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Advice, Uncategorized
When running your own business, there’s already a plethora of tasks on your to-do list. Naturally, the top of the list is occupied by the tasks which offer the most transactional value, ie “If I do that task, I will make a certain amount of money for doing it.” Next up will be the tasks that if you don’t do, you’ll get in actual trouble, understandably, get these done! Somewhere residing down the bottom of that list will be tasks related to digital marketing, most-likely written in a a vague unstructured manner, “Write a blog article”, “Post something on Facebook”, “Just do some digital marketing for pete’s sake!”

There’s a lot of pressure around digital marketing. Everyone thinks they should be doing it, and everyone tells everyone that they should be doing it, which makes everyone worry even more if they aren’t doing it, in case everyone sees that they aren’t doing it! The circle continues.

The question, “Do I need digital marketing?” is the crux of my chosen profession. And I’m here to tell you that the answer to this question is often…no!

Like any business strategy, the first question is “Why are we doing this?” and if there is a clear objective that everyone accepts as valuable to the business, then you get started with creating that strategy.
In the case of digital marketing, there are a number of ways it can be valuable to your business. Here’s ​4 that I think are a really good starting point before you start a digital strategy of your own, or engage with a digital agency.

You want to make more people aware of your business

This is what digital marketing is most capable of due to the very nature of people’s use of digital platforms like websites, Google, Facebook. For the most part, the internet is a discovery tool. Discovering what shoes you want to buy, what your friends have posted, where you want to go on holiday etc.

And yet, this is the most overlooked use of digital marketing by small and medium businesses.

Unless you are an established brand, then people will be discovering you for the very first time. Therefore your digital strategy should accommodate for this by creating content or advertising in a way that introduces potential customers to the brand.

Only after you’ve made people aware of your brand, should you think about directly promoting your products or services to them.

You want to sell a product online

As we all know, e-commerce is at the core of what digital marketing can do for your business, and the beauty of digital means that all the traffic driven to your site is trackable, be it someone searching for you on Google, or clicking on a link in a social media post.

They key to success with this is understanding how big the commitment is for your potential customers and removing any friction to purchase.

This is easy to see with many brands online. If we look at the rapid growth of direct-to-consumer mattress brands (Eve, Simba, Casper), it’s impossible to miss the “100 days of free sleep” incentive they all offer. With their entire business being online (until recently) and a product cost of around £500, this offer makes it incredibly easy for potential customers to take the risk of buying something online they haven’t seen, and importantly, lied on!

Once you feel in a strong position that you’re making it easy for customers to buy from you, then implementing a PPC strategy using Google Adwords or a Social Media campaign using Facebook are an essential tool to start driving traffic, both of which can be set up to seek out those who are most likely to buy from you.

As we discussed, for the most part, these visitors will be experiencing your brands for the first time. So it’s vital that you have a remarketing strategy in place, meaning we use your digital platforms to re-engage those who showed interest but didn’t convert.

You want to generate leads for your business

Getting people to commit to buying from you can be difficult and requires time and patience to optimise your purchase funnel, however, if all you’re looking for is that first contact for a service you provide, then digital marketing offers a number of different ways to do this.

For example, if you run a car cleaning business and you have your website set up, you’ll likely have your email address and telephone number on there, but how do you know who are actually making those calls and sending those emails due to them seeing it there?

A simple contact form or implementing call tracking will answer both those questions for you and offer insight into who they are, what time of day or week you get the most leads, where they are based and other valuable data to help you make better business decisions.

Platforms like Facebook also offer specific ad formats to generate leads, whereby instead of people clicking on an ad, they gather people’s data straight away and email it to you.

For small businesses, this usually suffices but if you’re an established business generating many leads a month, you should consider a lead nurturing strategy, meaning once the lead is generated, you have automated emails or a sales team to get that lead converted into a customer!

You want people to consume your content

In digital the cliche “Content Is King” has been thrown about for years and often receives divided opinions. For me, I would add just one word to this, making it “Good Content Is King”. The reason for this is that good content doesn’t even get observed as “content”, it’s just consumed seamlessly into people’s online routine. Whether that’s an interview with a famous actor, a brilliant product review, or a brilliantly edited highlights reel of a major sporting event.

Behind all of this is a culture of knowledge and information consumption like no other time in history. Internet users can’t get enough of learning new things, providing the way it’s delivered is in keeping with their user behaviour.

Often brands believe their work should be kept behind a veil of secrecy. For example, an electrician might say, “Why should I make a video about how to change a plug? I’m doing myself out of business!”

I believe this attitude is going against the culture of consumerism in this internet age.

The question instead should be, “How can we demonstrate how good we are at our job, and personable we are as people, while showing how to change a plug, so that when people need something more substantial done, they call us?”

Think about the type of content that would be valuable to your customers so that you’re front of mind. Perhaps a blog article telling people about your company history, a short video explaining how to do a simple task. If the quality is good, it’s worth investing the time and money into the content.

Then, almost all digital marketing channels are there for you to amplify this content. More video is consumed through Facebook now than YouTube, both massive audiences for you.

You want to build loyalty amongst your customers

This is the part of the customer journey that is always forgotten about.

You’ve got them through the door, they are the people most likely to buy from you again, so it’s vital that you have a strategy in place to encourage them back.

The best part is you have all their 1st party data, so adding them to specific email lists, or creating custom audiences on Google or Facebook to target advertising too is really easy. This is where remarketing comes in again, and rather than advertising a product they showed interest in but didn’t buy, you show them products similar to the ones they have bought before. A really effective strategy.

So when would digital marketing be not necessary?

You might think that the above reasons cover almost every business but that isn’t the case.

Let’s take a cake-making business that’s been going for 30 years. While it’s the perfect business to drive leads online, they might have a well-established customer list already and word-of-mouth marketing is all they need to succeed.

Or you might have an independent coffee brand that relies on people experiencing the product and trialling it before committing to becoming a supplier, in which case face-to-face marketing works the best.

The case can often be made for digital marketing for many businesses but if you sit down and analyse where you get the best results it might be the case that investing in digital for the sake of doing what everyone else is doing isn’t the best strategy. Of course, though, there are many opportunities to be had with it given the right business and that’s when investing in a digital marketing agency has the potential to drive great results.