Ready to learn how to secure a high return on your marketing dollars? Before I share the secret, we need to make a pact right now. Ready? Take a deep breath in, then let it go. Now say with conviction, “I will not fall prey to once and done marketing tactics.” Even if you are unsure about what I mean, trust me, say it, and read on.
Marketing is a marathon! There are no short-cuts. It’s important that you appreciate this, or you will get bamboozled into buying a one-time or short-run ad campaign or commit to an overpriced sponsorship package by an organization, publication, or online promising great exposure. In most circumstances, small to middle market firms should not:
- Sponsor events
- Participate in expensive charity outings (Yes, golfers, that means you.)
Doing any of the above is like wadding up a ball of cash and chucking it into the marketing trash can. Successful advertising involves repetition and small to middle market firms typically don’t have the budget to go the distance. Charity events are wonderful, but good deeds should not be disguised as marketing. Trade events are once and done. Logo sightings on a napkin or lanyard rarely result in generous lead flow. There’s rarely an ROI. Honoring this “just say no” primer is important because your B2B company needs to have a healthy budget to take advantage of the secret I’m about to share.
The Secret: Create Marketing Leverage
Leverage is a term often used in finance and means to “use borrowed capital for (an investment), expecting the profits made to be greater than the interest payable.” In the marketing world, the word is used differently. Here, leveraging means investing time and/or resources in one thing and being able to use that thing again and again and again. I often refer to these “things” as marketing points of leverage. Let’s dig a bit deeper and identify these golden nuggets:
- Evergreen content: When small to middle market B2B companies invest in content that will always be relevant and important to their buyers, they gain leverage. The more evergreen content a firm has, the more leverage it will gain. Why is this the case? Once content is loaded onto the Internet (via a website, blog, or social publishing platform), it’s like a soup can with no expiration date. It can live forever on the digital web, attracting coveted organic traffic.
- A mobile, friendly website: A B2B company should invest significant resources – both time and money – in its website, as it serves as the marketing center. In using a website as the hub, marketing becomes measurable, allowing a marketer to see what content is attracting organic search traffic. More of that type of content can then be created. Once a quality website is up and running, a company can leverage this marketing for three years or more.
- Marketing automation software: HubSpot and other types of marketing automation software enable companies to map a series of marketing emails and content offers, otherwise known as a workflow, to a particular buyer’s interests and needs. Workflows are beautiful things! Once they are in place, contacts are consistently being nurtured down the revenue funnel while marketers can invest their valuable time doing other things or simply put their feet up and take a break. Companies that outsource marketing can lower their labor costs by scaling back once high performing workflows are in place.
- Contact database: Creating a centralized, opt-in, clean email database is a dirty job but one that creates a significant amount of marketing leverage. Contacts can be consistently touched with timely information that is relevant to where they are in their purchase cycles. Many Marketri clients invest in list services, such as Data.com, to bolster the number of leads in their databases. Unlike advertising, you don’t have to pay to be in front of your own opt-in database and can use it over and over again.
- LinkedIn Network: B2B companies should encourage every employee to build a network on LinkedIn. While there is sure to be some overlap, just think of the potential (FREE) reach! When firms have strong social networks, they are able to share engaging content, company news, and marketing messages far beyond their contact databases. Social media networks are a strong point of leverage.
When B2B companies embrace marketing leverage effectively, their ROI will shoot through the roof. To be fully transparent, there’s always a steeper marketing investment in year one. But if your firm has a strong CMO, Strategic Marketing Consultant, or Fractional CMO who can develop a forward thinking marketing plan containing many points of leverage, it will experience high lead flow in years two, three, and beyond with only a modest marketing investment. So now the secret is out: marketing leverage holds the key to a high ROI. Build your points of leverage and thrive!