Marketing Updates and Overall Upgrades

30 Jul

As my marketing internship comes to a close, I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Epicom. I have had the chance to participate in nearly every project as well as create a few of my own. Not only have I learned how to manage multiple social media platforms, but also copywrite for the website, create and implement my own nurture campaign, and design marketing collateral for the company. Even though I majored in Public Relations during my undergraduate career, nothing in my courses could have given me the marketing support and growth l have been able to experience here at Epicom.

I joined Epicom in February, just six months after moving to Austin. Itching for a change, I applied to graduate school at St. Edward’s, and decided I would call Austin my new home for awhile. Nothing however could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. Not only was the city extremely beautiful and filled with immense amounts of culture, but the people were also extremely nice! After settling in and getting accustomed to the city, I began applying for jobs. I saw online that Epicom was hiring and I immediately jumped at the opportunity to apply. After interviewing with Epicom, many times, I was excited to find out that I was going to have a chance to work there! I remember feeling extremely nervous, while simultaneously anxious to start. I wanted to show everyone just how serious I was about being there and I was ready to contribute great material to the team.

Six month’s later I am still here and still anxious to contribute more to the team. The marketing strategies and business knowledge I have gained have further developed me as a marketer, and my eagerness and desire to learn is stronger than ever.

One of my favorite assignments so far has been the creation and execution of my nurture campaign. Our CEO and Founder, Bill Harrison approached me with a specific project for our nurture leads. He wanted me to find a more efficient way to organize and target these leads hoping to create a stronger connection with them. He believed that this particular audience may have been overlooked and entrusted me to find an effective way to reach out to them.

The reason this project has resonated with me so much is because of the freedom and creativity I was given with it. It was all up to me. The strategy of distributing it, the content within it, and the links attached to it. I had the freedom to be as creative and complex as I had wanted. I was determined to make it count, and I found myself continuously editing my work until I had created a campaign I was proud of. Because of this project, I was able to see first handedly my contribution to the team, and I was excited to share that contribution with our customers.

When I look back and reminisce on the past year and all the changes it has included, I can’t help but smile from ear to ear. I moved to the wonderful city of Austin, and began working with an amazing company with great employees. Somehow I was able find a company that not only wanted me to grow but also wanted to help guide and support me throughout the process.

There is much to be said about the city of Austin, and the heart of the startups that flourish it. There is a mix of drive, pride, and persistence that rubs off onto its employees and inspires them to consistently achieve more. Epicom embodies all of this and more. It has given me an opportunity to grow as a marketer with the tools to cultivate that growth. I have enjoyed every project I have had the opportunity to work on, and everything I was able to learn throughout the process. I know Epicom will continuously grow as a company, because they have such a strong foundation, and truly know how to inspire, motivate, and support their employees. I am looking forward to learning and growing more with the company, and am happy I found this startup with an exceptionally big heart.

Don’t Ditch the Drip Campaign!

4 Jun

While drip campaigns can often seem time consuming or excessive, there are many pros that marketers should consider. Whether it’s a lack of time or available information, people are shying away from drip campaigns and overlooking the benefits they can provide. Segmenting your audience and learning how to understand their motivations when it comes to your products and services are just a few of the benefits. Marketing automation is your friend, and the sooner you find a way to utilize it, the closer you will be to understanding your audience and scaling your business. Through excessive research and even further analysis, I have comprised a list of the 5 major benefits of implementing drip campaigns!

1. Educate your Audience

Implementing a drip campaign allows you to educate your audience on your products, services, and company mission. Take this time to share what you have to offer, whether it’s a product, service, or just general advice. You want to position your company as an expert in your industry and become a go to person. By offering best practices and tips you become a reliable source.

2. Keep in Touch with your Customers, Leads, and Opportunities

Regardless if they are current customers, strong leads, or even lost opportunities it’s important to stay top of mind. Offer leads free trials and valuable information to help them become more acquainted with your product or service. For existing customers, offer special promotions or discounts to spark additional business.

3. Learn More about your Audience

Use drip campaigns as a learning experience to find what subject lines, promotional offers, and incentives work best. By monitoring your click throughs you can learn more about your audience, such as their location, product interest, or industry. This can help you create more targeted material, weed out the unnecessary fluff, and spark new and innovative techniques to harbor their attention.

4. Track and Improve your Touch Points with Customers

Blindly reaching out to new or old leads and building a relationship can take a salesperson months to accomplish. However, with drip campaigns you can instantly touch base with new and existing business and take away some of the guess work. With each automated email, your sales team can learn more based on click throughs so they can focus on the active leads and customers first.

5. Grow Sales….and Everything Else!

After you master the drip campaign process and begin to learn more about your audience, you can help grow sales and scale your business. Once the ball gets rolling, these drip campaigns can be used to push numerous and varying amounts of marketing material out. You can use them for fundraising, free trials, product sales, nurture campaigns, and more!

For more information on drip campaigns and how to effectively implement them using CRM and marketing automation tools, email info@epicom.com.

Don’t Finish Last! Create a Strong Company Culture!

3 Apr

Everyone has had that job before; the one you dread every time your alarm clock rings at 9 am. It wasn’t the overwhelming amount of work you would have to do that made you take longer to get dressed, but instead the environment that beat the dreadful drum of disappointment in your head. You weren’t quite sure whether it was your job, your coworkers, or your 2×2 cubicle, but something about going to work just didn’t seem eventful.

While working is not always going to be similar to your favorite busch garden’s field trip when you were seven, it shouldn’t be something you consistently dread. A lot of what we associate our job with is not necessarily the work at hand, it’s the people you work with; the respect and appreciation acknowledged, your room for growth, and the overall company morale you face every day. It’s the company’s culture that can make or break your commitment to your job.

Having worked in different industries with varying jobs, I have been subjected to some of the best and worst company cultures around. I have been at Epicom for three months now, and this startup is definitely one that understands the importance of company culture.

Every employee’s time, opinions, knowledge, and strengths are all identified and recognized on a daily basis. Regardless of their position at the company, every voice is heard equally and with high regard. This recognition allows the company to grow together and compliment each other, which is exactly what the staff is doing. Different traditions are also in place such as “New employee Lunch” and “Wednesday Pint Night” to help employees bond and get to know each other. It’s not only the effort given by the company, but the time, principles, and values that form it. These steps are what so many companies forget to take with their employees.

Everyone can go to work, and everyone can do their work. But it’s the desire to grow and build with a company that only your company culture can create. Going the extra mile regardless of the feat is only something someone is willing to do when they identify with their company. A company’s culture is always subject to change as the business grows, but such as Christmas and Easter, somethings sustain even with time. If you don’t want to finish last in this growing economy, remember to create a company culture you would want to wake up for every morning.

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Be Prepared! 5 Tips to Help you Plan and Prepare for your Events

27 Mar

Finishing up my second month at Epicom, the amount of marketing strategies and  experience I have been able to gain has been nothing short of amazing. I have had the chance to experience everything from SEO writing and graphic design, to event planning and management.

One of the most exciting aspects to the internship so far has been my involvement with our  events. Located in the heart of downtown, Epicom is dead center to all the amazing events the city has to offer. Everything from SXSW to presidential parades can be witnessed from our office windows. Being outgoing by nature, I was excited to dive right in and help out with our upcoming events. However, I learned extremely early that organizing and managing a working event is not the same thing as attending your friend’s BBQ and bringing potato salad. While it’s supposed to be fun, there are important aspects to planning and organizing it that can not be neglected or ignored. It would take more than one trip to HEB to acquire all your materials, and more effort than I had initial thought.

Having made mistakes in the past, I am consistently trying to improve my methods of planning, organizing, and managing my events. In hopes of working towards more improvement, I decided to compromise a list of my top 5 tips that have helped me stay prepared and on top of my event planning. While nothing can guarantee a stress free and perfectly executed event, you can do everything in your power to be prepared!

 

1. Start Planning Weeks Before

Create a timeline leading up to your event. This will give you room and time to make corrections and delegate tasks to specific individuals rather than piling everything onto yourself at the last minute.

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2. Stay ORGANIZED

Whether its a week before the event, or the day of the event always stay organized. Once you become disorganized you become subject to problems and miscommunication.

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3. Involve Your Team

Ever hear the phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day?” Well it wasn’t built alone either!! Involve your co-workers, and your teammates. They’ll most likely be willing to help out and will end up attending the event, so make it a group effort!

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4. Pack Extra Materials

More is always better, and that is definitely true when it comes to company events. Bring as much marketing materials and promotional products as you can because you would rather have too much than not enough!

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5. Contact the Venue

Contact the venue before the event and get a feel for the environment you will be in. Ask questions such as what you should expect, or if there are any specific details you should know about. This will get rid of some of those last minute surprises!

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While these tips can’t prevent a catastrophe from occurring, it can help you be more prepared. Managing an event can be difficult and stressful, so avoiding some common issues before the event can definitely help ease your worries! These tips have definitely helped me in the past, so breathe easy and know as long as you plan and are prepared, half the battle is won!

 

The Amazing Madness that is SXSW!

6 Mar

Having moved to the wonderful city of Austin in August, I have constantly overheard people talking about SXSW. Some had a high pitch of excitement in their voice, while others fumed with the frustration of the commotion that would follow. I however, did not have any particular opinion about it because I have never had the chance to experience it. I have heard millions of amazing stories about fun filled weekends of music and films, but I was still not quite sure what exactly to expect. I was cursed with a curiosity that began to eat me alive even before that actual event would!

While I sat and pondered all the past stories and memories my friends had shared with me, not one of them mentioned anything about the tech community. No one ever told me how influential they really were in SXSW.The constant stream of gossip was just how they had fallin love at a metal show, and how this year their destiny to become a filmmaker was more apparent than ever. Not one mentioned how many startups they were able to meet, or how many companies hung out to share their stories and success with the community. The tech community’s collaboration in creating the beast that is SXSW was completely and utterly hidden from me!

So as you can imagine, after having started working at Epicom, and becoming updated on how active the Austin tech community really was, I was excited to learn about our involvement in all of this. Moving downtown a little over a year ago, our offices are located in the dead center of the madness, and I was eagerly hoping we would somehow play a part in it all.

And just as I had hoped, I was told we were participating in the SXSW Startup Crawl! Hosting over 40 startups all over Austin, this event brings together the eclectic startup life that has emerged in Austin. Giving each tech companies the chance to meet, hang out, drink great beer, and exchange gripping tech news within the community. It’s not only a great networking event, but it is one that shares the motivation and inspiration that created these companies and has allowed them to consistently grow and develop.

Having, hosted from our offices last year, I was excited to participate in hosting a table at the Capital Factory. Collaborating with my Marketing Manager, Amanda, I am able to help organize all the efforts behind our company, and it has been a really exciting process. The event is held this Thursday, between 5 – 9pm, and while my curiosity about SXSW is still higher than ever, my excitement for this event is more than equally matching. I am extremely excited to be attending this event, and while I can’t wait to for my friend to fall in love again this year, or swear to become the next Tarantino, I first and foremost cannot wait to be at the Startup Crawl this year! Hopefully I will see you there!

Manage your Marketing before it Manages You

22 Feb

Finishing up my third week here at Epicom, I can honestly say I have learned a lot. While getting up to speed with our SugarCRM system, custom integrations and partners’ products, I have also started to dive into the strategic marketing efforts behind them.

And while I was extremely excited to begin strategizing and collaborating with my team, there was a part of me that was extremely nervous. It has been awhile since I’ve had the wide range of responsibilities this internship allots me, so I didn’t even know where to begin. And even before starting I had to brush up on my social media skills and marketing software knowledge. So as you can imagine, I felt like I was juggling swords while simultaneously balancing on a tightrope. Trying to learn all the recent updates in twitter, linkedin and every other social media avenue, as well as learn the characteristics of all the current softwares and integrations at the same time seemed almost impossible.

But with determination and motivation comes hard work and progress. I began immediately and everything else seemed to fall into place. In the field of marketing, managing your time appropriately is extremely essential in the flow and function of your company. Not only because it helps to navigate your efforts, but also because it creates the atmosphere you subject to your clients and your staff.

Below, I have created a list of the 5 most essential tips I found helped me manage my time and my marketing efforts. These factors played an instrumental role in organizing my work ethic, my thought process, and how I attacked and accomplished each goal.

1. Prioritize and Organize

Nothing is more essential than prioritizing. Everything cannot get done immediately. But it is important to organize and outline which tasks must be done first. Then you can create a list of other tasks that need to be accomplished by level of importance. Organizing your thoughts as well as your tasks is the first step. Once this is done, now you have something tangible you can look at as a reference, rather than running around with a million thoughts and not a single record of any of them.

2. Find a Source/ Outlet for Scheduling

The wonderful world of the interweb offers you a way to simplify almost anything. There are numerous outlets and programs out there to help make your day more efficient and useful. Find these and use them! For instance, I use Hootsuite to help schedule my social media announcements, as well as Basecampto organize my to-do lists. While I also have written to-do lists on my desk, everyone knows these can vanish just as easily as they were created. It is helpful to have something tangible, online and available at any time. There are also many other programs out there to help you manage some of your marketing efforts, and to consolidate your thoughts as well as your materials.

3. Motivate Your Team/ Your Office to be Involved

There is nothing more helpful and resourceful as group effort. Your co-workers are there to help you, so use their input and their advice. By involving your co-workers you get a wider range of support and intel. Don’t expect them to create your marketing campaigns, or write your press releases, but during your weekly meetings, mention your progress or some of your ideas, and ask if they have any suggestions. Everyone’s efforts only works toward benefiting the entire company. People are also always willing to give their opinion on a subject or matter, so use this to your benefit! Having other people’s recommendations and opinions may save you time consistently altering your material.

4. Create Quality Material

Everyone knows quality always wins over quantity. When it comes to marketing, the same applies. People would rather have quality materials exposed to them, than a million different useless and annoying marketing efforts thrown their way. So when it comes to drafting your strategy and your actual materials, make it count! Put purpose and effort into what you’re creating. Don’t just create a newsletter to have one. If your marketing efforts are lacking quality, they will feel as though your products and services are as well. So whether you are writing for your blog, creating a brochure, or organizing a drip campaign, make sure your work has quality and substance behind it.

5. Keep Measuring Your Efforts

Lastly, measuring your efforts can pinpoint exactly what is working, and what needs improvement. The essence of marketing is to engage your customers, and to consistently acquire and retain them. But if your approach is not working, or your targets are misplaced, how will you know unless you gauge your efforts? Paying attention to what is not working, can help steer you into the direction of what is working! There are numerous websites that can help you monitor these efforts. Google Analytics, Alexa.com, and Compete.com are just a few out there that can help you know how your websites are doing and what content visitors are focusing on. Besides these, there are many other useful resources out there that can help you improve your marketing efforts and become a more successful marketer!

Overall, closing up my third week, these 5 tips have helped me to manage my work as well as organize my efforts. It is hard to sit back and collect your thoughts, but it is necessary. Staying organized and creative are all extremely important facets to marketing. Regardless of your workload, it is important to stay focused and remember your goals. These 5 tips definitely have worked for me these past few weeks. While it may still be hard at times to maintain a balance, having a key strategy and organizing your efforts can definitely help you effectively manage your marketing!

Tech Talks and Integrations that Make Life a Bit Easier

14 Feb

Diving into my second week at Epicom, I have dusted off my social media webs, and began understanding the heart of SugarCRM. I attended webinars, training sessions, and webcasts to gear me up for the amazing solutions this software provides its users. Coming to understand the capabilities of this software was just the beginning. Once I began to learn all the developments, modifications, and customizations Epicom provided for the software, was I really able to see how important and useful CRM is to the success of any business!

One particular customization that really caught my eye, is Epicom’s newest integration with Quickbooks. Being a current MBA student, accounting is a course you become all too familiar with. Once you begin to understand all the facets of accounting, including organization, efficiency, and time management, you realize just how incremental they are to the functionality of your business.

This week, I found that Epicom was able to create a way to make the average accountant’s life easier. By integrating your SugarCRM software with your Quickbooks data, your are easily able to sync together invoices, quotes, products and accounts. This not only enables you to combine your information, but also allow you to view all your Quickbooks information within SugarCRM.

 

Now, some people may not understand just how essential this app can be. But if I have learned anything at all, it is that time is money, and the more efficient you are with your time, the more efficient you can be with your clients! So that annoying step of having two entirely different softwares open, and trying to juggle that with your constant buzz of emails is now cut in half!

Learning that Epicom customizes SugarCRM software was one thing, but actually being able to see the difference the integration makes is another. Meeting my fellow Epicomer’s and coming to fully understand the work, training, and effort that goes behind each integration, app, and customization has been such a great experience. The work behind each development truly makes each client’s experience more effective and enjoyable. I am excited to learn about the many more apps and integrations the team will create. As for now, this tech talk and integration is one I look forward to sharing!

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