Have you ever found yourself frustrated or overwhelmed about keeping up with the day-to-day operations of your business and current trends? If so, you are not alone.
The challenge is that prospects are no longer picking up a phone book or necessarily stopping by your company to find you. No, they make a decision to contact you or not before you have any chance to influence them.
You may have heard about digital marketing, but have no intention to go back to school and learn a whole new world. Or, as an everyday business owner, you may know that online marketing is important, but don’t know where to start.
Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this post, we’re going to dive into what digital marketing is and then give a clear picture of what to think about when you are just about to get started.
Ready to get started?
What is Digital Marketing?
Let’s keep things simple.
What’s the purpose of a business? In a nutshell, it is to create a customer. If your business does not have a customer, it is not a business (at least not yet).
So how do you create a customer? You may be a rocket scientist at NASA, but you don’t have to be one to understand that marketing would be involved.
Now, what is marketing? It is broadcasting your business, product, or service. Good marketing will also convert prospects to customers, which is of utmost importance. Obviously.
Taking this concept one step further, digital marketing is about converting online prospects to customers. In other words, it is advertising through online channels, such as, social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Yelp, etc.), email, search engines, websites, etc.
Why is Digital Marketing Important?
Marketing has taken a quantum leap over the last couple of decades and moved more and more online. That is where people are and that is where your business needs to be. Why? Because your customers are already online searching. They just need to find you.
Digital marketing has made a big impact on our business. Our average annual growth rate has been 400% since we started four years ago. We use the same digital marketing strategies for our customers and partners across the United States.
How to Get Started with Digital Marketing
Now that we know what digital marketing is and why it is important, we can move on to the next question: How do you get started with digital marketing? There are, in fact, four things you should consider, which are knowhow, time, desire zone, and authenticity.
If you haven’t seen any previous Instagram posts I’ve made related to Waco or Joanna Gaines, or seen me share posts to my Stories, you may not know that I’m a big Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia, and all things Fixer Upper Fan.
Our family has been fortunate enough to take a couple of trips there from Tulsa, Oklahoma and boy, it was fun! I’m not huge into shopping, but the experience was just that: a fun family friendly experience, Chip and Jo style.
We even got to meet Jimmy Don!
When you arrive at the Silos and see all their buildings, walk on the lawn, and head inside to shop at Magnolia Market, you are immediately captivated by the attention to detail and excellence and can’t stop smiling. Magnolia Market is an experience, to say the least. It is beautiful inside, from the entry area, to the beautifully stacked kitchen pieces, the pretty artwork usually hanging from ceilings… the staff is very customer centric as well and the market is kept tidy. You almost want to buy everything, and even if you just came to window shop, there is unlimited inspiration to make your house a cozier home.
The cupcakes have a ridiculous amount of delicious, soft cloudlike frosting and if you don’t go during the week you may get stuck in a line waiting to even get inside the Magnolia Market… the reason people have brought Waco to life, coming from all over the place is because of the incredible brand that Chip and Jo have created.
If you have ever watched Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Fixer Upper show, you may have been inspired like we were about all things shiplap and upgrading our home. We have never done a real fixer upper project though. Why? We simply lack the knowhow. Could we figure it out? Probably. There is YouTube. But the real question is should we. For us it is a clear “no” because we are not the right people for the job. We would be dangerous to ourselves because we are unaware of the sphere of major remodeling projects. We also have constraints on our time, which we will address later.
The same is true for digital marketing or any other unfamiliar field. Anyone, can try to learn how to digital marketing on their own. At their own peril. Most of the time, it is like trying to be Chip and Joanna Gaines when you are not. Leave it to the professionals and focus on your sweet spot.
As an example, even this blog, that you are reading, is SEO optimized based on a myriad of criteria. Who knew?! In fact, there is even an exact science of how many words a blog post should have for Google to reward it with higher rankings. And that is just the start. There are landing page A/B tests to improve, conversion rates to consider, page-load time implications on SEO, social listening, customer journey maps, user experience (UX), images need Alt Text, etc. and so much more. You get the point.
If you still wanted to do your fixer upper remodel, you still could. You could invest the time to learn, and with trial and error you could come up with something. However, that time would represent an opportunity cost, meaning that that time could not be used for something else.
Going back to digital marketing. There are certainly things you can learn, but should you? Most business owners we speak to every day are extremely busy. Adding something more to their plate is simply not reasonable. Your time is often best invested in following up on leads (the output of your marketing funnel).
The question you must answer is: is the time you would need to invest in digital marketing worth it? Or would you make more money, entrusting digital marketing efforts to a professional with the skills and knowhow?
In the book Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt the desire zone is defined as the intersection between your passion and your strongest skillsets.
In our hypothetical fixer upper house, you would need to have the ability and the knowhow to move forward. Just one of them is not enough (especially not long term).
We already established that you could invest the time and money to learn the basics of digital marketing. But would you love doing it? If not, you should hand it over to someone else.
What’s in your desire zone? Only you can answer that.
Most business owners we work with have other passions and interests as they grow their business, and are happy to work with a trusted performance marketing agency.
That leads us to our final point.
One thing Fixer Upper fans love about Chip and Joanna Gaines is that they are totally themselves. It truly shines through the camera. Why? Authenticity attracts. Big time. Like a magnet.
In fact, 90% of consumers said that that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support according to Social Media Today. Authenticity breeds community, which breeds growth of your business.
You may think that you know how to be authentic online. That is, however, often not the case for most everyday business owners.
Did you know that YouTube is now second behind Google as the most popular website? on Instagram 72% of users buy a product where they have seen a video ad and 93% of businesses attract a new customer as a result of posting a video on social media according to Social Media Today.
What about you? How would you show up on, for instance, video online? Many business leaders are both uncomfortable and a bit awkward on video. A digital marketing agency can help you translate your authenticity to gain customers online.
The final question is, do you need help to showcase your one-of-a-kind business online, or do you want to go at it alone? If you can, great! If you can’t, there is both help and support for you.
DIY Digital Marketing
Now you may not be able to hand over digital marketing responsibilities to someone else yet. You may be a startup that simply does not have a big marketing budget. That’s ok.
So what do you do? Start simple. Social media marketing is often a good place to start. The next step is to pick the right channel(s). The key is to pick the social media channels your Ideal Customer Avatars (ICAs) are on. Many times, that is Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Setting up a business account is easy. And the final step is to take a big breath and post. Remember, anything big today had a humble start.
When we started our business in 2017, we started on Facebook and Instagram. And the rest is history!
Working TOGETHER with a Performance Marketing Agency
If you are ready to work with a digital marketing agency you should consider the following before pulling the plug.
- Find a team you can trust. Digital marketing can take time. For instance, the full effect of advanced SEO work can take 6-12 months. Look for a long-term partner that wants to help you win and who understands your entire sales cycle.
- Ask them to provide reviews of previous clients
- Clear, professional communication and responsiveness
- Track record. You need case studies showing that they can drive results on the ground.
- Develop and execute a digital marketing strategy
- Actionable reports that educate you and help you fully understand all big picture decisions
- ROI – marketing should lead to sales. If not, it is not working (and a waste of your investment).
Now you know a little bit more what digital marketing is and why it is important. And more importantly how it can help you grow your business.
As you consider next steps for your business, look at the knowhow needed, time required, if it is in your desires zone, and the importance of authenticity when connecting with your audience.
Finally, you must decide if going at it alone or working with a trusted, performance marketing agency partner is the right route for you.
If you decide to do DIY digital marketing, starting with social media marketing typically makes the most sense.
Check out digital marketing services available to you to diversify your lead generation. Your customers are already online. Now they just need to find you.
I hope that this guide has helped you and provides you the very beginning steps of scaling your business online.
Will you use any digital marketing tools in your business?
What else would you like to learn about digital marketing?
What would more leads in your business make possible?
Let me know your biggest takeaways in the comments below.