Grow the business by Increasing revenues
This is a great objective for any business, but for SMB this is how we survive. The biggest problem to solve is always more revenue.
We have a few choices: we can charge our current customers more; or we can sell new products or services to existing customers; or we can get more customers. Maybe we should look at all three?
Setting the right price point should be done as part of your competitive strategy – you don’t want to lose customers for price alone. So some analysis of the market is necessary before you decide to gain all your growth from squeezing your current customer base.
On the other hand, selling more, to existing customers and new customers, is completely within your control. Its probably the strongest, most sure path to growth. But it takes time and money and planning.
You could just increase your sales team and task them with increased sales. As long as you can feed them with leads, an increased sales capacity can be very effective. Hiring and ramping of course takes some time.
But while you are looking at the sales team capabilities and capacities, you can also look at lead generation. From a sales-effectiveness point of view, which do you think produces the highest conversions? A list of phone numbers of local prospects? Or a list of email addresses of people who have shown an interest in your product? It’s obvious to us that not only does marketing automation present the opportunity of turning ‘cold calls’ to ‘warm calls’; highly qualified leads that have a need, are investing in a search (indication of a budget) and are open to doing business with you. The highest conversion rate possible can be achieved with highly qualified leads.
There is no question in our minds that marketing automation is the most effective way to generate qualified leads. Instead of placing all your bets on aggressive outbound calling, you use your computers to drive visits to your website, to attract followers on social media, to consume your content (establishing you as an expert in your field) and eventually to contact you for more information. Since you are using computers, your reach is increased significantly. And using a planned ‘nurturing’ process you earn the trust and the start of a relationship with prospects. This ‘inbound’ marketing process is currently recognized as the greatest source of qualified leads to business.
If you have just started using digital marketing, you should see a big change right away. A full campaign to increase your inbound leads can take 3-9 months to see exactly how high the results can be. Gartner reported in 2015 that their survey of companies who have implemented marketing automation showed an across the board increase in revenues of between 30 and 40%! So be patient and stay the course!
Perhaps you are already convinced. It just makes sense to reach more people over the internet and use computers to provide interesting content to earn their attention. But you already have a website. And your secretary already re-posts interesting articles in social media. And you also send emails to prospects from a list you obtain from a marketing firm (anti-spam legislation?). But you don’t see a lot of results.
You are probably doing most of the right things, just not the best way to produce results. You might need some help. Here are 10 points to check to make sure you are making the most of your digital marketing:
· Your web presence is a direct reflection on your professionalism and if not done well will act as a ‘sales preventer’ rather than a ‘sales driver’. The creative, the content and the overall user experience will impact visitors either positively or negatively, so get it right!
· I know; you setup the keywords when you did your website. But have you reviewed how effective they are? Have you updated them recently? An effective SEO strategy includes regular updates to keywords and monthly analysis of SEO results.
· Every page being viewed on your website should have some compelling ‘call to action’. The concept here is that as soon as a viewer of your web page sees something that interests them, they are presented with a convenient way to ask for more information. Viewers are more likely to engage and not be distracted by other content and fail to act.
· When your website visitors complete a contact card, get back to them as quickly as possible. With the speed of the Internet setting the benchmark, anything that takes longer than minutes is ‘unresponsive’ and opens you to the possibility of the lead ‘going stale’. Responsiveness is easy to maintain with an automated response – an email that basically says: “thanks for the message” and “we’ll get back to you later with what you are looking for”.
· The content in your blog or social media must provide the reader with some value. This is not just a volume of words with your address attributed, but rather a vehicle to provide customer value during the marketing and sales process, earning their business over time. It can be fun, it can be informative or it can be emotive – it just better not be boring!
· Plan your ‘content assets’ and deliver them in a planned nurturing campaign, warming people up over time. Some industries can just offer a great price, ask for the business, close it and move on – most of us however need to earn the business with high visibility and ‘front of mind’ when a buying event occurs.
· Monitor the progress of your campaigns with some feedback as well as the detailed analytics from your software. Be prepared to make changes where needed, but give it enough time to succeed.
· Consider the nurturing campaigns a series of ‘conversations’ with customers and prospects. Don’t just plan to throw stuff out through media channels and expect results. Make sure there is logic to these conversations; that you are providing progressive, relevant value, and; that your customers are enjoying the sales process.
· Make sure the post sales experience is at least as good as the sales process. Existing customers and prospects alike should have similar experiences. There are many surveys reporting that many buying and upsell decisions were made by the sales and post sales experience, so it is well worth investing in making it better.
· Stay the course! Be patient and let the program gain momentum. Sure, review and make changes based on analysis of the data; but don’t stop. The mission is possible if you stay the course.
If the mind is to emerge unscathed from this relentless struggle with the unforeseen, two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.” – Clausewitz