How Much Should I Spend Marketing My Business Online?

Many businesses are hesitant to dip their toes into the world of digital marketing. Many know that they need to be doing it and usually lack the knowledge or expertise to understand where, how and why to allocate resources to certain activities. It may be that you hire an agency to implement a range of strategies or a bring a resource in-house to grow your marketing efforts online. The first thing that is important to understand is that there is no one size fits all. Different business, different markets and different competitors will require varying plans to achieve success. There are multiple ways your business can market itself online. Most businesses know about search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and they've heard of terms like content marketing & re-marketing among others. You know about it, you know it's hard to do and you don't know how much to spend or if you should even spend anything at all. So where do you start?

The first thing you should do is to analyse your business and understand where your customers are online and what they are doing. It's no good to decide you're going to start doing an SEO campaign just because you think high rankings on Google are important. Don't get me wrong the majority of the time this will be the case. Everything you do should have a business case and a measurable return on investment. What traffic to your website can you generate if you undertake an SEO campaign? How many leads can you generate? If more of your customers are reachable through a channel on social media why aren't you targeting them on this channel instead and will it be more cost effective?

The great thing about digital marketing is that everything you do can be measured. How much you spend should be directly correlated with what return your business can generate from a particular activity. Implementing a marketing plan online should be fluid and the periods you measure results and return on should be short to allow for adjustments of your plan. There is no use in locking yourself into 2 years worth of SEO before you can even measure if the results both intangible and tangible are delivering bottom line growth to your business. The best course of attack is as follows:

  1. Identify your ideal audience
  2. Identify where you will find them online - social media, YouTube, search engines, other websites
  3. Build a complete strategy and invest resources into each channel - SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, Content
  4. Have measurable and reviewable goals - X amount of traffic growth to the website, Y number of lead generated for your sales team, Z number of sales
  5. At the end of your review periods develop an ongoing budget or investment plan to grow your campaign

The more you test and measure your strategies the better you will be able to assess if investing money into a particular marketing activity is worthwhile or not. You may find that your social media marketing in conjunction with the content you are creating is delivering a consistent stream of traffic and a high conversion rate. The more you refine your audience, the better your conversion rate becomes and the more money you invest the trend should be expected to continue. If paid ads on search engines is delivering less than desirable results divert increased funds to another marketing activity that is performing strongly. Adapt, learn and grow through continual measurement, monitoring and reporting.

The best tool for reporting and management is Google Analytics so learn how to setup Goals so you can track conversions on your website and where they originate from. Using this information you can develop a plan to create a successful digital marketing campaign. You don't always need an agency so make sure you understand how to measure everything you do online before you engage one as this will help you weed out the good ones from the bad ones.

Related Tags: Digital Marketing Newcastle | SEO Company Newcastle


Five Reasons Why You Should Choose Digital Over Traditional Marketing

The dynamics of business and marketing have shifted quite dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years. The way we interact, consume and do business has changed. This change has created & been created by many new ventures that have disrupted the old & traditional ways things have been done. Can't think of any? Here are just a few to get you thinking:

Google

Google has changed the way we find information. Rather than looking through books or consulting with someone who is an expert in their field we can type anything into a computer and find the answer to pretty much anything.

Uber

The way we move around has changed & shifted. The traditional methods of catching a bus, taxi or train has shifted to more personalised and on-demand transport.

E-Bay

With the introduction of E-bay so came with it the rise of online shopping and the buy and sell online marketplace. No longer do you need to have a garage sale or visit the local market. Just put your product up and start selling.

What This Means For Your Business

There are many more companies that have shifted the landscape of business and how your potential customers and actual customers consume information, services & products. What does this all mean to you? If you're a business that has been operating for longer than 10 years or a new business to the market the impact of how people interact on a daily basis is going to have the same effect. The potential impact it can have may be greater if you're a long standing business stuck in traditional ways of doing things. Flexibility & the ability to be dynamic as a business has become increasingly important as things now change so rapidly. So that's where we get to the argument of where you should invest your marketing dollars. Let's be clear from the start and identify that every single business is different and no one strategy is going to suit every business. What is important to see is that digital marketing has benefits that traditional marketing potentially can't compete with.

Why Choose Digital Over Traditional?

It's a question we get asked multiple times a week. Why should I do this when I've always done it like this? Why should I be doing digital marketing? What's the benefit for my business? Our website isn't that important to our business, so why would we do it?

We believe that every business should be doing some form of digital marketing whether it being optimising their website for conversions & implementing an inbound marketing strategy, working on an SEO campaign for keywords that are relevant to their business or running a paid Google advertising campaign. The opportunities are endless and the potential return for the business is vast due to the sheer number of consumers that are looking for them every day through digital channels even if they don't think that it's important. Some simple research into things people are searching for that are relevant to your business can be an eye opener.

Why Should I Do It Though?

Ultimately for every business it comes down to justifying the cost vs return when any type of marketing campaign is implemented. How many people can I get to see what I do and how many of those can I convert into real paying customers? The problem with many traditional marketing activities (not all of them) is the inability for you as the business owner to understand your real return on investment, how effective your marketing activity is and what results it can deliver for your business. With digital marketing whether it be SEO, Social Media, Content or Adwords you have the ability to measure, review and improve. It's not just a nice to have, it's a must have. To better understand how you can acquire more customers you need to know how much it costs you to get one, what you're willing to spend to acquire a customer and how you can continually improve your return on investment. Digital marketing gives you that opportunity and it is something you should take advantage of. Always take the time to thoroughly assess traditional vs digital channels and make sure you talk to a digital marketing agency that understands the importance of conversion tracking, reporting and return on investment monitoring.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Digital Marketing Newcastle


How To Be Smart With Your Digital Marketing Spend

Running a business isn't easy and many of the decisions you make come down to how much you can afford to spend or what kind of risk you can afford to take for a calculated return. If you are thinking about marketing online, whether it be through search, social media or content there are some ways you can be smart with your spend & actions to make sure you aren't wasting money or dedicating resources to areas that aren't delivering a return for your business.

Do Your Research When Choosing A Digital Marketing Agency

Just like any decision you make when spending money especially when investing into growing your business make sure you do adequate research on the company you want to partner with. More than anything this relationship should be a partnership where the agency has a vested interest in delivering tangible results for your business & helping you grow. Here are some simple questions you can ask and make sure you compare the answers from a couple of agencies both locally and outside your area:

1) Tell me about your experience?
2) What makes your agency different?
3) Can I see some examples of results with other clients?
4) What are your biggest strengths?
5) Can I see some samples of your reports and what kind of information I will expect to receive?

Cost is always a factor that should come into play, however make sure you get an understanding of the business, how they track results and how they can deliver value to your business. Making the right decision from the outset can save you money, time and can start growing your digital strategy from day one.

Put Some Time & Effort Into Your Tracking & Reporting

Like anything you get out what you put in. With digital strategy everything should be able to be measured and tracked. This will enable you to find areas where your performing well and others where you aren't. If the company you've engaged isn't giving you information around what your results mean for your business & the dollar return you should expect to receive you should be asking for it.

You should also being putting time into understanding Google Analytics, so as a business you can track and measure traffic & conversions.

Investment vs Return

You should be investing time into understanding & analysing your investment v return. Before you start investing in your digital marketing plan put some effort into understanding your customers, the dollar value an individual customer acquisition returns to your business and the number of referrals they provide you. This will help you assess your cost to acquire customers and the return that your marketing efforts will deliver to your business.

Pick Your Channels

Ultimately you know your business and you understand what your customers want and the type of customers you are trying to target. If you're a business to business client in an obscure industry social media may not make sense when choosing where to invest your money & resources. Take time to understand the different channels you can market to and how they suit your business. If you've engaged an agency get them to detail why they suggest a certain channel to market your business and how it fits with your overall marketing strategy.

It's a Long Term Investment

If you're thinking about marketing online and you only want to dip your toes in the water you should probably think about spending money elsewhere. You need to be committed to developing a long term strategy as you will only start to see results and a return on investment when the cumulative effect of your marketing efforts start to come to fruition. This is especially important when undertaking search engine optimisation which is always a long term investment for your business. Talk to your agency partner about the long term goals & plans for your digital marketing plan and remember to measure and track everything against your goals so you can continually refine & improve.

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Seven Ways Your Business Can Improve It's Online Presence

Running your own business can be hard work. Juggling multiple hats, managing employees and dealing with the day to day operational issues that come up on a daily basis can leave you with a lack of time to promote, manage and grow your business. As consumers and people who may use the services your business provides there is an increasing need for information being readily available and the channels to access what you do being easy and simple. The growth of the internet and advances in technology has made it easier to connect with your customers whether it be through your website, social media or other digital channels. The best thing about having a good online presence is that you are easily reachable by your customers and it provides you an opportunity to differentiate what you do from your competitors. So how you do you achieve a great online presence and how do you use it to generate sales, leads and more customers for your business. Here are 7 tips that will help your business become better online.

Start selling online if you can

Enabling e-commerce functionality can open up a new sales channel for your business if you operate a traditional brick and mortar structure. Instead of employing another sales person spend some time and invest some resources into e-commerce and let those customers come to you. Like anything online you need to put the work into promoting and building awareness of your e-commerce store. It's not enough to just build it and expect the customers to come flowing through the doors. If you already have an existing website incorporate an e-commerce component and improve your online reach

Start a blog

You've probably got to the position you have by being fairly good at what you do and sometimes an expert in your industry. Sharing that knowledge and information is a form of inbound marketing that may be able to generate leads and customers for your business. If you have information that others might not be able to access easily that means it's valuable and people will be looking for it to either solve their problem or help them make a purchasing decision. Create unique, interesting and shareable information and you can generate interest in your website and business.

Pay attention to social media

This doesn't mean just doing a facebook post every 2 weeks. Create a strategy and change it slightly depending on the platform you are posting on. Consistency is the key and most importantly, what your saying must be fun, informative and interesting. The goal with social media is to build a community of followers that may eventually turn into actual customers over and over again. Don't sell what you do.Just share content that you would like to see when you visit  social media.

Update your website

Your website is a vital component of your business and it may be the place where people get their first impression of you and what you do. Make sure it's an accurate representation and always keep your website refreshed and up to date as your business changes and grows. You wouldn't let a TV ad you ran 10 years ago show up now so why would you have the same website.

Email marketing is your friend

One of the best ways to communicate with customers and potential customers is to create an email marketing list and to generate important & useful information for your subscribers. This may include special offers, discounts and once off promotions for your subscribers only so they feel special and rewarded. It can be a great strategy to convert visitors & customers who may have used you before, but have now forgotten about what you do.

Promote and advertise online

No matter what you use your website for you should always be promoting and advertising it in some way. Whether this be through SEO, Adwords, social media advertising, re-targeting, video advertising or content marketing you should be doing something all the time to promote your website and business. A well rounded digital marketing plan can do wonders for your business because it's measurable and you develop action plans based on the results to increase sales and the bottom line for your business

Review, evaluate and improve

You should always looking for ways to do things better. Being online is no exception and you should be finding things that are working and accelerating their growth. Conversely you should be dropping those things that aren't working or sending additional resources or going at it from another angle. The best thing about marketing your business online is that there is always room for improvement.

We hope these 7 simple tips can help your business become more successful online. We'd love to hear what works for you so feel free to comment below.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing NewcastleDigital Marketing Newcastle


Why Is Digital Marketing Important?

You may hear the words "Digital Marketing" floating around if you run a small business and you have been looking for ways to promote yourself. Is it a buzz word or is it something that can deliver value to your business? Digital marketing encompasses a lot of things and it should be a part of every businesses advertising plan. Why? We are going to learn what digital marketing is, why it's important and why you should be using it for a few simple reasons.

What is Digital Marketing?

In it's simplest form digital marketing is advertising & promotion through online channels. The number of channels & the relevant strategy are dependent on a few factors including:

- the type of business
- the industry
- the business goals e.g. enquiries, online sales, signups
- budget

Digital marketing is now a broad terms that covers advertising using the following channels:

- Search engine optimisation
- Search engine marketing
- Content (inbound) marketing
- Social media marketing
- Display & re-targeting advertising

Utilising all of the above channels gives you a full toolbox to attract, retain and convert customers who are visiting your website. All the efforts that go into your digital marketing plan should be focused around customers performing some kind of action usually on your website. Having a high performing website becomes of utmost importance when you are pursuing any kind of online marketing activity.

Why Is It Important?

So why is it so important for your business? Most people are already aware of the shift in the landscape of doing business with more traditional methods of providing services & products being phased out and brought online. Even industries where an online presence wasn't important five years ago are finding that being online is an important factor and is becoming increasingly important. The cyclical nature of business means that you need to constantly reinvent the way you do things, how you interact with customers and how you acquire new business. Digital marketing gives you an opportunity to target a new segment of customers that you previously may not have reached. It also allows you to directly target specific niches and measure your results down to the finest detail.

Measurable results and detailed action plans are key for your business understanding whether the money you are spending on advertising is delivering a real return on investment. Let's use the example of a local business that puts an ad on the tv screen at their local gym. Note, this is a good form of advertising to gain exposure and build brand awareness, however do you have the opportunity to measure how many customers are a direct result of this advertising. The answer would most likely be no. The gym may give you stats on their demographics & how many people are going to see it, but the only thing you should care about is acquiring new customers. If you can't measure it, that can make it quite difficult to ascertain if the advertising is of value and if you are generating a return on investment.

With any kind of online marketing you should be able to measure the result of your spend. If you run an e-commerce store and you are managing a pay per click campaign through Adwords you should know exactly how much it is costing you to acquire a customer. If every click through costs you $1 and for every 10 clicks you sell on average a $65 item you should be able to assess the cost to acquire those sales and determine if the return on investment is good enough. If you find a strategy and niche that works you should continue to invest more and more money into it. If I'm selling $100 worth of items for every $10 I spend in advertising and I'm making a net margin of $50 why wouldn't I invest more money in it? You can grow ten fold by investing in a strategy that is working. If you don't continue to build and grow, your business won't grow. Digital marketing provides measurable results that lead to detailed action plans designed to grow your business.

There are components of digital marketing that deliver intangible benefits including:

- A social media profile that has an engaging community and growing base of followers
- A loyal following of readers in your industry following & reading your content
- First page rankings on Google that deliver not only customers (measurable), but also the impression of being the leader in your field

Digital marketing isn't something that is a nice to have. It's a must have for any business that is aggressively promoting and advertising their business to new & existing customers.

Why Should You Be Using It

There are some pretty simple reasons why you should be using digital marketing:

1) There is a whole segment of customers you are missing out on
2) Your competitors will be doing some form of digital marketing
3) You can measure results and develop plans to optimise your plan depending on those results
4) You can measure your return on investment
5) You can diversify your traditional advertising methods.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Digital Marketing Newcastle


How To Increase Conversions With 3 Simple Techniques

Sometimes the hardest part of any kind of online presence or growth strategy for your website is not only getting traffic but also how you convert that traffic to do something once they visit. People have short attention spans these days with the rise of social media so if you instantly don't have what they need they will be gone before you can get your best sales pitch out of the bag. First impressions count and your website should be a reflection of your business profile and brand. Ultimately your website should be an extension of your broad marketing plan and the centre of your digital strategy. With these three simple techniques you will learn how you can increase conversions on your website.

Create Goals & Measure Results

Typically businesses and small business owners don't have much of a plan after they've launched their website. Time can also play a huge part as the owner of the business you are usually juggling multiple hats at once to keep your business operating smoothly. One of the simplest things you can do is develop some goals for your website & track your results. Not only will this give you an understanding of how your website is performing but it will enable you to look at ways to improve your content, images, design and flow of your website. Some simple ways you could achieve this:

  • Every time you or a sales persons receives a direct call ask where they heard about you from e.g. was it your website? Dig deeper and find out how they got to your website. Keep track of each phone call as you may start to see a pattern as to how people are finding you. If something is working invest money into it and track the return on investment. It may be that people are finding you through social media, Google search results or paid advertising. If you can find a cost vs return that is profitable for your business on a strategy that is working it makes sense to invest time and money into it.
  • Use Google Analytics. It's free and is a useful tool to find out where your website traffic is coming from, how long they are staying and what pages on your website they are visiting. This will arm you with information around what potential customers are doing and why they are or aren't converting

First Impressions Count

How people perceive your business and can have a lasting impact in the mind of a person making a purchasing decision. Some simple things you can do to ensure you won't miss out on those potential customers:

  • Make your website mobile friendly. Over 50% of people today use their phone to browse services and buy products. If you aren't mobile friendly you are missing out on a huge chunk of potential customers
  • Make your website fast. Speed is one of the most critical factors in converting visitors and it also helps your search engine rankings
  • Analyse your competitors and always try to improve upon what they are doing

What's In It For Me?

There is so much information online today you need to be telling your potential customers what's in it for them. You need to translate your sales pitch and marketing onto your website to translate what you do and to engage visitors. Some simple ways you can do this include:

  • Create consistent calls to action throughout your website that asks/tells customers what to do - e.g. call you, email you, buy this
  • Develop landing pages that create a funnel from your calls to action. Simple landing pages that deliver a concise message and offer the customer something in return are a perfect example. You can then easily track who visits and when they convert.

Some of our favourite landing pages include:

Unbounce - It's pretty obvious they should have a good landing page as that's what they do, however this is the prime example of what you should show on a landing page and how you should structure it. Tell them what you do, sell the benefits and back it up with evidence. If you can offer something that is also a bonus as well.

WebDAM - Straight to the point and asks for your information above the fold

BasecampThe simplicity is what makes it so good and goes to show you don't need to go overboard to capture peoples attention

Useful Tools

Increasing conversions is a continual process that requires effort and a clear cut strategy to track results and improve. Here are some useful tools that may help:

Optimizepress

Google Analytics

Hootsuite

 

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Website Design Newcastle