Digital marketing is a digital strategy to promote a business and increase brand awareness and business development. Digital marketing uses various forms of electronic media such as; the internet, mobile, sms, email, social media, video and much more. Digital marketing has distinct advantages over many other marketing methods such as:
The ability to more specifically target an audience for a particular message or product.
The ease in which a campaign can be suspended, modified, and A-B tested.
The ability to make multiple “touches” with a prospect through a variety of mediums.
In this brief article we will review several of the options for a digital marketing plan.
Probably the starting place for most businesses is to have a website for internet exposure. When planning for a website it is important to consider the specific products or services that a business wants to be known for. Each specific (product type) or service should be featured on a separate page of the website. Keyword research should be done for each product/service to identify the primary words and phrases that consumers use to find that service/product online. The content and images on that service page should be optimized around those words and phrases.
A website is not an online sales brochure. A business wants to inform visitors and build confidence and rapport through the messaging on the site. A website service/product page should answer questions, anticipate objections and address them, and build confidence in the prospect. This confidence building can be through client testimonials, product warranties, free trials, etc. An informed consumer is much more likely to reach out to a business and seek more information or to do business.
A business website should have a clear call to action on every page. Ask your visitor to make a commitment. This may be to fill out a form, make a call, or leave their contact information so the business can reach out to them. However it is done, an astute business does not want visitors to their site leaving the site and disappearing never to be found again.
Google My Business (GMB)
Google seeks to have a free online listing for every local business. It is in the best interest of a local business to optimize their Google My Business listing. Optimizing the listing is fairly simple – give Google everything they are asking for. Fill out all the information as completely as possible. That would include plenty of photo’s, business hours, accurate business name, address, and phone number. The hardest part is figuring out the many and various business categories. It is very time consuming but well worth the effort to insure that Google properly identifies your business and all the things that you do.
One very important aspect of digital marketing that is commonly overlooked by local businesses is their online reviews. Numerous consumer studies prove that people absolutely read and respond to the reviews that they read online. It is critical for a local business to gather positive reviews on several different platforms and to carefully monitor their online reputation. It makes no sense to spend money advertising only to have consumers check you out online and be dissuaded by poor reviews.
It is a fact that today every business needs a solid social media presence. Most consumers and even B2B consumers use social media to research and gather information on a particular business. Regular posting on key social media platforms can build an audience and improve engagement with customers and clients. An added benefit is building a core audience can help enormously should a business decide to advertise on one or more social platforms. Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin can be very profitable platforms for advertising if a company identifies the proper audience that they wish to reach. Many of these social media outlets have a “look-alike” audience feature. If a business can identify their core audience the media platform can build out a broader matching audience to advertise to.
Another cost effective digital marketing method that is largely overlooked by most local businesses is email marketing. Staying in touch with existing clients that know, like and trust you is the most cost effective advertising that a business can do. Sending out regular emails to inform and stay connected to existing customers is just good business sense. When done properly it is a great way to build a “tribe”, a core group of loyal customers that will engage with your business, is interested in special offers, and will actively promote your business in the community. Producing a creative newsletter that offers real value in the content that it provides will tend to keep customers opening your emails. Offering special deals that are truly a good deal will keep them interested and bring them back time and again.
To introduce SMS marketing it helps to be familiar with the information presented above about email marketing. SMS or text marketing is the same general idea but much more abbreviated. People tend to check their text messages regularly. Texting must be right to the point. To keep their attention the offer must be laser targeted to their interest. In certain niches SMS marketing can be extremely profitable. Many local businesses write it off because they don’t take the time to consider what makes a killer offer to their clientele and when/how it can best benefit their business. For example, a premium ice cream shop that is always slow on Thursdays between 3:00-5:00. Run a special on the top three product offerings you have. Text the offer out to your best list and encourage them to bring a friend for an additional special. Think out of the box and you can fill in the gaps in your business, move slow product, close out dead stock, etc. All much cheaper than radio or print adverstising.
Let’s begin by understanding that YouTube is the number two search engine in the world by volume. Most local businesses do not think to have an active YouTube channel. However, video is a great way to introduce a product, answer customer questions, introduce a business, feature a business’ facility, staff, services, customer testimonials, etc. People engage and respond much more to video than to printed text. An added benefit is that a video can be reused across several online channels. It can be embedded on a website, posted to Facebook and other social media, and a solid YouTube channel can gain a following all its’ own. We live in the “selfie” era. Video does not have to be an expensive full on media production. A good phone will have a camera that is sufficient for most day to day video. Sound quality is very important and admittedly may take planning and special equipment but the overall investment in incredibly low and a great value in building customer awareness, trust, and response.
The interesting thing about each of the options featured above is that they are free or very low cost to a local business. Most of your competitors are not using these methods effectively or at all. The potential return on investment if properly implemented is huge. All it takes is a plan, execution, and persistence. Things may not go smoothly at first but none of the options listed above are anything like rocket science. A little thought, a little practice and large returns are available to the business that implements one or more of the ideas listed above.
For help in your Digital Marketing call us. 417-385-3537