Cold Calling Not So Cold Anymore: How Social Media Arms You For Early Contacts

Your customers know a lot more about you than they used to. But you can learn about them, too, making that first contact potentially more productive. Here’s how.

Cold calling. Nothing strikes more apprehension in the heart of a sales professional than that uncomfortable phrase. But when you run out of leads, what else can you do?

You can improve your chances of closing sales with those unknown prospects by finding them on Facebook. Tracking them on Twitter. Looking them up on LinkedIn. Getting acquainted on Google+.

Courting The Savvy Customer

Before you tap out that first email or pick up the phone, find out who these potential customers are. People post publicly on social media because they want to be noticed. You’re not exactly eavesdropping.

And if they didn’t know anything about you before you contacted them, you can be sure that they’ll know a lot before they respond to your message. Where consumers and businesses used to rely on you for the skinny on your company and products, they’re now listening to peers in their social networks before they even exchange Hello’s with you.

So return the favor. You shouldn’t feel creepy checking out prospects. You may find that at least some individuals and businesses like the fact that you made the effort to see if their needs and your products and services are a good match.

Searching the Database

It’s been said that the internet is a giant sales database. You can think about it like that, but don’t act like it is.

It’s not rocket science. There’s a social aspect to every sale, in person or online. Use your personal skills in new ways, especially in dealing with cold calls. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Look for clues. Find out where your prospects “live” on the internet. Then listen. What are they talking about, complaining about, praising? Using Nimble to keep track of the myriad details you’ll be collecting helps you create thorough profiles through its unified social streams.
  • Put the “R” back into your CRM. Target your early efforts toward building a relationship with potential customers and hold off on anything that smacks of a sales pitch. Social media has killed the hard sell.
  • Don’t use a script. Social media is casual, so you should match this tone.
  • Become a power LinkedIn user. Get involved with LinkedIn Groups. This is a great way to display your expertise – and to look for approachable prospects. While you’re there, don’t just communicate with your top-level contacts. Look at those who are seconds and thirds, and ask for referrals from your first-tier friends. Look at secondary interests people have. Ask for recommendations and reciprocate. Above all else, make sure your profile is honest, thorough and inviting.

 

  • Let Twitter and Facebook help you find people and companies to follow and Friend. The tools are all there for you. Twitter just revamped its Discover tool, for example. When you click on Who to Follow, Twitter now displays a list of suggestions based not only on your own activity, but also that of the individuals that those people follow. Click on the new View Tweet link in Stories, and you’ll see tweets from people in your network (and others). Facebook seems to add features almost daily; you can always see what’s new here.
  • Use Circles on Google+ to learn about and share with targeted groups. No more one-size-fits-all messages.

 

  • If you have a blog – and you should – engage and educate. Use it to learn about and help deal with your visitors’ pain points. Pay close attention to comments and respond to them rapidly. Visit blogs hosted by competitors and listen to the conversations there. Ask. Start a poll or a contest. Initiate threads that encourage your audience to vent. Think like your potential customers. If you wanted to solve a problem or find a product or service provider in a specific area, what words would you use in a search? Populate your posts with those keywords.
  • Give people a reason to like you, or at least know you. Don’t be all business. Customers like to buy from people they like. How can they like you if they don’t know you? Start some off-topic threads and contribute to some.
  • Offer something of value – free – to your prospects. Product samples, a webinar invitation or educational white paper – even a promotional tchotchke with your company’s name on it. Once you know something about them, you should be able to come up with an appropriate freebie.
  • Don’t expect miracles. This approach doesn’t promise instant success. Blogs can take many months to really build up an interested audience and quality, focused conversations. The same goes for all of your other online interaction.

Tailor Your Approach

When you find the best venues to establish yourself as an expert in your field, you may find that some prospects will come to you. But don’t bank on this.

After you’ve developed a relationship – or a few – the time will come when you will finally want to start steering the conversation toward the possibility of a sale. You’ve done this before, but perhaps not with as much knowledge of your potential client. Your approach will likely be different with each individual or company because you have a feel for who they are.

And while you’re still doing what’s technically a cold call – introducing the idea of a sale to someone who hasn’t initiated the contact – it shouldn’t feel so frigid. Your cumulative knowledge of each other makes it much easier for you to know who may be receptive, and for those people to decide whether to take the next step.

Thanks to Todd @ Nimble “Original Post

Looking for a Social CRM solution for you business contact us or check out www.greenappleit.co.za/nimble

Use Twitter to Nudge Prospects

Everyone has theories on how to use Twitter to increase sales. Some laud its effectiveness, while others say it’s a time-waster that offers minimal and hard to measure results.

Still, it’s important that you have a presence there, whether it’s aimed at supporting customer service, reinforcing your brand or soliciting feedback on your company’s offerings. Those goals translate fairly easily into concrete Twitter posts and responses.

But using Twitter to find and interact with potential customers is trickier. You have to be part private detective, part cheerleader (of others) and part thought leader/expert-in-your-field/fount of knowledge. By subtly becoming a small but noticeable part of your prospects’ networks, you can build your own following of people and companies who identify you as a trusted voice amidst all the chatter.

Attract By Being Attractive

Before you start interacting with people, make sure that your Twitter handle is professional, descriptive and memorable. Don’t try to be coy or clever: Make it a strong identifier of your brand, to ensure that you’re easy to find. Same goes for your profile photo, or avatar. Would you buy from that smiling face in the picture?

It probably goes without saying, but your first move should be to follow the right people and companies of interest. It’s flattering to be followed. Don’t follow everyone, as your feed will become unwieldy and you may miss seeing tweets from your diamonds in the rough. Try to maintain a reasonable ratio of followers to those being followed.

Need help finding promising relationships? Click on #Discover on Twitter. Check out Follower Wonk and Twitter Grader to find additional prominent Tweeters. You can also utilise Nimble for this, the Social tab is great for finding people, seeing their Klout scores, find out who they follow and who follows them. Explore your contacts’ networks – something drew them all together, find out what.

Engage, Engage, Engage

Of course, you’ll have been tweeting all along. Every day, at various times. Most people have lengthy Twitter streams, and they likely don’t read to the end. Try to catch people in different time zones who have varied schedules.

Tell people what you’re reading or watching. Retweet relevant tweets. Talk about an event you’re going to attend. Yes, one of your reasons for participating in Twitter is to find sales leads, but the salesperson of 2012 must be a social creature. Prospects have already researched your business, so tell them who you are – what interests you, what your passions are, what restaurants you recommend, etc.

Let Your Strengths Shine

One of the things that defines you, though, is your expertise in the industry that your products serve. Are you a heating and air conditioning maintenance specialist? Post reminders about preventive maintenance in the spring and fall. Discuss the benefits (and drawbacks) of solar. Tell people about upkeep tasks they can take on themselves, and link to a how-to article on your blog.

There are many other ways to quietly develop a Twitter relationship with prospects. Here are some:

• Frequent chats and feeds where people ask questions and post problems. Be the friendly voice that just provides a solution without trying to sell – yet.

• If your business draws heavily on the local community, promote interesting events, venues and people. Display your pride in your region, and people will resonate with that.

Read and respond. Post congratulatory messages to people who’ve tweeted about an accomplishment. Agree with someone in a tweet (when you actually do).

Solicit opinions. Ask for input on a particular dilemma, or float a new product or service idea.

Connect needs and resources. Can’t help a particular individual but know someone who can? Put them in touch with each other.

Tweet about a free, helpful resource your business offers to nudge them to your website.

“Nudge” is the operative word. This element of your Twitter activity can establish you – and by extension, your company – as a trusted, altruistic source of information and assistance. It can also be one of the more enjoyable parts of your workday.

Thanks to Richard @ Nimble “Original Post

Looking for a Social CRM solution for you business contact us or check out www.greenappleit.co.za/nimble

Use Your Sales Pitch Sparingly: Educate and Engage Your Customers Through Your Blog

What would you do if you ran across a blog that was heavy on the sales pitch? Don’t do that to your customers – it won’t work.

You’ve seen them before, probably numerous times: blogs that are heavy on selling and light on useful information. Their publishers might try to fool you by titling a post something like, 5 Tips For Buying a Safe, Inexpensive Used Car. But once you start reading, you learn that the five tips are blatant plugs for each of a car dealership’s five locations.

So you move on.

There is, as you know, a time and a place for outright sales talk. Your advertisements. Direct mail. At the end of a prospect engagement, when you know the potential customer is ready for it. On some social media sites – very sparingly and very low-key. But not on your blog. At least not very frequently.

First, Educate

People are drawn to the web for many reasons. Probably the two biggest are, to communicate with friends and business associates, and to learn about something. You can facilitate both needs with your blog, but the latter is critical.

Your visitors know that you would like to sell them something. They come to you for a.) information, b.) help, and c.) reviews from existing customers. Your job is to make the first two as helpful, jargon-free and valuable as possible.

In most cases, these consumers and businesses who drop in are trying to solve a problem, and they think whatyou’re offering is a possible answer. So focus on dilemmas and solutions. If you’re selling desktop PCs and mobile devices – and their maintenance and repair – you can choose from an endless list of topics, enough to keep you going for years. Consider these possible titles:

  • How to Clean PC Monitors Without Damaging Them (how-to’s are exceptionally popular)
  • Do You Really Need a Smartphone Upgrade? Explore the Apps Markets First
  • Mom Was Right: Sit Up Straight to Prevent PC-Related Positional Pain
  • 5 iPad Apps That Will Simplify Your Business Tasks
  • Online Backup vs. Cloud-Based: How to Determine Which You Need

People gravitate toward businesses that offer free things. In this case, it’s assistance and information. When it comes time to make purchasing decisions, who do you think will be considered more seriously? Not the guy with the megaphone, telling you things you already know. Buyers do a tremendous amount of online research before talking sales these days.

Engage and Enjoy

Certainly, you can offer in-depth educational tools like white papers and e-books if they’re appropriate. But the internet is the new media, the home of social media. And blog-building sites like Blogger.com and WordPress.com build in numerous features that help you engage your readers. You should use them to make your visitors’ stay on your blog more fun, more effective and more productive.

For example, these applications let you say-it-without-saying-it by using pictures and video. Post from your mobile phone or tablet to keep critical conversations flowing. Automatically notify visitors via email when you’ve published a new post. Set up sidebar widgets that display your feeds from Flicker, Twitter, etc. You never know what is going to catch a prospect’s eye, so give them lots of clues as to who you are.

And yes, the latter is important. Social media have blurred the line between the personal and the professional. It’s good to let potential customers in on who the individuals behind the product or service are. You can do this – and encourage engagement – in numerous ways, including these:

  • Start off-topic conversations on subjects not related to your business: The Bachelorette or Game of Thrones, sports, gadgets, social media itself, hobbies – things that people are likely to have opinions on. Stay away from politics and religion, and don’t be afraid to give the hook to unpleasant participants.
  • Talk about something funny/absurd/interesting that you saw/read/heard.
  • Comment on comments and encourage feedback by asking for it at the end of posts.
  • Don’t let your blog feel like a ghost town – let visitors know you’re there and that you’re glad that they are.
  • Write as well as you can, and be as brief and clear as possible. If you can’t express yourself well in print, find a ghostwriter, possibly even someone on your staff. Sloppy copy undermines your credibility.

Above all, don’t bang your drum loudly. Internet inhabitants are inundated with Buy Me! messages. Be the helpful, friendly, enjoyable blog. Create personal bonds without overreaching or getting too familiar. Just as they might if you’re an effective problem-solver, your readers are more likely to become customers if they like visiting your blog — and they like you.

Thanks to Todd@ Nimble “Original Post

Looking for a Social CRM solution for you business contact us or check out www.greenappleit.co.za/nimble

e-Newsletters Can Drive Sales: 5 Tips for Creating Them

 

-Newsletters have to work hard to be noticed, but they can still produce leads.

 

Richard Young blog spam iconSo you already have a blog and a website.  But you’re not getting the readership or the leads that you’d hoped for.  An e-newsletter may spark some more interest.  It won’t take a tremendous amount of work since you can repurpose some of your existing content (and add some new material), and if you do it right, it may prompt potential customers into exploring your wares.  Hoiwever, you have to get noticed.  An announcement of an e-newsletter in your customers’ inbox can look like just another piece of junk mail, waiting to be deleted.  Make sure yours doesn’t.

 

1. Create a compelling subject line.

As you know from your vast experience in mass-deleting emails, it probably takes you about a second and a half to decide whether or not to keep a message.  Your subject line is the most critical sentence or sentence fragment in the entire newsletter.  Try your best to keep your readers’ fingers off of the Delete key.

Here’s a subject line whose attached e-newsletter will soon be in the Recycle Bin: Valued Customer! Here is the August newsletter from [company name].

Exclamation points in business correspondence should be used sparingly, if ever.  This subject line looks impersonal and terribly uninteresting.  You don’t have to be clever or funny (if you try to be, test the line on a couple of friends).  Be inviting and intriguing.  Try something like this instead: 7 Easy Ways to Save Time and Money This Back-to-School Season.

2. Write a teaser paragraph or two upfront. Don’t just launch into the first article.  You captured their interest with the subject line but you could still lose them fast.  Tell the readers what they can expect in the issue and how it will help them.  Add a graphic, boldface or italicize some key words or phrases and use aesthetically-pleasing colours.  Draw their eye to your words.

If you’re a retail outlet trying to drum up some local business during August, you could do something like this:

Few phrases bring as much joy and dread to a parent in August as Back to School Sale.  It’s the prelude to a 9-month reprieve from day care worries and teenage drama, but it also means endless shopping trips to equip the youngsters for their classroom days.

Richard Young blog 101 lessons

We can simplify this chore for you.  In our August issue, you’ll find helpful tips that have appeared in our blog like:

  • 5 Ways to Reduce Your Back-to-School Shopping Bill
  • Tips From a Tech Expert on Keeping Your Child’s Tablet or Smartphone Secure
  • 3 Inexpensive, Capable Alternatives to the iPhone
  • Dress the Kids Stylishly, for Less: Local Thrift Stores Gear Up For Back-to-School
  • 6 Tips for Finding That Safe, Affordable Used Car for Your Teen

3. Link, link, link. Send them back to your blog or your website as much as you can, since that’s where your readers will be able to make comments and interact with you.  Start a thread called What Did We Miss in Our Newsletter? and ask for feedback.

4. Set yourself goals. Do you have goals for your e-newsletters, some way you’d like the readers to respond (get them into the store, showcase your online storefront, highlight a particular product line)? Make sure to include a call to action and display it prominently:

   Find the word “vexed” in this newsletter and get a 25 percent-off coupon to [store name]. 

   Click here to get a sneak preview of our September specials. 

   How are you using your [product name]? Tell us here and win a free gift the next time you come in.

Richard Young blog go mobile

5. Get professional help if necessary. If your time is short and your budget allows, employ a professional e-newsletter service for production and distribution.  Using our integrated partner MailChimp, you’ll not only get expert help with your e-newsletter mechanics, but you’ll be able to analyze your campaigns and see who opens your emails and what links they click.

E-newsletters are a terrific way to drive traffic back to your website and blog, build customer relationships, cement loyalty, and find leads.   Nimble can be a valuable ally as you build new channels for communication and information-sharing.

Thanks to Richard @ Nimble “Original Post

Looking for a Social CRM solution for you business contact us or check out www.greenappleit.co.za/nimble

Wondering what’s new in Nimble 2.0?

 

Nimble 2.0 has arrived and we think you’re going to love it!

Over the past 365 days the Nimble team been listening to your feedback. We heard when you said you wanted to integrate your Facebook Pages with Nimble, we listened when told us you needed the ability to add custom fields to contact records, and we understood when you said you needed more privacy options. All of your great feedback is the reason why Nimble 2.0 now exists!

Nimble 2.0 focuses on three pillars: 

  •  Social Delivery – Each day, it’s hard to know where to start strengthening your relationships.  Nimble makes this easy. Every morning Nimble sends you one email full of new engagement opportunities. You’ll also find one unified stream of all your incoming messages, requests, likes and more in the Notifications section under the Social tab.

  • Improved Usability – At the heart of Nimble is the contact record – the embodiment of the relationship with the customer.  Nimble contacts have an all new and improved user interface which effortlessly pulls together all related messages, activities, deals, and includes the contact’s live social stream.  Nimble has also added custom fields and tabs to support the unique ways our customers

  •  Privacy & Marketing Integrations – Nimble now includes the important ability to choose which messages to share with your team either by default or on a case by case basis. It also allows for powerful third party integrations with apps like Wufoo, HubSpot and MailChimp!

The Nimble team invited a few beta testers to try Nimble 2.0 early and here’s what they are saying:

“What I love about this product is the user interface. It’s very easy to find relevant information when I need it. The integration with contact management, activity management, sales and marketing automation, traditional and social media communication tools, and collaboration features into one web-based solution makes it very convenient for people like me to get a pulse of what’s going on in my network.” Michael Brito, Edelman Digital

“Nimble is by far the most advanced of the cloud-based CRMs out there. I’ve tried SalesForce, Solve360, Zoho and Affinity Live. Nimble is the cleanest CRM that I’ve seen; and automatically pulls down social network profiles of all your contacts. Seamless integration with Google calendars (a first compared to all of the other CRMs listed above). It’s far more reasonably priced than SalesForce, and a far better product for Google Apps users. It’s obvious that it was started by the same minds behind Goldmine; and why Google invested in the company.” –David Schulman, CloudOPX

“Nimble is the bedrock of our engagement toolset which nurtures our client relationships so that we can successfully meet their needs with our programs and services. Thanks Nimble, for putting engagement first in your product.” – Israel Vicars , Aegis

“I use many different systems, some for team management, some for client communication, some for task and productivity. I recently started using Nimble and find that it is among the top 4 windows that need to be open on my desktop at all time. It’s a really intuitive CRM that connects my email, social media and contact and deal information in one easily accessible location. Highly recommended if you’re looking to make your business more efficient and productive.”– Steve Lack Genlack

Visit the Nimble website to view all of the exciting new ways you can use Nimble to engage your community!

Nimble Personal

Nimble Personal is for single users and free-of-charge.

 

Nimble Team

Nimble Team is for groups and is available for a small monthly fee.

If you have any questions you can leave a comment below, email us at info@greenappleit.co.za / or call us on 011 234 4711

Drive traffic and leverage leads effortlessly

As companies race to harness the power of social media, marketers are aware that establishing a presence on social sites by creating a page and putting up content is the easy part.

It’s getting people to actually read the content however the challenge is to create brand or product engagement on your company website to convert lead to sales that transforms a mere presence into a high-impact, results-driven marketing campaign and sales opportunities.

Driving traffic is a daunting task for most companies given the intense competition in the marketplace for consumer attention and loyalty. GAIT’s interactive email campaign service makes that task a lot easier for businesses.

We can help any size business drive social media traffic and leverage leads, effortlessly.

 

Green Apple IT Brings Big Business Online Marketing Services to the SME

it-green-apple-south-africa

Green Apple IT Brings Big Business Online Marketing Services to the SME

“After consulting with our existing clients & thorough market evaluation Green Apple IT Marketing Services provides the market with cost effective & measurable online marketing Solutions. Working closely with our IT Services division (GAIT) we are able to provide complimentary IT & Marketing Services to our clients with an integrated service approach” says Dawie Bloomberg.

We offer high levels of online marketing services that big businesses expect and at a price to suit the pockets of smaller businesses, delivering solutions that fit the needs of these businesses and help them to grow and prosper, cost effectively.

“We believe that no business is ever too small to have a robust marketing & communications strategy, but SMEs often do not have much of a marketing budget. At Green Apple online Marketing Services we focus on delivering the right solutions to meet our customers’ needs and budgets. And the key word is ‘solutions’. We do not simply sell products, but work with SMEs to develop a tailored integrated online marketing solution that makes business sense because it will actually help them to expand their business and as a result will help them to do business better,” says Dawie Bloomberg, Managing Director of Green Apple IT.

“There is a misconception in the SME market that online marketing solutions are always expensive and require a lot of personal resource and new equipment to be effective, our challenge is to help small and medium sized businesses overcome this idea and help them to understand how a cost effective and integrated online solution can benefit their business,” says Bloomberg.

We manage all our online marketing services in-house so that you don’t have to!

We simplify integrated Marketing Services for your business that includes;

• Website development
• SEO
• Social Media
• ‘e’ Marketing Campaigns
• Pre & post & campaign Analysis to include ROI, RFM, Loyalty, LTV, Profiling & Segmentation
• Accurate and valuable Customer Acquisition & Retention
• We help with developing & implementing your overall Marketing and Communication strategy
• Brand Promotion

All our work is supported by thorough reporting allowing us to understand the true value behind our client’s investments. ROI campaigning is the only way forward!

As you are aware Green Apple IT & Marketing Services is a proudly a South African company with 1st world International experience and qualifications. We understand our client’s requirements and we are proud to deliver positive and incremental change.

Should you wish to speak with us directly please contact us:

Yours in Business, the team at Green Apple IT

Online Marketing by Green Apple IT Marketing Services

 

At Green Apple IT Marketing Services we provide website development with integrated online website marketing services.

Our experience allows us to deliver optimal & functional effective online website solutions for both product & business  services led companies across all industry sectors.

Our online marketing services deliver optimal prospecting, conversion and bottom line, customer sales. Available for both product and services related companies.

Green Apple IT Marketing Services is a results driven marketing service provider and all our work is measurable and accurate through effective data and campaign analysis. We provide pre and post online campaign analysis that supports and delivers on your companies marketing strategy.

We deliver cost effective and measurable online Sales & Marketing solutions by using integrated Web Marketing mediums such as;

• SEO – Search Engine Key word optimisation for your companies products and services
• Social Media & Viral Marketing Communities – Bloggs, Facebook, Twitter etc
• Measurable and interactive Dynamic Content within your company website
• Shopping Cart techniques for streamlined online purchase process
• Customer Analysis – Segmentation and Profiling
• email communication – we host email databases for our customers and run and manages their online email marketing campaigns.
• Database enhancement and targeting solutions across your prospect and customer database

Have a look at our Online Marketing Packages