Get More From Marketing Cloud: Meet Salesforce Expert Karl B.

Jul 16, 2020 Emily Brungard

According to the Walker Sands 2018 State of Marketing Technology report, sixty-three percent of marketers feel the martech landscape has evolved rapidly or at light speed in the last year, while only 28 percent feel the same about their company’s use of martech. As companies continue to see the value of and secure the budget for marketing technology tools, they’re also realizing that squeezing the full value of these tools can be difficult. In other words, they need help in order to see ROI from their martech spend. We asked Salesforce.com Certified Consultant and Torchlite expert Karl B. to discuss how marketing teams can get the most from Marketing Cloud, and how on-demand freelance experts can help marketers do more with the platform. What is the most common issue you see when working with Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers? The most common roadblock I see, especially with new Marketing Cloud customers, is the expectation that Marketing Cloud is like other marketing automation platforms—that new users can jump in and immediately leverage all the cool features Salesforce promotes. That’s when you start hearing customer complaints about Marketing Cloud; how it’s hard to use and it doesn’t work like their old marketing automation platform. Especially if they’ve come from platforms like HubSpot, which are less powerful, but easy to use. While Marketing Cloud has come a long way in simplifying complex functionality for users—take Journey Builder, for example—the real power lies in how Marketing Cloud allows you to build nearly any solution your business might need. But that power has a price. Marketing Cloud requires training and a developer mindset to truly leverage the capabilities it offers. I often describe Marketing Cloud as a “marketing automation construction set.” What do you predict will be a bigger problem in the next year for Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers? Honestly, a shortage of Marketing Cloud professionals. Customer interest in Marketing Cloud is growing faster than the supply of experienced Marketing Cloud consultants and developers. Lack of training resources has been key to this shortage. Salesforce has created some Trailhead training modules for Marketing Cloud and I can’t help but expect that more are on the way. Trailhead has turned into an incredible learning resource for Sales and Service Clouds and Salesforce’s other clouds. I look forward to seeing how Trailhead training evolves for Marketing Cloud. What is your most frequently shared tip for using Salesforce? When in doubt—Google it! During training, I always tell my clients that “Google is their best friend” when using SFMC or the other Salesforce clouds. Chances are someone else has asked for help for the same problem in Salesforce’s own communities or on StackExchange. And then there are blog posts and, of course, Salesforce’s documentation. On the flip side, what's your "secret" tip for Salesforce success? Education. Never stop learning when it comes to Salesforce—especially SFMC, which evolves so quickly. And don’t be afraid to tackle new areas, like writing SQL queries or learning AMPScript. The best SFMC users found out early on that the real power in SFMC comes from thinking like a marketer, but building like a developer. And that means getting out of your comfort zone and learning some tech. What is your proudest Salesforce-related project? Probably my second SFMC project. The client already had a very complex Sales Cloud org and needed to create dynamic meeting notification emails delivered by a Journey. That project pushed me to level up my SQL skills, dig deep into AMPScript and learn how to code API callouts from Sales Cloud to Marketing Cloud. That’s when I realized how critical developer skills are for accessing the power in SFMC. What are you most excited about in the current B2B marketing scene? Funny, but it’s been an ongoing issue for me since my days as a copywriter and marketing consultant that’s finally gaining traction. Marketers forget when selling B2B that they’re selling to people, not businesses. While the best B2B marketers have always known this, the rest are catching on and realizing that engaging with the person, not the business, is critical, especially in the first touches. I think social media has helped marketers embrace the human connection that’s essential in B2B marketing. Personalization is key to establishing relevance, and I think AI offers enormous potential in helping marketers craft relevant messages to cut through the barrage of bland marketing that prospects face every day. Applying AI effectively and ethically is going to be an exciting challenge in the years to come. Why do you think having an on-demand SFMC expert is necessary? SFMC can be frustrating for marketers new to the platform and the learning curve is demanding. An on-demand SFMC expert accelerates time-to-delivery for your campaigns. And, quite simply, it’s the best way to unlock the power of SFMC for your business without dedicating your internal staff to many hours of training and the necessary trial and error experience. Interested in learning more? Request a demo of Torchlite today.

Read More

Just Announced: Torchlite Launches Salesforce Essentials Marketplace For Small Business

Jun 30, 2020 Torchlite

Torchlite Launches Certified Advisor Marketplace for Small Businesses with Salesforce The Essentials Marketplace matches businesses with Certified Salesforce Advisors to help service small businesses and grow leads with Salesforce Essentials. INDIANAPOLIS, June 30, 2020- Torchlite, the freelance marketplace for all your Salesforce needs, announced today the launch of the Torchlite Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials, a new way for small businesses to access certified Salesforce Essentials Advisors on-demand with no long-term contracts, minimums or limits. Through the Torchlite Marketplace, Salesforce Essentials Advisors can now find work online and small businesses get access to the talent they need to run and grow their businesses. “The Torchlite Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials provides flexibility and agility on any size project at affordable costs,” says Susan Marshall, CEO and Founder of Torchlite. “We are excited to partner with Salesforce to help small businesses during these unprecedented times.” With Salesforce Essentials, small businesses can easily adopt the world’s #1 CRM platform— designed to scale and grow with them. New social, chat and phone capabilities in Salesforce Essentials empower small businesses to communicate with customers on their preferred channels—and can be deployed in just minutes. “It’s our mission to support small businesses with the technology and tools they need to connect with customers, especially in this challenging time and we're proud to partner with Torchlite” said Meredith Schmidt, Executive Vice President and GM of Salesforce Essentials. “The new Torchlite Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials is helping small businesses implement the tools they need, while at the same time helping trained freelancers find meaningful work.” In addition to matching Advisors with customers, the Torchlite Marketplace helps Advisors manage relationships with customers, find new work, and get paid. For those interested in becoming a Salesforce Essential Advisor, apply here. To get matched with a certified Salesforce Essentials Advisor, visit the client portal. About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite enables companies of any size to access and manage highly sought-after freelance talent from anywhere in the world. With Torchlite’s 3.0 platform, organizations can now take advantage of the growing freelance economy and create their own private marketplaces of experts who help customers take advantage of powerful technologies - on-demand. For more information about Torchlite, visit www.torchlite.com.

Read More

CRMs Are Critical For Small Business Success

Jun 30, 2020 Elizabeth Basile

The Coronavirus dramatically slowed the world economy in early 2020, and traditional offices, services, and retail transformed into cloud-based operations or risked closing permanently. Many were caught off guard by the urgent need for remote access, leaving them scrambling to put systems in place to survive in a world forced to do business from home. Small businesses (SMBs) were disproportionately affected by the global pandemic as they struggled to stay top of mind without direct access to their customers. When a confined workspace became a public health hazard, owners and workers left in droves with their laptops to run the business from home offices, bedrooms, and kitchen tables, hoping to stay connected and open.  CRMs Give SMBs The Edge Many SMBs have adapted at lightning speed, and it’s no secret why; those that had capitalized on advanced commerce and service solutions are faring far better than those who hadn’t. As we know, maintaining customer contact is the lifeblood of small business, and utilizing a CRM isn’t just good business, it’s become a major difference between those who are thriving, and those struggling to survive the continued economic downturn.  CRM technology allows businesses to target the most qualified leads, ramp up retention efforts, increase sales productivity, and provide highly personalized messaging to existing customers. All of this is great on a regular day, but it’s now become an absolute necessity, and one that isn’t going away.  The Right Technology At The Right Time Long before COVID-19 turned the world upside down, customers were demanding more seamless, personalized interactions. There were limitless CRM options for mid-market and enterprise level companies, but nothing that spoke to the needs and budgets of small businesses. That’s when Salesforce, the gold standard in customer relationship management platforms, stepped in. Salesforce Essentials launched in 2018 to help SMBs get on the Salesforce platform quickly, and scale up as needed. The Salesforce Essentials Advisor program trained new Admins on how to provide additional assistance customers may need to set up and maximize this powerful resource for their businesses.  Torchlite has always been there to support all levels of businesses, but as a small business ourselves, we truly understand the importance of the right people at the right time, using the right technology. This month, Torchlite proudly announced the launch of our Salesforce Essentials Advisor Marketplace. It's a new way for small businesses to access certified Salesforce Essentials Advisors on-demand with no long-term contracts, minimums, or limits. As we move forward with the lessons learned from the past few months, we remain committed to helping your business navigate and thrive in these unprecedented times, while creating job opportunities through our talent marketplace.   Learn more at https://torchlite.com/salesforce-essentials-advisors/

Read More

Your Mid-Year Salesforce Marketing Cloud Check Up

Jun 15, 2020 Emily Brungard

It’s June—can you believe it? We’re not just telling you it’s June because we think you’re unaware of the date (we all rely on our Google Calendars, after all)—we’re reminding you that it’s time to check in on your 2020 marketing success. We’re halfway through the year—are you halfway to achieving your marketing goals? If you implemented Salesforce Marketing Cloud this year, you now have a solid six months of data to review. If you’ve used it for longer than that, even better: You have even more benchmark data to work from. Have you really looked at your Salesforce Marketing Cloud numbers yet this year? Not just your open rate or total engagements. Have you done a deep dive into your marketing processes to analyze what’s working and what should be changed? If you haven’t had a chance yet this year, we get it—marketers are busy! But doing so will give you the valuable insight you need to plan for the rest of the year and beyond. A/B Testing in Email Studio By now you know the importance of testing your emails. You even have the tools to do it yourself, but you might not know what your next steps should be. Email Studio’s A/B testing abilities give you visibility into whether or not your marketing emails could be working harder. Let’s say you are the Director of Marketing for a popsicle company. Your company is seeing an uptick in sales (it is summer, after all), but your email marketing program hasn’t been updated in a while. As you revamp your email efforts, you come up with two great, pun-filled subject lines. Which one will get the most opens, leading your customer to download a coupon and purchase your latest flavor? Only A/B testing will tell. Email Segmentation with Marketing Cloud You already know that sending your emails into cyberspace with no audience in mind is a no-no. When was the last time you refreshed your audience segments? If you’ve pivoted in your strategy over the last six months, it’s important to make sure that your emails are reaching the right prospects. More than that, prospects need to be receiving personalized messages that are relevant to them. With all of the information available to us as marketers today, there’s no excuse for not breaking down your audience based on marketing goals. Your popsicle company just launched a new flavor: prune. Your email sign up requires a birthday (for birthday treats, of course), so you are able to break down your audience by age. With your prior knowledge and a little research on the prune-eating demographic, you decide to target customers above the age of 50. Luckily, you've already built a list of customers who fit this demographic. Your prune popsicle is sold out in no time. Optimize Your Email Audience with Marketing Cloud As the Director of Marketing for your popsicle company, you know that you need marketing to generate popsicle buyers (also known as leads). Your email list helps you do that by sharing the latest news, upcoming events, and more. Did your list growth become stagnant over the winter? It’s time to reignite its growth with some old fashioned cross-channel marketing. Use channels you’ve already invested your time and money in, like digital advertising and social media, to create and execute your email growth strategy. Remember, just because the year is half over doesn’t mean you have to stick with what you’re already doing. Now could be the perfect time to dive into a new medium. Whether you work for a popsicle company, a start-up, or an enterprise business, the mid-way point of 2020 is here and it’s time to check in on your marketing progress. The Torchlite Marketplace connects you with experts and templates that show you what to do, how to do it and who can get it done.

Read More

An Agile Workforce Is The Future

May 20, 2020 Susan Marshall

Marketing leaders across industries and geographies are feeling the pressure to answer tough questions about the future of work, like: How do we attract and develop the new talent we need? How do we scale and accelerate the pace of change? How can we ensure that the people with us now don’t get left behind? And how do we make the right investment in our people to prepare them for the future? An agile, modern workforce depends on a people-first strategy that embraces tech. Leaders need to play a driving role in supporting the development of an agile workforce if they want to survive the digital transformation. The businesses of Silicon Valley and other tech hubs have become leading examples of why an agile mindset works, hitting home the importance of implementing methods that get things out the door for testing quickly (like rapid prototyping or the sprints we do here at Torchlite). Rapid innovation is key — there’s always time to hammer out the minor details after you can prove that a concept is valuable. BMO’s chief transformation officer, Lynn Roger, put it best: “Speed is the new business currency.” Adopting an agile talent strategy allows you to: Bridge the gap between current employees and the skills they’re missing An agile workforce looks “more like highly orchestrated networks and ecosystems with a multitude of approaches to mobilizing, orchestrating, and engaging talent, skills, leaders, and ideas,” according to Deloitte. This business model is especially attractive to companies with talent gaps. No one employee can know it all, which is why more and more businesses are turning to freelancers to supplement their teams. The role that a freelancer plays on a team varies based on the needs of your company. Some on-demand experts augment teams on a single project basis, while others enter into months- or even years-long working relationships. Freelance talent is also used to manage variable demand for companies like agencies whose workloads vary based on client needs. These experts also work in both extended, long-term projects as well as one-off project roles. According to Accenture, “up to 40% of companies experience talent shortages impacting the ability to adapt and innovate.” Understanding that your potential talent’s experience comes from a variety of locations — taking breaks to pursue further education, building a side hustle as a stay at home parent, interning, traveling — and not just traditional corporate jobs, is key to building a diverse and effective workforce. Drive collaborative innovation New perspectives are refreshing. When your team recruits help from the outside (via freelancers, consultants, or any number of other methods), you’re opening the doors to potentially game-changing ideas. When you’ve been neck-deep in a problem for a long time, you start to lose perspective. A fresh set of eyes can unveil solutions you’d never come up with yourself. These “outsiders” can also be pivotal to driving innovation. They force you to answer the question “why?” — and that’s never a bad thing. When they ask questions, they’re trying to get to the root of the problem so they can help develop new solutions to test. This experimentation is the key to actually getting things done instead of just discussing them. These on-demand workers allow you to test ideas on the fringes and fail fast. Focus on what you’re best at while building a happier workforce The benefits of working with freelancers can be obvious — like the fact that you’re checking tasks off of your marketing to-do list. Equipping your team with the right tools, including access to on-demand experts, allows them to focus on their goals and get more done. Freelancers act as a second line of defense for your internal team, allowing you to focus on what you do best while the experts knock out projects quickly and effectively. Some benefits, however, are less obvious. It’s true that on-demand experts allow you to focus on what you do best, but did you know that they also create a happier workforce? Freelancers are “often able to pursue a broader set of goals, whether those are about family, a creative pursuit, a side interest, or community involvement,” according to Deloitte research. Perhaps the concept is best understood as Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski, professor at Yale School of Management and workforce researcher, shared with Deloitte: “They care about money, and they worry about money, but they’re not doing this just for money. In fact, money is a problem they have to solve so that they can do what’s really driving them.” Partner with others to provide value for customers And now, tech companies, agencies, educators and brands are all looking for ways to better access, manage and pay freelancers at scale. Our own customers are building and managing private marketplaces to manage talent and produce great results. From training programs to martech vendors, customers of all sizes and from many industries have leveraged the Torchlite platform to empower their own customers: One martech vendor found that a private marketplace provided access to the talent that their partners and customers needed. This increased their time to value, reduced customer attrition, and ultimately led to happier customers. Another marketing technology vendor took advantage of a private marketplace to create a new revenue stream. While freelancers involved in the private marketplace make money and provide value, companies are also able to monetize the ecosystem. One digital marketing academy CEO turned their custom marketplace into a tool for graduates of their program. The students want to put their certifications and skills to work immediately, and their marketplace allowed them to showcase expertise and find gigs. How do I start? Before you can set any changes in place, you must first expand the concept of the modern workforce. That means understanding that some of the most valuable contributors on your team can extend beyond a 9-to-5, office setting. Modern marketers recognize the ability to source talent in new ways is key to competitive agility, and that means incorporating tech and other tools into the talent-hunting process. Put your team on the path to success with a single source that allows you to access, engage, and manage expert on-demand talent. After all, success depends on having the right people at the right time.

Read More

The Freelance Revolution: Working In A Post-COVID World

Apr 22, 2020 Susan Marshall

It Has To Be the Right Partnership At Torchlite, we're obviously fans of independent contractors and freelancers. Over the years, we've grown to love these problem solving, creative entrepreneurs and do everything we can to support their careers. In fact, we are a catalyst to matching professional freelancers with the brands that need their skills on demand. But you can’t just add anyone to your roster — it has to be the right partnership. So naturally, we are concerned about the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic and  consequences for freelancers and independent professionals. According to the New York Times at least 316 million people in the US, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, are being urged to stay home. Many of those people will be forced to reconsider how and where they work, some jumping into the independent contract business full time. We at Torchlite are here to help with that transition.   Implications For The Freelance Revolution PwC has helpfully published two interesting reports. The first is PwC’s 2020 CEO survey, published at the end of March, and involving chief executives from a variety of industries and geographies. The second is a survey of corporate CFO executives, also recently published.  This month, Forbes provided a summary of the CEO study main findings, followed by some interesting implications for the freelance revolution.  Worth a read, but here are the highlights. It's good news for our freelancers: Finance talent transformation is a key emphasis.  Half (50%) of CFOs describe their team as lacking the right skills mix to meet future business needs. Moreover, 60% believe that stable, long-term employment, is less likely in the future. Taken together, it’s fairly evident from the PwC and BCG reports that freelance and independent management consulting opportunity is likely to increase and broaden as a result of COVID 19. What might we expect: More companies are likely to access freelancers both for cost efficiency and to supplement critical skill sets. Without doubt, freelancing enables a more cost and time efficient approach to supplementing or adding critical technical skills. But, beyond cost efficiency, freelancing makes it possible to attract world-class talent that would be unavailable to most organizations on a full-time basis.  Perhaps the expert wouldn’t be interested in full-time work, or his or her full-time cost would blow up the staffing budget. But, she or he would be available on a project basis, or as a consulting advisor.   4IR offers interesting and important freelance work and lots of it.  Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum described the fourth industrial revolution this way: “The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.”  These are seen as critical investment areas, and no organization has the internal staff to independently realize the potential of 4IR. Remember, companies like Alphabet, Apple and Facebook - able to access tremendous resources - continues to depend on freelancers to fill out their teams. Freelancing, on a global scale, will grow significantly to meet the 4IR challenge. Freelancers are a critical resource to more industries. As BCG points out, freelancing is undeterred by industrial boundaries. Whether in agriculture, finance or education, most organizations lack the full set of skills and experiences they will need to take full advantage of future global and regional growth opportunities.  More areas of freelancing will grow in importance. The data sends a very clear message: freelancing will grow in a widening range of professional areas. We’ve already seen the rise of independent management consulting platforms, and the growth of new platforms in an ever growing set of professions. More companies are partnering with freelance platforms to build a more flexible, blended workforce. A Changed Economy As the danger of COVID 19 passes, and executives rework their businesses, reinventing in the context of broken supply chains, skill gaps, and digital transformational requirements, freelancing  has an exciting and attractive future. At Torchlite we have the tools and expertise to help freelancers and independent contractors thrive in our changed economy. For many companies, the work doesn’t stop even if the workers can’t be onsite. The expert freelancers who have the talents and skills that are in high demand can define where and how they work, compensation, and many other specifications around how they do their work. Join Torchlite’s network of freelancers today. Vive la Revolution!

Read More

4 Statistics That Make the Case for an On-Demand Workforce

Jun 12, 2019 Emily Brungard

We live in a world that’s moving at hyperspeed. Customers want more, and they want it faster. Demands on your team are growing at an impossible rate. Technology is enabling us to do more, but it will only take you so far without the people who know how to use it. With all of these demands, you may not have had the chance to consider integrating everything (customers, your internal team, and technology) to make your job easier. But we’ve found the key to keeping up with these demands comes down to talent: having the right people at the right time. If you need more convincing, consider these statistics: 68% of HR pros have trouble attracting top full-time talent Highly skilled freelance experts have the leverage to do work on their terms. More and more freelancers, especially the ones with highly sought after talents, are leaving the 9-to-5 world for more flexible work lives. This is only confirmed by the fact that, according to the Society for Human Resources Management, more than two-thirds of HR managers have experienced difficulties attracting the best talent to their open full-time roles. By 2026, Fortune 2000 companies will have no employees outside of the C-suite In the next decade, could you be saying goodbye to your traditional org chart? Accenture predicts that by 2026, the most successful companies won’t employ people outside of the executive team. As this liquid workforce evolves, companies will double down on the value of having the people with the exact expertise they need, at just the right time. That means instead of hiring a full-time technical expert for a project that requires heavy lifting at first but then tapers off, companies can bring in an expert to implement their new tech or tool and then continue contracting on an hourly or project basis. What does that mean? More money in your marketing budget to drive results. 30% of headcount spend is put toward on-demand workers Enterprise companies are dedicating a third of their headcount budgets to contingent workers, independent contractors, and freelancers. When a project comes up that the company’s internal team doesn’t have the skills to complete, on-demand experts enable them to navigate roadblocks and continue moving the needle. In other words, they help companies get around the situations that would have stopped them in their tracks before. Nearly half of businesses can’t find the on-demand talent they need According to SAP Fieldglass, 45% of businesses are experiencing a shortage of on-demand experts. In other words, they can’t find the people they need to get everything done, and it’s affecting productivity and results. Non-employee talent makes up 40% of the global workforce today, and they’re not just filling administrative or support roles — they’re the people making strategic decisions that move these companies forward. Searching for the right people to fill gaps on your marketing or professional services team? Tap into Torchlite’s network of experts today.

Read More

How Marketing Technology Companies Can Get More From Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Apr 24, 2019 Emily Brungard

Marketers are sort of like explorers. Over time they have developed and utilized different techniques and technologies to discover new and improved methods of success. Today’s marketers rely on software to enhance marketing plans or create entirely new marketing initiatives. This type of software is what we refer to as MarTech (Marketing Technology). Technopedia defines MarTech as: “The intersection of marketing and technology in today's highly digital business world. Any type of technology that has a bearing on marketing operations can be called ‘martech’ whether it is a part of an analysis platform, a device-facing benchmark tool, or any other type of digital or high-tech resource.” The diversity of MarTech has opened up loads of opportunities, tools, and techniques that empower marketers on their way to creating the ideal buyer’s journey — after all, there are more than 7,000 martech tools available today. This means that you will be sifting through hundreds of software and applications to determine which are necessary and work the best. But let’s get down to brass tacks. There are a few core principles or categories of MarTech floating around the marketplace at the moment, which also happen to be the areas that Salesforce Marketing Cloud has focused in on. They’re also the categories you need to create the best possible technology stack for your martech company. Many of these focal points revolve around the power of analytics and data as a way to monitor campaigns and your customer experience as a whole across the digital ecosystem. While there are nearly endless combinations of tools and platforms to add to your martech stack, these are at the core of a successful strategy. Content Marketing Tools We don’t need to convince you how important content is — but we’ll emphasize the significance of a few certain tools and applications for a successful content strategy. Your CMS (content management system) is responsible for a few necessary components of content management and has some key capabilities, including: Hosting your website Writing your content Editing your content Publishing your content Blogging Hosting native content (video, graphics, audio, landing pages) Popular CMS platforms include: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla We mention these content management systems because they are an important foundation. While your CMS is where all of your website’s content will live — you’re going to need to get people there. There are a ton of avenues available for driving traffic and converting leads from your website. Salesforce Marketing Cloud hosts an entire suite of cutting-edge marketing tools to get the job done. Email Studio This one seems to be a piece of digital marketing that simply won’t go away. It feels like every year someone predicts the decline of email as a successful marketing tool, and every year they are proven wrong. Email marketing technology is used by a ton of companies. In fact, 82% of all B2C and B2B businesses implement this piece of MarTech. Reaching customers through an email campaign takes a special approach. Not only are you dealing with extremely short attention spans, but you’re also trying to stand out among other email marketers. This can pose a challenge for marketers, but it becomes much easier with the right strategy, tools, and software. And there’s no shortage of tools out there. Automation tools like ConvertKit or Mailchimp are popular options. Salesforce Email Studio is built into the cloud and allows you to manage and produce fantastic email campaigns that work for your niche or target audience. Email Studio empowers you to make better email decisions, backed by data, with features like: 1. Relevant targeting for your audience Data is your most powerful ally. With Email Studio, you’re able to import, filter, and segment data making automation a breeze. Retarget your most active subscribers easily and send them more relevant information and offers. 2. Tools to build your email Email Studio empowers you to create beautiful emails with quick and easy template designs. You’re also able to optimize for mobile — this is a big one. So many people read email on their phones and having to pinch and zoom to read relevant information will lose you subscribers, fast. There are also some unique tools built into the platform as well. Interactive content like weather reports or different types of carousels set you apart from the rest with relevant personalization, which brings us to another key feature of Email Studio. 3. Personalizable content Take the power of AI into your hands with Einstein — a powerful way to personalize emails to an insane degree. 4. Scalable campaigns Personalize every email, regardless of the size of your target audience or the stage they’re in on their customer journey. Make changes along the way to further personalize and tweak your messaging. Best of all, you can test and preview your messages before you send them out. Journey Builder Creating an engaging and personal customer journey is an integral part of building a successful MarTech stack. Having a visual representation of that journey that you can manipulate and share across teams will help build a focused vision and goal. Effectively communicating your customer journey and unifying your marketing and sales departments to create a cohesive mission is an essential component of mapping a customer journey. With so many touchpoints to focus on, having a customizable customer journey simplifies the process. Engage your customers during real-time events like downloads, purchases, or other engagement behaviors. With data at your fingertips, you’re able to harness customer behaviors like browsing or purchase history to personalize messaging and deliver the right message at the right time. Social Studio While social media may have begun as a primarily casual platform, it has grown into a marketers playground. There are so many platforms with unique audiences, targeting and posting styles — companies are able to reach customers in a familiar way. Social media provides a new way to provide customer service and customer experience. Salesforce Social Studio lets you into the conversation. Listen in on what your customers are talking about and learn how to best reach your target demographic. This social hub is your social media one-stop-shop. Write, edit, schedule and publish content in one sharable location. Approve admins and unify your social media efforts under one roof. As always, you’ll have an inside look at reporting and creative performance — allowing you to pivot social campaigns and directives as needed. This visual studio helps you take command of your customer interactions and insights — allowing you to make more informed decisions on your social channels. Advertising Studio Online advertising provides an affordable way to reach millions of customers. The best part about having all of your MarTech syncronized through Salesforce is having actionable analytics, insights, and data to improve all aspects of your marketing approach. This includes paid online advertising. When you’re investing heavily on ad spend, you want to make sure it’s being used effectively to generate the right leads, and ultimately driving sales. Connect all of your digital efforts like email campaigns, social engagements, and Journey Builder to create the perfect Facebook or Google advertising campaign. Salesforce Data Management Platform (DMP) We can’t stress enough how important data and analytics management is. That’s why we recommend the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. There are so many amazing tools within the cloud that can empower your marketing efforts. From gathering marketing intelligence to sharing data, the power of actionable data has never been easier to digest. Mobile Studio Capturing customer via mobile has a ton of unique benefits. Customers spend a great deal of their time on their phones (more than 3.5 hours per day, on average), making it a great place to promote offers through mobile messaging. You can build and automate mobile campaigns with ease through Mobile Studio. You also have the ability to boost your apps’ messaging power with automated alerts or deals, either on a scheduled basis or even through location-based programming. There’s also great targeting and analytics built right into the platform, taking your targeting efforts and empowering your marketing technology even further. Harnessing the Marketing Cloud Cloud-based MarTech has changed the way we understand marketing technology. While many marketing efforts were siloed in the past, they are now interconnected and work in concert with one another to create a truly special experience for customers. The truth is that the transition to a unified omnichannel experience has become standard for most customers. If you’re lagging behind, they will take notice. Quality marketing is only as powerful as the MarTech that it’s built upon. While there are a ton of great pieces of marketing technology available, only a select few work seamlessly with one another. At the end of the day, your martech needs to be well-integrated to create a memorable experience for customers. Salesforce’s robust platform makes it easier for marketers to access and use their data to create personalized, relevant experiences for their future customers.

Read More

Finding the Perfect Marketing Freelancer

Mar 26, 2019 Emily Brungard

Finding the right freelancer can sometimes feel like an endless game of match-making. Sifting through experts with acute knowledge in the right niche or industry can take far too long. However, finding the right marketer can make all the difference and open up new avenues for campaigns, growth, and opportunities. But you can’t just add anyone to your roster — it has to be the right partnership. Freelancers vs. In-House vs. Agencies Finding the right marketing solution and partnership for your business is a comparison game. You’re likely trying to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer, a new team member or partnering with an agency. You’re not alone. The changing tides of business have created new avenues for productivity and it is now possible to succeed without a physical location or a comprehensive in-house team. Project-based teams, freelancers, specialized agencies and white-label partners have opened up the doors for new business opportunities. But there are certainly pros and cons for each of these options. Cost Effectiveness Agencies Agencies often offer project-based or retainer based partnerships. These are more expensive than freelancers but less expensive than hiring a new employee (at least over time). In-House The cost of an in-house employee is often underestimated. This option seems attractive because building an in-house team is great for collaboration and culture, but the overall costs can come back in droves. Taking into consideration factors like training, salary, benefits, PTO and possibly turnover — the expenses start adding up quick. Freelancer Hiring a freelancer is the most affordable option (by far). Professional freelancers come equipped with the right skills, resources, and tools to do their job efficiently. Vetting and selecting an expert in your niche is really the only hidden cost. Expertise Agencies Agencies are typically specialized and have team members that reflect that particular niche. Design agencies have designers and web-design agencies have developers...so on and so forth. While these are typically good options for specific expertise, the very best talent typically prefers to work as a freelancer or in an actual operational role within an existing company. In-House Finding in-house talent is a game of cat and mouse. The shifting landscape of marketing has created new specializations left and right. Social media coordinators, PPC managers, SEO experts — these are all necessary components of a successful digital campaign, but one person can rarely do them all. This means you will be hiring a lot of employees. Freelancer Freelancers are great for expertise because you can pick and choose exactly what you need. This widens the scope of any project your client may need because you can hire a freelancer to complete tasks you don’t have the capacity for. Manually searching for freelancers is a headache, but that’s what an on-demand expert marketplace is for! Communication Agencies Depending on the particular agency, this one is a coin-toss. Some agencies pride themselves on constant communication while others are overloaded with work and may take longer to respond. You are also limited to one or two points of contact and work on a delivery, review, revision, delivery schedule. In-House As you may have guessed, communication with an in-house hire is almost flawless. The ease of having someone in person without having to worry about alternative means of communication or even time zones makes this one a breeze. Freelancers This is something you can’t really control unless you have done your due diligence during the vetting process. If communication is a make-or-break factor for you, it should be discussed as an expectation from the start. On the positive side, freelancers rarely put aside a set time to respond, which means you can sometimes converse outside of a strict 9-5. Quick Freelancer Checklist If you have decided to go the freelance route, there are some things you should consider before selecting your expert. Here are the basics: Full-Time Professionals You want to look for freelancers that are professionals in their own right. What do we mean by this? You’re looking for full-time freelancers. This is a big one because professional freelancers have mastered the craft of handling multiple clients, projects, and deadlines simultaneously. Yes, it’s important that the freelancers you choose are well-versed in the field you’re looking for. But it’s equally important that they are vetted for their expertise in the freelance field. Google Check This is a given, but it can easily shine a light on any red flags that may be looming in the background. It can also show you a lot about a freelancer’s qualifications, past work and how they market themselves (the proof is in the pudding). What to look for: Do they have a website? Do they have an LLC? Do they have social media accounts? While all of these aren’t a necessity for whether or not you should hire a specific freelancer, they will give you some insights for what you are getting into. Get References and Evidence Any freelancer you are considering should have no issues giving you references or past work examples for you to evaluate. Past work can really help narrow down your search for a freelancer by illustrating the style and diligence they convey through their career. Verify Their Skills This can be done a few ways, but it's definitely worth doing before hiring a new freelancer. Verifying their skills with any tools or software in question is never out of the question. Ask about any certifications they may have or courses they have completed. Depending on the type of expert you are looking for, you may want to test out their skills with a small test project. Once you have gone through this checklist you’re ready to start interviewing or selecting the perfect freelancer match. Asking The Right Questions First things first, remember that you are looking for help because you are lacking the time, resources or expertise to complete a necessary project or campaign. Start your search by evaluating the holes that you are trying to fill. This will help you narrow down exactly what kind of freelancer you are looking for and the expectations you have for them once they get started. Next, you should ask these 8 questions to assist in the match-making process. There is no such thing as a shortage in preparation when it comes to finding the perfect freelancer — especially if you want results. Are they taking a holistic approach to understanding my problem? Do they have the strengths and expertise needed to achieve my marketing goals? Do they understand my brand and messaging? How will they communicate and collaborate with my in-house team? Will I have the visibility to track projects and approvals on a frequent basis How and how often will they report on the performance and results of their marketing efforts? Can I seamlessly modify my marketing plan and add or change project experts as my needs change, or will I need to find a new partner? What can I expect from the first 90 days of this partnership? Setting expectations is a two-way street. Not only is this important for your own project transparency but also for your freelance partner. Creating clear expectations frees up freelance talent to creating the very best result within the scope of their own multi-client workload. Working with someone who shares your values and will execute your vision is what you want. At the end of the day, you’re looking for a trustworthy partner who will help your team succeed. Project Transparency One big hurdle that we often see companies trying to overcome with freelancers is project transparency and setting expectations. It’s a big deal so we understand why it’s a topic of discussion. Businesses are reluctant to utilize freelancers for a few reasons. They don’t trust people that they haven’t worked with before They have been burned by a freelancer in the past They think it reflects poorly on their business to utilize outside help The truth about these three reasons is that the freelancer could certainly be to blame — but more often than most people would like to admit, the fault is double-sided. Relaying project expectations is 100% the responsibility of the person hiring the freelancer. If you have been burned in the past by a freelancer underdelivering or missing a deadline, it could have been a bad hire. Not your fault. But it may be worth revisiting whether or not your company relayed the necessary information to the talent. Hesitating to hire a freelancer because you aren’t sure whether or not they have what it takes is certainly a concern we understand. That’s why expert marketplaces like ours take pride in finding experienced, skilled and passionate freelancers to offer their clients. Freelancer Time Management As we mentioned, your first step in the vetting process is to find a professional freelancer. Not only is this to ensure that the talent you have acquired is official, but also experienced in handling multiple projects. Now, you’re not going to be able to manage your freelancers time for them. This is entirely up to their process. But we may have some freelancers out there that are reading this article, so this part is just for you! If you’re not a freelancer, feel free to skip this section. Learn to say no This is something that many freelancers learn the hard way over time. Freelancers want to get hired again, especially if they have built a good rapport with a client. Because of this, it’s often difficult to say no even if you know you’re going to be overloaded with work. But this is something you have to nip in the bud early. Just like it’s important for you client to relay expectations effectively to you, it’s equally important for you to relay your availability to them. Get rid of distractions This is a tough one. Productivity is your currency and you will go broke if you have too many distractions limiting your time. Email, funny YouTube videos — even your cell phone can take away from your workday. Try to segment your day so that you check in on important contact platforms at certain times, that way you’re not distracted by requests Treat it like a job You may be thinking “Well it is my job!”. We know, but creating your own work schedule, routines, and limitations are how you can remain happy while doing freelance work. Trying to adopt the workstyles of all your clients can scramble your brain. You definitely want to work as an extension of their team, but you may need to communicate some boundaries as to how you prefer to work. Freelance Cost Effectiveness Our marketing team has saved more than a quarter million dollars over the last year by leveraging our own business model. By harnessing the power of the Torchlite Marketplace, we throttle our marketing team when and where we need it, allowing us to create the output of a larger organization with more resources. Onboarding a new employee costs, on average, $4,000 and takes between three and four weeks. When you factor in all of the costs and the time it takes for your new hire to reach peak productivity, you might ask yourself if it’s all worth it. Freelancers can be productive immediately, and they’re only paid when you need specific work done. There’s no need to hire a full-time web developer, for example, if you only need occasional work done on your website. Companies that use freelancers also save on benefits like insurance, retirement contributions and PTO—freelancers aren’t employees, after all. This saves companies an average of $4,708 per employee per year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If a company can hire ten freelancers instead of ten employees, that adds up to $47,000 in annual savings on healthcare alone (that means an entire additional employee!). Add to your bottom line without adding to your headcount. Reach out today to find your project's perfect match!

Read More

Beat Marketing Overload With On-Demand "Flexperts"

Mar 06, 2019 Emily Brungard

“I need help yesterday.” It’s an all-too-familiar situation for busy marketers. A big client has been slow to respond to emails, but now they’re back and pushing for results ASAP. Another just signed on. Yet another is adding on an extra project that requires specialized help. Your team is bogged down with both client and internal requests, and they just keep coming. What if you could get ahead of these capacity shortfalls before they ever happen? You have options: Outsource to another agency Let’s say you work for an agency that specializes in Salesforce Marketing Cloud services. You’ve got a bunch of competitors, and your team’s capacity is filled to the brim. Do you outsource to a competitor? And who’s to say that your project is going to take priority ahead of higher-dollar campaigns? The price is usually steep regardless and oft-times they want to make the decisions instead of just doing as you’ve asked. Find your own freelancer The marketing industry is small. If you ask around, you’ll find someone who knows someone who can vouch for someone who’s used a rockstar freelancer in the past. Word of mouth and peer reviews are great, but the risk often comes with getting on his or her docket — getting your job to the top of the heap — and making sure that their skills line up with your needs. If you need help now, you’ll need to make sure that hour requirements and schedules are set well ahead of time. Plus, paying an independent contractor through PayPal can sometimes raise eyebrows in accounting. Tap an online flexpert service The modern marketer knows that the rise of the gig economy has done more than just made hailing a cab easier. Online talent marketplaces of specialized experts have transformed the way marketing is getting done. These marketplaces consist of what we call technical “flexperts” — or flexible experts — who can take your projects and get them done when you need them most. Web-based services like Torchlite provide an easy way to find a flexpert with the skills, background, and availability to support your projects. Plus, the service does the dirty work of vetting them for know-how and quality, so you can rest assured you get the right fit.

Read More

Visit the Torchlite Marketplace to learn more about how certified, professional freelancers support and grow businesses.