As one of the top decision-makers in your company, you’ve probably seen it: the world of marketing is transforming because buying habits have changed.
Gone are the days when advertisements and search engine optimization were enough to secure leads. Email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn—these concepts have probably left your head spinning at one point or another, so perhaps it has been easier to just push them aside and continue with your traditional marketing strategies. But the truth is, the Internet and social media platforms are becoming vital marketing tools and techniques to compete in today’s market.
With a little bit of patience and some education, you can design a marketing strategy based on these online tools and be confident that you are investing in the successful growth of your company.
Your Doubts and Hesitation: Explained
“My buyers are not on Twitter.”
“I don’t think I’ll be able to find a business prospect through Facebook.”
“There is not enough time to figure out how the Internet would benefit my business.”
“My buyers are not looking on the Internet for what my company offers.”
Do any of these statements sound like anything you’ve said yourself? These are some of the most common objections and excuses that business owners tend to give for avoiding Internet marketing and social media.
Perhaps you’ve chosen to spend $1000 a month on an SEO strategy, only to be left with very minimal results. Maybe your company is present on Twitter and Facebook, but you don’t feel that you’re gaining anything from having these accounts. Perhaps your business sends out electronic newsletters through email but you’re not sure who is reading them.
These random acts of marketing could be leaving you with doubts about whether the Internet and social media are effective marketing tools for your company. But you can eliminate those doubts and be sure that you are investing your time and money in a process that will be successful.
Ease Those Doubts & Dismiss That Hesitation
The Internet is here to stay, and social media is becoming increasingly prominent in our daily lives. Much of the information-gathering that we do, the actions we carry out, the conversations we start—and, yes, the purchasing decisions that we make—can be traced back to an online search or a social media post. In fact, buyers typically make 60% of a purchasing decision before even talking to a company’s salesperson.
Here are a few more statistics you might find interesting:
~92% of marketers say that social media is very important to marketing, and that their presence on social media has led to an increase in publicity for their businesses.
~79% of marketers who blog for their business report an inbound ROI for 2013.
~Of the companies that spend at least 6 hours per week using social media, almost half saw a decrease in marketing expenses.
~43% of businesses have secured customers solely from their blog.
~The use of email for marketing has an ROI of 4300%.
~By spending as little as 6 hours per week on social media, more than 66% of marketers are able to successfully generate new leads for their businesses.
(For more statistics about social media marketing, see HubSpot’s blog, 16 Stats that Prove Social Media Isn’t a Passing Fad: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-roi-stats)
So what do these statistics prove? If carried out properly, the use of the Internet, email, blogging, and social media can help you increase exposure for your business, bring traffic to your website, and generate new leads for your company—all while decreasing overall marketing expenses.
Get to Know Your Buyers
The most important part of the success of online marketing—or any kind of marketing, for that matter—is knowing your buyers inside and out. Get to know your buyers: who they are and what they do, their daily challenges, their hopes and their goals. Having an understanding of how your ideal buyers are making their purchasing decisions, the ways in which they use social media, and how often they use the Internet will help you develop a strategy that caters to their needs.
You Can’t Just “Show Up”
A presence on the Internet isn’t enough to deliver leads. You need effective methods and, more importantly, a clear strategy for maintaining your online presence and social media accounts in order to attract the right people to your company and convert those visitors into leads.
How to Proceed With Confidence
There are three main steps that business owners should take in order to successfully establish the Internet and social media as marketing tools:
1. Create measurable sales goals
2. Determine a marketing budget
3. Define your strategy
Step 1: Creating Measurable Sales Goals
The first step in the process of developing an effective marketing strategy should always involve support from and collaboration with the sales team. Why do the goals of the sales team matter to the marketing team? In a successful business, marketing should actually work backwards from the goals established by the sales team. If your marketing strategy is fueled by your sales goals, then marketing will, in return, feed and grow sales: it’s a cyclical process which requires a certain amount of communication.
So, once you ensure that your company’s marketing and sales goals are aligned and that the two departments are cooperating with one another, you are ready to take the next step toward achieving your growth goals.
Step 2: Determining a Marketing Budget
Next, you should determine an appropriate budget to set aside for your efforts to reach your marketing goals.
As a general rule of thumb, a company looking to maintain its current position in the market should set aside about 5% of its total annual revenue for marketing. However, if you are looking to grow your business and gain a larger presence in the market, you should set aside about 10% of your annual revenue for your marketing strategy.
Read this article to learn more about budgeting.
Step 3: Defining Your Strategy
Now that you have coordinated your company’s marketing and sales goals and determined a marketing budget, where do you start? Chances are you’ve been contacted by SEO experts, marketing agencies, social media specialists, telemarketers—the list goes on and on. So, once again, with an overwhelming number of options, how do you design a marketing strategy that is right for your company?
First, it is important to understand your options and realize that not all marketing platforms are actually appropriate strategies. A marketing tool or technique, such as LinkedIn, is not a strategy in itself. A combination of social media accounts could make up a marketing strategy, but Facebook and Twitter in and of themselves are only distribution channels.
Understand what IS a strategy and what is NOT a strategy. The key question to ask in order to make this distinction is this: Is this marketing method or combination of methods providing some ROI? If you answer “yes,” you have a marketing strategy and you may begin taking steps to implement it. If you answer “no,” you should rethink your options and redesign your plan of action.
Still unsure of where to start strategizing? We can help!
Hello Marketing is in business to eliminate ineffective random acts of marketing. We believe that buyers should be the focus of all marketing efforts and that marketing should feed sales. Our clients have defined growth goals, a clear budget and are searching for a solution that they can understand, is measurable and provides a return on investment.
To find out more about whether inbound marketing is right for your company, take a look at our white paper!