All OEM’s and equipment dealers have many elements of a digital marketing plan working, or in the “planning” stage. This planning stage can literally last years, and most of the time ALL of what is listed below doesn’t get implemented at all, or properly.
In the coming posts, I’ll take a deeper dive into best practices by core discipline, each takes some explaining and best practice examples to truly understand the possible against the actual and what you are doing today to address these issues.
“Digital Marketing” is defined differently by companies or individuals tasked with doing the work, but to do it effectively, it truly takes a team of qualified experts (internal and outsource or agency relationships) to pull off correctly. There are 8 core disciplines that typically make up a digital marketing system or campaign:
- Paid Traffic & Customer Acquisition
- Email Marketing
- Search Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Tracking and Marketing Analytics
- Testing and Conversion Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Conversion Funnel Optimization
Paid Traffic & Customer Acquisition
Alright, so you have existing customers but want new ones? Where do they come from? How to interrupt them from their busy day, in which they are bombed by over 3,000 marketing messages PER DAY? Studies say you need to get in front of them about 20 times (or catch them under duress because
they need something RIGHT NOW), before they take action. So, you have to commit to a process to target, educate and convert new customers, or risk becoming obsolete in terms of awareness to a new pool of prospects.
Paid traffic and acquisition is usually a Google Adwords campaign managed by an outsource agency or team of internal experts. You pay money to get visibility with well placed ads to your target audience, and hopefully track new interest through engagement to purchase. Then measure your spend against new customers and what they spend in a 2 – 5 year time horizon to understand true return on
Email marketing is still the most effective way to sell your stuff. Most of the time, you have existing customers and an email list. If the customers have “opted in” to receive emails, they’re open to being communicated to and are a likely group of buyers for what you are selling. If you have not built out an email system by permission, then you have some work to do.
Email software is common, and most do about the same thing, some have limitations with EASY customer segmentation capabilities, but the real challenge is how to implement product and service focused messaging, with a headline, low risk offer, email subject line that compels them to take an action and track interest to close to understand true return on investment.
The term “search marketing” is itself defined differently by many, but it is simply stated as the “organic” ability of your website to attract visitors based on the content you provide and produce on an ongoing basis. There is paid search (pay per click, or PPC), to get the viewer to take an action, to go to a landing page, ideally to complete a contact form, get follow up and close a deal.
The real goal, however, is to produce enough meaningful, relevant and fresh content that tells Google you are a trusted source of information based on search terms and habits of every day consumers.
Google’s over-arching goal is to make the search experience meaningful, so to the degree you develop your organic content, you will get rewarded with new visitors and sales.
Social Media Marketing
The question still remains in the equipment industry, it is hype or useful, does it help create new customers and close deals? Today, not having UPDATED social media profiles, and some form of engagement plan (post, share, out-reach campaigns), means you’re probably not as relevant or generating interest, leads and sales as effectively as you should.
Social media marketing is about telling, not selling, and this universal truth still stands. But what to tell, share and promote is still a tough one for most OEM’s and dealers to get their arms around and do it effectively. Don’t promote the “special of the day” as many do, but instead share information that makes the lives of your customers and prospects easier. In turn, they like you back and eventually buy your stuff!
Tracking & Marketing Analytics
There are almost too many to list these days: KPI software, custom business dashboards, Google analytics, Salesforce data tools, the list goes on. At the end of the day, analytics should tell you about what’s important: how many new customers did you create, how much did existing customers spend, what did they spend as a result of the campaign, what is the average gross profit of the sales, and did our investment get covered to create this new business.
It’s not any more complicated than that, but it still requires diligence to build and track analytics so you can make sense of them over a cup of coffee in the morning. Gone are the days of Excel spreadsheets and AS400 reports of customer spend activity. Today there are lots of tools to tell you the story, but you need commitment and your own unique process to tie it all together.
Testing & Conversion Optimization
Taking your marketing analytics to the next critical level is how to understand each campaign, what is working, why or why not, how to adjust the campaign and nail down the cheapest or MOST EFFECTIVE way to get a customer or prospect to take action. I advise clients to take creative risks with headlines and lots of interesting offers to get them to take the right action.
Once you sort out what is working, what offer converts, to what target audience, pour gas on the fire! No campaign works perfectly the first time, and constant iterations of a campaign should be the norm. Plan accordingly, understand the audience emotions and pain points, work them into a creative offer and headline, track conversions and focus, focus, focus!
The importance of creating good, relevant content for the search engines, so customers and prospects find you, has never been more important. But, at the end of the day, who is going to organize the calendar, topics, subjects, do the writing, optimize the post, all so someone or something (Google) recognizes you as a trusted authority? In the OEM and dealer world, it don’t happen often 🙂
The good news: No matter what you sell or service, the methods and technology to write content or record a series of “how to” videos has never been easier. Yes, it take some education, plan and persistence, but most companies have the resources to pull this off quite effectively with the right plan, tools and commitment. Not doing this part of digital strategy will always leave you behind where you could be, so take some time to research and build a plan that best suits your business, culture and resources to do it right.
Conversion Funnel Optimization
Touched on above with metrics and tracking, this is the core discipline that needs special focus. The measurement tools to find out what works exist, but often times the testing methods, or understanding of a customer emotion, worked into a headline and offer that converts is difficult to pull of the right way.
There are tons of online resources, companies and experts, all with a defined core competency to help drive down costs of converting customers or prospects to your unique brand and company by building conversion funnels. I highly recommend Digital Marketer, www.digitalmarketer.com, as an excellent resource to use to help understand this critical area of digital marketing.
Most of this is probably pretty well known to most companies, but the general topics, tied together into a “system” is critical for digital marketing success, and to understand whether your investment is paying for itself.
As always, let me know with questions or ideas!
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