There are five core areas in marketing operations.
First is planning and strategy. Then there's approach, which is basically determining your target audience and reaching out. Next is tools and tactics. Sometimes it pays to invest in certain marketing tools. You need to understand tactics because they are what brings you down the funnel as you go. Then there's implementation. The last part is optimization. Optimization feeds back into the previous four steps. From an optimization standpoint, you might have to adjust your strategy or content approach.
As we look at the funnel, there's a reason it's been around for about a hundred years. Originally, it was derived from a model that St. Elmo Lewis came up with in 1898, which mapped out the customer journey. The marketing funnel starts at the awareness stage, then there's engagement, acquisition, intent conversion, loyalty, and advocacy.
In St. Elmo Lewis's original model, it was actually awareness, interest, desire, and action - AIDA.
As you go down the funnel, you should look at your operations and see where you can bring people down and keep bringing them further. Where are people falling out? What are they doing from each one stage to the next?
So, why SEO first? Once you do it, it's the cheapest cost per lead. This is something that more coaching companies can take advantage of because once you optimize your site, you can earn visits that have the lowest ROI.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind about SEO. Branding drives a lot of traffic. Take the example of Marshall Goldsmith, a very famous speaker in leadership and other areas. Marshall gets great SEO because of his brand. He gets searches based on his name and his books.
So, what can you do? There are a couple of things that you can do on your own without the help of a marketing company or anyone else.
All coaching businesses should revisit the keywords that people are searching for and come up with new ideas for content, as well as enhance their website pages.
You can do this using the Keyword Planner. If you have Gmail, you have access to Google Ads. You can go to "Tools and Settings" and use the free Keyword Planner. Google will tell you the volume of searches in any given area for your industry.
For example, if you're a consultant or coach based in Chicago and you primarily do business locally, you can limit your search to Chicago. This tool is useful because you can find out what the volume of keywords is in a particular geographic area. Once you've found a lot of searches for a particular keyword, you can start to create content around it.
Insert all those high-value keywords in the URL, the headline, and the body copy. You should rename your URL for your images, and add alt text to your images. Bold the keywords, put them in bullets, and use topic model-related keywords. These are all the high-value keywords that you can use to optimize your pages on your own.
Related buisnesses have already established connections with your target audience. Therefore, reach out to them and suggest a collaboration.
The saying goes, "if you don't link to it, why should Google?" You don't care enough to link to your pages, so why should Google? Therefore, you should always try to have at least five links on every page going to your site.
One thing that Google does is they index Twitter first to discover new pages. Therefore, make sure that your pages are getting indexed by the search engine. And one way to do that is to promote new pages on Twitter or other social media platforms.
Check out SHRM and other associations that have online directories and reach out to them to get listed.
A lot of coaching companies fall down a little bit is the way they do their promotions. Everybody wants leads right now, but in some cases, what we see with these particular areas is that brands rush into, 'Hey, I have this course available' or 'I have this thing available' or 'I have this membership.' Just buy it now and go get it. What ends up happening is that you end up wasting some spend because you're trying to force a conversion before someone is ready, before someone knows you.
Try to get your audience on your list so that they can start seeing more of your promotions. Aim a little bit higher in the funnel, and you may start to build that authority with them, which is what's going to help them make that purchase.
Creativity is the key to great advertising promotion or even content promotion.
What is creativity? Creativity is basically taking something that people know, twisting it slightly so that they still see the original, but it's a little bit different. In other words, you're not creating something completely new. What you're doing is taking an existing concept that people are aware of and twisting it a little bit so that when they see it in either marketing promotions or whatever, they go, "Oh, that's really interesting. That's really clever!".
Successful coaching businesses use this concept of social currency. That means providing insights and thought leadership that their target audience may not know or realize. So what it makes them do is it makes them smarter, funnier, and more interesting so that they pass it on.
The main issue when coaching businesses have promotions is that their landing page has a huge leak. Sometimes, up to 80% or more of people just abandon the page, and that's a huge problem. So what can you do?
Many coaching businesses manually transfer website lead form data to an email marketing automation system, and that leads to entry mistakes, oversights and segmentation problems. Make sure to set up automation if you have not yet. Marketing automation makes life easier. It makes messaging less ad hoc and more reliable.
What should you automate?
Anytime somebody signs up for a newsletter or becomes a subscriber, give them a welcome series automation, a thank-you response for any new inquiries, a nurture series for content downloads, a nurture series for those who drop off the sales process, a welcome series for new customers, and an inactivity email to get customers engaged. A renewal series email for cases where you have subscriptions or other things. And then a follow-up email for new customers.
Lastly, with any marketing automation system, you might want to include a couple of other things such as storing their anniversary date. Maybe you can send them a happy anniversary email. Also, store the method of acquisition so that you understand what topic they were interested in. Store any site or engagement behavior and any other demographic or location data that you like.
Marketing operations are vital to the success of any business. The five core areas of marketing operations - planning and strategy, approach, tools and tactics, implementation, and optimization - are all essential in moving potential customers down the marketing funnel.
By optimizing SEO, cross-linking pages, creating content around high-value keywords, and getting listed in online directories, businesses can fix funnel leaks and attract more leads.
Furthermore, coaching businesses need to approach advertising and promotions creatively by building authority with their audience and showing them why their product or service is important or interesting.
With these tactics in place, businesses can optimize their marketing operations and see greater success in their sales funnel.