In today’s highly competitive commercial environment, having a digitally-led B2B marketing strategy has become more important than ever.
Yet as recently as 2017, a Hunter Research Foundation Centre and University of Newcastle survey found that approximately 35 per cent of local SMEs were still without a dedicated business website – and only 64 per cent were advertising their goods and services online.
It can seem daunting, but the return on investment can be significant – and with the following 8 steps, it’s easier to get started on a digital marketing strategy than you might think.
1. Review and document your business objectives
Your first task is to take stock on what you want to achieve with your business. Consider your objectives with fresh eyes. Think them through and write them down. These will form the foundations for your subsequent planning.
2. Do the research
Review the market, your offering, and the needs of your customer.
Assess what your competitors are doing, and be honest about what they might be doing better than yourself. Ask yourself – does your brand and offering still resonate in your desired market?
3. Audit existing digital efforts and document them
Put a number on how many customers you have, and what their average spend is. Then pull together all the information you have at hand about how your business is performing online.
How many customers are on your mailing list database? How much traffic currently visits your website – and what do they look at? How long do they stay? How visible are you online – where do you rank in search results, and how many followers do you have across your social media channels?
Documenting your current benchmarks is a must. It’s easier to move towards where you want to be when you know where you’re starting from.
4. Determine your marketing objectives
Here is where things start to take shape as you review what’s possible. At TMM, we like the RACE approach – Reach, Act, Convert and Engage – to help guide generate awareness and demand, convert customers to purchase and ensure continued engagement/return customers.
Traditional tactics still work and can be boosted dramatically by targeted digital activity. Suppose you’re holding an event – you might run print or radio advertisements to draw a crowd, but are you also reaching out to everyone in your personal LinkedIn network? Are you collecting attendee data during the event to increase your mailing list?
5. Turn your strategy into an achievable action plan
Take everything of relevance you’ve learned or discovered up to here, document and prioritise it. You now have a plan of attack to work from – a marketing strategy crafted around your unique business requirements.
6. Stand and deliver
Now that you have a plan, it’s crucial you put it into effect. We recently met with a well-respected company of 75 years’ standing who ‘knew’ they needed to develop and act, but could not justify making it a priority.
We also met with a 10-year-old business in the same field which had recently built a new user-friendly site. It was producing strong video content and putting money to Search Engine Marketing (SEM). And it was capturing significant market share as a result.
As well-regarded as the first business may be, without a digital marketing strategy in place reaching their 100th birthday is likely to prove that much harder.
7. Measure what matters
Measure the results of your efforts. Get a sense of the impact your plan is having on your web-traffic and engagement. Study the performance of your digital channels and assess the quality of the leads that are coming in – and record any uptick in sales.
8. Optimise and repeat
From the results you’ve gathered, determine what worked and what didn’t. Optimise the actions that generated great results, and review/revise the ones that didn’t. Then, repeat your efforts – learning what the data tells you and applying those lessons as you go. The best part? By simply talking about what you want from your marketing, you’ve taken the first step to reaching new audiences, and ensuring the longer-term success of your business.
By Jacqui Daley – as appeared in Hunter Business Review