There are a million different ways you can market your business on and offline. Although that can be a good thing, it’s becoming more and more difficult to be seen and remembered by consumers. Because of this, it’s important to create a clear, concise marketing strategy for the overall success of your business. 

So, what is a marketing strategy? 

A marketing strategy is your business’s overall roadmap. Running a business without a marketing strategy is like driving with a blindfold on. 

Think of it like this: if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve got there?  

Creating a clear plan for your marketing strategy will give you direction in nearly every decision you make in your business. 

The key to a successful marketing strategy is a marketing funnel. Creating a marketing funnel will help you organize and implement your marketing strategy, allowing you to visualize your customer’s purchasing journey from start to finish. 

At Ajax Union, we use a proven 3-step process to create strategies that work.

Step 1: Strategy

Step 2: Assets

Step 3: Execution

Read this article on How Ajax Union Creates B2B Marketing Funnels That Drive Business. to understand how each step plays a vital role in the success of your marketing. 

AUTOMATE YOUR MARKETING

Finding your marketing strategy confusing? 

Understand the keys to create a winning marketing strategy in our free training. 

Watch now to learn proven methods to automate your marketing strategy and improve your ROI using marketing funnels here.

What is email automation?

An email automation sequence is a series of emails that are automatically sent to your prospects as they enter new stages of the marketing funnel.

Each email is designed to drive the relationship with your lead forward until they eventually become a customer. So how do you use email marketing automation technology to convert leads into customers?

Here are some tips on how to make your emails amazing:

1. Use engaging subject lines.

What’s the first thing your prospects read? Subject lines!

If you want to get your prospects’ attention, you’re going to have to make the first line they see hard to ignore. Almost half of all emails are opened on the basis of subject lines alone. Consider making your subject lines humorous or urgent. Call out to your lead directly! The possibilities are endless.

2.  Avoid spammy tactics.

It’s best not to use too many exclamation points or all caps in your subject lines or within the body text of your emails. While you want to create a sense of urgency, using all caps online can come off as pushy and gimmicky. Or worse yet: it will lead to unsubscribes or even get you flagged by your newsletter service.

3. Write personable content.

Whether you work B2B or B2C or both,  in reality: it’s all people to people. If you want to increase conversion rates in your email campaigns, make the content of these emails as human as possible. 

After all, no one likes feeling commodified. Opting for a more conversational tone over formal and dry language makes it easier to build a relationship with your lead.

4. Make the content easy to read.

Content inside of a mailbox should still be easily digestible! It’s not an opportunity to dump information haphazardly. You can make your emails scannable by ensuring the content is organized, relatively short-form, and has distinct themes or topics.

5. Know who you’re talking to.

Make sure to personalize the content you’re including in your automation campaigns for your specific buyer persona. Incorporate language that’s appropriate for their age group and reference peoples, places, and things that are a part of their world. Speak to them directly and address their pain points!

6. Target the emails.

The age of general marketing is over! Use marketing tech to ensure your leads are receiving targeted messaging aligned with where they’re at in the customer journey. Your leads are at different stages of the customer journey, so send them marketing materials accordingly.

7. Keep the email focused on the goal

What does your email intend to do? Get more traffic on your website? Sign up for a webinar? Establish rapport? 

When you have a clear goal, make sure your email is focused and not sending your audience in varying directions. This makes it easier for you to achieve the goal, and easier for your lead to take action. 

8. Always have a call to action

Unfortunately, an email being armed with persuasive and quality content isn’t always enough. Make sure your emails have a clear call to action, like “download this article” or “visit our website” or “learn more.” It’s good practice to include only one call-to-action per email.

9. Split test your emails

When writing an email automation campaign with a clear goal in mind, consider using more than one variation of an email to uncover what kinds of language and content your users find more engaging. 

This is the essence of marketing: constantly improving your content to give your leads what they want and need!

10. Draw inspiration from other great email campaigns

First time at the rodeo? Don’t fret. We were all beginners once.

But in today’s age of information, there’s an abundance of examples for you to use when you’re just starting out in your marketing approach. Search online for other excellent marketing campaigns and draw inspiration from brands and agencies whose tactics you know work. It’ll help you hone your marketing efforts and there’s no shame in that!

To learn more about how Ajax Union can help you generate leads and referrals for your business using marketing funnels, click here

When strategizing a marketing funnel for your business, one of the most in-depth elements of the process is deciding what you want your brand message to be. 

Before you decide on your company’s  brand message, you must answer the following questions about your business:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What makes you stand out from the competition?
  3. How can I reach my target audience? 

Who Is Your Audience: Understanding Your Audience Using a Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional model of your ideal customer. 

There are a number of ways to create a buyer persona using data and research.  At Ajax Union, we identify four core points about our ideal buyer: who they are, what they do, what their environment is, and what their pain points are. 

Using research and other insights, we try to uncover the answers to these questions:    

  • What’s their position? 
  • How old might they be on average? 
  • What are they hearing, seeing, or feeling on the day to day? 
  • What do they struggle within their role? 
  • What are their goals?

By uncovering these insights, you can focus your content and message to your audience in a personalized, targeted way.

What Makes You Stand Out From The Competition: Creating a Unique Value Proposition 

A unique value proposition is exactly what it sounds like: a proposal about what makes your company stand out.

Before you craft your messaging, you have to solidify what it is about your product or service that makes you stand out from the competition. By identifying your unique value, you give your leads the opportunity to gauge their interest in you more decisively.

A clear and effective unique value proposition draws the right leads in, and weeds the wrong leads out.

How Can I Reach My Target Audience: Use Targeted Messaging Throughout Your Marketing Funnel

Targeted messaging is all about utilizing the information you have about your target audience in a strategic way in your marketing funnel. Messaging should be tailored accordingly to what step of the sales process they’re in. One of the biggest mistakes people make in marketing is sending the bottom of the funnel messaging to the top of the funnel prospects.

Prospects at different levels of the sales process or funnel are often referred to as “top of funnel” when they are getting to know you, “middle of funnel” when they are interested and learning more, and “bottom of funnel” when they are very engaged and have a need for you. 

For instance, a top of the funnel prospect needs to be alerted of your presence and educated about what you do. Language at this level of the funnel should be more generalized, but use just enough specific content to garner your prospects’ interest.

Prospects in the middle of the funnel have interest in you—but need more information to trust you. Draw them in with examples of your credibility like case studies and testimonials and the goal is to encourage them to learn more about more intricate parts of your process.

A bottom of the funnel prospect is presumably already interested and has a need for you— they’ve engaged with you enough that they will engage with prompts to reach out and book a call. Your messaging here should be to convert your leads to customers. 

Once you’ve figured out how you will take your leads through your marketing funnel, use data about your target audience to strategically reach them. . For example, older prospects might be best reached through email or phone — while younger prospects frequent social media platforms.

At its core, marketing is all about finding the right way to show your market you’re worth doing business with. You want your brand message to be clear, address your prospects’ needs, explain why your product or service matters, set you apart, and give your prospects the next step!

Need help with your brand message?

Learn how Ajax Union can help you craft targeted messaging that generates leads and referrals for your business using marketing funnels, click here. 

In marketing, the importance of strategy cannot be understated. An excellent tool B2B companies can use to turn leads into sales is the marketing funnel. A funnel is a useful tool that can help you and your business guide your prospects through a sales process that converts them from leads to clients. 

At Ajax Union, we like to visualize our funnel in three parts:

  • TOFU or Top Of Funnel: The top of the funnel process includes building awareness and educating your leads. After sparking interest with landing pages and lead magnets, you prime and educate your prospects using a variety of assets like buyer guides, how-tos, answers to frequently asked questions, industry tips, and so forth.
  • MOFU or Middle of Funnel: Once your leads have generated enough interest, it is key to convert that interest into consideration and trust. Businesses can build trust with their leads by providing case studies, testimonials, infographics, and statistics. Showcasing this credibility is what will take them to the next step. 
  • BOFU or Bottom of Funnel: Here your prospects have garnered enough interest and trust to become clients, and it’s where you continue to keep your current clients engaged with brand personification. B2B marketers build brands with experiential elements, core values, culture, and customer success stories

How To Get Started Building Your Marketing Funnel

Before creating a successful funnel, you first have to identify your target audience. Once you understand your audience’s needs, you can begin to craft the appropriate language needed to engage them.

Once you know who your business’s target audience is, you can begin strategizing. When strategizing, it is important to consider what your business goals and priorities are. 

At Ajax Union, we perform workshops to help businesses design their strategy and marketing funnel. Here are some useful points Ajax Union can clarify for your business:

  1. Buyer Personas: who your target audience is, what they do, and what they need
  2. Brand Messaging: the messages your target audience needs at each stage of the funnel
  3. Brand Experience: the specific attributes your company wants the audience experience
  4. Unique Value Proposition: what makes you stand out from your competitors
  5. Goals: what your business would like to achieve
  6. SWOT Analysis: what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are.

To learn more about how Ajax Union can help you generate leads and referrals for your business using marketing funnels, click here.

Marketing, like any industry, is constantly evolving, with new best practices, techniques, and strategies emerging around the clock. No matter your field or your target market, it’s essential to stay in the know when it comes to staying top-of-mind with your desired audience. Here are five marketing trends we think you should pay attention to: 

1. Artificial intelligence: Why you might think that robots have nothing to do with marketing think again. Artificial intelligence is affecting nearly every industry including how potential clients discover and interact with brands. With the rise of chatbots, bot-texters, and customer-service bots, artificial intelligence is creating new ways for you to improve the customer experience while facilitating new ways of data-collection which can help you learn more about who your customer is and be more effective in reaching them. Read more at Forbes.

2. Personalization: Increasingly, customers are starting to tune out of the generic, one-size-fits-all marketing tactics. Whenever possible, seek to make interactions with your brand as customized as possible to your client. One practical way to implement this is to customize your email campaigns and social media outreach with the first name of the person you’re trying to connect with. Read more at Global Web Index.

3. When it comes to content, video content became king in 2019 and will continue to dominate in 2020. Data relating to video content shows that using videos in your campaigns leads to greater brand awareness, greater buyer confidence, and increased web traffic The key to successful video content is to make content that’s relevant to your audience and deliver it in short, interesting packages that encourage full-length watching and sharing. Read more from Impact

4. Dynamic content: Increasingly, customers like experiences that they can engage with, making interactive content a key marketing tactic for 2020. Interactive experiences feel more personal, informative, and stokes curiosity increasing the likelihood that a potential customer will stay on your webpage longer. For companies seeking to better understand their audience, interactive content can also lead to more detailed data, leading to greater efficiency overall. Read more at Single Grain.

5. Google Smart Bidding: As a feature of Google ads, the Smart Bidding strategy enables smarter auction-time bids when advertising online. Backed by data-rich algorithms, Smart Bidding works by reading a more robust query-time set of customer attributes and then bidding based on the match between that information, your budget, and your overall desired outcomes. Read more here.

Our LinkedIn Local Meet-Ups have been a huge success and we are stoked to keep ’em coming!

What the heck are they and why MUST you come to one, you may ask? Great questions. You are smart.

Let us put it simply. Here’s 3 reasons why our FREE LinkedIn Local Meet-Ups are a-m-a-z-i-n-g and you should come join us:

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1. You meet new, engaged B2B professionals who are also interested in always growing, developing, and learning.

2. You learn new things about LinkedIn, the fastest growing social media platform for professionals (here’s the stats!) Learn tips and tricks on how to use Linkedin and connect on a deeper level from the ultimate LinkedIn pro, Ajax Union’s CEO, Joe Apfelbaum.

3. Um, and free food. And unlimited beer at our Dumbo WeWork location. Also that.

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Simple, right?

It's just that simple gif

LinkedIn hosts more than 500 MILLION professional profiles, which means nearly an unlimited supply of potential network connections and job opportunities.

People do business with people that they like which is why it’s SO important to get your face out there and network in real life then keep that relationship going on LinkedIn!

We truly believe LinkedIn Local will change the face of networking events by combining top-level networking with the BEST practical and implementable LinkedIn practices.

Join us in our mission to maximize the platform!

See when the next LinkedIn Local Meet-Up is happening: www.ajaxunion.com/meetup

Check out the stats: www.ajaxunion.com/LinkedInStats
Join our LinkedIn Authority Blueprint webinarwww.ajaxunion.com/blueprintwebinar

Check out our very own Joe Apfelbaum, CEO of Ajax Union, on the Hard Corps Marketing Show Podcast – Episode 23!

 

“You have to be tactful in order to be impactful” – Joe

 

In this episode, Joe talks about his marketing tips for success and his wisdom toward what he does! As an author of two successful books, “Average Joe to CEO” and “High Energy Secrets”, Joe knows what he’s talking about. He emphasizes a winning strategy in this episode and highlights his serious “mojovation” tactics. Here are some things Joe goes over in his discussion:

 

  • The real difference between a winner and a “loser.”
  • The biggest component to marketing is TESTING! Always TEST to PROGRESS.
  • Patience is key when it comes to nurturing your leads. If you keep trying and keep marketing, eventually your break will come.
  • Don’t be self absorbed! Focus on adding value to other people’s lives.
  • Be smart and well educated about what you want to teach your consumer. How well your ability to educate is what will generate success.
  • Be a ROCKSTAR! Rockstars are authentic and true to themselves, that’s why people love them.

 

Be sure to check out the video here, and thanks for reading!

If you’re wondering why GDPR has been spamming your email, it’s simple: it’s necessary to know what it is. In fact, negligence to the new regulation may risk millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars!

GDPR, short for General Data Protection Regulation, is a new regulation in European Union (EU) law that gives people unprecedented control over the data they share with companies & businesses. Old data protection laws ran obsolete, as they were made in a time before massive amounts of sensitive information were stored by companies like Facebook & Google. The GDPR now makes it necessary for better clarity and justification of need for sensitive information and personal data. Simply put, businesses must tell you why they need things like your company name, or even your phone number, without the confusing check boxes and terms of service.

 

So, what exactly counts as personal data under GDPR? Personal data is any data that identifies you, such as:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Username
  • Location Data
  • IP Address
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Health Data
  • Political Standpoint

 

So why should this matter to you? Many companies outside of the EU that hold data from European consumers now fall under GDPR rules. Transparency is emphasized in this new regulation; hiding important digital information such as a change in policy or a breach is prohibited.  In some cases, to even continue to be emailed, companies must ask their clients for permission again. Stricter laws now make it so that, for example, in the case of a massive security breach, companies are to send you a notice of the breach within 3 days. Another impact of this new regulation is that people now have the option to see your own personal data in case of curiosity or worry, and in most cases even demand to be “erased from the system.” Companies that don’t comply with the GDPR may be fined up to 20 million euros ($24 million dollars), or 4% of their global annual turnover whichever is larger.

 

Here’s some steps for GDPR compliance:

1) Understanding the GDPR as a necessary regulation is key. Take time to understand the regulation and any actions needed. This will vary on a case-to-case level.

2) Separate the data you already have from GDPR risk to no-risk. Be sure to take into account any other risks, whether they be GDPR related or not. KNOW YOUR DATA!

3) The data with GDPR compliance risk must be attended to immediately. Classify data which falls under the category and plan what to do with it.

4) Be careful. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Consider sending subscription confirmation emails to your entire email marketing list, regardless of how that list was obtained.

 

The question still lies however how important is this? Well, no one really knows how the GDPR impact will turn out in 5, 10, or 15 years. However, after data breach scandals, the world has taken notice that times are changing and is now set to adjust. For example, when the Cambridge Analytica scandal saw millions of Facebook users’ personal data stored and used without their consent, the notion that old data protection laws were outdated was bolstered. Ultimately, the GDPR can be seen as a spark for a safer digital world, and the start of much more.

 

Thanks for reading!

If you’re constantly wondering why you have so many prospects that just aren’t closing or why you have a whole sales team but such a low lead conversion ratio, you might want to reconsider your current sales enablement process. Using sales enablement, you can improve your sales team’s productivity and start driving more revenue. You might be thinking:

What IS sales enablement?”  

Companies are increasingly spending more and more money on sales enablement as sales technology and processes grow more complex. Annual spending has risen past $66 billion. Research by Aberdeen has shown that sales reps at companies with best-in-class sales enablement strategies achieve 84% of their quotas, compared to 55% at companies with average strategies, and only 15% for laggard companies. Sales enablement can provide your salespeople with the tools they need to successfully engage buyers throughout the buying process. So what exactly is sales enablement?

It’s everything you need to help your salespeople sell more efficiently via the strategic use of people, processes, content, and technology. It might sound complicated but it’s actually pretty simple – it’s marketing and sales aligned to strategically work alongside one another.

You can have a whole dedicated sales team but without content, you’re not maximizing your efforts. Message consistency is vital to your organization and brand and sales enablement can power your sales team with high-quality, always on-brand content.

Examples of sales content include:

  • Customer case studies
  • Landing pages
  • Product demo decks
  • Lead magnets
  • Competitive intelligence briefs

Though technology can be a great asset to sales, driving sales growth can’t be accomplished with a single technology or process. Data, knowledge and understanding are the backbone of sales growth. Which message influences which purchase? How much influence does each message have?  A great deal of sales enablement has to do with tracking, measuring and reporting. If you don’t understand the links between your input and your results, your marketing will go to waste. Though sales teams often understand the significance of reporting the data they have, they don’t always possess the technical ability to create the reports they need.

Reporting needs vary from company to company but some common reporting needs are:

  • Activities logged by salespeople
  • Messaging delivered / generated leads
  • Reporting forecasting
  • Google Analytics + Adwords
  • Qualifying prospects

Another composing factor of sales enablement is lead identifying and closing. Are your leads a fit for your company? No matter how amazing your product and messaging are,  leads just aren’t going to close if they’re not a good fit. Oftentimes, companies have a host of leads but not nearly enough closes because they spend too much time trying to close leads that just aren’t a fit for their business. With sales enablement, leads are assessed and targeted based on how good of a fit they are.

A big offering of sales enablement is automation of your sales pipeline. This technology can include email automation, prospect automation via links to salespeople’s calendars in emails, and social content automation.

Lastly, sales enablement requires and encourages training. Sales people must know how to use the resources provided to them. Training is not a once and done kind of thing. It’s a process and strategy that will have to continuously occur in order for your business to scale. Sales enablement encourages your sales team to stay on top as products are bound to grow, messaging is bound to evolve and competitors are bound to enter your market.

It’s a lot to take in but once you begin tackling sales enablement from all angles, you can start accelerating sales productivity in ways you never have before and 10x your leads.

 

If you’re a business or website owner, you’ve probably heard one of the many acronyms and terms used to describe online advertising. “PPC”, “SEM”, “paid search”, “display advertising” or simply “paid media” are among the most common terms to describe sponsored content delivered via search engines and website pages across the web. You’ve seen banner ads while reading the news. You’ve probably clicked on ads in search results at one point or another without even realizing what it was. Online advertising is such a big part of our day-to-day lives that we barely notice it.

So what does this mean for you as a business owner, looking to leverage your website as a lead generation tool? It means that you have to have a presence on these advertising networks equal to or better than your competitors. Now, I’ll often hear something along the lines of: “I don’t have the budget to match my large competitors, but I want my business to grow. What can I do?”

The answer is actually quite simple: You don’t have to waste money targeting everyone –  like many of your competitors likely are. The key to success is to target only the right prospects. This strategy is called Account-Based Marketing. Many channels are involved in account-based marketing online, and PPC is one of them. There are many ways to leverage PPC in an account-based marketing strategy. Here are some tricks of the trade!

  1. Remarketing to your email list

 

Google Adwords allows advertisers to import email lists of existing subscribers to create what advertisers call “remarketing” campaigns. These campaigns are powerful because they allow you to choose at a granular level who will see your ads. Once a user is in a remarketing list, you can craft unique messaging, specific to that segment, highlighting a deal or promotion to drive them further down the funnel.

 

2. Understanding your current customers

Ok, so this one isn’t “ABM” per say, but understanding your current customers’ day-to-day pains and the solutions, or “gains” your business provides them is a crucial part of crafting messaging to new prospects. Understanding your current customers in order to choose keywords that will be relevant to your list of prospects is the key to success. Ask your current customers if you can interview them.

Want to bring more prospects into your funnel but don’t know exactly who they are? Try some of these techniques to build your prospect list while maintaining the core characteristics of your best converting customers:
3. Lookalike audiences on Facebook

 

Lookalike audiences are exactly what they sound like; audiences that “look-alike” or are similar to other audiences you currently have in your account. Say you have an audience that consistently performs well for your Facebook ads. Using this list, we can create a lookalike audience and Facebook will automatically find users that mirror the list’s demographic, psychographic, and purchasing characteristics. No more guessing which additional segments to target, Facebook rounds up a list of prospects for you!

 

4. Similar audience lists on Adwords

 

Similar audience lists are another powerful ad hack that many search engine marketers have in their toolkit. Similar to Lookalike audiences, the lists are built by Google based on the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your original list.  These lists can be applied to campaigns across the Google Display Network, Search Network, and even Google Shopping (the side bar featuring products that shows up when you search a purchasable product).

 

5. You’ve heard it a million times… Content is King

 

Many times marketers use this phrase to describe the importance of incorporating well-written blogs and social media posts into your marketing mix, but this idiom also applies to front-end products and sales collateral. What type of valuable content can your business leverage as a lead magnet? You likely already have content that you could easily re-purpose as a gated resource to get users in your funnel. Gated content means an email address needs to be entered to access the information.

 

Once you have this resource, use CTAs (strong Call-To-Action words, like Shop Now or Download The Guide)  and ad copy to promote it via paid channels. This increases CTR (the Click-Through-Rate, or how many people click your ad), traffic, and you guessed it – LEADS. Try crafting this collateral in such a way that you’ll weed out unqualified leads and only speak directly to your ideal prospect list.

Paid digital channels can produce quicker results than most online marketing channels. For this reason, many focus solely on PPC and forget that it is just one part of the marketing machine (albeit, a very crucial part). It’s important to keep in mind how your PPC initiatives play into the BIG picture and affect/support your other marketing tactics. Using paid channels to target hyper-niche segments of pre-qualified prospects is the best way to get the most out of your media budget.

 

Good luck!