If your internet marketing plan includes a great website loaded with product specifications, accolades about your company, information about how to contact you and easy online ordering, GREAT, but you could be doing more to generate leads and convert surfers to buyers.
When we are working with marketing professionals in the manufacturing industry we are often met with resistance to internet marketing. The argument we hear sounds a bit like this, “We are a B2B company, most of our prospects are attending tradeshows and reading trade publications. They aren’t surfing the web and using social media to find out about us, they use searches to shop for lawnmowers, cars or to get a deal on electronics or shoes.”
The truth is, the more expensive a purchase, the more research is done before the purchase. Prospects DON’T want to make a mistake, and the overwhelming majority is turning to the web to start their searches. Good, no GREAT, prospects are surfing for better products and solutions, and social media and other web analytics are leading them to your competitors’ websites with targeted ads and content-based web results. If they don’t find YOU, then you aren’t making their list of potential sources.
Resistance to developing a solid internet marketing plan is futile.
Creating an internet marketing plan that successfully integrates inbound marketing is essential. Yes, inbound marketing includes someone picking up the phone and calling your company, but now it is so much more. There are five major components to inbound marketing:
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – This is the most important component in your internet marketing efforts. Without an optimized site, surfers won’t find you, and chances are your competitors are optimized. This could result in surfers being driven to your competition when they are searching for your products. There is a good chance your competitor is smart enough to include your company name in their optimization, so people searching for you will get THEM!
Email Marketing – You have a good list of customers, right? How about leads and prospects? Hopefully you do, and regular emails with relevant, compelling content will get prospects to click through to your site to take advantage of your offer or learn about your products.
Retargeting and Google AdWords Marketing – You can increase visits to your site exponentially by using keywords that prospects are using to search for your product. It’s as easy as it sounds, and this is how Google says it in their marketing, “People search on Google. They see your ad. You get more customers.” By using AdWords you get the top section and/or the right ad column in searches, and customers are more likely to click them and visit your site. Retargeting is an effective way to reach out to surfers that have visited your site and left. The next time they surf they are presented with one of your ads that allows them to click through to your site. This gives you another chance to convert them or at least get a great lead. Both of these tactics are an integral part of any effective internet marketing plan.
Blogging and White Papers – You’ve invested in SEO, emailed them and compelled them to click through, and/or reeled them in with a retargeted ad, now KEEP THEM THERE, and keep them coming back for more with fresh, relevant, interesting information. This makes you look like the expert you are and will help your search engine rankings. Everyone wins in this internet marketing scenario – informed, interested customers and prospects, great leads for you and more sales! Creating compelling content via articles and blogs will not only drive more business to your site, it can start a dialogue between you and your prospects and customers. The information they share with you can be an invaluable asset, and help you market to them more effectively.
Social Media – Never underestimate the power of online interaction – social media works in great ways. Opening a dialogue with your customers and prospects can have a multitude of benefits. Your website must include a link to your Facebook and Google+ page, and you really should be on LinkedIn, too – it’s not just for job searching anymore. Once you set up your pages, it’s easy to update regularly – repost your blogs, ask questions, showcase new products, welcome new customers – with great content and information.
Once you have your internet marketing campaign up and running, you will need to nurture the leads and interest that are generated, either from email capture from downloading your whitepapers, or requests for more information on your contact us page. These are great leads and keeping a close eye on them will generate more sales. A simple email and follow-up call can be effective, but if it isn’t, keeping these contacts in your sales funnel is a great way to push them further down towards a purchase. If you don’t, you’re missing the opportunity to create a new customer – and isn’t creating a new customer what your internet marketing plan is all about?
If you’re concerned that creating an internet marketing plan will move you too far away from traditional advertising, you need not worry. The good news is your traditional marketing is even MORE effective when customers have already been exposed to your brand message. You don’t have to abandon these methods in favor of internet marketing, in fact, updating your collateral, print ads and tradeshow information to communicate the same message as your inbound internet marketing is a must!
Need help implementing an effective internet marketing strategy? Holland can help. Call Bryan Holland at holland advertising : interactive at 513.744.3001 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.