-A No BS Guide for Non-Technical Small Business Owners
Do you feel like a like a one-legged-men in an ass kicking contest when it comes to Digital Marketing?
Good, this article is just for you.
For long time, I was looking to put together a non-technical guide where I can refer my customers to when it comes to the most critical bases on a digital marketing strategy. The idea is to help non-technical business owners grow their business using online marketing.
Now, before we start, let me tell you, here you’re not going to find a geeky mumbo jumbo full of technical non-sense for mere mortals. Instead, here is a strategic guide of how to monetize your digital marketing efforts in a conversation style. Easy to read, easy to understand and ready to implement for business owners.
I’m assuming you already have a product or service and a defined target audience. In this article, I will line up how I would run a standard marketing strategy for those existing products or services.
Managing a small business is already challenging enough, now on top of that we also are supposed to learn digital marketing? Well, I have good news and bad news for you. By the way, the answer to that question is a big fat YES-ish.
You have to know enough about what it is and what can it do, so you can make good strategic marketing decisions. On the other hand, you don’t have to know all the intricacies, most of the traditional marketing principles are 100% transferable to this new online landscape.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
The Good, digital marketing allows any small business compete toe-to-toe with the biggest players. Also, now it’s possible to place your content and marketing messages right in front of almost anyone for a fraction of the cost from traditional media channels. You can do that 24/7 across the planet without gatekeepers in between your business and your target prospects.
The Bad, there is not way you can compete nowadays without having a solid digital marketing strategy in place. Let me tell you, it can very confusing if you start to dig into the different technologies.
The Ugly, there are many so called marketing agencies or marketing experts out there that will make a very convincing presentation, but will miserably fail when it comes to solve a real life marketing problem. They will take your money and even lock you on a painful-long-term contract that will make your life miserable and your business weak.
Remarkably, if you can clearly have few of the fundamentals in place, everything can scale very quickly.
In The Internet, Everything Starts With A Website.
To be more specific, not just a website, but a good one. I’m not talking about the old fashion kind of website that look like a Word Perfect 2.0 document with a multi-color visitor’s counter. No, no, I’m talking about a website you actually don’t feel embarrassed about. One you don’t have to append with two reasons why it hasn’t been updated since your last communion.
What do I mean when I say a good website? It has to be engaging, with a good balance of text, fonts, images, icons, something it’s easy on the eyes at the same time is useful for the visitors. It has to be mobile responsive, people are mostly browsing the Internet using mobile devices. Visitors need to be able to find the information they need fast and intuitively.
Few months ago, I was upgrading my agency’s unique selling proposition. So, I started by doing some competitors research. I decided to visit 300 digital agencies websites looking specifically for their USP. These agencies charge anything between $10,000 and $30,000 to make you a website. I couldn't believe it, only 3% of them had a clear USP placed on a prominent place in their home page. Which is one of the most basic fundamentals when putting together a website.
If that’s happening on the marketing agencies own websites, can you imagine how bad is in the rest of the industry? I can't even think how their clients' website look like.
The good part is, that makes it really easy to raise up above the competition. We just need to implement solid marketing strategies to take the lead our target market. There is way more to cover about what a good website needs than I can fit in these few lines. We prepared a easy to follow DYI Action Guide To Get a Profitable Website to help dentists improve their website (the information is applicable for any other industry.)
I need to mention this, you need to make sure to include in your website, at least one way to capture visitor’s information. Most people are willing to provide you with their name and email address in exchange for something of value, such as a guide or an interesting case study (see some samples in our Downloads Page).
As your website start getting more visitors, this action alone, can create a reliable channel of communication between you and your tribe. Imagine having a list of people engaged with your brand, products and services. That list gives you direct access to a growing group of ideal prospect customers. They know your brand, they took one small action, they raised their hand, now it’s your work to nurture them into becoming your customers.
To nurture your tribe, nothing better than valuable information mixed with a bit of entertainment. Think about this, in the last month, how many time shave you consumed information using the internet from other people? Do you see how they create content, package it in an convenient way for you to consume. You and thousands or even million of people, end up consuming this content as long as you keep it online (how long is that for ever?)
Can you guess they are monetizing these efforts? You bet they do! Go back and notice how they place ads on the videos, ad advertising banners in their web pages, and promote products and services, it’s everywhere. Now it’s time for you to do it too.
Your email list is just one component, your next step is to implement an email strategy. By regularly sending emails to your visitors, you can keep them aware of your promotions, events, team culture and any other indoctrination information. In an entertaining and valuable way. The best part is you can make it automatically. You can get a simple and very affordable email management software to store your list of emails, write and automatically deliver them to every visitor. You write an email once, add it your sequence, and it will be delivered to your users’ inbox.
Now, this is the part most people miss, that email can be reused unlimited times for ever. If you are smart when creating your content, it can be recycled time after time at no additional cost. I see every piece of content, not as an email, a video or a blog post, I see them as 'Content Assets'; once they are created, they become a soldier that will work on my behalf. Let’s go a bit meta here, this same text you are consuming now is a ‘Content Asset’ that will be working non-stop for my company even when I’m sleeping or drinking margaritas in a beach in Fiji. People come to this blog, consume this information and create a connection with my company, and if I do a good job, they end up contacting me for more. Do you see how it works? Be consistent on your content strategy, and it’s just a matter of time until the momentum catches with you exponentially.
Before I forget, did you notice I mentioned the word blog? Yes, you will also benefit from having a blog. Since you already have a website, you also have a way to capture your visitors, now you can create blog posts that can be send to that list. Do you follow? You have a website for people to visit, you have a device to capture their information, and you start creating blog posts to be sent to your audience via email.
Here, Your Marketing Efforts Start Compounding.
Now, we haven’t talk about selling your products and services. Here is the thing, without having in place a solid website, and a way to capture and nurture visitors, you probably will be leaving money on the table. The game here is getting ready to leverage the efforts for maximum profitability.
Ok, from here the idea is to focus on two main activities: add valuable content to your website, and drive traffic to it. These two activities are the main driver of growth on any digital marketing strategy. You add valuable content with the purpose of creating more engagement with your target audience.
Here is another opportunity, make sure your website is linked to a Google analytics account. It will allow Google to come and ‘read’ your website -they call it crawling. This is the process by which Google discovers your website content and add it to its’ index. Right after that, Google will be ranking and serving your website to people searching for typing queries relevant to your website content. There is a whole discipline dedicated to increase this ranking called SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)
Here is when things start to get interesting. There are huge implications in terms of exposure once your content to rank high in search results. For example, one of our customers received over three hundred thousand new visitors during the first year we optimized her website for search engines. These are new people looking for keywords related to my customer business and end up visiting her website. How does it help her business? Well, she received 1,548 new prospect’s phone calls just for this effort.
Just to make sure I put it in plain terms, by you optimizing your website content, Google sends you tons of free traffic of people looking for your business and services. By having your website in good shape, you can receive thousands of extra phone calls, appointments, local store visits, emails or whatever your website objective is from prospective customers for free! That can literally represent the difference between a business that is striving year after year, or one that is struggling on its’ way to bankruptcy.
Remember, I said there were two main activities: “add valuable content to your website, and drive traffic to it.” I don’t want to go back in circles so many times, but that’s how this digital marketing game works best. Once you start adding valuable content to your website using your blog, start sending emails including links these new blog articles. Assuming your content marketing strategy is on point, they will be sharing it with other users, a fraction of them will sign up to your email list. That creates a traffic loop.
Since most of your website visitors will leave your site to never return, here we are going to use another strategy to create another traffic loop.
There is a technology called retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing) that allows you to can present your advertising messages right in front of people have visited your website or open one of your emails. The way it works is fascinating.
Here, I will probably make mad many tech gurus, but here is my version on plain English: when a user visits your website, a tag is applied to their internet browser. That tag (called pixel) is later used to show display ads when they browse the internet.
Have you ever seen ads from a website you just visited in a completely different website later on? That’s retargeting. Based on the actions you took when you visit a website, highly-targeted advertising campaigns can be prepared to influence you to take a particular action. For example: After you buy a pregnancy test in a pharmacy online, you start seeing ads with diapers coupons all around the internet. Your pharmacy created a retargeting campaign to try getting your diaper business early on the game. Yes, it can be kind of creepy, and the revenue implications are very significant.
OK, so far, we have:
Build a killer Website that can capture visitors’ information
An effective Email Strategy to keep contact and nurture the relationship with your tribe
New engaging Content added regularly to your website
Optimization to that content, so Google can rank it better
A Retargeting Campaign to re-engage with your users based on their behavior
This seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Actually, it is. So,I wish some of my customers can read this article before they call me with another ‘marketing emergency’ they need to solve right now!
Listen: We are very proud of our Simple Marketing Solutions. The reason we call it simple and not instant is because it takes time. Most people don’t trust ad agencies (and rightly so) because they create the false expectations for small businesses. As James Allen said, the law of harvest is to reap more than you sow.
Well, don’t wait until you can hear the waterfall to figure you forgot the oars at home. Start by printing multiple copies of this article and sharing them with your team. I bet a great conversation can come out base on this.
P.S. We still haven’t talked about Social Media Marketing, and paid advertisement like Facebook, YouTube or Google Ads. Let me put together some other thoughts for my next article. It should be up soon. Stay-tuned…