A digital marketing strategy is a plan to build your digital presence in order to increase traffic to your website and ultimately to your store. You don’t need to have a background in marketing, social media or even coding in order to have a digital strategy — just follow these four steps.
Step 1: Research and Assess Your Business
• Research your competitors online. Jay Diamond, Senior Director of Sales at Netsertive, always tells his clients to start by researching their competitors’ sites and strategies. That includes both independent retailers and big-box stores.
• List out your brands, upholstery options, services, anything that makes your store unique. Write it all out on a piece of paper to help yourself think clearly about what your company’s mission is and how it sets you apart from your competitors.
• Use Google Keyword Planner to choose 10-20 keywords that you will target on your website. Think like a consumer for a minute and consider the different routes he or she might take to find your store. Maybe they’re looking for an accent chair or they’re after a certain brand. Use your list to create a targeted list of keywords. Diamond says the more specific you can be, the better. “When we use general keywords, it doesn’t necessarily define what that shopper is looking for,” Diamond says.
• Go after keywords related to local searches. Local searches like “furniture store Indianapolis” edge out online-only retailers and big-box stores that aren’t in the area.
Step 2: Beef Up Your Website
If you can check off everything on this list, your website’s in good shape.
• Website is responsively designed. Search engines prioritize responsively designed websites, and they create a better user experience.
• All of your company’s information (address, hours of operations, phone number) is present on every page as well as on a specific Contact page. “You need to understand why customers are going to your site and what information they want right off the bat,” says Dan Scalco, Director of Marketing at Digitalux.
• The site loads quickly. Go to developers. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
• Customers love the site. Reach out to past or current customers and ask about their experience using the site. Is it easy to navigate? Is all of the information correct?
Step 3: Sign up for Google My Business
It cannot be stressed enough: If you want to appear in local search results on Google, you need to have a Google My Business page. Scalco says Google prioritizes websites with a Google page over those without one, and Search Engine Journal found that 32.5 percent of search traffic goes to that first result in a search. If you don’t have a Google page but your competitor does, you will always be ranked below them and lose that 32 percent.
To sign up, go to www.google.com/business.
Step 4: Create Content With Your Keywords
To rank for those desired keywords, they need to be used throughout your website, which means you need to be a content creator. Here’s how.
• Add your keywords to your page titles, headlines, body paragraphs and meta descriptions. Adapt your keywords to your content. “Google is smart enough to know synonyms by now,” Scalco explains, so don’t use “lighting showroom Milwaukee” in your text. Use variations such as “Milwaukee’s favorite lighting showroom” or “lighting showroom in downtown Milwaukee.” Write naturally for the consumer, not the search engine, Scalco says.
• Start a blog. It’s a lot of work, but the payoff can be huge. “A blog allows you the ability to create content in any way possible,” Scalco says. Choose topics based on your keywords so you can naturally use them throughout the text.
Once you start blogging regularly and targeting those keywords, you will begin to see your website traffic pick up. It will not happen overnight. Diamond says most digital marketing takes about six months to see real results. But these steps will lay the foundation for a strong digital marketing strategy that you can continue to build on as you become a more seasoned marketer.
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