Asking the same question myself, I have moved on to build a robust ecosystem, mainly from evaluating an overall experience of a potential customer, and to give the best value with the digital online channels. Some may have heard the quote Content is King for digital marketing, but I will share in this article if it is relevant to my online marketing consulting.
Some customers did ask me the question, and I tried my possible best to answer them accordingly, and I would assume the readers here are more of a beginner to online marketing.
Do we need a website to do marketing? Do we need SEO or PPC or is social media better for advertising purposes? How much does it cost to spend on a service? How can I do a better business compared to my competitors? Are any channels suitable? Is digital marketing activity taking up my time? How do I best measure the result of digital marketing compared to my other marketing forms?
My answer would be from the following perspective, and the emphasis of my digital marketing would be focusing on a few themes such as content marketing and building engagement among the social media community.
First and foremost, understand who is your customer, the uniqueness of your business in terms of product, service, business model and most importantly, how to ensure your marketing is sustainable in the medium and long-run. For now, you can ignore the fancy jargon of “digital marketing new techniques”, “going digital” and “get your customers faster with a click of a button.”
Here. Let me share with you a few ways on how to kick start the digital marketing strategy:
Find customer demand. When I say this, do some Google search using these keywords “your product”, “your product + location”. For example, Malaysia is the location. For this objective, you need to assess your landscape; if the customer is looking and if many companies are into it. Also in the form of Google Trend, you can validate the topics and queries used.
For Business to Consumer (B2C) type, the number of keywords to justify your customer demand used should be more than the product name. You would need to think of “product model”, a modifier with examples such as new, old, buy, etc.
Tools: Google Keyword Search, Ubersuggest, Google Trend.
Check The Reviews. The idea on social media platforms is to determine reviews, via Google My Business or the Facebook Page of the competitor. The objective is to assess if your customer has an area of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with certain services.
Tools: Social Baker, Google My Business, Facebook.
Understand the customer journey of a business. If you do not have a website, start a Google My Business or do a WordPress.org (a free hosting for limited is provided for eligible users if you are doing a web page to promote your business online.) The easiest way to visualise the customer journey is to research your competitor to understand the process flow of your offline business and mirroring it to your online model.
Tools: Similarweb (for the Western market), Alexa Rank Chrome Extension or Website Grader (provided by Hubspot).
Cultivate a prospect database. By cultivating, I mean by getting a customer to do a certain action and how you can connect with the customer online. At this stage, you may want to consider building a simple website (or a better version of step 3).
For instance, I will ask the customer to provide their name, contact details and email address (or phone number) too. In return, by giving their information, the customer would get monthly newsletter reports, my video update on YouTube, or just ideas on improving their business and how their business challenges can be addressed better. This form of marketing is called opt-in technique.
The easiest way to start is by using a Google Form (free) or if you want to have an automated follow-up message for a newsletter or coupon usage (Mailchimp would be my personal preference for the marketing automation). Be clear to disclose the GDPR terms if you have/serve customers from the EU Region and how you manage the customer consent to GDPR. There are some APIs that can do this.
Tools: Web — Wix.com, Shopify.com (E-commerce) or WordPress.
Form: Google Form, Mailchimp (free plan for a limited number of subscribers).
Building Engagement Consistently. This is personally challenging for me (and perhaps to other marketers but it’s essential for sales activity). Normally, for the level of engagement needed, it would be dependent on if your nature of Business is B2B or Business to Consumer (B2C) type. For B2B, the engagement would be likely more relevant to the position of your prospect in a company and in the context of its marketing, I would use email newsletter and short messages to connect.
For B2C, the generic method is to use social media marketing (Instagram and Facebook) to engage and provide ways to incentive engagement. An important metric to look at is if engagement leads to more people commenting and sharing, as this would help to increase the visibility of your posting.
Measure your analytics. Measure your customer tracking on your website. This can be done with analytics provided by Google My Business, via Analytics Report. You may want to look into the report of customer acquisition, how they found your website (channels/keywords) and the user journey/behaviour journey feature provided by Google Analytics.
Tools: Google Analytics.
Advertising with your important data known. Understand how your customer journey maps (i.e. how they navigate through the pages of your website), and interpret the meaning of the details provided in your Google Analytics before using them for Facebook Ads and Google Ads.
Tools: Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads.
For a personal view, understanding the new trend of search, engagements, and website display would be key metrics to evaluate. For business, your market landscape revolves around your customer behaviour, and new tools will be out all the time to reflect such behaviour tracking, and potentially predict their buying or browsing pattern, which is evident in the e-commerce business model.
On this note, I hope that the key sharing points here help in your marketing.