Small business owners can get caught up in the wild web we weave. We (alliteration will end soon, I promise) being digital marketing folks. SMB owners have limited staffs, resources, time and money. So here are a few things to think about when putting together a digital strategy.
First of all, why is a digital strategy important? I would ask, why is any strategy important? They keep us on the right track. Strategies help guide our decision-making. If we didn’t have a strategy we’d make a lot of individual decisions without understanding how it will affect our business long term. Oh, you’re doing that right now? Keep reading please.
Your strategy should have these 7 steps:
#1: Identify Business Goals – growth, expansion, etc.
#2: Set Marketing Objectives – what products, at what price, where to promote, where to sell (e-commerce?)
#3: Identify Ideal Customers – current or prospective, what do they look like?
#4: Research Competition – what do the BEST in my industry do and how?
#5: Choose Channels & Tactics – what channels connect with my brand and my customers?
#6: Content Strategy – What’s the tone of my website, Social, email, etc. content and does it match my brand?
#7: Measure your success – how will I know I succeeded or failed?
The single most important factor of a digital strategy is knowing who you are. Understand what it is your business does well and what it doesn’t. Know your core customers and how you can best satisfy their needs for your product or service. If you offer a loosey-goosey, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants in-store experience than portray that on your website. If you have a serious tone and treat customers in a similar way, don’t make jokes on Social Media. It’s all about knowing your business and owning its personality.
We use the image below in our “Fitting Social into Your Overall Media Plan” presentations and I love it. Many people I run into assume that because they’re using “free” Social Media that is all they need. But enhancing your Social Media with paid ad spots or enhanced posts may be necessary if your content isn’t going viral. Just remember what unpaid Social is and what it isn’t.
But also keep in mind the Social channels you choose. If you want constant feedback and interactions with customers or followers, Twitter is great. Are visuals important and easily delivered for your company? Try Instagram. Do you want the biggest potential reach with photos and video? Use Facebook. Do you need to instruct customers on how to use a product or provide value by offering free help videos? YouTube is great at this. (I have used a YouTube video many times when performing home “repairs.”)
Ranking high in search is on everyone’s “Must Do” marketing list. Google recently altered their search algorithm to increase the importance of mobile-friendly sites, especially when searched on a mobile device. But it’s hard to keep up with Google’s changing algorithms. So best practices include:
- Create engaging content on your site every other week or at least once per month
- Utilize Video whenever possible (Google owns YouTube for a reason)
- Avoid listing keywords to try and “outsmart” Google
- List your Social Media buttons on your site
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Use HTML5’s responsive design if possible
Content Marketing is one of the hottest buzzwords in marketing. And there’s a reason. Creating content can drive business. But it has to be the right content and it can’t be faked. Telling stories about your business, not about products, can resonate with today’s audience, specifically millennials. Millennials want to find more than just a product. They want an experience. They want to buy from those they trust or those with whom they connect. A low price is great, but if you’re helping the environment and your price is in the ballpark…count me in! The folks at Clarity Coverdale Fury write a lot about the “Conscious Consumer.” People care less about who writes content, and more about the quality of it. Brands are using this medium to connect with people about more than just products. Use your content to tell your story, provide valuable information or a 30-second break from reality. However you choose to utilize content make sure it fits your STRATEGY.
Finally, how does advertising fit into this digital strategy? Social Media does a great job of reaching current customers and if paid placements, new customers. In today’s world, if you’re collecting data from your customers through site visits, purchases, Social Media followers, or another way, you now have your hands on an extremely valuable marketing tool. You can target advertising to this specific audience. Take what you know about your Facebook followers and target your advertising to those people. Not only will data tell you WHO to target, but find the common content among the most interactive Facebook posts and use something similar in your ad copy. The content of that post resonated with your audience. There’s no reason the same content shouldn’t do similar things to the same audience who doesn’t follow you on Facebook.
RiverTown Multimedia can help you use your Social Media and other marketing data to find the perfect audience through targeted online advertising campaigns. Learn more about our Retargeting and Audience Segment offerings by speaking with a sales representative. Click here to contact us.
And that’s how all of this ties together in Digital Strategy. Take what you know about yourself and your customers and use it to meet your objectives. Stay true to your brand, deliver great content in a multitude of ways, track your success and find RESULTS. It’s not rocket science, but it can be easy to lose focus. When all else fails stick with what works. And if that doesn’t work, call the experts at RiverTown Multimedia. We’re glad to help you figure it out.