Remember the days when marketing was taking out an ad in the Yellow Pages and the local paper, some local letterbox drops and, if the budget was big enough, a smattering of local radio or TV advertising? Ah, yes – we remember them well!
Well, those days are gone…for good!
Yes but (there’s always a ‘but!’)…you’re saying – now we have the internet!
That’s true, but if the internet is the answer, then why are so many businesses pulling their hair out over the lack of results they’re getting from their online efforts?
The answer is two words – ‘digital strategy’.
The business landscape in the 21st Century bears little resemblance to what it looked like in the 20th Century. Despite the fact that we are only talking about a 15 year period, things have changed in a way that most local businesses have yet to fully appreciate – all thanks to technology (and, yes, the internet plays a big part).
The world has changed and whether we like it or not, and we need to change with it. Your customers live in a different world to the one they lived in just fifteen years ago – they have more choices but less time and their expectations of the people they do business with have risen dramatically.
The way that marketing and advertising used to work has fundamentally shifted as well.
This is why applying 20th Century principles to a 21st Century market is fundamentally flawed. If you are finding that you are spending more and more on marketing and the results are almost always disappointing, you are not alone.
The reason why this is happening is because of your digital strategy or, rather, the lack thereof.
A typical scenario; you have a website, a Facebook page (maybe even LinkedIn and Twitter too), you’ve recently made your website mobile friendly but it’s not on page one of Google, you are not getting many enquiries and your Facebook page is stuck at less than 100 likes.
Achieving better results calls for doing things differently! This is challenging, partly because old habits die hard – even when they’re not working – and partly because the internet can be a confusing and complex place to conquer.
So, the bottom line is, you need to develop an effective ‘digital strategy’.
A ‘strategy’ is a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim – it’s a ‘big picture’ approach that sets a focus on what you need to do to achieve the results you are aiming for.
Armed with an effective strategy and using the online tools available to you, you can quickly find out what approaches work best for your business.
Why every business should have digital strategy
Statistics show 61% of internet users turn to the internet – using search engines, blogs, websites and social media – to assist their spending decisions (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012). So in a nutshell, you should be reaching your target market online, and influencing them to take actions that will turn them into customers.
Tips for digital marketing in your business:
*Mobile optimise – the consumer world is mobile-centric, so a mobile-optimised site is a must. Statistics show that most consumers are multi-screening (accessing consumer sites on mobile and desktop, smartinsight.com.au), 57% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 % will abandon a transaction if the shopping card isn’t optimised for mobile devices (huffingtonpost.com). In a nutshell mobile-optimised sites engage visitors longer and convert more customers.
*Create customised content – reaching your customers online is about building a presence where your target market is, and catering to their interests or presenting a solution to a problem they have through relevant content. Sharing valuable content through blogs, landing pages, social media and enewsletters will boost your ranking in Google, position your brand as an industry leader and lead more visitors to see your brand through organic searches. Did you know that companies that blog have 55% more website visitors? (Hubspot, 2015).
*Email marketing – marketing to an email list is a way of encouraging your customers to stay in touch so they keep you top of mind. Include the option to subscribe to news and special offers which will help you build a database that you can directly email market to. Alternatively capture their details when they come in-store or to your office.
*Social media – social media is about sharing ideas and insight as well as curating content – finding existing content already in the market and adding your voice to it. Giving your customers valuable content will not only build a presence for your brand, but position you favourably and establish trust in the market. The content you post should be appealing to your target market and 80% should be topics of interest while 20% should be promotional and self-serving.
*PR and sponsored placements - securing non-paid, online PR coverage can build your profile in the digital space, but always remember to keep the angle local. Profiling someone behind a new trend, whether it’s a mover and shaker in the industry or yourself as a business owner will personalise the story and add local appeal. Research local journalists and always tailor the content to the publication.
Stuck on content?
Creating original content is within your reach, sometimes you just have to think outside the box. If you own a patisserie, you might have created a new recipe you can share on social media. If interior design is your specialty, you might want to blog bedroom designs tips for a better night’s sleep.
Or you might want to create a partnership to add a dynamic edge to your brand, capture a bigger market and develop your business’ personality – for example forming a strategic partnership with a brand of espresso, serving it exclusively in your restaurant, and selling it in-house to let the customer take experience home while blogging about how to make the perfect cup of coffee will engage more consumers.
Creating successful, customised content posted on your website, landing pages, social media and blog requires understanding your target market inside out and tailoring content to your customer blueprint.
Having a digital strategy will allow you to make more informed decisions about your marketing and advertising and will almost always involves trial and error. It will also help you answer questions like:
• Should I spend money on Google Adwords?
• Where can I get more paying customers from?
• What social media platforms should I be using, and how should I tailor the content to each?
Plus a whole lot more.
So, if you are struggling to achieve the results you want, chances are that you trying to conquer the digital world with analogue solutions. It’s time to start applying ‘digital’ solutions, catering to today’s consumer behaviour, through an effective digital strategy.
Bartercard has a range of digital marketing strategists who can help you put an effective plan in place. You should look to pay somewhere between $500- $1500 for their services (depending on the size of your business and scope of your plan). When you have chosen who you want to help you develop your digital strategy, the rest of the process is like painting with numbers – even the least experienced can do that!
Ph: (07) 30406432
About the author
Dennis has a MBA in Marketing Management and has been involved in the online environment for over 15 years – in addition to more than 20 years in sales and marketing roles in the business community.
With so many online options available to local businesses to promote themselves, it’s no wonder that there is so much confusion around what to do…… and that’s why he established ‘Ausbizlinks’ in 2004. He’s been an active member of Bartercard from day one of starting.
Dennis has the philosophy of ‘keeping it simple’ which he applies in helping local businesses all around Australia to take control of their online presence on top of new customer generation activities. He does this by applying a strategic focus which targets what a business needs to be doing and when.
Dennis’ goal is to make his clients’ businesses ‘famous’ online!
You can learn more about Dennis at dennishall.com.au or ausbizlinks.com.au.