The Press, October 2014

Trust NZ Rugby boss, Steve Tew to say it like it is.

Referring to all the hoopla around the All Blacks’ new ‘blackest ever jersey’ and the carbon fibre fabric and technology that has gone into it, he remarked “The jersey is very important, but it’s the guy inside it that makes it.”

Irrespective of what they say in the brand endorsements and the numerous advertisements, the All Blacks’ success is not due to cleverly designed jerseys, or gear or sports drinks.

Their performance is a result of their talent, training and teamwork. If a team does not have those elements of discipline and rigour, then throwing money at flash new gear is not going to make them start winning games.

It is a similar message for Kiwi businesses who are often frustrated at not being able to generate new sales by simply throwing more money at a flash new website, advertising or some other promotion.

Online marketing can be incredibly successful with the discipline of consistent, coordinated and ongoing marketing activities that are planned, measured and refined continuously.

According to the latest research from the Accenture consulting group, 94% of business buyers are now conducting their purchase research online. Not doing online marketing well, is like not doing any marketing at all.

There are a few relatively simple steps Kiwi businesses can take to beef up their online marketing, starting with their website.

A number of Kiwi technology firms, that sell some of the most cutting edge solutions in their chosen niche, are still presenting themselves online with a passive, brochure style website. This website will typically be made up of ten pages, all waxing lyrical about how awesome the product or service is and the amazing people behind it.

Companies need to transform their website into a sophisticated tool that helps identify and progress prospective buyers along their buying journey, irrespective of the stage they are at.

Getting your website fired up with more action oriented elements, like simple clickable buttons that allow visitors to download valuable information in exchange for their contact details, is essential to identifying and starting to engage with potential buyers.

Once this transaction is complete, an automated, highly tuned e-nurturing programme (a series of automated emails) then gently nudges them along over the course of weeks or even months, sharing more valuable information and case studies, until they’re ready to raise their hand to talk to sales.

For visitors who are much further in their decision making, and are ready to get in touch with you, buttons on the website that say ‘Talk to sales’ or ‘Click here for a demo’, allow them to simply click a button to get the attention of your sales team.

For a number of businesses, driving traffic to their website is not so much of a problem. With a clever mix of search optimising and online advertising (throwing money at it), you can double or treble your usual number of website visitors. But it is the quality of the information on your website that will convert those visitors into real names that you can email or pick up the phone and contact.

Unless there is compelling content in the form of videos, eBooks or research white papers that offer the website visitors something of value, they are not going to stay long, revisit or share their contact details.

Once there is high value content on an action oriented website, all promotion efforts directing people to the site will yield a much higher number of qualified sales leads.
A key element in campaigns directing visitors to websites is social media. It is observed that businesses not using social media are either sceptical of its usefulness, or don’t know how to use it.

Social media, especially industry-focused groups on LinkedIn with a captive audience interested in a specific product or service, is driving nearly a third of all qualified sales leads for many Kiwi high-tech exporters.

You can use the marketing muscle of social media sites like Twitter, SlideShare and if appropriate, Facebook to reach prospective buyers and make them aware of the useful information contained on your website.

Does this make traditional techniques like direct mail and tele-marketing obsolete? Not really. These methods still have their value if used in sync with the rest of your marketing machine to drive people to your website and engage with the content on it.

Using both traditional methods as well as content marketing tools in this way brings together a very sophisticated and integrated marketing campaign that delivers real results.

An approach that invests in compelling content, backed up with planned and measured promotion campaigns, will ensure that you’re actually investing in the man in the jersey, and not making the black jersey blacker.

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