What is the best way to market your business today? How can you easily reach your target audience?
Short answer: Through the internet.
Before the invention of the internet in the ‘90s, through to the early 2000s, TV and radio commercials, billboards, and print media were the best marketing channels.
However, the internet has taken over. Its accessibility is constantly improving, and its usage is ever increasing. According to Pew Research, more than 28% of American adults are constantly online. Additionally, 80% of adults use the internet at least once daily.
Therefore, it is no surprise that marketing has also gone online. Social media ads have replaced billboards; newspaper classifieds are almost non-existent, search engines are the new yellow pages, and so on.
All businesses, small, medium, and large, have a marketing budget. It’s not enough to have a marketing budget – you have to spend it the right way. And the right way in this internet age is digital marketing.
So, how do you market your business using digital marketing? How do you develop a digital marketing strategy? How does digital marketing improve your brand? Read on to find answers to these questions and more.
What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is any form of marketing that uses the internet or an electronic device. Examples of digital marketing channels include websites, social media, email, and search engines to increase sales and improve brand awareness.
Digital marketing, like traditional marketing, aims to achieve two main goals:
- Increase sales
- Improve brand awareness
Digital marketing has many strategies and approaches. As such, you can experiment with a variety of tactics, get creative, and tailor your marketing campaign to suit your budget.
Perhaps the best thing about digital marketing is how easy it is to measure results, and, by extension, return on investment (ROI). Using analytics tools, you can easily measure the success of your marketing campaigns. In contrast, it was difficult to analyze the success of billboards and newspaper ads.
Types of digital marketing tactics
The following are the commonly used digital marketing tactics:
A website is the focal point of your online presence, marketing, and sales. All other digital marketing efforts lead back to your website. For instance, your social media ads provide a link to a landing page on your website.
To appreciate the importance of good web design, consider the following stats:
- According to Blog Red, two-thirds of people prefer a beautifully designed website.
- A survey by Digital Apeel found out that 75% of internet users form an opinion about a website solely on aesthetics.
- It takes 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about a website. A fact that explains why slow website speed accounts for $2.6 billion in losses annually.
- 90% of users will continue shopping in an online store simply because it has great UX (User Experience).
The key takeaway here is that web design is a key factor in establishing the credibility of your business. All your other marketing efforts will be for naught if potential customers abandon your website as soon as they click on it.
Two important factors define great web design:
- User Experience (UX): How easy is it for users to achieve their goals for visiting your website?
- User Interface (UI): UI refers to the visual elements of your website.
To create a good website, you have to find the perfect balance between UI and UX.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Every day, on average, there are 2.2 million searches on Google alone (not counting other search engines such as Bing). Good news, right? Surely, one of those searches has to involve something related to your business.
However, there are millions of websites. WordPress users publish more than 2 million posts every day. The number of new pages far exceeds that, since WordPress is not the only content management system (CMS).
The point is, visibility through search engines is not guaranteed. That’s why you need SEO, which is the process of optimizing the content of your web pages, and blog posts to achieve a high ranking on search engine results pages (SERPS).
To get why SEO is important, consider this:
The top five results on the first page of Google’s search results get 67% of all clicks.
That explains the marketer’s joke: If you want to get away with murder, hide the body on the second page of Google’s search results.
Think blogs, social media posts, and YouTube videos. You can market your business through the creation of useful and informative content.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy you can use to keep your audience engaged. You will soon bore people if you only send sales emails. However, you will gain a loyal following by providing informative and relevant content in the form of blog posts, videos, infographics, forum posts, and social media posts.
Content marketing also helps with SEO. By creating and optimizing content around search phrases (keywords) relevant to your niche or industry, you increase your visibility in search engines.
For instance, let’s say you provide plumbing services. You can create a blog post titled “How to find a good plumber.” You will provide potential customers with useful information while also increasing your visibility. Besides, links to your service pages in the content are a chance for lead generation.
Email marketing is probably the oldest form of digital marketing.
The first step is creating an email list. But how do you find the emails of potential customers?
By far, the most effective method is using a lead magnet. Offer something important and relevant for free or at a discounted rate in exchange for an email. A lead magnet is effective because it gives you emails of people who are actually interested in your products or services.
If you’re in the weight loss industry, your lead magnet could be a premium supplement at a discounted rate or a free e-book with important information on how to lose weight.
Now, it is possible to automate email marketing campaigns. Using your content marketing efforts, you don’t always need to send sales emails. It is also good practice to have an opt-out option for your marketing emails.
Social media marketing (SMM)
SMM promotes your brand by connecting with potential customers on social media channels. The goal is to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and drive traffic to your website.
It is not enough for your business to have social media pages and platforms. You have to engage potential customers by posting relevant content. Also, you need to respond to comments and direct messages.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
PPC advertising involves paying a publisher to have your ads posted on their site. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
Google Ads are the most common type of PPC. These ads appear on top of organic search results.
Other forms of PPC include Facebook and Twitter Ads.
This form of marketing makes sense for websites with online stores. Affiliate marketing networks connect you to marketers who promote your products on their websites and social media pages. You pay the marketer a pre-agreed commission for every completed sale.
Branding and digital marketing
Branding is the strategic and creative process of telling potential customers about your company. Branding answers the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you provide?
- What do you care about?
- Why should a customer choose you?
Therefore, building a brand identity is the first thing you should do after starting your business.
Your digital marketing efforts will not be as successful if customers cannot easily pick you out from the crowd. Branding is what sets you apart and makes your business memorable to people. Think about the tick of Nike or the golden arches of McDonald’s.
Branding is more than a logo or symbol. Yes, your logo should be memorable. However, you also need to establish a brand identity and brand voice.
Brand identity refers to all the creative elements you use in the branding process. Your logo, web design, and the appearance of your social media pages. These creative elements should be uniform so that your brand identity remains consistent and memorable.
Brand voice is how you communicate with your audience. How do you communicate your values and brand personality to your audience? Your tone, attitude, and selection of words are some of the aspects that define your brand voice. More on brand voice here.
So, you first establish a physical representation of your brand. Then, you use digital marketing to increase brand awareness.
For instance, SEO will help put your pages on the first page of search results. The more people see your website on search results, the more they start associating your business with whatever it is they are looking for.
Similarly, social media ads will put your brand in front of the eyes of so many customers. So, when they are actually looking for something you provide, they might remember your brand and directly search for your business.
The bottom line: branding and digital marketing are complementary. The lack of a brand beats the purpose of marketing. And, you need digital marketing to increase brand awareness.
Combining Brand Voice and Your Tribe to Choose the Top Digital Marketing Strategies for Your Brand
As mentioned earlier, the brand voice is how you communicate with your audience.
Your tribe is your audience, particularly your loyal subscribers.
Combining your brand voice and tribe can help you choose the best digital marketing strategies for your brand. We’ve created a Rulebook that can be customized to your business that identifies your brand voice, your tribe and your best path forward.
After establishing your brand voice and identifying your target audience, you are in a better position to identify the digital marketing strategies that will work for your brand.
For instance, let’s say your brand voice, like Coca-Cola’s, is all about friendliness, joy, and happiness. And, your target audience (your tribe) is mostly composed of young women.
The best way to voice happiness and joy is through videos and memes. Plus, your target audience spends more time scrolling through social media than they do reading website content. So, a digital marketing strategy involving video content and social media posts and memes are likely to generate more leads for you.
Define your goals to create a successful digital marketing strategy
A combination of several digital marketing tactics forms your digital marketing strategy. You cannot form a successful marketing strategy without goals.
So, first, ask yourself what you want your marketing campaign to achieve. Do you want to increase sales, reduce cart abandonment, improve brand awareness, enhance customer loyalty, or increase traffic?
Only after you identify your goals can you start creating a marketing strategy. The next step is identifying how to achieve your goals best. Obviously, you need several digital marketing tactics to achieve your goals. For instance, for brand awareness, you might need social media, SEO, and even PPC.
Then analyze your existing digital marketing efforts. How well are they performing? What can you do to improve their performance? Do you need to abandon them in favor of other tactics? What other marketing tactics do I need to reach my goals?
You must create SMART goals. SMART is the acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based goals.
Increasing traffic is not a specific goal. However, increasing site traffic to, say, 10,000 visitors, is specific.
Your goals also need to be achievable and realistic; otherwise, you get frustrated. For instance, if you currently have 500 visitors per month, it is unrealistic to hope to achieve 10,000 visitors in a span of 1 or 2 months.
Fortunately, through analytics tools, it is easy to measure the success of your marketing campaigns. Still, you need to set and measure your goals in a time-based manner. Don’t say you want to reach 500 daily site visitors. Say you want to reach 500 daily visitors within 1 month of launching your digital marketing strategy.
Digital marketing is critical to the success of any business. If you are not implementing some form of digital marketing, you are missing out on opportunities to increase sales and elevate your brand.
However, you need to do it the right way. Branding, having smart goals, identifying the right marketing channels, and so on. Due to the scope and ever-changing trends in digital marketing, you need to find a reputable digital marketing agency.
A good digital marketing agency will analyze your digital marketing efforts, identify what needs to change, and formulate a long-term digital marketing strategy. Attempting to do digital marketing on your own might result in a waste of money, resources, and time.