Massaging 'cold' leads on a tight budget, why your message always comes first in creative and more

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Massaging ‘cold' leads on a tight budget, why your message always comes first in creative and more

SEARCH
How should I manage my organic search efforts?

“The harder road often leads to the better ending,” says Niuniu Ji, founder and CEO of World Avenue. “Some key factors are understanding of search engine rules, link structure and content management.”

Time also is a crucial component in search engine optimization efforts, he adds. “The cost and patience needed to overcome the time intervals between goals often demoralize advertisers, but this is where the dedicated and strong will survive in this economy,” Ji says.

“The longer you wait, the harder it will be to compete at a high level. Dust off that old Web site with a new design, update the supporting technology to provide a modern look and feel, examine those links to see if they are even leading to active or helpful sites and turn your attention back to low cost fundamentals.”

LEAD GENERATION
How can I generate leads on a shoestring budget?

“You can warm up ‘cold' leads,” says Pava Cohen, VP of Sage Communications. “Companies are too quick to classify a lead as cold — often these are prospects that are not quite ready to buy. Reach out through e-mail to requalify and re-engage.

Cohen suggests you get more ROI from association memberships: “Leverage those dues — join committees, give speeches and contribute to the newsletter. Network at events, and ask those you meet for referrals.” Finally, repurpose PR and marketing content. “Content development is expensive,” says Cohen. “Get more bang for your buck by sending press releases and media articles directly to prospects, syndicating your whitepapers and using presentations to attract new leads.”

CREATIVE
How can I improve my marketing materials?

“Too often, money is wasted on fancy brochures, direct mail campaigns and flashy Web sites with little impact,” says Jason Sherman, president of Sherman Communications and Marketing. “Everything starts with your message — make it compelling, relevant and appealing.”

Sherman notes that you typically only have a few seconds to capture your audience's attention and engage it. “Strong visuals that support your central message are important, but the written message needs to be on target,” he says. “Survey and speak your audience. Find out what key issues matter most to them, then craft your messaging around the overlap between these top concerns and desires and your product's or service's greatest strengths. Test your marketing materials and campaign with samples of your target audience. See what reactions you get, and tweak accordingly.”

SOCIAL
How can I test the social media waters?

“The easy place to start is by analyzing your current position in the social landscape,” says Chris Thornton, CMO of Definition 6. “Chances are, someone's already talking about you online. Take a look at what's being said, and analyze the impact of those conversations.

“You also need to understand your motivation for using social media,” he adds. “Rather than taking an ‘everyone is doing it' approach, you'll need to clearly define your goals and outline what you believe social media will help your organization achieve. All social tools are not created equal, and some work better than others depending on the desired outcomes and target audiences. There are numerous inexpensive tools that can help you create a launching pad for a social media presence that will, over time, be effective.”

Interested in sharing your tips and tricks? E-mail lauren.bell@dmnews.com to contribute to Toolbox

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