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Fresh, Warm Leads - Available Now on LinkedIn

If you still think of LinkedIn as a job hunting / recruiting site or you think of it as just another social media network that doesn’t work for software company marketers, I’ve got news for you. Big changes have occurred. Did I say big? I meant HUGE.

Just look at these numbers. This info comes from a variety of sources including Neilson Online, UTM, Gartner, Forrester and LinkedIn itself.

A motherload of the right people

As of January 2013, LinkedIn has 200 million members and it’s estimated that a new person joins LinkedIn every second. Current members include:

  • 2 million C-level executives
  • 5.5 million technology managers
  • 44,402 purchasing agents (as of this morning)
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies

And:

  • 60% are either decision makers in their companies or have direct influence over key decisions related to product or service purchases.
  • 88% of IT buyers use LinkedIn for professional use
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Why You REALLY Need a Management Team

Let’s talk about management teams. This is a topic I’m asked about a lot by founders and CEOs. The questions go like this:

•    Who needs a management team?
•    When is the right time to start building a management team?
•    How do I put the right team in place?
•    How do I know if my team is working?
•    How do I build a great team?

You can call it an Executive Team, a Leadership Team (very “in” at the moment), a Senior Management Team, or if your company is small enough, just the management team. Whatever term you choose to use, this is your most important team in the long run. This is the group of people who will help you build your business.

The answer to the question “who needs a management team?” is anybody who wants more than a “lifestyle business”; anybody who wants to build a sustainable, growing company. Even lifestyle business owners reach a point where they need a team.

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Increasing Marketing Efficiency

Happy New Year!

This month I┬?m going to focus on the very best way I know of to increase what you get from your marketing investment. That is to turn more of your website visitors into interested prospects and customers.

If you think about, this just makes sense. You already have these people coming to your website. Although some of them undoubtedly got there by mistake, many of them are actually potential customers. Why then are these people so often ignored? Why do marketers continue to spend money driving traffic to a website without worrying about what happens once visitors reach the site?

Let┬?s put a stop to that and get you more new business from your existing investment.

I'll tell you about some experiments we've run that could easily improve your conversion efficiency, how to set up those experiments using Google Website Optimizer and ┬? in this article ┬? how to get started.

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Why Software Companies Can't Afford to Ignore Content Marketing

Hello Software CEOs! It’s been a while since I last posted a blog article here so I don’t blame you if you have no idea who I am. I come to you with 25+ years of software marketing experience and my intent is to share what I’ve learned and continue to learn – strategies, tactics, shortcuts that actually get you more leads and help shorten the buying cycle. If you want to know more about me, please check me out on LinkedIn and let’s connect.

So, content marketing.

Unless you’ve been visiting off-planet for the last year or so, you’ve got to be aware of content marketing. It’s THE marketing buzzword, according to Google search trends, having recently surpassed “inbound marketing” and leaving “social media” in the dust.

Normally I caution against paying too much attention to buzzwords as they’re often just shiny objects that distract from the real purpose of marketing, which to me is getting you more business. But in the case of content marketing, it would be deadly to ignore this buzz.

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Nine Common - and Costly - Symptoms of Management Strain

Success – as you already know – brings its own challenges. In the case of a growing software company, those challenges include a whole bunch of “mores”: more clients; more employees; more products; more distribution channels; more cash flow issues; more stuff to worry about.

These may be high-class challenges, but they’re very real. According to Verne Harnish in Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, there are mathematical formulas for complexity that show as you grow from two products, employees or sites to four products, employees or sites, your complexity increases by a factor of 12.

Sooner or later, every growing company reaches the limits of its current way of doing business. Think of this as a rite of passage. When this happens, things begin to go strangely wrong. And that can get expensive.

Here are nine signs that your company may be pushing on or passed the limits of its current management capabilities:

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Buy Now!

How would you like to get more website visitors to clicks that Buy Now button - or Contact Me or Download our Latest Report, or Take a Product Tour. It┬?s not hard to do with a little testing.

The examples I listed above are all calls to action. Not surprising, these are one of the most critical aspects of your website - anything that gets a visitor to do something that moves them farther along the path to becoming a paying customer.

Calls to action can be in the form of text links, buttons, images and just about anything else you can think of on a web page. How you present these calls to action has a big affect on how many people take the action. And you┬?re not limited to just one type.

In addition to testing the type of link, you can test:


  • placement on the page
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Content Marketing on the Fast Track

“The biggest mistake you can make in content marketing is to not create any content.” –unknown

Funny how we marketing people can make things so much more complicated than they need to be. Content marketing is a great example.

If you’ve done any kind of research into content marketing best practices you know there are precise steps you should follow, beginning with creating comprehensive buyer personas, identifying the information needs of each persona at each stage of the buying cycle, plotting out how and when you’ll create content to meet each of these needs, pulling together your team and so on.

All of these are important activities – and you should do them at some point in the implementation of your content marketing program. But on the occasions when I’ve tried to follow a textbook process with my clients, we’ve gotten all bogged down. Reminds me of trying to get anything done fast at Lucent in the late 90s. Akkk!

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The Low Tech, Low Cost Way to Increase Employee Productivity

By multiple accounts, increasing knowledge worker productivity is a priority for CEOs in 2012 --just as it was in 2011, and 2010 and so on. Why not make 2012 the year you actually do it?

There’s a simple yet powerful tool you can use to easily gain several productive hours per week per knowledge worker – week after week after week. I’m not kidding: two to three hours per employee per week.  

Let’s call it a position contract. It’s like a job description only better. It will change the way you manage your people.

If you’re one of the many software CEOs whose company doesn’t have job descriptions, don’t stop reading! I know job descriptions seem boring and too “corporate”. I know you may think you’re too small for them. You’re not.

Here’s why position contracts (and job descriptions) are so powerful.

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What Good Management Can Do For You

Want to build your revenue and/or profits? Improve efficiencies and effectiveness? Increase customer retention? Get more add-on business from existing customers?  Cut non-value expenses?  Of course you do. We all do.

There’s a “secret” weapon that makes accomplishing the above not only possible but fast and inexpensive – even in this economy. It’s a great competitive advantage because it’s used by so few companies. I discovered it, implemented it, tested it and simplified it over 25+ years of working with more than 100 businesses. I didn’t make it up. I just use it. It’s called good management.

Don’t stop reading yet! I know enough software company owners to know the word “management” turns off a lot of people. It sounds boring. It sounds too corporate. It even sounds a little confusing.

But here’s what good management can do. (These are real examples.)

  • Cost of sales reduced by 83%
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What psychology tells us about website conversions

4 factors that affect your chances of converting website visitors

Have you ever wondered why website visitors are quick to take some actions and hesitant to take others?

The simple answer is people tend to take the path of least resistance unless or until they find something they want bad enough to take a detour. Then they decide whether or not it┬?s worth it.

This goes for everything from taking a new route to work to changing beer brands to switching from a PC to a Mac. (The last of which I am struggling through right now for the second time).
The point is there┬?s quite a lot of psychology at play in the minds of visitors on your website. If you understand the basics, it can help you structure calls-to-action that result in more people taking them.

I┬?m not a psychologist, but students of marketing and persuasion ┬? of which I┬?m a lifelong member ┬? tend to be exposed to plenty of anecdotal and scientific evidence that indicates there are several factors that strongly affect whether or not someone takes action.

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You're Never Too Small to Need This Management Tool

Recently I met with the founder of a 30-employee company that is struggling with dropping profits, missed deadlines and an increasing number of unhappy customers. He had spent a lot of time blaming unscrupulous competitors, rising costs, ineffective sales people and anything else that didn’t require him to take a close look at the way his company is being run. He was getting nowhere and called me him to help him find and fix the cause of his problems.

He looked blankly at one of my first suggestions: “Let’s look at your org chart”.

“We don’t have an org chart,” he said. “We’re too small for that stuff.”

I knew then I was on the right track.

Organization charts are a powerful tool for managing a company of any size.  It can help the transition from you doing everything to you assigning responsibility for tactical actions to others.

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Rules for Better Website Conversion Forms

There is much debate going on about when ┬? and whether ┬? to require contact information before allowing visitors to download information, request a demo, or take your software for a trial run.

In a perfect world, your website would be so fantastic, so perfectly aligned to your prospects┬? needs, you wouldn┬?t need a contact form. People would either buy immediately or keep coming back to your website on their own.

That┬?s a nice dream, but in the real world, most software marketers must do what they can to get visitors┬? contact information in order to follow-up. Your success in getting this information is a balancing act between what you offer and what you ask ┬? and how you go about asking it.

Even the smallest things can make a big difference. If you want to see how one software company achieved a 24% increase in website visitors signing up to download a product demo, read

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From Clicks to Customers

Has your company created a remarkable software product and you want to leverage that remarkability into more sales and a higher return on your hard work? Then this blog is for you.

Since this is the first post in a new blog and I┬?m about to share ideas and tactics for getting more customers more efficiently, maybe you want to know a little something about me.

I promise to keep it quick. And there will be an actionable tip at the end. So don┬?t give up reading too soon.

My name is Susan Tatum and I┬?m a co-founder of Clicks ┬?n Conversions marketing firm. We┬?ve been in business for nearly a decade (we used to be called Tatum Marketing) and our specialty is helping companies ┬? especially software and technology companies - use their websites to turn more visitors into paying customers at greater profits.

That┬?s what this blog is about ┬?turning website traffic into dollars using a logical, proven process. I┬?m excited about this topic because I┬?ve seen what can happen when you focus on this process. Marketing gets more efficient; revenue goes up and profits go up along with it.

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Where Do Clicks Come From?

I┬?m often asked about how to drive more traffic to a website, so I created this overview of some of the tactics software marketers can use to increase the traffic (or leads) going to their websites. You could make a pretty good argument that virtually any marketing tactic can be used to create traffic. But, since I┬?m an internet marketer, I┬?m going to focus on tactics that drive traffic by increasing your online visibility.

This is an overview. If you┬?d like to see a more detailed discussion on any of these tactics, just let me know in a comment. This is also pretty basic info so I apologize if I bore you, but you might find a quick review of the options helpful.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

I start with this tactic because it┬?s my favorite. It┬?s fast; it┬?s effective; and you actually get what you pay for.
When someone types a keyword into a search engine, they get two types of listings. One type is a paid ┬? or sponsored ┬? listing (usually appearing at the top of the page and along the right-hand side). These listing are actually little ads, and each time you click on one of these the advertiser pays a free. Thus the term ┬?pay-per-click advertising┬?.

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Forget About Leads; Focus on Traffic

As you might imagine, I talk with a lot of software business owners and marketers; and they tend to fall into one of two groups:

1. Those who want to generate more leads, and

2. Those who want to generate more website traffic.

The people focused on generating more traffic usually have an ecommerce site, while those who don┬?t have an ecommerce site are still thinking in terms of generating leads.

I┬?ve found non-ecommerce site owners can benefit greatly by focusing on generating website traffic. There are two reasons for this and I┬?ll hit on both of them.

Reason number one for thinking in terms of generating traffic is that it will get prospects into your pipeline faster. Website traffic is nothing more than the beginning stages of a lead. Thinking in terms of traffic makes you think in terms of online marketing tactics, which are the ones that help you reach the low hanging fruit.

Read More

From Clicks to Customers

Has your company created a remarkable software product and you want to leverage that remarkability into more sales and a higher return on your hard work? Then this blog is for you.

Since this is the first post in a new blog and I┬?m about to share ideas and tactics for getting more customers more efficiently, maybe you want to know a little something about me.

I promise to keep it quick. And there will be an actionable tip at the end. So don┬?t give up reading too soon.

My name is Susan Tatum and I┬?m a co-founder of Clicks ┬?n Conversions marketing firm. We┬?ve been in business for nearly a decade (we used to be called Tatum Marketing) and our specialty is helping companies ┬? especially software and technology companies - use their websites to turn more visitors into paying customers at greater profits.

That┬?s what this blog is about ┬?turning website traffic into dollars using a logical, proven process. I┬?m excited about this topic because I┬?ve seen what can happen when you focus on this process. Marketing gets more efficient; revenue goes up and profits go up along with it.

Read More

3 No-Brainer Marketing Decisions

One of the most interesting ┬? and challenging ┬? things about marketing is that there┬?s never a lack of things to try or things to improve. Sometimes that leads to paralysis. When you┬?re faced with what seems like a boat load of options, you may have a hard time deciding what to do next. I know I do.

On top of that, it┬?s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. and most people have plenty of other stuff to think about. So, I┬?ll make it easy for you and give you three marketing decisions you can make almost without thinking. There are more, but experience has shown me these ducks need to be lined up before anything else works as well as it could.

1. Tune up your website

I won┬?t bore you with stats about how poorly most business websites perform. Suffice it to say it┬?s really hard to convert a high percentage of prospects into customers if your website is lame.

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How to Fix Your Website

I used to think that most business websites were beyond rescue ┬? that the best thing to do was to start all over. Out with the old ┬? in with the new.

Now I┬?m not so sure. I┬?ve seen a lot of websites that just needed some tweaking to improve performance; not a total makeover.

Don┬?t get me wrong. Some websites are a disaster and do need to be ditched completely, but that should be a last resort. One of these days I┬?ll write an article about website issues that can┬?t be solved. For now, let┬?s talk about issues that can be solved.

High Bounce Rate

If you not familiar with the term ┬?bounce rate┬?, it refers to the percentage of visitors who hit your website and leave immediately (usually within 20 seconds) without going anywhere else on the site. This is the first point of resistance on your website and it┬?s a place where you can lose a lot of potential business.

Read More

How to increase profits from current website traffic

Clicks 'n Conversions has just published a great new eBook called Maximizing Return on Reliability - How to increase profits from current website traffic.

It contains a six-step process for maximizing conversions. I invite you to visit us and download a free copy: Maximizing Return on Reliability.

Susan

Clicks 'n Conversions


Getting Started - or Restarted - with Web Analytics

Last week I encouraged you to install Google Analytics ┬? or any other tracking application ┬? on your website if it isn┬?t already there. Let┬?s continue looking at analytics this week. If you already have tracking capabilities, it still may be worth reading this post as a reminder.

So ┬? why analytics?

With your website as the hub of your marketing program you have the opportunity to understand far more about your new customer prospects, their buying process and how well you are meeting their needs than marketers have ever known before. This is both a blessing and a curse.

The blessing part includes the ability to:


  • Measure how well your traffic-building (or lead generation) activities are working.

  • Measure how effectively you are converting website visitors into paying customers ┬? or sales-ready leads.

  • Evaluate the success of any changes you make in your program.

  • Understand what your visitors are looking for and whether or not they are finding it.
Read More


 
 
 

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