Avoid Online Marketing Pitfalls

I recently attended a presentation by Drew McLellan, author of 99.3 Random Acts of Marketing, the Drew’s Marketing Minute blog and agency principal of McLellan Marketing Group in Des Moines, Iowa.

Drew shared his insights on how to succeed with online lead generation for a professional services business today.
His experience is backed up with some impressive statistics that demonstrate he’s not just posing as another new media expert.

His chops include:

  • Nearly 7300 subscribers to his blog
  • Each posts receives on average 9-10 comments
  • Thousands and thousands of backlinks (gained over 5 yrs)
  • Recognized top blogger by AdAge Power 150, Content Marketing Institute, SmartBrief, Alltop and more
  • And most important, he can attribute revenue growth to his consistent and frequent blogging activity

By his analysis, 34% of Drew’s agency revenue (over the last 20 yrs) can be directly attributed to the content created for his blog. As Drew explains, how you market a professional services practice today is everything.

Even the best don’t always get it right.

While his blog’s metrics are impressive by any measure, Drew acknowledged ONE critical flaw in his online marketing strategy. He created his blog under a separate domain that was different than the domain of his agency site. Who cares and why does this matter?

All of the great metrics that Drew can claim for his blog and all of the SEO juice that the keywords, comments, backlinks, domain history, and meta data for search that his blog has generated are driving visitors to a domain that is different from his web site.

How is this possible? Because even recognized experts mess up. Especially when they’re experimenting with and adopting the new and continually changing requirements of today’s online marketing. In Drew’s case, if he ever attempted to export the data of the blog and put it under the domain of his agency web site, all of the search results that are delivering these amazing statistics would vanish in a blink.

A checklist for success.

So, what best practices can you follow if you’re seeking to market your professional services online and you want to minimize wasted effort?

  • Stop, step back and define a clear strategy on what you want to accomplish online.
  • Focus on generating leads, shortening the sales cycle, and reassuring clients with your visible expertise.
  • Start measuring business goals and not social goals (likes, re-tweets, shares, etc.)
  • Build your web site AND your blog under one domain.
  • Blog regularly and frequently. Period.
  • Integrate a Subscribe link to your blog—Not just an RSS feed.
  • Have social icons that link to your unique social channels with content that is current.
  • Avoid creating or sharing content that’s all about you.
  • Don’t just curate others content and share it.
  • Start the heavy-lifting and long-term process to carve out your thought leadership niche about the value that you’ll deliver to your clients.
  • Demonstrate the walk you talk by example.
  • Don’t repeat yourself with one great sentence, theme or thought —and paste it in your social dashboard over and over.
  • Integrate a subscription to a your email Newsletter in your blog.

Like never before, the Kimono is always open.

Be clear that prospects and potential client’s will give you a serious doggy sniff on your web site before they ever consider you or reach out to connect with you. Today, you are naked, the Kimono is always open and everyone is looking at and judging your total online presence with every click and impression in a browser. And if you don’t start to address the total presence of your brand online, you’ll soon be handing over opportunities to your competitors.

It’s time to take your web site & blog—your online marketing hub—and spread out the value that you offer through the many online spokes where your target customers hang out. Because the goal is to drive them back to the mothership—your site/blog. Over time, this becomes a two way pushing out and pulling in process of attraction, credibility building and enhancing consideration to increase the real and monetary value to your business.

Marketing online today is now a marathon, not a sprint. And for every day you wait to begin, your competitor will pull further ahead of you. Because the online content they’re creating is turning into long term assets that enable them to get found through search, engage and inform visitors and convert them into qualified leads that grow their business.

And you?

Are you you overwhelmed or adrift with your online marketing efforts.
Or have you adopted these techniques and are realizing success?
Let’s hear from you.