“Your customers live online. You should too.”
Mastering your SMB’s digital strategy
Find out what the components are of a comprehensive and in-depth digital strategy that will make you a leader in digital marketing
That’s what Jasmin Bollman, the social media and content marketing manager for Rebel.com, says.
Most business owners acknowledge the importance of having an online presence nowadays. It’s common for a company to have its own website and social media profiles. However, a survey by Smart Insights found that nearly 50 percent of businesses don't have a clearly defined plan for their digital footprint.
In today’s mobile and connected world, mastering digital marketing is essential for a business to thrive.
If you’re looking to develop a great digital strategy, here are four components to keep in mind:
Social media marketing
“Don’t stretch yourself thin by trying to sign up for and maintain a presence on every social media platform,” says Bollman. “Just because they exist doesn’t mean you need to be there.”
Facebook’s total advertising revenue was $9.16 billion in the second quarter of 2017, a figure that indicates that social media advertising should be front and centre when you advertise online.
As Bollman notes, not all small and midsize businesses have dedicated resources to manage social media full-time. But that shouldn’t be an excuse for small businesses to ignore social media as a way to connect with their customers and promote their brand.
“Make time to interact with your audience on the platforms you are active on,” she says. “This means to like, retweet and talk with them. Remember that the key part of social media is that it’s social.”
To make the most out of social media, take some time to read what your audience is saying about you, your competitors and the rest of the market. If you’re a small organization, there are plenty of free social media monitoring tools that can help you with that.
“Many businesses make the mistake of only using their digital platforms to sell,” says Bollman. “What you should be doing is adding value to your followers’ online experience by providing them with interesting, timely and relevant content.”
Nowadays, most companies are publishing articles and blog posts to attract visitors to their websites. Publishing content that is relevant for your customers and aligns with your business’s value proposition means that customers are more likely to find you when they search for those topics online.
Don’t be afraid of reusing and recycling: adapting the content you write to different formats including infographics, videos and webinars will make your digital strategy stand out.
“Sharing the stories of our customers through in-depth blog posts has been a big driver of engagement,” says Bollman. “Not only do the featured customers have a great piece of content that they can share on their own social media platforms, but the posts also inspire readers to take action.”
Pay-per-click marketing (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO)
If you’re an Internet user, studies show you are likely to use a search engine to look for information, find a local business or read about new trends.
Great content encourages your readers to link to your pages. If you use keywords and phrases that individuals might type into a search engine, they are more likely to find your business online. This is what digital marketers call SEO—the process of optimizing your website content to get website traffic from organic search results.
Alternatively, there’s PPC marketing. PPC marketing is simply pay-per-click, where the advertiser only pays a fee when someone clicks on that ad. Additionally, PPC allows advertisers to pay search engines like Google a fee for their ad to show up first when a keyword related to the ad is searched.
Which one should you use? A local business with little competition has a better chance of appearing first in organic search results because you’re engaging with a smaller, more niche market. Furthermore, if you’re running a business with a niche product, you’ll have better success catching the eyes of potential customers by appearing first on search engine sites.
There are many ways SEO and PPC can complement each other and lead to a more successful search strategy. Before deciding, be clear about your digital marketing goals.
With the help of email marketing tools, you can deliver beautifully designed communications to thousands of inboxes in minimal time.
For example, notable platforms such as MailChimp allow you to send a personalized email to thousands of subscribers, with the option of scheduling them in the future, and while taking into consideration the time zones of your recipients.
Tips for your email strategy include emailing people with a clear goal in mind and avoiding sending repetitive emails with bulky information.
A really exciting development for every email marketing pro is to use a platform such as HubSpot, which allows you to save templates of emails, which can save you time. HubSpot is proven to transform leads into sales while connecting with customers with less effort.
Staying human behind the screen
Finally, the most important requirement for a great digital strategy is to find your own voice.
“People want to know that there is a human behind that email or Twitter handle, so don’t be afraid to show your personality online,” says Bollman.