The vast majority of customer journeys begin with a search on Google. 60%, 70%, 80% – it depends whose research you read. The actual figure doesn’t matter, the point is, if your business is not easily found on Google, you’re in trouble. You need a marketing rescue plan.
Assessing your online footprint
When you’re assessing your online footprint, it pays to think like a customer. Think about what search terms and phrases they might be using to find solutions to their problems. Imagine you are suddenly in the market for a new washing machine. You’ll start your search using phrases like “best washing machines 2017” or “most reliable washing machines UK”. What you won’t be searching on, at least initially, is “Hotpoint Ultima S-Line washing machine”. You might search on that later, when you’ve drawn up your shortlist and are looking for the best price, but not when you start your initial search. If your business or product or service is not easily found when you use search terms which are common in your niche or industry, then you need to completely re-think your marketing strategy.
The power of social networks
The most powerful marketing technique of all is word-of-mouth. Always has been, always will be. People trust people they know. Whether they are looking for a plumber, or a car dealer or a travel agent, if the recommendation comes from a friend or acquaintance, there’s every chance it will be followed up. The local pub used to be the primary hub for social networking, and you took your advice from a small group of maybe 10 or 20 “trusted” friends. Today, social media rules the roost when it comes to product reviews and recommendations. People’s social networks run into the hundreds or even thousands. They take advice from friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends. The point is, they are less likely than ever to listen to the loaded opinion of a vendor or a manufacturer. They’ll take advice from friends, acquaintances and trusted advisors (e.g. well-known bloggers, reviewers and critics). So if your business, product or service is not being mentioned in any of the mainstream social networks, you are not at the races.
The critical factor: getting buy-in from the very top
A change of mindset from the leadership team is an absolute pre-requisite for any marketing-led turnaround. Your senior managers may not be avid users of social media, but they need to understand that many of today’s customers (and all of tomorrow’s) are. Food for thought is provided by a pair of companies that enlisted the help of US-based inbound marketing guru Marcus Sheridan to implement a marketing rescue plan. The Block Imaging management team invited Marcus to host a workshop at their premises in September 2011. Within 2 years their web traffic increased by 600%, with over 60,000 monthly visits by the end of 2013. Yale Appliances held a workshop in June 2012, and within 3 years their web traffic had increased by 570%. Both companies did this by adopting and embracing the principles of inbound marketing, and kicking their addiction to traditional, outbound marketing.
Turn your business around by implementing a marketing rescue plan, designed to revive your business with modern marketing techniques.
- Do you have a marketing strategy?
- Do you have a marketing plan? Is there an action plan, with owners and deadlines?
- Are your marketing techniques more traditional, as opposed to digital?
- Do you need some help, to get back on track?
- Tear up your marketing plan – let’s start again
- Define your business and marketing goals
- Define SMART objectives which align to those goals
- Identify your core target customers
- Create a marketing action plan, aligned to goals, with targets and deadlines
- Analyze entire site for broken links
- Review website branding & design, including use of colour, typography and tone of voice
- Identify the 20% of pages delivering 80% of traffic
- Create new site map
- Create new “core” pages as required (see content development)
- Implement SEO best practice on all core pages
- Plan to launch new launchpad website within 4 weeks
- Create a rolling 13-week planning cycle
- Have someone own the planning methodology
- Map all activities to business goals
- Focus investments on maximising ROI
- Do NOT underinvest in content development
- Create a worksheet and document all available content and marketing assets
- Identify content and assets which might be re-used
- Map re-usable content to target customer and stage of journey (i.e. awareness, consideration, conversion)
- Include web pages, blogs, emails, reviews and printed materials in the audit
- Embrace the Inbound Marketing methodology
- Identify any content gaps and plan to fill them
- Create a content planning worksheet
- Create content with a purpose
- Populate your content worksheet for the next 13 weeks (1 quarter)
- Amplify content with social media
- Become an authority in your industry
- Start with your core web pages
- Build landing pages with enticing calls-to-action
- Become subject matter experts
- Embrace inbound marketing
- Create content with a purpose
- Addresses customers’ challenges in your area of expertise
- Gain a reputation for being knowledgeable
- Earn trust, build credibility
- GET FOUND ON GOOGLE
- Activate social media channels
- Start networking. Join groups.
- Answer questions. Pose questions
- Install a marketing automation platform e.g. Hubspot or Marketo
- Get everyone fully trained
- Run every marketing activity through the platform
- Feed every marketing lead into the platform
- Measure, review, analyse and interpret
- Check progress on action items in a weekly team meeting
- Invite external stakeholders as appropriate
- Present quarterly updates to wider audience
- Measure web traffic, leads and conversion rates
- Measure social engagements with prospects and customers
- Calculate cost per lead for every “source”
- Calculate cost per acquisition (i.e. for every new customer) for every source
- Calculate Return On Investment (ROI) for each marketing activity
- Compare results to goals
- Review and interpret.
- Feed conclusions into next planning cycle