I often talk to directors who are frustrated that they’ve invested a lot of time and resources into their sales and marketing activity but are disappointed with the results. Here's our post on learning more about online marketing, which is part of our series on Automotive website design.
If you're frustrated with marketing results it's good to take a step back and consider what you've done. It's not uncommon to have tried a bit of everything; piecemeal efforts like SEO, AdWords, email marketing, some social media and traditional press releases. Usually, this approach doesn't result in sustainable success, or if is has, it hasn’t translated to more leads and sales.
Whenever I start this sort of conversation I like to take a step back and look at the whole journey from generating awareness, converting that awareness into leads, and closing leads into customers and repeat sales. Often, I bring the conversation back to their website.
Why a website is important for business growth
Here are just a few reasons why:
- It's scalable as it can handle an infinite amount of visitors
- It's available 24/7 across all timezones
- It can house a huge amount of content that answers questions
- It can signpost each website visitor to give them what they need, quickly
- You can track what sources generate the best customers
- And, it can tell you your ROI and what pages generate the best customers
Just those six bullet points are a lot but they're an essential part of growing your business, at scale, without the need to keep employing. Let me give you an example:
You might have an excellent business that sells products and services that genuinely help your ideal customers. You might have built your business in a slightly different era when it was all about word of mouth and getting out to industry events to gather business cards and fill up your black book. You might be the best salesperson that's fantastic at closing deals once you've got in front of your ideal customers. Your not sure what leads and customers your website generates but you're not worried because you haven't done online marketing in the past and you already have a good business. BUT, that approach isn't scalable because. The only way to grow that sort of business it to keep employing more and more sales people. And, the way decision makers buy has changed. They can do the majority of their research without ever speaking to a sales person. Add to that the fact there's more and more competition. And, if you want to grow then you need a different approach.
The better alternative is to start with your website as the hub of all sales and marketing activity...
A website that's your best salesperson
Get your website working for you and it will help drive and align the rest of your business. Your marketing team will use it to attract, convert, and nurture leads so they're educated and sales ready before speaking to a salesperson. Your sales people will us the high value website content to answer prospects and customers questions, and because each lead is more sales ready, your sales team will be more efficient because each opportunity will have more chance of becoming a customer. You can scale up your lead generation without the need to keep on and on employing.
There's more on this in our article on how inbound marketing and sales can work efficiently.
Questions to ask about your website
- Is it attracting your ideal customers, at volume?
- Do you know what sources drive the best website visitors?
- Are you regularly publishing content to answer your ideal customers questions?
- Do you offer an easy to follow journey so website visitors can convert into leads?
- What happens to new leads? Are they nurtured with marketing automation?
- Do your marketing and sales team work together to hand off new leads?
- Can you track how good your salespeople are at moving leads to opportunities then sales?
- And, do you know the ROI from your website and what pages produce the best customers?
Making all of that happen is a big task and trying to do it across separate systems is difficult to manage and you'll never get that true closed-loop reporting for ROI.
Some suggestions on the right website CMS
You want to start with a platform that's all in one with your sales and marketing tools so you get a fully integrated CMS that goes far beyond content management.
Make it easy to manage ALL content in one place
Move away from using multiple systems; a Wordpress website plus MailChimp for email marketing, plus Outlook, plus a file storage system etc. This approach results in sales never using marketing content and vice versa.
Instead, use a system where everything is in one place; your marketing team can easily create blog posts with Calls to Action that lead to landing pages where your ideal customers can give you their details in exchange for helpful and high value content to answer their questions and help with their research into your products and services. Plus, the ability to easily update and change your main website as well as tools for your sales team to use marketing content in their sales activity.
And, with an all-in-one approach you'll be able to track, manage, and improve your website and all sales and marketing activity because you have the facts on what works to create the best customers.
Then you need to make sure your website is optimised
From our ideal customer research we've done for our clients and their decision makers in Automotive, search (and Google) is still the primary source of research so it's important for your website to get found. That means when your ideal customers are searching for answers and solutions, your website content needs to be coming up in their results. The more people that go to your website and find what they need means search engines will show your content more and more and that will keep increasing your website visitors.
You need your website to be Search Engine Optimised (SEO) at the point its built and launched so that your website attracts your ideal customers, i.e. good quality traffic. As you publish new content each new page and post should be automatically optimised for mobiles, because a large amount of traffic will come from people on mobile devices, and it should be easy for you to optimise each new piece of content for conversions to make sure as many website visitors as possible are converted into leads for your marketing team to nurture and your sales team to close.
Lastly, use Smart content to personalise your website for each visitor
Smart content is something I find myself talking about all the time. Why have a website that is the same for everybody when everybody is different. With Smart content your website will automatically personalise parts of your website to each visitor. Some examples:
- Based on their location, you show them details of their closest dealer
- Based on their type of company, you signpost them to relevant content
- You can also customise based on their source, language and any data stored in your CRM
And, by taking an all-in-one approach to your website, sales, and marketing tools, you will know what Smart content works the best and what needs to be improved so you can make the right decisions based on facts.
Whilst the topic of this post was about online marketing, I find it's important to make sure a website is performing well before diving into your wider online marketing. Good online marketing needs a solid website and once that's in place it's over to inbound marketing and sales enablement, which are topics I'll cover in future posts.
Learn more about automotive website design in this article...
You can find previous posts in this series on our blog, at iTunes and Soundcloud, or on YouTube.