How To Grow Your Business in 2018: The importance of online marketing.

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Want to grow your business in 2018? Read on!

Shortly after Thanksgiving, we brought to you an article about Cyber Monday, its phenomenal 2017 revenue, and just how the increase in online sales, year after year after year, speaks to every business’ need (regardless of industry) to build an online presence. Never before has an effective, measurable, digital strategy been more important for growth.

Referrals are great. In fact, we advocate for a true referral strategy often. But just because you’re getting customers from existing relationships doesn’t mean there isn’t a treasure trove of opportunity waiting for you on the internet. Your prospects, the clients you haven’t reached yet, are often very different from the clients you currently have. You need to reach them in a different way, and embracing the internet should be your first approach.

Heather Roberson did a great job in that article on Cyber Monday explaining the behaviors of today’s shoppers, how they behave and analyze businesses online, and just how important it is for you to build and consistently update an effective website. Given what she’s already said, I’m eager to share my own ideas on the subject.

Here are my 3 additional tips for refreshing your marketing strategy.

1. Make the commitment.

Effective online marketing takes a real commitment. That’s because realizing the financial results from your online strategy — which includes your blogging, your social media, etc. — takes time, and unfortunately, many firms lack the patience to see it through. This mentality must change.

Embrace both traditional and online marketing approaches, and make sure they are working to support one another, not operating in exclusion from one another. For example, we regularly post blogs and engage in social media activities, both of which increase web traffic and bring potential clients to our door. When we meet with those people, we then supply them with hard copy marketing materials which strengthen and support our discussions. Several marketing approaches for one ultimate goal. Research shows a multi-channel approach performs best. We’ve found it to be true, too.

2. Track results, adjust the sails.

You have to know what works and what doesn’t, so if your firm lacks the ability to track the results of marketing efforts, you need to change that. Hard results are the only way to know when it’s time to adjust your strategies.

If a marketing tactic is working, great! Keep going with it. But if it’s not, reevaluate what you are doing. If, for example, after 6 months of consistent blogging two to three times per week, you don’t see an uptick in web traffic, it’s time to make an adjustment. Consult with a professional writer to critique your work, have an SEO expert tweak your posts for better keyword optimization, tinker with what days and times you post, and so on. Do not abandon the blogging effort (!), but resolve to figure out why it isn’t driving more traffic to your site. Similarly, if you’re going to trade show after trade show, investing in travel and exhibit expense, and never getting any clients from that effort, reevaluate your hard copy marketing materials and your own personal presentation skills to ensure a better return on that investment.

3. Stand out.

Buzzwords and cliched lingo suck the life out of marketing.  “Experts in our field,” “exceptional service,” “trusted advisors.” You’ve heard it all a million times, and guess what? So have your prospects. You need to stand out better than that.

How do you stand out? First, consider specialization. What do you do differently that sets you apart? What language from your 5-minute elevator pitch do you use to convey that you’re different? Use that same language across all marketing efforts.

Note that you don’t have to be unique in your industry. A quick-lube station that changes oil isn’t doing anything unique in car maintenance, for example. But whatever makes that service station stand out, the one or two things that keep customers coming back, the “stand out” features of the station, are what needs to be expressed. The ability to set your business apart from your competitors makes all the difference in generating business.

With the right approach, you can build a marketing program that, over time, increases the number of leads and sales and contributes to the growth of your firm.  Make the commitment and then work hard to implement change. Almost every firm can improve. Even yours.

What aspects of your marketing strategy are you focusing on this year? What are your challenges? Let’s discuss below! Please leave your comments. 

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