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Finding Connection & Building Strategies to Lead Clients, Not Follow


As marketing agencies, owners and professionals, oftentimes we feel like we’re in this #agencylife alone. That’s partly due to the trappings of entrepreneurship or working in a small business.

But there’s a certain allure to being your own boss and having an outsized impact on what we achieve for ourselves and for our clients.

Agencies Want Connection

The added layer for agencies is the nature of the job—trying to deliver results for our clients in an ever-changing digital landscape. Who can we talk to about the most recent Instagram algorithm update? Or about how social will appear in search results?

In fact, 56% of new members of our Agency Network on Facebook said one of their main goals was to connect with like-minded individuals and have conversations about the things that affect us as agencies and organizations.

Who can we talk to about an uncomfortable client interaction? Or about how to position your agency as you shift services? Or about the growing pains of an ever-expanding client roster and team?

Where can we take a moment to focus on our own business?

And it’s why, last month, we brought 50 agency folks together in London for our first ever Agency Partner Workshop.

Agency Partner Workshop: A Day of Learning Together

Agencies have a never-ending to-do list for their clients. Whether it’s optimizing campaigns, providing context for early results, providing guidance on how to tweak and adjust strategy, or working internally to nail that perfect pitch for your new prospect—it’s hard to keep up with your current workload, much less to take the time to think about where you’re taking your agency and your own agency career.

 


At the Workshop we talked about the things affecting our organizations, the things affecting the social media landscape, and, yes, we talked about how the Sprout platform and the Agency Partner fit in as core components of that solution.

Bob Ruffolo, founder of the 2017 Hubspot Partner of the Year Agency Impact Branding and Design, shared insights into the reality of building and growing an agency.

Twitter showed us how social data can and should impact our client campaigns. And where we should be part of the conversation.

 


But we also knew that relaying what’s new and next back to our teams and our clients could only get us so far.

The concepts and best practices were great.

But there were real-life problems to solve. And our teams were waiting.

Clients Need Agencies to Lead, Not Follow

When news breaks about a development on how our social data is being used, when a big brand’s PR nightmare erupting on social intimidates our tentative clients back to passive strategies, and when questionable practices in the industry expose gaps in how our competitors are delivering their client base short-term gains…it’s us as agency pros that our clients look to.

And we need to be ready to meet the challenges head-on to instill confidence in our clients and our teams.

 


Some problems we tackled at the workshop:

  • Managing and Brand Misstep on Social: How do you handle a client’s internal team making a misstep on social? And how do you embed your agency in both the strategy of the crisis communications and the solution for how to ensure it doesn’t happen again?
  • How do you pitch and win business from an overwhelmed brand team: With considerations for both the re-education for an internal team on workflows and processes and the long-term prospect of winning the business…how do you do both business development and consultative services?
  • Salvaging a Client Relationship during Internal Transition: Client strategies and goals change. So do the decision makers and your internal champions. So how does an agency survive a shift in a client’s team makeup and strategy?
  • Repositioning your Agency in the Face of Market Upheaval: Whether it’s social media strategy, paid search, inbound marketing, or whatever digital marketing services you provide…the landscape can change. So how do we adapt and best position our agencies to do what we do best and do right by our clients?

Continuing the Conversation, Together

One thing we all walked away with was a renewed sense of community amongst our fellow agency pros. Whether our conversations would continue IRL through meetups or virtually in the spaces that we find and create—we knew that the more we could collaborate and share our own experiences the better off all of our agencies would be.

If you want to join this group of agency pros talking shop, find us in the Agency Network on Facebook.

And if you want #TeamSprout to become an extension of your agency to help you grow and scale your business, find out more and talk to us about the Agency Partner Program.

This post Finding Connection & Building Strategies to Lead Clients, Not Follow originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content from Boring to Bold

Why B2B Marketers Should Consider Interactive Content

Why B2B Marketers Should Consider Interactive Content

Show of hands, B2B marketers: How many of you know which Hogwarts house you belong in? Or which Disney princess best represents your personality and relationship ambitions?

via GIPHY

Don’t be shy. I’m a Gryffindor wizard through and through—and apparently, I’m more of a Jasmine than an Ariel. And I know all this thanks to the rise of interactive content.

From quirky quizzes to ROI calculators to guided eBooks, interactive content is a rising content marketing star. BuzzFeed is perhaps the most prolific example, creating dozens of quizzes each week that are making their way into social feeds and search results. (And almost all users reportedly finish them).

But why should B2B marketers consider adding interactive content to their mix?

Because B2B is often pegged as bland and boring. And in a crowded content market, not to mention the fact that buyers' content preferences are turning increasingly visual, interactive content is the next evolution.

But if that doesn't convince you, read on for a few more reasons why its time for B2B to embrace interactive content.

#1 – Interactive content is more engaging than static content—for the long-term.

Interactive content may seem a little gimmicky for some marketers—especially those in the B2B space. But the vast majority of marketers who use interactive content agree that it not only grabs attention, but can also hold that attention beyond that initial view.

In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Ion Interactive 2017 Interactive Content Study:

  • 87% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs the attention of the reader more effectively than static content
  • 77% of marketers agree that interactive content has reusable value, resulting in repeat visitors and multiple exposures
  • 73% of marketers agree that interactive content, when combined with other more traditional content marketing tactics, enhances message retention among their audiences.

So, if you’re aiming for awareness, engagement, and attention, interactive content holds incredible potential. But I’d also add that this is only true if you deliver quality, relevant content in an interactive format.

As my colleague Josh Nite points out: “[Interactive content is] absolutely designed to grab attention. But if your content provides value—if it’s worth paying attention to—interactive elements can help you bring in an audience.”

[bctt tweet="#InteractiveContent is absolutely designed to grab attention. But if your content provides value—if it’s worth paying attention to—interactive elements can help you bring in an audience. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

#2 – Interactive content can differentiate you from your competitors.

Content has always been a foundational element of B2B marketing. Buyers don’t make hard and fast decisions. Instead, they do their research, weigh their options, and have multiple engagements with sales reps before they sign on the dotted line. Interactive content can help you make an impression and stand out in a crowed, competitive content landscape.

In addition, according to the aforementioned report, just 46% of marketers report using interactive content right now—which was flat year-over-year. And if history is any indicator, I’d wager that interactive content adoption among B2B marketers is far lower since the industry is typically slower to adopt new tactics.

But that won’t always be the case. Harnessing the opportunity right now has the potential to differentiate your B2B brand from the competition early on, showcasing your commitment to innovation.

For example, Prophix, a leading provider of corporate performance management (CPM) software solutions in the FP&A industry, wanted to drive awareness in a unique way around its report on the evolution of financial planning and analysis, as well as its solutions.

By repurposing its original research and adding influencer perspectives, we created an interactive quiz to help empower their audience to "crush" their jobs to succeed now and into the future.

Prophix Crush It Interactive Quiz

This anchor asset, which was promoted using a supporting mix of blog content, social amplification, email, and more, saw a view rate 6-times higher than the benchmark for a similar resource. In addition, the page where it lived garnered 3-times the average share rate. This unique approach to interactive influencer content made Prophix stand out from the competition and deliver a great resource that performed.

#3 – Interactive tools can provide you with exclusive data and analytics.

Savvy marketers are driven by data insights. And many of the interactive content tools you’d leverage for an asset come with their own analytics dashboards, allowing you to get near real-time data on how your audience is interacting and absorbing your content.

For example, Ceros, an interactive content software that simplifies the creation process, provides all the basic KPIs such as visitors, opens, and pageviews, as well as engagement metrics like time spent and interaction clicks. But they also track inbound referrals, social shares, video plays, and outbound link clicks.

Oh, and that data is viewable in its Analytics Dashboard within second of it happening.

Ceros Interactive Content Tool

While traditional analytics platforms and the data within them is invaluable, from my perspective, this more niche data can help uncover some insights that can help you refine your asset on the fly or consider how to improve other content types moving forward.

#4 – Interactive content can drive results at every stage of the funnel.

From educating buyers to creating customer loyalty, interactive content can serve a purpose (and drive results) at every stage of the funnel. Interactive content users report using the tactic for lead generation, lead nurturing, customer retention, and the list goes on.

And interactive is especially powerful, when combined with other tried-and-true content marketing tactics.

To help promote the Influencer Marketing 2.0 report based on research conducted by Traackr, Altimeter Group and TopRank Marketing, we partnered with interactive content platform Ceros to produce an Influence 2.0 interactive infographic.

Influence 2.0

The infographic was promoted via blog posts, social channels, email, and through the influencers that contributed. With calls to action embedded within the interactive infographic, this content succeeded at attracting over 1,700 prospective customers to download the full report with a 43% conversion rate.

What Opportunity Does Interactive Content Hold for Your B2B Brand?

Interactive content is here to stay. But the real opportunity doesn’t lay in the interactivity itself. The real value creation is in the excitement or connection that you can make with your audience, as well as the potential to hold their attention for long enough to engrain your message or inspire action.

[bctt tweet="The real opportunity with #interactivecontent doesn’t lay in the interactivity itself. The real value creation is in the excitement or connection that you can make with your audience. - @CaitlinMBurgess" username="toprank"]

So, B2B marketers. If you’re ready to break away from boring and drive better engagement, interactive content deserves your consideration.

How can you leverage interactive content? Check out our post featuring five ways of making marketing magic with interactive content.

The post Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content from Boring to Bold appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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