Holistic Digital Marketing Strategy and Why You Need One

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Have you ever tried selling something? What was the first thing you did? Who were the first few people you tried selling to?

Your family. Your close friends. Maybe even your relatives.

Then you posted on your social media accounts to go beyond your close circle.

You created Facebook page for your product and started posting and selling there.

Then, nobody seems to respond to your posts except your family and friends.

Sure, you get likes every once in a while. But you still haven’t sold anything outside your own circle.

You’ve hit a wall.

After going through your list of potential buyers (friends and family), you don’t have anyone else to sell to.

But you believe in your product so much. You don’t want to just give up. So, you research online and find that advertising might solve your problem.

You run some ads on Facebook. But after a couple of days, you still haven’t made much progress.

Doubts creep in.

You start thinking that maybe your product isn’t that good. Maybe you’re not meant to sell. You’re just not good at it.

You’re not alone.

Majority of small and medium businesses are in the same situation as you. While there are revenues coming in, they aren’t enough to warrant hiring new people or investing in other activities.

A lot of big brands also started out like that. Apple started selling to their family and friends. HP, which also started in their garage, sold to their inner circle first.

But they found a way to get more customers to grow their revenues. To scale. To become who they are today.

What they did differently

What the successful brands did differently is that they applied a holistic strategy — one that allowed them to continuously sell and grow their business.

They became successful because, in one form or another, they used a holistic strategy and not just string together a couple of activities.

When it comes to digital marketing, that holistic strategy means having a way to fill your marketing and sales funnel automatically.

Let me explain that below.

The Marketing and Sales Funnel

Your marketing and sales funnel, or simply funnel, is a visual framework that allows you to see how every activity ties in together, and what metrics you should keep an eye out for.

The funnel is composed of 3 parts: prospects, leads, and customers.

1. Prospects

These are people who may or may not be interested.

Following the story a while ago, these are people whom you spoke with initially to share more about your product.

In digital marketing, these usually comprise your website’s visitors and engaged audience on social media.

Activities you need to focus on at this stage should convert these prospects/visitors to the next stage.

2. Leads

Leads in digital marketing are people who are somewhat interested, more engaged, may or may not be ready to buy now.

After your initial conversation, you’ll find out if they are the right fit for you or not. You learn more about them, what they like and dislike. You get some feedback so you can further improve your product, messaging, and approach to selling.

The key indicator for leads (vs prospects) is that these group of people gave their contact information to you. You have the ability (and hopefully, permission) to reach out to them about what you do and what you sell. You know a little bit about them through your interactions with them.

The activities you should be focusing here are to nurture these people — through education — to buy from you later on.

3. Customers

These are people who have bought from you. People who were willing to trade in their hard-earned money for your product (or service).

They didn’t do it because you’re the one selling it (maybe if it’s your mom); rather, they bought from you because they believed in you and how it can benefit their life.

To be successful in business today, you don’t end a relationship when someone pays you. You continue this relationship, get to know them more, ask for feedback. You can ask your best customers for referrals, give them exclusive perks for being loyal, and many more.

How Does the a Holistic Strategy Fit in with the Funnel

As you noticed, the typical journey of an entrepreneur moves from talking to the prospects, to leads, then to customers. This is the same for other big, successful businesses as well.

The only difference is that they don’t stop doing one activity in exchange for the next.

A holistic strategy allows you to create a sustainable business.

The Problem: Non-scalable Activities

Let’s go back to our story earlier. When you first got your product, you were so excited. You believed in it so much. You started selling to your inner circle. Some bought. Some didn’t. But that didn’t stop you.

You went beyond your inner circle. You reached out to your acquaintances. You spoke with people you don’t know, started running some ads, and got a few inquiries.

While this approach goes through the funnel (prospecting, lead nurturing, closing), whenever you switch to the next activity, you stop doing the other one.

And that’s what’s hurting you and your business.

You didn’t spend time on activities that are sustainable. Those activities that do the hard work for you, even if you’re taking a vacation.

The Solution: Scalable Activities

Scalable activities in digital marketing are things you do that yield results now, tomorrow, and years into the future.

Compare this with non-scalable things, where once you stop doing them, results stop coming in.

Typically, advertising is a non-scalable activity. The moment you stop pouring in money, results will stop coming in. A great example of a scalable activity is blogging or content creation.

Below are steps you can take to make sure that you invest in scalable activities, while at the same time, bring you quick wins as well.

1. Start blogging and create content

This activity supports the entire funnel — from prospects, to leads, to customers. You can create content to attract people who don’t know you, provide more information about your product, answer FAQs, and provide user guides.

Use a content pillar approach when creating content. It’s an efficient and effective way to repurpose your content. And don’t forget to share them on social media and in your email list.

If you don’t have any content to attract new people, engage with your audience, and help existing customers, where would this leave you?

You’ll plateau quickly, just like in our story.

Why?

Without content targeted to the different stages of the funnel, the only thing you have left is your product. And when you’re left with something you can’t change, you start discounting just to be able to sell. Lower and lower. Until you don’t make a profit anymore.

In addition, when you lower your prices, the only people who will see it and/or take notice of it are already the people who know you. Remember the funnel? If you don’t fill the top of the funnel with new prospects, you won’t get new leads and customers. What will end up happening is your existing customers will see the discounts. They will switch over to the lower price and, eventually, you will lose all your margins.

Finally, look at your business from a larger perspective. There are a lot of people who don’t know you, care about you and your product. If the only thing you post on your social media accounts are how awesome your product is, eventually, no one’s going to listen to you anymore.

As a sidetone, this is one of the reasons one organic posts by Pages on Facebook keeps declining. Marketers keep abusing the platform. Users get irritated. This leads to a bad experience for them. And Facebook doesn’t want that.

The funnel has stood the test of time for a reason — you keep filling the top with new prospects. This will give you the chance to test your messaging, get more feedback, and more importantly, grow your business.

Your strategy has to consist of address the 3 parts — how to get more prospects/visitors, how to get more leads, and how to get more customers. Jumping from one stage to another or simply focusing on one is ineffective.

2. Create landing pages

Landing pages allow you to capture contact information. And from our definition above, that’s the way you generate leads for your business. It’s composed of two parts: (1) a copy that explains what you’re offering and (2) a form that people fill-in.

You can use this across the entire funnel as well. You just change the contents of it depending on your goal.

For example, you can have a white paper on a specific topic that you can use as your lead generation offer. Here’s an example of me doing just that.

(Insert image CTA of downloading white paper)

Most businesses only have a contact us page as their sole landing page. This is also the reason why they aren’t growing.

Landing pages typically have a 1% conversion rate. For every 100 visits you get to your contact us page, you only convert 1 of them. How often do you think people visit your contact us page? Now imagine the amount of traffic you need to reach your goals?

So, what do you need to do? Create more marketing offers and put them on landing pages. Distribute them on social media, add calls-to-action (CTAs) all over your website like the example I have above.

3. Setup lead nurturing campaigns

Lead nurturing is a marketing activity that moves a lead from one stage to another. It does this by sending (mostly) automated content usually though email that educates the lead about the company, its products/services, and how it can benefit them.

Lead nurturing campaigns always add value.

The only way to add value is to be helpful. Being helpful is not about talking about your products and your promos. It’s all about the customers and how you can help make their lives better.

If you’re selling computers, you don’t focus on the specs like the memory and screen size. Apple is a great example of a company that focuses on the benefits you get when you buy one of their Macs.

There are two problems with creating lead nurturing campaigns. First, you need to know the product/service in detail in order to craft the correct sequence and copy.

Next is it takes hard work. You need content — the helpful and educational type. Unfortunately a lot of marketers don’t invest in knowing what they are selling.

This is the main reason why the only emails that gets sent out are promotional emails and discounting. There’s not even an ounce of copy except for variations of “buy one get one” or “hurry, we have a sale that ends on (insert date here).”

So, What Are You Going to Do Next?

Whether you are new in digital marketing, or an expert, it’s essential that you apply a holistic digital marketing strategy. While you may choose to “focus” on one aspect of the funnel, the fact that you know that there’s a next part in the strategy will help you develop better campaigns.

By using a holistic digital marketing strategy, you can avoid problems most organizations are facing today — declining sales despite tons of promotions. If you have a way to continually fill the top of your funnel, convert them into leads, and nurture them into customers, results will come in.

And as a bonus, you’ll know which parts of your funnel is not working, then find a way to fix it!

Are you using a holistic digital marketing strategy in your organization? Let me know in the comments below.

What Is Lead Nurturing: How to Stop Selling Yet Get Amazing Results

What is Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of sending automated emails to people in your email list that meets certain conditions with the main goal of making them take action.

Lead nurturing comes after lead generation. It’s part of the second pillar of effective email marketing, which is lead management.

What is Lead Nurturing? 

Lead nurturing in digital marketing is a tactic where you send automated, but highly-relevant, emails (or other forms of communication) with the end goal of making influencing them to take an action. 

With modern technology, this is actually not limited to emails anymore. Some organizations use chatbots, SMS, and other messaging tools to nurture their leads. For the purpose of this article, I’ll just use email; but whatever you can do with email, you can do with other types of communication channel.

If you ever bought something online, or subscribed to a newsletter, or signed up for a course or content download, you have probably experienced lead nurturing yourself — whether or not it was effective, that’s another topic.

The Current State of Lead Nurturing and It Needs to Change

When you gave your email address (along with other information) to these companies, what was the first email you receive? Most probably, it’s some sort of a thank you email.

But then, the next email you receive is all about them — about how great they are and how they start selling you things right away.

This is the biggest reason why a lot of marketers fail at email marketing. They don’t know how to nurture the leads properly. Sure, some people will buy right now. But most won’t.

Related: Biggest Reason Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail

If your organization is doing this exact same thing, don’t worry. You’re normal. Because 99% of organizations are like this, it’s so easy to stand out.

Just stop selling.

That’s right. Do not sell.

I went through this issue in detail when I discussed the buyer’s journey. If you’re not familiar with the topic, read it until you understand it. Mastering the buyer’s journey is probably one of the things that separate mediocre marketers from the great ones. Another great resource is the different stages of awareness to understand why you should not sell to people right away.

What People Are Actually Looking For

Your customers are looking for something to solve a problem/need/want. While you may think your products/services are the greatest and can actually help them, your customers don’t think of you that way.

From their perspective, if you don’t add value and just ask for their money, that’s what they’re going to think of you — that you only care about their money.

Not them. Just their money.

It’s worth reading that paragraph again.

Ask yourself this question: “Would you want to do business with someone who only wants your money?”

And if you think that you’re the only choice out there, just remember that no industry is safe from competition. While your customers “might not” have any choice now, the moment a new competitor offers a similar product, they’ll just switch over in the blink of an eye.

So, What Are You Going to Do Next?

Implement a lead nurturing sequence that is educational in nature. Stop selling. Add value. After you do that, then and only then will you have the right to sell to them.

And if your prospects and leads don’t buy now, you don’t stop with the lead nurturing emails. Continue adding value to their lives. This is the basics of the online conversion path.

Here are 3 lead nurturing examples from companies you can copy. I broke down that they did great and what they can further improve on.

In addition, you might want to review your arsenal as a digital marketer. Did you know that there are 12 different types of marketing email you can send?

Since majority of companies start selling right away, it’s so easy to stand out.

Do you need help with creating lead nurturing campaigns for your company? Let me know in the comments below.

What Is Progressive Profiling

What is progressive profiling

Progressive profiling is an advanced way of gathering information from your leads and customers.

This is usually done through a software but can also be accomplished manually.

A good way to understand what progressive profiling is to think of it as going on several dates with someone.

You learn more about the other person as you go on several dates. You can’t expect to learn everything about a person in one date. Based on how each date goes, you’ll know whether to go on the next date or not.

That’s similar to how progressive profiling works in digital marketing. You get to know more about your leads and customers over time.

You might be asking how does progressive profiling work.

How does progressive profiling work?

In dating, you can ask questions or they tell stories about themselves. Through a series of dates, you get to know whether this is a relationship you’d want to pursue or not. You would know if you are compatible or would only end up fighting each other.

In digital marketing, oftentimes, the only way you get to know about your leads and customers is through form submissions — what they fill out on your forms.

Sadly, majority of websites use only a contact us form where it asks for names, email addresses, phone numbers, and a message.

These basic data does not give you enough information about them to help you determine whether your organization is the right fit for them.

And that is exactly what progressive profiling solves.

By getting more information from them, you get to know more about your leads and customers. You get to know what their biggest problems are. You get to know what they like or dislike. You get to know their preferences.

All these information allows you to craft personalized messages that will resonate more with them which will result to better experience for them.

What makes progressive profiling effective/different

Progressive profiling is powerful because you get to ask information from your leads and customers without making it feel like an interview.

For example, there are 20 data points you want to gather. Apart from the basic information (like names, email addresses, and phone numbers), you also want to learn about their biggest pain points and challenges, their communication preferences, topics that are interested in, address, and many more.

This is different for every organization. A B2B might want to know information like the job title, role, and department; whereas a B2C e-commerce pet store might ask for pet names, breed, species of the pets.

If you ask these questions in a single form, you probably won’t have anyone submitting that form.

But with the right software, you can ask the same 20 questions but the person only see 5 questions at a time.

On the backend, you select 5 questions that you set as the default questions everyone sees, then the remaining 15 is queued. For example, here’s a list of data points you’d like to gather:

  1. First name
  2. Last name
  3. Email address
  4. Mobile number
  5. Biggest challenge
  6. Persona statement
  7. Role
  8. Job title
  9. Department
  10. Email frequency preference
  11. Address
  12. City
  13. Topics interested

A new website visitor will see your default 5 questions.

Assuming they liked your content, they decided to download an ebook. They fill out the 5 questions — 1 to 5 above.

After 2 days, they went back to your site and found another ebook they like. They then see the queued up questions instead of the initial ones.

Usually, email address is kept there in case to make sure the data you gather is associated to the right person. Instead of seeing 1-5, they’ll see questions 3, 6-9.

Then on the 3rd date if you will, they’ll see 3, 10-13. And so on until you finish asking your queued up questions.

Word of caution — the dark side of progressive profiling

This is often overlooked by marketers who want to implement progressive profiling. It takes a lot of work to do so properly.

First, you have to setup your forms. Make sure you’re only asking relevant questions. One way to determine if they are relevant is to ask yourself this question, “does this information allow me to sell better to this person?”

If the answer is no or maybe, then that’s a sign that it shouldn’t be there.

Go back to the example I shared earlier. If you’re a B2B, knowing job titles is important. It’s better to know who you’re talking to.

But if you’re an eCommerce store selling pet food, accessories, and cute costumers, then asking for the person’s job title doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t help you get a sale later on.

Next, progressive profiling works under the premise that your leads and customers submit a form multiple times. If you don’t have marketing offers that will entice them to convert multiple times, then you are definitely going to fail.

If all you have are newsletter signups and a contact us form, you won’t get to “profile” your customer.

This is the main reason why progressive profiling is so difficult.

You need to continuously create content that your audience will find valuable. You put them together as a marketing offer (or lead magnet or trip wire), setup your landing pages and thank you pages, create your thank you email and update your lead nurturing sequences.

But the benefits outweigh the costs.

Progressive profiling allows you to gather more information about your leads and customers slowly. You can personalize your content and messaging around the data you gather.

The more relevant data you gather, the better you can make business decisions and sell to them later on.

This is what makes progressive profiling so powerful.

Are you using progressive profiling in your forms? Would you like to learn more about how you can implement it in your organization?

Let me know in the comments below!