Before we know it, we will be slurring the words to Auld Lang Syne as the clock strikes midnight, as we wave goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019. A new year undoubtedly means a new start, and as an SME, the beginning of a new year also means time to get down to business and strive for growth.
I don’t need to tell you how crucial online marketing is nowadays to get your business in front of the right people, because you already know that. But today’s post is all about why your online marketing needs to be strategic and that it isn’t enough to post to Facebook every once in a blue moon and write a blog when the mood strikes you.
Here are five reasons why an online marketing strategy is crucial for 2019.
Having an online marketing strategy gives your marketing efforts a clear direction.
It lays out exactly how you plan to promote your business, and avoids the trap that many SMEs fall into where they end up lost because they don’t have any clearly defined goals of where they want to be heading (more on goals later).
A significant part of a strong online marketing strategy will be a deep-dive into your audience. Who are they, and what do they need in order to buy from you?
With plenty of competition online for your industry, do you want to be the one that’s scrambling through or the one that shows up and knows exactly what they want to achieve?
Running a business can have you pulled in a lot of different directions, and we often end up bogged down in the detail. Whether you’re social media savvy, or simply see it as a necessity to business success, it’s hard to find the time to focus on what should be shared on each platform.
With an online marketing strategy, you have a “rulebook” to keep you on track. If you map out what you aim to achieve from each channel, and how you plan to achieve it then you always have something to come back to.
A piece of advice I often find myself passing on to clients is the importance of consistency. You and your business need to show up online and be consistent. Consistency builds up trust, and people buy from people and businesses that they trust.
By creating an online marketing plan, you can incorporate regular, value-adding content into your marketing channels. Plus, with the right tools, you can schedule that content ahead of time and allow your online marketing to (mostly) manage itself. Just don’t forget to monitor engagement!
Without a doubt, having an online marketing strategy provides strength to your online presence.
The strategy should include an audit of competitors to see what does (and doesn’t) work for them, so you can take those learnings and develop a plan that really works for your business.
It will also determine any skills gaps, so you can look to outsource as required – for example, if you need a paid social advertising specialist, or a copywriter to produce your content.
An online marketing strategy should also have an optimisation plan – how will you monitor and develop your strategy so that it generates the results you desire?
Goals & Metrics
A strategy is not a strategy without goals and metrics. You could write about how you want your business to grow online, but without measurements in place, how are you going to determine success?
The beauty of online marketing is the sheer amount of data available to you. Google Analytics and social media insights tools are there to provide you with the information you need to measure how successful your efforts have been – but your online marketing strategy must set benchmarks first.
For example, a popular metric that SMEs will use to measure success is the number of website sessions they get over a set period. Your online marketing strategy should list:
- The current website sessions for the set time period (e.g. the previous 12 months)
- The goal for the next set time period (i.e. the next 12 months)
- The methods you will use to achieve this goal
So there we have it – just five of the many reasons you should have an online marketing strategy for 2019.
Get strategic with your online marketing
With over 8 years of experience in online marketing, I can do the required research and development to produce a robust online marketing strategy that works for your business. Find out more about my online marketing strategy service.