46% of all Google searches are for local businesses. Think about it, when you want to find a new place to eat, what do you do? You google it. Because people are turning to the web for most of their needs, it is important to actually be there, so that when people come searching, they are able to find you. With huge competitors and their national-sized budgets, it seems impossible to achieve, right? In reality, you can achieve great results from your digital endeavors, it just takes the right strategy.
Many small businesses choose to focus on only one type of digital strategy to grow their business, and they expect results to come based on that one thing. The reality of this approach is that it just wastes money. You need to have a total digital marketing strategy in order to get lasting results.
The first step to take is to build the base for your digital presence. You probably wouldn’t be very thrilled about a house without a foundation, so why are we so comfortable with a precarious digital strategy?
The number one thing a business needs to have is a website. It should show what you do or sell and have a way to contact you. You may have heard the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a crucial part of your website. SEO is how easy it is to find your website on a search engine and is something that takes time to build. It requires keyword placement, linking to other websites, adding images and videos, and a variety of other things.
SEO takes time, usually several months, but is the most vital part of the whole process. Without it, your business won’t appear on the web when people search. This is the only “free” way to get your business seen on the web, though many people choose to pay someone else to do it.
This next strategy will be divided into three parts. You may have heard of the sales funnel before, it’s a pretty common concept. It’s all about turning people who have never heard of your business into customers, and hopefully loyal ones.
There are three parts to this funnel: awareness, consideration, and decision.
This stage is very important for bringing in customers but is often overlooked because the results aren’t as big as some of the other strategies. This is where you find people who have never heard of you before and get your name into their minds. The ultimate goal being them searching your name instead of a keyword.
There are plenty of other ways as well, anything that includes getting your name in front of new potential customers. Make sure people know who you are and what you do by getting your name in front of them.
The second stage of this funnel is narrowing down that awareness list of people. Here is where you get them to join you somehow, generating leads. This is where you start bringing people into your world, finding those who are interested in your specific niche. A lot of people skip this step because it doesn’t seem like it would be very profitable at the moment. Remember, we are playing the long game here.
Some options for your digital consideration campaign could be:
– Email lists and consistent emails
– Social media following, creating useful content
– Free assessment/trial/demo etc.
Each of these things gives you the opportunity to speak to a group that is interested but maybe not convinced. Do you follow any brands that you just like the look of but aren’t planning on buying anything? Or maybe you told yourself you wouldn’t buy anything but you did anyway! This step is so important because it gives you a platform that will drive people to the decision stage.
This last stage is where everyone tries to jump to without doing the rest of the work. Obviously, this is the most exciting stage because you actually see some lucrative results. However, you won’t find much success if you are doing it without the other stages. If you try to sell to someone who has never heard of you, they won’t trust you.
Some ways to find those decision-makers for your digital campaigns are:
– Offers with a clear intention (Buy now, 25% off, etc.)
– Links to actual products in social media posts
This is where you pull all the other stages in and watch the magic happen. Emails can be sent out with 20% off offers to those who you collected emails from. Your social media soft-sell approach can throw a hard-sell in there and actually see some success.
The one that people don’t always think about as a decision tactic is the Google search and Google maps ads. When your customers or clients go to search for something to buy, you need to be there, especially if you aren’t ranking very high on the results page. People generally search for a specific product when they are ready to buy, and if you are near them or have that product online then you need to be there.
Putting It All Together
So why does it all have to go together? Why do you have to have every part and not just pick and choose your favorites? Digital marketing is a lot like a puzzle, you need to have every piece in order to make that picture come into view.
The concept of this digital marketing funnel is to find new people, get them to trust you and your name, and then eventually convert them into paying customers. Too many people think in terms of strictly dollar amounts. The success of a digital campaign is reliant on having a community of people who are loyal to you and what you do. Once you have that then you will be successful. People share what they enjoy, if you are doing your part, they will do theirs.