So you’ve launched your new website, maybe set up a Twitter account or a Facebook page, but now what? “If you build it, they will come” was a nice idea, but it's not reality.
Despite that we so often find this phrase is an unspoken mantra, and this very thinking is impacting business growth.
Building a website and online presence takes time...and getting your business in front of the the right target audience takes energy. It’s hard work. That’s the reality of it.
However, it’s easy to understand why this thinking happens as online marketing can be confusing. You’re constantly being told of tools you should be using and others to avoid. Should you use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram? Or all? How about paid advertising on these various social media platforms?
What about email marketing – often seen as the most effective way to generate leads. Or video? Are you on YouTube generating vibrant, engaging video content?
Navigating the minefield
You see, it’s next to impossible for those of us who know about these services to keep up with all the changes, methods and strategies required to use them well. And on top of that, new channels and tools are being created all the time.
For the small business it can be like stepping into a minefield. You walk very hesitantly not knowing whether your next idea to promote your business will generate an explosion of leads or…be very quiet, generating a response like tumbleweed blowing in the desert.
So how do you keep on top of online marketing in a way that grows your business?
Firstly, you need clarity
Clarity is defined as “the quality of being coherent and intelligible”. One of the key mistakes we see is not being clear on what exactly it is you are trying to achieve.
Without clarity, you end up trying this and that method without any real strategy to track its success. So methods that don’t seem to work may just require a tiny tweak to make them work rather than immediately consigning them to failure and starting over from scratch with another method.
If you don’t know the real purpose in the first place, it’s hard to evaluate sufficiently.
Secondly, you need strategy
Strategy is defined as “a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim”. So without the first point, that of having clarity on your aims, you won’t be able to develop a strategy…or certainly not one that’s effective.
This is where you can decide which channels will be most effective at reaching your target audience to achieve your aims. A clear strategy means you will also be able to make more informed decisions for example, which products will you focus on:
- Facebook - more conversational but builds loyalty and reputation, share videos, photos, competitions etc.
- LinkedIn - the number one B2B platform available today
- Instagram - a visual network that with the right hashtags can really help you connect with your target audience
- Twitter - just 140 characters per post of content which can lead new followers to your blog or website or newsletter and help them get to know what you care about
- Email marketing - to target ‘hot contacts’, those people that have requested to hear from you by already signing up for your mailing list
There are plenty more platforms, each with its own diverse audience. Having a clear strategy that fits in with your brand values will help you know which platforms are right for you and your audience.
Thirdly, you need to take action
Action: “The fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim”. It’s very possible to develop the best strategy in the world but then see your promotion fail due to bad or non-existent execution.
You need to keep at it. You may not see the results immediately…in fact it will be rare that you do. But the film director, Woody Allen once said “80% of success is just turning up”. Turning up means taking action regardless of how motivated you feel, or the challenges you face. And to take the right actions, you need to have clarity and strategy in place.
This last part is easier said than done. It’s not always easy to be inspired or if you are, to know how to generate a good strategy in the first place.
Need help getting started?
For a small business owner this all takes ownership and energy, but it is certainly not unattainable. Take a look at my Digital Marketing Coaching Programme which can help you through the process turning your good intentions into consistent action.