain times of the day and/or week. For instance, if your target audience is online the most from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., it would make more sense to have your ads running during those hours instead of in the morning or throughout the day. Selecting the best time to have your ads on display can save money while giving you the most reach.
  • Geo-Targeting.  With geo-targeting, you can set your ads, including PPC campaigns, to reach only those in a specified physical location. Search engines use IP addresses to determine if a user is in the market that you are trying to reach.
  • Local Search. One area of search engine marketing that is beginning to grow is local search. This allows users to find Web sites and businesses that are within a local geographic range. Search engines use local search features and Internet-based yellow page websites.
  • Mobile Marketing.  With an ever-increasing number of consumers relying on their smartphones, it is possible for any business to reach a target audience on the go. For this reason, it is important to have a mobile site or even an app for your business.
  • Permission Marketing. With more people tuning out online advertisements, the idea of permission marketing will ask users’ permission to display the ad. If a person gives permission, the chance that they will look at it and absorb the information it provides is much greater.
  • Remarketing/ Retargeting. When a user visits your website, a cookie is set on their computer. Even after they leave your website and continue searching around the Web, your ads will pop up wherever they are. This keeps your site in their mind.
  • ROS (Run of Site). This allows ads or banners to appear on any page inside of a website. Then, no matter what page a person clicks through on your website, they will likely see that advertisement.
  • Unique Value Proposition (UVP). This is any trait that sets your company, service and products apart from all the rest. It is the reason you give to a potential customer in order to make them consider you and not the competition.

As the online marketing world continues to grow and evolve, so will all of the jargon and acronyms that come with it. If you want to stay in the know about what is going on and what you should be focusing on to get your business ahead, make sure you stay current on all of the latest terminology.

Get more of John’s insider marketing tips here.