Do you, like a heck of a lot of business owners, have marketing somewhere on your list of things you must do? Well, your list is right. You need to get started.
Maybe you’re having trouble deciding where to begin. No problem. Read on for an ordered list that should bring some clarity to the decision.
Before we get into that though, I want to give you the single most important thing to keep in mind as you build your marketing program. If you do this, you’ll avoid 95% of time and money-wasting distractions that will undoubtedly come your way.
Here it is.
The job of marketing is to find and develop leads for the sales force – or, in the case of an ecommerce site, to find and develop leads into customers. That’s it. If an action or tactic doesn’t contribute directly – and measurably – to the effort to get more business, don’t do it.
Now, on to the list.
1. Website first
Every marketing program should start with a website. It’s that simple. You’ll find some great guidance for developing a remarkable marketing website here: B-to-B Website Re-Design
If you already have a website, there are two steps to take before moving on.
- Make sure your website has Google Analytics or some other analytics package beyond what your host service provides. This free application gives you a huge amount of information about your website visitors and the non-technical performance of your site. It’s fundamental to the ongoing success of your marketing program.
- If IT instead of marketing is currently in control of your website, change that. IT people can be critical for making sure your site runs smoothly, but very few know anything at all about marketing, sales or persuasive communication. (I say “very few” because we do have one client whose IT person has an incredible instinct for and interest in marketing, and over the years he has learned as much if not more about marketing than many so-called marketing professionals. If you have a guy like this, keep him in charge).
2. Bring in the leads
With your website up and running and tracking visitors, you can turn to lead generation. For most companies, the first step in any lead generation effort should be to get visible on the search engines. You can do this with pay-per-click advertising or search engine optimization – or both.
By being visible on the search engines, you ensure you’re found by the people who are actively seeking your type of product or service. Once you’ve done that, you can move on to other lead generation programs.
3. Turn more leads into customers
When your lead generation efforts get your website traffic to a sufficient level, it’s time to look at your conversion rates. At 30,000 feet, this means how efficiently you turn website traffic – or other inbound leads – into paying customers.
Closer to the ground, you can work on improving any action point between visiting your website and either pulling out their wallets or asking to talk with a sales person. You can save a remarkable amount of money and / or get a lot more qualified leads and customers out of the website traffic you’re generating by focusing on this. But you must have some traffic first.
4. Just Do It
Marketing is really not as mysterious and complicated as it often appears. In fact, if you stick with online and direct marketing tactics you’ll find it becomes as logical as any other business process.
If you’re interested in learning more about quantifying marketing decisions, you might want to subscribe to our free Measurable Marketing newsletter.
So what’s keeping you from getting started?