The Digital plan
The digital plan or strategy that you embark on will also be determined by what goals you want to achieve. We suggest that you embark on a digital strategy to build brand awareness and create sales in a wider area. By using the following techniques, you can successfully market your business with minimal expenditure. The idea is that you build the business and then put marketing spend back in when the time is right. This strategy is based on the following methodology. Your digital platform is created from many assets such as your website, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.
The Digital Platform
“Facebook continuously modifies its algorithm, which is out of your control. Fans may or may not see content depending on this algorithm”. Joe Pulizzi
The digital platform is all the assets put together as a form of communication with your market. This is all social media, Google search facilities and any other blogging sites that you may have. As we are dealing with small business I will assume that you have a website and are currently dabbling in at least one form of social media such as Facebook. Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that social media sites like Facebook should be the focus of their digital marketing. This is not the right way of going about it, and if you are doing so I recommend you stop it now and re-evaluate your strategy. Your website is the most important asset you have, and all traffic should somehow be directed to it. Other social media platforms are run by other entities and businesses. Make no mistake Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook and all the material on that platform. Once you have put something on Facebook you have no control over it. This goes for all the other social media sites. If the owners change their rules and policy, you have no say in the matter.
Picture. 1. Your Digital Platform
Your website is the most important of these assets as it is the only one that you own and can really control. All elements must lead back to your website. The basis of this plan it to increase the value of this asset so that it becomes a viable selling tool for your business.
Having a website is an essential part of marketing your business. If designed correctly, your website can be one of your most valuable assets. The stats are clear that most people will do their research before they contact any company. In fact, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases (retailing today 2014).
How do I Build My Website?
Starting your website is like hiring an employee. First, ask yourself, what is the purpose for my employee? What should this employee be doing for my business? You hire an employee for a specific reason and know exactly what you want the employee to do. A website is no different in that essentially it is working for you. But unlike an employee, websites never sleep, are always available, and can network constantly across the globe to millions of people.
Reasons for having a Website
There are many reasons for having a website as they can serve many functions for your business. Here are a few of the main reasons that a website is designed for a business.
Sell products and services
Having a website that is easy to read, easy to navigate, and is informative about your products, services, and prices is essential to the success of your business. When you offer your products online, keep the customer in mind. This is your chance to show them the quality of your products and the ease of shopping with you. Websites offer consumers the chance to look at all your products, order products that might otherwise be out of stock, request more information, easily compare prices with other businesses, and gives them a chance to provide you feedback or check your ratings. Your products and services are also available 24/7 and are easily accessed.
By building a web presence online, your customers will have one more way to find and interact with you, as well as research your products and services. If they like you, they’ll become brand advocates and share your business with their social network. A link is easy to share online, and you may find that your business’s customers are doing all the work for you. Leads will generate themselves. A website reaches customers that may have never known about your business otherwise. You can even increase their chances of finding you by taking your business to social media. Marketing through platforms like Facebook, Linkedin and other social media are great ways to establish your business’s reach. Always make sure that it is done as part of your Content Marketing Plan.
Your website is just the same as a store window. When a customer looks through it, they should see what they want and know that they have come to the right place for it. Your website is your brand name, your image, and your customer service. Everything conducted online is an extension of what your business provides its customers in person. When you design your website, allow customers to comment on, rate, and review your products and services. Consider establishing a blog to inform your readers and entertain them so that they may share your brand through social media. Your website is often where customers will go to review your credentials. Make sure that you are knowledgeable of your products and services. Keep an eye on your competition. And have a friendly, and regular presence online, where marketing through social media has great potential. Customers want to know that you are both approachable and available.
Take the First Steps
If you think it’s time to start building a new website or making a change to your existing one for your business, begin by forming a vision for what you want to accomplish with it. What will be the purpose of this website? What kind of voice or style will it have? What are your customers looking for when they want your products and services? This once again can be taken from your Why or Purpose statement. You can also look at your market research into your competitors and target markets.
The website technology
Most of the small business websites that we deal with are created within the WordPress technology. As a small business this content management system will allow you to create good, sometimes sophisticated websites. The important thing is that it also allows you, the small business owner, the ability to make your own simple non-structural changes. However, I would recommend that you do not try to create the site from scratch on your own. It is very time consuming and most small business owners do not have the time to dedicate to this task. Once again work out your budget and research who can help you put the website together. This will be an investment, but the website will pay for itself in the long run.
A plugin is an additive to your website that allows you to do something beyond the norm. For example, there are SEO plugins that allow you to manage your SEO activity.
When you have your website, here are some things that you must ensure you do.
Make sure all links to external sites to be opened in a new tab. – this will keep a visitor to your site on your website instead of taking them away. Once they move on they may not come back.
Website Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is how well your website is ranked and therefore can be found on Google and other search engines.
Organic SEO – Increasing Google ranking by generating interest to your website.
Paid SEO – Paying for Google advertising
The following is a strategy on how to increase your websites SEO in a competitive market. There are 2 ways in which Google ranking can be increased, they are Organic (doing things that attract links and references to your website) and Paid advertising (paid Advertising on Google search pages).
The essence of a good organic SEO is by making your website worth looking at and relevant to a searcher on Google. The following strategy is how we propose to do this:
Meta Description and Keyword Discovery
What goes on behind the pages of your website. The goal of this initiative is to get your website on to the first page of Google search. Here are some definitions and explanations.
SEO Title This is the HTML tag or main heading. It is the first thing that you see in a Google search.
A Meta description is a description about what the web page is.
Keywords are phrases that describe what you do.
These are strategically placed behind the website to help search engines find your site. I will use the Assertive Marketing website as an example.
SEO Title is “your products or services – Your Company name” Ours is “Affordable marketing services – Assertive Marketing Melbourne”.
Meta description is “We provide your product and your services to your area and surrounding areas” So ours is.” Affordable marketing services to small business designed to fit your business. Good marketing services in Melbourne, Hallam, Berwick, Victoria”
Keywords is “your products or services” Ours is “Affordable marketing Melbourne”
Find the right description and keywords that are being searched and mixing that with what the top companies are using then adding them to your website. This is a laborious process and takes time.
- Find what keywords the competitors are using and add them to your website.
- Add a SEO content manager plugin to your website to help manage the keywords (We suggest Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress)
- Regularly change and modify these descriptions and keywords to keep them at the forefront of the search engines and the changing market.
- Keep repeating the process.
Getting your website to the first page of the search page. Then getting it to the top 3.
Note: SEO is a long-term commitment and cannot be done overnight. It takes months and continuous manipulation to get this right and still needs constant working. Once you get it right the rewards will follow.
This is what is on your website, what everyone can view. Is it interesting, informative and to the point? Can someone who is looking for your products or services find exactly what they are looking for and are able to do something about it?
What we have learned
- The digital platform is all the assets put together as a form of communication with your market. This is all social media, Google search facilities and any other blogging sites that you may have.
- Your website is the most important of these assets as it is the only one that you own and can really control. All elements must lead back to your website.
- The digital strategy that you embark on will also be determined by what goals you want to achieve.
- The basis of this plan is to increase the value of this asset so that it becomes a viable selling tool for your business
- We suggest that you embark on a digital strategy to build brand awareness and create sales in a wider area.
- By using the techniques, you can successfully market your business with minimal expenditure.
- The idea is that you build the business and then put marketing spend back in when the time is right.