This article was first published June 4, 2008 on the Tatum Marketing blog
Last week I wrote about the five fundamentals of successful technology marketing in an overview of how a complete marketing program fits together. This week I want to give you a more tactical approach to designing a solid marketing system or improving the one you have.
Sometimes new clients approach us knowing exactly what they want to work on. But often, especially with marketing coaching clients, the big question is what to do first.
If you’re just beginning to market your technology product or service, there’s a certain order in which to address things:
- Get a good website.
- Generate traffic or leads.
- Optimize your conversion rates.
- Increase your customer value.
If you already have a marketing program in place, you’ll want to identify your weakest link and work on it first. (Hint: It’s probably not #4 in the above list).
Whether your marketing program is all new or in update mode, there’s a logical reason for starting with your website and working your way up to customer value.
Your website is – or will be – your marketing hub. Virtually every sale you make will involve someone visiting your website. If it sucks – as many do – you’re wasting money if you focus on sending traffic there.
One of the easiest ways to figure out whether or not your website is doing its job is to look at your bounce rate. Any web analytics program will give you this info. If you’re still not using web analytics, I can almost guarantee your website is ineffective – or you’re just incredibly lucky. Go ahead and add Google Analytics to your site NOW.
If your bounce rate (not counting traffic from paid search advertising) is higher than 50%, don’t spend another dollar on marketing until you fix that problem. I’m being generous with the 50% cut off. Google analytics specialist Avinash Kaushik has said, “It is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying.”
Once you’ve got your bounce rate under control it doesn’t mean you can stop worrying about your website, but you’ll have some comfort in knowing that you’re not alienating everyone who comes to your site.
Next up is generating traffic or leads. Take a look at the results from your current marketing programs to find out if they’re driving enough traffic to your website site or generating enough inbound inquiries. How do you know that?
You need two numbers: 1) the number of leads or amount of traffic you need to generate and 2) the current level of inbound inquiries or traffic. In How Many Leads Do You Need, I provided a formula for determining the first number. If you’re measuring website traffic your analytics program will provide the second number. (Yet another reason to get analytics on your site!) If you’re tracking inquiries from a number of sources, finding the second number will be a little more time consuming but definitely worth it.
So, what if you’re generating plenty of traffic? Take a look at your conversion rate. What percentage of website visitors actually buy your product. Or, what percentage of inbound inquiries become a sales-ready lead? Is this number what you think it should be? Probably not.
A word of caution here. Start assessing your conversion rates before you spend too much time and money driving traffic or generating leads. More than a few technology marketers have wasted big bucks sending leads into a system that can’t turn them into opportunities.
The three factors of website, traffic/lead generation and conversion rates are more integrated than this article might make it sound. There aren’t really hard stops between working on traffic/lead generation and improving conversion rates. And, improving conversion rates often means working on your website.
I guess that’s what makes it a system.
Tomorrow we’ll look at lead nurturing.