Why is Digital Marketing Strategy so critical to your business?

The short answer: Because money.

The slightly longer answer…

Let’s be honest, “marketing” your product is often not the sexy or fun part of doing business.

For many entrepreneurs and small business owners marketing is the task you’ll probably procrastinate, you’ll put it off and do it last, it’s the “pain point” of your business. After all, your brilliant idea, the wonderful “thing” you want to create is so much more exciting – than actually trying to SELL the thing.

Let me state the obvious.

It might seem ridiculously obvious, but making a compelling connection between your product/service and your customers (or app users) is absolutely critical because it is this connection that will translate into real cash money flowing into your bank account.

Put quite simply, with no customers or no users for your app, all you have is a cool “thing” that no one knows about – that you’ve invested serious time and money into with no revenue.

A familiar tale of woe…

I recently encountered a potential client who had spent about $175k on a “killer” app that was going to disrupt a particular industry that will not be named here. He’d mortgaged his house, used up all his savings, and borrowed money from family and friends. The website was launched, the app was almost built and he’d run out of money for marketing his app. The result? He had a really cool app, but no one – apart from family and friends – knew about it.

“Oh I don’t do marketing.”

It seems that everyone these days is building a cool “thing”, a killer app, disrupting an industry. Wanting to be the next Uber, or the next Facebook.

What I see around me are hordes of incredibly talented “builders”: the architects, designers, coders, usability (UX) experts and engineers of the digital realm. They know how to build really cool stuff, but I often wonder how many of them know how to SELL the thing?

It’s almost like selling the thing is an unpleasant afterthought to the entire process. In fact, many of them loathe anything to do with marketing or sales! “Oh I don’t do marketing,” they’ll say proudly, “I’m a UX specialist (or insert other niche specialist here)”.

But I’m pretty sure their focus is to get paid for what they do – am I right? And therefore, marketing the thing must be a necessary “evil”.

money is laser

Money is your “laser beam of truth”.

A wise person once said that the highest priority in any business is simply getting money into the bank account. That’s why cash flow needs to be your ultimate “laser beam of truth” – in everything that you do.

Sounds so obvious right?

But all too often we’re so in love with what we’re building, so wonderfully engaged in, and by, the process that we forget the basics of running a business. That’s when the *ego* is in charge and you’re in dangerous territory. In fact, the guy running the corner store will probably know more about the financial side of running a business than you do.

I repeat: your highest priority is to get the money into the bank account.

That’s it. Everything else flows from this. Everything.

This simple “laser beam of truth” should drive everything that you do. It’s the thing that will cut through any confusion and the thing that will help you prioritize your tasks every single day.

(PRO TIP: Put a dollar sign ($) next to the tasks on your to-do list that will bring the money into your bank account and do those first thing in the morning.)

Marketing is not a dirty word, so get over it.

A digital marketing strategy is what connects your big beautiful idea, your “thing”, your app, your product, your service – to your customers and/or users.

It’s what gets the people (real human beings) to open their wallet and give you money for your big beautiful thing or wonderful service. And you deserve that don’t you?

This is why marketing (there’s that dirty word!) is so damn critical.

Marketing – a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.

A good digital marketing strategist should act almost like a good accountant: their role is half cop, half midwife with a strong dash of courage and creativity.

Their job is to help you birth your big idea into the world and make sure it grows into a happy healthy bouncing business. They’ll help you make sure that everything you do in the digital realm aligns intimately with your business strategy so that money goes ends up in your bank account.

(PS. ONE LAST PRO TIP: Get your marketing strategist involved at the beginning of the process (not the end). Put them in the same room with your CFO, your accountant, HR person, and your investors.)

Why Digital Marketing Strategy? 9 Good Reasons

Once thought of as a luxury item (or “nice to have”) a Digital Marketing Strategy is now viewed as an essential part of doing business. In essence, it’s your business strategy translated into the in the digital realm.

9 Good Reasons why a Strategy is Critical to your Business:

  1. Improve client acquisition & sales conversions – sounds obvious right? That’s what we all want right. That’s why we’re here. But you’d be surprised at how this simple objective can get lost in the detail of the daily challenges of running a business.
  2. Helps you avoid “Random Acts of Marketing” – too often businesses make a knee-jerk reaction to what’s trendy. For example, the CEO’s daughter is obsessed with Pinterest. But he’s the CEO of a major legal firm. He sends an email to his PA: “Set up an Pinterest account!” Why on earth would a Legal Firm need a Pinterest account? Your social media efforts should be relevant to your target audience and target where they spend time online.
  3. Aligns your business objectives (things that Critical Data Services are specialists in advanced hard drive clicking from all manufacturers of Hard Drive and other digital storage media. happen in the real world) with your digital/online presence (things that happen on your website, on social media, on your app). A strategy aligns your business goals with your digital marketing push – to ensure positive business results.
  4. Simplifies the Process: You’ll know WHAT to do, WHEN to do it, and WHY you’re doing it. Your Digital Strategy is a roadmap, a plan, and a schedule. Need to plan out the next 3 months? 6 – 12 months? It also provides a detailed In case of loss of best-data-recovery.com from the DVR, in most cases it’s useless to use the program to restore the data. ‘plan of attack’ for the short, medium and long term along with tools to track performance and to measure the success of future efforts. Also handy to create KPI’s, outline tactics, identify actions and build schedules.
  5. Identifies your target audience and most importantly, where they spend most of there time online before you spend money on marketing to them. This helps you identify which online channels are best for conversion.
  6. Saves you money and ensure that the money you do spend has a healthy return-on-investment (ROI).
  7. Identifies what your competitors doing: You’ll save time and money by analyzing & deconstructing your competitors’ digital marketing strategy. Building an eCommerce site? Spend some time on Amazon (see how the big boys do it). They’ve already done all the hard work for you! Companies like Amazon spend gazillions on research & development – so you don’t have to!
  8. Maps out how repeat business happens: customer retention/upselling/cross-selling etc.
  9. Hones your sales conversion funnel: Identify where your sales are coming from.

Convinced? You might want to DIY your own Digital Marketing Strategy.

Or, if you need more convincing read our own page on Digital Marketing Strategy.

DIY your own Digital Marketing Strategy in 3 Simple Steps

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

You may have heard the story of the social media manager who gets retrenched, and before clearing her desk, goes to town on the corporate Twitter account telling the world how awful it is to work for Company X. Like the proverbial bull in a china shop she rampages through social channels and in the process destroys the company’s reputation overnight.

bull in a china shop

The next morning the company is a laughing stock as her vitriolic tweets go viral and the CEO is running through the offices demanding the password and login to “the Twitter”. Hilarity ensues.

If only Company X had had a Digital Marketing Strategy in place before they’d even hired Miss Bull-in-a-China-Shop, their social media disaster would’ve never happened.

It pays (yes, really pays – in terms of real tangible dollars walking in and out the door) to have a Digital Marketing Strategy before you embark on the journey to marketing your company in the digital realm.

Okay, if you’ve read this far, I may have possibly convinced you that you need a Strategy before you act. So what next? You can hire a digital marketing company or, you might want to save some money and DIY.

If you’re brave enough to DIY, here’s some step-by-step guidelines to get the ball rolling:

brain_left_right

STEP ONE: Use the Right (Creative) Brain:

Let’s get creative. Tap into your right brain. Pull out the crayons. The whiteboard markers and write stuff down on napkins. Like mind maps? Those are good!

Whatever works for you to tap into your creative brain? Do it. Scribble. Doodle. Sketch out rough ideas. Vision boards. Do some big blue sky dreaming. Reach for the stars. Dream big. Want to pull in $5million in the first year? Write that down. Want to have 30,000 app users in 3 months? Write it down. Don’t worry about order for the moment. Let it be one big glorious mess.

STEP TWO: Walk away. (Take a break).

Go out for lunch. Sleep. Whatever. Have a weekend. Go hiking. Let the oxygen in. (This is the bit where we take a break while switching from right to Heroin users generally begin sniffing the drug detox and gradually advance to injecting. left brain).

STEP THREE: Use the Left (Analytical/Logical) Brain.

Just like a lion tamer approaching a new unfamiliar animal, cautiously approach the mess you’ve made (see Step One) with a chair and a whip and create order and sense out of the chaos:

  • What are the tasks or tactics you need to make happen?
  • Create a schedule, set some deadlines: when is it going to happen by?
  • Set out plans: how are we’re going to do it?
  • Set goals: what do we want to achieve?
  • Timelines & milestones: plan and add to schedule.
  • Monitoring Metrics: how do we know if this is working?
  • Competitors? What are they doing to market themselves?
  • KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators – the things that let us know this is working)

By now you should have something resembling a Digital Marketing Strategy. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it need should create a workable and practical road map for your journey. It should also include specific tasks, actions and tactics to make your strategy real so that you’re ready to go off into war and have a better chance of victory.

BONUS TIPS:

  • Don’t take too much time on your Strategy. You can get lost in the planning phase rather than starting to actually make things happen. Just like a business plan, just get it done and then get on with it.
  • Treat it as an organic working document/s: need to tweak as you go? That’s okay. Healthy businesses are flexible and adaptable to changes in the marketplace.
  • Touch base with it regularly. Don’t let it get lost on a hard drive somewhere. Print it out. Pin it to the wall. Write it up on the whiteboard.

Got a question about how to DIY Digital Marketing Strategy? Please email me directly at: meri@fatcake.com.

 

What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?

Marketing in the digital realm is a lot like going into battle – a clear strategy will give you the best chance of victory.

The phrase “Digital Marketing Strategy” – like most marketing buzzwords – is thrown about liberally, but what does it actually mean? And most importantly how does your business benefit from it?

The problem is that for the most part, digital marketing is (at best) a haphazard and reactionary exercise.

Marketing in the digital realm for most businesses involves a process of hastily throwing some time and money at a problem hoping that some of it will stick and work. This approach is known as “Random Acts of Marketing” and is at best a very haphazard approach, and at worst, a waste of money and time and – worse still – may even lead to disaster.

Napoleon had a strategy and so should you!

Did Napoleon go off half-cocked without a map, compass or plan to rule an empire? Nope. He had a serious strategy.

The “going to battle” analogy is not too far from the truth. Digital marketing today is very much like going to war in an increasingly crowded battlefield (marketplace) with your competitors as your enemies.

You can run off into battle half-cocked and full of bravado, but if you don’t have a plan, you’ll probably waste a lot of money, definitely lots of your precious time and you might even get seriously knocked about in the fray.

Digital strategy = business strategy.

The Wikipedia definition of digital strategy is a bit verbose:

“In the fields of strategic management, marketing strategy and business strategy, digital strategy is the process of specifying an organization”s vision, goals, opportunities and related activities in order to maximize the business benefits of digital initiatives.”

But in short, digital marketing strategy should just be called:

“Business Strategy for all the things we do online”

(That includes website, social media, email marketing, apps, etc.)

In effect, your digital marketing strategy literally IS your business strategy interpreted within the digital realm. That’s it. Simple right?

It’s a road map, it’s a guide, it’s a schedule, and it’s a plan.

road map

A comprehensive digital marketing strategy acts like a detailed ‘road map’ to provide guidance on the very specific actions that need to be taken to 10 This incorporation of unstructured what is a server and multiple disparate what is a server sets into a single analytical framework is one of the main promises of Big Data. increase sales conversions and achieve business growth. It also provides a detailed ‘plan of attack’ for the short, medium, and long term along with tools to track performance and to measure the success of Literally, lock up your credit report rating cards where you can’t easily access them. future marketing efforts.

A Digital Strategy answers important questions: What are you selling? Where are your customers hanging out online?  

For example, say you’re selling high couture bridal wear. You’d want to make sure that you have a strong presence where your target audience is spending the most time online. One of these places would be the world’s 4th most popular social media channel Pinterest.

pinterest bridal

“33% of online women are Pinterest users… and skew slightly towards the affluent side – those in the highest income bracket are more likely than those in the lowest to use the site, as are those with a college degree or higher compared to those who have not attended college.”

Pew Research, 2013

So it just makes common sense to focus your marketing efforts where women who are shopping for high-end bridal couture spend the most of their online time.

In this way, your digital marketing strategy is 100% aligned with your business objectives to give you the best chance for positive business results, and that gives you the best chance of real cash money walking in the door.

Feeling ready for the battle?

Stay tuned for our next article: “How to DIY your own Digital Marketing Strategy.”

 

Sometimes building a website can be like giving birth to a baby elephant.

Pregnant ElephantA baby elephant takes about 24 months to gestate. That’s 2 years of being pregnant! No wonder the mother takes a 4-5 year break after that.

Sometimes building a website can feel like giving birth to an elephant.

We registered the Business Name “Fat Cake Media” in August 2011, and the website has gone live in August 2013. Yes, that’s 2 years of gestation!

In the eyes of the digital world this is a sin beyond compare: how on earth have you managed to run a digital business without a website? Indeed, it has been a bit of a miracle!

We only have one excuse, and it’s as old as the hills:

We’ve been too busy working on our clients websites to build our own. 

Indeed, a case of the shoemakers children going barefoot. A very common issue in our industry (although not many would admit it!).

barefoot grass

But whilst pregnant with our new site I learned 3, very important things:

1. You can run a digital business without a website but it’s harder.

Not impossible but definitely harder. You can use other tools to market yourself:

  • LinkedIn: I opted for the entry-level paid version which lets you approach people out of your network. But also great for status updates to keep your brand awareness out there.
  • Prezi! Heard of Prezi yet? It’s been called the “PowerPoint Killer”. Make your own online presentation that’s always online. No more emailing fat PowerPoint slides! Just cut and paste the link! Check out the Fat Cake Prezi here.
  • Other websites: my old freelance site works well as a driver of inbound sales enquiries. After over 6 years, it’s still ranking well for its top keywords!
  • The phone. Yes, the good old telephone. You’d be surprised how many clients appreciate a telephone call over an email. Try it. Even if it’s just to say “hi”.

2. Real-world relationships with clients and suppliers are the most important thing in the world.

Sounds obvious but so easily forgotten. Essentially business – any business – digital or not, is all about healthy, real-world relationships with your clients and suppliers.

So don’t forget marketing is more than just how many unique visitors you get to your website. It’s about building relationships with real human beings on and offline.

3. Treat your own business as a client.

I’ll repeat that: treat your own business as a client. Write this down now on a Post-It note and stick it on you computer.

MAKE THE TIME each day, each week to work on your own marketing. Again really obvious, but such a discipline when you’ve got client deadlines to meet.

Some tips to make your own marketing easier:  

  • Create a project around your own marketing From the other hand, leo monthly horoscope needs flattery and admiration, especially what concerns sex and he must dominate at all costs. just the way you would for a client. Add the tasks to your “to do” list.
  • MAKE THE TIME: Block out a day, a half day, even an hour in your calendar for your own marketing.
  • Quiet time: I found that quiet times worked best, Sundays and Mondays. Before the week gets too crazy and you’ve got some creativity to tap into.
  • Get help. Assign a team member to help. Don’t try and do it all yourself.
  • Have FUN with it! This last one is probably the most important one. When I started writing the copy for my own website I was paralysed with fear. Seriously. It’s so easy to write for my clients, but when faced with my own website I freaked. The result of my freaking? Procrastination. I was being way too serious about it and creativity was therefore blocked. The solution? Loosen up. Have some fun with it. Use crayons and butchers paper and sketch down ideas. Let go a little and the creativity (and originality) will flow.

Baby-elephant-plying-wallpaperEven if you spend an hour a week on your own marketing, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll achieve.

So the baby elephant is now born and out in the world, and we’re proud as punch.

Like the design? It was built by one of our favourite web designers, Michael Scruse from www.webd3.com.au. Call him, he’s awesome.

Link Removal

Has link building become the “asbestos” of SEO?

Last year’s Google Penguin update threw many businesses and so-called “SEO specialists” into a tailspin. All of a sudden link building became a liability and a massive risk for website owners.

For years many SEO specialists sole occupation was to build links – that’s it, that’s what they called SEO. The inherent problem with this approach lay in the fact that Google looks at 200 different parameters when ranking your site. Link building was in effect, like putting all your eggs in the one basket – just focusing on one of those parameters! Not at all a safe long term strategy.

Essentially, Link Building is now to SEO what asbestos is to the construction industry. Cheap, nasty, and damaging in the long-term.

Many websites in the last 10 years with amazing too-good-to-be-true Google rankings were rewarded for simply creating thousands of junk web pages featuring cheap articles, ‘press releases’ (we use that term loosely), directory entries and anchor link lists. These are called “Link Farms” and thankfully we hardly ever see these anymore.

The scale of this practice was nigh on incomprehensible. Millions upon millions of these “junk” websites were fabricated, automated and syndicated to appease the archaic Page Rank algorithm.

You may have even stumbled across My experience with the full-support buy-detox.com really has been life changing. some of this “search engine spam” in articles and directory links on sites like About.com, Squidoo, Hubpages and Gather.com? Did Students will need to come to a bus stop on a route that serves the online schools that the child attends; transfers that were possible in the past may no longer be an option. you find them helpful?

*cue sound of crickets chirping*

Thankfully, Link Building is effectively dead.

We have never offered Link Building as a service (unlike many of our competitors) because we always saw it as a highly risky strategy. We’ve always relied on high-quality content as the lynchpin of our SEO strategy – and The first Zydot available from my nutritional, whole-food-based supplement line, Axe Naturals™. it has worked. (Need proof? Read our client case studies here.)

Quality on-site content also has the dual benefit of not only driving quality traffic and boosting rankings for your top keywords in Google, but also it works to convert your visitors into real world customers.

If your SEO company sends you a report every month about new links created to your website (unfortunately they still exist; we’ve seen them from many different companies) then you may be setting yourself up for long term pain. Worried your site’s old ‘junk links’ are affecting your rankings? Get onto Google Webmaster Tools and read about how to remove spammy links to your website.

Forget link building, it’s time for link earning.

Earn links by building quality content and share it on social networks, get it blogged about, commented on, and get people to actually read it and engage with it (‘Time on Site’ or TOS is one of our favourite underrated search engine parameters – the longer people stay on your site, the more likely they are to take action, and the better for SEO).

This has been our ethos since day one, and now Google has our back 100%. Excuse us if we can’t contain our excitement. Yippee!

Your content could be text, video, discussion, an offer, news, a blog, a collaboration – whatever you want to market about yourself, your brand and your business.

  1. Create highly original content (y’now, put time and thought into it!).
  2. Share your content within your offline and online networks.
  3. Tell your friends in the real world to share your material online (blogs, Facebook, emails – all good!)
  4. Cultivate an audience to market your content to.
  5. Stay original and stay relevant.

That’s Link Earning 101. And it works because it’s more than just SEO, it’s all about engaging your customers in a way that works with your entire business strategy and goals.

If you don’t think you have any interesting content to submit to the online world, you’d be mistaken. Talk to us about our Social Media and Content Marketing offers.