Digital marketing is tricky business. Not many people understand what it is or what it does. They think they do, but they often do not. That’s because most small businesses barely have time to get their work done. The last thing they need is another job involving complex technology. We provide limited digital marketing services like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but we advise many of our customers on best practices and how to plan for their overall marketing goals. What we frequently encounter are people who want to expand their businesses and find new customers, but don’t know how to do that.
Digital marketing is just a set of tools. However, the number and complexity of those tools can make using them a challenge. You can help yourself by following a few basic rules when getting your plan in place.
There is more to it than SEO.
Here is a typical conversation with a customer about their marketing goals:
Client: We want search engine optimization.
SM: Why exactly?
Client: To get more customers.
SM: [series of questions about existing marketing plans, target audience, etc.]
Client: Uh, well, I just know we need search engine optimization.
Before you decide to spend money on something, you might want to know what it is you are buying. SEO is an important piece to any digital marketing plan, but is is only one piece. Your plan should be substantive and cover every option at your disposal.
Online marketing is still marketing.
Promoting your business via technology is no different from doing it in real life (IRL as the kids say). You still have to set measurable goals and find the best methods for reaching them. Sometimes that will include SEO, online advertising, email marketing campaigns, landing pages and the like. Other times, you need to go to networking events, do customer surveys and leverage direct mail. Regardless, it’s all part of the same puzzle and should be part of the same budget. Spending money on Google AdWords is no different in terms of your budget and planning than buying a magazine ad. Treat it as such.
Like all marketing efforts, it never stops, but it always changes.
A friend of ours used to say, “If you are moving sideways, you’re moving backwards.” As a successful entrepreneur himself, he understood that promoting your business is perpetual and eternal. The world of technology constantly changes making the challenge of digital marketing unique and complicated. But all campaigns must be tested, evaluated for effectiveness and changed as needed. Finding the right combination of advertising, marketing and promotion is a never-ending quest online or off. So, be prepared for the long haul, but always be ready to change your plans.
You have to spend money to make money.
No one likes spending money on marketing. It feels like throwing it away…until you get a phone call or an email from a new customer that comes directly from a marketing campaign. Return on investment (ROI) is a term thrown around a lot, but it is critically important. Spend too much without any return and you go under. Spend too little, you probably won’t get any return at all. Finding balance sometimes means spending more money than you would like at first to find out what works and then settling into the right plan for your needs. If you are willing to pay for a radio ad, you need to be willing to pony up for SEO and other forms of digital marketing as well, especially when first testing how effective they can be for your business.
The good news is we are here to help. Site Mender has launched dozens of web design projects and assisted with Search Engine Optimization since 2001 providing services including WordPress, web design and website maintenance. Please read more about the services we provide and visit our website design portfolio.