It’s easy to get caught up in exciting new world of online marketing. You can now find endless articles, blogs, webinars and companies offering services related to search engine optimization, content marketing, social media and e-mail campaigns. It’s all so fast, sexy, and yes, cheap.
What’s not so easy to find? Hard facts and case studies that demonstrate if any of this creates profit on a sustainable basis. Yes, the occasional viral video hits the jackpot, and once and a while a local business scores big on Twitter. But day in and day out? Don’t bank on it.
Online marketing, is just that: marketing. Unless you’re amazon.com, that’s not the same as sales.
Especially for the B2B world, selling is a personal contact sport. Only to the extent that online tools enhance relationships and awareness, are they a step in the direction of a sale. Same for direct mail, brochures and printed collateral which are increasingly rare and similarly effective these days.
You’re gettng word of mouth, referrals and testimonials? Great. Increased credibility and visibility though internet channels? Super Duper! Top of mind presence though e-mail and direct marketing? Very cool.
Still, and especially in tough times, your business must address the question of selling. Not blog posts. Not impersonal e-mails. Not customer service. Selling. It’s a separate in-the-moment skill that has to be carefully woven into the texture of your company.
Taking a lot of time to develop, update and enhance your selling skills, product knowledge, and customer knowledge (and that of your team) isn’t fast, sexy or cheap. Which is precisely why so few companies get it right.