Is your Christian-owned company new to digital marketing? If so, you may feel overwhelmed or just all together lost. This post offers a quick primer on where to start.
But first—why should digital marketing matter to your Christian-based company? Because in 2016, about half of the world’s population is online—probably including the audience you’re trying to reach—so it’s one of the most effective ways to promote your business. Consider that: there are about 3 billion internet users across the world. In 2018, it is estimated that there will be around 2.55 billion social network users around the globe, up from 1.87 billion in 2014.
If these statistics don’t convince you that digital is more important than ever, maybe this will: we now spend about 11 hours a DAY with online media.
Digital is one of the best ways we can reach people.
So where should your Christian-owned company start with digital marketing? Look at these steps:
1. Know what you’re offering. Be specific. You can’t be all things to all people or you won’t be anything to anyone. Know exactly what you have to offer people and how it’s more unique than what anyone else is offering.
2. Know who you’re offering it to. Who is your product or service designed for? Who will ultimately make the purchase decision? What is the path that person typically takes before making the purchase (an example might be: they view a TV ad, then research what people say about it on Twitter, then view your website, then visit the specific product page and finally, purchase) and over what period of time (for example, does this process typically take customers hours, days, months, years)?
3. Understand your digital marketing goal(s). Your goal(s) should be specific, and it should be measurable. For example: “We want to increase online sales by 25% by November 1.” Or, “We want to increase qualified leads via social media by 10% by October 15.”
4. Understand where your target audience “lives” in digital. Do they spend most of their online time on Facebook? Watching TV? Reading websites or blogs? Where do they spend most of their digital time? Knowing this can help you concentrate your digital marketing efforts there. Ask long-time, trusted customers who are willing to give you honest answers.
5. Know what you want to say to them. Once you reach them, what is the primary message you want them to take from your brand? What do you want them to do after they’ve received your message? Keep in mind that attention spans are at a premium. You have just a few seconds to convey your message. Your message should be focused on your audience and what you can do to improve their lives—it’s not about you.
6. Know how you’re going to say it. What are the best ways you can reach your audience? Think about the tools you have in your belt—how can you use them effectively? Much of this will depend on where your audience lives in digital media. Some tools might include Facebook Live videos, Instagram photos, email newsletters, mobile giving campaigns, Twitter chats. Here are more ideas for how to promote your business online.
7. Remember: Mobile First. For 2016, the number of smartphone users is forecasted to reach 2.08 billion. The number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019. Also, about 30% of online purchases happen on mobile phones. Ensure that your website, your messaging, your advertising, social media marketing, email marketing—all your digital marketing—can be well-read and easily understood via mobile devices. If you have an online store (or even just a website), it’s especially important that you offer mobile users a “friction-free” experience. Walk through the process of buying a product via your website on a mobile device. Is it simple or frustrating? Navigate through your website on a mobile device. How does it look? Is it awkward? Is it easy to navigate?
8. Know what your resources are. Who will do the actual work of creating your website and managing it? Who will handle your social media marketing? Your email marketing? Who makes your company’s marketing decisions? Is the communication process between decision-maker and project manager streamlined or are there extra steps each person needs to take before moving forward with marketing? Take that into account when planning. What is your budget for marketing (for example, hiring people or outsourcing work, online advertising, website design, graphic design)? What data, stories, images or tools do you already have that can be used for marketing? What resources do you need to create or outsource? Don’t forget that you have plenty of free resources available to you as well.
9. Create a plan. Incorporate all these elements into your plan and include specific tactics and timelines. For content marketing, you might create a separate content marketing calendar (free resources like Trello are helpful for this).
10. Understand what you’re going to measure and how you’re going to measure it. It’s so important to measure the results of your digital marketing consistently and over time. Otherwise, how do you know whether or not the hard work you’re investing is paying off? If you aren’t meeting your goals, figure out why. Google Analytics is an important tool and can reveal much about your digital marketing processes, whether they may be broken and why. Consistently measure your digital marketing.
Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed by starting out in digital marketing. Everyone starts somewhere. Start small if you need to—even little efforts can make a big impact. The important thing to remember if you’re a Christian-owned business new to digital marketing: Just start.