Today, your pipeline depends on digital marketing. Customers aren’t taking the time to talk to your sales team before making a purchase; instead, they’re often relying solely on the information they find about you online to decide whether or not to work with your company.

Because of this, it’s crucial that you understand and maximize your digital marketing strategy to attract and nurture leads through the sales pipeline all the way to close. As a business leader, you must ensure your marketing team is leveraging tactics that will actually support your brand and increase revenue. Here are the tools and trends proven to grow your sales pipeline:

Mobile
Today, 42 percent of mobile users consider mobile the most important resource in their purchasing process. Mobile isn’t the next frontier in business, it’s what’s happening now. When Google changed their algorithm to favor mobile-friendly sites in April, it became essential for businesses to have a mobile site. (read more…)

When Old Navy turned 20 last year, they held a celebration meant to put the spotlight back on their fans — as well as earn some real-world buzz. Using 20-foot machines in Times Square and Hollywood, they recreated rasterized images of their fans’ selfies by blowing up nearly 1,000 balloons.

How it works: Fans tweet a photo to Old Navy with #selfiebration, Old Navy’s community managers manually approve and prep the images, the machines illustrate them in balloons, and Old Navy creates a gif to tweet back to the fan of their selfie being blown up.

But to make it a success, Old Navy’s Associate Marketing Manager of Social and Digital Media Angela Scibelli says they worked across teams to develop a fully integrated campaign. In her presentation at SocialMedia.org’s Member Meeting, Angela shares these key points:

  • Influencers can be more powerful than you think. Angela’s team worked to create a party-like atmosphere around the physical spaces by bringing in social media influencers to pump up the crowd.
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I work in an industry that has a unique training process.

Experiential marketing takes part-time, temporary employees and quickly turns them into go-to experts on products and brands — otherwise known as “brand ambassadors.” When you speak with a brand ambassador at an event, it’s possible that he has only been representing that brand for less than a day.

This need for instant expertise is a challenge, but it also provides great lessons to other industries that are looking to hone their training processes.

Typically, managers want to spend days or weeks training new employees before turning them loose in a real-world setting. But employees usually learn more on their first real day of work than they do during the entire simulated training process.

Why on-the-job training works

On-the-job training puts employees in a sink-or-swim situation. If they don’t quickly master their duties, they risk making themselves and their new employer look bad. (read more…)

Given all of the pronouncements regarding the failing health of organic social media, we’re reminded of the peasant in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” who cries, “I’m not dead yet!” only to be clubbed on the head shortly thereafter. Though the reach of organic social media has continued its downward spiral, there are glimmers of hope among best-in-class practitioners who are cleverly avoiding the death knell.

1. Celebrity engagement

At the recent Social Media Shake-up, John Yembrick of NASA dazzled the crowd with myriad examples of opportunistic engagement. One involved Justin Bieber, who happened to mention on Twitter that he was interested in doing a concert in space. \NASA not only responded, “Maybe we can help you with that,” but also added a clever wink to Biebers song “All Around the World.” Needless to say, the “Beliebers” went crazy over this reply, which ended up generating millions of impressions among a young audience that NASA very much wants to inspire. (read more…)

You understand the value of referrals. With the goal of attracting new business coming in so high on the list of firms’ marketing priorities, it’s no surprise that the desire to generate more referrals remains a key marketing initiative. But in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, traditional referrals from clients alone aren’t enough to accelerate growth

With this in mind, the Hinge Research Institute set out to rethink referral marketing and determine how successful firms are capitalizing on referrals today. After gathering responses from over 500 professional services firms, we found that 81.5% of service providers have received a referral from someone who wasn’t a former client.

This suggests that truly effective referral marketing needs to include strategies for generating referrals from both clients and non-clients. But where do these non-client referrals come from? Well, we discovered that most non-client referrals are a result of your firm’s reputation and expertise. In fact, we found there are actually three types of referrals that firms can utilize to attract more new business:

  • Experience-based referrals are traditional client referrals.
  • (read more…)