Recently I had a chat with the CFO of a recruiting agency. He admitted his frustration with the company’s investment in websites, and confessed that he was even tempted to scrap the whole online effort. I was so surprised that a response simply stuck in my throat.

I want to say to all frustrated with a non-existent return on investment from online efforts, please don’t quit. You are inches from success. Tweak your strategy until it works. If your online presence is nothing but an expensive albatross, this is a sure sign of a gaping hole in your marketing approach. Don’t shoot the Internet for your lack of a good plan.

Common Mistakes With Online Marketing

People love to compare paid ads versus organic content. This is a battle that will continue forever while both sides struggle. Yet every war has a third silent party, the guy who feeds both sides and gets rich on the fight. To put it into perspective, a little bit of paid advertising goes a long way these days. Time and time again, prospective clients want to hire me to “fix” their websites, rather than invest in a solid marketing strategy. What many fail to realize is, the website is the venue. You still need to drive traffic to it. A pretty website and some basic content is not going to cut it.

Justin Brooke explains his online strategy to Digital Marketer. In the interview, he said, “This process works for all products and in all markets. Don’t believe me? I’ll pay you $1,000 if you prove it doesn’t work for you, I’m that confident.”

Justin gives and example of his strategy, targeting celebrities who buy Rolex watches:

Now we need a blog post that attracts them like moths to a porch light or like middle class American kids to pop tarts.

How about…

“6 Rare Watches Fit For a King”

or…

“The 1 Watch James Bond Should Have Worn.”

If we put a link to that blog post in front of our target audience, it’s irresistible bait. That’s why we use a blog post. It drives your click through rate through the roof, attracts your perfect audience, sets up the sale, and they aren’t aware that they just dropped into a sales pitch.

After we write the post and plug our watch favorably (and liberally), we jump over to ads.twitter.com. Wait, not Facebook? Truth is, the ad network doesn’t really matter. Adwords, Gemini, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, they all have good traffic at affordable prices and the ability to laser target your ideal audience.

Since this is my story, I’m going with Twitter Ads. I love them. I’ll target followers of Seiko, Tag Heur, and other luxury watches. This makes sure they’ll love my blog post and be very likely to buy my watch.” Read the whole interview at Digital Marketer.

Winning at Monopoly in real life

His strategy is like a Monopoly game. If you don’t have a game strategy, you end up going to jail, paying rental fees and losing money. With a clear idea of the game, you collect big time. He who has the most money wins.

I remember so painfully all those hours that my brother forced me to play Monopoly, but refused to explain the rules to me. Once a friend gave me a few examples of how it all works, I started kicking my brother’s butt on the board.

A case study illustrates how it all works. If ROI eludes you, then start looking at a examples of how other companies are leveraging online channels to boost their bottom line. As a Hubspot Inbound Marketing partner, I have seen firsthand how inbound marketing is the secret sauce of the new millennium.

It’s about going where the schools of fish are. You’ll never catch a tuna if you settle with throwing squid nets from the dock.

A company that followed the advice and won 

Hubspot gives staffing and recruiting firm Yoh as an example of how a company went from barely treading water with traditional marketing methods to implementing an inbound strategy that supported the sales staff. This is how they started:

Yoh started to try different SEO strategies with the keywords they thought were most relevant. They implemented a blogging platform and started to blog almost daily.

But their results were falling short. They were gaining a little traction with more visitors to their website, but they weren’t getting meaningful traffic or capturing that traffic as leads.

We didn’t have [our blogging and SEO tools] well connected to our website so it wasn’t integrated whatsoever. We were not providing any calls-to-action or anything that would convert a visitor to a lead or customer,” says Matt.

He describes this challenge further,

You could see the number of clicks and page views but you didn’t have any other info – who they are, where they’re coming from – or a way to let them say ‘I’m interested in this and I want to have a conversation.’”

Sure, they failed in the beginning. And if they had abandoned their online efforts because of those early failures, they never would have surged ahead with the following statistics:

Yoh Marketing and Communications Vice President Matt Rivara credits their recovery to the inbound marketing strategy that the company embraced. He says: “Inbound is the place to be and where everything is going – it allows you to connect one-on-one with prospects and leads. HubSpot helps you execute without thinking about how to bring it all together.”

Hubspot goes on to explain:

Their success shows in the numbers. Yoh saw early results with a 29% increase in monthly website visitors within 6 months, which jumped to a 122% increase within 2 years. And the results appear in the bottom line – Yoh attributes $50 million in revenue from the past 18 months to new customers who were found and closed through inbound marketing.

Matt describes the integrated nature of HubSpot’s platform as what makes it so powerful. “The secret to HubSpot and inbound is the integration – having the ability to think about all of the different aspects of your marketing plan and execute them from one platform.”  His advice to anyone looking at CRM or email tools without a full inbound platform is this: “If you’re not thinking about the other pieces, you’ll miss something. HubSpot helps you execute without thinking about how to bring them all together.”

Whether you actually use Hubspot, or hire someone who is savvy in the the machine works of inbound strategy is not that important. What is important is getting a clear view on the power of your digital assets and leveraging them to blossom your business – which, in the long run, may be your saving grace.

Here is Matt from Yoh, explaining it in his own words;

Read the whole case study, including the statistics given above, at Hubspot.

Do you have a clear web strategy? Share on social and comment!

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