How to improve sales through effective marketing in the COVID era

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How to improve sales through effective marketing in the COVID era

What's the biggest problem facing your business?

Well if you're like 79% of UK businesses we're guessing it's attracting new customers. 

And given the current situation, securing your pipeline is only getting tougher. According to research from Tech Nation, the biggest problem impacting scaling tech companies right now is sales, cited by 83% of companies. 

But building a strong pipeline with 3x coverage becomes a lot simpler when you take a 2-pronged attack that establishes mechanisms for creating both inbound and outbound leads.

Stage 1: inbound - create the steady drip-feed of leads into your sales funnel

Did you know that 91% of all web pages never get any organic traffic from Google. 

Ouch! All that time and effort for absolutely nothing. You definitely don't want this to be you. No, you want to make sure that if you're investing in creating content that's going to attract people to your website, that it actually hooks them in, and then makes sure they don't bounce.

So how do you do this?

Longtail keywords.

It's a fact that about 70% of all searches are done using long-tail keywords. For example ‘cloud computing applications to support remote working’ rather than 'cloud'.

Think about it...

If someone is searching for 'cloud' (and assuming they're not searching for information on the fluffy-like cotton candy balls suspended in the sky) they could be looking for anything:

  • A definition of cloud computing

  • Information on current trends

  • An overview of available technologies

  • Information on a specific technology

  • News stories

  • Analyst commentary

  • Industry research

The list goes on. And you're not a mind reader so you don't know exactly what it is that they're searching for, so chances are, you haven't covered it in your content, so they bounce.

Also, think about the mindset of that person. If you simply type 'cloud' into Google, where are you in terms of the sales funnel? I'd take an estimated guess that it's right at the very beginning, and your knowledge around cloud computing is pretty limited.

But...

What if you've searched on ‘cloud computing applications to support remote working’? To be this specific means you have a need, and if you have a need, chances are you have a budget in hand, a timeframe in mind, and some sort of authority to purchase - or at the very least have been empowered by the decision maker to gather the information they require.

Using longtail keywords on your website is a smart way to generate leads. Yes, the search volumes are smaller, but the conversion rate is higher because you're capturing the people that genuinely need your help; longtail keywords have a click-through rate that is 3% to 5% higher than for generic searches.

And the more specific you can be the better. Imagine you wanted to embark on a 'digital transformation project to migrate your on-premise Dell servers to the cloud with Amazon Web Services for 50% more capacity and 30% reduction on costs' and someone had written an article on this specific search term - you'd bypass the demo and sign up there and then because this person obviously 'gets' you and can take care of your requirements. 

Never underestimate the importance of these less popular keywords. If you use an agency to help with your SEO, this is exactly the sort of advice they should be offering. But if you prefer to take a DIY approach, there are various tools you can use to identify the precise longtail keywords that will deliver quality leads into your pipeline, for example:

  • KWFinder

  • Ask the Public

  • Keyword Planner

Stage 2: outbound - target those companies you REALLY want to work with 

Not too long ago there was a big push around account-based marketing - the idea being that organisations would select 100 companies that they really wanted to do business with and put the majority of their effort, time and resource into targeting those companies directly. 

And it makes sense, before this a lot of companies were simply 'chucking spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks', which was essentially playing the odds and crossing your fingers whilst hoping for the best.

With account-based marketing, you have the opportunity to really 'wow!' the audience with a stunning campaign - we've even helped with a few ourselves:

But the challenge for many organisations is that account-based marketing often requires a greater level of investment, which they might not necessarily have. So what do you do?

Video. 

Using a video within a sales email boosts open-to-reply rates by 8x.

There's no denying it, video inspires action – 85% of prospects who view videos are more likely to buy, and 65% of executives say they’ve visited the vendor’s site after watching a video.

It's cliche, but people really do buy from people. So if you want people to buy from you it's time to drop the corporate barrier, stop blasting out generic messages to hundreds of people and send a personal message to an individual.

Think about it...

If you've created a list of companies that you really want to work with, you've already made a big investment in the time and effort spent to identify them, perform some degree of qualification and determine that they have a potential need that you may be able to help with. 

So why would you ever send them a generic message?

If you've genuinely spotted some way of helping this company, tell them - but tell them through video. Let them see from the look on your face that you're there to help, not sell. Start to build that trust - it's easy to delete a message, it's much harder to stick a person in the bin.

Here’s a little something extra…

Building a pipeline is hard enough, before you add the current uncertainty into the picture. At a time where the world has moved more of its operations online, there’s never been a better time to boost your digital performance, which is why we’ve created a specialist guide to help you get it right.

"How to achieve stronger digital performance" contains 4 effective and easy-to-implement digital strategies that help IT and tech companies to improve sales and marketing and you can download it here...