Digital Market Research in times of crisis like COVID 19

Ludovic SALENNE, Digital Marketer, Blogger and Sébastien VITU, Salesman, Consultant Inbound marketer offer you this aperitif webinar, in which they are answering participants‘ questions about digital market research.

Ludovic SALENNE Sébastien VITU

 

 

 

 

 

The original digital market research (prospection digitale) webinar is in the French language only and can be viewed as a replay at this link.

Please note I have not dissociated the answers from Ludovic or from Sébastien in the replies. You will simply get both of their answers to each question.

So, now let’s get started with the Digital Market Research Q & A.

  • How to do digital market research without being too intrusive during the coronavirus crisis?

I hope as a salesperson, you haven’t stopped doing your offline and digital market research, because two months without turnover starts to be too long. Besides, if you still hesitated to do it after the deconfinement, you would have put your company financial health at risk. So, yes, you do need to carry on doing your market research.

The challenge is to stop talking about ‘You and your product(s)/service(s)’ and this is the real topic. This is the central theme we will be talking about tonight. Do not get into your sales pitch! These messages are currently inaudible to your potential customers because the situation is different. They have other things to think about than pouring money down the drain. Your potential customers think first about saving money rather than spending it.

Remember that regardless of the situation, the prospective customers base their decision in the grip of emotion. They then try to rationalise it, validate it to be sure they make the right choice.

Consequently, you must bring up with your prospective customer their context, their problems, their daily issues related to the economic recession. In other terms, you need to get them to admit to their negative emotions they feel in this situation. The goal for you is to have enough elements to bring value to them and incite them to visualise their positive emotions they could sense, instead of the negative ones, if they were working with you. Understand their objectives and position yourself with unbiased and benevolent solutions (Quite obviously, too much benevolence isn’t helpful to your business)…. This allows them to think and bring them progressively towards the positive emotions they would have if they trusted you.

It is necessary to adapt the message. We surely represent companies but we are also human beings talking to other human beings. We need to be present in both good and bad times for them. Remember, people buy things because they are afraid to lose money or afraid of not making enough money. If they buy things from you, it’s because it’s to do things that will interest them in.

Digital Market Research

For the older crowd out there, let me give you an example. When you talk to potential customers, you present them the flower from the Mario Bros (Nintendo Ness video game), it’s great. But if you talk to them about Maria throwing fireballs, you will interest them in. Let me explain what I mean. Mario, when he is very small and vulnerable, he feels anxious, which is a negative emotion. At that point, you could help him visualise the self-esteem boost he would get by eating this flower and throwing fireballs to get him to grow up, double his size.

  • Would communicating in one’s own name instead of the company’s name be more relevant and human in these circumstances?

This is what we call ‘Personal Branding‘ or ‘Employee Advocacy’ is the real solution but not only in the case of COVID 19.

In fact, if you are into B to B (Business to Business), your potential customers don’t look for a brand or a solution, they look for a person they can trust, who demonstrates he/she is the right person to help them reach their goals. In both B to B and B to C (Business to Customers), the relationship is very much human beings to human beings.

To come back to the Coronavirus, Harvard Business Review analysed the 3 last recession periods, in order to highlight companies‘ financial health trends and to detail companies‘ behaviours in recession times.  Their post helps you understand what is the position with your clients and the different company profiles there are going to be.

They will be defensive companies like the likes of Airbnb, which will reduce costs and budgets by laying off a quarter of its staff. In recession cases, other companies will, contrarily, invest a lot more into finding new opportunities and generating turnover and covering their sales team.

The challenge for your company is to mix defense and attack and find the right balance to adapt to the different events you will encounter during this COVID 19 crisis.

  • This question is a little ironic but does make sense too. Is beer a good vehicle to sell?

We are offering this aperitif webinar format based on the aperitif online meetups you may find in your cities. The aim is to forget a bit of our context and offer more closeness, to show authenticity like in real life. This moment will be used to create affinities with you and potentially initiate deeper relationships with you. Obviously, there will be an impact, maybe you will continue to come to us to meet up more often on the web, maybe you will share more our articles or contact us to work with us.  So, to conclude, does authenticity sell? The answer is, yes it does.

  • How to be visible and striking on Linkedin? How to grab the attention of potential customers and get them to contact us?

Connecting with people on Linkedin is very easy. But after the first connection, ie getting in touch with, creating links, and convincing them to go further than a Linkedin connection, it’s much more difficult.

To chase contacts on Linkedin to widen one’s own network, sure it’s good, but it’s a vanity metric to boost ones’ own ego. Concretely, if you stop there, there will be no impact on your turnover. To resolve this, the challenge is to avoid copying and pasting standard messages on social media networks. Beyond this, the vast majority of people you contacted on the spot (75%) in your market research, are not ready to buy. They are not ready to listen to you talking about your products, yourself, and even less so in the current situation.

To go back to previous examples, market research off and online are the same. If you send a sales message straight off connecting with someone, you are sending a ‘purchase decision’ message to a person that is already very mature/advanced in the buying process. But to be fair, it’s probably only the quarter of your target market, which is at this purchasing stage. In 75% of cases, you will either get no answer or negative answers. You will generate frustration on the part of your new contact.

Instead, bring value by sharing content bringing up solutions, or answers to questions potential customers are asking themselves. Do not forget that Linkedin is a social network and is not your  CRM. You can connect with people in your second and third-degree contacts to go further than your first contacts’ network.

If you go in the real-life and shake your potential customers’ hand and say ‘Hi, my name is XYZ, I sell you digital marketing solutions’. This is very likely going to fail. Similarly, even if your product has 10 amazing characteristics, if you don’t listen to the person in front of you to figure out what is interesting them in what you do, it will be useless. Listening will make a difference.

So, personally, before contacting potential customers on Linkedin, I’m used to checking what they are doing, what kind of content they share, the questions they ask in discussion forums. Generally, once I have done that, I have content that responds to their questions in the discussion forum. Then, I contact them through private messages by saying ‘Hi XYZ, I have seen that you asked a question related to my issue, which I understand very well because it’s also the same one as my clients. So, it gave me the idea to write a post and offer you to read it. In this post, I offer you solutions that are unbiased and allow you to resolve your problem’.

When you do that, you do not push unwanted information in front of them, you bring a solution to their problem. And here, you activate a very powerful psychological, which is the ‘reciprocity principle’. Let me further explain. If you invite me for dinner, afterward I will feel obliged to return you the favour. You will then have a response and a relationship will be created. You need to give before receiving/requesting something. Besides, you show interest in your contacts and in what they do.

On social media, you can like their posts, respond to things they have written, or find information with social listening and monitoring tools, it’s very important because it proves you are showing interest in what they do and who they are. On this point, I recommend you to read the book ‘Jab jab jab hook’ from Gary Vaynerchuck.

  • How to qualify a database file on the internet ?

When you take a contact database for sales pitches, there are about 75% of them which aren’t interested in it. In the 100 emails you sent, you may get 4-5 people opening it and zero return. So, when you buy a contact database, you will need to send the right message, at the right person and at the right time. For this, you will need to know, in which context and stage in the buying funnel is the person you are contacting.

Digital Market Research

When you buy a database on Kompass, you do not have such information. In order to gain this knowledge, the best way to go about it is to set up a series of emails, which will allow you to determine if the potential customers are at the beginning, middle or end of their purchasing cycle. That way, you can send them the right messages with answers to their questions and the right content suited to their purchasing stage. According to the information you will track (clicks on links), you will know which type of content they have interest in and at which stage. If the potential customers clicked on content related to a purchasing decision, you can call them.

The challenge is to send emails with different options of content to determine according to their behaviours, at which stage they are. Do not keep unnecessary contacts, or you risk being blacklisted by the servers when contacting them. A target is a person, not a company. You must do your homework by establishing your persona. You need to understand precisely who are your ideal clients and clients’ issues…These are questions you must answer creating your persona.

  • How many reminders should we send to a potential customer?

There is no definite answer to this, but I would say around 10, depending on the customer purchasing stage and their contact preferences (social media, emails, phone). It is worth choosing and testing different tools and vary channels. Remember to bring value during the whole sales cycle. The sales cycle is the average time for a client to sign a contract.

  • Should I create a blog or a website ? Should I integrate the blog in the site or should I keep it detached?

You need both:

– A website to showcase your solutions, your company, ie a ‘showcase website’.

– A blog to publish regular content bringing value and answering to problems your potential clients are facing during their purchasing cycle.

The challenge is to be well ranked on Google to attract more visitors and ensure your visitors have to do the least clicks as possible to do, in order to be converted into a potential customer. Consequently, I highly recommend you to integrate your blog(s) into your website, keeping the same domain name. This will allow you to attract more visitors and bring them into the conversion funnel. In turns, you will be able to convert them into potential customers or LinkedIn contacts.

  • For the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), I thought it was necessary to have different domain names to optimise BACKLINKS?

If your domain name is ranked lower than 40, the link bringing you to your website will have very low value. Having a good domain authority is complicated. It depends heavily on how many pages you have on your website. To have high ranked domains is good, however, having several low ranked domains isn’t.

  • Google is no longer a search engine but a response engine.

80% of our traffic comes from search engines. The issue is, soon Google won’t suffice. Especially since Google’s main objective is to bring users’ answers directly into the search results without needing them to click on any links. Furthermore, questions asked to vocal assistants are replied to directly without generating internet traffic. We will have to give another battle than the search engine optimisation one.

We need to think about grasping people’s attention and creating a community to gain regular, engaged, trusted traffic. The targets are to generate authenticity, bring closeness and build relationships. You can get their attention through videos, video-conferences, podcasts, webinars. Social media can be used to bring the right person in front of the salesperson. In B to B, other channels to consider are trade fairs, emails, and phone calls.

  • Which tool to use, in order to centralise our actions ? Hubspot or Sendinblue for beginners?

Digital Market Research

I do not recommend Excel, as it’s too complicated to update. The simple answer is Customer Relationship Management (CRM). If you are short with money, you can get free CRM solutions like Hubspot. Hubspot is well done with:  complete contact forms, behaviour patterns’ tracking, to follow the evolution of your contacts after marketing or sales actions you completed. Hubspot will also send you notifications when emails are opened.

Sendinblue is also fine. Either or CRM solution is fine, it very much depends on your goals.

You may as well invest in low priced CRM solution around 15-20 Euros a month.

  • Is it necessary to have a Premium Linkedin account?

No, it’s not necessary. To make good use of Linkedin, you need to have a sufficiently large network of around +500 contacts, with a maximum of people in the second-degree contacts. Over the +500 contacts, you can reach more people. Under that, Linkedin will limit the access to functionalities for everyone who isn’t in your network from the 3rd degree. But, if you have second-degree contacts, they can put in contact with someone from the 3rd degree. That way, you can send private messages, connection invitations…

The second solution is to share qualified/relevant content which will increase your number of contacts. This said, investing into a tool can be worth it.

  • What are the techniques to make an attractive and efficient Email LIST BUILDING campaign ?

The point is to pretend it’s a one-to-one conversation, the same way you would do with friends, colleagues, or relatives. We have personally stopped adding images in emails because this is not the way people send personal emails. Tip to increase your opening rate very quickly: fill in what we call the ‘pre-header’, ie the email preview. I also encourage you to use the ACCR method for your email list building campaign.

The second technique is to use the ‘last attempt’ trick. For example, you send them the questions ‘Are you still interested in…? This is the last chance to avail of this offer…’. We then grant the ‘rarity/loss principle’. In other terms, customers may feel they will miss out on something if they don’t take action. This is based on psychological biases.

  • I use a lot of long-tail keywords for my site but I don’t get traffic. Why?

It is very likely that the keywords which you are ranked for aren’t the ones talking about you. Remember to think about problems and answers, rather than about your business and products. Keywords must be relevant to the problems your target market is facing, and what they are searching for on Google.

SEO Masterclass by Filip Silobod from Aro Digital Strategy

SEO Masterclass

First of all, thanks so much for all those who came to attend this SEO Masterclass by Filip Silobod from Aro Digital Strategy on Tuesday 21st November 2017. Much appreciated!

I’m sharing with you few pictures of the speaker and the audience taken at the venue.

SEO Master Class speaker Filip Silobod from Aro Digital StrategySEO Master class audience at Bank of Ireland Gran Canal SquareSEO Masterclass audience at Bank of Ireland Gran Canal Square

If you would like to know more about Filip Silobod and the company he is working for, check this Eventbrite page.

SEO STRATEGY TOPICS

Secondly, Filip gave us a comprehensive masterclass on Search Engine Optimisation Strategy (SEO) to ensure that:

  • Your website is getting a high amount of traffic
  • It is ranking well on Google
  • Your website is user-friendly and user experience-optimised
  • The business is getting a good visibility online
  • Your website is getting good Click-Through-Rate (CTR) conversions whether through organic or paid search and advertising.

Let me share with you his presentation before delving into a bit more details on some of the topics. You will find Filip’s contact details in it. Please note that the slideshow of his presentation can be downloaded, saved or shared through Social Media.

When you build your website, you need to ensure that it is SEO-friendly and follows a long-term strategy.

DIGITAL SEO STRATEGY STEPS

Indeed, you may get more visits to your website and build a loyal customer base by considering these digital marketing and SEO methods:

  1. Understand and optimise the use of machine learning
  2. Optimise the User Experience on your site: easy access, page loading time, navigation ease, mobile-friendly website… Make sure you regularly check your Google Page Speed Insight as well as see how your website looks on mobile phones
  3. Use Paid advertising and search: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) with good visuals perform best. Paid Advertising will allow you to rank high in the Google Searches with Google Adwords. You can use Paid Social Media when you launch your website, new products or services
  4. Analyse and Compare your site with your competitors
  5. Take into account search trends for branded and non-branded keywords by using Google Keyword Planner and having a varied content with plenty of synonyms
  6. Have clear Call-To-Actions (CTA) in your website’s main and secondary pages to allow higher conversions
  7. Have a good landing page
  8. Use long-tail keywords (min 4 words): This advice is especially valid if you are a small business with a recent website. It will improve the discovery of your keywords in searches
  9. Create unique content that Google likes
  10. Have few good backlinks (off-page optimisation) throughout your blog posts linking to high authority websites. You may consider as well getting Public Relations (PR) releases
  11. Review your website’s authority score with Moz. Your authority score indicates trust in your business
  12. Increase your business local visibility by registering with Google My Business. Ensure you add quality images and request your customers to leave you reviews.
  13. Optimise, track and analyse your traffic with Google Webmaster Tool.  You will need to review the queries (keywords) made by consumers to find your website or blog. These include meta title, URL and meta description. This analysis will give you insights as to understand when and why people left your website.

Remember that, although Social Media doesn’t have much value in terms of SEO (‘no-follow links’), it still allows people to interact with your brand. Social Media helps consumers discover your brand online. It also adds extra traffic to your website thanks to re-tweets, sharing of your posts’ links.

Although Google is the biggest and most used search engine used worldwide, there are other valid search engines that you may use such as:

  • Baidoo for the Indian market
  • Bing for North American market (USA)
  • Ecosia.org that is based on Bing
  • Yandex for the Russian market.

Finally, keep in mind what matters the most isn’t so much how much your website/blog is searched for but how many conversions you get. Conversions can be downloads, newsletter sign-ups, purchases, shares… This can be measured with the CTR by using Google Analytics.

 

 

 

WordPress – Search Engine Optimisation beyond Yoast plug-in

I recently joined a friendly and interesting networking meetup group in Dublin. It was organised by Marcin Kilarski, Rodolfo Melogli and Amit Wadhwa. They talked about WordPress Search Engine Optimisation beyond Yoast plug-in.

The presentation was given by Peter Lawless, sales and marketing expert, coach, mentor, trainer, TV & Radio presenter and published author. He is also a business founder.

It was followed by a Q & A by a panel of WordPress Search Engine Optimisation experts with:

  • Amit Wadhwa (Founder, Lead developer at xava.ie)
  • Rodolfo Melogli (WooCommerce expert at businessbloomer.com)
  • Peter Lawless (Search Engine Optimisation and Marketer at 3r.ie).

IMG_3235

In summary, the meetup topics were as follow:

• Is WordPress without SEO like a Shop in the middle of a Forest?

• Is an SEO Plugin, such as Yoast the answer to all your problems?

• How to Set SEO Titles in Just Two Steps

• The 3 Cardinal Sins of Black Hat SEO

• 5 SEO DIY Tips beyond Yoast

• “If you had just 15 minutes to SEO a website, how would you spend them?”

• The Financial Case to Hiring an SEO expert – (Our Secret SEO ROI Calculator).

Please find the slideshow presentation below as well as additional information from the Q&A :

 

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 ‘

‘Think like a customer’ means that you should use simple everyday language to write/talk to people.

He gave an example of the ‘Green eggs and ham’ children book written by Dr Seuss, which is using 50 words or less. In other terms, do not use over-complicated and sophisticated terms such as ‘refrain from..’.

What are ‘meta tags’?

Meta tags are used in HTML and XHTML documents to provide structured metadata about a Web page. Meta elements can be used to specify page description, keywords and any other metadata. For more information on how meta tags can impact SEO, have a read of this article:

http://www.wordstream.com/meta-tags

Choose wisely your categories in your articles to reflect the content of your posts.

Regarding the 5 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) DIY tips, keep in mind that you have to give something of value to people. It can be free information to get them interested in our products or services.

For those who work as event organisers, you need to act as a go-to-place like Trip Advisor by helping people looking for your service.

When it comes to the call to action, make sure it’s available on every page. The call to action displayed on the home page shouldn’t be a sales one. Instead, it should be a form to fill in and provide contact information. Ensure you clearly explain to your customers what you want them to do and why.

As you start writing, podcasting, filming, focus mostly on content first and SEO second.

Be aware of cultural differences in terms of languages (eg different slangs in the UK, US and IE). Thinking about the customer language helps to get people to convert more easily. You can also link your .com website to your other sites. Before you start, ask yourself the following questions (find your niche):

What is the main goal for my blog? What kind of information do people look for? Which parts of my service do you like most? 

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Create content suitable for your audience (long for Business to Business and short for Business to Customer. Complex topics generally require longer content)
  2. Ask customers if they want to buy
  3. Collect addresses.

Pay attention to the design of your site by UX testing.

For example, avoid heavy high-resolution pictures. Too detailed pictures do not tell the story and add loading time to your website. When designing your website, visualise the customer journey through the following stages: excitement, knowledge and learning.

You also have the option to use advertising to boost the visibility of your blog or website. Keep this option as a cheap and short-time solution.

If you go down that route, you can kick off an Adword campaign for 3-6 months. It will drive more traffic. Remember to do some split tests for your meta description/title. The most clicked ads should become your headlines. Do not ever pay someone to be linked to someone else’s website/blog!

Another better option is affiliate marketing as it’s far more valuable than advertising.

Nonetheless, SEO is your best bet for a more long-term strategy.

For a better SEO optimisation, use a long-tail description with minimum 3-4 words. You can also boost your visibility through a joint press release for example.

When you set up your Google Business account and blog/site, make sure your contact details are consistent with all 3rd party websites: name, address, phone number.

Add a picture that Google will link to google map. You must have as well a table of content  (map.xml) with no duplicated content. Make sure to add appropriate tags to the sitemap. Otherwise, you’ll have to have a good navigation menu.

When you monitor your traffic, you can monitor your clicks. You can also check your Google ranking with:

Finally, you can calculate how much your SEO is worth with this tool:

http://www.3r.ie/website-success-calculator/

Do you have any questions? Any tips you’d like to add to this? Let me know by leaving a comment below!