How’s your ad in the NH Business Review working out? How many leads has it generated for you? How much revenue and profit did you generate for your business?
These are questions I ask many business owners in NH that advertise in the NHBR, just to see what I get for a response. Are you willing to guess the response I get the most? If you guessed “We don’t really know”, ding ding, you win!
It’s not that I don’t like the publication. I actually enjoy reading it myself. There are usually some good articles that keep me up to speed on the business environment in NH. You know what I don’t do? I don’t read through it looking for the vendor ads, ever. That’s just not how I, or most prospects solve business challenges these days. And therein lies the problem with this outdated method of advertising. You can’t target the prospects demonstrating the right intent.
The Paradigm Shift
Consider this, in the last decade a fundamental change has taken place in prospect behavior in the buyers journey. In the past, once a prospect identified a need, they would reach out to potential vendors and include them in the consideration stage of the buyers journey. With the adoption of the internet and the wealth of information available, prospects now conduct their own research, excluding you from that critical step in the process. Their behavior changed, your marketing has not.
Now how do you suppose a small ad in a publication is going to address the needs of your prospect in the buyers journey? Is it going to offer solutions or alternatives? Is it going to bring this prospect into your sales funnel? Is it going to provide you with marketable data so you can nurture this prospect into a customer? Are you even getting in front of the prospects based on their intent to solve a problem or purchase a product or service? No likely. It’s what I consider lazy man’s marketing. And it’s incredibly expensive to boot.
A Quick Case Study
Let’s estimate that it costs you $800 per month, with a 6 month minimum commitment to advertise in a publication like the NHBR. At the end of 6 months, you will pay $4,800 in total. And when I ask you the questions I started this article with, and you can’t answer them with specific performance figures that lead to a positive ROI, will you think this is money well spent?
What if instead you took that $4,800 and invested in some great digital content that addressed the pain points of your prospects in the buyer’s journey, that would help generate visitors and leads for years? What if you spent it on a lead generation program on paid search where you could get in front of in-market-now prospects searching for your product or service right now? What if you invested it in mining your CRM for new leads and putting triggers and automation in place to help move prospects through your sales funnel, or create efficiencies for your sales team so they can spend more time closing deals? And what if you could draw a straight line from that investment to your ROI?
That would feel pretty good wouldn’t it? And it would help guide your future marketing investment. In 2016, you would be looking directly at what produced a profit and know exactly what levers to pull to increase your leads and sales in the new year, every year. Over time, you’d build an Inbound Marketing juggernaut and be driving your business to new heights.
2015 is quickly coming to an end and you will no doubt be making choices about where to invest in the new year. Don’t make the same mistake so many others have made just to feel like you’re doing something. Start your transition to an Inbound Marketing model, invest your money in the foundational tools necessary to make it happen, and stuff your pipeline full of leads for your sales team.
Want to learn more ways to build your pipeline in the new year? I’ve written many articles about inbound marketing and lead generation, you can find them at our search engine marketing blog.
Interested in learning more as you plan for the new year? Let’s set up a time to chat over coffee.
New England Web Strategies
*image sourced from scan of NHBR