It’s estimated that you are exposed to roughly 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each and every day! This number might seem a little absurd, but think about how many logos you see around you at this very moment. Quite a few, right? While you’re probably not losing any sleep from thinking about these brands throughout the week, these logos and any other digital marketing creatives you may have seen are essential for establishing impactful and long-lasting relationships with your consumers.
In the marketing world, the process of getting your brand in front of the eyes of consumers has grown to become a complex part of the consumer journey. With that being said, today’s consumers are savvier than ever and all too familiar with being bombarded with marketing at every which way they look. So how can ensure your marketing efforts are effective in creating the best customer experience?
Understanding how to best design and position your marketing touchpoints is essential to both strengthening your brand awareness, generating product/ service demand, and growing your business as a whole. But before we go any further, let’s break down exactly what touchpoints are and how they can benefit your business.
Table of Contents
- What Exactly Is A Touchpoint?
- Why Should Your Business Care About Touchpoints?
- Your Company’s Touchpoints
- Type 1: Common Touchpoints
- Type 2: Stealth Touchpoints
- Properly Utilizing Your Touchpoints
- Social Media
- Facebook and Google Ads
- If You Can’t Maintain Touchpoints, At Least Monitor Them
- Be Consistent Across All Marketing Platforms
- Thoughts to Leave With…
What Exactly Is A Touchpoint?
A touchpoint is defined as a channel of interaction with a potential prospect or existing customer. Touchpoints could be in the form of nearly any sort of marketing material. For example:
- An Instagram post from your favourite brand of coffee
- A Twitter update from a company you follow
- A newsletter from a `business you’re subscribed to
- A user review for a service you’re considering
- A brand’s logo on the receipt of a recent purchase, and more
Implementing effective touchpoints is a critical part of designing an engaging and impactful customer experience. This contributes to establishing the basic marketing funnel, which includes strengthening brand awareness, consideration, action, loyalty, and advocacy – more on this later.
Commonly, you have 1 group of brands who are scared of giving off the wrong image via these touchpoints, and therefore, they would rather avoid it. The other group understands the importance of certain touchpoints and blasts them with repetitive, generic ads without a core strategy.
Neither of these are really “winning” at marketing
Don’t get us wrong. If you don’t have the resources to maintain your touchpoints, that’s a valid excuse to brush them to the side while you focus on other things, like hiring the right people or improving your product. If you’re in the stage of generating leads, however, then touchpoints should be considered an essential component of your marketing plan.
Why Should Your Business Care About Touchpoints?
When touchpoints are managed properly, they work to inform your target audience of your business’s offerings, elicit interest, and generate consistent demand for your sales team. This is true for both large-scale corporations, as well as local startups and boutiques.
In this article, our marketing experts will walk you through the processes of successfully navigating your marketing touchpoints and how you can turn them into part of an automated demand generation strategy. Keep reading to learn how you can take advantage of brand touchpoints to help launch your business to the next level.
Your Company’s Touchpoints
The easiest way to understand your touchpoints is to understand the customer journey. Without conducting a full-out market research campaign (unless necessary), try putting yourself in the shoes of your customers. Think of all the ways potential customers could find their way to your brand, conduct research about your brand, and talk with your sales before finally becoming a customer.
Customer preferences and behaviours are always evolving. To stay ahead of the latest trends, you may want to consider gaining direct feedback from your customers (i.e. email surveys) for insight into current customer trends and preferences — in case your existing understanding is outdated or misaligned. Identifying and improving the touchpoints along the way will not only help your advertising efforts but also make prospects gravitate towards you every step of the way.
Remember, each time a customer makes contact with your business, they are forming an opinion or revising their opinion. These touchpoints can be positive or negative and so can have a massive influence on the customer’s decision-making process.
From start to finish, your customers will see and encounter your brand both offline and online. from your logo to your advert, posters or window displays, your website or app, social media sites or online reviews. Or it could be from a word of mouth recommendation, contact with yourself or your staff in person, on the telephone or online.
Generally speaking, all touchpoints can be categorized into 2 types.
Type 1: Common Touchpoints
Here are a few common digital touchpoints for both local and online companies:
- Facebook profile and posts
- Instagram profile and posts
- Facebook and Instagram ads
- Email marketing campaigns
- Google Ads
- Your Website
- Your Google My Business Reviews
With over 4.8 billion digital users worldwide, these online touchpoints are essential for growing your digital presence and allow you to tap into new audiences. As an added benefit, the majority of these platforms are free to use, so there should be no excuse to start strategizing your digital touchpoints.
Type 2: Stealth Touchpoints
Stealth touchpoints are touchpoints that consumers would not typically perceive as a “touchpoint.” This is because stealth touchpoints typically appear to be more “natural” and “organic.” While they aren’t as common, depending on your marketing goals and objectives, stealth touchpoints offer their own set of benefits. Here are some examples of stealth touchpoints:
- Yelp and other review platforms such as Reddit and GlassDoor
- Comments on social media accounts
- Native advertisements
When done correctly, these touchpoints can subconsciously influence your prospects’ decisions, without them realizing your brand’s contribution in it.
Properly Utilizing Your Touchpoints
Take some time out of your day and look at all your touchpoints. Are they aligned and pushing a unanimous message to your prospects? What about the brand imagery?
While it is crucial to be consistent across your touchpoints, there are 4 major categories that can be further broken down and used for different purposes. From the top of the funnel to closing on leads, each of these categories serves a different purpose.
We’ll guide you through some ways you can effectively utilize your most common touchpoints:
- Social Media
- Facebook and Google Ads
1) Social Media
The goal of Social Media is to produce engaging content that stands out from the rest. While some of your followers may be top of the funnel traffic that have found your platform through browsing, the majority of users that stick around will likely have had some form of interaction with you in the past.
Social media provides businesses with the opportunity to communicate brand authenticity and showcase the humanity or personality behind the brand. For most companies, the purpose of social media is to maintain an active digital presence to engage and interact with users.
In the past, engagement outside of physical stores and print ads (posters, flyers, billboards, etc.) was not exactly a top priority for many brands. However, digital media has completely redefined the way businesses approach the consumer journey and brand touchpoints.
Social media is a powerful and influential touchpoint, but with its rapid growth and ever-evolving nature, it’s important to handle it with care. Taking advantage of social media as a touchpoint, we recommend the following:
- Post regularly and invite your followers to interact with your posts (i.e. ask them to comment and share their thoughts!)
- Engage with your followers and reply to comments, questions, and messages in a timely manner
- Promote any ongoing events or exclusive deals.
These touchpoints allow you to establish a stronger and more meaningful relationship with both new and existing customers. Be authentic with your images and align your messaging across platforms to achieve the best results.
2) Facebook and Google Ads
One of the most popular methods of utilizing Facebook and Google ads is for standard lead generation. For example, targeting prospect buyers by behaviour, keywords, interest — the whole lot.
Businesses should also consider Smart Display and Remarketing/ Lookalike campaigns. This allows you to reach people similar to your existing audience, or target any prospects who have recently interacted with a viral or heavily boosted post of yours. Just make sure to exclude anyone who has already converted (unless for e-commerce businesses).
Growth Tip: a great way to optimize your marketing efforts on Facebook and Instagram advertisements is to “disguise your ad” as a native piece of content on the platform. Native ads match the function and form of content on the platform it appears on. This allows the marketing material to look less like an “ad” and more like organic/ non-sponsored content.
Instead of going full corporate and taking a sale-sy voice, try a more personal approach. Be relatable, be personable, and make the content look like it belongs on customers’ newsfeed — not like it paid to be there or like all it wants is your money!
The core of your front-facing operations. Other than good UX, good conversion optimization practices offer value to customers. Give away your best products, whether that’s knowledge to your industry, or product samples, any information that creates value
If your business doesn’t already have a website, check out our article on why a beautifully designed website is essential to growing a business, then hurry back!
A website is one of the most intimate and forward-facing touchpoints available to businesses. If a customer is on your website, chances are they’re there with a purpose in mind — there’s no better opportunity to capture their complete attention and communicate the value your business can provide them.
While a website is a brand touchpoint itself, functionalities within your site are equally as important as touchpoints. Website features work to further engage with consumers with your brand and guide them through your marketing funnels. These features may include:
- Contact and inquiry forms to get in touch with your business
- Live messaging capabilities for answers to your questions in real-time
- An easy-to-understand website navigation structure, and more.
Customer reviews are another effective touchpoint and allow you to gain direct insight into how your customers perceive your business, products, and services.
Good reviews are innate to businesses providing good value to consumers. However, when it comes to actually receive customer reviews, many incentivizing tactics are largely underutilized by businesses.
Make it a practice to ask customers for reviews, even if they haven’t completed a conversion! The worst they can say is no (or leave you a bad review, but this is unlikely). User reviews allow you to build up “social proof” and develop your brand’s reputation and legitimacy.
It’s important to reply to positive comments when possible to show your gratitude. With that being said, it’s equally (if not more) important to respond to any negative comments to show you care about your customers and are actively working to improve their experience.
If You Can’t Maintain Touchpoints, At Least Monitor Them
Not everyone has the resources to continually update or push out content through their touchpoints. If you can’t maintain an active digital profile, consider at least monitoring your digital presence. When your company name or product offering starts trending on Twitter or Reddit, you do not want to be the last to know!
Be Consistent Across All Marketing Platforms
It is also important to ensure all your communication, messages and images are consistent so you create a cohesive brand and give the right impression. Having limited outlets for information is better than utilizing all outlets and having different messaging on each.
Thoughts to Leave With…
Today, marketing is a real challenge for many because customers are savvy and fickle. They can access tons of comparable products make decisions well before making any contact with you. Information about your business is out there, 24/7 across the world, and there’s no way you can control all of it. However, if you take the time to understand, review, and strengthen your customer touchpoints, you will begin to notice a significant improvement in the way customers interact with your audience.
Making your touchpoints a key part of your marketing strategy can help drive new leads and sales to your business. Nonetheless, we understand that while core digital marketing practices may come a lot easier for some businesses, they can be a little confusing for others – and that’s ok! Many businesses work with marketing specialists, such as Big Fish Creative, to accelerate their growth. Marketing specialists work to identify your biggest weaknesses and greatest marketing opportunities to launch you ahead of your competitors.
For more tips and advice on how you can grow your business, be sure to check out our other articles.
The evolution of the internet and technology has completely changed the way we grow our businesses. Today, social media and all sorts of digital mediums exist to help promote and monitor your marketing efforts — and the best part is most of these are available for free! However, this convenience also means the good old days of word-of-mouth marketing and passing out flyers to advertise your small business has become significantly less reliable and efficient. Of course, this doesn’t mean it's the end of the world if your business still hasn’t made a digital footprint.
Trust us when we say it’s still incredibly important to make sure your business is leaving a positive impact on your customers! Building a strong relationship with your customers often encourages them to share their experiences with their friends, and this may begin a snowball effect! However, provided today’s competitive landscape, if you’re really hoping to take your business to the next level, you’ll want to be sure your business has a digital marketing plan.
Whether you’re doing your marketing in-house (on your own) or seeking help from an external team of marketing specialists, an effective digital marketing strategy can accelerate the growth of your small business! In this article, we’ll discuss the essentials of digital marketing and provide you with all the information you need for an edge over your competitors!
Table of Contents
- What Exactly is a Marketing Strategy?
- Implementing a Digital Marketing Strategy into Your Business
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing Strategy
- Search Engine Optimization
- Website Content & Keywords
- Produce Fresh New Ideas
- Backend Configuration
- Popularity & Link Building
- Local Listing
- Google Ads
- Google Search Ads
- Google Display Ads
- In Conclusion…
What Exactly is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
Before we get into what a digital marketing plan is, you’ll need to understand what digital marketing is itself.
Digital marketing refers to the use of the internet and its ever-growing variety of social platforms to help reach consumers. Put simply, it’s the process of marketing your business to new and existing customers, but online (or digitally).
That being said, today, digital marketing is really just a general term we refer to since it has grown to become such a broad field of marketing that encompasses so many unique marketing channels. For instance, digital marketing also refers to attracting customers via social media, content marketing, email, and more.
From a more technical standpoint, digital marketing takes advantage of various digital channels to provide your business with valuable insights into your target customers. This data is used to help guide future marketing decisions, allowing you to better communicate your brand’s value to consumers and effectively capture more of the market!
We know that might seem like a lot, but don’t be intimidated. You’ll be surprised to learn you can actually begin implementing a digital marketing plan for your business today. It doesn’t take a marketing wizard to engage in some degrees of digital marketing and communicate the value of your brand. In fact, if you’re reading this, it’s likely that your competitors have already gotten a head start 👀.
Digital Marketing isn’t rocket science. Some of it is quite easy to do!
With thousands of tactics and strategies to choose from, even the simplest of marketing plans can effectively make the difference between your target customers choosing your brand over your competitors.
But where do you start?
Lucky for you, we’ve prepared the ultimate beginner’s guide to digital marketing, based on our years of experience and expertise with proven strategies. We’re here to provide you with a strong foundation and understanding of digital marketing to have you dominate your market in no time!
Implementing a Digital Marketing Strategy into Your Business
Regardless of whether you’re about to launch a new business or hoping to grow an existing one, digital marketing and the development of a strong online presence are vital for any small business hoping to successfully promote its products and services.
Digital marketing is the most efficient and consistent form of marketing there is, and a majority of basic tactics are things that you yourself can do as a business owner, regardless of your background and experience with marketing.
In this beginner’s guide to digital marketing for your small business, we’ll discuss 4 core digital marketing strategies that are essential to every marketing plan:
- Social Media Marketing (PPC)
- Content Marketing Strategy (Blog Posts & Email Newsletters)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Google Ads (PPC)
We’ll break down each of these core categories and guide you through the basics of what your small business should be doing to stay ahead of the competition. Many of these strategies are easy to implement alone, whereas some of them may require assistance from a trained marketing professional — but we’ll be sure to pinpoint exactly when and where you’ll benefit from seeking marketing help!
1. Social Media Marketing (difficulty 3/5)
If you aren’t on it already, your business NEEDS to be on social media.
Social Media Marketing is another simple, yet effective way to market the value of your business! There are 2 main forms of social marketing – organic content, and running ad campaigns.
In the present day, procuring prospects with organic reach on its own is becoming increasingly difficult due to the amount of competition in existence, though that doesn’t mean you should slack on it. Instead, many smart brands now combine their posts with boosted ads, which are responsible for driving new eyes onto their profile, giving their carefully crafted posts a chance to shine.
While the most important part of creating social posts is to remain authentic and consistent in the content, deploying ads requires some technical knowledge of the ad platform to be successful.
Social media ads allow you to promote your ads to people with interest in your service in an organic manner. Essentially, you can target prospects before they even begin searching for your service or products using Facebook’s invasive algorithms. 🙊
The best advertisements use “native ads,” such as humour-driven posts or entertaining videos on Facebook and Instagram. Native ads seamlessly integrate a product or service into the media format it appears on; matching the function, feel, and look of every other post on a given platform. Users are likely to interact with these kinds of posts because they don’t really come off as the typical “ads” we’re all used to.
Social media provides a variety of marketing opportunities. For instance, businesses may choose to use social media influencers and other reputable individuals. This strategy takes advantage of marketing products and services to their large social followings; these followings may also consist of your target audience. Digital marketing strategies like this often lead to increased engagement, as it takes advantage of the influence these individuals have over the following.
The Verdict for Social Media Ads:
Social media ads are considered pay-per-click forms of online advertising and can become costly, but rewarding nonetheless. Even without ads, posting organically on social media is a great way to maintain a digital presence in an engaging and unexpected way.
Effective social media marketing can be difficult for business owners with little graphic design experience. Specialized marketers and creative agencies can help businesses curate and design various graphics and content specifically for social media. These digital marketing experts typically help small businesses monitor, create, and facilitate all social campaigns.
2. Content Marketing Strategy: (difficulty 2/5)
With digital marketing, there are so many creative and engaging ways to increase the awareness and exposure of your brand that other forms of advertisement simply cannot provide. But in order to effectively manage your digital efforts, it’s imperative for you to develop a content marketing strategy.
Your content marketing strategy can be used to further engage existing and potential clients with your business by building credibility, authenticity, and relevance around your brand. While content marketing strategies can take many forms, they generally concern a codified plan that details your marketing plan across various channels,
With the goal of building, growing and maintaining an audience, a content marketing strategy helps organize and outline the frequency and details behind the content you plan to distribute. A content marketing strategy will help ensure a consistent brand message is communicated, in hopes of turning strangers into fans, and fans into customers.
From eye-catching videos and graphics to capture the interest of potential customers to holding webinars and digital networking events, the possibilities of content marketing strategies are endless so long as you can invest the time and energy!
The Verdict for Content Marketing Strategies:
Content marketing strategies are essential to outlining your marketing goals and content distribution across various media channels such as email newsletters, blogs posts, and social posts. In many ways, content marketing strategies act as the backbone for all marketing campaigns and as the driving factor behind distributing relevant, valuable, and consistent content to retain and attract your target audience.
Posting to social media is essential for businesses working to build authenticity and establish a more personal relationship with consumers. While it’s relatively simple to outline and create a content marketing strategy, many businesses often employ a team of marketing specialists to further optimize the design and execution of their digital presence. Marketing specialists help monitor and analyze the results of your content to make necessary improvements and changes in ways that establish trust with consumers — unlike stock and doctored photos.
3. Search Engine Optimization (difficulty 3/5)
When your website is always ranking near or at the top of each Google search page, growing your business is easy!… But how can you guarantee this?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing the pages of your website to help them reach a higher position in the search results on Google and other search engines. The difference between PPC ads and SEO-related tactics is that SEO focuses on organically improving the results page rankings for each of your web pages – SEO doesn’t rely on paying for advertisements. Rather, it focuses on building your brand’s digital authority and trustworthiness.
Google assesses various criteria to determine your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking. Here, we’ll focus on 4 key factors:
I. Website Content & Keywords: (difficulty 2/5)
Generally, the more content and keywords you have, the better you will rank. Website content & keywords concern the pages of content you write and the keywords you use throughout the site. For example, incorporating keyword-heavy copy (the writing on your website) and various meaningful pages on your website will strengthen your SEO rankings.
This is relatively easy for small business owners to administer themselves.
II. Produce Fresh New Ideas: (difficulty 1/5)
Google will look at how often your website is being updated and the amount of activity there is as a result of this new content. For instance, you can improve your SERP rank by creating new blog posts or by adding relevant pages to your website.
As long as you can stay on a consistent schedule of updating site content, designing and implementing effective content marketing strategies is quite simple. Refer to the Content Marketing section to get the full cheat sheet.
III. Backend Configuration: (difficulty 4/5)
Backend configuration concerns the technical aspects of your website. Ensuring your website and SEO tactics fall within Google’s requirements and rules for what’s appropriate for ranking on their SERP. The more accurately aligned your website is with their requirements, the better you may rank
Backend configuration typically requires a more intermediate understanding of SEO; this has to do with site load speeds, plugins used, organic settings, and other backend configurations.
IV. Popularity & Link Building: (difficulty 4/5)
Google determines how popular your website is based on the number of quality and relevant links that are directed towards your website. For instance, your website may rank higher if Google notices there are many links across relevant, high authority websites in your industry directing traffic to your site. Your site would be considered “popular,” and your SEO ranking would improve as a result.
While it’s relatively easy to gain links from leveraging relations with other businesses and websites, consistent link building requires dedication to see fruitful results.
V. Local Listing: (Difficulty 2/5)
Local listings allow you to leverage Google My Business to gain organic traction in your area. This specific marketing strategy is great for businesses that serve in a local geographic location. To really improve the effectiveness of local listings, you may opt to invite customers or friends to leave reviews for your business to build up credibility.
Local listings are best if the review contains keywords.
The Verdict for Search Engine Optimization:
The better your SEO is on your website, the better your web pages will rank on results pages. SEO is essential to ensuring your business is easy to find when it’s searched for. Moreover, SEO is amazing because it can easily be done by any business for little to no cost, up to a decently competitive level. Similar to Google Ads, however, you may choose to work with marketing specialists to take advantage of their experience and knowledge of SERPs and how to optimize your web pages to the top of the results page.
4. Google Ads (difficulty 4/5)
Google Ads are the brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, and sponsored videos that Google allows you to promote to your customers. With millions of active users and billions of searches each day, Google Ads is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies to help gain new customers and grow brand awareness.
How Do Google Ads Work?
Google Ads are considered “pay-per-click” ads (or PPC) and can significantly increase lead generation (the number of interested customers) for your company’s website; this can ultimately lead to revenue growth! There are 2 key ways to run Google Ads:
I. Google Search Ads:
If you’ve ever searched for anything on Google, chances are you’ve come across a Google Search Ad – in fact, you’ve probably even clicked on them. Google Search Ads are the advertisements that show up at the top and bottom of a Google search results page. When properly implemented into your digital marketing plan, businesses typically experience an increase in leads and user traffic.
Google Search Ads require a “budget” which is used to pay Google for ad space. To enhance the effectiveness of your campaign, marketing specialists help select keywords that are best aligned with your business. These are handpicked to maximize the clicks on your ads. Here’s an example:
If your business sells gourmet pizzas and you’re hoping to generate leads to your website, Google Search Ads can be optimized by running advertisements with industry-related keywords. The best keywords would be words that people are most likely to search for when looking for pizza, such as “best pizza” or “pizza near [your city name].” From here, an advertisement for your pizza business would likely show up if a user were to search for something like “the best pizza restaurant around me” — potential customers are likely to select a link to your website over others!
Google Search Ads are proven to help increase visitor traffic to your site and work to almost guarantee you new leads once optimized!
II. Google Display Ads:
These are image ads created with eye-catching graphics reflecting your business and the brand itself. In terms of targeting, Display Ads offer businesses a multitude of ways to reach their ideal audience. The most popular is through “Remarketing” or “Retargeting”. This type of ad is targeted at people who have visited your website in a given period of time to remind them of your brand and your products/services. The major benefit of this type of targeting is it allows you to reach a demographic who are already aware of your brand, for much cheaper costs than other types of targeting methods.
Google Retargeting Ads help increase exposure and conversion rates of potentially interested customers. Similar to Google Search Ads, it’s likely you’ve already been exposed to hundreds of these! For instance, if you recently visited a website for a company that sells water bottles, and now you seem to notice ads for that exact water bottle on the same website, those are most likely Google Retargeting Ads.
The Verdict for Google Ads:
Google Ads are relatively simple to understand and can be implemented by business owners with zero background in marketing. However, the difficulties of Google Ads lie in creating successful ads. The reason we did not give Google Ads a higher rating is because, while you don’t need any professional training to use them, effective targeting and optimization are difficult to achieve.
While it’s relatively simple to create your own Google ad campaign and follow account recommendations, structuring campaigns properly to account for split testing while also being mindful of account scalability is where things get tricky. On top of that, the account may burn through a lot of ad dollars before the ‘algorithm’ finds what works for you.
Since companies “bid” for the best spots on Google’s pages, you’re going head-to-head with your competitors. Inexperience often leads to underperforming campaigns, as Google Ads is a much more competitive platform when compared to Social Media and Content Marketing.
For this reason, we recommend working with a dedicated marketing specialist, professional agency, or reaching out to an acquaintance with experience in Google Ads. Marketing specialists work to help you identify who the target demographic is and how you can optimize your ad campaigns to best reach them with minimal budget spent on learning and testing. By having pre-existing knowledge on your industry of ads or even just account management in general, your strategist will be able to improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, subsequently limit the amount of money you spend to maximize your return on investment (ROI)!
These fundamental digital marketing strategies are things you can implement as a business owner today, regardless of your prior experience with digital marketing! While these basic marketing tactics can help you set yourself apart from your competitors, if you’re still looking to truly differentiate your brand from its competitors and send your small business to new heights, you may want to consider consulting a specialized marketing agency.
Marketing specialists stress the importance of measuring your success and work to maximize your ROI in ways that are difficult to attain without their knowledge. They generate customer analytics reports, SEO ranking reports, and monthly marketing reports to help analyze the effectiveness of current tactics. Their familiarity and expertise with digital marketing campaigns also enable them to pinpoint your existing marketing weaknesses and strategize for optimized results.
There’s no shame in seeking help from marketing specialists, such as Big Fish Creative, to grow your business. In fact, you’d be surprised by how common it is for small business owners to work with a team of expert marketers to accelerate their growth, even after they’ve implemented our basic digital marketing plan!
We work to help you close the gap between you and your competitors, and eventually, dominate your marketplace! Tell us a bit about your business goals and we’ll see how we can help take your business to the next level!