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!

 

HOW TO RETAIN YOUR AMAZING SALES TALENT:

Here’s the most important thing you’ll read all day: HIRE WELL. Follow our steps above to qualify your candidates thoroughly before onboarding them. After you’ve found The Next Larry, here’s how to get him to stay:

  • According to Entrepeneur.com:  A great way to keep your office “sticky” is to offer training. Ajax Union offers training across all areas of digital marketing. Why? If salespeople feel like they’re growing and gaining, they’ll stay far longer.
  • Pay employees well. Don’t be cheap. Pay grade should be based on skills, experience, industry demand for their position, and your geographical location (if you’re NYC based, you’re gonna have to help them make rent). Seniority should count as well.
  • Provide great benefits and incentives: insurance and bonuses are a must in today’s workplace.
  • Promote your open culture. A salesman should never be afraid to admit that they screwed up. It’s better to tackle problems before they become disasters…and employees feel safer.
  • Offer flexibility in working arrangements. Telecommuting options are almost ubiquitous.
  • Want to know how to kickstart your new retention strategy?  Call in each member of your team and simply ask, honestly, how you could be a better employer.  Let the fascinating conversation ensue.

 

OK, THIS NEW LARRY ISN’T DOING GREAT.  DO I FIRE HIM, OR GIVE HIM MORE TIME?

According to the Rainmaker Group, here are some warning signs that may indicate it’s time to kiss “New Larry” goodbye.

  • You think about their inadequate performance for more than 15 minutes a day.
  • You ‘ve mentioned this person’s issues to people in your personal life. Like, your wife knows about this guy’s signature whine.
  • You tried coaching this person and you’re getting nowhere.
  • You get the vibe that they don’t like you. = awkward.
  • They bash the company, you, or fellow employees behind their back. No no NO.
  • If you ask yourself: would I hire “____” again, and the answer is no.
  • But what if I really like New Larry as a person? I don’t want to hurt him! Look around the office… maybe there’s another seat they can fill? If not, you’re doing them a favor by setting them free from a position they can’t succeed in.

 

WHAT COMMON MISTAKES DO BUSINESSES MAKE WHEN RECRUITING?

  • Simply put,  your looking for the wrong things.  Listen, charisma is important, but it has to be backed by skill.
  • Another common mistake: businesses neglect their presence on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Social Media comments, etc. People really do their research these days – can YOU afford to have a scathing review from an employee you burned on your Facebook page?
  • Another mistake:  the company interview process is weak. Are you looking out for the right things (see above!)?
  • A good rule of thumb:  would you want to grab a drink with this person? If not, then neither will your potential customers.

 

WHY IS SO HARD TO FIND TALENTED SALESPEOPLE?

Firstly, talented salespeople are not RARE, but definitely not easy to unearth on your first shot. Yes, a lot of superstars are swept up by major corporations who can afford to pay them the big bucks, but you have to look for the right sales qualities, not just the right sales resume. Someone who’s new to the game can have the fire to sell what others wouldn’t: as long as they’re a constantly growing, passionate, empowered team player.

 

CAN YOU RECOMMEND A SOME GREAT WEEKEND READING ON THIS TOPIC? SURE.

Great Salespeople Aren’t Born, They’re Hired: The Secrets To Hiring Top Sales Professionals by Joseph Miller

There’s an adage that we here at Ajax have coined after working with hundreds – if not thousands – of B2B enterprises whose sales teams keep them afloat: Always be recruiting. “But why?” You ask. I’ve got Brian, Chelsea, (insert your favorite sales guy’s name who hasn’t vacationed in 8 years, closes deals daily, and went prematurely grey…let’s call him Larry.) Larrys are great. We love Larrys. We’re going to tell you how to recruit, and more importantly, RETAIN more people like Larry. But wait, why should I be on the lookout for more Larrys (and more salaries to pay)?

Because three things are going to happen.

  1. Someone is going to be promoted. What if your CEO decides Larry should leave sales behind and become the CFO? It happens!
  2. Someone will resign/get fired. It may not even be Larry: if Larry’s best friend Cole leaves for your competitor, Larry might not be far behind.
  3. Someone may surprise you. If you meet some firecracker Millennial at a conference that fits the exact mold as Larry – and may even surpass him energy-wise – are you really going to turn him away because you’re “Not hiring?”

So you’re “sold”: you’re going to jump back on this recruitment train! Now, where do you begin? It’s time to take a deep look within your company’s soul. If you’re recruiting because Larry left, ask yourself: Why did he go? If you just fired your 5th salesman this year: what about your hiring process could be improved to ensure you don’t waste training dollar? Until you understand and concede to what you can be doing better, you’ll never get a great salesman to join your team – nevermind stay there.

 

WHERE TO FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT HIRE:

The same facts reign true across all areas of marketing, sales, HR, technology, etc.: nothing beats word of mouth. A good referral is worth hundreds of Craigslist applicants, so spread the word: you’re on the prowl for an awesome new Larry. Where else can you look? Recruiting agencies can be super-helpful…and super costly. Be sure you’re ready to make the investment.  Online directories like Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Upwork are great places to start, but the candidates will need way more investigating. And don’t underestimate job fairs: give those newbies a chance! They may surprise you.

 

HOW TO ATTRACT AMAZING SALESPEOPLE TO YOUR B2B BUSINESS:

Ajax Union is always talking about the importance of establishing a  UVP: Your organization’s Unique Value Proposition that sets your apart from the competition. But here’s what you might have forgotten: What is your Employment Value Proposition?  Establishing a strong “Employer Brand”, is a concept created by Richard Mosley. In a nutshell: what is your organization’s reputation as an employer, aside from your general brand reputation?  Here’s how to make it great again:

  • Treat people right. This topic is an article in and of itself, but common sense will take you far. Treat people as you would want to be treated – simple as that.
  • Make the benefits of working for your company known. This can mean a fun, exciting, culture-fueled Instagram, or a detailed “Why Work For Us” page on your site. Spread the word, and encourage your employees to do the same: this company is the place to be!
  • Show them sales are an important part of your culture. Everyone wants to feel that they’re going to be appreciated!

 

QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR IN A SALESPERSON:

According to Inc.com. There are a few qualities that indicate a successful salesman, though not all of them are conventionally positive.

  • A Hunter’s Mentality: Do they possess that hungry passion? Do they notice small details and only reveal their “key move” at the end?
  • Predisposition to ADD: That frenetic energy is an AMAZING benefit for salespeople. Just ask them. Most people with ADD/ADHD are proud to reveal they possess that unique quality.
  • The Discipline to Follow Up: Simply – did he email you after your first interview?
  • Charisma: Ah, that intangible “special something”. If they got it, they got it.
  • Resilience: Rejection is par for the course in this role. Can he/she handle it?  
  • Empathy: Salespeople sell to humans. Can they relate to people on a personal level?
  • A Touch of Arrogance: It takes confidence to the point of arrogance to walk into meetings and sell your heart out. How’s their swagger game?

 

How do you put this investigation into practice? Read the quote that completely speaks for itself:

“I test a salesperson in every way possible before I hire them: I miss our scheduled phone call to see what he does; I ask him to give a presentation and sell our product during our interview; I email him and use an incorrect name to see how he responds; I reject him to see how he responds to rejection. My goal is to find out if the salesperson is truly tenacious and willing to close the deal.” Jun Loayza, www.JunLoayza.com

 

RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN A POTENTIAL HIRE:

Forbes.com said it best (as they usually do): If they talk more than they listen, you can bet they’re not going to be “hearing out” your customer’s needs. Some more little notes to add to your “concerns” section of his review:

  • Did he/she look sloppy? No one’s going to be sold on a slob. Their confidence level is probably not that great either.
  • Did he/she dance around the hard questions? I.e. why do you want to be a salesman? Where did you learn your sales skills? Did you get along with everyone on your old team? Which brings us to…
  • Do they play well with others? This may not be easy to spot. Stay safe and call some references. Or better yet, call those who worked with them that aren’t on their resume, and ask for honest feedback.
  • Does he/she have the “Sales Passion”? If they’re just kind of ‘blah’, chances are they won’t perk up when they hit that boardroom.

Need help building your dream sales team? Ready to take the next step? Contact us at amazing@ajaxunion.com so we can create a strategy that will work for YOU and your business.

The Ajax Union company is thrilled to announce that we’re now an official member of the Forbes Agency Council!

The council is comprised of a select group of organizations that meet the defining criteria of quality, as determined by Forbes executives. We’re honored to be counted among the contributors to the esteemed publications produced by Forbes, and we look forward to publishing more top quality content on their platforms in the future!

Interested in joining us in this exclusive group? Visit the Forbes Council page to see if you qualify.

Want to work with our amazing agency so we can help you grow your B2B company? Contact us today!

 

There’s nothing like hearing a professional’s opinion, so we interviewed our Senior Graphic Designer, Kristille Junio, on her thoughts and tips on quality site-mapping. Kriztille has been site-mapping, designing, wire-framing, and optimizing websites at our office in Industry City since 2014.

 

What is information architecture? What’s an example of bad information architecture?

  • Information Architecture (IA) refers to a system where whatever content you’d like to feature is readable and logical. An example of bad IA in regards to web design and development is a site that lacks structure and organization. One instance of this might manifest in a site’s navigation. The inconsistency in navigation will hinder your users from understanding how to make connections within your site. A well-structured navigation ensures the users know exactly where to go for the information they need.

What are the top most important aspects of website architecture?

  • There is no one important aspect of IA; the goal of a good IA is to balance how you want your users to interact with your site and what you need them to do.

What do you hate seeing in a website?

  • Cluttered navigation – poor structure/language. If a site changes the location of the “contact us” page, to perhaps underneath the “about” top level navigation, that location may not be as obvious to the average user who has been trained to look for this specific item at the top-level tier.

What do you love seeing in a website?

  • I love seeing clean / polished site with a clear objective. Airbnb’s site for instance makes it very easy to book a place and creating a level of trust / credibility between the parties involved (The customer and the merchant) This is in part to a great UI.

What’s your favorite site-mapping tool?

  • Pen/Paper for initial iteration
  • Post-its work very well!
  • In terms of software: SketchApp, Adobe XD

Why is site-mapping important in 10 words or less?

  • Site-mapping is important because it clarifies and reinforces the goal of your website.

Thanks, Kriztille! Have any more questions about site-mapping for our design department? Leave a comment below. Looking to create a sitemap for YOUR next project? Reach out to us at amazing@ajaxunion.com, and let’s get to work!

You’ve just purchased land to build a mini-mall. What crucial step must take place, before you even pick up a shovel?

YOU NEED A BLUEPRINT.

Without a properly laid-out plan, your building is doomed to fail before you even begin. And what does this have to do with your website? We tend to eagerly jump into projects without proper thought as to what our goals are. By crafting a well-executed sitemap, you can ensure that your website’s design is practical, beautiful, functional, and goal-oriented.

WHAT’S A SITEMAP?

A sitemap is an outline of the basic layout and functionality of your website. There’s no right or wrong format to use when site-mapping, but there are a few crucial rules and regulations your design team should be cognizant of when site-mapping.

Most web designers will subdivide the site-mapping process into 8 stages:

1:  Decide on key priorities for your

Do you have the time, resources and availability to create a multi-dimensional site? Examine this honestly with your website team. Prioritize the degrees of functionality, beauty and interactivity of your website.

2:  Brainstorm your basic content

Have you ever written a pamphlet? A company guidebook or mantra? Aggregate all of your business’ content and come up with an overall picture of what you’d like you site to portray about your vision, values, and team. This step is where you ensure your Information Architecture (IA) is organized: meaning whatever content you’d like to feature is readable and logical.

3: Determine your primary navigation

The “Primary Navigation” of your site is the key to the map: most websites divide content into categories like “Home”, “About Us”, “What We Do”, “Projects” and “Contact Us”. These overall categories keep your website organized and readable. The lucky number of primary navigations is between 5-9 headers.

4: Outline your second and third levels of content  

Take each of your primary navigation categories and break it down further. For example, in your “About Us” section, you could have links to a “When we started” page, “Our vision and values” page, “Meet the Team” page, etc. Those pages can contain additional pages as well. In essence, this is where the “mapping” takes place.

5: Determine which utility pages are necessary

A legal disclaimer is almost always necessary, and additional utility pages are determined by industry. Work on these pages early on so they don’t hold you up close to your websites launch date.

6: Write notes/define expectations for each page, both functionally and aesthetically

Now that you have the content, decide on the User Experience and User Interface (UX & UI) you’d like visitors to have on your site. Write notes of what you’d like each page to feel like and what message it should contain.

7: Choose your design

This is the fun part: make it LOOK GOOD! Decide on a color scheme, logo, effects, and the overall feeling. Should the buttons be large or small? Should the images slide or shuffle? Do you want to add video? At this point, your website designer can already begin prototyping and wire-framing the site.

8: Rehash (ongoing)

Nothing is ever a finished product, especially continuously updated websites. A/B testing your site is a great way to determine the greatest UX for your visitors! Invite as many professionals and laymen as you know to review your site and give you constructive feedback. Keep perfecting it!

 

So you’ve already discovered the value of webinars. These online seminars are an incredibly effective way to communicate with your target audience. They’re ready, able and eager to hear what you have to say – what an awesome upsell opportunity!

Before you dive right into your next presentation, take a look at this quick cheat-sheet of tips to help you deliver the greatest webinar the Internet has ever seen.

*Prepare to be BLOWN AWAY*

  • Include a picture of yourself with a short bio on your first slide. This builds trust and adds a human element.
  • Start speaking right away: if not, visitors will think something is wrong with their audio or they logged on at wrong time… #awkward.
  • Start talking off a prepared script: this prevents stutters, stumbles and lost train of thought.
  • Engage, engage, engage: ask questions, encourage comments, create prompts, start a discussion! If not, guests WILL space out.
  • Focus on telling stories about how people use the product, service or idea that you’re selling.
  • Include a quick poll: how many trucks in your fleet? Are you in the NYC area? How many products do you deliver in a month? Ask your audience to respond in the chat section.
  • Get people to take a specific action. Download a handout, Like us on Facebook, raise your hand if you want me to email you a special something.
  • Create a follow-up sequence, like another webinar, email campaign, etc. Always end with a  “What happens next?”
  • Give the participants an opportunity to share the webinar. Use a hashtag. Offer an incentive if they do! (like a mini contest)
  • HAVE FUN! If your webinar is boring, it’s guaranteed that you won’t have visitors for your next one. Keep it light, engaging, informative and short. Attention spans are short – use every second of your guests’ time well!

 

When’s YOUR next webinar? Send us an invite! Until then, comment below with tips we may have missed, or email your questions about the cheat sheet above to amazing@ajaxunion.com. Looking forward to hearing you slay your next webinar!

The word on the street is PPC (known as pay per click advertising on search engines like Google) is expensive.

Would you agree, expensive is relative to the return on investment?

Marketing is about testing strategies, tactics and channels to figure out what works best.

I often hear business owners and marketing leaders say they would rather invest their budget to rank on the organic (“free”) listing on the search engines rather than pay for ads forever.

Here are my thoughts about that:

1. How do you know which keywords to focus on for better rankings?

2. How do you measure the dollar investment into getting better rankings?

3. How do you estimate the turnaround time of your investment into organic rankings?

4. How do you know if your website is set up properly to convert users clicking on your organic listings?

5. Even after you successfully rank on specific keywords on the first page of the search engine, what guarantee do you have that your website will continue to rank long term?

PPC ads give you the testing ground to methodically test and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

1. Test out which keywords drive the highest ROI. Focus on your top 100 keywords and make your way down to the top 10.

2. Easily measure ROI from clicks with the B2Bx technology stack. Dollars spent vs dollars earned.

3. Once you enable the campaigns, your ads go live. Tweak your bids to hit the top spot on Google. Watch the clicks and conversions come through.

4. With your control over the paid ads, your team can now test the elements of your website to increase your conversion rate.

5. Now that you know which keywords generated the highest ROI and have full control over the buyer journey, you can decide, if you even want to invest in ranking organically for these keywords? Is it possible for my website to rank on the first page of Google within a specific time frame?

I would love to hear about your experience with investing in Paid ads vs Organic listings. Share your comments below.

Most professionals have LinkedIn but they do not know how to make the most out of it.

When I speak to the average CEO about their LinkedIn activity, they tell me that they log into LinkedIn and they look at their notifications, accept or reject requests for people to join their network and search for people they will be meeting with or hiring.

When I probe further and ask them what their strategy is to leverage their existing connections, they look at me like I fell off the moon.

What else is there to do? LinkedIn can do more than just look up and connect to people?

People ask me many questions about how to leverage LinkedIn. The questions range from lead generation and thought leadership to advertising and networking.

Here are the most popular LinkedIn questions I get on a regular basis.

  • Should I get a paid account on LinkedIn?
  • How do I leverage Articles on LinkedIn?
  • Do you really know all the people you are connected with?
  • How can I get more exposure on LinkedIn without spending on advertising?
  • Is LinkedIn valuable if you do not pay for Sales Navigator?
  • How  can I get more engagement for my LinkedIn posts?
  • What is the best way to get leads from InMails?
  • How do I filter my search to find the right leads?
  • What is the best email to send a cold contact on LinkedIn to get a response?
  • How do I setup my profile to get the maximum about of exposure?
  • What did you do to be in the 1% of LinkedIn users?
  • How do I properly advertise on LinkedIn?
  • What is a good strategy to accept connections on LinkedIn?
  • Why are the Analytics on Linkedin so confusing?

If you want answers to these questions and much more, please consider coming to our upcoming LinkedIn seminar in NYC, on July 27th. Get your tickets here: I WANT TO BECOME A LINKEDIN MASTER

 

So many b2b companies don’t have a documented new client qualifying process for the sales team to reference when speaking to prospects for the first time.

What is the cost of lacking a qualification process?

  • sales reps waste precious time
  • sales reps lose motivation by sending out proposals that will never close

OUCH!

What is the upside to an amazing qualification process?

  • shorter phone calls
  • clear objective for first call
  • reduced follow up
  • monster win rate

YAY!

What would life look like with a 90% Qualified Lead to Win rate?

How much extra time would the sales team have if 50% of follow up time was reduced? Longer Lunch Break Anyone?

HOW DO WE FOCUS ON PROSPECTS THAT ARE LIKELY TO BECOME LONG TERM HAPPY CUSTOMERS?

Ask These Four Simple Questions: 

  1. What is your need relating to our product or service?
  2. By when do you want to have a solution in place? (Options: Yesterday, In the next 30 days, Not Sure)
  3. What is your budget range for this solution? (Provide range options: Under your minimum, Over your minimum)
  4. Who else needs to be involved in the decision to move forward?

Next steps: TAKE ACTION NOW!!

  1. Print out these four questions and TAPE them down to the desks of your sales team!
  2. Set up 15 minute roleplaying mini sessions once a week to train with your sales team and improve
  3. Record your sales team phone calls and review them weekly to tweak the prospect qualification process

This is the moment of truth!! ACT NOW!

Want to add even more? Include your ideal company filter to further weed out the wrong type of business

Ajax Union company type filter is as follows:

  • B2b is primary target
  • Over 3m in annual revenue
  • Over 3 years in business
  • Recurring revenue structure
  • High avg client annual revenue over $10k
  • Relationship based accounts
  • Looking to grow 10 – 25 % depending on top line revenue volume
  • Located in the NYC metro (not a deal breaker)

Share your comments below or email us at amazing@ajaxunion.com on how you would improve this qualification process.

See original LinkedIn Article Post