70 Percent. That’s how far a prospect has already moved through the sales process before reaching out to your sales team.

How did they get so far into the process without speaking to a rep? Where did they go to conduct their research about your business? Are you confident that the information they found will help your chances of getting a new client?

Sales sees that power has shifted to buyers
Source: HubSpots’s “State of Inbound 2016” Report

With many of today’s buyers turning to search engines, websites, and their peers – leaving sales people as the last resort – how well is your business positioned for success? If you’re starting a brand new business or have been a long-time brick-and-mortar establishment, here are the six fundamentals you need to have for successful digital marketing.

A customer ready website

90% of the 2.4 billion people who use the internet every day have purchased something or contacted a company online within the last 12 months.

Your website is really a digital storefront – an extension of your business online. With so much of the sales process taking place online, your website is often the first introduction that your audience has to your business.

Your website should be equipped to meet the needs of your intended audience, and attract the right visitors, generate qualified leads and grow your business. This all starts with clearly defining your buyer personas so you know exactly how to organize your website and deliver valuable content that matters to them.

In addition to being sales-ready, your website should be mobile-friendly as well. 88% of search experts believe mobile friendliness will have greatest impact on Google’s algorithm over the next 12 months – (Moz)

A professional email address

Once you’ve started generating leads from your customer-ready website, you’ll want to communicate with them in a way that establishes credibility and trust.

Since 74% of consumers prefer to receive communications from companies via email (HubSpot), a branded email address is the first key to establishing credibility and trust.

An email marketing platform

Being pressed for time is a constant feeling as a business owner or member of the marketing/sales team. You must constantly manage the balance between reaching out to new prospects, nurturing your leads, and servicing your current clients. There’s just not enough time to reach out to and communicate with everyone individually.

This is where a good email marketing platform comes in handy. It will allow you to:

  • easily create and send targeted emails
  • easily segment, manage, and update your list
  • integrate with your website and social media channels to easily collect email addresses
  • easily insert a Call-to-Action and link to a landing page
  • create workflows for automation

Driving more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search or social media, email marketing is still the reigning king of marketing with an ROI of 3800%. (Campaign Monitor)

Two email marketing platforms that I highly recommend are HubSpot and MailChimp. Each platform has the ability to integrate with your social platforms and create workflows to help automate your digital marketing emails.

A ‘Google My Business’ Page

Google may suck at creating social networks, but they’re absolutely fantastic at connecting customers with businesses.

A cornerstone of a majority of online marketing strategies, Google is the largest search engine and known directory of services that most people check first when searching for information, services or products. The more information you can offer Google the more information it can send out to its users.

Your listing can convey useful information such as office ours, contact information or directions.

With a verified business listing, you can appear in Google Maps or in localized searches, include high-quality photos of your business, related services to help your business stand out, and customer reviews that will show up on your profile.

Some additional stats that you should know:

50% of mobile users that search for a local business visit within 24 hours of that initial search. Of those that do, 18% end up making a purchase.

A Google My Business page doesn’t just make sense for showing up online – it makes sense for getting traffic to your location and increasing sales.

The best part: creating a Google My Business listing is completely FREE for anyone with a Google account!

Facebook Business Page

Does your business really need a Facebook business page? Probably not. But there are far too many benefits to having one to dismiss it outright.

For instance, Facebook Business Pages are quickly indexed by Search Engines based on the keywords used in the business page title.

With 169.2 million Facebook users in the US alone, you can potentially drive a lot of traffic to your website through your business page.

A Facebook business page gives your clients a way to share their experience. If you can encourage your current clients to check-in to your location and ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ your content, it will help amplify your brand and increase your organic reach.

While Facebook has continued to make adjustments to the organic reach algorithm, much to the frustration of its business users, its advertising platform continues to be the most efficient ecosystem to create targeted ads for a specific audience. If you take into consideration that about 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook each day, you can see that there are immense opportunities for native video advertising on the platform. But we’ll save that for a future article.

LinkedIn Profile

The last essential element that a business should have in place is a LinkedIn Profile and a LinkedIn Company Page. It’s still a powerful platform on which to build your professional network. LinkedIn is to online professional networking what the business card is to business networking in person.

More than just a digital resume, an active LinkedIn profile offers the opportunity to craft your professional image. At minimum, your LinkedIn Profile should contain the following:

  1. A professional headshot or photo. No more gray avatars or tagged Facebook photos
  2. A great headline. Don’t just list what your job title. Make it dynamic. Use the Fascination Advantage® Assessment by Sally Hogshead to create a tagline for your professional personality.
  3. A dynamic summary that expresses your passion for what you do and how you do it. Dont’ rattle off a list of your responsibilities.
  4. Endorsements, Testimonials, and Recommendations. These are really effective when the endorsements speak of the results that you delivered and the experience of what it was like working with you.
  5. Your extracurricular activities. Provide a complete picture of who you are and what your business cares about by listing any charitable projects in which you’ve been involved.

The platform also gives you the opportunity to publish content written from your experience and professional perspective.

A company page allows you to publish updates about your business as well as increase traffic to your blog. It can also serve as a passive recruitment tool to find potential employees or a potential source of partner referrals.

Joining LinkedIn Groups can provide an opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader, stay current with industry trends, or gain competitive insight into the issues and topics your peers are facing.

Take the time to invest in your LinkedIn presence.

Next steps

There are plenty of other elements that will contribute to the success of your digital marketing efforts.

For instance, Google Analytics should be installed on your website so you can keep track of where traffic to your website is coming from; a social media management platform such as Buffer, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social; and a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) like the HubSpot CRM. But to get the most effective use out of these platforms, you should at least have these fundamentals in place for successful digital marketing.