No proven ROI on your marketing efforts? SEO still a dark art?
Be able to ask the right questions and set up the right team, so your business can gain:
Lead Generation, Client Acquisition, Client Engagement & Competitive Advantage
Setting realistic and achievable goals for your business brings you a step closer to success.
If your business needs 25% growth then ask yourself, what does that look like in monetary terms? £500,000 increase in turnover?
There is no point approaching marketing strategies without first deciding what your business needs. Let's start from the beginning – what’s your driver? Why do you need to grow?
There is a vast variety reasons, what’s your deeper reason? Find what truly motivates you. It might just be you want a new Ferrari!
That’s your goal: £500,000 increase in turnover, 17 new clients.
Remember all Goals have to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
"We want to gain 17 new retained contracts, that equate to £500,000 increase in turnover per year, for our accountancy services, over the next 12 months."
To best provide support to you and your business, we provide free and fully operational eBooks. In particular, this eBooks about Inbound marketing sets out a path that will enable you to take control and really turn your business into a growth machine. Consistent and promising results is the goal, and it all comes down to one thing, Inbound!
Firstly let's just get the obvious out the way – Inbound is NOT a task, a marketing channel or a strategy. What it is then? It is a way of thinking and approaching your businesses growth. It’s the mindset that allows you to become a growth business rather than flat lining.
It’s all about helping people; providing guidance and information. This goes much further than just adopting marketing strategies; it also impacts your sales and services. To be truly inbound, your whole business needs to share this mindset.
This doesn’t happen overnight, it could be a 2-year program. But that does not matter, it is about working towards that ultimate goal.
What does this mean in real terms? It means giving people content that will help them on their journey, giving them the customer support they expect on the platform they expect it, being available on the phone when you say you will be and delighting people past their expectations. Why? Just keep reading...
Visualise this example and it should help understand why –
Let's say you offer accounting services…
The inbound approach allows people to build confidence in the right types of business without pushy sales. It wasn’t an accident that the article came up on Google or that the eBook was ready for download, it was mapped out with clever planning and foresight.
If you understand your customers, you can plan a road to helping them, and you can use Inbound Marketing & Sales to turn them into a long term client. Not just that, if you plan this properly they will be good fit clients that will not only stay with you a long-time, they will also refer you to their friends. Win-Win.
It is all about the considered purchase. Two scenarios:
With a considered purchase (example 2) you need to become your potential clients' friends, support them through the research, so when they are ready to make a decision you are at the top of the pile.
Would you rather go with a company that has given you eBooks, blog posts & webinars for Free over the last 6 months, who have shown their skills without forcing sales on you or would you rather stick a pin in the yellow pages?
At the start of this page we mentioned that Inbound is more than just marketing, it’s a way of thinking and behaving across the whole organisation. This is why you need alignment between sales and marketing (SMarketing, a phrase by Dan Tyre)
Okay let's point out the obvious – what’s the point in marketing and generating leads if you don’t have alignment with Sales? The expectations set from marketing must be fulfilled by the sales team and then followed up by the service your company delivers.
Think about this: Your services page has a button that says: “Free Consultation” and when you click it you get a form that goes through to sales. If sales follow this up with a full blown sales pitch, what do you think will happen? That’s right, the potential client will go away frustrated, disappointed and feel like you have tricked them. On the other hand, if the sales rep phones to book a video consultation and on that video call they listen and give some guidance to the potential client, they will feel like you have given them value and insight. You will have gained some of their trust and gained valuable knowledge about their challenges, so you can further HELP them move forward, closer to the point of purchase.
As my mentor Coman said to me “You can be everything to nobody or something to some people” and it is totally true. If you cast your net wide you won't be able to pull anything back in."
What does that mean to you? Think about it…
Company A has just gained a new contract they starting in 12 months' time. It’s a massive contract for them and will need a huge influx of staff, around 100 people. They have a training requirement on their hands as they don’t have the resource to carry this out internally.
The main requirement is to ensure all their new staff can use the Office 365 & SharePoint platform, so all the work is properly stored, and the processes get followed. Consequently, they go searching for a training company to help.
What would you expect they search on Google:
A. “Training Company” or
B. “Office 365 & SharePoint Training Company”?
My guess would be B. However, even if they entered option A and got the search results up, which listing would they click on, a generic training company or a specific Office 365 & SharePoint training company?
Where do you belong? What’s your hole in the world to plug? If you find it then you can do the following:
The list goes on but hopefully you see my point. It's too competitive to go after everyone - focus on a segment and the competition becomes much smaller.
You will gain far more clients being focused than you ever will be when you are generic. Don’t fear it, embrace it.
"The biggest challenge I have when talking to companies about positioning statements and focus is generally from the board of directors. They take a little time to come to terms with channelling all their effort at a smaller subset of potential customers.
At first it feels alien to them, to pull themselves out of the firing line for potential work. It doesn’t take long though to see that you are never really in the firing line for the work, it is just noise and wasted effort. With focus comes efficiency, a happy workforce, happy clients and a true growth business.
Embrace the change!” Jonathan Harrison
In short, it is roughly two sentences long expressing what you, as a company, do.
Key things to consider:
We are highly skilled architects! We work with large building companies with over 100 employees who build affordable housing. We focus on projects within the UK. We do this effectively though experience, innovation, contacts and having frameworks we can customise.
How to get started…
To really reach your potential clients you need to fully understand them. If you have done a solid job with your positioning statement, then you are halfway there. Let's dig further…
Think about your potential clients, what platforms do they use, how do they engage, how do they search, what devices do they use and so on. The more you can document, the better your efforts will be.
Start with the work you did on your positioning statement and pick out the key people who started communication with you to gain those contracts.
For each person note down:
Once you have this data you will most likely see a common thread amongst them all, or maybe they split into two distinct threads. Do not worry about exact with this, we are building a picture of the typical person who reaches out to you for your help and services. For example, you might find they all are: between 40-55, mostly male, have a family, work long hours into the evenings, all have masters degrees so very well educated, are the MD of the business and love eating out.
If you know this information think about how this will impact:
A male in their mid 40’s, that wears a suit and tie on their LinkedIn profile isn’t going to react to the same content as a bubbly 20 years old women.
Although this stuff is simple when you break it down, it's impossible to get right if you don’t. Not only that but just by going through these tasks you really get to the bottom of the people you want to talk to, so you can really influence them, build trust and potentially find opportunities to work together.
Firstly, if you have a team and are reading this then unfortunately they are not doing what you need. That might not be their fault, they may not have the resource or skills to deliver all this, but either way they need this information to be able to focus and they are not the ones dealing with the clients on a day to day basis, chances are you are or have been in the past.
I am not saying you have to do the work, but you have to help leading your team with the information.
I could generate an eBook worth of content on each marketing channel but that won't help you right now, what I will do is tell you how to find the right channels as this is the key to succeed.
Think about your potential clients, what platforms do they use, how do they engage, how do they search, what devices do they use etc. This just follows on from the buyer personas, it’s the next logical step.
There are things to help: social media listening tools, just browsing yourself, looking at competitors and making sure you take notes as you go.
What’s key to this is not what channels you use, but what channels your potential clients are on and how they engage. The task is to figure that out and then to have the resource in place to make the most out of it. Make sure you’re adequately directing your audience in all channels to the best way they can have a conversation with you.
Just remember, content & media is how you reach people but it has to be relevant, timely and informative. Determine the best mix of content on the right channels at the right time.
What’s on offer? Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, Text, Message Bots, Chat Pains – the list is endless. Get the right channels, with the right content, at the right time and you will succeed.
This might be you or a member of the team, but the information gathered so far will enable you to map campaigns that fit your audience and bring in the right clients.
What is a campaign? Think of it like a bubble that captures all the data about the efforts you put into marketing. The efforts may be focused on “The Power of Big Data for Investment” for example.
The focus comes down to two things: research and industry knowledge.
You understand what challenges your clients face and what you are trying to help them with. As so, you should focus on expertise and build your campaigns around it.
Think about the challenge you are helping to solve and then reflect on how you will deliver that.
If you are driving traffic from Search Engine Adverts then you might want a landing page with a Free eBook offer. If you are using social media you might want regular blog posts on the topic, that link back to a main page on the subject and then regular posts on social media with snippets of information from the posts.
The key is to have all content linking back to the campaign – on topic and geared around your goals. To track this you will need some technology and HubSpot can help with this, from a planning and an execution point of view.
“How do you manage this?”
The only way to manage this is with tools. You need the right tools to do the right jobs and ensure the efforts of your team are successful. You can use social listening – tracking, analysing and responding to conversations across the internet. Or social monitoring – looking for mentions of your brand, products, hashtags, employees, competitors and customers. HubSpot is a great central platform for this, as it allows you to see everything in one place.
If things to get out of the way…
Content comes in every form: website service pages, blog posts, emails, social media posts, eBook, white-papers…. The list is endless.
But if you do all the previous steps correctly then you will only produce the right content, that will result in the goals you set being hit. This means you are as efficient as possible, and your returns will reflect that growth.
Planning the content and the work needed to execute your marketing is vital, but once you have done that you need a team in place to ensure this is executed every month.
It isn’t enough to plan and have strategies, you have to keep pushing on every month. Marketing is a long-term strategy that takes time and effort. The rewards are new clients and continual growth.
What needs doing every month? Things such as: new blog posts, social media content, data analysis, testing, optimisation and so on. Lots of creative and geeky stuff that means you get more and more sales for every pound you spend.
To find new leads you need new and innovative content, to ensure the content reaches those potential leads you need advertising or authority which takes time. To convert those leads you need to nurture them, to ensure you convert enough into sales you need to optimise. This stuff takes effort, every week.
One of the biggest long-term struggles people have is proving the ROI (Return On Investment) on their marketing efforts. Why? Because how do you know if a social media post impacted a sale or not?
This comes down to one simple thing, technology. By using the right technology, you can centralise your data, track activity and prove what's going on.
Yes, this does all seem a bit “Big Brother is watching me” and it is in a small way. But what you are doing is checking the impact of all the hard work to ensure it is having a positive impact, and allows you to alter the things that are not.
The only way to do this with any accuracy is to use one platform for all your efforts. Typically marketing teams have over 8 different tools doing jobs for them: SEO tools, social media tools, email tools, CRM and on it goes. Disparate tools give Disparate results!
If all data is centralised in one tool, then you can connect the dots. Engagement on a blog post, connected to engagement on Facebook, linked to a contact form submission on the website and a sale. True, proven ROI across marketing channels. There are not many systems that can actually do this, HubSpot is the one we use.
Once you have this information then reporting and proving success becomes easy!
This comes down to time and skills. Without dedication, time and skill set, this just won't yield any decent or sustainable results.
Firstly, don’t just throw a team at it, your goals need to be set and planned out so you put the correct size team in place. Plan and resource to your goals, not the other way around.
To get a sense of the skills involved, these are some typical items required on a monthly basis to achieve true growth from marketing:
Can one person do all this? Can one person have all these skills? Can you make this part of someone's role in your business? The answer will be NO. You need the correct skills and team to help you. Most successful marketing is achieved with a mix of internal and external resources to ensure ownership, costs and skills are all accounted for.
Now that you have read this page you will either be sitting back going “How the heck am I going to get started?” or you will be enthused ideas ready to go. Either way what do you do first?
My advice to anyone looking to grow their business is write down on paper the goals. Don’t lose sight of them, keep referring back to them with every decision.
My top 5 checklist of things to keep you on track:
Over to you, go back to the start of this page and look at your goals, once you have these well defined think about the investment needed to realise those goals. Typically, a business needs to invest 15% of the growth into marketing. So, £750,000 increase in turnover, look to spend £112,500.
Whatever you decide to do, just ensure it is right for your business. Don’t get pushed into a corner you don’t like or bullied into a decision.
Your business needs to succeed, and you need to be happy with how that will be taken forward. If you don’t understand, ask for explanations, if your goals don’t feel achievable then question them.
Real Inbound Marketing is an investment, a long term investment. Take the time to make the right decisions because the wrong decision could impact your business for years in lost opportunities and wasted budgets.
Think about what your customers really want and we can help you deliver it