Nowadays, having a website is like having a whole online sales department. If your website is like a brochure, that is, it only has five pages and those pages are all you have to say about your company, you are wasting this tool in terms of generating new customers.
How can you know if your site isn't working as a tool to generate clients?
If your website doesn't generate more visits each month, doesn't provide a tool so your visitors share their contact information with you (a fill-in form) and thus, won't let them become prospects to which you will later nurture with more information and, in short, visitors won't end up becoming customers that actually buy something from you, then your site isn't really working as a client generator and a selling tool (which it can be!).
Such a site is like having a steering wheel lying on the ground or stuck in the windshield of your car. Totally useless, even though you have it.
Online Buying Decision
If this is the case with your site, you are missing out on the techniques that the new marketing offers. It's very important to constantly update your company's site since the current way of searching for any product, is via online.
The Nielsen research agency states that 75% of the buying decisions are made online. This trend also shows that this percentage will only increase with time. This is why it's very important that companies change the way they've been carrying out their communication and publicity campaigns.
Align your Sales and Marketing Teams
It's a very interesting moment when you start to do a more scientific marketing. I remember that a professor from a well-known business school in Mexico told us: "Marketing is so important that it cannot be left only to the marketing department." This showed how separate the worlds of advertising and marketing were from the world of sales.
Even more surprising was to see the advertising guru Ogilvy compare traditional mass media advertisers with direct publicity advertisers (those who were in charge of offers and sales for distribution channels). Apparently, the publicists and mass media marketers knew a lot about how to position an idea in the minds of the masses, but they knew little about how to win over a distribution channel and little about how to directly compete on each shelf.
These times are falling behind. Advertising and marketing areas are increasingly aligned with direct sales areas. Marketing is changing the way the story is told. We first need to acknowledge that people look online for solutions to their needs, not for sales offers. Therefore, the first commitment we must have with our website is to help our clients solve their problem with information.
Content Marketing to Increase Sales
This information that you'll offer on your site has to be created based on good quality content, content that will explain to your visitors:
- How to solve their problem
- How to buy the product that will help them solve their need
- How to make a smart purchase by comparing the options they have
- How much it should cost -and why
- Where can they buy it
In other words, your site must nurture your visitors with information to guide them until they're ready to buy.
These contents help us keep an open communication with our clients. As long as:
- We have what they need
- Clients need the information that we have
They'll be open to receive it and eager to learn more about our advice and the ways we can help. (Opposite to traditional mass media, where clients no longer want to receive non-targeted, annoying and invasive advertising).
When the time is right, that is, when your clients are ready to buy, that's when you'll offer them your product or service and push the sale. Before this momento comes, not even the best sales coupon in the world will work.
The Context that Content Builds for Sales
As you can see, content is what keeps us alive facing our customers, but in order to close the sale, we have to think not only of content but also of context. This is where the idea of scientific marketing appears.
This context is what will help us discover:
- When our customers are ready to buy
- Which are the interests that an specific customer has, so we can make a specialized offer -one that's really useful- to him/her.
How can we know this? With the use of technology! There are softwares that can help us learn to which contents our clients have been exposed. The more we use these software, the more we will learn from our customers and thus, we will be able to carry out a more direct and personalized marketing. That's where the strength of the new marketing is.
In short, next time you question your website and wonder how you can use it as a marketing and sales tool, know that these two areas can (and must!) be interconnected and work under a whole well planned inbound strategy.