The Current State of Marketing and Sales

The Current State of Marketing and Sales

The Current State of Marketing and Sales

Buying Behavior is Changing Rapidly

Consumer buying behavior is changing constantly, depending on the latest devices, technology or economic conditions. As professional marketers I believe it’s our job to have a pulse on this buying behavior. It’s our job to sift through the information and distill it in a way that helps your organization make more informed marketing, sales and business decisions.

Things have been unfolding at a rapid pace the past few weeks. Let me share a few insights that we’ve garnered from conversations and other resources:

  • In general, internet traffic has increased by roughly 50 percent.
  • Organic traffic and conversions are a bit of a mixed bag. It really depends on the industry.
  • The pandemic is rapidly shifting buying behavior. There’s obviously been an uptick in online purchases and 13 percent of consumers are using this opportunity to discover new brands.
  • The cost of digital ads like those on Facebook or Google Ads has fallen significantly. We’re seeing some clicks cost as little as three cents.

With some industries booming and others at a standstill, you might be wondering what your marketing and sales looks like in the coming months. In my last article, I wrote about the importance of continuing to market, but I want to take a closer look at what exactly that means.

Right now, experts and economist predict that consumer spending will resume anywhere within three to 18 months. You should be working now to prepare for that uptick because the most successful organizations see big wins during the upswing, not when the economy is at its peak.

Selling When Few Are Buying

For many industries, now is not the time to sell. Simply put, many companies are not making purchases – or at least large purchases outside of immediate COVID-19 needs.

Rather than selling, focus on building relationships. If you look at any sales cycle, cultivating initial rapport with a lead or prospect is step number one. Building rapport is nothing more than making a connection with someone and establishing a relationship – that’s what you need to work on right now.

In the near term, your goal should be to remain top of mind. Demonstrate that you’ll be available when the customer or client is ready to buy.

Strengthening Your Marketing

If you’re not generating significant sales right now, strengthening your marketing should be a priority. Here are a few steps to take.

Revisit your target market. I harp on this one quite a bit, even when business is smooth sailing. Remember that the best marketers have a strong understanding of their audience. Use this time to clarify who you need to reach and how.

Identify your ROI positive channels. Rand Fishkin used this phrase in his latest Whiteboard Friday and it perfectly sums up how to approach any active marketing campaigns.

You don’t want to blanketly cut your budget. Instead understand what’s working and what’s not. Analyze specific campaigns or keywords to understand what can be temporarily paused and what can continue to run so you maintain visibility.

Continue to leverage your subscriber list. This is another thing I harp on constantly on our podcast! Your subscriber list is your biggest marketing asset. Make sure you remain in communication with the individuals who actively want to hear from you.

Use this time to educate and prepare for future marketing. If you are slower than usual, it’s a great time to educate yourself on channels or tools that you’re not actively using. Maybe that’s Google AdWords or YouTube. You don’t need to become an expert, but it’s wise to have a basic working knowledge of the tools available.

Now is also a great time to revisit your past content and understand what can be updated or re-purposed. Ensure your content is ready when people start buying again because they will, and they’ll be looking for thought leaders like you.

Many organizations don’t know how to market during times of uncertainty.  If you have questions or want to discuss next steps, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Marketing During COVID-19: Advice and Best Practices

Marketing During COVID-19: Advice and Best Practices

Marketing During COVID-19: Advice and Best Practices

Organizations Can Not Only Survive, But Thrive 

In April of 2009, I took a crazy leap of faith and started Hersh PR and Marketing. I was 23 years old, essentially fresh out of college and I had no idea how the Great Recession would play out. Fast forward to 2020 and it’s become clear that many of the lessons I learned in the early years of my business can be dusted off and applied once again. Unexpected events such as floods, earthquakes or epidemics can rattle even the most prepared business. The events that have unfolded in the past several weeks have demonstrated that it’s important to have well-document strategies for your business that are based on sound data and can be revised quickly as economic conditions shift. During this time, I suggest that you have the right individuals participating during your internal conversations about business strategy and marketing. Be mindful that your initial reactions can and will affect the perception of your organization and it’s smart to have an external (third-party) voice participate in these conversations.

Don’t Exploit the Situation

I’m not a fan of (extreme) fear-based marketing tactics* and now is certainly not the time to capitalize on people’s fear. Attempting to make a quick buck as a result of COVID-19 is extremely short-sighted. Play the long game (more on that below) and be very mindful of the messages you’re distributing.

Don’t Stop Marketing

It’s easy to “turn off” your marketing. It’s extremely difficult to rebuild your momentum when you attempt to turn it back on. Studies going as far back as the 1920s indicate the advantages of maintaining or even increasing your marketing budget during a weak economy.

The relative noise level in your particular industry might drop as competitors cut their budget, creating an opportunity for you. This is also a great time to project stability and strength.
As my long-time business advisor Ron Finkelstein said, “I’ve seen companies cut marketing in times of crisis and it’s the single biggest mistake they can make.”

Think Long-Term

It might be tempting to focus time and money into short-term sales and promotions. But for many businesses that’s either not an option or could result in long-term damage to their brand. Consider retailers like J. Crew and Banana Republic. During the Great Recession, they conditioned consumers to never-ending sales. Ten years later they continue to struggle to sell items at full price. For many of Hersh PR’s service-based business clients, offering discounts would immediately cheapen the brand. Right now, it’s wise to focus on brand-building initiatives that support your mission. Remember that clients will return and will be in need of your products and services.

Flex Your Creative Muscles

Over the past week, I’ve witnessed some incredibly creative marketing – virtual bingo on Instagram, video trainings and businesses supporting those out of work. Now is the time to flex your creative muscles. Try something you’ve been thinking about for ages but didn’t have the time to implement. Create the video you’ve been brainstorming, but perhaps held-off because you wanted the production value to be “perfect.” Leverage the resources you have and market heavily to your existing clients. They need, and probably want to hear from you.

Many organizations don’t know how to market during times of uncertainty.  If you have questions or want to discuss next steps, don’t hesitate to contact us.

*Generating action such as a phone call or a sale from potential clients will involve a level of healthy fear. For example, you can give clients a feeling of exclusivity without using doom and gloom.

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Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

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Marketing is an important business activity that many business owners push to the back burner.  When clients are calling and questions need answered, it’s easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow.” As the firm’s managing partner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You’re...

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3 ways the internet has changed law firm advertising

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In a few short years, the internet has drastically changed how companies advertise and market their services.  Companies used to rely on ‘interruptive’ messages to convince consumers about the value of their product or service.  But over time, consumers started to...

read more

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5 Easy Ways to Generate More Website Traffic

5 Easy Ways to Generate More Website Traffic

5 Easy Ways to Generate More Website Traffic

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic
After your website has been designed (or redesigned) and been successfully launched, it’s everyone’s hope that visitors start flocking to it immediately. In reality, the concept of “build it and they will come” doesn’t always work. The Internet is a crowded place. You have to work hard to get your message and your brand in front of consumers. Even if you’re getting a decent amount of traffic to your site, the more (quality) traffic you generate will help increase the number of leads and conversions. Luckily, there are some fairly simple ways to actively drive more traffic to your website.

Generating More Traffic to Your Website

The first step in driving more traffic to your website is to identify your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? Who is your best potential customer? It’s recommended to create at least three different buyer personas/target audiences so you can align any type of advertising campaign with your target audience. Once you’ve pinpointed your personas, you can create customized campaigns designed to bring that audience to your website. Here are five easy ways to generate more website traffic:

Facebook Advertising

Facebook has made it simple to advertise to a very specific audience. While having an engaging Facebook page is an important element to your marketing efforts, you can also designate a modest budget for getting more clicks to your website with Facebook ads. Choose the option of “Clicks to Website” from Facebook ads manager, and you’ll easily be walked through the ad creation process.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising with Google AdWords

Using Google AdWords, you can set an advertising budget and only pay when people click on your ads. You’ll need to choose the proper keywords to bid on and create ad text around them. These ads will appear at the beginning of the Google search results page when people search for the terms you’ve identified.

Guest Blogging

When you’re an expert in something, lend your skills to others! Reaching out to provide a blog post on another reputable website will help lead visitors back to your own site while helping to build your brand and prove your expertise.

LinkedIn Pulse Articles

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet, and LinkedIn Pulse is their award-winning daily news application. Pulse allows members to publish and share content to reach their potential audiences at just the right time. As you’re writing and publishing your article, make sure to backlink to your website and your own blog.

Email Newsletters

Providing a monthly email newsletter is also a great way to drive more traffic to your website. Just one successful email blast can result in a nice uptick in traffic, and you can also provide a form on your website for visitors to easily subscribe. If you’re looking for more customers, increasing the traffic to your website is the first step to generating results. If you need help with any of these strategies, leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to respond!

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Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Marketing is an important business activity that many business owners push to the back burner.  When clients are calling and questions need answered, it’s easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow.” As the firm’s managing partner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You’re...

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3 ways the internet has changed law firm advertising

3 ways the internet has changed law firm advertising

In a few short years, the internet has drastically changed how companies advertise and market their services.  Companies used to rely on ‘interruptive’ messages to convince consumers about the value of their product or service.  But over time, consumers started to...

read more

Subscribe to Get The Latest Insights.

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5 Common Problems with SMB Websites + How to Fix Them

5 Common Problems with SMB Websites + How to Fix Them

5 Common Problems with SMB Websites + How to Fix Them

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic

Frequent Updates Help Generate Leads and Sales 

Your website is a critical touch point in your sales process, giving you the opportunity to connect with potential customers and demonstrate your ability to deliver an amazing service. Maintaining a website that connects with and converts leads is crucial to growing your business.

After building and maintaining hundreds of websites, we’ve seen several patterns emerge. Here are five common problems that can negatively affect your website’s performance. The good news is that these challenges are easy to solve with a little time and the proper resources.

A Website Left for Dead

As many small and medium businesses (SMBs) discover, managing and maintaining a website can be especially challenging if you don’t hire the right professional. Front-end content updates are essential to demonstrate your expertise. And technical support ensures your site remains up and running.

Without the proper assistance, many SMB websites are left for dead. But your website needs to do more than just exist! Your website is a tool that can communicate valuable information about your small business and your services. It’s easy to spot a website that hasn’t been touched: the graphics begin to look dated, blog content is old and the mobile experience is less than ideal.

How to Fix It: If you’re unable to hire an in-house professional, it’s best to outsource this work to a trusted partner, freeing up your internal team to focus on what they do best.

Zero On-Page Optimization

Optimizing for Google strengthens consumer trust and value. When a business ranks high in organic search results, it generates a certain level of trust, respect and credibility which are necessary for brands relying on digital channels for leads.

Visibility on the internet involves technical and creative and strategies to encourage traffic, leads and sales – but optimization isn’t one and done. It’s an ongoing task. While the frequency of these updates will be determined by the competitiveness of your specific niche/keywords, you must make this a priority.

How to Fix It: Make sure you periodically update on-page elements like title tags and meta descriptions. Keep the content (blogs and case studies) and imagery updated as well.

Not Giving Visitors a Reason to Stay on Your Site

Do the visitors of your website leave after just checking out a few articles or pages?

Do they spend significant amounts of time surfing your website?

A little more than half of all website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on any given website, and we obviously want these visitors to hang around longer than that.

Publishing original content such as blog articles, case studies, podcasts, videos or white papers gives visitors a reason to explore your website. As you build trust and credibility, your website becomes a more powerful sales tool for you. Search engines continue to reward new content, so keep this in mind if your goal is to attract more organic traffic.

How to Fix It: Develop a content strategy to position your SMB as a thought-leader. Commit to something manageable, even if it’s one new piece of content per month.

Missing a Clear Call to Action

For your website to capture conversions, you must include a relevant call to action (CTA) on every page. A call to action moves a customer closer to working with you. Potential customers won’t be inclined to take the next step if it’s unclear what they should do next.

Is the first step in your buyer’s journey educational? Perhaps they should download an eBook or review product specs.

Is your product highly customizable for the unique needs of each client? Perhaps you want to highlight case studies that demonstrate your ability to partner with customers and solve complex problems.

The journey to becoming a customer will be different for every business. It’s your job to test and understand what’s going to move them along.

How to Fix It: Make it clear and obvious what you want the website visitor to do. Include several different types of CTAs throughout your site. Measure and track your progress to see what performs the best.

Poor Mobile Experience

83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important and yet only 17% of websites are considered mobile friendly by Google.

When building your website, you must take into consideration all screen sizes and build it according to the latest responsive design standards. Now more than ever, people are accessing websites from their mobile devices. Today’s tech tools make it easy to build beautiful looking mobile websites that result in positive interactions with your brand. 

How to Fix It: Invest in mobile responsive design so your customers have the best experience on your website on their devices.

Next Steps for Your SMB

Remember that a website is always in development. The time and energy you spent on your current website was not wasted – it’s a great place to start. Now is the time to update your site so it converts leads and grows your business.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve website conversions. Have more questions about improving your website?  Reach out to us directly.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated in April 2021.

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Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Managing partners: how to create your law firm marketing plan

Marketing is an important business activity that many business owners push to the back burner.  When clients are calling and questions need answered, it’s easy to say “I’ll do that tomorrow.” As the firm’s managing partner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  You’re...

read more
3 ways the internet has changed law firm advertising

3 ways the internet has changed law firm advertising

In a few short years, the internet has drastically changed how companies advertise and market their services.  Companies used to rely on ‘interruptive’ messages to convince consumers about the value of their product or service.  But over time, consumers started to...

read more

Subscribe to Get The Latest Insights.

What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

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Are you ready to take action? Let's see how we can reach your
goals with a 20-minute introductory call.

Why Website Content Matters + How to Update It

Why Website Content Matters + How to Update It

Why Website Content Matters + How to Update It

Content Provides Value and Supports Your Digital Strategy 

A well-rounded digital marketing strategy includes many elements. From paid ads to organic search engine marketing, your brand needs to be present and visible on numerous channels. However, there is an underlying component that fuels it all: content.

Content is arguably the most important component of your digital marketing and your website. It can set you apart from the masses by demonstrating your knowledge, expertise and capabilities. Other elements such as design, photography and video are important, but it’s the content that will speak directly to the customer’s needs and wants.

Content is also present in every step of the sales funnel. When your audience is looking for a solution to their problem, they seek professional insight in the form of blog articles, checklists or white papers. When your audience is closer to making a purchase, they will further explore your services, case studies or testimonials.

The bottom line is that along with having a great design for your website, it’s also vital that the information you’re providing is high-quality, relevant, and can convert visitors into qualified leads.

Quality Content on Your Website

What is quality content and how can it be incorporated into your website? It can take many forms but there are several elements that all high-quality content contains.

It Provides ValueYour audience wants a solution to their problem. To craft high-quality content, it’s necessary to understand exactly what your audience needs and wants. When you understand their pain points and goals, you can write content that directly addresses them.

It Has a Long LifespanThe term “evergreen content” refers to content that remains useful for many months or even years after its initial publish date. It can be shared many times over or repurposed into different formats like video and podcasts.

It Fuels Your Digital StrategyAs mentioned, content is the foundation for most digital marketing strategies. From email marketing to social media to PPC ads, you can attract and engage your ideal audience with the right content.

It Moves Your Audience Through the Sales FunnelGreat content can help you build relationships with an audience and inspire them to take action. Think about and craft content that is not only informational, but also inspiring, motivational and directs the reader to next steps.

Keep the Content on Your Website Updated

Actively maintaining the content on your website can be a significant undertaking. Everything ranging from blog articles to service pages need periodic updates. Unfortunately, many SMBs have an outdated website. A website should never be stagnant. An untouched site creates a disconnect for your audience and potentially harms the brand you’ve spent time building.

Publishing new content or updating existing content is well worth the investment. If it’s done correctly, you’ll see an improvement in your search rankings and improved engagement on your site. Here are several suggestions to ensure your content conveys the right message:

Update Older Pages and Articles

Posts and pages published years ago need periodic updates to ensure they remain evergreen. Updating statistics, timelines and major milestones ensures that you maintain your authority and trustworthiness as a source. Updating your pages/posts will also signal to search engines that a page is still relevant to searchers.

Revamp Your Keyword Strategy

Search intent and keyword trends are always changing. You should continually reassess your keyword strategy when updating your content. You might have pages ranking for keywords that no longer generate the search volume they once did. This could be an opportunity to refresh the content and target new keywords.

Create a Website Content Calendar

A documented content schedule will help you stay consistent with your updates. It can keep you focused on the content that’s relevant to your audience. You can also keep track of when pages and articles were last updated, or make note of new content ideas.

Final Thoughts

As search engines get smarter and buyers get more selective, your written message is more important than ever. As time consuming as it is, the dedication you give to updating your content contributes to short and long-term success. Your audience will appreciate the value you provide, and you’ll enjoy strong growth and conversion rates.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your website content. Have more questions about running successful marketing campaigns? Reach out to us directly.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated in June 2021.

Read 
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Read 
More Articles.

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What makes marketing so challenging?

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