Digital marketing is a pivotal part of most modern business success. While it may be a powerful marketing tool, creating an effective digital marketing strategy can feel overwhelming.
Here are a few ideas to help you pull together an effective strategy for your online marketing activities.
1. Assess and Strategize First
Before you start spending money, you need to slow down and consider what your marketing strategy is in the first place. For many SMBs (small- and medium-sized businesses), their marketing is a patchwork effort to tap into as many digital marketing services as possible — and that includes quite a few options. Digital marketing agency Hennessey Digital defines digital marketing services as an “umbrella category” that includes, among other things:
- Website development;
- Social media marketing;
- PPC (pay per click) advertising;
- SEO (search engine optimization).
The ability to use these various online options can create a diverse, affordable, and scalable marketing strategy. In other words, they’re accessible to small and large businesses alike. However, the diversity of options can also create a bit of a problem. With so many choices, it can become easy to overstretch your marketing budget.
This is why, before you spend a penny, you should create a clear and comprehensive digital marketing strategy. This should select what online channels will help you reach your audience, how you should spend your time and resources in those areas, and what metrics can help you gauge your effectiveness.
This may seem like a lot of preparatory work. But, it’s an essential first step in creating a quality digital marketing strategy. Without setting the stage beforehand, you can end up frittering away your marketing funds with little to nothing to show for your effort.
2. Use Your Website as an Online Content Hub
Content marketing is an integral part of most digital marketing strategies. The concept revolves around consistently creating content that is relevant to your audience, provides genuine value, and helps to set your brand up as an authority in your field. When done well, content marketing can help you attract new customers and retain existing clients, as well.
If you want to have a powerful digital marketing strategy, it should be built on content marketing. This isn’t an easy task, but it is one that requires upfront investment and can continue to reward you far into the future.
One of the best forms of content marketing is a blog on your website. A company blog can serve as an online database for your customers. It allows you to demonstrate your experience and knowledge in your industry. It also helps you resonate with your audience members’ pain points and show why you are a legitimate solution that they should consider.
On top of that, high-performing website content can be shared on social media (the online equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing.) It can also help your website rank higher in organic search engine results.
Much like a good digital marketing strategy, building a company blog or similar website resources can feel like a lot of work. However, the number of benefits that it can yield makes a blog well worth the effort.
3. Leverage Influencers
Digital marketing can feel very lonely at times. It’s easy to feel compartmentalized into your tiny corner of the internet. However, there are a couple of ways that you can tap into an army of online partners to help promote your brand.
This army is made up of influencers. Influencer marketing consists of getting influential online personalities to partner with and promote your brand.
This form of digital marketing taps into the loyalty and trust that influencers have with their followers. It also is easy to scale depending on your needs. For instance, you can spend thousands of dollars going after a larger influencer with millions of followers. If you’re working with a smaller budget, you can pursue a network of smaller nano-influencers — those who have audiences of 10,000 followers or less.
Don’t let the numbers fool you, either. Nano-influencer marketing has proven to be an effective way to promote a brand. For instance, nano-influencer accounts on Instagram with less than 5,000 followers tend to boast an engagement rate of between 5.3% and 7.2%. The percentage drops to a measly 1.1% for the largest influencer accounts on the platform.
4. Research Your Target Audience Online
As a successful small business, you may feel that you already understand your audience. However, if you want to be effective online, you should be willing to invest in some additional customer research.
Take some time to investigate how your core customer demographic engages with the online world. For example, Pew Research reports that:
- Significantly more women than men use Facebook;
- Over half of college graduates have a presence on LinkedIn;
- 71% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram.
There is an infinite procession of statistics available for every conceivable demographic. Even if you can’t find enough specific information online about your particular crowd, try asking them directly. Request feedback about where your customers congregate online and what topics or resources they might be interested in seeing you create.
In addition, consider if your audience is in a specific geographic area. If that is the case, you will want to target your online efforts to focus on those regions.
5. Set and Track Metrics
Marketing is never a perfect science. On the contrary, with so many digital marketing options, it’s common to find tremendous success with one strategy and miserable failure with another.
This is why you need to create KPIs (key performance indicators) to help guide your efforts. By identifying and setting KPIs, you can assess if your marketing is providing the desired results.
With so much of the modern world revolving around the internet, it’s important that you invest in a solid digital marketing strategy. This starts with assessing your needs and resisting the temptation to spread yourself across too many online marketing areas at once.
From there, you want to consider critical factors like audience research, content marketing, influencers, and metrics. If you can build your strategy with these elements in mind, you’ll be able to create an effective digital marketing strategy that is uniquely suited to your organization’s promotional needs.
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