7 Ways to Use Reviews and Testimonials For More Believable Marketing

Marketers know Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Google, and other reviews are a huge part of buying journeys.

But how can you use existing customer reviews in your marketing content to make the things your company says more believable? And what if you're in B2B and don't have a wealth of traditional review sites to pull from?

In this week's episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, the award-winning marketing podcast from Salesforce, learn how to use customer reviews and testimonials to bring a new level of credibility from your marketing.

Take a listen here. For the full conversation that's filled with many more insights, subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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We're interviewing two leading experts in customer testimonials and reviews:

  • Daniel Lemin, author of Manipurated and head of consulting at Jay Baer's Convince & Convert
  • Andy Crestodina, cofounder and strategic director of Orbit Media Studios and planner for hundreds of websites

For all the tips, listen to the full episode of the Cloudcast. Here are a few tips to start upcycling your existing testimonial content to make your marketing more believable and resonate effectively with potential customers.

 

1. Save social media mentions.

 

According to Andy, customer reviews and testimonials help marketers "fix all those unsupported marketing claims which probably appear all over your website. The purpose of a testimonial is to add evidence to support all those marketing claims that we make all the time."

One crucial place to start that works for B2B and B2C brands alike is social media. You probably have positive tweets or Facebook comments floating through your streams all the time. But if you don't encourage social media managers to start collecting them, those wonderful customer stories are barely a blip in the radar. 

 

2. Use positive feedback from emails.

 

After you successfully complete a customer service interaction from email, customers are likely to thank you for your great service and for solving their problem. Again, this tip works regardless of if you have a prolific local Yelp page, for companies of all industries. Are you saving this social proof for more believable marketing?

Andy explains, "Everything we say is marketing. Everything your customers say is social proof." So whenever you train employees on email, train them to not only solve the problem, but save positive feedback and ask customers if it's OK to use their words on your website.

 

3. Avoid the dreaded testimonials page.

 

"The worst place to put a testimonial is on a testimonials page because visitors tend to not go to those pages. It looks and smells like marketing. They can see it a mile away, and they know that's just going to be filled with positive social proof, and it's not likely to answer any of their top questions. So, I don't recommend making testimonial pages."

So if testimonials don't go on a testimonials page, where should they be? That leads us to our next way to use them.

 

4. Make every webpage a testimonials page.

 

"Probably the best answer for where to put your most impactful, most authentic, most genuine testimonials would be on simply the highest traffic pages. So, go look at your analytics and see what the top-visited pages are and those are your highways. Your testimonials are like billboards. Put the billboards on the highways — that's how you are going to get the maximum impact and maximum number of views to them," shares Andy.

 

5. Highlight your best reviews in emails.

 

Daniel says it's important to place reviews wherever in "the variety of places consumers shop for your products. Look at the purchase funnel, or the touchpoints they have before they buy from you, and think about the ways you can feature reviews in as many of those settings as logistically possible or reasonable."

He shared a great example of using reviews in email: "I have pet insurance for my dog and every month, I get a newsletter from the insurance company. In [the email newsletter], they feature a review the month in their newsletter." Just seeing other customers' reviews encourages people to write their own. Wherever your customer journey would benefit from a bit of social proof, that's a great place to feature a review.

 

6. Collect public-facing reviews more strategically.

 

If you don't have enough good reviews on sites like Google or TripAdvisor, Daniel says "you have to look at why you don't have good reviews. If people keep mentioning the same things over and over again, maybe parking or air conditioning, if that's something you need to fix and you can, certainly take that action. If you can't fix it, at least find some reasonable explanation for it, because if you keep asking for reviews and you don't fix those things, you're going to keep getting the same feedback. The outcome's not going to change just because you ask more people."

 

7. For better content, focus on the law of large numbers.

 

Daniel says you'll have better, more positive customer testimonials to pull from if you focus on the law of large numbers. "Simply growing the number of reviews you have is a great way to defend yourself against the downside of any one stray negative review that may come in. That's something I always say to businesses: you have to think about this as a numbers game. If you have a 4.3 average rating on Yelp and you have 100 reviews, it's going to be very easy for a group of upset customers to impact that. If you have 1,000 reviews, it's a little bit harder. If you have 10,000 reviews, it's much, much harder. The law of large numbers is in your favor there.”

There's much more to learn from Daniel and Andy in the full episode of the Marketing Cloudcast.

 

Have you heard the new podcast format?

 

Three weeks ago, we shifted the Marketing Cloudcast to an entirely new format and style (think narrative with multiple guests — more Freakonomics, less live interview), and I'd love to know what you think!

Join the thousands of smart marketers who are Cloducast subscribers on Apple PodcastsOvercastGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Tweet @youngheike with feedback on this episode — or ideas for future guests and topics.

5 Email Call-to-Action Best Practices to Drive Conversions

You’ve probably come across a few calls to action (or CTAs) over the past few days, if not the past few hours or minutes. Whether you’re reading emails, scrolling through social, or ordering on a mobile app, every company hopes that you’ll heed its call to action.

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Each call to action is different, but the goal is the same: to get you, the consumer, to do something — hopefully something clear and specific. Even in a confined space, such as an email, marketers have to find creative ways to make every call to action stand out. And that doesn’t have to include MAKING YOUR CTA BIG AND SCARY, showing off with some bold text, or adding enthusiasm with an exclamation point!

People are used to filtering all that spammy noise because they see it all too often. Marketers can break through the noise with a few email call-to-action best practices.

Here are five tips:

  1. Be honest. People see enough clickbait throughout the day to know when they’re being toyed with. Let’s say you get an email from a new company; perhaps you signed up for its email list after clicking on an Instagram ad. It sends you a welcome email that has an interesting call to action at the end. It says, “We Dare You to Click Here.” While this phrasing could work, depending on how well the company knows its audience, it’s a bold risk. The call to action reads like clickbait and may come off as disingenuous to some readers.

    To avoid this, make sure your call to action is honest and clear. Audiences prefer to know what they’re getting into when they click. To know for sure, it’s best that you test multiple calls to action to find out which perform best.

  2. Test options. To figure out which calls to action get the most clicks and conversions, it’s best to test out a few. Through A/B testing, you can decide exactly how to write a good call to action because your data will tell you which options are working — and which aren’t. “Learn More From Our Blog” might perform better than “Explore Our Infinite Wisdom.” Testing each option is the best way to drive more conversions.

  3. Use action verbs. Beginning your calls to action with strong action verbs will make your message pop in every email. Take a look at these two calls to action.

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    Which one is more inviting and more direct? The first one offers both clear information and a directive.

  4. Pick a color. When you choose to use a call-to-action button instead of a text hyperlink, it’s best to pick a color that stands out from the rest of your email. For example, if you use a lot of green in the rest of the email, it’s a good practice to avoid using green for the call-to-action button. You don’t want your button to blend in with the rest of the email content.

  5. Keep it short. Imagine this text linked: Register today for the best conference to hit San Francisco this summer. Linking all of that text with that ubiquitous blue hyperlink color makes it seem like you’re calling out every part of the text, which isn’t necessary. Instead, keep your calls to action short and sweet. Readers prefer quick, direct action items, not lengthy sentences.

Using effective email calls to action can help you drive conversions, but they aren’t the only thing you need to consider for an effective email strategy. Check out more email marketing tips that break through the clutter and capture customer attention.

How a Leading Spirits Brand Gained 1,300 New Leads in Just 10 days with Customer-Centric Advertising

As the number of channels consumers interact with on a daily basis have exploded, CRM has evolved. Businesses simply can’t grow sustainably without consistently leveraging information about their consumers at every touchpoint. Granted, a key challenge is connecting that information to tangible business outcomes. This is a particularly common theme in industries that are not outwardly direct to consumer, like Consumer Packaged Goods. But while challenges exist, it’s an exciting time for marketers because businesses are being driven towards more internal creativity and collaboration in order to meet the needs of their consumers. As marketers, we must keep a pulse on the “now” – what’s happening in society, where the overlap for our brands is, and how we can activate that overlap in a way that adds maximum value for consumers. That’s the journey we’re on.

Consumer centricity is critical to us at Pernod Ricard, as our goal is to be the leader in spirits. Over the past 43 years, Pernod Ricard has built a unique premium spirits portfolio of brands with international reach. Today it is one of the most comprehensive and innovative spirits companies in the marketplace. As the lead on Performance Marketing for our USA portfolio, I’ve partnered with the Malibu brand team – Pernod Ricard's premium rum brand – to focus advertising investments around capturing consumer information on as many touch-points as possible. One of the initiatives I'm most excited about is a new pilot program we just launched for Malibu, leveraging Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Advertising Studio. It’s focused on using consumer data from Facebook Lead Ads to power meaningful follow up Email communications that lead to product purchase and enrollment in the brand’s most prominent activation campaign: #BecauseSummer.

Every summer we aim to create a wealth of exciting, inspiring content for our Malibu audience. Salesforce is enabling us to distribute this content in a smart and efficient way, and providing us with invaluable insights into how and when these messages are being consumed -  continually helping us to build a more sophisticated digital eco-system.” -Jilly Gray, Digital Manager, Malibu

With Advertising Studio, we're able to reach existing consumers that fit our target segments and deliver relevant ads to them on Facebook (where they spend a large amount of time) based on their interactions. We’re also able to acquire new prospects with Facebook Lead Ads using two key tactics:

  1. Create Lookalike Audiences of our best customers.
  2. Target people interested in music festivals our brand is sponsoring, or who have liked the Malibu and other rum pages.

Since we don't want the relationship to end there though, we're also adding these audiences to a custom journey in Journey Builder, using Salesforce's Lead Capture App, to send leads directly into Marketing Cloud as soon as they come in. This way we can provide more information on offers via email or re-target consumers who don't engage with emails by using ads to re-engage them.

After just 10 days, we’re seeing phenomenal results with 1,300 net-new leads, and open rates of journey emails between 43%-77%! What stands out to me here is how incredibly qualified the leads are and how relevant the content is to viewers. These results would not be achievable without the Malibu brand team creating a powerful platform to reach consumers, coupled with consumer data at the center, helping us bring in audiences that demonstrate affinity for our offering and are efficient to capture.

This pilot has not only blazed the way for CRM-driven advertising programs at Pernod Ricard, as nothing like this has been done before, it's also raised awareness of the tremendous possibilities around being more and more consumer centric. It's brought to life new KPIs like “journey completion rate,” surfaced important tactics for the company to start thinking about around consumer engagement, and highlighted high-performing strategies to double-down on. It’s an exciting time and we're just getting started!

In an ideal world, we will have a universe of relevant customers that we can regularly engage, and associated business outcomes that align to both our corporate and marketing KPIs. We don’t want to just optimize the funnel – we want to optimize the journey. Fundamentally, there is a huge difference as optimizing the journey means we don’t operate as if there are exit points in our communications with consumers. If we want to achieve this and continue to be innovative, data-driven, and consumer centric, it’s critical that we work between stakeholders to enable the ideal state of individual consumer-level marketing, as that will only be as good as the people and processes involved.

How Aurora Health Care Improves Patient Care Amidst Changing Paradigms with Salesforce Marketing Cloud


If there’s one constant in health care these days, it’s change. Not a day goes by without disruption in the industry. Mergers and acquisitions, new competition, emerging innovations, shifting regulations, rising costs and perhaps most notable of all, the changing payment landscape are all impacting hospital systems, their employees and the care they provide to patients.

The way hospitals and care providers are paid is fundamentally changing, which is also impacting how their marketing teams are engaging with patients. Fee-for-service payment structures, the traditional reimbursement model that compensates doctors and hospitals regardless of results, are increasingly giving way to value-based care (VBC) paradigms. With VBC, doctors and hospitals are incentivized to improve treatment outcomes, manage population health and advance the well-being of those with chronic conditions. And, while they’re at it, providers need to remain cost effective and enhance the patient experience—that's where the role of the health care marketer comes in.

The shift in focus from volume to value has caused health care organizations to rethink the services they offer and how they communicate with patients. While metrics like the number of beds filled and procedures performed remain paramount, today’s health care marketing teams are actually critical to achieving the tenets of VBC. As healthcare marketers pivot their strategies to address the move towards VBC, they have to also take into consideration changing patient expectations. Patients increasingly demand value for their growing share of health care costs, and expect personalized, timely and connected experiences across all channels and devices. Consider that according to Decision Resources Group, 59 percent of online consumers expect the health care system to offer the same level of service they receive from a company like Amazon.

 

Better Healthcare Communications with Personalized E-Mail

 

Murray Friedman, digital marketing director at Aurora Health Care, is well versed in health care's changing dynamics. Together with Stacie Cotey, Aurora Health Care's CRM and Digital Marketing Manager, Friedman and their team must balance the wants and needs of patients with those of the not-for-profit organization’s shift to VBC. That's no easy task for a health care system the size of Aurora Health Care, which serves over 1.2 million patients annually through 15 hospitals and 150 clinics in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Additionally, Aurora employs a total of 1,800 physicians and 33,000 caregivers.

On the front line of health care, Aurora Health Care's marketing team is responsible for ensuring patients get the information they need, in the moments they need it, so that they can get the proper care they require. “Fortunately, there’s alignment between our goals and those of our patients,” says Friedman. “Our patients want to be healthy, and they want to minimize the complexities that come with health care. It is our job in marketing to help meet these objectives. That's why we’re increasingly providing information and resources around preventative education and healthy lifestyles, while enhancing the patient experience.”

To better understand how Aurora Health Care patients prefer to be engaged with, it initiated a four-part patient survey from which 1,400 patients revealed their communication preferences, and the information they would find most valuable. The message was loud and clear--nearly 60 percent of respondents indicated they were interested in receiving email with relevant health information, and 77 percent wanted the option to select the specific types of health information and content they would receive.

As a solution, Aurora Health Care selected Salesforce, implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud and integrating it with its already installed Salesforce-powered CRM. With nearly 650,000 email addresses in its database and a cautious eye toward compliance, Aurora Health Care first sends a permission email that provides each patient with the option to receive or decline future health information emails generated by the marketing team. From there, Aurora Health Care leverages Salesforce Marketing Cloud to communicate with patients regularly. From health screening reminders to options for low cost same-day medical access and regular tips on preventative care, Aurora Health Care is able to develop a better, more trusted relationship with its patients by keeping them informed and engaged. In fact, since launching Salesforce Marketing Cloud, email open rates have grown from 26 percent to 37 percent.

Driving Portal Membership, App Adoption and More

Making sure patients are informed means more than email engagement. Using its growing list of email subscribers, Aurora Health Care's digital team launched a campaign to drive adoption of the myAurora portal, an online portal where patients can easily view lab results, message their providers, schedule appointments, manage prescriptions and more.

“Boosting myAurora membership and encouraging its use is key to improving the patient experience,” says Cotey. “By turning to email marketing with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, we're able to generate awareness and boost sign-ups to the portal. As with all email campaigns, the key to success is relevance and timeliness, so we target patients who have an appointment scheduled in the next two weeks, but have not yet created a myAurora account. The strategy works--we see open rates approaching 50 percent, click-through-rates of eight percent, and now have about 25 percent adoption and growing. We have no doubt that our patients see the value in the portal, and in our emails prompting them to sign up—all thanks to our Salesforce tools.”

Aurora Health Care also leverages email to drive mobile app adoption by targeting patients with recently completed appointments who don’t yet have the mobile app. Within two weeks of the email launch campaign, Aurora Health Care doubled its number of app downloads and mobile users. Subsequent on-boarding campaigns introduce unused features, and re-activation campaigns will target dormant users.

In its first year of using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Aurora Health Care has expanded its email marketing efforts to include over 40 different campaigns and variations. A few examples include population health emails that target patients who are due for screenings, and campaigns for patients who have seen a specialist but don’t have a primary care physician—all of which have been well received. Looking ahead, Aurora Health Care has plans to continue to stay ahead of the curve and be a trend setter in the digital marketing and email space as it focuses on providing valuable services to its patients in the evolving health care industry.

Can Your Marketing Create a Movement? Here’s How to Find Out

Sometimes a message, campaign, or product takes on a life of its own and becomes a legitimate movement.

Think about Dove's Real Beauty campaign (as shown in the image above), TOMS Shoes, or American Express with Small Business Saturday. These messages went beyond marketing to become conversation starters and true movements with engaged followings. They seemed to spread like magic, but what really happened?

We asked two movement-makers for their behind-the-scenes stories for the latest episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, the marketing podcast from Salesforce.

In the full episode, Jay Baer explains what fueled the crazy success of his NYT-bestselling book Youtility, and Sangram Vajre, CMO and co-founder of Terminus, shares how his "Flip My Funnel" concept grew a dedicated community of worldwide B2B followers.

You'll hear the back story that's rarely told of how these movements grew — as well as Jay and Sangram's cautionary advice about what doesn't really constitute a movement.

So can you create a movement? Here are a few tips from Jay and Sangram to find out. For the full conversation that's filled with many more insights, subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

Do you have a vocal community of participants?

 

Jay explains: "I defy you to come up with a movement that isn't essentially propelled by the participants of the movement. Every movement is driven almost entirely by word of mouth, that's what makes it a movement. You can't media buy you way into a movement. It just doesn't work, it's just not possible. Because if you have to pay for the attention it's not good enough to become a movement.

Every true movement is really based on having massive relevancy, the right timing, and a group of early adopters who believe in it so much they're willing to put their own social capital on the line to bring in the second, third, fourth, and fifth levels of participants in that same movement.”

 

Are you willing to stop talking about your brand and products?

 

Sangram says with Flip My Funnel, his team and all events focused on the core message and concept without mentioning the company behind it at all. In fact, Terminus invites its competitors to be part of the conversation. Sangram explains, "[Flip My Funnel] didn't talk about the product. It didn't talk about buy me or buy from me. What is portrayed is that I want to be a part of this. I want to challenge something and I want to be a part of this movement that will help people be better at whatever it is that they do."

"If you truly, truly believe in the problem you're solving and you're willing to talk about it without giving your company any credit, you have the opportunity to build a movement." 

 

Does your product, campaign, or message deserve a movement?

 

Are you really seeking to build a movement or just an XL marketing campaign? Jay advises, “Funny enough, this concept of can you make your own movement is sort of a bigger way to say, 'Hey, how much would I have to pay you to make this video go viral?' It's the same question. The answer is all the money and none of the money. Nobody can do that for you. Things go viral when they deserve to be viral. And things become movements when they deserve to be movements.”

 

Are your goals industry-wide or company-wide?

 

Sangram says he never realized their "movement" was actually a reality until recently: "Maybe six months ago somebody said, 'You guys actually have a movement.' We just didn't comprehend it. We knew we would find a lot of peace if the FlipMyFunnel model became the way people talked about B2B marketing and sales, with no attribution to Terminus. It doesn't really matter."

Hear more about Sangram's success with Flip My Funnel on the full episode of the Cloudcast — and you'll also hear about how Jay Baer's dentist rocks a content marketing strategy with video.

 

Hear the New Podcast Format

 

Two weeks ago, we shifted the Marketing Cloudcast to an entirely new format and style (think narrative with multiple guests — more Freakonomics, less live interview), and I'd love to know what you think! 

Join the thousands of smart marketers who are Cloducast subscribers on Apple PodcastsOvercastGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Tweet @youngheike with feedback on this episode — or ideas for future guests and topics.

The Science of What Makes People Share Your Content Online

"Consumers don’t care about you at all. They just don’t care. Part of the reason is, they’ve got way more choices than they used to — and way less time.

The thing that's going to decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets changed, what gets purchased, what gets built... is, is it remarkable? Remarkable is a really cool word. We think it just means neat. But it also means worth making a remark about.” - Seth Godin

Do your customers and prospects want to make a remark about your content, or is it living in a vacuum? If you can get people to share your company's content of their own free will, you're winning as a marketer, and your ideas will spread like wildfire.

So how can we as marketers better encourage people to share our content? What's the science explaining why people share? What makes us want to click that little "tweet this" button on a company's blog post?

That's what we're talking about in this week's episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, the marketing podcast from Salesforce. 

To get to the bottom of it, I talked to two experts from very different fields:

Here are a few takeaways from this episode, which you can preview here.

For the full conversation that's filled with many more insights, subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

Our brains are wired to gossip and share details about other people's lives.

 

According to Susan, humans have an inherent, built-in compulsion to always be discussing with other people "what the heck is going on. Who did what, with whom, why, who's at the top of the hierarchy, who's on the way down of the hierarchy."

By bringing a human element into your content, you can capitalize into your readers' natural desire to share it with others. Consider creating content that shares real human perspectives and tells their stories.

 

People are especially likely to share surprising content.

 

“The research tells us that people want to share things that are surprising — things that will make others feel," Susan explains. Even if your content is technical or dry, find ways to add an emotional punch that will surprise readers and, thus, compel them to share.

She continues, "It's not like I sit there and say, 'I think I'd like to find something to share that is surprising.' Or 'I think I'd like to find something to share that will make my friends laugh or cry.' We're not thinking about it that way, so most of this is unconscious. But when we feel something, we want to share that so others will feel it too. When we're surprised by something, we'll want to share that."

 

People want to share content that confirms their own self-stories.

 

I learned about the concept of self-stories from Susan. She writes about them on her blog: “Everyone has stories about themselves that drive their behavior. You have an idea of who you are and what’s important to you. Essentially you have a 'story' operating about yourself at all times. These self-stories have a powerful influence on decisions and actions. Whether you realize it or not, you make decisions based on staying true to your self-stories.”

Our online selves are an extension of our real-life selves. Everyone has an idea of who they are, and they want to share content that upholds that self-story. For example, Susan says part of her self-story is that she's someone who makes complex scientific concepts simple, so she wants to share content on social media that aligns with that view.

As you create content, think about the real people in your audience. What about your content would make someone add it to their self-story? It's a big deal for a customer or prospect to choose to add your article or video to their social media profiles.

 

Readers are smarter than you might think — and have an eye for detail.

 

I brought Brad on this episode of the Cloudcast to talk about his team's popular blog series involving famous fictional characters and email signatures (their software company's focus). A couple fun examples: If Game of Thrones characters Had Email Signatures and If Parks and Rec Characters Had Email Signatures.

Brad told me the story of how his team worked on these posts and quickly saw them become their top blog series of all time. In fact, this series represents 4 of the company's top 5 blog posts ever.

So why did it work? Brad believes one major reason is because of the small details and inside jokes. "The shareability might not have worked if we were very generic about these posts. Our audience is smart, and they pick up on those things. When they pick up on those things, they remember your post. And I think it drives them to want to share it with their networks. I think being very thoughtful, and not generic with your content, it starts there."

When crafting content you want people to share, remember that each small detail counts.

Hear more about Brad's hilarious and high-performing blog series on the full episode of the Cloudcast — and you'll also hear why Susan thinks this series works, from a scientific perspective.

A Brand Spankin' New Podcast Style

Last week we shifted the Marketing Cloudcast to an entirely new format and style (think narrative with multiple guests — more Freakonomics, less live interview), and I'd love to know what you think! 

Join the thousands of smart marketers who are Cloducast subscribers on Apple PodcastsOvercastGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Tweet @youngheike with feedback on this episode — or ideas for future guests and topics.

6 B2B Account-Based Marketing Tactics

Imagine this;

You’re an office manager searching for a new partner to provide your business with a cybersecurity system. You happen to download an e-book from a company. First, Salesperson A follows up via email about the e-book you downloaded. You respond and give Salesperson A some more information explaining why you downloaded the e-book (“I’m just browsing some options right now”). But a few days later, Salesperson B and Salesperson C come along with the same email follow-up.

Okay. Seriously, what’s up with that? Didn’t Salesperson A just reach out to you? Didn’t she share your information or put it in the company’s CRM? Didn’t she mark the case closed?

This type of experience is nothing new, and it’s the product of more than just lack of communication internally — it ties back to poor account-based marketing. Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder and CMO of Terminus, offers a simple definition of account-based marketing: “laser-focused B2B marketing” that hones in on a company’s key or most-qualified accounts.

When salespeople (plus marketers and customer service reps) haven’t shared data and aren’t working from an integrated CRM system that aligns all of their efforts, they’re not using a solid account-based marketing strategy. With a better approach to their accounts, they can nail the B2B customer journey.

Before we jump into some tactics, it’s best to have two things figured out:

  • Identify your ideal customer profile (ICP) using existing data. This data may include account size, revenue generated from the account, and propensity to buy, and it will help you identify key accounts to target. (Salesforce Einstein has the power to help you with predictive lead scoring, a method of vetting leads that automatically prioritizes the ones most likely to convert based on past deals.)
  • Expand the data in each account that aligns with your ICP. Include two or more contacts in the account and information on each, such as first and last name, job description, and email address.

Once you have this information, you’ll be in a better position to engage these accounts.

Below are six account-based marketing tactics in B2B that highlight how you can engage key accounts across the entire customer lifecycle.

1. Awareness

“Unless you’re a brand-new startup, you should have an existing base of customers,” says Vajre.

As mentioned above, account-based marketing works best only if you have data about existing prospects and customers. You can use that data to identify key accounts currently in the awareness stage. Pinpoint exactly what they should know about a product or service, especially one you want to promote during a campaign push.

You might segment all accounts in the awareness stage and run a highly targeted digital ad campaign that leads prospects to a blog series about one of your company’s new, first-to-market products. You could even pair this effort with a robust landing page containing an overview video about the product. For a personal touch when targeting accounts that have strong relationships with your brand, you might even think about sending a personalized, plain-text email to start a customer’s journey on the right track.

2. Evaluation

You can probably tell already that account-based marketing relies not just on data but also on a steady inventory of content. During evaluation, content is especially important.

Let’s say you’ve successfully driven customers using personalized emails to a landing page about a new product. You even captured the information they clicked on. In this case, imagine they wanted to learn more about “Feature X” of your company’s product, so they filled out a form requesting more information.

Behind the scenes, you can see that your CRM triggered an automated email to the customers containing a data sheet about “Feature X.” You could still add more to this experience by following up with a second email if a customer opens the first. That second email could contain a link to a short customer testimonial video highlighting an existing customer’s success with your company’s product.

3. Purchase

Now, this prospect from a high-priority account is on the right track to purchase. So, how can you encourage a purchase?

It might be time to get more personal. Imagine that a salesperson from your company gets an email notification when this prospect has engaged with your company in two ways: the prospect has filled out a form and clicked on the second email leading to the customer testimonial video used in the evaluation stage. The salesperson can see that data all in one place and use it to send a brief email or make a quick phone call to check in with the prospect.

Ideally, these efforts eventually lead to a purchase.

4. Onboarding

Post-purchase activity is just as important as the events leading up to purchase. Remember, the deal is not done. You’ve put in all this work to influence a conversion, and now is not the time to relax. If anything, it’s time to ramp up your account-based marketing tactics.

Once you “win” an account, you can set up many types of onboarding journeys, and these journeys are vital in establishing a strong relationship with new accounts. Maybe you’re considering taking your onboarding efforts offline by sending a direct-mail welcome kit. It could contain a welcome letter from the CEO or a dedicated customer service rep, a 4x6 magnet showing important “how to” instructions, and other product information.

5. Retention

Perhaps the customer has been using your product for about two months at this point. The data in your CRM tells you that he hasn’t called customer service once or revisited your blog or website. This could mean the customer is happy.

Or it could mean you’re losing touch with him.

Just as in any customer journey, account-based marketing tactics in retention,
not just acquisition, might just be the most important for your company’s bottom line. At this point, you could make a phone call or have a customer service rep send an email — but these efforts are difficult to scale.

One option might be to trigger a few emails on a re-engagement journey your marketing team has already created. It would be triggered by this two-month lapse in engagement.

The first email might contain a promotional offer valid for any purchase within the next month. If this email leads to a repeat purchase, the customer might exit the re-engagement journey. However, if he doesn’t open the email, a second email is triggered, and it contains a link to a series of three “how to” videos. These videos explain best practices for using your company’s product and provide additional information on ways to expand its capabilities.

6. Advocacy

Inspiring advocacy might be one of the most difficult aspects of account-based marketing. Why? In B2B, your accounts most likely aren’t talking to each other. In other words, one business isn’t always consulting another for referrals or references. This is where B2C companies have a distinct advantage, especially in the social media sphere.

While it may not be easy to create advocates, this is the place where you’ll need to get creative because advocacy can mean two great things for your business:

  • The existing customer from one of your key accounts can advocate internally to his or her co-workers.
  • The existing customer can become an asset to you by creating user-generated content for your blog, website, social media channels, and more.

For this example, let’s focus on the first: a customer advocating internally to co-workers. How can you provide resources to make this happen?

One easy way is to ask. Send a personal note to the customer asking how you can make your company’s product work better for the entire company and workforce. You might be surprised at the honest answers you get, and that valuable feedback can lead to innovations in your product, which will only enhance account-based marketing efforts in the future.

You could also create a short series of webinars for the sole purpose of educating your customers. Ongoing education can be a gold mine for your company by reinforcing your brand as a thought leader and generating new leads and referrals.

While there are many other account-based marketing tactics that can engage prospects and customers across their journeys with your company, the important thing to remember is that you create a plan of attack for each stage of these journeys. Take small steps at first by starting with the data available to you, and work your way up as you get more comfortable.

The Marketing Cloud June 2017 Release is Now Live

The June 2017 Release is Now Live in the Marketing Cloud! 

Earning customer trust is at the core of everything we do at Marketing Cloud and it continues to be a special focus for us. Marketing Cloud continues to strive for ongoing stability and reliability of our services with every release, and this release is no different. We have delivered.

The June 2017 (208) Release is packed with innovations and top requested customer asks that will significantly improve how they do business. In this release, new features allow for customers to more easily adopt our new email creation tools; customers can quickly track email click activity on the go from their phone; and so much more!

Let’s jump into the highlights:

1. Send Email Activity: Support for Content Builder Emails: Creating Send Email activities in the Activities section of Automation Studio now fully supports Content Builder emails. This enhancement includes selecting and editing Pre-headers, configuring Send Throttling, choosing the Tracking Destination Folder, and viewing Pre-Send Audience Counts. Learn more! 



2. Subject and Pre-Header Validation Added in Create and Send Flow: To prevent errors of live sends containing test-related words in the subject or pre-header, this new functionality displays a warning notification to call out words in the subject and pre-header of a customer's email. Learn more!

3. iOS Email Click Activity: Customers now have the option to view click activity within each email, directly on their phones. See an overview of unique and total clicks and opens, and track clicks for each individual link. You can also visualize the links by total clicks, unique clicks, or CTR. Learn more! Check out more about our Mobile App with this quick video!

4. Marketing Cloud Connect: Content Builder Email Support: Customers can now select an email built with Content Builder, directly from within the Sales and Service Clouds. Customers can continue to use their Classic email built with the legacy tools. Learn more!

5. Ease of Use Enhancements to Advertising Studio Notifications: This release brings an additional visual update to the main Advertising Studio notification user interface. The update makes it easier to read your notifications and adds more details and descriptions for each error. Learn more!

6. Social Studio Support For Engagement Across Three New Languages: Social Studio now supports three more new languages for social media engagement. This enables you to engage with users in Hebrew, Arabic and Persian. Learn more!

7. Social Studio Command Center Sales Leaderboard: Get the full picture of your team’s sales performance and encourage a healthy competition amongst team members with Sales Leaderboard visualization. Learn more!

8. Salesforce DMP Einstein Segmentation: This is a new Einstein-powered AI feature that analyzes millions of pieces of disparate consumer data points to find patterns that help uncover new segments of target consumers that are likely to convert. Learn more!

9. Pardot Engage Team Reports: Sales Managers, Marketing, and Admins can now understand user adoption, where reps have success, where they need coaching, and performance of specific campaigns. Learn more!

 For more detailed information about our new features, check out the full release notes here.

7 Tips for Less Stress in Your Next Job Interview

If you want to grow your career, you're going to face the not-so-enjoyable hurdle of job interviewing.

According to Katie Smith, CEO of career development firm Careerable, people rank job interviews near getting a cavity filled, in terms of stress level.

Getting a cavity filled = miserable.

Getting a new job = awesome.

So how can you reduce stress and anxiety, nail the entire process from phone to in-person, and get a great offer for your next gig? Check out these 7 tried-and-true tips. Hopefully they'll help make your job interview process more effective — and less like a trip to the dentist's office.

These tips are from today's brand-new episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, our weekly educational podcast to help you grow your career. Listen in for a deeper guide to job interview success, and then subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

BONUS: Today marks the start of a brand new format for the podcast! Last week we said goodbye to Joel, and I'm now talking with multiple guests per episode in a segment-based style, to give you even more inspiration and help. Check it out and let me know what you think (@youngheike).

 

1. Ask who's going to be in the room.

 

First off, you'll reduce tons of your stress if you know exactly who's going to be there with you, asking you questions and shaking your hand. As soon as the interview is scheduled, get a list of names, and do a little research on what each one does at the company so you can ask smarter questions and have more context for the conversation.

Kyle Lacy of Lessonly, who's been a hiring manager for numerous marketing roles, explains: "Probably 8 of the 150 people I've interviewed has every asked me who they're going to be in the room with, which is mind-blowing to me. Then you don't understand who you're meeting with. Once you understand that, it's much easier to sell yourself, and it's much easier to communicate with people."

 

2. Prep your greatest stories in advance.

 

It's hard to think of amazing stories on the fly. So think ahead and prepare your most impactful stories of on-the-job success. What kind of stories, you might ask?

"Write down eight to 10 stories that sum up your experience. People are so much more natural when they're in storytelling mode Think about CAR: challenge, action, result. What was the challenge that the business was facing? What was the action you specifically took? What was the result of it?" That's Katie's advice.

Try telling these stories to friends and family in a practice session so you're even more natural. You'll feel confident and ready to showcase your most awesome successes when you walk in the door.

 

3. Listen — and don't be afraid of silence.

 

When you're nervous, the tendency is to fill up any available space in the conversation with more words. This makes you sound more nervous, and you may end up saying something that doesn't really have a point. Give yourself a break (and lessen anxiety!) by reminding yourself continuously that it's okay for there to be a bit of silence, and you should listen, above all else.

Amy Higgins, who's a rockstar marketer at TopRank Marketing, explains that this is something she's learned throughout the course of her career. "Back then, I did a lot more of the talking and less of the listening. I was always felt pressured to say the correct thing, and so that pressure would equal me continually talking, and I never stopped. Now, I would say I only do about 20% of the talking."

 

4. Create a list of actually useful questions.

 

Folks interviewing for a job typically know that they're supposed to ask questions, too (not only answer them). Unfortunately, a lot of interviewers ask surface-level questions that don't add much, if anything, to the conversation.

To reduce stress, you can prepare these in advance and bring them with you to the interview.

Kyle explains, “Any question that you could have figured out by doing a little bit of research is a bad question. For example, 'Tell me what your company does.' Or, 'Tell me about your role as the marketing leader at X.' Those are very high-level questions. A better question would be, 'How do you deal with the constant change at a fast growing software company, especially the marketing department?' There's a huge difference between something that people can elaborate on, and something that's very boilerplate.”

 

5. Don't bring unnecessary stuff with you.

 

It's stressful enough just being in a room where people are deciding your future. You don't want an armload of jackets, bags, hardcopy resumes, technology, a coffee cup, and who knows what else holding you back.

Avoid bringing way too much stuff with you to your next job interview, so you can easily move about the office and shake hands with whoever comes your way. (And don't forget the firm handshake, too!)

 

6. Get your elevator pitch down to a science.

 

No matter what kind of role you're interviewing for — from an internship to the C-suite — the first question you're likely to get is, "Tell me about yourself." You should have a short, snappy, intriguing elevator pitch for yourself prepared. It should highlight your key abilities and successes while leaving plenty of room for them to ask you for more detail. (Talking for 5 minutes at this point without stopping isn't going to engage the person listening to you.)

As with your stories (see #2), you should practice this with friends so the words flow effortlessly. They can also give you feedback on the parts that are most interesting or could be skipped.

 

7. Know a fun fact about every person you interview with.

 

It's terrifying to walk into a room with strangers who have power over your future salary, responsibilities, and, basically, life. They're also on edge because bringing someone new into the fold may or may not work for them. So put these people at ease by knowing at least one fun fact about every person you talk with during your interview.

Kyle says one recent applicant did this at Lessonly and made a big impression: "He had researched personal and professional information about every single team member. He remembered everything. When a team member walked into the room for a one on one, he knew where they were from, he asked them specific questions about hobbies. It wasn't creepy, it was high level like, 'Oh, I saw that you have an Instagram account, and you have a boat." The team felt like they knew him after the first meeting."

This is an easy way to endear people to you right off the bat, and it doesn't take much work in today's social media age. Simply knowing one fun fact about the people you talk to will put them at ease — and reduce your own stress, knowing you have one enjoyable thing to talk about with every person. 

Finding common ground is a brilliant way to make interviewing with someone actually enjoyable instead of comparable to getting a cavity filled.

 

New Today: A Brand New Podcast Style

 

If you've ever listened to the Marketing Cloudcast before, you'll notice a big difference this week. We've shifted to an entirely new format and style (think narrative with multiple guests — more Freakonomics, less live interview), and I'd love to know what you think! 

Join the thousands of smart marketers who are Cloducast subscribers on Apple PodcastsOvercastGoogle Play Music, and Stitcher.

Tweet @youngheike with feedback on this episode — or ideas for future guests and topics.

Announcing Social Studio and YouTube Measurement Program Launch

With YouTube viewers worldwide now watching over a billion hours of video content every day, marketers are more focused than ever on making sure their digital video strategy is on point. This means not just publishing content, but also engaging with viewers and learning from feedback and analytics to understand what resonates and what doesn't.

YouTube is a core network for Social Studio, Salesforce's social product offering, and has long been a part of how enterprises derive insights from broader social conversations. In Social Studio, customers are able to upload videos and manage content directly from the Salesforce platform, monitor conversations on YouTube, and measure post impact and viewer engagement. In Social Studio's recent spring release, we also added YouTube Engage support, which gives community managers the ability to engage with comments right from Social Studio. This functionality is currently in the works for service agents as well, and will enable them to respond to comments and handle cases that come in through YouTube in a seamless, customer-centric way.

Brands like KLM Royal Dutch Airline have used Social Studio and YouTube to power their surprise and delight campaign, by surprising customers with personalized gifts at the airport based on their social profile and persona. This allowed them to connect with their customers and further position themselves as an industry leader in social marketing and service.

Today, we're excited to build on our existing partnership and announce that Salesforce has been selected and certified as a launch partner for the YouTube Measurement Program. We've worked closely with YouTube to audit our platform and metrics to ensure that Social Studio provides YouTube marketers with the highest quality experience possible across publishing, engagement, analytics, and customer care. We are excited to partner with YouTube to provide this additional layer of transparency around enterprise marketing performance and analytics.

By bringing together Salesforce, the world's smartest customer success platform, and YouTube, the world's #1 video platform, brands will benefit from the most accurate and consistent customer and digital video data, enabling them to garner more informed insights and strengthen customer relationships.