Why Business Development Needs Digital Marketing
The worst type of digital marketing is the kind that’s completely self-obsessed —memes and viral videos aside, your organization needs to invest in digital marketing that actually resonates with your customers.
What better way to get the most out of digital marketing than team it up with business development?
By integrating digital marketing with your sales funnel, you will be able to get more out of both — here’s why you should do it, and how you can make the most of digital when it comes to closing leads and making sales.
It impacts customer experience
A new client or customer is going to judge you based on what they find on your domain and your social media channels — so put your best foot forward.
- If you haven’t posted anything on social media for years, a new customer may start to question your business and its success. Surely a well-run business has some time to devote to online marketing? (And here’s what NEVER to post).
- If a customer sees something that contradicts your sales presentation, they may choose to walk away from a deal. It’s super important that key business development messages are also delivered in your website copy, website visuals, blog posts, and social media posts.
- Don’t just worry about people walking away — consider how a poor digital brand may negatively impact client experience. Your clients and customers won’t value you, or take you seriously, if they don’t really believe in you — and digital credibility forms a key part of that. Some brands have such an awesome online presence, that they convert leads off the back of their own content on a daily basis— that’s what you should be aiming for too.
One of the main things that businesses can do to improve their online client experience is to focus a little bit more on the story that they’re telling; and consistency is really important in any form of business storytelling.
Online customers are really busy, and they may not be constantly reviewing your online content, but every time they do choose to interact with you, try to make sure that what they see is consistent and upholds your business values.
Maximizing marketing opportunities
Business development often creates a lot of interesting stories.
You might go out to a cool place for a client meeting, or share a really inspirational networking talk with other people.
It’s really important to make a big deal out of these business development moments — digital is the perfect channel to do so. Social media, online video, your blog–— these are all places to share stories and examples of a great company sales culture.
It’s good for company synergy
Companies that are joined up are generally more agile. They waste less budget, and have a better company culture — two great reasons for combining business development and marketing efforts.
It’s a good idea to get different teams talking to each other and working on joint projects more — whether you want to instigate traditional meetings, or use project chat tools like Basecamp is up to you — but visibility is key.
Why not integrate your digital marketing campaigns with the latest sales newsletter? Synergy isn’t just a buzzword that business consultants like to throw around, it’s an attitude that will help you save time and money.
It helps define your USP
Your USP should be at the heart of your business development strategy — at the end of the day it’s what makes you completely unique.
Digital marketing is an absolutely brilliant way to broadcast your unique selling proposition to your entire audience.
Using blogging, web content, and social media is one of the most cost-effective ways that a brand can educate and enlighten their audience about what it is that they do. Using the power of value-led content is an effective, yet simple, marketing and sales strategy.
This is not about being really self-involved and always talking about yourself, but about being really clear on how & why you offer value to your customers. Content such as product guides, comparison charts, and in-depth videos are a great way to educate your audience on how you differ from your competitors.
A big part of business development is bringing your brand into context with other similar businesses — a great digital brand can help you stand out.
Your customers are content consumers
Most customers will be consuming online content every day (including some that have been created by your competitors).
To play a part in your customers’ lives, you need to enter the mix and join the conversation. (Online video’s popularity is rising the fastest, especially amongst the younger demographic).
Don’t assume that your customers are completely loyal to you, and will never ever research or find someone else’s content — your customers are content consumers, and they will know when your competitors are upping their game, putting out better content, and renewing their branding efforts.
It’s really important that you manage to stay competitive by creating consistently good content as well. The best content for your customers is the kind that really addresses their key concerns, even gripes, with your product — this will help create an aura of authenticity and community around your brand.
Authenticity and good advice are some of the key tactics that business development managers and salespeople use. Being open helps disarm people — it makes them extremely susceptible to whatever you do next…
Sometimes, they’re the same thing
Often there is very little difference between strategies like inbound marketing, and business development. More and more customers are finding their favourite brands online, and making purchase decisions directly through websites. The best digital organizations focus on creating a more holistic sales funnel that takes into account customer experience and content, rather than focusing on old-school sales targets.
- Social media particularly is a place where curiosity easily becomes an inquiry, or an interesting conversation ends up being a business deal. That’s why it’s so important that the people at the front line of your business are able to think commercially and make the most of even the most casual social media conversations.
- E-commerce businesses are typically fantastic at nurturing relationships — taking people from a like to a sale in mere moments. A lot of primarily sales-focused entrepreneurs are starting online stores entirely filled with drop shipped products, driving traffic via Facebook ad campaigns — for them, it’s all about the neverending circular relationship between marketing and sales. This new business model, anchored in sales and digital marketing, is one that traditional businesses can also learn from: build less, do more.
Sticky online funnels drive sales
A lot of websites are still glorified brochures, wasting valuable sales opportunities. Make sure that your website works hard for you when it comes to driving conversions and sales.
- Interstitials and push notifications can help create urgency and drive conversions, but don’t overdo them either — pushy ones can get you penalized. Mobile push notifications are good for conversions, but make sure that users can easily turn them off.
- It’s really important that you map out your ideal user journey, including all the micro and macro decisions customers need to take before signing up with you, or picking up the phone. This will help you decide where and when users need a little nudge.
- Learn about sales psychology and try to balance factors like choice, emotions, and urgency in order to create a web experience that people just can’t say no to.
Business development is at the heart of any business and gets a lot of attention (rightly so), but it’s also important to appreciate all the other activities that go on around sales, and how they contribute to closing that final deal. Digital marketing is an absolutely brilliant place for brands to talk about their offering in a much more customer-focused way. (And remember, business development isn’t the only department that can benefit from some digital integration). What’s your favourite business development story, and why?
This is a guest post from Victoria Greene, an e-commerce marketing expert and freelance writer who is eager to see what businesses will accomplish in the digital realm. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.