Marketing is a complex function and one that welcomes creativity and innovative thinking. But sometimes, if you’re starting out or still trying to figure out what works, it’s best to get back to basics. At the core of most digital marketing strategies are tactics that have consistently been successful ways to promote a brand and build a customer base. If you don’t know where to start or want to follow a trail that others have blazed, these building blocks of digital marketing are your go-to resource. But don’t be constrained by the way others have implemented the strategies. Use your ingenuity to adapt them to your business and your customers.
Suppose you need new tennis shoes, a new refrigerator, a toaster oven, a soundbar, or even landscaping services. Before you buy anything, you might first gather opinions from friends and family. Then you will probably turn to the Internet to conduct research. On the Internet, you can learn about all the latest features, what styles are available, which models are best for your intended purpose, or the service provider’s capabilities. You can read reviews, gather price information, and, as you conduct your research, identify trusted brands and specific models or services you might be interested in learning more on.
If you’ve ever wondered who creates all that free, helpful information that forms the core of your research, now you know. It’s people like you who are interested in selling something and want to promote their brand to others in a way that’s not aggressive. The more people you can attract to your website from the content you create, the more trusted and recognized your brand will become to the people who visit. The more likely you are to sell something to them. At least, that’s the theory.
Content marketing is consistently one of the most profitable components of a digital marketing strategy. Even if you hire someone else to write it, content is not that expensive. Each new article gradually builds a library of content. With a bit of time spent updating older content, your website will become an encyclopedia for potential buyers.
When you create content, make sure you cover the basics about your product or service and then try to cover some topics you think are essential but haven’t seen your competitors talk about on their blogs or websites. Or go with what’s trendy and top of mind for everyone if that’s the image you want to portray. The right content marketing strategy depends on what you sell and whom you sell it.
Content marketing tips:
A. Always add a “call to action” to your content, even if it’s just adding their name to your mailing list.
B. Be sure your brand is prominent so people will associate it with high-quality content.
C. Make sure your website is easy to browse on a mobile phone because more searches are performed on mobile devices than desktop computers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You’ve created great content and published it on your website. Now how do you get your website to be at the top of the list of Google search results? That’s SEO in a nutshell. It’s a complex area that can consume all of your time if you let it. Google advises that you understand the basics of SEO but then forget about it and focus your time on creating the most helpful content for customers rather than trying to game the search engines.
Investing in SEO is a long-term strategy with a long-term payoff. It’s very different from email marketing, where you can often see a campaign’s effect immediately. You might invest time and resources in SEO and have to wait six months to see higher rankings in search engine results. But manage to boost your results to a place where you’re more likely to be noticed. The positive impact on your website traffic and sales can be significant.
Because SEO is so challenging, you might decide to hire someone to help. If you do, be suspicious of anyone who promises you instant success. Don’t be tempted by someone who guarantees you first page Google results in 24 hours. That instant success will probably be short-lived and might land you on Google’s blacklist permanently. If that happens, you really won’t need to think about SEO!
Many businesses heed Google’s advice and don’t invest much time or money in SEO, and you might decide to do the same. However, if your competitors don’t invest in SEO and you do, it can be a competitive advantage.
A. Read Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide and perform the recommended steps in its guide for your website.
B. Add your business to Google My Business and Bing Places for Business to ensure you have a local presence and a chance to appear on maps.
c. Register your website in Google Search Engine Console and Bing Webmaster Tools and resolve errors at a minimum.
Regardless of how you feel personally about email marketing, almost every business uses it because it works. If you have a new website, one of your first digital marketing goals should be to create a list of emails that belong to people who have expressed an interest in what you’re selling or something closely related to the topic. You can use email marketing to announce new content you publish on your website, inform everyone about a sale, provide a discount coupon to your most valuable customers, or whatever creative communication strategies make the most sense for you. Take your most popular content and put it together in a comprehensive guide or eBook. Then offer the eBook in exchange for an email to be added to your mailing list.
It’s usually best to use a third party for the mechanics of maintaining a mailing list and physically sending emails. Your emails are more likely to be received and not put into a Spam folder, and you’re less likely to break a spam email law that could result in a fine. Mailchimp, AWeber, and Constant Contact are three popular email marketing service companies. They each have a free tier if you’re starting and don’t have much of a mailing list.
Email Marketing Tips:
A. Personalize your emails’ basics and content based on what you know about your prospects and customers.
B. Analyze the statistics for each bulk mailing you do. In particular, monitor the open percentage, click-through percentage, and sales.
C. Once you have the basics set up, use the email marketing service company’s tools to create an automated follow-up sequence of emails.
Social Media Marketing
The social media landscape today is vast. Only a mega-corporation can be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat at the same time. Effective social media marketing means selecting a few social media sites to focus on. Find out where your target audience or typical buyers go most frequently and focus your time on those sites. Create a strategy for each social media site you choose that leverages the platform’s strengths and uses the tools they provide to marketers. For example, your Facebook strategy might be to shape your brand’s perception among those familiar with your brand through paid advertising that’s designed primarily for your target audience. Your Twitter strategy might include a series of planned tweets that expand your recognition by getting you noticed by people who aren’t following you or who aren’t necessarily familiar with your brand – yet.
Social media can help you in several ways. Some use it to promote their brand, drive traffic to their website and make sales. Others take a more interactive approach and engage their audience in conversations to create excitement around their brand. It’s even a way that some companies connect their customers to share solutions to common problems and help each other. Suppose you decide to spend money on advertising. In that case, social media is an excellent outlet because you can target potential buyers based on their basic demographic information, their interests, and much more.
There is a telling and a listening component to social media marketing. You should listen to social media for mentions of your brand and potentially intervene if a small problem might become a PR nightmare in the future. Your listening can also be informed by the analytics you receive on the posts and ads you run. Use all the information you get to fine-tune your strategy.
Social Media Marketing Tips:
A. Create a digital marketing persona to help promote a consistent image across platforms.
B. Engage your customers in discussions and build stronger relationships with key influencers.
C. Experiment and analyze results to determine what works best. Social media is constantly changing, and you will have to adapt continually.
Most digital marketing advertising falls into the “pay-per-click” or PPC category. You create a digital ad, choose where it’s displayed, and each time someone clicks on it, you pay a fee. That fee is often auctioned in real-time based on parameters you set that govern how much you’re willing to bid for specific keywords.
There are different types of advertising available to you. Search advertising includes ads displayed in conjunction with search engine results, typically either before the results or in a sidebar. If you can’t get your content to rank high on Google, paid search advertising is an easy but potentially expensive way to boost your position. Display ads appear on websites, typically around the main content but sometimes in the middle of it. Display ads can be great tools to bring traffic to your website, but some people have become immune to them. Social ads appear on social marketing platforms and should match your online persona. You might have to experiment to find out what works best for you.
Google and Facebook are the clear leaders when it comes to search and social marketing advertising. But other ad networks can also deliver results, often at a lower pay-per-click price. Some networks target mobile advertising specifically to display ads inside apps on a user’s mobile device.
A. Spend time analyzing your numbers, and integrate them with other metrics such as website traffic statistics.
B. Take advantage of the latest technology and experiment with capabilities such as retargeting recent visitors to your website.
C. Customize your click-through landing page to the specific call to action it serves and every landing page to make sure it works!
Digital marketing can seem overwhelming even to experienced digital marketers. If you’re unsure where to start or want to get back to basics, use these five components as the core of your digital marketing strategy. They are proven ways to build brand recognition, engage with your audience, and convert prospective customers into repeat-purchasing loyal customers.