Your Virtual Success – Selecting Your Target Market

  • Posted on June 9, 2014
  • by Alan Blume

Entrepreneurs, startups and emerging businesses need to define and test their markets. There were multiple criteria recommended in the Business Basics Chapter of Your Virtual Success. Is the recommended criteria written five years ago still valid today?

B2B Web Marketing

B2B Web Marketing

  1. Vetting the value proposition
  2. Is it a want or a true need
  3. Will prospects pay the target selling price
  4. How does it compare to competing products and services
  5. If it’s an innovation, is the market ready to adopt it
  6. Is it affordable for a sufficient number of prospects
  7. Is there current demand for this product or service
  8. How difficult to reach the buyer
  9. How long is the sales cycle
  10. Can you collect up front (deposits)

Little seems to have changed in this list – it is as valid then as it is today. If we were to apply this to an emerging agency, they would need to determine which lines of coverage to offer, the size of the target prospect by revenues or employees, would they need to add experts to their sales efforts (compliance expert for ACA for example), how difficult would it be to reach a given decision maker (risk manager, owner, VP HR, ect.), and the competition in their given target sales area. For more information on Your Virtual Success, or my new book Sell More & Work Less, visit startupselling.com/book.html. For assistance with b2b marketing or insurance web marketing, call (518) 222-6392.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More
Web Marketing & Sales for Business

Web Marketing

In 2010, my first book was published by Career Press, entitled Your Virtual Success. Though it was published four years ago, it was written over five years ago, due to the editing, processing and marketing lag common with most traditional publishers. Is a five year old web selling and marketing book still relevant today? In the ensuing series of blogs, I’ll review some of the key concepts and suggestions offered to start ups, small businesses and agents, that are still relevant today. And – I’ll note some of the concepts which are now taken for granted, as a better way to approach business. Let’s begin with a concept in Chapter 3, Business Basics. There are four key elements to consider for most individuals or small businesses to consider, when building or expanding their business:

  1. A short path to the money (limited ramp up or development time)
  2. No upfront capital (or limited capital)
  3. Customer deposits in advance (cash flow)
  4. Contractor based assistance (limit full time employees)

For example, wouldn’t a startup business be better off starting from a home office? Could they leverage a part time virtual assistance instead a full time receptionist/assistant? Can they find a business where capital investment was nominal as opposed to developing a new widget or software solution which required months of development and thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars? Can this company expand with part time or on demand contractors, as opposed to full time employees? Can prospect meetings (or the entire sales process) be accomplished with web meetings instead of on-site meetings? From a general perspective, these four elements seem as germane today as they did five years ago. Though today, one would assume, many new businesses are conversant or at least familiar with the benefits of web meetings. That said, I still see many salespeople who over utilize face to face meetings, and under utilize web meetings. Look for additional blog entries on virtual business and insurance agency web marketing in upcoming posts.

For more information on Your Virtual Success, or my new book Sell More & Work Less, visit https://startupselling.com/book.html. For assistance with b2b or insurance web marketing, call (518) 222-6392.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates (death, taxes and advertisements)

  • Posted on July 28, 2013
  • by Alan Blume

First Facebook launched Sponsored Stories (ads that appear in your News Feed). Then Twitter rolled out Sponsored Tweets, and now LinkedIn has launched a new ad program called Sponsored Updates (doesn’t that sound better than “Sponsored Ads”). We’ve all heard Ben Franklin’s pithy saying,  “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Today he would likely amend that to say, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and advertisements.”

Some notables about Sponsored Updates:

  • You can’t opt out of them
  • You will see them on all your devices
  • You can hide them individually but not in bulk
  • The Ads will be based on your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn revenue for the first quarter was $324.7 million, and net income was $22.6 million. As LinkedIn seeks to increase both the top and bottom line, that means more ads. Only time will tell how this new web marketing venue performs for the B2B centric LinkedIn community, but it’s an easy guess that LinkedIn will enjoy the revenues and users will enjoy the ads to a much lesser degree.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More

Sell More & Work Less is now available on Kindle and paperback.  This web selling tips book focuses on a 4-Phase Sales Process which helps business professionals quickly learn and apply many new web sales tips and techniques to improve their sales effectiveness. Simply said, allowing them to sell more and work less. The 4-Phase Virtual Sales Process facilitates the transition to a web centric sales model offering greater profit potential, improved methods of selling and the more flexible business and personal lifestyle this affords. Readers can replicate the 4-Phase Virtual Sales Process to create their own tailored sales process using the techniques explained in this web selling tips and techniques book.

Sell More & Work Less is now available on Amazon, both in paperback and the Kindle version. For Insurance Agency Marketing go to www.StartUpSelling.com, web marketing for tech companies go to StartMarketingTech.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More

Insurance Search Engine Marketing – Google Penguin Top 5 TTD

  • Posted on August 20, 2012
  • by Alan Blume
Insurance Search Engine Optimization

Insurance SEO and Google Penguin

The only constant regarding Insurance Search Engine Marketing (Insurance SEO), is change. The recent Google Penguin Algorithm Search is a great example of this, placing increased emphasis on content and Social Media, and decreased emphasis on links, link farms and thin content sites/ad centric sites. As insurance carriers, brokers and insurance agencies strive to achieve organic Google page one results, they must adjust to these changes, and do so quickly. Insurance Search Engine Marketing initiatives are complex, and require ongoing efforts for both on-page and off-page marketing tactics.

Make sure you accomplish the following insurance SEO basics:

1. Make your top Insurance Keywords H1 and H2 Tags

2. Optimize each insurance website page for a specific long tail keyword phrase (make that phrase an H1 or H2 Tag)

3. Integrate an insurance blog and insurance vlog feed on your home page (which presupposes you have a relevant, keyword rich insurance blog)

4. Add video (on an ongoing basis) to your insurance website and YouTube (and make sure the video is tagged and optimized for load speed)

5. Leverage all major insurance social media marketing opportunities including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, eZine and a News Release site (PRWeb for example).

Do Not use any of these Insurance SEO tactics:

1. Keyword stuffing

2. Link Swaps (don’t swap links with other sites, especially non related sites)

3. Link Farms (paid or unpaid – stay away from these)

4. Gateway pages (computer generated pages)

5. Hidden text

Insurance carriers, brokers and insurance agencies must perform baseline keyword analysis and rankings, including competitive ranking analytics. This can be accomplished with free tools such as Google AdWords or more sophisticated fee based keyword analytics tools. Many insurance agencies and carriers lacking proficient SEO resources should consider outsourcing this type of initiative to a competent insurance marketing agency.  Well executed Insurance Search Engine Marketing initiatives offer carriers, brokers and agencies a competitive advantage regardless of size or area of specialization.

For more information on insurance marketing visit StartUpSelling. For virtual business visit Sell More & Work Less, and for B2B marketing visit StartMarketingTech.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More

Insurance Agency SEO – separating the wheat from the chaff

  • Posted on August 6, 2012
  • by Alan Blume

Recently we noticed a company which experienced a significant drop in their SEO rankings. They are in a related space to one of our primary verticals, insurance agency marketing. When we visited their site, a quick analysis elucidated some of their challenges.

  • Inadequate use of longtail keywords
  • Limited use of meta
  • Misuse of header tags
  • Poor keyword density
  • Five other key SEO errors or omissions

The irony here, is that this company claims to be a leader in the insurance agency marketing field, proficient in web marketing and SEO. When analyzing an insurance marketing agency’s SEO proficiency, check out their standings dozens of important longtail keywords. If it’s their business, they should dominate their rankings.

If you’re not sure which words are applicable, determine what you’re interested in (marketing, leads, web marketing, blogging, video, etc.) and add your industry to the phrase. Make sure you clear your history and then try some Google searches. Or use a simple SEO tool like Google AdWords or the free version of SEO Book. Top tier SEO companies should come up at the top of the rankings.

For more information on virtual business visit Sell More & Work Less. For insurance web marketing best practices visit StartUpSelling, for B2B marketing visit StartMarketingTech.

 

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More

Your Elevator Pitch And Your Web Marketing Initiatives

  • Posted on June 11, 2012
  • by Alan Blume

Question: What does your elevator pitch have to do with your web marketing?
Answer: Everything

Your elevator pitch should include your value proposition, and your web marketing initiative should synthesize these througout your website, your eCollateral, your eMarketing and your Social Media Marketing Initiatives. If you are having difficulty articulating your value proposition or elevator pitch, try this. Create a recording of yourself reciting your value proposition and elevator pitch. You can do this using PowerPoint or your laptop/tablet video. How does it sound? If it isn’t succinct (20 seconds for a value proposition and under a minute for an elevator pitch), try it again. When you think it sounds good, have a colleague listen to it – or to you performing it live (or both). When you’re satisfied that it is working, check all of the web marketing materials describ3e above, and make sure they synthesize what you’ve said, into words that your prospects can readily understand.

Insurance Agency Marketing Law Firm Marketing Marketing for Tech Firms

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More

Your Elevator Pitch and Value Proposition

  • Posted on May 31, 2012
  • by Alan Blume

Let’s begin with a simple definition of these terms. Wikipedia defines value proposition as follows: A value proposition consists of the sum total of benefits which a vendor promises a customer will receive in return for the customer’s payment. And it defines an elevator pitch as a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition. One would be expected to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes highlighting unique aspects of your service or product in a way that excites others. In other words, you should start with your value proposition, because even your elevator pitch will include your value proposition.

Some years ago, I met with the executive team and senior managers of a Silicon Valley software company. I asked each of the dozen people I met to provide me with their company’s value proposition. At the end of the day, I met with the CEO and asked him about his company’s value proposition. He was surprised to learn that I received a dozen different versions of the company’s value proportion, the majority of which were dramatically different from his iteration. This is quite common with companies, and is an important place to start. Your sales and marketing efforts are built upon a well articulated and easily repeatable value proposition. If you cannot communicate your value proposition in 30 seconds or less, or stumble when trying to express it, it’s time to write it down, rehearse it and communicate your value proposition with everyone on your team. Once that is done, turn it into an elevator pitch, about one minute in length. Practice makes perfect, try repeating both of these in monthly management meetings and sales meetings. And lastly, does your website effectively convey your value proposition? If not, it’s time to refine your site. Your website should convey your value proposition quickly and professionally, leveraging text and images.

Insurance Agency Marketing Law Firm Marketing Marketing for Tech Firms

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More

Top 3 YouTube Agency Marketing Videos

  • Posted on May 1, 2012
  • by Alan Blume

Our most popular YouTube agency marketing videos are listed below. Our digital marketing agency provides content in a wide variety of mediums to optimize our web marketing reach. We offer video content on both our website and YouTube, leveraging different types of video including: Recorded Skype Interviews, Voice Over PowerPoint and Traditional Videography (on site video with editing).

** Web Marketing for Insurance Agencies

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LgnPWU-4sc

** Insurance Agency Websites Best Practices

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxMExKFJii4&feature=plcp

** 2 Minute Sales Pro: The Elevator Pitch

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dULKXgek3jk&feature=plcp

For Web Marketing best practices go to StartUpSelling for Insurance Agency Marketing or JurisMarketing for Law Firm Web Marketing.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More

Cheap Websites – How Do They Do That?

  • Posted on April 23, 2012
  • by Alan Blume

From time to time, clients ask me about marketing agencies or web development firms that offer extremely low rates for website development. For example, their claim might be: Unlimited pages, not a template site, only $99 a year!

Two things come to mind when I hear this. First, assuming the client doesn’t have to do all the work themselves, how much time can be allocated to help them with their website? If there is a phone call to review goals, target market and basic website needs that lasts about an hour, then a few modest hours for selecting images, colors, esthetics, adding and laying out content and integrating a logo, let’s say that adds up to 10 hours of time (that doesn’t include testing, billing, collection and hosting). Does that mean this company is paying their people $10 per hour, or less, since the company needs to make at least a modest profit.

The second thing that comes to mind, is that ten hours is, or at least should be, insufficient for the creation of a professional business website. Call to actions, integrated blogs and blog feeds, industry news feeds, search engine optimization, keyword density, pull quotes, font selection, header tag selection, sharing “chiclets”, social media marketing integration, custom images and branding should be both utilized and optimized for a professional website, whether your business is an insurance agency, broker, law firm, consulting organization of high tech firm. And lastly there is coding, preferably using PHP/WordPress to ensure optimum compatibility and flexibility.  So how can you do all this for $99 (or even $1,000)? It would seem that answer is clear, either very little time is invested – or really low wages are paid (or some combination of both). You don’t need to be a math major to figure out that equation.

For Web Marketing best practices go to StartUpSelling for Insurance Agency Marketing or JurisMarketing for Law Firm Web Marketing.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr
Read More