Getting Started With Digital Marketing

 In The NetSearch Blog
Thinking about making the dive into the wonderful world of online advertising? Great! Every business can benefit from a well-structured digital marketing plan. “Plan” being the key word, here. If you don’t have a plan, you might find yourself spending a lot of money and not getting any results. Before you jump in feet first, you’ll need to determine what it is you want to accomplish with your digital marketing dollars. There’s lots of different options, but with a little research and reflection, you should be able to get a good idea of which direction is right for you.

Picking Some Personal Goals

Every good plan should have some goals in mind. Here are some examples of common digital marketing goals:

  • Get More Sales –
    • This will be on everyone’s lists. What’s important to think about here are the specifics. How many more sales per month do you want to get? Do you have the resources and budget to generate them? Does your business have the capacity to fulfill the demand? Everyone wants more sales, but it’s important to have realistic expectations in mind based on baseline data and good research.
  • Increase Your Online Visibility –
    • Perhaps you’d like to cast your net even wider and expand your online presence. The more visibility you have online, the more opportunities you have to be exposed to your target audience. Some specific things to keep in mind for this approach would be the what’s and where’s of things you’d like to be found online for. Begin to think of keywords and questions people might Google when looking for your product or service. Where would you like to be found online? There are plenty of opportunities beyond getting your own site listed in Google search results.

  • Establish Your Business in Local Search –
    • This should be a big one for the franchisees and anyone in the service industry. Establishing your business in local search requires a varied approach to web marketing. This will combine search engine optimization with a focus on keywords with local modifiers, with getting listed in local business directories and Google’s various services (map listings, business listings, etc). Paid ad campaigns should also be considered, especially if you want to get the ball rolling faster.
  • Get More Leads –
    • This isn’t necessarily the same thing as getting more sales. Sure, most sales start as a lead, but what if a lead doesn’t convert the first time? It’s worth building a list of leads up over time that you can reach out to again in the future. Things like display ad remarketing can be utilized to “follow” your leads around on the web, and maybe they’ll give you another look if your ad catches their eye down the line. If you’re building an email list, you can use it to reach out to your past leads to offer them a deal in the future.
  • Get More Repeat Customers –
    • Client retention is important! If you’ve provided a product or service to a customer and they were happy with it, your site should be readily found if they need your service again in the future. In order to do this, you’ll want to ensure your site is found in a top position in search results so your repeat customers don’t have to hunt you down.

Hopefully you’re thinking about some initial goals, long-term goals, and perhaps an initial budget for your digital marketing endeavors. So where do you go from here? How can you make informed choices about which services are best for you and how much you should spend on advertising?

Reviewing Your Online Visibility

In order to see what’s possible for your business online, you’ll need to first recognize where you currently stand. Conducting an online audit can get much more complex than what’s listed below, but there are plenty of things you can do yourself to get an idea of your current status on the web. To begin, you should start off by putting together some basic information about your business. Here are a couple things you should have handy before conducting any personal research (if you’re working with an agency, they’ll want to know this stuff, too):

  • Your company’s name
  • Your title (owner, head of sales, etc) and staff size if you have any employees
  • Years in business
  • Are you a single location or franchise?
  • Your business location & serving areas
  • Your industry
  • Your specific products and services
  • Who do you think your top 5 competitors are?
  • Is there anything special that sets you apart?
  • Your starting budget for advertising

Next you’ll want to start looking at some specifics about where you stand online. Some of these will be easily determined on your own, but you’ll likely need a professional’s help to get accurate answers to a few of these questions.

  • Do you have a website? (If not – you’re gonna need one!)
  • Is your website up to date and mobile friendly (responsive)?
  • How many pages does it have?
  • Is the content up to date?
  • Do you have a way to capture leads (web forms and tracked phone calls)?
  • Is your site up to date with SEO best practices?
  • Have you paid for or are you currently paying for web marketing services? How happy are you with the results?
  • Does your website have any tracking software installed (Google Analytics)?
  • Is your business listed in Google’s MyBusiness listings?
  • Is it listed consistently in business directories and review sites? How many?
  • How many people search a month for your product or service in your area?
  • Do you show up for any keywords on page one? How many people search a month using those keywords in your area?
  • Who are your actual competitors according to organic search results? How good are their sites? Are they running paid ads?

You’ll also need to look at some basic budgetary information. Things to consider here would be:

  • How many sales do you typically make a month?
  • How much money do you make from your average sale?
  • How much is your starting budget for advertising online?
  • Do you know how to determine your cost per qualified lead?
  • Do you know how to determine your cost per acquisition?

If you’re not sure about the last two questions, don’t worry. You’ll need to crunch a couple numbers, but you can get the basic formulas right here. There might be some variances if you have a lot of different products or services at different price points, but you should be able to get a basic understanding of what you should be looking for to see how your marketing dollars are working for you. A respectable digital marketing agency should be okay discussing this stuff with you too. After all, a successful partnership should be a win-win scenario for both of you.

Moving Forward

Hopefully this has got some gears turning and primed you on what to look for when putting together a successful digital marketing strategy. More importantly, this blog also acts as a list of things an agency should be asking about if you’re going to work with them. If they’re missing more than a couple of these during your first or second consultation, it should raise some red flags.

Next week we’ll talk about which types of digital products are best suited for different goals. We’ll pick apart some specifics on websites, SEO, PPC, directory optimization, and social media. We’ll also go over how you can determine a realistic budget for a successful pay per click campaign. If you want some help immediately, we can answer all these questions and much more with a Free Online Visibility Report. Just give us a holler and we’ll be in touch. See you next week!

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