Digital Marketing for the first time? How to set up the basics

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“My boss wants our business to GO DIGITAL – what do I do?”

Digital Marketing makes sense. A major challenge for any Small and Medium Business (SMB) is the fact that most of their potential clients evaluate them first online. 56% of clients evaluate the seller online and make a decision before meeting the company sales team (source: Salesforce). Or SMBs have exhausted their list of customers who are geographically close and must expand to different regions. Most marketing departments now spend in excess of 30% of their marketing budget on Content Creation and Digital Marketing. For any business who has so far just done sales through traditional marketing channels, this is quite a challenge.

If your marketing team needs a heads-up on how to go digital, keep reading…

7 Steps to creating a strong Digital Marketing footprint

1. Find the right Digital Agency

Digital Agencies come in all shapes and sizes, offering various specialized services (SEO, SEM, Content, Blogging, Website Optimization, etc.). Find one (preferably through reference) who fits your budget and whom you can keep on retainer instead of a fixed rate per project model. Most important, one who understands your business model. Going digital is not a one-off, it is an evolving process. If Digital Agencies ask you what you want, be in a position to let them know what you are expecting from them. If they feel you don’t know what to do, you may be taken for a ride…

2. Aim to make your website the best in the world

In digital marketing, the center of your universe is your website. If your website is below par, your page rank suffers and all efforts at making Google display your website first will fail. Some major fixes include:

  • Optimize your home page and other landing pages by fixing meta-tags, title tags, adding descriptions, add alt tags for images
  • Ensuring there are simple easy call to actions available on each page
  • Ensuring enough white space and easy readability of each web page
  • Putting useful, reader friendly content which is original
  • Having a mandatory about us, contact us and blog section
  • Putting reviews, testimonials and a referral scheme on your website
  • Making sure your site is mobile responsive. Nowadays most websites are first accessed via mobile first. Google also favors websites which are mobile responsive.

3. Begin your foray into Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Begin to identify keywords where you believe you could rank higher in searches. Make a list of primary and secondary keywords. Start optimizing your website content, having blogs written, links with those keywords. This takes several months, it is not a one-month affair. Ensure that your website contains comprehensive information about your product, the industry and solutions to issues which your products address.  Have an FAQ page as well on your website.

4. Start tracking

Set up a Google Analytics Account and start tracking visits, sessions, where your traffic is coming, geography, demographics, which pages are most visited etc. This will give you an idea of whether your efforts are on track or off course.

5. Set up your Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Instagram accounts

The key factor to remember here is to ensure your company address is written in the exact same way across your Facebook business page, Linkedin and Google + page, this helps improve your search rankings. Have your agency develop a specific calendar for each Social Account and follow it. Ensure you have the resources to provide or have them generate enough content to keep the updates going. No one wants to see posts which are 2 months apart.

6. Promote your Social Media Accounts and website

Having Social Media Accounts and a great website are not enough. If you want visitors and sharing, start promoting your website and media accounts.

  • Ask your employees to join all your Social Media Accounts
  • Ensure that they promote your website and Social Media Accounts on their personal social accounts
  • Put your website, Linkedin, Facebook web address or account name on everything that is being sent to prospective or existing customers
  • Encourage sign-ups, registrations or connections with freebies till substantial volumes are created
  • Have Website only or Social Media only promotions to generate word of mouth
  • Ensure your social media buttons are on your website
  • Ensure all email lead-capture pages are on your website and not standalone on a separate server

Most important of all, once the process starts, put a Social Media Sharing Policy in place. Otherwise, your employees may share incorrect or confidential information to the public.

7. Begin Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Have the agency create a Google Adwords Account. Start small, creating limited campaigns and grouping keywords. Bid small at first, refining your ads and keyword groups as you go along. Have separate search and display campaigns. Once you establish yourself, begin re-targeting within your display campaigns. Adwords is always trial and error, there will be plenty of tweaking required along the way. You can also try advertising on Youtube, Facebook and Linkedin as well. They have similar paid platforms like Adwords.

 Knowing what to do will definitely help improve the quality of your discussions with any Digital Agency, allowing you to extract the best results from them. 

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