Contrary to what many people think, marketing and sales are not the same thing. Think of them as two ends of a tunnel: marketing spreads the word about the business and its products with the aim of attracting potential customers, while sales narrows down on each potential customer with the aim closing a sale.
In other words, marketing generates leads and sales closes them.
But there is a massive amount of confusion plaguing the business world: a lot of business owners fail to see the distinct difference between where marketing ends and sales start. The most common result is that sales forces struggle to generate leads and marketing teams struggle to close them.
Marketing can do wonders for a business, and must be considered a core competency for any business owner aiming to maximise the potential of their target market.
Ebundant Online said it best: without marketing you are missing out on the opportunity to help people who badly need your products and services.
With that in mind, let’s explore the 3 fields of marketing which every business owner should be competent in if they intend growing their businesses by creating an unending stream of prospects and customers.
1) Search Engine Optimization
82% of marketers agree that SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is an effective marketing tactic. It’s not hard to see why:
- Every day, the search engines serve up billions of answers to queries from searchers all over the world.
- 90% of searchers concentrate on first page results only. The remaining 10% is shared by the other pages.
- The top result on page 1 of the search engine result page gets about 33% of total clicks, the second result gets 15%, while the third result gets 9%. The downward trajectory of clicks continues as you continue further down the search rankings.
Because SEO has the potential to get you to the top of the search results pages (where all the clicks occur), it could have an enormous impact on the success of your business. As a business owner, your online marketing strategy is never complete without a comprehensive SEO strategy.
SEO takes some time to master, and there is a lot that can be said about the subject especially as search engines continue tweaking their algorithms to create a better experience for their users. But the following basics can give you great start and set you on the path towards the top of the rankings:
- Prioritise detailed, quality content on your business’ website. Search engines love fresh, unique, valuable content. The more value the search bots perceive you have to offer, the higher your rankings will be.
- Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Mobile searches have since surpassed those done on desktop. Search engines like Google now actively punish websites that are not mobile friendly.
- Ensure your web pages are loading as fast as possible. Over 70% of visitors will wait no more than 3 seconds for a web page to load before they bounce off to another website. Search engines pick up these high bounce rates and award lower rankings as a result.
- Incorporate long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are usually easy to rank for, and they bring in highly targeted traffic which is easy to convert to sales.
- Make use of voice search. Voice search is on the rise, and integrating this feature into your SEO playbook could increase your reach and improve your chances of having your article highlighted in the answer box.
2) Content Marketing
Content marketing has caught on in the last few years, and that is because businesses, both big and small, have realised how highly effective it can be. How does it work? Content Marketing provides media-type content which is helpful to a target audience, in exchange for the permission to market a good or service.
By its very nature, content marketing holds an edge over traditional advertising in so many respects:
- While traditional advertising can hold a customer’s attention for a brief period of time–if at all, content marketing is permission based that feeds prospects with information they are actively looking for. This builds massive amounts of trust between you and your prospects.
- Whereas traditional ads are intrusive and interruptive, content marketing is suggestive.
- Traditional advertising is crazy expensive and can appear more so in the case where the campaign doesn’t deliver the expected ROI. Content marketing on the other hand is 67% less expensive than traditional marketing and delivers 3x the results.
Another great thing about content marketing is that it can leverage several media of communication to extend the reach of your business. Your average customer base is made up of those who prefer listening, those who enjoy reading, and those who are more comfortable watching. An effective content marketing campaign can take advantage of this by producing:
- Blog posts
- Podcast recordings
- White papers, checklists and other downloadables.
Business owners hoping to get as close as possible to their audiences will do well to get a firm grip on, at least, the foundational principles of effective content marketing. You could easily become a leading voice in your industry as a result.
3) Email Marketing
Your email list is one of the most important pieces of digital real estate you can acquire. If you don’t yet have one, then you owe it to your business to begin building one. Now.
Here are a few reasons why you need one as a business owner:
- You cannot build your business on rented land. Sharing content across social media and guest posting is great, but any privileges you enjoy on another platform can be taken away without notice. Your email list is the one asset nobody can take away from you. Even if the search engine gods struck your blog off their listings, you could still market and promote your business to thousands of people via your email list.
- There are very few marketing tactics that are as effective as email marketing, and none as cheap.
- With your email list you can nurture the relationship with your customers, increase authority, and get more sales as a result. Your 5x more likely to sell to an existing customer than a new one.
- Your email list is one of the best ways to ensure return visits to your blog. Without it, the majority of visitors who leave your website will never return.
Growing an email list and mastering email marketing is a must for every business owner. Understand that any advertising platforms you use (Facebook, Google Adwords, Instagram, etc…) own the traffic they send you. To get that traffic, you have to keep paying for it. With email marketing, you take ownership if that traffic and cut the third party advertising vendor out of the picture.