Chasing after your entrepreneurial dreams requires passion and perseverance, but no matter how difficult it can be, there’s no denying that building a startup is relatively easier than how it was decades ago. Small businesses would need to go through hoops to make it big beyond the local scene without the internet.
On the other hand, startups nowadays can find ways to even the playing field against bigger competitors thanks to the myriad of opportunities digital marketing brings. To put it simply, there’s a lot of potential for those who decide to give digital marketing a try.
At this point, you’ll be wondering: what does digital marketing entail? Digital marketing is a broad term for all online efforts geared towards strategically promoting a product or business online to gain a following, develop sales, and increase ROI.
Digital Marketing: the Bridge that Leads to Continuous Growth
Digital marketing encompasses several channels, from search engine marketing (SEM) to email marketing to content marketing. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many possibilities, but these are the top five digital marketing strategies that small businesses can use to gain that coveted traction. In essence, the right digital marketing strategy can increase your brand’s visibility and put you on the virtual map towards success.
The ABC of Effective Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is a cost-effective approach that can boost your business, but you still need to take the right steps to ensure your efforts lead you to your bottom line’s goals.
Even fortune companies would agree that digital marketing is a continuous learning process, so as a startup, what are the key factors you need to consider to lay a solid foundation for your online presence? Fortunately, you can break them down into simple ABCs.
Digital marketing includes every strategy you can use to promote your brand through the internet. However, it all starts with knowing who you’re targeting and what they want when they visit your website. Your audience is an important part of your business.
If you don’t know who it is, what they want, and where they are, chances are you’re throwing a bunch of eggs at a wall and hoping one will stick. With that in mind, the success of your digital marketing efforts is all about appealing to your target audience and understanding the decisions they make.
Once you’ve settled on your target audience, it’s time to work on the budget and how much you can spend. The most important thing to remember is that digital marketing requires frequent attention and regular monitoring of data.
You can’t expect to hit the ground running just because you set aside a certain amount of budget in the beginning; your plan might require adjustments in the middle of your campaign. This is why you need to keep an eye on how much you’re spending and how much you’re bringing in, along with the ability to choose the best channel that meets your needs.
For instance, using search engine optimization (SEO) can save thousands of marketing expenses, but it’s a long-term strategy that might not result in instant results. For startups looking for affordable ways to drive traffic to your website, opting for paid search marketing using Google AdWords can be a bang for the buck deal when done right.
A digital marketing channel is any method used to reach your audience, whether social media, search engine optimization, email marketing, etc. Each channel has its own goals and objectives, so you need to know how to use them to get the best ROI.
Depending on the type of business you’re running and your budget, you might find that some channels are more suitable than others. As a startup, you’ll want to develop a user-generated content strategy that involves online reviews, a content creation program, and a social media presence to drive people to your website.
Remember that you can’t just rely on one channel, so you need to spread your resources around to create a synergistic effect. For instance, using different social media marketing tactics like posting, advertising, and taking advantage of an influencer can give you an edge over the competitors who focus entirely on one strategy.
Different Digital Marketing Channels to Consider for Startups
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing is as popular as ever, as studies show that email is still one of the most effective channels for ROI. You can use email for digital marketing in several ways, but the most popular one is direct marketing.
What is direct marketing? It’s sending emails that include raffle entries, coupons and discounts, special offers, free samples, event invitations and more. Another way you can approach this is through sales, which includes marketing products, services, and events through company-wide emails, newsletters, and other updates.
Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with customers and fans, promote your latest products, and encourage repeat business from your existing customers.
2. Social Media Marketing
The popularity of social media shows that people like to be connected to brands and to each other. If you want to get your message out there, it would be best to use social media to expand your online presence.
Many people are on social media newsfeeds, so you get a large chance to advertise your latest deals and offers. What’s more, social media marketing is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t require a lot of time to develop.
Social media channels can also be more useful for certain types of businesses, so you can create unique content for each channel to suit your needs and preferences.
3. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing involves using trusted sources to promote your brand. You can partner with influencers to make your brand more popular and get people talking about what it has to offer.
Influencers know how to get people engaged and connect with your target audience. It’s also a cost-effective way to get the word out since influencers usually offer their services for free or at a fraction of the cost compared to a big-name celebrity endorsement. It’s a win-win situation if you can find the right influencers to work with.
4. Content Marketing
Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable information with your target audience. It’s about finding the right content to help them solve problems and meet their needs.
The content you create can be in the form of videos, blog posts, podcasts, ebooks, and infographics. Building a website is also a great way to increase traffic since a blog typically has a better chance of appearing on the first page of search engine results.
5. SEO and SEM
Sometimes SEO and SEM are two terms often used interchangeably, but they are two different forms of digital marketing. The difference is that SEM is geared towards helping you win the ranking game, while SEO is focused on building your brand and making a great first impression by appearing on the first page of search results.
The main difference between the two is that SEM is more sales-oriented, while SEO focuses on the reputation-building aspect of your brand. One way to do this is through a good on-page and off-page SEO strategy, which will get you that boost in the SERPs.
There is also Local SEO, that helps make your business more visible locally, on Google Maps. This usually works well for businesses that serve certain territories and where customers prefer to interact in person, e.g. law firms, automotive dealerships, dentists, roofers, etc. The prospects would be looking for the services using the following search phrases: “family lawyer Toronto”, “used car dealer Houston”, “roofing service Miami FL”, etc.
The Bottom Line: Creating a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy: What Works and What Doesn’t
Picking the right digital marketing strategy is a must if you want to expand your business. Unfortunately, there is no formula for success, but you can use some tips to guide you in the right direction.
For starters, you’ll want to create a unique, personalized experience for your target audience. Do your research to find out who your audiences are and what they like, and create content that will get them hooked.
Also, you should approach digital marketing with a long-term plan. You can’t expect to see results overnight; it could take months or even years. But no matter how long it takes, you will surely reap the rewards once you’ve laid the right groundwork for your online presence.
How Can We Help Boost Your Online Presence?
Nurturing leads in a saturated digital sphere can be tricky, especially for small businesses. We’re a data-driven digital marketing agency in Canada that can help you build a stronger online presence and help drive more traffic to your website.
Here at New Digital Marketing Agency, we specialize in digital marketing methods that should put your campaigns in your target audience’s search results with SEO, PPC, Google Ads, and more. Get in touch with us today and see how we can optimize your channels to improve your ROI!