When the Leads Stop Coming In (and they will)
You’ve been putting it off for months, maybe even years now. Why? Investing in digital marketing is time-consuming, expensive, and it is sometimes quite difficult to measure its effectiveness. It isn’t an overnight solution, and it isn’t something that you do once, and then carry on with your normal business operations.
If you haven’t seriously considered putting some time and money into digital marketing to grow your business, now may be the perfect time to start. With the end of the year approaching, there’s no better time to start fresh and set new goals for the coming year.
When the Leads Stop Coming In (and they will)
Unless you’re in a business where leads are coming in faster than you can pump out your products and services, it’s in your best interest to do at least some form of digital marketing. When things start to slow down, you’ll wish you were better prepared. While one month you might be up to your ears in work, the next month you could be twiddling your thumbs, wondering if your business will survive another month or week.
Word of mouth marketing is great, and it does work well for many businesses. However, it can only take you so far. We’re not going to force you into it, but we highly suggest biting the bullet and investing in digital marketing as soon as possible. While we can’t promise you that new leads will fall out of the sky and into your lap instantaneously, the following are some telling signs that some digital marketing would do your business good.
Digital marketing is a term that is thrown around a lot but not always clearly defined. It can involve a variety of different techniques, including website design and development, social media marketing, email marketing, SEO, e-commerce marketing, content marketing, and more.
What all of these strategies have in common is that they all work towards a common goal of generating leads for your business. When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to track where your leads are coming from on a regular basis, so when your leads all of a sudden start declining rapidly, it can be very alarming.
Enter digital marketing to the rescue. Not only can a good digital marketing strategy help you ramp up your lead generation, but it can also help you to track where your leads are coming from, so you can figure out how to target specific audiences. We’re not saying that referrals and other offline networking techniques should be thrown out the window, but it might be a good idea to supplement that with some digital marketing.
2. You forget what your business stands for (or maybe you never knew?)
Maybe you have a logo, a tagline, and some basic brand colors that customers identify with your business. But it shouldn’t stop there. Does your brand stand for something, and if so, do you remember what that was when you began? It’s okay if it has changed, but if your brand identity hasn’t changed with your values and mission, then you have a problem.
We should note that digital marketing is not the final solution to your problem. Your problem goes deeper than that. If you haven’t spent any time discovering and defining your brand, it will be nearly impossible to succeed with any type of marketing, including digital marketing.
Take a step back and get your brand back on track, and you may find that digital marketing comes much easier. You’ll have all the colors and design aspects figured out already, along with values, messaging and brand personality. From there, marketing your brand online becomes far less daunting, and the results will be better than you imagined.
3. Your content creation is stale – at best.
Maybe you have a blog. Maybe you don’t. Maybe your last blog post was 4 months ago, or over a year ago. Whatever the case may be, a stale site is not a thriving site. If you don’t have fresh content on your website, you’re stacking all the cards against you.
Google doesn’t like stale content, and neither do website visitors. Think about it this way – if you land on a web page talking about ways to increase your sales in 2013, you’re probably going to leave and go elsewhere to find the information you’re looking for. Your first instinct may be to assume that this company has either a) gone out of business, b) is stuck in the year 2013, c) made a really bad typo, or d) they don’t care enough about their audience to provide current and relevant content. And it goes without saying that none of those assumptions are good.
Instead, with consistent and thoughtful content creation, you can show your customers that you a) are definitely in business, b) understand what year it is, c) don’t stand for typos, and d) care about your audience and want to provide them with valuable content.
4. You don’t show up in the search engines – at all.
When it comes to SEO while getting to the top of the search engines is always a great goal to have, it’s not going to happen immediately, and you may never reach the top spot for a particular keyword. And that’s OK. Your ultimate goal should be to rank well for as many relevant keywords to your business as possible. What that means for your business, may mean something different to another.
You know what’s worse than showing up on the 3rd page of Google search results? A lot of things are worse than that, actually, but with regards to SEO, not showing up on any page – at least not one that your ideal audience will ever find – is definitely worse.
There are a lot of reasons you find yourself in this situation, most of which can be fixed over time with some tweaks to your SEO strategy. If you don’t have a strategy at all, then that is probably a big part of the problem, and putting one in place should be one of the first things you do next.
5. Your website looks like something out of the early 2000’s (or earlier).
If this doesn’t apply to you, you may be wondering if there are really websites out there that are that outdated. The answer is yes. And if this does apply to you, you know who you are, and you’re probably blushing. Excuse after excuse is how it often happens, and what once seemed like a state-of-the-art website doesn’t look so impressive today.
How do businesses get away with having archaic websites? If you do a lot of in-person networking, receive a lot of referrals, or tend to get the majority of your customers through face-to-face sales, then you may have decided that putting effort into a new website isn’t worth it. But think about how potential customers perceive your business when they land on your website? Is that the impression you want to give?
Especially for smaller companies, going through a website design may seem overwhelming and financially impossible. But it doesn’t have to be either of those things. If you work with the right digital marketing agency, they can work with you to update your website, while working within your budget. A great agency will take all of the frustration out of the website creation/redesign process, and the project will be smooth from start to finish.
6. Your social media presence is minimal (or non-existent).
Do you have a Facebook page? If you answered yes, that’s a great start. But, do you do anything on your Facebook page? Do you post engaging content on your page? Do you interact with your followers on your platform? Do you upload photos, link to relevant articles, make announcements, and more on a regular basis?
It’s not enough just to have claimed a social media profile. While it’s a good first step, it’s important to consistently use your social media profiles to spread your messaging and draw visitors to your website. Otherwise, you’re providing social media users with the false hope that they can connect with you through your social media profile(s).
That being said, you don’t have to be on ALL of the social media networks. There are too many to name, but even the most popular ones may not be right for your business, and that’s fine. Only choose the networks that make the most sense for your business, and that you can commit to using consistently. Otherwise, you will only let your followers down, and that’s not a great technique for building brand loyalty.
7. You’ve never heard of email marketing (or you don’t believe in it).
While it’s unlikely that you’ve never heard the term “email marketing”, it’s possible you’ve never tried it, or you simply don’t know much about how it works and why it’s so valuable. Maybe you think of email marketing as annoying email spam. If done incorrectly, then yes, it can end up being just that – spam.
However, the CAN-SPAM Act was put into place back in 2003 to help keep email marketers from sending unwarranted spam. The law simply puts common sense and consideration into words, and penalties are at stake for those who don’t follow the rules.
But for those who follow the rules and put a solid email marketing strategy into place, the results can be remarkable. In fact, the Data & Marketing Association stated that, according to a recent report, “66% of online consumers made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message.”
8. You don’t have a website at all (gasp).
Wait, what? You don’t have a website? Just give us a second to catch our breath. Okay, we just did some quick research, and found a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey from earlier this year, stating, “Almost half (45 percent) [of small business owners] say they don't have a business website.” While this is shocking to those of us in the digital marketing industry, we do understand it’s quite common.
The problem with not having a website in today’s digital age is that the majority of consumers are shopping online, and primarily from mobile devices. They’re shopping more intelligently and competitively than ever before because they can. If your business isn’t showing up on one of the many devices users employ during the buyer’s journey, you’re missing out on a huge population of modern consumers.
We get it. It’s a big undertaking, and it requires finding the right website design and development professionals and spending the necessary time and money to get it up and going. But the best part about having a website (that is well-built and maintained) is that it works for you even while you’re not working. That’s not to say that you simply need to launch a website and sit back and wait for the leads to come. It’s a bit more complicated than that. But it all starts with a URL.
If any of the above applies to you and your business, it may be time to invest in digital marketing. Whether you’re just beginning or you’ve already started, there’s always room for improvement and to learn something new. Your budget doesn’t have to be exponential. Many studies show that “10% is the magic number for marketing — spend 10% of your annual revenue on marketing, and you’ll do just fine.”