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Your Online Presence Is Failing: Here Are 4 Reasons Why
Is your online presence failing to drive sales? Columnist Mary Wallace lays out four reasons why and what you can do about it.
The cheese moved. The buying process has changed. Technology to support and further that change continues to grow and evolve. Communicating through the vast array of digital channels (website, SEM, social, email) is no longer an option. It is a must-do.
The online presence of your business must attract and convert prospects. It must engage with leads through a variety of channels as users travel through a longer and more complex buying cycle.
How we market and communicate online has come a long way from static, brochure-like internet pages and “spray-and-pray” email blasts. Unfortunately, for many, online marketing is still failing to reach its full potential.
Pointing a finger at the underlying technology would be easy, e.g., marketing automation, content management systems or any of the tools and solutions laid out in Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Super Graphic.
It’s easy to say the technology is failing, so the marketing effort is failing. But the reality is more complex. Here are four of the biggest reasons why your online presence is failing to drive sales.
Engagement For The Wrong Reasons
Using engagement tactics that are not aligned with business goals is a huge waste of time and money. Too often, I see engagement for engagement’s sake. This results in leads stagnated in the buying cycle and low-volume sales funnels.
Having a high number of Twitter followers or a successful content syndication program is great, but that is not success.
CMOs are being judged on sales. And following your brand or downloading an asset is not a sale.
Social followers matter. They are your advocates. They can extend your message.
But focusing on the number of followers and not their engagement and conversion ratios results in negative ROI for the money spent to generate them. It also takes the marketing eye off the important goal of a sale.
Weak Commitment To Prospects
Generating new leads through content syndication or SEM is the start of the buyer’s journey. Most leads are not ready to buy at that point.
So not using retargeting or nurture programs to bring them back for further communication is a waste of the money spent to find them to begin with.
When they fail to travel along the pipeline because they are left to rot somewhere between the marketing and sales organization, it reflects negatively on the organization.
Lack Of Good Content
Everywhere I look, the numbers show an increase in content marketing spend and usage. Businesses are spending millions to have content developed — to tell their story, engage with their prospects, and help convert their leads through the buying cycle.
And yet much of what is used to attract and engage leads is sales enablement content. It’s all about features and functions. Or it’s focused on selling something, rather than trying to educate.
Take, for example, the content used in top-of-funnel nurture programs. More times than I care to remember, I’ve seen programs use 45-minute product webinars or 20-page product briefs.
Breakdown happens when leads don’t engage, and the prospects in the funnel dry up. This is because leads in the early buying cycle don’t want to know everything about the product, and they don’t want to be sold to. Rather, they want to know what the options are and what to consider as they do their research.
Marketing Teams Are Not Living In The Now
Stagnating means not going to where your customers are by using better ways and different channels to communicate with them online. It results in low communication. And poor communication results in low sales.
Change is happening fast. Mobile is here. The Internet of Things is now. These are just two examples of where leads are going to research, and marketers must go there to communicate.
Being a bystander — and not understanding and using these communication channels — can result in a faltering business.
The falter is two-sided: First, your competitors are embracing the change. And second, a poor user experience discourages lead engagement.
Consider this: Your prospective customers use mobile devices to research online. They end up at your website. But your website is not set up for easy mobile viewing with a responsive design. The forms are difficult to work with, and the experience is uncomfortable. The result: Your leads disengage and fall from your pipeline.
Your Online Presence Must Convert
Engaging with your customers through digital channels is crucial to your business success. On your website, through social channels, Google searches or email — It’s about giving the customers what they want and need.
At the same time, it’s about focusing on driving leads through the pipeline to a sale.
The complexities of marketing continue to grow as the communication channels expand and elongate the buying cycle. Delivering on the promise of your online presence is a must-do that will have an impact on your business and secure marketing’s seat at the boardroom table.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.