Running a business isn’t anything like it used to be. The biggest difference between even 10 years ago and now is that digital marketing is what makes businesses succeed, or fail, if not done correctly.
Having an online presence as a growing business isn’t just an important part of the process: it’s essential. In fact, in many cases, it is one of the first steps you will take when creating your business. People will find you online by accident, but it’s up to you to make sure they find you on purpose. It’s time to abandon traditional marketing, even if you think you aren’t ready.
Is your traditional marketing strategy a bit outdated? Here’s to know if your current techniques need to be transferred over to a more digital-friendly model … and how to get started on implementing your new digital marketing strategy.
You’re either not on social media or you never update it
It isn’t enough just to have a website anymore. Everyone has a website. That home base of sorts is essential for every company to have, but people aren’t very likely to find it just because it exists. Much of your web traffic can, and will, come from outside sources, particularly social media outlets, even if you aren’t on any yourself.
This means your business will reach more people if it is actively involved in the social media game. Many potential customers will follow your company pages on Facebook or Twitter before they even make it to your website. It’s important not only to have various social media accounts, though: your organization has to be active on them, too.
Consistency is important. Post regularly, and post valuable content that promotes your brand and gets people interested and talking about what you have to offer them. On social media, you are more than just a business. You are a brand that people want to know more about. Show them what you’re made of.
You spend more time and resources on creating sales copy than you do on online networking
In the digital age, it’s all about making connections. LinkedIn is a great example of this. Your company description may be important, but it appears on your website, and on your company LinkedIn page, and on all your other profiles. After awhile, people stop reading. They aren’t interested in who you are: they are interested in what you can do for them.
Online networking involves a lot of displaying what you have done in the past, what you are doing currently and what you plan to do in the future. It is a combination of making your presence known, getting involved with other organizations and causes and sharing the work of others to show support for your industry as a whole.
Think of what it’s like at a networking event, held in a physical location where professionals meet face-to-face to talk about trends and accomplishments, and encourage aspiring professionals to pursue their ambitions in the field. It’s the same way online. You have to be willing to approach brands and say, “Hey, we love what you are doing.” Online partnerships, even casually, are powerful marketing tools.
You aren’t listening to or engaging with your customers
Think of a traditional commercial you might see on TV. This is a marketing strategy that reaches out to a potential customer, but doesn’t let them reach back. More traditional marketers assume what their customers want and/or need. They advertise based on generalizations instead of asking customers to share their thoughts and opinions.
When marketing your business digitally, learn to flip the funnel. You have to give your customers a voice, and a reason to speak. Traditional marketing is all about interrupting; digital marketing is all about conversation. You are the conversation starter. You give potential customers a prompt they can run with.
Engage with your customers as well. Think of how a customer might feel walking into a store with sales representatives wandering through the aisles. If none of them approach her to ask her what she needs or welcome her to the store, how does that reflect on the business? Sure, they might have a wide selection of items, but they don’t ever acknowledge their patrons. Not good!
You don’t provide your potential customers a call to action
If you have ever sent or received a traditional sales email, you know how things usually go. It opens with a general assumption about a target group of people and eventually gets to talking about the brand in question, and how it can solve a problem it assumes everyone has. At the end, it might ask the receiver to ‘visit our website’ for more information … and that’s it.
When it comes to digital marketing, customers need some kind of motivation to get from an advertisement to the final step of a sales page, for example. People might make it to your website through a landing page, but they don’t make it much further than that. Traditional advertising focuses on getting people to where you are: digital marketing focuses on giving them something to do when they get there.
Calls to action are an essential part of any business’s digital strategy. Customers need to know what you want them to do and how they can interact with your business. But it’s about more than just telling them to visit your website. To get them to click a button, they need to know exactly why they are doing it, and how it is going to help them solve a problem or make a difference somehow.
Traditional marketing strategies may have worked before the internet, but they’re beyond ineffective now. Marketing is all about meeting people where they are, and where they are is online. Social media and online networking help you find and talk with potential customers. This is where you lead them to your calls to action, making the sales model a partnership. You have something to offer them. Meet them in the places they frequent, and guide them to your services. Encourage them to be part of what you’re doing. It makes all the difference