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Develop Long-Term Relationships vs One Night Stands!

b2bIs there a downturn in your business? Do you struggle to attract new clients? If so, then it’s time for a turning point and an update in your client acquisition strategy.

For many companies, especially in the B2B sector, new business development is definitely one of the most challenging aspects to ensure growth. This is often due to two things. Firstly, B2B clients are time poor, unless your prospective client is completely dazzled by your service/product after the initial meeting, be ready to go through a medium- to long-term process of regular communication before you turn them from “prospects” to “clients”.

Secondly, agencies tend to be stuck with the old fashion outbound marketing strategy to attract new customers. Wrong! If you consider yourself as a cutting-edge agency, adopt a revolutionary and effective inbound marketing strategy and tempt new businesses to come to you!

From blogging to social media, Oxxygen will share tips that allow you to fuel your B2B growth and become an inbound marketing guru!

  • Cherish your referral sources

Previous clients, current clients, partners, friends, family, all your social connections are a source of referrals. Cultivate all these relationships to make your company top of mind when they come across a business opportunity relating to your service/product. Become social proof by keeping in touch with them, showing interest, inviting your best clients to attend events together, and more. You will realise how powerful your network is for the growth of your business!

  • Promote you website

You need to put yourself in your client’s shoes. What would you do if you are looking for a specific service? Here is the answer: Your first reflex will be to look for it online. Your website is a 24/7 window to your company! It must accurately represent your business and your values. Often your website is the first port of call, so you have to make every effort to ensure that your website represents your business values, reflect your corporate personality online, and positions you as an industry expert.

  • Start, publish and monitor a blog

Share your knowledge! Not all of it though, through your blog you can give tasters of valuable and helpful information. A blog has two major functions. Firstly, it provides valuables tips and advice to your website and blog visitors/readers. The thought leadership blogs show your expertise and professionalism in the industry to every prospect. Secondly, by putting strategic words in your blog post, you will encourage search engines to drive the right people to your website. More website traffic means, more awareness and eventually more prospects and more business!

  • Get active on social media

Of course, your ideal clients are businesses but remember that individuals are the real decision makers and all of them are active on at least one or more social media platforms. Social media is now one of the most efficient way for networking. It allows you to share content, spread ideas, and manage your image with the ultimate goal of creating a community around your brand. The more you get people positively talking about your company, the more people are convinced your company is the right choice, thus higher the chances of gaining new prospect and clients. Remember, the equation is: Grow your business by increasing your visibility!

  • Have a long-term perspective

Inbound marketing strategy is a time consuming method; it takes time and sometimes it might not deliver the expected results. When you start, do not expect it to be an overnight success that brings you in leads within weeks. Sometimes it takes months even years before a client signs the dotted line on your contract.  Remember this about developing meaningful long-term relationships that isn’t a one night stand!

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Word of mouth is no longer on the street, but on the digital highway! #Hashtags

hashtag

Social media is an integral part of any marketer’s toolkit that is worth their salt. Managing an integrated social media campaign as part of your business strategy is essential, rather than just an afterthought! People often tend to underestimate the power of social media tools and the benefits they deliver for a company’s image and the powerful community it creates around their brand. Word of mouth is no longer on the street, but on the digital highway!

Now the question is, how to best use each channel and get the most out of them. At Oxxygen we realise that social media may seem a bit tricky and daunting for some businesses, but it isn’t! You just need to cleverly invest your time and be consistent! We’re here to help and will write several blogs on how to use social media.

  • Topical Hashtags

For quick wins try joining current and popular hashtag conversations related to your brand and message. This puts you in the forefront of an already engaged audience and heightens the exposure of your message. Someone else did all the hard work.

  • Make sure your hashtag is new

A hashtag does not always have to name your brand or company name; however it does have to represent your brand and values. It needs to be a catchy word or phrase that embodies your company. By using hashtags you create communities around keywords/phrases and build a network that is talking about and spreading the word for your business. Now do make sure that your chosen hashtag is original and not already in use, you can use the Twitter search function https://twitter.com/search-home to cross check. Making sure that you have an original hashtag for your company and brand increases the chances of interacting with the right target market and avoid confusion with any other businesses, especially competitors.

  • Choose a precise hashtag for a specific community/target/audience

Once you decide on new hashtags, make sure you choose a community that shares the same interest as you about a specific theme, for example Oxxygen’s theme is strategic marketing. The more specific you are with your keyword, the more targeted your audience is. When your audience feel that you share a particular interest in the same topic as them, then the engagement around your business starts taking off. This is where the Twitterful magic starts! You create a dedicated community around your brand who effectively become online brand champions for you.

  • Promote/communicate every hashtag into your others social media channels

The main purpose of using hashtags on Twitter is to engage people with your topic and generate conversation through your hashtags. For this to happen, you must be consistent with the use of these hashtags. Make sure you use the same hashtag for the same topic in every one of your social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). This allows people to make the connection between each of your platforms and also maintain the consistency of your message.

  • KISS – Keep It Short Silly

Remember you only have 140 characters for each tweet (including hashtags), so make sure you keep it short and easy to recognise.  Plus, it will allow your audience to retweet your tweets and add their own little comments to it.

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End-To-End Exhibition – Part 3 – Post-Exhibition

follow-upAfter all the excitement at the exhibition, here comes the last and final phase where you need to keep your mind focused: the Post-Exhibition stage.

People often underestimate this stage and fail to realise the full potential of a good follow up process. The whole event would be a waste of time unless you are ready to dedicate the time and effort to follow up all prospects. Your window of opportunity is small as you need to keep top of mind, which is when you have to make contact with them (before the competition does!). As they say, strike while the iron is hot!

3. Post Exhibition

  • Standard email/letter template

Set up a standard email/letter template which you send to your prospect database, this letter will allow you to thank all your visitors for visiting your stand and to again give them basic information about your company and further website links for more information.  Do not forget to attach your brochure/prospectus with the email/letter you send out. The most important objective of the message you send is to let your prospects know that a member of the team will contact them in the next few days in order to consider their requirements more in detail.

  • Organise and categorise your leads

Now that you have sent your general follow-up message to all your leads, here comes the next important step, following up with each prospect, individually.

Following a successful exhibition you will have a large database of leads which you should categorise according to the respective level of urgency and importance: hot, warm and cold.  Categorise every prospect and focus on the hot leads first, making the follow up process more effective and successful.

Ensure that your team-members understand how to follow up with each type of lead and what they should say and ask. For example for a “hot” prospect you would give them a personal call 3-4 days following the exhibition and organise a face to face meeting showing your engagement and interest to work with them. For a “cold” prospect you might want to send out a series of emails to first of all gauge interest, find out if it’s worth further follow up, and if so, set up a telcon. Maintaining a centralised database will allow all members of your team to be aware of the progress on each prospect and makes the process manageable.

  • Define your team’s tasks

Depending on your numbers of prospects, you might need to split the categorised list and get several members of your team involved in the follow-up process. The best way to split up would be by hot, warm or cold prospects or depending on your business. Take the time to brief every one about what you are expecting from each category and what their objectives are. You can set up a target number of meetings or conversions that you would like each team member to achieve as well as potential incentives when they hit the numbers.

  • Evaluate your follow-up process

Now that you have taken the first steps of your follow-up process, it is important to consistently update your database with the latest prospect information. This phase will help you to correctly manage every lead and achieve their needs. It will also allow you to determine whom you really want to take a step further. A “hot” prospect at the first stage might become a “warm” one and vice versa.

This review process is also an efficient way to evaluate the whole exhibition and determine if it is worthwhile attending again. Getting at least 5 times return on your investment is a good indication of the exhibition’s success.  Say you invest £10,000 on the exhibition and the prospects you converted are worth £50,000, then by our calculations you’ve had a successful exhibition!