In today’s digital age, the internet offers an incredible opportunity for business owners to connect with a vast audience of potential clients and customers, often without breaking the bank. However, succeeding in digital marketing involves more than just launching a website or sharing posts on social media. It requires careful planning, setting clear business objectives, crafting effective strategies, and understanding bewildering terms like ‘impressions’ and ‘conversions.’ Join us as we dive into the world of digital marketing and demystify the key steps to help your business thrive online.
The importance of your online address
To establish a presence on the internet, you need to own a piece of online property, much like owning a house. Nowadays, when people search for products or services, they typically turn to the internet first. This means that having an online presence is crucial for business owners. If your business doesn’t have a website or an email address, you could miss out on numerous potential customers.
Being online not only allows people to learn more about your business but also makes your business appear more professional. Building this professional image begins with obtaining a dedicated domain name.
In simpler terms, your digital presence begins with having a unique internet address, which is your domain name. This address is how people find you on the web. For instance, Wikipedia’s domain is wikipedia.org, and The New York Times’ domain is NYTimes.com. You can acquire a domain through a registration company like GoDaddy. Ensure you provide accurate information during the registration process, making you the legal owner of the domain.
Your domain name should match your business name, and it’s wise to consider registering related names to prevent others from taking them. Research thoroughly to ensure your chosen name is unique.
Once you own a domain name, you can set up email and website hosting, akin to finding a location to build your online “home.” Some domain registration companies offer hosting packages, even website-building services. These often come with technical support and handle the maintenance and updates for your website and email.
Designing a website for your target audience
Business websites are valuable tools for connecting with customers and selling products or services. When planning a website, you can hire a designer or create one yourself using platforms like Squarespace or WordPress. If you plan to sell products, you can add an online store. It’s also possible to sell on platforms like Amazon or Etsy.
The crucial point is that your business website must be easy to use for everyone and appeal to your target audience. Visitors should be able to navigate it easily and find information quickly, especially on mobile devices. Responsive design ensures your site adapts to different screen sizes.
Your website should also be accessible to people with disabilities. Follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) to ensure universal accessibility, as non-compliance can be illegal in some places.
Content is essential. Make it relatable to your target audience by highlighting your products or services in a human and engaging way. Use high-quality images and keep your content concise and relevant. Regularly update your content to keep visitors returning to your website.
Boosting your website’s visibility with simple SEO
Getting your website noticed and improving its ranking is all about using the right keywords and content. When people search on Google, they see a list of the most relevant websites. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process that helps your website show up on that list, making it more discoverable.
SEO can be broken down into two types: on-page and off-page. On-page SEO involves optimizing the content and source code on your website. It’s like dressing up your website to look good to search engines. Google relies on keywords, which are the words people use when searching for information. By including relevant keywords in your content, web page titles, and image descriptions, you can boost your on-page SEO. Tools like the Google Ads Keyword Planner can help you find the right keywords for your audience.
Off-page SEO is like being introduced to a new group of people by a popular friend. When other websites link to your site, it’s like a stamp of approval, and Google ranks your website higher. The more popular the linking website, the better. Creating high-quality content can help attract these links, and you can also build relationships with relevant organizations, bloggers, and influencers to increase your off-page SEO.
Lastly, make it easy for search engines to find your business location by creating a Google My Business profile. This free and simple step helps your business show up in local searches, connecting you with potential customers nearby.
In a nutshell, SEO is about using the right keywords, creating great content, building links from other websites, and ensuring search engines know where to find your business. This way, you can improve your website’s visibility and ranking.
Choosing the right social media platforms for your audience
To succeed on social media, first, find the right platforms that match your target audience. Social media is like school cliques, each with its unique characteristics. Just like students gravitate toward the group they fit in with, you should join the platforms most popular with your audience.
For example, Facebook, the biggest platform, appeals to a wide demographic but leans toward older users. LinkedIn is for professional networking and suits businesses targeting other businesses. Twitter is popular with older millennials and Generation X, but requires frequent engagement. YouTube is great for creative videos and attracts millennials. Instagram is dominated by women under 50, and Pinterest has a similar audience interested in image collections.
Experiment with these platforms to find the right fit. If a platform doesn’t align with your business goals or you don’t enjoy it, delete the account and focus elsewhere.
Once you’ve found the right platforms, consider your content strategy. 80% of your content should be social, featuring employees, interactive chats, or user-generated content. The remaining 20% can promote your business with links, customer testimonials, or contests. Remember that each platform has its unique style and format, so tailor your content accordingly.
To manage content and platform-specific needs effectively, you can use tools like Hootsuite, create social media guidelines for consistent engagement, and plan content in advance using a social media calendar.
The power of effective email marketing
Effective email marketing is about providing value to your audience and knowing when and how to grab their attention. Think about how many marketing emails you receive – it’s a lot, right? That’s because email marketing is a powerful tool.
The beauty of email marketing is that it doesn’t require a ton of money or complicated technology. It lets businesses share information that suits their goals, whether it’s news about products, industry insights, or special offers.
Building an email list is pretty straightforward. You can use simple sign-up forms on your website, share invitations on social media, or even use physical sign-up sheets in stores or events. However, the key is to make your email content valuable and hard to ignore.
The main point here is that effective email marketing is all about creating value for your audience and knowing how to grab their attention.
Each email you send should matter to your business and your readers. Consider what information aligns with your business goals and benefits your readers. This clarity should be established before you start building your list.
Think about how you want readers to respond to your emails. Whether it’s sharing your message, making a purchase, or visiting your website, your email content should encourage these actions. For example, if you’re launching a new product, offer an exclusive discount to entice people to buy.
To figure out what resonates with your audience, try different tactics. Experiment not only with the content but also with the timing of your emails. Some subject lines work better than others, and timing can make or break whether your email gets opened. Testing different options is the way to go, and platforms like Mailchimp can help with A/B testing.
For deeper insights, connect your email platform to your website. This way, you can track if your emails are driving readers to your website and see the actions they take once they’re there.
Getting noticed in the world of online ads
Winning in online advertising means providing people with something they desire and experimenting to discover the right platform. Every day, you encounter thousands of ads, especially if you live in a city. When you factor in online ads on your devices, it can feel like ads are everywhere.
For businesses, standing out in this crowded space can be intimidating. However, it’s achievable. Successful online advertising is similar to email marketing – it must align with your business goals, offer something valuable to people, and prompt them to take action. Once you’re clear on your ad goals and the value they provide, the next step is deciding where to display them.
The main point is this: To succeed in online advertising, offer what people want and experiment to find the right platform.
There are several online advertising options for small businesses, each with its own benefits. Have you noticed the ads that appear when you search on Google? These are Google Ads, which work well because they relate to topics people are interested in.
If you use Facebook or Instagram, you’ve likely seen Facebook ads, allowing you to target people based on gender, location, and interests. Another option is placing banner ads on other websites by contacting their owners directly.
Regardless of the platform you choose, you’ll pay based on the number of potential viewers or the number of clicks your ad receives. More clicks and a larger audience mean higher costs. Online advertising can be costly, so start with small budgets on different platforms. Once you find the platform that works best, invest more money in it.
In conclusion, your digital marketing strategy should be built around what your business needs and aims to achieve. First, determine your goals, and then choose the online platforms and measurement methods that fit those goals best. Whether you decide to use a website, social media, email, or advertising, your content should be valuable to your audience and get them involved with your business.
Inspired by a book “See You on the Internet”; Avery Swartz”