By Pip Filippaios, MD of digitalbeans
One of the main challenges businesses have faced in 2020 is driving sales. For many, sales dropped off a cliff in Q2. At the time, it seemed crass to continue with traditional sales methods, yet with mounting financial pressure, businesses need to act to make up shortfalls and continue growth.
While face-to-face sales opportunities, industry events and passing trade remain limited, internet use has hugely increased. This also means more opportunities for your brand to be seen by prospective customers online. Digital marketing is providing organisations with effective and relatively low-cost methods to reach potential customers via channels they are already engaged with. The tactics don’t feel as “sales-y” as cold-calling, which may feel more tasteful when selling in an environment with high levels of unemployment and economic uncertainty.
The first step is to understand who your customers are and what they access online, so you can choose the most effective areas to spend and the messages that will resonate best.
Google search rankings favour websites that are regularly updated with valuable content, this is where blogging can really help. While it is tempting to focus purely on sharing opinions on the latest industry news, build your content strategy around evergreen content that will always remain interesting to your customers. Start with a list of your 10 most common FAQs and expand into individual articles.
Supplement with original photography or even a video talking through the response. This will hugely improve SEO driving organic traffic to your site. Once you have created strong content, it can easily be chopped up and repurposed into social media posts. If you’re tight on time, skilled copywriters can help you maintain a good flow of well-written content and plug content gaps.
This year the average user, is expected to spend 36 days on social media. If you aren’t already on social media you could be missing out on engaging with this audience. One of the first steps you can take is to establish a presence on relevant platforms and link them to your website. It can take time to cultivate a following and regularly populate social media sites, but this can really boost your business’ visibility on Google. It also provides a page to link to social media advertising campaigns and can attract sales leads.
Social media platforms offer highly targeted advertising, which focuses on showing your messages to the people who match selected criteria e.g. location, age, profession etc. For this reason, your budget is concentrated on the people most likely to buy from you.
If your website is already receiving regular traffic, then remarketing will help convert these visits into sales or enquiries. All major networks, including Google, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, offer you the ability to show ads to people who have already visited your website, keeping your business front of mind and capturing sales leads that could have been lost. Craft the messaging on these ads to promote a limited time offer, a hero product or articulate your business’ USP to increase the success of your campaign. Depending on the network you’re advertising on and the traffic your website gets, a budget of around £50-£150 per month should be enough to get you started.
Whether you’ve been sending out weekly emails for the last 5 years, or haven’t got a list put together, email is a great way to communicate with customers and stakeholders and drum up support during tough times. It also means you are less reliant on communicating with your client base through social media – giving you more freedom with the frequency and length of messages you distribute directly to your customers and potential leads.
To build your email database, make it easy for people to sign up. As soon as they land on your website, direct them to sign up to newsletters and include “To hear more information, sign up to our email list” as the call to action in blog posts and social media posts.
When it comes to preparing the content for email campaigns, rather than focusing on sales offers, use your emails to tell a story. Remind subscribers why they love your business and the problems you can help them to solve. It is an opportunity to explore one of your services in more depth or profile customer-facing members of staff.
It is also worth remembering that personalised emails, particularly for service industries, cut through far more than overly-designed emails that look like spam. Look to resonate with your audience, valuable content will give them a reason to share your emails with others, expanding your network.
What level of investment do you need?
When compared with traditional marketing activity, digital marketing has the benefit of being quick to implement, easy to track the results and cost-effective. It is a common misconception that running successful digital campaigns commands big budgets and that agencies are only available to big blue chip brands. On the contrary, while a level of time and money does need to be invested, you have greater control over exactly what you spend and where you dedicate your efforts. Campaigns can easily be adapted, enabling you to change who you’re targeting, amplify them or turn them off, dependent on their success and your budget restrictions.
If you are new to digital marketing, it is definitely worth consulting specialists to discuss which options are best suited to your business and will give you the best return on investment. They will be able to advise you on the most efficacious methods to get your brand in front of potential customers for minimal spend helping you to focus on what you do best.