In this Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing: Introduction we will refute that Digital Marketing often hosts a placebo effect with mysterious origins and untraceable returns. Including services that are confusing, and metrics that somehow link investment and sales. Like any investment, you need a way to directly measure marketing investment’s effect on your bottom line. If all this is true, why even attempt to set up any form of online marketing in the first place?

The answer is simple: because if you don’t, you don’t exist to your customer. And if you don’t exist to the customer, you will not make sales.

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The best digital marketing businesses look at the customer process, from their investment, right through to:

  1. How customers find out about their brand

  2. Where their customer’s intent to buy is triggered

  3. Where customers execute their purchase

  4. How to gain their brand loyalty through after-sales experience and customer relationship management.

According to the sage wisdom provided by Malcolm Gladwell, best selling Author of “Outliers – The Story of Success”, if you practice a skill for 10,000 hours you will have mastered that skill. This would be the case if you were learning how to play chess, or pursuing your ambition for skydiving, but this same adage does not extend to digital marketing.

Instead, the two variables that should be measured are;

Your monetary investment = Hours spent,

Your customer’s purchase = The skill/game to be mastered.

If you spend $10,000 trying to find out what your customer will buy (want), you will burn your marketing dollars very rapidly. To avoid wasting your money trying to find out precisely what your customer wants, instead investigate ‘why’ they would want to purchase from you, how value is provided through their purchase, and the relationship you can build with them after their purchase.

Identifying the ’Why’ around your customer’s purchase, is the core purpose of an effective digital marketing strategy. To eliminate wasted investment, therefore requires an effective marketing agency that observes, measures and adapts. Learning instead of guessing.

Learning is conducted through analysis of the ‘Sales Pipeline’ – i.e the customer’s current position along their purchasing journey.
Each position within the process is a stage within the marketing ‘Sales Pipeline’.

Therefore, without this Sales Pipeline, your sales are actually susceptible to the same placebo effect and untraceable returns that many attribute to using online marketing agencies.


Over the next 4 articles, we will shed light on the best practices for small business wanting to know more about digital marketing:

How can you cultivate your sales pipeline & produce an effective marketing strategy?

This blog series will reveal insights on generating measurable, transparent results – cultivated from our expertise within each step.

To do this, each week’s topic will address the 4 sections of the Sales Pipeline respectively, from Awareness to Loyalty. Each section of the Sales Pipeline will show you exactly how to use the marketing tools (such as Facebook and Email) purposed for that stage of the pipeline – to create an extensive guide to digital marketing.

The overarching theme will prove that, by using the right tools, you will be able to maximise a measurable cause and effect derived directly from each section. These sections do not produce sales on their own, instead each form parts, that when combined, shape the sales process the user experiences throughout their purchase.

The Sales Funnel and it’s supplementing tools appear below.

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Awareness

First impressions form the basis of the relationship you will have with your customer. While these interactions are not always controllable – your marketing campaigns can leverage the perception of a new audience. In this guide we will use the social platforms outlined above to tell your brand’s story and express your product value immediately. Not doing so in an engaging, emotive way will neglect your image – while wasting both your capital, and your customer’s time.

This is the first week’s topic and the first section of the Sales Pipeline – Awareness.

Intent & Demand

The key to taking advantage of a user’s intent to purchase, is by being visible when they require solutions or answers. This intent is spurred by the users’ own desire to buy, research, or investigate topics, products or services online. Therefore, your website should be visible on Google when the customer types words or phrases into the search bar that pertain to your brand. These words entered are keywords, and ranking for them – i.e positioning your brand at the top of the results – will make up the bulk of your search engine goals.

Where do customers look when they want their problems solved or their questions answered? Search engines. Specifically, Google.

These tools will feed into the topic that will address the second section of the Sales Pipeline – Intent & Demand.

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Consideration & Interest

Once your potential customers visit your site, they will most likely not convert on their first visit. This is because the modern online customer makes informed decisions by researching multiple sites within the same industry. ‘Tagging’ users who have visited your site previously, will let you target this market specifically. This will allow you to take advantage of previous audience interest in your product.

Using Google’s Display Network and Facebook re-marketing can keep your brand relevant and visible online. In turn, this will increase customer association between your brand and industry products.

In conjunction with this, users who have signed up for your newsletters or emails, have done so to receive regular increments of value. This value must be provided in exchange for user’s personal details – I.e. first name and email address. Offering exclusive content is also a great way to build loyalty in the final, recurring stage of the sales funnel.

It is a crucial stage to remind the customer of their intent and to build trust through recognition, up until the time of purchase, and after – this is nurturing & building interest with your customer.

Purchase, Loyalty & Advocacy

The final, and recurring stage of the Sales Pipeline is vital to retaining customers that have already bought your products or used your services. We understand that instilling loyalty into these ‘returning’ customers requires a separate stream of marketing material and content. To engage customer intent, your exchange-based content must provide on-brand exclusivity. Content is therefore based on information gathered about their previous purchases – through loyalty schemes or club memberships.

Your marketing must extend further than this, as you seek to deliver relevant content through emails and notifications. Content provided is mostly used to inform the audience using educational content, or price related opportunities. However, it must offer something highly relevant and useful to increase audience participation. This will lead customer intent to buy.

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This automated content is based on analysing customer interests and actions. We then track this content to offer continuous value and a positive user experience.

Subscriptions, registrations and participation schemes are great ways to engage your customer over time and keep your brand at front-of-mind.

Over the next 4 articles we will segment each stage of the customer pipeline, to form the small business guide to digital marketing. The Marketing tools within each stage above, will supplement these topics and inform your online strategy for 2019.