Putting together an effective digital marketing plan is about understanding your channels and how and when they are searching for your content. It is also about being realistic about the cost and to allocate an effective budget that can be tracked and adjusted based on results.
So, where to start? You need to look at your existing marketing budget and rethink this as a comprehensive digital plan. This needs expert support to help you assess what you need and each of the elements required to deliver it.
Budget and Resourcing
You need to think about the timing of your campaigns, messaging and how this fits into new products, alliances or offerings you will make to the market over a 12-24 month period. This will help build your communications plan. View it as a set of “breadcrumbs” laid out that build awareness and respect for your calibre, quality and innovation over time.
You also need to assign management resource– is it well set up to accommodate an expansion in marketing – do you have existing experienced marketing skills in house? Do you need to hire in a permanent head? That could be expensive and you won’t get a rapid payback. Do you outsource? Well, more are doing so, as long as you define a really tight programme.
You also need to agree what success will look like as a management team and assemble some meaningful measures around response, lead generation/conversion and cross sell across each campaign.
First Job: A Free Local Presence
Google My Business is one of the simplest ways to get a initial digital footprint at no cost. It gets your business location on Google Maps, together with links to your site, descriptions of what you do, a show case of photos and videos and your opening hours.
It will also give you access to keyword map searches as well so that your business shows up alongside your competitors that are already there. What are you waiting for?
Make your content relevant
Then it’s time to define what will be in your digital marketing mix. This is determined by the audience, its interests and the geographies you want to reach. You may have a niche specialism in your practice that you want to exploit and this is where search marketing kicks in.
By putting your in-house expert at the centre of your content and ensuring your website, blogs and features shared with other sites and networks are all optimised with keyword tags, it will make the act of searching for you that much easier and therefore the practice will be more visible.
Having a Content Plan (and sticking to it!)
The main problem that firms find is that in-house staff tend to be busy with their day job. Early enthusiasm gives way monthly or less attempts at posting something.
Content has to be consistent and persistent – weekly or bi-weekly is the absolute minimum and you need to develop a strict comms plan to make it happen. At this point, it makes sense to get external support to ensure the plan stays rolling out.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO can be a bit of dark art and there are plenty of charlatans out there, who say they will get you a front page listing on search engines on an organic basis – i.e. not paid for via adwords. The key thing is to make sure that everything that you write and publish gets tagged for SEO.
If tools like WordPress aare used they have effcetoce and proven tools like Yoast that give you a good steer on effective content structures for SEO:
- Keywords well defined with related keyphrase
- Keywords early in introductory text and headings
- Keywords feature in Intro snippet that appears in organic listings
- Links to other relevant pages on your website and to other external sites
- Images have a clear alt-text description that supports your keywords
- Page descriptions have a clear hierarchy of keywords
Having a secure site (SSL certificate, marked by the padlock and/or the https prefix to your web address) will be a massive factor with Google Search visibility – and that is another win. But SEO is also about the deeper code on the site so it does need expertise beyond just adding the above tips on page content.
Also, the more you share your content with others – especially guest blogs and syndication, the more the organic visibility.
You want to place SEO in the context of all other media you distribute content through, including social media.
More on the role of SEO will be revealed in future posts.
Cost per Click ads
Many a business has had a mailshot of a £75 adwords voucher and has found it very easy to get set up and have a play but quickly realise how fast that £75 gets burnt up.
If you choose to invest in Google Adwords promotions, you want to make sure firstly that you have accurate keywords linked to your specialism and geography.
Adwords, remarketing and Bing campaigns will be the subject of another future post. Just to say that you need to understand that the cost per click for popular and simple search terms will be large! Beware the money pit!
Social and Video
We will cover off social media in later posts but the main thing here is to again make sure it is resourced, well policed with clear policies on risk management and customer engagement.
Different channels will have different audiences at different times, so you need to think about how your presence will be maintained persistently – and that you are ready to respond to potential and future clients.
Video is also the primary search for the younger audience so how are you going to manage this demand effectively?
Get Tailored Support
We will go over many of these topics in the future – but as a basis for your first drafts of a digital marketing plan. Some you can do yourself, there are others that really does require outside expertise.
Clear Edge has a comprehensive suite of digital marketing services – from developing the digital strategy, through to delivery through each of the main search and social channels.
Contact us for more information on how we can tailor a programme to suit your needs and budget.