We call know that one of the toughest things we have to deal with is our own web-site and the messaging within it. I can’t remember how many times we have renewed our web-site during the past five years, but it is quite a few times. Smaller companies can’t afford to put marketing dollars/Euros in expensive outbound marketing campaigns and have to focus more on lead generation campaigns that are based on inbound marketing. In my previous post about social media marketing, I concluded that organizations and business owners need to have a wake-up call to understand the ramifications of it. Today I read an interesting article from BusinessWeek with the topic “Stop Wasting Time on Social Media” which includes valuable information what can happen to you if you are not careful in your time management.
I really like the data from Hubspot.com and their site that includes huge amount of valuable information about inbound marketing. that provides excellent information of their client’s behavior in the net and based on a recent study of theirs, 2010 lead generation budgets (a sample of 2500 companies), 24% of the budget will go to outbound marketing while 39% to inbound marketing. This is logical if you think about it. Inbound marketing includes at least following elements:
- Pay Per Click
- Social Media/Buzz
- Targeted Landing Pages
- Lead Intelligence
- Conversion Tools
So when it comes to the marketing efforts, the inside sales, email blasts, telemarketing, tradeshows and other media ads are not that effective as they used to or the audience will not put attention to them as they used to do. Ten years ago, outbound marketing was our only choice, nowadays effective inbound marketing is where you have to really invest things.
If you are a software vendor, specifically in the SaaS space, you will have new challenges in your marketing efforts as the traditional channel might be non-existent in some of the cases specifically if there is no integration or traditional IT consulting opportunities. I think Riitta provided valuable feedback to my previous post as she has to figure out an effective way to market her company Sopima that resonates to her audience and target market segment.
Back to my question of whether you have an effective web-site and whether your site drives business and leads. Like in my post yesterday, let me provide you with a practical example of non-software related business. This is what happened.
One of our cooling systems broke down yesterday. We had 100 Fahrenheit yesterday (37.7 Celsius) so the temperature inside our house became almost unbearable. Luckily, my wife said that we had a contract with a heating/cooling chain that I could get to our house in the morning. I called and got this very arrogant lady answering the phone and she told me pretty much that somebody might come in the evening but no guarantees. So much about the maintenance contract…. What I did instead was to do an Internet search of local businesses, I found one and I got somebody to help me in 30 minutes. They came, fixed it and they got a client for life and all of the referrals that they get from me.
I called back the company that we have a contract with and asked them to never call us back. As a business-owner, I much rather give my money to other business-owner in my neighborhood than to some large chains that do not care if I and my three doggies melt in the heat.
The learning that I have of this is very simple. Make sure that your web-site has a good foundation for organic search results. Make sure that you are found by locals, if you do local business. Also, I would claim that the effectiveness of paid search is diminishing (I have also read research that this is the case) and I hardly ever click on the paid search and go instead with the ones that appear in the three first organic search pages.
If you do international business, make sure that your site makes sense across borders. I have unfortunately seen too many cases where a company wants to have success outside its home territory but has an awful web-site that turns away the possible prospect and future clients.
Check your web-site today and be honest to yourself. If it does not represent what it should, do something about it sooner than later.