Below is our recent blog post that recently ran in Wired Innovation Insights.
It’s gotten a lot tougher for companies to find new business, and the days of sending emails and cold calling as primary sales tools are long gone.
Now, your potential customer wants to find you on their terms: when they need you and when they feel like looking for you. And looking for you often means shopping online, with approximately 60% of online visitors using a mobile device to do so.
So, if your potential customers have changed the way they shop, it’s imperative that you change the way you market. Here are six marketing programs that you should be implementing to help you find new customers and grow your business.
1. Media Outreach
I recently read an article about two books that were highly recommended for the modern communicator. Ten minutes later I had ordered them on Amazon. This is the power of media coverage. It’s still essential to have a media relations program in place to reach the tens of thousands of relevant people who could buy your product. Media relations is cost efficient (especially compared to direct mail or advertising) with huge impact and great reach. Try to get included in stories about your industry, offer magazines feature stories written about trends or best practices, and work to get your news release published.
2. News Releases Direct-to-Buyer
For many years, public relations professionals would write and distribute press releases strictly for the press. The market matured and potential buyers began looking for information that was published by getting alerts tied to keywords. Communicators figured out that if you wrote releases for both the press and potential customers that you could ultimately accomplish what you set out to do by having press run your story. To write news releases that go direct-to-buyers make sure they are optimized with keywords that buyers are searching for, formatted for search, mobile, and social, and includes relevant links for more information and images.
3. Content Marketing
As buyers became more skeptical of the sales process, they began to look for companies that would help rather than sell; thus, the advent of content publishing. Buyers looking for products often interact with companies and executives by absorbing the content that they publish. This often leads to engagement with the company and through discussion can lead to a sale. Content comes in many forms such as eBooks, newsletters, white papers, Infographics, slides, video, podcasts, pictures, and blog posts. As an added benefit, the published content also helps improve search engine ranking for the company, which means even more Website traffic.
4. Blogging Program
Establishing a blog, built into the company Website, and when formatted with keyword-rich content, will help your Website improve its search ranking. Posting news, helpful information, and other current events on the blog can help make your Website a lively marketing environment rather than a static brochure. Writing a post for another blog is another terrific strategy to put your company in front of potential new buyers. You can also ask bloggers to supply a guest post on your blog as well, which will increase the credibility of your blog, and expose your blog and company to the followers of the guest blogger.
5. Social Media Channels
Social media has different dimensions to it such as social media networking (becoming part of different communities, building audiences, and interacting with people) and social media marketing (using social channels to publish content to get visibility, content sharing, and more Website traffic). Many businesses get overwhelmed by the process of starting and staying active with their channels. The key is to build a plan and implement it. To start, I would recommend LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. There are many other channels that are available, but these four are the ones to get started with. Building out these channels will help with engagement and relationship building, meeting new people, and will allow you to share media coverage, content, and news.
6. Website Optimization
Your Website should be optimized for search engine and mobile viewing. Visitors must have access to the corporate blog from the home page with the ability to subscribe via email and RSS. The site should have social media buttons to like, share, and follow. It’s ideal that each Website page have a header, title and page description, and keywords that flow into the body copy, and it’s recommend that photos have an Alt Tag description with keywords. The Website should have a mobile CSS or a redirect to a mobile layout, and a mobile viewport tag so that it can be viewed via mobile devices and smartphones.
It all starts with a plan tied to goals and objectives. The plan should have measurement components to evaluate effectiveness and success. For content marketing, a company can create a tactical calendar with deadlines for publishing in various channels. Today’s plan would also include process strategies for marketing automation once leads start coming into the company. While these efforts do require work and attention, these are the strategies that are attracting today’s sophisticated buyer, while allowing a company to spend its marketing dollars wisely to acquire them.