Creating a digital marketing strategy from scratch can seem like a monumental task. You’re not only dealing with the basic marketing of your website, but also the social media aspect, email marketing, and search engine marketing. It’s a lot to think about and to cover.
Why do you need a digital marketing strategy?
It’s possible you’re handling some or all of these marketing avenues right now and you’re doing well. That’s awesome. There are a lot of small businesses that operate just fine without a digital marketing strategy and they will continue to operate just fine. But the keywords here are “just fine”.
Odds are, your digital marketing strategy isn’t covering all your bases and you’re leaving potential clients out there to dig through the digital muck unguided. It’s possible they’ll find their way to you, but it’s equally possible they’ll find their way to one of your competitors.
A digital marketing strategy helps you create a plan to obtain and retain customers. By creating a strategy, you’re creating a blueprint that you can follow and refer back to as you move forward with digital marketing.
Before I get to the steps, let me make one note. I said at the top of this article that creating a digital marketing strategy can be a monumental task. One of the keys to making sure that you’re successful is to break your strategy down into easy to manage pieces. Which is why this is just part one of the strategy, setting you out on the path to success. The second part will come a little later in the year.
Step 1: Get Noticed
One of the first things you want to map out in your digital marketing strategy is how you’re going to get customers to notice you. This is not just for new companies that have yet to make an impression; it’s also for established companies looking to expand their reach.
I was talking to my mom the other day about a new Thai restaurant she had just eaten at. She said she was talking to the server and was shocked to find the restaurant had been there for a year and a half. My mom had only noticed the restaurant in the past month.
Here’s the point. In marketing, there’s this thing called the Rule of 7. The website Tutorials Point breaks it down pretty well and the basic idea is this: “…the prospective buyer should hear or see the marketing message at least seven times before they buy from you.” In other words, it’s going to take a least seven impressions before anyone even realizes you’re there.
In the social media age, where potential customers are inundated with advertisements and information, that seven impressions is actually much more.
You need to place your company in a person’s peripheral vision so that it slowly works its way to his line of sight. Social media ads are a great way to do this because they’re cheap and innocuous. Even if they’re not clicked on, they’re noticed and read.
You can also place your company at the top of the list in search engine marketing. Google is always running discounts on Google Ads for new companies. These are free impressions you can take advantage of.
Getting noticed will likely lead to a very tiny amount of new customers, but it’s laying the groundwork for what you need in the future and that’s essential to any digital marketing strategy.
Make sure you are constantly doing this step, even if you’re starting to see an actual surge in business. You want to keep catching new customers and making impressions. It may take seven impressions to get one customer’s attention, and 21 impressions to get another customer’s attention. Don’t stop at 20 and lose that other customer.
Step 2: Strike Up a Conversation
Let me start out by saying there’s no selling here. None. This is all about getting someone to trust you. Use your social media posts and your blog to converse with your audience. Make it interactive. Ask a question; conduct a poll.
There’s a radio DJ in my hometown that does a really good job of this on Facebook. He asks viewers questions like, “What’s your favorite family holiday tradition?” and “Which New Year’s resolution did not happen in 2018?”. In other words, he asks questions that anyone can answer and people want to answer. People love sharing their stories and a piece of themselves.
Make your customers feel heard.
Step 3: Get Connected and Stay Connected
Now that they know who you are and they feel like they’re getting to know you and vice versa, here’s your chance to get connected and stay connected. Use those links that you post on social media to gather other information. Ask for an email address and add it to your mailing list. Use it to build connections on your Facebook and Instagram and Twitter accounts.
If they visit your website, make sure you’re asking for an email address before they leave so you can stay connected. Then use that connection to continue to deliver useful, intelligent, and quality content.
Step 4: Make a Small Sale
Yes, we have finally reached the sales point of this article. Obviously, all this work is aimed at making the sale, but you want to start small. Offering someone a $5,000 package during their first visit is like proposing marriage on a first date. It might work, but it probably won’t and it will probably scare off a potential customer forever.
Offer something small, such as a consulting session at 50% off or a free introductory meeting. Let someone experience working with you without putting forward a lot of money.
Make a small sale so you can make the big sale down the road.
Step 5: Offer Great Customer Service
Once you make the sale, do not make the mistake of forgetting about the customer. Follow up to make sure the service was great. Address issues if there are any. Do what you can to bend over backwards to keep the customer happy.
You are building a relationship with this customer and a relationship requires checking in with one another. Once you make that sale, follow up in a month or two to find out how they’re liking the item. If it’s something that needs to be replenished like toilet paper, send a follow up email when you think the person might be running out. I can’t tell you how many times Amazon has reminded me I need to restock.
Stay Consistent, Stay on Track
When it comes to a digital marketing strategy, remember that you cannot skimp on the steps. You need to make sure that you’re doing Steps 1 through 5 and working hard on all of them or your strategy could fall apart. If you jump ahead, you’re not building the necessary foundation to build a lasting relationship with your customers.
Written by Erika Towne