For most of us, our business goals are the same every year – growth. If that isn’t your objective, you’re one of the lucky few and there’s no need to read any further. However, if you’re looking for new opportunities to expand your business, you need to reconsider how you market and advertise your brand.
Business to business (B2B) selling has changed dramatically in the last decade. At XL North, we’ve learned a lot – often the hard way – about what works in marketing and what doesn’t. Most of the channels that we were using have simply become outdated. At first I didn’t believe so until we started to look at everything through a different lens. If you’re still marketing like it’s 1999, opportunities for growth are passing you by.
Consider these stats before you spend another dollar of your tightly stretched marketing budget:
- Phone book ad page counts have dropped 54% since 2010
- 44% of direct mail is never opened
Businesses no longer rely on traditional channels – like the phone book, television commercials or coupon mailers – to find products and services. Take note: 21st century customers are now in control of the buying cycle. They choose how, when and where to discover your products and services. And, time after time, customers turn to the internet.
Your first order of business for generating new leads and opportunities for growth in 2016 is bringing your company website into the 21st century. We work with OnMark LLC, an all-encompassing marketing firm. Carrie Brown, owner of OnMark, shared with us these proactive (and inexpensive) ideas for improving your site and generating more traffic.
A website is imperative for driving business in the new millennium. “It is a huge marketing asset,” according to Carrie, “so don’t squander it.” It should never be a cost center, but a profit center. While it’s a point of contact, more importantly, it is the first impression a customer has of your company. Check out your site from their perspective – from the outside looking in – and use it as a marketing tool to educate, inform and engage visitors. Here’s how.
Most businesses have a web presence, but the majority still use static sites that haven’t been overhauled in years. Carrie explained it this way, “Take a look at your website on a smartphone. Glance at it again on your laptop, your tablet, and your desktop computer. What looks good on one device may not display well on others.” That’s why dynamic, responsive sites are key in marketing to today’s consumers.
Responsive sites look good no matter the size of the screen and are rewarded with better search engine results. In April 2015, Google announced that it would boost the search rankings of mobile-friendly web pages.
STATS TO CONSIDER:
- 51% of internet searches come from smartphones
- There are over 1.9 billion mobile internet users
If your website isn’t responsive, you’re quickly falling behind the times … and your competition.
In talking with Carrie, one feature kept coming up – search engine optimization (or SEO). Carrie explains, “It takes time and consistency to properly utilize SEO, but it starts with good, old fashioned, keyword-rich content.” You know your target audience better than anyone else, and your site, through SEO, will reflect their needs. What are they searching for? How do they find your business among the millions of search engine results?
STATS TO CONSIDER:
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
- Search engines are the #1 driver of traffic to a site
Decide on 10-15 keywords or key phrases that speak to your ideal customer. Consider less broad terms for your business (like “carpet cleaning”) and more targeted choices (like “affordable carpet cleaning Chicago”). These keywords and key phrases should be specific to each page of your site and included in the page title, page headers, meta description and image names.
Content is simply anything that you can add to your website, share across social media or send in an email and Carrie believes that it is the fuel needed to drive successful, effective marketing campaigns. Content increases search engine rankings by improving your site’s discoverability. It also attracts and engages your ideal audience.
STATS TO CONSIDER:
- Quality downloadable content generates 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing methods and costs 62% less
- End User Carpet/Flooring Installation Guide
Educate end users on preparing and planning for flooring installation
- Matting System Infographic
Explain the benefits of proper matting systems in commercial and retail spaces
- Suggested Maintenance Guidelines
Provide easy to understand manufacturer or CRI specifications for proper flooring maintenance procedures
- Flooring/Maintenance Terminology Glossary
Give definitions and images for types of flooring and common maintenance vocabulary
If it’s difficult for you to consistently create new content, Carrie suggests sharing bits and pieces discovered from others in the industry, including relevant articles, practical tips, poll results and statistics, educational videos, and project completion photos.
Marketing now requires a different approach than in years past because technology has forever changed how businesses reach and relate to an audience. To engage potential customers and to stand out from the competition, consider updating your company website with a responsive layout, SEO and quality content.
Here’s to a prosperous 2016!
*All statistics referenced in this article are courtesy of HubSpot Inbound Marketing & Sales Software
OnMark specializes in helping businesses that:
- Have a marketing department of one.
- Spend the marketing budget on traditional, yet outdated, marketing channels.
- Need help navigating the terrain of 21st century marketing.
Learn more about the services OnMark provides, including web, email, social media and content marketing, as well as marketing automation.