MarComNeXt Pocket Guide: Leverage LinkedIn to grow your business

linkedin-officeSocial Media is now clearly a required component of any integrated marketing mix for all companies, Large Enterprise or SMB, and among the numerous Social Media and Networks available, LinkedIn is one of the most effective, and may be underused, to help you grow your business.

I first used LinkedIn to build my personal network, and later on I also used it professionally to develop my company (IBM) Social Media Marketing tactics for my business unit and for our events, and in both case it`s been a success and rewarding experience.

First a few stats & demographics: As of February 2011,

linkedin bpo– LinkedIn has over 101 Million members, all experienced professionals, from +200 countries (3/4 in North America, followed by Europe and India), 30% of them are part of SMB companies (less than 1.000 employees), 72% of them are between 24 and 54 years old (average 41 and household income $109k), The industry sector best represented is IT and Finance followed by Manufacturing and Medical, The two most popular job functions are Sales and Administration, followed by Academic, Operations and Engineering.

– 18Million members belong to a group

– 1Million new members are signing up every week

– 45 Million visitors per month, among the top 250 web sites visited word wide

– 2Billion people searches per year

– 69% of the Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn

– More than 1Million companies have an official Company Page on Linkedin

– LinkedIn is a favorite with lead generation companies conducting B2B campaigns: 72% of the respondents in a survey voted for LinkedIn as Number1, Facebook ranked second with 71%, while Twitter came in third with 67%

– Worldwide spending on social networks is expected to rise 71.6% to $5.97 billion, approximately 8.7% of the total amount advertisers are predicted to spend online in 2011.

LinkedIn can help you grow your business in many ways, depending on which type of business you are in, but overall here a few of them:LinkedIn-advertising-campaigns

1.Raise awareness on your profile, your brand and reputation

2. Connect with more people and engage discussions with customers and partners

3. Drive traffic to your web site and generate leads

4. Advertise job offerings and Hire qualified people

5. Trade services and grow revenue

Based on my experience, here are a few basic but useful  tips to guide you on how to leverage LinkedIn to grow your business:

  • Create your company profile on LinkedIn
  • Invite employee to connect and customers and partners to follow your company, Use LinkedIn’s email import tools to import all of your contacts
  • Advertise your LinkedIn profile on your communication, web, social media, email, newsletter
  • Tie your LinkedIn profile to your others social networks and add a LinkedIn widget on your website and blog
  • Create a LinkedIn Industry Group, and invite employees, partners, customers, prospects, industry experts and influencers to join
  • Start rich discussions and promotions on your LinkedIn Group and become a recognized expert in your market or industry
  • Advertise Jobs offerings on your LinkedIn Company Profile and Group and extend your reach to a huge pool of resources and experts
  • Search & invite your customers and prospects to connectlinkedin1 blog
  • Perform blind, “reverse,” and company reference checks
  • Get recommendations and referrals to help attract more clients
  • Join relevant LinkedIn Groups and use them to send e-mails to thousands of prospects
  • Use LinkedIn to get back-links to your web site, blogs, newsletters
  • Enhance your Search Engine results, Claim your own vanity URL for added SEO power
  • Create LinkedIn events and drive traffic to your events, conferences, workshops, webinars or virtual events
  • Automatically get your Tweets to show on your LinkedIn profile
  • Automatically get your blog posts to show on your LinkedIn Profile
  • Use polls and surveys to gather valuable market information
  • Find out who has actually viewed your profile and follow up
  • Leverage LinkedIn’s application features, share Powerpoint presentations and PDF files with your connections, with product and services information, white papers, customers cases studies, press releases
  • Advertise on LinkedIn, "pay per click", and touch hundreds of thousands of potential customers
  • Define metrics, track your results to measure your success and justify your Return on Social Media Investment.

limkedin imagesLinkedIn has grown to become an important B2B marketing and recruitment digital channel.

 Apply all these tactics to take advantage of LinkedIn and help you quickly build a valuable professional network, Improve your brand visibility, grow your reputation, raise awareness on your products and services, extend your reach and Word-of-Mouth and generate leads cost effectively.

View my profile on LinkedIn www.linkedIn.com/in/gdusastre

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Pocket Guide: Improve your Return On Event Marketing Investment

Rise above the crowd

Times are changing, business people tend to limit travel, marketing budgets are often decreasing and/or shifting from traditional marketing tactics as events, Web, Printed and TV ads, to new marketing tactics as Digital Marketing, Mobile Advertising, Virtual events,  and Social Media, however in my view nothing can be more effective than a Face-to-Face contact, a real Live demonstration, an executive on site meeting to promote brand recognition, raise products awareness, generate leads and revenue and I do believe events still need to be part of an effective integrated marketing mix.

An Event is an expensive tactic and a lot of work but nothing can replace personal interaction and a high quality public exposure.

Based on my experience at leading and managing many events all over the world, conferences, trade shows, road-shows, customers meetings, users or partners conferences, experiential events, Press and Analysts briefings, Fundraising events etc, I thought I would share a few tips to improve branding, generate more leads, optimize results  and increase Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Strategy & Planning Event Guide

1-      Document a detailed business plan, including Goals, objectives, tactics, metrics  and get executive management approval, sponsorship and support,

2-      Integrate the event in an integrated marketing mix/campaign,

3-      Build a detailed project plan, with every task, roles & responsibilities, deadlines, status and keep it updated,

4-      Define the strategic products, solutions or services to highlight or demonstrate at the event, aligned with targeted customers needs and challenges,

5-      Define the strategic messaging to convey at the event, aligned with strategic corporate branding and messaging,

6-      Document a detailed communication plan (external and internal).

Audience generation, prior to the event

7-      Advertize on the event communication, web site, guide, emails etc

8-      Leverage your web site to promote the event, increase awareness and generate registration

9-      Leverage Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to drive traffic to your web page promoting the event,

10-   Leverage Social Media to extend word-of-mouth, reach a larger audience, and engage discussions and generate registration

11-   Send series of emails to personally invite your customers, partners to attend your speaking sessions, visit your booth, register for a demonstrations, or schedule on site executive meetings,

12-   Offer free registration badges or incentive to selected targeted customers or prospects,

13-   Enable your direct and channel sales force to invite their customers and drive audience,

14-   Set up an effective  lead response management process, system and tools with a dedicated team to manage it.

At the event Brand experience

15-   Be visible, promote your corporate brand, use clear, clean, warm, sexy design, colors and materials, use large screens displays (Size does matter, the larger the better) and bright lighting,

16-   Train your team to be engaging, open and proactive, not forgetting to listen,

17-   Train your team to a clear strategic and integrated messaging, “One Voice”

18-   Offer promotions, incentives, draws, games, widgets, freebies to increase traffic and contacts

19-   Provide marketing material available for easy and self distribution (USB drives, DVD, Printed)

20-   Have very skilled and engaging hosts at a reception desk to help guide and inform visitors

21-   Leverage Social Media to raise awareness and drive audience to the booth or speaking sessions, i.e tweet and blog live from the event,

22-   Create the Buzz,

23-   Leverage Press and Media presence,

24-   Enter every contact and lead in the lead generation system (wireless badge scanners, business cards scanners, manual forms etc) with as much detailed information as possible to help the lead response team.

After the event

25-   Send a thank you email to all contacts, with an opt-out option to be included in your database and receive follow up emails,

26-   Enter all contacts who have opted-in (or did not opted-out) in your database for future communications, newsletters, campaigns, events, eNurtering tactics,

27-   Send a series of emails with relevant information following the event and engaging contacts to take actions,

28-   Track and measure results of your email marketing and eNurtering activities (click-through, forward, referrals, responses etc…),

29-   Engage contacts via Social Media (follow them on twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc),

30-   Track and measure results of your Social Media activity,

31-   Review all contacts and leads, prioritize and dispatch Hot Leads to appropriate sales force,

32-   Track and measure wins and revenue generated or influenced by the event in your CRM or Marketing systems,

33-   Gather feedback through a survey from internal and external audience,

34-   Document lessons learned for next event, there is always room for improvement.

Lights "On"

I hope this Event Marketing Pocket Guide will help, however it is a short summary version and you are welcome to add any tactic of yours in the comment section…

Now get on stage and Sell !

Video Conferencing vs. Face-to-Face meetings (including for G20 Summit)

After experiencing myself (live) the G20 Summit in Toronto last week-end, and based on some of the numbers: 

Face-to-Face meeting at the G8

 

$1.2Billion of security cost, over 19,000 police officers, 900 people arrested, 10,000 words in a final agreement with little results as it is so difficult to have 20 global leaders agree in such a short period of time on so important global issues, and different agendas. 

 As collateral damage, not yet included in the cost of the gathering, downtown Toronto was turned into a ghost town for a week and a war zone for 2 days, and devastated by organised groups of violent protesters, who came to get their message out by broking windows & doors of major brand’s stores, destroying cars from the media teams, getting police cruisers in flames, scaring people, and breaking the law, and this goes for any world summit as G8 and G20. 

 Do we learn any lesson? We have to think about others ways to host our leader’s workshops and meetings, using all the fantastic technologies available today, that all businesses use nowadays: Audio and Video conferencing, collaboration tools to share live documents online etc… 

I totally support this idea, especially in time of economic crisis, deficit, expenses cut and insecurity due to international terrorism. On the other side, political leaders keep saying that the face to face meeting of the G20 is the only format to discuss sensitive issues and come to some kind of agreements. 

Indeed, there has been some scientific research done on the effectiveness of face-to-face meetings versus video conferencing and the results show that face-to-face meetings are more effective in producing tangible outcome and more likely to result in agreements than technologies as audio-video conferencing. 

Body language, face expressions, eye contacts, feelings, emotions are important factors, and more than 40% of our intuitive communication comes from non-verbal sources.  Also being together in a room produces a sense of a shared mission which is more difficult to create over the internet. 

Video conferencing offers good capabilities and some effectiveness but is still imperfect: the delay between audio and video feeds can confuse human brain, and can disconnect the words from the intended context. 

In conclusion no technology available today can beat face-to-face meetings in term of effectiveness…but at what price? 

The cost of this G20 meeting was over $1 Million per minute of meeting!!! 

So what do You think? Video Conferencing or Face-to-Face meeting for the next G20 Summit ? 

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