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Making sense of the digital advertising space

It’s the dilemma on many small and medium sized businesses minds – how do they make sense of the complex digital advertising landscape?

We constantly hear the same questions – how do I get the most out of my website? What do I do with social media? What’s this new group buying phenomenon about? And how do I measure my advertising ROI?

These are just some of the ‘next en’ decisions facing businesses today when deciding how to spend their marketing budgets.

One of the most important things for SME’s to remember is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution – but there are a few small tips I like to share to ensure a business has the basics covered.

1. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach

Understanding the vast range of digital channels and how customers are using them is the first step.

The main thing to remember is that not every channel is for everybody. What is appropriate for one particular business will be different to another. You have to consider all the opportunities out there and determine whether your customers are turning to these channels for information.

Ask your marketing service provider for support on this as they should be able to explain where your customers are if they understand your business.

2. A website is critical

Your website is your digital shop front. If you have a website that doesn’t mimic your brand colours or it looks amateur, it can have a negative affect on the reputation of your business.

Start by making sure the content on your website is relevant to your customers and make sure it’s regularly updated. Think about how you speak out loud to your customers because this is how you should write it on your website.

Most importantly, make your ‘call-to-action’ easy to find. For example, put your business contact numbers on the home page, so they are easy to access.

Links to other industry websites gives your website credibility and if you have the resources to write a regular blog, include links to that as well.

Remember, your website is there to help you, and to help your customers.

3. Establish a network presence – if you don’t your customers will find your competitors first!

Your network presence isn’t just about your website, there are a vast range of new and exciting digital marketing channels for SME’s to consider. You don’t have to be a part of every one, but choose the options that are right for your business.

Consider social media, mobile, tablet devices, quotation sites like Quotify.com.au, group buying sites, and make sure you understand how SEO and SEM can work for you.

For example, search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) work really well together so it’s important that the organisations you’re working with to develop your SEO/SEM strategy understand your business and how to reach your customers.

4. Your customers are on social media, so you need to be as well

Customers are talking about your business on social media and you need to be part of the conversation too.

Facebook and Twitter are two channels to use in your business, but you need to continually update feeds and posts. More importantly, you need to ensure we use these channels as listening tools. They are great for finding out what is important to your customers and provide an opportunity for you to speak to them directly.

Above all else, social media gives you the opportunity to be part of a quality conversation with your customers. And like any good conversation, your communications need to be relevant, genuine, providing opportunity for both listening and talking!

5. Measure your ROI today!

With digital marketing there are good tools available (such as Google Analytics, other marketing providers have their own) to track the number of people clicking through to a website from different places around the web. There’s no excuse for not receiving regular reports from whoever is assisting you with your marketing activity – digital has opened up a whole new world of transparency and the ability to test campaigns.

The digital landscape has made the marketing arena more complex, but it has also created more opportunities for you to engage your customers and drive your business. Australian’s aren’t simply replacing traditional media with new media – so its important to find out where your customers are looking and make sure you have a presence in these channels.

Customers search online and on their mobile phones, they look at the TV and listen to the radio, and many customers still use directories and read newspapers and magazines.

If your customers are using new media instead of traditional media, or a combination of both – great!

Every customer is different and you need to tailor a marketing solution to suit their needs.

– Simon Betschel is Yellow Pages’ Digital Expert

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