Just this past month, Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, noted that half of small businesses are not yet online. For businesses that are online, however, their growth rate is twice that of offline businesses, according to Schmidt. That's a powerful statement. You can double your business by taking it online. How effective is your online presence? Do you have an online presence? It's 2012 after all, time to get with the program and make a commitment to your company's revenue growth.
Technology as a Raw Material
In the industrial economy, we used to think of iron ore, wood, and crude oil as raw materials. In today's online economy, we consider marketing technology as raw material. Instead of wood and iron, we have content management systems, blogs, and social media platforms. These are the raw materials that support the construction of your online business and spur its growth. Let's take a closer look at the raw materials of today's technology economy.
- Content Management System (CMS) - A content management system allows you to build your brand online, market your products and services, and publish content frequently. A key feature of a CMS is its ease of use - this allows numerous members of an organization - from salespeople to technologists to easily create and publish content specific to their expertise or departments. An effective CMS will also be able to integrate components like e-commerce or a company blog.
- Blog - companies that blog have over 50% more website visitors than companies that don't blog. Blogs are likely the singularly most effective marketing technology you can invest in. They drive traffic, they define your online persona, and they help establish thought leadership. Freshly published content also piques the attention (and indexing) of search engines like Google and Bing. Effectively building and incorporating a blog strategy into your overall marketing strategy is a must.
- Social Media Platforms - social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are places for listening and engaging with fans, customers, and even critics. Listening will allow you to receive feedback on your product, service, and industry. Enterprise-wide applications like Hootsuite allow you to efficiently manage your listening and collaboration efforts.
- Marketing Automation - automating your marketing technology efforts is an effective way to nurture non-sales ready leads down your sales funnel. You may consider segmenting your prospects into separate lead nurturing campaigns by company size or by the type of content they download. You could also customize email campaigns for leads based on their behavior on your website. Think of your website as an information gathering place that leads will visit frequently. Each visit should move a lead a little further down your sales funnel until they either make a purchase or reach out to contact you directly.
- Analytics - you can't manage what you can't measure. Analytical utilities, like Google Analytics, offer detailed dashboards of your website traffic, visitors, and visitor location, among many other types of data. Reviewing this data for patterns is valuable. What is the most commonly visited last page before someone becomes your customer? How do some of your highest volume customers navigate through your site? What section of your site do visitors spend the most time in? Constantly tuning and evaluating your website based on your analytics is essential.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - your best future customers are your current customers. Selling and then retaining the relationship you built during the sales process will have enduring value for your organization. CRM software like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics keeps track of the many calls and interactions you have with prospects and customers and helps you find your most sales-ready leads. Your CRM can also integrate with your website's lead generation activities for a full on closed-loop marketing effort. Closed-loop marketing is the best way to get the most insight from the Big Data your company's own online presence is generating.
So there you have them. The raw materials of marketing technology. How many of these raw materials are you including in your marketing efforts? How effective are the people that are using the marketing technology in your company or department? Need more support? Or expert advice? Give us a call.