E&S Solutions has expertise with the development of inbound digital marketing strategies for the purposes of developing site traffic and e-commerce.
At E&S we have spent the last five years learning inbound marketing skills and strategies. Combining our vast knowledge of the office products industry and its distribution channels, we are able to offer a combined level of digital and product experience not thought to be available elsewhere. As an experienced HubSpot inbound advocate, we implement digital marketing while leveraging business intelligence and improving sales growth.
Traditional Analog Marketing
They’re caught between a rock and a hard place, either avoiding or under-spending, or risking investments that are almost impossible to measure a return on. Changes in business performance are very difficult to relate to specific elements of the budget and, because it’s difficult to figure out what’s working and what isn’t, then it’s challenging to figure how the budget should be allocated – trade publications, radio spots, TV, etc.?
Businesses don’t like investing in areas where it’s difficult to calculate the return and, because the ROI for analog marketing is inherently cloudy, it’s been very difficult to effectively target or maximize the return of analog marketing expenditures.
Transition Phase to Digital Marketing
The hype and publicity surrounding the latest digital marketing techniques is overwhelming.
However, because of the legacy issues associated with analog marketing and problems calculating returns on marketing investments, the new era digital strategies are being approached cautiously.
A whole new skillset for marketing strategies and use of platforms for distributing content are required and, for the most part, small businesses are not familiar with these strategies and requirements.
The less familiar then the more caution it’s treated with especially coming off the fuzzy foundation of analog marketing. Here we go, out of the frying pan of “analog” marketing and into the fire of “digital” marketing. Business owners are faced with an uncomfortable dilemma:
- Do nothing – wait and see
- Jump in and see what happens
- Start careful research and figure out a plan to try and enter the fray
Of course no investments should be made without a plan and this investment philosophy includes the marketing budget as well as other business development investments. For a digital marketing strategy, a significant investment of time is required to develop a plan. This is usually time a business owner doesn’t have and, the subject matter is usually far outside the realm of expertise.
The result is usually that either the business does nothing, dabbles or jumps in without a plan. None of these paths are optimal.
Inbound Digital Marketing
Firstly, implementing an inbound digital marketing strategy must be the highest priority of any business enterprise wanting a sustainable future.
Secondly, it can only be fully and successfully implemented if an integrated digital information technology platform has been deployed.
An inbound digital marketing strategy is largely contingent on an “opted-in” email contact list. If an enterprise doesn’t already have all its customer and prospects email addresses it needs to gather them into its CRM database – such as HubSpot CRM, Salesforce, MS Dynamics, etc. Building and maintaining this database is vital for an enterprise wanting to enter the digital era and develop e-commerce.
Inbound digital marketing is 100% dependent on content. Over 100 trillion emails are created and sent annually, a number that continues to increase at an exponential rate. If an enterprise doesn’t have carefully prepared, interesting and relevant content then, even with a “friendly” audience developed from an “opted-in” mailing list, the campaign will not be given the time of the day and results of marketing efforts will be poor.
Not only is the content important, but so is the strategy. Email marketing must include “calls-to-action” with subsequent steps in the campaign predetermined based on the clicks that take place.
Finally, the data created from email campaigns must be recorded in the CRM database. Who clicked on what tells an enterprise what the audience are interested in. This is the internet activity that’s most valuable to a business enterprise and helps determine what the next steps in the sales process are to be.
Digital marketing doesn’t start and end with emails. Blogging is vital and, just like email marketing, the quality of the content is paramount. Subscribers will not read material that’s poorly written, irrelevant or uninteresting. The intent must be to demonstrate the enterprise is an authority on the subject matter and that subject matter is relevant to the targeted audience.
An enterprise committed to developing interesting content has to develop its audience. This is where social media platforms become relevant as the enterprise seeks to expand its reach and deliver its content to a wider audience with and objective to bring traffic back to its website. Once at the website visitors have to be nurtured through the sales pipeline until eventually they become customers.
Inbound Digital Marketing and the Return on Investment
Unlike with traditional analog marketing the costs and return on digital marketing can be fully quantified. If an enterprise can successfully develop and implement a strategy, then results of campaigns can be quantified.
The number of emails opened, opt-out’s, click-throughs, etc. are all reported. The number of blog subscribers, shares, likes, comments and other interactions are recorded. Website visits and where they came from are tracked. What visitors do when they arrive at a website, along with how long they visit and what pages they visit. Use of this information is vital to fine-tune and continually improve direct email and blogging activities.
Digital marketing is vastly more efficient than traditional analog marketing. Printing and sending out 1,000 promotional fliers involves a gamble that the costs will be covered. Preparing and sending out 1,000 emails has a minimal cost and can be scaled to 10,000 emails without a significant increase in cost. Intelligent use of the data that results from blogging and emailing campaigns means the strategy can be continually fine-tuned and made more effective while less effective strategies can be quickly abandoned.
Efficient businesses ultimately win. A well planned inbound digital marketing campaign is infinitely more efficient than traditional analog marketing – therefore, longer term this strategy wins.
Small and Medium Business Enterprises
Never has the timing been better for small business to embrace digital marketing. The internet levels the playing field and, alongside deployment of information technology and the use of business intelligence, small businesses are positioned to develop competitive advantages over much larger, slow-moving and inflexible organizations. In focusing on its local market and using well-proven inbound strategies, site traffic and brand can be developed elevating online authority and business development.