If we've learned anything from the past several years of belt tightening, it's that actions speak louder than words. And actions are tough to come by. We can resolve to increase business through online lead generation and lead nurturing, but getting there isn't easy. What we need are 'revolutions,' not 'resolutions.' We need to embrace change and find new ways to get the job done. We need to find a way to get out in front of the trends rather than play catch up. Here are a few suggestions for the coming year.
We've evolved into multi-taskers, and our attention span has never been shorter. We can't seem to focus on the task at hand, so we put it off until a better time—which never comes. We create shopping lists of things we want to accomplish, then we lose our way in the many aisles of Walmart. We latch onto the things that ring the loudest or shine the brightest, and we drop the things we were trying to finish. When it comes to lead generation, we take all of our products and services, slap them up on a web page, create multiple email campaigns and blast them out to whomever will open them. We satisfy ourselves with 1-2 percent and move on to the next campaign.
Revolution: Take one or two of your best items and focus on them for the next 6 months. Think hard about your marketing strategy and messaging for those items and create the most effective content possible—web pages, blogs, videos, downloads, everything. Now create one or two campaigns with the goal of capturing the attention of your prospects (as leads) and converting them to customers. Optimize your campaigns continuously until you squeeze the most out of them. Aim high for stratospheric conversion rates, like 60-80 percent, and don't settle for less.
Yes, you have a ton of experience and you've been generating leads for years, but how effective have you been? No, really. We could all be doing better, right? The problem is that we think we are good at this stuff, so we tend to get comfortable with our own conclusions. Truth is, with all of these gadgets and apps, we tend to get lazy and forget to ask questions. We should be constantly asking questions, of ourselves, our customers and our prospects. Only then can we learn how to get, and keep them interested.
Revolution: Get up out of your chair. Step away from the Internet. Call people. Meet with people. Get inside their heads. Find out what makes them tick. Figure out who you should be talking to and who is wasting your time. This business of pouring everyone into a sales funnel and waiting for them to trickle down is nonsense. We are all sales people, and we need to start acting like sales people.
Apparently, many of our potential (and actual) customers are asking us to do two things this year:
The brand awareness part is not surprising. That's always been a primary goal of marketing. Yes, we know how to do that. The thought leadership bit gives me pause. Let me get this straight, you want us to make you into a thought leader? Interesting. The problem is, we can blog for you all day and create the illusion that you are manning your social media stations 24/7, but what does that really accomplish? We can help you get the word(s) out, but the words have to be your words. To be a recognized thought leader, you have to be a thought leader in the first place.
Revolution: Be a thought leader. Pour at least some of your energy into expressing what it takes to be successful in your business, and share that. Yes, we can help you construct blogs and social media updates, but the ideas have to come from you, or you will either be ignored or discovered as a paper tiger. Don't just stop at the corner office door either. Go find the other thought leaders in your company. Round them up once or twice a month and brainstorm ideas for content. Now let your agency craft all of that thought into content marketing. You can do this.
Don't overthink this revolution stuff. If you can accomplish even one of these things, or your own home-brewed revolution, you are on your way to a better 2013. All we have to do is agree to change ourselves once in a while.
Photo credit: Víctor J. Trumbo
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or follow John McTigue on Google Plus.