Does my business even need a Digital Marketing Strategy?

BY:
Chris Shadrick

Developing a marketing strategy can be one of the most stressful and time-consuming things to do in business. A document that is focused on increasing sales and achieving a sustainable competitive advantage is fundamental, but how many businesses actually consider how important digital marketing is?

The risk of not including a digital strategy means it is more difficult to define objectives and have clear strategic goals. 

At AB we live and breathe online communications and create innovative ways to ensure businesses can build their brand online through various, relevant channels. We understand how important it is to have a digital strategy, especially if you have an e-commerce business that relies on online sales.

1. How do you attract new customers, if they can’t find you?

Google receives an astronomical amount of searches a month around the world, 100 billion to be exact, over ten times the population of Planet Earth.

It is unlikely that your website is going to receive billions of hits a month, however to grow your online presence there are many factors to consider. We hear many questions from customers in relation to digital marketing and these generally show us that a digital strategy is required:

“How do I ensure my website shows on page 1 of Google?”

“Should I be paying for advertising?”

“Should I be trying to achieve 100,000 likes on Facebook?”

“Do I need to get another 500 website hits a month?” 

Without defining objectives and goals it is easy to waste digital marketing expenditure and time on the wrong channels for your business and approach online marketing in the wrong way.  

For example, will 100,000 likes on Facebook provide you with the ROI that you were expecting? It is likely you will receive an increase in sales, however the budget required through Facebook advertising to achieve this could be far higher than the sales you actually receive.

2. Propelling your business in the right direction

With digital marketing it is much easier to monitor the performance of your business online through tracking, enabling you to monitor ROI and which marketing channels perform best for your business.

For example, if by the end of 2015 you would like to increase online sales from £150k per year to £500k per year, there are strategic steps that you can put in place to achieve this. Setting up e-commerce tracking within your Google Analytics account will enable you to monitor the number of sales you receive on a daily basis and then determine the value of your individual marketing channels that generates sales for your business.

If your sales heavily rely on advertising, for example through Google Adwords, then it would be recommended to develop a strategy to improve your SEO and how your website performs organically, reducing the need for advertising. It is unlikely all of your products will rank in the top results, however a few changes could reduce some of your spend. 

3. You’ll become much more familiar with your competitors

We all have competitors in business but they’re much more noticeable in the world of digital. A simple search in Google will quickly reveal other businesses that have a similar offering to your own.

It is important to stand out over your competitors and a digital marketing strategy will enable you to do this.

Getting insight into your competitors is now far easier through third party online tools such as Hubspot and Majestic SEO, as well as benchmarking in Google Analytics and monitoring their social media engagement.

All of this data should help your business determine why a competitor might be performing better online and the changes you can make to try and gain an advantage over them.

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4. Make sure you’re thinking about mobile

If you develop a digital strategy that doesn’t include mobile, you’ll probably not get very far.

Over 50% of the population now exclusively use mobile to search online, read email and engage with social media. So if you’re creating online marketing campaigns and taking users through to your website which does not offer a mobile-friendly user experience, you could potentially be losing out on new customers and new business.

Top tip: If you don’t have a mobile or responsive design in place on your website, take a look at your mobile audience in your Google Analytics account. This will show you how many users access your website through a mobile or tablet and how long they spend on your website in comparison to desktop.

5. But I don’t sell products online, why do I need to worry?

Every business is a digital business. Whether you sell all the different combinations of cheese from Europe online or you just have a website to showcase your services as a plumber, the end result is trying to achieve new business. 

A digital strategy is likely to be different for every business, some may have a strong focus on growing a social media audience, whereas others will want to generate new business by focusing on Search Engine Optimisation.

We recommend a digital strategy to all of our clients here at AB, and help them define their objectives and goals in the early stages, to ensure the most positive result.

Contact AB’s digital marketing team to discuss how we can help with your digital strategy. 

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Author: Chris Shadrick

Chris leads on Digital Strategy and works with our clients to enhance their online communications and uses insight to better understand business challenges. His enthusiasm for new technology and digital means he can lead and develop a clear Digital Marketing Strategy for all our clients and has experience working across multiple sectors. Chris is Google Certified, which means he knows his Panda from his Penguin and runs digital campaigns that achieve results. He also runs a fast-growing digital networking group in Exeter and will also be lecturing at the University of Exeter on Digital Marketing in 2017. Chris enjoys escaping for long walks on Dartmoor and is often found getting creative in the kitchen.

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