Tips For Companies Seeking To Grow Revenues Through Account-Based Marketing

Account-based selling has been around forever, with B2B businesses focusing their sales efforts on specific, existing accounts to generate recurring revenue. Within the past two decades, however, B2B marketers have also come to embrace an account-based model of creating more opportunities to sell their products and services by marketing them to select customers.

Forbes Agency Council

Best practices in ABM evolve not only with the times but also within each organization as their client or customer base grows. To increase the odds of converting current customers to create repeat business or make upsells, marketers in the B2B world need to approach ABM outreach and communications in the right way and stay up on the latest trends.

Learn more below, where members of Forbes Agency Council each share their top tip for companies seeking to grow their revenues through ABM.

1. Align Sales And Marketing Teams Around Revenue Data

To maximize ABM, today’s sales and marketing teams must work together. When they are aligned, interactions with target accounts are consistent, team members from either group can pick up where others left off, lead quality increases and conversions go up. If your sales and marketing teams aren’t collaborating, Gartner analyst Jeffrey L. Cohen points to aligning on revenue data as a good way to begin. – Peter Cannone, Demand Science

2. Speak To The Right Person With The Right Message

In account-based marketing, you’ve got to make sure you are speaking to the right person with the right message. Otherwise, they won’t have any reason to care about it. You can create relevant and valuable content and then target specific companies with LinkedIn ads or Facebook ads or promote it via email. If this is something that solves their problem, they will be happy to engage with it. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

3. Harvest The Data You Need To Automate Communications

To effectively utilize ABM, it’s essential for your sales or account staff to harvest the data that you need to appropriately communicate with your clients. Once you have determined the critical data points, implement a system to create sales and marketing automation channels to send out the communications. Remember to always provide value and not just offers. – Jason Wilson, Strategy, LLC

4. Use Multiple Data Providers To Drive Incremental Reach

Utilize multiple data providers to maximize reach with the targeted accounts. The biggest hurdle with ABM is low match rates, which can significantly impact your ability to scale media campaigns. The best practice is to do your research and include multiple data providers to drive incremental reach for the campaign. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

5. Set Succinct Targets And Measure Key Metrics At Each Stage Of The Funnel

To succeed with ABM, it is important to set succinct targets and measure key metrics at each stage of the marketing funnel. Light the way from target account reach to sales velocity, target pipeline size and eventually referral scores. It is this map of data that will highlight the weaknesses and opportunities in your ABM activity that can be addressed to deliver high growth. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

6. Align Your Campaign With Your Target’s Personal Preferences

When targeting a specific brand or executive at a company, get to know their personal preferences and align the campaign with them. Make sure the campaign is seen on their preferred type of site or incorporate their preference into the actual advertisement to have the highest chance of success and conversion. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

7. Be Authentic And Unafraid To Reformulate Your Strategy As Needed

Be authentic. Make sure that you are hitting your target audience at the right time with the right messaging strategy, and don’t be afraid to throw it all out the window on a moment’s notice. With the times changing at a rapid pace, you need to be measuring the results of your strategy in real time and have the bandwidth to edit and reformulate it as needed. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

10 Of The Best Marketing Collaboration Tools Agencies Are Using Today

Marketing has always been a collective effort that relies on multiple departments, teams and partners offering relevant insights, executing strategies and creating effective campaigns. Digital marketing, content management, customer relationship management and marketing automation tools are now must-haves for companies hoping to compete on a global scale in an economy increasingly based on e-commerce, and these critical resources can’t be managed solely by one person or team.

Forbes Agency Council

For brands to create a strong online presence, reach target audiences and grow their business today, they must ensure that collaboration among teammates, clients and other stakeholders is productive, no matter where they might be located. No strangers to the latest and greatest trends, the members of Forbes Agency Council also depend on simplified, effective collaborative efforts to optimize the campaigns they work on, and here they share their favorite marketing collaboration tools.

1. Trello

We have assessed, demoed and beta-tested a number of tools. There’s so much overlap in feature sets, but we landed on Trello to drive our staff meetings, agency initiatives, client project management and, in some cases, client communications. Its integration with other communications tools and platforms makes it increasingly efficient. – Dean Trevelino, Trevelino/Keller

2. Microsoft Teams

Our team is scattered around the world, so it’s crucial for us to stay connected. We love using the Microsoft Teams app on both desktop and mobile. It gives us instant access to all of our discussions and documents and allows us to respond to conversations easily via chat, use one click to join meetings, get in touch with anyone from the team and remain in the loop even when we’re away from our desks. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

3. Asana

We manage our workstreams in Asana across our various departments, including brand and creative strategy, influencer marketing, production, paid and performance marketing, public relations and social media communications. It gives our team visibility into all in-progress work, helps us to identify bandwidth issues and keeps the team on track for client deliverables. – Joey Hodges, Demonstrate

4. Milanote

Milanote has been the most beneficial collaboration tool for our agency because it is so versatile. Through Milanote, we’re able to make visual boards for everything from diagramming website structure to organizing design inspiration and managing to-do lists. The collaborative nature of these boards was especially beneficial to our company as we made the transition to a fully remote workforce. – Adam Binder, Creative Click Media

5. Shared Calendars

This may be contrarian, but my favorite collaboration tool is the calendar—any shared calendar, to be precise. While I appreciate the online tools and apps that bring people together virtually, the in-person collaboration session is still far more productive. Being able to see a shared calendar to book specific times around people’s work schedules is still the greatest tool for collaboration. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

6. ClickUp

Our agency’s collaboration tool of choice is ClickUp. This allows us to dive in deep and track metrics such as billable hours, bandwidth and resource allocation. This platform is compatible with other collaboration tools, such as Slack, Zoom, Chrome, Calendly and more. It has streamlined how work is done at the agency and has allowed for greater flexibility in remote work. – Albert Moufarrij, MACH9

7. Gatheround

We love using Gatheround. The platform allows us to foster personal connections between our teams. We also use it to host our digital mixer, which creates a “speed networking” atmosphere, allowing cannabis industry members to develop relationships. In marketing, relationship-building is fundamental. Promote these skills among teams, and use them to create lasting relationships with clients. – Evan Nison, NisonCo

8. Zoom

You want to be where your friends are. We adapted Zoom to be that platform for us. Clients are already on it. Familiarity with the interface eliminates cognitive resistance; from whiteboarding to chat and video conferencing, tools are easy to access. We configured it to serve as our projects hub in combination with the project management platform, and collaborations have become frictionless. – Goran Paun, ArtVersion

9. Any Quick Feedback Or Instant Messaging Tool

My favorite tool is any collaborative platform that allows for quick feedback or instant messaging between team members, especially in the hybrid or virtual workplace. It allows for a more productive and efficient workplace. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

10. Google Docs

I like to not overcomplicate elements of the creative process, so I like the basic elements of a tool such as Google Docs. This not only helps the team internally understand the level of importance and comments that the written piece (or procedure) has, but it also allows everyone to have a constructive voice and a hand in the collaboration on the final piece of work. And it’s easy to share and easy to use! – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

How To Leverage Customer Testimonials And Create Brand Advocates

Customer testimonials have long been considered some of the most useful raw marketing materials around. And with the overwhelming number of channels used to reach consumers today, the candid words of satisfied customers often carry more weight than a brand’s own claims or even those of an influencer.

Forbes Agency Council

Marketers can make the most of testimonials by repurposing and integrating them into campaigns that showcase happy customers as the natural brand advocates they are. Here, members of Forbes Agency Council share the best ways for brands to leverage customer testimonials to build trust with target audiences, turning prospects into satisfied customers and organic brand ambassadors.

1. Use Testimonials As Feedback

There are many ways to aggregate customer testimonials and users’ feedback, which is typically fragmented, divided and industry-specific. Brands are using testimonials as valuable feedback to understand what their users care about the most, and YouTube is at the pinnacle when it comes to audio-visual representation, authenticity and critical mass. The same is true for leveraging brand ambassadors, as the reach is massive. – Goran Paun, ArtVersion

2. Upload Testimonials To Instagram Stories

One innovative channel that brands can use to leverage customer testimonials is Instagram Stories. A brand can request video testimonials from clients, upload them to Instagram Stories and then give the stories a targeted extended reach with paid advertising. This promotes the customer testimonial and helps build trust in the marketplace, which helps increase overall conversions. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

3. Incorporate Testimonials Into Podcasts

Podcasts can provide a unique way to leverage testimonials from brand ambassadors who are familiar with a brand and its products. Because listeners often have interests similar to the podcast host’s, there’s a higher probability of attracting them to the brand. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

4. Respond To Testimonials To Humanize Your Brand

Leverage customer testimonials to humanize your brand. It’s simple: People respond best to other people. Ask for feedback and respond to customer testimonials to show that there is someone behind the scenes who cares about them and their experience with your brand. – Laura Cole, Vivial

5. Duet Or Stitch Organic User Content On TikTok

TikTokers will often upload videos showcasing products they’ve tried. These make for great advertising on the platform, and even on other platforms such as Instagram or Facebook, when companies respond enthusiastically by leveraging them using TikTok’s Duet or Stitch feature. Dueting/stitching to provide tips or further information on products is also a good strategy. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

6. Develop A Program To Turn Employees Into Brand Ambassadors

Current and previous employees can be a great source of testimonials for future business. Consider developing an internal rewards program to encourage referrals from the most loyal brand ambassadors you can have—your own folks! – Bobby Steinbach, MeanPug Digital

7. Create Video Stories Around Customer Reviews

Depending upon their products or services, brands can build stories around customer reviews. They can ask their organic brand ambassadors to help them create videos around their stories that will help future customers as they make decisions. As we know, video marketing is one of the prime channels currently, and it will remain on top in the future. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

8. Leverage #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt

Direct-to-consumer brands have been flourishing thanks to #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. With new tools for collaboration between brands and creators, brands can choose the right creator and content to build ambassadorship and testimonials that engage and convince consumers. – Hamutal Schieber, Schieber Research

9. Ask Brand Ambassadors For User-Generated Video Content

Focus on having brand ambassadors create user-generated content as much as possible—especially video content. If you can mobilize your brand ambassadors to supply you with content after they film it, you will be able to utilize it in many ways: in emails, on your website and social platforms, in ads and more. This will give your brand a whole new nuance and showcase a real and authentic side of your story. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

10. Create A Customer Advisory Board

To generate organic advocacy, there’s no better solution than creating a customer advisory board. Inviting high-value customers to attend regular meetings with management to provide input regarding future brand and product decisions creates meaningful relationships. And board members quickly become natural ambassadors whose advocacy can be improved with access to the right tools and opportunities. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

11. Request ‘Selfie-Testimonials’ While The Iron Is Hot

User-generated content is often underappreciated. Capturing UGC from social media or reviews and repurposing that content works—but take it a step further. Ask for a “selfie-testimonial” while the iron is hot. If your client says, “You rock!” on a phone call or in an email, ask them right then and there if they can record a 15-second video. If they love you, they’ll do it! – Bernard May, National Positions

14 Smart Ways To Market Company Culture Internally And Externally

No matter what size a business might be, it’s critical for its leaders to build a strong culture that provides employees with a sense of belonging, brings the company’s core values to life and clarifies “how things are done.” However, while culture flows from the top down, C-suite and senior leaders can’t build and maintain it on their own, and the marketing team often plays a role in communicating cultural expectations and establishing norms both internally and externally.

Forbes Agency Council

Highlighting a vibrant and thriving company culture not only creates goodwill and interest among the public at large but can also help a business recruit and retain top talent. The key is to ensure messaging around culture is consistent and compelling no matter who the audience is. Here, members of Forbes Agency Council explore different ways companies can market their culture internally and externally to become industry leaders as well as thought leaders in this area.

1. Let Your Core Values Drive External Messaging And Internal Recognitions

Our brand is built around people and culture. Defining our core values was critical in articulating this internally and externally. We recruited a small team of employees to lead this initiative, and now our values are an important part of our marketing, social media, recruiting and sales, as well as our internal recognition of reviews, promotions, employee awards and accolades. – Jean Serra, V2 Communications

2. Express Your Culture In All Communications To Ensure Client Fit

We portray ourselves as part of our client’s team, not as a service provider, so we make sure to express our culture in one-on-one conversations, our website content, blog posts, podcasts and so on. When we get inbound requests, we make sure there is a strong cultural fit; otherwise, we know it will not work in the long term. – Jordi Marca, Gotoclient

3. Bring Culture To Life Through Actions And In The Work You Do

We believe in people—yours and ours—and that what companies do is more important than what they say. Meaningful relationships, growth and lasting cultural relevance aren’t built through talk; they’re built through actions. Our team brings culture to life daily, based on our core principles, which bring a unique and inspiring perspective to the work we produce on behalf of our partners. – Joey Hodges, Demonstrate

4. Inspire People To Nurture The Culture With Every Interaction

Company culture is vital to success in business. Employers must shape their culture into something that people want to be a part of and help nurture. It begins in the physical workplace, but it also has to be present with those who work remotely. The values of a healthy company culture should be ever-present and expressed in all communications and interactions and in the actions of leadership. – Henry Kurkowski, One WiFi

5. Highlight A Team Member Every Month In Blog And Social Posts

A company is more than just names on a website or in an email. Each staff member brings personal experiences and interests that contribute to the company’s overall success and culture. To showcase everyone’s personality and the more human side of our company, we highlight a different team member each month on our blog and social accounts. – Valerie Chan, Plat4orm PR

6. Let Team Members Show Who They Are Online And At Events

We do this in a variety of ways, from our team guest-posting and blogging on the website and sharing their antics and shenanigans on social media to turning up in force at industry events. For me, it’s really about letting them show up as who they are, then celebrating and acknowledging all of our little victories. – Phil White, Grounded

7. Enhance The Employee Experience To Create Cultural Ambassadors

In a service-oriented industry such as PR, people are our greatest resource. Our firm invests in people’s growth and promotes an open, inclusive culture that celebrates diversity. Happy employees serve as the best ambassadors for company culture as they interact with external stakeholders across the value chain. Hence, we constantly work to enhance engagement and the employee experience. – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications

8. Make A Daily All-Hands Meeting A Culture-Focusing Event

I believe that culture is what you do, and what we do is grow our clients’ businesses. We’ve been focusing on that culture since March 2020 with a daily all-hands meeting at 9:15 a.m. where team leads spend no more than three minutes letting everyone else know what we’re doing to grow our clients’ business. I can’t imagine running our business without this daily culture-focusing event. – Brook Shepard, Mason Interactive

9. Share Photos Of Employee Experiences

We highlight our company culture by sharing photos of employee experiences on social media and business networking sites, as well as on our homepage, which helps to illustrate our company culture. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

10. Focus On Culture With New Staff And Recognize ‘Culture Heroes’

Culture is critical to success in every organization. We discuss our cultural values every month in our all-staff meetings, and we have an intensive, three-month onboarding process to help new staff members understand the culture and how they fit. We also recognize staff members as “culture heroes” when they live our values and have quarterly check-ins with every team member to help reinforce them. – Jason Wilson, Strategy, LLC

11. Base Employee And Client Fit On Cultural Alignment

Our company culture is based on our core values. We don’t necessarily market them as much as we live by them. Meaning, we interview and hire based on those core values. We take on clients whose companies function in parallel to our core values. And we end relationships when a person or an organization is no longer aligned with our core values. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

12. Partake In Clients’ Services As Team-Building Exercises

As a small team, built during times of uncertainty, company culture has been of huge importance for us. We regularly partake in team-building exercises that allow us to connect on an intrapersonal level, usually while also partaking in one of our client’s services, such as yoga, boxing, facials and more. We keep it human. We hold space for each other and show up fairly candidly. – Logan Rae, Argon Agency

13. Connect With Clients By Giving Them A Glimpse Into Your Culture

Connecting with clients on a personal level is important to us. Every year, we send personalized holiday cards, and we regularly update our social media accounts. Our Instagram is used to spotlight our employees and share images of recent events, such as birthdays and company outings. Doing so gives clients a glimpse into our office culture. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

14. ‘Shout Out’ Client Successes And Team Wins Internally

Our culture is part of our overall marketing mix. Our social content has a variety of native content, case studies and company announcements, as well as team-member spotlights. Internally, we strive to “shout out” every client success and every team member’s performance “win” to the company. We are constantly testing new ways to maximize the positive impact of these kudos on our teams and overall culture. – Bernard May, National Positions

14 Emerging B2B Marketing Trends That Will Stand The Test Of Time

Trends in B2B marketing have always evolved and changed to better reflect the market’s behavior. In the past year, businesses have had to rethink popular practices in B2B marketing to keep up with seismic shifts in the global economy caused by the pandemic.

After being forced to innovate rapidly and continuously for more than a year to escape or survive the devastating effects the health crisis had on many businesses, marketers are relying on emerging trends in the B2B space to carry them through to the next stage.

Forbes Agency Council

Here, 14 Forbes Agency Council members share their thoughts and predictions on which of these trends will endure beyond this particular moment in history to stand the test of time, and why.

1. Account-Based Marketing

Over the last couple of years, personalization became huge in B2B marketing. Since it’s now possible to collect large amounts of data about leads and customers, the expectations consumers have of your B2B offers are high. So, I think that account-based marketing is one of those trends that will most likely stand the test of time. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

2. The Art Of Relationship-Building

Anyone can shoot a text, host a Zoom or send an email; however, the art of taking time to build a relationship provides a foundation for the future. Think about it: When was the last time you spent meaningful time in person with a prospect to learn more about their business needs? This type of conversation is impactful. – Robin Derryberry, Derryberry PR

3. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is here to stay. AI aids marketers by providing key insights that help them develop personalized content and optimize for SEO, and it can also be used for other tasks, such as analyzing data points and improving automation features to generate quality leads and conversions. AI integration is critically important to B2B marketing, and its uses will only grow from here. – Evan Nison, NisonCo

4. Intent Monitoring

Intent monitoring is taking off in B2B marketing, and our team thinks it’s here to stay. Here’s why: Instead of trying to make people want what you offer, it shifts the focus to finding the people who already want it. With more B2B buying moving online, purchase intent signals allow marketers to gain data insights into businesses that are in-market for their solutions now. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.

5. Sharing Your Story

Whether it’s from hearing you on a podcast, in publicity or through a promotional campaign, people always buy from people, not from companies. The rise of people posting on social media such as LinkedIn and business owners getting their stories out there in the press are two booming trends that I don’t see ever slowing down. The concept will remain the same, but platforms will evolve over time. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

6. Creative Strategic Partnerships

Looking for more creative ways to work with other businesses through strategic partnerships helps businesses with different but complementary services support each other. This forges an alliance while still maintaining independence, and it keeps your customer’s best interest at heart. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

7. Audience Targeting On LinkedIn

Audience targeting has undergone disruptive changes over the last several years due to an explosion of channels. While some of these channels will stand the test of time, others will not. Unless the leaders of LinkedIn do something really counterproductive, I predict LinkedIn will remain a solid B2B channel for many years to come. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

8. YouTube Influencer Marketing

YouTube influencer marketing is one trend that is bound to survive in the long run. B2B marketing needs more power to convince, and video content creators with a large number of subscribers earn immense credibility. When they vouch for your product or service in one of their videos, not only is your work of driving leads in large quantities done, but they are also already halfway convinced when they come to you. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

9. Bylined Contributed Articles

Bylined contributed articles skyrocketed in popularity in the past two years—thanks, in large part, to pandemic-fueled layoffs and furloughs in the media. Given that publicists and brands have adapted to this, as well as how much free content these articles now provide the media, I don’t anticipate this trend reversing. Any B2B company should be consistently writing and pitching bylined articles to the press. – April Margulies, Trust Relations

10. Human-To-Human Marketing

There is a push to view B2B marketing as human-to-human marketing. We’ve shifted away from benefits-focused, product-based marketing to values-focused, attraction-based marketing because we finally realize employees and owners buying products and services for their businesses are people too. This is a move that will stand the test of time, even as technology ushers in one-to-one marketing. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

11. The Use Of Influencers With Expertise

The use of influencers in B2B marketing is likely to stick around for a long time. Professionals respect the opinions and perspectives of their peers, making influencer marketing in the B2B space highly valuable. Because B2B influencers build a following through their expertise, it’s likely that the life cycle of content generated from these relationships will last longer than that of B2C influencers. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

12. Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization is a practice that is gaining notoriety, and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The fact is, as automation becomes a greater part of the marketing process when it comes to testing and choosing “winners,” the strategic and creative approach required to test conversion elements—especially for B2B brands—will still rely on the “human element.” – Bernard May, National Positions

13. More Innovative Ways Of Collaborating

For the longest time, B2B was rooted in networks and connections, and social distancing has pushed this practice toward digital. Even in a post-Covid world, people will be reluctant to enter in-person work environments, so we still need innovative ways to collaborate beyond virtual meetings. – Albert Moufarrij, MACH9

14. B2C-Like Experiential Marketing

In recent years, experiential marketing has slowly been straying from its B2C roots into B2B territory. Whether it is through digital and product journeys or physical installations, a need to stand out in an increasingly competitive battle for mindshare is likely to continue driving the trend toward unique, memorable experiences for years to come. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

10 Non-Digital Inbound Marketing Tactics To Turn Consumers Into Prospects

When you think about inbound marketing, your mind probably goes straight to the internet. The standard methods of drawing leads into a company’s sales and marketing funnel (or onto its flywheel) work by attracting consumers and pushing them toward conversion. Typically, such inbound marketing strategies rely almost exclusively on digital tactics.

Forbes Agency Council

However, smart marketers know there is more than one way to do inbound. Here, 10 members of Forbes Agency Council share some of the best non-digital tactics a brand can use for inbound marketing to complement and accelerate their digital marketing efforts to turn consumers into prospects and prospects into loyal customers.

1. Publish A Book

Companies that have been using an inbound marketing strategy often have a treasure trove of content, which can be compiled into a manuscript. Book authors (and the companies they represent) are seen as thought leaders and credible authorities and are more likely to land important speaking engagements at industry events. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing

2. Offer Special Access And Free Advice

It all comes down to relationships and whether your consumers connect with you and with what you are trying to convert them to do. PR works wonders for this, and non-digital ideas such as hosting events and inviting people to attend for free can also go a long way in building relationships. Or, just offer free advice and other free services or items to get them coming to you and needing you, then convert them. – Zack Teperman, ZTPR

3. Conduct An Offline Event Or Sponsor A Cause

Inbound is all about showing your customers that you have the best solution to their problems and that solution being valuable enough that they come to you on their own. You can try anything that serves this purpose and increases brand awareness—any form of traditional marketing that does not presume you will be the one reaching out to them. Some examples would be conducting an offline event or sponsoring a cause. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

4. Keep Your Existing Customer Base Happy

The most effective, important and least expensive way to attract new customers is to do a great job with the customers you already have. Word-of-mouth is the oldest and most important form of marketing. – Nathan Miller, Miller Ink, Inc.

5. Run A National TV Campaign

With any type of inbound marketing, one of the most powerful ways to reach a big audience in the largest fashion is still with a national TV campaign. These campaigns allow you to reach hundreds of millions of consumers and convert them into customers. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

6. Adopt A Hybrid Mix Of Tactics

I predict inbound marketing will become a hybrid mix of digital and non-digital tactics. For example, a company sends a postcard inviting people to download an e-book. Two weeks later, that company will follow up with a phone call to remind prospects to download the e-book. I expect to see a rise in campaign-connected digital and non-digital tactics. Why choose between them when they both work? – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

7. Engage With Convention Attendees

A great non-digital inbound marketing tactic is engaging with attendees at conventions. It’s an analog method that focuses on face-to-face peer interactions. This is valuable because it’s centered around purposeful listening in a face-to-face environment to better process pain points, and it leverages inbound marketing content that suits and addresses those concerns. – Albert Moufarrij, MACH9

8. Never Stop Building Strong Relationships

Relationships and referrals are hard to beat. The relationships we build with our clients and the trust it fosters can pay dividends over time when it comes to closing new business. We turn to friends and family for personal recommendations; the same is true for business leaders who network with other leaders to find a business solution. Never stop building strong relationships. – Bernard May, National Positions

9. Be A Part Of The Experience At In-Person Events

As in-person events slowly rebound, many people are looking forward to attending them, and smart brands are finding ways to be a part of those experiences, not just sponsor them. Consider offering your customers and leads a special perk or upgraded access as a way to connect your brand with value and exclusivity. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

10. Deliver Valuable Freebies In High-Traffic Physical Locations

The inbound philosophy emphasizes the need to provide value to prospects that attracts them to your brand. Such value is easy to surface online, but it can be achieved—and stands out more—when delivered in a physical setting. In its simplest form, offering samples, advice or free services in high-traffic locations is both a precursor to and a modern example of inbound marketing. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

How To Course-Correct A Poorly Received Advertising Campaign

Sometimes, an ad campaign just doesn’t land quite right with the target audience. Although you may have done your research and informed your strategy with data, for whatever reason, your efforts may be building the wrong kind of brand awareness.
Forbes Agency Council

When an advertising campaign isn’t well-received, it is key to figure out what the reason is before attempting to solve the problem. Here, 13 members of Forbes Agency Council each share the first step they would recommend brands take to figure out the root cause of the issue so that they can course-correct.

1. Revisit Your Target Audience And Align Future Campaigns Around Them

Be accountable to both internal and external audiences for the misstep, but also be ready with a course-correction strategy. That strategy should start with reviewing and revisiting your target audience, including who they are, what their pain points are and how their challenges can best be addressed. Next, make sure future campaigns are aligned across all of those areas. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.

2. Run A Focus Group To Understand What Alienated Your Audience And Why

Generating the “wrong kind of brand awareness” is usually a sign that your campaign messages alienated your audience. Before you do anything else, run a focus group to understand what alienated them and why. This will inform all follow-up activity, so you actually solve problems rather than making them worse. Don’t take further action until you understand what problems you’re trying to solve. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

3. Pause And Research The Disconnect Before Slipping Into Communications

When a campaign goes wrong, it’s easy to slip straight into communications. That might be an apology, a clarification or a doubling-down. But, ultimately, when a campaign doesn’t land, there is a gap in knowledge—a disconnect between you and your audience. Before deciding on the next steps and how to recover, talk to your audience and find out what’s at the root of the issue. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

4. Identify Broken Connection Points Between Audience, Content And Platform

Always begin with your audience. Look at the connection points between audience, content and platform, and identify where the breakdown occurs. If you still do not see a problem, start testing immediately. Do not focus on one singular aspect of the creative. Rather than jumping to the conclusion that there’s a problem with your user experience or visuals, discover the core: Is it technical, creative, audience- or offer-related? – Albert Moufarrij, MACH9

5. If Your Audience Is Correct, Examine The Ad’s Content And Your Message

If your target audience is correct for the product or ad that you are promoting, then immediately turn to the content of the ad. You may not have the right message, or you may need to change your message and relaunch. Make sure that you are testing prior to the full release of a campaign. You can often detect the errors in content or target demographics during initial testing. – Sherri Nourse, Ambition Media

6. Align The Call To Action With The Audience’s Abilities And Motivations

When a campaign isn’t working or is not received well, the answer often lies in the audience’s inability to perform the campaign’s call to action. At these times, a campaign can be taken the wrong way or ignored completely. The answer is to adjust the campaign so that the behavior is easier for the audience to perform and in line with their abilities and motivations. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

7. Understand The Audience’s Perspective And Address It With Empathy

First, you’ll need to diligently go through the comments made by your audience on your ad creatives to understand their perspective. Once you know the exact reason why they disliked the campaign, come up with a message that addresses it with sincere empathy. Publish an apology accompanied by an explanation on all of your social media channels. Remember, winning your lost audience back is more important than trying to prove your point. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

8. Analyze The Data That Informed The Campaign And The Feedback

Analysis of the data and feedback is the first step to determining your next course of action. Ad campaigns aren’t created in a vacuum; data is utilized to make informed decisions about what resonates with a target audience. If the campaign didn’t have the desired effect, it’s important to first know why. Understanding what led to the undesired outcome is the first step toward correcting it. – Jonathan Schwartz, Bullseye Strategy

9. Explore Your Campaign To Find The Issue And Make Incremental Changes

The advertising landscape is constantly evolving, and audiences are changing their behaviors. What used to work a year ago might not now, but don’t scrap everything you’ve done. Take a look at your campaign to understand where the issue lies. Is the targeting too broad, or does it need to be more refined? Or, is the ad creative and messaging the problem? Make incremental changes to test your campaign. – Nathan Miller, Miller Ink, Inc.

10. Admit You Missed The Mark And Pinpoint What Was Lacking

Admit that you missed the mark and work on pinpointing what was lacking—either your intended audience or your message. If your audience was on point, look into engagement metrics and Web traffic reports and use social listening tools to understand what missed the mark. If you gained awareness but tarnished affinity, you had better own up to your mistake and perhaps even reference it in your next campaign. – Bernard May, National Positions

11. Immediately Pull The Campaign From All Distribution And Media

If a campaign isn’t received well, you can immediately pull it from all distribution and media. As you go back to the drawing board, relaunch any tried-and-true creative campaigns that have been effective in the past and refocus your efforts moving forward. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

12. Use Social Media Polls To Ask Your Target Consumers What They Want

Many times, companies launch a campaign without doing any prior consumer research. The campaign is created based on what the company’s owners think will resonate with their customers. Posting polls on your social media—asking, “Who do you want to see as our next ambassador?” for example—is a great way to gain insights for your next campaign. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

13. Gain A Better Understanding Of The Journey A Customer Takes With Your Brand

When a campaign doesn’t achieve the targets you set, go back to your understanding of your audience. Did you use buyer personas? Are those personas based on recent, relevant customer journey insights? Campaign success hinges on a thorough understanding of the journey a customer takes with your brand, as well as their desires, concerns and behaviors. Layer strategy and tactics on top to succeed. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

How To Use Instagram And Facebook Stories To Drive Website Traffic

To reach a target audience with a compelling message, the power of a story cannot be understated. If your brand builds a narrative using Instagram and Facebook stories, it can be a great way to engage with your followers and fans and convince them to click and convert.

The Stories feature has seen many evolutions since its debut in 2016. Sharing these temporary posts via Instagram and Facebook today can help businesses drive traffic by directing their Instagram fans to their company websites and other social media accounts, bringing them closer to making a purchase.

Forbes Agency Council

Here, the members of Forbes Agency Council share ways to ensure your branded stories have the desired effect. Read their insights below to learn about the latest best practices and enjoy the many benefits stories can offer your brand.

1. Catch The Viewer’s Eye With The Right Creative And Offer

When stories have the right creative content, an enticing call to action and a sticker link to an offer, they can be very successful. We hit over 300 million eyes per week on our owned Instagram pages, so the right offer (preferably with video content) explodes, but the offer that doesn’t catch the eye of the viewer will fail quickly. – Sherri Nourse, Ambition Media

2. Use Features To Boost Organic Search Results

Brands can utilize features in stories such as stickers, music, hashtags and location tags, all of which can make your content organically appear on search and discover pages. The best feature is the link sticker, which gives users with over 10,000 fans the ability to include a link to a URL in their stories that users can reach by tapping on a sticker. Accounts with smaller audiences can promote their stories using the Ads Manager, which also accomplishes the goal of driving site traffic. – Nathan Miller, Miller Ink, Inc.

3. Work Toward Getting Access To The Link Sticker Option

Work toward getting access to the link sticker option in your Facebook and Instagram stories, which allows users to tap on a sticker in your story to reach an external link you’ve added. Stories accompanied by “Link in Bio” GIFs drive hardly any traffic to the website. Plus, their recall value is too low to have any significant branding impact. To get the sticker link option, create a business Instagram account and run ads with the aim of reaching 10,000 followers, as this feature is only available to verified accounts that have at least that many followers. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

4. Reserve Some Story Content For Ads And Product Links

Focus most of your stories’ content on sharing the authentic, behind-the-scenes side of your brand, but reserve some story content for ads and product links. More than 500 million people use Instagram stories every day, and 58% say they are more interested in a brand after seeing it in Stories. Even better, half say they’ve visited a website to buy a product or service after seeing it in Stories. – Samantha Reynolds, ECHO Storytelling Agency

5. Test Overlay Features And Multiple Story Ads

Since stories were introduced, Instagram users spend even more time—20-plus minutes, on average, according to various sources—on the platform each day, which means it’s an efficient way to get in front of and engage new customers. To stand out from the crowd and encourage engagement, test overlay features such as polls and stickers. And to ensure that your stories drive traffic, test multiple story ads and (if you have access to it) provide a direct link using the link sticker feature so users can easily click through to your site. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

6. Think Of Stories As A Sneak Peek

Let your audience get a glimpse at the offer and give them a reason to continue to your website. Don’t give everything away immediately, but rather provide a direct link to the page so they’re more likely to visit. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

7. Create A Sense Of Urgency Around Business Initiatives

You must view the power of stories quite differently from the capabilities of regular posts. Stories offer temporary snapshots in time and can create a sense of urgency around any business initiative that’s limited in nature, such as giveaways, events or contests. Using these methods will encourage your followers to pay more attention to your content and participate in the call to action. – Albert Moufarrij, MACH9

8. Use Behind-The-Scenes Story Content

Statistics show 50% of Instagram users have visited a site to buy an item after seeing it in Stories. Using behind-the-scenes content can bring viewers’ interest to your products and services by giving your audience a glimpse behind the curtain. By doing this, you pique their interest and curiosity, and you can stoke their desire to know more about the product or service through a call to action. – Lisa Montenegro, Digital Marketing Experts – DMX

9. Highlight ‘Secret Story’ Discount Codes

Use your stories to highlight “Secret Story” discount codes that people can only retrieve when viewing your stories. These gifts will encourage them to come back for more. It also pays to stay consistent with your stories and update and upload them regularly. Stories are critical for providing timely content that followers can act on in the moment. – Bernard May, National Positions

10. Help Viewers Visualize How They Would Use The Product

Facebook and Instagram stories featuring real people using your product or time-lapsed demos in various exotic settings allow a viewer’s mind to start visualizing how they would personally use the product. If you have access to the link sticker feature, make sure to always incorporate a sticker with a call to action to “read more” or “see more.” Tapping this sticker redirects the viewer to your website for more information and leads them toward customer conversion. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

11. Be Real About Who You Are

With the rise of social media, people are becoming sick of both the curated lives that it portrays and brands with generic feeds. Provide authentic, behind-the-scenes glimpses into the company and the people who make up your business. Profiling your staff’s stories regularly and engaging with your audience will help strengthen consumers’ connection with your company. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

16 Effective Ways To Create An Evergreen Video Ad Campaign

Consumers are engaging with online video more than ever, and social media users are constantly on the lookout for exciting stories to share with friends and followers online. This means the hype that a timely piece of video content creates can fade fast these days. The world and the media will rapidly move on to the next big thing after that specific, viral moment in time has passed.

Forbes Agency Council

On the other hand, evergreen content—as its name implies—always seems fresh, like a pine tree standing tall and green throughout the winter. And while one may not typically think of advertisements as having a long shelf life, when you combine evergreen content with the proven power of video to reach the masses, the content of a video ad can remain effective for an extended period of time.

An “evergreen” ad campaign might sound like an oxymoron to those not in the know, but not to experts of Forbes Agency Council. They understand that creating an ad that stands the test of time is a major win for a brand, and here, they explore various ways to achieve that elusive quality using video.

1. Provide Actual Utility For Consumers

For video content to be evergreen, it should feel less like an ad campaign and more like a brand helping the consumer. Videos with actual utility—those that guide a buyer through making the right decision for them, for instance—have a wonderfully longer shelf life. – Marc Paulenich, Hart

2. Include Three Necessary Ingredients

For me, there are key ingredients in any evergreen ad: a strong story that evokes emotion in the target audience, supporting visuals and the right choice of audio/music. Most brands focus on only one or two of these ingredients. The right audio/music is such a powerful ingredient that it creates a good mood and evokes a positive feeling even after the ad has been running for decades. – Nishant Mishra, The Higher Pitch

3. Focus On Universal Human Values

Video ads that focus on universal human values, such as kindness, love or hope, can become timeless if executed well. These are deeply rooted values that transcend cultures and countries, and they can provoke high levels of emotional engagement with the viewers regardless of the industry. – Gjoko Muratovski, Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies

4. Create Authentic, Upper-Funnel Content

Creating evergreen video content is 100% possible if you are willing to be authentic. If you want content that will last, highlight and create upper-funnel video content that embodies the values of your brand and products. There will always be relevant stories and subjects that can be used in a variety of ways. – Hunter Johnson, Xpedition

5. Appeal To Human Emotions

With brands such as Dove and Old Spice having created evergreen video ad campaigns, we know that it’s possible. The reason it worked for them was they contained humor or a human insight that hadn’t been explored before. Today, “riding the trend” is big, but that’s the thing with trends—they lack a shelf life. Being evergreen means standing out from the noise. Don’t follow; create. Can you create a viral-worthy message, jingle or hashtag? Appeal to human emotions; that’s the only trick. – Rohit Kumar, Zensciences

6. Focus On The Company And The Customer’s Needs

The best approach for creating evergreen video content is to focus it on the company rather than the product. As long as the company is relevant, so is the content. Products and services change and evolve, but content that supports the company and speaks to the customer’s needs can last through these changes. The customer’s needs are evergreen until you solve them. Make content that speaks to those needs. – A. Lee Judge, Content Monsta

7. Look To Other Timeless Campaigns

Look to other ad campaigns and brand positionings that have withstood the test of time. Mastercard and Budweiser are among the brands that have created iconic ads and messages that are truly timeless. Although creative treatments have evolved, the core ideas have remained constant. – Nancy A Shenker, theONswitch

8. Focus On Your Company’s ‘Why’

Go as high level as you can in expressing what makes you you, and capture B-roll without identifying too much of your “what.” If you can showcase the reason why your team gets out of bed each morning in your video content, you won’t need to go back and reshoot and edit every time you change a product, make an acquisition or update a landing page. – Sara Steever, Paulsen

9. Don’t Replace Meaningful Messages Too Quickly

Brands need to build real connections with consumers, so start with finding human truth and an authentic message. One mistake we tend to make as marketers is freshening up creative too quickly. We work so hard to land on a credible message and then swiftly replace it with a new idea, when, in reality, the solid, original message was just starting to take hold. When you land on a deep, meaningful message, stay the course. – Scott Harkey, OH Partners

10. Create A How-To Video

How-to videos are the most evergreen. Just about every brand can create them if they identify challenges their customers and prospects face. Such videos should provide step-by-step instructions with defined outcomes. Avoid references to trending topics or current events that will date the video. Include evergreen keywords in the video description so that it is easily found. – Robert Finlayson, Bold Marketing and Communications

11. Develop A Message That Builds Credibility Over Time

An evergreen video can be incredibly successful if it covers the simple basics—who, what, where and why—and includes a call to action. Think of the evergreen message as the mainstay video that builds your market share and establishes credibility over time, while new videos highlight special sales or newly added products/offerings without having to reintroduce your brand to the audience each time. – Chelsey Pendock, Innovision Advertising

12. Cater The Campaign To The Audience

An evergreen video campaign needs to be catered to the audience. One piece of creative cannot speak to everyone. Geico is a great example of a brand doing it right. For measurement, marketers can’t look at performance metrics such as new customer acquisitions or transaction volume. The only way to measure evergreen campaigns is to look at brand lift. It’s more about qualitative than quantitative results. – Michael Hubbard, Media Two Interactive

13. Help People Find Your Video Content All Year Long

Once you have your video content, publish it on all social media channels (YouTube, Facebook and Instagram) with the relevant hashtags and keywords so that people can find your content all year long. Sharing the video as part of a blog post on your website will also help consumers find your content throughout the year. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

14. Exclude Non-Evergreen Content

You can create evergreen video content by excluding non-evergreen content such as statistics, numerical figures, products, prices and trends, which are likely to change. Your content should focus on the long-lasting problem and solution that your product or brand provides. – Omer Riaz, Urtasker

15. Focus On A Core Element That Is Unlikely To Change

Evergreen campaigns can always be created if you focus on a core aspect of your business or a service that has been around for a long time, has been proven and is not likely to change. Focus on imagery that is fresh and somewhat neutral while still being modern, and avoid obviously trendy images that could change or become outdated quickly. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

16. Don’t Rely On Cultural References

It is possible to create evergreen video ad campaigns with a shelf life of two or even three years, as long as the concept and execution are tied to the brand and don’t rely on cultural references that could become irrelevant in a few months. Craft a message that resonates with your customers’ needs and wants and use the power of video to create an emotional connection around them. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

10 Smart Ways To Leverage Seasonal Products And Retain Customers Year After Year

Holiday sales make up an outsized chunk of some retail businesses’ annual revenue, and without appropriate planning and preparation, they might fall short of their goals. When you have seasonal products to sell, an important key to ensuring your ledger is in the black post-holidays is to reach your target audience with a message that gets them excited about what you have to offer them—not only this year but every year.

Forbes Agency Council

Gaining the attention of potential new customers with seasonal ads and offers can be a good way to tempt them into doing business with you for the first time. Another way to boost end-of-year sales is to ensure repeat business from your existing customers by leveraging those same seasonal products. If you want to learn about other smart ways to draw in customers year after year with your seasonal offerings, the members of Forbes Agency Council share ten smart tips for doing so below.

1. Use Content To Create Affinity And Year-Round Relevance

Products may be seasonal, but brand loyalty isn’t. By leveraging a space—such as a blog, newsletter or social media channel—that provides helpful, practical, entertaining and empowering content related to your seasonal product or service, you create affinity for your brand and product by remaining relevant year-round. By staying connected, you ensure that you and your product remain top of mind. – Jonathan Schwartz, Bullseye Strategy

2. Retarget Customers With Post-Purchase Emails

Seasonal products can be an effective way to introduce a new audience to a brand. These instances allow brands to engage with new audiences and provide opportunities for them to retarget. It’s about managing these consumers after they’ve completed the purchase to convert them into new customers through post-purchase email marketing for your product catalog. – Albert Moufarrij, MACH9

3. Give Your Consumers A Reason To Purchase

Perhaps buying up front will entitle them to a discount, provide them with a value-added offer or even get them to commit to a subscription. Focus on the benefits that your company can provide all year round, rather than just the seasonal product. Your amazing customer service will also help retain your customer base. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

4. Consider Ways To Serve Them Beyond The Season

Approach every customer interaction, even seasonal ones, as the beginning of an ongoing relationship, not a one-off transaction. Consider how you can serve this client in other ways beyond the current season, and incorporate that messaging into the sales funnel when possible. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

5. Automate Outreach And Offer Promotions To Returning Customers

Start collecting and planning to leverage first-party data (with every purchase) so that you can proactively target this customer base with marketing automation and email technology. Not only can you reach out year after year, but you can also offer programmatic promotional codes to your loyal, returning customers and create higher lifetime customer value for a fraction of the cost! – Bernard May, National Positions

6. Intensify Media Campaigns Leading Up To Seasonal Events

Seasonal or event-related products—such as those for Back-to-School, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and so on—benefit from intensive media campaigns leading up to the event to support product sales. Once a customer recognizes your product for that holiday and time of year, they will refer back to your product line and you can expand into other options or gift-giving ideas. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

7. Listen To What Your Customers Are Asking For

How can you meet their needs and solve a problem while tying in new products (or launching new products) as seasons change and during the holidays? Brands need to make sure that they are listening to consumer and market needs. – Melissa Litchfield, Litchfield Media

8. Personalize Post-Purchase Pricing Offers For Upcoming Seasons

It’s important not to underestimate the value of loyalty and retention incentives, even for seasonal purchases. To improve retention, an effective strategy is to combine purchase data with the post-purchase communication opportunity to offer personalized pricing offers on upcoming seasonal products. – Chris Martin, FlexMR

9. Position The Product As A Need Rather Than A Want

Be smart about the way you are positioning the product. Although it may be seasonal, presenting the product as a need instead of a want will keep your customers coming back for more. – Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing

10. Connect With Your Customers On A Personal Level

While the product may be seasonal, tie it into who the person or people behind the brand/product are. If people feel a personal connection, they will continue to follow and support you whether they need the next product or not. Tell your story and get yourself out there! – Zack Teperman, ZTPR