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Words of Wisdom for New Business Entrants


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Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Business – Are You Lost or Found Online?

Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Get You Found Online

Now that you have a well crafted plan (Digital Marketing Strategy for Small Business – Begin with a Plan!), you can focus on being found online.

Steps to getting found

An online business audience consists of 1) search engine bots and 2) people, looking for something, who want to talk about you! Your online presence needs to appeal to both circles and your content (information) must be available in ways that suit both audiences.

How do you search for information on the web?  Do you type in phrases to generate a search engine results page (SERP)?  Your customers do the same thing.  If you want to be found by a) people looking for your products and services or b) your target audience, it is important to provide a consistent presence across all chosen online portals e.g. website, blog, Facebook, etc.  Content helps you get found online.  Remember to keep your message simple, fresh and consistent.  Use imagery, keywords and tagging and always send people to your website, to a landing page specifically addressing your topic or to your social media sites.

Are you good at giving directions?

Online visibility is only as strong as the map you create.  Search (organic and paid) outcomes are based on the quality and relevancy of links you build (both incoming and outbound) and the keywords you attach to your content.  Start by:

a) considering the top five words that apply to your business
b) asking your customers to do the same.   How did they find you?
c) using Google Adwords to review keywords that people generally use
d) using Google Analytics to identify keyword trends of visitors to your site.

Are you proud of your Digital Shop Window?

Did you know 1.6 mio people in Ireland have a smart phone and 1.2 mio people have access to a tablet.  Your website is your digital shop window.

  • Does your website work from a mobile perspective?
  • Is it easy to read, of interest and relevant to your target audience?
  • Is it search engine friendly – can it be found by search engines so that people are directed to you?
  • Does your use of keywords get you on or close to the first page of search engines for your identified search terms?
  • Is the site easy to update?  Do you have a content management system?  Are you in control of your website?  Do you have to wait for and pay someone else for updates?
  • Is your website regularly updated – will your visitor see something new on each visit?
  • Is your site browser and device friendly?  Does it launch properly on different internet browsers e.g. Explorer, Chrome, Safari?
  • Have you signed up, embedded the code and used Google Analytics for all site pages?
  • How quickly does your site load – do you keep your visitor waiting?
  • Do you have a ‘Call to Action’ and encourage site visitors to do something e.g. sign up for a newsletter, provide an email address, contact your business or like your Facebook page.
  • Is your website something you are proud of?

Why start a Blog?

The statistics show you get more leads if you blog on your website.   Each blog post generates its own URL, has your keywords in the Title and Headings and delivers multiple signposts to Search Engines indexing material, thus creating more traffic opportunities for you.  Blogs can be easily created using Content Management System software (e.g. http://www.wordpress.com) that allow you add content without relying on technical support.  Blogging can help build your network  particularly when your content is useful, interesting and focused on the reader. 

Visibility + Credibility = Profitability 

Networking takes time and effort.  People want to get to know you, like you, trust you before they do business with you.  Social media is the vehicle for communicating and distributing interesting content across the internet.  In turn, readers share the content they think is compelling.  For example, Facebook will enable you approach your audience in a more relaxed tone, you can encourage activity through competitions, loyalty events, by adding comments to and sharing from other pages to build your profile.

Using social media news feeds provides a business with quick, easy and cost effective ways to broadcast information and make an impact.

Insert - Benefits of social media marketing

No more Hide and Seek

A connected marketing strategy, using traditional and digital channels, will publicise your digital contact points on all printed material and reuse your content across chosen channels.  Promote your website and Blog on your chosen social media channels.  Close your connection circle by adding social media buttons to your website to encourage sharing.  Use the website as your anchor and extend your presence across multiple sites as skills develop or you can dedicate increased business resources to your digital activities.  It does take time but this is not a process, it’s an integral part of business today.

Onwards and upwards – Sasha T♣

New to digital marketing  – you may find this glossary helpful.  A to D  /  E  to O    / P to W 

References:


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

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♣