Before embarking on a web initiative, it is crucial that the principal stakeholder define their goals. Usually it will be something like: a) get more leads, b) get a better market presence, c) improve brand recognition, d) be recognized as a leader in a certain industry etc.
Assuming that most industries are competitive with several vendors, unless the stakeholder has unlimited funds, a firm must pick the battles they can win with the resources available. The goals also must be refined for them to be realistic. For example, a new ketchup manufacturer is unlikely to displace Heinz or Hunt’s as the top ketchup manufacturer anytime soon, however great their web-campaign or internet marketing company is. One of the reasons being that you really cannot improve much on ketchup. So product differentiation is out of the question. The price argument is probably being addressed by the store brands.
Similarly, in industries where no one brand or company dominates the industry for example in placement consulting or executive search services or divorce attorneys, it is not realistic to assume that a new entrant can dominate every single type of search category and have leads rolling in all day. What is realistic is to find a niche, dominate the niche with exceptional content and convincing testimonials and create a likely scenario where after looking at your online value proposition, a prospective customer sends you an inquiry. The ball is then on the customer’s court to close the lead and secure a new customer for their business.
For large companies with several products or services, often it is necessary to have several micro-sites with each micro-site focusing on a product or niche service. This demarcation of content by using micro-sites helps in focusing the message on a website to a very narrow band of consumers. By focusing the message to solving a very specific issue, the chances of a targeted website visitor becoming an actual lead is very high. By creating specialized funnels, the company is increasing its conversion rates for visitors to all its website assets.
Now let’s take an example of a pharmaceutical company. The above strategy is easy enough. However, for a pharmaceutical company or any other larger corporation such as a publicly listed company, implementing the marketing strategy is not so easy. Because there are legal hurdles, developing content with testimonials from real customers, producing customer videos and generally because creating high quality copy, content and websites takes time. Implementing the entire internet marketing strategy may span several months and may involve a phased roll-out.
Once the marketing strategy has been implemented and multiple websites are up and each website has been optimized for SEO, and SEM initiatives are buzzing, the client is generating marketing data. It is a waste of money if the websites are not being adjusted regularly to optimize the lead generation process. Not all marketing theories pan out. For example, a website with 20 pages may have traffic only reaching 5 pages. Not because they are not SEO optimized but because the content is not of interest to the persons performing searches.
Or there may be a situation where visitors are landing on a page and leaving in a few seconds (high bounce rates). In these situations, either these pages need to be updated with content and specific messaging that is visible in search engine results or these pages should be removed entirely from the site because they dilute the SEO effectiveness of other pages on the website. So, the crux of the issue here is that marketing plans online must be continuously tweaked.
Take another example of the ubiquitous contact form. Do you know how many leads drop off when you have 5 fields to fill versus 10? Do you know what is the lead drop-off rate if you add a CAPTCHA type of service? These are some of the answers that an internet marketing strategy professional should examine constantly and improve pro-actively.
With respect to Search Engine Marketing, the goal of any customer is to acquire the maximum targeted leads at the lowest price? For this to happen there needs to be a system where every action is performed like an experiment. For example here is a sample question that a marketing professional could ask themselves: is Bing giving me better results than Google for customers over 60? If so then push more marketing dollars onto Bing till the time the budget refuses to get expended or the price per click increases substantially.
For a customer to plan for utilizing the web as a marketing tool that is as important as their best sales person, there needs to be a well-defined internet marketing strategy plan document. Everyone has a website today. Whether it can help a business is whole different matter.
Big Apple Design Group gives you options with evidence. We take the time to talk to you and educate you on what is available and possible within your budget. We find that risk takers tend to succeed with smaller budgets. The same old tactics are unlikely to get you much further than the last business that tried doing the same thing. We create an internet strategy plan that is customized for your needs and which will enable you to track success across many months. We help you plan your internet marketing spend and allocate funds prudently. We strive to ensure that our contribution to the success of your enterprise is obvious.
Big Apple Design Group
134 West 29th Street
New York, NY 10001