Turning Yesterday's Web Traffic into Today's Customers
10/22/2011 3:21:00 PM
Is your business utilizing 21st century technology to its fullest within the sales process? Have you been able to definitively point to sales generatedthrough new technologies/services available â such as a new website, search engine optimization (SEO), implementation of a customer relationship management system (CRM), etc.? If your answer is no, or if you are unsure - then you are not alone. Many companies have invested thousands of dollars implementing new technology: to find new sales leads; to streamline existing sales processes; or to keep customers informed. However, oftentimes these companies are unable to conclusively justify whether the investment has paid off.
Maximizing new technologies can be very resource-intensive â with manpower and financing. When moving your company marketing plan towards taking advantage of online tools, it is importantto break the process into stages. Below, you will find a list encompassingsix key focus areas. Although this list does not include every form of marketing technology available, for most small/midsized companies it will be a nice starting point.
1. Your Company's Website Design: Your organization's website must be visually attractive, informative to your prospective customers and align with your company's sales goals. Study your intended audience. Analyze your prospects and customers. Who are they? Whatare their interests? What kind of information do they need to make purchasing decisions? What information do they need to do business with your company?
It is essential to accurately align the design of your website with your company's current and potential revenue sources. For instance, pretend your company is a metal fabrication shop. Although a 10,000-piece order may be very attractive, if your business generates 90% of its revenue through small run custom fabrication work â focus where the potential sale actually is. Design your website accordingly, keeping in mind that its purpose should be to assist your sales team as opposed to redeveloping your company's target clientele base.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Make sure you design your website both visually and contextually with SEO in mind. A website properly optimized for search engines will often receive higher volumes of targeted traffic, which will ultimately translate into increased quality sales leads.
There are many misperceptions about proper SEO. Oftentimes, SEO consulting firms advise companies to load their website keyword meta-tags with lists of popular key words used as search words. Today, nearly all of the major search engines have modified their search methodology, no longer putting a preference on keyword meta-tags, rather to take a logical look at the content itself. This re-enforces the need to focus and target the contenton your website. Avoid any information that does not directly apply to your business - like weather reports or local news. Also, do not have links from your site to other sites that do not relate to your industry.
One of the best ways to promote healthy SEO for your company's site is to routinely update content. Set a goal for how often you would like to put new content online â and work with your sales team to employ a plan on how that will be achieved. An ideal target would be to add new content once per week. Publish a white paper, introduce a new service/product, post a case-study, sharepositive customer feedback, have your service department post regular tips/guidance, announce trade show appearances, etc. When posting content,highlight the unique skills or experiences of your employees. If you are concerned about having enough content on a regular basis, set a schedule for theposting of content over a period of time versus adding it all at once. By regularly updating the content on your website, search engines will scan your site more often.
Another often overlooked part of SEO is monitoring your company's âwebmaster tools' with the 3 major search engines. For example, depending on the design of your site, Google can require specific control adjustments within its âwebmaster tools' to properly scan your site. If you do not accurately administer the âwebmaster tools' with Google â Bing - Yahoo, you could actually unintentionally instruct them to remove your site from appearing within each of their search engine results. If you are unsure how to administer your company's âwebmaster tools', there are numerous self-help guides within each of the three major search engines. If you still have difficulty, consult an expert â settings within the âwebmaster tools' are not areas where you should guess at what you are doing.
3. Content Management System (CMS): Managing a large volume of content, whether it is white papers, product catalogs, press releases, and others can be extremely difficult without a method of organization. One method growing in popularity is a âContent Management System' or CMS. A CMS can integrate with your online marketing efforts in a variety of ways, including organizing a product catalog for an online store, organizing white papers, and updating content on the pages of your website. An entry-level CMS can be extremely user friendly, requiring minimal training. In a small to mid-sized business, a CMS can actually reduce work volume on existing employees and increase the productivity of the sales/marketing staff by automating many tasks previously performed manually. A CMS can vary greatly in capability,