The buying process has fundamentally changed. Gone are the days of the uninformed prospect. In their place we have the savvy buyer – many of whom have done their research online, have become familiar with your products or services, and now turn to you for validation.
Are you ready to compete in a world in which prospects expect you to meet their expectations before they engage you in a human to human encounter?
Determining how to authentically and effectively support today’s online buying journey can be daunting – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 7 online marketing “must do’s” that can get aligned with how your prospects are buying.
1. You Need a Plan
If you want to create value for your prospective customers at every step in their buying process, you need to take a strategic approach. And this requires a well-thought out, thorough online marketing plan. A plan is crucial for establishing your desired business development goals, and how to best leverage online marketing to achieve them. Planning insights must include:
Understanding What Your Prospects Want
What information are they looking for to help them make an informed buying decision?
Researching Your Competitors
You are competing for visibility and valuable mindshare online. You need to know what you’re up against.
Identifying the Right Online Tactics
There are many ways to market yourself online; the key is to concentrate your efforts on those tactics that are best suited to your target market and to achieving your goals.
Creating an Execution Plan
Relentless execution is critical to online success. Figure out how you will make this happen before you get started.
You must identify what you will measure and how. If not, you will be flying blind.
The more insight you, the higher the probability of success. You won’t get results if you wing it.
2. Make Your Website A Great Sales Tool
There are two primary objectives for a website:
1. to be found when potential buyers are searching online
2. convert site visitors into prospects
You need to optimize your site so search engines trust it enough to position it in the top search results. You need to have compelling content on your site that answers prospect questions and moves them to a next step in the selling process.
Achieving these goals requires that you take an “outside in” approach when developing your website – you must see the world through the eyes of your prospects when creating your site structure, navigation, content and calls to action. This is the best way to maximize their experience and convert them. This will also develop credibility with search engines.
3. It’s All About Content
With online marketing, content is king. Whatever product or service you sell, you need to give potential buyers the information they require to make an informed decision – this is how you build trust, credibility and authority. Examples of content that site visitors deem beneficial are:
- Videos about products, services or any other information that will help them in the buying process.
- Case studies to highlight success stories and that offer social proof.
- Webinars that educate about a topic of interest.
- Blogs that provide useful insights; industry best practices, new products, opinions and advice, etc.
4. Make The Most of Social Marketing
There are many powerful social media platforms that can be used for business development purposes. The most important thing is to make sure your social marketing strategy is customized to your target audience. Some platforms will be more appropriate than others.
After you determine which platforms are best suited to your prospects, use them to share content and to engage with them. You have to make your social marketing efforts consistent, useful and relevant if you want them to have a measurable impact.
5. Use Email Marketing To Stay Visible
Email is a great way to keep in touch with prospects during their decision making process. Nurturing prospects strengthens your credibility, initiates a value-based relationship, and keeps the line of communication open.
Email is also a powerful communication tool for engaging with customers after you make the sale. Too often we ignore our existing customers – email is a simple, cost-effective way to extend our relationships with existing customers and to develop a loyal customer base.
6. Dominate The Local Landscape
Boosting your online presence can make a significant difference if your business caters to a local market. More than ever, consumers are using mobile devices to find local places of business, determine what they offer, be alerted to promotions or specials, etc. Some of the things you must do to be found for local searches are:
- Feature addresses and phone numbers prominently.
- Encourage customers to post positive reviews.
- Engage with prospects through social channels.
- Optimize your website for mobile devices.
- Be present in directories like Google My Business or those that cater to local businesses.
7. Keep Up With Marketing and Technology Trends
Whether it’s the rise of mobile or the introduction of new social platforms, there’s always something new in the digital marketing realm. You need to keep on top of these trends to appeal to tech-savvy consumers and to make the most of your online marketing efforts.
The Bottom Line
More and more of your prospects are going online as part of their buyer’s journey. Businesses must make sure they are visible when this happens, and that they are meeting the informational expectations of those potential buyers.
The online world has presented all businesses with the opportunity to extend their reach beyond what was ever thought possible. There’s never been a better time to take your business to the next level. Having a strong online presence, driven by a strategic online marketing plan, will help you get there.
Core Online Marketing is an outsourced online marketing services company that helps small and mid-sized businesses grow through the strategic use of online marketing. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you grow in this age of the digital consumer.