10 Reasons Your Business Needs a Content Marketing Strategist

content marketing strategist

 

Here are ten reasons to use a content strategist to take the reins of your online presence.

1. Tell Your Story

You may have the best coffee shop in town or the best-tasting protein shake in the fitness industry. But without a content marketing strategist, who’s going to know about it?

You can’t depend on word of mouth and billboard ads anymore. You have to meet consumers where they are, and most of them are online.

Creating strong web content means you can express more parts of your brand. Through optimized landing pages and engaging email chains, you can tell your whole story.

This builds brand awareness and loyalty because users will feel more connected to who you are.

2. Find Hidden Opportunities

Hiring a content marketing strategist to tell your story opens doors to opportunities you may not even know are out there.

This person is equal parts creative, innovative, and analytical. He or she starts with data and uses it to guide all your digital strategies.

They research competitors and take a close look at your target market. They also look for potential new markets (or new ways) to reach current consumers.

This person knows the ins and outs of successful digital marketing. No matter how much you know about URLs, keywords, and coding, you need them on your side.

3. Reach More Audience Members

After deep-diving into data and research, it’s time to get to work.

One of the main focuses for a content marketing strategist is to expand your audience reach.

The goal is to get in front of as many users as possible and to do so in a way that makes them want more. This is about more than online impression counts — it’s about building a community.

4. Generate Leads

The most effective way to know if your digital community is truly growing is by getting more leads.

Lead strategies are all about short-term tactics for long-term success. They don’t expect to create a sale right away. Instead, they focus on building interest through opt-ins rather than immediate purchases.

A lead generation strategy looks like an email newsletter on an eCommerce website. The product isn’t the information, but the information gets consumers one step closer to buying the product.

It walks users through the buying cycle and creates more opportunities to establish a strong brand presence.

5. Take Advantage of Social Media

Want a simple way to track your online community? Work on building your social media following.

Social media is one of the biggest focus areas for a content marketing strategist.

Beyond displaying your products, you can build partnerships and establish a positive reputation. You can also provide an inside look at what your brand is all about.

This is where users feel like more than just another consumer. Interactive Instagram stories and fun Facebook posts make people feel like they’re a valued friend in your network.

Plus, the more people that follow you, the more your exposure grows.

Committed followers will share your page with their friends. They’ll comment on your pictures and be first in line to participate in social media contests.

This creates organic excitement around your brand, which in turn leads to sales.

6. Better Utilize Your Keywords

The importance of keywords is common knowledge in the digital world. However, not every company is using them effectively.

Stop making key mistakes and start taking advantage of industry terms. Your content marketing strategist can be a big help in this process.

A strategist knows how to balance simple terms and specific long-tail keywords. They know the right density to aim for in blog posts and landing pages.

They can also optimize for local search as well as a wider audience.

7. Create Strong Relationships

You know your digital efforts are paying off when your competition wants in on the action.

Be open to engaging in things like link building and guest blogging.

Link Building

Link building is when you have a mix of internal and external links on your landing pages.

Some business owners worry an external link will steer a potential consumer away from their products. On the contrary, it shows you know what you’re talking about and you’re involved in your industry.

Your content marketing strategist can help you identify which external links have the most value and which might lead to a competitor.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is like the express lane of link building.

It’s when you purposely drop a link to another company on your blog, or when someone does this for you. This is a pre-agreed strategy between two parties that benefit both businesses.

One gets more exposure to build their digital strategy. The other has new content to work with in order to keep producing fresh, interesting information.

8. Establish Authority

As your industry relationships get stronger, so does your credibility.

Establishing authority is a valuable step to take to stand out. You can do this through blogging, vlogging, and ebooks.

Some people think this is too much free content to give away, but the payoff is priceless. Establishing yourself as an industry leader means more people will look to you as trends come and go.

It takes your brand presence one step further by building awareness and recognition.

9. Boost SEO Performance

A content marketing strategist works hard to implement strategies that have more than one positive outcome.

As great as getting more social followers or email leads is, it’s just one piece of the big picture. A major part of what the end-goal comes down to is SEO ranking.

Search engine optimization is not just about keywords and meta descriptions. It’s an overall look at the content on your landing pages and online interactions.

Google bots take anything from relevant hashtags and strong backlinks into consideration. Over time, everything comes together to move you further up the search engine results page.

10. Convert, Convert, Convert

Once a user finds you, what are you doing to make sure they choose you over the competition?

Conversion is another huge focus for a content marketing strategist. Without the sales to back up your presence, something is wrong.

Close the gaps between impression and conversion with the strongest digital marketing strategies possible. The more you trust in a trained professional to do this, the better your chances of improving sales performance.

Find Your Content Marketing Strategist

Ready to start your search for your content’s new best friend?

The right strategist might be closer than you think.

Contact us today to get your free one-hour consultation and discuss your content opportunities.

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2017 Hermes Creative Awards – MarketCrest Team Wins

MARKETCREST, LLC IS ANNOUNCED AS A 2017 HERMES CREATIVE AWARDS GOLD WINNER IN THE BLOG (OVERALL) CATEGORY AND HONORABLE MENTION IN THE DIGITAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN CATEGORY

McKinney, TX, UNITED STATES, May 2,
2017 /EINPresswire.com/ Hermes Creative Awards recently
 announced winners in the 2017 
international awards competition for 
creative professionals involved in the 
concept, writing and design of traditional
 emerging media.

Hermes Creative
 Awards recognizes outstanding work in
the industry while promoting the 
philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals.

Hermes Creative Award MarketCrest

There are over 6,000 entries from throughout the United States, Canada and numerous other countries in the Hermes Creative Awards 2017 competition.

Entries come from corporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers.

“We see the results every day but its important to realize that you really aren’t ‘best in class’ until your clients or independent third parties say you are.”

MarketCrest President, Scott Berry

MarketCrest, LLC, a McKinney, TX marketing consulting and marketing services firm with clients across five states, and one in the UK, were eager to showcase some of the recent creative work being delivered to clients. The team, led by President Scott Berry, decided to submit one of their case studies as an entry in the 2017 competition.

“We’re proud of the creative content we produce for clients. We see the results every day but its important to realize that you really aren’t ‘best in class’ until your clients or independent third parties say you are. Congrats to our Marketing Coordinators Rachel Thomas and Hayden Smith along with our copywriting team. Our client is excited and reaping the rewards as well. Its an honor to be on the 2017 Winners List.” said Mr. Berry.

Hermes Gold Winner MarketCrest

MarketCrest’s award winning submission highlights the impact of a Re-Shoring campaign designed and managed for plastic injection molder, GreenLeaf Industries.

The case study can be found on the MarketCrest website at http://www.marketcrest.com/greenleaf-industries-case-study-award-winning- campaign/

Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. The international organization consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and free-lance professionals.

AMCP oversees awards and recognition programs, provides judges and rewards outstanding achievement and service to the profession.

As part of its mission, AMCP fosters and supports the efforts of creative professionals who contribute their unique talents to public service and charitable organizations.

Hermes entrants are not charged entry fees to enter work they produced pro bono. In addition, the efforts of generous marketing and communication professionals are acknowledged through grants and special recognition.

AMCP judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

Winners are selected from 195 categories grouped under advertising, publications, marketing/branding, integrated marketing, public relations/communications, electronic media and pro bono.

A list of winners can be found on the Hermes Creative Awards website.

Hermes Gold Statuette MarketCrest

MarketCrest, LLC is an award winning, full-service marketing firm focused exclusively on Marketing Consulting & Services that drive revenue growth. Simply, we exist to help our clients compete and grow… and we expect to be held accountable for their improved performance.

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Online Marketing Company, MarketCrest Participates in Ribbon Cutting Event

MarketCrest Ribbon Cutting Event McKinney, TX

MarketCrest, LLC an online marketing company located in the Historic Downtown McKinney Square participated in a ribbon cutting and grand opening event on March 9, 2017 to celebrate their new offices.

The event was hosted by the McKinney Chamber of Commerce of which MarketCrest is a member.

With several dozen Chamber members in attendance, as well as MarketCrest staff, family and friends, the 105 S. Tennessee St. event was full of energy and excitement.

“I’m glad that you were able to come and celebrate with us. It’s a big deal, to be joining the historic downtown community.” said MarketCrest CEO, Scott Berry.

The company’s expansion created a need for a new office space and MarketCrest was officially relocated to the Historic Downtown McKinney, TX Square in November of 2016.

The Ribbon Cutting event, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, was simple and elegant, yet celebrated everything that MarketCrest has accomplished in its growth and new location.

A rooftop champagne toast and lunch finished out the celebratory day, but for now, it’s back to business in the new MarketCrest office.

As an online marketing company in McKinney, MarketCrest provides marketing consulting and services such as content creation, SEO, PPC, website and social media management. The firm works primarily in the small business and legal fields.

MarketCrest also provides marketing consultation for start-ups associated with The Werx in McKinney, TX.

In addition, on April 11th, Scott Berry will be part of the panel for a Competitive Edge Business Seminar “Optimizing Your Online Brand” which is hosted by the Chamber and located at the Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney.

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10 Marketing Mistakes Your Business Can’t Afford to Make

Marketing Mistakes to avoid by MarketCrest

 

Some business mistakes are more costly than others. In the digital marketing world, there are at least 10 marketing mistakes that you simply cannot afford to make and still expect to achieve your revenue targets. Here are 10 huge mistakes to avoid.

1. You Don’t Have A Written Sales Strategy

Make sure Marketing and Sales know the revenue target required to reach your annual goal. Factor in the length of the sales cycle, close ratio, repeat business, capacity, onboarding and time to pay. Also collect information on existing customer revenue, anticipated growth, churn and carry over (sold fresh the previous year and in the coming year will bill a full 12 months).

When you know what you need to sell… and when you need to get it sold and billed, you are ready to build your marketing plan. 

2. You Don’t Have A Written Marketing Strategy

What is your one-page plan for supporting the revenue goal the way it needs to be sold this year (products/services)? What is your marketing expense required to execute on your marketing plan and how will the cost be allocated across the calendar year? Not sure if you are investing enough on your marketing? Check it against your industry and small business benchmarks (often 3-10% of sales depending on your industry and how mature your market is).

Analyze the previous year’s category spend and determine what to cut or expand. Create a SWOT analysis if needed.  How many personas (target audiences) will you be marketing to and can you segment the existing contact information to match. Do you need to secure additional contacts? Do you need to secure resources to help you attain your marketing goals? Have you considered all the marketing tools and technology available to support marketers in this app heavy environment?

43% of companies have an executive in their organization who is directly responsible for an overall content marketing strategy. (Curata, 2014)

48% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, and 35% percent have gone so far as to document their strategy. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

3. Your Website Pages and Content Weren’t Designed For A Specific Purpose

Personas and Keyword analysis will determine your web page content and content plan for the year. Understanding your target audience is key to designing content for a specific purpose. Do you have content designed to help your target market get through their entire buying cycle? What if they are “kicking tires” and what do you have for them if they are deciding between your firm and one other?

52% of marketers support two to four roles and buyer personas with dedicated content. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, 2014)

48% of marketers use dedicated content to support three to five buying stages. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, 2014)

84% of B2B marketers and 85% of B2C marketers are actively looking to gain a better understanding of their audience or planning to do so in the coming year. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

4. Your Website Is A Static “Billboard”

Google rewards websites with lots of high quality, fresh pages. Quality content increases the likelihood of increased traffic, lengthy stays and high page rankings. Create content that engages an audience, keeps them on your page, or makes them return.

90% of consumers find custom content useful. (Demand Metric, 2014)

5. Your Website Is Not Built for Conversion

It is important that your website has the ability to reel in consumers and offer them an option to become engaged with the company. This allows you to create engagement, nurture them during the buying cycle, monitor and score their activity and nudge them to convert.

61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council, 2011)

Website conversion rate is nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs. 0.5%). (Aberdeen Group, 2014)

Examples: Do you have strong Calls To Action (CTA) on your web or landing pages? Many companies rely on CTAs such as Speak to a Specialist, Request a Quote/Sample, Get Help Now! Request a Free Consult,  Sign Up Here, Download Here, and Follow or Share our Social Media Links.

6. You Don’t Publish Content

Consumers want a service or company that they can trust. Trust comes from being a credible source. One way to achieve credibility is to become an industry expert online by publishing original content that customers or other industry leaders may reference when looking up relevant information.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. It might be a blog article, web page, landing page, ebook, slide deck, video, webinar, photo, social media post, podcast, infographic, case study, white paper, check list, research paper, or a press release.

 75% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. (Demand Gen Report, 2014)

86% of B2B marketers report that their organizations are using content marketing, and 70% of them are creating more content than they did one year ago.

80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Roper Public Affairs, 2012)

marketcrest repurposing content

 

7. You Don’t Repurpose Existing Content

Consumers like to consume content in various ways. Some like to listen, some watch and some read. If you understand this, you can create content that is helpful to your visitors and customers and maximize its reach by repurposing content. Example: One, high-quality blog post or article can be turned into a slide deck, video, email, tweet, facebook post, brochure etc. Invest in quality content and remember to repurpose it relentlessly.

 

8. You Aren’t Building A List Of Relevant Contacts

Having a list of contacts is crucial. Keep track of all consumers, industry leaders, people who have visited your website or requested information, referrals, etc.

Also know even a good contact list will decay by about 20+% each year because people are constantly unsubscribing, switching jobs, moving or getting new email addresses. As a result, you must be building your database of contacts 12 months a year. Having a long list of contacts creates a bit of a “tribe” that can support your business in good time and in bad. Share industry and company news; new articles, ebooks and research…then when you are ready to introduce a new product and service they will be there to provide advice and spread the word.

With a list constantly in a state of decay, pay close attention to the formula for List Growth Rate:

 What It Is: The rate at which your email list is growing.

  • How to Calculate It: ([(Number of new subscribers) minus (Number of unsubscribes + email/spam complaints)] ÷ Total number of email addresses on your list]) * 100

 Example: (500 new subscribers – 100 unsubscribes and email/spam complaints) ÷ 10,000 email addresses on the list * 100 = 4% list growth rate

As we suggested, there is natural decay on your email list. It expires by about 22.5% every year. Always be growing your list…

9. You Don’t Email Your List At Least Once Per Month

Look, you can’t kill email! It’s the cockroach of the Internet, and that’s a compliment. Resilience is a good thing.

These days all emails are not created equally. A savvy marketer with the right technology, can set up workflows for email nurturing, include images, personalize with customer names, segment, and provide CTAs optimized for mobile. You have people willing to listen. Doesn’t your business have something important to say?

91% of consumers check their email daily (ExactTarget) and 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Litmus).

74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email (Merkle).

66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message (Direct Marketing Association) Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300% (Direct Marketing Association). 

Your company will want to measure your email program’s effectiveness. The most common email metrics are: sent, delivered, bounced, open (open rate), click (click rate or click to open), unsubscribe rate and marked as spam. Find the right key performance indicators for your business so you can test, tweak and improve.

10. Your Business Can’t Be Found Online

Here is how you got in this situation…

1) you are not actively performing on-page and off-page SEO

2) you are not helping people find your firm by using paid search or Pay Per Click ads (PPC)…

Just because people can’t find your company online, maybe it’s not the end of the world. Some companies don’t require online leads to increase sales. If you are one of those firms congrats…you are blessed almost beyond belief. For most of us, our potential clients use the internet to research and jump start their buying process. If we can’t be found…then it’s like we don’t exist….

By 2016, more than half of the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web. (Source: Forrester Research )

Content creation ranks as the single most effective SEO technique. (Marketing Sherpa, 2013)

In search engine optimization, on-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by you or by coding on your page. Examples of on-page optimization include actual HTML code, meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.

In search engine optimization, off-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are off-site in that they are not controlled by you or the coding on your page.

Examples of off-page optimization include things such as link popularity and page rank.

If your company is not helping people find you by using paid search or PPC (a quick hit)…get started the right way.

Tip #1: Identify which organic keywords drive traffic and convert on your website.

Tip #2: Determine how much you’re willing to pay for a lead or conversion.

Tip #3: Don’t Go It Alone

Paid Ads are a great way to “test” new landing pages (copy and CTA).

PPC can be a good quick hit but it doesn’t compare to proper SEO and content marketing per dollar spent, content marketing generates more than three times the number of leads than paid search does. (Kapost/Eloqua, 2012)

Content marketing costs between 31 and 41% less than paid search, depending on the organization’s size. (Kapost/Eloqua, 2012)

Summary:

Make sure to have a written sales AND marketing strategy. Create a website that has SEO optimized copy; fresh unique content; is constantly evolving and more than a static “billboard”… and has landing pages that produce conversions. You will want to have a list of relevant contacts (the making of a “tribe”) and make sure to be contacting them at least once per month.

If you are operating without a formal sales and marketing plan designed exclusively for the current year and your annual revenue target…you are operating on a wish and a prayer. You can repair the damage quickly though…contact the team at MarketCrest a request a free consultation. Tell us about your current business challenges and imperatives and we will share how similar companies are solving those issues using online or digital marketing.

 

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The Value of Persona Development & List Segmentation

B2B Marketing Techniques: Yes, investing time in persona development and list segmentation is worth it.

persona development and list segmentation marketcrest

Two of the most influential ways to market your business include implementing the techniques of persona development and list segmentation.

Not only do these practices help to efficiently identify your target market, but they help business owners and CEOs determine the most effective strategies for attracting, engaging, and satisfying their clients. Not to mention the practice has been proven to help win business and boost profits.

Uninformed marketing, the kind that is commonly used to blindly attract anyone and everyone, tends to end up in the mundane, unsuccessful category. It doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It fails to make a convincing argument to the audience. By taking the time to determine who your business is best suited for, business owners and CEOs can optimize their marketing budget and maximize ROI.

List Segmentation

The first step includes segmentation, or the classification of individuals into various groups based on specific characteristics or qualities. Once these subgroups have been determined, distinguishing tactics can be implemented so that each subset is adequately addressed. In order to pull this off, business owners should tap into a variety of supporting data from various resources.

When deciding which target markets are most applicable to your brand, the following criteria are crucial for successful market segmentation:

  • The group must be large enough to produce substantial income.
  • The market must be consistent and not at risk for dissipation or disappearance from the general population.
  • The group has a general history of responsiveness or reactivity to being targeted from an advertising standpoint.
  • The characteristics that determine the subsets must be clear, measurable, and exact.
  • Reaching the subset does not require any additional or excessive expense.
  • Individually specific consumers can be targeted from the group.
  • Your marketing strategies must be capable of reaching said group.
  • The subsets offer relevant supporting data that enhances and improves your approach to sales and marketing.

Marketing experts often use geographical identifiers like country, states, regions, cities, languages, postal codes or even neighborhoods to help narrow down a specific group of targeted consumers.

Another option for marketing segmentation includes the classification of customers based on demographic information like age, education level, current occupation, and/or gender.

Using a combination of both geographical and demographical descriptors is often referred to as a geo-cluster approach to segmentation, and this method helps business leaders to identify an even more specific audience.

Internal segmenting of customer accounts is often used as a business model to help organize territory based sales tactics. For example, client accounts grouped by industry type, transaction volume history, or nature of the developed relationship can all help to identify the most loyal accounts and those that are most likely to conduct continued business with your company. 

persona development marketcrest

Once your target markets have been established, a key to successful marketing campaigns is the development of personas.

Persona Development

This requires business professionals to place themselves “in the shoes” of their own customers and create a hypothetical individual that is likely to do business with their company. In theory, these characters are real people, with real identifiers, realistic characteristics, and relevant needs. So, how do you generate these marketing personas?

Start by considering the following questions:

Describe your persona’s demographic characteristics. Are they male or female? How old are they? What do they do for a living?

In the B2C world, you might leverage whom they live with and what necessities keep their household afloat. In B2B, not so much.

You can, however leverage other characteristics. How do they make choices when it comes to spending money? What advertising techniques are most influential to them? What types of outlets or platforms are pivotal to their buying choices?

Determine which departments are most likely to be involved (ie: Information Technology, Purchasing, Sales, Marketing etc.) and why. What is the driving force behind their activity or interactions with your company’s industry? How might they communicate with your competitors or other businesses with products and/or services similar to yours?

And also…

Why are they choosing to engage with you specifically? What is the extent of your relationship with them? Do they need special attention or accommodations? What are their goals? Where is this relationship going?

What media platforms are most useful in transmitting helpful information regarding your company’s products and/or services? Are they conducting online searches or using social media accounts? What keywords might they be using to help them locate your company online?

Are there any other influencing factors like product reviews, personal success stories, or specific details concerning merchandise that might be driving their decision to reach out and conduct business with you?

People tend to be very complex, so the more you can develop your marketing personas, the more relatable, realistic, and successful they will become.

Dive deeper and expand the character of your persona(s) with the following suggestions.

Tap into third party resources for statistical information regarding your persona’s demographics or habits. Existing data is incredibly informative and applicable to further strengthening the potential of your persona.

Consider how your persona might interact in real life. Use those scenarios to help you create strategies for conversation and communication to your target audience.

Take advantage of any opportunities to implement social media platforms that are relevant to your persona. As society continues to depend on technology, these free resources are becoming popular and effective tools for reaching your buyers.

So why exactly should businesses take the time to segment and develop marketing personas?

Personas should be used to help your business team come up with marketing strategies all across the board. Collectively determine which personas are most likely to conduct business with your company on a regular basis.

Which personas are least likely to spend their money with you? If you narrow down your marketing target, you are more likely to secure your best accounts and generate dependable, predictable transactions. Failure to develop well defined personas, can result in futile marketing attempts that do not reach the correct audience.

In addition, successful personas allow business leaders to connect, relate, and communicate with their clients on a more personal level. This type of relationship has a proven track record for establishing loyalty, longevity, and overall customer satisfaction.

If you get to know your clients like you do close friends and family, they will be more likely to recommend your product and/or services to others. It will also keep the doors wide open to smoother communication when conducting your business transactions. You will have the tools to identify the specific needs of your clients, and you will know best how to address them.

Here are just a few examples of how marketing personas can help you maximize your business capabilities.

  • Defining your company’s distinguishing qualities
  • Shining light on internal changes that might help enhance current client relations
  • Determining the most effective ways to present your company’s brand
    Shaping pricing structures, discounts, bundles, etc.

So, not only can segmentation and marketing personas help businesses shape their advertising and branding tactics, but they can help businesses to determine the most effective business practices that are most likely to result in long term, profitable relationships with their clients.

MarketCrest is a firm focused exclusively on Marketing Consulting & Services that drive revenue growth. Simply, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult and Get Help NOW!

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How to Execute a Price Increase

How two raise prices, price increase

Managing the process of implementing a periodic price increase can be “harrowing”, but it should be a normal part business life. All too often though, we see increases deployed with mixed results.

The good news is there are steps you can take to ensure your price increase “sticks” and so do your customers. During the series, we will answer some of the most common questions on the topic.

We will share our experiences and suggest some smart moves to make, while warning you about a few dumb ones to avoid.

When is it ok to raise prices?

In general, anytime you can do so successfully. You perform quality work and should be paid according to your value. Never hesitate to have an internal discussion on the topic. You don’t have to approve an increase every time your team discusses it, but it is a healthy business practice to discuss increases on a regular basis.

Underlying assumption: Your company has decided to increase prices and now you must execute the increase successfully. Here goes:

First: Get your perspective right. Your business has to make money; and as long as it makes money… the business has options and a future. When you are ready to approach the client, be confident and fully professional. Don’t make excuses or seem sheepish. 
A price increase is often a business imperative. Truth be known, we don’t like to give them and our clients don’t like to receive them. But, as professionals, it is our job to implement increases and people are counting on you. So step 1 is to strengthen your mind and don’t look back.

Smart Pricing Move

“Steel your mind” with the knowledge that customers who threaten to leave over a price increase, tend to do so only 8-12% of the time. Clients know the cost of switching to a new supplier is expensive and risky.

Dumb Pricing Move

Go to the client meeting with thoughts of getting “any increase” because anything is better than nothing… dumb move. Establish what you need during the increase planning sessions and expect to get 100% of your target increase.

Planning For A Successful Price Increase

You shouldn’t attempt to raise prices without careful planning, and collaboration with your senior team. The stakes are high, so make certain there is a short, written brief that explains the basics. Circulate it internally to get sr. leadership feedback, and buy in, on your strategy and implementation plan.

The brief should cover at least these three points:

  1. Which products or customers get exactly what increase; and if implemented fully, what is the total financial value of the increase to your own company.
  2. The exact dates you intend to communicate the increases, to whom, and the main talking points.
  3.  The third point you should cover in the brief is a list of customers that are likely to kick and scream about the increase. You must then, detail the nature of the revenue at risk. Keep it simple and provide a 1-2 paragraph overview on each potential screamer, detailing how you intend to respond if major concerns arise.

Smart Pricing Move

Give your client at least 30 days notice of an increase. Anything less is unprofessional and risks your reputation and credibility with the client. Also, they may need to make adjustments on their end because of the increase. On a related note, never try to slip an increase by the client hoping they will not notice. They always notice, and it will go poorly for you when they do.

Dumb Pricing Move

Counting on your charm and relationships to “smooth” the increase over instead of taking time to prepare. Instead, during the planning stage, secure any proof sources or related third party documents supporting the increase. Think material, fuel, shipping, labor increases, etc. You may not use or need them, but they will be helpful to have in your back pocket in case they try to negotiate.

Speaking of negotiation, while this series is about the proper process for planning and communicating a price increase. At MarketCrest, we believe that Sales and Marketing leaders can have a significant impact on a team’s win ratio by preparing for negotiations in a certain way. We will share our experiences and how we approach negotiations in a future series.

How to Communicate The Price Increase

You and your team have thoroughly discussed the increase and why it is important it be executed professionally and completely. Your “mind is right” and you are firmly committed to the task at hand. (Step 1…check)

You have invested time to write a small brief covering the nature of the increase and your plan for implementation. It has been circulated among sr. leadership to gain feedback and approval. (Step 2…check)

When it is time to implement the price increase you start with a smart move.

Smart Pricing Move

In all client discussions (written or verbal) you will be firm while still showing respect and appreciation for the situation and your relationship. You make no apologies or excuses, keeping a kind, but business mindset.

Smarter Still Pricing Move

You also document all the instances over the past year where you have: been their hero; held/matched lower prices; upgraded customer facing technology; beat your KPI’s; saved them money; or helped them avoid certain expenses entirely. Cost avoidance is often overlooked. Having this data at your disposal will be critical to providing a full view of your financial value.

Remember to calculate the total impact to the client BEFORE they can. You might find that although there is an increase, it might not impact their current year financials as much as they imagine.

Mega Smart Pricing Move

In addition to the first two moves, you add the absolute smartest possible move… you provide the client options. By helping them explore options, you are being part of the solution and a valued partner. The client could keep the product/services exactly as is, or select/design a less expensive version. In some cases, they could test some slightly more expensive options with potential to provide a greater ROI.

Be ready with samples so they can envision the possibilities. If you have anything else new or fresh to offer, now is the time to bring it up. You might consider offering a minor incentive to your client for giving something new a try.

Let’s stop and respond to another commonly asked question. When it is time to speak with the customer, should I go it alone, or bring help? If you expect significant pushback and want to increase your likelihood of success, bring one of the sr. executives. Executives are usually willing to make calls in the field, and often, they can increase your odds. Just remember to select someone you have made successful calls with in the past.

Reality check

At this point, after presenting the price increase, you will either feel confident or very worried. If you are squirming in your chair, ask yourself if you did everything in your power to build exit barriers to your client leaving.

It is rare for a client to depart over a price increase, but strong sales and marketing leaders create solutions customized to their client’s business needs, in part to deter that option. Solutions customized to integrate into your client’s processes, render departing over a standard price increase, unreasonable.

Think special materials, staffing, programming, technology, processes, procedures, automation, reporting…all exit barriers that smart leaders put in place early and often. The relationship becomes a win/win and emotions stay in check during challenging discussions.

Closing Anecdote

Several moons ago, a client worth $8 million a year to us, asked for a 25% decrease in price and had competitive bids promising nearly $2 million per year in savings. Using the approach we have discussed in this series, and a few more we will cover in future posts, we avoided discounting our prices, and we raised them. Yes…raised them plus extended our contract two years. Aim high.

If this series exposed some areas of opportunity for you and your team, remember: “If you want improved results, you have to change how you do things.” That core belief is what drives us to be process oriented when solving business issues. Have a great week.

For more tips on business or marketing consulting, visit MarketCrest’s Consulting page or request a fee consult.

MarketCrest is a firm focused exclusively on Marketing Consulting & Services that drive revenue growth. Simply, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult and Get Help NOW! 

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