“I want to do some digital marketing but don’t know what I need, who to work with, and have a trust issue with my limited knowledge of it.”

Recently, I had a chance to talk with a wonderful entrepreneur who has been running a floral business that she saved two years ago. After going through some issues with finding the right creative employees and trying to change the image of a shop that has existed since the 40’s, the owner knew she needed to do more. More in the sense that it was time to fix the business’s online marketing.

Right now, the website is simple. It calls out the type of events and arrangements coupled together in one area and otherwise it pushes you to call. Other than that, the business is on Facebook and other social media but the key question is looming over her. “Where do I start?”

My gut reaction wasn’t to flood the internet with ads for her business. It was to focus on, “what actions do you want customers to take online and do you have the technology in place to make that happen?” You can see how a question about marketing quickly shifted to a conversation about the business.

If all she wanted was ads and had tested different online paths before, then I would move forward with fulfilling that request. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to push more people in for arrangements this fall.

There’s an opportunity here though. An opportunity to provide ease to a wide set of customers and also compete with some of the bigger guys.

“I can’t have transactions online though. I just don’t have the inventory and it changes based on what’s available.” She said. “That’s okay.” I replied.

Everything is okay. Often, we think of online shopping in one way and need to break out of that. For example, if your business can’t transact online, how can we build the best experience and best content possible to inch your customers closer to calling you, receiving a follow-up, or at a minimum, understand your products/services and how to complete an order.

Off the top of my head, I said that the business should really focus on events and then types of seasonal arrangements separately. This way, you can engrain yourself in the specificity of other businesses/occasions and showcase your talent and available portfolio. Now, it’s not that the business wasn’t doing this now. It’s that it wasn’t built online.

The scary part here is working with the right partner. A partner who is geared only towards marketing may not be the best fit after all. These marketing partners will blindly be pushing people to visit your website and Facebook when the end goal would be to talk on the phone. Without strategic support, you’ll be losing people on the bridge between online and offline.

In the world that we instead focus on the customer, the business paths that we want them to follow, we set up all future marketing campaigns for success. Not only do we know what the end goal is but we can track and measure the success.

So, the next time you’re thinking that the next step for your business is marketing, stop and think about whether you need volume or a true digital presence. The latter will eventually help with the short-term issue of volume. Think, plan, and then act.

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