Monday, 14 June 2010

Basic Online Strategy for Small Business

So what does the term ‘Digital Marketing Strategy’ mean for an SME?

The digital marketing industry is awash with acronyms, jargon and technical sound bites that must feel akin to a foreign language to even the most savvy of SME leaders.

It is very easy to get engulfed by the tsunami of marketing options available in today’s ever evolving and trending digital marketing space, so here’s a bit of clarity – what does it mean for your Small Business – what should and shouldn’t you be doing, and where do you invest your precious marketing budget?

Basically, I’m going to tell you to spend it on your website first and foremost. As with anything – ‘First Impressions Count’, and more so online than anywhere else. Your website is the face of your business that people will engage with however they have been driven there, via on or offline channels, so it’s of utmost importance that it is either:

1. providing a solution to their problem
2. telling them the answer to their question
3. providing the product for which they are looking

It must be immediately RELEVANT, otherwise they will bounce back away and click on another link in their search results. You will normally only get one shot at engaging that customer, so make sure you use it.
You must get the basic’s right before you invest further time and budget in Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Social Media outreach or any other marketing effort that may drive customers to your website.
Your site must be built for Search, so ensure the person or agency that you employ to build your site has proven SEO credentials and ask them to specify how their proposed technical and information architectures for your site delivers Natural Search (also called SEO) equity.

As an SME, you need your website to do 3 core things:

• Get Found
• Get Chosen
• Get Used

It’s important to understand that your target Consumer has the following action points in their online journey:

• Find
• Choose
• Engage
• Interact: Purchase/Enquire/Revisit

These actions need to be mirrored by your website using 4 products:

• Search
• Design
• Functionality

Your investment as an SME is in the Find, Choose and Engage requirement which your selected Agency/website builder should address with core products of Search (natural initially, followed by paid-for), Design and Development, as well as the top-spin product of CRM, which generates the repeat revenue.

So basically, your Digital Strategy as an SME is that which delivers on the 3 core requirements (Get Found, Get Chosen, Get Used), addressing the 4 core consumer action points (Find, Choose, Engage, Interact), using the 4 core products (Search, Design, Dev, CRM/Consultancy).

Get that bit right, and your future spend on the larger pool of digital marketing channels will be optimised. Get it wrong, and it may be wasted.