So what’s more fun? The journey or the destination? Most people will say the best part of the trip is all the events that happen along the way to the place they plan to visit. So why do many businesses focus on the website and not the marketing tools used every day to improve their online presence, better their search ranking and increase their leads or sales?
Providing your website meets the current standards of quality content, is mobile friendly, and quick loading, embarking on a marketing plan and budget for marketing tools means the website destination is working for you. In other words, “Build it (your website) and they will come” only works when you map out the journey to get there. It’s like building cabins in the mountains and not telling anyone you’re open for business. To put it another way, you may prefer the destination, but you still need the journey to get to it. So where do you begin?
What marketing channels does your small business need?
Branding – Whether starting a new business or evaluating your existing company, the foundation of all marketing begins with branding. Branding is more than your logo (a “must have”); it also means promoting your core values and what your brand represents. Take the analogy of cabins in the mountains for instance. Are they self contained? Are they rustic? (Collect your own rain water for bathing). Do you provide value for money? What do you have to look out for? Bears? Cougars? Do you need to backpack, to fly or to paddle a canoe to get there? You’re getting my drift now, right?
Design – this can cover several areas in marketing including logos, websites, online stores, social media pages, landing pages and print products. However, keep your branding consistent. If your logo is a stylized cabin for instance, don’t suddenly change it to a hiker or a mountain range. You want your customers and clients to immediately recognize who you are no matter the platform they see you from. It’s that ‘look out’ on their journey of recognition.
Services – for the most part, digital marketing is now the majority of the tools used today. However, there is still some value in business cards and flyers for trade-shows. Online marketing includes four key areas: SEO, content marketing, digital advertising and email marketing.
- Organic SEO – settings are required to make sure search engines like Google can find your website and rank your business well against others.
- Content marketing – can involve many areas, but the common ones are websites, blogging, social media posting, video posting and print collateral.
- Digital advertising can be over many platforms and formats, but three areas are key to great marketing: search engine marketing, display or placement ads and video advertising. These ads include platforms such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.
- Email Marketing – still has the best ROI for business to business companies and online stores including email campaigns and marketing automation.
It’s time to rethink what is really necessary or what is the greatest priority for your business. Is it just to build an engaging website (destination) that no one knows about (like those amazing cabins in the mountains) or is it more important to have the marketing to drive your sales, increase your leads or improve your online presence and branding? Make sure your clients know how to journey to your destination. Have a marketing map (budget) so the world will know how great your business really is and what sort of business or service you can offer you potential customers and clients. The old adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” means you need to rethink your journey.