Many businesses want to start taking advantage of the benefits of digital marketing, but it’s often hard to know where to start.
Digital marketing is crucial for businesses of all sizes, from small startups to giant multinationals. 61% of marketers are now saying that growing their organic presence in the search engines is a high priority. Despite that, 49% of organisations don’t have a digital marketing plan that is clearly defined, and just 58% of marketers claim that they achieve their marketing goals often.
Getting started is a challenge, and it can seem that there is too much to learn. So we’ve come up with a plan to get you started.
1. Create your buyer personas
Creating your buyer personas is the best place to start. Once you know exactly who you are targeting, you will be able to formulate a plan to go about reaching them, including which channels to use and which techniques to prioritise. This is one of the first things we always recommend doing when clients come to us for our digital marketing services. Here are a few blogs that will help you to get started:
You already understand your customer needs, but when was the last time you sat down to truly discuss who they are today and how you are communicating with them? Try not to skip this step, no matter how tempting.
2. Carry out keyword research
No successful digital marketing strategy can get off the ground without keyword research. By discovering the keywords that your target customers are using to search for your solutions, you can create content that becomes more visible in the search engines.But you can't just guess your keywords: you need to find out the exact keywords that your targets are using. And that's where dedicated keyword research comes in.You need to use keyword research tools to find the keywords that people are already using to find answers to their questions ("Why do I need to hire an accountant?") and make purchasing decisions ("Best accountant in East London"). You can then use these keywords to direct your content creation process, ensuring you create content that is not only useful for your targets but which also gets more visibility in the search engines. This will help you inform your website copy, your advertising copy, your blog topics and even your brochures and sales materials. Keyword research is a large topic and one we've covered in detail on our blog. Here are a few posts to help get you started:
- What are keywords & how do they impact your inbound marketing?
- Why a strong keyword strategy is essential to your inbound marketing
- How to Approach Keyword Research for Inbound Marketing
3. Create a content plan
Nearly all digital marketing revolves around content in some shape or form, and especially inbound marketing. Content gives you something to draw visitors in and provide answers to their questions, to share on social and to keep them exploring your website. In short, you need it. Start by creating a plan for your blog including the topics you want to cover based on the needs of your buyer personas and when you will publish each post. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to explore the type of content that performs well. Here are some blogs to help you get started:
- 5 simple content writing strategies for better blogging
- What is content mapping & how to use it in inbound marketing?
One quick word of advice here, make sure if you’re starting a blog or news channel you have a sustainable plan in place for delivering the content. Your team can support with this, but try to find resources you can use that don’t have other jobs to do and don’t make your marketing plan reliant on your team as day to day can often take over and your marketing plan may stall. look for good writers or agencies that can help you with this and focus on keeping the programme fully on track to help ensure you get the results the business needs.
4. Choose your social platforms
Again, use your buyer personas to work out where your customers are. Find out which groups they are active in, and research the different platforms to find out which sites are most popular with your targets. Some sites are better for certain types of customers than others. For example, Pinterest’s base is 71% women. Once you’re ready to go, choose 1-3 platforms to focus on rather than focusing on all of them because you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. To ensure your plan is going to work, review the software platforms you are going to use to help you share the volume of posts you need to be seen across all of your chosen platforms, this will help you reduce your team’s admin time and increase your impact. Additionally, create a social media calendar that fits with your content plan to promote your latest content and relevant supportive news media. Use software such as Hootsuite or HubSpot to make sure you can schedule posts ahead of time and help your marketing plan stay on track.
5. Convert visitors into leads and customers
Once people start arriving at your website, this is only the first stage. Now you need to capture their details before you lose them (and maybe never see them again). You need to convert them. Most visitors will not be ready to buy. In fact, they will probably visit your website and read your social media posts many times before they decide to buy from you. It's therefore crucial that you engage them with useful, educational material that provides them with immense value as soon as they land on your site. You want them to explore your site and find content that answers their pressing questions, and in doing this you will not only start to build a relationship, but you will build trust. One of your key goals at this stage should be to encourage visitors to sign up to your email list. By doing this, you will be able to reach out to them with useful content even if they don't come back to your site. Create a list and a sign-up form that you can add to your website, then create a tempting lead magnet to encourage people to sign up. This can take the form of a free report, e-book or course that packs in a huge amount of value, with the goal being to tempt people to leave their email address. Whether you use paid social, SEO, retargeting or any other techniques, with an email list in place you can capture the details of the people who land on your website and keep on targeting them with helpful and educational over time to build a relationship, increase trust and eventually convert them into customers.
Get your digital marketing plan up and running
This is just the start, and there’s a lot more involved in formulating a successful digital marketing plan. But with this in place, you are in a good situation to start building your plan, and you can then adapt your plan each month. Check it regularly, add to it, change things up and let it grow. And if you are ready to take your digital marketing seriously, one of the best places to get started is with our Digital Marketing Health Check. We’ll give you a great situational analysis to add to your plan for free.