So, you’re not a digital native. You don’t have a Facebook account and the only time you use Twitter is to search for your favorite TV shows. Your Instagram feed is populated with photos of flowers in your backyard or that trip you took to Italy last year. If this sounds like you, it’s time to rethink how marketing needs to happen in today’s world.
If you’re doing business for quite a long time, chances are your company isn’t as digitally savvy. The social media landscape is changing rapidly, it’s hard for anyone to keep up. There are so many new tools and tactics coming out every day that it is difficult to stay on top of everything. And if you’re not a digital native yourself, it’s even more challenging.
Today, it’s not enough for businesses and marketers to know how to create a website or produce an email campaign. It’s important to be able to navigate the online world as well. But why should you care? It’s simple: with so many people now consuming digital content, those who are digitally literate will have an advantage over those who aren’t.
In this post, we will look over some ways that you can get started. After reading this, hopefully, you’ll feel more confident about your next steps into the online world. First off, take a deep breath then let’s get started.
Identify your needs and priorities
The first step in taking on the digital world is to identify your needs and priorities. You can’t use a tool or tactic if it doesn’t meet your needs. What do you need to achieve by going online? Are you looking for more exposure? Sales leads? Which one comes first? How much time do you need to devote towards this new initiative? All of these questions should be answered before you begin. Don’t be hesitant to ask yourself questions and identify what is important.
For example, if time is your priority, then an event or strategy that involves sharing content might not be best for you. If it’s exposure, most social media channels allow users to view posts in their feeds even if they don’t follow that page. You can create or utilize free stock videos, use creative photos or ask questions to inspire engagement.
Do a market research
The next step is to do in-depth research of your competitors and the market landscape. Who is in the market? What tools are they already using? How much time and money are they consuming on their online initiatives? Many business owners might not understand what all the buzz around social media or digital marketing is about.
A market research will not only show what is popular but also what’s working and what isn’t. Plus, this information helps you identify the right tools to use and how much time and money you should allocate towards your online presence.
One of the best ways to research your competitors is by using Scup, a product by HubSpot. With Scup, you can enter your competitors’ website URLs, and it will return results with what sites are linking to them, top content, social media presence, and more.
Research the best options for your situation
The next step is to research what type of digital marketing strategy best fits your needs. If you’re looking for exposure, a social media channel like Facebook or LinkedIn might be the right option. Be sure to research several channels and think about which one would work best for your business. If it’s sales leads, look at tools that allow you to capture people’s information. This will enable you to maintain an ongoing dialogue with potential buyers.
Again, do your research. If you have multiple people in your organization who are interested in taking on this project, discuss what tools would be best for everyone to use. This way, you’re all working towards the same goals.
Once you’ve identified the tools and tactics you want to try, give yourself a test run before going all in. A one-day experiment can give you important insight on what works best for your business and which platform(s) have the most engagement.
Create a plan of action that adheres with your needs and priorities
Now that you know what your goals are, it’s time to create a plan of attack. You can create a plan together with your team, or you can decide to go at it alone. Either way, every good marketing strategy should have goals, timelines, and analytics built-in.
For example, if you’re using social media for exposure, set out to post on the platforms once a day for five days. Each day, try different types of posts to see which ones get the most engagement. If you’re using social media for lead generation, set out to ask questions on three platforms over one week. Try different types of questions and see what works best for your business.
Here are a few tools to help you maintain your plan:
- Google Analytics – If you’ve never used analytics before, Google’s free tool is a great way to get started. It allows you to track your engagement on social media and report on it in real-time.
- Buffer – An app that allows you to schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels.
- Hootsuite – Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to distribute content across multiple channels. It also allows you to monitor and respond to the different communities in an efficient manner.
Once you’ve found what works best with your business, make a concrete plan and stick with it.
Start small, but be consistent with your efforts
The most crucial element in any marketing campaign is consistency. You can have the best strategy, but without consistency, you’ll never see long-term results. It’s imperative to find a routine that works for you and your business so that when times get tough, you don’t give up on your efforts.
Many non-digital natives are reluctant about being online because they have the misconception that they have to change everything overnight. This is a myth that has to be debunked, especially when it comes to social media. There are many websites and software out there that allow you to grow your presence gradually over time.
For example, if you’ve decided to invest in blog posts, then start with a couple of posts a month. Your posts don’t have to be overly lengthy – just informative and helpful. As you continue to share, your audience will grow over time.
If you’re using social media or any other tool for that matter, then set out to stick to the plan every day. This way, it won’t feel like an overwhelming task.
Maximize free tools and trials
You heard me right. Sometimes you can benefit from free trials that will allow you to see if a particular tool will work for your business. If possible, always try the free trial before committing to any paid version. Many free trials are limited, but you might find that the advanced features work best for your needs.
Having said that, don’t let the word free fool you. You’ll still have to invest in getting the most out of any online tool and trial. Like other things, it takes time and effort to learn how to use a particular platform or software.
Remember, if you’re not willing to try new things or invest in tools that will help grow your business, then there’s no use in refreshing this article. You need to take action and be persistent if you want to see results.
Invest time and resources
Go for it. Go all in. Dive deep into the digital world and make connections with others that share similar interests as your business. It’s essential to spend time on this activity, even if you don’t receive big payoffs right away.
Here are a few online engagements you can do to get started:
- Join LinkedIn groups of people who work at your target audience
- Follow companies that your ideal clients follow
- Start having conversations with people online
- Attend networking events or workshops that connect you with the community
- Read articles or watch videos about the latest digital trends
In the beginning, it’s important that you invest some of your own time and resources into this. You’ll learn a ton and meet a lot of people along the way, and who knows – maybe with practice, you’ll become a marketing whiz!
The digital world has been here for a long time and it’s vital to learn more about the industry you’re trying to get into. The more active online you are, the better results you’ll see over time.
Making the transition into the digital world can be daunting for any business, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying. Identify your business or company’s needs and priorities and research the options that best fit your situation. Then actualize a plan of action that works for you. Be patient and don’t give up on your initiatives. Start small, but once you have a plan set out, go for it. It’s a rewarding experience once you see your business grow.
The most established and successful companies are the ones that can embrace change and learn to adapt to it. When you feel like you know what you’re doing, take some time to revisit your goals and strategies. This will allow you to improve as a business owner or marketer so that next time around, you’ll have even more knowledge about what works best with your business.
If you’re still having trouble deciding on the best tools and tactics for your needs, consider hiring a digital marketing agency to help. They should be able to identify what would work best for you based on their experience working with other companies like yours. They should also propose advice on how to use these tools and communicate your message more effectively. Although working with an agency might cost you more at first, it will save you time and money in the long run.