WOW Digital Marketing

Words of Wisdom for New Business Entrants

Digital Marketing Strategy for Small Business – Begin With a Plan!

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Ready to create a Digital Marketing Strategy for your Small Business?  

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Having recognised the need for ‘digital’, what should you prioritise? Who is going to work on developing your Digital Marketing presence and how do you begin? This article will outline key considerations to assist in your business planning.

The introduction of the internet changed the manner in which people and organisations communicate with mass audiences.  With sophisticated marketing and communication tools available through social networks, digital marketing has had to change dramatically.  Digital Marketing (DM) is defined as the management and execution of marketing using electronic media (such as the web and email) and digital data about customers’ characteristics and behaviour (Chaffey et. al 2009).  It is complementary to traditional marketing methods and a successful DM strategy is one which is integrated into business activities.

Begin with a Plan!

Before you plan, you need to really understand your business from both an inside and outside perspective.  I find a framework helps focus the mind in this regard.  I suggest you look at an excellent 6 step framework developed by Chaffey and Smith (2009:p211) – the SOSTAC planning framework applied to digital internet marketing strategy development.

 1. Situation Analysis  Where are we now?
 2. Objectives  Where do we want to be?
 3. Strategy  How do we get there?
 4. Tactics  How exactly do we get there (details)?
 5. Actions  Who does what and when i.e. details of tactics?
 6. Control  How do we measure performance?

More  can be found here or visit http://www.smartinsights.com/ where you can access a number of useful guides on the subject.

Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Like any plan, the first step is to conduct a situation analysis.  Where are you now as a business?  What is your online marketplace?  What are your business capabilities?  Complete a SWOT analysis on your internet and digital presence.  Consider your micro environment and also factors in your macro environment that impact customer analysis and competitor benchmarking:

MicroE Your customer Your Market Your Competitor Your Potential Partners
MacroE Social Legal Environment Political Technology

How will social media channels ‘plug into’ your tactics?

When developing a business plan, Carvill and Taylor (2013: p14) recommend you consider how social media channels will be ‘plugged into’ your tactics.  They suggest you ask and answer the following questions to guide you as to which channel and what content strategy to adopt:

  • What is your business goal?
  • Who is your audience – what do they look like, what is their frame of mind, who are they influenced by?
  • Where is your audience – which social channels are they using, where are they based geographically, what time do they read posts?
  • How do you connect with your targets in a compelling way – what is going to engage your audience, compel them to ‘share’ and get others engaged?
  • How do you keep your conversation continuous – move beyond ‘like’ to a longer term engagement?
  • How do you get your audience to recommend you to others – word of mouth on social media has potential to go ‘viral’!

Insert - Commonly used social media platforms

Test, Review, Evaluate, Test …

Having a plan of action and knowing what your want to achieve are critical starting blocks for any business goal and it is no different for your DM strategy.  Digital Marketing is aimed at your customer – so you should be thinking what are your customer needs and what do you know about them.  Timelines for digital channels are much shorter than traditional marketing so you should have a vision for the year ahead but be flexible and focus on the next 90 days.  Remember to state your assumptions when setting specific objectives (this will help you evaluate how matters develop).  This is your plan, so use language that you and your team can understand and relate to.  This is a critical living document for your business so review it regularly and update as changes are required.

What do you need to know and where do you find it?

There are many information sources available to you.  Use your networks to talk to fellow entrepreneurs – who did their website, which channels did they adopt; what training courses or grants are available?  Sourcing student academic books will give a good background and provide reference sources (always something useful to have in the office); and of course, the World Wide Web which has too much information and will consume your time if you are not disciplined in what you read!!

Having said that, I attach some references if you would like to read more!  Do remember to share this post if you enjoyed the article.

Onward and Upward – SashaT♣

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