One thing that amazed me about the Olympics in 2012 (remember that?) was the expert commentary on the 100m sprint.
For me, the fascinating thing was reading and hearing of experts breaking down an event that seems to happen in a flash (9.63 seconds for Usain Bolt’s 100m final winning run) into distinct component parts.
Now I’m no expert, but from what I have read and heard it seems that what appears to the casual spectator to be a seamless burst of sheer speed and grace has at least four distinct parts.
From what I can tell they are …
The Start – reacting to the start gun and sweeping the trailing leg through to get the maximum thrust off the starting blocks.
Acceleration – accelerating up to the athlete’s top speed.
Mid-race – maintaining that top speed as long as possible and minimising the deceleration that occurs during this part of the race.
The Finish -getting the leading edge of your torso over the line first (limbs, head and neck don’t count) – the lunge.
Of course, the experts will know that there is a whole lot more – the stride, having a good muscle base, the need for “a high concentration of fast twitch muscle fibres” – now I am way out of my depth.
And that’s before we even consider diet, sports science and medicine, and things like sports psychology.
OK, so what’s the marketing point to all this?
The point is that in any high performing endeavour – what to the outsider or casual spectator appears seamless, effortless and even graceful is often the superb execution of a number of seamlessly linked and integrated but distinct parts.
And it is the same with your online marketing.
It’s no good just having a lovely website, throwing money at SEO or sending the occasional email broadcast – unless each element is the right one, for your target market, for your business and your products and services – and unless each work together seamlessly – then it’s like the sprinter who has a great start but poor acceleration or finish.
They won’t be a winner.
No matter how much you spend, how much more you do, or how hard you try you’ll never get the best from it. The elements you lack will kill your performance dead.
To be a big winner your online marketing has to be…
1. Targeted – it has to be designed to work with and for your target market.
So many online marketing campaigns violate this basic rule that it is heartbreaking.
We see B2B companies running Social Media strategies trying to sell to target markets who don’t and won’t ever engage with Social Media in their professional life. Crazy.
We see businesses who need leads to generate sales opportunities and to create sales revenue who have a website that is like those that big brands would create. All image – no selling. An expensive mistake.
We see businesses selling premium products and services who are bidding on keywords in their Google AdWords campaigns with “cheap” in the them. Stupid.
It’s all Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.
Starting with your target market firmly defined gives you the best chance of getting out of the blocks without “false starting”.
2. Focussed – what are you trying to achieve? What outcomes are the most important to you? How will success be defined?
So many fall at this hurdle (sorry to mix the metaphors).
We review websites where although the business owner says the purpose is to generate leads they have no or little “call to action”.
Sometimes not even a phone number on each page. They don’t stand a chance of generating leads. They are “anti-sales”! They don’t ask for the order.
We see websites that have thousands of visitors each year but generate tiny numbers of leads and prospects because they are not focussed on conversion (from visitor to lead).
We see websites that are not focussed on the needs of the visitor, they don’t make compelling offers of valuable information and they don’t offer free tools or resources. They blow thousands of valuable visits.
We see the nice corporate video that the company spent a fortune making occupying that most important part of the web page – valuable space that should have been devoted to converting a web visitor to a valuable prospect rather than trying to get them to watch a boring 5-minute video.
A lack of clear focus on outcomes leads to poor decision-making.
Time, money, resources are not limitless – it’s easy to make stupid decisions on things that look nice, sound good and are the flavour of the moment.
A focus on outcomes is your decision making reference, your guiding light.
3. Strategic – What are the steps that your prospects and buyers in your market needs to be able to go through to maximise your chances of getting a new client, and of optimising your sales and ROI?
One of the big mistakes we see is businesses who are spending money, time and valuable resources on generating web traffic with Google AdWords and SEO, have a highly developed website which creates leads – but who have no clear pathway, roadmap, journey (call it what you will) mapped out for the leads that are generated.
Sure, the sales team pounce on the hot leads.
But what happens to the leads that they drop, what happens to those who are interested but not yet (sales people may stay in touch – maybe), what happens to those who bought this time around from someone else but will be buying again or renewing in 6 months, 12 months and beyond?
No strategy means disjointed, inefficient and wasteful marketing (picture me trying to sprint 100 metres and you will be able to imagine what this looks like – lots of flapping and puffing for little progress).
It’s a far cry from that apparently seamless, graceful and fluid medal winning performance that top athletes like Usain Bolt execute time after time on the track.
4. Tactically Sound – you can have great strategy, but if you can’t execute you will fail.
If you don’t have game-winning technique you won’t get the results you need.
Sadly, we see this all too often. For example…
We see businesses with a great database (a huge asset) who contact their list barely once or twice a year (if at all).
Having a balanced communications plan with a mixture of great email articles and some powerful sales letters can have a massive impact on revenue.
One of our clients has almost doubled his annual revenue in the last month or so by starting to email his list (his Christmas and outlook for 2013 now looks a lot brighter!).
We see businesses who say they are doing or have tried Google AdWords – but when we audit their campaigns they are playing with it. If you play or “dabble” with Google AdWords it will suck money out of your account faster than you will believe.
Poor tactics or techniques is like a glider pilot trying to fly a 747 – scary.
They understand the concepts, but don’t have the tactical skills to keep it aloft.
Bringing it all together.
Just like a top sprinter has to string together the start, acceleration, mid-race and finish – to work properly your online marketing has to be targeted, focussed, strategic and tactically sound, and that means blending each element to work together to get the best results.
This includes blending…
- Your Google AdWords
- With your Search Engine Optimisation
- With your Website – your landing pages, credibility pages, conversion pages
- With your Email Marketing
- With your offline Nurturing & Conversion Strategy (most real business is done when the communication transitions from online to offline).
How about making this the focus of your marketing efforts for 2015?
Email Broadcasting, Websites and Search Engine Marketing can be a game changer for most businesses, yet surprisingly few take it as seriously as they should.
Don’t let that be you.