"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new." – Socrates.
“Now, how do we get new customers?” was perhaps one of the most frequently heard phrases over the past 14 months. It’s understandable. Overnight, business models had to change on the fly as reasons outside of everyone's control eroded revenues, shrunk margins, and turned hair grey at the temples.
Hopefully that’s all behind us. But now that the economy is well into its rebound, what are you doing to grow revenue? Are you simply applying more pressure on your field staff to bring in new business — or has your company thankfully joined the modern marketing age and started its digital marketing strategy?
At its core, the function of marketing is to drive sales in your organization. This is best achieved — not by handing out trinkets and trash or organizing golf events to win customers’ favor, but by building a solid digital presence online. This will enable your company to attract quality prospects that your sales team otherwise could never reach.
Where is your phone? In your back pocket? In your purse? How many times will you go online today, even if it's just to check the news? Google logs billions of online searches every week. Your prospective clients are googling like crazy too, and you can bet they're googling you too.
So, if your distribution company hasn't yet invested in a digital marketing strategy, as Abraham Lincoln once said "the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”.
Here's are some marketing best practices to get your company found online:
Step 1. Invest in Modern Attractive Branding.
Is your company's branding and logo fresh, modern and something you're proud of? Does it to accurately reflect why you're the best? Or was the brand building on the back burner as the company grew and left behind.
If the latter describes you, then a strategic rebrand is where you need to start. Otherwise, the money you invest in online marketing will not only be wasted, but it can be damaging. This sadly happened to one of our distribution clients before coming to us. They invested a lot of money running online ads to generate new business, but their website looked like an internet relic — it hadn't been updated for years. While the ads did drive leads to their website, the strategy backfired because they had essentially created a large amount of attention directed squarely at their terrible website. Don't let this be you. A strategic rebrand can be one of the best investments you make by helping connect you with new, more lucrative markets you previously couldn’t reach.
Step 2. A Mobile- and tablet-friendly website that utilizes clean design and is easy to navigate.
You probably already know that over 50% of all online searches are done on a smartphone. Your website not only has to look sharp when someone looks at it on their laptop, but also when it's shrunk down to a 4"x2" size screen. Pages should load quickly, and a prospective customer should be able to discover why you're better than the competition in less than 30 seconds. That might sound like a tall order, but when your competition is just a click away, your website has to command immediate attention and establish you as the best. Your website is the most valuable marketing and sales asset of your business when designed properly.
Here's a pro tip to turn a website visitor into a lead: provide value first. Contact forms don’t cut it. Consider including a set of helpful tools or resources they can download, such as a free special report that talks about key considerations when choosing a distribution company. You could include an eBook or video series introducing your company and explaining how you can help them. These are all great tools to start using.
You've got an amazing new look brand. Your website looks extremely impressive and provides valuable easy-to-find content. Now it's time to start generating traffic. I could write a thesis on all the different digital options available. For this article's purposes to cover the basics, let's look at your most basic tool - listing your company on free online directories. There are hundreds of them. But the most important one is Google Business. You can claim your business profile by googling "claim my business profile" and setting up an account. Be sure to populate it with all your company information and add as many good-quality photos as you can. Google loves photos, and it will help boost your company in the search rankings.
The Final Word
In summary, today’s face-paced digital lifestyle means we're all plugged into our devices just about around the clock. Your company is going to get "googled" by multiple decision-makers, multiple times during the sales process — a trend that’s only going to escalate with tech-savvy employees influencing more decisions. Help drive revenue by investing in digital marketing that properly positions your company as the industry leader.
Julie Guest is a senior marketing consultant at Bolder&Louder. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org