So, your SME has grand plans to launch a glitzy and clever digital marketing strategy. Surely nothing can go wrong? But where do you start? Getting your online operation enticing new enquiries – and sales – is the tricky bit, and not everyone has quite got it right yet.
Avoid getting into a digital daze and take a look at ten fast facts you should know to ensure you avoid digital marketing’s most common pitfalls.
1) If you use a marketing agency, make sure it’s a good one!
There are countless specialist companies in the marketplace offering to help you out along the way, many of them making exciting plans which they can struggle to deliver. In the digital age, a lot of marketing agencies have jumped on the bandwagon to keep themselves going in a very competitive marketplace.
Before you engage a company’s services, make sure you get references, preferably from other SMEs, to make sure you’re employing the right people to get your business growing digitally. And don’t forget, measuring your digital marketing success is easy so get them to show you the statistics that illustrate their success.
2) Market your website
It’s no good having an all singing, all dancing website which has cost a small fortune if there’s no one looking at it. You have to make sure you take your website to the people, and not wait for them to come to you.
Getting your website out there takes some effort, but your hard work will be rewarded down the line with a growing audience and number of paying customers. To market your website, social media is crucial. Keep linking to your site from Twitter and Facebook and also make sure your search engine optimisation (SEO) is spot-on. Get to the top of the list on Google and you’ll notice a big difference.
PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns such as Google AdWords is also an effective way to promote your website, as are regular expert and advice articles and blogs about your company and the industry in which it operates.
3) Speak to your audience
In the age of social media, it is important to engage with your audience – they expect it and, let’s face it, it isn’t that difficult to do – but it does take a little time. Sometimes we all get so focused on keeping on message with our brand that we forget to talk to our customers who are interested in our products and services. Being responsive to customer enquiries, commenting on current issues in the media and knowing what’s important to your prospect customers is a ‘must have’ in your social media planning.
4) Don’t commit to doing too much
When entering the world of digital marketing, be realistic about what it is you need to do. If you set your stall out to conquer the world with an all-encompassing website that needs updating regularly, an intense email marketing campaign that needs new data and social media interaction that needs to be engaging, you can easily overstretch yourself.
Make sure you focus on what your potential customer needs, find them and follow them – and make sure you are taking notice of topics trending in your followers’ social media chatter.
Plus, don’t EVER buy your own brand name as a Google AdWords! Customers entering your exact name into a search engine will more likely than not click on the sponsored link and not the natural search below. Each hit will cost you and it will get expensive over time.
5) Don’t do too little
Conversely, don’t start a digital marketing campaign with too little an effort. If you’re going to launch a marketing drive, be selective. Think, what will make an impact and combine several elements to produce a balanced approach.
Ideally it’s most productive to start a PPC campaign, along with a press release, social media interaction, blogging, an email newsletter/e-shot/s-briefing and quality SEO on your website.
A good rule is to make sure every positive action you take should have five things to promote it.
6) Social media commitment
Never leave your social media channels, like Twitter and Facebook, unmanned for too long. Yes, you can use automated messages to interact with your followers, but they are not a replacement for a real human interacting in real time.
Social media is a golden opportunity for you to connect with your customers, so it’s vital to show them a human face in return and make them feel valued.
7) Be consistent across all channels
Make sure the message you send out in your digital marketing is the same across all channels you are using. It’s no good saying one thing in a press release and in your email marketing material and another on Twitter. You can tailor your message for different audiences, but make sure the essence of what you are saying is the same.
8) Quality over quantity – don’t be afraid of targeted email marketing
People often say that e-shots are a waste of time, with the recipient likely sending your carefully prepared marketing material straight into the trash. But the point of email marketing is not just to attract new customers, it’s there to put your brand in front of people who already know you and what you do.
Of course, if you’ve never heard of a company sending out a newsletter, or if it appears irrelevant, the chance are you will delete it straight away. That’s why you should never buy lists or data, no matter how good the prices may be.
A list of past and present contacts and customers are far more likely to be receptive to your marketing campaign. Quality over quantity is the message here – a few dozen customers from a few hundred emails is better than none from a few thousand.
Having a ‘subscribe to newsletter’ button on your website is helpful – people subscribing are far more likely to engage with emails sent out to them.
9) Be mobile focused
The number of people accessing the internet using mobiles or tablets is growing rapidly. Make sure your website is fully functional on all devices to make the most of your online presence. It is more important in certain sectors, such as shopping, and less so in other areas like manufacturing, but ensuring compatibility is an important step.
10) Don’t be afraid to spend money
Putting your company’s hard-earned cash into digital marketing may seem like a big step to take – but it is now more effective than traditional marketing and is proven to get results. Don’t waste money, either, on elements of marketing which may not be right for your company and also don’t see digital marketing as a cost-saving exercise.
Getting the most from your campaign means choosing the right channels and the correct messages you want to get over to your potential customers. That takes planning and careful tactical delivery.
Again, if you outsource your digital marketing, make sure you choose the right partner with the right experience to get the job done.