The Digital Marketing Workflow
To be successful marketing your business online in the long term, you need a digital marketing workflow.
What is a digital marketing workflow? It's a set of simple steps that will help you get going with your marketing and maintain direction once it's underway.
This is the framework that I've developed over my 12+ years of online marketing. It breaks down into four simple phases that mark the natural flow of how to create and maintain momentum when marketing your business on the internet.
The four steps are Decide, Create, Share, Evaluate.
The first step is the most fun, most difficult, most critical, and most overlooked. Deciding is thinking about how digital marketing fits in with your overall business goals. This is the strategy part where you identify the direction you want to go in and the tools that will get you there.
Despite the number of people who like developing strategies (I think because it comes without responsibility.) most businesses don't spend the necessary time thinking about what they're doing. Usually the extent of the thinking is "I need this," followed by a scramble to get whatever this is in place.
The fact is, you don't necessarily need a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or even a website. Many businesses have done fine without each of them, even in the digital age. What you do need are the right tools to help you achieve what you want to accomplish. The only way to know what those are is to think about them.
After you've decided where you're going and how to get there comes the task of actually building stuff, even if that stuff is only bits and bytes. It could be as simple as creating and customizing a Facebook account, or as complex as an online storefront with built in processes and logic.
For most businesses, actual implementation of the technology shouldn't a hurdle. There are many tools available and the components are well understood. Cities of any size have locals who can perform the work, or it can be outsourced to any part of the globe.
What can be a stumbling block in this phase are the politics and decision making processes of a business. Any business with more than one person has politics which can get in the way of anything from choosing color schemes to deciding which departments control which areas of a website.
If you've given short shrift to your Decide phase, this is where you'll pay for it. Without a clear strategy driving your process, your doubts and everyone's opinions will pull the project from all sides. It will either become so convoluted as to be unintelligible, or focused on a place that you don't want to go. With the hours spent piling up, indecision and backtracking is going to cost actual money.
Build a beautiful website or create an awesome app, and you would think that success has arrived. That's were you would be wrong, revealed to you slowly, day by day, with flat traffic lines.
I know Mark Zuckerberg and those other guys in the business magazines got gobs of traffic overnight just by sharing links with a few friends. Problem is, you aren't Mark Zuckerberg, don't have friends with that kind of Klout, and aren't the subject of magazine articles. And you know, it wouldn't be news if everyone was doing it. The fate of most digital marketing efforts is anonymity.
To escape that fate you need to to relentlessly promote yourself, to the right people, in the right way. It's not particularly difficult, but it is time consuming, and must be done.
Here is where most will fail.
Once you have people actually using your digital media, don't stop. The hard parts are done. You've made a start and achieved some success, or at least found out what doesn't work- if you pay attention to the results.
This task is much easier than it once was. Google Analytics is easy, ubiquitous, and free. You do have to set it up, then actually use it.
Using it doesn't mean logging on every week or month and looking at the overall traffic graphic. That won't do you much good at all. You need to set up goals, figure out the reports that matter to you, and track correlate your efforts in your first three steps to what you're seeing here.
After that, start over.