No longer are these the days of simply putting up a website with promotional material about your business and revisiting that site every few months, or even years. Marketing your business is no longer a one way street. There are many two-way roads and intersections, and it’s important to map your route.
You likely hear the phrase “Interactive Marketing” a lot more than you used to, and you are probably starting to feel that you’re meant to do something about it. But how does interactive marketing differ from what you've always done?
Essentially, Interactive Marketing means engaging with your audiences and allowing them to connect with you in a way that is more personal than simply reading about you. It means understanding them, having a conversation with them and providing them the opportunity to understand you. Interactive is specifically enabled by technology in a way that traditional marketing or business development hasn't been. Successful Interactive Marketing is often achieved by implementing a strategy for content development and distribution. It means leveraging communication outlets, like web properties and social media, as well as considering the experience outside of the web, such as in-person interactions and even office space.
Interactive Marketing is not a fleeting trend. Research by Forrester shows that B2B interactive marketing spend will reach $5.7 billion by 2016, which is a significant increase from the $129 million spent in 2011.
Your strategy for Interactive Marketing needs to be tailored to your firm’s unique goals, audiences and capabilities. It might even make sense to develop different strategies for the different industries you serve or practices you provide. Many of our clients and the firms we speak with are intrigued by the notion of Interactive Marketing but are not quite clear yet what it should mean to them.
Here are some things to consider as you start to think about what Interactive Marketing means to you:
Identify your target markets and determine how they engage.
It’s useful to understand where your target audiences live on the web and what resources they use to consume content.
- Do they use industry-specific websites?
- Are they active in social media?
- Are your target audiences reliant on the mobile web?
- Which specific keywords do they use to search?
- What are they looking for?
This type of market research goes beyond who your target audience is and identifies how they communicate.
Generate awareness for your firm. Compel them to consider you.
Consider the ways you might be able to group or segment your target audiences. At the right time, and in the right places, you want to get across the message of how your firm is uniquely positioned to help them. A Content Strategy is a good tool to develop that can help you work through this. In it, you outline a schedule and plans for generating and distributing content. Even just one piece of high quality content can be leveraged in a variety of ways.
Follow up. Connect.
A potential client that is considering you deserves some perseverance on your part. Content like downloadable white papers, how to’s and advice, and demonstrated successes will help persuade potential clients of your value and capabilities. It’s important to consider how you will communicate with potential clients at this stage in the evaluation process. What is your messaging? How will you close the deal?
Many firms are just starting to think about the notion of Interactive Marketing from a more holistic standpoint. There is no correct approach, and there is no reason to be intimidated. If you are interested in some guidance regarding your strategy and what makes sense for your firm, feel free to reach out to someone here at One North. We love this stuff!