Starting a new business is an incredibly exciting adventure, and you want to do everything within your power to make it as successful as possible. Today, this means having a strategic plan of attack for digital marketing. However, unless you’re a marketing professional, you probably don’t know where to even start when it comes to developing a marketing strategy.
The good news is that you don’t need to know everything in the world about marketing to give your new business the boost it needs for building a presence online. You can begin with a new business marketing checklist that contains these five crucial items.
But before we get into the essentials of tactical marketing you need to consider your strategy. There is no better time than when you are new to stand out from the crowd with your strategy.
What is strategy? Strategy can mean a couple of things and while this isn’t an exhaustive explanation of strategy it will give some insight into what it means to your business.
Strategy means one thing to a brand manager releasing a new product throughout the United States. In the case of a brand manager they have done extensive market testing for: where to place the new product, how much to charge, what sort of packaging, how to promote online and offline etc.… I’m not talking about strategy in that context.
My focus is a local or regional business, or business with a new way of selling the marketplace. Like a business that knows what their ideal customer wants and builds their business around meeting the demands of that customer, and doing it better than the competition.
Strategy can come in the form of a big guarantee that separates them from their competition. Maybe that is the realtor that promises to buy a house if it doesn’t sell. Or the plumber that guarantees 1 hour service. Or a SAAS product that makes email marketing more intuitive for more users.
Or maybe you are a business that innovates how business is done for an industry like a two- sided/marketplace business-think in terms of businesses that connect buyers and sellers like Uber, Ebay, Thumbtack, Lugg or Wonderschool. Or a kitchen design business that sells online and specializes in selling to contractors vs. a traditional lumber yard or bricks and mortar location. Your strategy is not just how tactics are implemented, but also the market dominating position of your business.
A well-built, professional website is arguably your most important marketing asset. Your website is essentially the foundation of your entire digital presence and it’s also the place where first impressions of your new business will be made. There’s no way to overstate the importance of a professional looking web design.
Still, an incredible number of new small businesses charge forward without a website to help them establish a digital presence. It’s estimated that just over half of small businesses have a working website, and even then they’re not all optimized for mobile.
There are a few key points to remember when building a website that will deliver your brand message across the digital universe. First, make sure the design and visual appearance of your site is aligned to the business you’re looking to build. Second, mobile optimization is non-negotiable, so consider responsive design to deliver the best user experience. Finally, think of your website as the delivery vehicle for your professional content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is more important than many new businesses realize. Content marketing isn’t just about putting anything out there in an attempt to get a few hits from search queries. In fact, this is the last approach you want to take.
Today, the quality and intent of content surpasses the quantity that you deliver. Your approach to content should be strategic, focusing on topics that are relevant and valuable to your target audience. Also, content marketing includes more than what’s published on your blog. Great content can promote business growth through every page of your website, as well as social media, email marketing, and more.
The whole concept of email marketing can feel a little intimidating to a new business. While it’s true you have other options for reaching out and engaging with your audience, email still remains one of the most cost effective measures for lead generation and leveling up your conversion rates.
It’s important to start building an email list early in your marketing game. This involves learning who your target audience is and putting some effort into a lead generation strategy. Still, once you check these preliminary steps off your to-do list, you can leverage email marketing for helping your audience learn more about your new business, to provide a more personalized approach to your communications, and for nurturing interested prospects further along in your sales funnel.
Social media marketing is a fact of life for most businesses today - especially new businesses that can really benefit from the visibility that social media interaction provides. If your only experience with social media is through your own personal use, there are some important differences that you need to be aware of in order to successfully promote your new business across social networks.
The first is to not make assumptions about demographics or the ways that people use social media. Social media trends are changing, and this means you need to take the time to dig through some analytics to determine where, when and how to reach your audience.
For instance, Facebook might have the broadest appeal across all demographics as a whole, but the youngest segments of adult consumers are more likely to turn to other platforms, like SnapChat and Instagram. Likewise, the demographic that makes up the blurry line between GenXers and Millennials – speaking mostly of the audience that is somewhere in the decade between their late 30s through mid to late 40s – is also showing a strong, growing trend toward spending more time engaging on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
It might seem that the best approach is to go all in on all of them, but this can also end up being a waste of resources if you’re not reaching your audience. First, start with one or two social networks that you’re familiar with. Work on building a following and establishing a consistent brand image for your business. Remember that those who do follow you across multiple social networks are going to expect consistency in your messaging.
Last, but certainly not least, is SEO. Search engine optimization is a compilation of strategic behaviors that help your business increase its reach and visibility to search engine users. All the other things we’ve mentioned so far play into SEO in one form or another. There are a lot of layers to SEO, so you’ll want to spend at least a little time learning about some of the most important elements.
For example, your marketing business plan should include a strategic approach to local SEO to assist you in attracting local customers who often need less nurturing before converting. You’ll also want to understand how to manage your online reputation and the role that it plays in the success of your SEO strategy.
It’s also important to understand that SEO includes both off-page and on-page elements, so a basic understanding of web design, link building, content and user experience are important to the success of your overall business strategy.
Bringing it All Together
The five items on this checklist provide a solid foundation for your marketing business plan. If we were to add in just one more, it would be to partner with an experienced digital agency that can assist you with every aspect of marketing your new business online. At DigitalMX Online, we want to be your partner in success. We offer a full range of services to meet the demands of your new, growing business. Contact DigitalMX Online today and discover the potential that awaits your new business.