It is getting hard to refute that the way to drive sales online is through a simple marketing program including search engine optimization and social media / email communications. The problem for many companies is two-fold: first the tool set they are working on is outdated and often inefficient; second they don’t know how to get organized to allow more people in their organization to assist business owners and marketing managers in delivering content.
Outdated Web Infrastructure: If you are going use search engines and social media channels to reach, and stay in front of, your customers and prospects it is vital your website has a mechanism for blogging. Industry standard tools such as WordPress provide the ability to automate much of the work such as submitting sites to search engines, cross-linking content, sending emails and populating your social media channels.
Tools every marketer today needs:
- Scalable, Secure, Safe Content Management System with the ability to add great looking content quickly and easily through your customer facing employees (not tech heads).
- Scheduling ability of posts: without this you can’t add quality control or approval processes.
- Automatic SEO on the fly: Your content should be added to your site in the way that best presents your sites to your users AND the search engines.
- Centralized location to store your marketing materials and organize them in a way which turns your site into a resource for prospective buyers (and your sales staff).
- Easy way to listen to your audience through your network and the Internet in general.
- Smooth online sales funnel to generate leads for your business and easy access your Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
Organization: Most of our customers know what they want to achieve, they know their audience and have ideas on how to market to them online. The problems come with trying to make it happen. It seems trying to get a Web development shop to build them the proper site can be painful, they will always look to you to tell them what to do. You need to be clear as to your objectives for your new program or you can get sucked into a time waster that doesn’t help your bottom line.
They say that 50 percent of online programs succeed, but 95 percent of those without a plan fail. Here are the basic elements which if you document in your plan you will improve your success rate and decrease the time it takes to get up to speed:
- Campaign Directives: Know your Market + Segments you will be targeting, the messages you want them to receive, the actions you want them to take and how you will measure them.
- Marketing Mix: The promotional channels you have available to you to communicate with your target market segment(s).
- Editorial Calendar: A schedule of meaningful updates to your site/email/social media network. Think of it as your company’s programming schedule. The editorial calendar can serve as your team’s to do list moving forward.
- Rules of Engagement / Listening Program: This is two-way communication, who in your business will handle sales or customer support communications? What channels and topics should be followed to protect your brand, convert users and provide the best content?
I think the debate is over as to whether or not social media will be a force to reckon with and a valuable tool for businesses to connect with those most in need of their services. Now is the time to decide the foundation for your new programs and determine a path which allows you to grow into it.
We offer a solid foundation from which you can expand in the future. Our Core Package includes the necessary: Planning, Design, Build, Training, Launch and Support to get you up to speed faster. Call Carrie to request a demo or discuss how our program might work for you today at: (612) 283-4846. Or download our Web planning kit online today.
Good luck and make 2012 a great year!