This week’s Weekly Articles looks at a variety of topics from Twitter, search to spamming bloggers. Another interesting article highlights lead scoring benefits and how sometimes a bad pitch isn’t really a bad pitch. You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues or subscribe to the Weekly Articles Feed.
If you feel that you have an article that would fit in the weekly articles, leave a comment and I’ll check it our for the following week’s digest. Enjoy.
Tweets for You – David Berkowitz of Search Insider does a great job reviewing tools that can help you search on Twitter. Frankly, Twitter is losing out on a huge opportunity here. Instead of inserting ads in the tweets, they could have done a Tweetsearch and done a similar model to Google. Lost opportunity anyone?
Out of Focus – The Church of the Customer highlights how Vocus’ practices are pissing off bloggers. I thankfully haven’t had the “honor” of being added to this database, but they have pissed me off by incessantly calling me for services. I told them to stop calling.
Blending the New with the Old – Center for Media Research highlights a new report on blended search results.
“Since users have historically ignored the vertical offerings of the major search engines, a marketer might conclude that users aren’t interested in that type of content, and as a result, not invest in producing or optimizing digital assets,” said Robert Murray, President, iProspect. “But that would be a mistake – the findings of this study make that quite clear. Marketers have a great opportunity to claim more search shelf space by optimizing their news, image, and video assets.”
Respecting Embargoes – Rick Turoczy of CenterNetworks writes the first of three parts of how to manage the embargo process with bloggers. Check out my previous post about embargoes in the brave new world of PR.
The Value of Lead Scoring – Laura Ramos wrote a post about the value of lead scoring for determining campaign effectiveness. This was prompted by her recent briefing with Eloqua. It’s surprising to me that lead scoring is not a normal part of marketing. Maybe I’m spoiled that my company has incorporated lead scoring into our products.
Good Pitch, Yet Could’ve Been Better – Scott Monty of Social Media Marketing highlights a recent pitch titled “Do Taxes and Social Media Mix?” At first, he thought it was a spam pitch but realized that there was relevance to his blog. His post highlights the importance of participating or being more relevant to getting a pitch noticed. He succinctly states:
“I probably would have been even more likely to pay attention to it had the author been participating in my community, used a different subject line or been a little less scripted in her email.”
Our goal as PR professionals is to determine how our efforts impact the company’s objectives. There are lots of ways that PR is measured with regard to brand building and thought leadership. Since working in-house, I’m getting a glimpse of how PR directly impacts my organization’s sales lead generation initiative and overall sales cycle.
The crude PowerPoint representation (to left)provides a rudimentary look at the sales cycle and how PR fits into this process. This is based partially on my personal PR experience, and some insights drawn from reading MarketingSherpa’s recent report and other sources.
Simply put, there are four steps from identifying sales prospects to closing a sale with this prospect:
- Prospect: This is your target audience. These are the pool of people that you’re trying to reach and educate about your product, service or solutions.
- Lead: This is when you are able to get the contact information from your target audience. This includes completing a contact me form on your website, buying a list of names, dropping a business card at a tradeshow, and other ways.
- Qualified Lead: Even if that person proactively came to your website and requested more information, you want to confirm that the person is truly interested in considering your company. You “qualify” the lead based on what the lead wants to do and if your company can provide what she is looking for.
- Sales: Through all this effort, the ultimate goal is to finalize the sale and secure a signed contract.
There are several ways that PR fits into this process, from building awareness to influencing the sales process. Here is how some PR tactics can be leveraged throughout each phase of the sales cycle:
- Prospects – build and maintain awareness: When preparing to consider a technology solution, prospects research information on the available companies and technologies. Being able to “touch” this prospect through multiple channels is key. Media coverage, research papers, trade show presence, speaking opportunities and blogs are a good way to reach this audience.
- Leads – educate: Once a prospect becomes a lead, education is important to move the prospect to the next stage. Webinars, podcasts, and videos (not the viral type) are ways to educate your leads, while creating a personal connection with your company.
- Qualified Sales Leads – influence peer and industry: A qualified lead is someone who is in the midst of weighing different options. In addition to education, this person will look to peers and industry experts to validate her decision to move forward with you or a competitor. At this stage, social media provides a level of community validation, with customers and analysts providing third party validation for your solutions.
Close Sales – build community: I remember hearing that it’s easier to build business with a happy customer then trying to find new business to replace an unhappy one. Building a community helps you to hear about issues and respond to your customers, while building evangelists for your business.
In the end, each stage builds upon one another. One PR tactic, such as a feature article, may have more influence than another for a sale. However, developing a PR strategy that captures a prospect/lead at multiple points throughout the sales cycle, will have a stronger impact on that company’s business in the long run.
The more I understand PR’s role to drive this process, the better I can identify the channels by which to focus my attention on. And hopefully, identify the metrics that truly matter for underscoring PR’s impact.
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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