Introducing ‘Common Sense Marketing’ for Online Panel Companies!!

online panels‘We have just won a large online panel project…’ goes the status update of an online panel company. My first reaction after reading it was – ‘so should I be happy for you?’ No matter how much I try to look at the positive side but such messages speaks of DESPERATION to get attention. It also portrays the complete failure of the company to understand what ‘marketing’ means. Online Panel companies especially the upcoming ones have to understand that they might lack MARKETING BUDGET but not Common Sense. There are affordable ways to stand out from the crowd and this article illustrates 5 such marketing methods.

Method 1: Share a Research Report!!

It is a completely ‘free method’ and probably will take few hours of labor – BUT the results are profound. Create a landing page on your website and put a subscription form there – all subscribers will receive a free copy of your research report or e-book.

The topic should be relevant to the research community and thoroughly prepared. Half hearted attempt will not have the desired effect.

Don’t attempt to sell your services via the report – it is counterproductive. We all are smart enough to gauge hidden sales messages.

The reason I recommend this method – Firstly it is non-intrusive method to establish you as a subject matter expert.

Secondly your potential clients are being ‘pulled’ towards your brand. This is marketing in its true essence when people willingly connect with your company.

If desperation can win you projects we will have ‘serial killers’ running successful businesses.

Method 2: Indulge in Meaningful LinkedIn discussions!!

A very interesting trend which I have personally seen on LinkedIn discussions is that member participation is higher for ‘lighter’ & ‘generic’ topics.

Probably social networking platforms are more apt for ‘topics on the fly’.

But simplicity does not mean stupidity.

You are representative of your brand when you participate in any LinkedIn group discussion.

English is not my mother tongue and sometimes I may not be grammatically correct – but basic sentence formation cannot be overlooked.

A LinkedIn poll is a very effective tool to ask quick & relevant questions.

But like all good things overdoing anything is counterproductive.

Your high activity level on LinkedIn or other such social networking platforms is NOT directly proportional to project conversion – BUT – making your presence felt is equally important.

Always remember – YOUR CLIENTS ARE NOT THAT DUMB – be sensible & reasonable!

Method 3: Network, Network & Network!!

I strongly believe that it is not important what you know but who you know!

Any marketing strategy will fail flat on its face if you don’t follow it up with STRONG NETWORKING initiatives.

No matter how much technology has advanced today but it cannot replace the HUMAN TOUCH!

Meet your clients & competitors on a regular basis – understand the ‘demand undercurrents’.

Every ‘TOUCH’ with your existing & potential client should provide some ‘value addition’.

I have seen many sales people calling up clients just for the heck of it – always remember – your competitors are too doing the same thing. Be unique and provide value to your clients on every connect.

There are primarily 3 types of NETWORKING:

1- Forced – which most of the Asian Online Panel Companies do – they will spam LinkedIn group with irrelevant messages – they will tell about every project they have recently won! – Clients will happily close their businesses than Work with such panel companies! – Forcing yourself on is the direct result of DESPERATION – AVOID IT!

2- Pushed – some online panel companies over the course of time have become ‘over-smart’ to hide their marketing messages in innocent discussions. But ALAS! Clients are too smart for that. 99% of the panel companies PUSH their clients to get business – cold calls – intro mails – gift hampers in ESOMAR meets – does it works? – Well if you have a HUGE MARKETING BUDGET – GO FOR IT!

3- Pulled – when you establish yourself as a ‘go to’ person with all things related to survey research – your knowledge providing value addition to clients – it is an IDEAL STATE – a dream come true for any marketer. Is it easy to PULL clients – no it is not – but then if it was easy than every other fake online panel company will be doing it.

Now evaluate which type of networking you are doing!

Method 4: Attend MR Industry Events!!

Nothing beats meeting clients face to face in MR events – you are able to give a FACE to your company.

Every client I have met on such Events has given me a good amount of business on a regular basis.

Sometime you might not have the requisite budget to participate in the offshore MR events – in that case at least be an active participant in the local chapters.

Few MR events where you must be a member and participate are:

1- ESOMAR

2- CASRO

3- MRA

4- INSIGHT SHOW

5- MRS

Method 5: Write a Guest Post!!

Writing a guest post has dual benefits – firstly it is free of cost & secondly it enhances your brand value as a subject matter expert.

I strongly recommend you to write guest post for Online MR Blog.

How will GUEST BLOGGING increase my sales margin??

Out of many reasons why you SHOULD be guest blogging at ONLINE MR here are few of them:

1- Online MR is one of the fastest growing blog on survey research industry.

2- Your views will be reaching to the vast 1700+ subscribed audience of the Online MR Blog. I have made efforts to approve & recruit subscribed audience of decision makers associated with survey research and allied fields.

3- Your brand will be introduced to the decision makers following the blog.

4- It will establish you as the ‘subject matter expert’ on survey research.

5- It is a non-intrusive way to connect with your potential clients.

6- Your meaningful content will help ‘connect’ with your audience.

7- Your article will also be sent across to 3200+ registered members of the LinkedIn group of Online MR. The group has more than 270 owners + 850 VP/Director + 900 Senior professionals related to survey research and allied fields.

8- NO PLATFORM can help you connect with more than 5000+ Professionals of Market Research Industry in the most effective manner as the Online MR Blog!!

9- The people you would be connecting with are a closed focus group and they influence industry and make decisions that affect opinions about brands.

10- Did I mention that it is ABSOLUTELY FREE to write guest blogs on Online MR!!

Where I can send my article to?

All articles should be sent to editor@onlinemr.com

Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three – Akshay Kanyal