YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: getting online with digital marketing
Published on 04 June 2020
Q1: What exactly is digital marketing and why is it important for business?
Kaleb says digital marketing is any form of marketing material or awareness engagement; how you are engaging with potential customers, through a computer, your phone, iPad, et cetera.
If you want to be seen on the screen, digital marketing is how your customers actually find you there.
Elize observes that in every era, customers behave in a very specific manner.
The way in which customers are behaving now is they are on their smartphones and on their computers. Often, they will be engaging with us through multiple devices, consuming multiple content.
You might find something you want to purchase on your phone, then you might transition onto your laptop to finish that engagement.
Customers are behaving in a specific way and if we in business fail to respond to what our customers are doing, we won't be in business for a very long time, which is why we need to master digital marketing.
Kaleb agrees, saying for any business to have a customer, the customer must first become aware of that business. The most effective way for somebody to become aware, we Google, we look online, we search for someplace with really good reviews or something that looks good.
If I want to go a restaurant and I want to take my partner out to dinner, I am going to look for the restaurant that has the highest reviews in my area. If that restaurant isn't online, if they don't have a presence there and they're not reviewed, I'm not even going to know they exist. They are invisible.
As business owners, we must be where our customers are, and our customers are online on their devices and on their computers.
If you don't have an online presence that is representing your business well and makes it easy for your customer to find you and interact with you, that is a big problem because you are invisible.
Q2: What are digital channels?
A channel is also known as a platform. It can be Facebook, it can be website, it is the avenue your customer is taking to become aware of you. That could be through Google, Instagram, YouTube. Each one of those is a channel.
Think about where you put your eyes on the screen and what you type when you are looking for a solution to a problem.
If you wanted to take your partner out to dinner, you might go to Facebook first and say, "Hey, can you recommend a really nice restaurant, or do you know who's open and ask your friends?" You might go to Google and you might Google restaurants in your area that serves Italian food, just as an example. All the different ways to find things, those are all called digital channels.
Q3: Which channel should I be on?
This is not one-size-fits all. The best platform for any business depends on the type of business and its customers.
For a restaurant who knows people search for them because they want to know opening hours, they want to know the reviews, they want to see everything and they want to look through the pictures of the meals, Facebook is probably a really good choice.
However, if you are a tyre mechanic needing to just build more awareness and get people to engage with you, Google is a good place. People are not going to search Facebook for a tyre fitting; it just doesn’t come organically.
You must have a clear understanding of your audience and what they are doing to look for you; that is your platform or your channel of choice to start on.
A local school is now on Spotify, because they know people are dropping their kids off in cars and listening to Spotify through the car radio, so they have ads running through that channel. You can get creative with digital platforms.
TikTok and Snapchat are very effective channels for reaching the millennials.
Your own business website is an important digital channel and you create even more channels by having banners on other people's websites too.
While there are numerous ways in which you can get to your customers to become aware of you and then come to you, Elize says gathering your existing customers in one place is important.
Bring them together in a community, then form a group, converse with them, and add value to them. Facebook groups is a good channel for achieving this.
Q4: What are your thoughts around talking to your existing customers?
Kaleb believes this is the single best source and wealth of knowledge of how to base your future actions.
If you can get your customers together in a Facebook group, you can actively pitch new ideas to them and say, "Hey, I have this great idea. Let me sell you this big new shiny thing. But what do you think about it? Give me your feedback. Do you like it in blue? Do you like it in green? Do you like it in square, do you like it in the round?"
You can do this with multiple products. Your existing customers feel trusted, loved, and appreciated because you are asking for their input.
In return, you have instant validation knowing this product you are looking at selling will really work with your current audience and therefore people like them.
Q5: Given all the platform choices, could a website be a good foundation to help them all together?
Absolutely yes. All these digital channels are little channels that customers filter in through to your website which can be a solid hub, in which everything lives.
That is where you put your content and your creation. You say, this is exactly what my business is doing. This is how we're doing it. This is who we want to work with, and this is our pricing, our structure. By the way, here's a click now, buy now, act on this special offer. You can drive your customers from Facebook to a website to making a sale very, very quickly.
The best place is where your customers are, but the best place is all these channels. If you could have the hub as your website, and then have a presence on the majority of the channels, then you're not missing out on any traffic anyway.
Q6: How do you know who your customer is and where to find them?
Before you even think about creating your online presence or improving your online presence, take time to really outline who is your ideal customer, or an avatar (avatar is essentially a person that represents a group of people who embodies your ideal customer).
You might multiple avatars, but no more than five. Then start talking to those people, and ask "Where are they? Where are they looking?" Are they married? Are they single? Do they have kids? What kind of music do they listen to?
You want to know them as well as you know your best friend, because that way you can create advertising and create your website or your channels, all directly to speak to that core person.
If you find somebody like that core person, they are going to fall in love with you repeatedly.
Q7: I have zero online presence. Where do I start?
You have created your avatar; you know who your ideal customer is by looking at the customers you already serve and you have a picture of a person that represents that group of people.
Once you have that target very clearly identified, spend some time writing out the goal of having an online presence.
What action do you want people to take and how will you measure success? Do not create an online presence just for the sake of being online, create it with a mission and a goal in mind.
If the goal is to get bookings for an appointment at your law firm, I would be very clear and very intentional with everything I wrote when building website; I would restructure everything to go towards that goal.
I would map out the customer value journey. For example, once somebody is aware of me and they have seen my Facebook page, I want them to start engaging with me. When they land on my web page, what do I want them to see first? Everything I do needs to serve the purpose of moving my ideal customer towards the goal I want them to take, such as making an appointment.
In this example I might put a button that says Book Appointment, but some people are going to miss that, they are going to want to read more. What questions have past customers asked me that they really wanted to know before they trusted me enough with their business? I would list out those questions and give the answers to them.
Q8. I have a website and social media…but it is not working. What do I do?
Kaleb’s first thought is there something broken somewhere within their customer value journey.
Either they are not working towards the right avatars, or they are asking for a sale way too quickly, and it is coming across as "Buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff."
If you go straight from somebody being aware of you, to a hard sell, you are going to lose a lot of customers.
I would sit and map out this concept regarding what my customer wants to hear at the different points in their journey? If I'm making hard sales on Facebook, and it's not working, I would step it back down and just share advice, I would try to add value to people.
If I were a spa cleaning business, I would talk about how I clean spas. What's the process for this, so people could actually do it themselves? Adding education or value is what I would break back down to, and seeing where it goes from there.
Elize says she sees people making two mistakes online that prevents them from getting their customers to engage with them and ultimately transact with them.
1. The first mistake is to try the hard sell. You are posting offers all the time. You say, "Buy from me, buy from me, buy from me, buy from me."
2. The second mistake is to add content and add value all the time, and never actually ask for a sale, never post an offer.
The ideal is in between where you are adding value, but you are also putting offers out there. The ideal ratio for this is 5:1; that is, for every five value adding posts, you should have one post where you communicate an offer. You must get the ratio just right.
Q9: When it comes to an offer, what are your thoughts on offering a discount?
Elize says anyone who knows a little bit about business will always say, "Try not to discount." Try not to discount, always try and value add and make a super compelling offer.
The way you can make a super compelling offer is to value add with things that are really valuable, but don't cost you much as a business owner, so that you're selling something for $100 that's really worth $1,000. It is such a compelling offer; people want to take you up on that offer.
It is not necessarily a discount, but it is giving the customer way more value than the money you are charging. You’re doing it in a smart, resourceful, and creative way so that it's still a profitable transaction for the business.
Q10: What is SEO and how does that work for websites?
SEO is search engine optimisation, it is by using SEO strategically, you can move your listing on Google, and you can work your way up the google search rankings.
You want to be number one, two or three on the first page, instead of being on the next page, because 95% of people are not going to make it to the second page of Google.
SEO is important because you want to be on top of the list and you achieve this by using certain keywords throughout your website.
When Google's little crawlers go through your website, they recognise these keywords. For example, this is a blanket, they are talking about a blanket here, they are describing another blanket there. Here's how to fold a blanket, and this way Google know holistically that your site is about blankets. They know your geography already because you have listed it with Google. They now know you have all these keywords and that you are the blanket expert in a certain area, so it pulls you up to the google ranks in regard to blankets and that's why it's important.
Businesses should Google themselves. Search the service you sell, or the product that you sell and see what comes up, see where you are on the Google rankings and go and experience your website as a customer.
Q11: I have heard you should update your website content regularly to keep it ranking high in Google. What are your thoughts on that?
I think you should always keep it as fresh as possible, once a quarter, or once a year. It does affect your rankings in Google because customer behaviour will change, so you need to change with them, because if you are static, you are just not going to evolve through time.
I do not think it is not something you need to obsess over on a daily or weekly or even monthly basis.
Elize explains she has experience around updating your website.
I think it is important for search engine optimisation. If you do not update semi-regularly, then your SEO will drop, which what happened to my personal website.
My website used to rank up high on the top of page one for searches for my industry. Because I have neglected my website, I think I am on page three or something now and no one ever looks there.
Q12: I am investing $20,000 for a website. Why is it so expensive?
Website developers, SEO specialists, anybody who is niche into their field is expensive because they have spent a lot of time studying that field.
They are the same as a boilermaker who works on only one particular type of bulldozer, that he studied his entire career just to do that. They charge a lot and I think it is entirely fair that they charge a lot.
Elize says the other thing to remember is that a website is an investment you are making in your business in the same way as you would invest to get a lease for a property. How much do you spend every year paying your lease, versus how much do you spend getting a website developed?
You can think about it in that way, and how much would you spend on maintaining your property and updating it, cleaning it, keeping it fresh, keeping it nice so that when your customers come and visit you or come into your shop or come into your business, that they can feel like you are doing a quality job.
Never spend $20,000 on the very first version of your website. If you do not have a validated service or product, if you do not have people who are screaming to come after this, please do not spend $20,000.
Spend a weekend learning Wix or WordPress instead. The mistakes and those things you're going to learn and get frustrated with will be invaluable going forward when you do want to speak to a designer and a developer, and you ready to spend that $20,000.
You also will have that validation that you have customers who actually want to pay for your service as well.
Q13: How do you feel about blanket posting the same content across all the digital platforms?
Kaleb confesses he is guilty of blanket posting and does not recommend it.
It is not a solid strategy, because people want different things from different channels. If you're giving a grey blanket that says blah to all of them, odds are that it's not going to really hit them at their heart or at their core, and that was a lesson that I learned personally from doing that.
Take the time, customise your content, make it right for that audience. It is worth the extra half hour; it is worth the extra cup of coffee.
LinkedIn is a very professional platform, and Facebook and Instagram are more casual, and you cannot post the same content really on those three platforms, it just does not work. The audiences and the expectations are just so different.
Q14: How does email feature into digital marketing?
Kaleb says the goal of his website is to get an email contact.
I try to offer value for that. By getting an email address, you can start communicating with this person directly. They have actively said, "Hey company, I trust you, I believe in you enough to give you my personal information. Please be careful with it." It's your responsibility then to provide really good quality education back or something that adds value to them.
Usually these come in three-part series, where you have introductory, you have the content and then you have a closing or an ask for a sale. But you can be really creative with that. Those email addresses give you future points you can send sales to, you can send them education, new products, new offers, you can now talk to them one on one. That's a very, very important thing to get if you can.
Elize adds if businesses have big social media audiences, it is important to remember that the owner of that social media channel, such as Facebook, owns your audience.
You do not own your audience. If for any reason, Facebook were to shut you down, you would lose that audience immediately. However, if you had a database with all the contact details of your customers, your audience, your tribe, the people who are in your community, you could still communicate with those people if you were to get shut down by Facebook, Instagram, etc.
There are apps you can download that will scrape that information out of those digital marketing platforms so you can add it to your database.
Elize also advises for reading the Spam Act and reminds business owners they are not allowed to email anyone in Australia if they have not given you explicit permission to do so.
Q15: Google seems to like at least 300 words before it will rank a page. What is the magic formula when it comes to website content?
When developing information for a page, is there a magic combo of content and photos, or a suggested limit of the number of words?
Kaleb says while he does not have the winning combination, he aims for the amount of content that ‘an average Joe’ who looked at a website for the first time would appreciate.
Sometimes is 300 words, sometimes it is 1800. But it depends on what you're target audience. I would throw in videos, photos, and words, and try different things. Your audience is going to be different to almost anything else out there. Try a 300 page, try a 600, try and 1,800 and just see how they react.
Q16: What are the challenges you see people have regarding getting online?
The single biggest challenge I see people face is that they have an idea, and they want to build a huge, massive website. I have seen that time and time again, and they don't have any knowledge of how to build a website. They have tried themselves, or built something very small and rough, but they want to build it into this super complicated, super big thing.
Quite often they have the money, they've got the time, but as a digital marketer, I want to say to them, "No, validate your idea more, get more signups, do something as simple as create a landing page and just make sure that people want to opt in on this. Confirm that they actually want what you're selling before you go and create a huge website. We can do those big, beautiful websites." but you have got to walk before you can jump.
Just because you built a $25,000 website does not mean the customers will come. You need to put in the work, the content, the creation, the enrolment, go through your customer value journey step by step before you get to that point.
Q17: You mentioned validating your idea, what does that mean?
In your own head, all your ideas are amazing. But to somebody else who has their wallet in their hand, and they want to give you money, it may not be the most amazing idea.
Get their feedback, get what their thoughts are, are they saying your idea is really good, or are they saying it is terrible, and you should never talk about this idea again?
Understand exactly what different customers and different avatars you have. Figure out who your audience is, and do they like this product enough to give you money in exchange for it?
Basically, it is testing in the most inexpensive manner possible to get some real data and feedback from your market, the people who are potentially your customers on whether they like what you think they will like.
Q18: What's the difference between a website and a landing page?
Think of a landing page like a single piece of paper. You start at the top and you work your way down. At the bottom, there's a very clear, very predominant next step. It could be subscribing for an email, it could be taking our $4 course, it could be buying a brand new car, but that entire page is dedicated to getting that customer to take the next action step.
Whereas a website is a holistic network of things where each page is linked into other pages, there's multiple places the customer can go and they can learn more. Though those next steps are still very clear throughout a website, a landing pages sole purpose is moving customers through your customer value journey.
Q & A TAKEAWAYS
1. Customer behaviour has changed. Everyone is paying far more attention to their mobile devices and their iPads, or their tablets, and their computers than they used to.
2. Go where your customers are looking.
3. Set up a website as the hub and have all the social media channels around this hub, referring to each other.
4. Ensure your website is search engine optimised,
5. Have your customers take a journey with you so that you are value adding to them. You are creating a relationship with them where you are trusted, and you become an advisor, and then you make compelling offers to them, that they just cannot say no to.
6. Use email to try and bring your customers into a bit of a database
7. Create and manage a community. The way in which we as human beings are interacting is changing.
As you are building your community, be very clear on what you believe your company is doing. People will follow you and your business because of what it believes, and how you demonstrate that you are giving back to the community. If you're just selling, selling, selling all the time, they may transact with you once, but they're not going to repeatedly fall in love with you over and over again through the years.
Be confident about your own identity and who you are, what it is that you stand for, and understand that you will not be everybody's cup of tea. The people who will love you, will love you deeply if you are confident in what you do.
FINAL WORD OF ADVICE
Just keep moving forward. There are going to be days and weeks which feels like everything you are doing online is not working, no one is engaging and people are not connecting with your brand.
You are going to feel like customers are not coming towards you and it is going to feel like hell. I think if you chose to be consistent and to keep showing up and doing the work, then you’re are going to be okay.
As long as you're getting validation and people are still saying, "hey, I believe in you, I trust in you, here's my email, here's my credit card." Keep doing your best to deliver the most amazing service you can and be really thoughtful and as personal as possible with your interactions with that customer, and just keep moving forwards.
Keep learning, keep learning, keep learning, keep learning. This is a fast paced, fast changing environment, keep learning.
Kaleb Roberts is the founder of Get Australia Online and Get Your Business Online program host for the SmartHub.
The SmartHub encourages entrepreneurs and business owners to adopt technology and modern based business practice to make the entire business journey more profitable, more enjoyable, more effective and more efficient.
Being part of the SmartHub gives local business owners opportunities to meet with and learn from mentors, to help them learn the discipline required to succeed in business.
If you would like to learn more about becoming part of the SmartHub, contact us via the following channels:
Phone: 07 4936 8444