Six Steps to Punching Above Your Weight
April 24th, 2009

In companies of every size,  sales are down and quotas are not being met. “The Meeting” has occurred, the one where sales and marketing heads have asked for ideas on how to increase sales. “Well, we could do more with our website”, is what emerges because everyone in the room knows just how much they themselves use Google to find the products and services they buy. This is where I come in, as they’ve contacted my company. I let them know that the bad news is this is step 1 of 6, but that the good news is the six steps are relatively cheap and easy to implement. Most importantly, for the same cash asked for by traditional advertising, these steps deliver HUGE return on investment and over many years.

  1. Update and refurbish the website. Read Seth Godin’s book “The Big Red Fez” and read the previous blog posting.
  2. Get search engine optimization (SEO); it’s cheap and easy. You need to get found by Google – 90% of B2B transaction start with a search engine. Focus in on a geographic area, win that and then expand from there.
  3. Start online marketing; it’s cheap and easy. Google adwords, link building campaigns, banner ads and Facebook are great places to start.
  4. Start email campaigning; it’s cheap and easy. Use Email Service Providors (ESPs) like VerticalResponse, Constant Contact, MailChimp. ESPs will help keep your messages out of spam filters, and keep you from getting labeled as a spammer. Start with the list your company already has, supplement it with data from Jigsaw.
  5. Auto-nurture leads generated by your website; it’s a cheap and an easy competitive advantage. Get Marketing Automation software like ActiveConversion so that when your website does generate a lead you can auto deliver more touches to each and everyone one of them.
  6. Track desirable activities on your website; it is a cheap and easy competitive advantage. Again, use Marketing Automation software to know which companies or contacts are visiting your site, how they got to your site, which pages they are visiting, if they come back for a second visit, and if they are achieving goal pages or goal clicks.

Do these things because:

The entry price is low – these eMarketing solutions cost a relatively little and very quickly let SMBs punch well above their weight.
Low change risk – these activities don’t replace the relationship selling that SMBs know – it just lets them eliminate the cold calling that uses their time inefficiently.
Low surprise risk – budgets for these activities are fixed, and the ROI feedback is exceptional.
Low time risk – these solutions don’t require a new hire, don’t require information technology infrastructure, don’t require new expertise, and implement in days.
Many others using it – must be the right (safe) choice.
Competitive advantage – the six steps will either give you a competitive advantage over your competitor, or you’ll need them to level the playing field with your competitor

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Written by ActiveConversion

April 24th, 2009


11 Responses to 'Six Steps to Punching Above Your Weight'

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  1. Nice article. While doing each of these steps will result in increased exposure, it’s important to review the holistic approach to thinking how your customers are engaged. Think of placing your customer in the center of a pool that can access everything including social media, mobile, online, SMS and others types of delivery mechanisms. Your customers have little time to wade through copious details and are demanding to participate in development of products and services from your company. Be brief, hit ’em from all angles and allow them to participate in a community of consumers.

    Doug MacKay

    30 Apr 09 at 8:22 am

  2. Good comment. But in addition to the 6 steps, I would still very strongly advocate to embed each one of these steps into a customer value philosophy. Traditional marketing gurus have been preaching for decades that creating customer value creates the strongest customer loyalty, fosters sales, allows for higher prices and ultimately for a higher profit margin. So in the 6 step context, the question has to be: “what value does a customer have by getting exposed to any one of these steps”?
    For example, maybe its ease of doing business, maybe its transparency, maybe its product comparison matrixes, maybe its speed, maybe its something else!

    Christoph Doehner, MBA, PLog, Dipl. BW

    30 Apr 09 at 8:49 am

  3. I’m a recent engineering grad and stumbled on this article while searching for column on website content and marketing. As I try to market myself to companies I see a lot of parallel streams between the personal websites like mine and a given company’s web presence.

    Great article. This gave me a lot of food for thought.


    30 Apr 09 at 9:04 am

  4. Thanks for some great comments!

    Doug I agree completely, these six steps were more geared to small and medium sized companies who are doing few or none of these. Getting these six off the ground is a Phase 1 if you will to a higher level of participation…

    Christoph, great point, none of these serves long term objectives unless they are executed in this customer value context. One of the main goals of the six steps is also to get a chance to start a relationship that lets a sales rep educate a lead on what the value proposition is.

    Sid, these six steps are very relevant to entrepeneurs like you who now have tools at their disposal that greatly lower the barrier to entry.

    Many thanks!

    Yves Matson

    30 Apr 09 at 10:11 am

  5. Interesting article and all great points. The emphasis on how inexpensive it can really be is great as it seems so many people see the web as having some kind of price barrier.

    Doug hit it on the head with “Your customers have little time to wade through copious details.” So often when people talk about improving and re-furbishing their website they think of a complete re-design. A lot of the time simply addressing your content and its structure will give you great returns.

    Make sure things are easy to find and keep it brief with lots of headings that make your pages easy to scan. Edit your content down to it’s purest form. Then do it again. Remove pages if you have to, it’s OK. It’s better than OK, it is the smart thing to do.

    Think about what Chris said about value. Think about your website. Now think about a page on your website. What value does that page create for your customer? If you had to think longer than two seconds about that question, delete that page, you are most likely trying to justify its existence. Just like Spring cleaning, throw away that old plastic visor that says “Beach Patrol” because as much as you think you might wear it again, you won’t.

    Having tons of pages make up your website won’t make you look big and important, it will make you look like a dinosaur.

    Darcy Bross

    30 Apr 09 at 6:57 pm

  6. Merv, great point re process; what is singular about marketing via say adwords (and using marketing automation software), is the amount of analytics that come back (meaning ROI feedback). A company can focus laser like onto what works, and who they should be talking to (meaning build relationships with). They also get marketing and sales processes quickly and cheaply; not only has the barrier to effective maketing been lowered, the barrier to implementing effective processes has been lowered.

    Yves Matson

    1 May 09 at 7:42 am

  7. Darcy, your comment is music to my choir! Web pages used to be viewed as wikis for a company; “if you want more information, check out my website”. What they are now is a facilitator for relationship selling; get them what they want as fast as they want and maybe you can induce them to want to contact you to start a relationship (ex can I have your contact information in exchange for a whitepaper?).

    Yves Matson

    1 May 09 at 7:48 am

  8. One of best “keep it simple” web-marketing strategies I have come across. I am thinking of generating a business once I move out to the coast this summer, and will definitely consider these steps. Risk and cost are critical variables for me. But if my target market was 55+ how might these steps appeal to them specifically? Would you suggest adapting your steps based on the tech-savvy nature of a demoographic group?


    3 May 09 at 9:28 pm

  9. Very good question Graham, I have to admit I don’t have any research that examines internet usage among older demographics. Certainly the “Boomer” generation are heavy users of the internet, so it is probably not 55+ that is your demographic of concern, but rather 65+.
    Let’s assume that internet usage is lower among this demographic, likely this means it is relatively neglected, and for those that do go online (say to use gmail to email the kids and grandkids) you might find relatively uncontested markets and therefore effectiveness on par with other demographics.

    Yves Matson

    4 May 09 at 6:52 am

  10. We’re looking to revamp or web presence. What has been your experience with Step 4. I fear that improper use of email could undermine our reputation. I know what I do when I get unsolicited marketing emails. That said, the potential reach has so much potential. Are there strategies that have proven to work?


    5 May 09 at 7:34 pm

  11. Very educating article, as a small business owner, very easily I get caught on many chores
    like production, process, design, housekeeping, etc. and on many occasions proper marketing gets neglected.
    Advice and guidance like this complement for the success in growing my business.

    Eduardo Arciniega

    17 May 09 at 7:54 am

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