I was talking to a prospect recently who was disappointed in his marketing results.
He tried PPC advertising. He went on Google Adwords, spent a ton of money and didn't generate any revenue. It was a total waste of time and resources.
He tried content marketing. He hired a writer and published several blog posts and 2 eBooks. Two months later, all he saw for his efforts were a couple of
He hired a "lead generation" company to cold call for him. All that did was annoy his prospects.
He joined a networking group and attended 4 networking events in the first month. Still no sales.
By the time I spoke to him, he was at the end of his rope. To me, the reason for his lack of success was obvious
The missing element of low-performing marketing: STRATEGY
I speak with business owners and managers about marketing all the time and the first question I always ask is, Do you have a business development strategy? I rarely hear a no. When I dig a little deeper, I find that many business people have a hard time articulating what their strategy is.
Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Do I have SMART revenue goals? Is everyone in your organization aligned around your goals?
- Do I have clearly focused target markets?
- Do I have a good understanding of what my typical buyers look like and the job(s) they hire us to do?
- Do I have well-defined marketing channels and processes for each of them? Does everyone in the organization follow these processes?
- Do I have measurement protocols in place for my marketing channels? Do I have a process in place to review performance and adjust strategy and tactics based on marketplace feedback?
- Am I using technology to provide insight to stakeholders and automate my processes?
- Am I creating content for all of my buying influences for each step of their buyer's journey?
- Is this all documented and shared with everyone involved in the business development process.
- Do I revisit my business development plan annually to respond to changes in buyer behavior?
Many businesses don't have answers to these questions. In other words, they don't have a business development strategy that will lead them to success
An integrated approach to marketing channels
Many businesses have a spray and pray approach to business development - they go all in on a tactic and abandon it when it doesn't produce results quickly enough. They then move on to the next approach and repeat the process.
It's important to understand the time it takes to get a return from your various marketing channels. Content marketing is a good example of this. It takes time for Google to index your content and to develop domain authority. Realistically, it can take 6 months or more to start generating the organic website traffics and leads to justify the investment in content marketing.
Does that mean you shouldn't invest in content marketing? The answer is a resounding no. The DemandGen Report 2017 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey found that 70% of survey respondents said that the winning vendor in their buying process, "provided content that made it easier to build a business case for the purchase." If that doesn't demonstrate why you should invest in content marketing, I don't know what will.
When you make an investment in content marketing, understand that it is a long-term investment. When you establish domain authority with Google, you will have a consistent flow of organic website traffic and leads month after month. And if you strategically produce content that's relevant to your target markets, that traffic and lead flow will largely consist of qualified buyers.
So what do you do in the meantime? Turn to marketing channels that produce a quicker path to revenue. For example, you should consider using Google AdWords and social media advertising channels like LinkedIn and Facebook to get eyeballs on your content more rapidly. Keep in mind that digital advertising is like renting an audience - when you stop paying the rent, the audience disappears. Organic traffic from content marketing is like owning your audience - you will continue to get traffic and leads long after you produce the content.
You should also be doing outbound email prospecting to generate sales opportunities in the early stages of your content marketing. Use relevant content to get the attention of buyers in your target market niches. Keep the emails short and to the point - and most of all, relevant to the buyer.
While I don't advocate cold-calling (others probably do), the early stages of your business development process should include telephone outreach to people in your network to see if they can help you generate leads. Reach out to people you know until people you don't know start finding you through your content marketing.
The common element to all of these marketing channels is that you're using the same content in all of them
Measure what you do and optimize
When you're executing your various marketing channels, make sure to measure the results of your efforts and optimize accordingly. Rapidan Inbound is a certified HubSpot partner agency and we use HubSpot in our own marketing.
There are other growth stack technology options available, but the reason I'm mentioning HubSpot is that they have free versions of all of their growth stack technology components - Marketing, Sales, and CRM. There's no excuse not to take advantage of technology to optimize your business development process.
Paradoxically, growth stack technology like HubSpot enables you to be more human when interacting with your customers and prospects. Contact intelligence will tell you which emails they've opened and which they haven't. It will tell you which website pages they've visited and which content offers they've downloaded. This knowledge allows you to have conversations that are based on their needs and wants