The world of digital marketing is vast, there are so many aspects to consider, and it’s ever-evolving with new technologies, this makes it quite tricky, and it’s an art to manage all the moving parts.
Digital marketing has become a reliable and cost-effective tool not only to create brand awareness but also successfully convert leads into paying customers. Any small business will know that online marketing, online shopping functionality and social media are more vital now than ever. Your customers are online, your competitors are online, and your brand also needs to be online.
It’s far more cost-effective than traditional marketing, and this means you can compete with bigger businesses which certainly was not the case with traditional marketing. Digital marketing involves a multichannel approach meaning that you can find your customers just about anywhere online. It is also more measurable than traditional marketing, meaning that you can quickly assess the results of your efforts and change strategies if need be. Another aspect to consider is that the digital marketing function requires ongoing maintenance. Websites need to be maintained and optimised, and content needs to be regularly updated.
As a small business owner, you’ll have to decide how digital marketing will fit into your overall marketing strategy. This guide contains digital marketing basics you need to know to create successful online marketing campaigns for your business.
Creating a website
No business, large or small, can afford not to have a digital presence. Having a website is crucial, whether you are selling products online or simply want to provide information about your business. It’s important to have clear objectives for the website before you start creating one. Researching what your competitors are doing can help you get a clear idea of what may work best for you.
You can build your own website or have a professional web developer build it for you. If you choose to build your own website, there are a number of website builders you can use such as:
WordPress is the top website builder software in the world. There are estimated to be roughly 1.3 billion active websites in the world and according to a survey published by Netcraft, that means that around 455,000,000 websites are using WordPress right now. Having someone else build a website for you is a good idea if you’re new to online business. A professional web developer can build your site quickly and provide guidance on successful web design. Hiring a professional can be particularly useful if you are looking at having an online shop or offering other services through your website.
You also need to ensure that your website can be easily accessed on mobile devices. Having a mobile-friendly website is imperative because people are always on their phones. The average person spends 5 hours on their phones per day and roughly 53% of all web traffic from mobile devices. Having a responsive website means you can reach a wider audience; it makes online sharing easier and it’s a great way to rank higher on search engines.
Branding is crucial because it is one of the first things consumers notice about your business. It is how you distinguish yourself from the competition and it tells them what you offer. Your brand is what your business represents and how you wish to be perceived. There are numerous areas that contribute to branding such as advertising, logo, reputation, merchandise and customer service. These elements work together to create a unique brand that will attract consumers. There are great tools available to help you elevate your brand such as Sprout Social, Google Analytics, Rebrandly.
Branding can change how people perceive your brand, and it can bring new traffic and increase brand awareness. Branding also helps your business:
- Get more recognition
- Increase business value
- Generate new customers
- Improve employee satisfaction
Social media strategy and management
A few years ago, businesses would use social media to share their content to generate traffic to their websites and (hopefully) get sales. Nowadays, businesses use social media for more than posting images. Businesses can now use social media to monitor social media conversations, respond to relevant mentions and analyze reach, engagement and online sales using social media tools. There are plenty of tools available to help you optimize your social media such as:
- Native Analytics
It’s necessary to use your social media platforms to their full advantage. Social media allows you to connect with your customers. Social media channels also offer a quicker and more personal way of responding to your customers, and it’s a great way to learn about their preferences. If you lack the time to fully utilize social media to market your small business, then hiring a social media manager is something to consider. Here’s what they can do for you:
- Create a social media strategy and plan aligned with your business objectives
- Curate and manage content regularly
- Monitor and report performance
Email marketing strategy
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that’s used to promote your company’s products and services. It’s also an effective way to manage your customer relationships and enhance customer engagement. Email is one of the best ways you can develop credible and sustainable relationships with your customers and prospects because it’s such a direct and personalised channel.
In order for you to run successful email marketing campaigns, you will have to stay current with email marketing best practices. Using email marketing software will allow you to automate your email marketing campaign, track your results and send more emails which will help you build better relationships with your visitors.
There are plenty of email marketing tools that you can use. For example, MailChimp is one of the leading email marketing providers, with over 1 billion emails sent a day using their service. It’s a great tool for bloggers and small businesses. You can also hire a digital marketing assistant to help you manage the entire marketing process:
- Campaign planning, aligned to business objectives
- Design and build email campaigns
- Measure results and report feedback
Building customer engagement and better connections with content marketing
It’s an undisputed fact that digital marketing has revolutionised customer relationship management (CRM). Digital platforms and social media have enabled easy and instant communication between the brand and the audience. And because everything digital can be tracked, we get to know our customers better and understand their preferences. This means we can give them what they want.
Creating strong customer relationships is critical to business success. As the adage says, “it’s seven times harder to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer”, building brand loyalty and trust doesn’t only mean that your customers keep coming back, it also means that they become brand ambassadors and by word of mouth do your marketing for you.
Good customer engagement implies an emotional connection or relationship with your customer, and this is derived from a great customer experience. Good customer experience is achieved as a seamless engagement at every touchpoint. At every touchpoint, you can create positive perceptions with your brand positioning. The cornerstone of a powerful customer engagement strategy is high-quality content.
Inbound marketing uses tools like blogs, social media, email campaigns and SEO to build trust and credibility for your brand. It relies on the creation of high-quality content to create permanent and long-term relationships with your customers. It’s content that is designed to address problems and provide solutions. It’s the type of content that helps users to find you because it’s content that they are looking for.
To create quality and engaging content, you need a dedicated resource who is skilled in the art of writing. Good writing involves a lot of research, time and dedication.
A proficient virtual digital agency can help small businesses optimise customer engagement with a well-thought-out and robust inbound marketing strategy.
This is advertising or ad space that you have to pay for, versus owned (your website) or earned (publicity) advertising. It can take various forms, for example, it can be written, or it can be an image or a video, and you can choose a variety of channels to publish this content on like social media platforms, search engines and display advertising (banners on popular global websites).
Paid advertising or pay per click (PPC) can be even more successful when combined with a robust inbound marketing strategy which is paramount for successful lead generation. In fact, the two should go hand in hand. Yes, publishing content that is helpful and relevant is a cornerstone of inbound marketing, but that might not be enough, you might need to boost this with paid advertising which will get your content to the right audience.
Paid advertising is exceptionally targeted; you can segment your audience to the tee. This is because search engines and social media platforms have a large amount of demographic information from their users and also have an extensive reach.
Paid advertising can seem daunting in terms of cost, especially if budgets are limited. However, you only pay when the viewer clicks on your ad, this means that your spend is tied to the traffic back to your website from someone who has demonstrated an active interest in your product or service.
Paid advertising specialists are just that, specialists. They have a significant amount of know-how and experience in what they do. If you hire someone that understands PPC platforms and best practices well, you can start getting the right ROI for the content you’ve worked so hard on. A virtual digital agency can set up, manage and optimise all your online PPC traffic from platforms such as :
- Google Ads
- Bing Ads
- Yahoo Gemini
Outsourcing your digital marketing
Virtual digital marketing assistants are a perfect solution for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups looking for a flexible solution for a growing business. You can quickly get access to a digital VA without having to train them on what needs to be done. Get the benefit of professional support providing you with a competitive advantage to outperform your competition.
The costs involved in hiring full-time employees or teams that handle your digital marketing needs can be unrealistic for smaller enterprises. If the digital marketing process is not the core area of your business, then it only makes sense to outsource.
You don’t need to outsource the entire marketing function; you can manage the parts you’re more comfortable with and outsource tasks that require more time and dedication like content writing. A hybrid model is possible, keep strategy in house and delegate the other components or vice versa.
A digital universe has made it possible for small businesses to jump into the world of successful digital marketing and reap the rewards. As a small business owner, you cannot afford to wait any longer, if you haven’t already taken the leap, then now is the time. At Prime Pixels, we offer flexible and affordable digital marketing solutions designed around the needs of small businesses – with no contracts. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation and we’ll take the time to get to know your business needs before you sign up.