How to create a digital marketing strategy for your business
Need a digital marketing strategy? Set your online business up for success with this marketing framework to help you attract customers and make sales.
If you operate one of the many businesses that shifted online in 2020, ramping up your digital marketing strategy is likely to be on the agenda. Sharing what you do, attracting new customers and, ultimately, making sales are the goals, but bringing these objectives together can be challenging. That’s why creating an effective digital marketing strategy that focuses on the stages of a typical customer lifecycle – reach, act, convert, engage – is a great way to break it down. Here’s how to create an effective digital marketing strategy for your business.
Though you may feel overwhelmed, get started and define some clear goals for your digital marketing strategy. Maybe you want to focus on promoting a particular product in your range or attracting a new or wider customer base. If you already have a database of customers from an in-person arm of your business, your focus might be on convincing those customers to try your new online offering. Your goal can be as simple as letting your local community know what your business offers – but it’s important to define what this is from the outset so you can plan accordingly and establish how you will work to these targets.
The first stage in the lifecycle of a customer is becoming aware of your company and products, so your strategy should focus on attracting their attention. Start by getting the basics of your online presence right: at the very least, a website with clear and concise messaging about what your business offers. This will ensure your business is discoverable by search if prospective customers jump onto the internet. If you run a physical shopfront, be sure to update your Google My Business profile so customers know where to find you if they search. With these things ticked off, you might want to invest in some pay-per-click ads to help your business rank higher in search.
Next, social media is a fantastic tool to reach prospective customers, so it’s worth trying to build your presence. Think carefully about which platforms make the most sense for your business. If your business is consumer-facing and has a visual offering, such as a cafe or clothing brand, Instagram could be a great fit. But if you supply other businesses or offer a more technical service, LinkedIn might better suit you. Use your channels to share content that lets customers know what they can expect and, if you feel that it fits with your brand’s personality, get creative. Find compelling ways to tell your story or sell your products – it will cut through.
If you have the means, set aside budget to boost your content with ads. Facebook Business Suite is a platform that lets you target your advertising to audiences with specific interests, so it’s a first choice for many businesses. You can also tap into platforms such as Hootsuite, which let you schedule posts ahead of time and put a plan in place.
Once you have your brand in front of new customers, the next step is to compel them to take action. The specifics will depend on your business, products and industry, but goals at this stage could include:
• getting people to like or follow your social media account
• subscribe to your email list
• request a sample or quote
• click through from an advertisement to find out more
An email newsletter can be a great way to nurture customers towards a sale. And don’t discount the power of personalisation – addressing your customer by name can leave a lasting impression..
Encouraging discussions relating to your products or industry on social media, responding to comments and engaging with the audience can go a long way to fostering brand loyalty. Be mindful that you can’t please everyone, so it pays to be prepared for the occasional negative interaction. Remain as friendly and professional as you would face to face and take exchanges offline if things escalate.
Share content that encourages your customers to engage with what you do, such as sharing your cafe’s muffins of the day so customers will be tempted to pop in. Even if they miss out on that day, they’ll know you offer specials, that you have products they’re interested in and that they should tune in to your Instagram frequently to avoid missing out. Balancing the conversational with the promotion of your goods and services can be tricky but don’t let this hold you back. Find your rhythm as you go.
Whether it’s bookings, orders or sales you’re hoping to drum up, they’re a key goal of your digital marketing strategy. So how can you get your online audiences to convert?
Content shared online should include clear calls to action that show customers where or how to buy your products. The content itself can take a broader approach but it should end with a pointy push to purchase so there’s no room for confusion. If you’re selling products from your website, you’ve hopefully chosen an ecommerce platform that streamlines the check-out process and prioritises secure transactions as it’s important to keep the buyer journey as simple as possible. Also, invest in high-quality imagery on product pages to seal the deal at this vital stage. The imagery can be used in further promotion of your business across relevant channels.
If you’ve been posting organically on Facebook and Instagram, consider boosting some of your posts and setting up advertising to retarget customers if they’ve shown interest but not yet made a purchase. Anyone who clicks your ad could be shown another ad the next day, reminding them to return to buy.
It’s also worth sharing new product updates or subscriber-only offers with the customers you’ve added to your email list. Sending out a limited-time offer with more direct messaging around purchasing will push your customers closer to conversion.
The after-sales experience is often the most neglected of the stages in marketing. But getting it right can mean nailing repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations. After a customer makes a purchase, sending them a personalised thank you email can encourage brand loyalty. If it’s a physical product, including tips for use and maintenance offers a useful piece of content customers can come back to. If they’ll be attending an online event or consultation, tell them how they can prepare.
In emails and social media, balance sales messages with advice, industry insights, maintenance tips and inspiration so followers who have already purchased stay subscribed and look to your business for relevant updates. To further foster this connection, you could create points-based loyalty programs, refer-a-friend discounts and subscription services for products that are purchased regularly. You might even consider starting a Facebook group for super fans who you can reward with special sales and discounts in exchange for feedback on early ideas and referrals to their friends.
There’s more to digital marketing than posting a few snaps to social media. Set aside the time to plan out a digital marketing strategy that’s right for your business and, in no time, you’ll be amassing followers, subscribers and sales.
This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.