Digital Marketing, if utilized correctly, can be a powerful tool for any business. A comprehensive approach not only raises visibility and informs your target audience, but can also help in business development and shortens the sales cycle.
One of the biggest challenges we’re seeing, not only with our clients, but on an industry-wide basis, is that the sales process is changing, moving away from traditional sales tactics, particularly outbound calling. With tools like search engines, social media, websites/blog, email marketing, people are now equipped to do their own research, creating an environment the renders the intrusive task of cold calling inefficient.
To continue to be successful, businesses of any type, retail, business services, manufacturing, must find a way to integrate a comprehensive approach to digital marketing into their marketing strategy, in a way that helps achieve overall company strategic goals, and in a way that can be measured efficiently.
8 Components of a Comprehensive Digital Marketing Plan That Works for Your Business
The website is essentially the “home base” for all your digital marketing activities. Any marketing done online should ultimately drive traffic to your website (hopefully) yearning for more information. At this point you can use any number of online tools to capture and track leads as they move throughout the buying cycle to a point where they are ready to contact you.
A blog, or “web-log” as it was called in the infancy of mainstream internet (a mere 20 years ago) allows any business to become a publisher, putting out original content, reports, commenting on news in their industry, keeping their audience up-to-date on company progress, and any number of things.
Many blogs have become reputable sources, and almost every news outlet utilizes blogs now – why not your business. Use your blog to educate your audience on a basic level designed to leave them wanting more
3) Email Marketing
Email Marketing provides a way to stay in front of prospects and your existing customer base to deliver information, offers and updates on a regular basis. As many digital marketers say, “the money is in the list.” Your email list is a coveted asset, difficult to build and maintain, but essential to driving sales.
Email marketing and permission to do so is a privilege, not to be abused. Email communications must be valuable and attractive or email marketing can most certainly work against you.
4) Social Media
Social media is by far the most versatile yet challenging digital marketing tool. If you’re not careful you can literally spend your entire work week managing and engaging your audience on social media. And, businesses, let’s not forget that social media was not originally created as a marketing tool for businesses. Or, for that matter, a marketing tool at all. That being said, it has worked tremendously well in the areas of marketing, sales, and customer service.
From a business point-of-view social media has two main uses:
As distribution vehicle for marketing communications
A way to interact with your audience – in a way not possible when traditional sales thrived.
In addition social media provides incredible branding opportunity – prospects can see who your company is not only through message, but through use of images and video. Social proof and evangelism are becoming increasingly important in purchasing decisions. One can go to a Facebook timeline and see what people are saying about you before they have even the first “direct” touch.
It’s alarming the dynamics in play social media, but that is what makes it such a powerful tool. The trick is to put an agile strategy in place with metrics that can be tied back to concrete performance measures.
Gone are the days of phone books, it’s all about keywords now. People are searching for what they need on Google, and Google has a lot more rules than you’d think. Your website and blog must be optimized and play within Google’s rules to get on that first SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Chances are if you’re not there, or even on the second page, then you’re going to lose that lead to a better-equipped competitor. Penalization for poor SEO practices is one thing, but ignorance can be just as detrimental.
All of these digital marketing tools are good on their own, but the real value lies in having a system in place to make all them work together for you, all the while representing a clear and consistent image of your brand and business. Creating an environment that informs and draws leads in, rather than the traditional “pull” tactics, will produce a funnel of high-quality leads with real needs.
7) Customer Research, Feedback & Profiling
The internet contains an amazing amount of information that you can use in prospecting and developing targeted communications. You can use this information to create in depth buyer profiles and create targeted marketing to any particular type of prospect. Further, you can develop different types of messages and pieces of content for potential buyers at different stages of the purchasing process. Once they do decide to buy, they will already have all the information they need.
In addition, the web makes it significantly easier than it has been historically to elicit feedback on new ideas, existing products, new legislation or news in your industry, or any number of other things, all of which helps you target and communicate more effectively.
8) Analysis and Reporting
The web has incredible marketing potential at comparatively low cost to that of traditional advertising and sales programs. However without fundamental metrics, benchmarking and analysis of data, you’re flying in the wind. A plan must be in place to decipher and deliver this data in a form that can be easily comprehended and used to improve future marketing.
The sales function is not dead by any means, just the manner in which it has been utilized pre-digital marketing. Once the prospect is “in the door” then qualified sales personnel must take full control. Leading up to that point, however, there is a great deal of education and interaction that must happen in the digital space, building trust that will ultimately lead a prospect to reach out to you, willing to receive more information or set up that first meeting. At the very least, when you do call them, it won’t be a “cold” call.
Creating a comprehensive digital marketing plan that will help develop business and produce sales is by no means an easy feat. It will take time, several bouts of trial and error, and significant teamwork among the different functional areas of your business to produce high-quality, practical and targeted content. That being said, a fully integrated digital marketing system is something that can’t be ignored if you are to keep pace with and exceed your competition at any point in the future.
Not sure the digital marketing system you have in place is working for your business? Want a review of your web marketing activities? Endorphin Advisors Web Marketing Audit might be the thing for you. Request a Web Marketing Audit today.