Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Is now a good time to add video to your marketing strategy?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 06-May-2020 14:30:38

Many of us are working from home. A percentage of our target audience has been put on furlough and traditional marketing activities, such as events, have been postponed or moved online.

Is now a good time to think about video?

With our sales teams busy conducting webinars, could video help to influence a wider audience and support growth?

Marketing Videos

Video content can be put together quickly and cheaply using third parties, which can be edited and kept up to date. It can help to convey complex messaging in a simple and visual way. It is popular on websites and social streams as part of an integrated campaign.

Training Videos

Videos can be created to train furloughed staff on new products. One downside is that they can go out of date very quickly, especially as products and portals are updated so regularly. Recording webinars can be a very effective way of keeping content current and can be distributed to a wider audience.

Recordings

Recordings of online panel debates or podcasts your company took part in, can enhance your credibility and get a key message out to a wider audience.

Personal Videos

Be very careful when going ‘live’ on social platforms. Without proper practice and strong key messages that are relevant to your audience, you run the risk of disengaging them.

In conclusion, if video can enhance your product content with case studies, testimonials and independent reviews, it can be a useful part of your online strategy. In the current climate having video content you can email to customers after an online meeting, can help to influence decision makers.

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Topics: marketing

Social Media During a Crisis

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 29-Apr-2020 12:43:23

Many partners have asked about how to develop an effective social media marketing strategy. Others have asked if they should change their strategy for the current climate. I have put together this blog to help answer both these questions.

Building target audience

Firstly, an effective social media campaign delivers the right key messages to the right audience at the right time and it is much harder than it sounds. Firstly, you need to develop the right audience. The mistake many partners make is thinking that because they have a vast amount of connections, they have a great audience to target. How many of these connections are truly target audience? It takes a lot of time and diligence to craft out a regular time each week to find and connect with target audience. Over time messages become more targeted, response rates improve and slowly the audience builds.

With many decision makers working from home, you may find that now is a good time to try and connect with more of your target audience, especially if you have a unique solution to a known problem. A good example is SMEs and homeworkers struggling with slow internet connectivity. With BT Openreach unable to gain access to install and repair many services, projects have stalled, and revenues have been affected. Providing 4G routers and unlimited 4G data SIM cards is a good solution to ensure customers get access to the internet in the short-term and can be used as a back-up in the future if primary circuits fail.

COVID is not an opportunity

Rule number 1. COVID is not an opportunity and should not be perceived as one. It is ok to continue to sell and market your products. Being seen to profit from a global pandemic is irresponsible and will negatively affect your brand.

Many social media posts paused as news of the pandemic spreading to the UK and the lock-down measures were communicated. Posts, like adverts have now been reviewed and messaging has been changed.

How can you help?

 In the channel many of us have been supplying 4G devices to the public sector and charities to help healthcare professionals work remotely. Others have helped homeworkers access files securely and use phone systems from home.

Social posts have been full of empathy and aimed at customers they can help. Others have highlighted how individuals can help such as making scrubs or raising money for the NHS.

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Topics: marketing

Four awards in the last five months

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 15-Nov-2019 11:48:12

Jola, the channel’s leading mobile data specialist, won four prestigious channel awards in the last five months. In June, Cherie Howlett, our Marketing Director won the very first Comms Business, Women in Channel Award.  In October at the Comms National Awards, Jola won Best Wholesale Service Provider and Best Mobile Distributor. Last week at the CRN Women in Channel Awards, Cherie Howlett was named Entrepreneur of the Year.

We established Jola five and a half years ago. Andrew Dickinson, Adrian Sunderland, Lee Broxson, Cherie Howlett and Antony Dearden were the founders. We had previously worked together at Griffin Internet, as had Rob Stevens, who joined us in July 2016. The team has grown to twenty seven, supporting over six hundred channel partners. We run the company using very similar values to those used at Griffin, customer first, accountability, results, integrity and respect.

Jola’s ethos is to work with partners to uncover profitable opportunities, which generate recurring revenues, increase ARPU and build eBITDA, whilst keeping operating costs to a minimum. We do the hard work with the carriers to provide resellers with a wide choice of products, at the best possible pricing, with tools to make ordering, provisioning, management, support and billing easy. We focus on developing innovative new products such as Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams Phone System and eSIMs to give resellers a way to profit from new technologies and win against the retail carriers. We are passionate about helping partners succeed and grow and just as passionate about supporting our own staff to reach their potential.

We are one of the fastest growing companies in the channel and look to recruit bright, can-do professionals, who can grow with us. We are a diverse organisation with an inclusive ethos, great benefits and flexible working. We use the products we sell, champion our employees and the resellers they support.

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Topics: marketing

New Business

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 15-Nov-2019 11:12:16

The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%. So why, when it is five times more expensive to win new business than it is to retain existing partners we can cross-sell and up-sell to, do we focus all of our efforts and budget on new business?

I think it is because we are looking for bigger and better deals to help grow the business. We want bigger brand names to add to our case studies and to be able to provide, in many cases, much more of a solution to embed customers with us, reduce churn and increase ARPU.

We often underestimate how long it takes to; build a list of key prospects, craft campaigns, build trusted relationships, have the exact proposition they need, in a situation where they can’t get it from their existing supplier. As a marketer or salesperson with a big target, time is not our friend.

In the meanwhile, crafting campaigns to existing customers can help get some quick wins and build confidence in the strategy. Adding new product content to communications, presentations and proposals, especially as an easy up-sell, can be really effective.

The other short cut comes from existing relationships. If you have a trusted relationship within a prospect you can often leverage this to get you in-front of the right people to understand requirements with a view to start proposing a solution. Being sponsored into a new prospect by an existing customer is very powerful and should be encouraged.

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Topics: marketing

Marketing Tips for New Partners

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 15-Nov-2019 10:49:20

New partners tend to sign contracts with a new supplier either because they have made a strategic decision to add complementary services to their portfolio, or they are working on an opportunity which requires services they do not sell.

The first scenario is often driven by the senior management team, engaging departments as required, to help onboard a new product. They have a clear idea on who their target audience is, their requirements and price points to win business. They are familiar with competitive offerings and are keen to leverage USPs. They know how to package and position solutions to gain competitive advantage, and are quick to act.

These partners are happy to use white-label marketing materials to enhance their own website, campaigns and sales literature. They focus on the products that exactly meet their requirements and quickly skill-up, in order to sell, provision bill and support. They track their success financially and put pressure on suppliers to ensure they continue to win, in changing market conditions.

The second scenario is driven by a current opportunity. Pricing is key as well as a successful test of the product. If the testing goes well and the commercials cost-in, orders are placed as and when they are needed. If deals are successful, they may be productised. Focus is often on the original deal and case studies and testimonials crafted to support sales and marketing campaigns to win similar deals.

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Topics: marketing

The benefits of sponsorship

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 21-May-2019 09:12:21

Sponsorship is the financial or in-kind support of an activity. It is used to reach specified business goals and is considered a qualitative rather than quantitative medium, aligning a company with a person, activity or event. In the channel there are plenty of opportunities to sponsor awards and events and there are companies working with well-known sports people.

Enhancing brand image and customer relations

Many companies associate themselves with popular, well-established events, that appeal to their target audience. The objective is to shape buying habits and influence decision making, by creating a positive emotional connection with their target audience.

Building brand awareness

By sponsoring an event you have the chance to get your brand name in-front of your audience at an opportune time. You can often promote your attendance in advance and address your audience directly on the night. The objective is to influence decision makers, so that when they have a need for your services, they remember your brand name and can locate your contact details.

Increasing reach

A good sponsorship opportunity will enable you to reach targets you can’t easily contact through other channels. It can promote positive word of mouth, with potential for positive conversations long after the event. It can generate supporting press and brand coverage, before and after the event.

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Topics: marketing, MSPs

Productising Processes

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 29-Jan-2019 17:03:53

In the channel we are well-versed in productising products and services. We know how to package them, how to promote them and how to sell them, promoting our USPs over the competition. We seem to accept processes as part and parcel and rarely productise them. Are we missing a trick?

When the processes we offer form part of our USPs, we are definitely missing a trick by not productising them. Everyone says they offer ‘excellent customer service’, but what if this is the one thing you know makes you different from the competition? By productising your processes, you can demonstrate the value to your customer base and reap the benefits.

Where to start?

By defining your customers needs. What are customers looking for? How do you meet these requirements better than the rest? What evidence do you have to support this? By noting down the journey, you can productise your unique process, reflecting back the customers’ needs and how you are meeting them.

Understand success

By mapping processes next to KPIs to help you track success, you can start to see how you achieved success. Analyse your biggest customer deals, where did the original lead come from? How was it generated? How was it converted? How was the first opportunity generated? How was this closed? How was the order placed and processed? How did you prevent any installation issues? How did you ensure the customer was billed correctly? How did the customer feel when the first order had gone live? What support was given along the way? How does the customer rate the support given?

Map your unique process

Once successful order journeys have been mapped, unique processes ensuring success become visible. Describe and name each step of the process. Write it up as a flyer and advertise it on your website and as part of your proposals.

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Topics: marketing, jola

How to update your website, without damaging your Google rankings

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 27-Nov-2018 12:53:13

If you are thinking about re-designing your website, it is important to consider your SEO – Search Engine Optimisation, to ensure any changes you make, do not have a negative impact on web enquiries.

Strategy

The first thing to do is to revisit your SEO strategy and consider how major changes may affect this. For example, you may have written many blogs on a subject, which include source links back to your webpage. If you decide to remove this webpage completely, when readers click through your blog pages, they will receive error messages instead of the content you wanted to point them to. By mapping your existing strategy, you can ensure that page links are re-directed to the new content.

Structure

Secondly, consider your structure. It is important to ensure that any new URLs, page titles and meta descriptions all match up properly, because if they don’t this may affect your Google rankings and key word traffic. This may result in your prospects not finding you when they need you.

Build on what you have

If you have a good flow of high quality web leads, you should protect this. Don’t remove historically important pages, edit them instead and build additional content and links into those key pages.

Understand your site structure

Spend time understanding the flow of traffic to your website and where visitors spend their time. It is worth mapping all the URLs your content points people to, to ensure any changes do not break old links.

Noindex

It is worth ticking the noindex box to ensure Google does not index your test site pages as you are drafting them, otherwise when you launch you will create duplicate content, which has no value in the eyes of Google.

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Topics: marketing

Repositioning your brand

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 21-Nov-2018 10:37:06

As part of our on-boarding process at Jola, we help partners with current opportunities and explain how our product portfolio can help them to win them. Many join us with a growing need for internet connectivity or hosted voice, and as they move through our training programme, they uncover opportunities for additional services such as mobile data.

Adding new services can lead to brand repositioning, to reflect new solutions and USPs in key vertical markets. It is tempting to think that by changing your website you will achieve brand repositioning, however the strategy will impact every area of your business.

Where to start

Start by establishing why you are repositioning your brand. The reasons why will determine the extent of change that is necessary. For example, if you want to be known as a specialist in one area, you need to research the market, the suppliers, the competition, the customers and the products, to see where you fit into it and how you can differentiate yourself within it.

Testing

Test your messaging to ensure it reflects reality. Are you the market leader? If you are, then back it up with facts. It you are a new entrant, you need to test your content and your messaging over time, to reflect reality. Build up case studies and testimonials across key verticals and target similar prospects, to build market share. Ensure you use the right terminology, as this will help prospects find you.

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Topics: marketing

Top tips for channel partners launching new products

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 31-Oct-2018 11:20:40

Over the last twelve months Jola has launched on average, one new product a month. This takes a lot of detailed planning to ensure we have the right product, at the right price, which meets the specific needs of our partners and their customers. Once we have launched a new product, we help our partners launch to their customers and measure success against clearly defined targets. We have developed some top tips to help partners with their own launch process as follows.

Step 1 – Know your audience

It is tempting to think that every customer will benefit from your latest new product, but this is rarely the case. We encourage partners to think about problems faced by existing customers, which the new product could solve. We then get more granular in defining the problem and the characteristics of the customers that could benefit. From this we build a list of top prospects.

Step 2 – Plan your communication

Using the information gathered in step one, we encourage partners to define the problem, then simply explain the solution, outlining what the product is, what it does and how it solves the problem. We provide a lot of the basic information, but it is important to tailor the content with specific concerns and relatable solutions. We advise partners to research the competition to understand how their solution is different and promote the differences over and above what is already available. This information gets written up on web sites and incorporated into campaign materials.

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Topics: marketing

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