You may wonder if digital marketing can help your professional service-based business succeed. The simple answer is: yes!
Marketing is about connecting with people in the right place, with the right message, and at the right time. Today’s potential clients turn to the internet for advice, information, and recommendations more than ever.
Small-business professionals who embrace digital marketing are well-positioned to succeed. Digital marketing empowers therapists, healthcare providers, lawyers, consultants and coaches, financial advisors, realtors, and related professionals to grow their reach and build trust with potential clients by creating a solid online presence. In addition, digital marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods, making it an attractive option for many service-based businesses.
But what exactly constitutes digital marketing? What are your digital marketing channel options? And how do you choose the right channels to set your business up for success? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing uses online channels to reach and engage potential and current customers. The goal of digital marketing, like traditional marketing, is to create relationships that lead to conversions.
Online marketing involves more than creating a website or posting on social media. To succeed, your digital marketing plan must center around your business goals and ideal client and be consistently implemented.
Digital Marketing Channel Options
Professional service businesses can use many digital marketing channels to reach their target audiences. Some digital marketing channels that are particularly well-suited for service-based companies include:
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Search Marketing (SEO)
- Digital Advertising/Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
- Online Community Marketing
How to Choose Digital Marketing Channels for Your Business
Many digital marketing channels are available to businesses. The right mix of channels will vary depending on your marketing goals, ideal client, resources, and other significant factors. The following can help you establish what type of digital marketing is most sustainable and effective for your unique business.
What are your marketing goals?
First, it is essential to have a clear understanding of your marketing goals. Measuring success and tracking progress can be difficult without a well-defined goal.
Popular goals for digital marketing include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Foster client engagement
- Acquire and convert more leads
- Get more website traffic
- Increase revenue
- Retain more clients
- Build expert/industry authority
- Provide customer support
- Get more reviews and testimonies
- Increase referrals
It is important to remember that achieving all of these simultaneously with a small team or limited resources is unrealistic. Choose your top three goals to focus on consistently for a set period. Once achieved, build upon those successes by expanding with a few more different goals.
Who is your ideal client?
Marketing to everyone is a recipe for disaster. By trying to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to no one. The key to successful marketing is defining your ideal perfect client. Ideal clients are those who are most likely to use your products or services and who will benefit the most from what you have to offer.
To define your ideal client, start by considering who your best clients are. Who are the ones that give you the most business? Who are the ones that are the most loyal and recommend your company to others? Once you have identified your best clients, take a closer look at them. What do they have in common? What needs or problems do you help them solve? Why do they choose you over your competitors?
When you clearly understand your perfect client, you can create marketing campaigns that speak directly to them and address their specific needs. In turn, you will attract new clients that are a good fit for your business and increase your bottom line.
Remember that your ideal client may change over time as your business grows and evolves. As long as you keep your target audience in mind, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are always focused and effective.
Where do your ideal clients spend the majority of their time online?
Marketing to your ideal client can be tricky, so you want to ensure you’re investing your time and energy in the right places. To determine which digital marketing platforms are best for your perfect client, identify how they use technology, the content they prefer, and where they spend time online.
First, it is vital to recognize that ideal clients still use emails, websites, and online search engines. These digital channels are the pillars of long-term marketing success. Believe it or not, it is 100% possible to grow a highly successful business without ever using social media!
While social media is not required, it does play a valuable role in digital marketing. Social media can grow brand awareness, engage with potential and existing clients, promote events and services, and drive ideal clients to action.
So, how do you determine which social media platforms are best for your ideal client? First, look at the demographics of each platform to see if they align with your target market. For example, if your best clients are millennials, you may want to consider platforms like TikTok and Instagram. If you work with baby boomers, you may want to consider platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Next, look at your own insights to see who is using your current platforms. If your ideal client is more active on your Facebook than on Instagram or Twitter, it makes more sense to focus your efforts on Facebook.
It is also to always keep in mind the platforms you are already using. If your choices already align with your ideal client, but you do not see the results you expect, do not dismiss them. Instead, look at the significant factors currently influencing social media success: type of content, level of engagement, and social media conversion strategies.
What type of content to are you sharing?
Marketing in the digital age requires a keen understanding of your audience’s various platforms and how to utilize each one best. For example, if your audience likes long-form articles or blog posts, Medium or LinkedIn might be good choices. If they prefer shorter updates or news items, Twitter or Facebook could be better options. If they love educational or demo videos, TikTok and YouTube are great choices. Similarly, Instagram is ideal for sharing images and short videos but not for sharing longer educational content.
The key is to understand what type of content your audience enjoys paired with the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and match the content accordingly. By doing so, your businesses can ensure that your content reaches the right audience in the most valuable way possible.
What resources can you commit to digital marketing?
Marketing is critical for any professional service-based business, and there are many digital channels to reach customers. However, not all channels require the same level of investment, and it’s essential to consider your budget and what resources you have at your disposal. Vital resources include your time, budget, and expertise when choosing marketing channels.
First and foremost, the time required to create and manage individual digital channels is critical to consider. This includes time for both the initial set-up and ongoing maintenance. For example, social media platforms and online communities are quick to set up but require ongoing content creation, daily monitoring, and user engagement. On the other hand, websites and email marketing using automation take a little longer to set up but require far less time to maintain.
Another factor to consider is your marketing budget. For example, suppose you’re a small business with a limited budget; you might want to focus on organic search, email marketing, and social media. You might want to focus on paid search and display advertising if you’re a large company with a well-established brand.
A final factor to consider is your level of expertise and comfort with each platform. Suppose you enjoy using a specific channel suitable to your ideal client and understand how to use it for effective marketing. In that case, it would be an excellent fit for your business. But suppose you’re not very comfortable or familiar with how to use a different ideal platform. You can allot time and resources for training or hire someone to assist you with it.
Some channels may require more time, effort, and expertise to execute correctly. It’s about the best fit for your business, making the most of what you have, and investing in more ideal channels as you grow.
What digital channels are your competitors using?
As communication increasingly becomes more digital, it’s important to research your competitors to see what digital channels they’re using. This insight will give you insights into which channels are most effective for reaching your target market. It will also help you to avoid duplicate efforts and focus your resources on the most effective digital outlets. It can also help you identify proven ideal channels they are neglecting for a competitive advantage.
What are your marketing expectations?
As a professional service provider, you naturally desire your digital marketing to produce quick results with a high rate of return. Unfortunately, not all channels are equally effective. While some online marketing channels may have a higher upfront cost, others may provide a more consistent or valuable return over time.
For example, a paid channel such as Google Ads may be your best option if you are looking for faster bookings or sales. However, suppose you want to build brand awareness or create long-term customer loyalty. Email marketing, blogging, and social media channels may be more effective in that case.
One channel that is particularly effective in terms of ROI is email marketing. Email communication provides a direct way to reach potential and current clients. Email is relatively inexpensive to set up and maintain compared to other channels such as television or radio. Also, email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels for lead conversion and long-term client retention.
Remember that it’s essential to test different channels and see what works best for your business. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to digital marketing, so embrace the need to experiment until you find the right combinations for your business.
Also, it is essential to remember that just as traditional marketing takes time to generate results, so does digital marketing. While it is not impossible to achieve rapid results with some digital marketing campaigns, it usually takes months of consistency and tweaking to see meaningful results.
Digital marketing is essential for professional service-based businesses that want to reach their target market online. By choosing the right mix of digital marketing channels and executing a well-planned strategy; you can achieve significant and sustainable growth for your business.
Unsure which channels to choose. At Dreamtime Marketing, we can help you identify the best channels for your business and create a digital marketing plan to achieve your desired results. Get started with a Discovery Call.
ABOUT DREAMTIME MARKETING
Dreamtime Marketing is a Baton Rouge-based marketing consultancy that works with service-based professionals and non-profit organizations to develop and strengthen in-house marketing programs. We offer a range of services to ignite your marketing program, from single strategy sessions to monthly coaching, marketing training, and done-for-you marketing services. Discover the best options for you when you schedule a free discovery consultation.
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