When: Tuesday January 20th 2015 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: McMaster University Room ETB 535 @ 1280 Main Street West
When: Tuesday January 20th 2015 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: McMaster University Room ETB 535 @ 1280 Main Street West
As a B2B sales and marketing agency, we are often asked how VA Partners finds new customers. Here are four tactics we use on an on-going basis to build a funnel of potential clients.
Using a mix of blogs, white papers, email newsletters, website content, social media and SEO, we have built a great inbound lead generation process at VA Partners. We generate close to 60 inbound leads every month, qualify all our leads and then add them to the sales effort.
VA Partners has been in business since 2006 and since that time we have worked hard to build relationships with many well respected organizations. This has led to monthly speaking opportunities, mentoring opportunities, and leading peer-to-peer sessions. This is not a one-time effort, but an ongoing and consistent pursuit.
The team is regularly at startup or small business events through the Toronto and GTA region, including KW, Halton and Hamilton. This has been a great way to meet prospects and potential partners.
Social media is a wonderful tool for growing firms. Every member of our team has a strong presence on social media. One of the great opportunities from a sales effort is finding sales triggers that can then be acted upon quickly. Early this year we signed a new B2B customer and also helped a client close a customer through a conversation that started on Twitter and Linkedin. Both of these opportunities closed in less than a month.
What strategies does your business use to find new clients?
Need help getting started with sales? Download our free Introduction to Startup Sales white paper to learn about researching prospects, using LinkedIn for sales and handling sales objections.
According to Twitter, over 500 million tweets are sent every day. With such a large volume of updates, how can you increase the chances that your company’s tweets are reaching your followers?
Here are two free online tools to accurately identify when your Twitter followers are online. For optimal engagement, experiment with scheduling your tweets during the more active times of the day.
Social Bro is a free Twitter analytics tool that lets you explore the demographics of your Twitter followers as well as search for new followers. To determine what time to tweet, use the Best time to tweet tool found under Tools > Best time to tweet. This report will display graphs of when your followers are most online by the day of the week, and by the hour of the day.
From the charts of our VA Partners Twitter account, you can see that during the week our followers are most active on Wednesday, followed by Tuesday and Thursday. During the day, our followers are most active around noon and early to late afternoon.
Similar to Social Bro, Tweriod analyzes your followers’ online activity to determine how many of your followers are online during different days of the week and different times of the day. Based on an analysis for 1,000 of VA Partners’ followers, on weekdays, the most followers are online later in the afternoon, peaking at around 5pm. On weekends, the online activity of VA Partners’ followers is the highest between 12pm and 6pm.
Use Social Bro and Tweriod to determine when your Twitter followers are online. Based on the results, try scheduling your tweets during the days and times you have the most followers online.
How are you currently deciding when to tweet? Do you know of other Twitter tools that help you determine the best time to tweet?
Social media management is far from an easy job.
Being a great social media manager often means lots of effort and longer hours than you had expected. For entrepreneurs with already limited time, this can be a major problem. Thankfully, there are some great tools and strategies out there â many of them free â which can help you out.
Here’s a few tips that can make social media management a little easier.
1. Whatâs Your Social Media Strategy?
As with everything related to sales and marketing, you should always have a strategy. What you hope to accomplish and how you plan to achieve it will help you set the parameters for the work that lies ahead. When it comes to managing social media for a business, you need to create a detailed map and navigate your initiatives accordingly.
2. Content Calendar
This is your map of all your ideas and you should be following it closely. It will help you stay organized and keep you on top of all the different channels you may be looking after. Use a traditional calendar or an Excel spreadsheet to map out all the types of posts you want to make, on what channel, and when. Ideally, this will keep you posting regularly on all your social media platforms for all the targets in your strategy.
If youâre already on it, great! If not, HootSuite is a social media management system that allows users to preschedule posts, shorten links, and utilize basic analytics to see how well theyâre doing. It will save you having to manually update your accounts at various times throughout the day, and can help you prepare for weekends and holidays when you still want to be active. There is a free and paid version depending on the amount youâre willing to allocate to the tool. We made the leap from Tweetdeck to HootSuite a year ago and havenât looked back.
4. Twitter Lists
Twitter is one of the most commonly used social media platforms, whether youâre a B2B or B2C business. Youâre likely following many great accounts that relate to your industry (at least you should be) that can provide you with great content. If you havenât already, organize these accounts into groups and create lists for them. The next time youâre searching for new content on something in your industry, it will already be there and easy to find.
5. A Clipping Service
FindingÂ great content to share can become a time consuming challenge. What are known as clipping services can help.Â They can provide you with all the relevant information that fits a defined category of keywords. Three services come to mind: Google Alerts, TrendSpottr and Mention. These clipping services will automatically email you content that fits your criteria so youâre always in the loop. They can also act as a great tool for media monitoring!
If youâd like to learn moreÂ easy ways you canÂ solve your social media management challenges, feel free to reach out to me.
According to HubSpot, 56% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their social media spend in 2013. But what does the customer-facing sales team think? Do they see the value of social media for sales?
Despite the fact that âsocial sellingâ is a pretty popular concept right now, there still seems to be a good chunk of salespeople out there that remain reluctant to embrace business to business social media as a sales tool. Why is this?
In a business world where the average buyer is now 70% of the way through the decision-making process before they even engage with a sales rep, itâs just crazy to ignore the potential of social media on the buying process.
At its core, marketing is about education and influence, and marketers should view the task of onboarding their sales teams no differently than any other campaign they run. As marketers, we need to do a better job of selling B2B social media to sales. And since we all know salespeople love quantifiable benefits, hereâs a few statistics that should help your case.
Here are 4 ways that marketers can make social media easier for sales teams:
Ultimately, integrating social media into the business to business sales process should be a key objective of forward-thinking startups and growing B2B organizations. If youâre a marketer looking for help getting your sales team onboard with business to business social media, Iâd love to talk about your challenges. Feel free to reach out to meÂ at any time.
Historically, marketing has always been thought of as a cost-centre. But thanks to the phenomenal rise of inbound marketing and marketing analytics tools, marketers are now able to take credit for the lead generation they are responsible for.
As of 2013, 60% of companies have integrated some form of inbound marketing into their marketing strategy. While there are many moving parts to an inbound marketing program, here are three tactics all startups should emphasize to create an online lead generation machine.
As with any marketing program, your lead generation machine wonât be successful if you arenât constantly monitoring, analyzing and adapting your efforts. The key to generating inbound leads is great content. Without it, your SEO and social media efforts wonât be as useful. If youâre interested in finding out more about how to generate inbound leads or inbound marketing, feel free to connect with me at any time.
What do hundred-dollar cheesesteaks, a golf ball destroying blender and a phone booth with a trick door have to do with creating great B2B marketing content?
In his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Jonah Berger uses each of these viral marketing sensations to help explore the question of why some products, ideas and behaviours succeed while others fail (a question at the heart of all marketing). While there isnât a formula to ensure your B2B marketing content willÂ be widely shared, thereÂ are six key ingredients that make up a recipe for contagious content. Collectively, Berger calls these the STEPPS.
The STEPPS framework is aÂ good tool for B2B marketers to validate and develop marketing content ideas. If youâd like to understand more about marketing strategy and tactics, or need help developing great B2B marketing content, feel free to reach out to me.
May 22, 2013 (Hamilton, ON) â Yesterday morning, KITESTRING presented THE RIGHT ANGLE – a session focused on social strategies to help engage people in conversation online, held at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Guests learned from experts in the field how to manage their messages online, protect their brand image, and problem-solve with confidence and creativity.
The exclusive, half-day event combined three sessions geared at getting guests to think critically about social media practices, including a networking hour centered around creative conversations in a cocktail-hour inspired brunch atmosphere.
Keynote speaker Scott Stratten (President, Un-Marketing) shared his expertise in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing which he calls Un-Marketing, and held a book signing at the end of the event. His keynote was a hit and had the audience riveted with bite-sized quotable advice like âthe secret to social media is to do something worth talking aboutâ and âwhen âitâ hits the fan, itâs not time to hide behind the fan, itâs time to be awesome.â
Following the keynote, KITESTRINGâS Creative Director, Chris Farias, facilitated an interactive Q&A session fuelled by audience questions, and answered by industry specialists including Scott Stratten, Jamie Stein, (Senior Manager â Social Media, ING Direct), Christine Zakrajsek, (Web and Social Media Manager, EllisDon), Michelle Dias (Social Media Specialist, Goodlife Fitness), and Kyle Kuchmey, (President, New Motto; Alumni Officer â Digital Communications, McMaster University).
Contact: Stephanie Shuster, firstname.lastname@example.org
KITESTRING is a company of strategists and creative inventors who solve brand equations. Their portfolio is focused on the development of strategic brands, integrated campaigns, and digital engagement.
KITESTRING (@KITESTRING) multiplies creativity with strategic thinking for resonating branding results. Creative Director Chris Farias (@ChrisPaulFarias) talks about KITESTRING, branding, Hamilton and the upcoming The Right Angle event being put on by KITESTRING on May 21st.
My name is Chris Farias and I am both Creative Director and partner at KITESTRING. We’re an agency comprised of strategists and creative inventors who solve brand equations.
Why did KITESTRING rebrand itself recently?
The agency is now in its sixth year, and just like the world around us, weâve changed a lot in that time. The evolution of our brand reflects the caliber of work our team is creating for our clients.
What happened to Ben?
His internship came to an end and he moved on to a career in theatre. He came to visit recently and told us he was working with Hammer Entertainment on a production of Avenue Q. You can find out more by visiting: http://www.kitestring.ca/social/blog/community/ben-follows-his-dreams-and-hits-stage
What is The Right Angle?
The Right Angle is a KITESTRING event focused on strategies to help communicators and business owners engage in the conversation on social media. Attendees will learn from experts in the field how to manage your message online, protect your brand image, and problem-solve with confidence and creativity.
Why should web, mobile, and video game companies in particular care about social media management?
Itâs up to innovative businesses to lead the way in terms of adopting and understanding new technology. Web, mobile and video game companies need to lead by example. If youâre positioned as a knowledgeable expert, your clients are more likely to follow suit.
What are you most hoping participants take away from The Right Angle?
Weâve noticed a big shift in attitudes about the relevance of social media in the eyes of regional organizational leaders. Leading up to this shift, we were often asked in a presentation or workshop, âWhy is social media relevant?â
Now weâre consistently being asked, âHow do I make my brand relevant on social media?â Iâm hoping participants leave with an idea about how to accomplish that for their brand.
Hamilton in particular seems to have really embraced social media, between the popularity of the #HamOnt hashtag and the relevant communications and business courses at McMaster. Why do you think this is, and are there ways our community should be taking advantage of this strength?
There is a groundswell of citizens doing some amazing things in support of their city within our community. Of course, engaging communications are a part of making these incredible ideas sprout into mini-movements. The reason for this is complex; the perfect storm of timing, economics, culture and spirit.
Last summer we did an experiential meets social campaign at Art Crawl involving a new hashtag. We were shocked by just how encouraging the flood of response was. Three years ago, doing a similar self-promo campaign at Supercrawl garnered completely different levels of engagement. Itâs clear to us that this city is now ready for more.
What trends have you noticed lately in social media marketing and branding and where do you see it going next?
I donât have a crystal ball (Although some days I wish I did!). So, it wouldnât be prudent for me to guess what the future holds. Whatâs really got me excited about the industry lately is a turn towards elements of social good becoming a natural part of any organizationâs marketing mix. When a brand can create a hybrid of social good, digital engagement and a relevant connection to the everyday lives of its target audience, thatâs something to take notice of. These principles have been guiding a few of our newest campaign strategies for our top clients.
Some people in the tech / startup community believe that the best product development talent is in Waterloo, and that the best sales and marketing talent in Toronto. Google has followed this sort of model, with a development studio in Waterloo and advertising / sales in Toronto. I think it’s great for the different cities in Southern Ontario to specialize and have strengths, but it’s concerning to me when it leads to people thinking there is a magic wall that somehow stops world class product development from being done in Hamilton. Is there a similar concern for somebody working in creative branding?
Of course! That may be a tired perception, but that hasnât stopped us from working with the regionâs top health care, education and innovation technology clients. A lot of people are surprised to know that weâve also created campaigns for international clients. KITESTRING has created a niche for itself, and more and more our location is being viewed as something that is in our favour.
Can “big league” world class marketing be done out of Hamilton?
Yes. We have a close-knit community of talented marketers in this city. Weâre a fierce bunch who isnât afraid to change the landscape for local organizations and make a name for ourselves beyond the 905 area code. Itâs going to be our ability to support one another and be proud of one anotherâs successes that will define the next while in terms of local progress for our industry.
Has KITESTRING worked with any tech companies in particular?
Weâve collaborated with Innovation Factory, the local technology SME hub, on a really neat integrated campaign. The STARTOFF campaign was a contest for local Innovation Factory clients, which involved videogame themed digital engagement in collaboration with Orbital, and pop-up 8 bit art installations around the city. We also work with EllisDon, an innovative, international construction company, helping them to define a new software launch set for the summer of 2013.
How did that work out for them?
Innovation Factoryâs campaign has come to a close, so I can share these results. Combined with the engagement campaign, STARTOFFâs digital execution in mobile, social and desktop online developments were explored by laptops and computers, by iPhone, Blackberry, Android smartphones, and had been accessed through 2913 social media buzz mentions on Twitter and 17,102 visits from Facebook.
Where do you see Hamilton in 5 years? 10 years?
I know I would like to see Hamilton become a more walkable city. It would be great to see more people living and working downtown. Iâd love to see a Yogen FrĂŒz in walking distance from my house. Thatâs just me.
Hamilton has a lot of hidden gems. There’s different blogs and websites devoted to spotlighting them. What’s your favourite hidden Hamilton gem?
Itâs hard to keep hidden gems a secret in Hamilton because of the widespread adoption of the #HamOnt hashtag on Twitter. Iâm not complaining, itâs actually a good thing. I think a great hidden gem is the Ottawa Street strolling district. The Ottawa Street BIA is a client of mine and I love when I get to get down there for a visit. There are great restaurants, a farmers market, fabric and crafting outlets, antique stores and clothing boutiques.