As a digital specialist, I have all types of digital conversations with businesses I meet at events and workshops I am running, on social media groups and with businesses. There are several questions that keep coming up repeatedly so this blog answers 5 of the most common questions I hear from recruiters and law firms when it comes to digital.
1. I don’t know where to start and what I should do first?
Digital is overwhelming to many small business owners, particularly if they have had little exposure to it. What also makes it challenging is the many conflicting pieces of information you can get which adds to the confusion. What I tell everyone I talk to, is start with the basics.
The first thing all businesses need is a good responsive website. This doesn’t need to be fancy but I recommend building using a CRM like WordPress and ensuring you have Google Analytics set up on the back end in order to track your data and traffic. You should also have a clear plan or strategy written down. It is no good in your head and cannot be shared with your team if you keep it locked up in your brain. The investment will be worth it and actually save you wasting marketing dollars in the wrong places and save you making costly mistakes.
There are plenty of options when it comes to digital however what you need will depend on where your audience is interacting, who they are, type of business you have, budgets, resources and so forth.
2. How much should I spend on digital marketing?
This can be like asking how long is a piece of string. It really does depend on how basic or complex your requirements. A basic wordpress website should cost you between $2-5K. Work out exactly what you need, functionality & inclusions so you can provide a brief to your web designer. This will also help to avoid nasty surprises with additional costs. Do your research and compare apples with apples. It can be worth employing a consultant to put you in touch with reputable suppliers or review your quotes. This alone could save you thousands.
I would never recommend using a service like Odesk for building a website. You get what you pay for and there is a high chance you will need to redevelop this website within 12 months due to the quality of work.
3. How do I find a reputable supplier?
Start by asking how long they have been working in digital, the types of clients they work with, the projects they have done and their areas of speciality. Many digital marketers have areas of speciality and as such will have different skillsets.
Just like any supplier you should do your research and check them out starting with their digital profiles. Google them, look at their professional profile on LinkedIn, see who their professional partners are, read recommendations and testimonials, look at their blogs and other content they have developed. This will provide some social proof and show you how long they have been applying their skills. Look for specialists with 10+ years of experience as they will have worked on many different areas and be able to give you a strategic approach.
4. How long will it take to get results?
Like the old Pantene add says “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”. You need to have realistic expectations especially if you starting by building the foundations. Your website could take between 6-8 weeks and it could take several months to set up all the channels and tactics you need. Every business is different so there is no hard and fast rule here. I suggest have open conversations with your suppliers and set the expectation on both sides so you know what needs to be achieved within your time frame.
In regards to campaigns, however, you can get fast results. For example, if you are running Facebook ads to sell tickets to an event or drive traffic to your e-commerce store. Like anything the results you get will depend on your goals, your product, your call to action and your budget.
5. How much time do I need to dedicate to digital and social media?
Time, the one thing none of us has enough of. How much time should you dedicate to digital marketing? This can depend on the size of your company and how many digital channels you have active. Your website shouldn’t require a lot of maintenance, apart from adding blog content (if you have a blog) and refreshing content regularly.
For smaller business most time is typically spent on social media, email marketing and creating content. Using digital tools like Canva to help create content quickly, Hootsuite to schedule in advance and Mailchimp to set up email lists for marketing can help save time and mean that a few hours per week may be sufficient to get you started. The more channels you have, the more time it will take.
Marketing is subjective and there is no exact science to some of the requirements. A lot of factors impact the answers to these questions but if you are not sure ask questions and use common sense.