The Digital Marketing Strategy saving Small Businesses thousands of dollars every month

Ok, so there is a chance I’m going to upset a few business owners initially (especially ones with no digital marketing strategy) but please bear with me, as I think we will end up being friends by the end of the post.

In this blog I’m going to show you the number one reason most small businesses are wasting thousands of dollars on marketing each month and how to fix it.

First things first!

Now to start off, let’s see a show of hands of everyone that is trying to sell their products or services to a stone-cold audience, to flat-out strangers that have never heard of your brand before? Don’t be shy, I guarantee you are not alone.

Let’s do a quick visualisation exercise. Picture yourself in a city, surrounded by busy business people.  I want you to imagine walking up to a random stranger and pitching your services.  Seriously give it a try, I’ll wait…..

…how did it go? Was it a success or was the person wondering who you were and why you were harassing them while they were trying to go about their day? Did you have a chance to run through all your services before they told you where to go? Did you feel like you were begging? See where I am going with this?

Ok, enough of the questions – the point is, if you are sending out ad’s into cyberspace to a cold audience (especially on Social Media) this is essentially what you are doing. You are wasting your marketing budget. You either have too much or it isn’t yours.

So, the number one reason that your conversion rates are low, your ad spend is high and your marketing is not working as effectively as it should is you are trying to sell your products or services to a cold audience, businesses that have never heard of your amazing brand before.

One area I want to address quickly and is one of the most important yet often overlooked aspects of using digital marketing, is that at the end of all the sales funnels, campaigns, emails and ads are people.

Digital marketing is just a channel that you use to attract new business.  We are all still people selling to people.  Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that digital marketing is going to replace that personalised interaction, as I said, it is merely a tool to help fascinate these conversations faster.

In fact, digital marketing has fundamentally changed how we can interact with prospects. With conversations now driving sales, Cost Per Conversation is as important as Cost Per Click or Cost Per Acquisition. Technology has enabled small businesses to engage with prospects like never before, and it’s the conversations which are happening that are speeding up the decision-making process.

So, how do we fix this?

With the following Digital Marketing Strategy Template – Customer Value Journey (CVJ).

Your new Digital Marketing Strategy

The goal of the CVJ is a framework which turns strangers into customers, into repeat customers, into promoters of your brand!

The CVJ was developed by Digital Marketer, a US based Research and Training company.  It is a framework that has been proven over and over again, international by small and large enterprise alike.

The framework – Customer Value Journey

As a Small Business Owner or Marketing Manager you have no doubt heard of a sales funnel.

Typically, these have 3 stages built around Awareness, Evaluation and Conversion.

What if I told you that there were actually 8 stages that you should be thinking about.

Awareness > Engage > Subscribe > Convert > Excite > Ascend > Advocate > Promote

Digital Marketing Strategy - The Customer Value Journey Framework

And then, what if I told you that building a Digital Marketing Strategy around these 8 stages would enable you to build better relationships, improve conversions, attract more of your idea customer and increase your customer lifetime value (CLV).

90% of marketing money is being wasted because business owners are trying to jump to straight to the Convert Stage.  They are asking for the sale before the prospect has even had time to get to know you, like you or trust you.  It would be like asking someone to marry you before even having a conversation.  If it’s creepy in real life, its creepy online.

Let’s look at these 8 stages in turn…

The 8 Stages of the Customer Value Journey

The Customer Value Journey is built around the actual stages of human relationship.

Stage 1 Awareness

Before a prospect can purchase your products or services, they need to know your brand exists.  If your prospects aren’t aware of you, how will they search for you, engage you or trust you.

So, the first step in crafting your Digital Marketing Strategy is to create Awareness.

How do we create Awareness?

Content Marketing is a perfect for building awareness.  Let me use this blog as an example.  You may have been scrolling through Facebook and the headline or image caught your eye.  You clicked on the ad and now you are reading this post.  I have identified an issue which might be a pain point for you. It’s enough of an issue that you are willing to give me 5 minutes to see if we have a solution for you.  You are now aware of the Media Evolution.

What other content is great for awareness?

  • Blogs
  • Social Media Updates
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Videos

What other Digital Marketing tactics do we use to create awareness?

  1. Digital Advertising – Running advertising on Google and social channels like Facebook, Instagram etc.
  1. Search Marketing – Optimising your website and content so that it appears in search results when prospects are searching for solutions to challenges they are facing in their business.
  1. Content Marketing – Producing Content that answers questions your prospects are seeking answers for.
  1. Social Media Marketing – Sharing the content across social media channels that is of interest to your target market.

Something to consider with Awareness Campaigns.

Awareness Campaigns are often thought of as ineffective because they are being measured by the wrong metrics.  An Awareness Campaign should NOT be measured by the amount of leads or sales it generates(Conversions).  With an Awareness Campaign we are looking to create awareness of your business or brand.

Pro Tip – You do not need 100’s of blog posts. 3 – 5 quality blog posts can drive traffic for years.

Step 2. Engage

In the Engage Stage your prospect is now Aware of your firm. They know who you are, but they still don’t know if they like or trust you yet.

This is where you start to interact with your prospects.  Engagement might look like

  • A prospect liking, sharing or commenting on a post on Facebook.
  • Doing a Google search and finding your latest blog posts that addresses that problem for them. They might even share your content across their social networks.
  • Seeing a native advertisement while reading articles online.
  • Sending you a message on your website

What Digital Marketing tactics to we use to drive engagement?

  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing

What KPI’s are we looking for?

In the Engagement Stage we are looking to build Custom Audiences which we can target later.

For example, in Facebook we can build a variety of custom audiences, these include –

  • Visitors to your website
  • Visitors who have taken an action on your website (view a product, add to cart, purchase – or custom actions)
  • People that have engaged on your Facebook page, liked a post, commented,
  • Facebook users who have watched one of your videos
  • People who have saved a post
  • And many more

With Google Ads we can install a Remarketing Tag and build audiences of people that we can market to later as well.  In fact most advertising platform has a tracking pixel of some description.

The same with native advertising platforms.

Pro Tip – Custom audiences are the secret to moving prospects along your digital marketing strategy.

Step 3. Subscribe

In the Subscribe Stage your prospects now know who you are, they have engaged with you and they might be starting to like you. We are now looking for some micro commitments.

You want to start collecting your prospects information, if you don’t do this it is likely you will never hear from them again.  Remember people are getting bombarded with advertising and marketing online constantly.  Attention spans are low and competition for their attention is greater than it has ever been before.

In order to capture your prospects information, we need to provide something of value that your prospect would be willing to exchange for their contact details.  We call this Value in Advance. This is generally called a Lead Magnet. This could be –

  • A downloadable product catalogue
  • An e-book or guide on how to use your products
  • A Discount Coupon

In each case the prospect would fill out a small lead form so we can capture their information.

Pro Tip – The goal is to move your prospects from social media into your CRM or email database.

Once you have your prospects contact information they have given you permission to start sharing information with them.

What Digital Marketing tactics do we use to increase your email database or CRM.

  • Content Marketing
  • Messenger Marketing
  • Digital Advertising

What KPI’s are we looking for? 

Here we want to

  • grow your Active Campaign email marketing lists
  • grow Messenger Broadcast lists
  • start segmenting your database

Step 4. Convert

In the Convert Stage we are looking for your new subscribers to increase their level of commitment. They will show us commitment in either money or time.

They now know you, like you and hopefully are starting to trust you.

This is the stage that businesses usually jump to with their advertising.  Hopefully you can see now why this isn’t the best strategy and why it is important first to start building a relationship with your prospect.

In the Convert Stage we initiate your Entry Point Offer.  An Entry Point Offer is a lower priced product or service that provides value to your prospect.  The purpose of the Entry Point Offer is not to necessarily make profit but to change the relationship from subscriber to client. When a prospect exchanges money with you, whether it is $9 or $99 a psychological shift happens and they are more likely to purchase higher priced products or services after.

You may have also heard this called a Loss Leader. Supermarkets do this all the time.  They offer a product at little to no profit because they know once you are in the store, you are going to purchase other products.

IMPORTANT

The Convert Stage is not where you are looking to make profit. The Convert Stage is purely Customer Acquisition.  Remember, customer acquisition is one of the most expensive activities you undertake as a business.

What Digital Marketing tactics to we use to convert prospects to customers.

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Messenger Marketing
  • Digital Advertising

The Convert Stage is where you first see the value in the Customer Value Journey.   You may have noticed that the Convert Stage has a return path back to Engage.  Not all prospects are going to take you up on your Entry Point Offer and that’s ok.  The prospect may not be ready or that particular EPO wasn’t what the prospect was looking for.  We use re-engagement campaigns to keep your prospects in your funnel.  Remember we have their contact details so re-marketing to them is essentially free, we don’t want to have to go back to the beginning an spend more money on awareness.  We simply test other offers (within your service list) until we find the right one.

Step 5. Excite

This is a critical stage now that the client has made a transaction with you.

Your only job now is to impress the socks off of your new client. You are looking to build good will and trust.

If your new client doesn’t feel like they have received value from this transaction, it is likely to be their only transaction, and this is a wasted opportunity.  Therefore, we need to move them through the Customer Value Journey.

It is essential that your customer experiences value as this is the stepping stone to starting to increase the value of the transaction by purchasing your core products or services.

Exciting your customers could be as simple as a well-structured video on-boarding campaign that talks them through how to get the most out of a piece of software or how to get the best value of working with you.  It could be a simple welcome pack with note book, compliance calendar and branded pen.

What Digital Marketing Strategy tactics do we use to help Excite customers.

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing

Step 6. Ascend

We’ve all heard the phrase “…would you like fries with that?”

If you have heard this before then you know exactly what we are doing in the Ascend Stage.

By the Ascend Stage you have invested time, money and resources in to generating new customers and ensuring that they are receiving value from you.  Up until this point it is possible that you are yet to make any profit and depending on the competition in your area you may have actually lost a few dollars to acquire new clients, and that’s ok. We’re looking to build long-term relationships here. You need to focus on the Lifetime Value of your customer.

The Ascend Stage is where your new customer is ready to spend more and more frequently.  This is where you are selling your core products/services.  Once your customer engages your core offer it’s time to present them with other relevant products.

We want to increase the Lifetime Value of your clients.  This is where we up-sell, cross sell, re-sell.

What Digital Marketing tactics to we use to help Ascend customers.

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Digital Advertising

Step 7. Advocate

An advocate is someone who speaks positively about your brand.  They may not scream it from the roof tops, but when asked they will talk favourably about your business.

Now that you have your new ideal customers that have made several profitable purchases with you it is time to put some automation in place that encourages your loyal customers to advocate your brand.

This could be implementing a Review or Testimonial Campaign where we ask your best clients for video testimonials.

Digital Marketing tactics to we use to get more advocates for your company

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing

Step 8. Promote

The last stage of your digital marketing strategy is Promotion. Promoters are different to Advocates in that they are actively talking about your firm.

Your new client is so happy and confident in your services that they are going to recommend you to family, friends and colleagues.

This puts your brand in front of a new audience and because you have been referred your clients referrals are more likely to trust you.  This new audience is now ‘Aware’ of you and as such they have just started their own Customer Value Journey with you, that’s right back to Stage one – your new Sales Funnel is filling itself.

In addition, promoters can also come from an incentive promotion or affiliate program.

Similarly, promoters are great for growing your brand, remember Customer Acquisition is expensive so the more promoters that you have generating new business the better, they are filling the Awareness Stage for you.

Digital Marketing tactics to we use to get more promoters for your business

  • Email Marketing

The KPI here is obviously to get as many happy clients promoting your business as possible.

Wrapping it up

Inconclusion, hopefully you can see how you can see how having more conversations with prospects can help to build relationships, lower your acquisition costs and increase your customer life-time value. Especially when you have a digital marketing strategy framework like the Customer Value Journey in place.

If your business would like assistance in generating more customers or you would like to know how the Customer Value Journey could help Double the Size of Your Business book a free 20-minute Discovery Call today.

Spencer Toogood

Spencer has over 20 years experience in the creative industry and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their business online with innovative design and marketing.

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