Online Marketing and Your Business Development Process

Customer-RetentionTo get maximum impact from your online marketing activities, they must support every phase of the business development process.

In simple terms, your online business development process consists of getting found, educating and nurturing your prospects through the decision making process, conversion and post sales activities.

Getting Found

There is no doubt the buying process has fundamentally changed. Both business buyers (B2B) and individual consumers (B2C) are going online to find what you sell.

If you are not on page one of search engine results, or visible on appropriate social media sites, then prospects are not finding you.

To them you don’t exist.

Every time this happens, it’s a missed opportunity. Getting found online, and generating qualified inbound leads, is “job one”.

This requires a commitment to optimizing your web site for search engines, consistently increasing your visibility on social media, regularly developing fresh, relevant content, engaging in link building, effectively using email marketing, making smart use of online/social advertising, constantly analyzing and improving your online activities…..

Education and Nurturing

Although driving inbound leads is the critical first step, simply generating a lead does not necessarily equate to a sale.

Once a prospect finds you online, your selling efforts have just begun. Your online presence must create a favourable impression and give prospects confidence that you are a viable choice.

To gain this confidence, you must clearly understand what information prospects require at each stage of the decision making process, and make this information available at precisely that moment in time. You must commit to educating prospects about how to make an informed decision, and develop your online tools and content accordingly. Your lead nurturing tactics must be developed from an “outside-in” perspective.

Prospects may not be ready to “buy now”. They may simply be investigating a purchase that they intend to make at some future point in time. Automated, online tools can be used during this investigation phase to build credibility.This ultimately increases your probability of winning the sale.


Making a sale normally involves more than one interaction with a prospect. Therefore, you must convert a prospect, or “get them to yes” at each interaction point. This can be effectively done by using offers (calls to action) to move them to a well-defined next step.

Online tools are ideally suited as offers because they are always available and are easy for prospects to access on their own terms.

Examples of online offers are webinars, white papers, electronic coupons, contests, videos, contests, and e-books.

Post Sales

Most businesses do not pay enough attention to a very valuable asset; their customer base.

However, it is difficult to maintain consistent contact with customers just through human interaction. There are only so many hours in the day.

Online tools can effectively fill the void, and can be used for retention and business development purposes:

  • Confirm on-going customer satisfaction using e-surveys
  • Up-sell/cross-sell by informing them of new products or services through e-bulletins
  • Ask for testimonials/case studies that can be posted on your website or review sites
  • Develop an online referral or loyalty program system

We are not suggesting that online marketing activities should replace relationship building or traditional “off-line” marketing tactics.
But if you are not making effective use of online tools and tactics on a day to day basis, your business development process is under-leveraged and you are likely leaving money on the table.

So when it comes to online marketing, the first step is to acknowledge that it is critical to your long-term success. Once you do make a commitment to online marketing, apply these powerful tools and technologies to optimize each phase of your end to end business development process.

Let's Get Started

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Let's Get Started

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Confirm CDAP Eligibility

  • Be incorporated federally or provincially, or be a Canadian resident sole proprietor
  • Be a for-profit, privately owned business
  • Have between 1 – 499 full time equivalent employees
  • Have at least $500,000 of annual revenues in one of the previous three tax years