“Nobody starts at the deep end, nobody has all the answers before they begin and, even better, getting going is probably cheaper and quicker than you might think”
Why Digital Marketing?
Digital platforms are great for this because we now have more ways, places, and routes to attract people to visit our website where, we hope, they’ll become our customers. We can also be much more creative with this kind of marketing – it’s not just about what we think of as traditional outbound marketing activity.
It’s your website, blog and social media channels that are at the heart of any digital marketing plan – so always keep in mind that you’re optimizing for these destinations when planning digital marketing tactics. That’s why a digital marketing guide is a great way to start as a small business.
Digital Marketing For Beginners
Getting into digital marketing can feel like taking a dive into the unknown for a lot of small business owners, especially if you don’t spend all your time online yourself. But relax. Nobody starts at the deep end, nobody has all the answers before they begin and, even better, getting going is probably cheaper and quicker than you might think. Speaking of budget, there’s plenty you can do in the realms of digital marketing without spending a penny – but when it comes to reaching new audiences, that’s when a little budget can go a long way. Every part of your digital marketing is a great opportunity to learn something – so it’s all about starting small, testing, learning, and growing over time. In this guide, we’re going to take you through the easy access ways to get started – from making the most of search engines to buying your first online ads. All the channels will be familiar to you – Facebook, Twitter, Google, email and your own website – but we’ll give you the steps you need to feel confident you’re testing and investing in the way that’s right for you and the growth of your business.
THE BIG IDEAS – FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF HERE FIRST!
This is an umbrella term for all of your online marketing efforts. Businesses leverage digital channels such as Google search, social media, email and their websites to connect with their current and prospective customers. From your website to your online assets like digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures and beyond there’s a huge spectrum of tactics to consider. The best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each asset supports their overarching goals.
This is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. Sharing is caring and inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attract qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.
This is a marketing program that centers on creating, publishing and distributing content for your target audience – usually online – the goal of which is to attract new customers.
This is the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate and purchase a new product or service. The journey is a 3-step process:
- Awareness stage: the buyer realizes they have a problem
- Consideration stage: the buyer defines their problem and researches options to solve it
- Decision stage: the buyer chooses a solution
Set your strategy
starting your digital marketing strategy is as simple as deciding what you want to do, how you’re going to do it, what you expect to happen, and when and how you’ll measure your success.
5 steps for setting your strategy
Set a measurable goal
- Looking at the types of goals we’ve set out on the previous page, pick one to concentrate on. Really understanding the goal you’re trying to hit is the first step to reaching it!
Know your audience
- Get to know your audience! If you don’t understand enough about who you’re trying to reach, you’ll struggle to deliver a message that’s relevant enough to cut through.
Know your brand
- Your brand is how and why your customers choose you over your competitors. You can think of it as your company’s personality. So it’s something that’s worth defining clearly – what do you stand for? What are your strongest character traits? And how does that translate into your presence – from the images you use on your website to the language you use in your emails?
Watch your competition
Your competitors aren’t just those who offer a like-for-like product or service. You can think of your competition in 3 ways:
- Direct competitors – those brands who offer the same products or services as you
- Indirect competitors – brands that may offer different products but compete for the same space or budget as you
- Comparators – these might have a similar look and feel as a brand to you or be other brands that your target customers use frequently tooYou want to know what you’re up against, and you can learn vicariously from both triumphs and mistakes. Get inspired by your competitors’ wins, and use your differences to highlight what’s unique about what you’re offering.
Get ready to measure
- Having brilliant ideas for how you’ll drive traffic, build brand awareness, and grow your customer base is just the beginning, it’s crucial you know how you’ll track progress, so you can adjust your plan based on what gets the best reaction. There are lots of different things you can measure (metrics) – but a benchmark of what a ‘good’ score is (KPI), will depend entirely on you.
Digital Marketing Techniques
- User Experience
- Paid Search Ads
- Display advertising
- sponsored social posts
- Email Marketing
- Native Advertising
“ Having a great website helps you organically turn up higher in search results”
Bearing in mind what we said about the importance of keeping things simple and light-touch when you’re starting out, don’t be afraid to use a combination of marketing techniques and ideas. It’s useful to think of your marketing activity as an ecosystem – when all your tactics (online or offline) work together, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You might not always get it right every time, but if you keep a keen eye on the performance of your activity it’s possible to minimize your risk since you can more or less switch your tactics on and off at will. And, whilst it’s obviously important to focus your attention on what’s working, as you start to gain confidence in digital marketing, and your strategy starts to pay dividends, let yourself have some fun and experiment with different tactics too.