1. Preparing for Digital Marketing
No matter if your company is B2B or B2C, big or small, selling locally or nationally, the next few steps are crucial to establishing a strong digital marketing foundation and solid online presence.
Start by asking yourself, “What problem am I trying to solve?” This will help you determine the most effective digital marketing strategy for your needs. Some examples of problems could be:
- Lack of connections to or relationships with customers or others in the community.
- Not enough people know about your brand. Your goal might be to build brand awareness.
- Not attracting enough new customers. Your goal might be to aim for acquisition and lead generation.
- Existing customers aren’t buying often enough or aren’t expanding into trying new products. Your goal might be to increase product expansion with existing customers.
- The lack of ability to sell products online or the need to increase online sales.
Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. For example, if you currently get five new leads a month, setting a goal of obtaining 100 new leads in the next 12 months is more realistic than setting a goal of 2,000 new leads during the same time period.
2. Refine your Messaging
Like branding, messaging is what you are conveying to consumers about your entity. The way you communicate to the consumer regarding your company, services, and products can:
- Connect you and your company to a specific industry.
- Elicit emotion and build relationships with the members of your target market.
- Educate members of your target market about the benefits of your products/services.
- Serve as a call to action.
In regard to digital marketing, you can create and relay the messaging for your business by developing original, relevant content and using strategically determined keywords. If employees are enthusiastic about your digital marketing efforts, your customers will more quickly embrace your new strategies. Employees are the trendsetters in this case. Get your employees engaged in thinking about ideas for blog and video topics.
Finding content to post for your product, industry, or area of expertise is key to driving traffic to your website and increasing both your brand awareness and the level of recognition you receive. Research says, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they consume early-stage, educational content.
The Content Marketing Institute boils this down to one simple truth: “Our customers don’t care about our products or services; they care about themselves. If we buy into this, then we must also accept that the majority of the information we produce for marketing purposes cannot be about ourselves. Our content must be based on fulfilling our customers’ needs and interests, so that they come to build a trusted and emotional connection with our brands.”At least 50% of the content you produce should be educational and relay the message that you are a trusted expert in your field. You can then relate the content to your products and services in many cases.
After setting goals, making decisions to establish a brand, researching the industry and competitive environment, and considering messaging to relay, you can determine which digital marketing channels are likely to be the most effective for your company. This section provides a brief overview of:
- Websites and search engine optimization (SEO).
- Email marketing.
- Online business directories.
- Social media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.
We will also discuss how to get started with your strategy. Given the massive volume of digital marketing activities a business could do, it’s important to prioritize and recognize that you just can’t do everything, especially when you’re small. Priorities vary from one business to another.
For example, maybe an HVAC company doesn’t need a social or email strategy right away; instead they need to prioritize the launch of a clean, easy-to use, and mobile-friendly website. Because they serve a limited geographical area, they need to make sure they are listed on Google Maps and in local business directories, as well as considering paid search results. The key is spending some time thinking about which elements of this puzzle might be important for accessing your specific customers and focusing on those pieces first. Don’t try to do it all right away or you will end up overwhelmed. Start with the channels that are the most important for reaching your ideal customers.
4. Putting it All Together
Making a plan will help you begin to develop a successful digital marketing strategy. You want to determine the amount of time and money that you can realistically commit to digital marketing on a consistent basis. Mark time off on your calendar, even if it is only a few hours a week to start with. You should determine a budget that includes specifics about how funds will be allocated. Initially your budget might only include a few software tools to help you create and post content; later it might grow to include paid ads or marketing campaigns. Remember to start with a few action items and be consistent!
5. Measure, Analyze, and Revise
Digital marketing efforts do not end when campaigns begin. Another crucial part of implementing a successful digital marketing strategy is analyzing your results. Initially, there will be trial and error to fine-tune channel selection and strategy.
By tracking leads, analyzing results, and monitoring analytics, a company can decide what is working and what is not. This, in turn, should result in heightened brand awareness, cost savings, and greater overall return through increased sales. The process of digital marketing is an ongoing process of testing, measuring to see which efforts get results, and continuing to refine.
- Which messages are most effective with your target audience?
- Which social media platform obtains the best results for your business?
- Are there particular topics that drive more traffic than competitions?
blueskynet.ca. (n.d.). Boost your sales with online marketing. Retrieved March 21, 2022, from https://blueskynet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/online_marketing_eBook.pdf