Marketing Into the Printing Consumables Industry
Digital marketing is the practice of using your website, social media, and photos or videos to achieve your goals online. Your online goals can be brand awareness, customer engagement, and of course, sales. A digital marketing strategy is a series of actions to achieve those goals. Here is a step-by-step guide to digital marketing for the printing consumables industry:
- Know Your Customer
You may have a website, but do you know who is visiting your website? Are you sure your website visitor is able to navigate your website the way you want her to? Or are you making assumptions and hoping everything will simply “click” into place?
Many times, we get so caught up achieving “digital” status that we forget to consider for whom we are doing all this. You know your customers the best, so jot down how well you know your customers. Age and location are the main attributes of a buyer persona. But if companies buy directly from you, not end-users, consider company and job title as well.
Now you have the buyers’ persona, do your market research to check how you can appeal to these potential buyers. Maybe women are buying more from you. Maybe more orders are placed at nighttime. Look for such trends.
- Set up Your Goals
Now you know your customer. So plan your goals using the S.M.A.R.T method.
What do you want to achieve from your website? Maybe you want to grow your email list by another 1000 subscribers in three months. Is it S.M.A.R.T? Let’s check. Is it:
S – Specific? – Yes, grow the number of email subscribers.
M – Measurable? – Yes, add 1000 more subscribers.
A – Achievable? – Yes, using email marketing tactics on the website.
R – Realistic? – Yes, acquiring 1000 subscribers is a doable goal, as long as we offer perks like coupons, exclusive news, or more.
T – Timely? – Yes, you seek to achieve it within three months.
What do you want to achieve from your social media? Maybe you want to increase your engagement rate on Twitter to .02 percent within 3 months. Let’s check if this is a S.M.A.R.T goal as well. Is it:
S – Specific? – Yes, increase the engagement rate on Twitter.
M – Measurable? – Yes, increase that rate by up to .02 percent.
A – Achievable? – Yes, using a consistent content plan, as well as participation in Twitter chats and followers.
R – Realistic? – Yes, engagement rates between .02 percent and .09 percent are considered “good,” so .02 percent is a doable goal.
T – Timely? – Yes, again, you seek to achieve the increase within three months.
If your goals do not measure up to the S.M.A.R.T criteria, you will have a tough time planning and achieving them.
- Analyze your Current Brand Presence
What’s your online status? You can use MOZ marketing analytics tools like the Open Site Explorer to check your authority online (www.moz.com). This tool shows you who is linking to you and how, and also gives you scores with which to work. Think of it this way: the better your scores, the better your chances for getting leads.
GTMetrix, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, also help in analyzing your existing brand presence. Take stock of how your digital assets are faring.
- Spy on Your Competition
When you are in any business, there are many others, if not millions, competing against you. And most likely, you have your arch-rivals’ names on your fingertips. So use that bit of information to track down what they are doing online. Take a deep breath, and explore the following:
How is their website?
How many followers do they have on each social media channel?
Which social media channels are they using?
Are they viral? If so, where and how are they viral?
Which strategies are working for them, and which are not?
Take stock and list the findings along with the findings from the above steps. There might be instances where you may find your competitors are not really doing much. That doesn’t mean you stop this process. It simply means you find those competitors who are active online. And spy on them to emulate their success.
- Implement Your Findings – Stick to It!
Now you have your buyer personas and you have done your research. You have your list of goals. You know what your brand presence is and that of your competition. All this means you now know the following:
– What to put on your website.
– How the website navigation you put in makes your visitor spend more time in your website.
– When to post your blogs, social media posts, and so on
– What type of content you should be sharing online
– Where you should be engaging with your potential customers.
And of course, how to achieve your goals. Organize all findings into different categories, such as website, social media, accounts and so on. Each of these findings is a potential action that you need to take. So start implementing these findings right away.
Tweak your website for a better online experience for the visitor. Get a content writer to create a content calendar and start posting.
Stick to the plan. You will not see results overnight. A minimum of three months’ data is required to clearly mark any digital marketing plan a success or failure. So be patient…and consistent.
- Track, Analyze, Tweak
Sign up for Google Analytics, add the tracking code to your website, and verify your website is tagged correctly. Every month, look at the data in Google Analytics to analyze the traffic coming to your website.
There are broadly two types of metrics on Google Analytics – Vanity and Actionable. While you can track vanity metrics like the number of visits, page views, etc., it’s best to focus on actionable metrics like bounce rate, average time spent on the website, etc.
Vanity metrics make us happy, but don’t give us any insight on planning a better online strategy. Actionable metrics might make us feel bad, but gives more insight. For example, Bounce Rate is an actionable metric. A high Bounce Rate tells us there’s something on a page which is making the visitor go away too soon from the website. Either it’s not loading soon enough, or the content is not good enough. So now you can get your team to focus on it to make it better.
Another advantage of Google Analytics is you can create AND track your goals. Email sign-ups are a good place to start here. Don’t worry about spam or bot traffic here – valid signup signals the goal achievement, not any traffic hit.
There are many analytics tools you can use, but Google Analytics is all-encompassing. And it’s free too.
Over to You …
So the above is a step-by-step guide to creating a digital marketing plan for those in the Printing Consumables Industry. This is a beginner’s approach to digital marketing. This guide will serve best those who already have a website up and running. There are advanced tactics like press mentions, influencer marketing, blogger outreach programs, etc that one can employ to boost brand awareness online. To catch more of these advanced tactics, stay tuned for more of my posts on digital marketing.