Many businesses begin marketing on the strength of personal relationships. At first, this works—you leverage your contacts and dabble in social media on the side and the business grows organically.
But as you begin to scale up, ad hoc networking starts to break down. You and your team only have so much time. Can you really be the networker for multiple locations or a larger business? How will you find time to extend all of those relationships and reach new customers while also running your growing business and working in the core competencies that keep you viable? How can you sustain growth and continue to achieve success in a rapidly changing marketplace?
One of the most effective ways to rescue your time and structure your business for long-term sustainability is digital marketing. Done strategically, digital marketing can become your top salesperson.
What is digital marketing?Digital marketing goes far beyond the average website-as-virtual-brochure and scattershot social media approach to online business. Your online presence needs a focused strategy to become one of your top sales drivers. Strategic thinking transforms digital marketing into a powerful force multiplier for your business, and a valuable contributor to your bottom line.
How can I set up digital marketing that works?Like traditional marketing—ads, brochures, and direct mail—there is no one-size-fits-all solution for digital marketing. While each organization’s tactical plan will look different, the following roadmap can help you build, refine, and implement a digital marketing strategy tied to measurable outcomes that match your company’s goals and get results.
Understand your target audience.Before picking up the phone, consumers do their research online. Developing a thorough understanding of your ideal customer helps ensure that when they find you online, you meet their needs and get their business.
Ask questions like:
- What demographic(s) does my ideal customer fall into?
- What pain points or problems does he/she have that my product, company, or organization addresses or solves?
- What objections might he/she have to my product, service, or solution?
- What sorts of questions does my sales team answer repeatedly?
- What information do we always explain at the beginning of our sales or contact process?
#ProTip: Your website should focus on the problems, objections, and needs facing your ideal customer. Tweet this
These questions may vary depending on your organization. For example, a business selling a tangible product may need to communicate different types of information than a non-profit issue group whose goal is raising awareness. But no matter what you do, articulating who you want to reach with your message helps you understand how to use your digital marketing to reach the right people and achieve your business objectives.
Your website should focus on the problems, objections, and needs facing your ideal customer, serving as a tool to advance your sales process.
Define your digital goals.How could your website enhance your business process? Whether success involves generating more leads, garnering more sales, or building awareness, defining your goals should drive website design and functionality as well as how and where you focus social media efforts.
For example, if you need five leads per month with an average lead value of $10,000, your website design and content should focus on attracting the right audience and convincing them to pick up the phone or fill out a form while also warming them up to shorten the sales cycle. Whereas if your goal is to get 80 sales per month with an average sale value of $35, your content and website structure will not only capture the right online audience, but also include a complete sales cycle: more value propositions, establishing relevance to problems or issues facing potential customers, creating urgency, and closing the deal.
Specificity—in number of leads, dollar amounts, timeframe, and the like—not only focuses your design and content, but also allows you to track the quality and quantity of your results so you can continue to improve over time.
Create a website and + digital marketing plan.You’ll also need to write a digital marketing plan to help you grow and drive traffic to the website and social platforms you’ve chosen. Not all tactics deliver the same results. Based on your goals and knowledge of your audience, you can ensure that the time and effort you and your staff spend on digital marketing becomes more efficient and more effective.
Monitor and analyze results with digital marketing software.After your platforms are in place, ongoing monitoring and analysis are critical to fine-tune results. Track how you do against your goals.
If you needed five $10,000 leads but wound up with seven low value leads instead, you may need to consider how to refine your content to not only interest potential customers, but also begin selling them on higher value services.
Ongoing analysis of results against digital goals allows you to adjust and layer your tactics to build the right growth.
Knowing what visitors do with your digital marketing gives you a tool to customize content and functionality to achieve your goals even faster. You’ll want to track site usage data for questions such as:
- What website pages did the user visit?
- How long did they stay on certain pages, and what did they download?
- Which emails did they read?
Shorten your sales cycle.Your website can be a powerful tool to educate potential customers, giving them what they need to understand your process, overcoming common objections, and weeding out less likely prospects. A targeted digital marketing strategy provides your sales team with actionable information that shortens the amount of time needed to nurture contacts into closed deals.
For example, when we began working with Tracking Football, the company was investing significant time in every potential lead due to the complexity of their product. After learning about their business and sales process, we developed a strategy and redesigned the website to educate the target audience up front. Within weeks, Tracking Football began getting leads from potential customers ready to talk specifics. By focusing on digital goals, we helped Tracking Football shorten their sales cycle so their team could focus resources better and generate stronger returns.
As your company grows, digital marketing can be a great asset to help free up one of your most valuable assets: your time. A sound strategy for your website, social profiles, and other online content helps potential customers learn more about your brand and services, so that when they do call, they are much more qualified lead. That’s why, when done strategically, digital marketing can become your top salesperson.
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