How To Build Your Digital Marketing
If you’re an established business with no digital presence, or if you’re a startup business just taking your first steps, this blog post is for you. Let me teach you how to build your digital marketing from nothing by showing you what steps you need to take and where to focus your efforts. This article aims to make you think before you jump to ensure you don’t waste a lot of money, time and effort building something unnecessary.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Starting from scratch when all other businesses around you have been building their digital marketing for years is not necessarily a bad thing. You are able to learn from what they’re doing wrong and emulate what they’re doing right - there is no need to reinvent the wheel! Simply take a look at all of your key competitors within the market and see what they’re doing well and what they’re doing badly. Also, don’t forget to look at businesses from other sectors which are doing well; you can draw inspiration from these businesses and steal a march on your competition.
Before you go ahead and spend a lot of money on a website and a lot of time building your online presence, you first need to arm yourself with the right information. There is a treasure trove of information on digital marketing throughout the internet, but it’s very important that you choose your sources carefully. There is a lot of outdated and misleading information out there that will send you down the wrong path, wasting your time and money. Here are a few information sources to get you started in your quest for knowledge:
- Digital Marketing Magazine (http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/) is an excellent place to start for anyone looking to jump into the world of digital marketing. The site looks at digital marketing more from a branding and strategic point of view, but also has some good technical articles.
- Econsultancy (https://econsultancy.com/) has a brilliant selection of articles relating to technical digital marketing and user experience, with a lot of case studies peeling back the covers on some of the best known online brands. Plus, because the website is British it filters out a lot of the American articles which you usually get on these sites.
- My inbound marketing guide is also a good place to start. The guide aims to show you exactly what inbound marketing is and how it can grow your business online. It is designed for people with little or no knowledge on digital marketing, helping to educate them on the power of digital marketing and make the industry more transparent.
Start with a plan
Digital marketing is more than simply sticking up a website and creating a Facebook page. It is about finding a way to engage your customers online, using your digital assets to inform and persuade them to buy from your business. To ensure your business implements digital marketing effectively and to help set your business priorities you will need a well thought out plan. Below are the key elements that your plan will need:
Define your goals - to establish whether or not your digital marketing has been successful you need something to measure it against. This is where your goals come in. You need to calculate what an appropriate return on investment would be for your business, this could be in monetary terms or simply greater exposure. These goals should be very specific to give you a precise focus. This is all very easy to track nowadays, as digital marketing enables us to use data (using tools such as Google Analytics) to establish exactly what the impact of your digital marketing has been.
Define your target audience - this can be done by researching your current clients, researching your industry or creating buyer personas (a representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers). This is an important step because if you do not fully understand your target market then you cannot correctly identify the right tools, techniques and content strategy to engage with them.
Identify your unique selling point - what is it that sets you apart from your competition? This is one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself. Consumers will only have a few seconds when they first find your site and you need to translate what makes you unique in the market. If you cannot do this then they will leave your site very quickly.
Define your budget - in business most things come down to money, but it’s important to think about because if you don’t have the budget for a large digital marketing campaign then there is little point in planning one. However, with digital marketing a lot can be achieved on a relatively small budget because it is one of the most cost effective forms of marketing.
Decide on your toolset - there are an unbelievable number of digital tools out there, each with their own unique offering. You need to analyse which one will work for your target market, but also which ones fit within your budget. Using the main social networks (e.g. Facebook or Twitter) for example might not be right for your target market, you might need some slightly more niche tools such as Product Hunt or Goodreads.
Getting the fundamentals right
You simply cannot cheat your way to success online, but you can certainly save a lot of time by focusing on the right areas of your digital marketing. Here are the three most important aspects of digital marketing that you need to get right:
- Firstly you need a good website, one that represents your business in the best way possible. Your website should be central to your whole digital marketing strategy, it is the most important digital tool you will have. It is pointless investing all of your time and money getting the consumer there if the website experience drives them away. Your website also needs to be well designed and work well across mobile and tablet devices.
- Next, you need website content for your visitors to engage with. By this I mean quality product/service information as well as quality blog posts. This content should be designed to inform and persuade your target market to follow the next step of your sales process, whether that’s calling you or signing up to your newsletter.
- You then need to promote yourself online - simply having a website is not enough. You need to start engaging with your target market online through social media, but also using PR to put your business in front of them on industry blogs and news sites.
Speeding things up with Pay Per Click
If you’re just starting up then it’s likely that no one’s heard of you yet; there’s no brand equity or goodwill to leverage; and your website doesn’t show up in Google for any keywords. This is a common problem for new entrants into a market. To solve it you have two choices: plough on or pay for exposure. Pay per click (PPC) marketing is when you pay search engines or social networks to display your advert; you then only pay whenever your advert is clicked on by a user. Your advert can be shown for whatever keywords you want, ensuring that only your target market will see (and therefore click) on the adverts. Plus, because you only pay for when a user actually clicks on your advert your spend is directly linked to the traffic received, making it very cost effective. Even if you are an established business, PPC can sometimes be a good option for expanding your online reach.
OK so you’ve spent some money on a website, created your content and you’re starting to get some traffic from search engines - now you’re done right? Not even close. Digital marketing is constantly evolving, your competitors are relentlessly working on their marketing, and so you need to be continuously building your presence online. If you don’t keep up with the constantly evolving trends and digital tools you risk your business looking dated and falling behind your competition. Digital marketing is a long-term investment and you must keep on top of it.
Having a digital marketing presence is essential for any business, especially one that is trying to increase its impact within the industry. If you do not begin implementing digital marketing within your business then you will inevitably lose out to those businesses willing to change with the times. However, jumping straight in can be dangerous, you need to carefully plan your digital marketing to ensure that you do not waste time and money. Don’t think that digital marketing is reserved for large businesses, it is something that any business can implement. It’s not fair that large businesses dominate search engines and social media, that does not have to be the case.