By STEPHANIE WOODCOCK
As we review our 2020 marketing plans, the main question I hear is: How do we get more leads and turn them into sales?
I sit down with companies and develop crawl, walk, run marketing plans.
. What do we do first, next, this year and next year? First off – dream big. Get that “run” plan written down. If you don’t plan for it, it won’t happen.
Let’s focus on crawl and walk first. These are items that we can solidly get accomplished in the calendar year. The “crawling” category is about finishing easy-to-activate tasks. All housekeeping marketing items belong here, such as:
- HTML-coded email signatures with a Call to Action button
- Keep it consistent. Change up the CTA button periodically. Add extra content, a link to your LinkedIn profile, a project spotlight, published article, charity involvement, giveaway or award recognition. Be creative. Your email signature is one of the first and most frequent branding elements your clients see.
- Upgrade proposal templates, office collateral, PowerPoint presentations, invoice templates, etc.
- Keep consistent and make sure all your office personnel have access to the newest versions.
- Website maintenance
This item should be first on the list, but I’m easing you into 2020. Nothing says “I don’t have a marketing person” like a poorly updated website. Updating plugins and page content, changing out footer information, getting an SSL certificate are all necessities to keep the brand current and your clients informed. Make a note in your “run” category to have all these website updates prepped for 2021 before 2021 begins.
- Update your email database
My favorite category. It’s a sight to see my clients reach and grab things off the proverbial coffee table of marketing ideas and put them into action. This is where the fastest growth happens, and lead generation can take off. We go from teetering on two legs to stomping around, impressed by our massive marketing strides.
Here are some possibilities that fall under the “walk” category:
- Inbound Marketing
- Add content to your website that acts as lead generating tools. Websites need to be more than just brochure, informational sites. This includes how-to videos, lead generating PDFs, surveys and content that creates urgency. Our goal is to engage the customer with detailed information that solves problems.
- Press Releases and Advertising
- Maximize your print ads, electronic ads and press releases to drive traffic to landing pages on your website. You will be able to track traffic, engage your audience with lead generating tools and capture more database information critical to your outbound marketing plan.
- Association and Event Involvement
- Are you overly relying on repeat and referral business and not enough on inbound lead generation? In an increasingly digital world, it’s important to keep face-to-face with clients and prospects. Pick three events to attend and consider sponsorship opportunities in a major event where a good portion of your clients are present. In the A/E/C industry, it is crucial to be a fixture at industry association functions.
- Outbound Marketing – Get Creative
- Develop creative campaigns involving digital and event marketing that promote a service, award, anniversary, new look or anything creative that solves a problem, entertains or educates. In B2B lead generation, our jobs as marketers are to identify the audience, connect with targets, explore opportunities and then advise. Business does not just walk in the door and sign the contract. It takes a structured, lead generation plan and a joint effort by sales and marketing to get it accomplished. Your digital marketing should be an extension of your face-to-face sales effort and communication.
Grab your headband. Here we go. The run category is for goals that may not happen this calendar year but are still important. Whether you want to create an onboarding video for your new employees, implement a new CRM format, increase SEO/SEM practices on your website or start a new texting program for client engagement, all these items are placed in the “run” category. These typically take time for buy-in and require a higher spend, so they demand a longer lead time for implementation.
All these items generate more leads. Engaging with sales via a structured strategy in a crawl, walk, run marketing plan helps nurture these leads into sales. The two go hand in hand. We can’t have a great marketing plan and generate leads if we don’t also have a way to guide them into sales.
Stephanie Woodcock is president of Seal the Deal Too, a St. Louis-based marketing, creative & communications firm. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.