3 Sales Tools to Help Your Marketing Efforts

Sales process is what makes your business success or failure. It’s what makes your company profitable. Therefore picking a good tool is crucial

Here are three tools that will boost your sales and help your marketing efforts:

Pipedrive

How do you close a deal? With proper engagement! At least that is the theory behind this sales engagement platform.

Pipedrive is an affordable customer relationships management platform that organize your sales process to its maximum efficiency.

  • The pipeline view feature categorizes leads by sales stage allowing you or your team to develop a clear understanding of your sales priorities and refocus efforts accordingly.
  • The statistics tool shows you the health of your pipeline and the stages that need improvement.
  • Drag-and-drop interface, foolproof menus and visual layout make adding deals, contacts and activities to your pipeline smooth and easy.

The best thing about Pipedrive is that it integrates with Ringostat, the powerful call tracking tool that lets you get more calls from your ads and landing pages. Using the two tools together you can achieve maximum efficiency allowing your sales team to focus on sales rather than recording what you do. Your calls are being automatically rerecorded in Pipedrive dashboard for you to analyze and keep the historical records.

Pipedrive Ringostat

With Ringostat Pipedrive integration you and your team are benefited from:

  1. automated sales process when dealing with calls
  2. customized call analytics in your sales pipeline
  3. controlled performance of each sales person
  4. all recorded calls and deals

Boomerang for Gmail

Boomerang

Boomerang for Gmail is a freemium app that lets you schedule emails to go out on a later. It lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages. It is limited to Gmail users only.

  • Write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the perfect time by clicking the Send Later button.
  • Use a handy calendar picker or the text box that understands language like “next Monday” to tell Boomerang when to send your message.

There may be lots of reasons why you’ll find this app awesome:

  • Send a pitch and set a follow-up in a week or more
  • Sleep on things you are not sure about
  • Schedule emails to go our when other scheduled tasks happen (e.g. when your scheduled article goes live)

If you prefer manual follow-ups, Boomerang will remind you of an email you must not forget.

  • Click the Boomerang button when you have an email open, and choose when you need it again.
  • Boomerang will archive your message. At the time you choose, Boomerang will bring it back to your inbox, marked unread, starred or even at the top of your message list.

You can also set reminders to make sure you follow up within a specific time frame after sending a message.

You can try it out for free before deciding if you need it!

Contractually

contactually

Contractually is another one of those tools that helps you find more worthwhile prospects and prioritizes them. But it does so using your email contacts, past messages, and other information built from your Google or Office360 account.

Contractually is a relationship building platform that is designed specifically to help you stay in touch over time with most important business relationships.

  • Import your contacts from Gmail, Office 360, Exchange or IMAP
  • Put your most important relationships, the ones you cannot afford to fall out of touch with, into "Bucket"
  • Each bucket has a follow-up time you can set
  • When you put someone into a specific Bucket, Contractually will remind you to follow up within the timeframe you had set for this bucket

That means no more falling out of touch and no more missed opportunities.

That’s the core of Contractually:

  • Categorize your contacts
  • Follow-up timely
  • Repeat

contactually

You can use Contractually to follow up on link building outreach emails and you can set up longer periods in order not to come off as too aggressive.

Are there any other sales tools you are using? Please let us know: Post to our Facebook page!

How to Fill Your SEO Blog With Mind-Blowing Content

You have the marketing of your blog to consider. You also have a few contracts on the side, for search engine optimization (SEO) of client sites. This is great! You are a success!But, while you are serving everyone else’s needs, you sometimes do not have enough time to address your own blog. When you do, the content does not seem to rise to the same level as that of the content that you may be helping your clients to obtain and publish.

Possible Solutions to Your Problem

Oh, there are many solutions that you could incorporate into your blogging process and content production process. However, which one is right for you?For example, you could hire writers and create a writing staff for your blog. But, you could also hire other positions, like a technology person for your WordPress site, and maybe you have already done this in both cases, as well as other roles to support your SEO blog.The challenges are that either you are paying less and receiving lower quality, or you are paying through the nose.If you have unlimited funding, hiring a staff of qualified individuals may be the best option. Of course, that includes paying them a sufficient salary (don’t be stingy, if you want quality). If you want the quality of your content marketing to remain at a high-quality level, then the amount you pay for it is also going to reflect that.You also want to include the content marketing aspect of ensuring that that same writing staff is mentioning you on other blogs, including articles that sing your praises, throughout the internet, bringing that traffic back to your site. That is one of the reasons that you would not want to be stingy on who you hire (or how much you pay them).

Expanding on our “Ideas List”

It also helps if ideas flood your mind and you are inspired by your own expertise, for example, as an SEO Expert.In November (2016), we shared tips on how to prove that you are an SEO Expert. This included the SEO and Advanced SEO courses offered by Simplilearn.However, not all of us can depend on the genius of our minds to flow out ideas at incredible speeds, let alone to convert those ideas into content and then promoting it, etc. So, we need another idea, in addition to our ingenious ideas (or hiring staff to do it for us).

MyBlogU >> Practically Writing the Content For You!

Originally, I set out to have this article mostly about RSS and RSS applications and services. What I found is that I cannot seem to write any article about developing content without singing the praises of MyBlogU (and no, no one is paying me to say this — It is my personal/professional opinion!).MyBlogU, developed and owned by your very own Ann Smarty, is a magnificent platform. It is a place where you can share tips and ideas with other writers, helping to develop that article idea list that we talk about further in this article. But, more than that, it is a place where you can collect interview responses from experts.You have all seen them, right? The round-up articles? The articles cover a topic and include tips and responses from multiple experts in the field. Here is an example, on the seochat.com domain, using MyBlogU >> How Infographics Can Improve Your SEO!Well, MyBlogU.com helps you to put that together, making the work almost non-existent because Ann’s site does it for you!So, while MyBlogU may not fit in the list of RSS applications, we cannot deny its rightful place under the topic of creating mind-blowing content for your site. If you haven’t already checked it out, bookmark it now so that you can be sure to visit the site later. You’ll be glad you did!

The Simple, Yet Flexible Solution of RSS

One favorite method to get fresh ideas for the content for your site is to access an RSS from one of your favorite SEO sites. Examples of those sites, related to an SEO blog, may include this site (SEOchat.com), searchenginepeople.com, searchengineland.com, as well as searchenginejournal.com (to name a few).RSS feeds for the domains mentioned above: RSS SymbolIn some cases, including those sites listed above, the RSS Feed (or just “feed”) is located by clicking on the RSS symbol, shown in the image, above, to the left of the Twitter bird.However, there are cases where the site has a built-in feed, and you have to find it using a manual method. There are site owners who have feeds and do not necessarily know it or use it. Fortunately, there are methods you can use to find those RSS feeds manually.It isn’t guaranteed that you will find it. If a feed doesn’t exist, you are not going to locate the feed. However, there are other options, even if it means that you bookmark the site and visit it frequently (not ideal, but an option nonetheless).

Some Introductory Discussion about RSS

Oh, let’s take a sidebar and differentiate between two RSS topics. First, there is the act of reading an RSS feed of another site or blog. That is what is most important for this article.However, while we are on the topic of RSS feeds, it might not be a bad idea to ensure that you have yours set up for your site, encouraging others to use your incredible content as their idea-inspiration tool. So, we have included some information to help you in that area (under the Sidebar in this article).To give some perspective, to help orient us to the two different aspects of RSS, let’s mention a couple of Google apps that you may have heard of in the past. One is the Google Reader, which is no longer available. That is the ability to read the RSS feed and the one that most directly relates to this article.The other is the application that converts your feed (that already exists if you use WordPress for your blog) into a feed that others can read. This is not directly related, but the highly recommended so that others can subscribe to your feed.

What Is RSS?

Not sure about this whole RSS thing and what it is? Here is an exceptional article on the subject of RSS. Also, it mentions a free option of FeedBurner. Amy (the writer) does an excellent job of explaining why some of us are concerned about using FeedBurner. I don’t intend to be biased here, but she states it very well in her article. Still, FeedBurner, assuming it is still around when you read this, is a free (or at least was) option and worth considering if your budget is really tight.Remember, FeedBurner is the “sidebar topic” of getting your site ready for others to use it to inspire them.Even though RSS was quite popular a few years ago, it has not gone away. Oh yes, there was quite a bit of popularity during the Google Reader days (hey, I used Google Reader faithfully), but there are still ways to get a similar experience.Some of the options that we recommend, for reading feeds, are free and others are not. Most of the options that I have found have been reasonably priced. This is helpful for our pocketbooks.Ok, let’s get on with the explanation of how to use RSS services. That way, all of this babble makes more sense! Before we do that, let’s cover the sidebar. As we mentioned, it is about getting your site in a position where others can subscribe to it. This is our sidebar, and then we will continue with the methods for reading feeds so that you can inspire those ideas (the main gist of this article).

Sidebar: Using an RSS Service for YOUR Site Feed

My favorite RSS service is FeedBlitz, who offers a reasonably priced service, but oh so many options.Some of the options available in FeedBlitz include:
  • email subscriptions for your site (automated);
  • email marketing for your business;
  • consolidation of things like autoresponders, list management, eCommerce, etc.;
  • integration with social media marketing options.
I couldn’t have said it better than the way Brian Clark puts it, here (from the feedblitz.com site):Brian Clark's FeedBlitz testimonial

Reading Method 1: Using RSS-Based Systems

Here is an example of one of the articles obtained from using seo.alltop.com:A fresh perspective on SEO for B2B companies (from seo.alltop.com using RSS feeds).Interestingly, Alltop.com also uses an RSS service. In Alltop’s case, the RSS service is feedpress.com. That isn’t something that you have to know (fortunately) to visit their site. Remember, this is a case of mentioning a site that uses RSS feeds to compile a list of reading material for you, automatically. You don’t have to do anything to set up an RSS feed for it because the service did it for you! You just read what Alltop produces for you.Alltop SEO ExampleThe key thing to remember here is that there are sites out there who are already compiling/aggregating content sources for you, so you do not have to do it yourself. Alltop is just one example, and we specifically mentioned their SEO topic aid.

Method 2: Manually Reading Site Feeds with an App (Hosted or Downloaded)

RSS Feeds, in their raw form, are not naturally easy to read. However, on the positive side, we have come a long way, so quite a few reader options are available, and in many cases, your OS (i.e. Windows 10, Apple, etc.) has a built-in process of leading you to the available options.When you read the RSS, it is the readable version and not the RSS in its raw form. Doesn’t make sense? That’s ok because these days, that is generally taken care of for you so you don’t have to get techie.There are two different ways that you can manually read RSS feeds with an app. It could be a web app (called a hosted solution), like feedly.com. It could also be an application, like RSSOwl (available for multiple OSs, including Windows) or NetNewsWire for Mac (shown below).If a feed is not available (or even when it is), another option is to use your browser to subscribe to a site. It may not officially be an RSS solution, but who cares what we call it as long as it gets the job done, right?One thing that is helpful, regardless of what method you use to READ any feed, is understanding the setup. Understanding how to set it up to be conducive to your needs is a requirement for effectiveness. Here is a tutorial for Feedly, but you could adapt the steps to other methods, as well.RSS Application

Let’s Put it All Together Into a Simple Step-by-Step How-To Listing

  1. Determine how you are going to record your content ideas (i.e. Notepad, Spreadsheet, or even as drafts in your WordPress blog).
  2. Determine which method you are going to use to obtain these ideas (i.e. your feed reading choice).
  3. Now, go through your chosen feeds (from Step #2) and be inspired in a way that helps you create ideas for the content for your site. Obviously, don’t copy, but allow yourself to think freely and to see what is popular (i.e. comments / social shares). In this way, you can see what your SEO target audience is looking to read AND get ideas for your site. Add the ideas to your list (created in Step #1).
  4. When it is time, write the content, or have it written, based on your idea list from this method.
  5. The final step is to promote it. Check out this OnPoint Internet Marketing article about backlinks to find some unique promotional tips. To your advantage, it is not your norm, but instead, tips that will get your mind-blowing content to the audience that will likely share it for you!

Conclusion

It sounds simple enough (and actually is simple), but experience says that this method helps. Sometimes, I find that coming up with the ideas for the articles is 50% of the work and the writing is the easy part.Granted, I don’t expect that everyone is like me, but I am pretty sure that getting an idea list going, using methods like the RSS reading method, will help you to gain the success of producing content that your audience cannot resist.Gather your content ideas list, write it, promote it. Sit back and enjoy your success. 🙂

How to Keep Your Content Team on the Same Page

Content marketing is a cornerstone of modern brand promotion. In fact, a 2016 study found that it costs 62 percent less than traditional forms and generates about three times as many leads. With numbers like this, it seems like every business is working tirelessly to create captivating messaging that will springboard into the mainstream.

As great as the concept sounds, getting into a rhythm of producing high-engagement brand messaging is not as easy as it looks. Even further, once you reach a certain level of quality, the last thing you want to do is backslide.

Once a company begins to gain more traction in the marketplace, a team will be needed to meet demand. This is a time when it’s VERY easy for a strategy to crumble. The more minds you have working, the harder it is to keep everyone’s visions in line.

Keeping this in mind, the entire entity of content marketing requires a superb level of coordination to remain competitive. Let’s discuss some foundational practices for keeping your team working towards the same goals as a single, efficient unit.

Involve everyone in the planning stage

As a manager, your job is to take ownership of projects. However, in order for a team to work as a fine-tuned machine, everyone needs to be present during the planning process and contributing to the big picture.

The truth is that the workplace is a much different environment than it was 30-40 years ago. The top-down dictatorship style of planning projects isn’t nearly as effective as it once was. Employees today need to feel valued in order to stick around. Remember, people leave bosses, not companies.

A good manager is one that works to bring out the very best in each and every member of the team. This process all starts in the planning stage. Be sure everyone has a voice, and ideas are shared freely.

Now, as great as this concept is, it can sometimes turn out to be a difficult task being that many companies these days allow employees to work remote. When this is the case, it’s wise to invest in interactive platforms like GoToMeeting:

Tools like this help ensure everyone is on the same page – whether they are physically present for the planning stage or not.

Promote transparency in task delegation

Once a solid plan is nailed down and the overarching goals are understood, the time will come when tasks need to delegated appropriately.

For example, let’s say one of your goals is to increase revenue by improving your customer service process. In this case, you will need information and data on some of the common issues and roadblocks of that department.

This would likely require someone to scour the web and pinpoint trending concerns most people are having when interacting with brands. With this knowledge, you would then need your creators to craft appealing content addressing these issues in accordance with brand messaging.

In order to get tasks done well, you and your team must embrace transparency in the workplace. If not, certain details can easily slip through the cracks.

For this purpose, it’s strongly recommended to implement a campaign management system. Tools like Workzone are built with a task-driven mindset with transparency being foundational aspect:

For instance, everyone involved in a project or campaign is able to look at the main dashboard and see exactly which projects are on the table, who is working on them, and where they stand in terms of progress.

This dashboard is ideal for small marketing or creative teams, and remains so all the way up to enterprise departments. With clear statuses on campaign goals, Workzone goes beyond simplistic to-do lists like Trello while steering clear of complex ICT project management tools like JIRA.

Transparency in delegation is much easier said than done. Do yourself a favor and look into a software that tackles this challenge for you.

Find a communication alternative to email

As great as email is for external communication, the same cannot be said for in-house interactions.

For one, people tend to get bogged down with more emails than they know what to do with. Therefore, it is all too easy for correspondence between coworkers to get lost in the shuffle.

Content marketing is very much a group effort. As all good leaders will tell you, communication is the key to a high-performing team. To make sure crucial messages don’t get overlooked, companies are wise to look into a form of communication exclusively for employees.

Consider introducing an instant messaging app; the wildly popular Slack:

https://cyberchimps.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/slack-screen.jpeg

This tool is well-known for being easy to use in businesses of all sizes. It’s designed for quick group messaging, cross-department communications, file sharing, and integrates with a lot of other popular apps like Google Drive, HubSpot and even Giphy.

Prioritizing emails and organizing an inbox is a task in itself. Keeping in-house correspondence separate is crucial for getting your team to accomplish goals without unnecessary delays.

Encourage teamwork and collaboration

One of the most important ingredients to successful content is consistency. For this concept to become a reality, you must create a strong culture of teamwork and collaboration.

Your content team should share the same vision and be walking on the same path to get there. If you are producing material in vastly different tones with divergent messaging, this is a big red flag your squad is not working as a unit, but a group of individuals.

The best way to create a motivating environment is to keep members in the loop while openly discussing certain issues or concerns related to goals. Programs like Yammer are great for team building and learning more about the visions of everyone involved:

Image result for yammer screenshots

Yammer is essentially a private social networking site you can set up for your company. This interface currently has over 7 million users from more than 200,000 different companies. It’s designed for people to stay updated on all aspects of the company and collaborate on projects across the board.

An open platform like this is perfect for content teams to continuously develop their unified approach. Good, consistent work is a direct product of sharing a collective pool of knowledge.

Parting words

Managing a content team can be one of the most complicated tasks in the business world. You are dealing with a plethora of different creative and analytical personalities needing to work towards one collective vision.

Success in content marketing depends heavily on the systems and tools you employ. The common successful theme is based around a culture of open sharing and tight-knit communication. Producing compelling brand material is all about finding the perfect balance of these concepts.