It can be easy to fall into the trap of wasting your marketing budget by continually selling to yesterday’s audience when you’re fighting fires on a daily basis. You can be making this mistake without even realising it’s happening.

Old habits really do die hard.

I’m not immune, when my kids get in the car they ask me why I’m listening to that boring old (but comfortable in a security blanket way) music station that I’ve always listened to and then they change to a channel that transmits something alien to me.

You may experience a similar situation when you’re marketing your business, you’re comfortable with the traditional approach but it doesn’t seem to be delivering the results you expected.

Buyer behaviour has changed

Today, more than 90% of people make the internet their first port of call when looking to find a solution to their problem. And they’re carrying out searches on a number of different platforms from mobile handsets to tablets, laptops and desktops (or in some cases, wearable technology).

What visitors see and experience on your website and across your social media presence will make an impact on how they perceive your company, products or services and determine whether they book, engage or buy from you or not.

For most of your online audience your website will represent the first contact they’ve ever had with your business. It’s their window into your world and their online experience will reflect how they feel about your total business. That’s why if you want to succeed in the offline world you still need a strong online presence.

Even if you don't sell online, you still need a strong online presence Click To Tweet

But first your audience needs to find your business and if they can’t find you they’ll look elsewhere and you could be missing out on that massive potential audience without even knowing it. So it’s critical that you take stock of your current marketing activities and understand the channels people are using to find and choose your business.

Your approach needs to change too

Traditional marketing services are being superseded by digital services, there is a time and place for each and the rate of this digital migration varies within different market sectors. According to a Statista report, up to 95% of 16 to 24 year olds now own a smartphone and the overall number of smartphone owners within the population of the UK will only continue to increase. Factor in the drive towards a 5G mobile network which for many users may roll out this year and mobile becomes a real game-changer.

Therefore to be successful means taking the parts of traditional marketing practices that still work for you and supplementing your marketing strategy with digital marketing techniques such as inbound marketing and content marketing supported by social media, video and online advertising to make the most of the available marketing mix. You then need to ensure that all of your activities are working together to support your ultimate aims and objectives because, at the end of the day, it’s ALL marketing.

Need help with your #contentmarketing and #socialmedia, check out www.andrewleonwalker.co.uk Click To Tweet

For today’s successful marketers it’s no longer acceptable to spend time and resource on marketing activities that are not delivering or cannot be measured. When you’re looking at putting together your next campaign or next years marketing budget consider carefully whether:

  • You need to attend those same old tradeshows
  • Or renew those print ads
  • Or carry out those bulk mailings
  • Or sign up to those paid directory entries

If you’re still not convinced why don’t you take some of that budget and run a few pilot programmes. Your website and social media analytics will help you monitor and track progress.

Note: I’m making an assumption that you already have a mobile responsive website.

Here are some suggestions on how you can get started.

A six-stage (toe in the water) approach to digital marketing

  1. Start with a blog. Blogging on a regular basis gives your business a voice, keeps your audience up to date with what’s going on in your world, provides an opportunity to increase search rankings and offers a way to keep your customers and prospects entertained. If you don’t think anyone would be interested in what you have to say, think again, it’s just a matter of identifying the content your audience would be interested in e.g.
  • How your products and services help solve customer issues
  • Expert interviews
  • Q&A with an industry figure
  • Get your client to write how you helped them
  • “How to” articles etc

2. Promote your blog through your social media platforms and your email marketing campaigns. Add a Call To Action (CTA) to drive readers back to your website to take action. Most social media platforms will allow you to paste your blog URL and then the platform will pull over an image and a snippet of your blog, you can then edit the text and post it to the platform.

3. Make sure your web content is focussed on your customers and explains how you can help solve their problems. Check to see if the words and phrases you use on your web pages match up to the search terms people are using on Google and Bing. Make sure each webpage has a strong CTA. As your customers will be at different stages in the decision process your content needs to account for this so you need a mix of “how to” type blogs and articles, case studies and testimonials and you need to provide this information in different formats such as text, images, video, infographics etc.

4. Make it easy for people to share your content by adding social share icons to your web pages and your email newsletters. Be active on the social networks that count. There’s nothing more offputting than visiting a social media account that hasn’t posted anything in the last 12 months.

5. Use the free tools Google provides to help people find you. Sign up for a Google My Business account. It’s a free online directory and is linked to Google maps. Verify your website with through Google Search Console (formerly webmaster tools) it provides additional information regarding keywords, links and page indexing. And check out how you can add rich snippets to your web pages, it will help the search engines understand what the page is all about.

6. Get an SSL certificate for your website and move it over to the https:// protocol. This can be done by your webmaster or ISP, it should only take an hour or two and be relatively inexpensive. Many SSL certificates are now provided for free. Once that’s done visitors will see a small padlock icon before your website url, they’ll feel more secure and you’ll keep Google happy.

When you feel more comfortable with this process and you’re getting some positive results you can expand your activities in content marketing and social media by experimenting with video, ebooks, long-form content and paid advertising whilst promoting and distributing this content across the key social media platforms where your audience is active.

Conclusion

Don’t carry on selling to yesterday’s audience and spending more marketing budget without taking the time to find out if your current marketing activities are delivering the results your business needs.

If you’re involved in traditional marketing activities it can be difficult (but not impossible) to measure the returns you are getting. Digital marketing activities can be tracked and measured. Your analytics package will provide feedback to help aid decisions on where best to spend your hard-earned budget.

The key to success is to sit down and compare the results with your team to get a better understanding of what marketing channels are delivering the best results. Then you can decide the best mix of channels and activities to focus your resources for the best returns. It’s not one or the other, traditional or digital. It’s whatever method suits your market and your audience. So keep on testing.

If you need further help or support, get in touch. I’m a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Google qualified marketer who provides marketing project management, content marketing and social media marketing advice, guidance and consultancy to business owners and managers.

Call 01803 413481 or [email protected]