How to Hire a Marketing Person Part 2 – Interviews Begin

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

Finding a great marketing person is difficult and a key responsibility for a hiring manager.    A previous post was on what to do before the interviews begin while this post will describe the process to hire a great marketing person, once the interviews begin.

hiringpeople

Here is a typical timeline for hiring a new marketing person once top candidates have been selected:

  • Hold phone call interviews (1 week)
  • Select top candidates (up to 5) (1 day)
  • Set up face to face interviews (1 week)
  • Hold face to face interviews (1 week)
  • Make determination (1 day)
  • Make offer and send paperwork (3 days)
  • Possible new employee gives notice to previous company (2 weeks)
  • Start date of new employee and onboarding begins

Here is a suggested process to find a great marketing individual when interviews begin:

  1. Set up the phone interviews with the selected candidates.  This is done by the hiring manager who will rank the candidates against each other.    Suggest about 30 minutes for each phone interview.  But could last up to an hour so allocate an hour time slot.
  2. The interviewer should prepare a pitch about the position and the company that will start off the call.
  3. The interviewer should look up the candidate on LinkedIn.    Especially their connections to see if you know anyone in common.  Look at how complete their profile is.  A marketing person should know how to promote themselves and have a complete profile, that is written well.  Look at the groups that they are a member of.
  4. The interviewer will need to come up with a list of questions to ask each candidate (some will be the the same for all candidates while other questions will be specific to the candidate).  Here are a few items to consider when creating questions:
    • A great marketing person needs to be an excellent writer.  Ask them questions about their writing capability.
    • A great marketing person is organized.  One of your questions you ask them is to find out how they stay organized.
    • A great marketing person needs to be a good project manager.  Ask them questions on the projects they have managed and how they managed them.
  5. Hold the phone call interviews.  Take good notes on the candidates.  If it is obvious that the candidate is not a fit during the call, be considerate but cut the call short as soon as possible.
  6. Create the blank feedback form for the position to be filled out by the panelists.
  7. Create a written exercise for the candidates.  A great marketing person needs to be an excellent writer so create an exercise that job candidates must complete before the interview.  Keep it simple, maybe an email response to a situation or website content on a particular subject.  Look for the organization and grammar in the writing examples.
  8. If the position entails public speaking then determine a short presentation that the candidates can do during their interview.
  9. Select the face to face panel members who should include the hiring manager and peers in the same department, as well as others outside the department that would interface with this position.
  10. Select the candidates (up to 5) to continue on and set up the face to face interviews.  Send the written exercise to the candidates.  If speaking is part of the job, then have each candidate do a short presentation on something at the face to face interview. Notify them in advance on what is expected of them.  Notify the other candidates that were not selected and that they will no longer be considered for the position.
  11. Communicate to interview panel.  Send candidate’s resume, written exercise by candidate and blank feedback form in the interview meeting request.  Ask the panelists to be prepared with questions for the candidate.
  12. Check references of the candidates (either before interviews or right after interviews)
  13. Hold face to face interviews and have interviewers fill out feedback form.  During the interviews you are looking for expertise, energy, stamina, culture fit, personality and getting along with all members of the team (not just the hiring manager).  You probably want someone that has a specialty but you are looking for a marketing generalist as well.  And someone that can handle change and pressure.  Do a group session first with each candidate and then have them do individual sessions with each of the hiring panelists.
  14. Have a meeting with all the panelists and discuss the candidates.  This meeting should occur as soon as possible after the final interview.
  15. Make determination and send offer.  If two candidates are too close to make a definite decision then discuss other ways to decide (an interview with the President of the company, a personality test, additional reference checking, an additional written exercise, etc.).   Or if no good candidate, repeat cycle.  Notify the candidates not selected once an offer has been accepted.

Hiring is one of the most critical responsibilities of a manager.  It is not easy.  It takes time and energy.  And a bad hire is stressful for a manager and can be disastrous for an organization.  Be organized and do what is necessary to hire a great marketing person.  Also, if you haven’t done so already check out the post on what to do before the interviews begin.  Please let me know your thoughts on hiring.

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How to Hire a Marketing Person Part 1 – Before Interviews

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

I wrote a post on onboarding a new marketing person, but realized that I haven’t posted about how to find that great new marketing person.  Finding a great person is difficult and a key responsibility for a hiring manager.  You want the hiring process (the paperwork, the job description, interviews, etc.) to be done as efficiently and accurately as possible.  This post will focus on what to do before the interviews start.

hiringpeople

Follow this process when hiring someone for your marketing team:

  1. Write up new hire request and get approval from the necessary individuals. This includes figuring out salary range and adding this cost to the budget (including the overhead).
  2. Create the hiring plan including the time line for the hiring.  Share the plan with others in the company.  The hiring process could be 10 weeks or longer from approval to new employee start.  Make sure you take consideration of company events, trade shows, vacations and holidays when creating the time line.  The time line could be something like this:
    • Get approval and create plan
    • Do the posting of the job opening to the job boards & update website (1 day)
    • Gather resumes (2 weeks)
    • Review resumes (1 week)
    • Select top candidates (up to 15) (1 day)
    • Set up phone call interviews (1 week)
    • Hold phone call interviews (1 week)
    • Select top candidates (up to 5) (1 day)
    • Set up face to face interviews (1 week)
    • Hold face to face interviews (1 week)
    • Make determination (1 day)
    • Make offer and send paperwork (3 days)
    • Possible new employee gives notice to previous company (2 weeks)
    • Start date of new employee and onboarding start
  3. Finalize the job description.   Take your time on this important task for attracting great candidates.  Watch out for corporate-speak or terminology that is only known by those in your organization or a specific industry.  Watch out for acronyms.  Candidates might get confused if they don’t understand the terminology and therefore might not apply for the position.  Look at the description from the eyes of a job candidate.  Multiple folks should review the job description before posting.  A job description contains 4 parts: title, responsibilities, requirements and company information/benefits.
    • Make sure the job title clearly states what the job is all about.  Title is the 1st thing that attracts a candidate to a job opening.
    • Determine the job responsibilities for the position.
    • Determine the skill requirements for the position.  Mark which skills are necessary and which ones are added bonus.  Include what technologies they need to know.  Mention the level of education and experience you require for the role.
    • Firm up company information and benefits such as if relocation would be paid for.  Benefits should be beneficial to all genders, races and ages.
  4. Look at your job description before you post, answer the following questions and make adjustments:
    • Will the job description turn off qualified job candidates?
    • Are there too many skills required listed and are they too stringent?
    • Is there any  company specific terminology that will confuse job candidates?
    • Are the mentioned benefits unspectacular?
  5. If new position, update your organization chart.  Be clear on who the position reports to and who reports to the new hire.
  6. Determine where to find your next employee.  Consider posting on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed and ZipRecruiter sites.  Determine if you want to use outside recruiters or not.  If you have an internal recruiter, discuss with them the hiring plan.
  7. Post on the selected job boards and contact the selected recruiters.  Put the job description on the organization’s website. Make sure your career page on your website is accurate, interesting and showing your organization’s culture.  Send out an internal announcements to staff about the opening.
  8. Determine resume submission close date.  Depends on how many resumes you have received.  When you get around 100 resumes you should consider closing down the resume submissions.  Update the job boards by removing the position.
  9. Get resumes into one place.  I suggest numbering the resumes and putting them into a spreadsheet to keep organized.  You need to select the reviewers.  Have two individuals review the resumes.  Make sure the reviewers know the due date for review completion.
  10. Review resumes and select top candidates (up to 15) for phone interviews.  I would score each candidate on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high.  Select the top ones by combining the scores but give each of the reviewers 1 to 2 candidates that they can select for the phone interview no matter what the other person thought of them.  Notify the candidates that were not selected.  And then notify the selected ones and schedule the interview call.

Feel free to read the second part of this hiring series on hiring process once the interviews start.  Hiring is one of the most critical responsibilities of a manager.  It is not easy.  It takes time and energy.  A bad hire can be stressful for a manager and possibly disastrous for an organization.  Be organized and do what is necessary to hire a great marketing person.  Please let me know your thoughts on hiring.

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Marketing People – Improve Your Writing Skills

February 26, 2017 Leave a comment

agreementTo be a great marketing person you need to be:

  • Organized and a good project manager
  • A great communicator including being able to write effectively

This post will focus on how a marketing person can improve their writing skills.  No matter the marketing channels you use, a marketing person needs to be an excellent writer.  Period.  If you are not, then make it a goal to improve.

Each marketing channel (Twitter, blog, website, landing page, eBook, Facebook, data sheets, brochures, articles, etc.) has a different tone and style.  Make sure you know the tone to use when writing for that particular channel.

But in all cases grammar, spelling and clarity matter.  Even if it is just emails to others, writing accurately and concise is important for your career.

Here are some thoughts and suggestions on how to improve your writing:

  • Have a personal blog.  Set up a plan and write consistent blog posts.  I got to be a better writer by writing posts for my blog, especially when I decided to do a blog post a day for an entire month.  Read here for my blog post concerning that month of writing.
  • Keep a book journal.  As you read a personal development book or a business book write down notes.  Ideas are reinforced in the mind when they are written down.
  • For some, keeping a personal journal is helpful.  The more you write the better you will write. Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • Read. Read lots. Reading good writing will make you a better writer.
  • Read Stephen King’s book, On Writing.  Understand the habits and mindset of a great writer.  He mentions that after you write your draft go back in and cut down the copy.  I do this every time I write a blog post.
  • Get a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Review is as it will give you the fundamentals you need.
  • Purchase Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman.  This provides up to date information on how to write for the various marketing channels.

  • Read articles on English usage such as their vs. there or its vs. it’s.  Or how about site, cite, sight.  Nothing shows that you are not a good writer more than incorrect usage.
  • Subscribe to the Copyblogger and Problogger blogs.  Review their posts and follow their advice.
  • When in doubt about something, please look it up.  If working for a company then review the company’s style guide and look up usage when in doubt.  Be consistent.  For example, we had to make a decision on do we use “life cycle” or “lifecycle”.  Either is fine but you need to be consistent.  Also decide on capitalization.  At a company I worked at we decided to use “HelpDesk” instead of help desk to describe our support team.  Again, be consistent, including on tenses.
David Ogilvy is considered to be the father of advertising and was known for his ability to communicate a clear vision.  He wrote (in 1982) a famous memo, titled “How to Write”, to his employees.  He stated “People who think well, write well.” as well as “Good writing is not a natural gift.  You have to learn to write well.”.  Some of his hints in the memo included:
  • Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  • Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  • Never use jargon words.
It is to your benefit to improve your written communication skills.  Writing is a skill that can be taught, refined, and improved. The written word is still a powerful tool used in marketing. The better you write the better your marketing will be.  Hope that his post helped you improve.  Feel free to let me know what you have done to be a better writer.
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Set Up Your RMs: CRM, MRM, PRM, IRM, HRM, ERM

February 25, 2017 Leave a comment

As I have mentioned before, your contact database is your gold.  And it needs to be organized and prioritized.  It needs to be maintained and added to.  But it is not only customers or prospects that you need to keep track of.  You need to have Relationship Management (RMs) systems for anyone that you need to be in contact with.

rmcontacts

Here are just a few off the top of my head:

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – it has been proven that your customers (or clients) are your best repeat business.  Stay in contact with them, normally with an email newsletter.  To do this you need to keep track of their information.  An issue to consider is if the information is also in your financial system (Quickbooks, MS Dynamics, etc.) then who is the information owner and how do you keep them in sync.
  2. Marketing Relationship Management (MRM) – this is for your marketing prospects that you can do nurture marketing campaigns and inbound marketing campaigns to.  Sometimes these contacts are in your Marketing Automation solution like Hubspot or Marketo.  An issue to resolve is the connection between the MRM system and the CRM system when a contact turns into a sales opportunity and usually moves over to the CRM system.
  3. Partner Relationship Management (PRM) – you have all types of partners – resellers that sell your products/services, companies that you sell their products/services, associations you are a member of and maybe even vendors that you depend on.  You might consider having a regular email newsletter to partners (especially their sales team) so you can easily keep them up to date.
  4. Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) – there are many that influence your marketplace that you sell into.  Keep track of the individuals that influence your potential buyers. For example, if you are a law firm, influencers could be other lawyers in your area that could recommend others to use your firm’s services.    These could also include bloggers, consultants in your industry who might recommend your organization and members of the media.  Additional information to keep on influencers are Twitter id, blog URL and Instagram id.
  5. Hiring Relationship Management (HRM) – if you hire a lot of individuals you might want to keep track of individuals that you could hire someday.  This might be in your HR system of the people that you have collected resumes from.  In some cases you might hold networking events to attract talent to your organization.  Then you will be glad you had a database of their email addresses.  LinkedIn profile id information would also be helpful for these individuals.
  6. Employee Relationship Management (ERM) – if you are a big firm you might want to maintain a database of your employees (more than just in Outlook) so that you can provide information to your employees.  Make sure your employees get the same message you send to partners, customers, influencers and prospects.

Sometimes all of these contacts can be maintained in a single database with the same software.  If so, then separation of types can be done in reporting and measurement efforts by a type field.  Sometimes they are in specialized solutions just for that type of individual.  There are advantages and disadvantages to having all the information in one solution.  Depends on who using and how communicating.

No matter what software solution you use, make sure your staff is well trained on its use.  Especially best practices, terminology and naming standards.  As in any database, garbage in is garbage out.  Constantly remind your staff of the importance of an accurate relationship management system.

All of these databases should include at the minimum the following on each contact: first name, last name, job title, email address, organization, phone and location (usually state and country).  If you do mailing campaigns then the physical address would also be necessary.

Your database is a big asset.  Keep the necessary information you need on the people you should be contacting.  Let me know how you maintain your relationships.  Feel free to leave me a comment.

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Jack Welch Inspiration and Motivation

January 26, 2017 1 comment

jackwelchinspireWho is Jack Welch?
For 2 decades, during his time as CEO of General Electric (GE), he took it from a old, slow moving company of $14 billion to a $500 billion company that was willing to take risks. I read his book, Jack: Straight from the Gut.  If you work at a big company, it is worth reading.

 

I don’t agree with all of what Jack Welch says but here are 13 quotes that I agree with (and a quick thought about each):

  1. “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”
    Don’t get stagnant.  Always be learning, be agile and change to stay competitive.
  2. “Control your own destiny or someone else will.”
    Don’t get complacent.  Keep changing and stay ahead of your competition.
  3. “Change before you have to.”
    Competitors are always coming after you, so change to stay ahead.
  4. “Be candid with everyone.”
    Be genuine.  Great leaders are genuine.  (My post on Genuine Leaders)
  5. “Culture drives great results.”
    Make sure you hire by culture and instill the right culture in your employees.
  6. “One of the jobs of a manager is to instill confidence, pump confidence into your people.  And when you’ve got somebody who’s raring to go and you can smell it and feel it, give’em that shot.”
    Develop your team and keep them motivated.
  7. “Only two words matter for leaders today: truth and trust.”
    Very important.  Employees need to trust their leaders.
  8. “Big companies can’t change quickly.  Every big company’s gotta be a small company in their head.  You want the muscle of a big company, and the soul of a small company.”
    Act big but think small and be agile.
  9. “You want people to think every day about speed.”
    Install a culture of speed so the organization keeps changing.
  10. “When they trust you, you will get truth. And if you get truth, you get speed.  If you get speed, you’re going to act.  That’s how it works.”
    If employees trust leadership then they will act faster which is necessary against the competition.
  11. “You backroom is somebody else’s front room.  Backrooms by definition will never be able to attract your best.”
    Convert your backroom into someone else’s front room and insist on getting their best. (My post on Outsourcing)
  12. “Finding great people happens in all kinds of ways, and I’ve always believed everyone you meet is another interview.”
    Always be looking and connecting with individuals.  You never know where you might find a future great employee.
  13. “There has to be structure and logic so that every employee knows the rules of the game.”
    Let your employees know the priorities, the culture, and how they should perform.

Hope you enjoyed these inspirational and motivational quotes by Jack Welch.  Which one caught your attention?  Let me know.

Photo Credit: StockSnap.io (130)

 

 

You Can’t Be Great at Everything – Consider Outsourcing

January 24, 2017 Leave a comment
mail-room-2
You have a reason your organization is successful and it probably is not your back office or non-critical functions.  But these functions are distracting you from doing what you do best.  Have you considered outsourcing some (using outsiders) to do these important but not critical functions?
Some quotes by Jack Welch, former CEO of GE: “Your backroom is somebody’s elses front room.  Backrooms by definition will never be able to attract your best.”  Convert your backroom into someone elses front room and insist on getting the outsourcers best.

Here are my five reasons to outsource some of your functions:

Expertise
Outsourcing lets you acquire specialized expertise to accomplish goals, complete projects and augment your existing resources.  Small projects that require expertise not available with internal staff such as website design, sales training and video production could  probably best be served with an outside resource.  Large projects such as SalesForce CRM implementation or Marketo Marketing Automation implementation involving organizational change are best done with an outside perspective who can focus on it.  Learning new technologies is difficult and technology projects are good candidates for outsourcing to get your team up to speed on the technology from experts.

Cost
Outsourcing is usually less expensive then hiring employees due to cost of hiring, cost of training, salary, employee overhead such as benefits, computer equipment / software, office space, etc. Outsourcing costs are more flexible since they can be added or dropped easily, more so than employees. Variable costs projects are typically easier to get approved than additional headcount.  Cloud computing solutions such as SalesForce CRM and Basecamp Project Management solutions allow an organization to use technology that is not located on their premises which saves on internal IT costs.

Fresh Perspective
Sometimes it is advantageous to obtain an outsider’s perspective on things. Brainstorming with people from outside your organization helps facilitate fresh ideas that may not have come from a group of employees.

Focus
Outsourced resources do not suffer from goal distraction by common day-to-day fire-drills. An outside provider of resources has one responsibility and one priority, which is to complete the project. Focus delivers better results and greater accountability.  Outsourcing allows you to complete task / project goals without disrupting day-to-day operations and personnel.  Outsourcing allows you to focus on your core competencies.

Speed
A competitive advantage is speed.  The faster you release a product or implement a marketing solution could have a big impact in revenue or donations if you are a non-profit.  With outsourcing, you can bring in the necessary additional resources to complete a project or task faster than doing it with existing staff or hiring additional staff.

Possible Tasks that can be Outsourced

  • New hire recruitment
  • IT monitoring
  • Trade show event logistics such as booth shipping
  • Blog writing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Training or employee coaching including sales training
  • Business plan or marketing plan creation
  • HR benefits change

Focus on what you do best and outsource as many non-critical functions as possible.  Outsourcing  gives you flexibility, lowers costs, adds expertise, achieves faster completion and increases focus.  Feel free to provide me your thoughts on outsourcing.

Add Influencer Marketing to Your Planning

January 23, 2017 Leave a comment

influencerInfluencers are thought leaders, experts in their field, strong communicators or advocates who have strong reach or credibility with the target prospects of your organization. They can sway people to your organization often suggesting they consider your product or service.  Therefore, you need to include influence marketing into your marketing planning and activities.  This influence marketing needs to have a long term mindset as it involves creating trust with these influencer  individuals which takes time.  By engaging with the people at the top of their industries, you find credibility among their contacts.

This post will answer the following questions:

  1. Who are these influencers?
  2. What are the benefits of building influencer relationships?
  3. What are the elements of an influencer marketing plan?
  4. What are some of the action items to attract influencers to your organization?
  5. What would you like these influencers to do?
  6. How can you return the favor to influencers if they assist your organization?

Who are these influencers?
Well they could be:

  • If law firm, lawyers from other law firms that don’t have your firm’s specialty
  • Bloggers in your desired market
  • Consultants who install products related to your product
  • Speakers who are respected in your marketplace that present at association meetings
  • Current customer that is the president of a respected association
  • Media or academia persons with a focus in your particular area

What are the benefits of building influencer relationships?
There are many but here are a few that I came up with:

  1. Partnering with influencers in your marketplace assists getting your message in front of your target audience and accelerates conversions to customer / client status.  They can increase website traffic and getting new leads.
  2. The more trust influencers have within their industry, the more likely they can push your prospect further along the buyer’s journey.
  3. Influencers are great at getting your brand known by discussing, promoting and sharing content.
  4. Lowers cost of sales as their recommendation did not need an expensive campaign and prospects are found without a great deal of sales and marketing efforts.
  5. Shorter sales cycle as the influencer recommendation eliminates the first part of the sales process which involves getting known and establishing trust.

What are the elements of an influencer marketing plan?
You want to develop focused value-add relationships with your influencers which necessitates a plan including the following elements:

  1. Determine the budget, goals and responsibilities – For influencer marketing to work it needs to be made a priority including having a budget.  Document the goals that you want for this marketing program.  Make sure that there are marketing resources available to assist with the necessary marketing activities.
  2. Finalize the influencer type(s) – Brainstorm with others and determine who your target influencer types are (bloggers, media, consultants, etc.). Document your findings.  Need to know who influences your buyers.  These influencers types should be mentioned in your buyer personas.
  3. Discover specific influencers – Now that you know the type of influencer, get down to the specific persons that can impact your business and your buyer’s decision making process.  This discovery is not easy.A tool to use is BuzzSumo, where you can search keywords and discover the Twitter handles of accounts haring similar keyword-related content.    Filters allow you to sort influencers by reach, authority, influence and engagement.  This tool identifies websites and social users with serious influence.  Find the most influential content for any topic, domain, or author as well as the influential users that shared and linked to it.  Find individuals who have an established voice and social presence.  Or if you don’t want to do the search yourself, go to an outsider, such as through freelance.com, to do the search and come up with the list of influencers and their contact information.Look at their reach (blog subscribers, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, YouTube subscribers, books sold, Instagram followers, etc.).  See how much engagement they get such as retweets or comments on their blog.  Look to see if they communicate to others and affect people.
  4. Understand the needs of the influencer types – These needs are much like what is included in buyer personas.  Monitor the community to understand them and what they need.  As you make the list of influencers, determine how you can help them.
  5. Determine the necessary action items – Brainstorm with your marketing team and come up with the list of action items.  Document these action items.  Put the necessary tasks on the marketing calendar and any expected costs onto the marketing budget.  Tailor your actions to the individual influencers.
  6. Do the determined action items – You want to build trust with high quality content and engagements.  Keep track of your efforts, just like other marketing programs, in your marketing project management system.
  7. Perform measurements and make adjustments – Measure the performance of your engagement with the selected influencers on improving your brand and increasing revenue.  Keep track of the source of your leads especially if they came from specific influencers.  Report the efficiency and effectiveness of your efforts.  Review these efforts and make any necessary adjustments.  Look for new influencers and repeat cycle.

What are some of the action items to attract influencers to your organization?
Every organization is different in how they market to their buyers, donors and prospects.  Every market is different.  And who influences these markets are different.  But here are a few actions that can be done to attract influencers:

  1. Since you might not have their email addresses, direct message (DM) via Twitter the influencers to start out a conversation.  Ask them to check out your website, check out a specific content piece of yours or check out your blog.  And most importantly ask them how you can assist them.
  2. Schedule a meeting with them at a conference they are attending or at your office to discuss how you can assist each other.  Remember they might be promoting their business or efforts as well.  Try to meet them in real life (IRL) as that enhances the relationship.
  3. Create your influence relationship management (IRM) system.  Get their contact information (including name, position, organization, twitter id, email, phone number (if possible), something unique about them (President of an organization), website URL and/or blog post URL).  You need this info so that you can contact them and to keep track of the relationship.
  4. Join associations that the influencers are a part of and that your target audience attends.  You might be a member already but increase your efforts by following the association blog, following their social networks and staying more engaged with the association.  Influencers usually appreciate involvement with associations.
  5. Attend conferences that influencers and your target audience attends.  Review the conference content and speakers.  Look for influencers at these conferences.
  6. Sign up for webinars being done by the influencers.  Gather information from these webcasts and communicate thanks to the influencers after the webinar.
  7. If you have a product and you want the influencer to recommend your product, consider sending them the product for free.
  8. Create a nurture campaign to keep them informed of your company, your services and your products.  This might be a newsletter or scheduled emails with information (blog posts, webinar mentions, ebooks, etc.) that they might find valuable.
  9. Follow their social media networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, blog, YouTube channel, etc.), monitor the networks and engage with them such as retweeting their posts.
  10. Invite them to speak at your user conference or be included in a marketing piece such as an ask the expert document.

What would you like these influencers to do?
Be creative, but do encourage them to do the following:

  1. Mention your product or service to those in the marketplace.
  2. Share your content via their social media networks such as Twitter.
  3. Retweet your organization’s tweets to their large number of social media followers.
  4. Contribute a guest blog post to your organization’s blog.  Hopefully they will share that post on their social media networks.
  5. Be interviewed for a blog post or a video for posting on your YouTube channel.  Hopefully they will share this content on their social media networks.
  6. Contribute to an eBook or an article that you are publishing including those that are asking for expert opinions.  Hopefully they will share this content on their social media networks.
  7. Ask your organization to be on a panel of speakers at an association meeting.
  8. Present in one of your webinars or at your user conference (and make sure you record these presentations).

How can you return the favor to influencers if they assist your organization?
Remember that this is a 2 way relationship and you need to thank them when necessary by:

  1. Give them a call or send them an email thanking them for their assistance
  2. Offer to collaborate on projects so that they have more ownership of the content you want them to promote
  3. Exchange an email unrelated to any content you are promoting.  For example, if you saw that their blog was nominated for an award, send a brief congratulations email
  4. Thank the influencer in a tweet for any help they offered you that week
  5. Follow their social media networks
  6. Share their content
  7. Engage with them thru their social media posts (comment on their posts)
  8. Promote their events or their speaking engagements via your social media networks

The concept of reciprocity is simple: if someone does something for you, you naturally want to do something for them.  Although every influencer is different, when developing these relationships, remember to be as authentic and personable as possible.  Respect and genuine interest are what will make these valuable partnerships last.  A blog post can become outdated and a tweet can be forgotten, but what will last are the genuine connections you create with influencers.

If you have not already done so, you need to start building your influencer network now.  Make influencer marketing a consistent part of your marketing plan.  Find the relevant people, reach out to them, and build a relationship to support your organization’s sales and marketing efforts.  Hope this influence marketing post helped.  Feel free to comment back on your influencer efforts.

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