The importance of digital marketing for startups

Digital marketing has never been more important to brands. In a recent study by the IAB of the 1,200 Small to Medium size enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, it was found that:


  • 50% of all the businesses questioned felt digital advertising would be important in supporting the firm in the pandemic


  • 63% of those using digital marketing said they felt it provided a good return on investment


  • The average number of digital platforms used by SMEs when advertising was only 1.3 per company, with lack of knowledge as one of the barriers to its deployment


We wanted to spend some time providing advice, whether this be for a new start-up brand who has launched their business during the pandemic or an established brand who is looking to start for the first time, looking at the short term initiatives available. The approach for each business will differ, however the principles of what you should consider are the same.


Here are some top tips to get you started:


  1. Test and be realistic: Don’t try and spread your budget too thin. Carry out some research on what the best marketing channel is for your target customer. Understand what you are looking to learn and gain from your initial test budget. How many customers are you looking to reach, what visitors do you expect and how many leads or sales do you expect to generate? It is important to be realistic and to take advice from someone who has launched a similar product to the market
  2. Take advantage of ad credits: From time to time, the media partners will offer credits for advertisers to launch a new campaign with them. At the time of writing this, a match spend Adwords credit of £120 is available if you spend £120 with Google.
  3. Add your remarketing tags: ensure you have added media advertisers’ pixels including Facebook’s tag to your site. This will ensure that you are able to build a picture of who have shown an interest in your brand and advertise to those people again.
  4. Optimise your activity: Make sure you spend time monitoring your campaign performance and optimising your campaigns when you have enough data, rather than setting a start date and end date and letting the campaign run.
  5. Give it time to work: It is important to understand your customers time to purchase as this will affect how soon you can make a judgement on whether the activity is working and whether you should invest more or change your approach. This varies hugely dependent on the industry you are in and the incentive you are providing the consumer. For example, a service requiring lots of consideration such as the purchasing and fitting of a new kitchen will see customers look around prior to committing to your brand whereas a need requirement such as a plumber will likely see a same day conversion


Generating immediate returns with PPC (Paid Search and Paid Social):


So, you have launched your website and you are wondering how to drive traffic and create leads and sales. Shall I just wait and see if someone comes across my site naturally? Will word of mouth and using my current network be enough? Should I try traditional advertising such as local radio first?


These are all questions which brand owners typically face, especially when they are trying to manage cost. In short the answer to all of these questions is un-surprisingly is no.


Hopefully, you have planned for some marketing budget to raise the awareness and create interest in what you offer your potential customers. Proactive paid for marketing via Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and/or LinkedIn would be recommended from day one, dependent on your target audience and the demand for the product or service you sell.


Focussing on long term digital growth with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) :


Even if you do not have a lot of budget to invest in marketing your business, every brand should focus on Search Engine Optimisation or SEO in some way, shape or form from launch. You do not pay anything for this traffic barring the time you invest.


It should be noted that results are not necessarily seen quickly; it could take you 3 months for listings to start to appear in the search engines and 6 to 12 months for you to start to see any traffic. The time it takes and lack of instant results are often two of the common reasons we find to SEO being overlooked.


Here are some top tips to get you started:


  1. Setup Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools: This way you can submit your XML site map to reinforce to the search engines what pages you would like them to review (crawl) and list (index) for your site. These tools will also tell you if there are any issues with your site which Google or Bing believe need fixing and is a free way of understanding which search terms and landing pages your site is currently ranking for.
  2. Understanding how customers will find you: Do you know what search terms users will type in to find what your business offers or when there are increases in demand? If you haven’t carried this out in the build phase of the site, spend some time familiarising yourselves with tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends. This will inform how you should write key content elements including Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and Header tags. This will also inform any paid search activity you are carrying out too.
  3. Produce regular content: The search engines are looking to reward sites who give back to their customers. Having a blog which is updated with the latest news about your brand, products, or services or to articulate your viewpoint on industry news is a good way of remaining relevant. Don’t just assume that people will find the content by themselves. Ensure that this content is easy to discover on your web site and publish to your social channels.
  4. Claim, optimise and update your local listings: Making sure people find you when typing in your brand term or a local service from day one is important, with 46% of all searches on Google are local based and 80% of people who search for product or service, are likely to convert once they have visited your site. Having local listings allows you to appear against such searches and provides a range of information to the customer including an overview of your brands, the products and services you offer, any discounts, contact details, opening times and new updates. For example, Google have a special feature at the minute allowing business’ to communicate how they are operating during Covid-19. Make sure you choose the main local sites, which people use including Google, Bing, Yell.com as well as specific ones for your sector.
  5. Let the search engines know people like and trust your website: Are you a member of a trade body? Do you have suppliers or clients who advocate your brand, product or services? We find those people that are new to digital are not new to business and they have developed a web site as a new sales or leads channel. If this is the case, speak to the people who you have a relationship with already and look to gain a link from their site to your site. It gives another signal or vote that your site is credible and should be rewarded for the search terms which you want to be famous for


If you are new to digital and looking to launch your digital marketing for the first time, you can also check out our top 5 digital marketing tips for startups or get in touch for your free, no obligation consultation.


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