Are you ready for social listening? From a brand and personal perspective.

Having regular content going out on your social media sites isn’t enough anymore – you need to be tracking, analysing and responding to conversations relevant to your company and industry. Enter social listening. By listening to your audience and target market, you can start to make changes and personalisations that really convert.

Social listening isn’t to be confused with social monitoring however. Social monitoring is used to look back over the last period, gathering information, focusing on detail and measuring success, serving as the baseline and bare minimum for any social marketing efforts, whereas social listening takes that information and digs a little deeper, allowing you to look forward and at the bigger picture. Social listening is a process that seeks to surface insights from listening data (much of the same data captured in social monitoring activities) that inform broader marketing decisions – think audience/market analysis, competitive intelligence, uncovering trends, etc.

Did you know that…

  • Customers who feel engaged by companies on social media will spend up to 40% more with them than other customers? (Sprout Social)
  • 79% of consumers expect brands to respond within a day of reaching out over social media, but average brand response rates across all industries are lower than 25%? (Sprout Social)
  • When surveying 264 marketers across the globe, nearly 40% of participants desired more knowledge about their audiences? (Socialbakers)

For B2C companies, social listening allows you to understand your direct customers. Whereas for B2B companies, it allows you to understand your client’s customers. This gives you an opportunity to lead with a broader view of what the general consumer is doing. You can then provide thought leadership pieces and posts from a perspective that a prospect or client may not have considered. This sends the message that you are investing in their customers too, and that you’re paying attention, giving you the edge over your competitors.

Using your company’s socials also isn’t enough anymore. People buy from people so it’s crucial that you engage with your target audience from a personal perspective as a face of your business, showing thought leadership and creativity.

It can be overwhelming if this isn’t something you’ve thought about before, so here are a few top tips to get you started:

  • Make sure your personal and company profiles are optimised
  • Post regularly and consistently before you start
  • Monitor your channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, products, and related keywords
  • Analyse your findings and think about how you can use it to shape your future posts – you may find that this information starts to re-shape your brand and tone of voice

Integrating MarTech (Marketing Technology)

Integrating a useful MarTech tool to help you listen to online consumer conversations not only makes the job easier, but takes up less of your resources so you can concentrate on strategy development.

3 MarTech tools to make social listening easier:

1. HubSpot’s social media marketing tool helps you prioritise your social interactions and connect with all the right people. You can build marketing campaigns, share content like blog posts and landing pages, automatically share content to various social channels, and discover the best times to post.

You can also create custom keyword monitoring streams, and trigger email alerts so your sales team knows when your prospects mention you – perfect for combining your marketing and sales efforts.

The tool also allows you to monitor your performance across all social channels and keep track of the number of visits and leads you receive.

2. Sprout Social offers a social media management software to offer solutions that will ultimately improve your social media interactions with customers and prospects. With the help of the Sprout Platform, you can access in-depth data analytics to inform strategic decisions, streamline and scale your engagement efforts, publish content and campaigns, and, most importantly, uncover trends and insights through social listening to drive strategic changes.

The platform uses real-time brand monitoring to track direct messages and brand-specific keywords. It also offers advanced social listening to help you notice emerging trends and influencers.

3. Falcon.io’s new listening addition to its platform is great for integrating social listening into your strategy. From AI smart alerts to social inbox integrations, you get access to insights from across 100 million online sources helping you become better at listening!

So, we’ve explained WHY you need to consider social listening as a key marketing tactic, now you just need to start! At Roots, we can integrate social listening into your marketing strategy and execute our suggested activity on both your company and personal social media channels, helping you to connect to your audience on a deeper level for leads that convert. If you’d like to talk more about developing your social listening strategy, get in touch today on 01392 796 702

Forget the elephant in the room, focus on the HiPPO

We’ve all sat in that meeting. Years of first-hand experience, reams of exciting ideas and campaign proposals backed up with pages of data. In enters the HiPPO. 

No, not the large semiaquatic mammal but the “HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion”. The buzz is quickly shot down with decisions based on emotion, theory or a “one-size-fits-all” solution. 

Suddenly the room falls quiet, tension mounts and everyone leaves the room feeling deflated (not to mention the potential damage caused to the business). 

The HiPPO theory originates from a study by the Rotterdam School of Management which found that projects led by senior managers had a lower success rate than those run by more junior employees. It transpired that staff felt more comfortable offering opinions, challenging assumptions and giving feedback based on fact in teams where senior managers were less present.  

So, what does this mean from a marketing point of view? 

The problem with letting the HiPPO take the reins is that you then end up ignoring data to back up any decisions. For example (in the most basic terms), you could be deciding how to personalise your email marketing efforts based on location. A HiPPO might say that your target audience is based in the USA, however, your Marketing Manager (armed with a map of email opens) knows that the majority of recipients are based in Germany. The HiPPO declares their assumptions and the Marketing Manager instantly feels unable to showcase the real-time data. 

This could lead to incorrect information or irrelevant news being given to your target market, who will no doubt quickly shut off. Loss of relevance? Loss of clients. 

A HiPPO is also likely to ignore the wisdom of the crowd, therefore neglecting knowledge from front-line staff. 

How do you deal with a HiPPO? 

  1. Increase awareness of the HiPPO effect and have open discussions about data based decision making 
  2. Remove the spotlight – try and encourage less senior employees to speak up and have their say! 
  3. Present data in a visual, hard to ignore way 

Are you a HiPPO? 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’ve had X amount of years experience so I know best.” You’ve got to where you have for a reason – you’re good! However, listening to your team is key to ensuring you all make the best decisions for your business. Don’t let the power go to your head and learn from the people you’ve painstakingly hired and trusted to do their job. 

Need a hand with figuring out the data from the bias? We create marketing strategies that directly align with your sales numbers. If you’d like to talk more about developing your marketing strategy, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

How fearless marketing will make you serious money. Be Brave. Sell More.

Does your marketing approach need a shake up? Tired of sending out the same old fluff and seeing the same low ROI? Then this guide is for you. 

We’ve put together 4 lessons to help you think differently about your marketing strategy, ultimately resulting in more sales and long lasting relationships with your ideal customer. 

Be brave and look closer at the numbers 

Shy away from the nitty gritty of your target numbers no more! Grab those numbers by the horns and start making the profit you deserve. 

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • How much needs to come from renewal or existing customers? 
  • Is marketing responsible for delivering a target of qualified leads? 
  • Do you know the conversion rate from a marketing qualified lead (MQL) vs a sales qualified lead (SQL)? 

Start from a place of enlightenment! Get these numbers in place. Now. 

Be brave with your content 

We’ve all heard that famous quote: ‘Content is King’. Your customers want to know about your products, your opinions and how all of it makes a difference for them and their business. 

Read these stats: 

  • 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands with CEOs that are active on social 
  • 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them 
  • 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience 

And read them again. Then have a look at what’s missing from your current content and dare we say it… idea storm! 

Be brave with your targeting 

Heard of the “sneezer effect”? Enough is enough! 

We all like to feel special. The trouble with ‘catch-all’ marketing and aiming for a broad appeal is that you actively alienate the people who need your product most and instead, focus on casting a wide-net and filling it with fairly uninterested fish. 

Start by: 

Who wants to spend all their time and effort convincing everyone to like you, when you could preach to the almost converted instead? 

Be brave with your delivery 

Marketing trends come and go, but creativity endures. It’s tough to stand out in a fast-paced attention economy. When everybody’s talking, why should they listen to you? 

Most of us carry around a super powerful computer in the palm of our hands that targets us with advertisements based on our preferences. There’s no shortage of content out there, but how often does it make you think, you know what, I want to discover more about this? 

Have a look at the way you currently deliver your content and see if you can apply these 3 small changes: 

  • People are smarter than you think – don’t over-explain 
  • Incorporate clever print into your campaigns 
  • Use your competitor’s campaigns as examples but try and analyse what could have been done better or more creatively 

It’s all in the delivery. 

So… 

Download our guide. Get brave. Sell more. 

Campaign Checklist: Getting the most out of your LinkedIn campaigns

Whether you’re new to marketing or an experienced marketeer, you need to be considering LinkedIn campaigns as a powerful tool to connect with your target audience.

We’ve created this Campaign Checklist to help you get the most out of your LinkedIn campaigns.

It covers everything from:

  • Account set up
  • Campaign set up
  • Audience
  • Bid and Budget
  • Creative
  • After the campaign launches

Learn more and read the full checklist below.

If you’d like to talk more about developing your marketing strategy and developing your brand’s authenticity, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

It’s time to humanise your marketing approach: why the H2H marketing trend is the key to better customer relationships

In the age of AI, machine learning, big data, and sophisticated automation, human-to-human marketing, or H2H, has emerged as an antidote. Recent times have been trying, to say the least, so where this new model succeeds where others previously failed is the primary focus is on nurturing human relationships and building trust.

H2H differs from B2C and B2B marketing methods. Rather than assessing audiences on data sets, it looks past these segments and focuses on building authentic connections with the people within them; after all, businesses comprise groups of real people.

Why does this matter, and aren’t most of us already doing it?

Well, yes and no, true authenticity comes from real conversations and honest relationships. So, while the individuals in a business might be strong advocates for rapport building, the brand they represent could be anything but, which isn’t exactly seamless in terms of a customer experience. Smart businesses put their people front and centre and speak to their customers with warmth, opening up an honest dialogue about their needs.

The pandemic has been something of an accelerator for H2H

You may have noticed an increase in H2H marketing on LinkedIn, we’ve certainly noticed a growing openness from brands, with many more businesses being honest about the challenges presented by lockdown and remote working, and of course, a welcome, wider conversation around mental health and employee wellbeing.

Brands that actively demonstrated their human-side during the pandemic hit the right note with customers. Pret a Manger offering NHS staff a free hot drink and 50% off other products, addressed what was going on in the world and inspired a sense of togetherness beyond a normal customer transaction. A Kantar survey of more than 35,000 consumers during the crisis revealed that 78% of consumers believed brands should help them in their daily lives, and 75% said brands should inform people of what they’re doing to help. This shows a growing expectation from brands to demonstrate their values and play their part in a compassionate and human way.

It’s also interesting two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers worldwide said that they would buy from a brand or boycott based solely on its position on a social or political issue. That’s not to say you should become an activist for issues you’re not passionate about; it’s simply demonstrating the power of alignment of beliefs and values.

Learn from the disruptors

Disruptor brands have always known the value of authenticity in marketing; speak to your customers like friends, encourage them to participate in your world and become invested in theirs. This is why some brands have enviable memorability, think Dove‘s long-running ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, it was designed for the people who actually buy the product and was based on creating a unique and relatable experience; changing the way beauty products were marked long before the Instagram and influencer marketing boom.

What do businesses need to do to embrace H2H?

Corporates need to think about the future and move from customer-centricity to human centricity not to miss the opportunity. It all starts with a conversation, so it’s important to encourage your organisation’s thought leaders to stick their head above the parapet and join the conversations that matter to your customers. If you’re not already doing it, think about how your culture and brand align. If you’re a fun and caring business behind a corporate façade, it’s time to step forward and change your image. Your customers will thank you for it.

If you’d like to talk more about developing your marketing strategy and developing your brand’s authenticity, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

Need vs Nurture: the critical role Demand Generation has to play

Need vs Nuture

Imagine a perfect sales cycle where you could design a sales strategy furnished with known entities and completely transparent customer behaviour patterns. For example, suppose every last one of your many loyal customers made a healthy, guaranteed minimum annual spend with you every March. In that case, you could happily run your business at a predictable profit as a result. You could readily update your audience with new product information, solidifying their trust and loyalty. But even in this seemingly blissful scenario, what happens when you want to scale your business? You’ve already tapped into your organic audience; how do you then grow beyond that loyal base? There will be people who need your product who are happily buying from a competitor. There will be others who might be the perfect client, they have a clear need for what you provide, but they are new to the market and need education and convincing on even investing in the first place. 

So even in a comfortingly predictable scenario, there are limitations. The reality, of course, is starkly different but the point remains the same. Your future client base comprises prospects at various points in their journey with varying awareness levels of your products and services. Equally, your lead sources will vary from those who googled you with a specific need and proactively contacted you on your website, to others who you actively targeted as part of a campaign and followed up with a call or an email. You have no idea who will account for more of your revenue in three years. 

A successful Demand Generation strategy encompasses the whole journey from serving those with a need for your services to closing customers who are convinced and ready to buy. 

Prospects who find you: 

Even people who actively seek out what you provide need to a clear rationale to buy from you. That means your content and digital strategy needs to deliver a premium user experience, engage and educate your audience and convince them to request more information. Even at this stage, if your audience doesn’t feel like you are invested in their challenges and can’t see any direct benefit from browsing your website, then you are likely missing out on conversions. 68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online but 90% of those searching haven’t made their minds up about a brand before starting their searchThis gives rise to a valuable opportunity, gather insights and serve the content your audience wants to see, show them why they should buy from you. 

Prospects with a defined need for your services: 

Perhaps they’re not ready to buy just yet and need to be nurtured. You need to earn trust and build confidence in your services and approach and vitally, stay in regular contact with valuable content. Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot are hugely beneficial in managing this process, giving you a clear view of your prospect database and the level of engagement within prospect accounts. Research shows that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales and lack of proper lead nurturing techniques could be to blame. 

Prospects who are happy with their current service with another provider: 

Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the provider that responds first, which is a compelling statistic for two reasons: firstly, it demonstrates just how responsive you need to be to win out over the competition. Secondly, it highlights that perhaps your competitor was merely responsive and you could offer a more personal service, far better product/service features or you’re culturally more aligned. There’s only one way to find out, actively target and nurture prospects consistently. If they’re happy with their current provision, respond with engaging and timely content that shows you understand their challenges and their industry. This way, when their contract is up for renewal, or you check-in with a call, they’ll have far greater brand recognition, which is the perfect platform for building rapport. 

If you would like more insight and guidance on putting together a demand generation strategy that actively nurtures prospects through your funnel, get in touch today on 01392 796 702. 

Looking for marketing inspiration during lockdown? Here’s our pick of the best resources to give you a fresh perspective in 2021

We’re all familiar with the hallmarks of lockdown life, it’s our third time around after all! And we also know, from our recent experience, that it’s tough to keep the momentum going and motivations high when the next day resembles the last. So where do you look for marketing inspiration at times like these? We’re not saying your daily walk or view from your kitchen window can’t be the source of great ideas, and nobody can argue with the merits of Tik Tok or your Instagram feed for some much-needed entertainment. But where can you find quality B2B content that really hits the mark?

We’ve curated this short guide to give you our pick of the best, just to get you started.

Free training and courses

Don’t be put off by the gratis nature of these valuable courses:

Google Digital Garage is helping people of all skill levels brush up on their digital marketing skills, absolutely free of charge. There’s 40 hours of learning available with accredited courses covering everything from online advertising to understanding your customers’ online behaviours, and helping you build your online presence. There’s content for everyone from total newbies, to seasoned marketing pros – it’sdefinitely worth a lunch hour browsing session.

For the sheer breadth of courses available, you cannot beat HubSpot Academy for both content and topic coverage. Their courses can help you build a winning social strategy, hone your content marketing skills and empower with the knowledge to execute your plan. Even if you’re not using their platform.

Global leader in the digital learning community, Udemy, have some gems available in their library of free content, courses that cover everything from entry-level programming to how to improve your day to day learning and creativity, there’s also some great personal development courses on creative leadership and agile thinking, if you want to shake up your approach to the day-to-day tasks.

The best of the rest

LinkedIn Learning and Facebook Blueprint have easy to consume, free content that can help you become a social media pro. So, if you’re looking to do more paid-for advertising, or simply want to extend your influence on their platforms, there’s plenty of resources to get you up and running.

Easy listening – marketing podcasts that will inform and inspire

Marketing over Coffee is a weekly podcast that covers the full marketing mix and even some throwbacks to classic campaigns, whether you’re interested in email marketing insights or you’re looking for copywriting tips, this podcast covers it all, including the latest thinking from academics. It’s also more interactive than the standard podcast as the hosts field listener questions and really get into topics.

Marketing Week (MW)an established and trusted voice in the marketing industry, MW’s podcast is exactly what you’d expect, engaging thought leadership from key marketing influencers. It’s a great way to keep up-to-date with the latest news and thinking, including insights from businesses on how they’ve pivoted their marketing strategies in the pandemic.

Salesforce: The Marketing Cloudcast – this weekly marketing and tech podcast delves into Account-Based Marketing and how to futureproof your team to create authentic customer ‘moments’ and experiences.

Not Another Marketing Podcast – a marketing and small business podcast that features big industry topics and interviews with leading digital marketing experts, this podcast is packed with practical advice on how to tackle marketing challenges as specific as ‘How to do personal branding on LinkedIn without shouting’, in an entertaining and candid style.

Resources and tools

The Chartered Institute of Marketing content hub is home to a wealth of articles, podcasts and webinars that challenge the boundaries of marketing ideologies and spark new ways of thinking, there’s plenty of macro thinking as well as quick reads that are useful for marketers in any industry.

HubSpot is a powerful marketing and sales automation tool, it’s also a CRM and can even be your CMS and social scheduler. If you’re looking for free marketing software that has everything you need to start managing your customer experience and building content all under one roof, it’s a great choice that grows symbiotically with your marketing plans. If you’re new to the world of marketing software, HubSpot’s knowledge base provides accessible guides for all common FAQs and some niche ones too.

Hotjar – if you’re looking for ways to improve your website user experience, or you’d like to see some more meaningful analytics on your visitors’ behaviour, Hotjar can offer some clues. You can view heat maps and recordings of sessions to give you a clear view of why users might not be engaging with your content.

This list is just a fraction of the great resources out there. If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you leverage these tools (and others) for success, or work with you to find inspiration for your marketing plans in 2021, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

Unlocking the power of Account Based Marketing (ABM). Could it be right for your business?

Awareness around Account Based Marketing (ABM) has boomed in recent years, but it’s been around since the early 2000s. For resultsdriven marketers, ABM is a dream opportunity to drive enviable ROI, with research showing it easily outstrips other approaches: 97% of marketers surveyed agreed ABM had higher ROI than other marketing activities. 

That’s greatbut what is it? 

Account Based Marketing is a strategic marketing approach whersales and marketing work closely together to target potential high growth and key accounts, either customer or prospect, with tailored messaging focused on their specific challenges. ABM campaigns include targeting individual decision makers within the selected accounts with messaging relevant to their operational challenges. 

With demand generation, the focus is on creating awareness to a larger market and then moving those interested parties through a marketing funnel until they’re ready to make a decisionWhereas ABM efforts focus on a smaller number of key target accounts and operate on the basis of winning high value opportunities, making the initial intensive efforts and investment worthwhile.

(Image: B2BMarketing.net)

There are many clear benefits to developing an ABM programme, including: 

Gives you more focus

Rather than a broad-brush approach, ABM encourages you to focus on those who really need and want your product or serviceBy tailoring the message directly to key decision makers, you’re effectively bypassing the usual awareness building approach and the reward is far greater. 

A higher hit-rate

This is a real opportunity to use highly personalised creative and messaging that cuts through the noise and directly responds to a specific company or department challenge, rather than a broader industry one. This direct response is engaging and rapidly builds trust and rapport, opening the door for a meaningful conversation, and as we’ve already mentioned yields far stronger ROI. 

True collaboration between sales and marketing

ABM requires sales and marketing to work together as a team, using all resources in a focused and efficient way. This means sales teams feel far more supported in their efforts and marketers feel much more engaged with the sales followup process. 

Getting started with ABM 

Now we’re not saying chuck out the marketing mix and put all your eggs in the ABM basket. For some business models, it’s not the right approach (we’ll touch on this later).  But if you’d like to give it a try there are some straightforward ways to get started. 

It’s vital that you set out what you hope to achieve from ABM at the outset of your campaign. Your goals may grow and change over time, but you do need to be clear on what would be a successful resultRemember to be realistic with your goals too, ABM is often a long-term strategy, so don’t expect to see results immediately. 

Do you have the team to execute in-house? It’s vital that you commit the time and the resources to an ABM campaign, if you can’t afford to do this in-house, would you consider outsourcing? 

Run a workshop between marketing and sales where you work out which clients or prospects would be prime for an ABM approach. Decide here if you wish to spread the risk and opt for a one-to-many approach, rather than a one-to-one. 

Now you need to choose your delivery model and start shaping your campaign. Measurement is vital so make sure you have the tools to track your efforts in place. If you’re using a marketing automation tool, ensure your contact data is up to snuff and you’ve mapped your accounts properly. Getting your house in order is crucial before embarking on a detailed and coordinated campaign. 

When ABM might not be right 

While ABM is a tried and tested marketing approach, there are circumstances when it might not be right for you: 

  • You don’t have a clearly defined audience and cannot easily isolate highvalue potential customers – without this knowledge, it’s difficult to get your ABM programme off the ground. 
  • You don’t have the insight to map accounts and create tailored messaging – which is essential for ABM success. 
  • Your sales are largely online rather than led by the sales team – so the sales enablement aspects of your campaign and tailored messaging wouldn’t add value. 
  • Your deal sizes are smaller, and you’d rather sell volume – ABM works on the idea of going deep with select accounts, if your business model is lower transactional value, high volume sales, there are better ways to market your offer (we can help you with those methods too). 

Using ABM to break into new markets 

We are currently working with a French technology company seeking to break into the UK, Nordic and Canadian markets. Our client can define their target market as large businesses processing big data, so it makes sense to target the C-Suite of large household brands. To capture the attention of their desired decision maker, they need to stand out, differentiate themselves effectively and offer maximum value. Their product and their buyer are perfect for an ABM campaign. 

We are validating our client’s target market data, undertaking additional research to build insights that will enhance their campaign and capture and nurture their target decisionmakers. 

Does Account Based Marketing sound like a strategy that could be relevant for your business? If you’d like to find out more about how ABM could work for you, we’d love to help you get started. Get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

Our top tips for creating your 2021 SME business marketing plan

Create your 2021 SME business marketing plan

A year ago, as people sat down to write out their predictions for marketing trends in 2020, nobody could have predicted global shifts in remote working that have changed the way that all businesses connect with their audiencesSMEs have certainly been affected by the pandemic – McKinsey research showing that 80% of UK SMEs have seen a revenue impact from the Covid-19 crisis. This makes an investment in marketing strategy even more vital for SMEs, with a focus on bringing in new customers and reaching new audiences. 

Looking ahead

We can look to the future with hope and research suggests many SMEs are doing just that. A Veem report showed that 53% of small business owners actually expected to see uptake in their business in 2021This is a really encouraging sentiment that demonstrates that for many SMEs, the opportunities that existed before the pandemic still exist. It’s just having a plan to navigate the barriers. That’s where we can help. We’re experts in helping SMEs define and connect with their target market and helping them grow. 

Here’s our 5 top tips for shaping a pandemic-proof marketing plan that’ll help your business fly in 2021: 

1. Digital is the new normalget your house in order

Digital experiences have much higher value than they did pre-pandemic. This means your website and your social media presence needs to be on point, on message and showcasing the benefits of your products and services. User experience remains very important – your call to action and customer journey needs to be clear. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you online and offer an experience that is as seamless and enjoyable as possible so they stay with you for the whole journey. 

2. Develop a content strategy 

If getting your online presence updated is the equivalent of cleaning a house, then an apt analogy for developing your content strategy would be all the valuables inside. Your content strategy is your plan to communicate what your customers need to know and would find useful in ways they’ll enjoy consuming. 

For example, a blog is a meaningful way to combine product benefits with industry insights and will help drive organic traffic through to your site. If your customers enjoy reading your blog, they’ll share it. If it genuinely resonates with their challenges, they will visit your site. You can publish it in more than one channel and adapt messaging and themes for your social content. 

3. Up your social game

This neatly brings us on to social media. It’s more vital than ever that small businesses are active and engaged on social platforms. This means engaging on your page and demonstrating that you can solve a customer’s problem and care about their experience. It’s a shift from transactional selling to a relationship based one but it’s a valuable differentiation to make and one that will ensure greater customer loyalty and advocacy in the long-term. We can help you develop targeted social campaigns and shape messaging that will resonate with your customers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

4. Authentic and socially conscious

Influencer marketing is set to continue growing in 2021 but don’t worry if you haven’t got an A-list budget, some of the best performing posts on social come from users and advocates. 2020 has seen a shift towards heightened value on meaningful digital experiences, increased authenticity and higher engagement with socially conscious brands. This is a natural reflection of the times we live in, so don’t be afraid to stand for something. If being a brand activist isn’t for you, that’s okay, just work on communicating with your customers in an honest and straightforward way and if you can get them to sing your praises on social, it will resonate with your desired audience.

5. Boldly uncover new opportunities

In tough times it’s tempting to play it safe and refrain from starting something new; the catch 22 is that new activity is exactly what will guarantee a healthy supply of new customers in 2021. If your inbound enquiries have dropped off, we can work with you to create demand generation campaigns that will build and nurture your key prospects and relationships and convert them into engaged customers. We use all of the aforementioned tactics and mediums plus more to deliver relevant content and messaging to your target audience and produce marketing qualified leads (MQLs) for your sales team to follow up. 

If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you create a marketing strategy that will ensure your business grows and thrive in 2021, get in touch today on 01392 796 702. 

What it means to you, to work with a HubSpot Solutions Partner marketing agency?

Last month Roots became an official HubSpot Solutions Partner. Our team were very excited because for an ambitious start-up like Roots, we love the idea of being affiliated with such a huge, successful brand. 

But – what’s the benefit of this new affiliation to our prospects and clients? Because ultimately, they are more important than just a great new title. 

We completely agree, we are not the sort of agency that runs after fluffy titles and affiliations just to make us sound good. In fact, that is the exact thing that we advise our clients not to do, so we certainly wouldn’t be doing it ourselves. As part of our partnership discussions with HubSpot, we did a lot of our own exploration to fully understand what this partnership will mean for our prospects and client base. 

So, what does it mean? 

The biggest and most obvious benefit is accessing HubSpot. There are many, many different CRM systems available on the market but there are very few at sensible price points for B2B businesses that allow marketing, sales, service, and IT teams to collaborate, removing friction from the buyer’s journey. HubSpot use inbound as a methodology for growing your organisation. It’s based on building meaningful, lasting relationships with your prospects and customers through valuable content and experiences. It’s also about valuing and empowering these people to reach their goals at any stage in their journey with you. 

Alongside this inbound methodology, the other big benefit is having all touchpoints under one roof creating ‘one version of the truth’. By this we mean that many businesses fall into a similar situation where – sales use the CRM (when they remember), marketing are working from that CRM but also from an emailing platform, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google AdWords, WordPress etc and service or Account Managers are using spreadsheets or another separate system to manage clients/customers.  

This structure means that data is stored in many different platforms so you may not see a clear picture of your prospects or clients/customers – not being able to see a clear picture means you’re restricted in making overall decisions on customer journey, touchpoints, marketing success because your data points are not joined up. Whereas, getting all this data within one platform opens up huge opportunities to understand more about your customer journey, your marketing and sales touchpoints and the ability to pull reports on this data to better understand and compare it.

Image courtesy of HubSpot. 

As HubSpot Partners we are constantly understanding more efficient and effective ways to manage your marketing within this platform. This means that we are focused on crafting programmes of marketing activity which is entirely focused on delivering results aligned to your objectives. Utilising the HubSpot platform to deliver, optimise and transparently report on this activity. This is something that Roots has been passionate about since it’s inception but partnering with a piece of technology that enables us to achieve this more efficiently is of huge benefit to our prospects and clients. 

Do you now have to use HubSpot to work with us? 

In short the answer is no. We are always open to working with clients who use other CRM systems or are launching themselves so have CRM in place. But it will always be our recommendation to have a system, like HubSpot, that allows all your data to be kept in one place to make our marketing efforts and your marketing investment more efficient to deliver success. 

If you are looking for guidance on your marketing strategy or activity, or you’d like to discuss HubSpot as a CRM for your business, get in touch today to find out more. Call us on: 01392 796702.

Make them buy into you! Build and leverage your personal brand on LinkedIn.

We all know the phrase first impressions count. Thanks to social media, that first impression now happens before your first meeting with a client. Your social presence, specifically LinkedIn, is a fantastic opportunity for you to breathe life into your business, showing people the personality behind the brand.

Research shows a direct correlation between time spent on developing your personal brand and consumer trust. 82% of customers trust a company when their senior management members are active on social media (GoGulf, 2013).89% of top performing sales people say social networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, are important in closing deals and are part of their sales strategy (SuperOffice, 2020)So this tells us the old adage still rings true – people buy from people and connections matter.

Check out the competition

This is an important litmus test. Before you can start developing your social strategy and content plans, it’s vital to research what your competitors are doing on LinkedIn and use it to your advantage. Look at their most successful posts. What types of content do the people in your desired market engage with? What are the key themes that people are discussing? Think about how you could create content that responds to the conversations you’re seeing in the comments, or start a conversation that matters to you.

Define your tone of voice

When everyone is talking, it’s hard to cut through the noise and make an impression. It’s not about being bold and extrovert. Ithat’s simply not you, it won’t ring true with your audience. Try to find your authentic voice, own your material and don’t be afraid to voice your opinions. Remember, you’re an expert in your business and there’s nobody who knows that story better than you. If you need help telling it, that’s OK. A trusted provider can help guide you on that and draw out the key elements your audience will find most engaging.

Getting started

A basic but important first step is to ensure your profile is up to dateAs mentioned previously, first impressions count and if your profile doesn’t reflect your current role or campaigns you’re working on, it’s going to jar with your audience. Take control of this and let people know you’ve got it covered. Think of it as your own personal elevator pitch. Let people know that connecting with you will open the door to interesting content and opportunities.

Consistency matters

It’s easy to get caught up with posting furiously when you start out because enthusiasm is high, then letting it slide during more hectic times. Consistency is the key to success. An easy way to stay on track is to put together a content schedule. Planning ahead doesn’t mean a dearth of creativity – mix up scheduled content with more spontaneous posts that capitalise on topical industry news.

Content rules

Everyone talks about engaging content but think hard about what this means to you. Maybe you’re a natural storyteller who finds it easy to weave the fabric of daily business life into anecdotes and thoughts that spark ideas. Maybe you’re a direct person who sees something incredible and can’t help but hit share. Whatever your preferred methods, write content that’s enjoyable to read and include relevant hashtags for your industry and target audience. You can even see how many people are following that hashtag just by searching for it (no magic required!).

Get connected

LinkedIn is all about connections; even the biggest influencers send regular InMails and invest time and attention to growing their network through quality, shareable content. They do it because they know it’s the key to staying relevant and part of the conversation.

Join the industry groups that are relevant to your business. This is not only great for refining your content strategy; it provides valuable insight into your customers challenges. If you see a conversation where you can solve a customer problem or offer relevant advice or insight, don’t be afraid to join in. The same principle applies to companies in your target markethit follow, pay attention and engage with their posts.

Connect to people you’ve met at events and webinars. You have a golden opportunity to check in and take that conversation forward. When you’re connecting to people within your industry and target audience – always use a personalised messageThe personal touch will be appreciated and give you the opportunity to have a meaningful on-going conversation that could lead somewhere mutually beneficial.

Don’t forget to review the ‘people also viewed’ section. The great thing about LinkedIn is even with a free account you can build a solid base of qualified contacts, and a little desk research can help you build out a decision-maker map that could be extremely valuable for future campaigns.

Beyond the basics

If you have a company page, utilise the 100 credits available per month to invite your connections to follow the page. 1 invite = 1 credit. When the invitation is accepted, the credit is returned for you to use again, and you’ll receive 100 new credits on the 1st of each calendar month. Don’t let them go to waste as this is a quick and effective way to grow your audience.

If you have the means, it’s worth upgrading to a Premium account or Sales Navigator to take advantage of additional features such as CRM integrations and custom lists. Consider sending regular InMails to engage with your audience – it’s a valuable campaign tool you can easily align with any other regular digital communications and email marketing campaigns.

Invest the time and you will see the benefit

Schedule time in your day to work on your personal brand. If you don’t have the time and headspace to give it the attention it deserves, we can help.

Roots to Market help individuals and businesses unlock the power of a thriving personal brand. We build intelligent marketing capabilities using a mixture of proven marketing tactics to reach your target audience and produce marketing qualified leads for your sales team.

If you’d like to talk more about how we can drive tangible results from your social channels and personal branding strategy, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

Responding to market changes

Let’s not dwell on the obvious that Covid-19 has been tough for almost every business, in every country across the globe. But instead of this being a blog to discuss the challenges this pandemic has presented, the need for businesses to ‘pivot’ or indeed the ‘recipe’ to solve the problems we have been facing – this blog is going to focus on the thing that we can do something about – the future. 

We don’t know what the state of the future looks like yet, but we know that collectively as businesses we must be responding to market changes, adapt and thrive to be successful. So, where do you start? 

Time to review 

Now is the time to review – look at what marketing activity and campaigns you have run previously. Take the time to really analyse the contributions they made to your business both from a brand, pipeline building and sales perspective. Use this review time to pick apart and really question what saw good return-on-investment (ROI), what learnings you can take and utilise in the future, and what you know you wouldn’t repeat. 

This is true of all functions within your business, not just marketing. Investing the time in reviewing now will help you scope out the ‘plan of attack’ when the markets begin to turn. 

Take this review and create a big picture 

One of the recommendations we share with clients when we are working on strategies is to look at the bigger picture and then break that down into sub-sections or projects which fit within departments. The big picture should be holistic and joined up, driving the business in the chosen direction. Each departments goals and directions should then feed off of this overall picture. 

For example – if your business is made up of direct customers and resellers, your overall big picture goal might be to move your business towards a model that sees 75% of your sales coming from resellers and 25% coming from direct customers. If your marketing team then went away and spent 60% of your marketing budget with a campaign focused purely on driving more direct customers into the business rather than resellers – it would be totally misaligned to the big picture direction of the business. 

Each key department needs to understand the big picturebe bought into the journey and have departmental goals that are aligned. 

Re-strategise 

Many businesses will have had a strategy they were working towards before Covid-19 struck. A small number of businesses may be able to continue working on this strategy if it is still correct to their business and they were not as affected by the pandemic. 

For everyone else, it’s time to re-strategise with your big picture in mind. 

For many businesses, the pandemic will have lost you customers who cancelled, paused or simply didn’t begin working with you at the time. For some businesses it will have lost you staff, and you are now facing running the business without certain skills or the same amount of resource available to satisfy your strategy. 

You need an up-to-date strategy that is going to work for your business of today, not your pre-Covid-19 business. Not only have you changed, but your market is likely to have changed also  buying confidence levels are unlikely to be where they were a few months ago, so how you engage with your market maybe different. Your conversations maybe different, your pipeline timingscontent may need to change, and ultimately your sales process may actually be longer or shorter and you have to be prepared for that. 

A step ahead  

Being a step ahead, even if the prospect of the future is unsure is healthy for your business. Utilising the time to review, begin to re-strategise, take time to understand the current economy and start responding to market changes. 

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin 

If you’d like our help with marketing strategy, get in touch today or call us on 01392 796702 to find out how we can help your business. Our sister company Air Marketing has more advice on responding to market changes in their blog: Whatever you do, don’t stop selling.