Thursday, 9 October 2014

Why It's So Important to Have an Efficient Digital Marketing Strategy

Most traditional business owners don't have a full understanding of why it's so important to have an efficient digital marketing strategy. As recently as the 1990s, it was not standard for all businesses to have a presence online, but today, an efficient digital marketing strategy has the power to make or break your business.
Think about it. How many mom-and-pop organizations in your area depend on the foot traffic that walks past their front door? For example, I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where there are lots of small, locally-owned restaurants, and compared to the way things were back in the day, they're suffering to maintain a strong business because they're missing out on marketing channels their competition is taking advantage of. Yelp has done a good job of giving the small guy a shot at getting a bigger piece of the pie, but serious business owners will agree that they need to have their own understanding of how to leverage the internet in order to gain access to the masses.
An efficient digital marketing strategy always includes these basic components:
1. A solid social media presence
2. Promotions & email marketing strategy
3. A blog - your business' "home" on the web
Let's look at these in greater detail...
1. Social Media Presence: Social media is perhaps the easiest part of creating an efficient digital marketing strategy, and for new internet marketers, it's a great place to start. My suggestion is to start with a Facebook business page. Facebook has a total of approximately 1.25 billion users, and a brick-and-mortar business like a restaurant, salon, or a barber shop can be just about 100% sure that the people they're targeting are active on the site. Setting the page up is simple, and there are step by step instructions to insure you set up the right kind of page. And, based on your existing knowledge about the customer's "avatar", you can even pinpoint users in your geographic location who like "corned beef" or "barber shops"... or maybe even a competitor of yours. Once that's done, you simply create a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Eventually, you'll have a strong following that you can migrate out using an email signup form - a little more advanced, but that leads us to the second component in an efficient digital marketing strategy.
2. Promotions & Email Marketing: Promotions are important to every business. Here in the U.S., the fourth quarter of the year is when retailers make their final push for the end of the year, by taking advantage of the marketing opportunities provided by the holidays. This year, I actually saw the Halloween stores setting up shop in July! Since the downturn in the economy, businesses have pushed harder and harder to reach customers so they can hit their revenue goals. The four major holidays in the fourth quarter are Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Successful businesses of all sizes take advantage of these holidays by offering promotions to their customers and target market. Just think about all the emails you get from department stores (Labor Day Sales), craft and party supply stores (Labor, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas), grocery & department stores (Thanksgiving & Christmas), and the list goes on. Think of the cool promotions your business could run by leveraging the followers you've amassed on Facebook to announce an irresistible promotion you're offering to help them get ready for these holidays! By simply adding a form to your Facebook business page using an email autoreponder like Aweber or GetResponse, you can gather their email addresses to send them things like coupons, or exclusive store event invitations. Not only does this generate incremental revenue for your business, but it builds good will between you and your customers. It also helps you generate new business as your audience shares your content with their friends.
3. Blog: Having a blog is perhaps the most important part of creating an efficient digital marketing strategy. Most people who go into business do so because they're somewhat of an expert in their niche. If you open a massage parlor, you probably graduated from massage therapy school, and you know a little something the benefits of massage. Write about it. Your customers will appreciate knowing what techniques will work best for them. Your blog is your business' home on the web, and the search engines LOVE a good blog. Google, Bing, and Yahoo automatically pick up on your content when you use keywords and HTML coding correctly. As your audience grows, and traffic to your site increases, you'll begin to see it appear at the top of the search results. This is what we call search engine optimization or SEO. (Don't worry - it's all much easier that it sounds.
Are you seeing how all of this ties together? By using these tools correctly, you can literally create your own "web on the web". Having an attractive Facebook business page, and connecting it to your blog and email autoresponder puts you well beyond square one in creating your digital marketing empire.
And now you know why it's so important to have an efficient digital marketing strategy!
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