It’s that time of year where we start to see articles all over the place with titles like “3 Ways to Jumpstart Your Company’s Marketing in 2016.” While the articles are as predictable as the seasons, they still serve as a valuable reminder that there are always thoughts and trends surrounding marketing efforts that can be adopted or refined, and what better time to explore these items than the beginning of the year.
With that, let’s look at a few very valuable topics that may give you some ideas on what you can do new, and what you can improve on to start driving real results from your marketing efforts in 2016.
Social Selling is About Relationships First
It seems that social media has been a popular topic for a while now, with many companies looking to this medium for new business results that may be tougher to achieve than initially led to believe. While social media can be a vital part of any marketing effort, especially when it comes to customer service and connecting with evangelists, it is tough to be successful if you are blindly posting without any type of plan or intent.
The first thing to realize is that if you are simply posting content, without a defined strategy, you are really only playing the lottery when it comes to developing meaningful new relationships.
Social media at it’s very core isn’t too different from participating at a networking event or going to a party. You have to get out there, introduce yourself, and start mingling with the crowd to begin to establish rapport and build relationships. Also, just like any party you don’t want to oversell your goods or services before getting to know your prospects.
Have you ever been to a party and had Bob, the insurance guy, get introduced to you and try to sell you a term life insurance policy within the first 30 seconds of meeting one another? Not only is this extremely annoying, the chances of doing business with this type of individual are slim to none. Instead you need to get to know what makes your prospects tick and set the stage for future meetings or touch points where you can begin to tactfully let them know what you are selling and how it could benefit them.
Also keep in mind, when you are using social media to prospect, more often than not you aren’t going to close the sale immediately and need to look at this channel as a way to introduce additional touch points to move the prospect down the sales funnel. You may get them to click on a link to your website, enabling future retargeting efforts. Or maybe you can procure their email address through a whitepaper giveaway, followed by a systematic drip campaign. Either way, you need to define what a successful outcome looks like and know that your goal is to begin the process of moving them towards an eventual conversion.
It May be Smart to Pay to Play in 2016
Whether it be PPC or display ads, paid media has been around since the inception of the internet. However, in the past there were ways that you could organically generate a good amount of traffic for your website that didn’t require any direct out of pocket expenses.
These days, generating massive boatloads of traffic on an organic scale is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. If you are depending on the internet for lead generation and business growth, you may have to turn to some type of paid media in order to drive the type of relevant prospects to your website to get the opportunity to turn them to a lead or customer.
So what types of paid media should you be looking to implement to your plan? If you are already buying media, what additional activities can you pursue to increase the overall return on investment of your ad spend?
Before we give an example, we want to stress that, in our opinion, there isn’t a “one size fits all” type of model. Every paid marketing campaign has its own nuances to take into consideration.
If you are beginning a new ad spend in 2016, its essential to clearly define your target market and conversion lifecycle, and then determine what type of paid media and offers would be best to reach this audience and set your desired chain of events into action.
Let’s say that you are a SaaS firm that is targeting large enterprises, and you have identified the decision maker as the CMO. Your product probably has a long sales cycle, so your initial goal for your ad spend will be to get a steady stream of qualified leads into your sales funnel, and are willing to pay around $200 per lead to make it a profitable endeavor. You also have data that shows that the main driver of your product is through educating the prospect on how it can benefit their organization, and it isn’t something that they are necessarily going to be searching for on their own.
Since you have a well defined decision maker and company size, you may want to avoid paying for a traditional PPC campaign on Google due to the believed lack of intent. Instead, you may develop a campaign on LinkedIn and Slideshare using assets like presentations, whitepapers and Webinars that your prospects opt into receiving, and then use this data to begin a longer term email drip campaign that is also supported by your sales department.
Attribution and Lifecycle Marketing Are Only Going to Increase in Relevance
If you are running any type of marketing campaign that isn’t focused on an immediate sale, it will be essential to fully embrace the full lifecyle of the customer journey in order to be successful. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you will need to really place emphasis on a long-term marketing plan that includes all of the touch points that you need in order to nurture your leads through the sales funnel.
More often than not, a prospect’s journey towards becoming a customer may look like this:
As a result, it is vital for your marketing plan to really be a marketing plan that you stick to. You need to have a comprehensive strategy that is geared towards the entire customer journey, and have various initiatives for each activity. With a wide array of marketing buckets like organic search, paid media, content marketing, and social to name a few, you need to recognize that each activity doesn’t live in its own silo, but all work together towards the common goal of a conversion.
At the end of the day, a comprehensive and well thought out marketing plan is going to pay big dividends for those who are willing to invest the time and effort for putting it into place. Every piece can serve a unique purpose, and whether it is social media, or PPC you will need to recognize that in 2016 they all work in tandem to provide you with the ability to hit your marketing goals.