Welcome back to the South Florida CEO Podcast. In this episode, we're going to dive into your goals, your clients, your team, and your digital presence. This is from a talk I gave to a group of small business owners and marketers a few years back. It was all about how to drive more leads and grow revenue by modernizing how you approach -- your sales and marketing playbook. This particular segment is all about...Your Goals, Your Clients, Your Team, and Your Digital Presence
You’ll learn about
- What has disrupted traditional marketing -- from tablets, smartphones, search engines, social media, and cloud software, pretty much turning everything that you thought you knew for decades, or generations, on its head
- How there's been a really strong amount of pushback on spam and on cold calls
- How differently people research and make purchase decisions
- Why sometimes as much as 70% or more of the purchase decision is already made up before a prospect is willing to speak with you
- Setting goals
- Attracting the right people in the right places, the right clients, and the right revenue sources
- Identifying whether your team is too shallow to compete
- Personalizing your content and how skipping this can lead to sales and marketing campaigns that completely fall flat
- Making sure that your website covers the full buyer's journey
- Why people have very different preferences today, what Google knows about those preferences, and why this matters a lot more than you may realize to the future of your company
Making Sense of Digital Transformation and Digital Disruption
How many of you have a tablet or a smartphone with you here today? Please stand up.
If you have run a search on a search engine for something work-related in the past seven days, please stand up.
If you've done something on social media sometime in the past seven days for something work-related, please stand up.
And if you have used a cloud-based software application, either in a web browser or on a mobile device, sometime in the past seven days for work, please stand up.
Who is not standing up? If you’re not standing, are you sleeping? (Please be seated.)
These trends are all major disruptors of the traditional marketing playbook. And they’re turning everything that we've held sacred for decades, for generations, completely on its head.
How many of you open up your email box first thing in the morning on your mobile device and say, “Gee, I wish I got more spam today!”
How many of you sit down at your desk every morning and say, “Wow, I wish ten really obnoxious salespeople would cold call me today!”
Does that sound like a fun experience?
How many of you have made a major purchase for something work-related or personal in the past year because of a piece of direct mail that you received?
Only two hands in the entire room, out of almost 80 people!
These trends are all complete game-changers and major disruptors of the traditional marketing playbook.
As much as 70% of the buyer's journey, 70% of their decision, is now over before potential clients are ready to talk with you. People are doing research completely differently than the way they did as little as 10 or 20 years ago.
Regardless of whether your company is primarily business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) -- or you sell to nonprofits or government entities, everything has changed.
Focus on Your SMART Goals
The first thing that I want to impart is the importance of making sure that everything you do with your marketing and sales strategy is focused on an end-to end-solution, which supports your end-game plan and SMART goals.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Why is this so important?
Well, everyone wants more revenue, right? Anyone wake up in the morning and say, I want my sales to go down today? Everyone wants more clients and more growth.
The problem is -- just saying that you want more is not really something that's particularly actionable, that you can hold yourself accountable to.
Think specific -- for example, “I want to get 100 qualified leads a month coming from my website by the end of this calendar year.” Or “I want to add another million dollars in revenue to my business by the end of next calendar year and a specific date.”
The SMART goal is something that's very specific, that you can measure against.
Attainable and relevant are very important.
Some people have goals to grow their online business to rival something like Amazon or eBay. But you have to also be realistic about what you can actually do with your given resources -- in other words, what’s attainable?
Time bound is another really important factor. Anyone can predict the future, but if you don't give yourself a deadline, how do you know that you're actually making progress towards it? Like my dad always said, a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Attract Website Visitors, Convert Visitors Into Qualified Leads, Close Leads Into New Clients, and Delight Clients So They Become Promoters
The inbound methodology explains how you can use inbound marketing to attract the right visitors to your website, convert those visitors into qualified leads, close those leads into new clients and new sources of revenue, and delight those clients -- so they become your best promoters and evangelists.
This fuels the cycle, so you can start all over again and bring more strangers into your website.
These four boxes -- Attract, Convert, Close, Delight -- are extremely important to keep in mind.
A lot of people that are relatively new to internet marketing, digital marketing, or content marketing, spend most of their efforts in the first box, the Attract phase. And they tend to focus on tactics like SEO (search engine optimization), social media, and PPC (pay-per-click advertising).
While those tactics are important, you really need a holistic, bigger picture plan of how you're using those tactics and strategies to attract the right people to your website. The people that are going to convert into the right kind of really highly qualified leads, the right kind of leads that can be accelerated into awesome sales opportunities.
These leads again are 70% or 80% done with their buying decision when they turn up on your radar screen. Approached correctly by sales teams, these leads are primed and ready to go. And it's a relatively easy conversation because the trust is already very high and they're highly educated.
Then after sales have closed, use additional content to turn those clients into promoters.
The Dangers of Having Too Shallow of a Team
Who knows where this is? Excellent, Fenway Park -- home of the Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball team. Why is this important?
When thinking about inbound marketing, think about who the biggest rivals to the Red Sox: The New York Yankees. Right? This goes back literally decades, generations.
So what would happen if the Yankees flew up to Boston for a game and the Red Sox had all 25 players sitting in the dugout or in the bullpen ready to go?
But the Yankees, for whatever reason, only brought two players with them. Maybe they brought a catcher and a pitcher. What would happen to the outcome of that game?
The Yankees would be totally, completely out of luck: forfeit.
There's no way that the Yankees can possibly be competitive when the other team has nine players on the field at a given time.
Otherwise, someone will just hit a fly ball into the outfield, and there's no one there to catch it right? Or if you brought an outfielder, there’s no one there to catch the ball behind the backstop.
So it's going to be a forfeit for the Yankees; no way the team can possibly win.
And it's the same problem if your marketing strategy just focuses on blogging, keywords, and social media. There's no way to impact or track revenue without thinking more big picture.
Don’t just Attract
Instead, Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.
Personalize Your Content For What Your Buyer Personas Care Most About
Second, make sure that you personalize your content for buyer personas. How many of you have heard of the term buyer personas before?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal client or an ideal stakeholder that you're looking to reach based on actual research and some educated speculation.
With buyer personas, needs and interests are really important as well as psychographics and demographics. It's really important to know who your best clients are. You can't market to everyone. Even Fortune 1000 companies don't market to everyone. They have an idea of who they're targeting.
The more your resources are constrained, the more critical it is for you to be hyper-specific about who your best, ideal clients are.
If you don't know who they are today, run a report in QuickBooks, or whatever you use for accounting. And figure out where most of your revenue is coming from -- or better yet, where most of your profitability comes from. Remember, revenue does not necessarily equal profit.
You could have clients that generate a lot of revenue, but a are big pain in the butt and not very profitable. So focus on the most profitable, ideal clients.
Your strategy for content marketing and inbound marketing needs to focus on their needs, their wants, their challenges, and their goals.
Skipping Persona Research Leads to Creating Content That No One Wants to Read
Buyer personas are an extremely important foundational element for remarkable content creation. If you skip creating buyer personas, you will, in almost all cases, ended up putting out crappy, self-serving promotional content that in this day and age, no one is going to read.
I was just talking to one of my colleagues before this morning on how so many people are tweeting out stuff that's like, cool, check out our homepage. Oh, we have this on sale today. The reality is unless people already know who your business is, unless they're already a customer, more than likely that message isn't going to resonate with them at all.
It's really important to come up with content that addresses their challenges, their goals, their pain points, and what's keeping them up at 2:00 in the morning. What are some of the struggles they're going through in their job? What could actually get them a promotion at work? What if they screw up to get them fired at work?
When you create the kind of content that addresses those needs on a hyper-specific basis, so unique and specific to a buyer persona, you will start to gain their attention. Without this, you'll end up putting out a bunch of content that no one wants to read and no one will convert to a lead on. You definitely don't want to be the kind of marketer or small business owner that skips buyer personas and ends up putting out spam-like, self-serving content.
If you're doing SEO, social media, or PPC advertising -- and you're not thinking about content and buyer personas, be very careful. There's an excellent chance that the content that you're creating isn't content that people find helpful and useful.
Again, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal client based on research and some educated speculation.
Buyer personas are not something that's just going to pop out of your head. It's really important to base your buyer personas on data: discussions with existing customers, surveys, looking at existing leads in your database or studying their social media profiles.
But you need to get data from real prospects and real customers or clients.
The Importance of Covering Buyer’s Journey Stages On Your Website
On the screen, you can see three fictional personas:
- Ollie Owner
- Charley Controller
- Trish Techie
On the left-hand side, these are three different kinds of people.
Across the top, you see three different phases that people will typically go through:
- They’re researching different kinds of problems that they have going on and looking for answers to and solutions to those problems (Awareness stage).
- They're starting in the middle to evaluate the different solutions that are out there and compare them to each other (Consideration stage).
- Towards the end, there at the decision-making stage, they're evaluating vendors, narrowing it down and deciding what to buy (Decision stage).
It's important to be aware of the three general intentions; what's going on in those phases and to make sure that you have content that's available that covers all three phases of the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is the active research process that someone goes through in between when that person first expresses a symptom, challenge, problem, question, or goal and when that person ultimately makes a purchase decision. Most buyer’s journeys have three distinct stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
Most people by default on their website are kicking butt at the Decision-making phase, where people are evaluating vendors. But they don't tend to spend a lot of time in the early stages, where people are researching problems and evaluating options.
This is typically something that will come up when you're doing buyer persona research.
Now, is it effective to ask potential clients how they want to hear from you? Absolutely.
Ask about their favorite watering holes -- the offline resources or online resources they consume. These answers are extremely important to guide you towards good trade shows to attend, good joint webinars and co-marketing activities, and social media channels to focus on.
For example, in business to business (B2B) technology, everyone tends to use Facebook, but many times they’re using Facebook for personal reasons, not for business. So if you were spending a lot of effort trying to get traction for lead generation and building evangelists on Facebook for some enterprise technology platform, it may not be terribly effective for a lot of personas.
On the other hand, Twitter and LinkedIn may be extremely important.
If you have a consumer product, if your company is business to consumer (B2C), Facebook can be extremely important. Pinterest can be extremely helpful.
Again, these are things that will come up when you're doing your buyer persona research.
So the best, most remarkable marketers, that are kicking butt with inbound marketing and content marketing are filling up all the boxes on the Tic-Tac-Toe board. They're making sure that they have content that's targeted for each buyer persona and where they are in the buyer's journey.
Why? Because Ollie Owner cares about very different issues early on when he's just researching problems, compared to when he's at the end and ready for a sales conversation.
This need for highly-personalized content came about because of huge changes in buyer behavior.
How many of you have a Tivo or digital video recorder (DVR)? How many of you like watching TV commercials?
People are paying money to not have to watch TV commercials.
They're paying money for satellite radio, so they don't have to listen to ads about body part enlargement surgery during their morning commute.
So why are big box retailers still devoting all that square footage to selling music CD?. People don't want to buy a CD for $16 or $18 anymore when they can cherry-pick the few songs that are really good.
This is the way the world is going: selective consumption, people having very little attention span.
If you don't come right out of the gate and hit them with content that's hyper-relevant to their needs, these people are back buttoning out of, leaving, your website within seconds.
And you know the worst part? They don't just have a lousy experience. They “tell” Google about it.
Because so many millions of people, tens of millions of people, are now logged onto servers that Google owns, Google has an amazing data set now of what people's user experience is on your website.
People Have Very Different Preferences Today and Google Knows It
So say, for example, you have a good search engine ranking for a search term that’s important to your business.
But when people clicked on that listing, and they came to your website, those people are hitting the back button and leaving within a few seconds.
So your lousy use experience isn’t just shooting yourself in the foot with those people that had allows a poor user experience and are leaving. You're also telling Google that your website is delivering a bad user experience. And Google adjusts accordingly, effectively penalizing your website.
So if Google sees people are hanging out on your website for 10, 20, 30 minutes, Google assumes that your website visitors love your website and that will help your ranking in organic search results.
But If Google sees that people are getting disgusted and leaving within seconds, Google will do the opposite, and that can really hurt your company’s visibility in search engines.
The Bottom Line on Your Goals, Your Clients, Your Team, and Your Digital Presence
In this episode, you learned about
- Why the traditional marketing and sales playbook has been so disrupted because of changes not only in technology but changes in buyer preferences
- The importance of SMART goals
Attracting the right website visitors and converting them into leads, how to close leads into new clients and new revenue sources, and how to delight your clients so that they become promoters
- The dangers of having too thin or too shallow of a team in place to be able to compete effectively in the modern marketplace
- Why it's so critical to personalize your content for what your buyer personas care most about -- who your best clients are and their challenges, their pain, their goals
- Why skipping persona research can lead to content that frankly, nobody wants to read
- Why it's so critical for your website to cover the full buyer's journey
- Why preferences have changed so much and what Google has been doing about it
So this episode again has been all about your goals, your clients, your team, and your digital presence.