Are you being tasked to start digital marketing for your company but have no clue on how or where to start? Fret not, you are not alone.
During this current pandemic, more and more companies are turning to digital marketing to market and sell their products and it shall not come as a surprise if a traditional marketer is suddenly being asked to plan and execute an online marketing strategy.
However, there are just so many platforms and almost every one of them is a digital landmine waiting to explode and a genuine misstep could potentially create a PR nightmare for your company’s branding. So, where do you start?
First, you may need to ask some hard questions to determine the resources you are allocated to. Is there enough manpower to help you? Do you have skilled personnel like a graphic designer or a videographer to help you create content? Is there any advertising budget given even?
If it is just you alone, then you may want to start small. But going in small brings slow results, something that may not go down well with your bosses. So managing some expectations may be needed when setting your end goals e.g. more sales, more inquiries
After determining the resources you have and agreeing on KPIs, you need a digital marketing strategy next. There are different “battlefields” in the digital marketing war and choosing to fight in the right battlefields is one of the few ways you can win the war in the long run.
To help you choose your battlefields easier, HubSpot has categorized online marketing into 2 groups; inbound and outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is more towards attracting traffic that has a higher intention to buy. To put it simply, if your marketing effort goes towards targeting people who are searching for your product or service online, that is inbound marketing. This includes being ranked by Google on its search engine result page (SERP) or placing an ad on Google search.
Outbound marketing refers more to advertising to reach out to a certain group of people who may or may not be looking for your product. It could be an advertisement on Facebook or buying a banner spot on a website. Outbound marketing requires more persuasion and is not as warm as a lead coming through your inbound marketing effort. Social media marketing usually falls under this category.
After coming up with your goals and having selected the platforms you will be on for your digital marketing strategy, it is time to come up with certain executable actions for your big digital marketing plan.
1: Build A Social Media Marketing Plan
Having a social media presence for business has slowly become a need more than a want over the years. You can no longer choose to stay anonymous online if your target audience is there. And this is true even for B2B companies.
One of the main reasons being that social media is no longer just a platform for you to reach your customers. It is more like a channel for your customer to reach out to you.
If there is an unhappy customer that wants to feedback to you, do you want them to talk to you direct, or complain openly to their friends on their social media account?
The answer is clear as day.
If the unhappy customer can reach out to you about their unpleasant encounter, you can still do something about it to make sure that she, not only not openly talk badly about you to his friends on social media, can remain as a returning customer if service recovery is done appropriately.
Hence the platforms that you will want to choose to be on should be the platforms that the majority of your customers are on. For example, if you are targeting a more mature group of audience who has higher spending power, then perhaps Facebook in the USA will where you want to build your presence on. If you are marketing to a relatively younger group of teenagers in Singapore, then maybe setting a TikTok or Telegram account can be a good option.
You wouldn’t want to spend effort on an Instagram account if China PMET market is where you want to penetrate, considering that Instagram is banned in China.
Most of the social media platforms also have their inbuilt integrated insights that are accessible by the admin nowadays. They allow you to know more about your audience and their behaviour, allowing you to tweak your marketing message or adapt to a new potential audience group with the allocation of marketing resources.
After setting up your social media business pages, you will want to plan your content next. What you are going to post on the page, what kind of brand direction, etc.
As mentioned earlier, social media has evolved and the ways users are using social media have changed too. It is no longer a case where all your followers will see whatever you have posted. The algorithm has made it that only content the social media platform thinks is relevant to the user will be shown to the user.
Hence, there is no need for you to post daily to engage your followers. You are not Channel NewsAsia or Bloomberg. Creating content by the minute to keep your followers entertained is not your job.
Post only content that does your company justice as new potential customers are coming to your business page to find out what kind of company your company is. Therefore make sure it is in line with your company’s branding and do a good job for every post.
One of the important parts of your digital marketing strategy will be your website.
Apart from social media, the digital asset that most will go to when trying to find out more about your company will be your website.
The information, user experience (UX) design, look and feel, etc. of the website have to think out properly to not only allow the user to navigate the site easily but also to have a good impression of the company.
Hence, no effort should be spared when building or revamping your site. The best SEO (see below) practices, the choice of words, the use of colour, etc.
Remember, one day Facebook may close down or LinkedIn may cease to exist overnight, but your website belongs to you and that is the only digital asset you owned, literally. So take good care of it and you will see your digital marketing efforts being taken good care of in return.
3: Email Marketing
One of the most underrated forms of digital marketing channels will be email marketing. It is so simple, so personal and cheap (or free), but yet not many marketers are using it to its full potential.
Over the years, savvy digital marketers have been using email marketing to deliver their customized message through email to targeted customers, both existing and potential. These are people who may have either expressed interest in your products or have bought something from you before.
In short, they are your pre-qualified potential (returning) customers right from the beginning. So it is a no brainer to want to nurture and convert them into buying customers again with a targeted message right into their mailbox.
A successful marketing email should have some of all of these properties:
A clear goal and objective
Know your targeted audience and have a customized message/promotion
An enticing subject line
Utilize a custom responsive email layout (buttons)
A clear call to action
Automated response (e.g. if they never open the first EDM, send another one 2 weeks later)
4: Create Engaging Content
Mentioned earlier, the content that you are posting on your social media is the kind of image or branding that you are creating for your business.
Give some serious thought about what kind of content you want to create to build up that branding you have in mind for your business and review it periodically. Any content, photos, or videos, that do not bring gloss to your brand? Just delete.
No matter how much time was spent on it or how difficult is it to have that content, a bad piece of content should never be posted on your social media. Every single post represents your brand.
Apart from that, your content should also be providing value to your potential customers.
In content marketing, you need to define your goals; why you create this content? For whom you create this? Do you want subscribers, engagement, or sales?
Understanding your goals allows you to measure your success more effectively and discover ways you can create better content that helps you achieve them next time. Here are some ways to create engaging content:
Be clear: whatever you are publishing, it should be understood by your consumers
Keep your content short & sweet: when the readers read your blog, they will get the main point easily without having to Google bombastic words you have used
Give an example to make it understandable: giving examples is a great way to engage your audience and storytell
Stay focused: don’t derail from the main topic, start with the specific part, and end with a conclusion from your point of view
Include visual elements: this is a good way to, not only grab the attention of users but also to make it more interesting so that the reader will continue reading
6: Grow your SEO Ranking
SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means having Google rank your website on their SERP when a user searches for a keyword that is relevant to what you do.
The search engine wants to provide the best user experience for their users and so the results need to be highly relevant to what the user searched for.
To do this, the search engine will crawl through different web sites and, through the use of its algorithms, tries to understand what site about before ranking them to relevancy.
That is also why websites need to provide useful information for its users in a bid it will increase their relevancy and importance in the “eye” of the search engines.
Hence, one of the most effective ways to grow your SEO ranking is to create high-quality content, which is easy to read, captivating, and informative. Here are some ways to improve your SEO ranking:
Create high-quality content by understanding what customers may be searching for
Make sure your website is accessible by Google by submitting a sitemap through Google Search console
Use of infographics
Find solutions to trending topics/questions
Make sure your sites load fasts for good user experience (UX)
Improving your SEO will directly increase the number of potential customers visiting your website. Since this is one of the rare free ways to increase your website traffic, spending some effort on it will be a worthwhile effort.
7: Host Live Events & Webinars
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, conducting live events, workshops, and webinars has been a popular way for companies to connect with their target audiences.
Webinars are beneficial for businesses as it helps to build a trusted relationship with its target audience and increase the credulity of a brand as a domain expert in the industry.
They can also help to generate more leads and conversions, concreting specific business messages into the mind of those who attended the webinars.
There are tons of available applications for hosting live events or webinars, like Google Meet, Zoom, Facebook live, etc., and they mostly do not require the attendees to pay anything to attend.
Although it may require some effort to pull off a good webinar, here are some of the pros of conducting one:
Webinars are flexible & variable; you have the flexibility that what type of message you want to send to your audience
Easy way to make a connection with people around the world for global businesses
Generate leads with emails as part of registration (remember email marketing?) and ultimately convert these into sales
If all these sound Greek to you and you want to quickly kick off your digital marketing strategy effectively without spending a bomb on engaging digital agencies, attending a digital marketing course that covers most of these required skills may be an ideal choice instead.
Whatever way you choose, remember that all you need is to start. The later you start, the more you will fall behind in the digital marketing race, and it is not stopping anytime soon. One thing for sure, digital marketing is here to stay and it will only evolve, not go out of favour like a trend.