Digital Marketing for Small Businesses: A 5-Step Process for Improving Your Digital Presence

We’ve all been in the position where we’ve been a part of a company or worked with a client that has a bunch of Digital Marketing efforts but nothing is really on the same page – it’s totally run on a “set it up and let’s see where it goes” mentality. At IdeaZone, we see it all the time. Companies come to us with awesome services or products but their marketing doesn’t align with their goals or even target the right audience. So, to help you out, we compiled a simple 5-step run-through on how to improve your Digital Marketing so your business saves time, effort and money.

Step 1: Analyze your current situation

Before you jump into launching a bunch of different Digital Marketing initiatives, look at your current situation first. What am I doing right now? Am I targeting the right audience? How well is it working? How much am I spending (time & money)? What are my competitors doing? And, how are my competitors doing? Basically, audit yourself. This will give you a sense of where you are as a business up to this point in time. If you don’t analyze your current situation, how can you determine what to do in the future? Once you analyze – and be honest with yourself when you answer these questions – then you can aim in the right direction.

Step 2: Set specific goals

Part 1: Determine your goals

Once you’ve analyzed your situation (and you’ve been brutally honest with yourself) then you can begin to decide what you want to achieve. Hold on a second though, don’t just make these goals “I want to make more money” or “I want to sign more clients”; that’s too simple. You want to determine the issue or what you want to get better at and then pick a goal or a series of goals that you want to achieve that will ultimately lead to your main business objectives. You want to include measurable outcomes related to improving your services that will then lead to making more money or signing more clients. Here’s an example of what that means:

Since we’re talking about Digital Marketing, you might notice when you analyze your current situation that an issue is your website is ranking poorly in search engines. You ran a test on SEM Rush and you’re only ranking for 7 keywords, have no backlinks, and you’re getting little or no traffic to your website each month. The problem is your website could be part of your sales funnel, or maybe you have a great online booking system that no one is using. So you somehow need to generate more website traffic, and SEO, based on the results of your test, is a big issue.

Now that you’ve determined the issue, it’s time to set a target. In this case, you want to generate more website traffic. From there you should ask yourself a few questions and then set your goals.

  • how am I going to do this? This should be an actionable tactic, “What am I going to do in order to generate more website traffic?”
  • what’s my intended target and when do I want to get there? This question needs to include a specific target that is quantifiable and is in a reasonable timeframe. For example, “I want to increase my website traffic by X% over 6 months.”
  • How am I going to measure this? You want to determine some KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) ­– essentially, how you are going to gauge your success and then create some measurable outcomes. Maybe you want to improve to 30 keywords and build 10 backlinks over 6 months. Or maybe you want to do that plus increase online sales by 20% or get 10 more online bookings each month.

Part 2: Make your goals SMART

Once you’ve answered those three questions, write your goal. Here’s an example: “I want to increase traffic to my website by 50% in the next 6 months and achieve 10 more online bookings per month by improving my website’s organic SEO.” Or “attract 20 more leads per month.” And then, lay it out as a SMART objective to make sure you have all your bases covered (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based).

  • Specific? Yes. You want to make SEO adjustments to help boost your traffic by 50%, get 10 more online bookings per month (or 20 more leads if you’d prefer the sales example) and you want to do it over 6 months.
  • Measurable? Yes. You have a couple of KPIs (key performance indicators) that you can measure to see if you’re on track. In this example, you’re going to have to determine what percentage increase in web traffic is going to help you reach your monthly sales or bookings goals.
  • Attainable? Yes. Your goal isn’t outrageous; it’s not aimed too high in too short a timeframe. You also have tools at your disposal to determine your KPIs.
  • Relevant? Yes, it’s hugely relevant. SEO is a big part of Digital Marketing and if you’re not getting seen on search engines or showing up on the fifth page, then that’s an immediate red flag and a big reason why you’re not generating more leads or getting more online bookings.
  • Time-based? Yes. 6 months is a realistic time frame, but note that if you’re setting a more ambitious goal to make sure to adjust accordingly especially if it’s to do with SEO because improvements don’t happen overnight.

Step 3: Make a plan

You’ve sat down with your team and figured out 3 or 4 or however many goals for improving your Digital Marketing, now you want to build your integrated plan. An integrated plan includes multiple Digital Marketing tactics that work together to achieve your goals. This is really important because you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. So, under each goal, determine a tactic, or a series of tactics, that will work to achieve that specific goal and can all work together to achieve your ultimate objective as a business. This might include things like a BrightLocal campaign to list your company on as many third-party directories as possible (i.e. Yelp and Yellowpages), starting a bi-weekly blog, running a Google AdWords campaign promoting your services, and launching Facebook advertising. This is good integration because each of these tactics provides viewers with an avenue to your website to learn about your services and ultimately increasing your website traffic.

Step 4: Make it visually appealing and SEO friendly

When you go to execute the tactics in your plan, you want to make sure any visuals and copy align with the brand and voice of your company. If you’re having an issue targeting the right customer, this could be the reason why. You might have well-designed branding and well-written content, but it needs to be made for the right type of customer. Also – and this is important for things like blogging and the content on your site – your Digital Marketing tactics need to have search engine optimization in the forefront when you’re launching the campaign. Google AdWords, third-party directories, blogging, and Social Media campaigns will all have an effect on how well your website performs on search engines.

Step 5: Manage, track, evaluate, repeat.

This is like the “5 D’s of Dodgeball” and ‘manage’ is the Dodge. You want to use adequate tools to manage and track your Digital Marketing campaigns closely because in Digital Marketing you have the ability to edit-at-will, but it can also get away from you quickly. Now that doesn’t mean be lazy. Instead, use accessibility to constantly improve. And that’s where evaluation comes in. At IdeaZone, we like to segment our Digital Marketing efforts into months, track our work, and do evaluations on the 1st of every month. That way we can look back at the previous month and see where we can improve areas like our AdWords campaigns, Social Media Management, and Social Media advertising (Platforms like Google AdWords have a built-in organization system for tracking progress, and for Social Media Management we recommend using Hootsuite). Finally, the accessibility of Digital Marketing allows you to stay on top of all your campaigns so if Patches O’Houlihan throws a wrench at you, you can quickly fix the problem. Or in this case, “dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.”

If you have any questions on want more information about Digital Marketing or our services, contact us. We provide a wide variety of Digital Marketing, Website Development, and Advertising & Design services.

Jon Valade