Most small businesses need to use the internet well to promote their business and attract prospects. Here’s how digital (internet) marketing works.
1. Capture Interest
After you define what you’re selling, the first step in digital marketing is to capture the interest of individuals who may be interested in what you have to offer. This step is critical today because prospects are much more active in controlling the buying process.
In fact, prospects do a lot of their research before they even talk to a sales person. Every expert seems to have a different statistic on that topic, as you’ll see in this CustomerThink article:
- Forrester Research says that 74 percent of B2B buyers do at least half of their research online before buying.
- SiriusDecisions reports that 70 percent of the buyer’s journey is over before a prospect contacts sales for more detailed information.
- The Corporate Executive Board states that 57 percent of executives have already made a purchase decision before they contact sales.
Even though those statistics are different, the take away is that prospects aren’t dependent on you or your sales team to get close to making a purchase decision. You may not hear from a prospect until they have a short list of vendors to choose from based on internet research.
Therefore, you need to be aggressive in using digital marketing tools to make sure prospects find you when they’re surfing the ‘net searching for information about your type of solution. Those tools can include things such as SEO, Pay Per Click advertising, blog posts, being active on social media, and more.
2. Convert to Lead
Once you have a prospect’s attention, the real work begins. First, you need to convert that prospect to a lead. A lead is a person who is interested enough in what you offer to give you some type of contact information. It could be an email address, or if you’re lucky, an email and telephone number.
With contact information, you can communicate with the prospect to determine if they’re qualified to be a lead. If they are, you can continue the education process to answer the lead’s questions as they move through the buyer journey.
Tools to convert prospects to leads encompass things such as landing pages, online appointment setting, and calls to action on your website that include forms you motivate your prospects to complete.
3. Convert to Customer
Now that you have real leads, they’ll ask themselves more in-depth questions. You’ll need to respond with things such as eBooks, case studies, newsletters, webinars, and demonstrations.
4. Convert to Cheerleader
As you know, your job isn’t over when you generate a new customer. You’ll need to continue to provide exceptional products and services. Your customer service also needs to be outstanding. You’ll need to stay in touch with existing customers, just as you do with leads.
If you do all those things right, you’ll convert some of your customers to cheerleaders. A cheerleader is someone who leaves you powerful reviews and refers you to others. Word of mouth marketing is some of the most effective, so make sure you work hard to make it easy for people to recommend you to friends and associates.
Since 2004, when Kathleen Allardyce established Getting It Write, Inc, she has used her background in consulting, marketing and sales to help small business owners and startup entrepreneurs create a marketing message that differentiates them from their competitors to supercharge their marketing and sales.