The New Year.
New goals, new budgets and a renewed emphasis on the steps necessary to achieve them.
If sales growth is part of the plan, the opportunity for your website, and other online channels, to contribute to revenue has never been greater. Capture the sales volume you deserve. Take these 4 steps to ensure digital marketing success in 2016.
1)Establish Or Revisit Your Web StrategyA well defined web strategy is the key to online success.
Do you have a plan for how it helps you accomplish your business goals? If not, then it's time to define the details.
Websites need ongoing attention. They should evolve as your business evolves. Are they in concert with where you're trying to go as an organization?
If you don't have a web strategy, too much time has elapsed since the last definition or you are looking to elevate to the next level, set aside time to formulate a plan. Answer the following questions:
- What is your ideal web strategy? Whether it's providing information about your products and services, using your site as a lead generation source or positioning yourself as an industry thought leader, quantify your goals. Make sure the goals are consistent with your overall business objectives.
- What constitutes success? Regardless of your web strategy, you need to define the metrics that will help you measure it.
- Define your audience. Who are you trying to attract? Profile your ideal website visitors and quantify their needs.
- Define the challenges. Time, resources, budget, commitment and knowhow can impact the viability of any plan. Is your strategy consistent with what you can truly expect to execute?
- If you have a defined strategy, how can you elevate your plan to increase your success? Minor site enhancements, targeted content and marketing automation are just a few methods that further elevate site effectiveness.
2)Image Is EverythingThe image your audience gets, in only a few seconds, when they visit your site, can significantly impact whether they stay to learn more about you. In fact, nearly 50% of site visitors consider your website the most important criterion in determining company credibility. Whether your web strategy includes lead generation or is just informational, targeting current customers and referrals, a well designed website is essential to your business.
Bread, Bad Jokes and Data go stale. So do web sites. Website design applications are constantly evolving making something that worked well only a year or two ago, look outdated. Analyze your site. Is it heavy on content and light on images? Do you have too many or non descriptive navigation headings? Have you implemented responsive design so your site conforms to the user's mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop screen size?
User today are attracted to:
- A fresh design
- More white space
- Unique typography
- Large and responsive images
- Fewer navigation headings
Unless you don’t need new customers or your interaction is 100% offline, review your site design and implement appropriate changes.
3)Designs Get Stale, Content SpoilsIf website design is the bread of your sandwich that gets stale with time, then content is the meat that spoils when left unattended. Websites without recent content updates don’t engage readers or encourage repeat visits.
Today, a buyer is well on their way to formulating a purchasing decision before they contact a seller. Using online tools in the selling process is more important than ever. Much like an effective sales rep, content allows prospects to learn about your services even if they aren’t speaking with you directly.
Is your content geared to the needs of the audience you are trying to attract? Are the terms you use, to convey your capabilities, the same ones your audience uses when they search for information about products like yours? Have you added new content as your capabilities have changed?
Does your site contain information that helps your audience do their job? Does it educate them through the various stages of the purchasing journey so that when they are ready, you’ll be a company that they will contact?
Assess your content inventory:
- Does your website speak to your audience or is it internally or me focused?
- Does it educate and help them do their job
- Does it answer questions that helps them start to formulate purchasing options?
- Does it encourage them to view you as a viable source?
- Does it use the words and phrases that your audience is most likely to use?
- Do you use other content sources like videos, infographics or slide decks?
If your content doesn't connect, then develop a plan to provide more valuable audience information. Use the content white paper to help guide you.
4)Embrace Social SellingThe statistics are overwhelming.
- Over 90% of buyers use online search when formulating an enterprise purchase decision
- 80% of research is done online using sources including websites, blogs and social media
- Buyers are nearly two thirds of their way to a purchasing decision before connecting with a seller.
There’s no substitute for effective sales reps. However, you can help them become even more effective by leveraging social selling.
Social selling is meeting the buyer where the buyer is conducting due diligence and arming themselves with information - ONLINE. Social Selling is also about leveraging online tools to help a sales professional have more pertinent and effective conversation with their buyers.
Content has become the sales rep of the internet era. It has become a crucial way for successful sales teams to communicate with their prospects. Although the sales rep is a crucial part of the process, the content you develop to help educate and nurture your audience online can be repurposed and provided for your sales team to leverage in appropriate social media channels like LinkedIn.
Plus, by leveraging marketing automation, you can publish information for your sales team on a regularly scheduled basis to their broad audience allowing them to devote their time to 1:1 conversations.
Take these steps to get started:
- Ensure your sales team has social profiles that can help cultivate a relationship with potential buyers.
- Set up listening alerts to get notifications when your prospects or customers are in the news.
- Join groups or forums that prospects and customers are part of to stay abreast of company and industry information.
- Consider training to assist your sales team, especially those with a low social media acumen.
It's Time To Construct A Plan
The internet has disrupted many business models. It has also opened the door to opportunities that were previously not available. Allocate time with key members of your team to set goals and then formulate and implement a plan to ensure digital marketing success in 2016.