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Cornerstone Communications, ltd is a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm specializing in small to mid-size business growth, branding, strategic communications, reputation marketing, and more.

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Preparing To Market Your Business In 2018

Brooke Greenwald

It’s almost November and both companies – and people – are planning their marketing and sales efforts for 2018.  While 2017 was the year of backlinks, funnels, and downloadable content, personalization is the driver for 2018.  Regardless of how you want to reach your targets next year, it’s important to maintain the inside track on their needs before that first call is ever made. 

 

There are so many different ways to do this, but the most efficient way is through the use of intent signal data.  For those of you that don’t know about this yet, intent signals come from the digital trail we leave behind as we search Google, and other sites, across the Internet for information on any given subject.  Companies can trace these digital breadcrumbs, aggregate them together, and now, in real-time, create a picture of a company’s needs, and even their purchasing timing.  By using reliable intent signal data, a company can recognize when a given target is seeking more and more information on a key subject or area, and then personalize their information, show their value, and build trust with a target, even before the first sales call.

Technology, when used properly, enables us to get in front of a sale, but its true partner is personalization.  Personalization engages the reader, builds trust with him/her, and enables us to present, for lack of a better way of saying this, a digital welcome mat, everywhere from a website, to a downloadable document, and beyond.  The secret is out.  When we personalize an experience for someone, they are more engaged.  Every analyst firm has discussed this and continues to do so. 

 

Considering this, and understanding that companies are planning their marketing for 2018 now, it’s a good time to address some of the areas where personalization truly makes a difference.  Here are the Top 5 places that personalization can really enhance your sales and marketing efforts.

 

1)    Your Website.  Personalizing the visit to your website means longer, stronger engagement with your content.  This can be done in many ways – from a welcome pop-up to a personalized page.  Whatever route you choose, remember your goal should be long-term engagement.

2)    Email.  Did you know that MarketingLand gathered data this year and discovered that “Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates but 70% of brands fail to use them?”  This is a stunning statistic when you think about it.  Even scarier in their analysis is the fact that “70% of brands fail to use them.”  If we could improve this staggering statistic by even 25% that would mean a staggering increase in both responsiveness which, in turn, translates to more sales.  A great way to do this is to send emails from a person to a person.  It may sound simple but, time and time again, studies have shown that the majority of companies forget this key common sense-based tactic.

3)    Create targeted LinkedIn Company Product Page Variations.  LinkedIn company pages are a great tool for personalizing products and services.  They are easy to put together and you can even create personalized messages where based on demographic information such as industry, job function, and more.  This is an excellent way to target different products to different users, and to add or change your content regularly, from special offers to newsworthy information.

4)    Respond to customers and prospects in social media.  Social media is not only timely, but also another excellent way to personalize content and show responsiveness to readers.  Make sure your social media is being monitored in real-time, so you can answer questions, include additional information that has never been seen before, or engage industry thought leaders on your behalf.  Don’t forget to tag a prospect or company in your social media positively…they’ll see your tag, which makes your job much easier.

5)    Personalize your blogging experience.  Writing about something you are an expert about in your blogs is important; getting an industry expert or thought leader to contribute is even better.  Use the intelligence you’ve gathered on your targets to create your blog calendar and fill it.  If you know what information your targets are learning about, and you fit the bill, include a blog on the subject.  When you show you are an industry expert, your targets become more engaged with you, and realize you can solve their problem, not to mention as the industry thought leader you are. 

 

In short, personalizing your engagement is actually much easier than it seems.  Creativity, ingenuity, and timely tactics will help any company effectively market themselves – or their products in 2018.  When planning your marketing and sales efforts, consider these tips.  You’ll increase your engagement, build trust with your audience, and get the word out about your business -- in real-time.