Nobody wants the perception that their business is still stuck in the Dark Ages. According to Flurry, the average U.S. consumer spends five hours per day on their smartphone, and according to Google, 82 percent of smartphone users consult their phones prior to in-store purchases. Perhaps more than ever before, a digital presence is crucial for every business. If you’re worried your business is falling behind when it comes to digital marketing, it’s time to make a change.
Transforming your business into a digitally savvy organization doesn’t need to be a daunting process. You just need to be certain that every step drives important business outcomes and helps you reach your goals. By following these steps, you can transform your business from one with a simple—and possibly outdated—website to one that’s mastering its digital domain.
The first step to any business transformation is understanding why you want to transform. What goals are you hoping to achieve? Before you start making changes, work with your team to define the business goals that are most important for your organization. Do you need to build brand awareness? Do you have plenty of leads, but just need to close more sales?
Once you’ve established some general business goals, you can start to transform those goals into digital objectives. If your goal is to build awareness for your product or service, one of your objectives might be to develop a social media strategy. Likewise, if you’re struggling to transform leads into customers, your objective might be to build an effective email nurturing campaign.
Instead of tackling every digital marketing strategy at once, start with a focused, goals-driven approach that will help you identify which tactics make a difference in the metrics that matter.
Now that you’ve defined your goals, you need to know whether you’re meeting them as begin your digital journey. According to a BrightTALK study, 42 percent of B2B marketing professionals say a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation. Set up a strong measurement platform from the start to help you avoid roadblocks and find the answers you’re seeking.
Luckily, most analytics platforms make it easy to track your growth online. Start by ensuring your web development team has implemented Google Analytics or a similar measurement platform on your site. Once that’s done, ask for a 101 session or a working lunch with them to learn the basics of the tool. That way, you can navigate the system you’re using with clarity and confidence.
Last, familiarize yourself with the analytics in your email marketing platform, social media management tool, video hosting platform, or other tools you use for digital marketing. It’s critical that you get to know which numbers you need to track to gather the data points that will ultimately demonstrate success or failure over time.
Most businesses have a website, but very few take advantage of it. Basic online user behavior tells us customers interact with your website well before deciding to make a purchase. Your site is your organization’s first impression—it’s the focal point of your brand—so creating a strong digital presence starts with a website that looks great and performs well once users arrive.
Your site is your organization’s first impression—it’s the focal point of your brand.
Start by changing the way you think about your website—enlightened business leaders today recognize their website is an ever-evolving digital presence that can help them reach their goals. Look at your website with fresh eyes and ask yourself if you can see a connection to the business goals you’ve prioritized. For example, if your goal is to drive leads, does your site have multiple opportunities for users to opt in? If not, your website isn’t setup to meet your business goal.
Once you’ve defined your business goals, share them with your web designer and work together to create a site that is tailored to the the growth your business needs. You aren’t done once you’ve launched a new site, though. You should expect to be regularly checking your site performance using the measurement platforms you’ve established. Continue to work with your design team to ensure your website design is optimized and built for continuous improvement.
So many businesses fail to take advantage of the email addresses they collect, and instead just send a weekly digest, or even nothing at all. If this sounds familiar, you need to change your mindset about email marketing. You might think of your email list as a bunch of faceless addresses or a place where communication goes to die, but you’re wrong.
In fact, email can be a powerful tool to define your brand identity, communicate with potential customers, and help leads move further down the sales funnel. In a study by Econsultancy, three out of every four companies surveyed believe email offers “good” to “excellent” ROI.
The first step to transforming your email strategy is to stop thinking of it as a list of addresses, and start thinking about user behavior. When someone signs up for your list, why do they do it? What do they expect in return? What do they need to read to take action?
Start by establishing a basic autoresponder that introduces new subscribers to your brand and content. From there, you can start creating email campaigns for promotions and email sequences that send a customized message to users who take a specific action, like filling out a form, downloading a resource, or making a purchase. Whatever your business goals are, you can optimize your email strategy to help you meet them.
It’s easy to get caught up in the feeling that, in order to have an effective digital marketing strategy, you have to be everywhere at once. So, you create an account on every social media platform imaginable, fail to consistently engage your audiences, and end up as one of millions of brands that have gone silent on social.
Social media can be a great way to communicate with leads and build brand awareness, but it can also be a major drain on your team’s time, energy, and level of efficiency. Instead of trying to be everywhere at once, think about where your specific customers spend their time online. For example, if your target market comprises Gen Xers (born 1967-82) and older millennials (born 1983-91), you’ll likely have more luck targeting them on Facebook and LinkedIn instead of Snapchat. Different audiences are more or less comfortable with different platforms.
Keep a keen eye on your analytics to see what kinds of posts are most effective, what posting times drive more engagement, and whether or not a particular platform is right for your target audience. Don’t get caught up in the need to be everywhere, just focus on being where the customer is so that your social media strategy drives not only awareness but sales, too.
While each of these steps can be truly transformative for your business and help you step into the world of digital marketing with intention, that doesn’t mean you should abandon the techniques that are working for you now.
Digital marketing is a great way to expand your marketing repertoire and improve communication with your customers, but if traditional marketing methods are working for you now, there’s no reason to leave them behind. Keeping your marketing efforts consistent in the ways that worked before will help you transform your digital presence, without disrupting everything you’re used to working on.
Transforming your business’ digital presence doesn’t need to be intimidating. As long as you focus on defining business goals and measuring progress against them, you can create a solid and sustainable digital presence capable of delivering real results for your business.
If you’re interested in augmenting a fancy new website with content that drives and nurtures your leads, check out how to combine website design with an inbound marketing strategy.