Marketing short-sightedness is a condition that runs rampant through the halls, offices, and conference rooms of many businesses. This condition spawns quickly with negative atmospheric conditions caused by low sales numbers and pressure for quick results. This pressure, combined with an inability to accurately link marketing dollars spent to new revenue generated, results in a waste of marketing dollars that hits as hard as the plague.
The good news is that smart marketers can cure this condition. An inbound marketing campaign can begin to lay a solid foundation that will produce fruit over the long term.
The good things of this world take time and investment. A mighty oak tree starts as a meager acorn. Fine Scotch whiskey starts as water, barley, and dirt. The foundational blocks of the world’s tallest skyscraper start deep underground and build upon themselves until they reach toward the heavens. The same philosophy holds true in marketing; investment is required to achieve long-term results.
A Few Real World Examples of Short-Sightedness
This short-sightedness can take place online and offline efforts. Here are a few examples that we have heard in talking with business owners over the past few weeks:
- We need to be seen by more people, so we’re buying up billboard space all around target areas.
- We need people to remember who we are and what we offer, so we’re sending out hundreds of direct mail postcards a month.
- We need to reach new audiences, if people just hear what we do they will love us, so we hired a call center to cold call lists from our target market.
- We need to increase sales, so we’re requiring our in-house sales team to make a dedicated number of cold calls each week.
- We need to be on the first page of Google, so we hired an SEO firm. They guaranteed we would be on the first page for at least one keyword…
- We need to drive more traffic to our website, so we purchased $5,000 in PPC ads.
- We need to get customers on social media, so we had our intern set up company profiles and start sharing five times a day.
- We need to start making sales on social media, so we have our sales team messaging every c-level and business owner in our target market on LinkedIn.
- We need to get a jump on our competition for the upcoming season, so we’re going to have our website redesigned.
- We need to start driving traffic to our website, so we outsourced a blogger who is writing 10 posts a month on topics of their choice.
Each of these tactics may produce some fruit in the short term, but will never hold water over the long term. Each of these examples are motivated by a desire for a quick sale, plucking low-hanging fruit.
Rushed approaches like these will never produce real change in the way that new leads are generated and in the way that net new business is closed. It won’t change because it is just a round-robin cycle of throwing different darts on the wall.
Setting a Strategic Vision Starts with Three Simple Steps
Inbound marketing is the key to a new frontier. An untapped source of leads for businesses who are committed to doing the work to make it happen. It is a proven methodology that has ushered in results for forward-thinking companies across a wide range of industries and countries.
Change won’t come over night, but unlike changing marketing tactics every month, inbound marketing will build upon itself. Each new post published is another page indexed by Google. Each new Twitter follower is an opportunity to reach a whole new network. Each new contact in your marketing database is an opportunity to build a relationship.
This change requires vision. It requires change. These changes can be hard, but they are worth it. In simple terms, an inbound marketing strategy breaks down into three steps.
1. Define who you’re talking to
Marketing persona development provides a clear vision that will help an organization create content to connect with the pain points their future customers are experiencing. In addition to being an invaluable asset to content creators, marketing personas can help customer service, research and development, and sales better understand and meet the needs of your customers. Working together with a clear view of the marketing persona, companies can help produce a complete brand experience that is designed to solve the pains of the end user.
2. Rethink the purpose of your website
Ditch the idea of your website as a brochure or a flashy collection of stock photos. Think instead of a fine-tuned online sales funnel. (If you need a little help making this happen, check out our website design strategy checklist!) A website should be set up to meet visitors at all stages of the purchasing process. Some people will come to your site ready to purchase, but the majority that stop by will need some convincing first. This convincing can be done through a blog and content marketing offers.
3. Attract the right visitors
Large numbers of website traffic are not nearly as important as attracting the right visitor. The art of attracting the right visitor to a website incorporates search engine optimization, close integration between offline and online campaigns, and smart social media marketing. Start by formulating a keyword strategy that centers around your marketing persona’s pains. Placing oneself into the shoes of the searching prospect can help identify the type of content that needs to be shared in order to attract their attention.
Use social media to find “watering holes” where they, your target market personas, are spending their time. Are there any Twitter chats happening around your target market? Can you start one? What kinds of LinkedIn groups exist in the target space? How can you direct visitors to your trade show booth back to your website for more information?
The answer to all of these questions will help narrow down the focus on how to attract the right visitor, the decision maker, to a website optimized as an online sales funnel.
It makes more sense for businesses to invest time and energy into a marketing strategy that will bear fruit over time. Fight the temptation to panic and start throwing money at the problem. Resolve to create marketing that people will love and resources that will be found when your target customers start searching.
Need some help getting started? No worries, download our Inbound Marketing 101 eBook. Inside you’ll learn all the elements necessary to kick off your first successful campaign.