Getting started with digital strategy

Lois JewellDigital Marketing

Getting started with digital strategy

As a business owner keen to tackle the problem of generating more quality leads, you know that something in your sales and marketing efforts needs to change. You know that more of your prospects are researching online than ever before and that most are over half-way to reaching their purchase decision before they even think about contacting you.

The one thing that’s clear is that mailing out a postcard and giving everyone in your team a quota of cold calls every week just isn’t going to cut it.

That’s where this digital marketing thing that you’ve heard so much about comes in.

Put simply, digital marketing is any form of marketing that you undertake online. And while it might be tempting to simply transfer your old-school marketing tactics to a new digital channel, a successful digital marketing strategy needs a new way of thinking.

So what exactly is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is an umbrella term for all your online marketing efforts – from your website to social media to email.

Here are some of the tactics that would typically feature in a digital marketing strategy:

  • Search Engine Optimisation – optimizing your website to rank higher in organic search engine results;
  • Content Marketing – creating and using content assets to build awareness, generate leads and close sales;
  • Social Media Marketing – using social media channels to promote your business and content assets and engage in a two-way dialogue with your customers;
  • Pay-Per-Click – driving traffic to your website by paying a publisher every time your advertisement is clicked;
  • Email Marketing – using email to promote content, discounts, events or to drive customers and prospects to your website;

Engaging with your customers and prospects online means you need to have engaging, relevant and interesting content to share, and so digital marketing also requires investment in the creation of content assets. These can include:

  • Your website
  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks and whitepapers
  • Infographics
  • Video
  • Interactive tools (an ROI calculator for example)
  • Earned online coverage (PR, social media, and reviews)
  • Online brochures and lookbooks

Where does this ‘new way of thinking’ come into it?

The old school postcard mailer and cold-call follow-up approach are what’s known as push marketing tactics. That is, they aim to put your message in front of potential buyers, whether they’re interested or not.

Of course, you can replicate these tactics in a digital environment – think of those pop-up ads that appear when you’re trying to open an article on a news site – but it’s not likely to get you very far. In fact, consumers find online ads more intrusive than ever before and report lower opinions of brands that push their unwelcome marketing messages online.

Focusing your efforts on creating digital assets that are relevant and helpful to your target customers on the other hand is an approach based on pull tactics or inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.

Why digital marketing is the way to go

  • B2B researchers do 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. (Google, 2014)
  • B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015)
  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
  • 96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)

Where to start?

If you already have a website (and let’s face it, I don’t think you’d still be here reading this if you didn’t!) then you’ve already begun.  Whether you already have particular improvements in mind for your digital tactics, or what to step back and consider the role of digital tactics in your overall sales and marketing strategy, your digital marketing strategy needs:

  • A defined goal;
  • 100% alignment with your customer; and
  • The means to measure your progress.

Then the challenge becomes finding the time and resources to get it all done.

Last week the Queensland Government announced the Small Business Digital Grants Program, which may help somewhat in that department. This grant provides matched funding of up to $10,000 to help eligible businesses build their digital capability, which could be used for:

  • Formulating a digital marketing strategy;
  • Redeveloping your website to support your online strategy; and/or
  • Creating content assets such as video, ebooks or interactive tools to engage your prospects online.

Round 1 is open now and applications close on 9 December 2016. Peer Action can advise on digital marketing strategy and assist in preparing your submission. Please contact us for an obligation free chat.