In the old days (meaning just a couple years ago ;), marketers have been competing for space: billboards, magazine space, television commercial blocks, storefront signage and the like. While these marketing strategies still play a vital rolef or many, here in Phoenix, online marketing is dominating.
Beyond just building a pretty website, online marketing accounts for the entire buying process:
1. Attract stranger to your website
2. Convert visitors into qualified leads
3. Nurture interested prospects, turning them into customers
4. Continually provide value so your customers are promoting your brand.
The snowball takes some effort to get rolling, but here’s how it works…
Online Marketing Presence Listed by Many as Key to Success
According to Hubspot’s annual inbound marketing survey, these are the industies benefitting most from online marketing today.
Certainly marketing agencies, IT firms, software companies, and media organizations have the ability to transition to online marketing more quickly and seamlessly. Most of these kinds of companies already have solid websites, and likely have been investing in online marketing methods for some time now.
As more and more business goes online through e-commerce, and more customers research alternatives through the internet, companies of all shapes are sizes are looking to be part of the conversation.
Step 1: Attract New Visitors to your Website
Whether it’s through search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, social media, or integrations with your sales force in the field, you need new prospects. This doesn’t mean bragging about how great your company is.
It’s more about figuring out what your prospects are interested in learning about. What are their pains? Where are they looking for information?
Step 2: Converting Visitors into Leads
This is the part where it gets interesting. Rather than coming to your website and leaving without a trace, let’s try to figure out who these visitors are.
This can be done by delivering something of real value…maybe an informative Ebook or instructional video. It needs to be helpful, sans sales pitch.
Initially, in the awareness phase of the buying process, they may not even know that they have a problem, or that there could be a better way.
It’s about educating your prospects in return for their contact information. This is a fair trade so long as you (the seller) continue to play fair and provide something of value from time to time. Spam sucks…don’t do it.
Step 3: Turning Leads into Customers
Not everyone (in fact most people) aren’t ready to pull the trigger immediately. If what you’re selling is at all any kind of “considered decision”, it might take a little time.
It used to be that salespeople held all the cards, but now buyers can hunt down information anywhere. They have all the power.
This means you have to nurture your prospects over time, until they are ready to move forward. You probably need a quality CRM system for tracking interactions, automating informative and personalized email responses, and perhaps an occasional timely phone call.
Timeliness is important…you’ll never know when you prospect is revisiting that month-old email, or checking out that report you sent…if you’re not tracking this stuff.
A good online marketing system allows you to make that phone call, pitching the perfect offer and the perfect time.
Step 4: Take Care of your Customers
The nurturing and educating process doesn’t end when prospects finally become customers. In fact, 48% of all companies surveyed listed “Increasing Revenue Derived from Existing Customers” as a top marketing priority in the coming 12 months.
Continue to provide valuable content, guidance and personalized information to your clients (as you would prospects). Everyone knows that happy customers make the best promoters of your brand.
Step 5: Analyze and Repeat
Every step of the process…from attracting new visitors, to converting those visitors into leads, and selling to those leads needs to be analyzed.
Maybe you need to focus on the top of the funnel with more blog posts or a Pay Per Click campaign. Perhaps you’ll be better served redesigning your calls to action or landing pages. You’ll never know unless you track the data and refine your processes.
Online marketing isn’t going away. On the contrary, most companies are planning to ramp up their online efforts with more integration, more data mining, social media marketing, and exploring new distribution channels. Here’s a chart outlining Hubspot survey data: