Your customers invariably search for your products, services, and business details online.
When they do they may also find details of your competition. Digital marketing ensures you have a presence online, helps you compete, builds confidence in potential customers that you are able to deliver, and generates sales.
One of the problems that many business owners face, however, is where to start with digital marketing. This particularly applies if you are not in a position to directly employ a digital marketing expert.
To help, here are six essentials you should focus your efforts on.
The digital marketing starting point for most businesses is a website. If you don’t have one, you should get one – this applies even if you are a micro business as a website doesn’t have to cost much to setup or maintain. In addition, your website should work on all devices, including mobile phones. Also, the information on the website should be easy to find and it should load as quickly as possible.
There are, of course, a lot of other important factors to consider when getting a website, but the above will give you a good foundation.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It involves taking steps to make your website more visible in search. It is a huge topic area – much too big to cover in a couple of paragraphs. There are some points you should remember, however:
• Make sure your website designer includes SEO elements (site structure, responsive design, content, etc) when building your website – after all, there is no point having a fantastic website if nobody sees it
• If you are a local business, register with Google My Business
Email marketing involves building a list of contacts and sending them regular emails with a combination of non-sales and sales-related content. The frequency you send emails is up to you, and the email list can be past customers, people who have registered via your website, or people who have previously been in touch with you – just make sure you have their permission to send them emails.
If you don’t have an email marketing strategy in place you should explore your options.
Social media is another important part of digital marketing, although it is a long-term strategy rather than one that gets instant results. It is about brand and reputation building, and developing relationships with customers and potential customers. You should do this by focusing on one or two platforms – the platforms that you are most likely to find your customers using. You then need to post regular, non-sales content as well as engaging in conversations with your audience – answering questions, responding to comments, etc.
One of the objectives of content marketing is similar to social media marketing – it helps build the profile of your brand. Content marketing also helps with SEO. It involves creating content that, normally, doesn’t have a sales message. Instead, it is content that is helpful, educational, informative, or entertaining for the reader/viewer. This helps to build a relationship and establish you as a leader in your industry.
The content can take many forms, including blogs, videos, infographics, and more.
PPC advertising – or Pay Per Click advertising – is another form of digital marketing you should explore. This is advertising that is usually on Google or Facebook where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You control how much you spend each day and you can target the ad at particular users. As you can keep a tight lid on budgets, it is worth experimenting to see if you get a sufficient return on investment.
With each of the strategies above it is important you test, measure the results, make improvements, and then test again. It is a continuous process, but it gives you the best chance of success.