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Square Wheel marries market-changing ideas to digital best practices. We apply world-class expertise in marketing, communications and getting stuff done to overcome challenges and achieve ambition.

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Josh Fedeli

Managing Partner - Strategy

Josh helps companies rethink how they connect with their clients and manage their businesses in the rapidly changing digital economy.

A whiteboard maestro, he wants to know what your business challenges are, and work with you to solve them.

Richard Fedeli, Jr.

Managing Partner - Production

With over 21 years experience in marketing and communications, Rich is an expert in understanding and responding to fast-changing factors that shape contemporary marketing efforts. His experience offers SquareWheel clients a strategic insight that applies the most successful digital and traditional strategies, from the healthcare world to consumer companies battling for share.

His attention to detail and obsessive focus on the customer ensures that SquareWheel delivers on time and on budget.

Chris Verlander

Vice President, Advisory Services

Chris brings the B2B, branding, and messaging power to the SquareWheel team. As a distinguished marketing leader at high-growth technology companies Chris has built entire brands.

Jonathan Winkel

Managing Partner - Digital

Jonathan has lead transformative marketing efforts that take companies and brands from stagnant to digital-forward. As the creator of Objective Marketing, Jonathan drives the process and methodology behind marketing brilliance.

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Square Wheel marries market-changing ideas to digital best practices. We apply world-class expertise in marketing, communications and getting stuff done to overcome challenges and achieve ambition.

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20 Reasons Why Your Business Isn’t Growing

It seems like we hear it everywhere we go online as marketers: It’s all about growth.

In a world full of growth hackers, growth strategies, ebooks, articles and listicles, there’s no shortage of people or ideas out there. Despite all the success stories and upward-turning graphs populating the internet, there is little focus on addressing the challenging points of growth.

There are a million tactical approaches. But how exactly do you identify any troubling areas that could be inhibiting your growth?

In this post, I’ll tackle a big question on many people’s minds: Why isn’t my company growing?

1. You don’t devote enough time to strategy and planning sessions.

Growth strategy is a never-ending process. It requires constant feedback, rebalancing and adjustments (as discussed further below).

The most successful plans are annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly. Documentation, follow-up and over-communication are critical to every successful marketing and growth planning initiative.

2. You’re not collecting or acting on enough customer feedback.

Without feedback from customers and prospects, we are left with raw data to help us understand our resonance and performance.

Often, small-to-midsize high-growth companies don’t have enough data to figure out what’s really going on. Effective feedback collection requires software and the talent to use it. Use surveys and personae or customer interviews to gather feedback and refine your strategy.

3. Your growth strategy is too narrow.

“Facebook—that’s the answer. We’re going to post on Facebook every day to make sure all of our fans see us.”

Any strategy that is based on one or two channels could potentially be very harmful. How can you know, with certainty, where you have more prospects? Or where you have better prospects?

Even when you find a winning mix, you must consistently revisit your old assumptions and introduce new hypotheses to ensure you maximize your performance as measured by ROI.

4. Your growth strategy is too broad.

You tried everything—and applied a lot of your very limited bandwidth, staff time and money to all of it. The data you’ve collected is spread across numerous platforms. Making sense of it all is now a huge project on its own.

Try and limit yourself and your team/company to no more a few channels per campaign. If you must cast a large net, put 80% of your focus on the channels that you can safely assume will produce the best results. And, if your assumptions turn out to be false, you can reallocate your spend and activities elsewhere.

5. You don’t iterate.

There is no perfect winning strategy. It is testing and iteration that returns the best results—each and every time.

This is true at both the macro and micro levels, from your biggest strategies down to which image you use in a Facebook ad.

Test, test and test again. When you’re done, test some more.

6. You don’t have a documented process.

Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

If you cannot answer each of these questions for every task, you need to revisit your processes. For more visibility, everything should be documented with some process or task management system to track it all (e.g., Teamwork, Trello or Asana).

[source: https://www.g2crowd.com/compare/teamwork-projects-vs-trello]
 

7. You have the wrong mix of people.

It’s a tough conversation. But do you have the talent or partners capable of addressing every point on this list?

If you don’t, you might think about hiring an interim CMO, growth consultant or another role to help develop the right team of employees, local contractors, gig contributors and agency partners to get the results you’re aiming for.

8. You don’t have the right tech stack.

Marketing automation is the key to two very important things:

1) Marketing at scale with a small team, and
2) Keeping your messaging and client experience highly personalized and relevant

Without a powerful marketing automation stack in place, you’re simply unable to keep pace with your competitors that are strong in this space.

9. You don’t have enough time to devote to growth.

You had the best intentions when you embarked on the journey to drive sustained growth.

But then you had a business, a team or a function to run. And things have slowed down since.

There is no easy solution to his challenge. Every business is different. Remote project managers can be an affordable and efficient option. You can also stratify tasks to keep senior folks on strategy and analytics.

10. You lack the needed level of personal focus.

If you’re reading this—especially this far down the list—you’re likely the one responsible for growth at your company.

It is your leadership that will make this successful. That means knowing every detail of every project plan—every week.

 

11. Your branding and messaging aren’t working.

You’re out there, but it’s not resonating.

This comes back to feedback, testing and iteration. Another quick-fix alternative is benchmarking. Use your competitor’s websites and some assessment tools to see what they’re doing and what’s working.

[source: https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/website-competitive-analysis-tools/]
12. You don’t have a partner strategy.

If three companies with an audience of 3,000 each band together, each one has an audience of 9,000.

This simple, exponential approach is often overlooked. We tell ourselves things like we’re not big enough yet. Or we need more content first.

Partnerships are generally a good area to focus on as soon as you have a compelling website and a small following. Your partners may change over time, but there will always be others in the same boat as you.

13. You’ve grown too quickly and quality has suffered.

Your strategy paid off. You grew! And you landed that awesome customer you had been dreaming of all along. Congratulations are in order.

But it’s a lot of work and it requires significant account management overhead. And now it’s choking your business.

This is another one with no simple or easy answer. It really boils down to stratification again—ensuring that your senior people are focused on the most critical strategic objectives while the production team drives performance at the tactical and channel levels.

14. You don’t have enough reviews and social proof.

Seventy percent of the buyer’s journey happens online—all before a company or individual is ever contacted. That stat is a couple years old and I’m willing to bet it’s up over 80% now.

What online research reveals about your company, product and services is a critical factor in determining whether someone reaches out to you or purchases downstream. Without a strategy here, you’re missing out on leads and conversions.

15. You keep experiencing employee turnover.

Your organizational knowledge capital keeps walking out the door. All the work you did around processes, planning and strategy left with it. Now you need to spend three to six months getting someone new up to speed. Fingers crossed they don’t leave shortly thereafter.

While some turnover is natural, we’ll save the ins and outs of employee engagement for another post. If you are constantly training new employees, you need a very tight and well-documented process so your new people have a good template and system to follow when getting started.

16. You gave up too soon.

You tried it. Some things worked. Some didn’t. A couple of months went by, and you tried again with similar results.

This lurching approaching is typical of a small company trying to takeoff while juggling numerous product and fundraising priorities throughout that journey.

In these scenarios, it’s best to revisit your plan and scale it back slightly. It’s better to do a little less but deliver consistently than to constantly invest the time and resources needed to pick something back up and reignite it.

17. You don’t have a CRM.
Without a centralized repository of customer and prospect information, including actions taken, you’re dead in today’s marketing and sales landscape.

It’s really that simple.

18. You aren’t relying on reporting and analytics to make decisions.

You need data in order to make good decisions and track performance. What to kill and where to invest that “found money” is a strictly data-based decision exercise.

With Google Analytics and basic reporting in your CRM and/or marketing automation tools, you should have just enough to get started. As your operation starts to scale, you’ll need more tools related to SEO, conversion analysis and the like.

[source: https://onlinemediamasters.com/google-analytics-custom-dashboard-examples/]
19. You’re not using dedicated sales agents.

If you’re not using sales agents, resellers and distribution partners, you’re sleeping on a major channel.

Often, you can find industry veterans that are willing to enter into referral arrangements strictly on commission. In other industries, you may need to look for more established companies as opposed to individuals.

Either way, this is almost always a worthwhile exercise and has a great ROI.

20. You haven’t built a culture of closing.

If you want, you must ask.

Leads should never sit. Every opportunity should be worked thoroughly. Every follow-up should be scheduled and completed. Every time.

Organic & Paid Marketing: Working Together to Help You Grow

In an increasingly competitive business world, paid and organic marketing work hand-in-hand to help businesses attract new customers and increase conversions.

Key Points:

  • Some companies may think that organic marketing tactics (e.g., blogs and ebooks) are all they need to grow their customer bases.
  • But paid marketing outreach—like sponsored content and ads—can be quite effective, too.
  • Learn how today’s strongest marketing strategies combine the best of both worlds—organic and paid—to help businesses achieve the outcomes they’re looking for.

Introduction:

A marketing and sales plan that doesn’t emphasize both organic and paid elements is not only incomplete, it’s stunting your company’s growth.

But don’t just take our word for it.

What follows is a primer on how organic and paid marketing work together to drive growth and generate significant ROI for your marketing investments.

Organic Marketing: Natural & Authentic

Organic marketing like blogs, social media posts, ebooks, infographics are best used to develop your brand’s voice. They also enable authentic interactions with customers, educate and convert readers and drive traffic to your website, landing pages and other online assets. Also known as inbound marketing—people come to you because they’re attracted by your content they find in search engines and on social networks—organic marketing sits at the top of the awareness stage of your funnel.

Here’s what organic marketing looks like: Let’s say your company publishes a variety of SEO-optimized blog posts on your website each month. These blogs are closely aligned with what your customers care about: your products and services, your business operations, news about your employees, and even content that focuses on the broader industry your business operates in. To get eyeballs on your content, you promote these blogs on social media—tagging influencers and brands when appropriate. You also highlight this content in the weekly or monthly newsletters you send out to your subscribers.

As you continue moving your organic marketing efforts forward, you use a service like Google Analytics to analyze your traffic to see which posts are most popular and which topics your customers are most interested in. These metrics help you identify which blog posts are most effective at driving sales and leads. They also help you figure out what cornerstone content drives traffic to your site without requiring any additional marketing support.

Organic marketing tactics are natural, authentic and value-based. With the right approach, customers will learn to visit your site regularly over time because they won’t want to miss out on the content you’re publishing.

Although you’re doing less “pushing” with organic marketing, you can generate a ton of loyal traffic with a proper strategy. Remember, this is about building high-value brand equity and becoming an industry authority with your customers—and among your peers.

It’s not just about driving sales; you’re working hard to engage and educate your target audience.

Organic marketing typically focuses on:

  • Educating customers. Why do they need your products or services? What problems do they have that they aren’t aware of? What advice can you give them to make their lives easier?
  • Optimizing blog content and pages for SEO. Think it’s not that big of a deal? How would you like to boost traffic to your site by 571%?

[source: https://kinsta.com/blog/wordpress-seo-checklist/]

  • Moving the needle on high-level company goals. What’s coming down the pipeline over the next few quarters? Start talking about it now.
  • Driving authority in your niche or industry. Organic marketing enables you to demonstrate your thought leadership and establish yourself as an authority.
  • Using targeted inbound/outbound linking strategies. Strategic investments can help you get the most bang for your buck from your organic marketing efforts.
  • Building a long-lasting brand. Business is about more than selling products. It’s about establishing long-term relationships with customers. Organic marketing helps make that happen.

How do you know whether your organic marketing efforts are successful? Track the following metrics:

  • Find out which pieces of content are most popular among your readers so you can create similar assets.
  • Organic traffic. See which pieces of content are getting the most traffic from search engines so you can replicate that success.
  • Leads and sales. Determine how many leads and sales are being driven from specific pieces of content and landing pages.
  • Figure out whether your customers are most persuaded by blog posts, infographics, social media content, email or other forms of content.
  • Search Traffic. When you content is compelling, people revisit regularly and possibly even link to it. This tells Google you’re an authority and they’re likely to increase your search ranking as a result.

Now that you’ve got a solid understanding of how organic marketing works, let’s shift our attention to the other side of the equation: paid marketing.

Paid Marketing: Boosted, Advertised and Promoted

Organic marketing requires you to wait for your customers to find your content, but paid marketing involves you “pushing” content out to your target audience. As such, it’s much more sales-oriented and focused on driving specific actions (e.g., making a purchase or attending a webinar).

An illustration: You’ve been given new quarterly goals. To hit those goals, you need to ensure that your marketing campaign works effectively. This requires testing and refining five or so sets of ads over the next 10 weeks.

Once the data comes back, you know which ads are performing the best. You then dedicate the last two weeks of the quarter to supporting your top-performing ads. At the end of the quarter, you analyze your results to determine key success metrics (e.g., total amount spent and return on ad spend). Armed with that data, you refine your approach for the next quarter.

Paid marketing is most effective in driving quick results or making a hard sell. Each paid ad will likely point to a product page, a landing page or some other online asset that has the potential to drive financial results.

Unfortunately, you can’t just spend money on ads and think that your efforts will be successful just by tracking vanity metrics (e.g., engagement and leads). You need to make sure your return on ad spend (ROAS) is efficient. For example, if you spent $5,000 on a paid marketing campaign but only got five leads, you’ll probably want to refine your efforts (unless you work in an industry where that price isn’t too steep).

Your paid marketing tactics must be designed to drive specific actions:

  • Achieving solid ROI and ROAS. If you’re not getting a high enough return on your investments, you’ll have to rethink your strategy.

To determine whether your tactics are working, you’ll need to measure:

  • Conversion rates. Find out which ads have successfully convert customers into doing your desired action (e.g., signing up for a subscription).
  • Ad engagement. Determine which optimizable components (e.g., images, text or calls-to-action) have the highest probability of encouraging customers to click.
  • Discover which platforms (e.g., Facebook or LinkedIn) drive the most leads—and the highest converting leads.
  • Ad types. Figure out which kinds of ad types (e.g., boosts, retargeting or lookalike audience ads) drive the highest overall conversion rates.

Where Paid & Organic Fit in Your Marketing Strategy

Paid and organic marketing complement each other well.

You may have noticed that there are some areas of overlap between the two. For example, both can be used to drive engagement, acquisition and conversion—just in their own unique ways.

Not every business will have the budget—or even the need—to deploy paid marketing campaigns. Every business does, however, need to embrace organic marketing.

That’s because marketing strategies built on paid outreach alone are shallow. Such an approach makes it impossible to build authentic connections with your customers. If you’re drowning your customers in ads and ads alone, you’ll lose mindshare in two ways:

  • You won’t be able to create an emotional connection with your customers—something that has become the number one driver of positive brand experiences
  • You give customers fewer ways to connect with your brand; customers are 131% more likely to buy your products after consuming early-stage educational content.

[source: https://www.conductor.com/blog/2017/07/winning-customers-educational-content/]
As you build out your marketing strategy, it’s important to consider how you can best address your business goals through a combination of organic and paid marketing tactics. Some goals may lend themselves to one tactic or the other while other goals may require a combination of both.

Either way, both types of marketing will help you achieve your goals with impact and efficiency. When both organic and paid marketing are feeding your funnel successfully, you’ll know you’ve found the perfect balance. Then all you’ll have to do is test and fine-tune your strategy along the way.

Good luck!

Growth Hacking: What It Is and How It Helps Businesses Succeed

Have you heard of the home renting company Airbnb? What about the file hosting service Dropbox? Both of these companies are huge now, but back in 2007, it was a different story. Airbnb and Dropbox were simply startups trying to grow their brand and gain momentum. Once they discovered growth hacking, they set themselves apart from other startups and gained customers rapidly. Now, they’re some of the most well-known companies in their respective spaces.

Growth hacking isn’t a buzzword. It’s a revolutionary way of marketing that effectively and efficiently grows a business. While it sounds similar to traditional marketing, it’s actually quite different. Marketing tends to focus on many different aspects of the company and can sometimes have very broad goals.  Growth hacking is simply focused on one thing: growth. Your main goal is to simply increase conversion rates and achieve rapid expansion with your user base.

Growth hacking is popular with startups because they often have a very limited budget to work with to market the company. It specifically focuses on using free or low-cost alternatives to traditional marketing methods. Social media, viral marketing, and targeted advertising are popular methods to achieve growth.

Let’s turn back to Dropbox – one of their biggest growth hacking successes was with encouraging others to refer a friend. When one of their customers refers a friend and they sign up, both users get an increase in the amount of space they get. Potential customers are much more likely to trust what their friends think about a product or service over a paid advertisement. By creating an incentive for both parties – the user and their friend – they were both quick to jump on board and do your marketing for you. If one person refers just three of their friends and that pattern continues, this can snowball and rapidly grow your user base.

[source: https://www.entrepreneuryork.com/marketing/understand-growth-hacking-5-minutes/attachment/dropbox-growth-hacking-1024×383/]
What makes growth hacking work is the process of rapid experimentation with both product development and marketing channels. Through experimentation, you’re quickly able to identify what is working best for your company and can lean into those methods more. Growth hacking methods can help you quickly engage with your target audience and start building a network of loyal customers.

While growth hacking is most often associated with tech companies or startups, it can be a successful method for all types and sizes of businesses. Any company can leverage it, as long as they’re willing to be adaptable and flexible with their methodology. For more established businesses that want to start growth hacking to take their user-base to the next level, it’s important to not rock the boat too much at first. Doing a change on a massive scale can cause your customers to worry about the direction you’re going in. Instead, testing and experimentation can take place with a small sample group of your customers. If your testing works out well, then expand to your full user base.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re a startup or a seasoned business, growth hacking is a great idea to rapidly expand your user base.  If you want more information on how growth hacking can work specifically for you, contact SquareWheel today.

 

 

The New “Decision Maker.” Everybody, and nobody.

There is no such thing as a decision maker, and any sales strategy built on reaching or closing that mystical figure is doomed to fail.  That might seem a little strong coming out of the gate but stick with me on this.

If you’re going to build a sales and/or marketing strategy you need to know your audience.  Understanding that you’ll need to build consensus with either a great digital experience or good ol’ fashion sales is key. Once you understand the current procurement landscape and what it takes to build momentum towards a sale; then you can operate from a position of strength and confidence when building a strategy.

 

If you like Growth Hacking , then you’ll love out latest blog post on Objective Marketing.

Check Out Our Objective Marketing Blog

 

Let’s look at the 6 poisons that killed the decision maker;

  1.  After 2008 the corporate purse strings tightened substantially, have never relaxed, and probably never will again. 

If you sold a product or service in 2008 or the first half of 2009 I’m sure you remember the pain.  Things like “pushing off non-essential purchases” until “next year’s budget.”  Well, something happened during that time, new practices, perceptions, and processes took over. Which created numerous barriers to making purchases quickly or without following a defined process. While the reasons behind these controls were well-intentioned the desired effects were real. The unintended effect of over-complicating assessments and procurement processeses was immediate.

  1.  The individual willingness to take risk in an organization is beaten down by corporate culture. 

I’m not exactly sure when and where this happened (2008?), but even the innovators inside an organization often feel they must get consensus from their team in order to make a decision. That ultimately leads to a  group decision.  I do not fault the logic that having 2 heads, or 3 or 4 or 5, are better than 1. But diluting authority only serves to draw out assessments and purchases and can often times kill it completely.  I believe that social media and the need for constant social validation has trained us to unnecessarily seek approval and consensus.  In my last role I would frequently communicate with my peers in our weekly meeting and show them what I was working on or assessing, but I would handle some processes alone. I lived and died by my decisions but I always learned as a result.

  1.  The individual ability to take risk in an organization is beaten down by corporate culture. 

Modern corporate structures encourage collaboration and engagement more than ever before. It is the fabric that holds organizations together, gives them culture, and gives their employees focus and motivation.  However, I believe that employees and teams incorrectly apply the practice.  Why do 15 people have to weigh in on a CRM?  The false hope is that the project will be more effective when implemented because more people are on board. Just remember that not everyone got the product or features they were pushing for. I once worked with a client that had a very efficient process in this area. They collected and ranked specifications up front from her team and then used those to assess various products. With all of the blogs, white papers, and media sources available online gathering this information is quite easy.  In fact, leading marketing automation company’s poll found that 70% of the decision making process is achieved up front, though research online.

  1.  Financial decisions are now made by committee or – even worse – consensus.

It is widely agreed upon by sales people, sales leaders, growth hackers, marketers and everyone else responsible for customer acquisition that you need broad support in order to get a deal done. In my own personal experience selling both services and SaaS products, I have seen that 3-5 people are generally involved in the process.  However, the more important thing I have seen that is noteworthy is that often times the person charged with gathering information or presenting options internally operates under the idea that they are the decision maker.  Not only is that overtly wrong, but they are very rarely even the most influential person or budget owner.  You have to go into every opportunity with the understanding that you’ll need to quickly get past this person or risk losing to the deal to someone who does.

  1.  Advanced CRM, accounting, and other systems give projects and purchases exposure to the entire group or organization. 

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”  It’s a phrase I love and a good sanity test.  It also applies to businesses that over-collaborate when it comes to picking new products, services or other vendors.  And it is made exponentially worse by project management and other collaborative tools that give uninvolved people organization-wide insight into projects and initiatives.  This is tough to stomach for most collaborators, and I struggle with this myself.  If someone in your company had been through the implementation of a similar product or onboarding of a service provider you’d certainly want them involved.  But what is the cost of opening involvement to people who are not directly responsible for its success?

  1.  The advent of SaaS itself is a source of this.

Stick with me here for a second.  Think about it, never before have operating groups, teams, functions, etc have so much choice of which technologies will help them accomplish their goals.  When you combine cloud computing, SaaS, and our strong startup culture companies are left with hundreds if not thousands of choices.  When you’re facing this volume of options you need to change the way you source, assess and purchase products, you need people to bring forward the best ideas and technologies and that takes manpower.

So do I have a better idea?  Yes, I do,  Thanks for asking!

I don’t believe that consolidating purchasing authority will ever happen again. People certainly enjoy the security of shared blame for any blowup that might happen as the result of introducing a new technology or process. But there are several things that a business or organization can do streamline assessment and purchasing.  I’ve seen many companies do this well so long as the process is rigidly followed. In the SaaS world, I’ve seen this specific process result in a decision in almost all cases:

    1.  Assign research to 1 person: this person will look at product/service providers, find their competitors, download white papers, and present a range of solutions internally to a stakeholder team that usually involves the users, IT and procurement.  Complete the necessary steps to get budget approval.
    2.  Send an RFI: these are different for each industry but ask basic questions to fill the gaps in your knowledge.  Make sure you ask for pricing here.
    3.  Get demos or have initial meetings: this is the step where you can whittle down your requirements and get to know the companies and people you’ll prospectively be working with.  By this point, your committee/team should have a good idea of the solutions in the marketplace and be comfortable assessing the potential products or solutions.
    4.  Send an RFP to 3 vendors: It might sound hard.  It might even sound a little crazy.  But don’t kill your team or burn bridges by inviting 10 teams to submit RFPs.  This will also cause scope creep as the purchasing team attaches to various features, integrations and capabilities that inevitably have no overlap from one vendor to the next.
    5.  Invite 2 vendors back to final presentations/discussions: Again, more forced choice.
    6.  Pricing negotiation: No need for a lengthy explanation here.
    7.  Purchase: Bingo!

Conclusion

You can clearly see there are no innovative new platforms nor assessment processes in this list.  But, there is power in just having a list at all.  That’s because successful assessing and purchasing are as much about following a process as it is about having a good one.  It’s not easy of course, with budgets, egos, needs, challenges, etc all at play simultaneously.  But with a good leader driving the process the consensus can be built and maintained to take action if things do not drag on for an extended period.  Even on the buy side, time kills all deals.

When marketing and sales teams that are beholden to this process, look at your own internal approach to navigating this, you should guide your prospects through this very comfortable process. It’s good for you and easy enough for them. I acknowledge that changing client processes is somewhere between challenging and even sometimes impossible. But if implementing this approach get’s you even a 5% lift in sales isn’t that worth doing it right?

How I Gained 263 Twitter Followers in Just 7 Days

12 Great Strategies & Ideas You Can Use Too

As a partner at a new and growing agency I’ve long known that I need to strengthen my Twitter game, big time.   The truth is, I’ve always loved Twitter but I’ve never made the time for it. I really enjoy the connections you make with strangers and that those sparks can quickly grow into meaningful conversation over shared interests.

If you’re looking for a broader digital strategy, then check out our objective marketing post here. 

Whenever “socialing” (not a real word… yet) I always seem to fall into a Facebook hole because I want to see what my personal friends, mother or sister are up to first; and before I know it something pulls me away before I get to Twitter or Instagram.

So last week – with all of this on my mind – I made a point to get going; and that was half the battle as you’ll see in my first point. I learned 12 key activities and strategies that made this growth possible and so I’ve listed them here for you to try:

1. Invest the time you need to grow your followers. 

I estimate it take only 5-10 minutes per day to aggressively drive your follower numbers. Of course, you have to be smart about your activities, which I’ll get to in just a moment. But you need to know up front that you’ll be committing to this daily if you want to gain followers at any meaningful rate.

2. Pick a few topics that interest you, that you have some credibility in (someone might actually tweet back or DM you), and that have a broad reach.

I picked #Marketing, #DigitalMarketing, #Digital, #Social, and #SocialMedia since I work at an agency. However, if you want to gain notoriety as a home cook or drive traffic to your cooking blog you could use #cooking #cook #food #wine #homecook, #DIY #homecookedmeal

3. Follow thought leaders in those areas.

Simply entering those keywords in twitter will produce a long list of accounts you can follow. A small percentage of these people will follow you back organically, and you’ll now see their content in your feed.
4. Follow companies that have a large user base or following in your target areas.

I already followed a couple of the big dogs in my industry so I just had to start interacting with them more. For me it was Hubspot, Marketo, and Gartner. I know there are many more to choose from but I had to keep it simple and manageable.

5. Start tweeting regularly using your selected keywords and hashtags.

I used a goal of 3 times per day. I never did less than 2 and many days I tweeted 4-5 times. I used the hashtags listed in point-2 above.

6. Find things to tweet about.

It sounds very basic but it can confuse anyone who’s getting started or trying to grow their following. Here’s what I did: A) retweeted interesting articles, B) tweeted at people who posted something interesting, C) live-tweeted at people hosting or attending webinars I watched, D) interacted with my existing clients online, and finally E) I tweeted some random thoughts I had again using the keywords and hashtags mentioned above.

7. Follow your “suggested” people every day.

You find this in the upper-left hand corner of the app. Each afternoon when I took a break I’d go through and follow almost every suggested person, many of whom followed me back almost immediately.

8. Use your smartphone.

I found the application is much more friendly to building an audience when you use their mobile application. The reason? It makes steps 8 and 9 substantially easier by the way it is organized and presented compared to the desktop/web application.

9. Follow your “popular” people every day.

This is in the same section as the suggest people to follow. Although they’re less likely to follow you back (a couple may follow you back in a week’s time) they be a source of great content and interactions if you engage with them.

10. If someone interacts with you in any way, follow them.

This goes for favorites, retweets, and @mentions. If someone interacts with you they’ll almost always follow you back.

11. Be ready for what’s coming.

When you follow the steps above, you’ll get some good follows, some bad follows, some new friends, and some DM spammers. But either way, make sure you’re checking the app regularly so if someone sends you an honest message, question or inquiry you don’t miss it. Remember, Twitter is a fast moving machine.

12. Use CrowdFire’s free mobile app to prune your list.

Some unscrupulous characters will be quick to follow you, only to drop you immediately after you follow them back. Oh, it’s on, m****** f******s! I don’t do this and I recommend that you don’t either; Twitter is a community after all. One thing you can do to rid yourself of these people is use CrowdFire’s free version to cut up to 100 people per day who don’t follow you back. It’s not cruel. Remember, they did it to you first.

BONUS TIP: Friday is your friend!

If you employ these strategies and tips, but you miss a day here and there because you’re human make sure it’s not on a Friday. Follow Fridays (#FF #FollowFriday) is a day in which people are more likely to tweet out your handle if you interact with them. This will get you up to a 30% lift in additional followers that day over your daily average. However, make sure you share the love and tweet out some of your new followers as well.

The last thing I’ll say is that if you’re a B2B marketer like me make sure you have a plan that is driving all of these ideas and activities. Having the wrong keywords or interacting with the wrong companies might feel good at the time and generate some buzz, but if doesn’t serve a defined purpose you may very well be wasting your time.

 I would estimate that by the end of the forth day, Thursday of that week, I was averaging a new twitter interaction every 15-20 minutes using only the activity I described in the beginning. Not only did I increase my following by 263, I also achieved a percentage gain of 178% because I only started with 337 followers. Imagine the growth someone would achieve if they followed these steps but started with 500 followers, or ever 1000. If you liked this post, be sure to follow me on Twitter for more social, digital, and marketing information. See what I did there?

 Jonathan Winkel (@DaWinks)

P.S. If you want to grow your audience (and who doesn’t?), get our eBook on how to “Get 663 Twiiter Followers in 14 Days”

Download Our eBook “Get 663 Twitter Followers in 14 Days”

Intro to Objective Marketing

Sometime in March of 2015 I was sitting at my desk in an absolutely manic state. Our sales and marketing team (which I was a big part of) had invested a good amount of time and energy in an outbound marketing effort that produced underwhelming results. We were in the midst of moving from an events and cold-calling strategy to an automated digital marketing machine and we were taking our lumps while climbing the learning curve. I couldn’t believe we were here again. We found ourselves asking questions like, “how and why is this happeneing?” and “what exactly is it that’s preventing this from being successful?”

Although we didn’t know it at the time we were completely devoid of the management framework we needed to ensure our activities were connected to top level results. Without this connectivity even our successful campaigns didn’t have the topline impact we believed it would. And we heard about it. Our biggest issue was raw lead generation and we were focused on building out a total framework. If only we had looked at our business as a whole we would have known to stay away from automated demos and email engagement and focus on targeted ads, blogging, white papers and other top-of-funnel resources.

As you can imagine, the full story is much longer but the stage was set.  I would soon embark on a journey to create the framework necessary to ensure that something like this would never happen to me or our team again.  And with that, the inspiration for Objective Marketing was born.

Objective Marketing, def.; an integrated marketing, sales and business development methodology that connects top level company goals like revenue with KPIs, activities and channels.  This ensures that projects and campaigns have the greatest impact on topline revenue and highest likelihood of helping the company achieve strategic objectives.

There is a propensity based on the annual business cycle to activate marketing when budgets open. While we know there is often little that can be done to alter this process it generally results in an elevated spend up front and the need to quickly take action.  This rush to maintain leaves little room for strategy and planning let alone an exercise to align marketing activating to overall business health or success.

Let’s look at each of phases in more detail to see how they fit and work together:

  • Goals. Business goals. Marketing goals. Conversion and traffic goals. Oh so many goals to think about and connect. In Objective Marketing we start our plan with the highest level business objectives. The things you see listed above like revenue, products launched, markets entered, etc. With this foundation in place we can then think about marketing goals that span the next 2 areas. With a solid, clearly defined foundation we can build out the program.  See the example below excerpted from Hubspot’s 2016 State of Inbound.

  • KPIs. These are the metrics we track to see how well our campaigns or activities are doing. By selecting the KPIs that drive business outcomes, like conversions to revenue, or contacts to products launched, we can ensure the highest likelihood of success. And, equally important we can manage the flow of time and money over time to the highest performing areas. Also in this phase we work to understand and develop ideal customer profiles or personas. These help us understand the types of potential customers we’ll to target in order to be successful. See this basic list of marketing KPIs from SmartInishgts.com

  • Channels. By understanding the most meaningful and impactful metrics, and having the right buyer persona, we have a good idea of the most useful channels. To target your ideal customers to drive traffic (let’s say mothers ages 35-40 in and around Minneapolis who have an interest in outdoor sports) we use a Facebook ad campaign or buy highly-targeted digital ad space. To drive conversions perhaps we feature a free digital guide to local campgrounds, or maybe it’s a series of video reviews of local gear and tackle shops. Either way, we know that these activities will drive the KPIs that will move our business forward.

  • Mediums. Different demographic groups consume content in unique ways. By knowing our channels, personas, and KPIs we can select the most cost effective way to attract and engage our target audience. Technical people are often drawn to explainer videos, charts, graphs, etc. Whereas visual people might respond better to hi-res images or experiential videos.  Eloqua provides this very nice summary of content types and when/where they’re appropriate.

  • Identity. This is not so much a step as it is a factor. Certainly, not every activity needs to visit or revisit identify as part of its definition. However, for larger campaigns or for products or brands with little or no identity or their own this can be an important final consideration.

Conclusion

Because it is applicable to everything from rebranding initiatives to product launches to integrated sales and marketing campaign; the implementation and outcomes of Objective Marketing methods can look very different depending on the circumstance. However, one thing is always true. When you have a solid plan that is consistently revisited then your marketing is now supporting your business rather than operating in a vacuum.

By diligently and rigidly working backward from your goals you’ll find that the outcomes of where you should invest your time and money can vary wildly from your assumptions.

To learn more about Objective Marketing or see how it can be applied to your business or marketing efforts please contact SqaureWheel group today for a free, initial consultation.

Announcing the launch of a marketing services agency and a rallying cry…

Marketing as a profession and industry is at a crossroads. I read an article just last week actually asking the question, “Is Marketing Strategy dead?” It was hard to fathom. Upon deeper reflection, it’s understandable. The amount of “noise” we encounter every day makes it seem as if everyone is trying to tell their story, send their message or sell their product by throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. Clarity and differentiation is hard to come by. Cutting through the noise is more difficult everyday, as content proliferates and our attention is sought after in so many different ways.

The irony here is that we are living in an era of unprecedented innovation and change. People and companies are doing amazing things on a daily basis and yet the way we market these ideas is still evolving and trying to keep pace. It’s time for marketing to evolve. It’s time to #MarketDifferent.

#MarketDifferent is an approach to marketing that means marketing is more than just about to “be on-line” or to be “active in social media.” To #MarketDifferent, you must apply state-of-the-art techniques but also understand that more traditional forms of marketing are not only still relevant, but they must be part of any marketing program that wants to produce results. Most importantly, to #MarketDifferent you must employ data and analytics in ALL of your marketing channels to ensure that you are hitting the mark.

Marketing is now an immersive journey that we take with our clients. Our new company, SquareWheel, is here to guide you. Our blog, The Wheelhouse, is where we hope to have a vibrant exchange of ideas and to showcase those who embody the idea of #MarketDifferent. We look forward to connecting with you and your business.

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