7 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You about Marketing Your Cloud Backup Services

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1 7 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You about Marketing Your Cloud Backup Services Have you looked at how your competitors are going to market? Outlined below are 7 things that your competitors are doing to out-market you. 1. Blogging. Have you ever done a Google search using keywords that describe your company or your solutions to find that your competitor ranks higher than you with the search engine because they have deployed a blog and are blogging about industry trends? This means that prospects researching cloud backup solutions for SMB and enterprise are probably going to find your competitors website before they stumble upon yours. 2. Product Portfolio Expansion. Adding new products to their portfolio that increase their total addressable market or standardizing on a single solution that can provide them with a comprehensive offering without the need to invest in multiple point solutions. This enables them to address the needs of more new and existing customers. For example, they may have added a product to their portfolio that can backup endpoint devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. 3. Fostering new strategic alliances. Your competitors are developing new and fostering existing partnerships with companies like NetApp, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, etc. to gain new entry points and new introductions to new market opportunities. How are you leveraging your partnerships? 4. Offering recovery-based pricing. Going to market with a new pricing model can be stressful as you want to ensure your margins continue to be met and that you are not leaving money on the table. However, the alternative is to maintain the status quo and continue to battle for and lose deals over price. What if you could double the number of customers without competing on price by offering a fair recovery-based price that provides your customers with more predictability and IT operational efficiencies? 5. Participating in social media. Have you monitored your competitors activities in social media? Do they have a Twitter account, LinkedIn company profile, and Facebook page? Do they participate in online communities like Spiceworks, LinkedIn Groups, Solarwinds, etc.? Are you actively sharing your company s news such as customer wins, new solution or product updates, with your followers and the market? Are you retweeting on a regular basis at least once a day? Your competitors are tweeting which is increasing their brand visibility in the market. 6. Hiring a full-time marketing professional. Do you have an individual on your team that is solely focused on executing marketing related initiatives such as campaigns, social

2 media, writing blog posts, updating your website content, nurturing leads, coordinating upcoming events, writing customer case studies, etc.? Your competitors are hiring dedicated marketing staff to effectively facilitate the new self-paced buyer s journey. 7. Deploying an inbound marketing strategy. If you are still relying on cold calling to find new customers, than you are definitely being out-marketed by your competition. Buyers do not want to speak to a sales person until much later in the buyer s journey. The way individuals purchase cloud backup services and solutions has changed. Today, you must earn the attention of potential customers, make yourself easy to be found and draw them into your website through compelling, educational content. Marketing: 8 Ways to Create an Newsletter That Gets Read and Shared One of the most inexpensive, yet effective, ways to market your company is to send an newsletter. You can create a positive impression by including a variety of information that engages and informs the reader. The following points will help you construct an effective newsletter. 1. Sell the Subject Line The subject line should have a compelling title that will attract the reader s attention. Most people get a plethora of s each day, many of which go unopened. The subject line can help entice the recipient to open your newsletter, so making it compelling and interesting helps make that happen. For example, if you sell insurance, you might write the following subject line: 7 Ways to Reduce Your Insurance Premiums. 2. Share Company News Your newsletter presents a prime opportunity for you to brag about your business. Were you recently highlighted in the news? Have you received any awards? If so, share this information with the readers. Also, if you re a green company, emphasize your sustainability efforts. And if you re involved in public service work, include a blurb and photos, if you have them, from some of the events. This is your time to shine. 3. Follow a Format The easiest way to maintain an effective newsletter is to follow a template so you can easily swap out information. For example, the right column may always be dedicated to company news, or the bottom left side may be the standard place for product spotlights. Keeping your newsletter format consistent makes it easy for you and something familiar for readers.

3 4. Mix it Up To engage the reader, you need to share more than information about your company and its products or services. Informative and unique articles help catch the reader s attention and increase the probability of having the rest of your newsletter read. Your pieces should offer the reader something they can take away, like tips. For example, if you have an appliance repair newsletter, consider covering a topic like Six Ways to Help Your Dishwasher Last Longer. 5. Establish Frequency Determine the frequency of your newsletter. Will you send it out monthly, quarterly, or according to another schedule? Once you determine this, you should stick to it to maintain consistency with your readers. 6. Plan in Advance Plan your newsletters well in advance to make sure you don t run out of information or overlap content. For example, if you have a monthly newsletter, have an idea of what the content will be for the next five to six months. This content may change if something major happens, but at least you ll have an idea for what will be included. This will also provide insight on the frequency of your content. If you feel you have too much or too little content for monthly newsletters, you can adjust accordingly. 7. Incorporate Seasonal Themes As you plan your newsletters, don t forget to incorporate holiday and seasonal themes. For example, if you have a health-related newsletter, the February issue can feature hearthealthy topics in honor of Valentine s Day and because February is Heart Healthy Month. January can have a winter theme with topics like How to Exercise in Cold Weather or How to Beat the Winter Doldrums. This adds an element of timeliness to your newsletter. 8. Invite More Interaction Use each newsletter as an opportunity to generate traffic to your website. Include links in the newsletter and offer enticements. For example, you can ask readers to go to your website to take a brief survey where they can register to win $100. Implementing these tips will help you craft a well thought out and engaging newsletter that your readers will look forward to both receiving and sharing. Search Engine Marketing: 4 Ways Search Engine Marketing Can Boost Your Sales Search engine marketing (SEM) is one of the most effective ways to boost sales by increasing traffic to your business s website. It s similar to search engine optimization (SEO), but the two shouldn t be confused. SEM makes your website visible to a broader audience, while SEO involves rankings within the Google algorithm and where your site appears in Google search

4 results. Whether you re starting your own small business or your company s new website just went live, here are four reasons why effectively using SEM can help increase your sales. 1. Spread the Word An established or reputable business can attract customers by word-of-mouth, but a new business relies on advertising to get the word out. You can t be timid, especially during those first few weeks after you launch your business. The more traffic you generate to your website, the better your odds are for more new customers. SEM also increases the chance of repeat traffic and returning clients. 2. Increase Visibility Beyond SEO Search engine optimization is a low-cost method that focuses on keyword placement to increase a website s visibility in search engine results. Search engine marketing also increases your website s visibility in search engine results pages, but with a small investment on your part, as you use paid inclusion, paid placement, and paid contextual advertising. Also referred to as pay-per-click (PPC), this method gives you a higher return rate than using SEO alone because it becomes available to a larger audience. 3. Buy a Higher Ranking for Your Site Think about what happens when you type something into a search bar. You want to find what you need quickly and will typically click on one of the first few results that pop up in your search. With SEM, you pay for higher search listings, so your website has a higher ranking and ideally ends up with more clicks. AdWords by Google is one of the most popular advertising products available, but social media websites, like Facebook, are now beginning to offer PPC services. 4. Utilize Keyword Research Keyword research is the best place to start if you plan to use SEM for your website. The most common keywords tend to be more expensive for smaller companies, but the most obvious keywords aren t always the best choices. Rather than choosing generic words, like restaurants, use keywords that are more specific to your business so you don t get lost in the shuffle. These are called long-tail keywords and better target your potential buying audience. Using search engine marketing not only helps increase sales in the initial stages of launching your small business, but it maintains the longevity of your business as well. When a site has a good ranking and begins to generate traffic, it maintains that higher rank with increased sales potential over time as your business grows. Establishing a good reputation and planning for the long term is necessary for any small business s success.

5 Social Media Marketing: 8 Effective Ways to Engage Your Customers with Social Media Marketing Social media marketing has the potential to increase customer engagement, notify company followers about current promotions, and encourage repeat sales. Because of these benefits, social media marketing is a popular tool for businesses. Stand out from competitors by implementing some, or all, of these eight ways to engage your customers on networks like Facebook and Twitter. 1. Craft catchy headlines. The headline of your social post needs to catch the user s eye. Use fun and witty wording to help prompt the reader to click the post. You can use the headline to ask a question that relates to the content you re sending them to or a current trend that interests your customers. If your post includes a list, ask users if they agree with a certain item on the list. In order to answer this, the user must click on the link and read the post. Posing a question also encourages a response, helping you build up a dialogue. 2. Post quality visual media. When you post visual media (photos and/or videos), you re more likely to grab customers attention. Posts with photos are typically more appealing to users than a text-only article and users are more likely to share content with photos. Because the impact photos have on drawing people to your content, it s important to use a high-quality image that relates to the topic. If you succeed in having someone click on a link, you don t want to disappoint them with inconsistent content. Not only will they be upset with that specific piece, but odds of them ever returning to your site are significantly reduced. 3. Host a contest. Contests are another excellent method of social media marketing. Make sure the prize you offer is one that appeals to your customer base. For example, if your business centers on electronics, offer the chance to win the latest tablet or two tickets to a technology fair. Your contest has the potential to boost brand visibility, especially if you stipulate that you are required to share the post on social media networks in order to enter. 4. Ensure your post has good content. While photos and contests attract people to click on your links, quality content is what keeps the person perusing your site and becoming a repeat customer. Make sure your posts are filled with compelling content, well researched, and free of spelling and grammar errors. Choosing effective keywords and educating yourself on the latest Panda update are valuable for SEO purposes, but ultimately the content within the article is what resonates with customers.

6 5. Focus your social presence. While you likely know basic characteristics of your customer base, like an age range, you may not know which social media networks they use most, which you can get a better idea of through focus group research. If you create a business profile on the networks your clients frequent most, you keep your business in the forefront of their minds. You are more likely to attract new customers and engage existing ones with this type of targeted messaging. 6. Include social media profile links in your comments. Use your website to draw customers to your social media profiles, where customers can learn about current company promotions and share links with their friends. A great way to tell your customers about your business s social media profiles is to embed links to the profiles in your comments on the website. When responding to a post comment by a customer, include the link at the end of your own comment. You increase the chances that the customer clicks the link by putting it right in front of them. 7. Respond to comments in a timely manner. People like receiving responses to their comments on social media, just as they like when your business responds to their comments on your website. When you respond quickly, customers are more likely to remember their initial comment and also feel like your business values their feedback enough to respond to them. 8. Embed social media buttons into website. Adding social media icons to a business website encourages customers to share your posts on their social networks Include a few different social buttons to give them options on where to share. Some businesses use scrolling social media buttons, which move with the reader as they scroll down the page. Icons that remain in the eye s view increase opportunities for readers to share the post with friends online. Getting more eyes on your content is a great reason to implement these strategies. Posts that are rich in content reflect well on your company and have a higher probability of being shared on the social networks of your users. This can help increase your referrals and strengthen your online business profile. While traditional marketing tactics are still in play, your business can add social media marketing to its advertising plan to widen the number of potential customers.

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