By Christopher Clowes, HC Media Group Founder
SME Business owners, Entrepreneurs and Marketeers listen up. I speak on behalf of all of you when I say we know how vital digital and online channels are for acquiring customers and growing your brand. YET – 86% of you do not have a formal digital strategy in place.
Meeting your yearly business objective is like a new destination you have never visited. The route is always changing, making it unfamiliar and unpredictable territory – therefore a Sat Nav is essential!
Sat Nav’s show you the distance you will travel, the time it will take to get there, a detailed instruction broken down to every turn, warnings about what is ahead and you know when you have arrived. You arrive in the fastest time, no wrong turns and no nasty surprises!
Your Digital Strategy IS your Sat Nav. Without it you are directionless and constantly guessing. Marketing academia has strategy at the heart of its teachings, and in the digital age this ethos gets lost.
Any online business in the whole world can make a fortune but only if planned and focussed on correctly. I will run through a very simple three step process to form an effective outline digital strategy that I can guarantee WILL turn you website into a sales machine within just weeks.
Step 1 – Know Your Numbers
So the obvious – know how much money do you want to make (your end destination)
Say for example you wanted to make £50,000 in 2021 you first need to ascertain what is your basket (or transaction) value? Then know what your lead conversion rate is and how many of those conversions are attributable to online.
Take this example:
Sales Target: £50,000
Average Basket Value: £100 – therefore 500 sales are needed to hit target
Lead To Conversion Rate: 25% – therefore 2000 leads are needed to hit target
Website To Conversion Rate: 10% – therefore you need 20,000 website visitors to hit target
This brief analysis identifies the exact metric of online success, your progress towards this is now measurable.
Step 2 – Know Your Traffic Source (and your customer!)
So, you know you need 20,000 visitors to your site. You now need to ascertain which traffic sources are most effective. This all depends on your target audience and their buying habits.
You MUST know your target audience.
Develop your Customer Personas to gain better insight into your audience’s buying habits. This is a collation of a segment’s demographic information and a presumed archetype of their persona. If you envisage their goals, lifestyle, priorities, digital aptitude you can begin to pre-empt their search and buying behaviour and build your digital presence around this.
Ask yourself questions such as:
Is your customer price sensitive?
Do you they have high perceived risk when purchasing?
Do they leave things to the last minute?
Do they compare product or services or opt for the first option they see?
Do they enter the buying process on the go? Ie a during commute?
Is social proof important to them?
Understanding your customer will inform the traffic source most prevalent among your target audience, and therefore where your budget and efforts should be focussed.
Consider the key traffic sources marketers use to drive traffic down their sales funnels. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Search Engine Optimisation:
- The customer is in the buying process, they are seeking your product or service.
- Long term this is the cheapest traffic you can get, and the leads are unlimited!
- Ranking top of SERPS is an unspoken signal of credibility – great for high involvement, high perceived risk products/services.
- It takes time to work, this is not an instant lead generator.
- Investment in effective SEO is required initially with no return.
- It is HARD work getting to the top of search engine pages. However the benefits are certainly worth it.
Google Ad Words:
- Again, the customer is already in that buying process when they search.
- You can get a very quick ROI, with traffic boosted instantly
- Again, the lead prospects are unlimited.
- This is a great option for a business with high price tag products or service as return on advertising spend will be high.
- A great option if you have last minute and impulse purchase client personas!
- This traffic source can be VERY expensive so needs very close monitoring at all times to ensure there is no bleed.
Social Media Lead Generation:
- You can target your audience accurately and easily, meaning your message will be reaching the right people.
- A high level of qualified leads can be generated quickly due to the massive potential reach and effective targeting.
- Your cost per acquisition can be very low if executed well.
- Social Social media platforms are the perfect place to provide your audience the social proof they may be seeking to prompt a purchase and it is often deemed more credible than a display ad on search engine.
- Optimum choice if your target audience is very active on social media channels
- The biggest issue with social media lead generation is that your customer is not yet actively in the buying process, which results in a lower conversion rate.
Social Media Organic:
- It’s free! Your customers know you already, therefore are more receptive to your message therefore you will see a higher conversion rate.
- On average only 3% of your following will see you post, dependent on engagement rates.
- It can be a very time consuming process to produce effective, engaging content and therefore successful traffic boosting is not guaranteed.
- You can reach new members of your target audience through sites with an already established visitor base. This can result in a high volume of sales and leads very quickly! T
- Affiliate Marketing can boost credibility and reputation through association with brands you your target
audience knows and trusts.
- It is quick to set up and you only pay on sale.
- You need to affiliate with a high traffic site that fits with you brand image and target audience for this method to be effective opposed to possibly detrimental.
- Conversion rates can be as low as 3%.
- As with organic social, your subscribers already who you are and what you are about.
- Communication through direct marketing is very needs focussed (opposed to brand building) so you are more likely to convert on your product/service.
- This traffic source method is very cheap and there is great opportunity to up sell and educate your target audience.
- As I’m sure you know from your own mail boxes, the sender is competing for the recipients attention among of lots of other promotional emails daily. People are not necessarily receptive to your message, and if overdone they may mark your emails as spam.
- And of course you need to build up your database first! (remember a smaller list of engaged, interested recipients is better than a massive database of disinterested people)
This list is by no means exhaustive, there are lots of emerging traffic platforms that can be used to drive traffic. Thinking like your target audience and preempting their online behaviour will inform the platforms that will drive traffic and make those sales!
Honestly, although I have touched on organic reach, to really succeed in effectively driving large volumes of qualified leads onto your site you need to invest.
It is pay to play if you want to be competitive – however if executed right you will ALWAYS get return on your marketing spend.
Know your target audience. Know your traffic source. Tailor your messaging. It’s the recipe for profit.
Step 3 – Know Your Analytics
This leads onto our final step.. know your analytics!
Think back to our strategy Sat Nav, what does it do if you veer off course? It alerts you to make a slight adjustment to get back on track. Exactly as analytics does in your journey through your strategy.
Google Analytics is your website alert! It will tell you what months and weeks your traffic, leads and conversions are down. It will show you where all this traffic is coming from, any changes in this and the users behaviour when they originate from each of these sources.
Without your road map how can you tell where you are and whether you are still on course?
This is a very basic framework, a thorough and detailed strategy with analysis is needed to get your brand to its fullest potential and smash your targets. However, this alone will get you in front of your customer on the right channel and in the right way and you will subsequently see your sales surge.
A digital strategy WILL turn your website into a sales machine, we prove it with every client we have worked with.
Take away? Step back and simplify it.
Research, plan, execute, review, and celebrate each milestone as you it.
In the fast paced world of digital it is easy to adopt a scatter gun approach: adopt the latest trend and have a social media presence with no end goal. This is great and it is fun to experiment but without specific goals, timeline and measurement you will be hovering near the track but never quite on it.
Digital marketing fundamentals may well be your secret weapon in 2020.