From Disconnected to Socially Engaged: How Canadian Companies Can Get Started with Digital Marketing

digital marketing

Are you one of the 80% of Canadian companies that has no digital marketing strategy in sight? Perhaps you have fallen into the barrier trap like 86% of Canadian companies? Or maybe you just want to get started, but don’t know how.

In our research about the state of digital marketing in Canada, it’s clear you are not alone. The overall theme: more than half (54%) of Canadian companies recognize the importance of digital marketing and optimized content marketing to remain relevant. Yet, few (20%) have stepped up to the plate with a strategy, or even basic tactics, to build their presence online and connect with their customers or prospects.

Click to tweet: 54% of Canadian companies recognize the importance of digital marketing to remain relevant #DigitalCanada2013 http://bit.ly/18AnPWS

So why is this happening?

Lack of time, budget, resources, talent, senior management buy-in….you name it, someone said it.

Aside from these perceived barriers, it’s clear that Canadian companies need help figuring out how to get started staking their claim online. Here’s a few tips from the Giants to help you get the ball rolling:

1. Think strategy

Just like any other aspect of your business, digital marketing needs a strategy. It’s important that this strategy is integrated into everything you are already doing to market your brand, including PR, events, collateral, advertising and even internal communications. Identify these priorities and then look for opportunities to integrate digital marketing (search, social and content) into each piece of the puzzle. It will ensure a more consistent and coordinated approach, and it will also help you to see the ROI versus other tactics.

2. Start small

If you are skeptical of digital marketing, have little budget and even less time and talent, try dipping your toe in slowly with a social media strategy. You’re probably already using it in your personal life, so why not transfer that knowledge to your business? Start connecting with customers through LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ or Facebook. Spread your content on these channels and engage with influencers in your niche market, whether they be media, bloggers or prospects. And get your employees involved too, retweeting content, sharing posts and slowly building a community of brand ambassadors.

3. Find your content and get ready to share it

I’m always surprised when I speak to clients and they express concern about not having enough content. “Where will I get it?”, “I don’t know what to write about?” and “This might not interest my target customer.” My answer is usually this: you already have the content. It’s buried in your computer, in annual reports, in employee communication materials, press releases, product information, speaking materials and anything else that you’ve used to communicate your services or products. You just need to tap into it and position it as relevant and informative for your audience — you need an optimized content strategy. An infographic, white paper, GIF, video, and blog posts are just a few ways to adapt this content, and then use it to educate your audience and lead them to your product or service offering.

4. View your website differently

Your website is your best performing sales tool. It is the place where most B2B and B2C consumers come first, before they even reach out to you. If you build your site right and nurture it with strong conversion points, they will come. To do this, think about how you can bring together search marketing (SEO, keywords, online advertising) with social media and informative content (such as a blog). This will turn your website into a leads pipeline.

Click to tweet: Your website is your best performing sales tool. #digital #marketing #DigitalCanada2013 http://bit.ly/18AnPWS 

5. Bring in help

If you made it through step 1-4, and aren’t seeing results or feel overwhelmed and time-strapped, it’s time to get help from some experts. Our research showed that only one-third of Canadian companies have the talent internally to plan and implement digital marketing strategies. Consider working with a digital marketing agency to build your web presence strategy and execute it with the expertise required to make an impact.

Sound simple? Well that’s the point. Digital marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. But it does need a solid strategy and a dedicated team to maximize your giant shadow online. When done right, it won’t be long before you are reaping the rewards over your competitors.

About the Digital Marketing in Canada Survey

In August 2013 Vireo Research conducted an online survey in partnership with Digital Giants. The survey was conducted among 340 Canadian professionals, including senior decision makers from both B2B and B2C companies.

To learn more about the changing landscape of B2C and B2B digital marketing in Canada and get additional insights on what the opportunities, barriers, and strategies used by marketers in Canada download the full report and infographic.