Digital marketing can really boost your business. But how do you go about implementing the right strategy for your business? Byron Koller, Co-founder & Chief Marketing Officer at Safarna walks us through the steps of how to create a successful digital marketing strategy.

Why is digital marketing so important for businesses today?

I’ll start with a catchphrase of the digital marketing era – “it’s great, because everything is measurable” This is true, but for a new start online business the detail and scope of what can be measured can be daunting.

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What is the first thing you would recommend in developing a successful digital marketing strategy?

Align this with your product development. If you consider the marketing function to drive traffic and achieve objectives – you need to rely on your product, inventory and content to drive conversions.

  1. Define your objectives.
    Is it traffic, is it new users, is it conversions, is it time on site… You need to be very clear about what each channel will do for you.
  1. Define the criteria for these objectives.
    This should help align your objectives to your overall vision. Are these the right objectives to help achieve my vision?
  1. Define the KPI’s (key performance indicator) of these objectives.
    This is the part of measurability – you need to understand what metrics to measure against each objective.

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Why is website tracking important and how do you set it up?

Start with the right foundation. Setup your basic measurement tools – Google Analytics and Webmaster tools are essential. Google Analytics will track your website visitors and provide you with statistics on the traffic it receives. Webmaster gives an insight into how Google views content on your site. It can also help optimize the websites presence on Google’s search results.

Both are free to use and gives all the insight you will need to start tracking and understanding the performance of your website.

Make sure you are using UTM parameters to track the source of your traffic. Simply put, these are tags attached to links that you use in all your advertising that translate into Google Analytics to show you how much traffic you are getting from all your different channels.

You will also want to use Google Analytics to setup goals and funnels to measure the success of different actions that happen on your site as well as showing at which point these actions are not converting.

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How do you choose which channels to generate awareness about your brand?

Assuming this is a new brand you are bringing to market, the first thing you’ll need to do is tell the masses. You want to select the best channels to spread awareness for your business. The best way to do this is to get people talking about your brand.

The first thing to be done is build your social profile on the relevant platforms. Choose the best medium for your product, ie. Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Instagram… the list continues. This should be the first place you go to for ‘free traffic’. The caveat here is that you will most likely need to make some investment into your posts or tweets to ensure visibility, but you will be building this traffic via word of mouth and social proof – still the most valuable criteria for good quality traffic.

Your next step should include Search and Display traffic from Google to increase the visibility of your ad campaigns. Start with Display to increase the reach and awareness of your brand. Once this is doing well you can build out your search campaigns around your branded keywords. This can all be forecasted very easily using Google Keyword & Display Planner.

With Google Analytics setup correctly you will be able to see exactly which channels are performing best against your objectives.

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What are some quick wins for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

Along with your traffic driving channels mentioned above – there are some very easy ways to optimise and grow the organic traffic to your site. During the setup and build of your website, make sure you are following the best practice SEO principles. The key here is to make sure this is done during the build. You will not come back and ‘fix it later’

This done properly will make you instantly visible in organic search results.

What are some important factors to remember?

  1. Do not neglect your Arabic content. As much as possible make sure that this is done well from the beginning
  2. Build, design and create for mobile first. You don’t need to have a mobile app from day 1, but make sure your site is responsive
  3. Integrate technologies as early as you can afford. Automated cross channel marketing is the way digital marketing is developing. Understand this as soon as you can
  4. Keep it simple. This applies to everything, not just your marketing efforts. The best solutions are usually the most simple.
  5. Use all the data you can to make decisions. Be driven by your data

Any final tips to share?

To conclude on the note of measurability – this is not easy. No one is doing it right. The only advice I can offer is:

  1. Find a way to measure the user, not the device
  2. Look at cross channel conversion attribution but don’t let it overwhelm your ability to make data driven decisions

Byron Koller is Co-founder & CMO at Safarna. He is currently responsible for user growth, engagement & sales, as well as product marketing. He has over 8 years’ professional experience in the UK & UAE. Previous experience includes founding member at Cobone and Lecturer at the DM3 institute. Byron is a passionate business leader focused on driving success for online businesses in emerging markets.

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