We’re at a point in digital where “digital marketing” no longer really stands on its own as a separate, unknown entity. We live in an increasingly digitally focused society and as a result, digital marketing strategy probably needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy and not something that’s just tagged on at a later stage.
It’s a given that most businesses, even new ones, will have some form of web presence, whether that’s a social media page or a website. People are consuming online content at a massive rate, and have an expectation that they can also find information about your business online. If your competitors are online and you’re not, you may find that customers end up going with the company they can find more information about.
1. Maximized Social Media
Ok, first things first. You don’t need to be on every social media channel going – stick to the channels that are going to be right for you and your customer demographic. Spend some time doing a little bit of research and understand where your customers are likely to be. Also think about where your product or service is going to be more of a hit or translate better. If it isn’t a hugely visual product or something that has visually engaging results, Instagram is probably not going to be where your big hits come from.
It’s also important that you have a steady stream of relevant and engaging content going out through those channels which will take time (and depending on your approach, budget). Look at some successful social media channels, and look at the types of content that they’re putting out and the frequency that they’re posting. Is this something that you could do?
Budget: social media needs a budget. It’s easy to look at it and think “oh well, we’ll just write it and then it’s free, right?” Wrong. You will need to create engaging content which may be video, product shoots, or promotional images that need the input of a graphic designer. You will almost certainly need to throw down some paid promotion, particularly if you’re using Facebook, as organic reach is really low these days and without paid promotion you will not get the reach that’s needed to gain traction on social media.
Also, don’t underestimate the time resource needed to schedule, respond, and source content. There are a number of tools around that will help you to manage and schedule content, but even this needs some upfront input every now and again. This might be something that you outsource to an experienced freelancer or marketing professional.
One of the great things about social media is the feedback you get. People can be negative online, but what we’re talking about is a direct route into customer insight – hearing first hand what they think of your product, getting feedback on your work, and getting insights into how your content is performing on social media in a way that you could never do with more traditional print media or word of mouth. You can use these analytics to develop your future strategy, capitalize on success, and work out what’s going to work best for your business.
2. Online advertising
I’m talking Google Adwords, Bing ads, and banner advertising here. The easiest way is to set up with an advertising dashboard such as Adwords. If you’ve never used this before, take the time to do research and some training (Google provides free training on Adwords and other key areas of digital marketing – take advantage!) so that you understand how to get the best out of online advertising and that you advertise in the best way to benefit your business.
Advertising in this way, especially if you have a niche product/service or you can find niche keywords that drive a good level of traffic to your site, can work out to be a good value way of increasing revenue. But as with anything, you need to understand what you’re doing and the best ways to maximize your investment.
3. Blogging, content marketing, and SEO
Content marketing, blogging, and organic search engine optimization (SEO) can be great ways of building up where you appear in search engine rankings and could be the difference between a customer clicking on your site or that of a competitor. People tend to trust websites that appear at the top of search engine results – it’s what that search engine has been programmed to do, deliver the most relevant and interest results to its user.
By creating content that sits on your website and has natural strong keywords in there, search engine crawlers will find this and serve it to your intended audience. Relevancy is key here, so whether it’s blogs that fit with your niche or more general tips that help your audience, keep it relevant.
Another great part of this is that it gives you content to share across your social media channels to drive more traffic to your site and get your content in front of more people to become the authority in your area. Never underestimate the power of working with influencers and guest bloggers to get your content in front of their relevant and ready-made audience. Analytics are your friend here too, and with the right tools, you can gain insights into your customer and their journey through your site.
4. Email marketing
Never underestimate the power of a good email list. Even if you’re not at the stage where you can create a monthly email filled with content, you can still be cultivating an email list of people who are interested in your product to market to when you’re in a position to do so. Again, the cycle continues, and you can gain inspiration from and drive audiences to your blog and website content to increase sales and brand awareness. As with social media, you can gain access to useful insights and metrics that can help you to understand your customer and understand what content works for them.