Digital Marketing Primer

Here’s a scenario to consider. You have built a decent-sized business (say $50 – 100 million in sales), with a solid and loyal customer base that is regional in nature. Your marketing sophistication and budget are modest, but you feel compelled to put your toe in the digital marketing water (seems like everyone else is doing it!). Before you dive in headfirst, let’s cover some basics.

Where to Start?

Begin by truly understanding your consumer. What are their pain points and what problem does your brand solve for them? What do they care about most? Are there any segments of customers that may have different needs or show distinctive behaviors?

Knowing your customers enables you to set your digital marketing strategy. Are you trying to get existing customers to buy more frequently or purchase larger pack sizes? Or are you going after new users where you first need to build some brand awareness?

Do you have a sense for the online habits of your customers (where do they spend their time, what social media platforms do they frequent, do they respond to email or text messages?).

Some Tips

Before you invest in a digital marketing campaign, take a good look at your current website. Is it well organized so that visitors can find what they are looking for, and is your brand messaging (who are you, what do you do, why are you better and different) clearly and prominently stated? If your site visits, page views, and time spent metrics are declining, fix those issues. And while you are at it, be sure your site is optimized for mobile devices, as more and more consumers use tablets and smartphones for their online browsing and buying.

Is your business “findable” so that your search engine rankings are competitive? Company listings on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and even the Better Business Bureau that include links to your website, plus visuals in addition to your story, help your visibility when new prospects enter more general criteria in their online search engine.

Digital Marketing Stages

Businesses who are newer to the game must start by attracting and informing prospects and potential new users. The list of tools at this stage is long, but you can test and learn to figure out what works best to get people interested in your business and brand. Buying keywords and doing search engine optimization are good places to start. Then try paid search advertising and retargeting to get you in front of more qualified prospects. Display ads on Google and social media platforms may also be helpful (the more targeted the better) but be judicious, as many folks are easily annoyed by intrusive ads. For some brands, Facebook is a productive social media platform, whereas for others, LinkedIn is better (especially for more highly engineered or more technical products). Good, relevant content like blogs, newsletters, or user guides will help you begin to educate and inform folks about what you do.

Next, engage those visitors with even more content so that they can dig deeper and learn more. Once visitors opt in and sign up for content, you may try some email campaigns that can answer questions or describe your product, your processes, your technologies at a more specific level. You may even consider buying lists of names that match the profile of those who are well-suited prospects and add them to your customer relationship management tool (CRM). Stories from users or examples of your product in action can be powerful if they are honest, genuine, and believable. Customer or third-party reviews are also valuable.

The good news is that getting started with digital marketing does not have to be expensive. In fact, we would strongly recommend small experiments followed by some analysis of results and return on investment. If you have an e-commerce side of your business, it is easier to connect your digital spending to actual sales. If not, more visitors consuming more content should translate into more volume. Do the math!

Some suggestions for tools include Google Analytics for web metrics (it’s free!). An affordable email service is Mailchimp, and Canva is a free online graphic design platform for simple marketing materials.

Once you get some experience under your belt, if digital marketing does drive positive sales gains, ramp up your investment—particularly if your customers are digital natives who spend a bunch of time online. Just keep measuring and learning so that you stay effective and on point.

Want Some Help?

At Forge, we thrive on helping clients maximize brand value and digging deep to understand and act on consumer insights. We are here to be your partner, your trusted advisor, your devil’s advocate. And we will always bring the conversation back to strategy. How do we best engage with and attract your ideal target audience? How does your product uniquely meet the needs of customers? How do we maximize the market opportunity by helping you step up your digital marketing game? 

Importantly, we are pragmatic, focused, nimble, smart, and energetic. We get assignments done well, and quickly.

Take the first step to a more successful business today.

1.    Hit “LET’S TALK” to schedule a free 30-minute discussion. No pressure – we promise.
2.    We’ll provide real-world case studies showing the process in action.
3.    If we’re a fit, we finalize the details and get started!

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