Can I Ignore Digital Marketing? Three Reasons Why You Can't
When I watched an episode of Dragons Den recently and heard Deborah Meaden's suggested marketing budget for a proposed website I nearly spilled my tea! What small business has upwards of £400k to throw at marketing? Ridiculous I know to allocate that sort of money to promotional endeavours, but it did help to clarify what SME's are up against.
So if I can't compete should I just ignore digital marketing? The answer is no and here are three reasons why:
The internet is part of everyday life, use it to increase your market reach.
As a business you will be thinking about how to keep your customers engaged and how to reach your prospects. As part of this strategy you must include online tactics. And just because you have a website, this doesn't mean that you sit back and relax! You need to be asking yourself several questions. For example,
- Do you know how many people visit your site each day?
- Which pages on your website are the most popular?
- How long do your web visitors spend on each page?
- Where do people exit from on your site?
- What are you hoping to be found online for and is that reflected in searches on Google?
- Who's linking to your site?
- How many enquiries do you get each day as a result of your website?
You may not have even considered these questions, but they are worth thinking about. Google analytics will help answer some of these, and if you are an iPages customer then you will have Piwik in your admin area, which makes answering a lot of the above quite simple.
Your website is your window to the world and with proper crafting can work really well for you. However, you do need to take a step back from it and decide if it is really working for you. If you want to be found for "office furniture" then not only should this be in your optimisation tags, but your whole website should reflect this term. Does your content talk about office furniture? Do you provide useful information about office furniture, and if so, is it unique?
So your first step is to make your website relevant, useful and up to date. If it isn't then it won't be working well for you.
Social media is part of every day life and can be used to benefit your business.
If you've not given thought to social media as part of your marketing strategy then you will find yourself being left behind. And if like me you have taken 3 years to pronounce "Pinterest" then this might seem daunting! However, your potential customers are internet obsessed and you need to engage with them so that your company is the first one that comes to mind when they want the service or product that you are offering.
Sadly just updating Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. isn't enough, but it is a start. Find employees within your company that already are heavily engaged in social media and use their skills to increase your brand visibility. Be inventive, use competitions, and encourage your staff to come up with ideas to promote your company online. Reward staff for their efforts and let them help you to increase your profile on the web.
Build online relationships, and if you have a bad review then respond immediately. Recently one of our designers emailed Paperchase about a problem on their newly designed website and was rewarded with a bag of goodies. Now that is what I call customer service, and of course Paperchase were rewarded by a grateful Tweet, that was then retweeted, so their market reach increased.
Pay for click advertising has a role to play
You can pay for advertising on the web, and to be honest this has to be included in your digital marketing strategy. That means that you need to have a budget for it. And you need to consider what you want to achieve from it.
It is not just Google that you can advertise with, but it is a good place to start. However, do consider carefully where you are going to spend your money, and if your website is set up to meet Google's requirements. What is the landing page that the ad is linked to? Is it relevant? Is there a call to action? It might be that you want to create specific landing pages for your ads, and if you use a content managed system like iPages then you will find this simple to do. Using Google ads also will help you with your ranking as you will be creating relevant strong back links to your website.
What to do now?
If you are wondering where on earth you are going to find the time to do all this then don't panic! Write a strategy and then work out how you are going to achieve this. And if you really are too stressed, busy, or clueless to start then you can always use people like us here at iPages to help you with that.
We offer an affordable package to all of our iPages' clients, which is one of the benefits of using our platform. So please get in touch if you need help.
Heather Khoo is iPages' leading Sussex Account Manager and specialises in helping small businesses with their website upkeep and online marketing.