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6 Steps to get started with digital marketing

Most entrepreneurs wear multiple hats when launching a new business.  There are sales and marketing issues, hiring and employee concerns, as well as all the work that goes into logistics and administration of a new business (not to mention taking out the trash and putting together desks from Ikea!).  However, digital marketing might not be top of mind when building a business.  In many cases, it can and should be top of mind.  Digital marketing can be a quick and cost effective way to begin getting a new venture out into the world.

With 6 steps and this handy checklist, any business can begin utilizing digital tools effectively and start driving awareness and new business.  For more info and some interesting slides, check out a recent presentation on SlideShare.

Step 1:
how do we

Digital roadmap.  Start with the definition of goals.  Any business diving into digital marketing requires clearly defined goals.  For a startup, going through the exercise helps solidify buy-in from the team and demonstrates the commitment to digital.  Without a roadmap, there is nothing to measure against.  Goals are fluid and can should be revisited and revised on a regular basis – annually at a minimum.

Questions to ask

  1. Who are ideal customers, clearly define and develop personas
  2. Competitive analysis, existing as well as aspirational
    1. What are competitors doing well?
    2. Where are the opportunities?
  3. What is the current buying process for my goods or services and how can that process improve?
  4. What digital channels will my target audience spend time and how is that media typically consumed?
  5. What are my sales goals for the first 6 months, year, 5 years?
  6. How will digital contribute to those goals?
    1. Ecommerce
    2. Lead generation
  7. What resources are available
    1. Human
    2. Financial
    3. Software / technology

Step 2:

Web presence.  How will customers interact with the business online?  Some businesses are moving toward a mobile-first approach.  For more information regarding Mobile trends in 2016, check out our recent blog post.

Questions to ask

  1. How mobile is my audience?
    1. Website?
    2. Responsive design?
    3. Mobile app?
    4. Mobile website?
  2. What resources are available to develop the web and/or mobile properties?
    1. Will it be designed and developed in house or via 3rd party?
    2. Where will the properties be hosted?
    3. How will it be maintained and updated?
    4. Who will be responsible?

Step 3:

Content is still king.  This article describes the relationship between content and search results in great detail.  It is essential to include fresh, relevant, timely, well-written content on any web property.  When determining the content tone for the web property, think about the users.  Google rewards websites that perform well with increased visibility.  Thus, content should be detailed and specific and provide all the necessary information so that users can convert / buy / contact etc.  Once there is a good flow of content, sharing it via other sites is an important way to increase trust flow and links back the site.

Questions to ask

  1. Who will contribute content to the web properties?
  2. Do we have / need a content calendar?
    1. How often will content be updated or added?
    2. Who will oversee and edit?
    3. What does that process look like?
  3. How will we leverage our content with other digital properties?
  4. How will SEO and Content work together (see Step 5)?
  5. What reporting will be used to determine the success of the content strategy?

Step 4:

Start with Search.

Search engines can account for a large portion of website traffic and conversions.  Most of our clients get more traffic and conversions from organic search over any other source.  Content and SEO go hand in hand and in order to leverage content effectively, SEO is paramount.

Keyword Planner

Questions to ask

  1. Are we using Google’s Keyword Tool to understand our keyword universe and incorporating keywords into content?
  2. Are we using the proper tools to monitor our site for broken links, 404 errors and crawl problems?
  3. What does the process entail?
  4. Are we using SEO best practices for all on-page factors like title tags, H1’s, meta-descriptions and alt tags?
  5. Do we have a checklist for new products / pages to incorporate SEO best practices?
  6. Do we have an XML sitemap, robots.txt and reputation management?
  7. Are we going to handle SEO in house or work with a 3rd party?

Step 5:

Get Social.

Social Media Marketing can be an effective marketing tool.  Going back to the goals and target audience, identify 1-2 channels to test.  Create small and targeted campaigns and measure the results.  Social Media Marketing can become time consuming.  In order to manage it effectively, we recommend small tests with continual optimizations.

Questions to ask

  1. What social networks does my target audience use?
  2. How much time are they spending there and is it during business hours or off hours?
  3. How can I reach more customers using social media?
  4. What tone will represent my business well while resonating with my customers?
  5. What do we hope customers will do once we reach them in a social environment, here are some examples:
    1. Like or follow us
    2. Engage with our content
    3. Watch our videos
    4. Visit our website
    5. Contact us
    6. Make a purchase

Step 6:

Measurement and Analytics.

Include Google Analytics and Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) for all web properties and determine who is accountable for monitoring these tools.  Without web analytics, digital marketing efforts are less effective.  In order to fully understand the performance and success of your marketing efforts, good data is a requirement.

Google Analytics

Questions to ask

  1. Who will be responsible for monitoring the company web analytics?
    1. Will it be handled internally or via 3rd party?
    2. If internal, should training be provided?
  2. How often will the team review web analytics reports and what type of data will be important?
  3. How will we change the strategy based on our reporting?
    1. Will we update the web properties?
    2. Are we capable of adjusting our media and marketing on the fly?

Utilizing this framework and asking the right questions will help maximize efficiency and minimize confusion. Most entrepreneurs view time as their most important asset.  Leveraging digital can free up valuable time while bringing in new customers and prospects.

Contact us to learn more about what Digital Strategy can do for your business today.    

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