What Startups Should Know About Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is getting a lot of buzz lately in Nigeria and across the globe. In the past, businesses could only market their products and services via TV ads, print ads, and billboards.
Those ads are expensive to run and hard to track. Making it difficult for SMEs to create brand awareness and convince prospects to buy from them.
But with the use of digital marketing channels like websites, search engines, social media, and online forums business owners can easily reach and attract new target customers 24/7 without breaking the bank.
If you’re new to digital marketing, this article will help you understand why it is becoming very popular and how you can take advantage of it.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the process of promoting your product and service on the internet. The approach to digital marketing is a bit different from traditional marketing in the sense that you can target specific buyer personas using several digital marketing strategies across different channels.
Why is Digital Marketing Important?
Digital marketing is a better marketing approach when you want to run cost-effective campaigns and yield more returns on investment. The success of your campaigns can be measured daily which is impossible with traditional marketing.
Other reasons why digital marketing is important are, you can:
1. Reach more customers
With over 4.93 billion people already engaged with the internet, you have an enormous opportunity to win sales. What you need to do is position yourself online to be noticed by your prospects.
A well-designed website optimized for web traffic would help you increase brand awareness, and an updated social media profile can help you engage customers who might later buy from you.
If you can come up with interesting and valuable content that can grab their attention and gain their trust, your target audience might look your way.
2. Target Specific Audiences
Having an unlimited reach sounds great but being able to target specific buyers(the ones most likely to buy) is on another level.
If you can build a solid digital marketing strategy and be creative with your marketing, getting your ideal customers to purchase your product or service is easy.
Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter have sophisticated targeting options that can help you reach more interested buyers.
For example, if the people you want to sell to are married female business leaders who are within the age of 28-45 years and love to travel. You can set those parameters for your ad campaigns so they’re the only ones who see them.
Digital marketing can be that exact.
3. Track your performance
Another thing we love about digital marketing is that you can track your campaigns in real-time and make adjustments easily.
Unlike traditional marketing, you can only measure your result if you ask customers directly. Such time wasted surveys can be prevented when you use insights and reports from your digital campaigns.
Tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and social media analytics make it possible to track campaigns and measure their performance.
4. Increase customer loyalty
You don’t want the customer relationship to end at the point of sales, you can take it a bit further to encourage repeat buying and brand advocacy.
Through retargeting, email marketing, and social media marketing you can promote special offers to those who have previously bought from you.
You can also maintain one-on-one communication with present customers via email newsletters, personalized conversations, and social media messaging.
You can build a retargeting strategy based on data you’ve gotten from your previous campaigns. This is possible because you can measure your marketing metrics using analytical tools.
Insights like the user’s demography, device type, behaviour, and interests would help you identify the audience that’d most likely buy again.
If you’re an e-commerce business, you can set up enhanced e-commerce tracking on your Google Analytics or any other tracking software so you can keep tabs on seasonal trends and top-performing products.
Aside from these benefits, you can also control your marketing budget and target customers at every buying stage using digital marketing.
That’s a bunch you don’t want to miss.
With that established let’s look at the types of digital marketing, you can leverage for your campaigns.
Types of Digital Marketing
The different types of digital marketing available to help you meet your marketing goals are search engine optimization, content marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing, social media marketing, and pay-per-click advertising.
Let’s look at them briefly
1. Search Engine Optimisation(SEO)
This is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. It is the process of improving your website’s performance and increasing your website’s visibility on search engines.
If your website is your main conversion point it is important to optimize it for search.
Search engines want to deliver the best results for every search query run on their platform. To do that they crawl millions of websites to get information and add them to their index.
Whenever a user types a query, they scan through their indexed pages and rank them based on relevancy, searcher’s intent, and other ranking factors.
Their goal is to help users find relevant answers that match their search intent. And if you can make the work easier for them, it’s a plus for you.
To gain the trust of major search engines like Google and Bing your priority should be to…
- Build a well-designed and responsive website
- Create and publish high-quality content, and
- Get backlinks from authority websites.
To implement these strategies properly you must understand the three major parts of SEO; on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
On-page SEO focuses on optimizing the meta title, meta description, images, audios, videos, URL, and header tags of your content for search engines.
Here’s an image that shows the three major elements of on-page SEO:
You want to input your primary keywords in your meta title, URL, meta description, and blog title so search engines can understand the keyword you’re trying to rank for.
To find such primary keywords and semantic keywords(words related to your target keyword) you can use Google keyword planner (available when you run a Google ad campaign), keyword revealer, LSI graph, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Answer the public.
These tools and other digital marketing tools would save you tons of time when doing keyword research and SEO for your business website.
Off-page SEO is the approach you take to promote your website outside your website. This involves building links from other related websites, social media, and your email newsletters.
Off-page SEO is the best way to establish Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness (EAT) online. It’s the part of SEO that helps you increase organic ranking and brand visibility faster.
The major ways SEO experts do off-page SEO is to network with other content creators, feature them in their content, guest post on their websites, and get more brand mentions from them.
You might want to steal that tip when creating your SEO strategy.
Technical SEO has to do with the backend of your website and how your website is developed. It is basically about making sure search engines can crawl and index your website without hitches.
The major activities involved in technical SEO are:
- Compressing your web images
- Optimizing your CSS files
- Increasing your website’s loading speed
- Checking and fixing crawling and indexing errors
- Using canonical URLs properly
- Optimizing your web page’s URL
- Optimizing your robot.txt files and XML sitemap
- Enhancing your website security
- Fixing soft 404 errors
- Implementing structured data markup for your content
Most of these are technical and you’d need a webmaster/developer to help you out if web development is not your strength.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing involves creating and publishing content to attract more customers, increase brand awareness, drive web traffic, and grow revenue.
The kind of content you create would depend on the type of audience you’re looking to attract to your business.
Content formats that are commonly used for marketing are videos, infographics, blogs, images, memes, podcasts, webinars, online courses, and ebooks.
Focus on creating content that is relevant to your business, shareable, well-written, so you can stand out from your competitors. Having a content strategy upfront would help you maximize time and energy when creating content.
Your content strategy should specify what type of content to create when to publish it, which audiences to target, and how to measure the effectiveness of the content.
Protip: Create content that helps your audience meet their goals and solve their problems. Your target audience should find your content valuable enough to want to share it.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is the marketing tactic you can utilize to build two-way conversations with your customers or subscribers.
It is not the same as sending spam emails to random contacts. It is more like sending relevant messages and content to people who have signed up to join your email list.
Email marketing is the easiest way to nurture leads (those who have interacted with your business) into paying customers.
If you’re not sure if email marketing is something you want to try as a startup you might want to reconsider because about 50% of the world’s population uses email.
Another interesting thing is that the ROI of email marketing is about 4400%, meaning with every $1 you put into your email marketing campaigns you get $44.
Email marketing is the total package if you want to drive web traffic, nurture leads into paying customers and encourage repeat buying.
4. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the process of using social media to run your campaigns, interact with your audience, and achieve your marketing goals.
Popular social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Pinterest, Twitter, and Youtube are what businesses use to promote their products online.
The whole idea of social media marketing is you want to get the attention of your audience. And the major way to achieve this is to create engaging content like videos, images, infographics, memes, webinars, etc.
This is not the type of marketing you want to go slow on. Over 61% of content creators use social media so your highest bet is to create a content strategy that would help you get the attention of your customers and also keep them engaged.
- Create 80% engaging content and 20% promotional content.
- Always track your social media campaigns.
- Focus on metrics that are related to conversions.
5. Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising is the placing of ads on search engines and websites. PPC ads appear at the top of Google’s search engine result pages for keywords that are related to offerings being advertised. They are also displayed on websites and apps.
With PPC ads you only pay when a user clicks your ad and can set the maximum amount you want to spend per day.
For your ads to show up for related search queries it depends on certain factors like ad quality, keyword relevance, bid amount, and the quality of the landing page.
Here’s how PPC ads work:
You, the advertiser, create an ad that is targeted to a specific group of your customers. Target that ad to appear for keywords customers use to find your products or services.
Then Google displays those ads to relevant users who see and click the ads and are directed to your landing page. Then Google charges you based on your bidding settings.
Types of Google ads you can run:
Google search ads: appear at the top of search result pages and can appear on Google maps, google shopping, and other Google partner sites that display text ads.
Google display ads: appear on youtube, Gmail, and other Google partner sites.
Shopping ads: appear in Google search results, google shopping, and across Google partner sites.
Video ads: appear on Youtube, apps, and across all Google’s properties.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the marketing technique where you allow someone else (affiliate) to sell your product on their website or to their network for an agreed commission. This is a great way to increase sales and brand awareness faster.
Here’s an infographic that gives you a guide on affiliate marketing
If you want to use this type of marketing for your business you have to come up with a commission model that looks attractive enough to the affiliate. Most digital producers use this approach to increase sales, especially SaaS companies and online trainers.
That’s it, the types of digital marketing majorly used to promote a business online. Now let’s see how we can get started with creating a real marketing campaign.
Get Started with Digital Marketing
To help you build a solid digital marketing campaign you can follow these steps:
1. Define your brand
What’s your brand’s personality and tone? Are you classy, authoritative, friendly, helpful, genuine, or reliable? What’s the feeling you want customers to connect with?
2. Set SMART goals
Your digital marketing goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. If you’re new to online marketing don’t set goals that put you under pressure and leave you frustrated over your failure. Help yourself by starting small.
Your Q1 goal might be to let 300 new prospects know that your brand exists.
3. Create buyer personas
A buyer persona is a biodata that gives in-depth detail about your target customer. It should be based on real data and survey reports.
Customers buy from people they trust that’s why we most times purchase a product our friends refer to us. You can only build trust with a person you know so well. Do some research, gather enough information and create a few buyer personas to guide you through your campaign.
4. Choose your marketing channels
You already know your customers are online. But where are they exactly? Find that out and position your brand there.
Millennials are very active on Instagram, Facebook, and Tiktok. If they’re your ideal customers you might want to focus on those channels. Your target buyer persona determines which channel you’d prioritize for your marketing.
5. Understand your digital sales funnel
Every prospect moves from the stage of being unaware of your business to becoming a paying customer. The journey a customer takes down the funnel varies, but most times they’ll follow these stages:
Your customer identifies a problem and is in need of a solution. At certain times they might not even know they have a problem till they come across a content or ad.
- Consideration Stage
At this point, they’re doing some research and making a list of products or services they find.
Now they’re ready to place the order when they find the best offer that matches their expectations.
6. Understand your buyer’s journey
Now that you have an understanding of your sales funnel. What stage is your buyer persona currently? Having an idea of their journey helps you know what kind of content to put in front of them at that point.
7. Set your digital marketing budget
Decide how much you’re willing to spend to achieve that goal. What resources, tools, and people do you need to bring in to help you achieve your goals?
8. Brainstorm your strategy
Know who you’re up against and do a SWOT analysis. So you can come up with a winning strategy. A digital marketing agency can help you with this to save you time.
9. Launch your campaign
If you’ve figured out your strategy, you’ve understood who you’re trying to convince to buy from you, and you’ve set your budget. Move on to launch your campaign.
10. Track your results
The last thing you want to do is leave your campaign to run without keeping track. Measure the performance of your campaign regularly, maybe weekly. Know what digital marketing metrics you want to track and use an analytical tool to monitor your success.
You cannot ignore digital marketing unless you’re not interested in getting new customers and expanding. With what we’ve explained we hope digital marketing doesn’t look complex to you anymore.
Where are you going to start from? Let us know in the comment section below.
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