How to Thrive in the New Digital Marketing and Virtual Selling Environment
The problem today is many businesses simply don’t understand how digital marketing works or how to effectively use it to increase sales, attract ideal clients and talent. Know-how is the biggest pain point that is preventing them from tapping this powerful business generation tool. Firms in our essential market segment must start getting comfortable with digital marketing and incorporate it into their larger strategy now. In an often-long sales cycle industry like ours, education-based marketing through relevant, consistent content and a strong online presence or digital footprint is the surest way to future proof a business.
Here are five do-it-yourself digital marketing playbook how-to tips to get comfortable using digital marketing effectively:
Mindset is especially critical in this new medium of digital marketing for long-term marketing success. We are in a new paradigm and the old ways of marketing that we all know, and love are hard to let go of, but to thrive, not simply survive, businesses need to embrace and make room for new opportunities. That’s exactly what digital marketing is, an opportunity to educate, enlighten and yes, entertain prospects and clients in a way no other form of marketing has ever offered.
First things first, you need to overcome your fear and lack of comfort with this new marketing method and the best way to do this is to just jump in and play. Practice common sense and etiquette and you’ll be just fine, you won’t break anything and it’s even okay to let people know you’re new at this and ask for input and feedback. By adopting an attitude of being of service first and being yourself, you will find the help and support you need when the time comes.
A word of caution: Be sure to manage your expectations and have realistic timelines. Content/social media marketing is a marathon not a sprint. Do not expect instant results. The average time it takes before things take to return real results is typically six to nine months, so it’s important to stay in the game. Once things start gaining momentum it just gets easier because people begin to perceive you and your company as a serious player, someone that wants to contribute to the community, be of service and is knowledgeable and can be trusted. Building trust takes time and persistence but the payoff is big.
Persistent & Consistent Content
The most critical element is content. This is the one thing that will make you or break you. However, it is much more than just creating some content, it is about the consistency, relevance, usefulness and FREQUENCY of publishing.
Regardless of the social media platform or platforms you decide to be active on, it is important to note that 65 percent of social media users engage with content because they found it educational, informative or entertaining. The more frequently and consistently you publish useful original content or share your thoughts with curated content (reposting content from other reputable sources) the more you establish yourself as a thought leader, innovator and most importantly, a resource to be trusted. A good practice to follow for your content is the 80/20 Rule: 80 percent useful, informative or edutaining content and 20 percent self-promotional.
Have A Digital Marketing Plan
Your business plan now needs to include a digital marketing plan or playbook. This roadmap can help eliminate the struggles of launching and sustaining your online digital marketing efforts. The digital marketing plan or playbook needs to include:
- A content editorial calendar
- analysis of your ideal target prospects
- Where those prospects like to receive their information and how
- A task list and schedule for executing the program that’s doable and who within your organization or outside resource(s) will be responsible
- Job descriptions and deliverables for a social media manager, VA, or digital marketing agency
Deliver Content in a Variety of Formats and Types
Different people like to receive content in different ways so be sure to publish content in a variety of formats that includes videos, long-form articles and short summary posts. When you use a variety of mediums you stand the best chance of attracting and engaging the largest segment of your target clients by delivering the information they are seeking, the way they prefer to receive it.
One of the best types of content by far is the client profile. Why? Content marketing and social media marketing is all about storytelling, and the best types of stories are the ones that make your customers the hero. Your customers get the spotlight, but you are really the star. Let’s face it, everyone loves a great story.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Business owners or the C-Suite often believe that no one can produce content for their industry or company other than themselves. This is a costly notion. There are many advantages to using an outsider to produce your content. An outside resource can extract your subject matter expertise and present it in ways that may be more objective or helpful to your prospect than you are able to communicate because of your closeness to it. Using an outside source also ensures content is produced correctly, consistently, persistently, and on time.
In summary, one-on-one sales calls and cold prospecting can work, but there’s only so much you can do when there are only 24 hours a day. With the right know-how and digital marketing playbook, you can extend your reach exponentially.
Suzan Marie Chin, MSc, is an international entrepreneur, published author, course creator, podcast host and speaker who helps businesses in the wastewater infrastructure, treatment and related civil infrastructure sectors take the mystery out of digital marketing and PR in order thrive in the new online selling environment.