In the last 12-18 months – our guest blogger Montse, from A Londoner from Afar tells us today – there has been a surge of SMEs that have started to use digital channels. For small companies, suddenly a whole new world opens. Even worse – it extends well beyond Facebook.
What to do now? Having helped some small businesses to go online, I have noticed a few common threads. Take a look at a few hints and tips to help you make the most of the digital channels and achieve RoI.
So, someone types your brand name or any other keyword on any given search engine, and boom! Your company appears on the list. Well, t’s not magic.
The first thing to know is that it is way complicated than that. There is a lot of work involved in it. Even if your brand turns up on an online search, we need to see if the search is relevant, if it’s producing any benefit, if it keeps there, if the brand is strong enough, etc.
It is no magic bullet either. The digital channels do not work on their own. They need to be integrated in the overall marketing plan to be effective.
I’ve found this to be one of the biggest surprises for senior managers. The amount of time that it takes the business to achieve substantial revenue may well be longer than they expect. As I mentioned above, no magic involved.
I would argue that internal buy-in is one the biggest obstacles for pros. The knowledge gap between ourselves and the organisation can be huge. It delays things too.
Think structure. This is very important. Pros always look at the current state of things and take into consideration where your company needs to be when designing the plan to action. The various channels (website, e-mail, social media sites) are part of the tactics and each one has a different plan too, because every channel is meant to be used differently by users.
A content strategy is also devised to ensure that your company is sending the right type of messages and using the appropriate channels. This may sound like PR to you, because there is a crossover. The whole thing is underpinned by data and technical work, including SEO, which is not just keyword research.
Measurement is part of this plan. Pros measure throughout the whole process in case anything needs to be changed and to spot opportunities.
Now, all of the above looks rather difficult to implement, let alone to understand. It has taken us years to see how it can all work. Furthermore, it changes every day.
So, why not hire digital professionals and let them do the job? Even better, make sure they report directly into a marketing manager or CEO, never a sales person even if you’re an e-commerce business. Corporate structure is important here, as they will need to have all your support to be able to help you achieve revenue. Again, no magic anywhere.
Every professional needs tools. Obvious, isn’t it? Tools may not be free. Sure there are some good free tools around. But, they may not be what your company needs or they simply become not good enough to do the job. The lack of appropriate tools decreases the opportunities to achieve results, increases buy-in time and the amount of time to persuade senior managers to do the right thing.
Now, your turn! Let us know your thoughts below on comments! We´re sure you have something huge to add to this story!
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