Digital marketing is evolving fast and growing more integrated, personalized, strategic, and complex in the process. Constant updates to marketing tools, tactics and algorithms can be dizzying to keep up with especially for organizations with a small budget and a team that is stretched thin, focused on immediate results, and wearing many hats.
In today’s world where instant gratification is the new norm, it takes stamina to consistently execute on an inbound marketing strategy, especially when ROI is not immediate. This is a common struggle for Xerox channel partners as well as most other SMBs, including many of your customers.
Here are the top five marketing challenges facing Xerox channel partners along with tips on how to drive results:
- Skill gaps:
Most SMBs have a marketing team of one, and more often than not they straddle marketing plus sales, admin support, or customer service. There are simply not enough hours in a day for one person to be an expert across all integrated marketing strategy let alone stay up-to-date on trends and execute tactics fluently.In this situation print partners should focus first on:
- Ensuring the website provides information buyers need and fully understanding why your website is your most important business asset
- Knowing the audience and using a technique called buyer personification to drive demand generation
- Developing and publishing website content that’s aligned with the sales funnel
- Setting realistic expectations:
It’s impossible to say how long it takes to see results from inbound marketing because the ROI depends a great deal on the consistency, focus, and tactics. At a minimum, you can expect it to be six months to a year before any traction becomes apparent. During the waiting period it’s common to give up or become convinced your efforts are a waste of time, which leads to frustration.Setting expectations will help.
Social media expectations – First, think about how many social media platforms your organization can realistically manage. Don’t try to be everywhere; be where your buyers are. For some, this is Twitter and for others it’s LinkedIn or Facebook. Once you know, measure success on engagement; how the audience interacts with and shares your content. It’s natural to desire a large following but be aware; it’s engagement metrics not number of followers that drive results on social media.
Content development expectations – Xerox channel partners can use blog topics to drive search engine optimization (SEO). However, SEO is just the beginning when it comes to content and this is where many marketing departments of one become confused about where to begin. Start with the website copy and ensure it is clear, concise, and delivers all the specs, product sheets, and information a potential buyer needs.Once the website is set, focus on blog content and remember; it’s not necessarily how many blogs are posted in a certain period that matters. Much of how Goggle ranks blog pages has to do with relevancy and readability, which is largely based on shares and how many times someone else links back to the post. In other words, cadence matters but commit to quality over quantity to be achieve good ranking in search results.
- Finding time:
Consistency is key for inbound marketing success. Be realistic about how much time your team can devote to digital marketing. No matter how much time you commit, it’s important to map out the best use of that time and employ tools to shorten the time per tactic.
- Use the right tools:
Xerox provides many helpful programs and resources for augmenting channel partners’ marketing efforts. For example:
- IMPACT Marketplace provides demand generation campaigns tools
- Xerox Social on Demand provides expertly written, relevant social posts that can be automatically dispersed across partners’ social platforms
- Future of Work Kits help partners host and promote local, customer-facing Xerox ConnectKey events
Other time saving tools:
- Hubspot Topic Generator and Buzzsumo help with blog topic ideas
- Buffer and Hootsuite simplify social media scheduling
- Yoast simplifies ensuring good SEO before website content is published
- Aligning sales and marketing:
In the traditional paradigm, buyers relied on salespeople to drive awareness for products and solutions. The awareness process is now driven by prospects self-serving information online. Therefore, this role has in large part shifted from sales to marketing, which makes it more important than ever to align these functions. Salespeople are significant allies for developing content. Speak with them to discover the questions buyers are asking and write blogs and website copy that aligns. Use CRM tools to help align demand and lead generation tactics and work together to create assets that turn lookers into buyers.
In the end, the key to digital marketing success is consistency, measuring, aligning and focusing the time you have on the tactics that garner the best chances for success. And remember, you’re not alone! As Pete Peterson, SVP of Global Channel Strategy at Xerox, said, “our channel partners wear multiple hats and often the same person handles everything from sales to service to social media.”
We’ve put together an education program called the Digital Mastery Program to help Xerox channel partners master digital marketing. There, you’ll find more marketing tips, best practices, and links to useful resources.
Not a Xerox channel partner? Click here to learn more about our Global Partner Program and discover how we can help grow your business.
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Paul here from business international wll, bahrain
Hi Paul, welcome to the Channel Partner Connection blog.
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