So, you’ve dreamt of owning and running your own business for years. The cute corner store florist, the mobile mechanic, a fast-paced creative agency – whatever your choice there are steps you take to make a start. Here I’ll discuss the digital marketing processes used to attract customers that convert them from window shoppers to buyers.
The day arrives when you fling open your business doors to welcome the hoards flocking to buy your products or services, but you only hear crickets!
You don’t understand – you’ve registered your business name, got an ABN, found premises, bought stock, decided on your services, got an assistant, have a bookkeeper, launched a website, put a sign in the window, and now you need customers. What’s the problem?
The problem is, very few people know you exist. And those that do aren’t necessarily your ideal customer or client.
You are not visible or engaged with your community. And, you’ve not got a strategy in place to build your customer base and grow your business.
Here’s a 6-step digital marketing action plan to help guide you through the maze of information already available.
What is a brand? A Logo, corporate colours, a catchy tagline? Yes, this and more. A brand is design, identity, and positioning. A sign, symbol, and words make up your unique brand which creates your identity and sets you apart from your competitors.
A consistent look and feel with your brand will build a level of credibility, quality, and positioning in the consumer’s mind. By working on your brand and being consistent with the design, identity and positioning your business will be at the forefront of consumer’s minds who are looking to buy.
It’s been argued that, since the introduction of capitalism, the single most important reason for success in increasing sales and ensuring growth is brand identity. Brand awareness for any business will give it an edge.
Many people don’t understand the real value of a website. Many small business websites are underperforming, have poor content and become dust collectors with little or no traffic. It’s time to jazz it up and turn it into the working horse it’s meant to be.
From loading speed to the written content to navigating it easily impacts the visitor who, if not impressed, will bounce off your page faster than a super ball (remember them?! No? well take my word for it, they were very very bouncy).
Using social media to get your brand seen in a crowded marketplace is a relatively inexpensive way to market your business. More than half of start-ups and small businesses launch their social media activities without any focus or purpose.
You can extensively reach a targeted audience by using your chosen channel’s insights to laser focus your marketing. Choosing the right platform to suit your business is key, though it can be trial and error depending on your type of business.
Also, it’s important to identify who is your ideal audience and discovering which channels they hang out on. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are as the name suggests – social channels. They are best used for building an audience, developing relationships and initiating customer interest and loyalty, as well as educating them about your products and services. Use a mix of media like posts, videos, infographics, and quotes to keep it interesting.
Pinterest is ultimately a search engine and is extremely viral. When used properly it’s a powerful tool for driving traffic to your website or blog. Pinterest converts more browsers into buyers than any other platform. Additionally, it has one of the best analytic tools which is on a par with Facebook Insights. The beauty of Pinterest is that you create visual pin boards that allow you to share interesting things from the internet. You can set up specific categorised boards targeted to whom you want to reach. Information is shared in an image or video format.
LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. It’s a great place to connect with clients, customers and prospective partners. It gives you the opportunity to build credibility and authority through a first-rate profile, excellent content in the form of posts driving traffic to your blog or website, and positions you as an expert in your industry. This is where you can foster yourself as an influencer.
Regarded as the new kid on the block, content marketing has been around a very long time. Check out this article from the Content Marketing Institute for a brief insight into its history https://bit.ly/2CX8zHG
Nowadays, content marketing is creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable customer actions (i.e. conversions) – Content Marketing Institute.
So, what is content and is it important? In simple terms, it’s what you write in your posts, pages, blogs, and articles. It’s what you produce for videos, online presentations, webinars, courses, e-zines, and podcasts. It’s what you publish on your website, in social media or on YouTube. It’s infographics, images, newsletters, lead magnets, and landing pages. It builds brand awareness, generates leads, optimises social engagement, converts to sales, develops customer retention and evangelism.
It’s estimated that over 70% of businesses don’t have a consistent or integrated content marketing strategy. Reasons range from lack of time to create content or being able to produce enough valuable content. Or, the difficulty creating engaging content means business owners lose interest. Measuring the effectiveness of content marketing is also tricky, confusing and overwhelming. Developing a content strategy is necessary but many don’t bother, firing off random posts and videos in the hope it will give them a few likes and followers.
Research is the cornerstone of starting a new business. With search engines at your fingertips, you can strategise and plan for an optimal chance of success. Audience, competitor, keyword, content and website investigation are typical of online marketing research.
The benefits include understanding your industry and how to best operate within it; how to differentiate yourself from your competitors; how to better understand the needs and wants of your target audience; test the viability of new products, programs and services, and to learn how to hone or niche them.
Keyword and SEO research will make sure your content is optimised for greater visibility online.
Build it and they will come! A funnel’s purpose is to attract prospects to your products or services. Make them aware of what you offer and get them interested by setting up a nurturing strategy. It encourages them to desire what you have until they take action and commit to purchasing – then you rinse and repeat for another cycle.
Typically, the awareness stage starts with points 1 to 5 coming into play – a brand they recognise, a consistent presence on social media, the provision of good and interesting content they can enjoy, a great website to visit.
Your online market research has identified your ideal audience and you’ve spent time and effort honing your strategy to attract the right people to your funnel. As they move through it you bring in other techniques to capture their attention like offering valuable free content on your website via an opt-in landing page.
With this, you capture their email address through a confirmation process which adds them to your email list. Because they have confirmed their desire to subscribe to your list it becomes a valuable asset you own and is used for ongoing email marketing campaigns such as special offers, newsletters, competitions, promotions to name a few.
As you can see, there are many facets to help bring your business off the street and into the online world of digital marketing. It can overwhelm and confuse you with all the options available.
Start with one or two solutions and work with them for a while to see if it works. You can either add to it or move on to other solutions until you’re getting the results you need. All businesses need to attract customers and clients who will ultimately pay for their products or services. Achieve this by being visible, engaging, and consistently and diligently active with your digital marketing.
Virtual B2B Marketing are specialists in helping start-ups and small businesses with their digital marketing. We offer a variety of services and packages to suit most budgets.
Our criteria is for you to be serious about your business, passionate about what you do, realistic about your goals and optimistic about your future success.