The problem is that managing an online presence takes a lot of time, which you don’t have
You might be asking – “How can I find the time to create an online marketing strategy?”. After all, you’re already spending 8+ hours a day doing whatever your business is all about. Besides that, you have to spend time dealing with customers and suppliers. If that’s not enough, you’re also trying your best to spend at least 2-3 hours with your family every day. This means you’ve got no time to post on Facebook, Twitter and all the rest…
Actually, you’ve got it the wrong way round
Let me explain how spending a little bit of time on creating an online marketing strategy for your business, will save you both time and money in the long run. Which of course you’ll be able to spend on other areas that need improving.
Your family will thank you for being more present, you’ll be more appealing to the kind of customers you like working with because they will get better service and your bank account will soon feel a positive impact too.
Build a structure for your efforts
Let’s get to it! The following exercise is best done by writing everything down. Putting your thoughts on paper, allows to better process them and understand the topic more in-depth.
1. The first step is to ask yourself why are you actually doing what you do.
Aside from money, what’s the driving force behind running your business? What are the core needs, that your company fulfills for its customers and why are they important?
2. Next identify which products or services, that your company offers, have the greatest impact on your customers.
Which of them best align with your why? Which ones bring both your company and your customers the most value?
3. Now it’s time to nail down the “ideal customer”.
Create a description including how they look like, what do they want and what is their biggest problem. You should also figure out what are their preferred ways of buying and communicating.
4. Once you’ve got the answers to those questions, it’s time to set your goals.
Try to combine the information gathered above to write down between 3-5 goals. To make them easier to achieve, we’re going to use the SMART formula. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
An example of a SMART goal for locally-sourced grocery delivery business, would be: “Get 100 subscribers to my ‘Green Lives Matter’ newsletter within one month”.
5. Let’s remember what you already wrote down as the biggest struggle your customers have
6. Now we’ll have to offer our visitors something valuable for their email address.
Of course, you’re not going to give them your jewelry (unless you’re a jeweler aiming for a “viral campaign”, but that’s a topic for another blog post). What I mean is something like a short downloadable PDF, for example, “Top 10 list of trendiest vegetables this year” or “How to cut an onion without a single tear in 5 easy steps”. Try coming up with few different types of such short documents, ie. checklists, worksheets, planners, etc.
7. Let’s get to the conversation.
It will reinforce the relationship between your business and potential customers. Create at least three emails delivering even more value with regards to the content they’ve already got from you.
8. It’s finally time to offer something in exchange for money.
After sending a few emails delivering value for free, you should finally present them with a clear Call To Action (CTA). Choose one of the products or services, that’s related to all the free content you’ve been providing so far. Do it in a way, that will help solve their issue faster and make it easier for them to buy.
Common mistakes when creating and executing the online marketing strategy
Not making the goals SMART. All of the attributes making the goals SMART have to be applied to make it completely clear, which choices will bring you closer to success. As the saying goes ”a ship without a rudder, can never reach it’s destination”.
Being too vague when describing your “ideal customer” will make this exercise a lot more difficult. The more details you can think of, the better you can understand and reach those people – and that’s what the online marketing strategy should be all about.
Asking visitors to “sign up to our newsletter” means to them as much, as “send me spam”. Instead you should let them know what benefits they’re going to get out of providing their email address. Try something like “Get tips about [SERVICE] straight to your inbox” or “Subscribe for your free [PRODUCT] guide”.
Not measuring what works and what doesn’t. All the data coming from your website, social media accounts and email campaigns, will paint a picture telling you where you should focus most of the efforts.
Creating an online marketing strategy may take from a few hours to a whole day. It might sound like a lot of time but as a result, you’ll better understand:
– what are your most important goals,
– what should your message be,
– which group of people it should be aimed at,
– how to deliver your message to the right people,
– which metrics will best represent the performance of your marketing campaigns.
So, where should you start?
Sit down in a place, that helps your mind to focus. For some people, it will be a quiet office or a library and for others a busy café. Then simply start writing down your answers to the questions listed above.