Everyone's talking about their CMS, CRM, and SEO, right?
OK, maybe not everyone, but we asked the attendees of our web marketing education event the topics they'd want to hear more about in relation to a web marketing strategy, and the these were the top 3 responses. It's not necessarily that they don't know what those things are, but they want to know how they should integrate them with their future marketing strategies. I am happy to see/hear that the attendees took further interest and are serious about learning these pieces of their strategy.
Not everyone know what these crazy acronyms are, so I'll give a bit of background on each and explain how they might fit into your marketing stack.
CMS - Content Management System
What it is - A content management system (CMS) allows non-developer type to manage their own content on the site. When I say content I mean the writing on your main website pages, photos, downloadable files, blog posts, products, rotating banners, etc. It should also allow you to create pages and landing pages on the fly very easily. Without a CMS and no knowledge of HTML you'll probably not be very successful at keeping your website content up-to-date. Outdated or inaccurate content will cause your reader to lose trust in you, which is not helpful if you are trying to achieve your marketing goals.
Where it Falls in the Marketing Stack - A CMS is part of your website infrastructure, or the technology behind your website. As we mentioned in our seminar, your infrastructure is a vital component of your marketing strategy and in most cases without a CMS, your website will fall behind. Your strategy puts together the various parts of the marketing stack, therefore if this piece is your weakest link you'll fail. You must be able to keep current content current and add new content on a regular basis without having to rely on someone else. Bottom line.
In regards to timing, you must have a CMS before you can effectively start your marketing strategy. As a reminder, your infrastructure is important so don't set yourself up to fail.
Not All CMS are Created Equal - There are countless numbers of CMS solutions available. Some good, some great, some just downright awful. You need a CMS that is right for your business, easy to use and one that is built to be search engine optimization friendly. There are some incredible CMS options that are absolutely terrific for an enterprise level business, but these would be overkill for a small business. And vice versa....there are CMS options that would be great for a small to medium size business but just not be right for a large business. I'm a bit bias here, but I'd prefer the easy to use, front facing CMS that is flexible enough to manage everything...but not so flexible that things tend to break. The one that comes to mind is our c80 CMS. I'm not going to get all salesy here, but if you'd like just check out this video:
CRM - Customer Relationship Management
What it is - A customer relationship management solution is something that allows you manage your company's prospects and customers. As an example, let's say a lead comes in through your website. It should get placed in your CRM either automatically or manually. From there it should store as much information as possible about the lead. Everything from name and email to their social networks and how they interacted with your website. The more you know about the lead, the better you'll be able to nurture them to an actual sale. Your CRM should track all interaction your salespeople or customer service people with the lead and track where they are in the sales cycle. Once the lead turns into an actual customer, they will be tracked through the same system. Your goal: more closed leads and happier customers!
Where it Falls in the Marketing Stack - A CRM would primarily fall in the infrastructure and analytics portion of a marketing stack. Ideally your CRM will interact with your website so that leads are pulled in automatically so that they don't just lie an in email waiting to die. At the same time, they can't just sit in your CRM waiting to die either. It falls in the analytics category as well because you'll be tracking leads all the way through a sale. If your actual sale takes place offline, this is one of the best ways to keep track of where that individual actually came from.
You should be tracking your leads/prospects from day 1 of an web marketing strategy.
What You Need to Know - Again, there are a ton of CRM solutions out there, but you need to pick one that is right for your business. More importantly it MUST be implemented the right way for it to work. If your business purchases the best CRM in the world but fails to implement correctly, it's just a huge waste of money. By not implementing correctly I am saying that the business doesn't put the right processes in place to ensure all interaction is tracked through the system, they cut corners or force the system to do things it was made to do, they don't train appropriately, they don't use the reporting features...I could go on, but just know. Without proper implementation and total adoption by everyone involved it won't work the way it should.
Search Engine Optimization - SEO
What it is - Search engine optimization is a tactic used to improve visibility in a search engine's normal (not ads) search results for keywords (searches) related to your industry, products, services, or business. It will help you get traffic to your website without having to pay each time someone clicks. It's important to get quality traffic, not just traffic in general. Quality traffic is what can potentially turn into leads and sales instead of just having a bunch of window shoppers. This isn't a post about how to "do SEO"...that's a much longer post.
Where it Falls in the Marketing Stack - This is part of the earned channel, but has a relationship with everything else in the marketing stack. You need great content, you should be tracking everything, and your infrastructure has to be built to be SEO friendly. With everything in place, you'll be able to get "earned" traffic from SEO for a long time, thus providing you a long term ROI and eventually a successful web marketing strategy.
To sum it up
These were just a few of the things that our attendees were interested in learning more about. There's so much that goes into a full strategy, but we'll keep educating as well as helping businesses create and implement their own web marketing strategy.
Our next educational event is in Hermitage, PA in July and will cover creating a web marketing RFP.