Had a great conversation with one of our clients over the weekend who often checks in and asks for feedback regarding the site, analytics, and other questions regarding the inbound marketing strategy. I love the fact that they're engaged, many of our customers are not… but sometimes the effort it takes in responding and explaining the reasons we're doing takes away from the actual work itself.
One key remark was that their only expense is the organic growth strategy being pursued online. While I love the fact that we're in charge of that, it scares the heck out of me that this is the only strategy being invested in. I've often told people that building an organic online presence is much like building a store, restaurant or office. The store should be centrally located (search and social), should attract the right visitors (design and messaging) and should convert prospects into clients (calls to action and landing pages).
But if you build a beautiful store, locate it well, and can convert your visitors into customers… the work is not over:
- You still need to actively promote your store. I don't care who you are, it's essential that you get out there and press the flesh, build a following, and engage others in the community. A great store in a great location with great people and products still needs promotion from time to time. As a business owner, you can't sit back and wait for the business to come, you have to go look for it while you're waiting for your online marketing strategy to develop.
- Organic strategies like word of mouth may grow your business, but not at the speed you need it to! WOM is a fantastic strategy and typically produces the highest quality leads. But those leads take time – so you may have to offer additional incentives to drive traffic faster. Or you may simply need to buy traffic through pay per click, sponsorships and even banner advertisements. It's expensive, but can get you a lot more traffic faster.
- Organic growth takes time. A great online marketing strategy builds relevance and authority a little bit at a time. As you're paying the marketing bills, an upward trend isn't always consolation when there's more bills coming in than revenue… but you have to watch that upward slope and trend and look at it a year out, 2 years out and 5 years out. Many businesses invest online and expect that they'll have all the business they need in the next 60 to 90 days. It's often not the case.
Don't bet everything on organic growth. Or… if you do, be sure to leave time and resources to help promote and get the word out on your online marketing strategy. You can't simply dump a bunch of money into a nice website and good content and expect great results – there's more to do. My only wish for this client is that they put as much effort into activity they can control rather than pulling our attention away. They've entrusted us with their strategy… and next to the client, no one wants to have it succeed more than we do!