Digital Marketing can seem like a minefield. It is a phrase that can conjure up thoughts of endless spreadsheets, computer trickery or even worse…nothing, as some people think that when they do something online it floats out into the internet without a way of tracking it! Here at IMS we wanted to find out what challenges people are currently having in their digital marketing activities. At last month’s OMiG Digital Summit IMS ran a survey asking businesses ‘What is your biggest Digital Marketing Challenge?’. 143 people responded and below is a chart outlining the main findings.
- Website Design and Upkeep
Website Design/ Upkeep and Content Creation/ Blogging were joint top responses for the greatest challenges faced by companies. The initial design of your website plays an important role in the updates and upkeep afterwards. Before you even attempt to get a new website built know exactly what you want your end result to be. Have a clear site map, some examples of websites you like and plan out the customer journey as they travel through your website and research/ buy your product or service. Building your website on a platform such as WordPress allows edits to be made easily and quickly, with the majority of edits such as adding a blog post or changing the order of your menu can be done by anyone with the most basic of training (here at IMS Marketing we offer WordPress training as standard when a website build is complete). Ensure best SEO practices are followed such as url structure, redirects and make sure to install Google Analytics and Google Webmaster on your site to monitor activity on an ongoing basis.
Once your website has been well thought out before building, uses the best platform and follows SEO best practices the web updates needed should be minimal. Make sure to add blog posts on a regular basis to ensure Google has fresh content to index and you have a maintenance contract with a web developer to make sure your website plug ins are kept up-to-date.
- Content Creation/ Blogging
As mentioned above, fresh content should be added to your website on a regular basis to ensure Google has new content to index. Companies have identified this as a need in their digital marketing activities, but as it has been identified as a top challenge it shows companies are struggling to follow through with what they know is best practice. One of the major roadblocks to content creation is time. This has to dealt with straight away. Set aside some time each month for content creation or rotate responsibility throughout your company for writing new content. In terms of SEO your website will thank you, it also is a great way for staying up-to-date with current industry trends as you will be doing regular research. If it a lack of inspiration for topics that is holding you back then it is time to look at your website analytics to see what people are searching for to reach your site, what are popular search terms used within your site and what are your most popular posts. The information you will glean from this will help you make an informed decision on what to write about in future.
Lastly fresh content is an excellent source of content for your email marketing efforts and social media platforms. The social platforms will be spoken about in more depth in the next section.
- Social Media Marketing
Social Media marketing can be a powerful tool, but needs to be planned for correctly. It may not suit every business. Choose your platform correctly to ensure that ultimately you are where your customers are. Social media can be a useful customer service channel that suits many in the B2C sector. For example Facebook and Twitter can reach customers where they are and respond to their queries and complaints in a timely manner. Another big pro of social media is that it free to access and create but just because it is free does not mean that it does not require a large investment of time and is an ongoing commitment to maintain. Facebook and Twitter may not suit all those in the B2B sector, who might find LinkedIn more useful for reaching their client base.
Do your initial research of all platforms, besides LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook other social media platforms may also be suitable such as Instagram, Pinterest and even Snapchat is now being leveraged by some businesses. It’s a minefield out there and the landscape is forever changing. If social media is a route you wish to go down do your research, go where YOUR customers are and give it the proper time and effort it requires to maintain.
- Analysing ROI & Activity Online
As I mentioned previously when speaking of website design and upkeep, it is important to install Google Analytics and Google Webmaster on your website so that activity can be analysed in future. Next, follow the steps outlined below to ensure relevant statistics are being measured.
- Content – know the industry benchmark or standard
- State of Play – know how you are currently performing (today and growth rate over 12 months)
- KPI’s – when assessing state of play focus on Analytics that reflect your business objectives.
- Metrics – set targets for growth for your core KPI’s
- Staying Informed of Digital Trends
Digital Marketing is a constantly evolving playing field, you need to stay tuned to what the current and upcoming trends are so that your marketing/ promotional plans are not disrupted.
The first thing you should do is know what Google best practices are currently, in relation to AdWords and SEO, Google provides its own standard Best Practice Series which offers strategic advice on how to get the most out of your online efforts.
Another excellent way of staying informed of digital trends is to subscribe to relevant newsletter lists. Hubspot newsletters are of particular high quality, with constant up-to-date and interesting digital marketing news. Hubspot is also an excellent source of free industry reports for global marketing trends.
- Email Marketing
You should use email marketing when you need an affordable, measurable and segmentable method of contacting potential customers.
Wondering how to begin with email marketing? Below are the steps to follow.
- Build you email list – this can be done through your CRM database list such as Salesforce, you should have a newsletter sign up list on your website, download your LinkedIn connection list and at any tradeshow or event you go to gather business cards of potential customers to add to your list.
- Segment your list – An example of segments are customers, product updates and company news.
- Choose your platform – Mailchimp is a popular choice because of its ease of use and it is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. Other popular options include Aweber and Constant Contact.
Monitor your Campaign through the following metrics
- Bounce Rate
- Deliver Rate
- Click Through Rate (CTR)
- Conversion Rate
- Revenue per email sent
- Data Management/ Big Data
When considering your companies data, in regards to digital marketing, some of your data management has been mentioned in the previous steps. How to manage data for website traffic and email newsletters have been gone into in depth. Other than that your data management is very company and situation specific. Invest in a good CRM system and it will do the bulk of your data management for you. Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM systems are both popular choices for this.
- Skills Gap in Organisation
When you have a skills gap in your organisation you have the options to restructure, hire or consult. This is entirely company specific and depends on your current level of skills within your organisation and your budget constraints
I hope the above breakdown goes some way towards guiding you in the right direction in your marketing activities so that they stop becoming as much of a challenge in the future. I would also like to thank everyone who took part in the survey.
If you believe your business could do with support in your digital marketing activities, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a no obligation consultation.