Digital Marketing Trends & Changes
Information from the horses mouth: Many small business owners are forced to get critical marketing information from sales professionals. This isn't the best place to be operating from is it? As a small business owner, you're responsible for the success of just about every element of your venture. We all know that small business owners are forced to wear too many hats and be placed in the position of becoming an expert in marketing, sales, accounting, software development, distribution, call centers, customer service and much more.
I wish I could help with some more of these ownership challenges but I can help shed some light on balancing an effective digital marketing configuration. I will start by recognizing that not all business are the same and after I carefully explain the major marketing components and their functionality, I will make this blanket statement that all of you must take this information and further determine which of these primary online marketing solutions will get the most attention.
One of the most common traps I see is that decision makers get sold on, or for another reason want to focus on only one or two of the marketing elements I list below. I can say with confidence that for most of you, utilizing as many of these options as you can will work better than simply focusing on one. For example, you might be told that social media is an important element of a comprehensive marketing strategy, and it is. However, concentrating on only this strategy will most likely end up being a waste of precious time. For this particular example I will tell you that social media carries much of it's effectiveness by promoting content. If you have neglected your blog development, you may not have much content to promote. Therefore you fall into the trap of pushing your social media campaign forward not realizing that you are spinning your wheels because you're missing a critical component of a solid social media campaign.
That is only one example and believe me, there are many. If you're not a social media expert but want to be sure you have a well balanced solution, take note of the many marketing components I've listed below and ask yourself if your overall campaign takes most of these into consideration or you're really spending too much time, effort and money in only one or two of these areas.
- Pay Per Click or PPC: This is now more of a solid and fruitful strategy than it's ever been before (when executed correctly). I recommend you earmark a small piece of your marketing budget to utilize this component in various ways that will help fill specific gaps in your current marketing performance.
- Blog Development: A blog is just another term for an article. Typically it's an article you create to educate and contribute your expertise to others. This article is a good example.
- Content Development: Don't confuse content development with blog development. Yes, creating a blog post or other article is creating content but what I am referring to is creating a more functional, more targeted piece of content that would actual be used as a downloadable item. Maybe certain case studies, webinar recordings, a more advanced video or podcast. Content come come in many different forms and the more you can offer to your target markets, the better. But remember, and this is the point of this post, be sure you have the other digital marketing solutions that squeeze the most possibilities from the content you can create.
- Social Media: As mentioned before, social media is a fantastic place to promote your existing content and any new content you publish. The more, relevant social media platforms you have, the better. Another related point is to consistently think "contribution". The social media world isn't interested in sales, selling or the I, I, I & we, we, we factor. Give them something useful.
- Email Marketing: Most small business owners use one or more configurations of email marketing but I see too many using it without the support of the other items I am listing here. A good email marketing solution will be used in many different workflows and not only used to blast your entire database a sales pitch or discount.
- CRM Applications: One internal software solution that can really take advantage of a good marketing solution is your Customer Relationship Manager. If you configure your CRM well, you can use it to follow up on questions, reach out to prospects in different sections of your sales cycle and close more business opportunities. And, when used correctly, this can be completely automated.
- Conversion Optimization: When you collect data, you will be able to recognize different trends in producing new traffic and converting that traffic into leads and then customers. Optimizing this information is putting your data knowledge to good use. There are many good systems that can help you get the most from your conversion data. HubSpot is one good example.
- Offline Marketing: Your online marketing and offline marketing don't need to be completely independent animals. A smart marketer will learn how to use their digital marketing systems to support and expand any traditional or offline marketing strategies.
I hope this information is of some use to you because I know how challenging it can be to use all the choices you have in the world of inbound or digital marketing. If you have anything to add or a question about the information above, feel welcome to add a comment below. I will address it personally.
Virtual Support Systems has been supporting small businesses since 2001 and and are in a position to help most small business struggling to find the best solutions to meet their needs and their budget. Don't hesitate to connect.