CHICAGO — Knowing where to start, let alone how to proceed, when it comes to digital marketing has baffled many owners of small and medium-sized businesses, the category to which the vast majority of dry cleaners belong. But, by removing the “digital” and focusing on people, says Donna Botti, the way forward becomes much cleaner.
Botti, owner of Delos, Inc., a Philadelphia-area company specializing in marketing and interactive communications, offered his advice during a recent webinar presented by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). His talk, “How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy That Works,” focused on the steps small business owners need to take to create an effective marketing strategy.
“How do you go from this madness you feel about marketing to something that actually grows your business?” she asks. “You have a lot to do. You’re really good at what you do, but marketing may not be your area of expertise or high on your priority list – and you know you have to.
Many owners fail in this area due to the myriad of choices available to them, says Botti: “Perhaps you are doing what we call ‘random acts of marketing’, or even worse, not doing anything. because it’s too overwhelming and you don’t do anything. I do not know where to start. »
Focus on what’s really important
According to Botti, many business owners lose sight of a very important concept when it comes to digital marketing: what are they trying to accomplish?
“You have to set goals for your results,” she says. “Are you looking to get more leads? Looking to make sales? Are you trying to increase your brand awareness? You can have multiple goals, but if you don’t know what your goals are and aren’t measuring them, how do you know what’s actually working? »
Additionally, when it comes to digital marketing, Botti believes owners are so lost in technology that they often overlook the most important element of the mix: the customer.
“It all starts with knowing who your customer is, then solving their problems,” she says, “and then being clear about your value.”
Part of that goal, Botti says, is to focus on the buyer’s journey. “The buyer’s journey is the process by which someone goes from realizing, ‘Oh, I need something’ or, ‘I have a problem’ to when they actually buys a product or service,” she says. “If you think about your own behavior, we have all become researchers over the years. We want to know everything before we call a business or stop by their store, so we try to go to the website to find all this information.
By keeping this process in mind for the customers you want to visit your store, you can begin to determine the direction of your marketing.
“When you understand the process your customers go through and the information they are looking for, then you can try to choose your channels,” says Botti. “Where should you do your marketing? Where should you focus your efforts? It’s not a good idea to be everywhere. You want to be strategic about it and do it right, and then come up with a plan. What are you going to say? What is your content? What matches the needs of these people on the buyer’s journey? »
Reaching your target audience is just the first step, says Botti.
“Once you have the lead, you need to nurture those leads, in order to convert them into leads and customers,” she says. “And then you’re going to engage your current customers for repeat and referral business.”
Once you have a marketing plan in place, Botti says things start falling into place. “It really is that simple,” she says. “It’s not magic, and there’s no easy button. But it is something that is doable and works consistently.
The trick, according to Botti, is to make marketing a habit rather than an event.
“Small and medium-sized business teams don’t want to spend all their time on social media or spend all their time doing marketing,” she says. “So you have to figure out how to make it manageable and fit it into what you do every day.”
Focus on the right customers
When it comes to fine-tuning your marketing efforts, Botti suggests thinking about three key elements: your product or service, your message, and your audience. These three elements must fit together like gears in a machine, propelling each other forward.
“It’s a really noisy world out there,” Botti says. “I can’t even tell you how many messages we get each day. But we’ve gotten really good at weeding out anything that’s not really relevant to us. If the message you send to people does not resonate with the right people for your products and services, you will have wasted your time and money.
Knowing your audience, Botti believes, is the most important factor in marketing.
“From your business perspective, you’re used to thinking about things from your perspective,” she says. “I want you to think about your marketing, flipping it around to think about your ideal audience. What do they think? Your message needs to resonate with this audience. Then, the product or service you offer must match the message and be appropriate for that audience. »
Check back on Thursday for Part 2 of this series, when we look at what makes an ideal client and how you can better connect with them.