The internet has conquered the world, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a hefty portion of business, both new and repeating, stems from digital marketing efforts.
However, many businesses approach digital marketing with false assumptions and poor, shortsighted planning, leading to less-than-stellar results and few, if any, new leads.
If you’re serious about increasing your sales and garnering new leads, it’s critical to start off with a powerful, well-thought-out digital marketing strategy.
Unsure where to begin? Below, we’ve outlined a few key steps for getting started.
Set Your Objectives
In any type of business endeavor — whether opening up new markets, rolling out a new product, or implementing a new marketing campaign — it’s critical to set clear objectives before getting started. And that objective needs to be realistic. If you’re thinking that emailing a few businesses will suddenly allow you to achieve market dominance, you’re bound to experience disappointment.
Know what you want to accomplish, and understand what’s actually achievable in order to tailor your efforts for the desired outcome. And, if applicable, convene with your supervisor to prioritize objectives before you set about designing a strategy.
For your business to evolve and improve, you need to know what’s working and what’s not. How? With metrics.
- Total visits, conversions, close ratio — How many prospects visited your website? How many led to a contact? How many converted into buyers? What are the ratios for each? How does this compare to your other marketing efforts?
- Bounce rate — How many site visitors leave after viewing the landing page? What can you improve in order to increase the amount of time visitors spend on your site?
- Cost of acquisition — Are the costs of bringing in new business worth it?
There are plenty of other metrics to explore, and they’re easy to find. Fully understanding and utilizing them, however, is more of a challenge; it may even be worthwhile to work with a specialist. Whether you hire an expert or handle the work yourself, pay close attention to the data; in this way, you’ll be better able to pinpoint areas for improvement.
Identify Your Target
Take the time to understand your prospects. Cater communications to suit their specific needs and interests at different stages of the buying journey. Offer introductory, educational information — like short-form blogs — to users in the beginning stages of the buying process and more detailed, in-depth information — such as eBooks — to those ready to buy. Understand their demographics, goals, and challenges. Tailor your message to address these specific concerns, and invite users to consult with you for application-specific solutions.
Plan Your Budget
Inevitably, your digital marketing efforts will cost you both time and money. Before delving in, develop a comprehensive budget that is both sensible and robust in order to maximize your return on investment (ROI). Find that balance, and be realistic about the true expenses for what it is you want to accomplish. You should already have laid out your objectives, so the strategies and tactics you employ to reach them need to fit within your financial parameters.
Build Your Team
Decide whether you want to outsource or hire someone to handle your marketing efforts. Will a new employee have all the requisite skills to create effective messaging, successfully deploy it, and properly analyze data for adjustments? Do you have an existing employee with these skills whom you can afford to pay for their services? Or, if you already have a marketing team, are they on board with a new strategy? They’ll be implementing the plan themselves, so they should be included in the brainstorming and decision-making processes as well. Equip them to put strategies into play and troubleshoot as data rolls in.
Alternatively, a good consulting firm will already have the necessary skills and experience and may be able to offer you their services for about the same price as hiring a new full-time employee — making this an attractive option for many businesses. If you go this route, what external agency will operate your campaign? Will they take your business as seriously as you do? Research throughly and take the time to compare your options.
Once you’ve planned the work, work the plan. Too often people talk about what they’re going to do and talk about how they’re going to do it. Then there’s hesitation, doubt, and procrastination. Once you’re prepared, just delve in. But don’t expect perfection from the outset. Expect some trial and error: Try something, learn from it, and adjust accordingly. And remember that every day you aren’t working on your digital marketing is a day you aren’t getting results.
Once you’ve carefully designed your digital marketing strategy, be honest with yourself. Consider whether you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, or whether you even want to make the necessary commitment. If you’re concerned about your ability or willingness to launch a successful digital marketing plan, then it’s time to seek out a consultant. Doing so can be very valuable, even if only to validate what you’ve planned on your own. They may also help you improve and adjust your efforts based on your company’s specific needs.
If you don’t have the time or resources to commit to a comprehensive digital marketing campaign, or you simply aren’t sure where to begin, get in touch with the team at Thomas Marketing Services for a free consultation. Our experts can create a multifaceted marketing strategy tailored to your specific needs and goals, helping you to stay ahead of the competition.