By Gillian Grant, strategy director at LEWISThe first piece of advice I would give to any small firm looking to put a digital marketing plan in motion is to look at your business as a whole. Business development, lead generation, events, content development and PR should all tie into your digital marketing strategy. Try not to implement anything until you know exactly what is going on across your business.
Next, it is always good to ask yourself who you are trying to target and what really matters to them. Your customers are real people, so it’s important to communicate with them this way. Finding out what they actually care about will help you tailor content that is relevant to them. Once you’ve got this sussed, your objective is simple: find the right communications platforms to help you make an impactful connection.
Pick the right channelsStart off by looking at the best channels for your messaging. Digital might seem like the obvious choice, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about more traditional forms of media. At the end of the day it’s about knowing your target audience, and the content that will be of interest to them. Working this way means you can measure your success and find out what content and channels drive conversion, engage your audience and attract new potential customers.
Share informationNow you can apply these initial learnings and develop content that is appropriate for your audience. This might be sharing opinion pieces or interesting news from their sector. You could also keep an eye out for emerging trends that might affect their business and even share your own opinions on these. Or you could simply share news stories on these trends when they appear in news articles and websites.
Segment customersIf you hold data on your customers, you can target them more effectively through a digital marketing plan using retention messaging. Assuming you have all the right consents in place now GDPR has come into effect, you can bring email marketing into the mix. This is a much more intimate way of engaging your customers.
Look at it as the in-depth, follow-up chat after the quick ‘hello’ that is social media. There are a number of great email service providers tools that allow you to personalise this online correspondence based on interactions you have with your contact. At LEWIS, we use one called Adestra.
Work up a budgetDeciding how much to invest in digital marketing is down to a number of different factors. It might come down to the size of your business, or whether you’re targeting businesses or consumers. Be prepared to be flexible in case you need to spend more later.
It can be hard to structure a budget if you are not yet sure which channels are most effective, so I would suggest testing a mixture of the channels you identified in your initial assessment, and setting aside a month’s proportion of viable annual budget to assess those channels. After the first month, you can apply any findings to the following month’s budget.
As with any strategy, a digital marketing plan requires regular monitoring. The sooner you implement it, the sooner you will get a feel for what exactly is helping you reach and grow your business.