Businesses have always been on the search for the fastest, most effective and most affordable ways to reach their customers. Today, thanks to Covid, we’re looking for all that but now from a distance!
Enter: Digital Marketing. A powerful way for brands to take control and stay connected, building buzz, gaining fans and generating leads (and, happily, from a safe 6-feet apart).
While success in traditional marketing seemed reserved for the big businesses with the big budgets, the playing field is leveled a bit with digital:
There are digital marketing and advertising tactics for every business type (from small to national, brand-new to well-established, B2B and B2C, brick-and-mortar or online, product or service, and everything in between), every budget and every goal.
And those goals are often met online at a lower cost than through traditional channels, thanks to near-laser-focused targeting and tools for measuring ROI down to the penny.
You can choose to grow online in a slow and sustainable way or fast and focused, combining a variety of tactics to hedge your bets and perfectly complement other (offline) marketing activities.
Anyhow, it’s kind of a moot point. Even if you’re not completely convinced that digital is right for your company or organization, you’ve got to get online. After all, your competitors are already there. So stake your claim.
And even if you’re small or late to the game, with so many target audience segments to reach and so many tactics, tools and channels to use to reach them, you can be successful. To be sure, it can all feel pretty complicated — where do you even start?! But it’s not (complicated), so long as you’re armed with the right information.
These “5 Steps” will help you to ensure that you’re on the right path.
- Make a plan
- Optimize your website
- Get found
- Find your people
- Keep in touch
This free online business growth resource from National Digital Academy will walk you through each of these steps in more detail, providing the guidance you’ll need to get started. In the meantime, keep reading. Below is some food for thought:
Start with a solid plan:
You need a strategic digital marketing plan to succeed online, period — one that nails down your goals, your target market, your brand messaging, the tactics you’re going to pursue, and how you’ll measure success. If you have a plan, revise it to take Covid and all its implications into account. If you’ve never had a digital marketing strategy, plan to create one now.
Optimize your website:
Chances are you have a website. Now optimize and enhance it. (Your website will be the central part of all the marketing and advertising you’ll do so make sure it’s perfect!) Review it from your customers’ perspectives (perform a User-Experience audit) to ensure that you’re not missing any opportunities to convert visitors to customers, showing them why should buy from you right now, and how.
Make sure your people can find you, and go out and find your people:
People are searching for products and services like yours this very minute, so make sure that your website is search engine optimized to improve your ranking in search engine results. Perform keyword research and an SEO audit and update website copy, meta data and plans for ongoing SEO.
Social media marketing plays a huge part in building a brand online, developing relationships that’ll turn prospects into customers, and can help improve search rankings, so get on social too — implementing an ongoing social strategy to make sure that if your future customers are looking for products and services like yours on social, they’ll find you there.
SEO and social (among other things) will help your business “get found” online. Tactics like digital advertising allow you to do the opposite — go out and find your people! Do them all.
Of course, don’t try to do too many things at once — especially if you’re exploring digital marketing and advertising for the first time. Choose the best combination of tactics based on your goals, budget and resources to build your brand online, driving targeted traffic to your perfectly-optimized website to convert leads.
To be sure, there’s enough information online that the average business owner with some time on her hands could figure out how to do any of these things on her own. But don’t risk going in blind. It’s easy to spend a lot of time and a lot of money on tactics that won’t work, so start by creating a solid plan and then learning everything you can.
Seek out help and guidance wherever possible — research trends and study tutorials. Consider investing in digital marketing training, which is now (luckily, thanks to Covid), often available online.
National Digital Academy’s course catalogue, for example, is a growing collection of industry-leading online training opportunities designed for people just like you, including the popular “Intro to Social Media for Business Growth” course, which’ll take you one big step closer to growing your brand online.
Keep in touch to keep relationships growing:
You can’t “set and forget” digital marketing. Even if you run a campaign that (miraculously) reaches every one of your goals, you have to keep working at it to maintain search rankings, social standing and overall brand sentiment.
Regularly putting out fresh, valuable, on-brand, optimized content (ie: content marketing, like blog posts) will make both search engines and your human audience happy. Those hard-won relationships you develop on social media will need the same regular attention that a “real-world” relationship requires, so post and engage regularly. Email marketing will keep your business front-of-mind when people are getting ready to make a purchase. A digital promotion (like an online contest or sweepstakes) shows real goodwill and will help build brand buzz.