Do you want your business to make more sales? If your answer is Yes, then digital planning is something you might want to consider. This article will explain why.
20 reasons why you should plan your digital progression
Due to the emergence and prominence of social media and other digital channels, most businesses have the opportunity to compete directly with their competition, which is great.
The downside is that “digital” is a very crowded marketplace, and for this reason and a multitude of other digital related reasons, it has become far more important to develop your “brand” and plan a digital sales/ marketing strategy.
We have outlined 20 reasons below why planning for and having a digital strategy for “brand development” and marketing is so important in terms of generating sales
- It helps you create a memorable “brand”
- It helps you focus on the importance and power of a well- structured, well-written website
- It helps you to create a good first impression and image
- It helps you understand your business strengths
- It helps you identify your USP’s
- It helps you define and deliver clear sales messages online & offline
- It helps you with your sales positioning – i.e. services offered, prices charged etc
- It helps you create strong foundations for growth
- It helps you incorporate basic but fundamental SEO considerations and a plan for SEO growth
- It helps you produce a well-planned keyword strategy
- It helps you target the right audience
- It helps you look at user experience elements to increase usage and enquiries
- It helps you utilise the digital marketing channels efficiently, effectively and cost effectively (in terms of both time and / or money)
- It helps you plan content that will generate likes, shares, connection requests etc
- It helps you plan a good cross-channel content distribution strategy
- It helps you align your offline activity and different types of online activity to deliver a professional image
- It helps you to differentiate between sales and marketing and get the two disciplines working together and complimenting each other effectively
- It helps you formulate and become confident with your sales pitch
- It helps you recognise the value of effective reporting and monitoring
- Last but not least it helps you to “join up digital” and have a more cohesive, cross channel approach.
Why is digital planning so important?
If you ask a selection of small business owners how they are doing with new sales, many of them are likely to tell you that they could do better.
However, if you ask them if they do digital planning and have a digital strategy in place for sales – many will tell you No!
Digital planning should be an important consideration for business owners. This is because in order for digital activity to work really well and generate visitors and/or enquiries that could lead to sales, a good digital strategy is likely to be required.
Making sales has never been easy and competition is fierce. This is especially true in the digital marketplace, which has been one of the main areas of sales opportunity for most small business for a long time.
There are so many digital marketing options available to choose from these days. There are also numerous businesses trying to raise awareness on the various platforms. It is hard to know what to do and how to stand out from the competition and without a good strategy, gaining traction in the digital arena is very difficult.
Digital planning has become even more important than ever recently, as so much more business activity is taking place online and the digital marketplace has become even more competitive !
In order to make good sales from digital activity you need to get in front of the right audience, with the right message that encourages them to interact with your business.
To succeed from a sales standpoint in digital, you need to find ways to reach your target audience and you need to deliver an image and message that makes your business stand out from the crowd.
If you want to achieve this cost effectively and relatively quickly you are likely to require a solid sales strategy and good digital planning.
Are your current results from digital disappointing?
If so, this could be because you are undertaking digital activity, but do not have a good digital strategy in place. Digital planning could change this and help you improve results!
When we use the term digital, we class your domain name, website, social media, SEO and digital marketing all under the digital umbrella. When you start to look at it like this, you can soon see why digital planning is such an important factor, as far as sales are concerned.
- One thing that is really important to remember, is that your digital activity will work better when there is a solid base from which to grow. So, things like your brand image, website social media profiles and keyword infrastructure need to be very good.
- Another important tip, is that digital activity is also generally way more successful when the digital assets and various digital marketing channels are working in conjunction with each other.
The above points are two things that people often don’t take note of, and we see businesses get these wrong, time and again. This leads to what we call “ the leaky bucket issue”.
This is basically where much of the money, effort and time businesses pour into digital is spilling out the other end because there are holes everywhere. It is quite literally akin to pouring litres and litres of water into a bucket that never fills up, because it has holes in it!
Digital planning and brand planning are what we believe businesses should be looking at in order to improve things in terms of digital progression and sales. This is because good planning is what stops water (or time and/or money) falling out of the bottom of the bucket.
In essence, planning is the glue that is required to join up the different elements of digital and seal the bucket. This is why undertaking digital planning and brand planning should help you maximise returns from your sales, marketing and digital activity. In turn, this should lead to an increase in enquiries and in sales.
So…what is brand planning?
- There are various definitions of brand planning, but we define “brand planning” as “the creation of the strategy for the successful development of a brand”.
- We believe that a good brand development strategy requires three main areas to work in unison – namely branding, sales and marketing. To add to this, it also needs to incorporate a good “website build”.
- Also, our view is that to produce successful results, it needs to be creative, consistent, cohesive and cost effective.
- Essentially, when focused on the digital marketplace brand planning and digital planning are very similar but with brand planning, the “brand” and brand values are always considered.
Starting as you mean to go on
The purpose of brand planning is to help develop a brand effectively so that it meets short-term and long-term goals.
In the SME market these goals often revolve around increasing awareness locally, or within a specific business sector, and driving more sales from a particular audience.
Brand planning is therefore very important for SME’s in terms of helping to create strong foundations from which to drive awareness and sales.
However, many small businesses don’t have any form of brand development strategy in place, let alone a detailed digital planning and sales and marketing strategy. This can be for a variety of reasons.
- Often, it’s because they don’t want to spend money on planning and instead, they just want to get on and do the doing.
- Or, they may think they don’t need to “plan” because they know they only have a limited budget and think to themselves “why plan if you’re just starting small?
- Sometimes, they simply don’t consider “planning” because no-one told them how important it is.
So, instead of planning, they set off doing things, bit by bit, by themselves and/or by outsourcing to small agencies or freelancers, covering different areas, such as design, web development, social media, and content creation. If this sounds familiar, you are certainly not alone in doing things this way.
It’s likely, that more often than not, business owners do this with the mindset that they will be able to improve on things at a later date, when they have more available funds.
This can however be a very costly mistake to make, both in time wasted and money spent!
This is because, without a good brand development strategy or digital planning in place, businesses often don’t generate the sales enquiries they had hoped to generate. Then, later down the line, instead of being able to improve on what they are doing and incorporate a more professional and joined-up approach, they find themselves experiencing sales difficulties.
Once this happens, they have little cash to make improvements and just have to carry on hobbling along on the sales and marketing side.
This is not a good position for any new or fledgling business to be in, and lack of sales and cash flow problems are sadly factors that lead to the many small business failures that take place in the UK each year.
It is more important than ever to have a good brand development and digital planning strategy in place now. This is because due to Covid-19 there is more necessity for businesses to have a strong online presence because more people are using the internet more regularly and shopping more online. This also means there should be more opportunity for those businesses that do create a strong digital presence.
However, the flip side of this is that it means it is becoming harder and harder for businesses to stand out from the crowd in the digital business marketplace because it is becoming increasingly competitive.
There is therefore a lot to be said for considering your “brand development” strategy at the outset, or at least as soon as you realise you are not generating enough awareness, enquiries or sales.
Won’t digital planning be expensive for a small business?
In short – No, not if you are serious about making your mark as a business in the digital sector and serious about using digital channels to generate sales. This is because the ROI (return on investment) should be very good in the long-term.
However, it all depends which way you look at things. There will be a cost to using experienced specialists for digital planning, of course there will, but some questions to ask yourself are :-
- How many more enquiries will it help generate?
- How many more sales will it help you make?
- How much will it help raise your brand awareness?
- How will it help you compete against your main competitors?
- How will it help improve your brand image?
- How much time will it save you on wasted activity?
- How are you going to improve digital results without planning?
It is true, that small businesses often do have to do things step by step when it comes to digital and sales and marketing activity. Also, you can only work with the budget you have available.
However, knowing what steps to take and when to take them, is something that can make a really positive difference to sales results. This is one area in which low cost digital planning can really help – even for very small businesses with low budgets.
A good brand development and digital planning strategy will help you decide what things to do and at what stage, and it will also help you focus your energies in the right areas. This in itself could save a lot of time and money in the long-run.
Also, brand planning / digital planning should help you to create very strong digital and sales and marketing foundations from which to grow.
The focus with brand planning should always be on the objectives, short-term and long-term. With a high percentage of small businesses these objectives will be to increase sales. Therefore, when devising brand development strategies for the start-up and SME market, “sales” will usually be at the heart of the strategy and everything else will revolve around this.
You don’t have to do everything at once though. A big part of digital planning is about planning how to spend your digital development and marketing budget most wisely.
It is also about trying to maximise returns from whatever budget you do have, with a view to reinvesting in more digital activity to help your business grow.
If you really don’t have the budget to invest in using specialists for digital planning, then you can at least spend time planning yourself. It can often be far better to spend time learning what works well on social media for example, than diving straight in and spending lots of time and energy on posts that do not gain good results.
Ultimately, having a good brand development and digital planning strategy could potentially be your springboard to sales and in turn your future business success.
Taking a cohesive approach
Sales made through digital channels are probably one of the most cost-effective ways to sell, but it is not easy to generate a good flow of enquiries that are likely to lead to sales, unless you have a brand development strategy in place which incorporates all the necessary elements of digital planning.
Brand development isn’t just about digital though, as outlined in the above list. Ensuring that your offline sales and marketing activity is being planned and undertaken in the most professional manner and is aligned with online activity, is a key consideration of successful brand development.
Researching the market and looking at your brand name, tagline, logo, brand values, brand identity, current website and social media should be the starting point for existing businesses who want to improve their brand development. For start-ups it is the same areas, but starting from scratch.
After this there are all sorts of things to consider and three of the key things are as follows
- Your USP’s
- Your keyword plan
- Your product / service offering
Why is a good website so important?
All marketing roads (or at least a vast majority of them) lead to your website in one way or another. This is true for both online and offline marketing activity and this is why a good website is so important!
We believe your website should sit centrally to everything you do in terms of sales and marketing and if it is developed well it will be pivotal to your sales success.
It is one of your key foundation stones as far as brand development and digital planning is concerned.
Having a good website that can act as a sales and marketing tool does not need to be incredibly expensive though. It just needs to be well thought out, well planned and well developed and designed. It. also needs to deliver the right messages for your business and ideally it needs to have strong foundations for growth.
Obviously the more complex the website, the more expense will need to be incurred and if you want a website that is going to work well for SEO this will be more expensive than a basic website. However you can start at whatever point works for your business and grow your website as budget allows.
The most important things are getting the foundations right from a sales and marketing perspective (in line with available budget) and having a plan for future growth.
If you want to take web development seriously and build or redesign your website so that it is set to become a focal point and hub for future business activity, then we think good digital planning is absolutely vital.
In this scenario, planning a website build or redesign that is set to work well for your business in terms of generating enquiries and sales, is something that will involve many different elements of the planning process.
Why is it worth investing in brand/ digital planning services?
Planning a brand development strategy and undertaking in depth digital planning is a very good idea, but there is no getting away from the fact that it will take you time and money to do well.
However, the results that you will get from making the improvements are likely to produce a very good return on investment and put you in a strong position for sales growth going forward!
Also, once the strategies start to take shape, you may find that the time and money being spent on planning could actually be saved in other areas.
A well-planned brand development and digital planning strategy that is implemented effectively is highly likely to lead to both short-term and long-term sales improvements and increased brand awareness.
It will also mean that your brand will be seen by more people from your target audience on an ongoing basis.
Do you want your business to improve its digital activity & sales in 2021?
If the answer is Yes, then now is a very good time to consider your digital planning and brand development strategy!
You can find out more about what we do at brand planning
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