The year is 2014, and if last year wasn’t the year to implement your thorough digital marketing strategy, 2014 MUST be the year you create your online presence. Life for marketers used to be simpler. However, the times have changed. Forbes elaborates:
We had just a few TV channels, some radio stations, a handful of top magazines and a newspaper or two in each market. Reaching consumers was easy, if you were able craft a compelling message, you could move product.
Now we’ve got a whole slew of TV channels, millions of web sites and hundreds of thousands of “Apps” along with an alphabet soup of DMP’s, API’s and SDK’s. Marketing was never easy, but technology has made it a whole lot tougher.
This may sound intimidating, but let me assure you – it doesn’t have to be. Even a basic understanding of where to start your digital marketing strategy goes a long way.
If you’re just getting started, or if you’re just looking for a refresher course, here’s the roadmap to establishing your digital presence:
The very first step is creating a website, which acts as your storefront (or business card) in the digital realm. Place less focus on creating a massive, intricate website. A Splash (single-page) website can be extremely effective, as long it utilizes best practices and emphasizes the correct information.
In today’s digital age, best practices for business websites all look to minimize one thing – wordiness. In an article explaining usability tips, Mashable points out how important it is for websites to keep content concise, to break up (and organize) content with headings, and to use visuals strategically.
Your website should also display your phone number and contact information at the very top of the page. Use clear, bold fonts and colors to ensure your number is easy to locate and read from a user perspective. With your contact information, include an engaging call-to-action to help motivate users to contact you. Promote your free consultation. Schedule your appointment today.
The most important step, however, may be the implementation of responsive design. Different than a standard website, responsive designs adjusts “gracefully” for desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. With 46% of individuals using mobile exclusively as their primary search tool, mobile users are a very important demographic to focus on and cater to. With responsive web design, you guarantee your site will look great for any user on any device.
Despite what you think (and what you’ve heard) about social media, having a social presence for your business is a requirement in 2014 – not a casual marketing accessory. Social Media Today reports that only 24% of SMBs use social media as an engagement and sales lead tool. Take advantage of others’ reluctance to go social – take control of this enormous audience.
Experts and industry leaders may advocate for social diversity, but the best place to get started is through Facebook. As the “top dog across the board,” Facebook leads all social networks in account ownership, active usage, and visit frequency. Twitter isn’t far behind.
However, simply creating a profile is not enough. Having a Facebook page for your business is great for SEO, but it needs to be updated. When embracing Facebook as part of your marketing strategy, it is important to engage fans – listen to what your customers are saying, create discussion and respond to questions and comments. Note – through the lens of social media, responding to customers means you value your customers.
Keep your content new and updated – consistent updates are more important than you think. For more tips on developing a social media strategy, you can find some helpful tips for Facebook here.
Building a website and starting your social media strategy won’t make too much noise if users and potential customers can’t find you. This is where Google Places comes in. In today’s age, local profiles and search engine results are the new yellow pages.
Creating your local profile pins you to Google Maps, and in turn, helps display accurate, relevant information about your business to the people who have a need you can fulfill. Through updated, accurate local pages, you’ll get found by the people in your area for the things you want to be known for.
One out of every five searches is related to a location, and having your business (and contact information) verified boosts credibility and trust. If you serve a local audience, pinning your business on Google Maps is one of the most effective (and easy) marketing tools you can use.
Local Profiles also have the option for users to review your business, and the power of positive reviews is invaluable. Users trust other users, so make sure you also effectively manage your reputation.
What are you waiting for? Follow this roadmap and you will be on your way to an effective digital marketing strategy. Optimizing your digital marketing begins with incorporating and implementing classic, personalized engagement into the modern (and digital) media conventions of 2014.
Create a responsive (mobile-friendly) website with an easy-to-find call to action. Create a Facebook page and engage your audience. Create your Local Profile and get found locally for the products and services you offer. Just 3 steps and you’re on your way!