Oh, digital marketing…. you know you need it but you don’t know where to start. You’ve honed your craft, built your team, established your business and now you need customers. While you think about your marketing plan and which areas you will focus your time and money, consider these statistics (as of August 2019):

  • 81% of shoppers research online before purchasing.
  • 60% of consumers begin their product research with a search engine before heading to a particular website.
  • 75% of local-intent mobile searches result in offline store visits within 24 hours.
  • 92% of business owners believe that having a website is the most effective digital marketing strategy.
  • Customers who engage with a business on social media spend up to 40% more with them in the long term.
  • 41% of brick-and-mortar buyers read reviews before making a purchase.
  • 91% of customers have visited a store because of an online experience.
  • The average ROI of email marketing is 122%.
  • 75% of small business owners think that internet marketing is very effective or effective for attracting new customers.
  • Nearly 90% of marketers say social marketing efforts have increased their business’s exposure.

These statistics make two things very clear: digital marketing works AND digital marketing isn’t just one thing. It’s many services working in tandem to move leads through your sales funnel. To move a potential client/customer through your sales funnel, you need to harness the power of multiple digital marketing services.

The Phases of Digital Marketing

Before we talk about which digital marketing services move a lead from one phase of the digital marketing process to the next, let’s talk about the process as a whole. It’s comprised of four distinct yet interrelated phases: Lead Generation, Lead Nurture, Conversion, and Retention. Detailed digital marketing plans will have strategies specific to their business, industry, and ideal customer for each phase.

Lead Generation

If we think of the digital marketing process in terms of a conversation, the Lead Generation phase is the ‘hello, nice to meet you’ portion of the conversation. How you and your potential client have been introduced can happen in a variety of ways but in terms of small business digital marketing, it generally happens through SEO, PPC, social ads (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) and word of mouth.

Lead Nurture

To keep the conversation analogy going, the Lead Nurture phase is when you get to know each other. You learn a bit about your potential customer by tracking how they heard about you- was it your Facebook ad targeted towards work from home moms? Or was it from your PPC campaign targeting small business owners? Knowing this little bit about them allows you to offer relevant information about yourself like who you are (in relation to them as a work at home mom or small business owner) and tell them how your business/services/products can be useful to them. This is a chance to establish your expertise in your given field and build trust. People buy from businesses they trust, especially when they’re buying high ticket items or services.

Conversion

This is your final push; your last chance to prove how a lead can’t live without your services/products. A conversion can be multiple things (filling out a contact form, buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, etc) but regardless, there are imperative pieces in play during any successful conversion process: an easy to use online store/contact forms, automated cart abandon emails, compelling ads, and convincing sales pages.

Retention

This is where your business will work its magic and keep your customers/clients happy and coming back for more. Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising, so not only is this phase important for keeping your current customers happy, it’s one of the best ways to get new leads. Whether they’re looking for a lawyer, dentist, or a new pair of shoes, friends ask their friends for recommendations and listen to their opinions.

What You Need To Move Leads Through The Digital Marketing Phases

Now that we’ve outline the basics of each phase of the digital marketing process, you’ll have a better understanding of which digital marketing services are most effective in each. 

Lead generating digital marketing services

SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

There are many pieces to a successful SEO strategy. Among the most important are:

>>An SEO friendly website

>>Content: High quality, useful content on every page. Every page should have a min of 200 words and every blog post should have a minimum of 600 words. New content, i.e. blog post, should be added at least once a month (at a minimum).

>>Keyword Research: You need to know what your ideal clients and customers are searching for so you can center your content around it. 

>>Link Building: Link out to other trustworthy websites and blogs in your content. This helps Google learn that you are trustworthy organization offering useful content to your visitors.

PPC

Pay-per-click is an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. Pay-per-click is commonly associated with first-tier search engines- the biggest and most powerful being Google AdWords. The world of PPC is competitive and savvy, so if you choose to have a third party manage your PPC campaigns, make sure they are a certified Google AdWords partner.

Social Media Ads

Social media ads offer a cost-efficient way to put your product in front of your ideal customer. Unlike print advertising, social media ads allow your to tinker with copy, creative, budget, placement, etc. as your analytics tools gather information.

‘Top of the funnel’ content awareness ad campaigns will be targeted towards a cold audience, who has never interacted with your social media accounts or website. The goal of these ads is to drive traffic to your website and ‘cookie’ users for retargeting ads down the line.

Social Media Growth Strategy

Depending on your business, social media can be one of the most lucrative places to find new customers and clients. To do that, you need a well planned growth strategy. The foundation of any social media strategy is developing your ideal follower persona. Are they rural or urban? Concentrated in one specific region? How old are they? How do they spend their money? Are they a business owner? Which social media platforms do they use? What pages/groups are they a part of? Once you know these details (and more, but that’s for another post) about your ideal follower, start interacting with the accounts they interact with- get yourself seen! 

Lead Nurturing digital marketing services

Content Creation

Keep your users engaged with useful & informative content. Examples can include white papers (benefits and rationale for using your service), case studies (examples of how your service has helped others), video/text testimonials, infographics, and consistent blog posts. This will form the backbone of what you send out in your email campaigns, put in your social media ads, and post about on your social media accounts. The phrase ‘Content Is King’ exists for a reason!

 

Automated Email Campaigns

All lead nurturing email campaigns should cover the same basic topics: welcome, this is who we are, this is how we can help you (it’s usually nice to offer a free, useful sample of your expertise here; something they can USE), and here is how we have helped other people (testimonials, white papers, case studies, etc).

Depending on how large your email list is and how detailed you’d like to get with your campaigns, email segmentation is an important strategy. Depending on where a user enters the campaign (from a sales landing page, a basic contact form, etc) the series may include more or less information. For example, if you capture their email address from a sales page, they already know who you are and what you offer. They may still need more information as to why you are worth the investment. In this case, you would skip straight to social proof → pitch.

Retargeting Social Media Ad Campaigns

A retargeting social media ad campaign would cover much of the same information as a lead nurturing email campaign but in a way that appeals the the target audience. This campaign is targeted towards those who already know who you are by interacting with your social media accounts or visiting your website.

 

Active Social Media Accounts

This is one of the best ways to build relationships with potential new members, establish your expertise, build trust and prove the how great your business/service/product is! 

Conversion digital marketing Services

Social Media Sales Ad Campaigns

Now you’re advertising to people who know who you are, what you offer, and what it’s done for other people like themselves. This is your chance to seal the deal and convince them why they can’t live without your product/service! 

Ad Specific Sales Landing Pages

When someone clicks on your ad, they do so for a specific reason so don’t point them to your generic homepage. Your homepage is a starting off point; a general synopsis of your business and services. Neil Patel’s analogy is hard to beat when he explains the need for landing pages, so here’s my take on it: Say you’re talking to a travel agent. You tell them you’re in the mood for a warm climate, great nightlife, and outdoor activities. They say ‘I know just the place! My driver will take you there.’ So you pack your bags, you’re ready to go, and the driver drops you…. at the airport. You’re left staring at a departures board trying to figure out for yourself where to go when you thought the driver was going to take you to a specific location.

Take your lead to the exact page they are looking for, don’t expect them to go searching for it. If you don’t have a page that relates specifically to your ad, create it.

Easy to Navigate Online Store/Contact Forms

You spent so much time and energy to get leads to this point, don’t lose them because of an antiquated, hard to navigate website. Did you know over half of online shoppers make a purchase from their mobile device? If you’re site isn’t responsive and your online store isn’t well integrated, stop reading this article and start working on your website. Any time and money spend drawing customers to a site they won’t be able to navigate is a waste of your time and money.

Optional: Offers &  A Manufactured Sense of Urgency

If it works with your sales model, offers work well in this phase. As does a sense of urgency. Adding a countdown timer to a landing page can motivate a hesitant lead to buy. Word of warning on these countdowns: they can deter people a well. They are often ‘gimicky’ and start over every time a lead visits your landing page. This can reduce trust in your brand.

Next STeps

Mapping out a digital marketing strategy is no small feat but… it’s just the beginning. Now you have to build each piece, connect all the dots, and put the plan into motion. It can be overwhelming, especially if tech isn’t your ‘thing’ and/or you already have too much on your plate (what small business owner doesn’t?). 

So, you’re very first step when it comes to digital marketing is deciding who is going to do what. Will you hire one-off consultants to complete specific jobs? For example, you can hire a copywriter to develop your email campaigns, but it will be up to you to integrate your ESP with your website and configure the trigger that starts each drip campaign.

OR

Will you hire a digital marketing agency that can take on the entire project (and make sure all the pieces are connected?). 

One will be an investment in time and the other an investment in money. Whichever way you choose to plan and implement your digital marketing strategy, if it’s done well, it will be worth your time and money.