Marketing and technology continue to evolve. Recently, Brian Mell interviewed Founder & Chief Operations Officer of Main Street ROI, Phil Frost to get his take on the Internet's influence of business and marketing.
How has the Internet changed or evolved marketing over the past five years?
First, every business now needs a website. Prospective customers expect to find your business online and if you don’t have a website, then that’s a red flag.
This can be seen as just a necessary business expense, but it really is a huge marketing opportunity. Since prospective customers are turning to the internet to do their research, then that means your website is often where you’ll make your first impression. If you provide a great experience on your website and present a compelling offer, then you’ll be able to capture prospect contact information to follow up, nurture and eventually convert into customers.
Another key change is that marketing has become overly complicated for many businesses. There’s search engine optimization (SEO), search advertising, banner ads, video ads, mobile ads, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email marketing, and the list goes on and on…
But here’s the thing: just because the internet has given businesses more marketing tactics, that doesn’t mean the fundamentals have changed. All of the new digital marketing tactics are worthless unless you have a compelling offer, a clear call to action, and a system to deliver on the promises made in your marketing.
Do you consider any of the changes or innovations associated with the Internet to have caused some challenges in trying to successfully promote a business?
Yes, the biggest challenge I see is overwhelm and confusion, which ultimately leads to inaction or incorrect action. There are now too many marketing options for businesses and it’s easy to get caught up in the “shiny tactic of the day” even though it’s not the best option for your situation.
Should you invest in SEO? How about social media? Email marketing? It’s enough to make your head spin. Sifting through all the options and identifying the best opportunities is where I see the biggest challenge in marketing right now.
The most important responsibility is to understand your own business metrics and define realistic goals.
Where should a company start when taking their first step in building a successful presence online?
As I mentioned earlier, it all starts with your website. This should be fairly obvious since we’re talking about your online presence.
But before you create your website you’ll want to first do two things:
By completing those two steps you’ll be well on your way to developing a website that is both optimized for SEO and setup to convert visitors into customers.
How can (or should) a website and/or website platform play a part in growing a company’s business?
Here are 3 ways:
When developing online marketing campaigns, what do you feel is the responsibility or role of a company receiving the marketing services?
The most important responsibility is to understand your own business metrics and define realistic goals. For example, what is your target cost per customer? How many new leads can your sale team handle on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? What is your monthly marketing budget? These questions must be answered by the company so the marketing campaigns are aligned with clearly defined goals and budgets.
How important is the concept of mobile (devices and/or apps) in the success of marketing a business?
This depends on the business and the target customer. If your target customers are not using mobile devices, then obviously it’s not very important. With that said, more and more people are using mobile devices every day to research before making a buying decision. One of the more impressive predictions based on recent trends is that mobile internet usage will soon overtake desktop computer internet usage.
So without a mobile presence, you already are, or will soon be, missing out on new business.
Lastly, what do you see happening in the next year or two in the marketing industry, whether good or bad?
As I mentioned, there is a major shift from desktop internet usage to mobile and tablet usage. This is good news if you’re prepared with a mobile responsive website and bad news if you’re not.
I also predict a shift from businesses launching individual digital marketics tactics like SEO or advertising to more comprehensive and integrated marketing campaigns. By that I mean creating marketing plans that include a combination of SEO, paid advertising, email marketing, and social media.
When all of those tactics work together, then you’ll maximize your marketing return on investment (ROI).
Phil Frost is Founder and Chief Operations Officer of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s training programs. His company's mission is to help small “Main Street” businesses earn a return on investment (ROI) from online marketing, aAnd since 2010, they've helped thousands of small businesses create profitable marketing campaigns.
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