Even the largest companies have some sort of limitations on the time and money they can invest into promoting themselves. The constraints are obviously much tighter as you work your way down the food chain. That's why it's so important to determine what is most important to pursue as part of making the most of your limited resources.
In our previous article , we laid out the considerations and methods for forging a cohesive, effective marketing strategy. The decisions and documents resulting from that process provide the foundation for designing activation programs that align with one another and overarching organizational goals.
On that page we recommend that companies start with enabling Inbound Digital Marketing before progressing on to Outbound Digital Marketing, Local Marketing, and (at some point down the road) Traditional Marketing. Listed below is the priority order by which companies starting from scratch should allocate their time and energy into generating growth for their business. Even organizations with all these components in place may find some of ideas below useful.
1. Inbound Digital Marketing - Establish a Digital Presence
Regardless of how your audience becomes aware of your company, it is very likely that they look you up online before they ever consider becoming a customer. You need to make it as easy as possible for them to find the information they seek, leading them further down the 'path to purchase'.
Here is how we suggest you go about making sure your website that properly represents your business and get it listed where your target(s) are most likely to look for products / services / companies like yours.
Refine Your website
At a bare minimum, your website must answer your target audience's most common questions. The Personas and Task Maps you developed as part of your marketing strategy will be a great starting point.
What products / services do they offer?
How good are their products / services?
How are they different from their competitors?
Why should I believe in them?
What areas do they serve?
How / where can I buy their products?
Are they located nearby?
When are they open?
How can I get in touch with them?
Beyond this basic content, the fit and finish of your website is also important. You need to make sure that thelayout, design, and functionality are in line with how you intend to be perceived. Honestly evaluate your website experience against your Positioning to make sure it properly represents your business.
Create Search Engine Profiles
Profiles on these platforms enable your business to be included in their search results and maps as well as create a way to gather ratings and reviews. Voice-activated digital assistants (Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant) also leverage this same ecosystem. Getting set up is quick, free of charge, and their prompts lead you through every step in the process.
Click here to build a business profile with Google.
It is well worth a few minutes' time to bolster your digital visibility by creating pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yelp - even if there are no immediate plans to post regularly. They can still convey basic info (industry, location, hours), link to your website, and create an additional means for them to contact you. Consider adding Twitter / X, Instagram, and TikTok down the road if content creation becomes more central to your marketing strategy. Your Google profile will automatically carry over to YouTube, since they both belong to parent company Alphabet.
Create online 'Citations' for your business
Countless online business directories have the place of the yellow pages in the giant phone books that used to be delivered to every home and business. Each of these websites provide a searchable database where users can find basic information (industry, location, phone number, email, website) for thousands of companies. In general, the more listings (or citations) you can create for your business, the better. However, you should prioritize the ones who see the most traffic or focus on your local area / type of service. Here are some suggestions to get your started:
For a nominal fee, you can simultaneously create and manage business profiles on hundreds of pages through platforms such as BrightLocal and as Yext.
2. Inbound Digital Marketing - Search Engine Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
Whether we are buying something for ourselves or on behalf of our business, everyone wants to be confident in their purchase decisions. The fastest way to gain that confidence is with some online research - typically through queries on search engines. The ability to tap into this essential step in the path to purchase is a great opportunity for marketers to reach their targeted audience.
Search engines is on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. That means that cost is only incurred when users click on the ads. Since pricing for these programs are based on engagement (clicks) rather than reach (impressions), as with Traditional and other Digital Marketing tactics, they are much more effective and efficient.
Once you have established your company's Digital Presence, developing and improving your Search Engine Campaigns should remain your #1 priority until they are fully optimized.
This is where companies bid against each other to promote themselves when their target audience searches for specific words or phrases. A variety of configurations enable you to tailor when, where, how, and to whom your ads are served:
Search engines also give you the opportunity to reach users who had previously clicked on your PPC ads. As those people visit other websites, they will see display ads that link back to your website. This leverages the interest they have already expressed into creating another chance to engage with your company.
3. Local Marketing
These tactics are fueled by creativity, ingenuity, and hustle rather than financial investment. They can be incredibly impactful, if you can find the right angle and execute them well. Businesses with a complementary offering and similar customer base may be interested in a promoting your company if you do the same for them. Your target audience may gather for certain occasions or events, presenting an opportunity to connect with them directly, at scale.
Regardless of the nature and scope of these activations, be sure to make them memorable.
4. Outbound Digital Marketing
There is an ever-expanding list of ways to reach your audience through digital means: pre-roll ads on streaming video channels, sponsored social media posts, email distribution. When you are ready to supplement your marketing efforts with outbound tactics, we recommend implementing them one by one to prevent the management component from becoming a distraction.
When planning outbound programs, don't forget to account for the time / cost associated with designing the needed visual or video assets.
Getting started: Get your feet wet
Now that you've read through our recommendations for how to define your strategy and where to begin, there's nothing more to it than to do it! The sooner you get started, the sooner you will start seeing results. It is very difficult to commit to taking time away from working in your business in order to work on your business; hopefully the prioritized list above will be useful in helping you focus on what will be most impactful.
How Aspirant can help
While we encourage every business leader to take the initiative to stand up their own programs, we know first hand how time consuming and frustrating that approach can be. Our Digital Agency has the comprehensive skills to help you plan, execute, and maintain marketing that generates a quantum shift in the performance and maturation of your company.
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