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If you have not embraced online marketing, now is the time. Online marketing is no longer an option – it is a necessity to compete in today’s market. The good news is it offers you the best opportunity to produce results in a cost-effective and measurable way. Resolve yourself to be successful in 2011 and beyond by committing to the following resolutions:
Resolution #1: I Will Lead with Passion, Not Products
As an online marketing strategist and professional speaker, I have the privilege of speaking with thousands of distributors each year. When I ask about their businesses, I learn that customers choose to do business with them because of their specialized knowledge. They are problem solvers. Not only do they sell products, they educate customers on how to be most effective when using them for specific applications. However, what do you see on most distributor Websites? Their line card, the suppliers they represent – and little else. In 2011, lead with passion on your Website. Differentiate your company by demonstrating your specialized knowledge and expertise. Don’t just sell – educate.
Resolution #2: I Will Fix My Egocentric Website
Your Website is not for you – it’s for your customers. All too often, distributors do not design their Website for their customers. Rather, they take an egocentric approach on their Website, more interested in talking about themselves and their products instead of solving their customers’ problems. In 2011, resolve to fix your egocentric Website by offering customer-focused content and interactive features that speak to the needs of your customers and provide a solution to their problems. If you’re not sure what your customers will want, ask them. Your customers need to feel your Website is relevant, trustworthy, and satisfying or they will leave. And, your competitor’s Website is only one click away.
Resolution #3: I Will Embrace Social Media
Social media marketing is the latest addition to the online marketing mix that involves leveraging social networking websites to share relevant and interesting content, or social media, with your network of fans, followers and connections. Social media marketing campaigns typically focus on creating compelling content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. Social networking Websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are being frequented by your customers. In 2011, begin thinking about how social media can fit in your marketing mix.
Resolution #4: I Will Not Go Overboard with Social Media
At the same time, don’t go overboard with social media at the expense of more proven marketing activities. There is a lot of hype out there about the power of social media. However, the reality is that results produced by social media marketing are marginal at best. If you are still struggling with the basics of online marketing, don’t spend too much time dabbling in social media. If you don’t have a great Website, a search strategy, an email strategy and analytics in place, then you’re better off putting social media marketing on hold.
Resolution #5: I Will Get Serious with Search
Allow me be blunt: If you are not engaged in a serious search engine marketing campaign, you are leaving money on the table. If you are trying to generate leads and sales online, search engine marketing needs to be part on your marketing mix in 2011 and beyond. Customers that use search engines to research products are motivated. They are ready to do business. And, you need to pop up on the first page of the search results to be in the running. To learn more about search engine marketing, read Make Your Web Site a Search Engine Magnet.
Resolution #6: I Will Create an Email Nurturing Strategy
Most distributors I speak with either use email marketing as a promotional tool or don’t use it at all. If you fall into either camp, it’s time to change the way you view email marketing in 2011. Email is not a prospecting tool. Email is not solely a promotional tool. Email is most effective as a nurturing tool for growing and strengthening existing relationships with customers. One of the best ways to nurture relationships with email is by producing an educational email newsletter. To learn more about email newsletters, read How to Be Successful with Email Marketing.
Resolution #7: I Will Treat Marketing Like an Investment, Not an Expense
Stop thinking of marketing as an expense. You need to begin thinking of marketing as an investment that should produce a measurable return in the form of qualified leads and bankable sales. Just as you would evaluate the ROI of investments in your retirement portfolio, you need to evaluate the ROI of all the investments in your marketing portfolio. One of the great things about online marketing is you can measure everything. So, in 2011, leverage Web Analytics, trackable phone numbers and a CRM system to track leads and sales generated by each marketing activity. In no time, you will know the specific marketing investments that are producing results.
By making (and keeping) these online marketing resolutions, you will be well-positioned to succeed in 2011 and beyond. Which resolutions are you going to start with?
Bob DeStefano is an online marketing strategist and professional marketing speaker with more than 15 years experience helping industrial companies leverage online marketing to produce bottom-line results. Connect with Bob at www.bobdestefano.com and www.svmsolutions.com or by calling 1-877-786-3249 x3. Follow Bob at twitter.com/bobdestefano and linkedin.com/in/bobdestefano