The world’s gone digital. Big time. These days, a digital marketing plan is a must for most businesses. Digital marketing is an umbrella term for all your online marketing efforts, using search, social media, email and websites to connect with existing and prospective customers. The reality is that people spend twice as much time online as they did just ten years ago, and this is only going to grow. And if they’re online, you need to be too.
So, what are your options?
A good number of people we talk to ask us if they really need a website. There's only one answer to this question, and it isn't no. There are so many reasons why you need a web presence, it's the 101 of digital marketing. Ideally, we stay true to the following process, but no two projects are ever the same and we're very flexible. Like a sea lion. Who practices yoga.
Planning and strategy
As keen as we are to start designing and showing you a beautiful website, the devil is always in the detail. A well thought through plan and strategy always reaps rewards. We take time to get to know you and your business and what you want to achieve from your website. A shared understanding always, always makes the process that much better.
Words and more words
Once we’ve got a plan it’s onto the words. Words are powerful things. They have the ability to attract strangers, turn those strangers into customers, and customers into advocates. If your content is engaging, thoughtful, educational, sometimes humorous and, above all, written in plain English, you have the opportunity to bring people into your world. And we write with search engine optimisation in mind with every page.
Look and feel
With a plan and your words ready, we move onto the design of a site. It’s of course a given that your site needs to look good, but how do you get there? We will often produce mood boards, to give our clients a feel of what they can expect and to provide them with a chance to refine, develop or change the general direction. We then design with user experience and customer journey front of mind.
Once you have your website, you should always look to improve it. Whether that’s refining the words you use, for both improved search rankings and user experience, or testing a new version of a page to see if it converts better, optimisation should be a continual process. We’ll use analytics from the site to inform our advice, always looking to help you win and keep more customers.
Here at Fivespoons, we know how important a website is especially when you are setting up your business and have developed our Small Business Marketing packages with this in mind. Please give us a call if you'd like to know more.
Search Engine Optimisation
Sadly, some of the spoons are old enough to remember the time when the Yellow Pages ruled the world of search. When you needed something you had to get the behemoth of a book out and trawl through it. It was always amazing how many companies began with the letter A, the theory being you were first in the list that people saw. And if you could name your business Aardvark, so much the better. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) operates with much the same principle; namely how can you get to be at the top of the list. But it's Google's list. Getting your business front and centre on Google can make a huge difference to the amount of enquiries and interest you can generate. It's essential because...
The majority of search engine users are more likely to click on one of the top five suggestions on the results pages.
It's not only about search engines. Good SEO also improves the user experience and usability of a website.
We trust search engines. If your website appears high on a results page people are more likely to trust your site.
People who find your website by searching Google are more likely to promote it on Facebook, Twitter or other social media channels.
If two websites are selling the same thing, the search engine optimised one is likely to have more customers and make more sales.
Take me back to the top
Paid Search, or PPC (Pay Per Click), advertising refers to the sponsored ads you see at the top of each Google search results page. Back in the day they used to be highlighted in a big old yellow block, now all they have is a small little block next to each web address, which says ‘ad’. There’s normally four of them at the top of a results page and three at the bottom. Paid search adverts cost you a defined amount every time someone clicks on one of your ads. You can set up a maximum cost and a maximum budget at the start of a campaign, so you can keep a good degree of control. At Fivespoons, we can help you set up paid search campaigns and here are some of the reasons why we think they are a good way to promote your business.
Get on the first page of Google
Trying to get to the top page of Google for organic results is a labour of love, and one that you may never achieve depending on how much competition there is for your search term. But if you are a new business, or an existing one looking to build an online presence, paid search ads can get you in front of targeted customers in seconds.
Paid search ads don’t just get placed in front of everyone who searches for key terms. You can target your ad to display in certain geographical areas, at different times of the day or to mobile or desktop users. If you feel your product or service is perfect for hairdressers in Aberystwyth, then you can just target them.
Ready to buy
It’s safe to say that people who see and click on your paid search ad are those who are searching for a product or a service you provide. And it’s not too much of a stretch to say they are ready to buy now or in the very near future. When people click through on your advert, it's essential that your website is in good shape to convert them.
Google and other search engine platforms provide advertisers with free, real-time data and analytics, which allows you to learn a fair bit about those who click on your ad. Where are they located? Which pages did they visit? All these things help you refine and adapt your campaigns as you go, as well as helping with your organic search results and your continued Search Engine Optimisation work.
Take me back to the top
You may or may not have heard the phrase content is king. The thing is, it kind of is. Content Marketing is a key part of any digital marketing strategy and is the technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience. Sounds like most marketing, right? The key word is valuable. It is about creating something that people want to consume, not just avoid.
One of the best ways to think about content marketing is to look at which part of the buying cycle it is trying to address. There are potentially many parts to this cycle, but you can broadly split it up into four stages.
Hover over the boxes to find out more.
A customer becomes aware of having a need but they are not sure if there is a solution.
After a customer has become aware of a solution they are likely to carry out research to educate themselves.
The customer starts comparing products or services to make sure they get the right deal.
After all that, a customer makes a decision and moves forward with their purchase.
Traditional advertising and marketing activity addresses the last two stages, but content marketing focuses on the first two steps. It raises awareness of potential solutions and educates customers. The return on content marketing can be huge and it provides additional benefits that support other digital marketing channels such as, providing content for social media and boosting SEO by generating inbound links from other websites and building your own site’s profile.
Types of Content Marketing
There are loads. Literally, loads. Here’s a very brief overview of the most important types you should consider.
Blogs are ideal for building relationships with your readers and potential customers. Maintaining a consistent blog with frequent, high-quality content can also drive significant traffic to your site.
These are reviews of a specific piece of work which should offer knowledge and usable information. And, most importantly, this data and information is unique to you, it can’t really be copied.
These contain detailed analysis of a particular subject that advocate a solution to an issue. They are really good at positioning you as an expert and immersing people in your world and perspective.
Another great way to share indepth content and your knowledge. They can be anything from 5 to 35 pages but must always be valuable and focused on providing information - not selling your service or product.
These allow you to pack a large amount of information into one long image that is visually appealing and easy to navigate through. Take a look at our infographic on customer journey mapping to see what we mean.
Some argue it’s not content marketing, but really it is. It’s engaging, dynamic and quite frankly more people watch videos these days than read text. And it is expected that 80% of internet traffic will be video by 2019.
As you can see, there are many options for your content marketing strategy. If you’d like to find out what can work for you drop us a line.
Take me back to the top
Social Media Marketing is far more than just a race to be the most popular. It’s a genuine marketing tool that many people have used to create successful businesses. It works hand in hand with your other channels and often provides a space for more personality that other channels simple don’t. We think there are probably five main benefits to social media marketing.
Increase brand awareness
Social media marketing is an excellent way to introduce people to your brand. Research from eMarketer has shown that 1 in 3 consumers cite social networks as the way they discover new brands, products and services.
Legitimise a brand
When users discover a business, they want to learn more about it, often visiting social media profiles. An active and engaging social media profile tells consumers you are active and ready for their enquiry. Of course, you should always be wary because poor social media can have entirely the opposite effect.
Fundamentally, the long-term game for any marketing activity is to increase sales. The previous two benefits should do that, but social media can also send people directly towards the sales funnel. And the fact that social media marketing allows you to target specific audiences will also help with sales.
Social media is a key part of any content distribution plan. The nature of liking and sharing means you can quickly get your message out to thousands of people. Of course, the message still has to be worthy of sharing.
One that is often overlooked, but critically important. Customers these days expect their issues to be handled by the channel of their choice, which is so often through social media. Get this part right and you will increase customer loyalty to your brand.
Improve customer service
If you are thinking about social media and how you can use it to grow your business, we’d love to talk about how we can help.
Creating an email marketing plan can often be quite a challenge for a business, particularly small business owners. Time is precious, and it is one of those things that often gets pushed down the list. It’s all about the planning and getting a programme ready for constant engagement, which we of course can help with.
Here, we look briefly at the types of emails businesses can send, split into the main headings of Engagement Emails and Transactional Emails.
The main point of these emails is for brand development and to tell your stories. Their purpose is to keep subscribers interested and engaged, even when they don’t fancy buying anything. This way, when people are actually ready to buy, the relationship you have built hopefully pushes you to the top of their consideration.
These are the first emails a subscriber will receive after they’ve provided you with their precious email address. Make sure they are memorable and engaging.
These build a sense of community and provide opportunities for you to show subscribers how people like them have transacted with you. And hopefully, how pleased they have been to do so.
Keeping in touch
Be it a regular newsletter or regular emails to remind your subscribers and customers about your business, keeping in contact with your audience is a great way to build brand loyalty.
Read all about it
Sharing news and providing your perspective on it is a great way to keep your brand front of mind. But make sure you put your spin and personality in there. With news from so many sources these days your email needs to stand out.
These do what they say on the tin. Their objective is to start or close a sale. You could use some of the following types.
These are crucial for any business that allows people to make a purchase online. They are the emails you send when someone adds items to their checkout but doesn’t actually end up making a purchase. A good version will include a prominent call to action and some compelling words on why they should log back in and make that purchase.
Time bound promotions
As you would expect, these include an offer that will expire soon. Perhaps the biggest modern day example is Black Friday, when many businesses engage with their customers by telling them about their offers that will only be available for one day (or, maybe several days as Black Friday appears to have morphed into a week for many retailers).
It’s pretty standard practice now for online stores to send receipt emails after a transaction. But don’t just send the receipt. Use the opportunity to remind customers about other products you have or offer them discounts on their next purchase.
These are just examples of the type of email marketing you can do. But there are many more. If you’d like to find out about how email marketing can help your business grow then get in touch.
Find out what's right for you
It might seem like a lot to take in but establishing a digital presence doesn't need to the daunting. Our free, two hour consultation can help us to understand your business so that we can give you a better idea of which elements of digital marketing would work best for you.