Digital marketing is one of those things, isn’t it, that many small business owners want to embrace. Everyone knows they kind of should, but the prospect can fill you with dread because, when it comes down to it, you can easily waste away a lot of time on social media, updating your website or emailing your clients a friendly newsletter. And to make matters worse, it doesn’t always seem to generate much new interest in your service or product. Why? It seems to work so well for other businesses. It’s probably because you haven’t got a digital marketing strategy in place and they do. Without a plan there is little or no cohesion from one email or post to the next and that kind of unplanned approach just doesn’t bring the results you want.
Here’s why it’s so important to take the time to produce a thorough plan, before you get out there online
The internet and the very existence of search engines means that the old fashioned approach of ‘one to many’ advertising is of little use online. Traditionally, a business could broadcast a message to all, hoping it resonates with a few. Nowadays, people can find precisely what they need online. You need to be ready to tailor your marketing specifically to those people who need precisely what you provide.
How having a strategy helps:
1 – It provides clarity and direction
All marketing needs goals. It’s essential to understand why you are doing something or else pretty soon you won’t be motivated and it will just fizzle out. Without specific objectives, how will you measure the success of your efforts? With goals to focus on, your marketing becomes more and more effective over time. You can:
- establish what needs to be done and how you are going to do it
- allocate resources
- measure your results using analytics and data
- extract the elements that worked best to be used again and tweak other elements for improvement next time.
2 – Heightened Efficiency
With a strategy you’ll be able to create a schedule. With a schedule you can:
- Avoid duplication of tools, techniques and tasks for heightened efficiency.
- Make all your tools work in a cohesive manner. It’s so much more effective than sending out mixed, chaotic messages.
- Make sure all your areas of your digital marketing are working together towards the same goals. They need to feed off one another and be aligned in their messages. A plan lets you do this. For example, if your audience likes what they see on your Facebook page, they need to know that they can find more of the same on your blog. Every element of your digital marketing should support (and be supported by) the other elements. Don’t forget to include traditional marketing in your plan which should also be integrated with all other media channels.
So what we are really talking about is avoiding wasting precious time: Without a plan and a schedule in place, you’ll find yourself spending way too much time wondering what to post on what social network, what blog to write, what news to put on your website and all your marketing efforts will go to waste. It’s time to get organised and reap the rewards!
3 – Differentiate yourself from the competition
Only by analysing your situation and establishing where your company fits into the grand scheme of things, will you be able to differentiate yourself. Study what your competitors are doing and make sure you do your own marketing in your own style and better than they do theirs.
Also beware of fresh new start-up competitors, who are well aware of the benefits of digital marketing and will integrate it into the very core of their business plan. Unless you are out there actively fighting your ground, they are going to creep up and quickly steal your share of the digital market.
4 – Plan your budget and stop wasting money
In evaluating your resources, some questions you might need to consider are: Who is going to create the content? Who will manage the accounts? Who will be the voice for your business? Who has the technical knowledge to be able to put the plan into action? A well thought out plan will help you take a longer view and may flag up that you need to employ a member of staff or instruct a contractor to take on particular tasks.
You’ll be able to plan your marketing budget and increase your online presence with cost effective methods instead of becoming frustrated and reactionary when you hit obstacles along the way.
5 – Convince the bosses
Having a document that spells out how you plan to achieve your goals for the overall benefit of the business, will make it an awful lot easier to convince the digital sceptics to allocate budget and resources. It will also help keep those at bay who want to muscle in and put their own spin on things.
So there’s some good reasons way you need a strategy for your digital marketing. Amazingly, according to Smart Insights 2015 research, nearly 50% of companies are engaging with digital marketing but have no marketing strategy or plan in place
Here are some simple questions to ask yourself to get started:
- What do I want to achieve?
- Are my goals do-able and measurable?
- Audience: Who are they? Where are they? What are they interested in? What problems do they have that I will help solve? Where do they go to solve these problems?
- My Business: Who am I? What are my strengths? What makes me different? Who are my competitors?
If you’d like to find out more or need help in getting a plan together for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can email me direct at Clare@cornerstonedigital.marketing or
call me on 07967 628112. I’d love to hear from you!