MARCH 28, 2022
DIGITAL STRATEGIES FOR BEGINNERS
It’s hard to believe in 2022 that there are businesses that do not have a website, social media presence, or digital footprint, but they do exist! Many have survived Covid by a whisker, but are now realizing that digital marketing is no longer an option. First, if your business is in this category don’t be embarrassed or afraid to put your toes into the water of digital marketing. Everyone has to start at some point and it’s ok if you haven’t had to until this point.
Digital marketing can reward and punish its users. If you have a bad digital marketing or branding strategy it can backfire and penalize your company. However, if you have a cogent and strategic plan with a seasoned digital subject matter expert it can increase traffic, business, and increase profits in the long haul.
Don’t make the assumption that because you own or run a small business you cannot afford a digital marketing strategy and partner. The truth is that a lack of a digital presence can punish you and diminish profits that your competition will enjoy receiving.
Be wary of companies making bold promises without checking out their results from companies similar to yours in terms of response, online ranking, and ROI. Choosing a digital marketing firm to help you create a digital footprint is a process. Meet with several digital firms to determine which one can develop the best messaging, branding and will ultimately deliver profitable results. Ask penetrating questions and resist the temptation to go with the first firm that promises over-the-top results. Also, be skeptical of media design firms that offer packages instead of a relationship in terms of a digital strategy that is designed to grow as your company grows within its digital presence.
There are tons of good digital marketing companies out there (both local and national), but ask hard questions about fees, what they offer and what they have delivered to previous clients in your business category. The providers offering best practices always provide options that are tailored to your specific business. Resist the temptation to join a digital partner that only provides cookie cutter (one size fits all) approaches. Instead, hone in on your specific needs, target audience, branding, and corporate messaging. Beware of empty promises and be sure to review the digital marketing company and their market results.
Every business category now has an agency that “represents” their specific product or service with loads of promises. These companies offer a variety of services coast to coast. If you are a small to medium-sized business carefully consider a local digital media firm. One that is wired and connected to your local market. Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, ask them about their results, reviews, and ratings. Ask for referrals from clients they have represented in the past and present. If a company is hesitant to supply this information, walk away fast!
Digital marketing agencies that deliver can provide tangible metrics and measurable results for other clients. They can provide a history of content-driven marketing campaigns that have attained tangible results. Bigger isn’t always better! Yes, there are large agencies that do a wonderful job in digital marketing, but there are also smaller, niche agencies that are more flexible, flatter, and can respond quickly to client needs, desires, and wants.
Do your homework and due diligence in seeking out a digital marketing agency. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions in relation to strategy, fees, and long-term plans. Many big agencies want a significant investment upfront, but there are smaller, local agencies that want to develop a relationship and help your company grow one step at a time without having to spend a fortune upfront.
Ask about their specific SEO strategy, paid ads, Google Analytics, and other metrics available to measure progress. Ask them about content marketing, thought leadership, and third-party validation as well as backlinks to support your company. Will they do a deep dive into your company and competitors or will they sell you a “standard package” for your particular industry? What do they forecast your ROI to be within six months, one year, and 18 months out? What about social media strategy and advice? Ask them about marketing goals and realistic timetables to achieve them.
No matter the size of your company or business you can have a digital presence and you can grow your business significantly with digital marketing over time. The key is finding the right company that will grow with you and helps grow your business.
Charles Carter, Partner