“Marketing used to be about making a myth and telling it. Now it’s about telling a truth and sharing it.”
~ Marc Mathieu, Global SVP of Marketing at Unilever
More than 1,600 of you read our wildly popular “Top 5 Myths About Marketing Strategy for Hosting Providers,” (Feb. 15, 2016) and spent an average of 5.5 minutes with it. We were stunned when we looked at the analytics. We know hundreds of you read our blog posts regularly, but this particular post really hit a nerve.
Clearly, there’s a thirst for more of these types of myth buster postings for hosting providers. Thus, this follow-up on five more marketing myths you should ignore.
Myth 1: Our Sales Team Doesn’t Need Marketing Help
The first of these five marketing myths you should ignore is that you don’t need a marketing team if you already have a sales team.
Salespeople can be great closers, and they sure are needed. But because they focus on closing, they hang out at the bottom of the marketing/sales funnel where the leads, who know they have a problem and are actively looking for a solution, gather. This means there’s an untapped, often ignored, segment of people left at the top of the funnel for the competitors to scoop up.
This is where the marketing folks come in. It’s their job to create demand for your products and services. These marketers typically hang out at the top- and mid-level of the funnel. Through content creation aimed at various stages of the buyer’s journey, they unearth opportunities and help prospects identify a problem, a need — even if the prospect didn’t know it had one — for which the company has a solution. They then nurture them down the funnel towards the sales team.
Salespeople tend to be driven by action and dollars but often dislike paperwork, like follow-up emails or content creation to educate their prospects. But without the materials needed to nurture their prospects and convert them to customers, there’s little for the salesperson to work with. In fact, 95% of sales reps say “content is essential to progress prospects through the pipeline.”
The marketing team helps there, as well. “It may seem like an extra step that takes time, funds, and focus away from your sales funnel, but a marketing strategy will help amplify your message and increase sales,” writes Jeffrey Hayzlett. “Developing quality content should be the rule, not the exception, regardless of industry. ”
Without a marketing team, there’s no content and no demand generation.
Myth 2: It’s Hard to Measure the Effect of Marketing’s Efforts
The second of the five marketing myths you should ignore is that it’s hard to measure the impact of marketing efforts. After all, you and your sales team are working hard to grow your hosting business. Do you really have the time to waste on measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts?
The short answer is it’s not a waste of time, and you must do it. But it needn’t be hard or time-consuming. Using metrics to measure the success — or failure — of your marketing efforts is especially vital so you don’t spend precious dollars foolishly.
The easiest place to start measuring is with the end result. What’s your conversion goal? Once you know that you can measure various components to see if your goal was achieved. If not, then keep tracking those components and work at improving them, which will aid your overall conversion rate.
What to Measure?
Look at open rates, bounce rates, click-throughs, and conversion rates of your email marketing campaigns. How many downloaded the PDF you were promoting? How many went to the landing page, but no further? Here are the formulas you’ll need:
- Open rate formula: Number of emails opened divided by (the number sent minus bounces)
- Bounce rate formula: (Number of bounced emails divided by the number sent) multiplied by 100
- Click-through rate formula: (Total number of clicks OR unique clicks divided by the number of emails delivered) multiplied by 100
- Conversion rate formula: (Number of people who did what you wanted them to divided by the number of emails delivered) times 100
If you’re conducting a pay-per-click campaign, you need to track the click-through rates, the cost per click and the conversion rate. All of the top PPC platforms track the click-throughs and cost per click automatically. However, you need to also set up their conversion tracking tool if you’re to learn what your conversion rate is.
If you’re creating organic blogs as a way to generate demand and promote additional content or products and services, make sure you look at rankings, number of visitors, and time on page. Then look at the conversion rate. How many visitors clicked on your call to action?
Once you do this, you’ll clearly see which blogs outperform and where the most reader interest is. This can then drive the next stage of producing even more targeted content.
Once you do these basics, you’ll have a far greater insight into the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. And, if you want to bring the analytics even further, take a look at what else you can measure in our “10 Content Marketing Success Metrics All MSPs Should Know” post.
Myth 3: Great Support and Customer Service Is Not a Market Differentiator
The third of the five marketing myths you should ignore is that customer service and great support doesn’t differentiate you from your competitors. But the key takeaway here is how you define and deliver that support and service and the role your marketing team plays.
Today’s consumers are smart, and have information at their fingertips. “Customers want to feel immediately understood, individually valued, and consistently recognized no matter the channel of engagement,” according to Salesforce’s State of Service Research Report.
As a hosting provider, you know the ins and outs of all that matters to your customers. Your sales team knows its target audience. And your marketers know how to guide the process through the buyer’s journey. All of what each of you knows about current customers, prospects and leads needs to be shared among all so that all customer/prospect contact at whatever point is as personalized as you can make it. No more siloing information.
And importantly, take “advantage of every point of customer contact” to “begin to contribute to the larger goal of positively engaging the customer — managing the relationship, cross- and up-selling to different audience segments, and using quality as a brand differentiator in mature markets,” says a Booz & Co. report. “In today’s mature and competitive markets, a company’s success in winning and retaining customers increasingly hinges on its customer service performance.”
Myth 4: Build Your New Website and They Will Come. Not True.
The fourth of the five marketing myths you should ignore is the idea that if you build your website the leads will come. Not. True. There’s no “Field of Dreams” ending on the internet where 1.2 billion websites reside and at least 100 new domains are registered every minute.
With all that clutter, people won’t flock to your website unless you help them find it and they won’t find it unless there’s content on it that they need. So an email blast to a purchased list of who-knows-who web users isn’t going to work because you don’t know what they need. Instead, consider the following:
- Who’s your site for?
- What are their business issues?
- What are their pain points?
- Who’s your ideal customer?
Once you know this, you can start to earn the traffic by creating content that speaks to the issues of importance to the audience you want to attract and that you hope to turn into customers.
Then, follow these steps to drive them to your site.
Search Engine Optimization
When you want to find something on the web, how do you do it? If you’re like the majority of internet users, you go to a search engine.
Google has a 72.48% share of global search, you’ve got to pay attention to how they list results and rank pages to optimize your site and each of its pages to improve the ability to be found by those you want to attract. Take a look at Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, but remember, Google changes its methods of ranking websites 500 to 600 times a year! It does so to give users better results. You can’t stay on top of them all, but you must be aware of the major ones and then implement them as needed.
Here are a few tips that can help:
- Make your site mobile friendly
- Adhere to industry best practices
- Remember keywords are key
- Include high-quality content with internal and external links
- Work to earn links from reputable external sites to your site
Fresh, Relevant Content
Just as Google uses technical guidelines to determine whose sites make it to the front page, it also uses quality guidelines — and among their criteria is the need to provide “an expert level of knowledge about your subject matter,” according to Search Engine Land. But to stand out from the rest, it continues, you need to “expand the breadth and depth of your content.” It’s also important to keep adding to your content, via blogging, or white papers, because that entices the search engine bots to visit and index more frequently, which means you get yet another listing in the search results.
Analyze and Retool
Now we’re back to Myth #2. You’ve got to deal with the analytics of all this work.
Go back to your conversion goal. Have you achieved it? Analyze the metrics — the click-throughs of your emails, the number of visitors to your site, each page’s Google ranking. Find the content that worked and look at it. What made it better than other content? Can you build off of it? Like us, did you discover a topic where there was great reader interest? Capitalize on it. Improve the older content.
If you’re not converting visitors into prospects into subscribers into leads into sales, you’re not achieving your goals. “The true measure of marketing effectiveness is sales outcomes,” says Elizabeth Edwards, CEO of Volume Public Relations
Myth 5: There Is a One-size Fits All Marketing Solution
The last of the marketing myths you should ignore is that you can create a one-size-fits-all marketing solution. Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all hosting solution, this simply isn’t true.
Marketing is tool box containing a variety of useful techniques, programs, and tactics. You’ll use different tools for different goals, different competitive environments, different budgets, different constraints, different buyers, etc.
What works for a person in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey won’t work for one in the decision stage. That’s why it’s important to understand the various stages of the buyer’s journey and create personas for your ideal target in each of the stages.
Doing so improves your chances of reaching the right people at the right time. “Brands that will win moving forward will be the ones that deliver ‘anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them,” not the ones that try to sell “average products for average people,” says Seth Godin.
Unsure Which Marketing Myths You Should Ignore? Contact TPM
Now that you know the marketing myths you should ignore, you can develop or tweak your marketing plan, and we at Total Product Marketing can help. It will become the blueprint your hosting company follows and will help ensure all staff is on the same page, working in the same direction to enable the success of your company.
Contact us today or call us at 855-646-8662 to help you get started on your hosting provider marketing strategy!