Either work on being more productive with your marketing communications or cut costs of overhead.
When you think of website marketing communications as a business process, you can start to see what needs to be done. Either improve your efficiency or cut your costs, that's what a manufacturing company does to improve performance. In this case we are evaluating ways to improve customer communications for the fire sprinkler system industry.
Here are the steps we'll walk through:
- Review web site design of two competitors who rank highest on Google
- Write suggestions based on our Top Ten Tips for natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Alexa, Similar Web and Hubspot competitive tracking
- Segment customers into buyer personas for email
- Internet banner advertising/retargeting, Adwords
- Efficiency - Return on investment
- Cost cutting strategies
1. Review web site design of two competitors who rank highest on Google
This is the search result when we were not logged in as having been on their site and located in Cincinnati.
This is the search results we saw when we were logged in; Simplex Grinnell comes up #1. Simplex Grinnell is a national firm so local results aren't relevant. The Cincinnati office's address is hard to find on the site so they're not showing up because they are optimized for Cincinnati. We had been to the site and Google remembers everything, because we let it.
2. Write suggestions based on our Top Ten Tips for natural Search engine optimization (SEO)
One suggestion for this page, Use dashes to separate the keywords in the URL and that's about it. The keyword phrase "fire sprinkler system" is used in the page title, headline, body and alternative text for a photo. These are some of the reasons it is ranked so high. This isn't the home page but Google publishes the home page before the specific page sometimes.
Eckert Fire Protection Systems comes up second in Google. Not really sure why this site is ranking so high. "Fire Sprinkler Systems" isn't in the URL, title, headline, body and no alternative text for the photo. It may be a case that the site is older than the number one. There are no links to the site. The only thing is a local connection.
Cintas comes up number three. "Fire Sprinkler Systems" isn't in the URL, title, or headline. It is in the body and "fire sprinkler" is an alternate caption to the photo. This is a classic "Call To Action" page, it is designed to have you fill out the form or call and consult. There are no links to the page but there are 228 links to cintas.com.
On the same day we searched "fire sprinkler systems" and came up with a different Cintas page. This page has the keyword phrase in the URL and title but starts to drop some of the words in the headline and alternative photo caption text. A common mistake to watch out for.
3. Hubspot, Alexa, and Similar Web competitive tracking
Hubspot has the best competitive analysis tool because it compares a holistic measure of a site's online presence as measured by HubSpot's Marketing Grader on a scale of 0-100. Still it's a mystery how Eckert Fire Protection ranks so high when it has the lowest Marketing Grade. It must be the local office. According to the Internet Wayback Machine it hasn't existed before 2008 where as Cintas and Simplex Grinnell have been indexed back to 2001.
Similar Web shows Cintas consistent with Alexa. Simplex Grinnell and Eckert didn't show up on Alexa but on Similar Web Simplex Grinnell is strong and Eckert is zero. The high number of Simplex Grinnell and Cintas visitors that entered the exact site address (Direct) indicates a lot of customers or reps are accessing this site to check orders or accounts.
4. Segment customers into buyer personas for email
With the basics under control, it's time to get down to business analyzing what can be done to improve communications for the Midwest territory. The industry can be broken up into these categories:
MARKETS: Commercial, Education, Government, Healthcare, and Industrial Solutions
PRODUCTS and SERVICES
- Fire Detection and Alarm, Fire Sprinkler, Residential Sprinkler Systems, Special Hazards Sprinkler Systems, Standard Sprinkler Systems, Testing, Inspection & Preventive Maintenance
- Integrated Security
- Emergency Communications, Sound and Communications, Healthcare Communications, and Time
Any list needs to be broken up into these buyer personas. An annual calendar needs to be created to time communications with annual events such as trade shows, sales meetings, promotions and incentives.
Considering that this type of market may only contain several thousand contacts, it would be best to selectively communicate in a personal email system with a dozen or two related contacts at a time.
Here's some great tips for emails, personalize, personalize, personalize!
5. Internet banner advertising/retargeting, Adwords
The sites we are evaluating are for Fire Sprinkler Systems. As I browsed "Grist" I noticed a banner ad for one of them popped up. This isn't a coincidence. Tyco's site put an id number on my computer (I allow it) and then "Grist" noticed it and displayed the ad.
5. Efficiency - Return on investment
- Figure out exactly what numbers you need to know for your business’ marketing, and do deeper dives into specific metrics as needed. It’s a better use of your time, and frankly provides more actionable advice than running hours of reports at the end of each month that you never use.
- If you’re resource-strapped, there’s a blogging volume sweet spot you can rest comfortably in. 92% of businesses that blog multiple times a day have acquired a customer from it. But 78% of those that blog on a daily basis have also acquired a customer from it. That differential isn’t too big. And if we bring down the volume just a tad to 2-3 times per week, still, 70% of businesses acquire a customer from their blog.
- Onpage SEO, while something you should certainly spend a couple minutes checking out before you publish new web content, isn’t something marketers should be obsessing over anymore. Google’s algorithm is much more sophisticated than it was even a few years ago, so keyword optimization isn’t going to cut it anymore.
6. Cost cutting strategies
- If you’re dumping money into completely untargeted PPC, it’s kind of like emailing your entire contacts database without doing any segmentation. Turn off your paid media spend that isn’t leveraging targeting functionality.
- It’s not that you positively do not need a website redesign in 2013 -- you very well may -- but before you overhaul what you’ve got, ask yourself if you can work in smaller chunks. Consider a series of A/B tests in which you incrementally improve upon parts of your website, and apply your learning on a wider scale once they’re statistically significant. And if you do learn that a bigger redesign is needed, assess whether you have the in-house resources required to pull it off without derailing all your other initiatives. If you don’t, for your sake and your marketing’s, outsource it to a vetted professional.
- If the social networks you’re using aren’t working -- 2013 is the year to stop using them. For example, if you gave LinkedIn the old college try, and it simply is not driving any meaningful business results for you, cut the
chord. Just make sure you’re making your decision based on analytics, not gut feelings.
If you liked this blog post you might also like "How to Create a Marketing Communication Email."