[By Jeff Androsko]
You said it Rambo... it sure is a jungle out there.
With different perspectives on what's working and what's not, industry trends, hesitation to spend and lack of resources, the marketing & sales game can seem like "First Blood" all over again. Well... ok... it's nothing like "First Blood"... but reeling in prospects and finding the capacity to nurture them as leads can be a daunting task.
However, putting together a successful plan doesn't have to cost you an arm, a leg and a watch; there are tactics all around you which you can combine and execute with such precision that your sales team will turn into a lean, mean revenue machine.
Emails & Follow Up
Now that it's 2011, figure out who your main sales targets are going to be this year. Create simple emails with precise messages and calls to action (i.e. "Visit us online to get a free analysis"). Be sure to include your logo and plenty of links to your website (doesn't have to be rocket science... there are plenty of cheap email marketing vendors out there to assist).
Designate your sales resources to follow up with the contacts you've sent the email to (email marketing vendors make this possible through detailed tracking reports). Your recipients will start recognizing your brand and become curious about the benefits you offer.
Website & Social Media (and vice versa)
Promote valuable information on your social media outlets. Don't participate in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN (among others)? They're potent sales tools... get on board. Link to these social media outlets from your website and vice versa... the more traffic you get to your website, the better.
If they don't want to engage you through social media, make the contact forms on your website easy to find and use. You want to expand your reach so that they are blanketed by your usefulness.
Simple combinations of activities can make the marketing & sales game seem less of a "to-do" (check out our Marketing Checklist to make it even easier!). Once you develop a rhythm for simple tasks (like anything), you'll be able to master the techniques, measure the success of the information you provide and turn the qualified leads you receive into sales.
[By Tony Popowski]
Between evolving consumer needs, shifts in technology and a recovering economy, the techniques that you once used to find leads and convert prospects into customers aren’t as effective. Your targets are bombarded with sales pitches and they’re blocking your marketing messages and buying on their own terms. So what do you do?
In 2011, a more effective strategy is an integrated inbound marketing approach. The integrated inbound philosophy uses multiple methods of communication that will help you get found by prospective customers that are searching for services like yours. Instead of speaking at your prospects, you provide them with insightful, valuable content that will give them the answers they seek; positioning your company as a trusted subject matter expert.
As you strategize your marketing plan for 2011, revamp or include the following communication disciplines into your marketing strategy:
Website Content: Your website should be a sales machine. If it’s not consistently generating leads and revenue, it’s time to rethink its value. Don’t focus too much on the appearance of your website. Instead, focus on its function. Your company website should be filled with valuable content for your audience including solutions to problems, helpful articles, case studies, blog entries and white papers. Ideally, it should serve as a resource center for your visitors, establishing your industry credibility. Remember, your website is often the first impression for a prospect, so make sure it’s good one.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is the process of improving the number and quality of visitors that come to your company website from search engines. When your target audience search for information on sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing, SEO is what helps your website get found. Search engine algorithms basically "decide" which websites will appear first in the search results and an optimized site ranks higher and more frequently.
Social Media: Social media is no longer a trend; it’s a standard business practice. From LinkedIn and Blogging, to Twitter and Facebook, social networking sites give you the ability to find and nurture qualified leads. You must consistently invest time and effort into social media sites in order to see results. Use these technological outlets to establish credibility and drive back traffic to your website.
E-mail Marketing: Don’t make the mistake of mass e-mailing your sales pitch. Like a website, your e-mail marketing messages should provide valuable content to your prospects. If you consistently brand yourself / your company as a credible expert, your targets will turn to you when they’re ready to buy. Email templates should always include links back to a landing page or your company website and have a clear call to action.
Public Relations: From local newspapers and industry magazines to online publications that reach the masses, writers need information for articles. Build relationships with reporters so that you’re the go-to industry expert whenever a quote is needed. Your press releases should provide reporters with content they can use such as results from surveys and industry trends. Not only will you get your company’s name in target publications, but you can promote your media inclusions in other marketing materials.
It’s time to adopt an integrated inbound marketing philosophy and switch to a smarter and more effective way to market your product or service. By giving your consumers the answers they seek through these programs mentioned, you can position yourself as a valuable resource to someone who's in the market to buy, rather than bugging someone for a sale.