“Vision without execution is hallucination.”
Many business leaders have great vision, but it’s hard to pull off the actual execution part—especially for small businesses. One of the hardest areas to manage is marketing. It’s a constant, ongoing process: promotion, conversion, leads, follow-up, sale, follow-through, and repeat sales. Process disruption is common, lead times can be looong, and sometimes important prospects can fall through the cracks—and out of the sales cycle.
But there’s good news! There are a lot of great ways to keep your sales cycle flowing. However, to stay ahead of the game, your first step is to make the call: you must make your marketing a priority.
Look back at 2015. Be honest: how many marketing goals did you actually accomplish? If you’ve tried to make marketing a priority and you just can’t keep on top of it, review this list of…
4 Common Marketing-Crushing Mistakes …plus, how to fix them.
Mistake #1. Assuming You Can Do It All
Small businesses have an especially hard time efficiently allocating resources. So, if you’re the CEO and you’re too busy trying to make sense of your marketing analytics so you don’t have time to follow up with an important customer, you could lose a huge chunk of business and hurt your reputation—all while wasting too much of your valuable time.
The fix? If marketing is the last item on your list (because holy cow, that is one LONG to do list), it’s time to take a step back and look at your business operations. List all the day-to-day business operations your full-time staff is capable of handling. Automate what you can and outsource the rest.
Do only what you do best. You just don’t have time to do everything.
Mistake #2. Unrealistic Staff Expectations
When you’re evaluating what tasks your staff is capable of handling, be brutally honest. No matter how much you care for an employee, not everyone grows where they’re planted. Reassign tasks so each employee has a role where they can shine. Your team will be happier and so will your customers.
One of the worst areas of offense? Attempting to internally maintain your content marketing strategy and production. Crafting a marketing strategy and effective writing are specific skill sets. (And they require much more experience than you can siphon out of your interns!) Your employees may even be willing, but not talented, and that can lead to a huge time-suck with no real payoff.
The fix? Consider outsourcing your content marketing. If it’s not getting done, it’s not going to get done. If it’s not getting done well, you’re likely hurting your online reputation. Hire on a team who can help keep your marketing (and your sales cycle) firing on all cylinders, all the time.
Mistake #3. A Lack of Strategy
Effective marketing is all about the plan. You know you need to produce a ton of useful content, but it can’t just be words. Starting with the big picture and narrowing that down to specific goals and marketing tasks you can execute on? No easy feat—but oh SO important! Your content should have a cohesive theme to answer your customer’s needs, help them make buying decisions, and spark their creativity.
A great plan always leads back to your content. Targeted email promotions lead to a targeted landing page designed to support the sale, then additional content should supply the extra information your customer requires to make that crucial buying decision. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together…and works? It can.
Mistake #4. Failing to Get the Most Out of your Content
They may not come just because you build it. You can hire professionals, collect information for marketing reports, stuff your website with a huge amount of expensive informational copy, and still, no one comes. Why not?
There might be a lot of answers, but the most common issues are poor presentation and lack of promotion. You need strong social media presence to promote your content and you also need the right presentation. Information broken into easily digestible chunks, instead of presented as a dense block of words, is more effective.
That’s why infographics and charts work so well. Make complex information easy with a visual presentation. Use whatever method is most accessible for your audience: graphics, charts, or video tutorials, for example.
Let’s Do This.
Make your 2016 goal to make marketing a priority, even when you’re overwhelmed with day-to-day operations. You simply can’t afford to make marketing your lowest priority again this year. Following the sale from start to finish and then beyond to a long-term relationship is the gold standard. This is your year to get there!
We can help. Check out these free marketing resources or give us a call today to make marketing a priority in 2016.
Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.
You’ll learn how to:
- Increase Your Referral Rate
- Increase Your Social Media Reach
- Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
- Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
- Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
Who doesn’t love a pristine buffet? All you can eat, hot and ready, just waiting for you to fill your plate and dig in.
Wouldn’t it be great if your leads were laid out in the same way: hot and ready to be served?
To ensure your buffet is always stocked with fresh leads, offer your visitors a tempting spread of content marketing.
Fill Your Seats
Filling seats in a restaurant is much like driving traffic to your website using inbound marketing tactics. While you may not be able to showcase mouth-watering meals, you can offer up teasers for useful and helpful content to make your potential customers salivate. Target your marketing and social media offerings to match customer wants and needs, tempting them to walk in the door.
Hot, Fresh Content
Now that your potential customers are in the door, deliver what you promised. They’re looking for hot, fresh content. If your content is stale, cold and skimpy, visitors will bounce without even ordering an appetizer.
This means paying special attention to your landing pages. Marketing links are a promise with a specific focus. Don’t make them search for the content they came for, take your visitors right to a landing page designed to support your advertising. Make juicy, succulent linkbait the centerpiece of your buffet.
Set Out Lots of Tools
Any decent buffet will have plenty of tools for diners within reach: tongs, spoons, knives, and stations at each buffet table with dishes, eating implements, and napkins. On a webpage, your tools should be designed for convenience. Give your visitors a way to sign up and/or contact you on every page.
Always Offer Great Service
When you go out to eat, poor service can really suck the fun out of an evening. Poorly managed buffets let used plates fill up the table, offer few servers on the floor for beverages and other needs, and pay little attention to keeping the buffet trays full, attractive, and at the right temperature…which means they’re not responding to customer needs.
Too many leads just sit there, waiting for service. Customers, like diners, are impatient. If they have to wait, they’ll give their business to your competitor. Offer great service from the minute they arrive and throughout every stage of the Growth Cycle Marketing process.
The Dessert Table
What’s a great dinner without a sweet ending? Your “desserts” offer up a little something extra. When your prospects come to your website looking for a simple meal, give them what you promised PLUS a delicious dessert…offer a discount, a special offer, or a free download. And all they have to do in return is provide an email address. What a deal!
Leaving a comment card on the table allows diners to give their opinion. Show visitors and social media contacts you value their opinions by asking questions and discussing ideas. Customers love being part of the process. Give your customers the opportunity to weigh in without asking loaded questions that may get you in trouble on social media.
Mail Out Coupons
You want diners to come back again and again, so give them a reason. Keep in touch with email, newsletters, social media offers, direct mail, and other tailored marketing efforts. Beef lovers who rave about your roast beef won’t be able to resist your grilled peppercorn-crusted rib eye special. Keep those special offers comin’ to keep customers engaged…and hungry for new products.
While your business probably isn’t a buffet restaurant, your approach to your business marketing should be similar. Success requires tempting offers, satisfied customers, responsive web design, and stellar customer service. Turn your website into a delicious buffet and reap your just desserts—a steady funnel of hot, fresh leads.