What the Presidential Campaign Can Teach Us About Sales and Marketing

You can use these same tactics to earn more customers.
September 18, 2020 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Scott Greenberg’s Wealthy Franchisee: Game-Changing Steps to Becoming a Thriving Franchise Superstar will be released via Entrepreneur Press on November 17. It can be preodered via Amazonand Barnes & Noble.

Politicians must do more than serve. They also have to sell. They’ve got to get the job before they can do it. Then they have to keep it. Right now, President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden are actively selling themselves. Their campaigns are using powerful persuasion tactics designed to earn more votes. You can use these same tactics to earn more customers.

In his treatise entitled Rhetoric written around 350 BC, Aristotle described three modes of persuasion. Each of these modes is still deliberately used today by marketing experts, public speakers and political candidates to win over the public. These modes are very apparent in the Trump and Biden campaigns and serve as useful examples of effective selling and marketing.

The first mode is called “logos,” or logic. It’s using data, reason and facts to seek agreement on your perspective. Both presidential candidates cite the statistics they believe will best make their case and harm their opponent. Listen for stats about the economy now and during the last administration. You’ll hear references to statistical changes in Covid-19 infection. Both campaigns outline plans for the future, listing the steps they’ll take to improve the country. This mode of persuasion attempts to appeal to our heads with data and logic. You’ll see the same approach in an automobile commercial that describes a car’s features, mileage and available financing. Logos is all about ideas and information.

Related: Buying Into a Political Brand: 5 Things That Matter to Voters

Of course, this information is only effective to the extent the public believes it, which leads us to the second mode of persuasion, “ethos.” Ethos translates to ethics, but what Aristotle really meant was credibility. That means explaining why you’re the expert or authority on the topic. Here the argument is less about the message and more about the messenger. Often this credibility is established by third-party recognition. At each of the two big political conventions, well-known speakers stood up to praise their party’s candidate. Both candidates boast about the organizations endorsing them. Each will reference their experience, their accomplishments and the adversity they’ve overcome. They’ll bring family members to the stage to make them seem more human. They’ll cast doubt on their opponent’s intentions, competence and character. They’ll also challenge and reject any press they get they believe is unfair or untrue.

In that automobile commercial, the manufacturer might tell you how their car is number one in its class. They may show an image of their J.D. Power & Associates awards. Or maybe they’ll put Matthew McConaughey behind the wheel. If he’s driving the car, it must be pretty cool. Ethos is all about establishing yourself as someone worthy of believing.

The third and most powerful mode of persuasion in an election and in business is “pathos,” or feelings. It means tapping into people’s emotions. If we can get them to feel something, we can get them to do something. For Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the feelings both men try to elicit are inspiration and fear. Both deliver speeches that are aspirational and troubling. They give us a vision of a beautiful, better and more prosperous America. They caution us about how the opposing party will hurt the country. They tell stories about Americans who are working, suffering, thriving, starving — all designed to humanize their message. They use slogans such as “Make America Great Again” and “Restore the Soul of America.” These slogans don’t provide information; they’re just meant to create a feeling. Political campaigns intentionally stir our emotions to call us to action.

So do advertising campaigns. That’s why those same car commercials will show smiling owners and jealous neighbors. They’ll feature a couple arriving in style at a restaurant or a group of 20-somethings playfully signing as they cruise the downtown streets. Wouldn’t it be fun to do that with your friends? Pathos is all about emotions.

Combining these three modes of persuasion will empower you as a business leader. It’ll maximize your appeal to consumers. It’ll give you direction when designing marketing campaigns. It’ll also allow you to sell more effectively. (All of these advantages are logos.) I know this to be true because I’ve been an award-winning business owner, speaker and author for many years (ethos). As a widely celebrated philosopher, Aristotle’s ideas are still discussed by academics and executives; they’ve stood the test of them (more ethos). Consider how incredible it would feel to have these tools at your disposal. You’d actually be able to convince people to try your business and to spend more. Just imagine the possibilities (pathos)!

In these final days of the election, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will work hard to appeal to both our head and heart. They’ll share information, highlight their credibility and tap into our emotions. Whomever does it better will win.

Related: 5 Things Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Kamala Harris

Business owners are on a never-ending campaign to bring in more customers and sell more products and services. There’s a lot of competition going after the same consumers. You want to influence people to come to you. The more deliberate you can be in your messaging, the more likely that they will. That’ll best happen when you appeal to them with logic, credibility and emotion.

Launching a Direct to Consumer Brand? Here Are the 8 Success Secrets.

Set your DTC brand up to be a smash hit with these prep steps.
September 17, 2020 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

One of my favorite aspects of my job is helping founders bring their vision to life and launch their brands. Yes, it’s absolutely exciting to work with a brand when they’re already established, but being in those first meetings developing a go-to-market strategy for a brand that’s so new you can still smell the adhesive on their package just hits different. You can hear the heart of the brand beat with every new headline, and watch the founding team grin from ear to ear with each product shot you present.

But all that excitement tends to get matched with the anxiety of a successful launch. There have been months if not years of research and development, trial and error, and highs and lows that lead up to the moment that everything goes live. Everyone’s standing by waiting to see just how well the brand is received — and if people will actually buy it.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned a thing or two about launching brands and products, helping startups get their legs and well-established brands get to acquisition. And although there are many different strategies to get a brand off the ground, there are some things that I believe are essential to a successful launch.

Related: 10 Skills to Master Before Launching a New Business

Identify your ideal customer

The most successful brands know exactly who they are, what makes them appealing, and most importantly who will care. If you’re thinking your brand is for everyone — and it might be true — your messaging can’t be for everyone. Of course, understanding your target demographic is a foundational strategy, but let’s take that a few steps further. Name your ideal customer, understand their pain point, define which other brands they might be loyal to, and create your messaging specific that person in all of your marketing initiatives. It seems pretty basic, but too often do we see brands that fail to connect with an audience because of copy that doesn’t connect to an individual.

Activate social and collect data

One of our most successful launches was Winged Wellness, a female-focused lifestyle brand. We strategically activated our social campaign 3 months before the projected launch date to begin growing an audience on social channels with our female-empowerment quote cards and lifestyle images (we didn’t actually have the final product yet) and drive traffic to the brand’s landing page. Why were we driving traffic to the site with nothing to sell? So we could start creating custom audience data for social ads later down the road.

Create a pre-launch interest list

Speaking of driving traffic to your website pre-launch, it’s a good idea to start building your email-interest list for a successful launch date. I’d much rather be reminding consumers about a brand the day that I’m ready to sell my products than be introducing the brand. Keep your interest list engaged before your launch by planning a newsletter sequence highlighting your progress, and “alternative” solutions to the problem that your brand will be solving. For example, if you’re launching a skin-care brand, consider sharing content on food that might help someone’s complexion.

Pro-Tip: Consider a pre-order campaign so you can gauge how much inventory you’ll need to have on hand the day of launch.

Related: Effective Email Strategies for Startups Marketing on a Budget

Prepare your influencer marketing blitz

Look, I get it. You might be burned out on the idea of working with influencers but at the end of the day, you’re getting reach, targeted engagement, testimonials and really great lifestyle content with each one of your partnerships. The trick is to be strategic about who you’re partnering with. Take a look at who’s following them, the sincerity in their engagement, how often they’ve partnered with other brands and what their audience interested in by using a 3rd party data aggregator. Please do not just spray and pray based on follower counts — by planning your influencer partnerships as you would any other aspect of your go-to-market strategy, you’ll give yourself the best shot of making them a profitable arm of your marketing campaign.

Related: 4 Influencer Marketing Secrets Entrepreneurs Need to Know

Be strategic about social ads

Since you were already going to be launching social ads, here are a few pointers: start your prospecting with broader targeting optimized for traffic to gather your interest data before remarketing with your offers, ideally before the launch of your product. Think of it like how movies gain interest for their launches. Trailers are launched months, if not a year, ahead of time stating “Coming Next Summer,” getting audiences hyped and thus helping the movie have a big opening weekend. One of the big mistakes I constantly see is brands launching ads optimized for conversion to cold audiences. That’s a sure way to get your metaphorical movie to flop on its opening day.

Do consider the press

You might be thinking that PR is a thing of the past, but a few of our managed brands depend on press releases for a quick hit of massive reach and establishing themselves as a leader in the industry. And each time a brand gets a good press-hit, there’s almost an immediate spike in sales. Nothing screams “must-have” like “As Featured On…”. But don’t worry, you don’t have to get on Allure’s Reader’s Choice list to make a meaningful impact on your launch. Even a mention in a trust-worthy digital publication can give your brand the reach and credibility to convert readers into loyal customers.

Get your feedback as soon as possible

Once your product finally gets in the hands of your customers, be sure to ask them for a review on your website as soon as possible. In fact, it might be a good idea to leverage package inserts to help remind your customers to give you some love on your site, if not through an automated, product-specific email upon delivery. During your launch phases, reviews on product pages can be especially useful in increasing visitors’ intent to buy and decreasing your initial cost-per-acquisition through paid traffic. A study by Spiegel Research Center shows that the purchase likelihood of products with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.

Think: retention

Getting your first customers is just the beginning of their story with you. After working with numerous founders who know something about DTC launches, the focus of conversations as of late have been about customer acquisition cost (CAC) and return on ad spend (ROAS), which in my opinion have effectively become the buzzwords of 2020 digital marketing. And while these metrics are essential to consider, I’d venture to say that improving your customer’s lifetime value (LTV) is even more crucial. Think about it, the cost of acquiring a customer bites deep into your profit margins, so repeat purchases and cross-selling are critical to your business’s overall profitability.

So how do you do that? You can begin with email campaigns that reinforce the use of your product like Truff does by regularly sharing recipes that go well with their truffle-infused hot sauce. Creating exclusive Facebook groups and cultivating an engaged community that experiences your brand through webinars, Q&As or panels is another way to keep your customers in your eco-system. And of course, don’t forget that a great brand starts with a great product.

3 Keys to a Highly-Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Zero in on these three areas of content marketing to boost engagement with customers and prospects.
September 17, 2020 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Covid-19 has significantly changed business-to-business marketing plans. As Forrester noted recently, “It’s more than a combination of discrete trends such as rising bounce rates, declining open rates, or increasing churn; it’s that buyers now expect a fundamentally different relationship with your company.” Consequently, creating compelling, relevant and consistent content is a highly effective way to attract and retain your audience’s attention, gain their trust, and, ultimately, to convert them to customers.

In a world full of false advertising and eroding trust, content marketing should be at the heart of any digital marketing strategy. It’s the foundation of all digital marketing channels, including SEO, public relations, social media and traffic generation. According to Hubspot, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing in 2020. Rather than trying to directly sell your products or services, you are offering useful, relevant content to your prospects and customers to help them overcome their challenges. So then, the focus is on content – be it in the form of infographics, YouTube videos, whitepapers, webpages or information in other formats.

Effective content marketing sends a message to potential customers that you are passionate about what you do and that you want to share your expertise with them — for free. To achieve this goal, it’s important to focus on three prongs: business goals, personas, and your sales funnel.

Related: The 17 Best Content Marketing Books You Can Read Right Now

Three Essential Factors to Build Your Content Marketing Strategy

In order for your content marketing efforts to be successful, you need to create a strategy based on these three factors.

1. Business Goals

Step One in beginning an effective content marketing strategy is to be certain it lines up with your business goals. Understanding what business goal you want to achieve or support gives you the needed clarity to set the appropriate marketing objectives. Are you aiming to strengthen customer loyalty and reduce churn? Maybe the goal is to attract new prospects or overcome objections. Once you have defined your marketing goals, you can develop your content marketing campaign.

2. Personas

Developing buyer personas is a necessary part of your strategy, but you have to take it a step further. Find the individuals within your audience that have the influence and enthusiasm that will help grow your company. If your audience is split into several types of buyers, refine your buyer personas to focus on those most likely to convert.

Start by identifying some of your most loyal customers. From there, find the primary decision-makers who championed the decision to purchase from or hire you. There are probably sales or service team members in your company who have close relationships with these people. Find those employees, and use sales data to create a persona – data points like goals/motivations, challenges, background, demographics, common objections, biggest fears and hobbies.

3. Your sales funnel

Vendor research happens online, and what will move the buyer down the pipeline is valuable content being published on your web, email, search and social channels. In order to drive success with B2B content marketing, you need to understand how the content you create fits into the different stages of your sales funnel.

Be aware that your funnel may vary from the norm depending on elements such as your sector, solution, business model, pricing structure and target market. In fact, experts report that “today’s B2B buyer might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to a vendor.” Confer with the sales team about the particulars of your sales funnel, then use that intelligence to create a marketing strategy that addresses leads at the top, middle and bottom of that funnel.

Related: Content and Content Marketing Are Not the Same. Here’s How to Frame the Top 11 Content Formats.

What Can Be Gained from Content Marketing?

There are many benefits of content marketing, including:

  • Addressing pain points leads to sales: When prospects look online for ways to solve their issues, your content is there to help over and over. As an example, marketers who use blogs as a primary communications tactic are 13x more likely to see return on investment.

  • Creating a community: As you establish thought leadership through content marketing, you gain credibility and encourage stronger relationships with existing and future customers.

  • Long-run savings: Good content has legs. It continues to work for you long after you’ve created it, continually bringing in qualified leads. That lessens paid marketing expenses. Demand Metric found that not only does content marketing cost 62% less than traditional marketing efforts, but it generates three times the number of leads.

HubSpot’s content marketing efforts showcase the powerful results that can be produced from a comprehensive strategy. The company is well-known because they produce massive amounts of content. HubSpot sells inbound market, sales and service software, but its claim to fame among marketers is the quantity and quality of its marketing resources, much of which is free. Their repertoire includes case studies, guides, ebooks, blog posts, courses, reports and more. Their content drives free traffic to their site, with the end goal of converting those leads into customers without spending a dime on advertising.

Related: The 5 Cs of Content Marketing Copy

Gaining Leads, Gaining Trust

Compelling and relevant content is the cornerstone of demand generation and lead nurturing strategy. Marketers depend on content to connect with prospects and existing customers in the current communications landscape, but to be successful, it must inform, excite and be worthy of sharing. It should arm audiences to address obstacles and accomplish their goals. If you’re able to accomplish this, prospects will come to trust your brand. This involves prioritizing original content creation to promote that message so it can add value to the lives of your customers. Use the best practices discussed above to begin or refine your content marketing strategy.

6 Skill Sets Every B2B Marketing Team Should Have On Its Roster

In order to execute an ABM campaign in 2020, you need a team filled with B2B experts-from forward-thinking copywriters to behind-the-scenes gurus.
September 17, 2020 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you’re like 15% of B2B marketers, your eyes are squarely focused on account-based marketing—but you haven’t fully invested in the strategic approach just yet. Account-based marketing, or ABM as it’s commonly known, flips classic marketing on its head, targeting a select number of high-value accounts while utilizing personalized content to generate qualified leads. ABM appeals to B2B companies across a range of industries because, quite frankly, it makes sense. With ABM, your ROI is higher, and both marketing and sales teams are in constant communication about what’s working, what’s not working, and the necessary next steps to achieve your KPIs.

If you’re reading this, though, you’ve probably already done your ABM research. You know how it works, you know why it works, and you know the types of accounts you want to target. There’s no use waiting around anymore; you’re only wasting precious time and resources focusing your efforts elsewhere.

Once you’ve made the decision to execute an account-based marketing strategy—and received the monetary approval from the CFO— your next task is building out an ABM team. Whether it’s a brand new team fully dedicated to account-based marketing or just a new direction for your current marketers and sales executives, there are several types of people you’ll need on your team in order to execute a dynamic, locked-and-loaded ABM campaign.

From creatives to developers, here are the six skill sets your account-based marketing team needs to succeed.

1. Art of the Written Word

B2B copywriters are easy to come by, but ABM copywriters, specifically, require a knack for nailing copy that appeals to a very specific person or audience. They have to know which words, phrases, and general ideas will appeal to a CMO—and they have to be able to alter that message to resonate with a Director of Operations. For example, if you’re trying to engage with a healthcare company in order to sell them your software, your ABM wordsmith should create content focusing on growth and revenue generation for a senior marketer, whereas a high-ranking member of the operations team will be more interested in the implementation of the service. And with ABM, the messaging has to be continuous. The ultimate ABM copywriter has the stamina and creativity to sustain a campaign from the awareness stage all the way through evaluation—and then continue to generate engaging copy as necessary.

2. Graphic Design Expertise

When it comes to designing an ABM campaign, experienced graphic and UX designers are critical. They should feel confident designing e-books, programmatic ads, and even podcast logos; ABM campaign creative assets truly run the gamut. While target accounts consume B2B content on multiple channels—including email marketing, LinkedInadvertising, and even direct mail—the visual messaging should be aligned. Branding guidelines and general awareness of when and where the targets interact with the content are instrumental for the design process.

3. Project Management Proficiency

Organization, organization, organization. While the right ABM software will automate a large portion of the process, a real, live human will keep all parties within the marketing and sales teams on track. Is the creative for the lead nurture email campaign ready and approved to launch? The sales team identified a new lead; what do they now need from the marketing experts? This type of employee can fall on either side of the marketing/sales spectrum, but they’re always well aware of the happenings taking place throughout the entire ABM campaign.

4. Analytical Ingenuity

No questions asked, your ABM team needs someone adept at taking a bird’s eye view of a campaign and aligning it with the granular details. They can spot everything from an account engaging at a higher rate than others to a missed opportunity when it comes to site conversion. The ideal team member with this skill is always pushing ahead and looking to reinvent the B2B marketing wheel. They may have seen another B2B software company’s ABM techniques and feel inspired to go one step further, asking the rest of the team, “How can we do this, but make it our own AND make sure it’s successful?”

5. An Eye for Budgeting

A trait that tends to fall under the “analytical” umbrella, budgeting in ABM focuses on the ever-important ROI. With a more focused strategy, 71% of marketers report they saw a higher ROI compared to previous non-ABM initiatives. But that high ROI isn’t just guaranteed. Your team needs someone, or multiple someones, to pay close attention to where and how the marketing budget is being spent. This type of marketer knows to hold back on PPC spend when an account is in the consideration stage of the sales funnel; the cost of keywords targeted at this stage is ultimately cost-prohibitive. And they’re not afraid to give a nod to a major spend on content marketing if they’re confident in the return.

6. Mastery of Operations

Finally, your team needs an individual with a keen familiarity of Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and whichever ABM reporting platform you’re utilizing. They work behind the scenes to keep your ABM campaign up and running. Question about channel performance? They’ve got your answer—in just a couple of quick backend clicks. Wondering why a particular account is lagging? This person can identify a low-performing campaign and communicate numerical data to help inform the next strategic step.

At the end of the day, account-based marketing is a complete team effort. A successful ABM campaign combines creativity with hard-and-fast numbers, and it seamlessly marries marketing and sales efforts in order to keep your business growing quarter and quarter and year after year.

Should You Spend Money on Branded Search Ads?

If you’re not allocating any of your budget to branded search, you’re probably making a mistake.
September 16, 2020 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

From mom and pops to global brands, we’ve all felt frustrated at times with paying money to Google, Microsoft, Amazon, or any number of other paid search platforms for your own brand name.

The biggest question that everyone has is, “Why should we pay to show ads on our own branded terms? Shouldn’t we be investing in ads that help us compete for all the other non-branded terms people search for?” Fair questions — after all, if someone is searching for the name of your brand or product in Google already, don’t they already have intent to buy from you? Why should you “throw away” money (as some have said) to show ads for your brand terms when your website already ranks as the first organic result on the page?

Related: Want to Rank Higher on Google? Learn SEO Strategies From an Expert.

It’s true that non-branded search ads can drive a lot of clicks and conversions, but if you’re not allocating any of your budget to branded search, you’re probably making a mistake.

Here are 4 reasons why you should be spending money on branded search ads:

1. You have greater control over messaging

Branded search ads give you much more control over the message you’re presenting and where you’re directing people to when they find you on Google.

To a certain point, with organic listings, you’re stuck with whatever title, description, and site links the “Google gods” want to display.

With branded search ads, you can test provocative, conversion-driven, and timely messaging that you might not want to put on your website yet. You can also decide where you want people who click on your ad to go. Instead of sending them to your homepage or products page, you could send them to a landing page that aligns with the copy you’re using in your ad. Or, you can prompt users to fill out a lead form and collect valuable information about them before ever reaching your landing page.

2. It’s Easier to keep competition at bay

Without branded search ads, you risk losing your customers to another brand who’s more than happy to spend money on search ads that reference your brand name or the names of the products you sell.

Markets are saturated. People are hungry for success. There are resources and tools and processes out there that make it easier than ever for competitors to pop up quickly. And even if every single brand agreed to “play nice,” they still might unintentionally show up for your branded terms because of things like Dynamic Search Ads. For all these reasons, you have to be willing to go on the defense and do whatever you can to hold your competition back.

Branded search ads allow you to compete and ensure that when people are searching for your brand and product terms, they aren’t getting distracted by someone else’s message—a message you have no control over. Thankfully, Google recognizes that you’re likely more relevant for your branded terms than your competitor, so it should cost you a lot less to bid on them than for your competitor.

Related: Learn Facebook Ads, SEO, Google Analytics, and More in this $40 Digital Marketing Bootcamp

If this seems to be a real problem for your business, you can take one other step to stop competitors from poaching your customers with branded search ads: you can file your trademark(s) with Google Ads. Going through this process won’t stop your competitors from bidding on your brand name, but it will stop them from using your brand name in the ad copy.

3. You get improved visibility and coverage

Running branded search ads can teach you a lot about your customers and prospective customers.

“The greatest value provided by running brand paid search campaigns is the data that gets acquired from doing so,” says Brett Bodofsky, Senior Paid Search Specialist at Elumynt. “Running branded search campaigns can provide you with greater visibility into your users’ questions, behavior, and interests via the search terms report and observation audiences,” he adds.

You also can ensure more coverage on the search results people see when they type your brand or product names into Google.

If you’ve done a good job with SEO, your website should be the first result that shows up when someone searches for your brand. If you’ve done a great job with SEO, the first page of results should be flooded with links to your website or social media profiles. But that’s an unlikely reality for many brands.

Branded search ads allow you to extend this coverage by taking up more whitespace at the very top and very bottom of search results pages. What this does is ensure that users have to do a lot more scrolling to find a competitor’s organic or paid result.

And while each brand’s results might vary, a large study by Google demonstrated that “even when advertisers show up in the number one organic search result position, 50% of clicks they get on ads are not replaced by clicks on organic search results when the ads don’t appear.” That’s not something you should quickly dismiss.

4. It’s better for seasonality and specials

Branded search ads are great ways to promote seasonal specials, and limited-time offers that you’re running for your ecommerce business.

“While you may already be showing up as the first result in the SERPS, what happens if you are running a flash sale?” asks Bodofsky. “Are you going to change your meta title, description, and page content in hopes that your organic result changes, probably not. A quick and easy way to promote this sale would be through a branded search ad where you can quickly make changes to your messaging, add a countdown and lead users to the landing page of your choosing,” he adds.

Related: You’re Likely Missing Out on Google Traffic. Boost Your SEO with This Budget-Friendly Tool.

It’s a smart way to grab the attention of users already searching for your brand and drive action through urgency.

Wrapping Up

Without branded search ads, your search strategy is incomplete. You miss out on the ability to learn more about your customers, you can’t play defense very well against your competitors, and you have less control over the message you want to present to people and the actions you want them to take.

If you aren’t already, start investing in branded search ads to build a stronger overall search strategy for your business.