Marketing is a necessity for any business, big or small. No matter where you operate or what services you offer, people need to be aware of your existence.
I am sure some of you have heard about the Pareto principle – the 80/20 rule. It can be applied to a verity of things through out life. When it comes to business through, 20% of the time may be spent creating what you want to sell, but 80% of the time should be spent promoting it.
We are here to focus on the promotion part – the 80%.
Digital marketing is your creative outlet that allows you to get personal with your customers and forge everlasting relationships.
Marketing has moved past the mundane highway billboards and newspaper ads. Relying on digital marketing will give you a chance not only to expose your products or services, but to interact with people on a more personal level.
What Is Digital Marketing
Digital marketing has become a lot more prevalent in the last 10 to 15 years. More people than ever before find themselves on the internet and with digital marketing, you can capture their attention.
Digital marketing is a term used to describe marketing efforts done through the internet, whether it’s social media marketing, email, search engine optimization, content marketing. All those things fall under the category of digital marketing.
Does My Business Need Digital Marketing?
With more people being glued to their computers and mobile devices than ever, digital marketing has become king in developing consumer awareness of products and services. You can’t have a comprehensive and effective marketing strategy without incorporating digital marketing.
If you want your business to succeed, you will have to learn to utilize various online channels to engage your customers and build brand awareness.
If you operate a business-to-business company, your goal is to help generate leads with other high valued individuals and get them to speak to your salesperson. The main idea here when establishing a marketing strategy is to convert quality leads into customers through your web page and other online channels.
You will have to look into the type of leads you’re trying to attract and tailor your digital marketing efforts to fit your audience.
If your company is oriented in doing business directly with the consumer, your digital marketing efforts will of course be different than B2B. In this case you may not even have a salesperson for them to talk to.
Key here is to guide them through the buyers journey with any appropriate digital marketing channel(s). You want to introduce yourself to your audience, tell them what it is you’re offering and why the product or a service you have will be of any use to them.
Your digital marketing efforts will help build a relationship with people you have never met before, and should persuade them into selecting you over your competitors.
Before we jump into detail of the digital marketing channels available to you, you must first figure out your ideal audience – buyer’s persona. Knowing your ideal customer is essential when creating the most effective marketing plan for your business.
Knowing the right social media platforms your target audience uses is incredibly important. This will help you incorporate the right tools with the specific user base that you wish to reach. Without this information, you won’t know which tools you will need to focus on. This can waste your precious time and your human resources.
You need to be aware, in detail, of all the pain points and routines they have in their life. It will help you stay focused and prepare the most ideal marketing plan for your business.
Here are some things you should consider when imagining your perfect consumer –
- Are they a morning person?
- How do they start their day?
- Do they commute to work with a car, bike, walking, public transportation. Maybe they work from home?
- What are their internet browsing habits?
- What social media are they on?
- How often do they read their emails?
- Are they single? Married? Divorced?
- What are their hobbies?
- Income level
- Education level
Be as specific as you can. It’s for your own benefit.
This of course will also work for any B2B marketing, if that’s your customer base.
Social media is familiar to many of us – we probably use it daily to communicate with our friends and relatives. But did you know that social media can be an effective platform for you to incorporate into your digital marketing efforts?
As a matter of fact, over 88% of all businesses in the United States use social media as part of their digital marketing. It only makes sense, since it’s a very personal platform that allows you to build valuable relationships with your consumer and engage with them.
As with a lot of things today, automation is slowly replacing the need for human input. Even social media marketing can be enhanced through the use of automation tools.
You can create social media content manually and then let the software take it over from there. Content can be scheduled to be posted whenever your little heard desires – you don’t even have to interact with your social media page.
Lead generation and brand awareness is an essential part of digital marketing – that’s where quality content comes into play. If content marketing is properly implemented within your digital marketing efforts, it will drive traffic to you from a variety of different content hosting mediums.
We covered social media marketing before. That can be one of many places for you to publish valuable content for your audience to consume. You also have the ability to implement blogs, ebooks, and can also publish content through email.
Remember that content can be anything that reinforces the value of your company to the consumer. It needs to be relevant to your business and your audience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is exactly what it sounds like – optimizing your content and your web pages for best search engine rank. If you have a website and create content online, relying on SEO can help generate tons of web traffic for your business.
Research has shown that organic searches are the main traffic driver to B2B and B2C websites. In fact, 51% of all traffic was generated through organic search results.
As you can see, those numbers are substantial. If you properly optimize your digital content for search engines, you can attract an impressive amount of new audience on the web and have the chance of turning them into paying customers.
Analyze Your Current SEO Performance
Have you checked how your current site and content performs with search engines? For all we know, you might already have your SEO perfected, but just need time to build up the rankings. After all, you don’t jump up to page one overnight when tuning your search engine optimization.
There are tools online that will allow you to check and see how well you’re performing in terms of optimizing your content to attract search engine bots. For example, if you use WordPress as a blogging platform, there is a plugin called “Yoast”. It will analyze the content you have written and will inform you of ways you can improve it to enhance your SEO.
You also have an option of scanning your company’s web page to see how well it is optimized. Sites such as Website Grader will scan your site and inform you if anything needs to be adjusted.
What keywords do you want to rank for in the search engine? You need to go over some relevant keywords for your business and the content you’re putting out on the web. Those will be the essential words that internet users type into a search engine to get to you.
When creating any content for your business – blogs, content for your website, and even social media posts, they should contain keywords within the text.
Linking to outside sources is good to boost your SEO. Providing outlinks in your content not only boosts your credibility among search engines, but also adds support to the information you’re presenting.
- Your site will not contain all possible information. Outlink will take the reader to other relevant sources of information you may not possess;
- Linking to other reputable sites will help improve your SEO standings;
- Linking out can help you develop a positive relationship with other credible sources. They will be more inclined to drop links to you as well. When you have others linking to you, it will greatly benefit your SEO performance.
Banner Ads or Pay-per-click
This is a potentially useful outlet for you to help reach your content consumer. Online ads are the new billboards, you’re just targeting a different sort of traffic.
I. Banner Ads
Most of you have already encountered these if you ever use the internet. Banner ads are exactly that, banners on web pages that link you to page they are advertising.
These ads can be effective but they don’t target the specific groups or demographics. It might be tricky to attract leads that convert to content consumers. This is essentially casting a big net to catch consumers who aren’t actively seeking you.
Pay-per-click is how you are charged for this service. Depending on your user conversion rates, this might be a great option for you. If your clicks don’t convert to consumers then you might want to put this off on the back burner.
II. Text Ads
Text ads are just text boxes on sites. Another common form of online advertisement. They contain no pictures just a link and text describing the content you have to offer.
You typically see these on the tops or the side of search pages. These may prove to be more useful to you since these are targeting specific people based on the search criteria they have entered into the search engine.
There are some available options for you to look through when looking create a targeted online advertisement –
III. Google AdWords
One potential source for your online advertising. With Google AdWords your exposure is targeted with your keyword selection. Keywords that are typed into the search engine by a user that match your selected keywords will bring up your ad.
Google rewards long term users with better ad exposure. Check out more info pertaining to Google Adwords here.
IV. Bing or Yahoo
Similar to Google AdWords, these two search engines also offer banner and text ads that will be displayed when matching keywords are entered.
The ad exposure isn’t as high as Google AdWords since more users tend to flock to Google, but their options may be a little bit more cost friendly to you.
V. Facebook or LinkedIn
What do Facebook and LinkedIn have in common? People who use those social media platforms actively upload their own information. This is where things get interesting.
Since these two social media giants store so much personal information about millions of individuals, the advertisement options will be more successful in narrowing down the consumers you want to reach.
Facebook will offer ads that are targeted on a more personal level. The information that can be found on Facebook varies greatly – anything from the city the person is born to the location he or she last visited.
Advertising on Facebook will allow you to target the consumer based on more specific, individual variables.
LinkedIn is a more professional social media networking platform. Many people use this to make valuable connections and develop relationships that they can later incorporate into their business or find a potential employer.
The information that is gathered in LinkedIn is more tailored for marketing campaigns that are actively trying to reach out for other companies. Ads that are placed on this platform are perfect if you are looking to build B2B relationships.
The beauty of digital marketing, is all the available data you can gather and use to your advantage. Almost all of your digital marketing efforts can be tracked and analyzed allowing you to continuously adjust and improve.
Anything from your social media profiles, to your website performance, and the amount of people visit and read your blog can help you with your marketing strategy. If something doesn’t work the way it should, you’ll have data backing it up.
The worst thing you can do is not take advantage of analytic tools and go into digital marketing blindly. Without analysis tools, you’re making changes without having the ability to look back and see if your digital marketing efforts converting your audience to a paying consumer.
Time To Start Marketing
The way we incorporate marketing to promote our business has continuously evolved over the years. With the advent of new technology and better communication via the internet, marketing was reinvigorated in a digital environment.
If you weren’t sure of what digital marketing was and how it works, I hope this short guide was helpful and informative.
Perhaps it’s time for your business to adapt with the changing times and if you haven’t already, implement digital marketing into your overall marketing strategy.