The Covid-19 crisis has certainly brought home how important it is for companies to have a digital presence. But as a busy business owner, it can be difficult to know where to start – and all too easy to feel overwhelmed and end up trying to be ‘all things to all people’ online.
Social media is a prime example. Don’t feel you have to jump on the social media bandwagon simply because everyone else is doing it!
Online marketing activities
Without a clear digital plan and strategy in place for your online activities, you’re at risk of falling into the ‘back to front marketing’ trap. Instead of panicking and rushing into things, take the time to work out where your business needs to be online. Analyse your current activities to find out what’s working well and what isn’t, and put some realistic goals in place around what you want to achieve.
Assuming your business has an up to date website, here are three areas to focus on which will help you get your online marketing back on track.
- Blog writing
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimisation” and if you want to increase the quality AND quantity of visitors to your website, blogs can help you do this. You can research and use ‘long tail’ keywords and phrases that will help your audience find you online. Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush are useful for identifying both short and long-tail keywords. Also, try using websites like Askthepublic.com or Quora to find out what questions people are asking about your industry sector, then use your blog articles to answer them.
When writing your blogs, talk to your audience using language they understand. Don’t get carried away with industry jargon and buzz words, unless you’re confident these will resonate with prospective clients. Look at how your audience communicate with each other online (on social media and discussion forums for example) and adapt your language and tone of voice to match theirs.
Building up a successful blog takes time, but you’ll ultimately be rewarded for your content creation efforts. Google and other search engines love relevant, well-optimised content that isn’t overly ‘salesy’ and, in time, you should find more visitors coming to your website. In turn, this should result in more enquiries, more leads and – ultimately – more sales and higher profits.
READ MORE: Benefits of blogging for businesses
- Email marketing
In my view, email marketing is social media’s often-overlooked cousin. But it’s easier than you think to get started. Build up some GDPR-compliant mailing lists and send regular newsletters with hints and tips, company news and snippets from your latest blogs with ‘Read more’ links to each article. Also, include relevant links to your main website pages where people can find out more about your products and services.
Including links will help with SEO, too, as more people will visit your website and the search engines will respond to this and boost your rankings accordingly. Email marketing platforms such as MailChimp provide detailed reports that will let you see how many people have opened your emails and clicked on the various links, making it easy to analyse campaign performance and tweak as required.
READ MORE: Building compliant email marketing lists
- Social media
As noted above, the ‘bull at a gate’ approach to social media just won’t work. You need to find out where your potential clients are spending time online and identify the right platforms for your business, which may not be the ones you’re using currently. Use the social media insights and analytical tools available on all the major platforms to evaluate the success of your posts.
Things you need to include: Which channels are getting you the most followers and highest audience engagement levels? Which types of posts are getting the most engagement (likes, shares and comments)? Do your audience tend to prefer written posts, posts with images or videos, posts using hashtags and so on? What days and times are your posts reaching the most people?
Answering these questions will help you to formulate and refine a social media strategy that works for your business – instead of trying to talk to everyone at once.
You should also look at which social media groups you could join on each platform, such as groups dedicated to your industry sector or forums where you can speak directly to your target audience. If you can’t find suitable groups, set up your own.
Another good idea is to practise social listening. This means monitoring your social media channels for feedback and direct mentions of your business, or discussions around specific keywords, topics, competitors or sectors, followed by analysing this information to give you powerful insights into your audience and help you to spot and act on opportunities.
READ MORE: Managing your business social media accounts
Next steps: Search and paid advertising
All three digital marketing activities we’ve looked at above are what’s known as “organic”. In other words, the cost is in the time spent on implementation and premium software tools. Once these key digital areas have been set up and evaluated, you can start thinking about search engine marketing (SEM) – better known as Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns – and paid advertising on social media.
Using the insights from your organic activities, you’ll be able to create search and social advertising strategies that are designed specifically with your ideal customers in mind, and that use language and visual content you know will resonate with them. It’s important to do it this way around because if you approach paid activities before organic, you won’t have these insights to inform your approach – another example of back to front marketing!
Sound like a lot of hard work?
Outsource your online marketing
At the end of the day, digital marketing isn’t your business area of expertise. Your time is precious and it’s best spent doing what you do best. Managing your online activities can be time-consuming and distract you from focusing on the day job. What’s more, you might simply not want to do it even when you know it’s necessary.
So, if you lack the time, skill or inclination to manage your digital marketing, why not ask Imagine to take care of it for you? We can look after everything, from putting a strategy in place through to delivering your chosen activities, evaluating and reporting on their performance – and even keep you up to date with ever-changing online trends.
I can work with you to put a practical, well thought out digital marketing strategy and plan in place. With my help, your business can turn around its online presence and take the right digital steps, so you can achieve your goals and get the results you want.
Let’s get prospects to your website – not your competitors’!
My overarching goal is to improve your website’s visibility by turning your other digital marketing activities around. By identifying and targeting your audience successfully using blogs, email marketing, social media and paid advertising, you can turn back to front marketing into common-sense strategy and online success.
Book your online marketing consultation today
To kickstart your internet marketing, give me a call on 01636 922 747 and book a one-hour internet consultation to discuss your challenges and aspirations. Or, fill in my quick online contact form and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Chartered Marketer and CIM Fellow offering a personal and tailored web consultancy service to UK business owners and self-employed professionals. I formed Imagine Digital Marketing in December 2016 and I really enjoy helping my clients make the most of online opportunities.