The High Cost of Not Having an Online Marketing Strategy | Online marketing

B2B and industrial companies are slow to embrace online marketing. It’s a curious reluctance given that online marketing is performance-driven, pays for itself, and consistently delivers new, qualified business that can mean dramatic increases in sales and growth.So, why are some companies sometimes reticent about using online marketing when the benefits in terms of exposure and revenue are so substantial? We thought we’d seek out those with the answers.Direct From the SourceWe talked to CEOs and Marketing Managers of companies that have embraced online marketing. These industry leaders are quick to confirm that Internet marketing more than pays for itself. In addition, in a short period of time online marketing has become a critical, indispensable channel for generating customer awareness and sales directly enhancing the bottom line.The message from industry insiders clear: The risk involved with online marketing is small. The rewards are infinite.We asked a number of your B2B colleagues what it would have cost them to delay embracing the power of online marketing. This is what they had to say.Lost BusinessExperts agree that online search has become the primary source of information for those making B2B buying decisions. Most business consumers first turn to a search engine during the investigation phase of their buying process, and just about all of them will use the Internet at some point during the decision-making process. That’s right. Nearly all of them.That’s a staggering fact, and those who have taken advantage of online marketing know this trend is some of the best news in decades for companies willing to exploit the new ways businesses do business.The reliance on search in the buying process means your company has never had a better opportunity to reach and capture new business. But it also means that every day you wait means business lost to your competitors.Online Marketing Pays for ItselfIndustry pros understand the bottom line and the need for measurable returns on any investment, especially when it comes to spends for advertising and marketing. They also understand that online marketing is one of the few methods guaranteed to pay for itself.Online marketing, specifically paid placement and search engine optimization, have a proven track record in giving companies the highest returns of any vehicle in their marketing mix.In addition, online marketing is a low-risk proposition because it’s based on performance. You pay only if a potential customer clicks on your ad. Utilizing that system, the cost of acquiring a customer is dramatically reduced.Those in the know insist online marketing generates 20-50% of the qualified sales leads in industries that have traditionally relied on sales prospecting, word-of-mouth and trade shows.The numbers don’t lie. What is your company waiting for?CompetitionEveryone wants a competitive advantage, but even tried and tested methods can’t keep pace with the monumental strides being made with online marketing.With online marketing, you can fend off your competitors and dominate niche markets. The Internet creates a level playing field where businesses of all sizes can compete. Anyone can stake a position as a leader. What would it be worth to your company to be in that position?And here’s another insight we heard from B2B pros. One of the unique benefits of the Internet is that is affords smaller businesses the chance to appear bigger than they are. Online, a three-person operation can look slicker than an international conglomerate. You can turn this to your advantage with a minimal investment of time and money. Indextree can show you the way.So, why is it important to dive into the world of online marketing now? The hard fact we hear from B2Bs is that once a company entrenches itself in a certain arena online, it’s hard to dislodge it. At the moment, in most industries, search rankings and market dominance aren’t set yet. They will be, and it will cost you more down the road to accomplish what you can accomplish now with far fewer resources.As in most areas of business, in the realm of online marketing, it pays to act decisively..Online Buyers are Ready to BuyThose who have reaped the rewards of online marketing will attest to the fact that customers who research and compare products and services online are much more predisposed to buying. It’s just the nature of the medium. Much of your job of selling is done by the time someone reaches your Web site.In the world of online marketing, your customer is already looking for your product. They’re actively looking to do business with someone. That someone should be you.New competitorsIt’s not something you like to think about, but they’re out there, and they’re after your business. New players are entering your market every day, and they’re capturing your market share.The tools we’re talking about are a double-edged sword. If you don’t capitalize on the benefits of online marketing, do you think your competitors will hesitate to do so? Aggressive, upstart companies are pulling out all the stops, exploiting economies of scale and using online marketing to extend their reach.Don’t just wait and watch while these companies erode the fiscal health of your company. Can you really afford to have these competitors encroach on what you’ve fought so hard to build? It’s time to reclaim what’s yours, and online marketing is the answer.CommoditizationTrust us, we don’t just throw around big words because it makes us feel smart. The Internet has given customers an unprecedented ability to shop and compare, often reducing the buying decision to price alone. But this “commoditization” of products doesn’t do your company justice, and your bottom line may already be suffering because of it.What’s the answer to the problem of commoditization? How do you distinguish yourself? How do you communicate your differentiating qualities to potential customers?Online marketing provides an excellent vehicle for branding and also allows you to capture potential customers earlier in the buying process.Quality business interactions are more than just a price point. Be heard. Stand out. Reap the windfall.Build Buyer Awareness and Drive Traffic Here’s the ugly truth. Many manufacturers and distributors don’t do a great job with their Web sites. We hear this time and time again not only from the CEOs and Marketing Managers, but also from consumers.Site visitors are often frustrated by poor online marketing practices. In fact, studies show two-thirds of B2B site visitors complain they don’t find what they are looking for, and almost half never return to the site as a result. Now, we’re not saying yours is one of those sites. But are you sure you’re turning Web site traffic into sales consistently? What impression are you giving potential customers when they visit your site? Are your customers telling other potential customers how professional and easy-to-use your site is?Online marketing has a lot more to do than simply having a visually appealing Web site. It’s more than simply buying keywords and hoping they’ll bring you more business. Buying unqualified leads from unknown sources is often like putting your money into a kiln.Effective online marketing requires knowledge, strategy, implementation, monitoring, and follow-through. Those are the skills and qualities we pride ourselves on at Indextree.The High Cost of Waiting on the SidelinesAs you read this, there’s a good chance your competitors are working on their online marketing strategies. It’s even possible they’re making inroads into capturing key customer segments you may never be able to recapture.Is business good right now? Sure. Is it great? Could be better. With an effective online marketing strategy, it could be great.So, what’s it costing you to wait?Take it from those who have seen the benefits of online marketing firsthand. Standing on the sidelines has never been so costly.

Why Do Would-be Real Estate Investors Fail? | Real estate

Let’s face it, there’s tons of real estate investing information out there.  But of all the people you’ve seen at seminars lapping up the words of wisdom from the real estate gurus, or the people you see at Barnes and Noble skulking around til 11 PM reading all the real estate investing books they can get their hands on (A charge of which I am guilty!), how many do you think actually succeed in their real estate investing businesses?I don’t have exact figures, but based on my experience as a real estate investing information provider and coach, I would guess it’s close to only 1-2% of people who want to be real estate investors get into the business and stay in the business and make it profitable.Those figures are so disappointing.Why is it so hard? Why do so many would-be investors fail before they begin?  And why do others, who are able to take the first steps of their real estate investing career successfully, still fail to meet their goals long-term?I realized the deck was stacked against me as I begin as a real estate investing student at a seminar a few years ago.  I bought all the real estate investing courses, signed up for private coaching, and watched as many of the people around me fell by the wayside.  There were many times I wanted to quit, myself.  You probably have your own story of struggle in your real estate investing career.It’s the million dollar question.  Here are the conclusions I’ve been able to come up with.Why Do Real Estate Investors Fail In Spite of Great Real Estate Investing Information?1) The Myth of Get Rich Quick – Why do would-be real estate investors fail?Just because there are real estate investment strategies, such as flipping homes, that can be implemented quickly (60-90 days), that doesn’t mean that it is easy to find deals, negotiate them and close them in the first month or two after you start your real estate investing career.  In my experience, most people need to take a little time to become familiar with the real estate markets in their area, real estate terminology and strategies, and then get started implementing so they can practice finding and negotiating with motivated sellers. Even with a good deal closed, you might only walk away with $5,000 or so from a flip.  With a subject to or lease option deal, the property may take years to “ripen” in your portfolio before you are able to sell it for a significant profit.  The biggest money I’ve seen people make quickly is coming from rehabs and short sale negotiations.  Pursuing these types of deals can verge onto a full time job.  They do work, and work quickly, but they take a lot of time to implement.2) The Myth of No Money DownSo many times, I have heard students come on coaching calls with me and say, “I just lost my job, so I am really motivated to make this work quickly.”  or “My goal is to flip one house a month every month because I need some cash for start up capital.”  These sentiments are probably being perpetuated by the gurus out there who encourage people to think that real estate investing is a no-capital-required business.  Even after you get the formula down, it can take years before a paper-profit becomes cash-in-hand if you own rental property or do lease/options.The exception proves the rule and I’m sure it’s true that some people during some periods of time are able to make “thousands” quickly, when they need it most. For example, I know folks who get a lot of free deals off of craigslist or calling through the newspaper.  However, for the vast majority of real estate investors, some money is required for marketing to find motivated sellers if they want to keep their deal pipeline reasonably full.  In addition to marketing to find motivated sellers, deals take money for due diligence, legal fees, inspections, and so forth.  If you plan to hold property as a landlord, the costs escalate even more steeply.  If I had to put my finger on one major reason for lack of success in this business, besides false expectations, I would list lack of funding right at the top.3) The TRUTH in “It doesn’t work where I live.”  There’s a cliche in the real estate guru field that speakers like to joke about.  It’s that a lot of students like to say, “Your strategies won’t work where I live.”  Guru’s play it off as a joke, like the person is making an excuse for not getting started in their investing, because they “can’t.” The truth of the matter is, there is a LOT of variation in the performance of real estate markets across the country.  In some areas, like the South and Midwest, property values are relatively stable and properties cash flow well.  In other areas, Southern California, Florida, and Las Vegas come to mind, property values fluctuate wildly and you can make a fortune or lose your shirt on the changing tides of appreciation. It’s very important to understand real estate market cycles and where your market fits within the current phase of the market.  You implement to take strategies that work in your marketplace if you want to be successful locally.  Otherwise, you need to do what I’ve done and learn to invest where it makes sense, without being constrained feeling a need to invest where you live.  There are pros and cons to each strategy.  However, my point is that it’s not right for the gurus to mock people who raise this objection.  It’s a valid concern raised by thinking investors, even if it doesn’t help sell the guru’s real estate investing courses.So, I’ve raised a lot of concerns about the mis-information being circulated in the real estate investing industry.  Have I disappointed you too much?  I are you “off” of investing now?  If you are good – if you can be talked out of it that easily, I’m glad I got you out BEFORE you invested any more of your precious time and money pursuing a strategy that doesn’t appeal to you.If not, even better. it is certainly possible to take a realistic approach to real estate investing and make it work for you.  You can grow your net worth to millions, but it does take time and perseverance.  I hope you’re willing to stick it out.

Outsourcing Companies Bet On Healthcare Despite Security Concerns | healthcare

If it’s not about healthcare reform, it’s about information technology. Whichever the case, both indicate that healthcare outsourcing is expected to garner a lot of business this year – and healthcare outsourcing providers such as medical coding or medical billing companies know it.Taking into account recent results released by Indian software provider Tata Consultancy Services (NSE:TCS), the company took note that in its last quarter ending December 31st 2010, one of its key wins was a multi-million dollar, multi-year strategic partnership with a healthcare company to provide knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) services in clinical development.Meanwhile, fellow outsourcer and IT solutions provider HCL Technologies (NSE:HCLTECH), who reported quarterly results on the 19th of January, announced strong growth in its healthcare vertical at 7.4%, on top of its better than expected results for the quarter.In terms of the healthcare reform, human resources and recruitment services provider Pinstripe, Inc. has revamped its leadership team with the appointment of Michael Soisson to Healthcare Practice Leader. According to the release dated 18th of January, the appointment will, “drive and promote innovative talent acquisition approaches for meeting the workforce demands being shaped by healthcare reform.”Xerox Corporation (NYSE:XRX) on the other hand is maximizing its solutions with its acquisition of company, WaterWare Internet Services announced on the 31st of January. Waterware is a provider of web application and software development, integration and customization. The acquisition improves on Xerox’s existing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform, allowing the company to provide electronic health record capturing and management, as well as pharmacy orders automation, maximizing on the electronic health records trend.Fellow outsourcers Vengroff, Williams and Associates also announced an expansion of its healthcare practice specifically in its revenue cycle management solutions. The release quotes research by Healthcare Finance News, which cited that, “the major complaint among hospital CEO’s and private medical practices lies in the inefficiency of the billing system.” The company has in turn improved on its revenue cycle management services to address this issue.But while more and more companies are focusing and revamping healthcare outsourcing efforts, a survey just recently released by Ponemon Institute as sponsored by data integration company, Informatica (NASDAQ:INFA) on the 1st of February revealed that more than half of healthcare companies do not protect patient data. The survey of healthcare IT professionals found that confidential patient records are not adequately protected from theft or loss, with most at 51% not protecting their data. The research further added that the conception is that outsourcing and cloud computing are increasing the security risk to confidential data, wherein 40% of healthcare organizations would not choose to outsource specifically due to security risks.Even with the current uptick in business in healthcare outsourcing, old concerns specifically issues on security have remained in the industry. Considering that more than half from the survey are not seeing outsourcing as an option specifically due to security concerns in a time when we are seeing increasing adoption of outsourcing in healthcare suggests that the current growth seen is merely a fraction of the true potential that the healthcare industry presents. The challenge now lies in overcoming the issue on security in order to secure higher growth.