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What is ‘holistic’ digital marketing?

It sounds vague, doesn’t it? ‘Holistic’ – what kind of ‘new age’ nonsense am I spouting today, you may ask? And why would any self-respecting digital marketing consultant use such a word?

Well, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to recommend teas and essential oils in your digital marketing strategy (though they probably won’t hurt, if that’s your thing). The word ‘holistic’ is defined, according to Oxford, as “characterised by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole”. In medicine, a ‘holistic approach’ means that treatment should take into account the whole person, rather than just the ailment in question, including factors such as their mental state, social factors, and genetic predispositions.

Why should you care?

In essence, a ‘holistic approach’ means looking at the big picture, and that’s important in any marketing strategy, especially for digital mediums. More often than not, potential clients contact us because they ‘just want a website’. And that’s alright – if a website is all they’re missing from their big picture. But usually, digital marketing isn’t just a website, and a ‘website’ encompasses many aspects. It’s a combination of:

  • User journey and experience planning
  • Convincing copywriting
  • Visual branding (colours, typography, texture, spacing, etc.)
  • Brand tone (voice, values, consistency)
  • Target market identification and personas
  • Photography and graphic design
  • Lead magnets (usually digital gifts offered in exchange for an email address to build a mailing list)
  • Email campaigns
  • Web design (yes, it helps to have all/most of the above first)
  • Technical development (software or ‘coding’)
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Social Media Presence & Engagement
  • Blog posts/regular content updates
  • Analytics & tracking for valuable insights
  • Paid advertising and tracked remarketing

And all of that is assuming a brochure website. If you’re going the e-commerce route, there’s also:

  • Product branding
  • Shipping
  • Catalogue structure
  • Upsells
  • Special offers
  • Post-sale remarketing

I know, I know. It’s a lot. And it can be terrifying when you’re just starting out, or even if you’ve been trading for years and are looking to take your business to the next step. Where on earth are you supposed to start?

The good news is that you don’t need to be a master of everything, and you don’t need to go it alone. You can start small and add complexity only when it’s beneficial to your business.

How do you know what’s necessary?

A holistic approach doesn’t mean covering every possible route and paying every possible expense! It just means identifying what’s essential to your business strategy and prioritising methods which provide the best results.

However, that doesn’t mean ‘just a website’ will do. You can throw a website together in a weekend – and there are dozens of tools you can use to do so cheaply. The question is: what kind of problems does it solve?

  • Does it present you professionally, and make you appear trustworthy?
  • Does it persuade your audience to make a purchase or book an appointment?
  • Does it even get an audience in the first place? Where are you marketing it, and how?

A confession: I’m not a web designer.

Wait, what?

It’s true. I started out designing and building websites, it’s what I’m known for, and I still enjoy the process. But that’s usually one tiny piece of the puzzle.

The consultations, research, planning, user-journeys, writing, style guides, and sourcing images, and so on? The majority of all that happens long before I write a line of code. You’ve heard of the 80-20 rule? 20% is the website, but the 80% is everything else.

Substance and purpose are vital.

A website is just a tool. It serves a purpose. It’s a medium that requires substance and careful consideration to actually make something happen.

Some of the most beautiful websites are only beautiful because a photographer took some jaw-dropping images, or an illustrator crafted the perfect artwork. Some of the highest-conversion sites only get those sales because their sales copy is exceptional, or their user journey has been meticulously planned and revised to perfection. Luck rarely plays a part – success is engineered.

Where do I start?

A “fingers in every pie” approach won’t help if you don’t have time or budget to maintain it. You can sign up for half a dozen social media platforms, only to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content you now need to produce and curate for each distinct audience – many of which may not even be qualified prospects.

Likewise, you can launch a compelling email campaign – but if you don’t pay attention to feeding the top of your sales funnel, nothing is going to fall in, so no one will ever see those emails.

Start with a strategy.

A ‘holistic approach’ to digital marketing will focus on getting the best results with consideration for your budget, time, and skills. Engineering success isn’t always easy, but it is straightforward when you know how to put the pieces together. For this reason, a robust digital marketing strategy is so important: it’s your blueprint and action plan for wooing your customers – something every business needs if it’s going to thrive.

Building an online presence for your enterprise seems intimidating, but we’re here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us to discuss your situation, goals, and values, so we can help you to sustainably grow your business.

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