The Internet has caused a paradigm shift in the way we market and more importantly that way we manage marketing. Just a few years ago we were preparing budgets that included direct mail, broadcasting, insurance telemarketing, yellow page advertising and magazine print advertising. In addition to that we had to have a ready supply of business cards and brochures. IT people managed IT, and sales and marketing people managed sales and marketing departments. That’s all changed now. The Yellow Pages are pretty much gone, print advertising in general has been diminished. You only need a quarter of brochures and business cards you once needed. A much larger share of your marketing dollars are going to email, SEO and adwords, and the line between IT and marketing has blurred significantly.
We have had to rethink our budget completely. Today 90% of our marketing budget is dedicated to on-line marketing. We have a full time person managing Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We have an on-going adwords campaign that generates leads at a cost a $25.00 each. It takes about 10 leads to close an account that averages $2,700.00 in income. The balance of our budget is spent on email broadcasts, SEO and web site changes and updates.
If you’re reading this and wondering why I’m sharing this with you, it’s because two years ago I had an epiphany and realized that IT was here to manage my network and hardware needs and that my Internet marketing needs needed to be managed by the sales and marketing experts in my firm. Once we made that fundamental change we were able to design a comprehensive marketing plan with our web sites as the center piece surrounded by our social media sites and this blog. The result is increase rank and traffic to my website, and because I redesigned my website to capture leads, more leads. We get about 8-10 leads per day almost evenly split between adwords and SEO.
We also learned that social media sites can drive traffic to your blog and ultimately to your website if they are set up and managed properly. There are important rules to this game to which you will want to adhere if you want to have success. For example, never sell on social media sites. Give it away. Tell people how to do it. Give them examples. Write a white paper and make it available to people who are willing to give you some data like their email-address.
The art of traditional marketing has changed to the science of Internet marketing and science of Internet marketing is changing daily. If you haven’t made the switch because you sell by referral only, or you just sell commercial insurance, you could be losing valuable time. As more and more of your competition joins the fray, it becomes increasingly difficult to optimize your site for the search terms that are critical to locating your website. Does that mean you won’t be able to do it? No. What it means is it will take longer and cost more. If you have a story about your experience, making the switch to Internet marketing, we’d love to hear about it.