Online marketing, or inbound marketing as well call it at
, has many moving pieces. But as a CEO, you don’t need to get caught up in the details of your company’s online marketing efforts. Instead, it is your job to understand how the costs, results and data surrounding online marketing impact the overall health and performance of your business. As a busy CEO, you likely don’t have much time. Because of this, we have condensed the important elements of online marketing into a brief executive summary. If you are reading this and are not an executive, I encourage you to share it with the executive team in your organization.
Why Online Marketing Is Important
Marketing in any organization serves many functions, but as a CEO, you should be concerned with a few key performance indicators (KPIs) from your marketing team including lead generation, lead quality and cost of customer acquisition.
Online marketing helps to reduce these costs and improve efficiencies for these KPIs as well as others. To put it as clear and simply as possible, a CEO should care about online marketing because:
“Online marketing reduces marketing costs while improving lead quality and volume, and provides detailed metrics for measurement and further improvement.”
Take a look at this short presentation and video for data that supports the success and growth of online marketing.
Leave the details of keyword selection, content creation and social media engagement to your marketing team. As a CEO, it is important that you understand the broader components of online marketing and how they work together to drive lead and customer growth.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- SEO refers to the process of improving your website to drive more and better quality traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. SEO has two main parts. One is on-page optimization, which is about making it easier for search engines to find and index your business website. The second part involves building authority online by working with other sites to increase the number of links that point back to your own business website, which influences how you are ranked by search engines.
2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- When you search for keywords in a search engine, the links you see on the right hand side and at the top-most part of the page are paid, or sponsored results. Search engines charge businesses every time a person clicks a paid link to visit a business website. Because of this pricing, it is important to have a marketing team that is skilled at lead conversion from PPC. This will help reduce lead and customer acquisition costs.
3. Email Marketing
- On the web, an email address is an incredible piece of information. Email connects people with social networks, friends and businesses in which they are interested. Email marketing, like most forms of online marketing, comes down to the issue of relevancy. Does your prospect want the information you are sending them? Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective lead generation methods online, so investing in the right email service provider and email marketer can facilitate big business gains.
4. Business Blogging
- Blogging is a multi-purpose tool for businesses. It is a simple way to post interesting information about your industry and your business and collect comments from customers and prospects. When thinking about a business blog, you should make sure it reads like a great trade magazine, not an advertisement. Business blogs help businesses develop thought leadership, drive leads, improve search engine rankings and generate inbound links.
5. Social Media Marketing
- Social media isn’t about teenagers playing on Facebook. It is about business prospects using networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to research new vendors, learn, connect with potential partners and much more. Social media finally gives a a way to map and influence word-of-mouth marketing in a way that has never existed before.
Hiring Needs to Change
As a CEO, you probably don't find yourself amidst the tactical details of marketing, but you are likely involved at some level in the staffing of the marketing department. Understand that the skill set for today’s marketer is changing. When hiring new marketing stars for your organization, you should look for people with a hybrid set of skills. New marketing team members need to be able to create and organize compelling content like a journalist. However, they also need to understand how to connect this content with business objectives and leverage data from web analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) software to iterate and make continued improvements. These are the marketers you need to help grow your business in a world of increasing online marketing domination. Think about these skills as you interview your next marketing hire.
Marketing is Making Business More Data Driven
Think about your key business assets. You likely think of people and equipment, but in the age of online marketing, the database is a critical business asset. The most important lesson you can take from this article is that online marketing is not only about marketing; it is about gathering, analyzing and leveraging data to improve all aspects of your business. Your customer, lead and prospect database are the lifeline of your business and should be protected and integrated into business functions outside of marketing, including customer service and product development. The internet provides businesses with more data and information than ever before, and it is the companies that understand how to best harness the power of this data that will out-perform their competition in the coming years.