Archive for the "Logistics" Category


Why Inbound Marketing is a Better Strategy Than Outbound for Supply Chain

Why Inbound Marketing is a Better Strategy Than Outbound for Supply Chain

The supply chain is increasing seeing the value of moving to an inbound marketing strategy. Here’s what’s at the core of the change to inbound marketing.

Traditional marketing in the supply chain uses an outbound strategy. We’ve all done it. Taking out ads in trade publications. Sending direct mailings. Cold calling.

These types of approaches fight to get your brand name in front of prospective customers, hoping to get a marketing message that resonates in front of the right person at the right time.

Inbound marketing is different

Inbound marketing is different. It’s, well, confident. It showcases your industry merit rather than trying to convince people of it.

With inbound marketing, you publish relevant, informative content where your audience already is – your website, related social media, and other online industry channels – to add value at every stage of their buyer’s journey.

Prospective customers come to associate your brand with industry expertise. When they are ready to buy, they think of you. That’s an inbound content marketing strategy.

Why the supply chain is shifting to inbound content marketing

The supply chain is increasing seeing the value of moving to an inbound marketing strategy. What’s at the core of the change to inbound marketing?

On a theoretical level, it’s recognizing that your business has more to offer than its primary product or service. This is so very important. You also have a team of extremely knowledgeable industry experts with unique and informed perspectives.

But switching to an inbound content marketing strategy is also about recognizing that your customers want much more from you than just your product. The business to busienss (BtB) buying climate is growing longer and more complex, and customers today are demanding value outside the sales funnel. Traditional outbound marketing accomplishes neither of these.

Switching to an inbound content marketing strategy is about recognizing that your customers want more from you than just your product. Customers today are demanding value outside the sales funnel. Click To Tweet

Why inbound marketing is better for the supply chain

If that didn’t convince you, put simply, inbound content marketing is just more effective for four main reasons:

  1. Cost. Inbound marketing is typically less expensive than outbound. Hubspot reports that each sales lead costs approximately 61% less for organizations that employ an inbound strategy versus those that focus on outbound marketing.
  2. MeasurabilityMeasuring your success with inbound marketing is considerably easier. For example, you’ll never know how many people saw your billboard, but you can measure exactly how many people read your blog post.
  3. Longevity. Digital content is often evergreen – meaning it’s forever relevant – and older posts that need an update can be easily optimized. Essentially, content lives forever and continues drive traffic long after you publish it. In fact, at Fronetics, about 80% of our traffic comes from posts that are 6 months old or older.
  4. Targetability. With inbound marketing, you only expend resources on prospects that are already looking for information about your industry, products, and services, making inbound marketing a much more targeted approach for your lead-nurturing efforts. Less expensive, easier to measure, lasts longer, and represents a more targeted approach? Seems like a no-brainer. But what’s the catch? Well, executing a good inbound content marketing isn’t easy, and it generally takes at least six months to yield results.

Executing a good inbound content marketing strategy

Done well, inbound content marketing is extremely effective. A good content marketing strategy is about understanding the questions and concerns that are particular to your customer base and about offering quality information and analysis that answers those needs.

The role of content in the supply chain and logistics industries is to grow brand awareness and customer engagement, increase lead generation and nurturing, and establish your company as an industry thought leader in the minds of your prospective customers.

An inbound marketing strategy helps you become more than just another business to customers. You can become a valuable resource for everything related to your products, services, and industry as a whole. Which is precisely what your potential customers are currently expecting from your supply chain and logistics business.

This post originally appeared on EBN Online.

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Archive for the "Logistics" Category


Build Traffic or Optimize for Conversions? A Chicken or Egg Debate

Build Traffic or Optimize for Conversions? A Chicken or Egg Debate

Wondering whether you should be prioritizing building traffic or optimizing for conversions? Here’s the case for each.

I currently have a client trying to decide what to prioritize: building traffic to his website or optimizing current content for lead conversions. It’s a chicken-and-egg-style debate. If you don’t increase traffic, who will be on your site to convert? But, if you don’t optimize for conversion, what good is traffic to your website?

As with any chicken-or-egg question, there is neither a simple nor a definitive answer. What you should prioritize at any given time is highly individual, and dependent on factors unique to your business. Consider the case for prioritizing each, while evaluating and bearing in mind where your business is in building its online presence.

The egg: the case for prioritizing traffic

Maybe you’re confident the egg came first—after all, in some ways, it’s the obvious answer. Without traffic to your website, there’s not much point in optimizing for conversion, since there won’t be any leads to convert in the first place. According to AudienceBloom founder and CEO Jayson DeMers, there are three main points to the case for prioritizing traffic:

1)      Brand recognition

Conversions aren’t the only thing of value that comes from a traffic-heavy website. “Every visitor who makes it to your site will have the chance to see your brand, read your content, and become more familiar with your company,” says DeMers, writing for Forbes. Building traffic to your website lets you reap these benefits, which will naturally drive up your conversions over time.

2)      Long-term strategies

Because effective traffic-building strategies pay off exponentially the longer they’re in place, it makes sense to put them first. Giving your SEO and content marketing efforts time to build momentum ensures that you’ll reap the maximum benefits.

3)      Optimizing for value

The best way to determine if your conversion strategy is working and how to improve it is to collect and analyze data. A high traffic volume gives you a testing ground. “Without a steady stream of visitors to test,” says DeMers, “you’ll be flying blind.”

The chicken: the case for prioritizing conversions

Maybe you’re one of those people who wonders where the egg comes from in the first place. While it’s true that without traffic, conversions are unlikely, it’s equally true that a website that isn’t optimized for conversions is not to your best advantage. DeMers again sums up the three main arguments for prioritizing conversion optimization:

1)      Low investment, high yield

One of the best things about conversion optimization is that, while it does require ongoing efforts, your initial process is relatively cheap and easy. Check out our guide for creating effective landing pages, for example, and you’ll discover that optimizing for conversions doesn’t have to break the bank.

2)      Traffic optimization

This is where quality is more valuable than quantity. “Focusing on conversions first instantly makes every visitor to your website more valuable,” says DeMers. Even if your traffic volume isn’t massive, if your conversion rate is higher, you’re ahead at the end of the day.

3)      Reinvestment potential

If your business has limited funds to invest in website optimization, prioritize conversions. “Assuming your conversion strategy is successful early on,” writes DeMers, “the extra revenue you’ll generate from all your new traffic will give you more money you can use to invest further — in the realms of both traffic and conversion.”

The scramble: why you should balance your efforts

Whether you chose to place a heavier emphasis on traffic or conversions, you ultimately want balance in your efforts. “If you fully invest in either side without investing at least slightly in the other, you aren’t going to see… Click To Tweet

Whether you chose to place a heavier emphasis on traffic or conversions, you ultimately want balance in your efforts. “If you fully invest in either side without investing at least slightly in the other, you aren’t going to see meaningful results,” points out DeMers.

So far, science hasn’t been able to settle the chicken-or-egg question. In the same way, we can’t tell you whether it makes sense for you to put a higher priority on traffic or conversion optimization. But thinking through the case for each should help you decide what makes sense for your business. Just remember not to put all your eggs in one basket.

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Archive for the "Logistics" Category


What Content Does Sales Need?

What Content Does Sales Need?

Optimally, content and sales have a symbiotic relationship. But the key is understanding what kind of content your sales team needs to help them close deals.

A theme I’ll be examining in this space over the next few months is how content marketing can help businesses make sales. Content marketing and sales are not mutually exclusive functions. Content can help sales teams get meetings, build relationships, and close deals. So what kinds of content can the marketing staff develop to support sales?

First impressions

Sales reps know that first impressions are a one-time opportunity, and all-important for ushering prospects into the sales funnel. For the initial contact with a prospect, content can be a major asset, particularly personalized content. For example, take the time to familiarize yourself with the latest blog posts from target companies’ websites, and follow up with additional ideas they can leverage.

Additionally, to create a positive first impression, host a live workshop that caters to the needs of your prospects. Hubspot’s Bethany Cartwright suggests an event “that walks through industry best practices and helps troubleshoot common issues.” She also recommends that content marketing teams “build custom landing pages that populate the prospect’s name, company logo, and value props catered to their business needs.”

Turning around an initial rejection

One of the biggest, often insurmountable challenges for a sales team is receiving an initial “no” from a prospect. But with the help of content marketing, sales teams can often get past an initial rejection and turn it around. “Leveraging content doesn’t mean just leveraging your own content,” says Cartwright. “In ‘no’ situations, you can turn the tables and talk to prospects about their content instead.”

The basic idea behind content marketing is that your business’ greatest asset is your knowledge and expertise, not your products and services. Click To Tweet

We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it: the basic idea behind content marketing is that your business’ greatest asset is your knowledge and expertise, not your products and services. When it comes to the intersection of content and sales, this idea holds true more than ever. Your best shot at turning around an initial “no” from a prospect is to offer them something of value aside from products. Content helps you build relationships with your prospects, which is your best shot at turning them into customers.

Middle and bottom of the funnel content

Once your sales team has successfully ushered prospects into the sales funnel, the role of content doesn’t go away. At these later stages of the buyer’s journey, content like case studies, implementation guides, and data sheets are of great value. On average, B2B businesses lose around 20% of their customers each year by neglecting customer relationships. These types of content can help cultivate a budding relationship with your prospects, keeping them loyal and engaged.

At these later stages, keep content as visual as possible. This is an ideal time to create and share infographics with your prospects, for example. Video also performs exceptionally well in the late-stage sales cycle. Include short video clips in follow-up emails, particularly video case studies or animated product demonstrations. And don’t forget to keep it personalized. Vidyard is an excellent tool for personalizing video messages to your prospects.

Content, when used effectively, is your sales team’s best friend. Keeping your marketing and sales teams aligned and working closely together is your best bet for generating and nurturing leads, and turning them into customers with a lasting and fruitful relationship.

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Archive for the "Logistics" Category


6 Ways to Repurpose Content

6 Ways to Repurpose Content

Content creation requires time, money, and creativity. Here are 6 creative ways to repurposing existing content that will ensure you get the maximum value out of your work.

You could say I’m “scrappy.” My mom always says that I can stretch a dollar farther than anyone she knows. That also applies to my professional life, particularly when it comes to content creation.

Different people consume content in different ways, so really you’re just trying to meet everyone in your audience where they are. Click To Tweet

We spend a lot of resources to create content, so I want to use it in as many ways as possible. It’s not cheating. Different people consume content in different ways, so really you’re just trying to meet everyone in your audience where they are. Here are my favorite 6 ways to repurpose content:

1)     Turn a webinar into a video tutorial

Webinars are a great way to enhance your reputation as a thought leader since they offer attendees valuable, exclusive knowledge. The downside of webinars is that by nature, they only happen once at a scheduled time. But the content you create doesn’t have to go to waste. By turning your webinar content into a YouTube video you help ensure that your content gets to as many site visitors as possible — and it makes ideal fodder for sharing on your social media channels.

2)     Turn blog posts into guides

If you’re posting regular blog content that’s tailored to the needs of your audience, chances are you’ve blogged a lot about a specific topic. Consider consolidating posts within a particular topic into a how-to guide. You may have to update older posts, particularly when it comes to data and specifics, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. How-to guides lend themselves particularly well to email marketing.

3)     Reframe a key issue

Particularly for think pieces or opinion posts, reframing a topic from a different perspective is an effective way to reuse existing material. For example, a post on how millennials are reshaping the supply chain can be reframed as a set of suggestions for how to attract millennial talent to your company.

4)     Turn internal data into a case study

There’s no reason that the data you collect for internal research can’t go to work for you in your content marketing efforts. Use your data to create a case study demonstrating how your products or services made a difference for a client.

5)     Turn an interview into an eBook

Have you interviewed an industry expert or one of your executives for a blog post? Interviews are one of the easiest types of content to edit, especially if you conduct them via email. Repackaging an expert interview into an eBook is a snap. Supplement quotes with data and you’ve got a valuable tool for site visitors to download.

6)     Use statistics to create an infographic

Infographics are one of the most effective was to disseminate content — and prime candidates for re-sharing on social media. In addition to case studies, infographics are a great way to make use of internal data. Present your research in this compelling format and share it on your social media outlets.

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Archive for the "Logistics" Category


5 Chatbot Platforms for Supply Chain Operations to Consider

5 Chatbot Platforms for Supply Chain Operations to Consider

Consider these chatbot platforms for supply chain operations that can help you create artificial intelligence bots to interact with your prospects.

Chatbots are on the lips of every marketer these days hoping to automate some of their processes. These artificial intelligence computer programs are designed to conduct conversations, simulating how a human would interact. If you haven’t already, check out this introduction to chatbots for the supply chain.

Chatbots are on the lips of every marketer these days hoping to automate some of their processes. These artificial intelligence computer programs are designed to conduct conversations, simulating how a human would interact. Click To Tweet

There are countless options for platforms that let you create and customize chatbots. Here are the 5 most important chatbot platforms for supply chain operations to know and consider integrating into their websites.

5 chatbot platforms for supply chain operations

1. Chatfuel

Chatfuel is a great option for marketers who lack programming experience, as it does most of the hard work for you. Reportedly used by companies including MTV, TechCrunch, BuzzFeed, British Airways, and Adidas to create their chatbots, Chatfuel provides easy-to-use resources with a simple user interface that lets you create a chatbot in less than 15 minutes.

2. ChatScript

ChatScript is a four-time winner of the Loebner Prize for the most human-like artificial intelligence. While it doesn’t require advanced programming knowledge, it provides an open-source framework for developers to build and deploy chatbots.

3. Facebook Bots for Messenger

Facebook’s Bots for Messenger is a tool that allows businesses to build chatbots for Facebook’s Messenger platform (which is currently used by nearly a billion people). Its three main capabilities are its send/receive API, generic message templates, and the ability to customize the welcome screen users first see when interacting with your bot.

4. Botsify

A popular chatbot platform, Botsify lets anyone create bots easily without needing to write any code. It provides templates with a range of drag-and-drop functionalities. Additionally, it boasts human takeover ability to ensure a smooth transition from a bot to a human at the appropriate point in the sales funnel.

5. Flow XO

This platform offers the templates and tools necessary to create a talking bot, and lets you run and test functionalities with a built-in test console. Flow XO also offers a provision for you to connect with your customers over voice and chat when required in the conversation.

While email marketing continues to be a key tactic, marketing via messaging apps is becoming more and more expected. These chatbot platforms for supply chain operations offer ease, convenience, and a positive customer experience. They’re worth considering!

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Archive for the "Logistics" Category


How to Use Social Media to Promote Events and Conferences

How to Use Social Media to Promote Events and Conferences

Follow these 3 steps to use social media to promote events, conferences, and other business occasions.

Social media is a powerhouse tool for growing brand awareness, audience engagement, and lead generation. It’s also one of the most effective ways out there to promote special events.

Social media is a powerhouse tool for growing brand awareness, audience engagement, and lead generation. It’s also one of the most effective ways out there to promote special events. Click To Tweet

But simply creating a Facebook event and sharing it once or twice won’t get you the most bang for your buck. You need to be strategic about your use of social media to promote events and conferences.

Follow these 3 steps to make the most of social media as a promotional tool.

3 steps to use social media to promote events for your business

1. Choose your platform wisely

Not all social media channels are created equal, and neither are all events. Finding the platform that suits the unique needs of your event or conference is a big part of a successful promotional campaign. For instance, Facebook is a great option for large-scale public events, since it lets you hone in on your target audience in specific ways.

On the other hand, for corporate events like seminars, conferences, and continuing education programming, LinkedIn is your best bet. LinkedIn lets you set up your event and allows attendees to network with each other before the event even happens.

When it comes to more informal events, Instagram is a great way to identify and engage with potential attendees. The platform’s highly visual nature is ideal for sharing imagery related to your event, and it’s an ideal place to use hashtags.

2. Pick a hashtag

If your social media circle includes people under the age of 35, you’ve probably noticed that pretty much every wedding, graduation party, and even family vacation has its own hashtag these days. Corporate events are no different. Hashtags are a fun and memorable way to foster a sense of community, and they have the important benefit of being an easy way to group all information, questions, and comments about your event.

The most effective hashtags tend to be short, memorable, and easy to read. It’s also worthwhile to do a quick search to make sure your hashtag hasn’t been used before. In all posts related to your event, use your hashtag prominently, and encourage your audience to do the same if they share or post independently.

3. Don’t forget about content

One of the most effective ways to promote events on social media is — you guessed it — content. Blog posts, related case studies, testimonials from former events, promotional interviews with potential attendees or keynote speakers, videos, case studies, and white papers/industry reports are all content types to consider.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you promote a new event. Chances are, existing content can be repurposed and reposted on social media channels. You’re serving the dual purpose of promoting your event and driving more traffic to view and interact with your content.

When it comes to promoting events, social media is your friend. Approaching it strategically can help you raise awareness, attendance, and interaction and reach for your brand.

How do you use social media to promote events?

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