Digital marketing is such a powerful means to connect with and influence potential customers that businesses can ignore it only at their own peril. But when is the right time to start planning your digital marketing activities?
Right when you start planning your business!
Really? What could go wrong if digital marketing is not considered at the outset?
Start at Leisure, Repent at Leisure
Early strategizing has a huge impact on your business’s long-term performance. This was a lesson that was brought home by one of our new clients, a home services company.
The client’s business plan had been to connect homeowners with home service providers like plumbers, electricians, movers, etc., via the web, and to this end, the client had set up a website. But the website did not see any activity even years after it had gone live. Assuming that customers would find mobile apps handier, the client had commissioned them as well but there had been no takers for the apps either. The client was at a loss as to what to do next when he approached us for help.
We found that the website had been set up without taking into account the various factors that enable website discovery and customer engagement.
- There were no web pages catering to location-specific searches. If you googled a specific service in a particular location, such as “Electricians in Alexandria” or “Electricians near me,” the search engine results did not show any web pages from the client’s website, since location-specific pages were unavailable.
- Target keywords were not used in the page content, meta tags, and header tags. Google checks this content in these places to gauge the relevance of a page against a particular keyword.
- The web pages had a low word count and the content itself was not up to par. Only basic information such as name, address, and phone number were included for service providers, which does not help much from an SEO standpoint.
- Crucial SEO signals were also not incorporated in the website. As far as the search engines were concerned, the website was in a blindspot.
We looked up competitor websites and performed a high-level analysis of their SEO and marketing strategies. We shared our findings with the client and it was then that he came to know of his strongest competitors and their product features. If he had known what he was up against, he would have made a savvier competitor, with well-thought-out product features and marketing strategies.
Belated and Costly Problem Fixing
Based on the audit findings, we drew up a set of recommendations to be implemented on the website. Without making these changes, digital marketing efforts would not be effective. The client carefully considered the list of recommendations and came to the conclusion that it made perfect sense to implement them. Now came the hard part.
Implementing the recommendations called for major website rework, including the redesign of a few key web pages. This was disturbing news for the client as he had considered the website development and website design as done, with no more rework needed. This was not the case now. More money had to be invested to make the website ready for his target audience.
Mobile App Rework
The mobile apps had been built based on the existing website architecture and functionality. Any changes in the underlying architecture or functionality would mean that the mobile apps would also need rework.
Digital Marketing Is Not an Afterthought
This is a story that many of you could relate to if you haven’t accounted for the numerous ways in which digital marketing could impact the performance of your website or apps.
What could have made the difference here?
Digital marketing has to drive your business from the word go. Had a digital marketing plan been in place before website development, there would have been no nerve-racking changes later. A lot of money could have been saved.
Even more importantly, the website would have seen user activity within a couple of months of development and the client would have started generating revenue from the website early on.
The mobile apps could have been built after the website had gained a good amount of traction. When users get value from the website, they might want to trial the apps as well.
It is true that even now, with so much awareness of digital marketing, many start-ups give little thought to digital marketing until the website/app development is complete.
Hopefully, this true story will help raise awareness among business owners, project managers, and/or developers on the need for considering digital marketing strategies at the time of developing an online presence for a business.
If you have questions or any digital marketing problems to unravel, feel free to reach out to us.