Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved long road trips.
From soaking up the backdrop of a scenic landscape to enthusiastically singing along to Aerosmith on the radio, some of my favorite memories involve a set of wheels.
Long before cell phones and GPS, no road trip was complete without that large paper map that folded into itself more times than a Rubik’s cube. This roadmap was both a puzzle and a lifeline, guiding us along the open road to our chosen destination.
Decades later, I’ve found a similar thrill as an entrepreneur behind the wheel of a small business, navigating through the twists and turns of the industry landscape guided by a strategic roadmap for success.
No company roadmap is complete without a marketing strategy that aligns with defined tactics to achieve business goals.
80 percent of startups fail within the first two years, and the largest roadblock for these companies is cash flow. Of all of the strategies in your company’s toolbox, smart marketing is the tool with the highest return on investment because it
- builds brand awareness,
- legitimizes your company,
- develops lasting relationships with your audience,
- positions you has a thought leader in your industry, and
- generates potential sales leads.
More than a clever email campaign or Facebook ad, marketing is a discipline that should be baked into your process from the inside out. As such, your company roadmap should include a healthy dose of what Content Marketing Institute defines as the top three most effective formats in B2B marketing: blogs, email and social media.
A study of 2,300 HubSpot customers found businesses that blog will see their monthly leads raise by 126 percent more than counterparts who don’t. Never underestimate the power of the blog. It’s one of the most effective ways to create original content that drives traffic, increases SEO, and fuels email and social media campaigns.
Your blog is the most cost- and time-effective way to create marketing content that resonates with your audience and positions you as a thought leader in your industry.
86 percent of business professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes, and a whopping 79 percent of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel for revenue generation.
Email marketing is both personal and instant, providing you a direct line of communication to share original content—like your blog—with your audience. It’s an affordable way to get people to interact with your organization and drive traffic to your website, leading to sales conversions.
But the most beneficial aspect of email marketing is the ability to track metrics like open-rates and click-through rates. These numbers allow you to examine what type of content is resonating with your audience and tweak or pivot as necessary to ensure your message lands every time.
With more than 500 million users, LinkedIn has become one of the most valuable network-building tools. Similar to a business card or résumé, your LinkedIn profile is the face of your professional brand.
It’s also a direct line of communication to every single contact in your personal and professional network, making it one of the most essential marketing mediums for lead generation.
By authoring original content on LinkedIn and sharing the original content of organizational leadership, you are giving your business FREE reach to a captive audience of colleagues who know and trust your recommendations, positioning you as a thought leader in your space.
Ready to hit the road?
The path of entrepreneurship is anything but easy. Filled with its fair share of bumps and potholes, the road to success requires a strong roadmap telling you to “Walk This Way,” as Aerosmith once sang, to maneuver your business to the next level.
Melea McRae is helping area businesses chart a successful path at Kansas City’s first “un-agency.” Are you ready to build your roadmap for success? Connect with Melea on LinkedIn or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.