Digital marketing is a central component of modern business success. While it may be a powerful marketing tool, developing an effective digital marketing strategy can be overwhelming.
Here are some ideas to help you develop an effective strategy for your online marketing activities.
1. Evaluate first and develop a strategy
Before you start spending any money, you need to slow down and consider what your marketing strategy is all about. For many SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses), their marketing is a patchwork to tap into as many digital marketing services as possible – and that includes a few options. The digital marketing agency Hennessey Digital defines digital marketing services as an “umbrella category”, which includes:
- Website development;
- Social media marketing;
- PPC advertising (pay-per-click);
- SEO (search engine optimization).
Being able to take advantage of these different online options can create a diverse, affordable, and scalable marketing strategy. In other words, they are equally accessible to small and large businesses. However, the variety of options can also create problems. With so many choices, it can be easy to overwhelm your marketing budget.
For this reason, before you spend a dime, create a clear and comprehensive digital marketing strategy. This should choose which online channels will help you reach your audience, how you should spend your time and resources in these areas, and what metrics can help you measure your effectiveness.
This may seem like a lot of groundwork. However, this is an essential first step in developing a quality digital marketing strategy. Without setting it up beforehand, you can waste your marketing resources with little to nothing on your efforts.
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, adds real value, and helps establish your brand as an authority in your field. Content marketing, if done well, can help you attract new customers and retain existing customers.
If you want a powerful digital marketing strategy, it should be built on top of content marketing. It’s not an easy task, but it does require upfront investment and can keep rewarding you well in the future.
One of the best forms of content marketing is to blog on your website. A company blog can serve as an online database for your customers. It enables you to prove your experience and knowledge in your industry. It also helps you resonate with your viewers’ pain points and show why you are a legitimate solution for them to consider.
In addition, powerful website content can be shared on social media (the online equivalent of word of mouth). This 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 resource can feel like a lot of work. However, the number of benefits it can offer make a blog worthwhile.
3. Use influencers
Digital marketing can feel very lonely at times. It’s easy to divide yourself into your tiny corner of the internet. However, there are several ways that you can access an army of online partners to help promote your brand.
This army is made up of influencers. Influencer marketing is all about getting influential online personalities to collaborate with and promote your brand.
This form of digital marketing harnesses the loyalty and trust influencers have with their followers. It’s also easy to scale as needed. For example, you can spend thousands of dollars following a bigger influencer with millions of followers. If you’re on a smaller budget, you can pursue a network of smaller nano-influencers – those who have an audience of 10,000 followers or less.
Don’t let the numbers fool you either. Nano influencer marketing has proven to be an effective way of promoting a brand. For example, nano influencer accounts on Instagram with fewer than 5,000 followers tend to have an engagement rate of between 5.3% and 7.2%. For the largest influencer accounts on the platform, the percentage drops to a measly 1.1%.
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 ready to invest in additional customer research.
Take some time to examine how your key demographic customers interact with the online world. For example, Pew Research reports that:
- Significantly more women than men use Facebook;
- Over half of university graduates are present on LinkedIn;
- 71% of 18 to 29 year olds use Instagram.
There is an infinite number of statistics available for every imaginable population group. Even if you can’t find enough specific information about your particular audience online, try asking them directly. Get feedback on where your customers congregate online and what topics or resources they might want you to create.
Also, consider whether your audience is in a specific geographic area. If so, you should focus your online efforts specifically on these 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 have tremendous success with one strategy and miserable failures with another.
This is why you need to create KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to guide your efforts. By identifying and setting KPIs, you can gauge whether your marketing is delivering the results you want.
With so much of the modern world revolving around the internet, it’s important that you invest in a solid digital marketing strategy. It starts with assessing your needs and resisting the temptation to spread out into too many online marketing areas at once.
From there, you should consider critical factors like audience research, content marketing, influencers, and metrics. If you can create your strategy with these elements in mind, you can create an effective digital marketing strategy that is specifically tailored to your company’s advertising needs.