Experts predict voice-assisted searches are on the rise. Great, now you have to figure that out too! The latest digital trend can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Ugh… but before you jump to the next big thing, make sure you have a recipe for digital marketing success baked into your business.
I find in this world two types of chefs exist. The first, rarely follow a recipe and whip up a gourmet meal with little effort. That’s my husband. This past weekend, he pan-seared haddock with a panko crust served over risotto and red cabbage poached baby bok choy. He didn’t open a cookbook or search the internet. It tasted as good as it sounds.
The rest of us need a recipe for everything except how to boil water. That’s me. True to my southern roots, I make a mean casserole or two, and around the holidays, I share this skill with close family and friends. I keep my handwritten recipes in a 3” purple binder from the ’90s. I call it vintage.
Even though digital marketing has evolved over the last 30 years or so, one thing remains the same – the basics every business needs to succeed.
Keep Your Customers at the Heart
If you were baking cupcakes, you’d have sugar on hand. It’s essential, and my favorite ingredient. Just like sugar, the customer is the most important ingredient in your digital marketing success. Put your customer at the heart of everything you do – all the time.
It’s easy in the digital world to hide behind a computer screen. But, behind each screen is a person with a beating heart. Real people make those clicks, and they want and need something. How can you add value to their life? What problem are you solving for them? When you have the solution, frame it, so the customer is the hero in the story.
Here are a few examples of this in action:
- When Apple said to “Think Different” – we did. This campaign, along with the return of Steve Jobs, brought Apple back as a powerhouse company. All, before the release of the iMac. “Think Different” gave customers power and made them the hero of their own story.
- Wal-Mart encouraged us to Save Money and Live Better. Yes, please. Before this campaign, advertising focused on everyday low prices. That’s great, but it wasn’t enough to create a connection with their customers. Now, their customer is in the story saving money and living better.
- Nike’s slogan Just Do It inspires us all (athletic or not) to take one step toward our wellness goals. Because we’re not all alike and that’s ok.
Set at Least One Main Goal
Of course, we all have digital goals. But do you? It’s hard to know where you’re going and when you get there if you don’t have a goal. While you may have many smaller goals, everything digitally should roll-up to at least one main goal. Typically, it’s either increasing sales if you sell something on your website or increasing the number of leads if you offer a service.
Next, make it a SMART goal. Be sure it’s specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timebound. For example, increase calls scheduled online by 10% over the prior year. Other goals, such as increasing Facebook engagement by 3% or increasing website traffic by 5%, probably lead potential clients to “schedule a call” – the main goal. Those are secondary goals that often support the “main” goal.
Check-out the Competition
If you’re baking cupcakes, it’s like adding butter the batter. Everything is better with butter – yum! Now, for digital marketing, when it comes to the competition, you need to know what they’re doing. Beware, it can leave you deflated if you get stuck in the comparison game. But – it doesn’t have to.
Once you’ve browsed their website, social media, and signed up for their e-mails, turn your attention to brands that inspire you. I find inspiration everywhere and from anyone.
Look around and notice – words, phrases, stories, visuals, videos, etc. Create a swipe file. A swipe file is a collection of ads, marketing, and anything else that catches your eye. Use it to inspire you to be your best self because you’re the only one that can do what you do.
Create a Plan
Your plan is the vegetable oil that binds your batter. Ingredients won’t mix without the oil. And in digital marketing, none of the tactics will mix without a plan.
By far the hardest – because winging-it is so easy. When you’re winging it, you’re not focused. You may not know what to do next, and you may not be going in the right direction to meet your goals. Sound familiar? Yep, me too. We can all relate.
But where do you start? Take small steps first. And celebrate each step. For example, if you’re bogged down in blogging commit to writing one blog a month and publishing it the last day of the month. Once you’ve got that mastered, move to two blogs per month or work on that resource guide that’s been on your list. Be realistic with your plan. You’ve got this.
Do one thing well before moving to the next project. Quality is much better over quantity. You’ll feel confident and proud of what you’ve accomplished. That makes it easy to share with others.
Larger businesses need an in-depth plan to keep all of the tasks and people on track, so they reach their goals.
Get the Right Resources
When you’re baking, tools to get the job done include the mixing bowl, mixer, whisk, and spoon. Resources are the same thing – critical to your growth and success.
In your plan, you should identify what resources you need. It could include outsourced expertise, software, hardware, subscription plans, and more. Whatever it is, make it a part of your plan to get what you need when you need it.
I get it; you’re trying to get by with what you have. Resources can cost money. And, you work hard for the profit you make.
Many businesses skimp on or put off the resources they need to save money. And, it ends up costing them more after all. The right resources can take your business to new heights. Whether it’s a photoshoot for your website, membership to a stock photo site for social media pictures, or adding a new member to your team – it’s an investment you won’t regret.
So, what resources do you need? And, when is the right time in your businesses for that resource?
Review the Data
If you’re baking, don’t forget to set a timer or your cupcakes will burn. Or, worse – dry out. When you’re running a business, you get busy knocking out a lot of great stuff, time flies by, and you lose track of measuring what you’ve done.
What did well and what flopped? I bet you know where you stand with sales. But do you know… your monthly website traffic, e-mail open rates, new e-mail subscribers, social media engagement, and more?
Set a monthly appointment. Yes, on your calendar. Then, sit down and review the data that’s important to your goals at the same time each month. Adjust your plan, if needed. If not, keep up the great work.
Avoid Sloppy Execution
Now for the icing. Make sure it’s smooth and evenly spread. In digital marketing, we’ve all seen it – the outdated website, broken links, and fuzzy pictures. While your work doesn’t have to be perfect, you should take a second look at it. And, with a critical eye. Even better, have someone else review it for feedback.
What you put out in the world says a lot about your brand. Activate marketing programs that give you pride and your customers love.
Now that you have the basic recipe to digital marketing success, you need a unique strategy for your business.
Ready, set, grow!
All my best,