A quick guide to digital marketing for newbies
By Mike Wood
Given the madness currently going on in the world over COVID-19, every business wants to get into digital marketing. Many of you are way behind the curve while some of you didn’t have a digital footprint before.
So where do you start? There is a lot of advice out there, good and bad, and lots of people promising you great returns for large sums of money that you probably don’t have right now.
Now that you’ve read this article, you’re probably looking for free advice on how to do it on your own. AllBusiness.com is one of the first sites I learned the ins and outs of marketing, and now that I’m writing for it, I thought I’d put together some free advice to get you started (or hopefully at least motivate you).
The state of digital marketing
Marketing in the digital age Has taken a decidedly new form than the marketing tactics of the past. A competent and effective online marketing strategy is an essential success factor for many companies today. But it’s also true that you may have put less energy into these digital strategies because your business was doing well. However, coronavirus and the rise of bulk “stay at home” orders could make you rethink your internet marketing plans.
Of course, the importance of online marketing in the age of the coronavirus cannot be overestimated. Many of us have been banned from working from home and trying to do business in unusual ways. We can no longer rely on the traditional marketing tactics that got us where we are.
Or, you might just want to cultivate a new skill so you can cast a wider net and get more customers. The digital marketing strategies are the same regardless of a global pandemic. So if you’re just getting started, let’s take a look at some of the fundamentals of digital marketing to create a solid framework.
Find out what your customers like and who they are
If you run a business that is even moderately successful, you must be doing something right. There’s a reason you get new customers and keep existing ones even if you don’t have a large web presence.
A great place to start your digital marketing foray is to find out exactly What is holding these customers back? to you. Is it your products and services? Your location? Your level of customer service? Or a combination of all of that and more?
More importantly, you should try to understand exactly how your business is meeting your customers’ needs. What are they looking for when they call you or walk into your shop window? Once you know who your customers are and what they want from your company, you can create a “Target Customer” profile.
Once you know who your target customer is, you should consider that audience in your digital marketing strategy. Because if you only go for online marketing, you are less likely to get a good return on investment.
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Focus on creating good content
Content marketing is one of the best, most affordable ways to start your digital marketing strategy. It is possible that you already have an existing website or social media profile that you can start creating and distributing content on. Or you may have to start from scratch.
If you have a website or are planning to create one, it is always a good idea to have it full of helpful and informative content. Blogs are a common method of delivering content and can prove effective in attracting new leads and customers.
Indeed, after HubSpot, small businesses with an active blog generate 126% more leads than small businesses without a blog. Of course, just having a blog on your website that you upload a few paragraphs to every week is not enough. The content must offer the reader added value. Let them share your expertise or find out how you can mitigate problems in your industry.
Blogs aren’t the only ways to start a digital content marketing campaign. While this is a great place to start, there are a few other options that should be considered, including:
- E-books, white papers and case studies: E-books and the like are great ways to impart a large amount of knowledge on a particular subject or topics to those interested. Plus, they’re great for creating leads. Many companies offer ebooks in exchange for a visitor’s contact information so you can earn conversions over time.
- Guest contributions: Guest posts are similar to standard blog posts, except that the content appears on another website or blog and simply links to your page. This is a good strategy because it leverages built-in audiences who are likely already interested in your company’s issues and issues.
- Videos: Video content is growing in popularity as more and more people flock to video hosting sites like YouTube. While video making may currently be outside your area of expertise, it’s important to keep this in mind as your business and content marketing strategies grow.
For the most part, you want to avoid actively selling your content to people. The goal is always to create a community that brings people back and keeps people interested in what you have to say.
Websites with well-written, informative content that employ common search engine optimization (SEO) tactics often rank high on relevant Google searches. With the right keywords and topics, you can help drive traffic to your website, build a database of leads, and ultimately, conversions.
Don’t neglect paid advertising
While it may be tempting to simply build your brand on your own website or social media profile, you can’t rule out other forms of digital marketing that cost money. One of the most common forms of paid advertising is Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). These ads often appear at the top of all relevant Google searches and are paid for by the companies themselves.
Google’s platform works on a pay-per-click (PPC) model that only charges you when someone actually clicks on the ad link. Again, this is a great way to drive traffic to your website while also giving you the much-needed data and analytics on how many people are clicking on your ad links, who they are, and where they are from.
Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others have too similar advertising models. However, if you’re just starting out, you might want to try Google’s platform first.
Email marketing serves as a great reminder for customers
Email is a relatively old concept right now, but it’s still an important marketing channel. With email, you can offer offers, announce upcoming products or services, include calls-to-action, and generally keep your brand in the minds of your customers. Email marketing platforms offer all of the marketing tools you could want. Of course, you also need to collect email addresses from customers or prospects, which can be done either through in-person registrations or online solicitations.
Of course, you still want to make sure that the content of your emails is of high quality and that you don’t send too many emails that could lead potential customers to unsubscribe. The most effective way to get customers to interact with your email is Message personalization message. So if you choose to do email marketing, you should address your customers personally, without looking like a machine.
get started now
A high quality digital marketing strategy can be an important cog for the success of any business. If you have a little extra time to spare, now is the perfect time to jump into online marketing.
However, it should be noted that online marketing is a skill that you want to cultivate. You won’t be a master at this right away, and you shouldn’t stop just because you don’t see immediate results.
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About Mike Wood
I am an online marketer, author and Wikipedia expert. I am the founder of Legalmorning.com, an online marketing agency specializing in content writing, brand management, and professional Wikipedia editing. I regularly write on many online publications where I write about business and marketing. I am also the author of the books Link juice and Wikipedia as a marketing tool.
This article was originally published on AllBusiness. View all articles by Mike Wood.