Digital marketing is an essential part of every business in today’s world. As a small or local business, conquering digital marketing should be your priority if you plan on being successful.
The reality is, the majority of consumers will rely on the information that is provided online about a product or service before they make a purchase. With that being said, it is important that your business has a website that makes it easy to convert, makes it at the top in listings, and has good reviews.
You might be wondering at this point, “How do I approach all of this? It sounds easier said than done!”. We want to assure you that there is a strategy to all of this, and once you understand it, you’ll be making sales left and right.
What Exactly is Digital Marketing?
Firstly, we need you to understand what digital marketing is before we can proceed.
On their website, Hubspot perfectly defined digital marketing: “Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet.
Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and websites to connect with current and prospective customers.”
Simply put, digital marketing is any form of marketing that exists online.
The Importance of Digital Marketing
Did you know?
- 97% of US adults under 65 are on social media at least once a month – the majority of this population is on social media every day.
- The average person spends two hours a day on social media. 37% of this time is spent interacting with branded content.
- 92% of consumers read reviews online before visiting a business in person
- 88% of all buying decisions are made before entering the store
Digital Marketing reaches people where they spend a lot of their time and money. The customer’s first impressions of a product or service are almost always made online.
As a small business, you will be able to compete with a smaller advertising budget than you would with incumbent providers (billboards, radio, newspapers, etc.).
In addition, you are able to better control which demographic your advertisement will reach. Digital marketing has given us the tools and ability to target your ideal customers.
Rather than spending money to advertise to every demographic and hoping to get lucky, you are able to target the customers who would want to purchase from you.
The Sales Funnel
The goal of the sales funnel is to solve your customer’s problem. When you can identify the problem and create content to draw the customers in, that’s when the real magic happens.
Seasoned digital marketers use the sales funnel, which is a model that illustrates the customer’s journey towards purchasing your product or service.
Here is the basic idea of a sales funnel
In order to make any sales, you need your customers to notice you first. Sounds easy right? Unfortunately, in this day and time, people process thousands of information a day, which makes it hard to stand out.
To stand out, you have to give your customers a reason to notice you. Catchy headlines, hooks, alluring visuals, and smart color usage are just a few things to consider when trying to get your customer’s attention.
Paid ads can help bring more awareness to your business. The best platforms for paid ads today are Facebook and Instagram.
If the customer found you organically through a Google search, then they are more likely to enter into your funnel.
For a customer to be interested in you, you need to have a good story. Customers buy from people who they can relate to and trust.
With that being said, you’re going to have to put yourself out there. Are you the hero in your journey? The leader? The adventurer? What is your journey?
How did you get to this point in your life where you feel like you owe it to yourself and the world to provide something of great value?
You’ll need to develop your story and keep your message consistent. To pitch to customers, you’ll need to gain your prospects’ interest through an email sequence, releasing content consistently, providing free value, and link-clicking.
The best way to convince your prospects to make a decision is by having a lot of customer reviews and testimonials to help them confirm. Like we’ve said before, people buy from the person they can trust.
You can also make use of retargeting ads to keep your prospects awareness and interest level high. When the prospect leaves your website, they’ll continue to see your ad everywhere.
Other ways to move your customer through the decision-making stage:
- Delivering lots of value
- Give them an incentive, like free shipping
- Craft your story. Show people why you can be trusted
- Show proof of authority for your products or services. Why your product and not someone else’s?
- Have social proof. A large following on social media, a best-selling book, etc.
- Apply the principle of scarcity
This is the final stage – the stage where it often involves people making the purchase. Getting people to this stage is not an easy task, but once you get people here, congrats! You’ve made a conversion.
The 4 Pillars of the “Virtual Doorway”
The consumer research experience through the sales funnel is called The 4 Pillars. Customers are more likely to purchase from you if you make it easy for them to do so.
It’s one thing to walk them through the sales funnel, but it’s another thing to give them the means to purchase without getting a headache along the way.
Having a bad user experience will give your competitor’s an advantage. For instance, if your website isn’t making it easy for your prospect to make a purchase, they can easily just jump to your competitor’s website and purchase from them instead.
Here are the 4 Pillars:
- Listings – How are you found? If your business listed online? Is the information accurate?
- Reputation – Are you trusted? What are consumers saying about your business online?
- Social – Are you liked? Are you listening to your online customers’ feedback?
- Website – How easy is it to convert? How’s your website experience? Is it optimized for mobile?
The 3 Key Focus Areas
Hopefully, by now, you are excited to take some kind of action. If that is the case, where would be the smartest place to start?
According to Stoddard, these would be the most logical steps:
- Make sure your conversion point is fantastic and well-tuned. For most businesses, this will be your website
- Focus on being influential at the zero moments of truth with listings and reputation
- Increase interest and awareness with digital advertising
The Three Pack
What happens when you perform a search? You get many pages of results. What you need to know is that the majority of consumers will only look at the top three that surfaces.
These top three are called the three-pack. Prospects will determine which one to purchase out of the three by looking at the ratings and reviews.
If you aren’t on the top three, you desperately need to be. Where you are placed in the search engine is a result of SEO work, your website, your reviews, and how complete your listing is.
How to get to the top 3?
- GMB – A verified Google My Business account
- Reputation – Recent and positive reviews on Google
- Listings – Consistent business listing data
Why Reviews are Important
We’re sure that by now, we’ve made it clear how important reputation is. Why are reviews important for your business?
- Influence page rank up to 10%
- Increase website visits up to 25%
- Showcase success with positive reviews
- Gain the trust of prospects with real feedback
- Increase revenue
Customers will need to see more positive than negative reviews. But what happens when you do get negative reviews? How can you redeem yourself?
- Start by apologizing. The old adage: “the customer is always right” has never held truer.
- After apologizing, leave some marketing. Mention how many years you’ve been in service, or how your customers are usually always happy. This adds credibility to your business.
- Lastly, take it offline. Contact the unhappy customer directly to offer a freebie or something to make up for their dissatisfaction. It is never a good idea to make this offer in front of the eyes of other customers.
Although it could be easy to forget about these, try your best to acknowledge the positive reviews too!
- Say thank you, it’s the polite thing to do!
- Reinforce the positive because everyone is looking.
- This is the perfect opportunity to connect with the customer and leave some subtle marketing, like a recommendation for the next time they come in.
Every day, consumers are declaring their buying intentions, asking questions, and trying to create relationships through various social media channels.
If you aren’t using social media to market your business, we advise you to take advantage of these platforms or let us help you with this.
Successful social media marketing is about these three things…
- Customer service: Easy monitoring and publishing capabilities
- Generating leads: Actionable leads that bring in actual dollars
- Building fans: Profiles with informative and entertaining content
Take Action Now!
We hope that by now, you have a better understanding of what digital marketing pertains, and what important steps you must take for your business to succeed. As a small or local business, digital marketing is the best way for you to advertise and compete with a lower budget.
Here at Stoddard Agency, we apply all these techniques to ensure that businesses succeed and thrive through digital marketing. If you have any questions for us, visit our website www.stoddardagency.com for more information, or call (206) 880-0913 to book your free online consultation today.