During a recent conversation with a prospective client they spent some time explaining what business they were involved in and how the list of marketing activities they’d been using to promote their business hadn’t been yielding the results they wanted. As the conversation progressed I interjected several time with the question “why”. After the fourth time of asking the exasperated reply came “because we’ve always done it that way”.
And that’s an easy rut to fall into normally driven by:
- No time to research alternative options
- Lack of skills and experience
- Fear of the unknown
- Apathy or procrastination
As Albert Einstein said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
An issue I come across almost every day is the lack of understanding of many business owners, business managers and even marketing staff as to how much digital technology is disrupting traditional business models and how it has changed the buying behavior of their target audience. They still fail to grasp that the power now lies in the hands of the consumer rather than the business and this has been driven by easy access to vast amounts of online data available on companies and their competitors.
That’s a critical point to understand, most people who have a problem to resolve turn to the search engines to find a solution. Google pull in search engine results from various sources including websites, newsfeeds, review sites and social media. So even if you don’t sell your products or services online you still need a strong online presence.
Most local searchers take action within an hour of conducting their search by either visiting or calling the business premises, can you afford to be missing out on these opportunities?
Traditional media isn’t dead but it’s in decline and the stages of that decline vary from industry to industry. To be successful means taking the parts of traditional marketing practices that still work for you and supplementing your marketing strategy with digital marketing techniques.
So if over the last 10 years your marketing mix has consisted of print advertising, catalogues, mailshots, trade shows, e-blasts through purchased data lists and generally targeting or interrupting people when they’re not ready to buy then perhaps now is the time to be thinking of an alternative option. Here are some ideas to consider.
Five digital marketing tips to consider as a next step
1) Audit your marketing activities
Determine where you are spending your activities and budget. Try to gain an understanding of the Return On Investment (ROI) you get from each activity. This can be difficult to gauge for many offline activities such as advertising unless you have used a specific email address, telephone number or offer code.
2) Check your web analytics
Google Analytics can provide a good insight into where your web visitors come from and how they behave on your site. Key areas to consider include the audience overview and originating countries they search from, the percentage of visitors viewing your site on a mobile phone or tablet, new versus returning visitors, the channels visitors use to arrive at your site and the content they consume. This information can help you formulate your online marketing plan.
3) Debunk the myths
Far too often we get stuck in a rut and continue blindly following the same old paths, getting the same old results (if we can track them) because:
The sales manager will tell you “if we don’t exhibit at this trade show our customers will think we’re in trouble”.
It’s easy to inform your existing clients by email that you’ve decided to give this tradeshow a miss and you’re concentrating your marketing activities on alternative channels that should provide them with more useful information and support.
The magazine editor will tell you “if you don’t continue taking the ads I’ll have to give the slot to your competition”.
So what! If you’ve decided that you’re not getting the return on magazine advertising that you need, let your competitors waste their marketing budget. Magazine editors have been using the argument that your competitors are advertising in the mag, so you should be too, for too long. This argument is based on the fact that your competitor made the right decision in the first place.
The sales team will tell you “our customers never look online, they want a hard copy brochure or catalogue”.
More than 90% of people turn to the internet to find solutions to their problems. Research abounds telling us that most buyers have travelled between 60 and 70% along the buying journey before they engage with a sales person or business (on their terms). If they can’t find you, you’re potentially missing out on masses of opportunities without even knowing. Brochures and catalogues may be useful but make sure you offer them in downloadable formats.
The data seller will tell you “these are targeted email addresses guaranteed to bring in new business”.
Have you or anyone else you know willingly signed up to something where they say “we will sell on your data to anyone who wants to buy it, they will then send you lots of emails that we’re sure you’ll be interested in and try to sell you loads of stuff you don’t need or want”.
Didn’t think so.
Every business should build their own, targeted database through their own marketing activities.
4) Research the benefits of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing techniques use the power of the internet, social media and search marketing to act as a pull mechanism to draw visitors towards your offer. Its central tenet is the creation, publishing and promotion of interesting, relevant and educational content targeted at your key buyer personas.
Here’s how it works
– Searchers have a problem to solve and like most of us they turn to the search engines and tap in their key phrases to try to find a solution.
– You as a company have solutions to offer.
– The content you have published on your website and elsewhere online have been indexed by Google and other search engines and acts as a magnet, attracting people searching for solutions to their search query.
– And voila, the searcher gets matched up with the solution provider and click through to your site. It’s a bit more complex than that but that’s the basis of it.
For more information on inbound marketing you can download my FREE ebook 6 stages to inbound marketing success
5) Make a plan
I’ll continually make this statement till I’m blue in the face in the hope that the idea catches on. You wouldn’t expect a builder to start work on your new home without a written plan of how they intend to go about the build. So why do many business owners continually make decisions on an ad-hoc or gut feeling basis with no real idea of the end game (except survival) and your chances of survival must increase if you have an identified path to take to achieve your goals. Don’t worry, the plan can be amended as changes on the ground dictate but the end goal needs to be identified and strived for.
Auditing your current activities will provide an understanding of what’s working and what’s not. It will help determine the areas to concentrate on in order to get the best return on your marketing spend. It should provide information on the split between current offline and online activities, where the future growth should be and help you plan the migration towards digital marketing. It will also highlight areas where your skills are weak and need to be addressed.
PS: Don’t forget that 21st April was when Google expanded the use of mobile friendliness as a website ranking signal. If your current site does not display well on a mobile device you will be punished in the search results.
At Rame Marketing we’ve introduced a range of marketing audits and consultancy packages to suit your needs. We’ll help you recognise the impact your marketing efforts are having on your business and provide you with a better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses within the competitive environment. We can even help plug the resource or skill gaps you may have from time to time.
For more information on how we can help grow your business give us a call on 01803 413481 or email firstname.lastname@example.org