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MasterMinds: It’s Almost 2017 — Do You Know Where Your Digital Marketing Is?

MasterMinds

Karin Fields**Editor’s Note: MasterMinds is a biweekly feature in which we invite leading master agents to share information, insights and expert opinions about what’s going on in their agencies, the IT/telecom channel or the business community in general.**

By Karin Fields

I was on the phone with one of my top partners and he said, “I just got used to writing 2016 on my checks and it’s almost 2017.”  I had to laugh — who still writes checks these days? The world is changing and most of us fire up our laptops to pay bills, go shopping, read the news… You get my drift.  So that, of course, got me thinking: 2017 is almost here, and how many of us are still entrenched in doing our digital marketing like it’s 2016 or — even worse — 2010?

There are lots of ways I see partners not being prepared for 2017. Just as we fire up our laptops to go shopping, so do our customers. How’s your website? What sort of first impression does it make? Is it up to date, appealing and maybe even enticing to prospective clients? It amazes me how many partner websites still display the logos of providers who don’t even exist anymore. Their websites looked dated — because they are dated; they haven’t been touched since they were developed years ago. Think about it: What do you do when you go to a website that is outdated or has irrelevant information on it?  You look at it for about two seconds and move on. Guess what? So do your potential customers.

Now let’s talk about the content on your website. Is there appropriate information that will draw people into read more or are “PRI” and “T-1″ still there? Good content is important. It’s worth a few bucks to get someone to help you with this. Also look to some of your providers to help you get white papers and case studies. Current and potential customers want to work with someone they see as a resource. You want a way to bring people to your website. And that way is content that’s consistently good and regularly updated.{ad}

There are other important components to keep in mind. Do you have a call to action on each page?  What about a testimonial page with references from your customers?  Logos capture prospective customers’ attention. Do you have a page that lists your certifications? What about awards and accomplishments? You earned them, so come on baby, brag about them. Be sure to highlight your community involvement, too. It helps create bonds with your business community.

I know it can all feel overwhelming. That’s the main reason most of us put off looking at our websites. It seems like such an arduous task. But ladies and gentlemen, in this digital age, putting your head in the sand about your website is like not listing your phone number on your business card.

Here’s an idea to help you get started: Go look at others’ websites. When I see something on someone else’s website that captures my attention, I take a screen shot. Of course, you don’t want to copy someone’s website. However, you can use their concept and build on it with your own ideas. This also helps if you decide to work with a …

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… marketing specialist or web developer and want to show them examples of what you would like.

It’s the same with your LinkedIn profile. I go to LinkedIn at least two to three times a day.  Before I meet anyone new, I learn more about them out on LinkedIn. Don’t you? So how good is your profile? Does your profile adequately communicate your value to potential clients? Just like your website, your LinkedIn profile should address how you can meet a customer’s needs.

We all have limited attentions spans. We want something that visually draws us in and provides us with the information we want quickly and easily. Too many words send readers to another page. Your profile and your website need to be fluid, evolving — and current. Make it a quarterly calendar item to review both with a critical eye.{ad}

Other options for digital marketing are Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. I personally consider them to be informal ways of “touching” your customers. One of my partners is a foodie and so are quite a lot of his customers. He posts pictures of many of his meals on Facebook; it’s a fun way to stay top-of-mind with his customers. He does, of course, put some business-oriented information on his Facebook page, but most of it is lighthearted. In my opinion, if you only have time to be doing one form of social media, LinkedIn is the way to go.

Remember, marketing via the internet is a big part of how business is done. Are you doing it right?

Karin Fields is CEO/COO of master agent and telecom distributor MicroCorp and a member of the 2016-17 Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board.

Have a question or topic you would like considered for discussion? Submit it to buffy.naylor@informa.com.


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