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Best Traits of A Successful CEO

I’ve worked with hundreds of small companies around the world. Every one had something unique to offer. So why do some companies grow and some don’t?

The primary difference was the CEO, the founder, the entrepreneur that made something of the company. Every successful company needed some luck but the most successful entrepreneurs had the same traits. Read more…

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How to Save Money on Content Marketing

Like many of my clients, I don’t have a lot of resources at my disposal to create the hundreds of pieces of content that I know I need in order to do really effective content marketing.

With so many different ways for customers to consume content in today’s digital world, the idea of just starting out on this task seems daunting. How to know where to begin?

Let me share with you what I do. There are 2 ways to begin tackling this challenge that don’t require a lot of money or a huge team of marketers:

  1. Distill the Customer Journey to 3 general phases and correlate the content you create to these 3 phases
  2. Repurpose your content! Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose!

Distilling the Customer Journey

In my last blog post I mentioned that in Today’s Customer Journey, it is nearly impossible for marketers to anticipate every single path a customer might take to engaging with their brand, and so creating content for each of those outlets is a waste of time.

There are however, three general stages that every customer will go through which you can use to streamline the types of content you produce.

These stages are:

attract-engage-convert

Attract, Engage, Convert

In the Attract phase, the customer is just getting familiar with your brand. So keep your content focused on your user’s pain points and problems. As a general rule, only 5% of the content should be focused on your company. The content should also be short, to-the-point, and easily digestable.

  • Recommended content formats correlating to the Attract phase include:
    • Infographics
    • Videos
    • Blog posts
    • Social media posts

In the Engage phase, you’re starting to build trust with the consumer. Focus your content on possible solutions to their problem. General rule is 25% of the content should be focused on your company’s offerings. It should be interactive, thought-provoking, and educational.

  • Recommended content formats correlating to the Engage phase include:
    • Powerpoints
    • Top 10 lists
    • Do’s & Don’ts
    • Best Practices Checklists
    • How To Guides

In the Convert phase, you’re telling the customer why they should choose your product or service over a competitor’s. Focus the content on how your company’s specific solution addresses their problem. 70% of the content should be focused on your company, if not more. The content should be lengthier, detailed, and highly informative.

  • Recommended content formats correlating to the Convert phase include:
    • Whitepapers
    • Demo Videos
    • Case Studies
    • Testimonials
    • Comparison Guides

Repurposing Your Content

So now that we’ve distilled the customer journey to 3 phases, it still seems like we have quite a bit of content to produce. However, if you repurpose your content, you’ll find that you can save yourself a lot of time and money by leveraging what you’ve already created.

For example, if you have already spent the time (and maybe money) on creating a whitepaper, highlight key points to turn the content into a slideshow or a webinar. Distilling the whitepaper even further can lend itself to creating infographics or even a short introduction video.

All content can be repurposed into different formats for the Attract, Engage, and Convert stages of the customer journey, so you don’t have to spend precious time creating original content every single time.

Diversifying the format also gives your existing content added exposure and allows more possibility for a customer to engage with what you’ve produced via their preferred media.  Not everyone engages with content in the same way, so repurposing your content will help maximize it’s reach.

Here are some specific examples of how you can repurpose your content:

Blog Posts can be reformatted to:

  1. Whitepapers  – simply combine all your great blog content into one cohesive document so that a user can download for easy reference in one location.
  2. Videos – take the most important tips from your blog post and create a short script from them. Then find some good lighting and a cameraman, and record a short one-minute video to be promoted on your website and social media accounts.
  3. Podcasts – record yourself, or hire a professional voice, to read your blog post aloud and then submit to podcast sites such as iTunes, PodOmatic, PodBean, and Blog Talk Radio for additional exposure.

Whitepapers can be reformatted to:

  1. Slideshows – Tell the same story as in your whitepaper but through visuals. Highlight key sections of your whitepaper by summarizing into a few short sentences and adding to the slides.
  2. Webinars – As in a slideshow, turn your whitepaper into a visual representation and record with voice-over, highlighting the main points of the whitepaper as you speak to the slides.
  3. Blog Posts – Pull out the most important elements of your whitepaper and create separate blog posts for each. Distill your information to it’s basic points to keep the content short and to-the-point.

Infographics can be reformatted to:

  1. Social Media Posts – Take snippets of information from your infographic and promote individually across your social handles. Be sure to link back to the infographic whenever possible to showcase the full story.
  2. Slideshows – Dive deeper into the details of the different elements of the infographic and explain why they might be relevant to the viewer.

Other examples of how to repurpose content for content marketing efforts can be found at the following links:

What I’ve Learned

In my own efforts, I’ve found that I have hundreds of blog posts at my disposal that can be turned into videos, podcasts, slideshows, whitepapers, etc. So the question isn’t so much about what idea to use for a whitepaper, it’s more of which piece do I already have that I want to elaborate on?

And although still time-consuming, at least the methods listed about bring some order to the madness that is Content Marketing – and can help cut corners when you don’t have the resources at your disposal to command an army of well-funded employees to create hundreds of different forms of content.

Let me know what you’ve learned from your own content marketing experiences in the comments below, or by reaching out to me directly at lauren@therevenuegroup.net.

How Milestones Affect Your Valuation

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A big reason early stage companies fail is because they ran out of cash. A key job of the CEO is to understand how much cash is left and whether that will carry the company to a milestone that can lead to a successful financing, or to cash flow positive. Read more…

Today’s Customer Journey – How it’s Disrupting Your Marketing

If you are in marketing, you well know that for years we were told that the customer conversion funnel looked like this:

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 10.51.49 AM

A direct, linear pathway to a sale that ended at the conversion.

Later, we were told the funnel was no longer a ‘funnel’, but instead a loop – that looked like this:

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 10.58.20 AM

With the conversion point no longer the end of the journey, but instead opening a new pathway towards building customer loyalty and advocation.

But in today’s world, with hundreds of thousands of media outlets and different ways to consume content, the customer conversion journey really looks more like this:

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 2.51.02 PM.png

Read more…

Avoiding Business Model Failure

ComeInWereFailing-01

The #1 reason most companies fail, even more than running out of cash, is that their business model was not viable.

We have good ideas, but bad businesses.

After spending time with hundreds of early stage CEOs companies over the years I’ve noticed that CEOs and Founders are too optimistic about how easy it will be to acquire customers. They assume that because they will build an interesting web site, product, or service, that customers will beat a path to their door. That may happen with the first few customers, but after that, it rapidly becomes an expensive task to attract and win customers, and in many cases the cost of acquiring the customer (CAC) is actually higher than the lifetime value of that customer (LTV).

Read more…

Marketing to IT Decision Makers – Who Really Holds the Influence in Purchasing IT Solutions?

IT Decision Maker Influencer

If you’re focusing your marketing efforts on C-suite executives because they’re the decision makers for buying your IT solution, you’re approach is limiting your effectiveness.

While the C-suite, or Business Decision Maker (BDM), may have the ultimate say in the buying decision, they actually have a smaller role in the purchasing process than you might think. Read more…

Putting your A-Team together

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Business leaders need great people both inside the company and out – investors, customers, partners, advisors – as well as a great support network at home.  All of these people are critical to the business.

As important as any other aspect of your job as CEO is the need to cultivate the best team possible given the limitations of your budget, mission and headcount. Rather than spending time on improving the capabilities of their teams, we find that many chief tech execs spend a great deal of time attempting to compensate for deficiencies within their teams.

Every person you hire will either strengthen or weaken your culture. That’s a tough lesson to learn, but deep down we all know it’s true.

Consider applicants in terms of their personality and fit, and train them through an on-boarding experience that reflects your culture. Look for contributors who are motivated both by the company purpose and a genuine enjoyment of what they do.

On the flip side, you can’t be afraid to fire people based on patterns of violating your company’s values or poor performance. As difficult as it may seem at the time, there’s no doubt your company will be better for it in the long run.

It’s important to  remove under-performers quickly to build superior teams. You can never eliminate under-performers soon enough and you should always be looking for superior talent. Superior people make excellent technology and develop appropriate processes.

Challenges within a company normally point to issues with, or among, the leaders.

“The bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle.” – Peter Drucker

Read more…