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The same way doesn’t work anymore

March 2, 2014

stop_sign_and_bullet_holesToday’s post is about a sales call with a smallish (10m) business. The lead came from a referral from a business colleague I have known for years and he wanted to see what marketing help we could provide to one of the businesses he works with.
It was originally to talk about SEO and how this business could improve their overall lead generation through better search results. They have a nice looking website, but its over 5 years old. There are no calls to action on it, nothing to drive conversion of new leads and no way to update content regularly with a blog or a news page.  What they have is a nice brochure about their company, products and services.
So we spent some talking about their site, the traffic, their goals.  They get okay traffic – north of 700 visits a month – and a few leads, but they want it to do more, and they thought having the right key phrases in the site and some other “SEO magic” would help.  And it would for about 2 months.
SEO today is a war of attrition – as soon as you start ranking better for a few phrases, someone is going to come along and try to unseat that position.  And it is also a war being fought with fewer and fewer shortcuts to even a temporary victory.  Google has really focused in on valued content, created by real people, that have some level of authority.  How they measure value and real people is all in their algorithm.
Ultimately, once you have done the basics of good site hygiene, gotten some links from the few good sites that you can get links from and populated the site intelligent, informative content on your static pages, you are now left with the need to show ongoing value.  For most smaller businesses, this means writing a blog and creating longer form content offers (written, video, infographics, audio).
It means having a strategy, knowing your prospective customers issues, showing your business’ intelligence and insight, and sharing solutions. It also means investing time and/or money into creating and publishing these insights. (here are the top 12 reasons why your marketing may not be working)
And once you do that, you must convert visitors into permission based marketing prospects and you have to stay in touch.
And the Director of Marketing at this company was having none of it.  “I’ve been doing this for 35 years he said and people don’t buy this stuff from a website.” And he’s right – they don’t.  But they do indicate their interest and their challenges and they do open a door that you can use to connect with them to sell face to face.
And he says, “leads from China, Russia and Mexico don’t do me any good. We don’t sell there”.  And he’s right again. But those represent a small fraction of the conversions his website will garner.  And he doesn’t have to nurture those leads.
And he continues “we don’t have the time and resources to do all this content creation”.  And on this, I know he is right. It is the trap of the smallish business trying to grow into the larger business. But he also isn’t willing to spend (invest) $4500 a month to have everything done for him.
Self-serving side note here - we think we are a bargain at less than $60k a year for a full marketing department at your disposal.  In most of North America you would have a hard time hiring one very talented digital marketing person for that. With us, you get the whole team of writers, graphics, technologists and strategists working on your behalf. This company has an average initial sale of over $150,000.  It doesn’t take many of those to more than pay for our services.
“Why don’t I just do Google adwords instead of paying you” he says? Great question.  One answered by many, many blog posts out there – and there are lots of different answers.  My answer: because even if you use adwords to get traffic to your site, you still don’t have anything of value to get people to convert. And if they convert, you have nothing of value to continue to market to them.  You are simply paying a lot of money to get people to look at your brochure in the hope that they’ll see something they like. And I continued; you will also pay a lot for those ads because Google cares about the quality of the landing pages those ads send people to, and you are going to have a tough time competing on getting good quality scores. (I didn’t even bother to go into the time-value of content marketing versus ad-sponsored traffic)
At the end of the day, he wants to keep doing things the old-fashioned, interrupt driven way because he either doesn’t fully understand how a solid inbound strategy can change the game (and doesn’t want to take the time to learn), or because he doesn’t want to work to get the support of the folks who pay the bills.  This company will go out and do a few tradeshows, some telemarketing, some relationship building and try to bring in a few more deals.
And a few years down the road they will wonder why a competitor or two has blown by them in the local market.
Comments and feedback are more than welcome… if you do content marketing, have you experience similar, frustrating, lack of understanding conversations?  How did you educate the person? Have you had a negative experience with digital marketing?
Dan Kraus
Written by Dan Kraus

With more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategies, Dan Kraus has developed a deep portfolio of experiences that he now uses to help small businesses profitably grow their businesses. As an entrepreneur, Dan understands the challenges of growing a business with limited capital and human resources. As a line of business manager in larger companies such as SAP America and Great Plains Software (now part of Microsoft), his experience launching new business ventures inside reputable organizations established his reputation as a creative and effective executive that could both plan and execute within corporate confines.

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