Successful digital marketing doesn’t happen on its own. You may think that you’re off to the races once you hire a marketing manager and set up a few social media profiles. But you won’t make it out of the gate unless you’re willing to devote time and resources to your digital marketing campaign.
Successful digital marketing for small businesses needs a strategic plan, commitment to consistency and regular campaign monitoring to know which efforts are paying off. And if your current digital marketing initiatives aren’t producing results, it might be time to leave your current marketing agency. To get you started on the right path, I’ve outlined four keys to successful digital marketing for small businesses.
1) A Clear Digital Marketing Strategy
The path to successful digital marketing begins with a clear-cut strategy. It gives your company a framework for executing your marketing activities. In addition to keeping your business on track, a marketing strategy helps because:
- You can plan your marketing budget
- Data sharing between departments increases
- You can prepare for special staffing needs
- Continuous improvement becomes a key goal
Nearly half of all marketers who use digital marketing have no strategy at all. This is actually good news if developing your small business marketing strategy is a top priority, as it puts you ahead of the competition. And if you don’t have a clear-cut strategy, it’s time to craft one.
2) A Stellar Social Media Plan
Just being on social media won’t cut it. You need to craft a plan that identifies a purpose for each social media channel and outlines exactly how you plan to execute your social media marketing tasks. But you also need a well-orchestrated schedule to carry out posting and engagement to prevent duplicate efforts. Here are some key elements that your social media plan should include:
A Keen Understanding of Your Audience
A solid awareness of audience needs and pain points is the foundation of an effective social media plan. You’ll get a better understanding of your audience by pinpointing your target demographic, then identifying the most appropriate platforms for that audience.
Clear Digital Marketing Objectives
What exactly do you want to accomplish with social media? Want to generate leads? Or do you want to use your social media presence to establish yourself as an industry expert? The social media platform(s) you choose should reflect your goals.
A Social Media Calendar
If you are serious about increasing your social media presence, you need to create a social media calendar to stay on top of your social activities. CoSchedule is just one example of a user-friendly tool with social media calendar templates to organize your social media posts, articles, videos and photos.
The Latest Social Media Tools
There are countless tools to help you reach your social media goals. A few of these include Canva, BuzzSumo, Feedly, Google Trends and Animoto. Some provide quick access to data, like how your posts are performing over time, while others help you easily create stunning social media images.
A Commitment to Regular Engagement
Even the best social media plan in the world will fail without a commitment to staying actively engaged with users. If you can’t devote a few minutes each day to engaging on social media, you should entrust this task to a team member or an agency.
3) Consistency Across the Board
“A consistent positioning helps marketers stay “on point” with regard to messaging and overall experience. And when there is consistency between brand positioning and the digital activation that results from it, consumers experience the brand in the way it’s intended to be experienced – whether they encounter the brand at a pop-up stand or in an online article.”
– Mitch Duckler, Managing Partner of FullSurge
Consistency is one of the least sexy aspects of successful digital marketing for small businesses. But without it, your brand will never gain market recognition and traction. Even changing one logo color can detract from your digital marketing efforts. Imagine how confused consumers would be if Target suddenly changed their brand colors from red and white to blue and white. Achieving consistency requires sustained focus in five key areas:
Buyer Persona Consistency
Sticking to your buyer personas will help you focus on captivating your audience and ensure that you don’t deviate from your objectives. Buyer personas can especially help companies with multiple locations communicate a unified message from one location to the next.
Visual consistency is just as important as consistency with your copy. Consumers develop trust for your brand by associating a familiar logo with your brand. Brand strategist Taughnee Stone describes that you’ll know if yoo’ve achieved visual consistency because, “If your brand visuals start to feel a little repetitive and boring for you, that means you’re doing it right.”
Do you invite your customers to subscribe to your monthly newsletter? Or advertise a month-end clearance each month? If so, make sure you’re prepared to distribute useful content each month. If you fail to deliver content according to your usual schedule, you could lose trust from prospects who look forward to hearing from you.
Your brand message should be uniform across locations, social media profiles and other online channels. For example, Taco Bell is known for humor in their advertisements. Their humorous tone crosses between Twitter and Facebook to maintain consistency and ensure that their personality is ingrained into consumers’ minds.
Customer Journey Consistency
Any buyer who’s been blown away by a salesperson, only to be disappointed with shoddy post-sale service can tell you how frustrating it can be to deal with brand and message consistency that falls apart after their purchase. As you execute digital marketing, remember the customer journey doesn’t end after a purchase. Continue to deliver the same brand message in your post-sale marketing initiatives.
4) Measurement of Results
“Measurement is what makes marketing a science, rather than a superstition…This is because the return on investment on marketing is, in many cases, unpredictable. Your ad could be a resounding hit, flooding you with thousands of new interested customers, or it could be a seeming dud, wasting your time and money. Solid metrics give you the insight to overcome this hurdle of unpredictability.”
– Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom
As a business owner or marketing director, you want to see that your digital marketing efforts are delivering a high ROI. That means you need to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) in two areas: your conversions and the behavior of your website visitors.
Measuring conversions is straightforward, especially if you use Google Analytics. There are five key metrics you should review to determine whether a digital marketing campaign has positively influenced customer behavior:
- Closed sales through your online sales platform
- Sales closed in retail stores that are the result of your marketing efforts
- Leads received from customers who complete online web inquiry forms
- Closed sales and leads generated by phone calls
- Leads and inquiries generated by your online chat platform
Another way to measure digital marketing success is to review user behavior on your site. In particular, you need to determine which marketing campaigns are driving the most traffic to your website. Additionally, you should track the total amount of time visitors spend on your site and the number of page views per visit.
Most importantly, make sure that you understand the positive or negative impact that your marketing campaigns have on these two KPIs so you can adjust your marketing strategy moving forward. In a nutshell, you need to keep using the marketing campaigns that are producing significant results and eliminate those that failed to positively influence customer behavior or increase traffic.
The Bottom Line of Digital Marketing
Successful digital marketing is the cornerstone of success for today’s small businesses. While there is no marketing silver bullet to guarantee overnight success, you can run successful digital marketing for small businesses like your own by paying special attention to a few key areas. When you’re armed with a well-orchestrated digital marketing strategy and an actionable social media plan, you’ll see the results that you want from your digital marketing efforts.