Many business owners are finding themselves feeling unsure about their digital strategies, both in terms of the results they are getting and their ability to cope with a changing digital marketing landscape. If you are one of them, now is a good time to evaluate where youíre at and how you can approach things differently.
Here are four ways you can improve your companyís digital strategy and start making a stronger impact with customersÖ
#1 Know What Youíre Trying to Accomplish
Ironically enough, one of the biggest challenges associated with executing a digital strategy is creating one in the first place. Business owners and marketing executives instinctively know they need a digital strategy, but arenít sure where to start.
Itís always difficult to hit a moving target, so if you can narrow down your goals into a list of items that are measurable and actionable, youíll have made a good start. Decide from the beginning what metrics you want to hit, what kinds of resources and activities you can put toward those goals on a weekly basis, and how you expect them to lead to improvements in your business.
Itís always difficult to hit a moving target, so if you can narrow down your goals into a list of items that are measurable and actionable, youíll have made a good start.
This is an area where an external team with digital marketing experience can be an enormous help. Often, owners and executives have big ideas that arenít necessarily tied together by common threads or concrete plans. If you can turn those inspirations into a list of deliverables that can be completed and tied together, youíll have the basis for a successful strategy.
#2 Embrace the World as Buyers See It
Customers themselves say that social media is as important to them in making buying decisions as television is. The big difference, of course, is that advertising on TV is expensive and Ė in many cases Ė inefficient. Television advertising can mean directing your message to millions of people who might not be interested. Thatís fine if youíre an international brand that just wants to raise brand awareness. For the rest of us, itís burning money that could be put to better use elsewhere.
Despite both of these realities, there are thousands of American business leaders who admit they have little or no social media presence at all. They are telling us, in essence, that they prefer to hold on to what worked in the past because itís convenient, rather than pay attention to what todayís buyers want.
That kind of mindset is understandable in a fast-paced world, but itís going to leave you falling behind your more ambitious competitors.
#3 Use Customers to Create Trust
It used to be that companies could dictate branding messages through their advertising and PR efforts. Now, they can set the tone, but itís up to buyers to decide whether they agree.
Thatís because social media has put the power of reviews in the hands of buyers themselves. When they post their feedback online, other consumers and B2B customers pay attention. According to one poll, 88% of consumers say they read online reviews before making purchases. The majority of them will read as many as 10, and nearly three-quarters say they are important when it comes to making buying decisions.
The easiest way to build trust in your brand in the digital age is by having customers say good things about your company Ė not to mention your products, services, and team Ė online. If you can get them to spread the word on social media and elsewhere, youíll gain a level of credibility you canít win any other way.
#4 Build Relationships Instead of Pushing Sales
While some 83% of marketers say social media is ďimportantĒ to their business, 52% confess that they have a difficult time telling whether or not they are generating any kind of profitable results from their activities. I would suggest they might be focusing too much on the transactional values of their posts and networks, and not enough on the relationships that are being created and nurtured.
According to one recent survey, four out of every 10 social media users has ended up buying something they shared or favorited on their favorite network. That number is sure to keep growing in the future. After all, when you win a fan online, they donít just get exposed to your marketing messages again and again; they also see similar posts and responses from others who are interested in your company. That creates a feedback loop of trust and interest, just as online reviews do.
Itís time to stop thinking about the followers we attract† on social media as being a source of quick sales, and start considering that there might be lifetime fans and customers to be won. That small change in perspective Ė away from immediate sales and toward lasting relationships Ė takes a bit of patience, but it will pay off in the end.
The easiest way to build trust in your brand in the digital age is by having customers say good things about your company
Your digital strategy is the plan that guides you from initial concepts and inspirations to a list of executable activities you can use to grow your business. If you donít have one, or the one you have isnít working, then itís time to put these four pieces of advice into practice today.
- If you donít have a goal and a plan to reach it, then your digital marketing strategy will fail.
- Buyers are placing increasing importance on the internet, especially social media, and your business should too.
- Use customer reviews and feedback to build trust.
- Creating and sustaining relationships is more important Ė and more profitable - than generating immediate sales.