Tag Archives: Productivity

When Drug Rehab Marketing and Sales Fail: Why Tracking Keeps Them Aligned

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Drug Rehab Fail: Got Tracking

There’s an all too common phenomenon in companies across America that lives in marketing departments. In fact, it’s the last place we’d think would have this problem, but it’s not just evident; it’s a cesspool of inefficiency rooted in a lack of communication. Really? In the marketing department comprised of so-called experts in the field of communication? Yes.

And it’s no different with drug rehab marketing and sales. In actuality, this conundrum makes the addiction treatment business more challenging. We thought we’d provide some relief by sharing why tracking your efforts keeps your business better aligned.

Visual Cues Show Evidence of Addiction Treatment Marketing Mismatches

Let’s start with a simple illustration to represent ad marketing misalignment. First, hold up your right and left hands in front of you. The left hand represents your sales; your right hand represents marketing strategy and execution. Now, instead of your hands facing each other, they look in opposite directions. How can they work together when they are having separate conversations?

In order for sales and marketing to work cohesively, they must be agile and fluid, yet able to shake hands. If you haven’t taken a look at what your website is ranking for on a monthly basis, it holds the key in what you’re hitting and what you’re missing in client retention and prospect reach. It starts with a plan.

Not two plans — a single plan that encompasses sales and marketing in a way that champions both modalities and sets up a success matrix that is only achievable if they work together. Yeah, I know, good luck with that.

Sales and Marketing – Getting Past the Egos

Since the advent of advertising, sales was the evil stepchild of creative that spun into marketing as well. According to sales, marketing doesn’t know their head from their … well, you know what I mean. It could be laughable if it wasn’t such a serious fatal flaw to most companies. In truth, sales needs marketing to help them reach a large audience. In turn, marketing needs sales to better understand their customers, their industry and the need that brings them all together. Sales and marketing are best utilized as a collective funnel, not segmented silos that never touch.

In a recent article in Forbes magazine, research helps build a case for this business model: “When sales and marketing get on the same page, companies see, on average, a 67 percent improvement in closing sales and a 36 percent increase in customer retention.”

When you lead with your product or service, it creates a shared goal between sales and marketing that is much easier to accept and deliver on.

Organize Your Goals by Monitoring Inbounds and Outbounds

You could be spending more money than your competition, but if you’re not doing anything to track it, you’re throwing money and time down the drain. And unless you’ve just won the billion-dollar lottery, your drug rehab probably isn’t looking for a business loss to offset gains.

If you’ve got any broad scope marketing plan in place (and if you’re a new addiction treatment facility or service, pay attention) watch where your admits are coming from. Inbound marketing, which includes web content, social media and search engine optimization (SEO), is useful in getting your company brand and associated stories out into the world. Just because it’s award-winning creative doesn’t mean it’s getting results.

Make sure you have a person within your organization or external agency keeping a watchful eye on the responsiveness and overall engagement of each. See how often specific webpages, blogs, videos and other social content are viewed. From there, you’ll know what’s getting the most interest and where you need to make adjustments.

Outbound marketing is a different animal and not for the thin-skinned. It’s found in:

  • Event marketing
  • Telemarketing
  • Radio and TV spots
  • Press releases
  • Billboards
  • Direct mail
  • Email
  • The use of swag

To put it simply, outbound marketing casts the widest net of reach to consumers or B2B, with less desirable results because there is less of a niche to the audience.

Make sure to take an accounting of what inbound and outbound efforts rein in as far as ROI, and then alter the percentages where needed to get the desired results.

Lead Generation Results Are Multi-Layered, with Value in Each

Difference between Hot, Medium, and Cold Leads

Everyone wants the hot leads, the ones that respond to exactly what you have to offer and are ready to convert, now. Striking while the iron is hot is great for sales, though many forget the value of warm and even cold leads, especially in the addiction treatment and recovery space. Here’s why:

  • Often, it takes a prospect multiple media impressions before they go “hot.”
  • Cold leads may provide touchpoints for outbound marketing:
    • Wider net of outreach.
    • Most people know someone with a drug or alcohol problem.
    • Can help build referral base.

With any lead generation program, be sure to segment your leads and respond in the best manner possible to generate the most appeal for hot, warm and cold leads.

Web Chat Delivers in an Instant

To enhance the ability to capture leads as soon as they come to your website, consider using a web chat service. With it, you never miss an opportunity to engage with a prospect because the system does it for you.

The benefits to web chat are numerous and include:

  • Immediate engagement
  • Segments leads (hot, warm, cold)
  • HIPAA-compliant marketing tool
  • Secure and password protected
  • Delivers each lead to your email, mobile device or both
  • Increases leads, on average, from 35% to 40%

Understanding your cost per lead (per method used) may rule out some of what you’re already doing to bring in prospects and conversions. If your beds aren’t full, maybe it’s time to be open to suggestions.

Tracking Drug Rehab Sales and Marketing Is Only as Good as the Analysis

No one’s expecting you to be a solid expert on Google Analytics and other pertinent SEO integration. Whether you decide to take on those skills yourself or hire an expert who eats, drinks and sleeps that business, what these numbers tell you should dictate what you do in marketing and how sales should support the initiatives.

Results Are Learning Tools that Need to Be Applied for Growth

If your best idea received a cool reception from your lead gen campaigns or social media, dive deep into the numbers and responsiveness (or lack of) to look for silver lining. It’s always there even if the numbers aren’t. Perhaps your messaging was great but the timing was off. Whatever you do, don’t table it into the forever furnace. Archive it, as you could repurpose some or all of it in the future.

Revisit Addiction Treatment Marketing Spends Often

Consumers are fickle. Challenging as that is, it also provides an easy ability to reset a wrong and make it right.

Through reporting and client surveys, as well as ongoing interaction with your staff, you can reconfigure where your marketing dollars are better spent and devise a mix that reaches:

  1. Untreated clients/new prospects
  2. Family or friends of No. 1 above
  3. Alumni of your program/service
    • Success stories/testimonials
    • Former clients who have relapsed

Formulate an annual addiction treatment marketing budget and keep some dollars available for golden opportunities that may come about throughout the year, such as an industry co-sponsorship (special event or nonprofit organization), public relations opportunities and more. We recommend a multi-channel or cross-channel marketing approach.

Social Media Needs an Active Voice

Working Together to reach your goals
The whole point of social media is to create an active forum for people to receive information, develop a personal voice (applies to businesses, too) and share them on an ongoing basis. It’s all about engagement with your followers and enticing more people to join your group and become something greater than themselves. It’s what we all want.

Now, let’s dial this in to drug rehab sales and marketing. Social media is all about stories. In fact, Facebook recently added another engagement tool to their platform and called it “The Story.” Twitter may be removing its “like” button in the hopes that its users engage through more commentary instead of a feeble click of an icon.

Salespeople are full of stories and often use them to engage prospects, which ultimately lead to conversions. It’s how sales connects with their clients. Marketing creates stories to connect with prospects, existing clients and their referrals. If only sales and marketing could be on the same page with their stories….

They can.

Bring More Admits by Pulling Drug Rehab Marketing and Sales Together

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Vol. 80: Here’s Why You Need a Live Chat Feature on Your Website

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Vol 80 Newsletter Live Web Chat - Eminent SEO

Give ‘Em Something to Chat About

More and more website owners are infusing their site with live chat tools. This is an especially smart choice for websites with service and product offerings. The potential ROI is just too enticing to pass up.

A web chat pop-up feature might seem like a minor annoyance at first – to both you and your visitors – but studies are showing that this feature helps more than it harms.

Among the many benefits of adding a chat feature to a website, consider:

  • It helps build a more memorable brand experience.
  • It gives visitors a place to turn if they get stuck and need any questions answered quickly. In other words, it improves your customer service.
  • You can offer visitors special deals and deliver price quotes in real time through the chat module.
  • It gives you a sense of which pages and products that users are visiting most when they reach out with questions.
  • It allows you to consolidate your resources: You can have one person manage multiple chats at once, and you can develop canned responses to common questions.
  • You can use it as a lead-nurturing tool. HubSpot says 99% of first-time website visitors aren’t ready to buy. You can nudge them closer to purchase by chatting with them directly.

At Eminent SEO, web chat is just one component of a comprehensive marketing campaign we can develop for your business.

See How Else We Generate Leads

Live Chat Feature Takeaway

The beauty in adding live web chat to your website is that it provides a vehicle for consumer engagement, bringing a true and unique user experience at the precise moment you have their attention.Click To Tweet

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Adding A Web Chat Feature To Your Website - Eminent SEO

Why Adding a Web Chat Feature to Your Website Gives You a Market Advantage

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Business & Marketing Tips: The Best Live Chat Software for YOUR Website

Top 11 Live Web Chat Apps For Customer Service - Eminent SEOIf you answer yes to any of these three questions, then your website is a good candidate for a new chat feature:

  1. Do you sell goods/services on your site?
  2. Does your website attract a community that would benefit from more engagement?
  3. Are you (or somebody at your company) available to respond to chat inquires regularly?

The best web chat software for your site will depend on your website goals and your budget. For some small businesses, it makes sense to focus more on simplicity and ease of use, while other, more technical companies might want a more robust offering that can serve as more than just a live web chat platform.

In our chart below, our criteria heavily favors software whose primary purpose is providing live customer support, rather than helpdesk/tech support or serving as a team chat or CMS platform. The chart features of 11 of the top web chat products to consider for your website.

Click on the image below to see a larger version. Please note that we have no affiliation with any of the following products; we just want to help you make an informed decision.

Comparison Chart Live Web Chat Software Programs - ESEO(Click to Enlarge)

Keep in mind that all of these recommended products offer a free trial, which will allow you to see how well they fit your company’s needs before committing.

Closing Thoughts

Multi Channels Icons For Tablet - ESEOWeb chat is just one piece of the larger marketing puzzle. You need to take a multi-channel marketing approach. This means leveraging your website, social media, email, Google My Business, PPC and several other direct and indirect “channels” in order to interact with prospects and encourage them to take a specific action.

Learn More About Our Marketing Approach

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What’s the Difference Between Web Designer and Web Developer? Which Does My Business Need?

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Difference Between Web Designer and Web Developer - Eminent SEO

When discussing website construction, the terms web designer and web developer are very often used interchangeably. To the laity, both of these titles simply describe a person whose career is building websites for businesses, and to an extent they are right. However, web designers and web developers work in two separate, but often closely related, spheres of website production.

While the roles of web developers and web designers are different, both work hand in hand in order to create a visually stunning and structurally sound website. In this article, we’ll discuss the differences and similarities between these two types of professionals to help you decide which one you need for your business.

What Is a Web Designer?

Web Design vs Web Development Work Together - Eminent SEOA web designer’s job is all about capturing the essence of a client’s vision and transforming it into a model of a potential website that is both aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. Similar to the way an engineer is responsible for designing the blueprints and models for a bridge before construction begins, a web designer’s task is to create the look and feel of a website before the web developer can bring it to life.

A good web designer will be equal parts artist and craftsman, possessing both a solid understanding of design theory, as well as the technological limitations faced by the development team in charge of building the website.

A web designer’s job description includes skills such as:

  • Knowledge and proficiency in both logo and graphic design
  • An understanding of design theory, including flow, color, spacing, balance and proportion.
  • An intuitive feel for creating the best user experience for a website’s visitors
  • In-depth knowledge of software tools such as Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Canva
  • Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of the latest trends in the design world

What Is a Web Developer?

A web developer’s job is to take the models and sketches for a website created by the web designer and turn them into fully functional webpages. If the web designer’s role can be likened to that of an engineer or architect, consider the web developer as a sort of construction worker responsible for building the website from the ground up.

Web development can be broken down into two main categories: front-end development and back-end development.

The Front-End Web Developer

The front end of a website is what visitors will see and interact with on their browser. Also known as the “client side,” the front end consists of all of the text, images, colors, buttons, internal links and menus that the user experiences directly.

In short, the front-end developer is responsible for making sure that the visitor experiences an error-free website that looks exactly how the web designer envisioned it.

There are three primary coding languages used by front-end developers. These languages are:

  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
  • Javascript (JS)
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

The Back-End Web Developer

A website’s back end refers to the portion of a website that a visitor will never directly experience, and is made up of three parts: an application, a server and a database. The back end serves as the link between the server and the website’s visitors.

The majority of the code for the web application can be found on the back end. It’s important to keep in mind that poor coding on the back end will translate to a sluggish, glitchy performance on the front end.

Back-end coding languages differ from front-end coding languages, and include:

  • Python
  • PHP
  • Ruby on Rails
  • SQL
  • Java
  • NET

A backend developer is responsible for making sure that all of the right data gets sent from the server to the browser. If the front end is the 10 percent of the iceberg that floats above the water’s surface, the back end is the other 90 percent that remains submerged.

Which of These Professionals Should Your Business Use?

Web designers and web developers are both crucial players in creating an awesome website for your business, so it only makes sense to recruit the help of both.

There’s a reason why the saying “two heads are better than one” has been around for so long: because it’s the truth! When a proficient designer and developer collaborate, they can make magic happen. These two groups of professionals each bring a unique set of skills to the table, both of which are vital to the success of a website project.

The Importance of Working Together

Front End Website 10 Percent Back End 10 Percent - Eminent SEOHaving the design and development teams work side by side ensures that everyone is able to plan and execute the project efficiently and effectively. Allowing the design team to run their sketches and mockups for the website past the development team on an ongoing basis guarantees that the initial design approved by the client is both practical and achievable.

After all, as a client, you never want to hear that the design team bit off more than they could chew halfway through a project.

Not only is working together from day one a surefire way to avoid many costly and time-consuming setbacks, it allows two different types of creative minds to work in synergy, creating a website that not only meets but exceeds the client’s expectations.

Additional benefits of hiring a close-knit team of web designers and developers include:

  • Having multiple sets of eyes on every stage of website construction, identifying and correcting flaws and mistakes as they arise
  • The opportunity for creative brainstorming between both right-brain thinkers (designers) and left-brain thinkers (developers)
  • Mutual accountability between the two teams
  • A finished product where the aesthetic elements complement the interactive elements, and vice versa

Despite the Difference Between Web Designer and Web Developer, Should I Hire a Hybrid Specialist?

If you are looking to build a website for your business but have only a limited budget for the project, it might be tempting to hire a single person playing the role of a hybrid designer-developer. This approach may work for some businesses owners, especially those looking for a fairly basic website and are not overly concerned with visitor engagement and conversion. However, like most things in life, you are likely to get what you pay for.

A so-called “jack of all trades” is unlikely to possess a deep understanding of both web design and web development, which means that projects tend to take longer to complete, and the final product is unlikely to live up to your, and even their, expectations.

Moving Forward

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the dynamic relationship between the web designer and the web developer, and just how important each role is in creating the perfect website for your business.

If you still have questions about the various considerations that go into building a website, come check out our website design and development page and learn more about how the expert team of designers and developers at Eminent SEO can help you grow your business and your web presence.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Why Your Business’s Marketing Budget Needs to Increase This Year

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Increase Your Marketing Budget Needs - Eminent SEO
Whether your fiscal year begins in January or July, what you allot for marketing budget has much to do about what you believe you’re supposed to spend. And this belief could be founded on formulas or equations that have been passed on by business owners or prior leadership within your organization. Who knows? It could be from something you found after searching online (like that ever happens).

The following insights are my effort to help you discern between industry folklore and the reality of your marketing budget needs – to reassess this year, and to plan to make next year more pennywise instead of pound foolish.

The Life Cycle of Marketing Budget Creation

The very term budget, when spoken, heard and visualized, immediately invokes numbers and, for some, nausea, especially after a lackluster sales performing year. Before you ever get to working those numbers that will set up many marketing decisions to come, you need to take some vital steps to ensure that the budget will truly have a fair shake in supporting your endeavors. And these steps have little to do with dollars.

Keys to Successful Marketing Budgets Life Cycle - Eminent SEO

Take a Good, Hard Look at Who You Really Are

As you’ve probably already guessed, there is no steadfast rule on just how much of your overall business budget should be dedicated to marketing efforts. Because every business vertical is different, so too are the marketing needs of each enterprise, eventually effecting the spend necessary to get the desired goals achieved.

If you are a consumer-based company with a product or service as your calling card, the marketing budget will undoubtedly be costlier and more general-public-facing than if your company catered to B2B markets.

Marketing Budget Mistake #1: Not truly understanding your own brand.

If you haven’t taken the time to establish your company brand, there’s a trickle down of miscommunication that ensues. This will assuredly result in missing the mark on your audience, sales and client acquisition and retention.

Now Remember What Your Clients Really Look Like

Company owners, marketing directors (no matter how good you are) and creative geniuses often carry a level of delusion about whom their product or service attracts. In our minds, we glamorize who we are and, in turn, who our audience is.

There’s nothing like that swift kick in the butt during a public appearance, conference or trade show that wakes us up into, “Oh…so you’re our customers…” This resets brand messaging and affects marketing spends.

Marketing Budget Mistake #2: Having no clue about your customer base.

Once your business accurately connects with your product or service audience, then your marketing messaging can speak to their needs through your brand to nurture long-term relationships, referral business and conversions on both fronts.

Where to spend your marketing budget is, in large part, founded on the places most likely to capture your audience. Now’s the time to switch hats (no, not to a black hat), to take off that corporate hat and be your customer.

If You Were Your Client, How Would They Find You?

Before you start adding line items to your marketing budget for what remains this year and planning for the next-year spend, consider the human behaviors of your customers. Think about their physical attributes, emotional needs, mental acumen and anguish, even their insecurities. Because somewhere in all of that is the place(s) where you will identify strategic pinpoints in their days to hit them with who you are and why they can’t live without you. This is the sweet spot.

Cross-Channel Marketing Maximizes Your Budget Spend

As long as you’re spending money to get more business, set up your marketing in a way that boosts each campaign through heightened reach and stronger impressions. You can achieve this when you use multiple marketing channels that cross-promote one another.

Marketing Budget Mistake #3: Deploying one-off initiatives.

Need an example? If you are spending money on pay-per-click campaigns, be sure to include hyperlinks within the campaign landing page that keep visitors on your website, possibly leading to a product or service page, or even to a blog post.

For more traditional marketing, if you’re advertising on a radio station (yes, companies still do that), make sure you get value adds through a presence on the radio station’s website or have your radio spot mention a promo code for a special deal – but one that only applies if the customer goes to your website or calls and mentions the promo code.

It isn’t just about capturing your audience: You have to tell them what to do and where to go. Your business leads your customers, but they must feel as though they are in control. Sounds like a personal relationship, doesn’t it? Yeah…it is.

Once You’ve Found Them, Spend Your Money on Keeping Them

In sales, it’s all about keeping the conversation going. “No” is just no today; it could be a “yes” tomorrow. This is the premise regarding social media engagement. Foster the relationship. Talk about things that matter to you and your audience. Give them something to think about, talk about and share to get others talking about it. Be informative, yet entertaining. If you do social right, your followers do the work for you.

Marketing Budget Mistake #4: Relying on social paid boosts alone.

Annual Marketing Budget Toward Online Initiatives Statistic - Eminent SEOMany companies scramble to increase their followers, likes, views or shares by paying to boost Facebook, Instagram or Twitter posts. Until your social presence gets a solid footing, the practice of boosting may be a necessary evil. But don’t count on it as a long-term strategy.

Working a social platform well is all about building your profile and followers organically. Like every other marketing program, it’s a long game usually played for 90 days to 18 months before seeing real, consistent results. You can’t just put your big toe in it. Jump in wholeheartedly and get your hair wet!

What to include in your market budget going forward:

  • Social videos
  • Search engine optimized content
  • Online chat programming
  • Blog outreach (backlinks, linking to other sites, guest bloggers)
  • Email drip campaigns (enough touchpoints and upsells without being annoying)
  • Direct response marketing (extremely targeted campaigns)
  • Public relations (it’s free!)

Best Practices After the Marketing Budget Needs Are Set in Stone

Keep a certain amount of marketing dollars fluid. Meaning…give your business some cush. Without having some extra funds available to use at your discretion, your business may miss golden opportunities that you couldn’t have planned for, but nonetheless have presented themselves out of left field.

In addition, many companies experience the fourth-quarter panic, where any remaining funds from a current year’s marketing budget must be spent or they lose it. This phenomenon is common in the VAR (value-added reseller) market. Therefore, the best way to avoid this panic is to keep on top of your marketing month to month.

Reassess marketing initiatives every 30-60-90 days to ensure there are no gaps in the life cycle of your marketing budget (noted earlier in this article). By staying tuned into your plan while it’s in action, it allows for a nimbleness that enhances marketing scalability. This strategy also empowers creative agility when needed, allowing you to keep your budget running lean while having room for unexpected marketing opportunities that will undoubtedly arise throughout the year. They always do.

Recommended Market Budget Spend

The following figures reflect how you should allocate your marketing dollars, based on industry trends and consumer behavior forecasts:

  • Online marketing – 45% of your overall marketing budget, broken down into:
    • Search engine marketing – 47%
    • Social media – 25%
    • Online video – 11%
    • Other online channels – 17%

Budgeting for online marketing is on the increase while traditional media advertising spends continue to drop year after year. According to eMarketer, “TV ad spending is 35.08 percent of total media … total digital ad spending is 38.4 percent of total media.”

These figures are for 2017 and represent how consumer behavior has shifted, and continues to shift, toward online screen usage (mobile platforms).

Stay Open to Sharing Costs

One aspect of your marketing budget that you may overlook in the planning stages is in shared sponsorships or co-op dollar spends. This is when your business can partner with another company and share the marketing opportunity.

The cost to participate in these programs is decreased as the expense is shared, and when done right, the benefits far outweigh the dollars spent. Moreover, the relationship between you and the business(es) in cooperative marketing efforts provides a seamless exchange between audiences.

Co-op marketing advantages include:

  • Your business engages your current customers.
  • Your business engages new prospects.
  • The business increases its market reach.
  • Increased market reach occurs at reduced cost.

Can’t See the Fund Forests from the Trees

Sometimes, we can put emotion and ego into our business and the decisions we make about the business. It’s hard not to. Your business is your baby. However, one of the most difficult, yet loving things you can do for your business is to let go of it.

Refer your online marketing strategy to a third party who can review your company goals, marketing budget spend and short- and long-term missions to devise a solid plan that will make the most out of your marketing dollars without shedding a tear.

Here’s Where Sales and Marketing Collide and Thrive

Avatar for Melanie Stern

Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Business Success Guide: Rise and Shine with These Hacks

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Business Success Guide Rise And Shine - Eminent SEO

In an era of ever-changing consumer tastes and preferences, challenges have become the dominant constants in every sector. Industries that hitherto thrived on traditional business methods are now faced with the challenge of business success in the age of competition.

So, which factors scale up productivity and ultimately bring about success? It’s quite straightforward. Rather than dwelling on the setbacks, here are top hacks that can help your business to rise and shine.

Set Up a Business Website

Getting ahead of your competition is no easy task, and when aiming to achieve optimum business success, your to-do list will never end. That said, setting up a business website is one way to stand out from your competition. Don’t take shortcuts. It is imperative to have a website that tells both potential and existing customers that you mean business.

In fact, most consumer business purchase decisions start with a search engine. So, what does this mean for your business? First impressions count. By now, it’s clear that a great business website is crucial for business success.

Improve Workflow Organization

Time tracking and workflow organization allow both management and staff to keep track of projects as well as goal progress. You can optimize and implement a system for tracking employee workloads and responsibilities. If an employee is getting off track, it’s immediately identified, and an opportunity for a timely correction is provided.

Such a system should also facilitate clear communication between employees to allow them to sync their short-term and long-term goals. Also, this type of system should help you look at the business process from the view of a regular employee. From there, you could draft a clearer map of workflow organization.

Utilize Emerging Technologies

Establish Your Brand Quote Danielle Knox - Eminent SEOToday’s ideal workplace involves instant communication and mass access of data and information. Providing employees with the latest technology allows them to perform their duties on time and with minimal effort.

Sure, implementing the latest tech can come at a cost, but consider the outcome. You’ll save countless hours and increase employee productivity. Moreover, online-based tools and technologies reduce cost and improve efficiency. Here are some examples:

  • E-conferencing: Today’s workforce is no longer constrained by geographical boundaries. Innovations in cloud computing and faster internet allow business meetings to go on without being chained to one specific physical location.
  • E-purchasing: Online purchasing is an alternative way to get goods or services from a supplier’s store. While electronic purchasing is extremely competitive, it helps improve customer service, reduce the cost of the transaction and improve profitability.

Keep Employees Happy

So, how do you ensure that your employees are happy? Foster employee empowerment, development and appreciation.

Employee Empowerment

Empowerment entails giving your employees the autonomy to make important decisions. However, note that employee empowerment is not about management relinquishing all authority. Instead, it’s about trusting your staff to make certain decisions based on their individual capabilities.

Employee empowerment fosters a sense of independence in an organization. As a result, the workplace becomes flexible. Staff members are most productive when satisfied, appreciated and indulged in decision making.

Encourage and provide active learning and development for your employees to help them hone their professional skills. This way, they can take on the challenges that come with decision making.

Positive Reinforcement

Set Up Business Website Get One Yesterday Quote - Eminent SEOWhile training and employee empowerment are a great start, you also have to motivate, encourage and reward. A gloomy workplace reduces productivity.

Whatever needs to be done to cheer up your team, do it: Order pizza at work; offer free tea…the list is endless.

Try to show employees that the company is concerned for them. For instance, offer personalized incentives for outstanding individuals.

Collaborating with insurance companies to provide car insurance for employees can be another way of rewarding them.

Remember, when your staff members are motivated, improved productivity is a priority on their to-do list. A study conducted by the University of Warwick indicates that motivated employees are at least 12 percent more productive.

Instill a Continuous Improvement Approach

Improving business success is an ongoing process. As a result, you must set up a flexible plan to help you develop a continuous improvement approach. Start by assessing what successful businesses in your industry do. However, do not copy. Though you might be in the same industry, what works for them might not work for your business.

The next step in establishing a continuous improvement approach is identifying your weaknesses. If you feel that your decision cannot be impartial, seek external help in order to get an objective viewpoint on the areas to improve. After identifying the strengths and weaknesses, look for a breakthrough. Continuous improvement facilitates success without necessarily incurring more cost.

Commit to Excellent Customer Service

Employees are the people behind the scenes of a business’s success. But customers are the focal point of any business. To improve your business success rate, you must focus on both existing and potential customers.

Excellent customer service entails making sure your products and services fulfill the customer’s need. No matter your business niche, you can make customers feel valued and appreciated. Satisfied customers are an asset. Ask for feedback, opinions and suggestions to better fulfill the customer’s (and future customers’) needs.

Take Calculated Risks

Many businesses spend a lot of time trying to predict all possible unfavorable outcomes. But this is nearly impossible. Sometimes, when making business decisions, you might feel like you are in a life-or-death situation. But inaction will prohibit progress and iterations that get your business closer to success.

Always seek to disrupt yourself from your comfort zone and take calculated risks to stay ahead in a dynamic world. Trust your instincts and have grit.

Business Success Guide Final Tip: Embrace Technology and Change

The aforementioned mentioned hacks can result in notable changes in a business’s success. If your business has not embraced technology, it’s time. Technology will allow you to tap into a vast network of connections and exponentially expand your market.

When stakes are higher and the playing field wider, it is imperative that you make your business flexible to change. Seriously assess how your business is currently operating and be open to any potential changes. In other words, always strive to measure your success to see if your business is truly moving forward.

Learn How to Align Your Sales & Marketing Teams

 
Helen Cartwright Writer HeadshotNote: This is a guest blog post written by Helen Cartwright.

See more from Helen at http://www.helencartwright.com/

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Why Adding a Web Chat Feature to Your Website Gives You a Market Advantage

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Adding A Web Chat Feature To Your Website - Eminent SEO
As a business owner, you take pride in the products or services you provide to others. If you are a strategic marketer representing a business, part of your action plan includes positioning your client in a manner that maximizes their visibility and entices a specific audience to ultimately convert a sale. It isn’t as easy as it used to be. Here’s why.

Over the last decade, the sales cycle got so…much…longer. Conversely, though, human behavior dictates instant gratification. How could one possibly merge the two effectively? By adding a chat feature to your website, you’ll get in front of interested parties faster, increasing conversion rates by 30 percent or more.

Patience Has Lost Its Virtue

Customers Abandon Online Purchase Statistic Forrester Report - Eminent SEOThe adage “good things come to those who wait” was created long before internet technology came about. True, many savvy would-be buyers take their time before making a purchase decision, but the process has drastically changed from when Baby Boomers were young. (Ugh!)

Now, Gen X and Y dominate the eCommerce playing field, with Generation Z moving up quickly. To these three consumer targets, patience was never looked at as a virtue, but a complete waste of time.

The sales cycle has become lengthy; just ask any salesperson in the tech, automotive, real estate or retail fields – to name a few. Before people could pull up Google and search for answers, they would have to rely on physically entering a brick-and-mortar store and trusting the knowledge of the on-site sales staff.

Today, consumers intermittently search online for months, gathering information, comparing products, pricing and associated reviews. While some will continue online through the end of the sales cycle and purchase via a shopping cart, others take the time to go to the physical business to get a feel for the product or service, its people and culture before buying. And even then, they often go back to the virtual store to make the purchase.

How to Turn Today’s Searchers into Immediate Buyers

Let’s turn the focus on you for a moment. After all, you’re a part of the same buying pool as everyone else. You’re reading this blog online; we all live in the virtual space, more than many of us are aware of or would like to admit. As such, we put an incredible amount of emphasis on not only what we find online, but also on what others say about their life experiences offline.

Simply open Facebook or Twitter and there’s a variety of rant available to read. There are also the ever-popular puppy or foodie posts all magnified through the ability to reply, comment or chat. So why not capture customers in the manner they’ve already grown accustomed to?

Chat It Up

Introducing web chat for business. Think of it as a robust layer to online presence that gets you in front of customers and prospects faster than anything else. You already know the benefits of individualized customer service when a customer comes to meet you face to face: It gives you the opportunity to be of service and to sell with the advantage of ongoing engagement.

Web chat provides the same opportunity – by allowing you to meet consumers where they are the moment they are on your website. Any business without web chat defines “you snooze, you lose.”

Strike When the Iron Is Hot

The advantages of having web chat mirror the same principles as the three-second rule in advertising: As a business owner, you have about three seconds (if you’re lucky) to get the attention of your audience – whether it be through an old school print ad, radio or television commercial, pay-per-click channel, etc. Why? Because people have zero attention span. And the attraction of the next great swipe and scroll makes it easy to lose your audience to your competition.

The beauty in adding live web chat to your website is that it provides a vehicle for consumer engagement, bringing a true and unique user experience at the precise moment you have their attention. Moreover, people tend to make purchases when there is an emotional connection between themselves and a product or service.

Sample Sites that Use Web Chat to Increase Sales

Car Dealers

Chapman BMW Chandler Homepage Live Chat Button - ESEO

Retailers

Zappos Homepage Live Chat Menu Feature - ESEO

Food & Beverage

Winedotcom Homepage Live Chat PopUp - ESEOAn unexpected web chat pop-up might not be well received in every instance, but the conversion rates it brings are well worth the annoyance it sometimes invites. But, as you can see in the three examples above, there are various levels of discretion when it comes to offering a chat option on a website.

It’s up to your business (and the tool you choose) if you want the chat to pop up automatically or if you want the user to make the first contact. It will probably take some tinkering (A/B testing, perhaps) to figure out what speaks to your visitors the most.

Brand Recognition Lasts Longer with a Personal Experience

Imagine you’re looking for a pair of jeans. Yes, the search can be a conundrum, and more so when attempting to find the right fit from a website. What are the chances of having to return whatever you purchased? Pretty good, I’d say.

But if you have a web chat available at the time a shopper is looking at a specific item, before they click on a size, the user could ask how the sizes typically run or how much “give” there is to the fabric, for example. Now that buyer has been given accurate information, there is more comfort and trust in the product, and potentially an increase in product purchases and return visits to the site.

One more thing: Every good online experience will be shared with friends or family and followers. It’s amazing what a single, positive consumer transaction can do to build brand awareness, market reach and sales volume. And it can start with a chat.

Consider the Right Time and Space When Adding a Web Chat Feature

Most smart device users don’t need to wait to search for information until they are in front of their desktop or laptop. They seek and find what they need to online the moment the idea strikes them – via cellphone or tablet.

When considering a web chat platform, make sure to include design elements to maximize the user experience for smart devices. This means don’t let the chat pop-up take up too much valuable real estate on the screen. If the pop-up overwhelms the rest of your website content, then you’ve blown any goodwill with the user.

People Think They Know What They Want Until You Tell Them

Not all shopping involves purchasing. There is an art to shopping; some people thrive on it while others avoid it like the plague. Shopping is almost like a romance.

There’s an element of mystery, and when you finally make the decision in wanting to have it (product not people), you pay for it. The frustration is in the decision-making phase.

The Power of Indirect Persuasion

What might be appealing to the eye often differs to its reality, especially in product presentations that exist on the web. Deceptive? Perhaps. But it’s also about how humans perceive them.

We have expectations irrespective of what is real and how we want it to be. Marketers know this phenomenon well, as they’ve witnessed it during focus groups – in rooms filled with people who give their opinions and responses about a product based on what they’ve seen or experienced during the testing session.

What researchers have discovered about human behavior is that what we intellectually say to describe how we feel about something may differ from how our brain and bodies react. It’s called neuromarketing.

People are comfortable with what they already know. But what they don’t know is a web chat manager’s dream and a gateway to nurturing new customers and upselling more product.

Web Chat Is Just One Piece of the Larger Lead-Nurturing Puzzle

See How We Generate Leads

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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How to Convert Leads into Sales by Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

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Understanding The Buyers Journey To Convert Leads Into Sales - Eminent SEO
Sales … leads … where do I begin? So many businesses are finding it difficult to generate qualified leads. Many businesses are also generating the wrong types of leads and not converting them into sales.

As a business owner, you’re probably wondering how to:

  • Generate new leads for your business.
  • Convert existing leads into deals.

The good news is an effective digital marketing strategy will be able to produce qualified leads for your business. We’ve been successful with all of our clients and achieving their goals for lead generation. The drawback is businesses have to invest into managing the leads properly and leading them through the extensive buying process.

Getting to Know Lead Life Cycles and the Marketing/Sales Funnel

First, you must understand that there are different types of leads and respective life cycles. A lead life cycle is defined as the life of a lead or prospect.

Website Visitor/Prospect

This is not considered a lead yet. This is someone who is doing their research and came to your website through a marketing campaign.

Marketing Qualified Lead

These leads are doing their research still. They may have come from Facebook or an eBook offer download on your website. These leads aren’t ready to be sold. They are looking to be educated.

Sales Qualified Lead

These are leads that are ready to make a buying decision. They have already done their research on your product or service and are sold on it.

The New Marketing And Sales Funnel Pyramid - Eminent SEO
All they need to be sold on is the fact that you are the company that can fulfill their needs.

Opportunity

This is when a lead has transitioned into an opportunity to become a client.

Customer

When the opportunity has paid for your product or service!

Track Your Leads Down to the Source

How we determine different types of leads is:

  • Where the lead originated from
  • The content the lead engaged with

This is where lead tracking is SUPER important. If you don’t have call tracking or lead tracking of any kind, you need to get that first.

When there is proper lead tracking installed on the website, we can tell where the lead originated from down to the source of the call with dynamic call tracking. By knowing where the lead came from, our team can dissect the data to understand user intent. That’s where the sales and marketing funnel comes in.

Depending on the lead source and content they’re interested in, you can determine their stage within the buyer’s journey.

The Buyer’s Journey Breakdown

Let’s face it, the sales process is VERY long. Now that the internet exists, buyers want to see everything possible before making a decision.

By understanding the buyer’s journey, you can learn what to expect for the duration of closing a lead to a sale. You will also know how to qualify your leads better and provide them with useful resources.

Awareness Stage

This is the stage where the prospect identifies there’s an issue and that they need help. They are not yet educated on what that solution is, but they are aware that an issue exists. This is the stage where users will normally convert on offers such as eBooks, blog posts or newsletter sign-ups for more information.

Consideration Stage

This is the stage where the prospect has started doing their own research for the problem they need help with. They will usually engage with offers such as:

  • Case studies
  • Downloading a brochure about your service
  • Browsing your products or services
  • Learn more about your team

It’s important to educate them extensively about your specific offering during this stage.

Decision Stage

Prospects that are ready to make a decision will simply call, email or chat with you directly. They have made the decision to move forward with a certain company, and hopefully you are that company. You still might need to do some nurturing for prospects in this stage, but they are definitely sold on the idea they need your product or service. They just need to be sold on your specific offering and company.

Service Stage

When the prospect has converted into a paying client, it doesn’t mean the nurturing stops. You have a reputation to maintain and a client to keep happy now. This stage is very important to maintain a happy relationship with your client by providing a superior customer service experience.

Brand Advocate Stage

When you have a happy client, they automatically turn into a brand advocate for your business. Get them to follow your social media platforms to give you street credit about your product or service. Positive reviews from happy clients create assets that you can use for your business long term. The other benefit is, other people will read them and consider your company!

Five Stages Of The Buyers Journey - Eminent SEOLead nurturing should never stop after they decide to purchase from you. There are many ways to stay in front of your current clients and nurture them into purchasing from you again or promoting your brand to their friends and family.

Understanding Lead Sources and Buyer Intent

There are various sources that generate leads if you’re investing into multi-channel marketing for your business. Sources are where the lead actually originated from, not where they converted from.

For example, your lead came to your site originally from a Facebook ad. Then they visited your blog, your services pages and left the site. They come back in a month after they’ve done their research and Googled your brand. They initiate a chat with you on your website.

The original source of this lead is still considered the Facebook ad. They’ve just been nurtured along the buyer’s journey to get to the Decision stage where they Googled your brand directly to make that next step. The lead source is not your website chat.

Here’s a breakdown of a few digital marketing sources that generate a large volume of leads:

Google Organic Search

This one gets a little tricky because you can have users from any stage within the buyer’s journey come to your website from here. What we typically like to look at the most is what type of content the user came in to see. If it was a blog post, for example, that user would be in the Awareness stage, because our blog post strategy is typically less salesy and more focused on educating.

If the user entered via a service or product page on your website, that means they’re typically searching more Consideration-type keywords and are looking to assess your company for that product or service.

Google Paid Search

Google paid search is very similar to Google organic search. Most companies like to bid on the keywords that are going to produce conversions. If that’s the case, then the majority of these users would be in the Consideration stage. Some might even be in the Decision stage and are Googling your brand directly to make that phone call.

Read More on Modern Paid Marketing

Facebook

Facebook has spent a lot of time and money optimizing its platform so businesses can connect directly with their distinct audiences. With Facebook ads, you can actually target users to message you through Facebook messenger.

Our team has tested these campaigns substantially in the last year and learned that these leads are more in the Awareness or Consideration stages. Most people want to chat about the problem they’re running into, but they’re not necessarily ready to buy.

A snapshot on the various sources that you may consider for a marketing campaign:

Multi-Channel Marketing Venn Diagram - Eminent SEO

96% of website visitors aren’t ready to buy yet, according to Marketo.Click To Tweet

How to Nurture Leads to the Next Stage

Lead nurturing can be extremely effective when done correctly. The problems we often face are:

  1. Marketers don’t understand the business well enough to do the lead nurturing for the business owners.
  2. Sales teams don’t understand how to nurture leads by utilizing digital content.
  3. Sales teams don’t have a process for closing leads into sales.
  4. All the above.
Converting a lead to the decision stage is only the beginning of another process: the sales process.Click To Tweet We have laid out some simple steps to consider when nurturing leads or coming up with a lead-nurturing strategy for your sales team:

1. Segment Your Leads

First things first is to segment your leads into the correct buckets. Remember the marketing and sales qualified life cycles? You need to segment leads into those two buckets, at minimum. You can always expand into more lead types if your business has many more.

Marketing qualified leads should be sent more informative and education-related materials. These materials may include eBooks, quizzes, videos, blog posts, infographics, etc.

Sales qualified leads should be sent more consideration related materials such as brochures, case studies, team bios, product samples, etc.

Each week, have a dedicated employee sort through the leads and determine which type of lead they are.

2. Build a Lead Scoring Strategy and Score Your Leads

Each business is unique and requires a custom strategy for this to work. Your strategy should include all of the digital assets you currently have and which assets you need to expand on to help nurture your leads along.

Digital assets can be considered:

  • Blog posts
  • Website landing pages
  • Videos
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • And more

After you have a strategy built with the content you want to provide, you must also develop a lead scoring strategy for the various life cycles of a lead. Develop a tagging system to tag your calls and messages, so that you can easily sort these leads at a later date when it comes time to follow up.

3. Develop Canned Responses for Your Sales Team

To make their job even easier, you can help them by developing canned responses for frequently asked questions. If you’ve owned a business for a while, you probably already know the basic questions your prospects often ask. Have those answers ready with the appropriate content and call to action for those various lead types.

4. Invest into More Targeted Content for Various Buying Stages

If you find that certain digital assets are not helping your team close the deal, you have to invest into better targeted asset and content development. Digital assets will benefit your brand and website for years to come. Develop assets and content for each buying stage based on what your prospects are asking/wanting.

5. Start the Conversation

With today’s generation wanting instant gratification, your prospects do not want to be sold. Being more conversational and personal in your approach to customer service is extremely important. Instead of sharing salesy materials (unless they ask), share a quiz for them to take or a new book to read. They want to be provided with the materials to self-educate.

6. Less Is More

Since people want instant gratification and have an attention span of a 3 year old, the best way to approach any landing page is to provide fewer options for the prospect. Always have one clear call to action on the landing pages you deliver during your lead-nurturing process. That way, they aren’t distracted by everything that’s irrelevant to your conversation, and they’re more likely to convert on that CTA.

7. Automate as Much as Possible

There are many tools out there today that can help your business automate your sales- and lead-nurturing processes. These tools make it easier for your sales team to send out emails, automatically respond to website chats and messages, create proposals, automate unqualified leads through a funnel and manage the lead pipeline in one dashboard.

8. Be Timely in Your Responses

According to Hubspot, leads are 21 times more likely to enter into the sales process as a qualified lead when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after a touchpoint on your website or social platform.

9. Be Personal

The digital age is full of automation. There’s a fine line between automated and manual responses. When your team is responding to an email or a Facebook message manually, make sure to always keep the responses personalized. It’s all about personalization and providing relevant resources to what the prospect is asking.

10. Align Your Sales and Marketing Strategies

This is probably the most important part. If your sales and marketing teams are not communicating regularly, you have a problem. Marketers today have much more insight than sales teams because they are the ones reading the data every single day while your sales team is out selling.

Marketers can and should:

  • Provide the sales team with existing targeted content to share.
  • Develop more content for certain types of leads.
  • Help automate the sales process.
  • Help with canned responses.

Read More on Aligning Sales & Marketing Strategy

Your Turn to Convert Leads into Sales

This post might seem overwhelming, but the main takeaway is to know that not all your leads from digital marketing campaigns are ready to buy. In fact, the majority of them are not ready.

The buyer’s journey is a long road, and sales teams need to understand that leads don’t close overnight. They also do not want to be sold. A solid strategy requires an integrative sales and marketing nurturing approach. Good luck out there!

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Lacey Bertnick

Director of Accounts at Eminent SEO. I'm passionate about digital marketing and SEO. I've been auditing websites since I was 19 years old. Been steady in the SEO and digital marketing game for 10 years. I've learned a few things. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, healthy living, new experiences, writing, learning and evolving. I'm the type of person that will tell you how it is. If something isn't working for you, change it. Life is all about the evolution. Marketing isn't any different.

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Vol. 76: Find Your Way to Sales and Marketing Success

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Find Your Way To Sales And Marketing Success - Eminent SEO Newsletter Vol 76

Synergy Between Your Sales and Marketing Teams

Whether you have an in-house marketing team or you use an agency, your sales and marketing teams must work in tandem. Yes, there will be some crossover as far as which team handles which duties. But ultimately, the two teams need to serve distinct (yet interrelated) roles.

Your marketing agency or in-house team is essentially responsible for delivering business leads, and then it’s up to your sales team to close those leads and produce revenue for your company.

This sequence is futile if the two sides don’t communicate well. The sales team must continually report and provide feedback on the quality of the leads. If the leads are mostly calling about general info or asking off-the-wall questions, then it’s up to the marketing team to refine its tactics and target a more specific potential buyer.

At Eminent SEO, it’s our goal to not only increase the number of your leads through digital channels, but to deliver highly qualified leads in the process. We strive to build positive rapport with your sales team to open up a constant dialog about the quality of your leads. It makes all of our jobs easier – and ends up with a better ROI for your sales and marketing dollars.

See Whom We Work With

Inspirational Quote

“The objective of all advertising is to buy new customers at a profit. Learn what your customers cost and what they buy … Spend all of your ammunition where it counts.”

– Claude C. Hopkins, “Scientific Advertising” (1923)

Website Highlights: Is Your Business Aligned for Sales and Marketing Success?

Sales + Marketing = SUCCESS - Eminent SEO

In her latest blog entry, Eminent SEO cofounder and CEO Jenny Stradling gets into the specifics on the roles that your marketing and sales teams play in achieving the overall goals of your business.

“What is the difference between a marketing-qualified lead and a sales-qualified lead?”

“How do I track sales back to their originating source?”

“Do I need to use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool for my business?

“What do I need to track in a CRM?”

See the answers to these and other relevant questions, along with insight into how to align your sales and marketing strategy, in the full article:

Sales & Marketing Alignment Advice

Customer Survey

How Many Payment Options For Clients - Eminent SEO

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Answer FAQ

At Eminent SEO, we love to educate our clients, fellow small business owners and the wider public on the basics of SEO, marketing and business needs. In talking among ourselves and to our clients, there are dozens of unique terms, abbreviations and slang we use quite often. Without a knowledge and understanding of the terms, how can you – as a business owner – understand how they affect your bottom line?

What is a website landing page?

Landing Page – A landing page can be any page on a website that is accessible to search engines or that can be linked to directly. Most times, a landing page suggests a specific page on a website that is meant to attract new website visitors through both organic marketing and paid marketing efforts.

What are long-tail keywords?

Long-Tail Keywords (Long-Tail Keyword Phrases) – Keywords grouped in three or more words that are more specific and generally less competitive. These are used in the SEO industry with the intent of getting better conversions since the terms are usually more targeted than higher search volume keywords that are overly broad.

Example: “Find an Internet Marketing Company in Arizona” is a long-tail keyword versus “Internet Marketing,” which is general and likely overly competitive.

 

Use Our Free SEO Slang Resource to Get a Stronger Understanding of SEO

SEO & Marketing Terms to Know

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‘Mad Women’: Companies Flourishing Due to Women in Marketing

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Mad Women Of Marketing Companies Flourishing - Eminent SEO Staff
In comparison to the “golden age” of advertising in the 1960s, when the best creative and strategic brand initiatives came from men (because women were only perceived as adequate for secretarial work and bringing coffee to the big guns), today’s women in marketing are a force to be reckoned with. How we got from then to now took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I should know. I’ve been in the business since 1980.

While my early days fell long after those represented in the hit television series “Mad Men,” some of the misconceptions about women’s abilities back then are still evident today, yet tucked under the whispers of men and women at the office Keurig machine. This is what gives rise to the mad women of marketing, and it goes well beyond the #MeToo movement.

Perception of Feminism vs. Actual Roles

Women In Marketing Experience Sexism Boston Globe Statistic - Eminent SEO“Business is business.” It’s a common philosophy among the successful. But if you are a woman who has been passed over on a promotion or accolade due to gender, it’s hard not to take it personally.

Sure, there are situations when a man has more experience, more formal education, more talent, more entries in his book of business. In this instance, I am speaking to an apples-to-apples scenario. Why then, would a man get the advantage and is that still the case?

While working as an on-air talent, producer and marketing writer at a No. 5 U.S. market FM radio broadcast company, I was an integral part of a team saddled with going through the ratings reports when they came in.

During one intense session that took us in to the wee hours of the morning, we broke to stretch our legs. Nonetheless, I stayed at the conference room table, as did our boss who sat across from me.

I mused to myself for a moment, taking note of how everyone in the group, except for the boss, was a female. So I asked, “Why is everyone in here a woman?” He smiled and without hesitation responded, “Because if you want something done and you want it done right, ask a woman.”

At that moment, I thought it was an empowering thing to say. Over the years, I’ve changed my mind. It took me a while, and with more career disappointments under my belt, some sexual assaults on the job, a divorce and a real understanding about how strong women in marketing threaten an entire vocational culture, I finally get it. And if you don’t just yet, let me help.

“Marketing requires intricate attention to detail and organized processes to
execute a strategic campaign…because it’s evolving by the minute. It’s about telling
a story, building a brand with compassion and reaching business goals as an empowered team.”
Lacey Bertnick, SEO Director, Eminent SEO

Women in Marketing Experience Sexism

Back to what my old boss said about his favored choice in hiring women. The following facts illustrate the truths that led to his hiring preference:

  1. Single moms make up a large portion of the workforce.
  2. Many single moms must work.
  3. They can take a pay cut due to item No. 2 above.

I fit the profile. Many of my coworkers over the years have fit the profile as well. If you don’t, you probably know someone who does.

Aggressive or Driven?

When a corporation looks to promote from within, the one awarded with the title can be a result of a singular characteristic or a myriad of them. Seniority, ability, an internal reorganization or the infuriating “it’s who you know” offer some of the reasoning.

Though when it comes to a woman in the position of a possible promotion, the following factors are taken into account:

  • The effect on others within the company
  • Industry and public perception (if it’s a high-profile opportunity)
  • How the candidate will respond

Oh yeah, and there’s that important subject known as pay rate. Are these also the terms of consideration when a male is contemplated for hire? It depends.

According to MarketingWeek.com, the “pay gap between male and female marketers
has widened from 20.8% in 2016 to 22.4% in 2017,” favoring men.

You’ve probably heard that a man with wisps of gray hair is distinguished, while a woman is old. When a woman is in a position of power, she is often viewed as a bitch. For a man, he is simply driven.

“A woman who is outspoken and assertive in the workplace would be
perceived as overly demanding, whereas a man exhibiting
the same characteristics would be praised for his passion or tenacity.”
Nicola Yap, Organic Marketing Strategist, Eminent SEO

Unfortunately, this isn’t the intellectual skew beholden to men only. Some women share this ideology, which is self-defeating in the quest to climb the corporate ladder in marketing. But times are changing.

“Women are changing the way consumers feel about
brands with more cause marketing and less sex appeal.”
Jessica Feldman, Digital Marketing Specialist, Eminent SEO

The Good Ol’ Boys Club Is Dead

Nothing can be more frustrating to a woman in sales, marketing or creative than coming up with a great promotion, product positioning or ad campaign and then presenting it to a male supervisor only to get it passed on to the decision maker as if the idea came from him – the man.

“When I first started working in digital marketing, it was an ‘old boys club’ and
they weren’t too happy to see a girl step in. My male coworkers wanted me to fail,
left me out of important meetings and memos. I was ridiculed, harassed and talked down to,
paid less and given fewer opportunities than the men. It’s part of why I started my own company.
No one should put up with daily sexism just to earn a buck. I hope to help change that.”

Jenny Stradling, Founder and CEO, Eminent SEO

Some women got tired of the disrespect and mistreatment. Instead, they broke the rules and formed their own marketing agencies, tipping the uneven scales of an industry to make a decades-long wrong, right. In Arizona, I’ve had the privilege of working with two great female business owners in marketing communications, Carrie Martz of the Martz Agency and Jenny Stradling of Eminent SEO.

The Tide Is Turning

The “Mad Men” show was engaging with solid storylines and on-target acting. Perhaps part of its allure and strong audience following is that it served to remind us where we (women) started in marketing and how far we’ve come. In fact, we have arrived.

“If you want to create a successful multi-channel campaign, get a woman to help you.
She can use her insight to attract many others from the female realm. It’s like using the ‘Girl Code.’”
Danielle Knox, Creative Director, Eminent SEO

Now that there is immense public outcry regarding racism, gender-bashing, safe spaces and equality in all forms, the mad women of marketing can take a load off, put their feet up and bask in the glory of our force in the business community. A fun example is a new TV ad campaign for Overstock.com that pits a man against a woman.

Mad Women of Eminent SEO and Others Represent Well

Creative business industries such as advertising, design and marketing have been known for bucking tradition with more flexible guidelines in where we work and how we work. Ours is an industry that can easily connect the most intriguing and successful initiatives with a truly collaborative environment. For example, Thrive Marketing just opened its doors to a new, women-focused working space in Gilbert, Arizona.

The end of silo office environments, strict organizational hierarchies, and the 8-to-5 business models have shifted across many industries, but started in marketing. Remote work, shared work shifts, and team achievements have much to do with women in marketing, because to survive, we had to be flexible.

Juggling family obligations, meeting client deadlines and staying current with industry trends requires a flexible and scalable business model, especially for women. Now many companies have adopted these pathways, supporting women more than ever before.

In final thought, remember: A scorned woman hath no fury (laughing), but we do a hell of a job!

Comment Time: Discuss How You’ve Seen Women Change the Face of Marketing and Business for the Better.

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Since When Did ‘Rude’ Become Acceptable in the Workplace?

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Workplace Rudeness iMac Computers Open Desks - ESEO

Whether your company consists of thousands of employees or a handful of team members, it’s important to foster a strong company culture where your people can produce great results.

Most owners and managers think that the way to boost company morale and build a strong culture is through fancy perks and team builders. But what they often overlook is the damage that is caused by small problems that over time eat away at a company’s culture, and ultimately its bottom line.

Rudeness in the workplace is becoming increasingly common, and it is taking a big toll on businesses large and small. Let’s look at what you need to know to rid your company of this pernicious monster.

Causes of Workplace Rudeness (Hint: It’s Not Just the Big Jerks)

A poll on workplace civility in 2016 found that in 62 percent of employees were treated rudely at work at least once a month. That’s up significantly from 49 percent in 1998 when the annual poll was first conducted.

While overt rudeness is obviously a problem, it’s often the more subtle forms of rudeness that go unchecked and wear on people over time.

Types of rudeness commonly seen in the workplace include:

  • Replying to comments, emails or texts in a condescending or hostile tone
  • Ignoring communications altogether
  • Interrupting the person who’s talking
  • Belittling a person’s ideas, skills or contributions
  • Hostility in response to reasonable, constructive feedback
  • Taking credit for someone’s work or ideas, or minimizing that person’s contributions
  • Checking phone or working on the computer while others are talking

Left unchecked, these small but grating offenses wear down employee morale and motivation, especially as this type of behavior becomes the norm within an organization.

Stress at work also plays a big role. Being the victim of rudeness can cause stress, and so can difficult work circumstances.

And let’s face it – some people seem to have just never learned how to behave in socially appropriate ways. As with a physical illness, these few socially underdeveloped individuals can quickly spread the rudeness plague far and wide within your organization.

The Consequences of Workplace Incivility

Workplace Poll Treated Rudely At Work 1998 To 2016 - Eminent SEOIncivility in the workplace affects employees in the following ways:

  • Decline in work performance
  • Choosing to spend less time at work
  • Reduced commitment to the organization
  • Taking frustrations out on customers, colleagues, vendors, etc.

Both the quality and quantity of an employee’s work can suffer either deliberately (as the employee’s revenge for being mistreated), subconsciously (due to low motivation), or due to loss of focus on work as the person spends time and effort trying to avoid or appease antagonizing colleagues.

This, in turn, leads to consequences for the organization, such as:

  • Increased employee turnover
  • Losing the best and brightest in the organization, who have many options and don’t have to put up with such nonsense
  • Greater occurrences of stress-related illness and sick leave
  • Damage to the company’s reputation and brand when rudeness is experienced by employees, vendors or customers

Workplace Aggravation Is Literally a Brain Drain

The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain responsible for concentration, self-control and decision-making: These are known as “executive functions.” Basically, it’s the CEO of the brain.

While extremely powerful, this part of the brain is a limited resource in the sense that it can only function at peak performance for a limited amount of time. This is why people can usually concentrate better at the beginning of the day, need rest and breaks to regain focus, and become more emotionally sensitive to antagonizing situations as the day wears on.

When people use up their executive-function brainpower in exercising the self-control needed to deal with rudeness, the amount of energy they have left to focus on doing their job well decreases.

And when that self-control dries up altogether, they lash out at whoever is in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is one way that the cycle of rudeness perpetuates itself.

30 Rock Rude Meme

7 Ways to Cultivate Civility in Your Workplace

Overall, there are two types of strategies for reducing rudeness in the workplace:

  1. Establish a culture of professionalism
  2. Reduce stress

Reducing stress allows people to focus on what’s important: doing their job well. Establishing a culture of professionalism means putting policies into practice that quickly correct unacceptable behavior, which in turn helps prevent it in the future.

Here are some specific steps you can take to establish a culture of professionalism and reduce stress in your workplace.

1. Call out unacceptable behavior – even the little stuff. Especially the little stuff.

Ironically, because people prefer to avoid conflict, they often don’t call out rudeness when it happens. And the few who do call out rudeness are often accused of being rude themselves and are likely to be targets for retaliation.

This has got to change. The only way to address inappropriate behavior is to recognize it – and for everyone to know that certain behaviors will get called out. This can’t just be a policy; it has to be put into practice and modeled at every level of the organization.

2. Model the kind of behavior you want in your workplace.

Owners and managers set the tone for everyone else. One rude or insensitive manager can damage an entire department.

A person’s direct supervisor has the most influence over their work satisfaction, both because of how they are treated and because of what kind of behavior the manager tolerates in his or her peers. Even within a great organization, a bad boss can ruin an employee’s experience of the company culture.

3. Make civility in the workplace equally important to achieving results.

Yes, results are important, but the results come from people living daily in your company culture. If you culture starts to sour, so will your results. It’s important to reward processes and behaviors that will lead to the results you want.

If you have a merit-based pay or bonus structure, do results trump all other considerations?

If other factors aren’t taken into account, like civility, then there’s a good chance people will do whatever it takes to get the results, including:

  • Dismissing the ideas and contributions of others
  • Taking credit for others’ work
  • Publicly belittling others
  • Cheating or shortcutting important processes

4. Look for ways to reduce stress in your organization.

Company Workplace Incivility Consequences Infographic - Eminent SEOTreat habitual stress like public enemy No. 1 in your workplace. Sure, a certain amount of stress is inevitable in business and in life. Things happen.

But your team should only experience stress when the unexpected happens. If stress is a daily part of life, look for ways to eliminate stress and conflict.

If you know a certain situation is a constant source of anxiety for your people, then make it your mission to find a way to eliminate, or at least reduce, the stress that this circumstance causes.

Common causes of workplace stress – that managers have control over – include:

  • Unrealistically aggressive timelines
  • Workload or performance metrics that are too high
  • Internal competition for limited resources and manager approval
  • Long work hours (especially when combined with not taking adequate breaks and neglecting proper nutrition)

External factors, like the competitiveness of an industry or a demanding client, can also increase stress. While management has less control over these sources of stress, they can control policies on how they are handled internally, including:

  • Firing difficult-to-work-with clients
  • Standing up for employees to vendors and clients
  • Focus on personal-best performance rather than beating industry measures

5. Create systems that support your employees every single day.

Quarterly team builders are nice, but they won’t make up for the fact your people have to come into a toxic environment day after day. And if there’s bad blood between your employees, a team builder won’t make it go away. It will actually highlight the hypocrisy of such an exercise.

As an example, a friend of mine worked as a customer service rep at a company that had a billing policy that upset customers, so she had to deal with angry customers all day, while being expected to hit unrealistic call quotas. Meanwhile, her management thought they had a good culture because they had a game room in the employee lounge and other such perks. They talked about wanting to have a positive company culture, but their billing policies and performance metrics counteracted their supposedly good intentions.

Bottom line: If your employees are unhappy every day, then you don’t have a strong company culture, regardless of the “cool” benefits you provide.

6. Pay your people better.

This also falls into the reducing stress category. People come to work already unhappy when they feel they are working hard for not very much compensation. Or they may simply reduce how hard they are working to match their compensation.

Wages in the U.S. have not kept pace with inflation for many people, so stress from financial difficulties at home can bleed into the workplace.

Pay is also a sign of respect from employer to employee. Paying at or above market rate can go a long way to make people feel valued. As the saying goes: Put your money where your mouth is. You say you value your team members, but does their paycheck reflect that?

And if your company truly can’t afford to pay more at this time, then factors like the quality of the work environment are even more important to reducing employee turnover.

7. Encourage employees to take vacation and sick time.

People need time to recuperate physically, mentally and emotionally. You’ll be rewarded with more patient, focused, happy employees.

That’s assuming they actually use that time to relax. Some people might need help learning how to do that, since many people are so used to the constant stress of life that they don’t know how to break out of the cycle and really relax.

People often are afraid to ask to take time off. Making it a policy will make it easier for them, and it will force your company to figure out how to shift work around when people are out – which is bound to happen anyway due to unexpected circumstances.

Employee Rudeness Hurts Everyone: Make it Stop!

Workplace incivility can slowly eat away at your company culture, reputation and effectiveness. As a leader in your organization, it’s up to you to be an advocate for greater courtesy in the workplace. The rewards are worth it: a boost in employee morale, greater productivity and a more cooperative company culture.

Employees and Managers Could All Benefit from a Little More Mindfulness on the Job

See 10 Tips for Mindfulness at Work

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Sara Korn

Finding creative ways to give both readers and clients what they want is why I love being a writer! As a Content Strategist at Eminent SEO, I listen to clients and put myself in the shoes of their customers to create compelling marketing messages that drive engagement.

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