It’s no longer a question whether your business should have a digital marketing strategy or not. Any blog, article, or market statistics will tell you that a majority of consumers spend significant amounts of time online and that companies who implement digital strategies are seeing results. This article provides 5 simple steps to make sure you are covering the basics in your business.
As a small business owner, maintaining relationships with your customers is important to you. You are also interested in growing your business and getting new customers in. One of the best ways to do both of those things is by implementing a digital marketing strategy into the core of your business by including it directly into your business plan.
After you’ve done some market research to learn about your target audience’s online habits, you’re ready to get started. This guideline on how to create a simple digital marketing plan will help you get your business on its way to online success!
Step 1: Set Goals
Ultimately, every business owner’s goal is to maintain and increase their customer base and profits. If that isn’t your goal then maybe this plan isn’t for you. But for everyone else, the first step to creating a digital marketing plan is setting your goals.
Make sure that your goals are S.M.A.R.T - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound. Some of your goals may be to:
- Set up a responsive website that works across all platforms within 2 months
- Get 500 new Facebook Fans before the end of the year.
- Show up on the first page of Google for targeted keywords by July of this year.
- Grow online sales by 15% before the end of the year.
- Increase direct bookings by 10% by the end of the year.
Step 2: Create a Website
Before you can implement your digital strategy, you will need a website. Your website will be the backbone of your entire online presence. As people engage with your brand, this is the home of the information they are looking for and products they want to buy. Once they get in touch, submit a form or buy something it is called a website conversion. Make your site simple, easy to use and smartphone friendly to maximize conversions and achieve your goals.
Your website will also provide you with an e-mail address that ends in your domain name (firstname.lastname@example.org). Set up your inbox and create a signature that will appear at the bottom of all of your business e-mails.
Step 3: SEO & SEM
Once your website is set up and optimized for conversions it’s time to help people find it when they’re searching for your type of business or product online. Ask your friends what they would type in Google when looking for your business or find a specialist to help you with some keyword research.
Examples include “the best restaurant in Kamloops” or “craft beer in Vancouver”. Choose 3-5 keywords to focus on at first. Using your keywords you can and should do both of the following:
Search Engine Optimization is how you optimize your website and online presence to appear in search results. It can become very complex as search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) are always working on improving their algorithm to help consumers find what they’re looking for on the internet. This mean's the best practices for SEO are also constantly changing. A key thing to understand is that the user experience is always top of mind for Google, without users they don't generate revenue. Users consume content (like this post) so creating credible, useful and engaging content is the key to successful SEO.
Search Engine Marketing is the answer to SEO's complexity… You get what you pay for. If you want to pay your way to the top of the rankings you can through advertisements (Adwords, Bing Ads)
Search Engine Marketing also utilizes your target keywords and will show your advertisements based on the keywords your target demographics are using to search.
Step 4: Get Social
Whether you’d like to admit it or not, social media is a huge part of the digital marketing mix and has proven to help businesses succees. Use your target market research from earlier to help you choose which 3 platforms you will start with.
(Note: It’s a good idea to sign up to all the platforms and secure your business name across the web, even if you don’t plan on using them.)
Not every social network makes sense for every business. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, etc. Think about what your product is, where your demographic spends most of their time online, and then focus on the three that fit the best.
Social media marketing can help drive leads to your website, build loyalty & relationships with your customers, increase brand awareness, and improve overall customer satisfaction.
Step 5: Measure & Improve
Okay, yes this one is a 2-in-1 deal. But you can’t have one without the other!
Based on your S.M.A.R.T. objectives, you will create KPIs, also known as key performance indicators. Based on our earlier examples, these are some of the KPIs you would want to track.
- Bounce Rate (percentge of people that leave site after viewing just 1 page)
- Time Spent on Site
- # of Facebook Fans
- Cost Per Click (SEM)
- # of Website Visits from Social Media
Analyze the data on a continuous basis to gain insights on how to improve your digital strategy. For example: your website visits from social are low, but you have a lot of Facebook fans. Try increasing your activity on your Facebook page with more relevant content that links back to your website. It is these small links that can help you tweak and streamline your digital strategy.
It may be a slow start at the beginning, but if you maintain a results-driven strategy you will succeed!
Sometimes you need a little help to setup and optimize the best strategy. Our team are always here to help local businesses get ahead using the techniques above and more. Get in touch if you have any questions or would like to speak to an expert.