In this day and age, digital marketing is no longer optional. It’s an essential strategy for any small business that wants to grow quickly and predictably.
The problem is that there are so many strategies.
Some people tell you to focus on video marketing.
Others tell you that blogging is the most important marketing channel.
There’s another camp that’ll encourage you to give away free tools as a growth strategy.
While none of these are bad ideas, they may or may not work for you right now.
In this article, you’ll learn the most effective digital marketing strategies right now and examples of how to take advantage of them.
Content marketing is similar to blogging but also encompasses almost everything else on this list because, no matter what you do, you’re creating some type of content.
For the purposes of this short guide, we’ll define content marketing as:
Material shared online (and in some cases offline) that doesn’t directly promote a brand but stimulates demand for its products and services.
In other words, you create content that gets people interested in your product category in the hopes that they buy today or down the line.
Before you can do this effectively, it’s important to know what your audience wants, likes, and dislikes. According to Kyle Sanders at Complete Web Resoruces SEO, not understanding your audience is how must businesses fail with content marketing. You can get this information from interviews, support interactions, or surveys. For surveys, use the right type such as a nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio scale. These will allow you to measure data properly.
An example of this would be a web hosting company creating an article about how to start a blog. Part of starting a blog is, of course, purchasing web hosting. The company would recommend its products within the content in the hope that the reader will click on the signup link.
Another example would be a fashion company that sells sunglasses and other accessories. They may write an article such as the best wayfarer sunglasses for this summer season. Some or all of the recommendations in the article would be from the company.
If someone clicks, on a suggestion, they’d be sent to a landing page that gives more information about the product and encourages the person to purchase it. It’s simple and beautiful in its effectiveness.
Content marketing can then be broken out into different types such as:
- Video marketing
- Social media marketing
Podcasting is relatively new on the scene. It started in 2004 when Apple launched it iTunes store and has since grown to be a household name. Some creators like Joe Rogan are using podcasting alone to make millions of dollars.
That may or may not be your goal but if you choose to use a podcast to market your business, there are a few things that need to be in place.
First, you should get a reliable podcast host to store your files and help you get clear analytics. There are free podcasts hosts and paid ones so do your research and understand what you need from a hosting provider.
At the same time, you should have a specific niche you serve through your podcast that’s related to your business. It wouldn’t make sense to sell party decorations and talk about crimes in your podcast. Even though it can get popular, it won’t help you grow your business.
Another factor that determines the success of a podcast is consistency. If you’re not consistent with your podcast then people won’t rely on you to deliver content for them. If they can’t rely on you then they will unsubscribe or won’t subscribe in the first place. When that happens, you don’t hit your business goals and no one is happy.
It’s estimated that by 2021, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video traffic. With internet penetration increasing every day and the cost to deliver high-speed internet getting cheaper, it’s not hard to believe the trend.
Major social platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are prioritizing video content and creating a virtuous cycle. What does that mean for you?
It means that if you’re comfortable behind a camera or are able to make compelling videos, you should do it sooner rather than later. Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo allow you to store your content for free and reach audiences in the billions.
A YouTube creator named MrBeast has amassed millions of followers and makes millions of dollars a year from advertising and merchandise sales.
While your industry may not lend itself to viral videos, you can build an audience of people who care. They’ll consume your content and eventually buy your products.
Social media marketing
We won’t go too deep into social media marketing because everyone is aware of it and what it can do for your brand. What people leave out is the fact that it takes a lot of time and energy to make it work. At the same time, you need to choose a platform that has natural synergies with your brand.
For example, if you have a fashion brand, the best social media channels for you maybe Instagram and Pinterest. If you have a software company then Facebook may be the best social channel.
If you cater to a young demographic, Snapchat may be perfect for you.
There’s no one size fits all social platform for every business. Do the necessary research then invest time and energy into growing your reach on the platform that’s best for your business.
Digital marketing is a must for small businesses but the channel you choose to focus on will be determined by your skillset and the type of business you have. Take a moment to research all the channels mentioned here and choose one or two you can gradually grow over time.