So you have a website, Facebook page and Twitter profile. You even have some followers and people liking your posts. You're sorted right? Well you're off to a good start but digital marketing involves a bit more than that. It doesn't have to be too complicated though, just doing a few things really well can have a big impact on your business.
First, here's a few good reasons why it's worth the effort: 94% of customers plan to purchase from the SMBs they follow on Twitter,* 69% have purchased from an SMB because of something they saw on Twitter*, 56% of online shoppers make a purchase decision within the hour after researching on their mobile**, and you're in good company - Facebook has 65 million business Pages globally, though only 4 million are directly advertising on Facebook***.
Effective digital marketing helps businesses identify their target audiences, communicate with them well, and build relationships to grow your business. SMBs are notoriously time-poor so the key is to focus. Focus your energy on the best platforms for your business, focus on key audiences, and focus your messaging.
There is no one size fits all with digital marketing - your business is unique, so your marketing should be - however there are some simple steps you can follow to develop your strategy.
Think the 5 W's - "who, why, what, where, when". The first crucial step is to identify your target audience. This sounds simple but people can often get this wrong. Knowing who your audience is will help shape the rest of your marketing efforts so it's important to get it right. For example, if you have a hair salon with a core customer base of women 25-35, you could focus on SEM, Facebook and Instagram during lunch hours and evenings, with inspirational content - using images and videos - keeping them up to date on new trends and styles. You don't want to pigeonhole yourself but if you try to cater for all potential customers your messaging will lose focus and you could spread yourself too thin across multiple digital platforms.
Why - why are you communicating with them? Think short and long term goals here - from promoting new products/services, to growing your potential customer base, to gaining feedback from existing customers. Being clear about what you want from the offset will give meaning to your actions.
What - what will you actually be saying and what tone of voice will you use? Are there public holidays, events, or news in your industry that you could talk about? Remember it needs to link back to your business and add value. Also think about what assets you have that you could use - images, videos, reviews, etc.
Where - where do your audience usually go online? Is this environment right for your business? Snapchat might be the best place to find your audience but if you don't have any relevant visual content, you're best to stay away.
When - when are your audience more likely to be online? Morning, afternoon or evening? This can also influence what you will say - for example, if you're reaching your audience on their commute, short snappy posts might be more effective.
Strategy now in place? Great, bear in mind that paid advertising can often be the best method for reaching your target audience. Don't be afraid of it - there is a lot you can do for very little money. However, don't forget to use analytics to understand what works and what doesn't so you can hone your communication.
Don't be disheartened if your first venture doesn't yield instant results - digital marketing provides a brilliant opportunity to test and learn, so keep going!
Of course, if all this still seems too much, there is always help on hand. Feel free to contact me and we can get started together.
*Source: Twitter for Business, April 2017 **Source: Retail Gazette, August 2016 ***Source: 90 Amazing Facebook Page Statistics, DMR, April 2017