You could be sitting on a truly revolutionary business idea, but if people never hear about it, you’re never going to make any money from it! There are a lot of things that go into business success, but one of the most integral is good marketing, specifically in the digital realm. No matter what niche your business is in, brushing over your marketing is going to mean you’re leaving a lot of potential profit on the table. Like many would-be entrepreneurs, you may be an expert in your product or service idea, but completely clueless when it comes to marketing. If this is the case, here are the key elements to your first marketing strategy and marketing campaign.
The days of phone directories and town billboards are long gone. Now, anyone looking for a product or service is going to go straight to Google and type in whatever it is they need. As a result, the website has more or less replaced the traditional storefront, and therefore it’s going to have a huge influence over how successful your marketing is. Make sure you’re building a site that’s well-aligned with your brand persona, and effectively guides your customers towards whatever action you want them to take. Now, at the dawn of 2017, it’s essential that your website is mobile friendly and responsive, has a regular stream of relevant and useful content, contains product or service-specific landing pages to help you in generating leads, and integrates any kind of customer relationship management or marketing automation tools you happen to be using. Your website is going to have a bigger impact than countless other things on your overall success, so don’t brush over it!
If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, then you’ll know that there was a time when you could more or less lie through your teeth using marketing materials in order to generate leads. These days, for better or worse, are long gone. The modern consumer has a massive range of information right at their fingertips, and this has led to a drastic shift in attitude. Most of them want to seek out high-quality online resources which will lead to better, more informed decision making. In today’s digital world, without good content, there’s no real reason for someone to visit a business’s website, follow them on social media, open their emails, and so on. All of these things lead to engagement and conversions, so make sure you’re thinking about content when you first draft your marketing plan. The content you put out there needs to accurately represent your brand’s vision and values, be unique to your company, and fit in neatly with the social media channels you’re leveraging to get your brand seen. These days there’s a lot of different forms and nuances within content marketing, and getting yourself clued up about it all can seem like an extremely daunting prospect. Having said that, content is an important tool to getting your branding right, and certainly isn’t one you can afford to neglect.
Closely tied in with the content your brand exports, you need to make sure you’re taking SEO (Search Engine Optimization) into account when setting out your marketing strategy as well. As I mentioned earlier, the large majority of consumers are going to hit a search engine before anything else when they want to find a product or service. The large majority of those who search will only bother reading the first few results at the top of the page. SEO, if you weren’t already aware, is a facet of modern marketing which bumps websites and content up to the top of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). There are many different factors which affect a page’s rank, including elements of text-based content, social media, web design and so on. I don’t have the space to go into it all, but the main thing to take away from this point is that you need SEO!
Any tradesman who knows a bit about marketing will tell you that word-of-mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising that they have at their disposal. This is just as true for larger, digital-based businesses as it is for small, local firms. Today, the most influential word of mouth marketing is happening online. Almost everyone is on Facebook these days, along with countless other social platforms. At any given moment, millions of consumers are going to be using different social platforms to voice their opinions, discover new products, engage directly with brands and countless key influencers. No matter what kind of business you’re running, you need to make sure you have a professional and active presence on all the channels your target market is using. You should also look into social management and listening tools, which will help you be more aware of what your target market is talking about. This will not only make it easier for you to address their needs, but also keep track of your brand’s reputation. After setting yourself up on the relevant social channels, make sure you’re monitoring all of them and keeping up with standards. Businesses are expected to be much more transparent than in years gone by thanks to social media. If you’re letting questions and complaints pile up on your social channels without any kind of response, then your reputation is going to be hurt severely, and it will take a lot of work to recover it.
Modern accessibility to the internet has made it much easier to market a brand with minimal effort or investment. Having said that, leveraging paid ads is still very important if you’re planning to keep in-step with the competition. Organic search marketing can bring customers flocking to your site if it’s executed in the right way. However, paid online advertisement, such as Google AdWords and Facebook advertising, is a highly valuable auxiliary to the rest of your marketing strategy. Modern online advertising services will allow you to set strict caps on your budget, target customers specifically, help your SEO and most importantly it rakes in instant results!
Seen as you’re a business owner, you’ve probably seen more than enough ads on marketing automation tools to know what they do. Like with any young piece of tech, you might be a little on the fence about whether or not it’s a good investment. While there may be businesses that could invest their capital more wisely, most companies can benefit massively by using marketing automation tools. This software will be easily customisable based on your sales cycles, specific goals, promotions, and any other facet to your business. These features will make it so much easier to monitor leads and understand the way they move through your sales cycle.
While this is technically a part of content marketing, so many new business owners manage to neglect it that I decided to give it its own heading. The modern consumer is sick of text-based content and more traditional ads. In order to really hook them in, you should be making video content a highly visible part of your online marketing strategy. Studies have shown that over half of consumers are more likely to follow a call to action after watching a marketing video. This is because video content is great at grabbing our attention, and making us more inclined to trust the brand that’s putting it out there. Every company that’s relatively unestablished in terms of digital marketing should put video content near the top of their to-do list. Make sure it’s original, injects some personality into your brand, and highlights the benefits that your customers stand to gain by paying for your product or service.
As you’re probably discovering by now, the modern prominence of digital marketing has made selling to people much more complicated in a lot of ways. However, it’s not all bad! One of the big advantages that digital marketing has created is how easy it is to monitor the outcomes of your marketing efforts, make little tweaks, and then see the difference it’s made. While it may take a lot of creativity, trial and error, analytics can lead to you crafting the ideal marketing campaign, perfectly tailored to the wants and preferences of your target market. There are many different analytics tools on the market today, and some of them better suited to certain niches than others. The sheer size of the market may be a little daunting on the surface, but I urge you to get stuck in! No modern business can hope to expand and grow without good analytics, so if you value your future ROI, you need to start doing a little homework!
If the whole concept of digital marketing was making your head hurt, then I hope this guide has brought you a little closer to the success you’re dreaming of. Modern marketing is multi-faceted, and has a lot of different variables. However, if you take the time to understand it, you’ll be able to sell anything to anyone!