The one thing you must do before marketing your services online

So often I hear people tell me various rumours about digital marketing. Sometimes it’s relevant, sometimes it’s misguided information. There are myths surrounding all areas of digital marketing and people can get really wrapped up in what their ‘friend’ has told them is the ‘right’ way to do something.

This is one of the reasons I’ve embarked on a digital marketing certification. I can see that we (me included!) can employ a bit of a haphazard approach to digital marketing. It’s still relatively new and as business owners there is a lot to get to grips with. But there are frameworks that you can follow to make sure that your efforts are concentrated in the right place, and that you are following a tried and tested practice.

The biggest piece of advice I could give you, that you really must do before embarking on any digital marketing strategy is research.

It’s not good enough to ‘think’ you know who your ideal client is. It’s not good enough to ‘think’ that someone wants your lead magnet. What you think people want or need, might be totally different to what they ACTUALLY need.

So before you start creating anything and sharing content here there and everywhere, you need to go right back to basics and do your research.

Figure out your objectives

First and foremost, what exactly are your overall objectives for your business. What are you trying to achieve? Get clear on this. Make SMART goals. Be as specific as you can. Before you can carry out any digital marketing you need to make sure you are totally clear on the purpose of it so that it’s all aligned. Are you trying to increase your profits in a particular service area? Or are you trying to maintain a presence as a leading authority in a particular sector? As the research required and content for each will be very different.

Figure out your client persona (research don’t guess)

A lot of people will guess this information. Often people base this on their own thoughts, likes and dislikes and where they hang out. But maybe you aren’t your ideal client? Even if you are, you can’t base your entire persona on you. You need to do some more research to get a more rounded view.

Check out online reports on customer behaviour in your industry. Look at your current clients and maybe send them a questionnaire, or interview them. Do some research on your followers online, what groups are they in, what pages do they like, do they feature a pet or family in their profile image and header. What’s important to them?

My messaging workbook gives you a list of all the questions you could possibly ever ask yourself! Use this in conjunction with your research.

Figure out the channels that you need to show up on

Digital marketing isn’t just about social media. There are many marketing channels such as blogs, adverts, ppc, social media, SEO, email, podcasts, review sites…the list is absolutely endless. Think about paid, owned and earned media (poem)

Paid Media: This is what is says on the tin – paid advertising like social media ads, display ads, google adwords, pay per click, printed adverts and even influencer marketing. If you are selling high ticket services, then things like pay per click may be more relevant to you and give you a good ROI. If you have a lower budget, then adverts on facebook can do well on as little as £50 if you have the right targeting and campaign in place.

Owned Media: This is media owned by you. So blog posts, your website, press releases, social media posts. This is media that should be converting people organically from places such as search engines and social media. Owned media needs to be really high quality. Not regurgitated content from somewhere else, and ideally provide some thought provoking content for your readers to really establish you as an expert in your field. This is what really builds a trusted relationship between you.

Earned Media: This is content provided by others and can include things like reviews, recommendations, blog and content shares.

Bring it all together

You need to decide on where to show up. From looking at your objectives, and combining that with your customer persona, you should have a good idea of where you need to be and what you need to be providing. This all forms a really good basis for your research.

This is just a dip in the ocean when it comes to Digital Marketing Strategy. But I hope it gives you a bit more structure when you are thinking about your content, who your ideal client is, and where you need to show up.

If you want to download any of my free resources to help you in your online business then head over here: www.sammilburncreative.com/resources