Best Social Media Management Tools 2015

Managing your social media channels can be time-consuming and therefore, expensive. Finding a great social media management tool for your business is the key to maximising the impact and ROI of this precious time resource. Despite the costs involved social media is here to stay and can be a super way of engaging with customers and finding new ones. So this begs the question – what’s the best social media management tool for my business?

Great news – the team at Seriously Social, has created an infographic comparing the best Social Media Management tools in 2015 based on user reviews collected by G2Crowd. Want to find a social media management tool that streamlines activities, cuts down on time pulling together reports and analytics and offer competitive metrics for benchmarking purposes?  This is the infographic for you – see it in full below.

So What’s the Best Social Media Management Tool?

Having reviewed the cool infographic, I’m delighted to see that the tool I recommend, AgoraPulse, comes very highly recommended – scoring top or close to top in all categories – including best value! It’s not just the high scoring that’s so impressive.  This is a real David and Goliath story with the small, committed team of 13 souls at AgoraPulse pitted against the goliath of HootSuite, Hootsuite has raised $260M and has a team of 550 employees. Just goes to show bigger isn’t always better!

Check out the infographic below to see the full findings.

The Top 4 Rated Social Media Management Tools of 2015 Infographic brought to you by Seriously Social and G2 Crowd

 You can read the original Seriously Social  article here. If you want some advice on what the best social media platforms are for your business or how you can boost your online sales with our internet marketing expertise, please don’t hesitate to give EzSales a call on 0862108821 or use the contact form on our website. Hou can also check us out here on LinkedIN.

What is Google AdWords Remarketing?

Increase online conversions for your business using Google AdWords Remarketing

Google AdWords Remarketing is the next generation of online marketing opportunities. It is sophisticated, measurable and will unlock the potential of your online presence by increasing sales and generating quality leads for your business.

Remarketing in itself is not a new concept. Savvy marketers know the value of repeat business and qualified leads. Targeting existing and potential customers who meet certain criteria can deliver excellent ROI.

What is Google AdWords Remarketing?

Remarketing with Google AdWords allows businesses to target people who have already visited their website with online adverts as they browse the web.  Think about the potential of that for a second. These people have already visited that business’s website, they are aware of the brand and some need they are looking to fulfil has already brought them to the site. Thanks to the sophisticated targeting options available via Google AdWords Remarketing, business owners and marketers can now unlock the potential of that visit.

How does Google AdWords Remarketing Work?

Google Analytics is a free tool many businesses use to analyse website traffic. Analytics works using a tracking cookie; when a visitor lands on a web page the tracking cookie is triggered and stays on the visitor’s computer for a period of time. Google AdWords Remarketing works by recognising that cookie and displaying ads as the visitor continues to browse the web.

Google remarketing requires a slight change to the Google Analytics tracking code and that Analytics and AdWords are connected. It should be noted that Google Remarketing can be used for both display and search advertising campaigns.

What are the capabilities of Google AdWords Remarketing?

I have already mentioned that Google Remarketing is a sophisticated tool, with wide-reaching capabilities. Like any good database, segmenting potential customers based on various key attributes is vital. Google Remarketing comes with several pre-defined marketing lists, and multiple remarketing lists can exist on one website. Users can customise the parameters of their own remarketing lists in AdWords using the Rule Builder, which is mainly URL based. Because Google Remarketing leverages the best of AdWords and Analytics businesses can also create remarketing lists in Analytics based on Custom Segments and then use those lists to retarget visitors via AdWords.

When creating a remarketing list in Analytics, business owners can use any of four predefined segments:

  • All users to your site
  • Users to a specific page or area of your site
  • Users who completed a specific conversion or goal (These must be enabled, set up and triggering conversions)
  • Smart Lists  – Users that Google determines, via machine learning, to be viable candidates

There is also a fifth option. Users who match the criteria of a segment you configure based on Analytics Dimensions and Metrics. Segmenting by Analytics Dimensions and Metrics is a powerful tool. Here are some examples of Analytics Dimensions and Metrics.

Dimensions Metrics
E-commerce Transactions – the number of transactions the user has completed. Per user, per session,  <, >, = etc.
Gender Male, female
Device category Desktop, Tablet, or Mobile.
Location – where visitors are from Country, Region, City
Medium – the mediums which referred traffic. Organic, Direct(none), AdWords

 

When creating a remarketing list in Analytics it is necessary to specify the AdWords account in which that list is available. That list then functions the same way as any remarketing list created within AdWords.

How do I apply Remarketing to my business?

Here are some examples of how business owners could apply Google Remarketing to their online advertising campaigns with the goal of increased sales and leads.

Example One – Abandoned Shopping Cart

Online retailers can retarget abandoned shopping carts in multiple ways, via both search and display campaigns. Remarketing lists can handle multiple parameters. By creating a custom combination list that includes all visitors who put something in their cart but excludes customers who completed a purchase; businesses can retarget these customers. A remarketing list like this can be easily created using the URL Rule Builder in AdWords.

This can be further fine-tuned based on the product category of the item the person added to the cart. This requires the implementation of custom parameters to build more advanced remarketing lists in AdWords, but is highly recommended for online retailers.

Example Two – Hotel Wishing to Generate More Wedding Enquiries

Create a remarketing list that includes visitors to the wedding pages of the hotel website. A good strategy for the hotel to implement when creating this remarketing list would be to add a parameter that excludes visitors below a minimum time on the page. This may be a good way to segment out less qualified leads.

Follow up by creating a remarking campaign in Google AdWords to retarget these potential customers with creative visuals and strong calls to action.

Example Three – Target customers who have previously converted and who have recently visited your website.

Targeting high value, repeat customers seems like a good strategy to me!  This is an example of a Google Analytics Segment that includes UK or Irish customers who have previously bought on the site, and have visited the site in the past 14 days. It can be used to create a Remarketing list.

Once you have selected the AdWords account to associate the remarketing list with, this custom remarketing list will appear in that AdWords account almost instantly and can then be targeted with ads.

Where to Start?

The capabilities of Google AdWords Remarketing are significant and sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. I believe that Remarketing has the potential to drive sales and leads for any business with one caveat; Remarketing is dependent on the quality and volume of traffic to the website.  My advice?  Give it a try, start with a test campaign for one product or service and build your remarketing campaign from there.

Sue Palmer, Partner at EzSales, is an internet marketing consultant based in Galway. She has been running AdWords campaigns for over 10 years. Sue loves sports, particularly basketball and sitting by the fire with a nice glass of red wine. Find out more about how EzSales can help your business with online advertising.

Check out my LinkedIN profile http://ie.linkedin.com/in/suepalmerezsales/

 

Sales strategy – Improve Your Selling Skills at Trade Events

Getting Value for Your Money

Participation at trade events and exhibitions in these challenging economic times can be very expensive – travel, accommodation and related expenses, stand rental, display material, perhaps floral features, audio-visual, signage, hospitality etc. In other words,  a costly mix of investment outlay that can make serious inroads into the sales and marketing budget of any business, so it’s important to have the right sales strategy.

There are some simple guidelines that can make the difference between success and disappointment when taking part at consumer and trade markets.  It’s really all about good preparation. And then the manner of delivery. Obvious but essential points of emphasis.

It’s important therefore to be very focused on what you have to sell, how you present your propositions, and what you expect to achieve.

And then, there’s the all-important matter of follow-up.

Research your Potential Market in Advance

Find out beforehand what companies will be attending. Study closely the scope of their business activities. Prepare a short list of your Most Preferred Contacts. Do some background research on their buyers, their sales representatives.

Ideally and if you can, let them know in advance that you will be attending and would like to meet them. So make definite appointments if at all possible.

Then get ready to maximise your time by preparing a daily timetable or diary. Remember that time is one of your most valuable commodities when interfacing with potential customers. You must invest it wisely. To quote that well-worn cliché and with no offence implied: make sure you’re not a busy fool!

At the Event

Dress appropriately to do your business. A casual look might be interpreted by some as a casual approach. Make sure your name badge can be easily read and preferably, that it’s positioned on the right hand side of your body– that will make it simpler for all to see.

Stock up with sufficient supplies of your business card. Keep printed material to the necessary minimum. Nobody wants to have to carry bagfuls of sales literature around an exhibition venue all day long.

Don’t expect  your guests to stand around to talk business. For this, you need comfortable lounge seating.  Good quality drinking water is probably the most suitable hospitality drink. Don’t over-do the freebies or the gimmicks. It’s really not necessary and it’s almost always expensive to do this well.

Be sensitive and sensible in the matter of mobile phone usage.  Don’t ever interrupt a sales pitch by taking or making a call. It’s always best to deal with your daily business by text messaging and to leave your mobile conversations to the end of the day. For all of that, your potential customers may well have a different set of priorities – or rules – so do respect them if and when they get diverted.

If you are using hi-tech aids, be conscious that not everyone is fully conversant with the complex language of today’s IT world.  Keep it simple and don’t over-elaborate to show your expertise. Establish a connection at the appropriate level and stay there. You don’t want a client nodding animatedly in agreement unless they fully understand what you’re telling them, and most likely trying to sell them too.

If you quickly establish that the contact is unlikely to be productive,  don’t hesitate to move things on. ‘You probably have a very busy schedule, so I won’t hold you up’ is a good finishing line. Likewise, if things are going well, you might suggest having ‘five minutes more’ or better still, make an appointment for a follow-up personal call.

After-Sales Service

As soon as the event is over, you should grade your contacts by order of priority for follow-up purposes. It’s a good idea to write them all, even the ones who don’t make your Top Ten. You never know when a door might later open.

Your ideal objective is a personal appointment with some real business potential.  There’s nothing to equal a one-to-one sales session in the privacy of a secure environment. And then comes the real test of your selling and negotiating skills. But that’s another day’s work altogether!

In Conclusion

One final observation. If you are participating at an event that is open to the public at large, don’t have your sales material contribute to the mass of merchandise that frequently ends up in the venue’s refuse bins.

It’s still OK to give out balloons to the kids though!

For more information on sales strategy and other top business tips – sign up to our newsletter.

Lead or Follow – Which Requires Most Courage

I enjoy working as a hospitality consultant with business owners who take a role in their business on a daily basis.  They tend to be businesses where traditions [Perhaps down through generations] are plain to see.  There’s a connection, a closeness between the business and the local community.  The owner generally has a real feel for how their customers like to be treated.

That said, although those long-standing traditions are being observed, there is also a potential failure to move with the times.  Perhaps right now, that’s okay because your regular trade will continue to come in and thus the business ticks along.  What happens if that regular trade comes under threat – a new rival, a shift in the marketplace.  What happens if your regular clients just get tired of the same thing every time they come and are looking for new experiences?

In this case it is okay for the business owner to take a step back and to trust that following good people around them could lead to amazing positive results for their business.  Taking a restuarant as an example, how often do you change your menus – is it too often?  Where do you capture really positive meal experiences that your team have had when dining elsewhere and have you considered if those experiences would sit well in context with the style of restaurant you operate?

A common misconception is that leaders are the ones who dictate the strategy and systems and that they set clear direction based on their own beliefs and in the above case, traditions.  We can all name the examples for those iconic individuals.  Why?  Because they are also unique in their own rights.

As an operator of a family business, we need to be sure that we are taking time to see what’s happening around us and keep pace with the market.  There are countless ways that this can happen but what I always encourage teams I support is to start with a simple exercise that requires just a few things – two flipcharts, two markers, your team and open minds.  On one page, you list all the things that you enjoy as a customer when you go out yourself to a restaurant (If that’s what your business is).  You then ask for all the things that drive you nuts when you go out, because let’s face it, those of us who work in the industry are the ones most likely to pick up on service that could be better.  Then we invite the team to identify if they are doing everything that is great, or if it’s possible that on occasion, the items that drive you nuts exist in their business too.  Try it for yourself and you’ll be surprised by the results.

Having opened up everyone, particularly the business owner, to the concept that the business might not be perfect, a couple of clear actions can be discussed and agreed and let me tell you this; if you involve your team in coming up with the solutions you are bringing them into the loop and they will be invested in helping see through your new actions.

This makes many of my clients uncomfortable.  They feel it is relinquishing control and that their role is to be the leader and their fear is that initiatives like this could make them a follower.  A true leader is a person who can create a sense of collective responsibility, a common cause and something that everybody supports fully.  It’s not easy, and like any process of change management requires careful planning, control while it’s happening and measurement so the successes or shortfalls of expectations are picked up right away allowing real-time change.

When was the last time you stepped back to measure just how great your team are?  After all, you assembled them.  At some point you saw them as the next person who would join your organisation and bring great things in their role.  How proud of them are you now that you have seen them grow and develop in your team?  Will you trust them to help you and “Follow” their ideas to help build your business together?

Is Control Bad

As a business consultant I find it is vital to immediately establish standards with any business I support.  Since when did it become wrong to want to be in control of what’s happening throughout your business?  Is micro-managing really that bad a thing?  Before the weekend, have a think about this:

Sometimes the reason my clients were not seeing the results they wanted from their business was because they had not taken control of daily tasks and actions.  They had allowed other people in the business to find their own way of doing things (READ: The easy way) and then allowed it to become the norm because they were afraid of being labelled a control freak.

As with everything in life, balance is vital in running any business.  The way in which we put across the importance of carrying out tasks in an efficient and consistent manner will often do nothing more than let the team member who was previously left to their own devices know that you genuinely care about how your business is running.  Better yet, they will see you taking time to help them develop and you’re stright away into winning loyalty through those actions once you handle it correctly. The manner in which you put your message across will determine whether you get stuck with the label of being a “Control Freak” or not.  Besides, it’s okay to be a control freak if you’re doing it in the right way.

When you see a member of your team doing something incorrectly with a customer order for example, SUPPORT them.  We all make mistakes, so this isn’t about embarrassing your employee, that solves nothing.  Instead, wait until the interaction with your customer is over and then speak to your team member about WHY they should carry out that same task differently next time.  Help them to understand how it’s better for the customer and also how it makes them more professional too.  Make them part of the solution and brush past the fact that there could have been a problem, then work with them to see if the interaction with the guest can be put back to your consistently high standards before the transaction is over.

This comes back to your credibility.  Will you do what you say you will do?  We’ve all heard every business owner in the early days talking about how they want to be better than their competitors, they want to develop a winning team around them and want to create an environment that’s fun to be involved in.  I promise you, that without being a “Control Freak” when it comes to standards you will fail.  By demanding attention to detail and consistency and that all tasks are carried out to an agreed best practice, you will have happy customers, happy staff and normally a healthy business too.  The best way to make this the culture in your business is to lead by example and always do what’s right, not what’s easy.

When people form a negative impression it’s often more about the body language or your tone of voice used.  The message can get lost in a sea of negative non-verbal communication.  Worse again, you risk being labelled a hypocrite if your team know that you don’t hold yourself to those same high standards or believe that the same rules don’t apply to you as you are the boss.

Deliver your message in a positive way, help answer “Why” it should be done differently and always listen to what your employees have to say as feedback.  That’s not a bad thing, is it?  Think about ways in which you could improve your business by establishing more specific operating standards and then taking time to coach them into your team.  If you need some help, or just some ideas, give me a call and I can share some successful strategies.