If you want your business to be found amongst the millions of other businesses online, investment in Digital Marketing is crucial. The good news is that there are many strands to Digital Marketing, most of which are adaptable and scalable to a wide variety of business types and sizes – start-ups included.
So, you’ve started a business or have a small business you want to grow – how are you getting the word out about it?
Digital Marketing is a BIG subject. It’s easy to waste your efforts and end up disappointed in the results if you spread the marketing net too wide or too narrow. However, if you cover the basics well, and choose the right combination of activities which support you in achieving your business goals, you can thrive.
So what are the basics you need to have in place?
Here are our 7 digital marketing best practice tips for new businesses.
1. Define your customer personas
Marketing channels are used to connect your business to its audience and prompt them to take the actions you want them to take. The days of “broadcasting” what you do are over. Today’s audiences expect you to stand out from the crowd by the way you make them feel that you are talking to them. Personally.
Put simply, if you’re not special to someone, you’re not special to anyone.
This is why personas are so important – they allow you to focus your site content and communications so that it resonates with clearly defined audiences. Recent statistics show that personas can make your website up to five times more effective for targeted users.
There are hundreds of persona templates available online – choose one that feels relevant to you. We have a few templates we use as a start point, but none that we haven’t ended up tweaking to make it perfect for each client. Here’s one that we use frequently to illustrate :
Essentially, you need a short Bio, the problems the persona is trying to solve, why they come to a company like yours, what influences them and which channels they prefer to use online.
When you have your personas in place, you’re able to focus on communicating with your audience in the channels where they are already hanging out. Fish where the fish are swimming!
After all, to properly market a product or service, you need to know who exactly you’re going to market it to.
2. Do your keyword research
Google scans every page of your website to try and determine if your site holds the answer to what each person is searching for online. The volumes are mind-boggling!
There are many things you can do to get found when someone searches for a service or product like yours online, and we’ll talk about the most important of these throughout this blog.
The start point for pretty much all of this activity is keyword research. This is how you find out the words your potential customers are using when they search on Google.
Given that 50% of all searches are 4 words or more, it makes sense to try and optimise for “longtail” keywords (short phrases). As a bonus, longer phrases tend to have clearer intent (so you are more likely to get clicks from the right people) and they tend to be easier to rank for as they are more unique.
Whilst the tools that the professionals use are subscription based, there are some good free (but limited use) tools out there such as Ubersuggest and Answer the Public – here’s a screen shot from Ubersuggest to give you the idea of the kind of data available :
Once you’ve found your keywords, weave them naturally into the titles and descriptions of your pages and through your content. Don’t over-do it though, Google will mark you down for “keyword stuffing”!
Also, if you run a local business, claim your Google Business Profile and add content there using the same keywords. This will help you get found for “near me” searches.
3. Update your blog regularly
In the world of Google, Content is King.
If you have a 10 page website, how do you keep your content fresh without constantly updating the site? The answer is to run a blog. Blogs are short (600 -1200 word) pieces, talking about hot topics that your customers want to know about. They add authority and personality to your site, and because you add new blogs, Google sees you are publishing new content and marks you up for relevancy as a result.
It’s not just for Google though – your potential customers often need content to guide them during the buying process. DemandGen say that 47% of purchasers viewed 3 to 5 pieces of content before they engaged with a sales rep.
It’s worth creating a content calendar to remind you when to publish new content on your blog so that your customers become familiar with when you are sharing news.
4. Stay in touch through email
A recent report states that email campaigns have a return on investment (ROI) of $44 on each dollar spent. This means that email marketing still has one of the highest ROIs of any digital marketing activity, so should be in all business’s marketing armouries.
However, no-one wants to be broadcast to, and receiving an email full of content not relevant to you is a big turn-off, so make sure you use an automation tool that allows you to segment your database and to personalise your messaging. After all, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
5. Engage through social media
When you consider that more than half the world now uses social media, it’s a platform you absolutely can’t ignore.
GWI have done a recent study on Social Media usage across the generations – here is a snapshot – this kind of information can help you target which channels are the right ones for you. Very few businesses need to be active on every one, so start with the channels where your customers already hang out.
From the top, dark pink is GenZ and the purpley grey are Baby Boomers at the bottom of each bar. The numbers are the % of people in that age group who access that channel daily. The height of the bars gives you a view as to how many people in each age group use each channel.
Social media is all about engagement, so to get the conversation going :
- Create content regularly that is likely to connect with your audience.
- Add images and videos as they attract higher engagement.
- Share content and reply to comments – good interaction demonstrates an authentic relationship and helps extend your reach
- There is also the option to invest in paid advertisements to reach a wider audience.
When you take into account that 73% of marketers have found social media effective for their business, then you know you need to take it seriously.
6. Deliver ultimate customer service
Maybe you don’t think of Customer Service as Marketing, but in these days when people trust customer reviews as much as their friends, not delivering a fantastic and consistent customer service is a deal breaker.
Today news spreads … fast. You give a poor customer service today, you see it on Twitter this afternoon. You go the extra mile to solve a customer’s problem today, you see it being shared on Facebook in no time at all.
A great reputation for your customer support will attract even more customers, simply because it demonstrates that you care about them.
Great service is not just about new customers – happy customers spend more! Vision Critical’s survey says that 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience.
7. Track and react
The Digital World is constantly changing, so you cannot set up a digital marketing activity and consider it to be “done”. If you don’t keep a track of website visits, conversion rates, customer acquisition, cost per acquisition, average order values etc, you won’t receive the occasional “nudge” that you need to update what you’re doing.
Set your goals as a business and measure the results of what you are doing against those results.
Ensure that you’re able to measure results on marketing channels like social media, email, search engines, and your website – be careful not to engage in activities that take up your time and money, particularly ones that you can’t measure.
Digital marketing for start-ups
Even when you are starting from the very beginning, outlining your digital marketing strategy is the key to success. Follow these 7 steps and you’ll be off to a great start.
- Define your customer personas
- Do your keyword research
- Update your blog regularly
- Stay in touch through email
- Engage through social media
- Deliver ultimate customer service
- Track and react
Remember that SEO activity takes a while to build, so if you’re not on page 1 straight away, don’t panic – however, do monitor your rankings regularly so you know you are going in the right direction.
If at any stage you need some help, just contact us here at WSI Digital Advisors and let’s chat about how we can help you.