I had some thoughts while working with some clients on their long-term strategy, and some of the struggles I was experiencing. Here’s twelve tips I developed out of that for people to start to think about their digital marketing goals.

Understanding Your Industry

To sell to professionals in your industry, you need to know what you’re talking about. For example, I target recruitment consultants, IT professionals, real estate agents, tradesman and many business to consumer services (hairdressers, takeaways, shops, etc). This is because I know I can sell to their market. Particularly IT and recruitment, because I know those markets best. I did work for a global firm recruiting IT specialists, but what does that matter? ^_^ I’m a digital marketer now.

So I understand MY industry. But I also understand the CUSTOMERS industry. It may be different for you, but you BETTER KNOW YOUR INDUSTRY. If you don’t, you won’t be able to sell your services online. Particularly not the way I do (content marketing, promoting yourself as a leader, etc…)

Determining Your Target Market

Who is your target market? Did you know that some BUSINESS OWNERS DON’T KNOW? Through regular sales calls and chats with potential clients, it’s been hard to realise the amount of people who have no clue who they are targeting in the business, nevermind in their online advertising.

Within your online presence, you must first determine your target market. This involves researching, whether it be through face-to-face conversations with current clients, doing questionnaires the old-school way in the street, doing a survey online, or just BRAINSTORMING YOUR OWN IDEAS. If you don’t know your target market, you won’t get far in advertising your business, will you?

Set Goals

One of the main things I try to do with businesses is set their goals.

Without goals, how can you determine where you want to be, and know if you’ve actually achieved anything? Nothing to work towards, we are not lost souls, we are business people…. right? ^_^

Understand Where & How To Advertise

Where do you advertise? How can you advertise your business? There’s so many different places. Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Google Adwords. Not only that, there’s so many options inbetween. Facebook has about 8 different objectives, then there’s split-testing, getting the right ad copy, with the right picture, and directing it to your target audience. You could then add in split-testing your ads, and most people would be lost.

And that’s just one way to advertise, you also have:

  • Display Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • PPC Clicks
  • Content Marketing & SEO
  • Social Media Management

You could also got the traditional way, and I could list:

  • Newspaper
  • Billboard
  • Radio Ad
  • Television

You could run a conference, you could get a poster and run around your local community with it stuck to your forehead. There’s plenty of ways to market your company, but which is the most appropriate for which? It’s hard to know where you advertise. My advise to local businesses generally consists of:

  • Create a website
  • Become Google+ optimized
  • Create social media channels, make sure they’re branded consistently
  • Engage in groups that are relevant to your target audience
  • Create your own content (blogs, e-books, whitepapers, social media graphics) to promote your own website
  • Analyse your traffic, and adapt your strategy
  • Go for long-term gains

Make It Easy

  • Convert people online.  Make it easy for them to reach out. Some examples of this include:
    Being able to buy your product online
  • Having your contact number, business, website listed on Google+
  • Tell people you’re available for work
  • Be active daily on social
  • Reach out to people instead of sitting there and waiting for messages
  • Don’t be scared of rejection like a little bitch, promote yourself with content marketing and be ready to take work that is available in your market….

Run An Exclusive Social Media Promotion

People join you on social media, and generally they expect one thing: exclusivity. They want something exclusive. They want to hear your company news before anyone else sure, but they also expect some sort of discount, promotion, voucher, or special offer for becoming your friend and giving you permission into their zone.

Social media is a permission based marketing. It’s not quite as personal as a phone number, it’s a little more personal than an email. People ALLOW you into their space, but at any moments notice with an “unlike”, “unfriend”, or “unfollow” (those sneaky ones who still want to “like” the page but are fed up with your content), people can soon get remove you from that space too. In fact, they can block you if they want.

So yeah. One idea is to give them what they actually wanted on social. A promotion. Something, generally, that is relevant to your target audience and will benefit YOUR CUSTOMER. (I give away websites, not iPads).

Mix It Up With Email & SMS

Emails are effective closers. They close deals. They are read. They don’t have massive conversion rates (usually), but generally you can reach MASS amounts of people, depending on your reach. If you have a big subscriber list, you can close deals weekly with email marketing.

SMS is better for personal service. If you are working with someone, particularly in a service such as myself, when you are looking to work one-to-one with small business owners, SMS text can be the most effective thing in the world. 98% of texts are read within the first two minutes of being received. Think about that for a moment…

Follow-Up With Sales Calls

Your leads aren’t going to convert themselves.

Learn to sell over the phone. I close deals, over the phone, over social. That’s what I’ve learned how to do. I can generate you all the traffic in the world, but if you can’t close the deal, ain’t no helping you with no amount of marketing, sorry. 😛

Customer Service

Provide great customer service, online. You should be looking to do this at all costs anyway, but don’t become an overpleaser, either! I hate those over-pleasers, and I hate being one. I’ve had to learn to be able to politely say “no” and be cautious whilst saying “why don’t you get fucked?” many of times in this game. But, you have to do what you have to do. No more using social to SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT, but more about diplomacy and making a good impression.

It works. It generates better quality traffic. Remember the old rule: the customer is ALWAYS RIGHT. That is offline, in the store, and online, on the web. Both of the times, this should stand true.

Be Multi-Channel

Don’t become heavily reliant on one social channel. This world (digital) changes so much, you don’t want to be suddenly be left without an audience because the next popular service comes along and takes the attention from whatever everyone is doing in the here and now. It also helps you within your google presence to be available on many social channels, sharing different types of content throughout the web. Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook should be mandatory for every company, in my opinion. If you’re Business to Business, that is. Consumer-based services/products/businesses can be a little bit different and depend on the industry.

You should be on every platform where your customers are, generally. The statistics say it all, I have a blog coming that will advise more on that topic later (statistics on each platform and what the demographics are within each)… stay tuned!

Optimize Your Website For Mobiles

Mobile has taken over the internet, didn’t you know? Although your desktop version should still be considered, particularly if you have a service that has lots of choice, or is a big decision for someone. That will generally make people go to their laptops, if they need to do research or think long-term about the purchase their making.

Otherwise, people want quick, snappy websites that work on mobile. And even if you are a high-end product or whatever, you should still be mobile optimized. Imagine I’m a businessman, we’re looking to do business and I am discussing your proposal to my business partner, and I go to load your website on my Phone in Starbucks, and you’re not optimized for mobile..

Use Social To Close Deals

Close some deals. Get something done. Tell people you want to close deals, you wanna to business. Ask them “How can I help?” Do something for free. Produce something, share something on behalf of your company. I’ve just been without work within January, trying to promote this exact business, and to enter the very crowded market within digital marketing, this month I’ve decided to run a FREE TRIAL, HOSTING AND CREATING WEBSITES FOR ME (AT A LOSS, I AM PAYING FOR DOMAINS!)… I’ve created five websites for free so far. I’ll do ten this month, but that means I get to build my portfolio of services, showcase them on my website and grow my network of businesses who now need my services. Ultimately, I’ve ended up with two paid clients already. Just fucking do something.