Every business owner wants to reach more customers, sell more products, take a bigger market share, outpace its competitors and grow. Yet markets are ultra-competitive and it’s more challenging than ever to gain visibility. These days, you don’t just want to ensure that customers know who you are and understand the service you provide; you also need to make sure that they:
- Are inspired by your company and its values
- Trust your employees and your brand
- Find positive stories about you online
- Can use all this information to create their own personal relationship with you
The best way to achieve this is with digital marketing. Digital marketing lets you use web-based and mobile tools and technologies to make your presence felt. While people have marketed their businesses with offline technologies for centuries, digital marketing has a major advantage over traditional marketing.
That’s because it allows you to fine-tune your focus, so you deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. The more relevant you are to potential customers, the more successful your digital marketing campaigns are likely to be.
In this guide, we’ll cover six key aspects of digital marketing you need to master to engineer success in your business and give customers the information they need to consider buying products and services from you.
The guide will cover:
- Market Research
- Social media marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Search engine marketing
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
Step #1: Research Your Market
Before you start digital marketing, it’s important to understand your industry, your competitors, and your customers. The knowledge you gain will help you to market more effectively. Here’s how you get started.
1. Analyze Your Industry
Don’t waste your time doing any marketing until you understand your industry. You don’t just need to find out if your business idea has potential; you also need to discover whether there’s really a market. Most importantly, you need to ensure that your business idea will be profitable. If not, then move on.
Industry analyses usually include:
- An industry overview
- Overviews of different sub-sectors
- Information about typical customers
- An assessment of technology if it’s relevant the market
- Past and future trends
It’s a good idea to hire someone to collect all this information for you. Once you get it, go through the data like your business depends on it, because it does. The information you gain will tell you what businesses in your niche usually earn so that you can estimate how much profit you can make. It will also help you understand the context your business operates in so you can run a more effective digital marketing campaign.
2. Get to Know Your Competitors
Another key part of market research is knowing your competitors. That’s because your digital marketing campaigns will need to make it clear how you are different from them and what your unique selling point (USP) is. The industry research you carried out in the previous step is a good starting point, but you’ll also have to find out:
- Which specific market segments they are targeting
- What products and services they offer
- What their strengths and weaknesses are
- Where there might be an opportunity for you to win business
You’ll want to get intimate knowledge of:
- Their target audience and customer profiles
- Their pricing strategy
- Their revenue and profitability
And to help you target your own marketing strategy, you’ll need to understand who their customers are, how your competitors reach them, and what keeps their customers loyal to that brand.
While some of this information is publicly available, it can be worth hiring experienced researchers to dig deeper. You’d be surprised what they will find out.
3. Find Your Buyer Persona
The final part of your market research is understanding your customers. To do this, you’ll need to create buyer personas. Also known as customer avatars, buyer personas are an essential part of any digital marketing and sales growth strategy.
They go way beyond simple demographic information about age, location, gender, and age. The best customer personas read like descriptions of actual people, including marital status, employment, education, values, interests, and more.
Buyer personas will help you to find out:
- what matters to your customers
- how they think
- where they spend their time
- which of your services and products they need and why
- what values are important to them
- what they expect from your company
They will also help you understand what will persuade them to buy products and services from you, which is essential to your marketing strategy.
Step #2: Launch Your Social Media Marketing Campaign
There are almost 2.8 billion social media users worldwide, around one-third of all internet users. That means you can’t ignore social media for marketing your business. Social media is a great tool to give customers a personal connection with you.
In addition to the huge audiences, most social media sites have the added advantage of analytics, giving you more data about your audience’s composition and preferences than ever before. In short, social media is a major vehicle for business growth. Some of the most important social media sites right now are YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important aspects of those platforms for marketing your business.
The latest research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that 60% of marketers use video. Online video is insanely popular, with 60% of people preferring it to live TV, according to Google. Google’s research also shows that in less than 10 years, half of the viewers under 32 won’t use a pay TV service. No marketer can ignore YouTube’s user base, which was more than a billion people at last report.
Owned by Google, YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine and is great for getting your videos seen, as they show up in search results. Even people who know nothing about your business can stumble across it when they’re searching for information about a topic.
Overall, YouTube is an excellent platform to use to engage your customers. You can do lots of different types of videos, but there are two that are particularly useful for businesses: explainer videos and educational videos.
Explainer videos target people who search for your brand and want to understand who you are. They’ll tell people all about your business, products, and services. Of course, that doesn’t mean they can’t be funny. Explainer videos are short and to the point and show how your business meets your customers’ needs.
Explainer Video Example
#MadeOnFiverr by Megdmwick
Educational videos will share tips about different aspects of your products and services. They might tell people how to use your products or provide tips on getting more from the services you offer. These videos will attract people searching for information on particular topics. Even if they didn’t start out looking for your business, having a good educational video could make them want to work with you.
Some educational videos feature real people providing the information customers need. Others are whiteboard animation videos, where the information is on the whiteboard and the person voicing the video never appears.
Whiteboard Animation Example
#MadeOnFiverr by Bnn_Marketing
Whichever type of video you choose, you’ll need to come up with the tips you want to include, and send these to a video script writer to come up with your video script. Once that’s ready, you can find a seller to create a professional explainer or educational video for your business.
Once your video is ready and uploaded to YouTube, reach a bigger audience by using YouTube SEO to make sure more people see it and can find it by searching either YouTube itself or Google.
Your Next Step
Built around photos, Instagram is an excellent platform for visual marketing. It’s very popular and now has more than 600 million active users. For businesses, consider reposting customer images that relate to your company, as well as providing an inside view of life at the company. Quotes, memes, images of nature, and cute animals also work well.
To use Instagram effectively, make sure you get a business account. That will give you analytics so you can track which content does best – and post more of it. Like most social media, Instagram works best when you are active and responsive. You’ll need to install the app on your phone, but you can also use a tool like Later or Grum to schedule posts.
Instagram works best when you are active on a daily basis. Use it effectively and you’ll soon reach more of your potential customers.
Insider tips for using Instagram for advertising
- Use hashtags extensively – Instagram users love them, and they help people find relevant content. The more you use, the more engagement you’ll get.
- Like and reply to comments to increase engagement.
- When you first use Instagram, use keywords or hashtags to find relevant people to follow and then like and repost relevant content.
Your Next Step
Facebook is one of the most powerful social media tools you can use. With more than a billion users worldwide, the chances are that most of the people that you want to reach are on Facebook. According to Pew, 79% of all internet users are on Facebook. That means your digital marketing strategy must include Facebook.
There are lots of Facebook tools you can use. As well as your personal profile, there’s Messenger, Groups, and Live Video. But the tool you’re likely to use most as a business is Facebook Pages. Around 50 million businesses are using them. Pages have many of the same features as profiles, allowing you to share images, videos, and status updates. But having a page gives you access to analytics, and you can also promote posts and run ads.
To use your Facebook page well, you must engage with the page daily, either by posting original content or sharing something useful and responding to messages and comments. Like other companies, you can afford to be a bit playful on Facebook.
You’ll also want to launch or participate in groups, which Facebook says are used by 850 million people. Be useful and helpful and you will grow your audience, and lead a lot more people back to your page. Group owners are usually happy when you share relevant content within the group and may even share it to their own external networks. It’s like a partnership where your content helps to keep the group interesting to members while you get a bigger audience.
As mentioned earlier, Facebook is also an advertising platform. You can create your own ads or « boost » existing content that’s starting to get attention. This can be a cost-effective way to reach your audience, especially since Facebook has excellent demographic targeting and audience segmentation features.
There’s a lot to master with Facebook, but don’t feel overwhelmed. See which Facebook services our sellers offer to help you market your business effectively.
Your Next Steps
Though LinkedIn members are certainly consumers, this network is more useful for B2B marketers. It’s the largest professional network in the world, with a membership of 467 million across 200 countries. To use LinkedIn for digital marketing, you’ll need to create a killer personal profile, as this will help you use other services more effectively.
The most popular LinkedIn content is industry insights and company news, so if your company produces research, it’s a good starting point for marketing with LinkedIn. If you post at least 20 times a month, you’ll get great engagement.
Identify influencers who have an audience similar to your target audience. Selectively share content with them that they can share with their contacts. Don’t overdo it, but if you have a high-quality resource, they will be happy to do it.
Groups are a powerful feature on LinkedIn. You can join existing groups in your niche, using LinkedIn’s built-in search to find active and relevant groups. Once you’re in, be helpful rather than promotional for best results. This is an excellent tool for showing your expertise.
Alternatively, start your own group. Invite everyone in your company to join the group and help to share content widely. Post regular discussion starters and respond to all comments. You’ll find that if you have a vibrant group, even people who aren’t personal connections will want to join. This can be an excellent place to connect with potential customers, find out what their questions are and answer them, and get ideas for product and service development. Since it’s your group, you’re free to promote your services, though be warned that too much overt self-promotion will make your group unpopular.
You can also start a company page to share company updates and showcase pages for particular products or services. Again, encourage everyone in your company to add these pages to their profiles.
LinkedIn also includes an advertising platform. Again, its search features mean you can target your audience by occupation, location, level of seniority, professional experience, interests and much more. This is an excellent way to get the attention of people relevant to your niche.
Your Next Step
Twitter has 319 million monthly active users and is an excellent network for discovering and breaking news and other content. That’s why it’s the right place for you to share all the content you create. You can share links, images, and videos on Twitter, and can collect them into Twitter Moments, which are like the stories features on other platforms. Twitter was also the first social media site to use hashtags, and they are an important tool to help people to find content.
Insider tips for using Twitter for advertising
- Update your Twitter account daily with content suitable for your target audience, including inspirational quotes, useful posts, relevant images and more. You can always hire someone to help you find and post this content.
- Grow your Twitter community by producing content that your followers want to retweet and getting mentioned by Twitter influencers.
- Use Twitter Analytics to understand your audience and flesh out your buyer personas. Then you can use Twitter Ads to target promotions to the right customers.
Your Next Step
Step #3: Look After SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential component of digital marketing. It’s all about tweaking your web pages, so they show up in a good position in search results when people search for relevant keywords.
Of course, that’s not all there is to SEO. In fact, there’s a long list of search ranking factors. In a nutshell, Google wants to know your business is trustworthy and it looks for signals like:
- External reviews of your business
- Links to your site from trusted external sources
- social media sharing
And more. The more positive these signals are, the better your pages and your site will rank.
Since search algorithms are constantly evolving, sometimes you need a bit of help to keep up. Luckily, Google provides several tools to help you with SEO and related website management tasks:
- Google Analytics tracks what people do when they’re on your site and provides demographic information. You can also use it to manage conversion goals and marketing funnels.
- Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) helps you see your site as Google’s search bots do, with tools allowing you to upload sitemaps, manage rich snippets, handle Google penalties and more. You can also use this tool to identify and understand the search behaviour that brings people to your site by looking at the keywords they use.
Page speed is also a key SEO metric. Test yours with Pingdom. If your page loads after more than 2 seconds there is a place for improvement. Making your website faster is essential for SEO and can be improved dramatically with the help of an expert.
One of the most important things you can do to improve SEO is to write excellent content. Whenever you search Google, you’ll often find an in-depth blog post or article about 1000-2000 words long, giving the answer to your query. Your content could provide answers for other searchers. That’s why every business that has a website needs to include content creation as part of the SEO strategy. The right content can give you a great search position – perhaps even on the first page – that you could never achieve with your website’s homepage alone.
Your Next Steps
Insider tips for using SEO services
- Unless you’re offering global services, pay attention to local search volume to find data that’s more relevant to your business.
- Perform a keyword research to find out what users are searching so you can develop your marketing and content marketing strategy. Make sure the keywords have the right intent to your business. Don’t target keywords around your business, target those who ask for your specific service.
- Create excellent content answering the most important questions people have about your business and your niche.
Step #4: Extend Your Reach With SEM
The focus of SEM, or search engine marketing, is about buying ads that appear in search results. You’ll also hear people talking about pay per click (PPC) advertising. Either way, you’ve probably noticed that a few ads – appear at the top of the search results.
These ads are served by AdWords, which we mentioned earlier, and your SEM strategy aims to ensure that your ad comes up at the right time to target the people you most want to reach. These ads also appear on mobile devices. Because of the positioning, these ads get a lot of clicks, which means more traffic, sales, and leads for your business. If the ad is relevant, people don’t seem to care that it’s an ad.
For best results with SEM and PPC, you’ll also need to pay attention to ad targeting, creating filters and editing ads to make them more effective. AdWords includes in-depth analytics so you can create a strategy that really works.
Your Next Steps
Insider tips for using SEM services
- Make the purchase process as simple as possible, so your ads result in more paying customers. Remember, you are paying per click.
- Increase your return on investment (ROI) by taking advantage of the built-in AdWords testing features.
- Vary titles and descriptions on a rotating basis to determine which are the best performing ads for your business.
Step #5: Invest In Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of your most important tools for promoting your business. As mentioned earlier, targeted ads can be very effective, but today people are more interested in content that provides useful information and helps them solve their problems.
Content marketing has multiple benefits, including establishing your authority, fostering customer loyalty, creating shareable resources, expanding your audience and more. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of marketers say improving content quality has made their marketing strategy more successful.
There’s so much to content marketing that we could write a whole guide about that alone, but here’s some information to guide you. There are a lot of different types of content (articles, blog posts, white papers, ebooks, infographics, news stories, case studies, videos, podcasts and more). You’ll need to understand your audience (as we mentioned in step 1) to know where they hang out online and which types of content they like best. That probably means trying out different forms of content to see which ones bring the business benefits you need.
Your Next Steps
Insider tips for using content marketing services
- Make sure you optimize your content to SEO as the SEO data you gathered in step 3 will make it easier for people to find and share your content. Whether you’re creating written content or YouTube videos, SEO will help the content reach more people.
- Your website should always be the main home for your content, making it a destination for the potential customers. But don’t just publish it there and wait for the traffic to arrive. Use social media, PPC, email marketing (see step 6), and partnerships to extend its reach.
Step #6: Create An Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing is exactly what it sounds like: promoting your business and connecting with your customers via email. With so many other ways to reach people (like social media and messaging apps), people keep predicting the death of email.
But actually, it’s alive and well and is still the way most people prefer to communicate with your business. Many people like getting promotional emails and will purchase items as a result. So, you can’t afford to ignore this marketing strategy.
To get started, pick an email marketing platform and put a signup form on your website. This will let you collect email addresses from potential customers so you can communicate with them.
Which platform should you choose? There are hundreds, but many people start with MailChimpbecause of its « forever free » starter plan. You can have up to 2,000 email subscribers and can send 12,000 emails a month. That’s a good place for most businesses to start. Like most email marketing platforms, MailChimp provides statistics on the open and click-through rate for your emails and has a few other promotional tools you can use.
The secret of email marketing success is writing compelling headlines and high converting copy that makes people want to take the next step. The more relevant your emails are to what potential customers need, the better they will work to build your relationship with them, so they think of you when they’re ready to buy.
Your Next Steps
Insider tips for using email marketing services
- Be aware that there are strict guidelines for email marketing. Users must be able to opt-in, so you know they want your emails before you send them anything; otherwise, they’ll see you as a spammer.
- When writing headlines for emails, avoid email spam trigger words or anything that seems overly promotional. These affect email deliverability. If they end up in the spam box or, in the case of Gmail, in the « promotions » tab, people may not see them at the right time – or at all!
- As mentioned earlier, ensure that your email marketing is relevant to the users that you are selling it to. It will increase both your open rates and account credibility.
With these six steps, you have everything you need to organize effective digital marketing campaigns for your business. Check out the other guides in our series to help your business grow even more.