Small Business Online Marketing Miracles or Fool's Gold?
Have you ever gotten all fired up about a marketing event, made an investment of time, money, and emotional energy hoping that this one big thing will lead to a cascade of leads and turn around your sinking sales numbers?
Don't feel bad you're not alone. Many small businesses, especially manufacturers, fall prey to this kind of hoping and thinking.
Examples of these kinds of 'miracle events' include:
going to a new trade show with promises of long lines of qualified prospects
running an ad in a magazine a few times and expecting the 50,000 readers the ad salesman promised to go to your website or call your 800 number
hiring a so called Internet genius that can 'get you to #1 on Google'
hiring a p/r specialist that can 'get you to the top of the online news sites and keep you there'
making a video and being told that 'we can make this go viral'
run a pay per click (PPC) campaign and think it will miraculously vault you over your entrenched search engine optimization (SEO) savvy competitors
I could go on but you know the temptation I am referring to - we have all been there and felt the pull to find the miracle cure to slow or no growth. What experience tells us is that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
The antidote to this type of marketing 'event' thinking is marketing process thinking.
Marketing is an ongoing, never ending, systematic process of creating interesting content, promoting it and your company to prospects, converting those interested into leads, and then converting those leads into customers.
Many manufacturers we work with have lean manufacturing processes, six sigma quality systems, detailed shop floor and material flow planning, and integrated enterprise management systems - but no process for systematically marketing their business.
Thus the temptation to reach for a one time marketing event fix to cure their lead generation and sales growth ills.
The answer lies in building a sustainable marketing system that lays a solid foundation for growth now and in the future.
The key pillars of a marketing system are
Website as the core of your marketing efforts - search engine optimized, focused on the keywords your prospects search, with excellent design and easy navigation
Content creation plan - case studies, ROI analysis, testimonials, blog, video, white papers - whatever your prospects want to see
Promotion - social media, e-mail campaigns, p/r, networking, articles, industry events/groups/sites - go where your prospects are looking
Conversion - landing pages, compelling offers, and lead nurturing - attract them to you and get them to respond
Analysis - measure, review, test, calculate ROI, repeat - management by measuring guides strategy
The first thing you should do to build a firm foundation for a long term marketing process is a website that generates quality leads. Is your website working for you?
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