Is Your Digital Marketing Plan Really Fit For Purpose?

Digital Marketing Plan Blog Post

In today’s self-service economy, how do you win the battle for the customer’s attention? Does your digital marketing plan deliver the results that your business needs?

In this post we’ll show you how to attract more traffic to your website, and how to turn that traffic into customers: people who want to buy from you. You’ll also discover some changes you can make to your website today, which will see you start generating more traffic immediately.

If you’re reading this you’ll probably know already just how critical your digital marketing plan is to your business. But did you know that 81% of buyers don’t want to speak with a sales rep in the early stages of the sales cycle?

How can you communicate with your target audience if they don’t want to speak to you?

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Marketing has Changed

Today we live in a self-service economy. What exactly do I mean by that? Well, I’m talking about a complete 180 degree shift in consumer behaviour.  And it’s happened within the space of just one generation.

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to promote your product or service to someone like my dad, and you wanted to get his attention, what would you do? You’d advertise on the TV, or you’d place adverts in newspapers or magazines. You might send him junk mail, or perhaps you’d cold-call him just as he was sitting down to have his tea.

It was an ‘outbound’ message from advertisers. It was all about interruption, and who could shout the loudest. The most successful advertisers were those with the biggest marketing spends. Today it’s different.

The biggest change of course is the Internet. But the Internet is nothing new; it has been around since the mid-90s, and digital marketing has been influential for at least 10 years. But what is interesting today is how consumers have changed the way they buy.

We’re connected online now through so many different channels, such as Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. Today we filter out advertising, and we reach outwards. Today the customer is in control, and she reaches out only when she’s ready. And we’re no longer connected to the Internet just through a desktop computer. Everyone has a smartphone, and some of us have tablets and laptops too.

The Purchasing Journey

Recently, I came across a piece of research by the CEB Marketing Leadership Council, and I was staggered by one statistic. If there’s one takeaway I’d like you to get from this article, then this is it: –

“What you might not know is that research shows the typical buyer or consumer is 57% of the way along the purchasing journey, before they contact the Sales department.”

That means they’re nearly two-thirds of the way to making a purchase decision, before they even pick up the phone to talk to you.

What have they been doing up to that point? They’ve been online to research their problem and to identify products and solutions. They’ve asked Google for answers, they’ve found ‘review websites’, and they’ve read comments in user forums. They’ve posted on Facebook and LinkedIn to ask their friends and professional connections what they think.

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Your Website is Key

10 years ago, your website supported your sales rep. Buyers would browse your website to get the basics, and then hop on the phone with a salesperson to get into the real nitty gritty.

Today, it’s the opposite. The website has all the information, and it’s on your website that the buyer gets educated. And now, your sales team supports your website.

The basic website of 10 years ago is no longer good enough. Your prospects have become accustomed to automation, personalisation, and self-service. Businesses need to be investing time and energies into upgrading their digital strategy to adapt to today’s consumers.

There have been winners and losers in the digital transformation era. Several iconic brands, such as HMV, Blockbuster, BlackBerry, Kodak, Woolworths, and British Home Stores once held very strong positions in their markets. Yet they failed to adapt as their markets and customers changed. By contrast, companies like Apple and Amazon have succeeded by taking advantage of technology, and developing closer relationships with their customers.

What is the Common Thread?

Marketing works differently now, and your digital marketing plan needs to adapt. Outbound ‘push’ marketing is out, and ‘pull’ is in. The traditional ‘outbound’ marketing tactics that dominated the pre-Google world are now much less effective.  Modern audiences have the tools to filter out advertising, and they’re not afraid to use them.

The customer is in control. The marketing communications process begins if and when the customer wants it to. Without advertising. Without phone calls. Without you.

Instead of pushing out messages through paid media, to reach today’s customer, you’ve got to put the power of web search, content marketing, and social media to work. Because that’s where the relationship with your brand starts.

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Customers want a self-service experience, the ability to make a purchase directly on-site. They want to contact sales when they’re ready, not the other way around. Corporate buyers have been spoiled by companies like Uber and expect a consumer-grade, on-demand buying experience. A website that doesn’t serve clients with on-demand information frustrates them. Or if people can’t instantly open an online chat-session with customer service, it frustrates them.

Frustrated clients will run into the arms of your competition.

Throughout the entire buying process, buyers and consumers expect personalisation. They want the same, seamless personalisation whether they’re on their mobile phone or iPad, or their desktop computer. They expect you to remember them, give them fantastic service, and enable them to serve themselves through automation.

You may have a lot of this in hand already, which is great. But maybe you don’t.  All this might seem a world away from where you’re at right now. Where do you even start?

The answer is simple: you start with your website.

Three Key Elements

Your website is the hub of your digital marketing plan. It’s the foundation stone. It’s the solid platform that you’re going to build upon. Your site should feature at the centre of everything ‘digital’ that you do.

Your website needs to attract an audience, capture leads, nurture prospects, convert customers, and develop relationships. Just getting people to visit and have a quick read is far too small a goal. Your website needs to deliver results – new sales leads – otherwise it’s not doing its job properly.

Let me show you the three elements of a digital marketing plan you should focus on, if you want to gain traction and momentum: –

  • Your website
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Content marketing

Your Website

When it comes to ranking well with search engines such as Google, the list of best practices is substantial. But what are some key things to look at?

“Here are three actions you could take with your website today, to get your site ranked higher, and attracting more visitors.”

First, is your website mobile friendly? In other words, does it display properly on smartphones and iPads, as well as on a desktop computer?

More people access the Internet on mobile devices than computers nowadays. So if they can’t read the content on your site, or navigate easily, they’ll look elsewhere. Google’s latest search algorithm gives preference to mobile-friendly websites and ranks them higher.

Two, do you have a blog or a news updates section? Google loves sites that publish regular updates, and will push these websites higher in the rankings above those it considers to be ‘stale’ and out-of-date.

Three, how secure is your website? Google wants to serve up websites that are safe and trustworthy. One way to get secure is to upgrade to HTTPS. Without getting technical, this is a basic level of encryption, and it’s relatively simple and inexpensive to achieve.

Again, Google gives preference to secure websites.

One more thing you should do as part of your digital marketing plan is invest in a professional website audit. The search engines make changes to their algorithms every day, and over time your brand can lose visibility in search if you don’t keep up with best practices. Think of an audit like your annual health check-up with your doctor. An expert audit will make recommendations on how your website could be improved to deliver better results.

Search Engine Optimisation

Once your website is in order, you can begin to look at ways to attract more visitors. The second element of a digital marketing plan we need to get nailed down is Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO.

SEO is all about getting your website found by the people you want as your customers. The good news is that SEO is a very cost effective strategy to reach your target audience. Leads from SEO have a 14.6 per cent close rate, whilst outbound leads such as direct mail or print advertising have only a 1.7 per cent close rate. If you’ve got a limited marketing budget, you already know how important it is to work smart.

Content Marketing

Next, how do you turn those anonymous visitors into qualified sales leads? This is where the third element of your digital marketing plan, content marketing, can be a powerful strategy.

Content is everything on your site – that’s words, photos, diagrams, videos, audio, everything. It’s the fuel that powers your website. When a visitor arrives at your website, they’re often looking for answers to a problem. Give them content that helps them, and you’ll build trust, a relationship, and they’ll come back for more of the same. They’ll also be much, much more likely to become a customer.

A well-executed content marketing strategy will also boost your SEO efforts, as Google loves content that people share around the web.

Other tactics can be employed to capture leads and bring them through your sales funnel, such as social media marketing, paid advertising (PPC), and marketing automation. What’s important is that all these elements work together seamlessly to create an integrated marketing system.

An Integrated Marketing Plan

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An integrated digital marketing plan delivers the best results, and here at Impact Digital Marketing we’re all about building and supporting integrated marketing systems which connect with more customers and generate more sales revenues.

As an example, we’ve been working recently with an IT services provider based in London. We’ve helped them increase their reach on social media by 56%, and we’ve helped them get on the first page of Google for more than 40 popular search phrases in their industry. With these improvements in key performance, it’s no surprise they’ve seen the number of people visiting their website increase by 248%.

Marketing has changed, and the consumer journey has changed. Your marketing plan can still be successful without digital. But it’s my guess that your customers and your prospective customers are online right now making decisions about the products or services you want to sell or promote.

“Are you doing all you can to get their attention?”

We’ve looked at some powerful stuff today, and hopefully I’ve hit on a few points that strike a chord. But it has been fairly generic. What if we could give you some real insights that apply uniquely to your business?

We can carry out an audit to see how your website compares against your competition, and I mean your closest competitors, those you bump up against every week. And we’re happy to do that without charge.

That’s valuable and implicit market information, specific to your business, for free.

Just fill out our audit form for a free competitive analysis of your website.

Free Competitive Analysis Audit

Ryan Sedgwick
Managing Director & Marketing Consultant at Impact Digital Markeitng
A Chartered Marketer, Ryan has gained extensive B2B and B2C marketing experience working across a broad spectrum of industries. Having graduated with a Masters in Marketing Communications from the University of Huddersfield, Ryan successfully utilises his skills and knowledge to effectively support businesses in getting the most from their marketing investments.