How do I get the most out of digital marketing? For most people the question can sound overwhelming. “What should I do with all the tools available? Which ones should I be using? Do I still need SEO? Do I want to use social media?”
Before any of those questions can be answered, most companies need to make sure the foundation of their efforts is the best it can be. Your website and social media pages must make sense for your business. These pages should be considered your front door – they are the first thing potential and existing customers see. If you have not updated your website in more than a year, then it's already past time to do so. The internet evolves very quickly and users’ expectations for a website or landing page changes even faster.
So, what steps should you take to ensure your digital marketing efforts are effective? First, assume that when someone comes to your website they’ve already done research on rental providers in your area and have decided to check you out. They’re trying to decide whether or not to choose you as a provider when they get to your site. Answer their question: Why you?
Pick a target and then interact
The first step is to grab attention. If it takes more than a few seconds for someone to figure out if they’re at the right page and what it is you do, then you're already in trouble. The second thing to keep in mind is what information customers would need to know to convince them that they should do business with you. Would providing samples of previous work offer insight? Should you highlight how you’ve saved money or time for other customers? Make clear what your reasons are for doing what you do – why are you in business? What makes you tick? Why are you the best choice? Customers are buying you as a brand, as well as what you do or sell.
Once your foundation is in place the trick is to determine which of the many tools at their disposal do your prospects use when they are doing research on a business. Do they use the search engines or is it a referral? Do they find you on social media first? There’s an old saying that goes, “Be visible where your prospects are looking.” In turn, there is no reason to waste resources on Twitter if you have determined that your potential customers don’t use it. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t do the initial homework of finding out where they can be most effective and reach the most potential customers. They use valuable resources posting Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like because they think it’s necessary. Businesses need to research first and then begin participating in targeted avenues. Notice I said participating and not selling – social media has become too much like a billboard and without enough participation. The key is to be an active participant in social media and you will get more rewards. Those potential customers using social media don’t want to be sold to - they want to be interacted with.
Lastly, patience is key. Not even 10 years ago, you could get your business to show up on the first page of search results in a very short period of time with almost no work. Now, with the sheer volume of businesses and data, it is much more difficult to secure a spot on the first page of a search. Not only does it take more time, it takes more work. Being consistent in your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is key in keeping your business in a higher search ranking. SEO is not a "set it and forget it" process. By finding a firm that knows SEO in and out, or doing the research yourself, you’ll be better placed to succeed at digital marketing overall.
A solid SEO strategy involves two important ingredients:
- Consistent content curation and creation – blogs articles, videos, etc.
- Correct use of the right key words. Notice I did not say the words searched the most; the “right” keywords are the words being used by those who are closer to a buying decision. For example, consider someone who searches for a BMW versus someone who searches for a red i8 BMW – the more detailed the search, the closer they are to a buying decision. Find the right combination and get to the top of the search page.
Be patient, be persistent, and always continue monitoring so you can change your strategy as needed. Your message and your services don’t stay static and neither should your digital marketing plan. When it comes to digital marketing success, staying with the times and being aware of how the industry moves is invaluable. Whether you choose to hire an agency to help you with this or dedicate internal resources to the mission, it must be consistently tracked and re-evaluated to be effective.