5 Tips for Setting Your Digital Marketing Baseline

April 23, 2014

Tomorrow I'm leading a workshop at Chicago's Small Business Expo at Navy Pier entitled "The Digital Marketing Baseline: Making Digital Marketing Work For Your Business". Why am I speaking about this? Because time and again I talk with start-ups, small businesses and students who want to take advantage of the latest trend in Digital, Social or Mobile marketing without a clear understanding of their underlying business objectives and what they want to accomplish. It's as if there's a belief that you can turn on a switch and see demand just pour in - if only you are using that channel. So here are the 5 Tips I share:

  1. Be realistic about your resources: time, money, people - paid search takes money, social media takes time, mobile app development takes expertise. Figure out what you have in-house and what you can afford before investing too much energy in that particular channel.
  2. Write down what you KNOW and what you HAVE - this is the crux of setting your baseline. What's your current web traffic? How many email addresses do you have? What's your social presence? What's been the historical mix (if any) by marketing channel. Take a clear inventory of what you know so that you can effectively measure the impact of your marketing.
  3. Identify low hanging fruit - obvious, but still folks don't do it. If your goal is building an audience and you have 5,000 email addresses and 20 social media followers, start with email. Your audience is there. Get leverage where you can before you start the more difficult long term development work.
  4. Separate the NOW, the LATER, the MAYBE, and the NEVER - some things can work right away, like driving traffic through minimal spend on adwords. Other things take time to build, like generating a meaningful Facebook audience. So get started on the long game - building an audience, SEO - while moving quickly on the immediate - paid search, events, pitches, coffees.
  5. Take many small SIPS before your GULP - history is the best indication of what works and what doesn't. Absent history, you have to try many different things to conclude what will work for your business. That doesn't mean you shouldn't prioritize based on a logical set of hypotheses - just that you shouldn't reject ideas outright until they are proven, even in a limited sense, not to work.

Digital marketing isn't magic. It's just marketing using different techniques and tactics than in the traditional sense. So set your baseline and then get after it!