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I remember being in the exact same position you’re likely at right now. I had just started my search to learn more about the world of digital marketing and was ready to dive in.
Unfortunately, I was greeted by an overwhelming amount of definitions, strategies and tactics. I had no idea where to begin.
Since then, I’ve been able to help a great number of business owners through mentoring, workshops, and consulting. Each and every time, I’ve tried to make it easier for these business owners to understand how digital marketing works.
In this quick guide, I’m going to break it down real simple for you. Not a thousand different definitions and abbreviations. Let’s dive in.
Let’s start with the very basics of the basics. Digital marketing is simply using digital channels to market your business.
What is classed as a digital channel?
A lot of things. Your Website. Email. Social Media. Search Engines. Online Advertising. All of these avenues of online communication make up digital marketing.
Let’s keep it at those five. That’s really all you need to know to get started with digital marketing for your business, and keeping it to five makes it easy to know where to put your energy.
So, let’s dive in and find out how we can use these online channels to market your business to your ideal customers.
I’m sure if you’re on the internet you know what a website is. It’s the place you’re probably reading this right now.
Your website is one of the most fundamental digital channels for communicating with your customers. It’s like the physical location for your business, but online.
It’s your home-base where your customers should be able to find out more information about your business, what you’re selling, how you can solve their problems and more.
The category of web development can simply be defined as anything and everything relating to building and improving your website. This means improving the user experience for people using it, such as making it faster, easier to read and find information, and making it interesting.
It also means developing the website to help you reach your business goals. It may be great to just have a one page website with all your information on it, but is it helping convert customers who land on it. This should also be looked at, and how you can best optimise it so that after finding the right information, people will want to take the next step.
Like all of these categories, you can definitely dive deeper. The aim here however is to make sure you have a solid understanding of what each category is for and how it helps your business.
Email has been around a long time, and the large majority of us still use it every day. Even though people will try to tell you it’s dead or isn’t worth using, they’re likely wrong and not using it correctly themselves.
Email should be used as a communication channel straight into the inboxes of your ideal customers. With this privilege, you need to make sure you don’t blow them up with an overwhelming amount of sales offers.
Email should be used for nurturing your customer relationships, not fiercely selling.
What this means is you should be using it to help guide your audience along the path of becoming a customer, by providing valuable insights in each email.
People will only open emails they know are worth reading, and even then it’s hard. Counter this by making sure each email comes across as a valuable message to help them solve their problems.
As you continue to do this, you’ll strengthen the bond between you and your ideal customers. This is when a sales message makes sense, and by then they’ll be more than ready to buy.
Have you heard of these channels? Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Snapchat. YouTube. LinkedIn.
These are all social media channels, and there are a lot more out there that you can use to communicate with your target audience.
The social media category can simply be described as communicating and marketing to those ideal customers through social media channels.
These are platforms where people are sharing and creating content, and interacting with other users. Understandable why it is then called social media.
The key to social media isn’t to just bombard your followers with sales offers. Much like email marketing, you want to nurture your followers and give value first.
This might be value in the form of tips, information, statistics, ideas, and more. It may also be value in the form of entertainment, exciting videos, escapism, interesting insights or graphics, and more.
The other big thing is this isn’t a race to see who has the biggest following. The businesses who truly win are those who don’t focus on the number of followers they have, but the strength of each relationship they have with each follower.
With Google now processing over 40,000 search queries a second, it’s hard to not think of a time when the whole world’s information wasn’t at our fingertips.
Because so many consumers are using Google to help solve their problems and find the right solution to their needs, it’s an important avenue to think about marketing through.
Search engine optimisation, often known as SEO, is all about optimising different factors to help your business rank higher in the search results for different search engines such as Google, Bing, and even YouTube.
As you can probably tell from your own usage, the majority of people click on the first search result. Then as you go down, less and less people click on each website in the search results.
Your job is to try and rank higher for the right search terms and keywords. You want to focus on ranking for keywords your audience is likely using.
If you’re a lawyer, you wouldn’t want to focus on ranking for keywords revolving around accounting. You’d definitely want to make sure you’re at the very top, if not first, for the keywords relating to lawyers in your area.
So, what factors do you focus on to help optimise your ranking?
There are a great deal of them. In fact, you’ll probably never know every single ranking factor. But you can get a good idea of which ones are most important.
I recommend firstly focusing on Google. It’s the main search engine your customers will be using and it’s easy to follow which factors to focus on by looking up things such as The Periodic Table of SEO Factors.
Advertising has been around for generations, and it’s all come down to businesses paying for the attention of different audiences.
It’s the same principle as putting an ad on TV, or the radio, or in a magazine. You’re paying for getting eyeballs on your marketing messages and sales offers.
With paid online advertising, you’re literally paying to get your message in front of users, and get traffic to your website, or offer, or anywhere you want to send it.
Different platforms will have different prices on how much it will cost you to advertise to their users. A cost-per-click (meaning how much it’ll cost you for one person to click on your ad) on say Facebook may only be around $0.50, while on LinkedIn it may be $3.50.
All this is influenced by how many users they have, the types of users, the amount of people advertising, and much, much more.
For starting out, maybe just stick with the two big players, Facebook Ads and Google Ads, until you’re comfortable.
A lot of business owners jump in and think it will solve their sales problems, but it does take the right strategies to effectively work.
It means writing sales copy that converts. It means displaying the right images and videos that get customers to stop and listen to you. It’s also about targeting the right people who are most likely to buy.
Don’t feel overwhelmed, and if you end up trying it, don’t just rush in and spend all your money.
I didn’t write this article to make out that this was all you needed to know about digital marketing. There is a lot more, and you’d be totally unprepared if you tried to jump into any of these channels without doing a bit more research.
My mission was to give you a starting point. You now know the 5 most common areas of digital marketing and how they work to grow your business online.
My biggest suggestion would be to pick one and start learning more about it. Start learning how to best use that digital avenue to help get you customers.
Some final tips. Channels such as social media marketing and search engine optimisation are quite long term approaches, but they’re worth it. They take consistency to see good results over time. Paid online advertising is a much faster approach, but it’s also a lot riskier because you need to spend money and make sure you have the right marketing message that will resonate.
The biggest thing is that you’ve decided to get started, and you’re taking the initiative to learn more about reaching your customers online. Because of that, you’re already on the right track.
Here at Manexo Media, my job is to help you improve your online marketing through our management, training and consulting services.
If you’d like more information feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how I can help you more with each of these five areas of digital marketing.