The Key To Growth

How to manage your digital marketing strategyHaving a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is not just important for your business, it’s vital to your growth. To be clear, organic growth is as good as it gets, but no matter how amazing your products are, at some point, you are going to need to enhance your grassroots efforts with other tactics to grow your company.  If you don’t have a comprehensive marketing strategy that identifies multiple ways and places to reach and engage new prospects, it’s time to do that. If you’re simply going at it, by posting on social media a few times a week, occasionally sprinkling a few dollars on Facebook ads or doing a seasonal promotion you may be ahead of those who aren’t even engaging in social media, but you are leaving a lot on the table.

The most common excuses that some companies give for not having a comprehensive digital marketing strategy are budget limitations and lack of expertise. I call those excuses because in today’s business environment there are literally thousands of cost-effective solutions to each of those challenges. Granted they are not all created equally, so do your research before you choose.

How do I create a comprehensive marketing strategy?

If you can’t afford to hire a marketing team, consider working with a marketing consultant that can outline a comprehensive marketing plan for you. Then implement the various components of the plan or engage third parties to do it for you as your budget allows. If you don’t have the budget for a consultant, then it’s time to sit down and brainstorm all of the ways and places you might target, prospect, reach, engage, retarget and convert your prospects to new customers. This may seem like a daunting task, but you know your customers and customer types better than anybody. Do your best to prioritize them and attach a projected budget to them. If you’re struggling, do your research online and start reading articles and listening to relevant podcasts to sponge all of the knowledge and insight you can. This will save you some cash, but can obviously take a significant amount of time and that’s something you should factor in before you assume that you can’t afford to pay for expertise.

Working Through Budget Limitations

Lack of budget is the number one obstacle for everyone’s marketing strategy, but the fact remains that if what you are (or are not) doing isn’t getting you the results you want you must do something different. It’s safe to say that the most successful businesses in the world have comprehensive marketing plans and even if you aren’t competing in the arena with Fortune 500 companies, your competitors who have more market share than you are doing more than you and that’s why they are winning. So regardless of your budget, here’s a critical piece of advice, “Start doing something”, because you’re not likely to ever generate enough revenue to have a significant marketing budget if you don’t do something to start generating more of that revenue now. It’s okay if you don’t have the budget for every component of a comprehensive marketing plan, but if you want to see a difference in your company’s growth, you need to start somewhere, with something, at some time and that some time is now.

Where to Begin

Where you start and what’s most effective can be different for everybody because factors like your target demographic, competition for search terms, and the quality of what you may already have in place are variables that need to be factored in, but here is some food for thought.  Your website is the nucleus of your digital marketing strategy. If your website isn’t up to snuff and isn’t attracting, engaging or converting customers you need to address that. If you have issues with your website you need to figure out what and how you can make improvements before you start paying for more traffic. If your nephew created your website in 1995 it’s probably pretty easy to identify the problem, however, if you have a modern professionally created website you are going to have to dig a little deeper and may need someone to audit and optimize your website for you.

Whatever the case may be, money spent on social media campaigns or Google AdWords campaigns that point back to a crappy website that doesn’t convert is only going to result in more traffic to your website that still doesn’t convert. While a wholesale redesign of your website might not be in cards for you right now, you might consider optimizing one or two pages at a time. Alternatively, custom landing pages that you can point your ad campaigns to are a very cost-effective solution that can improve your web presence and your conversion rate. Once you have addressed any issues you may have with your website, you can start enhancing and adding other marketing components as budget allows. As you roll out additional parts of your comprehensive digital marketing plan you should set aside a small budget to test tactics, campaigns, and landing pages. This allows you to validate where you are spending your money before you blow through your entire marketing budget.

Get Measurable Results

Keep in mind that everything you do should provide some sort of metric that allows you to measure its effectiveness. That doesn’t necessarily mean immediate revenue. As an example optimizing a web page may result in fewer bounces, longer engagements and more page views and those are all positives that will eventually pay off. As another example, you might test 2 different variations of a Facebook Ad with different titles, text, images or landing pages. You will be able to see what generates the most traffic, which is important, but what’s even more important is conversions. Of the two ads, if one generates 100 clicks and 4 purchases (4% conversion rate) and the second ad generates only 20 clicks and 4 purchases (25% conversion rate) despite the difference in volume, the second ad is delivering much better results.  Analyze the data carefully and then determine if you want to modify the ads and run another test to see if you can generate more volume out of the higher converting ad.

As a rule, whatever the tactic may be, if what you are spending time and money on isn’t measurable in some way, focus your resources on something that is measurable. Depending on the tactic, that can take some time, so factor that into your budget and timeline.

Managing Your Time

Let’s face it, time is the enemy.  We all strive for more time with loved ones, more time to do the things we love to do, and when it comes to work, more time to get everything on our task list done. Time is our most valuable commodity and every task or project we take on means there is another thing that we must sacrifice on our to-do list. It’s important to factor that into your decisions. This is especially true for entrepreneurs launching startups and running small businesses.

When your operating a lean company the tendency is to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself because that’s how you conserve capital. In reality, you must factor in the money you are saving by doing it yourself with the money you may be leaving on the table by sacrificing other priorities associated with running and growing your business. While you’re at it, factor in the time you’re going to need to gain the knowledge needed to effectively manage all of the various components of your marketing plan. You’ve made it this far in business so it’s likely that you have expertise in some areas of digital marketing and lack knowledge in others that may be more technical or vice-versa. Factor in the real cost of your time before you make decisions about whether the Do-It-Yourself or the Done-For-You approach is best for you and your business.

5 Reasons to Consider Managed Digital Marketing Services

1) You struggle to find the time to get everything done in the day.

2) Terms like social media growth, Google AdWords, SEO and website improvements generate more anxiety than enthusiasm in your life.

3) You lack the expertise to implement an effective digital marketing strategy.

4) You lack the budget to hire a marketing staff. 

5) You’re reluctant to contract an agency or a specialist to manage any part of your digital marketing strategy because you don’t know if it’s worth the money.

If any of the above sounds remotely familiar to you, you’re in good company.  Most small businesses are treading water in the same pool. The truth is that there are so many businesses struggling with these types of challenges that there is a real need for cost-effective solutions and an entire industry has blossomed around providing those solutions. If you’ve ever done a Google search for digital marketing services, web design or SEO, chances are you’ve received offers from service providers between New Mexico and New Delhi, and even though the price of the “specialist” in New Delhi looks good, you are reluctant to do the deal with him or anyone else for that matter because you’re afraid it might not get you results. That reluctance translates to a lack of any type of action and your business and the various components of your digital marketing strategy suffer from it.

The Only Goal That Matters

At Mark 5 Strategies our number one goal is truly the only goal that matters, and that goal is that our clients succeed. All of our client related activities and recommendations revolve around that one goal. Succeed. When that happens, things like growth and revenue follow automatically. When a client can’t afford to implement some of the things we identify as valuable for their business, we view that as a barrier to their success and conversely ours. Because we are intimately familiar with the challenges that startups and small businesses face, we committed ourselves to providing cost-effective solutions for a range of managed digital marketing services like social media management, SEO services, Google AdWords management, website development, retargeting, email marketing and others. To do that we brought together digital marketing experts across multiple categories to help lean companies manage all of the things they didn’t have the time or expertise to manage, and freeing up time to focus on other priorities like running and growing the business. That was a huge undertaking and while it does provide turnkey digital marketing solutions for those interested in that sort of thing, it did not address one of the key factors we’ve seen as a barrier to success and that is the reluctance to commit to the process due to concerns over the potential for results or confidence in the service provider. To address these concerns we took things one giant leap further and implemented a policy that eliminates all of the concerns and any barriers to success. It’s a 30-day money back guarantee if your not 100% satisfied with the managed digital marketing services we provide.

We’ve taken the risk, the time, the guesswork and the cost of employees out of digital marketing. Now, there is no excuse for not having a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

Click here to see how Mark 5 Strategies can help you succeed.

About the author

Keith Alan hosts Fish Biz – The Business of Fishing Podcast and is Co-Founder at Mark 5 Strategies, an outdoor industry focused strategic business development and marketing firm.

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