All posts by Bo Bandy

In her next life, Bo will be a race car driver. Until then, she’ll continue to enjoy the challenges, rewards and pace of developing, implementing and managing communications and marketing programs. Driven, passionate and results-oriented, Bo manages ReadyTalk’s marketing and communications team which is responsible for “all the things” including demand generation, content marketing, PR and customer advocacy. Most importantly the team drives revenue and fuels the growth of the organization. Prior to ReadyTalk, Bo managed external communications activities including media relations, marketing promotions, social media strategy and execution, special events, marketing collateral and web activities for both B2B and B2C companies including technology startups, video game giants and healthcare non-profits. Follow her on Twitter, @bo_knows_."

5 Steps to Develop a Partner Strategy

Whoever said two heads were better than one was right. That said, whoever decided that two companies function better than one was even smarter! If you are looking to kick up your marketing efforts through forming a strategic partnership, here are five steps you need to take to develop a partner plan.

1. Choose the right partner

partner marketing strategyYou want to be selective about who you choose to partner with. Make sure that their own company mission or outlook closely aligns with your own. Are they serving the same customer personas? Same business size? Is the partnership mutually beneficial where you’re filling a need and they are as well?

Don’t be afraid to trust your gut. If they don’t seem like a right fit earlier on, they likely won’t be later.

2. Be transparent about your goals

Enter into their partnership with both sides knowing exactly what they want to achieve through this move. This way, no one gets blindsided by certain changes or grows dissatisfied later on. Also, by being transparent you can share the metrics you’re looking for, from revenue to total additional customer headcount.

3. Develop a communication strategy

How often will you collaborate, talk or meet in person? Meanwhile, who are the go-to points of contact for various projects or areas? You want to hash all of these factors out before entering into a definite agreement.

4. Be honest about your weaknesses

You don’t want to paint a rosy picture of your organization when you have specific issues that you still need to address. If you are honest with your potential partner upfront about these weaknesses, you can work together to improve them.

5. Get it in writing

Write down all your business objectives, and create clear outcomes you want to occur as a result of the partnership. If you have it in writing, you’ll be able to stick to your plan and not wonder about what to do next.

And of course, if you’re interested in becoming a partner, we have a variety of ways to work with us.

The Digital Buyer’s Journey

digital buyer's journeyYou want to take your consumers on a journey if you want to create a customer base, even a loyal one. Most experts define the buyer’s journey as a three-step funnel. According to Hubspot, these are the three areas of a buyer’s journey that conform to awareness, consideration and buying (and retention, once they’re a customer with the potential to upsell or cross-sell).

Three areas of the buyer’s journey

  • Top of funnel or awareness: The very top of the funnel is the awareness stage where consumers simply want to become educated about a company’s product or service by seeking answers, research, opinions, data and insight.
  • Middle of funnel or research / consideration: This is the evaluation stage where consumers are really researching and weighing the pros and cons about whether or not your goods or services will be right for them.
  • Bottom of funnel or buying: This is the purchase stage where consumers are completing the funnel process and making an order.

Digital marketing

So how does this relate to digital marketing? Well digital marketing is the overarching term to describe the marketing of products or services online or over another digital medium. For example, websites, blogs, landing pages, webinars, social media, PPC (pay per click) — these are all considered digital marketing. Typically how they’re divided up among team members depends on the organization.

Essentially, anything from an online advertisement to a thought-leadership blog article qualify as digital marketing. To create a digital marketing journey for your company, you must condense this process down into three key terms: attracting, retargeting and converting.

Attracting: To attract potential customers in today’s market, one effective and low-cost way is over social media channels. Use your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms to draw in interested consumers.

Retargeting: Now that you have potential customers interested, you will want to keep them on your site. Use Google Analytics and other metrics to determine what your average visitor looks like online and use surveys to determine what are the demographics and preferences of your ideal consumer.

Converting: Just having numerous visitors to your website isn’t enough. You want to convert these casual visitors into hard sales. Make it easy and accessible for them to buy your products and services and even offer promotional deals to get consumers hooked on your offerings.

Hosting informative webinars is another way to inform interested consumers about your company’s mission and offers. They can be used from everything from awareness to buying and even retention.

Learn More About Webinars

What I’ve Learned While Giving Away Cold, Hard Cash

“It would be more effective to just hand out cash than to <insert marketing tactic here>.” Every marketer has made the same comment, so we decided it was time to try.

This year at Marketo Summit, we decided give away cash.  There’s a prize wheel involved but essentially every “qualified” person stopping by our booth has a chance to win anywhere from a buck to a hundred bucks.  Don’t want to spend time talking with sales to be “qualified?” No problem—we gave people the option to record a 15 second video with us for an equal chance to win.

7 things I learned from giving out cash:What I’ve Learned While Giving Away Cold, Hard Cash

  1. Let’s talk about money! In more than a decade of going to trade shows, I’ve never seen a prize draw people to the booth like cash does. Cash definitely equals more people.
  2. The value of swag – Everyone wanted a chance to win cash. But, what surprised me was that everyone that was spinning for cash also wanted a chance to spin for ReadyTalk swag. That’s swag with value.
  3. Hand sanitizer is not wanted. Think about a tradeshow: you’re shaking hands, touching handrails, using other people’s pens. Germs. Germs. Germs. I thought hand sanitizer would be a popular swag item. I was wrong.
  4. Take a selfie in a t-shirt. While hand sanitizer wasn’t in demand, selfie sticks and ReadyTalk t-shirts were popular items. But, in most cases people still wanted cash.
  5. Tipping point. If a cash spin resulted in a payout of $1, $5 or $10, the chances were really good that the person would be grateful but disappointed. $20 and higher seemed to be the tipping point where people stopped being sad that they didn’t win more and just started being grateful.
  6. More logistics. Tradeshows and events require a lot of planning by nature but adding in the element of cash prizes makes it even harder. We had to do trips to the bank, figure out how to secure the money in the booth (a slash-proof fanny pack), and determine qualification criteria.
  7. People hate video. Let me clarify, people hate being on video. That said, if you give them a chance to win $100 in cash, they warm up to the idea but there are still people who just won’t do it.

We won’t know for a few months how well this approach paid off, but we’ve had great booth traffic and energy. Cash may turn out to be the best way to drive booth traffic!

What’s working to drive traffic to your tradeshow booths?

5 Key Features Your Collaboration Software Should Have

When you’re working remotely, it’s important to have collaboration tools that support different functions. Whether you’re hosting a remote conference call, making a sales pitch through an online screen sharing application, or having a video conferencing call with headquarters, there are certain features your collaboration tool should have so you can effectively…well, collaborate.

5 Key Features Your Collaboration Software Should HaveHere are five key features your collaboration tool should have:

1. Screen share and grant control functionality.

When you’re collaborating with other teams, departments, clients, or partners, it can be helpful to share your screen so everyone can see what you’re reviewing and stay on the same page. Furthermore, if someone else needs to share their screen or take over the presentation, then it’s helpful to have the ability to grant control to someone else.

2. One-click meeting recording.

Don’t want to forget important details from your meeting? Every good collaboration software should offer the ability for you to record audio conferences.

3. Audio and video components.

Audio conferences can be effective, but sometimes it helps to have a video conference. A good collaboration tool will give you the option of having an audio or video conference.

4. Annotation tools.

When you’re reviewing those documents while screen sharing, it can be exceptionally helpful to have editing tools so that you can update the documents in real time. Annotation tools are crucial to collaborating remotely.

5. Multiple monitors supported.

Sometimes, you’re going to need multiple monitors to see everything you need for a meeting. A good collaboration tool will support multiple monitors so you don’t have to switch back and forth.

Collaboration tools are essential for successful workplaces. When investing in those tools, make sure they have the features you need to be effective.

ReadyTalk is an audio and web conferencing software that makes it easy for teams to connect and collaborate wherever and whenever they want to. Request a 30-day free trial of ReadyTalk today.

How to Make Audio Conferences Successful

Audio conferencing is a great, hassle-free and cost-effective way to connect with clients and business partners—as long as it’s done right. However, not being able to see the person you are speaking with can cause the meeting to seem a lot less interesting compared to an in-person meeting.

How to Make Audio Conferences SuccessfulBut conference calls are here to stay. Instead of avoiding your next conference call, use these tips to host a successful audio conference:

Tip #1: Embrace the natural inflection of your voice when communicating.

Since people typically use body language to analyze emotion, it can be hard to detect what the other person is thinking on a conference call. Emphasize the natural inflection and emotion in your voice when communicating so the other person can gather context clues while you’re speaking.

Tip #2: Stay on topic and focus on decisions.

Many people can see conference calls as ineffective because they can easily get derailed. Focus on the topic at hand and clearly state decisions at the end of the call so you’re on the same page and you’ve identified the desired byproduct of the meeting.

Tip #3: Stand up while you’re speaking.

Sometimes, it helps to focus on the conversation at hand if you can walk around while you’re speaking on the conference call. Consider using a bluetooth so you have flexibility, and let your creative juices flow.

Tip #4: Invest in the right tools.

There are a couple of tools that can help you have a successful audio conference: a great microphone and a quality audio conferencing solution. Sound quality is imperative to successful audio conferencing, and it’s better to be focusing on what the person is saying instead of trying to hear what’s been said. These tools will guarantee success.

Conference calls don’t have to be agonizing. Want a quality audio conferencing solution that will make your conference calls even better? Try a free trial of ReadyTalk today.