Category: Digital Marketing
10 Tools in Your Digital Marketing Toolbox
Optimizing Your Online Strategy
These days, there are so many different channels a business owner can use to market their product and, more importantly, grow and maintain an engaged online community. It is often hard to know which tools to prioritize, and the truth is that some may be more effective than others depending on the demographic and product. Testing and analyzing the different channels, and knowing when and how to most efficiently deploy them, is one of the most crucial aspects of a meaningful and creative digital marketing strategy that actually gets results.
Your business’ digital presence begins and ends with the website. The website should be well-designed and represent your business well, but can also be done relatively inexpensive through online platforms like WordPress. Of course, more complicated websites may require custom design and development, which varies greatly depending on the type of website. Many small business owners also assume that once they build a website, the site alone will generate new customers, and will not require upkeep. For some lightweight landing pages, this may be true, and serve the business well. However, many other businesses will need to focus on driving meaningful traffic to the webpage, in addition to having a well-designed, highly functioning website.
2) Social Media
Social Media is the buzzword of the moment. With good reason, too. The number of users on channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is absolutely staggering. That said, many small business owners already have enough of a challenge just keeping the doors open, and assume, like a website, that they can just build the platform and prospective customers will find their page. This is not the case. Social Media is about a conversation with potential customers, and using the platform as a megaphone to reach your key target audience. The four most relevant platforms today are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, for some products, Pinterest. While simply using these platforms in a way that is most appropriate to each channel, many business owners find their biggest challenge is actually generating meaningful content on an on-going basis (content strategy is the main focus of any good marketing campaign).
3) Email Marketing Campaigns
E-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with prospective customers. E-mail is read so often that it in many ways trumps even the most active social media campaigns in certain circumstances. Of course, making sure that you are not inundating your user-base with messaging is one of the most important aspects of e-mail campaigns, along with determining the type of content that will garner higher CTR (click-through rate) on your e-mail blasts.
4) Press Releases (and Press Release Distribution Services)
Press Releases are a special type of communication that is basically the first language of bloggers and journalists. Knowing how to write a proper Press Release, and getting in the habit of writing these for any special events and product launches that arise, is crucial to get the word out on any business. These form the basis for nurturing and growing relationships with key industry gatekeepers and allow a business to generate meaningful, organic traffic by piggybacking off other websites with pre-existing audiences. Press Release distribution services take submitted press releases and blast them out to relevant industry insiders, garnering maximum coverage for a business.
Blogging has been around almost as long as the internet itself. What started as simple online journals has become one of the most effective and meaningful ways to drive organic traffic to your website. Generating articles, whether done in-house or freelance, should be done on a consistent basis (daily, weekly, or even bi-monthly), and always be high-quality and represent the brand. Blogging also does not need to be directly integrated to a business, but can offer facts and industry knowledge, adding value to potential users.
6) Content Syndication
Content syndication is a (usually paid) service that can take your content- created for blogs or a website- and place it on industry pages to get website traffic and make the content go as far as possible. Services like Outbrain place links and article blurbs at the footer and sidebar of well-trafficked pages to generate clicks to the website and additional blog posts.
7) Paid Advertising
Paid Advertising is a good way to boost a brand’s visibility to meaningful, well-targeted and well-established audiences. The two most important and relevant channels to advertise on are Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. Facebook currently has over 1 billion users. A business can access 1/7th of the entire world’s population simply by paying a few dollars. Google Adwords is a good way to increase brand legitimacy, although as larger, better established brands have taken to the Internet advertising world, the price to garner substantial results from Google has increased and become a higher barrier to entry to smaller businesses.
8) SEO/Keyword Planning
SEO and Keyword Planning are things many business owners may have heard about but in reality have no idea how to manage or use effectively. These topics are the dark arts of digital marketing, despite the fact that every other aspect discussed here should be influenced by these. SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is a fancy term for ‘website search results’. The reason that websites like Google are so valuable is because they direct search results and direct a vast majority of traffic on the internet. They do this by having very effective software engines (algorithms), that look at keywords on a website, along with link placement and how many times that page is actually referenced on an internet-wide scale, and reference the page in a massive directory of all the sites on the internet. Why is this important? Because the more focused and targeted a business can be with keywords, the better they can generate relevant content, and the more relevant they can be to their target audience. All of this results in higher organic search results and more website traffic.
9) Ad Retargeting
Ad Retargeting has recently become a very effective way to increase brand awareness and bring lost customers back to your page. Retargeting works by tagging a potential customer when they visit abusiness’ website. Later, when the customer is browsing other web pages, they will see advertising from the brand. This dramatically increases conversion rate, because the customer usually was already exposed to the brand and considering making a purchase.
10) Lead Generation (Magnetic Content & Landing Pages)
One of the most effective low-cost marketing hacks is known as Lead Generation. Lead Generation is the creation of quasi-automated sales funnels that direct well-targeted potential customers to a website, and nurture those leads through the time of purchase. Traffic is directed to a landing site for a piece of high-quality magnetic content. The content can only be downloaded or accessed by applying to the business’ newsletter or some other community engagement system. This allows the business to foster a relationship with the potential customer, and educates the potential customer or gives them something of value.