In my last post, I wrote about a few different things I would recommend to help you in preparing for putting together your 2022 Sales & Marketing plan. I’ll assume you’ve done all those things (wink-wink), so now, I want to explore the implementation of your plan, particularly on the Marketing side; we’ll talk about Sales implementation in the next post.
Look around… there are a thousand different ways – especially in light of all the technology available to everyone these days – to implement your marketing. But I want to simplify it for you. In fact, not just simplify it, but let you know that this can be done for no (or almost no) cost!
But before we get into the details, I want to talk first about your marketing strategies. Strategies are the ‘what’ you’re going to do… the tactics are the ‘how.’ So, here are the 4 key ‘whats’ that must be included in your plan:
- Positioning your firm in the market(s) you serve
- Building and, as importantly, maintaining awareness in the minds of buyers and prospective buyers
- Generating qualified sales leads
- Nurturing those sales leads over time until they are ready to buy
Seems like a lot for a simple marketing plan to achieve, doesn’t it? Frankly, it is. But here’s the dirty little secret… done well and done properly, there are just 3 components (the “marketing trifecta”) you’ll need to support those marketing strategies:
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
In the professional services world that we all live in, providing helpful, beneficial, non-salesy content can do so many things for your firm: showcase your expertise, establish and cement your position, create a reputation for the author, differentiate your firm, generate and nurture sales leads and nurture existing clients.
There are two types of content to consider in your plan:
- ‘Ungated’ content – the kind you give away; e.g., blog posts, curated content, case studies, etc.
- ‘Gated’ content – the kind that requires someone complete a form to access or download it; e.g., webinars, eBooks, market reports, etc.
You need both in your plan. I recommend starting with blogging… it’s free, it’s easy and you can write about virtually any topic you want to.
Then, every once in a while, I’d recommend producing a piece of gated content; you might have to spend a little for graphic design (if it’s written piece) or a presentation platform (if it’s a webinar)… but this is where those sales leads are generated.
And here’s the biggest lesson … content marketing success is all about promotion. That is, your blog post or eBook has no value if nobody reads it. Your webinar has no value if nobody attends. For your content to achieve the desired goals, you have to effectively promote it to get eyeballs on it and move those interested people to action.
As referred to above, the two easiest and most effective ways to promote your content are via email and social media. It’s the content plus these two activities that form the Marketing Trifecta:
Email should be the primary vehicle by which you tell everyone in your database (clients, former clients, industry contacts, etc.) about your latest available content – gated or ungated. And because of the tracking tools available inside today’s email platforms (MailChimp, Constant Contact, HubSpot, etc.), you’ll know exactly who’s interested enough to click on a link in the email to read your latest blog post or learn about your upcoming webinar.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing (with a focus on LinkedIn – your profile, your company’s profile and targeted groups) is the primary vehicle by which you tell everyone NOT in your database (i.e., potential sales leads) about your latest content. When you promote ungated content, you can link directly to it. If you’re promoting gated content, you’ll need to link to a landing page for capturing the downloaders’ contact information. When your visitor completes the form, they get access to your content… and you get a potential sales lead, as well as a new name to add to your database.
A final note about promoting your content: Most of the content you’ll produce is ‘evergreen’… that is, it’s good the day you write it… good a month later… and still good 6 months later. So don’t promote it just one time (e.g. when it’s first published)… but create a longer promotional plan where you promote it over many months. Not only does this maximize readership, but it will give you a continuous trickle of sales leads (from the gated content).
The Marketing Trifecta… content, email & social. Yes, I realize that this is a fairly simplified approach to marketing. And if you have the skills, experience and bandwidth to do more… then, by all means, do more! But too many people in too many firms are not marketers and don’t have the ability to do more. Further, everyone seems to be awfully busy these days. If that describes you – but you still want to put in place a program to help grow your business – then embrace the Marketing Trifecta. It’s not expensive, it’s not complicated and, most importantly, it works!
Good luck and good marketing.