Top Ten Strategies for Increasing Marketing ROI
So many leads, so little time.
Your marketing strategy is generating so many qualified prospects and you can’t keep pace. It is an enviable position.
Doesn’t sound like you? Well, perhaps you’re the eternal skeptic, thinking marketing professional services and generating leads online only happens through Herculean efforts. The truth is that improving your marketing ROI and generating more online leads is within reach—and it doesn’t take a super firm to pull it off.
In our Online Marketing for Professional Services book, Hinge took an in-depth look at what professional services firms, including those marketing technology services, are doing to ensure a steady flow of leads. From our research, we uncovered 10 key strategies that really work and can be implemented—no matter the size of your firm.
1 – Make your website a collaboration between IT and marketing
With today’s easy-to-use content management software (CMS), your firm doesn’t need to rely on a developer to update your website. Give the car keys to the marketing team and let them use the website as a living, breathing communication tool.
In our research, we found that 75% of high-growth firms are updating their websites at least weekly. In contrast, only 55% of technology services firms are updating with the same frequency. This presents a big opportunity for technology firms. Put marketing in charge of day-to-day website changes and rely on your IT department for more substantial redesigns and overhauls.
2 – Zero in on high impact activities
Most marketing teams cannot cover every aspect of marketing their services. Instead, they focus on the marketing techniques that will have the highest impact. This is where analytics come into play. The marketing tools and techniques that will be most effective for your firm will depend on a number of factors, like your audiences and available resources. Carefully tracking your marketing ROI and the results of specific campaigns will help identify what’s working, what’s not, and what could be improved.
If you find that developing your firm’s professionals into Visible Experts℠ is generating leads and new business, continue to build their marketplace visibility. If writing blog posts on relevant topics and issues are having an impact on your business, continue to invest in your blog. If you’re getting a lot of traction from your discussions in LinkedIn groups, continue to set aside time to post meaningful comments. You don’t have to go for it all — and certainly not all at once.
3 – Identify your website offers
Your website should have a variety of calls to action (CTAs) to encourage visitors to further engage with your firm. These CTAs should be closely tracked and monitored. For example, you might consider having offers geared toward attracting prospects, such as content downloads or registration for an upcoming webinar, and offers for late-stage prospects, like a “Contact Us” or “Request a Proposal” form.
Tracking the performance of your offers is an important step to improving your marketing ROI—and it is the only way you will know where you should invest more time and money.
4 – Eliminate Friction
Many professional services websites have a major problem: They don’t provide a positive user experience. Remember that more than 87% of technology services buyers are checking out your website before making a purchasing decision.
When these prospects get to your website, can they find the information they’re looking for? Are you clearly communicating your firm’s services and expertise?
Navigation should be straightforward and intuitive. Visitors should easily be able to contact your firm. There should be simplified web forms and clear calls-to-action. Your website can be your firm’s greatest business development asset.
5 – Meet your new best friend: The CRM
Firms greatly benefit from using some sort of customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This type of software allows you to easily create new web forms and offers, track leads by source, and segment your list of prospects for more effective lead nurturing and business development.
There are a number of CRM software options out there. Do your research upfront and have a clear idea of exactly what functionality your firm needs. In short, a good CRM software can dramatically increase the efficiency of marketing technology services.
6 – Pick low hanging fruit
When it comes to building visibility in search engines and ranking highly, finding the right keywords is essential. What issues are your audiences facing and trying to solve? What keywords might they use to find technology services like those that your firm offers?
Consider finding keyword opportunities (through tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool) that haven’t yet been saturated. Rather than target high-volume, highly competitive phrases, target many more-attainable keyword phrases. The traffic you’ll generate from these highly targeted “long-tail” keywords will add up and contribute to your overall marketing ROI.
7 – Declare yourself the authority, then back it up
In the world of marketing professional services, trust is everything. Don’t stop at declaring yourself a thought leader. Take the next step and support the claim by publishing educational content for your buyers. Show that you understand their challenges and that your firm has the expertise to help overcome them. This long-term strategy leads to a brand that prospects can trust.
8 – Blog on topics that generate leads
When producing educational content, it’s useful to have a specific target audience in mind and to write about topics that are important to that audience. Where can you find inspiration for topic ideas?
- Through industry news
- Through what’s trending on social media
- Through your business development or sales team
- Through conducting primary research
Frame your blog posts around the issues that matter to your audience and topics that are of interest to them. And remember to keep your posts educational, not self-promotional. Speak the language of your target readers and you’ll build visibility and attract your audience.
9 – Give and thou shalt receive
Get into the practice of sharing interesting stories (your firm’s own content and other firms’ content) on your social media networks. This activity positions your firm as a trusted industry resource and creates goodwill.
10 – Stick. It. Out.
You can’t climb this mountain overnight. It’s tough in the beginning, especially when you don’t have many subscribers and you start to think…Is this worth it? But if you stick it out, you’ll reap the rewards of perseverance. At Hinge, we’ve lived it ourselves, and we have seen it work time and time again for firms across the technology services space. If you take away only one point from this story, it should be this: increasing your technology services marketing ROI online is completely do-able. And remember, you don’t need an army to prosper—just a smart marketing team with a good strategy.
Why Lasting Change Is Hard
Before we had any children, my wife and I lived in the heart of Dallas. One day, on our way back to our house, we were driving down Skillman Avenue when we were caught in a sudden torrential downpour.
The rain was coming down incredibly hard, which wouldn’t have been a problem if the storm drains were equipped to handle that much water. Instead, the road itself filled with water faster than we could have anticipated. Quickly, the water rose up the side of our car. Trying not to panic, we realized that we could not continue and would need to turn around and get to higher ground.
Water rising up the side of your car door is the kind of roadblock you might not expect to encounter, but when you do, it’s formidable. We couldn’t drive through it or even around it. We had to deal with it quickly or face serious consequences.
When we’re trying to implement change in our own lives, it’s important to identify and plan for common roadblocks to lasting change.
The first and, in my opinion, most important roadblock to lasting change is not addressing the real issue.
Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. You’re annoyed by feeling sick but your throat really hurts, so you get up and spray a little Chloraseptic in your mouth and drift off to sleep. When you wake up the next day, you still have a sore throat, so you pop in a cough drop and go about your day.
The change you’re making – using a numbing agent – might work if you’ve only got a cold, but if it’s strep throat, you’re not addressing the real problem. Only an antibiotic will cure what ails you, even if Chloraseptic will keep the pain at bay for a while.
Just like how more information is needed to diagnose your sore throat than one feeling, problems you encounter in your life or business require diagnostics, too. Figuring out the real problem – not just your most apparent needs – requires some introspection and a little bit of time.
Here are eight questions to ask when you need to discover the root cause, courtesy of MindTools.com:
- What do you see happening?
- What are the specific symptoms?
- What proof do you have that the problem exists?
- How long has the problem existed?
- What is the impact of the problem?
- What sequence of events leads to the problem?
- What conditions allow the problem to occur?
- What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem?
Once you have your answers to these key questions, you can’t stop there. Your vantage point is skewed from your own perspective. You’re going to want to ask someone else to evaluate the problem at hand with the same questions and then compare your answers.
If you and all of the partners at your firm have similar answers, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you wind up with wildly different ideas, I suggest seeking the advice of someone outside your organization. Fresh eyes can make all the difference in understanding a problem.
I often talk about being ‘too close’ to understand. You’ve probably heard the illustration about a group of people standing by an elephant with blindfolds on, trying to describe what they’re experiencing. Depending on what part of the elephant you’re next to, you’re going to have different observations.
But someone outside of that elephant’s cage can clearly identify the elephant.
The first key to making a lasting change is to make sure you’ve addressed the real problem and are looking for authentic change.
Next time, we’ll address the second major roadblock to creating last change.
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