We have an opportunity to evaluate and evolve how we do business to grow revenue and profits. Online marketing represents a tremendous opportunity for growth, as more business is conducted online now more than ever before. Here are the first 4 of 7 online marketing ideas you should embrace to be successful.
1. Ignore your website at your own peril. You’ve put it off long enough; it’s time to get serious about your website. As the endorsed online marketing consultant for a variety of industrial associations, I review hundreds of distribution websites each year. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them are just awful. While you may have been able to get away with this in the past, you will not get away with it going forward.
The changing face and needs of your customers, combined with the rise of online technologies in the workplace, have rendered your neglected website inadequate. If you use Google on a daily basis to research products and companies, don’t you think your customers do too? Make it a priority to turn your website into a customer-focused sales machine. If you want to see an example of a distributor website that ‘gets it,’ check out www.foodservicewarehouse.com.
2. Abandon ‘megaphone marketing’ tactics. Megaphone marketing is shouting at many with the hopes of attracting a few; successful companies will realize that megaphone marketing tactics just don’t work. Examples of megaphone tactics include print advertising, yellow page advertising, directory advertising, untargeted banner advertising, cold calls and mass email blasts. Megaphone marketing tactics no longer work because of a fundamental shift in customer behavior. Customers don’t want to be interrupted and megaphone marketing is an interruption. Customers want to be in control of the information they receive. With megaphone marketing, the company is in control. So, what should you do?
3. Embrace ‘magnet marketing’ tactics. Magnet marketing overcomes the problems of megaphone marketing by putting the customer in control. Magnet marketing helps you get found by customers at the very moment they have a need for your products and services. It allows you to earn trust by providing customers with information they value to attract them to your website to do business. Examples of magnet marketing tactics include content marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and social media marketing.
Not only do magnet marketing tactics generate more leads and sales, but they are also less expensive. According to research, companies that focus on magnet marketing tactics have a 62 percent lower cost-per-lead than companies that focus on megaphone marketing tactics.
4. Content marketing is becoming the new advertising. Search engines, blogs, social networking sites and other online platforms offer you a tremendous opportunity to engage directly with customers. However, to get in front of them in the first place, you need great content. Spend less time focusing on traditional advertising, and spend more time creating great content.
People don’t choose to do business with you just because you offer the right products at the right price. They choose you because you and your team have valuable, specialized knowledge about the applications of your products. Lead with that specialized knowledge in your marketing by writing best practice articles, filming ‘how to’ videos, producing an insightful blog and creating educational guides and whitepapers. By marketing your knowledge instead of just marketing your products, you will create a unique differentiation in the marketplace.
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