Digital marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses a plethora of sub-categories: SEO, SEM, social media, content marketing, email, video content – just to name a few. This online world is a multifaceted, and often at times, confusing one. There’s a lot to grasp, and especially for small businesses, it can be hard to know where you should be investing your budget and resources.
This is why we’ve curated a list of 5 digital marketing tips that can be applied to any and every business operating in the digital space (which should be every business in this day and age).
Know your audience
When developing a digital marketing strategy, a common goal is to reach as many eyeballs as possible with your content. But this often leads businesses astray, as it’s not simply about reach but about reaching the right people.
The online world creates unlimited opportunities to get your message across to millions of people all at the touch of your fingertips. With 4 billion internet users globally and 3.4 billion active social media users, it’s not enough to just create a target demographic based on age or location but also interests, mindsets and affiliations. Are they left or right leaning? Are they concerned about the fate of the environment or investing in local businesses? To be effective in your online messaging and distribution, you need to hone in on a specific subset of users who will care about your product or service.
As well as allowing for more effective reach, knowing your audience will make content creation easier too. This is as it will give your strategy direction and allow you to better utilise the tools of the trade. For example, when using hashtags for Instagram content, instead of stumbling in the dark and using broad hashtags that reach a lot of people, once you know your audience, you can use the same hashtags they use to penetrate their radar and get your content seen by the people you want to see it.
Know your differentiation
This is all about your unique selling proposition. Along with knowing your audience, it’s important that you also know what differentiates your brand from your competitors. You need to know the answer to the question, ‘why should people choose your brand over another with the same offering?’.
In the digital space, there’s a saturation of content. Your audience is flooded with online matter and messaging. The only way to stand out in this tsunami and be seen, is to be different, eye-catching and convincing. For example, why should your customer choose to go to your Thai restaurant over the other ones on the block? Is it that you use local produce, are authentic in recipe or offer cheaper than average meals? Whatever it is, you need to know it and shout it from the rooftops (digital channels) to your target customers.
With an abundance of accessible people in the online world, it’s sometimes all too easy to forego quality for quantity when it comes to followings and likes. But as we mentioned before, it’s not about reach, it’s about reaching the right people. Then, once you’ve found them and made them notice you, you need to start building a relationship with them.
In order to do this, you need to be transparent, likeable and offer value. You also have to showcase your credibility and integrity. Your audience needs to feel like they can trust you.
This can be created through interaction and offering brand information. The former – interaction – can be from email marketing to community engagement and asking questions through social media posts. By joining the conversations on your post’s thread, you’re making your brand appear more honest and visible. The latter – offering brand information – is where you build relationships by making your brand more trustworthy by showcasing who you are as a brand. This can be done through bios, posting testimonials, Q&As with employees, etc.
It’s not enough to just reach your target audience, you also need to gain their trust and in the long run, loyalty.
As well as content marketing, a critical component of digital marketing is search. There are many components under the banner of search and search engine optimisation (SEO), so it’s important you know what works for you.
Simply put, SEO is the process of increasing your visibility in search engines, primarily Google, and in doing so, growing the amount of traffic to your site. To do this effectively, you need to invest in a personalised SEO strategy that’s tailored to your business and audience.
To start, ensure you’ve claimed your business on Google My Business as this is vital for your audience to be able to find you. If you’re a plumber and someone in your area Googles ‘plumber in my area’ and you’re not listed, there’s a very slim chance they’ll end up walking through your doors.
It’s also a good idea to invest in paid search and search engine marketing (SEM). This is where money is put behind ads on Google or other search engines to increase their visibility to your audience when they search terms relating to your offering.
Search can be a tricky thing to get your head around, but when you do, it can do wonders for your business. It’s a complicated tool but definitely not one that should be ignored.
Play a long game
Digital marketing is about creating long term value for your brand. Building relationships, establishing brand identity, manufacturing effective SEO – it all takes time.
For example, when looking at SEO, link building is one of the best things you can do and doing it effectively takes time. Every link created is a block in a bigger foundation that’ll strengthen your SEO and give your business credibility in the long run.
In the same vein, your audience isn’t going to hitch their loyalty to your wagon overnight. It takes constant messaging, consistent communication and regular engagement.
The digital marketing game isn’t a simple one, but when executed correctly, it’s an extremely rewarding one. Whether businesses like it or not, there is really no choice but to be online. And if you want to be profitable, you’ll need to implement a pretty good strategy too.