Happy New Year. I hope you partied like it was 1999. But now that it is 2018 it's time to buckle down and take a good look at your Digital Strategy for the next 12 months.
You can try to float through the air and hope to pollinate a decent flower, but the reality is, unless you have clear goals for what you want your business to achieve, you probably wont get there without a solid plan. Noone successful got there by luck....well perhaps with the exclusion of a few. I'm looking at you Donald J Trump. Successful business people plan, set goals and have a clear vision of where they are going.
Now I'm no life coach, leave that to Tony Robbins, but I do know that goals are an important part of moving forward and increasing the bottom line. So how do we set goals and apply them to your Digital Marketing Strategy?
First, take a look at how your business fared in 2016 and 2017? Did you increase your profits, activity, client base? Were there any significant changes year on year? List the growth and the strategies you used.
Did you add new products or services? How did they do?
Based on patterns over the last two years, try to come up with a conservative growth figure for 2018. Say 10% on top of 2017. Okay now double it. Still too low, triple it. Aim for the stars!
Look at your products and services and imagine where you'd like those to go based on the pattern, now double or triple that too. So if you have 10 products, increase it to 20. If you offer 3 core services, double or triple the number of clients you aim to service this year.
You may also want to look at goals around staffing or contractors, manufacturing, branding and design, or office location.
Make the goals actual and tangible and set timeframes, for instance instead of saying "I want to double my sales from 2017" try "I want to turn over $50,000 more by the end of the financial year" - doing this will allow you to break down into quarters and weeks and set actions to ensure you are moving towards those goals.
Now that you have a vision in place you can begin to build a digital marketing strategy around it.
Take a digital marketing audit
Now let's take an audit of your digital communication channels and how you used them? I am talking about your website including your (blog), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and so on), Google listing, directory listings and your newsletter.
Did you use any of these channels during the last 12 months? How did it go?
How is your website looking? Is it user friendly? Is it SEO friendly? Is your website doing what you want it to do? Did you write blogs? Did you monitor your website traffic? Were you happy with that?
Do you have social media accounts? Are they set up correctly and linked to one another and your website? Did you post regularly with intention or randomly post things when you remembered? Did you hashtag the posts? Did you link all the posts to your website to increase traffic? Is your website registered with Google?
Did you run any paid advertising campaigns through social media? How effective were they?
Is your Google listing up to date? Are all the details, including your location correct? Does it come up on Google searches when you type in your business name? It should.
Did you keep your database up to date and communicate with them throughout 2018?
Did you create directly listings and ensure they were up to date?
Do you have an idea of your "return on investment' from last year's digital activities?
Now that you have a snapshot of what you did last year it's time to formulate a plan.
Creating your digital marketing strategy
Your digital strategy should include the following elements:
- Social media
- Paid social media advertising
- Directory listings
First, make some decisions about which of the above you are going to use? Which do you have time to manage?
Once you know that, you need to ensure they are up to date and all information and images are correct. This includes consistency in branding.
Perhaps you want to update your website too, either visually or just the content. 2018 may be the time for a new website altogether.
Now, based on your goals and the digital channels you have chosen and updated, you must now build a schedule, decide on your target market(s), write your key messages, create campaigns and begin roll-out.
It all seems too much
To make this more stomach-able break the year into quarters, use quarterly goals to build digital communication plan.
If you have a new product or service you want to launch set your launch date, work backward at least a month or more and decide:
- Content for website/ blog
- Social media content across all social media platforms you intend to use
- Paid advertising content
- Database communications
Create a schedule that will work with your ability to do the work, there is no point in doing all the planning and then finding you don't have the time to actually complete the tasks. If you only have an hour a week then schedule your campaign accordingly.
Ensure you decide on your hashtags and be consistent. Choose images for the campaign and stick with them. Link all posts back to your website content, share content on all social media platforms, create a video about the product. Post video and blog content on article sites, social media and in your email communications.
All social media posts can be pre-created and pre-scheduled using scheduling tools. Facebook has it's own, however, if you want to be consistent, a tool like HootSuite can be very useful. HootSuite will also allow you to monitor and measure the engagement.
Create a paid campaign
If you don’t have many social media followers, paid campaigns are a great way to reach more people. You can specify if you want more followers to your page, to promote a product, drive traffic to your site and more.
Many platforms allow you to create paid promotions (that's how they make their money after all). If you're a beginner I recommend sticking with Facebook. It has the largest number of users and it's a given that your customers are on Facebook whether professionally or personally.
There are two ways to create a paid campaign on Facebook. You can either 'boost' a post' or create an advert from scratch. Both have a user-friendly workflow.
Decide on a budget, but remember, on Facebook you can review and change your budget at any time, you can also stop the campaign at anytime.
A WORD TO THE WISE: Set a spending limit and payment schedule from the beginning so if you accidentally set a campaign for $10,000 instead of $100, you won't wake up to a million followers but/ and a huge debt with Facebook.
When you create ads on Facebook you acknowledge that you agree to their terms, one of which is that it is a user self-service and that you understand you cannot renege on any advertising you have placed because you 'made a mistake' Check the Facebook policy if you are unsure.
Share your news with your database
Those who choose to be on your database can be your best customers and your greatest advocates.
- Sharing news of a new product or service using email is a great way to create engagement with your new venture, increase website traffic, build a social media following, and make sales.
- Here are some simple tips
- Create MailChimp account.
- Add a link in your email signature linking to opt-in for the newsletter, remember that under the SPAM ACT 2003 you need to have permission from someone before you send them an email that is commercial in nature. A tip for asking your existing contacts or customers to join your database is to send them a personal email (not in bulk) and ask if they would join your list.
- Create several lists and segment accordingly (property, personal, business). Keep one main list of all contacts for general announcements.
- Create opt-in form on website, offer something in exchange for details such as a free initial phone consultation or a guide to wills, a guide to conveyancing or 10 tips for small business
- Create Opt-in on your Facebook page
All emails should be short and sweet, minimal scrolling required, the more it looks like an email and the less it looks like spammy promotions, the better response you will get
Load your email with links. Links to website content and links to social media content.
Now you have a strategy you are ready to roll it out like a boss.
If you find you have over-committed yourself, hiring a student or an air tasker is always an option. You can try a site called Upwork it is a low-cost task-based recruitment website which allows you to choose workers for all over the world to do online work for you. I cannot speak for the quality as sometimes you get what you pay for, but it is an option.
Pre-schedule as many posts as you can. This will save you a lot of time.
Monitor your activity daily, respond to any messages and comments on your posts. Make changes if you need to. Place extra posts or change your advertising budget and schedule if you want to try to change your reach and engagement.
Report on your campaign
Practise makes perfect
Remember reporting and analysing is the key to learning and growing. Learn from what you have created, make the adjustments necessary to make it better next time.
That's it from me, good luck
Enjoy your new digital marketing in 2018 and remember I am always here if you want to ask any questions.