According to Joel House, businesses that show up on the first page of results get 92% of consumer traffic. Hence, it is not surprising when WordStream’s report showed that just 8% of advertisers are decreasing their advertising investments on Search this year; this compared to a whopping 46% that are increasing them.
With this, it is only imperative for business executives to re-inspect their digital marketing strategies and consider doing an upgrade. Digital marketing techniques continue to change over time and the feasibility of certain methods and techniques continue to rise and fall.
A. Upgrading Your Own Digital Marketing Prowess
Business executives have access to methodologies and ways to improve their digital marketing game. Various resources around that can reinforce and further improve their prowess at doing digital marketing and apply it to the business.
Some of these include:
1. Onboarding Someone for Help and to Learn From
Consider onboarding someone else who can handle the marketing, PR, branding, advertisement activities on your end. Someone excited about your product that would be willing to spend the time on networking, helping out with promotions, working on genuine campaigns and learning along with you.
This will let you focus on the technical growth of the business. And you’ll learn a ton from your marketing peer along the way.
2. Signing Up on Learning Sources
If you don’t want to partner up with someone who’s fully dedicated to marketing activities, consider signing up for some marketing blogs and communities and slowly learning about what works in the industry. This would give you some insights on writing higher quality copy that is tailored to your prospects’ needs, design images or infographics, or do outreach that converts well.
3. Hiring a Digital Consultant
Digital consultants are seasoned experts in their own fields like web development, sales, advertising, marketing, and design. They can assist you in learning new techniques and in the implementation of your digital marketing plans.
4. Partnering with a Small Agency
Smaller marketing agencies may be willing to spend some time promoting your product as well. This may be good for their exposure or landing customers in similar areas. They may request a partners logo somewhere on the website or other assets that you may discuss together. As a result, they can cross-promote your product to their existing customers, across their email lists, or at conferences. It depends on the maturity and usefulness of your product.
If you’re too early, find some solo consultants who like the idea. Otherwise, a small agency may be willing to help out and add your project to their portfolio or train their interns on a non-billable project. Another possible option is a joint venture with a marketing consultancy or a startup. An opportunity to grow together with a similar-sized team specializing in marketing will be beneficial to both parties.
B. Upgrading Your Current Digital Content Marketing Strategies
There are key areas in your current digital marketing strategies that need to upgrade highly because they have not been analyzed or examined for a long time. The following are some steps that can be taken to help improve these strategies being used for SME’s digital marketing as we discuss these key areas further.
1. Revisit the Foundations of Your Marketing Campaigns
This will help you in creating more suitable and effective strategies to reach your customers, especially on your messaging and brand presentation. Conduct a product-market fit and competitor analysis. Also, define your product even better by answering these questions:
- What does your buyer persona look like?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What are their most pressing problems?
- What are the key challenges that you can help them with?
Defining your ideal client and figuring out their business needs is the first point. If you are intimately familiar with their main problems and can help them out, there’s no reason people won’t visit your website, share your content and continue following you.
2. Redo Competitor Analysis
Browse your competitors’ stories and note the type of content that gets viral. Some of the other sources focus on more buzz and pranks through work memes, recruitment fails, or other link-bait techniques that bring traffic and exposure.
In terms of competitor research, figure out what topics are your competitors writing about and what is the type of content that gets viral. You can use BuzzSumo in order to establish that.
For instance, if you specialize in giving recruitment advice to startups, you can search for “startups recruitment”, “hiring advice” or “best recruitment tips” and list some of the most viral stories across the web. As a popular business topic, you can certainly find LinkedIn, Forbes, Inc, HuffPost.
3. Reassess Product Validation
Product users are often the best evangelists. Find some folks who are interested in testing your product. If they like it, here’s your team of advocates who can amplify your marketing efforts by sharing and talking about your product.
If they don’t like it, you’ll see what’s missing and what are the main points that need more work before going live. You don’t want to spend a fortune on marketing if your product doesn’t solve the main problem well enough.
Product validation is really important. I can’t stress enough on this. Lack of market need is the #1 reason startups failed.
4. Do What You Do Best and Use It
If you’re into writing, start a product blog and write helpful guides and strategies for your prospects. If you have design chops, consider building valuable infographics for your customers. Those could be shared to other blogs linking back to you, on Pinterest, and submitted to various directories.
Whatever it is, spending 2–4 hours a week on one thing would be better than spending 2–4 hours on 20 different things and posting an update every 2 months or so.
5. Focus on One Channel
While you are still building your digital marketing plan and improving your digital marketing skills, it pays to put it on a test but only using one channel. Find one channel that you’d be comfortable developing and growing yourself. If you’re spending a lot of time on Facebook, it would be easy to post a status or two daily and invite folks to your page. You would be able to reply to comments in a timely manner and engage with your audience.
6. Prioritizing Existing Channels
If you are already using more than one channel for distributing your marketing content, you need to prioritize them to know where to invest time and resources on.
You need to select the right type of distribution network depending on the medium and where your ideal customers hang out. List all distribution opportunities that you can come up with and prioritize them by investment and effectiveness.
The sweet spots are the ones that require low investment and can become viral – although that’s hard to achieve and may still not be applicable in each and every use case.
7. Explore Other Channels
If you are already doing good in your existing channels but not getting the results you want, you may consider venturing to other channels.
Given that your content is spectacular and outcompetes everything else there, start sharing it across your channels. Consider republishing some valuable nuggets or recaps here on Quora, on LinkedIn Pulse, Medium, Reddit or other group platforms. Think about social directories like StumbleUpon as well.
8. Reach Out to Your Network
Reach out to your network and ask them to share your content. Post in relevant business groups that you have been active in. Mention influencers and other industry leaders who would actually benefit from your copy.
The most important thing to avoid here is: Don’t be spammy. You may build your personal brands for years and ruin it overnight if you’re too aggressive with your campaigns. Protect your reputation at all cost. Only participate and distribute to channels where you’ve been active in before and have provided some value already.
9. Build Relationships Overtime
Unless you’re selling $10 ebooks, you’ll likely have to nurture your customers and go through a long process of building trust.
According to some branding and marketing experts, prospects need to connect with your brand through various digital channels at least 6–7 times in order to get used to perceiving you as an industry leader.
As a result, you need to produce more valuable content that would be of use to them – and keep them around for when you publish this content.
The easiest and most common approach is email marketing. Add some non-intrusive and helpful email forms across your website that would sign people to your email list.
What works best is adding an extra bonus to your offer — a short guide, a checklist, an ebook or something else that you can send to your subscribers. Emails are valuable and you need to deliver even more value to your readers.
There are plenty of tools that could be utilized by freelancers and business executives. Marketing agencies often use them behind the scenes as well.
10. Automate Your Processes
Tools like Buffer would let you schedule a long list of statuses once connected to all of your social accounts. You simply spend 3–4 hours a month in crafting a hundred updates or share some resources that you’ve stumbled upon across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+. This way you won’t need to bother for a month which would let you focus on other activities.
BuzzSumo could be used for identifying viral content for your competitors. You can analyze their websites and see what the most shared resources that people genuinely enjoy are. This may spark some ideas for content that you can provide as well.
IFTTT can be connected to your website and share all of your posts straight to social media, email newsletters or anything else. There are thousands of integrations available for different needs.
There are plenty of other tools that may help out building beautiful landing pages, sharing forms with your customers for feedback or ideas, design wonderful images in minutes, collect leads in a CRM, increase your email list subscribers and so forth.
The Bottom Line
Find what works best for you and make sure that your product is worth marketing. A great product combined with some exposure would soon get to the point where marketing would pay for itself.
Learning never ends in the world of digital marketing. There is always room to grow.
I have written several relevant pieces on marketing that can supplement your digital marketing strategy upgrade like the 8 Different Approaches to Marketing, Content Marketing In 2019: Video Content Prevails, and The Guide to Consistently Producing High Quality Content.