Marketing – time to reach out?

How much time, effort and money are you putting into websites and social media?

How much business is that generating in terms of sale revenue and new sales enquiries?

If your business is about selling stock items then hopefully the answer to the second question is high. It’s why the companies spend millions of pounds to attact a constant flow of new customer to their website.

But if you are not getting a return from your digital marketing investment, are you simply relying on people to find our product or service, without trying to reach out to them? Do you even know how many visits your website gets? Does that even matter if visits are not converting into enquiries? You may have a shop window but everyone is passing by?

For over the three decades I have been supporting the marketing of a very diverse client base. The major change that has influenced business and the way they promote themselves is the internet and the social marketing that closely followed. It’s now interesting to note that many of the established dot. com companies are now major advertisers spending millions of pounds annually in traditional advertising (press, TV and Radio) to create awareness and encourage visitors to their digital “shop windows”, much like the way retail chains have done so for decades. This proves that even the web based businesses need to reach out to new people as new customers cannot be automatically be expected to reach in and, most importantly, buy something.

I work with the directors of companies who have come to the important realisation that whilst their marketing person/people can spend a great percentage of their time on social media (and are hopefully doing it well), the problem is that they are usually just reaching people who are already aware of the business! They are not really reaching out. Whilst keeping websites active and interesting can encourage a larger number of hits but do they convert to enquiries, as there is no comfort zone already created by name and product awareness -yours is just another website appearing in searches.  Your website probably says pretty much the same thing as your competitiors. A broader awareness is vital if your company is in a competitive sector. So well done to my clients and other businesses that have management who realise that the cheap lure of digital marketing and the web is limiting the potential to grow a client base. If you do not understand this one of your competitors will  start to gain more market share – some of it will be yours!

I’m amazed how many businesses are acting like retailers and relying on their web based shop windows. The retailers I know who are still successful with are never that complacent.   If social media and hosting a website was as expensive as other marketing options, the accountants amongst us would question the “all eggs in one basket” approach to marketing. Marketing in not just about communicating to existing customers, its about reaching out to new business using the many different methods still available. Managementmust stop being blinkered in their approach. If I ask people I meet in business if they have actually generated a sales lead through social media or their website its astonishing how many will be honest and say no. Having thousands of view and likes wont boost your profit if they don’t order something. Is it time you got serious and reach out to potential new clients? This will ring true to anyone who has a sales role within their business. Positive name awareness saves explanation when calling to arrange a sales appointment.

There is only one thing worse that doing no marketing – and that is doing it wrong!

A simple example of the need to reach out to customers rather than expect them to reach you is that of the new owner of a brilliant cafe that had been closed for years but has now been opened with only a website and social media to promote the great news. Unfortunately without some way of focusing people within the 30 mile radius catchment area, the business will struggle to reach its full potential.