Technology and industry standards are constantly changing. Business development and branding strategies have evolved from traditional marketing methods to search engines and social media. So what is digital marketing and how can you use it to get more customers though your door?
Let’s begin by covering the definition of marketing. According to Webster’s Dictionary, marketing is defined as the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including marketing research and advertising. So how does traditional marketing differ from digital marketing?
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is marketing, however, businesses mainly rely on the Internet to sell their product or services. This includes websites, social media, television, radio, electronic billboards or transit signs. The enormous technological shift in our world has significantly leveled the playing field for all businesses. Smaller businesses with fewer resources can now reach their targeted audiences and engage with them in a more cost-effective way. Although going digital has made a lot of the day-to-day tasks of marketing more efficient and cost effective, it is something many business owners struggle to understand and take advantage of.
How to Use Digital Marketing
Your website is one of the core components of your marketing plan. It is the most effective way to advertise your business’ products and services. Determining the design or layout of your website plays a huge role on your marketing strategy. Your brand image and target audience should be considered when deciding on the look and function of your website. If your website’s main objective is to deliver information, then a minimalist interface will provide the right kind of user experience. Once you’ve established the goals for your website, you can use color and contrast to make your “call-to-actions” stand out. Google Analytics is a great way to find out how many people are visiting your website during a given period. Adding a blog to your website is one of the most effective ways to get more traffic, especially repeat traffic. Although it’s important to track your visitors, it’s even more valuable to track the amount of incoming traffic that converts into leads. No matter the goal of your website, design and functionality should be the best fit for you and your customers.
A blog is an easy-to-use platform that allows your business to share fresh and valuable information with your customers. It is a great way to drive more users to your website and establish trust with your readers. Blogging allows you to share new products or services with your customers and boost your SEO efforts. Search engines favor valuable content and will reward you for providing consistent and useful information. It’s also a great way to compete with other businesses in your industry. You can differentiate yourself by showcasing your personality, knowledge and experience. Blogging is a cost-effective marketing investment. According to a HubSpot survey, B2B companies that blogged 11 or more times per month had almost three times more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. It’s a great way to keep you informed about your industry and help you maintain your expertise. Lastly, it provides content for your social media platforms. Get creative and find ways to repurpose the information from your blog posts into graphics or guides. Your audience will appreciate the quick and easy-to-digest posts.
Social media can be a challenge to a small business owner because it’s difficult to grow an audience, create valuable content and increase engagement. However, when used correctly social media is a great way to build trust and a community of loyal followers. Why would someone want to follow you on social media? Ask yourself what type of content you plan on posting and then stick to it. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. People want to connect with you and your business. Focus on the most productive social media platforms for your business model. What’s your demographic and what social media platforms are they spending most of their time on? It’s important to note the way you communicate on each social media platform varies quite a bit.
Facebook has nearly 2 billion active users each month. A Facebook Page is a must for almost every business, big or small. It helps to connect brands, businesses and consumers, and will help you advertise to the most targeted demographic possible. The best way to communicate on Facebook is through long form written content in posts on the newsfeed. Also, video and live streaming has become the most preferred way of consuming information or entertainment.
Instagram has always been about images. Pages with consistent, high quality images earn the most attention on this platform. It’s the perfect platform for businesses that have a visual or physical product. The “stories” feature is a great way to immerse your viewers to the behind the scenes part of your business. It creates a closer, more personal connection.
Twitter is a great place to learn about trending topics and the news. It’s a wonderful way to have real-time communication with people who may have a problem that your business can solve. It’s a great tool to use for customer service. Posting multiple times a day works best on Twitter, especially posts with images or video.
LinkedIn is the “professional Facebook”. It’s a great way to be socially active and engage with your audience in a more professional manner. Posting blogs, ebooks, video or case studies are some of the more popular types of content published on their platform.
YouTube has become the second biggest search engine in the world, second to Google. You can create as many videos, any length, as you want. If you have a business or product that you feel needs to educate or entertain, it’s a great platform to raise awareness on.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a set of techniques that improve your website’s visibility in the organic search results. You want to target people who are searching for questions or keywords that match the products or services your business provides. Often times, when a person is in need of a product or service, they will search using keywords instead of remembering an obscure company name they were recommended by a friend, i.e, “Marketing Agency in St. Petersburg”. Aside from giving you a sense of accomplishment, being ranked higher in the search results will communicate to your customers that you are a trusted business and will boost your reputation. Maximizing search engine optimization will help grow your business and establish rapport between you and your customers.
Email marketing is a simple way to open up channels of communication with your target audience. It’s cost-effective and sometimes free way to create brand awareness with your logo, company colors and taglines. Sending a monthly newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with your customers regularly and educate them with new products, services or programs offered by your business. Adding an opt-in box to your website will help you grow your network and build your email list. Encourage your readers to visit your website by publishing snippets of recent blog posts in each issue.
Use Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business
Setting measurable and attainable goals for your marketing strategy is key. These examples touch on how valuable digital marketing can be to help grow your business. The right approach can make a huge difference in lead generation, brand awareness and sales. Keep these strategies in mind when organizing your digital marketing plan!