Digital Marketing simply means marketing efforts that are carried out online: through your website, your blog, social media profiles, AdWords, SEO, etc.
Basically anything that serves the purpose of promoting your business and requires an internet connection can be included under the umbrella of Digital Marketing.
Although Digital Marketing includes a wide range of factors and facilitators, Digital Marketing Strategy is extremely precise.
If you’re just starting to consider including digital marketing efforts with your standard marketing strategies, it can be daunting to think about where to begin.
What I’ve put together here is by no means an exhaustive list of how to break into digital marketing. Instead, my purpose here is to take the pressure off, so you don't have to start from zero with your Digital Marketing efforts and do everything at once.
Yes, a digital marketing strategy is essential to companies hoping to compete in the modern market. However, you don’t have to buy the whole horse and buggy right now.
Start with the 3 steps outlined below to get started on becoming more effective in digital marketing TODAY.
Start creating better content
In the words of Neil Patel: Content is not a trend.
Even if your website doesn’t have the most modern design, you can start creating better content right now.
But what actually is “better content?”
Better content, or good content, means content that your target audience actually wants to read.
That means stepping outside of more traditional selling tactics and offering up content that educates your audience about more than your product’s features and benefits.
Consumers want to know different types of information about your products and industry based on where they are in your sales funnel:
Consumers at the top of your funnel are looking for high-level, general information. Consumers farther along in the sales funnel will want more specific and technical information.
Take a look at the image below. We call this The Content Diamond.
In this example, you can see the different types of information a builder would want based on where they are in your sales funnel. Notice how the farther down the funnel, the more in-depth the information.
Businesses that are really taking off these days are those that are positioning themselves as all-around experts in their industry. Consumers want to buy from the experts.
If your audience believes that you’re the expert in your field, you’re not going to have to convince them that your products are better because of X, Y and Z.
Of course figuring out exactly who your target audience is and what they want to know will take time.
Even if you know your company mainly targets dealers, distributors and builders, understanding the ins and outs of your audience is another step entirely.
If you haven’t conducted proper research about your audience -including how they research for products, what they want in a product and how to win their loyalty -in the last three years then you can’t be sure you’re delivering the right information in the right way.
But don’t worry. You can still start creating better content today based on what you do know. You can start conducting buyer-interviews while creating content and then make adjustments to future content based on your findings.
Here are 3 steps to help you get started creating better content TODAY.
Make a list of questions you know your customers (or even your customer’s customers) have.
Great content serves an immediate purpose, is actionable and meets a pain point.
Here are some resources that might have some insights into what your potential customers want to know:
- If you have a customer service call center, check out the call records to see what the top 5-10 most common question are.
- Contact some loyal customers to find out what they want to know from companies that manufacture your product category.
- Ask your distributors what questions leave them stumped when their clients ask them about your product.
Use that list to create a new list of blog articles (or web page content) that will answer those questions succinctly and clearly.
Before you start cranking out blog articles, take a look at your website pages and see if the answers to any of those questions should be placed on a relevant page.
Few things instill a sense of loyalty in potential customers like going to a company’s website and finding the exact answer to the exact question they have.
Yes, there is a much more in-depth process to creating a full-blown Content Marketing Strategy. Yes, having a defined and documented content strategy that includes business goals, a clear brand voice and much more is, in my opinion, essential to the future success of your company and your content.
But those things take weeks, even months to figure out, and longer to implement.
So start writing better content right now. And start thinking about how to launch a properly defined and documented Content Marketing Strategy next year.
If you want to put a cherry on top of this first step, start with creating a content strategy. It will take a little more time, but if you plan on launching a more fully developed content marketing strategy next year, it will save you time in the end.
Increase conversion points on your website
Conversion points are simply places where visitors to your website can input their contact information in exchange for something from you.
Sometimes the “conversion” means they put something in your online shopping cart and give you their payment information in exchange for the product.
But it doesn’t always have to be that high of a commitment.
Conversion can also mean signing up for a newsletter, downloading an eBook or registering for a webinar that you’re hosting.
You probably already have a newsletter form, a contact form and possibly an eCommerce feature.
And while you want to make all of those points of contact clear and painless for your audience, you also want to increase conversion points in order to bring in more leads.
Conversion is crucial, because once you start gathering contact information, you can start nurturing your leads. (More on that in just a second.)
Even if your current conversion points aren’t performing that well, that doesn’t mean your audience isn’t interested in hearing from you.
More likely, it means you haven’t proven to them that your content will help them. But that’s all about to change.
Remember all that great content you’re going to start creating? Well, if it’s really, really good, then you can put some of it behind a form that asks for the reader to input their contact information if they want to continue to read what you’ve written.
For example, this year we released a Marketing Report about DIY Consumers. We know this report is really good, so we put it behind a form.
Before we go on, here’s an important tip about forms and asking for contact information:
Don’t ask for too much information!
You want the quality and quantity of information to be directly related to the amount of contact information you’re asking for. Remember, you can start nurturing leads with just an email address.
Make your audience feel like they’re getting more than they are giving. That means really good content for only a minimal amount of contact information. Asking for their name and email address should be plenty to get started.
There are of course exceptions to the rule of only asking for 2 or 3 pieces of information. There are different types of forms and different incentives that will encourage your website visitors to offer up more information.
For example, people are typically willing to fill out longer forms when entering a contest on your website, but only 6% will fill out an order page with 19 fields.
Here’s a list of conversion points that you could add to your website that won’t require much content creation on your part:
- A video on how to up-sell your product
- A PDF on overcoming the top 5 objections for your product category
- A side-by-side comparison of all brands in your product category
- Blog series on how professionals can scale their business without losing control
If you think about it, you probably have most of this content already documented somewhere.
Maybe it’s part of your sales training or in your call center’s handbook. It’s just a matter of locating the information and putting it online. Then putting it behind a form so interested readers offer their contact information in exchange for your valuable insights
Start sending targeted messages
First, it’s what you DON’T do:
You don’t continue to send everyone the exact same update at the exact same time with the exact same information.
You look at the information that’s engaging each individual and you send them the content that will interest them the most based on how they’ve interacted with your website. This is called “targeted messaging.”
For example, for leads who converted for the “How to upsell your product” video, you know they probably already deal with your product, but they’re looking to increase their margins.
By continuing to feed them content about selling strategies, you’re showing them that you’re in it with them. So when they’re met with a choice between your product and your competitor’s they’re going to be more likely to choose you because you’ve been helping them meet their new sales goals.
While you’re ramping up your new digital efforts and leads are slowly trickling in, you’ll be able to track their actions and send out targeted messages manually.
But as your new digital strategy starts to take off, it’s going to become next to impossible to manually check, write messages and send them out to their respective leads every day.
Marketing Automation software allows you to set up event tracking, send out messages based on how your audience interacts on your site and then send follow-up messages based on whether they open your email, clicked on the links in the email or never even noticed it.
Although you can’t set up Marketing Automation in the blink of an eye, you can get it up and running at full-function in about 3 - 6 months. And for something that can potentially increase your email click-through rate by 152%, that’s not a bad deal.
Check out our Guide to Getting Started with Marketing Automation to learn more about how it can help you grow leads and shorten your sales cycle.
If you’re familiar with Marketing Automation, but want to find out more, take a look at this article: 7 Reasons Building Materials Companies Should use Marketing Automation.
After Step 3
As I said at the beginning, these are three small steps towards getting your digital marketing efforts off the ground.
Digital marketing is so much more than just content, but this is the easiest way to get started.
If you want to take your content to the next step, be sure to follow SEO best practices. Here are a couple resources to get you started on mastering SEO:
- 5 Quick SEO Tips for Building Materials Companies
- All about Keywords: What They are and How to Use Them
- Delta vs Kohler: How Delta is Winning the SEO War
And don’t forget to share all your shiny new content on social media. You’ll want to broadcast to the world all the great info you’re going to start pumping out.
If you want help thinking of the kind of content you’ll need to write, or if you’re looking for a little more guidance with your digital marketing efforts, shoot me an email: [email protected]. I’m always up for a good brainstorm!
Or, you can click the “Let’s Talk” button below and fill out our Start a Project form to get the conversation started about how you can start succeeding in digital.