The Typical New Business Scenario
Okay, so you have started the business of your dreams and you really feel like everything is about to fall into place to bring you the wealth and success that you’ve always imagined. You have spent lots of time and precious startup capital building a professional looking website. You just know that any day now the sales are going to start flying in and you will be busy as a beaver working on new orders for clients. The only problem is that even though you have advertised locally in the newspaper, have a yellow pages listing, and an attractive, lighted sign out front, you have made few sales and have few customers. In fact, when you check your business website analytics, you see that you have only a few hits and you are sure that most of them are you and your employees checking the site.
What do you do now? What affirmative digital marketing steps should you take? You can and should contact a digital marketing agency to get some help. A good agency is qualified to help you get the online presence that you need to be successful. You can also try to do it yourself if you feel like you have the skills.
Determine What Your Marketing Goals Are
First, you need a digital marketing plan that encompasses the three most vital categories of digital marketing, which are your owned media properties, your earned media properties, and your purchased media properties. Just about anything that your company does out there on the web can be said to operate in one of these three marketing domains. You have to determine your goals and then figure out how to use properties in these three areas to achieve them.
Establish Your Owned Media Properties
You have your own website so anything that is placed on your website, as far as information about your business, your policies, your offers, your goods or services, and really everything that you write on your business website represents you and is one of your main marketing outreach efforts. That is if someone makes it to your site to see it. Regardless, you control the message on the sites that you own and control. Therefore, if you do not have a blog on your business web page where customers and sales representative can dialogue and interact and where you can regularly publish informative articles about your business, what you offer, and information about your genre or business category, then you are cheating yourself out of free views, web traffic, and general exposure.
You can’t just rely on word-of-mouth alone, but social media web properties make word-of-mouth much more powerful. You can use a variety of other owned media properties that you have complete editorial control over, such as customer written reviews or press releases issued from your web site.
Encourage Your Earned Media Properties
Earned media properties are those that are written by Internet users that are unaffiliated with your business, but are encouraged or inspired by the great things that your business does, says, and publishes. Often they are things like shares, replies, and comments to your social media posts and blogs. These posts represent your business, so if you do not like any of them, then just delete the negative ones leaving only positive and favorable reviews and posts.
Of course, it goes without saying that if your company does not have a page on each of the major social media outlets and if you are not posting either daily or every two days, then you are missing out on the free advertising, traffic, and exposure that these media outlets offer. Remember that it is essential that your accounts for these web 2.0 social media sites should be fully filled out and should always contain the URL of your business website where you sell your goods or services. Also, don’t neglect local business listing sites that link your business’ locations to key search terms so that you show up for those keywords when people do searches related to your company in those locations.
Strategically Choose Your Paid For Media Properties
Paid media properties are those Internet placements that you have control over because you paid to get your company’s name out there. This can be something as simple as an old-school banner ad that you placed on a related high traffic website in order to glean some clicks from interested parties. More often these days the two most popular and effective paid ad platforms are Facebook ads and Google Adwords. Another recent trend over the last few years is to hire social media influencers with a large following to write posts about how great your business is or to make videos about your business and to be your spokesperson to people who like to follow their lead. As well, another tried and true method of paid marketing is paying for press release distribution and placement in news media outlets. All of these tips and methods are things that you curate, cultivate, and have paid control over.
Curate Your Messages and Enhance Existing Messages
Now that the word is out there on the Internet streets about how great your business is, you and your employees need to “fluff” them by giving all of your Internet placements, including owned, earned, and paid for, more attention by liking, retweeting, commenting, and otherwise bringing attention to them as much as you can. Remember that you are the creator and curator of your business’ messages that are sent out into the world and it is up to you to craft how your company sounds and what image is conveyed.