How to Get Started With Digital Marketing…
…chances are if you’re reading this now the problem is not in how to get started with digital marketing. The problem is much deeper. If it is a Facebook page, a Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or YouTube account opening, all that is a pretty straightforward thing.
From experience, the problem is how do you build a strong brand online? For us, at MwanaBiashara our point of concern revolves around practical things that MSME businesses can do digitally to get an edge and thrive.
If you are an ardent follower of our work here at MwanaBiashara, you have noticed that digital marketing is expansive. Additionally, it can help your business in a lot of ways. We have written extensively on the benefits of digital marketing for businesses that you can read here.
Just like any marketing function we have seen that it can help your suspects, prospects, customers and clients move closer to taking a buy action hence a sale and possibly a profitable transaction.
The AIDA Model
At MwanaBiashara we define digital marketing as marketing using digital platforms. Getting started with digital marketing is really a function of understanding this relationship. Too often we see clients wanting to achieve it all with a single post on social media or via email or their blog posts. The truth couldn’t be furthest from this idea.
Let me explain…
…using a model like the AIDA model, it tells us that marketing activities should perform 4 things. A- Awareness/Attention creation, I- Interest generation, D- Desire stimulation and A- Action motivation.
1. Attention/Awareness creation
This represents all campaigns, organic or paid, that you will plan and execute to grab attention. These campaigns are aimed at telling people three key things:
- Who your business is;
- What your business does and;
- How what your business does solves their problems/offers them an opportunity to meet their needs/wants.
It is not enough to just create an about us page, an introductory video or a single post and just leave it at that. Have you ever seen a book without an author bio somewhere in it just because the author has other book titles?
The same applies to you and your enterprise. Each time you get an opportunity to tell new people on your platforms who you are and what problem your business solves, the closer you are to commanding strong loyalty. It might also be to remind your customers that you still exist. I am serious!
2. Interest generation
Now that you have shouted to the rooftops. You have told prospects about who you are and what problem your business is solving, you can now move on to campaigns geared towards generating interest.
Remember that not everyone who knows your business exists is interested in what you have to offer. Consumers have individual tastes and preferences, and so do you!Mwendwa Kilundo
Let us take a case in point. Have you heard people say that YouTube is crowded? Well, anyone that says that does not understand that different people consume media differently.
Someone may not like how person A presents information but will consume the same information if presented by person B with a different style. And do you know what fancy word we use for that different style? The brand!
The campaigns and marketing initiatives that you carry on at this level are ones that generate and maintain interest. The interest that’s been awakened in the suspects or prospects- people or businesses that fall within your definition of a perfect client: the target audience.
Showing consumers that your business cares enough to understand their challenges is golden. However, showing them how your goods or services (products) helps them alleviate those problems will set you apart. It will, in addition, move consumers well along the steps to taking the required business action.
3. Desire stimulation
Now you have created awareness of your business and products. You have generated interest with the products that you have to offer. You have even gone ahead to show not only the features but the pain points that the product helps to alleviate. There are those consumers that are now fired up. You can see that they really do want to buy but they have some reservations.
This is when you need to be masterful to deal with the emotional buying (if it is an individual). or answer those questions they have been repeating without even knowing (if a b2b). The goal is to assure them your solution is the right choice. That your products will deal effectively with the pain points they have.
4. Action motivation
Everything that you have been doing while creating awareness /attention to generating and maintaining interest, to maximising desire has been leading to you helping prospective customers perform an action.
These actions might be:
- Testing your products;
- Referring their friends and/or family to your business;
- Liking, sharing or subscribing to your content whether on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn;
- Visiting your shop;
- Calling your business;
- Writing an email;
- Subscribing to your newsletter updates;
- Starting a chat online or;
- Purchasing your product.
These actions are what are most important to your business. They are what justify and give you the ability to compute the return on investment of the resources you have utilised in the process.
So take your time to clarify what action you want prospects to perform and then work from the bottom of the pyramid going all the way back to the top.
In our previous articles, we have looked at What Digital Marketing is and Benefits of Digital Marketing and that understanding coupled up with what we have addressed in this article shows the diverse nature of what Digital Marketing entails.
The 3-Step Process to Getting Started with Digital Marketing
Getting started with digital marketing is not only about the technical bit, that anyone can do. A thorough understanding of digital marketing in its entirety goes a long way as we shall see. What we suggest for MSME businesses that want to create internal capacity and value is literally a three-step process.
1. Create an online presence
We are in the information age; the age of value creation through content- popularly known as content marketing…
…and this content created should help solve a need/want that exists within a segment of people.
As such, deciding to go online and use available platforms to promote your products or business is not only a choice businesses should entertain, it could be what helps your business survive and thrive in this fast-paced world we find ourselves in.
Now that there is a better understating of what digital is and mean for your business, creating (opening up) a presence online is fundamental. This should be guided by the segment you have chosen to serve, the audience you have targeted and how you want your brand/business to be perceived as.
Those guiding points will help you in the selection of the most useful platform(s) that you should create a business account in. It is advised that you secure your business names on all the major platforms even if you will not be actively utilising all of them immediately.
This is important as I assume that you plan on having your business grow and increasing in resources to be able to serve customers across platforms.
Just because you have opened accounts for your business on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and other likened platforms does not mean that you should use all of them at once. Remember they require the investment of time and resources (financial and non-financial) to create and curate content for each site.
Each platform is different and attracts different groups of people and or for different reasons. We advise that you start with one or at most two platforms where you will dedicate your energies and resources to fully understand how people interact with businesses and what brings them to that platform for starters.
2. Take a digital marketing course
Yes! Yes! You probably have heard this before and didn’t like the idea. But for the sake of your business, just give me a few seconds to show you the importance. Ignorance is not only bliss! Ignorance is also potential death!
At the risk of sounding alarming, let me substantiate my claims. We have worked with clients who did not have any bit of understanding of what digital marketing truly is and entails. As a consequence, they had worked previously with agencies or individuals that purported to know what they were doing. Short story long (see what I did there), they didn’t and the clients lost money. A positive spin to that is that the clients paid to have someone (probably) learn and make mistakes.
As a business owner/manager you should always strive to understand what it is that you want your employees or partners to do. Even if you will not do the work yourself, it is imperative that you know what each component entails so that you can even know what to expect.
Failure to which will lead to you to not fully appreciating the work that gets done and therefore undervaluing it. It might also cause you to be short-changed in the value vs the price you have paid for.
Imagine not knowing what an accountant is supposed to do and then you go ahead and hire one. How will you even create the job description? How will you set goals and objectives? How will you know when they are scheming or using your business resources for personal gain?
These courses are in abundance and mostly offered for free and it comes with certificates too. Google Digital Skills 4 Africa is one such place you could start.
3. Outsourcing to a digital marketing agency
As we wind up, we believe this section deserves its own whole other article. This is an area of concern for most businesses. But the norm in the marketing world is always to hire agencies that have proficiency and are detached from the internal operations to be able to develop campaigns that are effective.
The internal marketing teams in companies are mostly strategic units. They think about the bigger picture of the firm and what it should evolve or be perceived as (the brand) and the selling function.
This outsourcing of the tactical functioning of the marketing department to agencies is to maximise on:
- professionalism and;
- time constraints.
Businesses that survive and thrive have been shown to really focus on what they are best at and sub-contract other needed functions to third parties. This allows for multiplication of expertise to result into better quality, customer service and reduced operating expenses.
Outsourcing certain functions for your business that include digital marketing will come with its own plethora of benefits and challenges. That is why it is necessary that you be educated to fully understand what is required of you online by the nature of your business and expectations by prospects and customers that do not want their dms, inbox messages or comments going for more than 15 minutes unanswered.