There are plenty of ways to spend your marketing dollars. Staff, software, ads, agencies. But have you ever taken a holistic view of all your marketing efforts from digital to pr?
If you haven’t done it in a year (or ever), you’re surely spending out of habit, rather than intentionally investing in growing your company. And I’d put money (and your pet monkey) to bet that you aren’t happy with the results.
When we meet with prospective clients about digital marketing or social media, we find that mid-sized companies are facing the same challenges and pitfalls, across all industries. Marketing is often an afterthought, sometimes a revenue suck, and probably living in a silo far away from sales. If that sounds like your company, read on for nine indicators that you’re wasting money on marketing.
1. You’ve never gotten a client or customer from your website.
If your website is a static brochure your prospects are coming to your site with no clear direction. You wouldn’t let a prospect come into your headquarters and start wandering around aimlessly. No, you’d hook that guy up with your best salesperson and introduce him to your most knowledgable people, get to know his needs and showcase the products and services right for him. Your website can do that too if you’ve created downloadable offers for each prospect’s lifecycle stage – a stranger getting to know your business, a lead looking to qualify you and a marketing qualified lead ready to purchase.
2. You’re spending a small salary on advertising and you have no idea if it’s working.
Before you sign on for one more expensive ad campaign with that trade journal or PPC company, add up all the dollars you are spending there and weigh it against all the new business and new talent you can directly link to it. Is the investment paying off? Yes? Great, keep at it. If the answer is no, what if instead of pushing out your message to an audience that may not want to hear from you, you focused that investment on attracting the people who are already searching for what your company does best? At Rival our clients find us through organic search and social media because we are regularly writing about the things that matter to them most: digital marketing, social media and pr.
3.You fired your marketing director.
You weren’t seeing the new client bases open up or brand awareness grow, so you cut that overhead, but now you’re patching it together with staff who really don’t know what they’re doing because they’re actually trained for design/fashion/sales/human resources.
The truth is, digital marketing is meant to be practiced by professionals, with an end goal in mind. (You wouldn’t let your brother-in-law who’s been watching a LOT of HGTV come into your kitchen with a SawsAll and just, “Try out some ideas.”)
4. You bought an expensive marketing tool and it’s gathering dust with no ROI in sight.
The tool promised marketing automation, leads, and maybe even industry specific content, but no one’s using the tool and you’re looking at the hefty bill. Marketing automation software amplifies and accelerates strategic marketing plans. Back to your kitchen, you wouldn’t let a contractor (and definitely not your brother-in-law) start without the drawings of the architect and designer. If you’ve got the fancy tool, pay someone with some experience to use it effectively and according to a strategy tied to your sales goals. Which leads us to our next point…
5. Your marketing department isn’t generating qualified leads for your sales team
Or you don’t have a marketing department to feed leads into your pipeline. If there is a disconnect between marketing and sales, it could be that your marketing team doesn’t know what makes a qualified lead or that they don’t have the tools to capture and nurture leads. Equip your marketing team with the skilled writers it needs for clickable content and a team trained in inbound marketing to capture and convert leads. Add to your team someone fluent in social pr and social selling to make connections with prospects via social media. Together, those experts will help you produce and distribute the content that will attract your ideal prospects, and then nurture those relationships before turning them over to sales.
6. Your blog content isn’t capturing leads.
If your blog is well-written and packed with industry knowledge and helpful tips for your target market, congrats. You’re 90 percent there. But if your blog is missing a call-to-action, an opportunity to convert that stranger to a visitor, you’re climbing all the way to base camp and forgetting about the summit. Blog content (and social media) should be actionable. Give me a tipsheet, a case study, a free trial, anything that solves my problem and shows me I can trust you. It’s the kickoff for a relationship, the top rope to the summit. If your blog doesn’t have a call-to-action you’re missing out on valuable conversions.
7. You’ve said, “People aren’t searching for what we do online.”
First of all, let me challenge that. Maybe YOU aren’t searching for firms that provide interior design for yachts, but your prospects surely are. Discovering the volume search and the specific keywords around your niche industry is critical to your sales and marketing strategy. What’s more – if you’re relying on referral business and you aren’t producing unique, relevant, helpful content for your audience, you’re missing out on highly qualified referral opportunities. When your clients and followers share your helpful content with their contacts in the industry you’re nurturing prospects you haven’t even met yet. It’s like they’re going to the networking event for you and you get to stay home in your jams and drink wine.
8. Bigger companies are snatching up the brightest new talent.
We’ve said it before (and we’ll say it again and AGAIN) it’s not the size of the company that gets the message heard, wins the leads, gets the customers, but the power of the message and the knowledge of where (and how) it’s shared. The same is true for attracting and retaining talent. We believe (and we’ve got some pretty hefty analytics to prove it) that thriving mid-sized companies can stake their digital claim alongside the big guns with a simple formula:
Thought leadership + social relationships + lead generation = Digital Market Leader
Realizing and showcasing your company’s thought leadership (which is what we do) and then sharing it where the brightest new talent is hanging out digitally will attract human capital like moms to a Taylor Swift concert. And when that new talent takes root at your company, their thought leadership can attract the business you’re looking for.
9. Your company is on social but your CEO is not part of the conversation.
According to various studies gathered by HubSpot, a market leader in the digital space, CEOs who leverage social media make for a more trusted brand and happier employees.
Take a look at these stats:
- 82% of consumers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team engage on social media.
- Half of consumers believe CEOs who don’t use social will lose touch with consumers.
- 78% of employees want to work for a CEO who engages on social media.
- 81% of employees consider social CEOs better leaders.
- 93% of employees feel social CEOs are better equipped to handle a crisis. More on crisis here.
If you’ve read this far you’re either congratulating yourself on your effective use of marketing dollars or thinking, crap, now what do I do?
First step is to take an honest inventory of your marketing. Ask yourself: Does my company goal match up with my marketing strategy? If not, identify where the breakdown has occurred. Not sharing your goals with your marketing team? Have you deprived the team of resources? Has past referral success made you lax on prospecting for new business?
Next take an assessment of all your marketing: ads, website, blogs, social, email, pr, lead generation. Lay out what you’re spending where and which are bringing you new business and helping you to retain clients or customers. Crack open the Google analytics and see what pages are driving the most traffic. Dive into the email open rates and pinpoint the topics that move readers to click. Rate the quality of your followers and engagement and see if your content is relevant and timely. Look at your last month of sales and see where those relationships were started in marketing. With these answers you’ll know where to cut spending and where to invest for the growth of your company.