A lot of people find digital marketing quite overwhelming, but it’s quite easy really.

All you need to do is say the right things to the right people in the right place at the right time.

Simple, right?

Actually, it’s not. There are so many different digital platforms you can use, each with their own features and functionality, and it can be hard to know where you should focus your efforts online.

What often happens is that you start profiles on all the key platforms, try to post consistently but find it a challenge to keep coming up with content, and end up feeling overwhelmed without achieving anything tangible.

If this sounds familiar, here are some tips for managing your digital marketing more effectively.

Say the Right Things

It sounds counterintuitive but selling through digital marketing needs to be subtle.

The most effective digital marketing strategies use storytelling to engage their audience and build a relationship. In most cases, your messaging on digital marketing platforms should be 80% to 90% engaging and just 10% to 20% selling.

It’s also important when you do sell, that you talk about benefits rather than features. Think of an umbrella. The feature might be that it’s waterproof, the benefit is that your customer will stay dry.

Be consistent in the language, the colour palette, the look and feel of your brand, as well as in how you communicate with your audience.

And using social proof is a powerful marketing technique which is far more effective than in-your-face sales messaging.

Social proof is all about demonstrating that other people are buying and using your products and services.

Imagine you’re walking down Gouger Street and trying to choose a restaurant. Are you going to choose one that is empty, or one which already has other customers?

That’s how social proof works and it’s a proven tool to influence people to consider buying your products and services.

You might have seen other businesses sharing:

  • Reviews and ratings
  • Testimonials and case studies
  • Endorsements
  • Behind the scenes photos
  • Images of orders being packed or sent
  • Accreditations and certifications
  • Media mentions
  • Subscriber counts and social media stats
  • Real time stats

These are all forms of social proof, so use whatever you have available to you.

To the Right People

Understanding your target market is not a new concept by any means. Since the beginning of marketing time, it’s been important to understand who our target market is.

However, digital technologies have made this much easier for us to achieve because there are some fantastic tools out there to help us with this.

Think about a plumber. Their target market might be really broad – it might be anyone living in a residential property within a certain geographic zone.

But that target market can be broken down into groups or segments. There are people who need emergency plumbing, when something goes wrong. There are people who are planning a bathroom renovation. And you might even have property managers who want to be able to offer maintenance services to their clients.

You can see how it might be effective for a plumber to communicate different messages to each of these market segments. With digital marketing tools like email marketing or Facebook ads, you can target your message to a very specific sub-section, or segment, of your target market.

At the Right Time

Digital marketing enables you to communicate your messages at the right time, when people are online to receive them, but it’s also about understanding when people are looking for your product.

In the case of our plumber, emergency clients are going to be looking for their services and be ready to purchase straight away, whereas renovation clients will probably spend a decent amount of time researching options and getting quotes before making a purchase decision.

The various social media platforms provide insights which can give you some understanding of when your audience is online. There are also scheduling tools available, like Later for Instagram, which can help you determine the optimal time to post to maximise your reach and engagement.

It’s also a good idea to stagger your communications and avoid posting the same thing on all of your digital platforms at the same time.

You might write a blog post and publish it to your website, one week later you post a link to it on your Facebook page, a week after that you post a quote from it on Instagram, and then a week after that you send out an email containing a link to it.

In the Right Place

When you’re deciding which digital marketing platforms to use, knowing your target market will help you narrow down your options.

With our plumber, for example, Snapchat is probably not a good fit because it has a younger user base so there will be a lower proportion of homeowners and the other market segments we’ve identified. And Snapchat is probably not where people are going to look for bathroom inspiration.

On the other hand, Pinterest might be a place where people go for bathroom renovation inspiration. You might then have a look at your key competitors and see where they are active. If you find they are on Pinterest, then perhaps it’s somewhere you do need to be. Or if you find they aren’t on Pinterest, perhaps this is an opportunity for you to reach your audience without competing on this platform.

The other piece to consider is ownership. I rarely recommend that a business operates only on social media, simply because it’s a platform you don’t own meaning you’re at the mercy of the changing rules and policies of that platform, as well as the dreaded algorithm.

On the other hand, I usually recommend that a business maintains a website and uses email marketing. These are platforms you own, so you have control and therefore your risk is reduced.

The number one mistake I see with small business owners is trying to be everywhere.

Social media is particularly time consuming, so it’s almost impossible to maintain effective levels of activity when you’re trying to manage and maintain a website, email marketing, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

You might like to reserve your usernames on multiple platforms, but I would generally recommend focusing on a website, email marketing and perhaps one or two social media profiles. Once you get them right and you’ve built an audience, it’s then much easier to transition at least some of your existing audience over, rather than trying to build audiences from a zero base on multiple platforms.

Right, so you know where your target market is, you know where your competitors are and aren’t so it’s time to decide which platforms you’re going to incorporate in your digital marketing plan.

My first question to you is, where do your leads and sales come from?

That’s where you want to drive your traffic.

In a lot of cases, your website will either generate leads through enquiry forms, or phone calls, or if you have an e-commerce website or a booking function on your website, it will be a conversion tool.

If that’s the case, all your other digital marketing should be driving traffic to your website.

Even old school marketing like letterbox drops should be designed to send traffic to wherever you generate your leads or make your sales.

All other platforms should be used to communicate messages around your credibility and your expertise through educating, informing and using social proof to demonstrate other people are buying from you.

In the example of our plumber, those emergency plumbing clients are going to find the website directly through a Google search, because the website is search engine optimised, or they’re going to ask for a recommendation on Facebook and someone will suggest you because they’ve been following your interesting and engaging page posts. And your renovation clients are going to find out about you from your letterbox drop, and then check out your website which showcases your work, then they’re going to have a look at your Facebook reviews to confirm that you’re the right choice.

Bringing it all Together

Once you’ve decided where you’re going to play, who you’re targeting, what you’re going to say and when, I recommend creating a content schedule or calendar to help you maintain consistency in your digital communications.

I also recommend batch creating your content. Regularly allocating a period of time where you can focus on creating your content, sourcing images and writing copy is much more efficient than trying to come up with content on the fly.

My final tip is to review your insights and metrics regularly. Identify which platforms and content are achieving the best results and try to understand why so you can replicate this success. Identify what didn’t work well and adjust it to see if it improves. Work out whether you’re achieving a satisfactory return on investment for the time you spend on your digital marketing. If not, something needs to change.


Facebook:  Kelly Hody Mkt Etc


Kelly Hody,
Kelly Hody Mkt Etc

Kelly Hody is a freelance marketing consultant working with small businesses to help them market more efficiently and effectively.

“I don’t offer one-size-fits-all marketing packages because the businesses I work with tend to be anything but ordinary. But if you’d like to have a chat about working with me, please get in touch. I’d love to talk to you about how you could improve your digital marketing results.

I also teach four subjects at WEA Adult Learning:

  • Developing and Launching a New Business
  • Developing a Digital Marketing Plan
  • Connect to Your Customers with Mailchimp
  • Facebook for Advertising

When I’m not working, I love to be a tourist in my hometown and collect new experiences.”