You’re Blogging and Posting, but Sales arent Growing 5 Common Reasons WhyContent generation is quickly becoming one of the premiere means of seeking new clients online, and with good reason. It doesn’t matter what service or product you are selling, whether your focus is B2C or B2B, or if your market is around the world or your right next door — virtually every prospect is going to check you out online. It is so easy and readily accessible that it has become a prerequisite step for most purchases big and small. (Read 5 Reasons Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy.)
So having informative and persuasive information online is a must for organizations keen on attracting new clientele. But, your goal isn’t simply to attract eyeballs to your website — you want to generate leads and convert those leads into actual sales. And, that isn’t happening. Having consulted with many organizations experiencing this dilemma, I’ve compiled across five common reasons why they aren’t fulfilling their goals.
Failure to plan
Getting started is often the most difficult part of any new initiative, but don’t skip the planning stage. Having a strategy is necessary to guide your efforts and generate positive results. To
be successful you need to understand who you are targeting, develop buyer personas and appropriate content to interest them, understand the social media that will be most suited to your needs and how to use it effectively, what information and buying incentives to offer, how to develop the interest through to sale relationship, how to manage the new clients… The list of items to implement and manage can be quite complex, and assuming that it will all work itself out as you roll through the process is foolhardy.
Take the time to draft a plan and identify what needs to be addressed to successfully move people through the stages of awareness – interest – prospect – trial – loyal customer.
Lack of an SEO strategy in your content
No doubt your plan identifies who your ideal client is, what social media they use, and what keywords they will be looking for — good start. However, the Internet is a big place, so you need to do all you can to hone in on and attract close matches to your ideal client. This requires much more sophisticated SEO tactics, such as determining and using long-tail key phrases, monitoring trade and competitors use of language and SEO, ongoing on-page SEO, testing diferent headlines and content, etc.
More effort in a comprehensive SEO strategy will allow you to attract more prospects that are a better fit for your organization, and it will help you reach your goals faster. Check out this blog on 8 Tips to Increase Content Visibility Online.
No structured integration between marketing and sales
Most content generation activity is marketing driven. It is expanding your audience, engaging them with worthy content and creating interest in your organization. All great stuff. But what
good is thousands of Facebook likes and Twitter followers if none of them are going to buy from you? Most companies focus on quantitative metrics and assume that the quality and relevance is somehow built in. (NB Good planning and SEO strategy really help attract relevant and high-quality contacts.) It is essential that your marketing and sales people are both closely involved in your online initiative. Their approaches need to dovetail so that it is a seamless process moving from interest to prospect to client, without any gaps or prospects falling through the cracks.
Once leads are identified, there must be a sales nurturing plan with dedicated sales staff reaching out to fulfill the promise implied by your marketing content. Even when marketing and sales are handled by the same team, the transition from one to the other is often overlooked. Many companies use different software, marketing being CRM-based and sales typically accounting-based, and separate the process as if somehow the prospect becomes a different entity when they finally buy. Today’s buyers are far more sophisticated and their expectations much greater; they aren’t going to give you several chances to get it right.
Insufficient monitoring and/or implementation
Further to the point that most companies are watching quantitative stats that only tell part of the story, it is important to have adequate monitoring in place to truly understand how you
are doing. Additionally, you’ll strongly benefit from tailored tools to properly implement your tactics. Implementation and monitoring are integral to the success of your initiative, so don’t short change the time or investment to do it right.
Google Analytics provides a lot of very useful data on your website usage and keywords. We also use gShift Labs to provide detailed and customizable SEO stats, and HubSpot to accurately monitor website activity of leads. HootSuite and our CRM (Nimble) keep detailed watch of the online activity of all our leads. If you’re looking for one catch-all tool to manage all aspects of attracting and nurturing new clients we recommend HubSpot. It is a comprehensive solution for creating, implementing and tracking call-to-actions, landing pages, blog articles, automated marketing campaigns, and more.
This hasn’t changed since the first salesman started flogging stone and chisel sets in prehistoric times. You’ve got to follow up and pay attention to leads in order to earn the sale. Automated marketing software is a huge help in this regard, but it needs to be part of your planning, monitoring and nurturing process. It sounds ludicrous that you’d invest in an initiative to develop new clients, and then leave some potential clients hanging, but I’ll bet you’ve done it (I have). Good follow-up is often the dealmaker in helping a prospect to do business with you.
The Internet is an infinite trade show that is always open and the admission is free; who wouldn’t take advantage of such a resource? Just be sure to show up with a plan, measured tactical steps and ongoing monitoring. What other reasons have you found that impede website
activity turning into online leads and sales?
Disclosure: Yes we have a vested interest in HootSuite, Nimble and HubSpot; we are certified Partners and resellers of their software. However, whether you choose these solutions or an alternative, these five common pitfalls should e consciously avoided.
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