2013 upon us. Dependent on your viewpoint, we are either another into recession or another year closer to coming out.
Regardless of how you see it, 2013 heralds new opportunities for increasing your marketing and sales efforts. But what should you focus on? You can’t do everything.
Below are our essential marketing activities for 2013. They are mostly focused on generating new business since, in this climate, we all need to do that. They won’t fit every business by any means. And you may already be doing some of them. Equally, I’m not excluding Email or Mobile Marketing, events, SEO and PPC or even traditional mailshots, and of course advertising or PR amongst others. Ultimately, you have to select the type of marketing that suits your target audience and that delivers results. You also have to be prepared to test and change strategy if it isn’t working. The tips below are therefore what we consider as important for 2013 and the ones we are focusing on for our own business.
- Invest in your Website Times have moved on. Customers are swamped with messages and your website must be engaging or customers won’t find you or will quickly click away. Google’s algorithms change frequently and keywords alone aren’t as all-important as they once were. Increasingly, prospective buyers engage with your website on mobile and tablets and your site has to deliver in those formats. How are you going to approach these changes? You need to make sure that the design is flexible and enticing and that there are relevant calls to action on your site. We are in the process of completely redesigning our site and have spent a lot of time giving thought to who is our target audience and what they want from our site. One of the key aspects to how Google and other search engines rank your site is content.
- Generate and Distribute Compelling ContentContent is increasingly the main determinant of search engine rankings. It makes sense. Your customers want to have interesting stuff to read, watch and listen to that is relevant to their needs. If you can provide it, they will stay on your site longer and will more likely buy from you or at least contact you. What are you doing to improve the content on your website? That means strong product descriptions and good pictures, FAQs, Blogs, Articles, Thought Pieces, White Papers, podcasts, and so on. Videos are increasingly important as more of us want information in this format. How are you generating and disseminating this content? Are you pushing it out using LinkedIn and Twitter (see later) and letting your database know by email? Are you placing articles or advertorials on relevant websites with backlinks to your content? Make sure you have a plan for delivering relevant content to your target market and customers will come to you.
- Get Networking
Networking is a fundamentally new business engine. They say it’s not what you know…Whilst you definitely need to be selective in terms of your choice of group or event, you have to get out and meet people. It’s not the people you know that counts, it’s who they know. I like the concept from BNI of ‘Givers Gain’ and you, therefore, need to be prepared to help others. There are inevitably lots of local networking events and you need to take care not to be a busy fool. However, a balanced networking strategy is a key to success. Work out which events suit your business and make a plan to join some groups for 2013.
- Build strong Alliances I went to a networking event some time ago where the speaker advised us to find out who gets to our customers before we do. Then he told us to make friends with them and build alliances. He told the story of a new hotel in New York that offered a free night stay for all the cab drivers before they opened officially. Where do you think those taxi drivers would recommend if a customer asks ‘Hey buddy can you recommend a hotel?’ For our telemarketing services, our alliance could be with marketing consultants. If you are an IFA, perhaps it is accountants. Think about who you could build alliances with and make some calls to engage with them. But don’t forget, it’s a two-way street.
- Get Social I confess that I have some periods where I feel I am swamped by social communication such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and so on. That’s before I consider Google+ and Pinterest, YouTube and Vimeo, and so on. Where does it all end? You can be overcome by social media. However, it certainly can work for you if you target correctly. There are lots of stats and stories about lead generation through social media. We recently did a Twitter campaign for a client that resulted in contact and order from Trip Advisor. It is far from a solution to all lead generation ills but, if well planned and backed up by good content (see above), it should support an inbound marketing strategy of encouraging customers to come to you.
- Get on the phone
I accept that telemarketing may be considered by some to be old-style marketing. I’ve read articles that claim telemarketing is dead. However, telemarketing is still very much a key tool if you sell to other businesses. Recent research conducted by the SCI Sales Group identified that 90% of Marketers say telemarketing is best for lead nurturing and 68% of B2B sales have human interaction. The research also found that 35% dislike B2C sales calls but only 4% dislike B2B. People thankfully still buy people especially when it comes to b2b and telemarketing is therefore very much alive. In 2012, we have generated significant revenue and ROI for our clients through new business appointments amongst others with The Body Shop, Eurotunnel, Louis Vuitton, John Lewis Partnership, Harvey Nichols, The Department of Health, The Prime Ministers Press Office, GlaxoSmithKline, Interflora, L’Oreal, Aviva, Bayer PLC, Toyota GB, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lego, Sony Europe, Royal Bank of Scotland, Skanska UK, Balfour Beatty and many more. If your value of the sale is high enough, the ROI on telemarketing can be stunning. So don’t forget to consider outbound calling as part of your strategy for 2013.
- Consider an Adwords campaign you will notice that I didn’t come out and say do an Adwords campaign. Ultimately, Adwords is likely to be a waste if you’re already way up there on Google and other Search Engines. That doesn’t mean it’s not valid but why do it if you’re getting (and tracking) lots of clicks from organic listings? However, the level of sophistication you can get to using keyword analysis means you can increasingly focus Adwords campaigns on searches that are tightly defined. It is tough to identify good keywords that are less competitive in terms of cost per click but it is possible and worth a look as part of your 2013 strategy.
I am not naïve to think I have given you a solution to your lead generation needs. Nor am I daft enough to think that the above is insufficient detail to deliver all that’s necessary. These are simply our recommendations for your SME marketing strategy for 2013. They represent the route we plan to follow and mean we have a blend of lead generation activity carrying us into the New Year.
If you’d like to know more or book a new business development strategy workshop and find out how GSA Business Development can help Generate Growth for your Business, by contacting us now on 0845 658 8192 or send us an email.