It’s quite true that the biggest hurdle we at REV (and I suspect many of you) must overcome in converting a prospect to a customer is to get that prospect to decide to do something, to make a change. It’s often not the case that the prospect decides to business with another company—it’s that they don’t decide to do anything at all.
In his article “The Cost of Doing Nothing,” Michael Lippig of IDCON, Inc. asserts that:
“The cost of maintaining the status quo for professional services business owners is enormous. The status quo affects each and every one of us every hour of every day, at work and at home. We have come to accept doing nothing as a safe and acceptable alternative. We even make it the default solution.”
So why do business owners who want to grow their businesses default to doing nothing? There are many reasons we can recite, including lack of money, lack of time, lack of desire, unsure of what to do, etc. If we do nothing, it seems like a safe choice that protects our valuable time and resources. However, there is a hidden cost, as Lippig writes:
“Doing nothing is the management equivalent of a baby’s pacifier. It makes us feel safe and comfortable. But there is a cost to doing nothing. Economists and accountants frequently refer it as ‘opportunity cost;’ what you could do yourself with your resources if you were not doing what you are doing right now.”
By doing nothing different this quarter than last quarter with our marketing, we ensure that we cost our business the following:
- Your e-newsletter, direct mail, social media updates, prospecting emails, etc. will not go out, and so your prospects will get colder
- Your customers—past, present, and future—will not hear from you enough to make repeat, expanded, and new business a consistent reality
- You won’t build your reputation online and offline as an expert in your field that prospects must seek for solutions
- You won’t invest in that training to make yourself that much more knowledgeable in your field of expertise
- You won’t connect with strategic partners that can expand your sales capabilities
- You won’t get off the unending roller coaster of project work and cyclical sales
Make no mistake: When you decide to do nothing about marketing your business, you are still making a decision. You are deciding to stay where you are and not grow your business. You are saying you are comfortable with your current income, profitability, and lifestyle.
(Or as my husband, a die-hard fan of the band Rush reminds me: “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”)
Of course, sometimes doing nothing may be the best decision for you at this time. If you have other life priorities that need to take precedence right now over growing your business, it makes sense to maintain the status quo.
However, if you are ready to grow your business, then you have to start doing something to push your business forward (i.e., marketing) and/or stop doing the things that hold you back (i.e., not marketing).
Let us help! REV Demand offers a free, 1-hour, no-obligation assessment of your business development capabilities (including current marketing strategy and tactics as well as sales goals and processes). We’ll help you build a plan of action and even offer a kick in the butt as needed. Click here to request your free assessment!
What does 2013 hold for the growing B2B business marketer? Rather than peer into our crystal ball, we decided to do the responsible thing as your trusted marketing advisor and do some RESEARCH!
In doing so, we found a few interesting stats, such as:
- On average, most B2B companies are using a combination of 12 tactics to reach prospective buyers, including email marketing, video marketing, white papers, social media, etc.
- While digital marketing methods reign supreme as top trends, a study of B2B marketers found that in-person events and/or meetings was the #1 most effective method of reaching potential prospects (79% of the surveyed population).
- 67% of organizations plan on increasing their email marketing budget in 2013
- On average, email marketing drives 22% of your Website traffic
Along the way, we also found a lot of cool new trends in marketing (mobile apps, virtual conferences), but we want to focus on the ones that will matter to you as a small business (i.e., your company has an annual marketing budget of $50,000 or less).
Let’s focus on 3 growing and very effective marketing trends for small business:
- Video Marketing
- Social Media/Blogs
The rising use (and declining cost) of video in marketing is great news for the smaller B2B marketer. With dozens of possible applications for business marketing, video has been shown to substantially increase conversion rates, encourage sharing of content, and create a more engaging experience for the viewer. Did you know?:
- Cisco claims that 85% of all Internet traffic in 2015 will be video (CRN)
- YouTube is second only to Google as a search engine. (Your prospects are looking for answers/solutions on video!)
- So far in 2012, there are over 190 million Internet users watching online video for close to 30 hours per person per week (ComScore)
Yes, we admit we’re biased, but we believe Webinars are one of the most effective and least expensive forms of marketing available to small businesses. But don’t take our word for it: according to Inc. magazine, “Webinars will continue to level the playing field for small businesses into the future.” (10/31/12)
With Webinars, a small company can appear larger. The audience never knows if they are one of 5 or 500 in the room, so you can focus on the quality of the prospects that attend rather than the quantity. Through effective Webinar promotion, you grow your opt-in email list (for future nurturing) and through high-quality content delivery, you provide valuable knowledge to your prospect and let them see you as the expert.
Here’s some further food for thought about Webinars: your competitors may not be doing them. This gives you a huge competitive advantage in these days of “Out-educate your competition.” According to B2B Content Marketers, only 46% of companies are currently doing any Webinars; however, of these:
- 72% consider them “highly effective” in driving lead generation
- 60% are increasing their investment in Webinars next year
- Webinars still only account for 6-10% of their total marketing budget
Isn’t it time you considered a Webinar strategy for your business?
This year, 87 percent of marketers are using social media/blogs to distribute content, as compared to the rate of 74 percent that was reported last year. (B2B Content Marketers)
With the #1 fastest-growing adoption rate among business marketers, social media and blogging are on top of the digital marketing heap. As of now, the top 5 channels for B2B marketing (by number of articles/items posted) are: Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
Why should businesses focus on increasing their social media and blog marketing in 2013?
- Your prospects are vetting you online. 92% of shoppers (B2B or B2C) will go online first to research products and services. They will trust the recommendations and opinions posted by friends and online connections more than television, radio, magazine and newspaper advertising combined. (Aberdeen Research)
- Your competitors are already there (or soon will be). Why let them have the floor all to themselves?
- It doesn’t matter what size business you are. Social media is the great equalizer of businesses. Everyone from a “Mom and Pop” shop to Coca-Cola can market a brand online.
- It enhances your other marketing channels. All social media and blog posts should integrate with your Web site, email campaigns, events, etc.
- It’s relatively inexpensive at this point. The true cost of social media is in the time and effort to plan content and consistently engage with followers.
Need help devising your marketing strategy for 2013? We’re here to help! Contact REV at (770) 856-2087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here at REV, we often recommend Webinars as a highly effective and cost-efficient marketing vehicle, especially for businesses that need to educate their target audience in order to create sales opportunities. You probably already know the obvious reasons for hosting a Webinar, including nurturing your contacts and generating new prospects. However, we’d like to offer you some lesser-known, possibly quirkier, advantages of hosting a Webinar:
- Gives you an excuse to reach out to your clients, prospects, referral partners, etc. A Webinar is an event, and provides you an opportunity to send invitations to your contacts. Even if they don’t register or attend, it still counts as a “touch” in the nurturing process, and helps to keep you top of mind.
- Makes for great SEO fodder. Since you are updating your Web site and social media sites (that link back to your Web site) with Webinar announcements and updates, you will create relevancy around the Webinar topic and your company. Higher relevancy leads to higher rankings in search engines. And we all want to be highly relevant to our target audience!
- Demonstrates some of your personality. Most of the time when interacting with prospects and clients, we are on our best professional behavior (as we should be). While still providing valuable information, your Webinars can also give your audience a taste of your fun side. For example, when I moderate Webinars for REV or for clients, I always joke with the audience that I conduct interactive polls mainly to “make sure you’re still awake and paying attention.” You have a captive audience for 30-60 minutes; why not leave an impression of a knowledgeable and likeable person?
As you can tell, Webinars hold a special place in our hearts, and we love to discuss them. Feel free to ask questions or comment below!
One mistake we see many business owners and executives make is to hire a salesperson and expect that person to also handle marketing, or hire a marketing person and ask them to carry a quota.
First and foremost, business owners, please hear this: Salespeople are not marketers, and marketers are not salespeople. You do not want to hire one or the other to do both jobs. Why?
[As you read below, please keep in mind that the author has served on both sides of the house, and has no compunction about picking on either side!]
1. Salespeople are typically not great writers (or graphic designers). Marketers ensure that any communications, promotions, advertising, etc. is consistent with the company brand. Salespeople just want to “get ‘er done,” whether or not it reflects the brand. Never entrust a salesperson with articulating your hard-earned brand in his/her own words!
2. Marketers are typically not persistent types that don’t mind rejection. Sales is all about keeping polite pressure on prospects or clients until they buy, die, or tell you to go away.
3. Salespeople are driven by immediate results. Their minds are on the end of the month/quarter because that is how their job performance is evaluated and compensated. Don’t expect them to think long-term about advancing the company’s brand and market position, as a marketer can and should.
4. Salespeople are not motivated to perform marketing functions. If you want a commissioned salesperson to take on marketing tasks such as writing newsletter articles, Web design, social media management, etc., you will have to change the compensation structure to reflect this or it will not get done. Again, a salesperson’s job performance is usually compensated based on the sales he/she makes, not on how pretty that new brochure looks.
5. Marketers are task-oriented, salespeople are people-oriented. This is not to say that marketers don’t like people, and salespeople can’t accomplish tasks. However, marketing is all about managing multiple tasks, tracking project timelines, and analyzing results. Sales is about two things: building relationships and closing deals with prospects. That’s it. (And, really, it’s all about the second thing.)
Can’t afford to hire both sales and marketing? We have a solution for that.