Online marketing means many things to many people: A website, Google AdWords, search engine optimisation, creating content ‘assets’ and getting involved in social media sites.
It can sound overwhelming. But there’s no need to get scared off by the jargon. The old rules still apply.
Here are five ‘old school’ terms that are still vital to ‘new school’ marketing.
Who are your customers and what do they want? What did they want and how has that changed? The internet provides research opportunities that are easy, cost effective and sometimes free.
Now that I have your attention, here’s a great tool: www.surveymonkey.com. If you are thinking of launching a new product or service and want to know where the new market opportunities are or what your customers think of you, just ask.
Another great online tool for research is social media.
Search Google for a forum about your topic then jump on in and ask some questions, like: “Our company is looking to develop a new system to solve this problem. Does anyone here think that’s a good/bad idea?”
Remember this tip though, online social networks are just like real social networks. Listen first (two eyes) then chat (one keypad).
It also pays to follow your competitors, suppliers and prospects alike. They are all ‘out there’ in the online world chatting and publishing information; some of them are even talking about your business and you need to listen.
Some great analysis tools that help you track trends around people searching for things and people chatting about your topics are HowSociable, BlogPulse, Google Alerts and Google Insights. It makes sense that Google delivers great analysis tools, most online information passes through its servers.
Here’s a brief description of each tool:
- Google AdWords Keyword tool shows how many people are looking locally (set location to Australia) or globally for your chosen key words or phrases and the competition.
- HowSociable: is a free monitoring tool for measuring your brands or keywords using 32 social networking sites.
- Blog pulse is a free service, which tracks over 100 million blogs. It can also produce the information as a trend chart.
- Google alerts helps you easily target keywords that are important to your brand and receive regular streaming or batched reports.
Planning is usually done in your head, on a notepad (made of paper or silicon) or in an excel spreedsheet.
So, there aren’t many online tools I would recommend. However, a good CRM will help you manage your database to ensure that you build and maintain strong relationships with your prospects and customers to feed your marketing pipeline.
I like Zoho CRM for its low cost ($12US pcm) and because it is easy to use.
When it comes to setting your objectives and measuring your success, it’s not all about sales. If you keep sales metrics separate, you will have a better chance of accurately measuring the success of the campaigns isolated from the other variables such as activities of the sales, product innovation, operations deliverables, etc.
Online B2B marketing should include the following three key objectives and be measured by these criteria:
- New quality leads generated;
- Valuable clients retained;
- Clients grown.
With clear objectives and a good plan you’re ready to go. But where do you start?
There is no right answer to which media option is the best for you or what message will most effectively help you achieve your goals. But now, more than ever, you have a great opportunity to learn as you proceed without going broke.
Start with your goals. Every question must come back to, “Will this help us meet our key marketing objectives?” Then test and measure everything you do. The following recommendations vary according to the industry so be mindful of how your prospects and customers behave (refer to research and analysis).
Your website is the front door through which prospects enter your organisation, to research and solve problems. Is it open and inviting? Here are some tips and tools that may help.
Go to Google analytics. It’s another free tool that your web developer can help you install and it is more powerful than a locomotive. When you get there, go to the “Content” tab on the left and to “In-Page Analytics”.
It’s an awesome new tool that shows you what people do on your site. Then, you can scrap or alter the pages that no one clicks on.
Get your business listed on Google Places, put a logo and spiel about your company, images and video if possible.
Driving traffic through Google Adwords. This is where you show your small ads on the right-hand side (and sometimes the top right) of Google (sponsored inks). It allows you to be found on the first page of Google results for any word or phrase that you specify which is especially good when you are struggling to compete on the left hand side in the (organic) natural search results.
If you want to do it yourself, I thoroughly recommend doing these bootcamp training videos.
The Social Media landscape is daunting to a newcomer. Don’t let it scare you.
Most B2B SMEs don’t need to have a Facebook page or Twitter account. These tools are good for listening to others talk but require a huge amount of time and resources to run properly so my advice is set up a personal page on LinkedIn but don’t bother with the others till you have time.
I do, however, recommend writing a blog and making videos.
The Blog will be a good way for you to gather feedback on what you say and how you say it (free R&D). It’s also great for encouraging (forcing) you to gather the content for your business to use later in brochures, ads, sales presentations, books, etc.
You can also do this using video. Firstly it’s more entertaining and easier to watch a video and secondly it helps with credibility. But here’s the clincher: invite friends and associates to talk with you or better yet, about you.
Video testimonials help build trust and you can improve your image.
Finally, use your CRM and Google Analytics to measure everything. Always measure against your objectives, as mentioned in the Planning section, to ensure consistency and unification across your organisation.
It might sound easy but think carefully about the wording of those goals.
‘Quality’ leads means leads that convert to sales or convert to referral. ‘Valuable clients’ are those with a lifetime value that outweighs the expense of servicing them and investment in attracting them. ‘Growing clients’ is usually a good measure of loyalty.
You can measure this growth in various ways and all are important. Growing is the frequency they spend with you, the amount they spend, the number of products or services they purchase, the share of their spend with you over competitors, the times they refer you, etc.
The more you know the better decisions you make and we all know that that means better ROI.
You may have noticed that 123(4&5) spells RAPID which is our model for success at BlueFrog Marketing. If that sounds like a sales plug, you may have also noticed that this article is, again, a form of online marketing in its own right.
Yes, we practice what we preach.
Online marketing can be a cheap and effective way of growing your business. And if it seems daunting, never forget, the rules of ‘new school’ marketing’ are nothing new. Good luck!
Justin Bruce has been working in traditional and digital design and marketing for over 15 years, He is passionate about growing sustainable businesses using a combination of best marketing practices, sound academic knowledge and a range of practical experiences. ([email protected])
Photo by Declan Jewell