Did You Say Digital? Marketing In The 21st Century

Should I invest in digital marketing? I’m a brick and mortar business and I’ve been doing just fine. Everyone tells me print is dead, invest in social media but where is the value in it?.

This is a question I often hear, and my answer is simple.

It’s 2017!

Think about your daily digital interactions, are you constantly connected to the web? How often do you check your email or surf the net on your phone? Think about the last moment you checked your social media account, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Did you watch a video on YouTube in the last 24 hours?

Every social interaction you have has an impact on your everyday decision making process. I remember a friend posting a video on her home-cooked baby food, the next thing I knew I was shopping online for baby food processors. After a week of research and constantly being shown ads I purchased a Beaba BabyCook steamer and processor.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, here are other reasons you should consider digital marketing.

Word of mouth is probably the strongest advocate for your brand and services you offer. Recall a post or message a friend of yours posted on their social media account? How likely are you to click and read what it is about? Social media is the best way to earn passive and better yet referrals at scale. People love talking about themselves and showing off. Online showcases are easy to create.

In fact in comparison with all other forms of marketing, digital marketing is measurable, which allows you to track, tweak and improve your marketing efforts. Through digital marketing you can reduce customer acquisition cost and increase the customer lifetime value and retention. I’ll elaborate on how this is possible a little later. With digital marketing you are in control of when and how your customers digest the content you put out.

[Take this simple exercise]

How would you value your marketing efforts?

Benchmark your current customer acquisition costs (CAC). Keep it simple, nothing fancy.

  1. What's the total investment / costs for all Sales & Marketing efforts now? Include all items such as salaries, advertising and any other collateral cost.

  2. What was the total number of new customers you secured in 2015?

  3. Next, to get a benchmark, divide the total marketing spend by the total new customers. You will get the current CAC for 2015.

Taking this as an example, your customer acquisition cost say is $300. But perhaps your average customer lifetime value (CLTV) is more than $5K. So now you can measure the return on investment of my social media marketing plan and decide where and how much you should focus your efforts on digital marketing.]

Remember before you embark on any digital marketing strategy you need to clearly define these areas below. I’m assuming you have a clear understanding of your business model and Unique Selling Proposition.

Now, take out your notepad and it’s time to start scribbling down some notes. Start by identifying the following:

  1. Your ideal target audience.

  2. Your ultimate goals for each target audience

Target Audience

When it comes to target audiences it’s a whole in depth topic we could talk on for ages, but here is a link to the basics of Defining Your target Audience. Be as specific as you can, and clearly outline the different types of audiences you have. This is crucial as you must have a clear understanding of this, take time to understand their decision making funnel in order to clearly identify the potential growth and area of focus to speak to your audience. Each step of the decision making journey would have different implications on what type of digital media and social strategy you would chose.

Remember, there is a difference between your ideal target audience and your actual social media target audiences. E.g you could be a recruitment company, but your Facebook followers and LinkedIn followers could have significantly different profiles. Your Facebook account could be focused on marketing to candidates, however your LinkedIn profile could be marketing to potential clients and candidates as well.

Business and Marketing Goals

Think about your ultimate goal. Obviously we all know for most businesses it's the bottom line, but that’s not good enough. Take it a step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Understanding what stage of your business is at is the first step. Are you a new startup, or an established business? The goals would vary at different stages of your business cycle.

If you own a brick and mortar business, what are the ideal steps and goals you think are realistic in building your brand and the time frame that is required?

[Here is an example]

Your business has been running for 10 years, supplying cabinets, and you have a constant stream of customers and referrals. What could you do to be more relevant to the modern hyper connected customers? Could you make their entire decision making journey more pleasant perhaps? How can you build a better rapport with your customers?

In this instance, your goals could be to increase existing customer engagement with the business. Or perhaps it could be to increase existing customer referral. It could even come down to after sales service, providing customers with a long lasting impression of your services. How about reducing cost of acquisition per customer?

Whatever goals you choose, make it realistic and relevant.

Great! So the groundwork is done. With the basics outlined, you can have a defined strategy to bring your business to the next level.

OK, we're convinced. But, which social networks should we market on?

My opinion is: one answer never fits all.

Remember, In digital marketing, it involves a lot of trial and error because audiences will be different for every business, even though we compete in the same industry.

Here is a brief outline of what is available.

Let’s start with the common platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pintrest, Instagram

Then it gets narrower and more defined: Snapchat, Periscope, Tumbler etc. The list goes on and on.

Here are a few questions to ponder on, before determining the right platform to use. Again, bearing in mind the target audience you have selected. This list is not exhaustive but it is a start.

  • Where do our existing customers spend time on social?

  • Where do our prospective customers spend time on social?

  • What kind of things do they share?

  • What influences their buying decisions?

  • How would we engage folks on social?

  • How would we nurture them?

  • Which social networks provide cost-effective paid acquisition?

  • Which social networks are driving offline conversions?

  • Which social networks are driving online social referral traffic? Social commerce conversions?

  • What are the differences in demographics for the social networks?

  • What are the options for a website replacement or alternative for a local business?

  • What's the level of complexity involved for day-to-day management?

  • What's the largest potential and relevant audience?

Once you have the answers to these questions, check out this link to the basic guide to the best social media platform for your business.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The initial research and planning is essential before being able to identify the right strategy that suits your business. Once you have set out the strategy, you will need to clearly define the goals with numbers and actionable results to benchmark against. Use competitors as a reference point if you are unsure where to start, and break down the goals into phases.

Here is a simple example of the goals for a recent health food project I took on, remember again to tailor it accordingly to suit your needs:

  • 2,000 Facebook Fans. Most of them local through paid acquisition with a budget of $500 for Facebook Ads. We hope for a lot more organic Fan Page Likes too using our content strategy.

  • 5,000 Instagram Followers. As many local foodies as possible.

  • 5,000 Twitter Followers. Mostly focusing on the health conscious target audience.

I know this is a lot to take in! But the potential to grow your business is endless. The world is your oyster.

Just with anything else, if you set your mind on investing in digital marketing, don’t expect instant results. Don’t go into something half heartedly and expect miracles to happen. It takes time and patience, tweaking and trying out what works best.

That’s all for now. Good luck with building your digital marketing!

If this article hasn’t convinced you that digital is the way to go, I would love to hear your thoughts and challenge us to why you think digital just isn’t it!


Need a digital marketing expert to help you out? Yee Lin Loke is here to the rescue. I've helped entrepreneurs and small business owners reach, connect with, and be of greater service to their tribes. We spread your message online authentically (no hype!) so you can experience true abundance as you focus on sharing your unique gifts to empower others to live their best lives. Contact me here and we would gladly help you out.

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