The web, social media, and the shift to mobile devices is transforming the way we live, work, shop, and do business. Consumers have integrated the web into their everyday lives and activities. Businesses need to do the same. Too many small businesses and non-profits are still treating their online presence as something separate or in addition to what they do every day in their business. If this is you, you probably don’t have enough time to get the benefits of a digital marketing strategy!
Now is the time to integrate digital marketing into your overall business planning.
Use the Digital Marketing Strategy checklist below to see how well your business is covering the basics of online presence, and where you may need to focus your marketing planning and implementation.
Digital Marketing Strategy Checklist
Your NAP is important!
Well sleep is important too, but in this case NAP stands for name, address and phone number. It is critical to local search results that your NAP is consistent across the web. Variations and duplicates on your business name, address and multiple phone numbers hurt your search visibility. Claim your business listing and make sure it is consistent across the various search engines and map providers.
Since most searches takes place on Google, the most important listing to claim is on Google My Business. Google My Business lets you manage your local map page, Google+ page, YouTube channel and website analytics from a single login. If you previously had a Google Places or Google Local listing, it is now in Google My Business. If your business isn’t on Google My Business, stop what you’re doing right now and sign up for free.
Once you have claimed your Google listing, also claim other local citation sources like Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, YP.com, and Apple maps.
Keep these 3 important things in mind as you claim your local listings:
- Use a consistent NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) everywhere across the web.
- Choose your categories carefully. Make sure that they are accurate and be as specific as possible.
- Upload photos to represent your business and fill in as much information about your organization as possible.
Put Your Website Front and Center
Use the content you put on your website as the center of your marketing strategy. Think of social media, email marketing, press releases, and event promotion as the spokes where you promote what is on your website and drive traffic back to your website.
You own your website and control the content and distribution there. Social media is good for getting the word out and engaging with your audience, but the social media platform controls the terms and access to your fans. If you’ve spent any time building up a Facebook following and now find your messages don’t get through to fans unless you pay, you have experienced this first hand. Don’t build on rented land – own your web presence by putting all your important content on your website.
You will also save time by not having to create new content for each social media platform, traditional marketing channel and in-store promotion and advertising.
Make it Mobile
Did you know only 6% of small businesses have a mobile-ready website? For small businesses to remain competitive, a mobile-ready website is now a necessity.
In 2014, internet usage on smartphones and mobile devices exceeded PC usage for the first time. Now more than ever, people are using their smartphones at every step of the buying process and their overall experience. Research studies show that 60% of consumers used a mobile device exclusively to make a purchasing decision.
According to a report produced by eMarketer, 2015 will see mobile search reach the tipping point—the stage at which the majority of spend, organic traffic and paid clicks comes from smartphones and tablets, surpassing traditional desktop/laptop search activity.
Have you looked at your website on a mobile device?
- Does your website work?
- Can you read it without zooming in or scrolling?
- Is your address and phone number available on every page?
- Can you click on your phone number to call your business?
- Are the buttons large enough for a user to easily tap on a touchscreen?
Tell Your Story
Did you know that 61% of brand emails are now opened on a smartphone or tablet? Or that 28% of all web traffic is now to mobile devices? With the shift to mobile devices, customer habits have changed as well. The question is “how do you reach customers and prospects with these new habits?” The answer is to “Tell Your Story Online.” Once you have a website platform that works across all devices and allows you to easily add and change content, you need a strategy to get your business noticed online by the right audience. We think for many businesses “Tell Your Story Online” is that strategy.
Many small business owners feel they don’t have time to focus on their online presence. And if they treat their online presence as another item on the “to do” list in addition to their real work, they’re right! There will never be enough time.
The secret is to use your online presence to improve the real work you do: customer service, sales, product information, orders. To do this you have to be willing to change the way that you do things and remove items that are no longer effective. Do you really need to send out that paper newsletter? What about that form you expect someone to print, fill in and somehow return to you? Are you still keeping track of customer requests and customer service issues on paper, or in a spreadsheet or software that is only available to a single user on an office computer?
Every day you talk to customers and prospects and give them information that is useful and valuable. Every day you build relationships. Storytelling is a powerful technique for building relationships and conveying information.
I love to repeat what I heard from Scott Hanselman (ASP.NET team at Microsoft and long-time blogger, speaker). The gist of it is:
“If you find yourself telling the same thing to 3 or more people, it should be a blog post on your website.”
You are telling the story of your business every day, do it online.
Reach Customers and Prospects Where They Are
Their inbox. If you are not reaching out to those who already know and are interested in you through their inbox then you are missing a huge opportunity. Did you know that 74% of all online adults prefer commercial communication to come through email than direct mail by a margin of nearly five to one? 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message. This is more than direct mail, telephone, text messaging or social media.
Existing customers and referrals are keys to your organization’s success. Make sure you are keeping in contact. Always look for ways to build your list. Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask every customer if they wants to join your mailing list
- Have an email sign-up sheet at in-person events
- Use a sign-up form prominently on your website
Email marketing is cost effective and has great ROI as well.
Keep a Calendar
Consistency is important. An editorial calendar can help you track the content, promotions and messages you use on your website, social media and traditional channels. It makes it easier to coordinate your online and in-person promotions, events, and messages. Many businesses have seasonal cycles and planning your content to match increases effectiveness.
You can start with a document, spreadsheet, or a Google calendar for your editorial calendar. See some editorial calendar samples here.
Start planning at a high-level for the year first, filling in known events and themes, then get more detailed at the monthly levels. Try to follow a consistent cycle each month to streamline the process of getting your messages out.
What people are saying about your product or service is important. You should monitor your rmentions on social media and review sites like Google or Yelp. Reviews are an increasingly important factor in local search results and purchase decisions as well. 52% of consumers reported that positive customer reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
Make it easy for customers to review your business online. Don’t submit fake reviews, or try to get them all at once. A steady stream of customer reviews is one of the best local marketing strategies today. See more tips on getting reviews here.
When planning where and how to focus your digital marketing efforts, use this checklist as the foundation for establishing a successful online presence that grows your business.