8 Instagram Metrics Every Business Should Monitor

Instagram is a simple photo sharing app that is growing beyond the expectations of many social media pioneers. Today, it happens to be one of the fastest expanding social media networks out there. No wonder many small and large brands want to make the most of its wide user base. After all, it is is where the millennials hang out – which is an in-demand market.

Not only B2C and C2C companies, but also B2B firms have understood the importance of Instagram in terms of marketing and its potential to help brands reach out to their target audience. However, this has lead to another problem — increasing level of competition.

While there are companies that are successfully using Instagram as a tool to grow their business, many are still feeling overwhelmed in more than one way.

One of the reasons why you see some brands investing their time and money on Instagram with little to no returns is because they are downright ignoring the details. That’s right, they’re not putting in the required effort to understand where they are going wrong. Something that can be easily done by studying some of the crucial Instagram metrics.

As a business, when you focus on the right Instagram metrics and grasp their importance, you’ll start seeing results you couldn’t see before.

Knowing and understanding the key Instagram metrics allows you to keenly monitor the overall performance of your marketing campaign. These metrics give you the clarity needed to analyze what’s working in your favor, and what’s actually burning a hole in your wallet.

Armed with such critical data, you can not only optimize your current strategy, but also create an effective future marketing plan to increase your audience reach. Do it right, and it can change the way you do Instagram marketing.

Unlike other major social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is still limited in terms of analytics. However, there are still a number of Instagram metrics that will help you understand and analyze your progress.

Keep in mind that marketing your business on Instagram isn’t any different than doing it on other social media channels. By consistently analyzing your performance with the help of Instagram metrics, you create a better, more refined strategy that gives your brand a competitive edge.

So if you don’t want to play the Instagram marketing game blindly, make sure you stay focused on the following eight Instagram metrics, right from the start.

#1: Follower Growth Rate

Out of all Instagram metrics, the number of people following your Instagram account (a.k.a the follower count) is the most popular metric out there. It’s visible right above your Instagram profile bio.

But the question is, is this follower number important? If yes, then what does it tell you about your reach on Instagram? Does follower growth equal community growth?

Just like Facebook, how many followers/fans you gain will not affect your business’s bottom line on Instagram — at least not directly.

With existing followers unfollowing your profile regularly and new ones joining in, your brand’s growth on Instagram may seem slow. However, follower growth rate is still one of the critical Instagram metrics to consider.

Why?

Because the number of followers you attract to your account organically can and does indicate how your audience is perceiving your brand. Plus, it throws light on how your community is growing.

If your content is relevant, your followers may embed your posts on their own blogs/sites and as well as mention you from time to time. This can lead to a sudden spike in your follower count. The idea is to connect this growth with your own Instagram activity, such as the time of your posting, the frequency of sharing new media, running contests that require users to follow you, etc.

So go ahead and analyze how your following is growing or falling, and if this change is parallel to your own Instagram activity. Also look into other known factors such as…

  • Quality of the visual content shared
  • Paid promotions/ads of any type
  • Number of videos published and views generated
  • Engagement rate with followers and other users

The number of followers you have is still considered a vanity metric. But by looking at how you are gaining these followers, and what’s impacting their growth, can make a huge difference.

#2: Engagement Rate

If you ask any brand if they want more “likes” on Instagram, their obvious answer will be a resounding yes. While it’s true that “likes” show how many people actually like and endorse your visual content, it doesn’t stop there. It’s also important to know why exactly someone finds your photos or videos interesting.

For example, if you look at the Instagram post below, you see that 6,594 people have “liked” it. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all these people are interested in what the model in the picture is wearing. Some might have “liked” the photo out of habit of liking stuff. While others may have found the overall feel of the photo enticing. There could be many reasons.

Initially, when you’re just starting out on Instagram, you may not find the need to measure engagement metrics such as comments, likes and reposts. However, as your followers grow and as you start posting content regularly, you will have to focus on these important Instagram metrics.

Instagram’s algorithm works similar to its parent company, Facebook. Which means getting more of your followers to engage with your content means there is a higher probability of showing up in the feeds of their immediate follower network.

However, if you don’t measure the engagement rate with the total number of users following you, you simply won’t have a clear picture. In order to estimate your Instagram account’s engagement rate, use the following simple formula.

Remember, Instagram works with hashtags. Which means anybody can see and like your post — even users not following you. So don’t let engagement generated from non-followers dilute your data. When comparing, only use your own follower count to reach the right figure.

 

#3: Engagement Per Post

Finding success with Instagram marketing is all about working with the smallest of the details, and ensuring your efforts are focused in the right direction.

Besides the Instagram metrics that we discussed above, you also need to keep an eye on the average engagement generated from all of your posts. Doing this doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need to do is identify the top few posts of the week that have received the most engagement from your audience.

Here’s how to do it:

Doing the above should give you the average engagement per post, a metric that you cannot and should not ignore if you’re serious about growing your Instagram presence.

#4: Engagement Per Follower

How much engagement your Instagram content generates is directly proportional to the size of your current audience. As a small business, you need to understand the importance of generating the right level of engagement based on the number of followers your account has.

However, should never compare your engagement rate with Instagram profiles from big brands that regularly get hundreds of thousands of likes/comments/reposts. Your account does not have that kind of reach. This is exactly why engagements per follower metric is one of the most crucial Instagram metrics to keep an eye on. It gives you a close look at how much engagement your posts are generating per follower.

You will be surprised to know but there are instances where an Instagram profile run by a smaller brand may end up getting a higher level of engagement per follower when compared to the bigger, more established brands.

Engagement per follower is one of those Instagram metrics that you need to closely analyze because if it increases, it shows that your followers are liking your posts. And the content is relevant to their interests. It also shows that your profile is not just another page they liked; it’s a priority for them. If they’re liking a considerable number of your posts and leaving comments every now and then, it’s definitely a positive thing.

However, if you find this metric going down and not increasing much then it’s time to analyze your content. Which may be good, but may not be good enough for your audience. It shows that your followers are engaging with your content on a lower level. And there is a lack of consistency or interest.

You want your followers to check your page regularly and interact with your content.

So how do you go about improving this Instagram metric? What do you do to have a higher engagement per follower?

First and foremost, you can take the most obvious step that’ll impact this number, which is to publish more relevant and interesting content day in and day out. This sends out a message to your audience that you are serious about delivering great content. And in return they will keep coming back to your page on a regular basis.

Patrick is a real artist, and it’s his biggest passion. But he does art differently by combining digital art with real life with the help of Picsart. Since his content is creative and interesting, his followers are almost always eager to see what he will post next. Which makes his Instagram profile sticky and has people coming back for more.

If  you don’t have the time to constantly publish posts on Instagram, you might consider hiring a social media management agency that will create content, post it for you, and track all your Instagram metrics.

#5: Click-through Rate

 

Instagram doesn’t give much liberty in terms of linking out to your website, except to the profile section where you can post one clickable link.

While some brands choose to link to their homepage from their bio, others like to use this section to promote their newsletter subscription, new content and as well any special deals they have for their followers. This is why you may find that some brands like to keep changing this link, depending on what they have to promote or share.

However, in order to make the most of this link in your profile, make sure you are using a reliable, trackable URL. Which allows you to calculate the click-through rate of your Instagram account. While some may not see this Instagram metric as important, they are missing a point.

The whole idea of using your Instagram to generate targeted traffic to your website is to improve your conversion rate. By understanding this metric, you’ll see how well Instagram traffic is converting, which may push you to experiment with different offers exclusive for your followers.

The first and the easiest option to create a trackable URL is to use bit.ly, since it helps you determine how many of your Instagram followers have visited your website or landing page.

You may choose to go the same route when you are working with promotional content on Instagram. The CTA or call to action you have has to be specific to that particular campaign and you should be able to measure it perfectly. Also, see to it that there is no clash between two data points from the same campaign. Because this may lead to poor optimization.

Here’s how Reebok uses trackable URLs in their Instagram depending on the campaign that is running.

The more clicks these links receive, the higher the probability of the visitors converting into leads or sales.

In case you’re looking for more information regarding the clickthroughs generated from your Instagram, you can add Google UTM parameters to your bio links. Once in place, you can head to your Google Analytics account to see crucial data such as:

  1. What number of users clicked through your bio link
  2. What links they clicked on and when
  3. What they did after clicking on the link

 

#6: Hashtag Growth Rate

When it comes to measuring growth on Instagram, how can you ignore the power of hashtags? Hashtag growth is an important Instagram metric that many marketers tend to ignore. However, measuring this metric can make a big difference the kind of results you generate. By using it you’ll be able to look into the number of posts that have your hashtags and as well as how your followers/non-followers are using them when commenting.

Running a successful Instagram campaign is all about having the right strategy up your sleeve and implementing it effectively. By measuring hashtag growth, you’ll know how your branded hashtags are performing and if they are helping your brand reach out to your target audience. Just the way it’s important to analyze popular hashtags used in your campaign, it’s also crucial to know the growth of your branded hashtags.

However, don’t limit yourself to monitoring only branded hashtags. You also need to monitor hashtags containing your brand name. While you may have created such hashtags, you’ll still find Instagram users creating their own version of them.

So make sure you are look out for hashtags in this space (#yourbrandname). If you find some of these hashtags are getting popular and gaining traction, then it makes sense to use them in your own campaign.

This particularly applies to all those brands that want to generate and repurpose user-generated content created by their followers.

#7: Hashtag Engagement Rate

Instagram would not be the happening photo sharing app it is today without hashtags. They both gel so well. If you’re not utilizing hashtags on Instagram, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

There are a number of benefits of using hashtags in your Instagram posts but one of the most common advantage is you’ll be able to reach out to a bigger audience. Hashtags help non-followers discover your content, which in turn helps you increase the number of follower.

In order to truly get the most out of hashtags, it’s important to understand how they help in increasing engagement. And what you can do to make them even more engaging. When talking about hashtags, there are multiple Instagram metrics to keep track of. However, measuring the engagement of your hashtags happens to be the most important of all. Why? Because if your hashtags aren’t generating engagement from your target audience, they’re not serving their core purpose.

A common practice is to add hashtags to your Instagram content. You need to look closely at how you’re using hashtags and what kind of an impact they are having. If one hashtag is getting more engagement than the other, it means that it is more relevant and useful in the eyes of your target audience. Which is why it’s getting more engagement.

Hashtags on Instagram work best when you use them effectively. Don’t be too picky when using them but don’t be messy either. Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram not only supports but also encourages the usage of multiple (relevant) hashtags in posts.

So go ahead and create a list of all those hashtags that you feel can contribute to your account. And at the same time, see to it that these hashtags are popular enough to get you more likes/comments. When you have a readymade list of hashtags, you’ll know when and where to use them whenever you make a new post. Make sure the ones you use connect to the overall message of the posts.

If you know the importance of keywords in search engine optimization, you should know the importance of hashtags on Instagram. Hashtags that receive high level of engagement are akin to SEO keywords that fetch you targeted website visitors. So spending a good amount of time finding the right hashtags ensures a bigger chance of success in the long run.

The hashtag engagement rate is an underrated Instagram metric, which is why it’s not often used for content ideas. In other words, by tapping into this metric you should be able to understand what kind of content works for your audience. If one hashtag receives more engagement than the other, then it makes sense to create content around that topic/hashtag.

If you ever feel that your content should receive more engagement but isn’t getting the right kind of attention, you should study this metric. Because the whole problem could be due to your hashtag usage.

#8: Best Time/Day to Post

No social media network is equal. If Facebook is a great place to target baby boomers, then Instagram is full of millenials that you can tap into. The question is, how do you make the most of the features of platform like Instagram?

You need to understand user behavior, and what factors can work in your favor. The day and time of your posting is one such factor that you cannot and should not ignore. Because there will always be a certain time of the day that your target audience is going to be using the app more.

These peak times have higher amount of activity when compared to other moderate times. Identifying the right time/day of posting can make a world of a difference to your Instagram marketing campaign.

Every brand is different, with different goals and a unique set of audience. Which is why you need to analyze your follower growth and see the type of content you are currently posting to your account. Also note the common time/day of your posting along with the engagement rate for your posts. This should give you a fair idea of what days and timings are better for you.

While the time that you choose depends on a number of personals factors, many influencers/bloggers tend to see a the highest level of engagement rate on weekends. There are two potential (probably overlapping) reasons as to why weekend engagement rate is the maximum.

  1. More people spend time on their Instagram on weekends, resulting in higher follower growth rate.
  2. A majority of bloggers/influencers like to post at a much bigger frequency on weekends.

Nevertheless, the more you experiment with the type of content you post and times/days of the week, the more clarity you will achieve.

Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Promote Your Business Online

Digital marketing. One of the newfangled buzzwords that business owners are using to sound smart these days.

Or is there really something to it?

With companies going the digital route and focusing on creating a strong online presence, we understand why you might also be thinking of joining the party.

Do you want to start promoting your business online? Not sure what digital marketing means? If that’s the case, cheer up! In this guide, you’re going to find all the digital marketing basics you need to know about creating successful online marketing campaigns for your business.

Definition

In simplest terms, digital marketing means marketing your products and services using the internet and digital media as the medium.

Digital marketing is sort of an umbrella term that includes all the modern marketing strategies. We are talking about marketing tactics that involve reaching out to the target customers through online marketing (Internet, mobile phones,) and social media marketing (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and such.)

As you can imagine, this is a vast field and can be quite overwhelming if you’re new to the realm of online marketing. In our comprehensive guide to digital marketing basics, we are going to reveal:

  • Why your business needs digital marketing
  • The components of a successful digital marketing strategy

This guide will equip you with all the digital marketing basics knowledge you’ll ever need to create a successful online marketing plan for your business.

Alright, so make yourself a cup of coffee and let’s begin!

Why does your business need digital marketing?

If you are hesitating to invest in digital marketing, here are a few points to convince you of the significance of having an online marketing plan for your business.

Competition is using it: Did you know that 77.6% of small business owners use social media in their marketing strategy? From solo entrepreneurs and freelancers to companies, everyone is using digital marketing to establish a brand presence today. This is probably because digital marketing basics are fairly easy to grasp. If you don’t adapt to the changing times, you stand to lose potential customers.

Cast a wider net: Digital marketing allows you to catch the attention of your prospective customers through a variety of ways. For example, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which we are going to discuss later in this guide, helps you attract customers in an organic (unpaid) way.

On the other hand, Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing uses paid ads to draw the audience in. By using different approaches you can reach a wider audience which can have a major impact on your brand recognition.

Track your performance easily: Thanks to the easily available analytics tools online, you can track how your marketing campaigns are performing in real time.

And it’s so unlike the traditional forms of marketing, where you had to wait for weeks to determine what’s working and what’s not!

With digital marketing, you can observe which aspects of your marketing strategy need tweaking, and make changes accordingly. This gives you enormous control over your marketing campaigns and your budget.

Target your audience effectively: Can you imagine targeting an audience based on gender, language, and location through traditional means of marketing?

That’s one of the things we love about digital marketing; you can choose who visits your website and who sees your ads. The targeting tools and parameters available today are incredible in helping you target the audience you want. They are easy to use even if you only have a little knowledge of digital marketing basics.

And these are just some of the several advantages of digital marketing for your business. Once you know how to handle your marketing campaigns successfully, you can

  1. a) get much ahead of your competition
  2. b) increase your sales.

If you’re still curious, you can learn more about the importance of digital marketing for your business here.

Now that you know why you need to know the digital marketing basics, let’s see whatmakes for an effective digital strategy.

What are the digital marketing basics of a successful strategy?

Before you decide to invest your time and resources in strategizing, it is important that you understand the digital marketing basics regarding the various platforms. An effective marketing strategy can incorporate a variety of components like:

  • Website design
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media advertising
  • Social media management
  • Pay-Per-Click advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing

Engaging with each (or any!) component in the right way WILL grow your brand’s presence online in a powerful way.

Website Design

Understand this: your website is the face of your business. Its structure, color, design, and even writing (content) impact the way your audience perceives your brand.

That’s why we always stress that your site should reflect your brand style and personality in addition to the general theme of your business. Consider your website an important extension of your business.

Here are some important tips you can follow to make sure your website helps you build brand authority:

Invest in a responsive website: It goes without saying that your website should look beautiful and organized. Also, your site should have a responsive design with an updated CMS (content management system) – don’t worry; your web developer will know what that means.

The key is to have the right mix of design and functionality. An incredibly pretty website that takes over 10 seconds to load is not a sign of a great website – neither is a website that looks so cheap and haphazardly put-together that visitor starts to question your brand credibility.

According to research, 48% of online visitors decide the credibility of a business on the basis of its site design, and 94% people reject a site on the sole basis of its design.

We can’t decide which is more catastrophic – the design or the layout. How much success do you think they have in catching the attention of their target customers? Everything is so cluttered, you can hardly comprehend what the website is about!

Optimize your website: We are talking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) here. We will go over it in more detail later in this post, but the key point from digital marketing basics you need to understand is SEO helps your business appear in the search engine results.

From your website’s design to the keywords you choose, SEO covers everything.

Create an easy-to-navigate website structure: A website should be structured in a way that the inbound users can explore easily. Every web page should be tagged and labeled so the users can find what they need.

On the most basic level, your website should have pages/sections such as:

  • Home page
  • About the product/services page
  • List of services
  • About us/ Meet the team page
  • Blog
  • Contact information

Monitor your website regularly: If you think website design is a one-time process, think again. With search engines changing their algorithms frequently and design trends upgrading constantly, you need to keep your website up-to-date in order for it to keep functioning great.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

So you have created a masterpiece of a website. You have made sure it is optimized for mobile phone users as well. You paid special attention to the responsiveness of the design if you do say so yourself.

Now all that’s left is for your target audience to find you.

That’s what search engine optimization does.

According to Hubspot, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases.

When your potential customer is looking for a product or service online, she is most likely to Google it first. In order to be found among millions of search engine results, your website must be optimized for the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.)

Let’s see what optimizing your website means.

Search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website on organic (unpaid) search engine result pages (SERPs).

SEO makes sure that your website appears within the top results whenever someone enters your targeted keyword(s) in the search bar.

This image perfectly illustrates the major elements of a successful SEO strategy.

How does SEO work?

Find the right keywords: Research your industry and find the keywords that identify your business. The keywords you target determine how Google (and other search engines) rank your website and how much traffic you bring in.

Use those keywords in your website’s URL: One of the best ways to optimize your website is to incorporate keywords in your site URL.

Search engines go through each line of text in your website to understand what it’s about. From your website URL to the content on your web pages, everything is analyzed and indexed by the search engines.

Use keywords in Title tags, Meta descriptions, and Heading tags: Title tags are the name of a web page. When you open an internet browser, the text you see right on top of the dialog box is the Title tag. These are the links that show up in search engines. It’s the hyperlink that people click on.

In order to increase the relevancy of your website (SEO-wise), incorporate your main keywords in the Title tags.

If you want a perfect preview so the title doesn’t get cut off in the search results, keep these tags less than 65-70 characters. Also, avoid using stop words like a, the, and, if, then, an, to, etc. in the Title tags.

Meta descriptions are the 2-3 line descriptions under the titles you see when you Google something. It is a short description of a business/brand which makes it easier for the potential customers to swiftly skim through all the search results.

You are allowed a maximum of 155 characters to describe your web page, and it is recommended to use at least one keyword for that particular page.

Heading tags are the HTML tags (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6) that are used to structure the content of website page. In addition to using keywords in your Title tags and Meta descriptions, also make sure to use your most important keywords in your Heading tags.

These are probably the most meticulous details we will share with you in our digital marketing basics guide, but they are essential to effective on-page SEO.

Include keywords in your website content and blog posts: As we said earlier, search engines use keywords to identify the relevance of a web page. Use your important keywords and their combinations in every piece of content you publish on your website.

But beware of keyword stuffing because a) it looks spammy, and b) Google WILL find you and penalize your website.

If you want to know more about optimizing your website, we suggest you read this simplified  organic SEO guide to achieve page one rankings.

Social Media Advertising

Social media advertising means using social media platforms to promote and sell your products/services. If you want to master the digital marketing basics, starting with social media marketing is a great idea.

One of the major advantages of advertising on social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. is that you can choose your target audience.

According to Hubspot, 92% of business owners and marketers say that social media is crucial to their business.

In fact, that same report says that more than half of people who’ve been using social media advertising for at least two years reported it helped them increase sales.

So what social media platforms should you use for your business?

Here are some of the most popular platforms at a glance:

Facebook: A Facebook Page for your brand makes you more discoverable, and is a great way to connect with potential customers. Facebook Ads have proven to be highly successful in gaining more exposure for a business.

Instagram: Instagram is the best way to express your business visually. The platform offers several tools to help you engage with your audience. With 500 million monthly active users, Instagram is growing extremely fast.

Twitter: Twitter for businesses reaches straight out to people who are looking for new products and special deals. According to a report from Twitter and Research Now, 93% of people who follow small and medium-sized businesses on Twitter plan to purchase from them, while 69% have already bought something from the companies they follow.

Pinterest: With 100 million monthly active users, Pinterest is the most popular platform people go to discover new ideas. The visual content you create and share on your Pinboards can be used to catch the attention of your audience and encourage them to try your products.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an essential network for building your brand and creating strong business connections online. You can use it to share content, keep up-to-date with trends, and connect with key influencers in your industry.

Social Media Management

Social media management allows you to manage all of your social profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) together on a single platform.

Social media management also helps you handle your inbound and outbound online interactions in a better way.

In simplest terms, it streamlines how you participate in conversations that are happening across different platforms – blogs, social networks (like Facebook), and even public and private online communities.

Email Marketing

Before you ask, yes, it still works.

In fact, 82% of B2B and B2C businesses use email marketing today. Why? Because:

  1. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 on an average, and
  2. Over 34% of people worldwide use email

That’s why email marketing has become a lot more competitive now; it is one of the most effective channels in our guide to digital marketing basics.

The key is to make your emails stand out, which is easier said than done. Before you create an email campaign, you need to understand the psychology of your potential customers.

Bombarding them with emails to promote your product will only harm your brand image. According to a 2016 study by Hubspot, 78% of people unsubscribed from emails because a brand was sending “too many emails.”

This comprehensive post will help you learn more about the importance of email marketing for your business.

Pay Per Click Advertising

PPC is a form of advertising that is used to bring visitors to your website by using search ads for which you only pay for when someone clicks through.

In addition to Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising is also a popular PPC platform. Here are two really interesting facts for you to think over:

  • 64.6% of people click on Google ads when they are looking to purchase something online
  • Among the companies that use PPC advertising, 84% use Facebook as a platform, 41% use Google and 18% use LinkedIn

Why is PPC so popular with advertisers? Because it helps them attract quality traffic.

By placing ads that only display when specific search phrases are used or on websites that have a specific kind of audience base, you can target well-matched audience to your business. This ensures that your website attracts visitors that are more likely to convert into buyers.

If that’s not enough, consider this: you only pay for clicks and you can monitor the performance of your ads in real time. Benefits like these are why PPC advertising has proven to be highly successful for small businesses.

Content Marketing

When it comes to the digital marketing basics, one component that has been the talk of the town is content marketing.

According to The Content Marketing Institute, it is a marketing approach focused on creating and sharing valuable and relevant content on a consistent basis to entice and retain a clearly-defined audience, and eventually, to drive customers to take a profitable action.

This is the most accurate definition out there. Let’s simplify it a bit.

Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy which focuses on creating strong relationships with your audience by giving them high-quality, relevant content.

So when customers make a decision to buy something, they are already loyal to you.

This content can be blog posts, articles, email newsletters, white papers, case studies, research papers/reports, infographics, videos, webinars, e-magazines, e-books, and much, much more.

11 Steps to Building a Results Focused Digital Marketing Campaign

A digital marketing campaign has many moving parts that all work together to grow your business. Once you get your campaign up and running with advertisements, email automations and sales funnels you will be able to review analytics and physically see your business developing. From defining your goals and budget to setting up Facebook and Google advertising it’s a long road, but we’re here to give you the best advice, tips and tricks to building your next digital marketing campaign.

  1. Define your goals

Do you want conversions, followers, likes, responses to emails, to be #1 on Google searches? The options are endless in digital marketing but it is wise to decide what your main goal is going to be in your digital marketing campaign. If you want to send emails as well as run ads on Google and other social media platforms, consider hiring a digital marketing agency to help you out as this can be a huge task for a small business owner.

There are several different types goals you can focus on. Some important ones that you should be aware of are brand awareness, follower growth, conversions and lead generation.

Brand awareness should be high on your list. How many times have you told someone to search for something on the internet but instead of saying “Go search for it” you have said “Just Google it”? This is brand awareness at the highest level. When users start to use your brand name to refer to a generic term, you’ve made it. But it’s a long process to get there.

Gaining followers is not as easy as it sounds. Sure you can tell all of your friends and family to like your business on Facebook or follow you on Instagram. But you still need a digital marketing campaign. Here you can run follower growth ads on Facebook that target your specific audience and ask them to like your page. Send emails to your current clients asking for likes or follows. It is always a good idea to have something to exchange like a coupon or free gift.

Getting people to convert to using your product takes a lot of coaxing. If you want your digital marketing campaign to be focused on conversions you essentially want someone to see your ad or open your email and make a purchase.

Lead Generation is a step in the conversion process. If you are focused on generating leads, these users will become aware of your product and then let you know they are interested in learning more and potentially making a purchase.

With each of these goals there are various steps you will have to take in order for your digital marketing campaign to be successful.

  1. Define Your Target Market

What types of people do you want to target? If you already have a website and are running analytics you can pull reports to see what kinds of people are shopping for your products. If you are just starting out you will need to do some research. You can check out your competition to see who they are targeting but don’t just target their audience. You should find a niche market to target that they might be missing out on.

You will need to first decide if you are targeting other businesses or consumers. No you cannot target everyone. Find your niche market. A successful digital marketing campaign has a well defined audience that is carefully crafted by you, the business owner!

You can survey your current customers on your own or hire a digital marketing company to do the research for you.

  1. Develop Personas

Create a buyer persona for you brand. Describe this person in detail – what they do for a living, their annual income, family situation, age, likes and dislikes.

Say you are opening a craft coffee company in your local community. The average price of a cup of coffee is around $5. Your ideal customer will likely have a higher salary and have some disposable income. Let’s map out a persona for our future coffee business.

4.Define Your Budget

For any digital marketing campaign you will need to come up with a budget. Keep in mind that digital advertising is the cheapest form of advertising! We have already compared digital marketing vs traditional marketing if you don’t believe us.

If you are hiring a digital marketing company keep in mind that you will need to budget for paying for services as well as having a budget for running Facebook or Google Ads if that is something you are interested in for your digital marketing campaign. You can start by asking yourself how much revenue you want to see. This is where you need to set a reasonable goal. If you are running a Facebook ad campaignand you want to make $10,000 each month and your product margin is $100 you will need to generate 100 sales from this ad campaign. And with that in mind, you can set your budget based on the profit margin you’d like to generate.

Creating a budget is a big part of your digital marketing campaign. If you don’t know what you budget should look like, set up a time to talk it through with a social media professional.

  1. Choose The Channels You Want to Use

In your digital marketing campaign you will probably want to utilize as many channels as possible. If you are a business to business company you should not be using the exact same channels as a business to consumer company.

You can advertise on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and evenPinterest. Google Ads are popular as well and can quickly get your company website to the top of search results. Don’t leave email marketing out of your digital marketing campaign. Sending emails is often neglected by companies but this is one of the best ways to grow your business.

A combination of marketing on social media channels, sending emails, optimizing your website and using Google to advertise can build a strong strategy if done correctly. With all of these strategies working together, there’s a lot of room for user error. Of course, you can learn how to build an amazing digital marketing campaign yourself, but wouldn’t it be easier to let a professional do all of the heavy lifting for you?

  1. Do Keyword Research for SEO and PPC

If you are planning on running Google Ads (PPC) or optimizing your website for search engines (SEO) you will need to do some keyword research. Keywords are words that users type into search engines in order to find a product or service or answer a question.

If you don’t want to run ads you definitely want to make sure your site is optimized. SEO is free unlike PPC and is used to organically move your page up in Google search rankings.

The trick to finding keywords for your business is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Brainstorm a list of keywords that you think customers will be searching and then test them! You can type words into Google and let your search bar autofill like this. It will help you get an idea of what customers are searching for.

You can also use sites like Answer the Public. This site will provide a web of questions that people are asking search engines based around the keyword you type in. As you can see these are all the questions that people are asking Google about flights.

Here’s a sneak peak into our keyword research process. We start by talking with our clients about their goals for their digital marketing campaign and which words they think customers are searching. We then compare what competitors are ranking for and check to see if there are any keywords you are ranking for already and if it’s possible to get you that number one spot.

After our initial research is completed we compile keywords so that we can compare their monthly search volume and keyword difficulty. We also like to map out which page we can optimize for each keyword or if we should create a new landing page. We are usually looking for keywords that have high monthly search with low competition.

Here you can see part of our process for defining which keywords will work well for this company and which won’t. We like to explore all of our options to make sure we don’t miss a potential keyword.

Our process for PPC is a little different as we have to compare the cost per click of each word and then group the keywords accordingly. With PPC we are focused on how much each word will cost when a potential customer clicks as well as the monthly search volume. Our goal is to keep your CPC low while reaching as many people as possible.

Once you have completed your keyword research you are ready to start optimizing your site and set up Google Ads. SEO will physically take place on your site. You will need to change your title and meta descriptions, H1 tag, images alt tags and copy to reflect the keywords you have chosen. When creating your PPC ad campaigns you will use your target keywords so that when they are typed in, your ad comes up as one of the top ad results. If you are going to put time and money into something like SEO and PPC you want to make sure it is done correctly. Hiring a professional for your digital marketing campaign will ensure that a custom strategy is put in place so that you can achieve your goals.

  1. Set up Ads on Social Media Platforms

Now that all of your research is completed and your goals are set, you can jump in to social media advertising. Wherever you decide to advertise (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter) you will need to create engaging advertisements that resonate with your audience. Since Facebook advertising is the most popular form of social media advertising in a digital marketing campaign we’ll show you an example.

You will be creating this ad in Facebook ads manager for your Facebook business account. They will first ask you to choose your objective. Let’s go with brand awareness.

You will then choose a name for your campaign and decide if you want to optimize your budget or not. You will then be prompted to create an audience for your ad.

Pro Tip: Use a lookalike audience. This is a great way to target people who are similar to your existing customer base. You’ll need an email list to start so that Facebook can build an audience for you. Once you have this set up you’ll be targeting potential customers like a pro!

You will then set your advertising budget. Our best advice is to start small and then scale up. You wouldn’t want to spend a bunch of money on an ad set that’s not converting.

Finally you will create an advertisement complete with images and copy that is going to resonate with your audience.

  1. Manage Your Social Media Profiles

Not only is social media advertising an important component for your digital marketing campaign but managing and monitoring your accounts should not be neglected. Follower growth and reputation management are two management techniques that we swear by. You should always be focused on growing your fan-base because you want to continue to gain customers. Don’t just rely on your existing customers.

In order for your digital marketing campaign to be successful, you should make sure you have a good online reputation. This means you will need to interact with your customers on your social media accounts as well as reply to disgruntled customers who give you bad reviews. Reaching out to people who have had a bad experience (although it may be scary at first) builds trust and rapport with your customers.

Here’s a review that was left on Google. This could have really harmed the business if the owner had not responded. If a customer did have a bad experience you can open a dialogue with them, ask them to send you a message or an email about their experience or offer them a coupon to try your business again. As a business owner the best thing you can do is to make sure you are actively reading comments and reviews on social media as well interacting with customers.

9. Formulate an Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing should not be left out of your digital marketing campaign as it can be incorporated with the social media side of your campaign. You can use social media to collect emails which you can then use to build a lookalike audience for your campaign. You now have a list of people who have opted to receive news and special offers from you! You can also use emails to encourage follower growth on your social media platforms.

If you feel like you don’t have time to send emails, at least set up some automations (or hire an email marketing pro to do it for you!). Automations can be created to welcome users, remind them that they left something in their cart, update them on their purchases and more! Once you create the emails you want to appear in your automation, you will need to set up a trigger and press start.

We’ll look at setting up an automation in MailChimp.

As you can see, the trigger is set to send the first email one day after a subscriber joins your list. You can then add as many emails as you want to this sequence. Automating emails can save you a lot of time but it is good to send non-automated emails as well. A welcome sequence is great but what happens when it’s over and your customers finish the automation? If you discontinue email marketing, your customers will quickly forget your brand.

  1. Set Up Remarketing

Remarketing is a tool that you should be using throughout your digital marketing campaign. It allows you to capture sales that you might have otherwise lost. If someone browses your products but does not make a purchase you can target them with social media ads, Google Ads or emails.

Here is an advertisement from Rareform, a company that sells wallets, bags and purses made from recycled billboards. Since they have a bunch of different products, they are running a carousel ad so that customers can easily browse their products or see products that they have looked at previously on their website. They even offer a coupon to further entice customers.

Remarketing emails can come in the form of cart abandonment emails. If you add something to your cart and don’t purchase, you may receive an email about it later encouraging you to come back and make a purchase. Big companies like Amazon have remarketing down to a science. They will send you emails about what you have left in your cart or products that are similar to products you have either purchased or clicked on like this backpack.

This strategy should be a big part of your digital marketing campaign in order to catch the customers who slip through the cracks.

  1. Craft A Blogging Strategy

Blogging is a critical piece of your digital marketing campaign that may sound insignificant but it can be a game changer for your business. Blogging can help out your SEO, increase customer engagement, and help to answer questions that your customers have. A big tip for writing blogs is to make sure you are crafting relevant content. Your blogs don’t have to be 3,000 words but keep in mind that the longer the blog the better your chances of ranking. If someone clicks on one of your 300 word blogs, they’ll be finished reading pretty quickly. This means that their time spent on your site will be fairly short. Users will spend a lot more time reading a longer blog that has engaging copy and cool graphics. If users spend a lot of time on your site, Google now thinks that your content is important which can ultimately help you move up in search.

By writing a blog you can also help to answer your potential customers’ questions about your company or product. No matter what your product, service, or cause is your website will greatly benefit from blogging. If you don’t know where to begin, our team of experts can help you brainstorm topics and even help with writing your blogs, which can end up saving you a lot time.

What is Digital Advertising and Why You Need It

Those are the exact questions this article will answer for you today.

64% of people say they’ve been influenced to buy something by watching a video online. 52% of buying decisions can be traced back to Facebook. People spend enough time online, it could be considered their second job.

Online is where the people are. To reach them as a small business, you need to be there, generating brand awareness, increasing leads and making sales. That’s why digital advertising is so important.

But what is digital advertising? How can it help you grow your business?

Let’s take a look!

What is Digital Advertising?: An Overview

What is digital advertising if not the best way to reach customers where they spend the vast majority of their time? The Internet.

It leverages the popularity of trusted sites like Facebook, YouTube, Yelp, Google Search and more. In order to deliver services to their own customers, they sell you ad space on their websites. When you advertise on a platform, you are in effect supporting that platform that your customers love.

Reach The Right People with the Right Message

This form of advertising allows you to reach the right people with the right message at the right time. You may think you’re doing this already through newspapers, flyers, or radio ads. But as we explore digital campaigns together, you’ll see just how much digital is raising the bar in advertising.

Get Measurable Results

Digital advertising isn’t just putting an ad up on Twitter, Pinterest or Yahoo. It uses Internet-based advertising tools to research, manage, track, analyze and improve online advertising campaigns.

When done effectively, digital marketing seamlessly integrates into your target customer’s user experience on that website, guiding them back to your own site and business. It does so in a natural and non-intrusive way.

It can be personalized to maximize relevance to your target customer. This, in turn, maximizes conversion rates. And because it’s digital, you can track virtually every step your customer makes in relation to your ad.

This allows you to achieve an ROI not possible through other means.

It’s Not One Thing

What is digital advertising? It’s not just one thing. It can look very different depending on where you advertise and how you do it.

This diversity allows you to choose which ones are best for your business and customers. Some methods and platforms will be decidedly better for you than others.

Some businesses will find AdWords very effective for them. Others find LinkedIn adsget them a lot of new leads. A lot of research into your industry, customers and competition goes into deciding how to answer, what is digital advertising to you?

Being in the right place with the right strategies will cut costs. It increases profits. Using the wrong strategies and platforms can leave you feeling like digital advertising doesn’t work.

Each type has its pros and cons as well as varying strategies. People who know how to run AdWords campaigns may struggle with Facebook ads and vice versa because of these differences.

We’ll explore these various kinds of Internet ads in this article.

It’s Not Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising primarily uses interruption as a means of getting new customers. It shoots for broad demographics like millennial women who like fashion who may or may not even be in your area.

It’s hard to track how people actually react to your ad.

You can’t clearly attribute a sale to a specific ad or campaign. You may get a little help with your analytics from the customer if they fill out a “Tell us how you heard about us” section.

What is digital advertising? It’s advertising that you know is working because you can see, often in real time, whether you’re getting results.

Why Digital Marketing Has Become So Important

You may be thinking that your way of advertising is working right now. Why should you make a change to online ads? Here’s why it’s great that you’re asking this now rather than continuing with other methods any longer.

The Grammy’s, Emmy’s, Super Bowl and Olympics all suffered record-breaking viewership declines this year. It’s not a new trend.

The Oscar’s alone saw an over 6.4 million person drop. Those who paid $2.6 million or more for a 30-second spot on these programs are furious.

Chances are, as a small business, you’re not advertising on these programs. But this highlights a swift-moving trend for cable and network programming alike. People are cutting the cord and tuning out.

We’re seeing similar trends with magazines, newspapers, radio and direct mail ads.

Where are the people going? This will come as no surprise to you.

The Great Migration

A 2018 Pew Research Institute study found that around 89% of people use the Internet regularly. The study found insignificant gaps based on race or gender. There was only a small 17% variation based on income.

The largest gap in Internet usage was found to be based on age. But still, 66% of people over 65 are using the Internet.

Here’s the breakdown of this very informative study.

The average American spends over 24 hours per week on the Internet. That’s like a part-time job. Younger Americans are spending much more time, over 50 hours/week. For them, the Internet has been integrated into everything they do –  school, entertainment, shopping, socializing and even work.

We can expect this trend to continue.

The Internet is where the people are. But this doesn’t mean that trying to reach them in any way will be successful. Popup ads, for example, are the poster child for how not to reach people online.

Annoying people with repetitive ads isn’t the way to get new customers. Digital advertising is.

Why Digital Advertising Is So Successful

Forbes Magazine states it very well: It’s affordable, specific, and easy to use. That about sums it up.

It’s Affordable & Scalable

You may see the headlines: Digital Advertising Costs Skyrocketing. But when you break it down and look at the ROI a business can get on even small campaigns, the headlines simply don’t reflect reality.

Digital advertising is affordable. You can start digital advertising with as little as $5 per day on Facebook. As you grow, increase your budget. Analyze, test, and streamline to maximize your return on investment.

What is digital marketing if not very scalable.

It’s so easy to scale up and down based upon your conversion rates and the number of customers you can handle at any given time. If you get a little overwhelmed because your ads are performing so well, then you can just suspend them until you catch up.

However, if you’re working with a digital advertising company like ours, then you spend less time on your ads and more time focusing on running your business.

It’s Specific & Targeted

Using data collected by your business or by a social media platform, you can reach exactly who you want to reach. This means that you could run 5 different ads targeting 5 different types of customers. Each customer sees the ad that will appear most relevant to them.

Relevance = Increased Revenues.

It’s Easy to Use

You may be asking what is digital advertising in terms of difficulty? You wonder if you need significant technical skills. The fact is that the most common forms of digital advertising are pretty simple to set up.

The programs usually walks you through the steps.

Mastering digital advertising to maximize your returns can get a bit more complicated. This is when working with a professional really helps you get the best bang for your buck.

Digital Advertising Makes Sense for Small Business

On top of all of the benefits of digital advertising, it’s small business’ best friend. You don’t need a huge corporate marketing budget to use it.

Yet, with the right strategies, you can be side-by-side or even beat out huge businesses.

What is digital advertising? It’s the ultimate way to level the playing field for small businesses. You can compete and win against huge franchises like Auto Zone, McDonald’s, Ikea, or Nordstrom’s.

Do it without spending a fortune when you employ digital advertising.

It Works Fast

There are some marketing techniques that take time to get results.

Long-term strategies of branding, SEO, and content marketing help you get your acquisition costs down while boosting revenues. But they’re not typically fast by themselves.

What is digital advertising? It’s fast.

Start showing ads. See 5 times, 10 times or more traffic that day. Depending on your business type, within minutes start booking appointments or making sales.

Start completing orders. Customers start leaving reviews. More people see those reviews and want to do business with you.

Your business takes off. Online advertising can make this happen.

Types of Digital Advertising

Next, let’s explore the primary types of digital advertising. As we do, it will become clearer how well these align with your brand and business model. You’ll see how you can use them to meet your marketing goals like:

  • Generate leads
  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Get More Customers
  • Make More Sales
  • Get customers to spend more

PPC (Pay Per Click)

With PPC you only pay the platform you’re advertising on when someone clicks on your ad. Most types of digital advertising are set up on a PPC basis.

This is one of the reasons digital advertising works so well for small business.

You don’t pay based on how many viewers, listeners, or readers a program, station, or magazine has. You only pay for the ones who are actually interested in your service – and who show their interest by clicking on your ad.

The CPC (cost per click) you pay is normally on a bidding system with the average bid price being under $3. It’s all automated and happens behind the scenes in a split second. Simply set a max bid in the system.

Several factors influence how much you pay for a bid:

  • How competitive the ad space
  • How relevant your ads are to the people seeing them
  • Your industry
  • Time when the ads display

If your ads are deemed more relevant than your competitors, PPC-based systems will often give you the ad space for less money than they would charge your competition.

Why would they favor more relevant ads? It’s simple. They make more money when they show ads that users want to click. Their users feel that they’re getting a better experience when they see ads that matter to them.

CPM (Cost per 1,000 Impressions)

Instead of paying for a click, you may find it’s more cost effective to pay for impressions. An impression is every time your ad appears on someone’s screen. These work well when you want to create an enduring impression in a person’s mind that may or may not result in an actual click.

But there’s a catch. If you get a lot of clicks that you normally would have had to pay for, the advertising platform loses money. If the scale tips too far in your direction, they may review your ad or give it less visibility to encourage you to switch to pay per click.

Search Advertising

Over half of website visits start in a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo. A large percentage of these searchers are high intention. They’re searching for a specific type of product or service as solution to their problems. They’re researching options.

In many cases, an ad can convince them to buy now. It can even steal a would-be sale from a competitor.

You might wonder what is digital advertising without search advertising? Many people think search-based advertising like Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is digital advertising. But it’s only one of many digital advertising platforms you have to choose from.

Search advertising uses the PPC bidding system described above. You bid on keyword phrases that people enter into search engines when they’re looking for something.

For example, if you’re looking for a car detailer who will come to you, you might type in “Mobile car wash” into the search box. This ad may pop up in the ad sections of the search results.

You might then choose to click the ad instead of one of the businesses that used exceptional SEO techniques to appear at the top of the searches organic results.

Display Remarketing Advertising

The Internet — and life — can be very distracting. Someone’s on your site. They’re ready to buy.

Then they get a text. They remember something they need to do. Their boss walks by. And without warning, they leave.

Unless they’re a repeat customer, they likely won’t come back.

Remarketing is a very effective way to kindly redirect this person who left your website back to your site.

Here’s how it’s done. You place a temporary online tracker called a “cookie” in the person’s browser when they visit your website.

Yes, when websites say they’re putting cookies on your computer, this is probably what they’re doing.

It’s harmless. And most people actually like the personalization that websites can add to the experience through the cookie system.

Google uses it to make your search results more customized.

Work with a platform that offers remarketing. Google Ads or Facebook are the best known. Once set up, they will show the ad that you’ve requested to that person several times over the next few days.

It will appear both on the main sites and on sites that have agreed to display their ads through an affiliate program.

An affiliate website gets a little bit of money for showing the ad. The remarketing platform gets a small amount for the ad. You get a potential new customer. The potential new customer remembers they have unfinished business and returns to your site.

Everyone wins.

Remarketing can increase click-through-rates by 400%. It can double your normal ad ROI. It can increase revenues 30% or more.

It only works if you’re bringing people to your website through other means first though. Remarketing is the best way to maximize your conversions across the board.

Social Media Advertising

According to a report from Sprout Social, on average, people spend almost 2.5 hours on social media every day. Time spent is going up year after year.

It’s where they go to connect. They go there to unwind and just pass the time. They also go there to shop.

31% of people say they use social media to discover new brands and shop. Facebook influences directly or indirectly about 52% of purchases. That includes both online and brick-and-mortar.

About 96% of people regularly discuss brands online as part of their social media experience.

Social media advertising gives you a very direct and measurable way to funnel interested people to your website.

Social media advertising includes boosting posts and showing display ads on social media. Most social media advertising is based on extensive demographic, interests and behavioral data collected by search engines.

We knew there was a reason Facebook was collecting so much data on us. They allow you to use this data to show ads to the people most likely to want what you have to offer.

Not only can you target by high-level demographics like gender or age. It allows you to whittle the target down to things like whether they buy fashion online to maximize your relevance to each person who sees your ad.

Relevance is key in social media advertising. The more specific and targeted you can be with both the audience and the ad, the better you’ll perform.

Email as an Advertising Tool

72% of the general public and 86% of business buyers say that they prefer email as the way for businesses to communicate with them. This includes ads.

Because email is so preferred, you’ll get much higher engagement rates through email. The average ROI on email advertising is $40 for every $1 you spend. That makes email the highest ROI form of advertising.

But using email as an advertising tool isn’t as simple as posting an ad on social media. Getting this kind of ROI depends on several factors like:

  • Ability to get quality subscribers
  • Ability to engage subscribers
  • Ability to keep subscribers
  • Access to automation and segmentation tools

Getting Quality Subscribers

You don’t get quality subscribers by buying an email list. Build your list by offering people something of value in return for signing up. This could be a chance to win products. It could be a free trial. It might be an eBook.

Social media advertising is a great way to build this list. The two work hand in hand to reach people where they are and funnel them into a space where you can make advertising even more meaningful.

Engaging Subscribers

Be careful once you attract these quality subscribers. You don’t want to send a barrage of offers every week. That’s called spam.

They’ll unsubscribe.

Instead, focus on delivering relevant content to subscribers that more “gently” makes the sales. Send ads sparingly so you don’t get flagged for the spam folder.

Segmentation and automation are the best ways to engage subscribers and keep them.

Segmenting to Maximize Relevance

Once you have your subscribers, use segmentation software. This allows you to send certain content to certain people on your list who are most likely to be interested in it.

Segmentation also helps you avoid sending irrelevant content to people. That would reduce your click through rate. Or it could result in an unsubscribe.

With email advertising, you can even create ads that show a person personalized recommendations based upon previous purchases.

MailChimp found that segmented emails have a 14% higher open rate. They get 100% more clicks. Segmentation increases revenues by as much as 58%.

Automate to Capture that Moment

Automation eliminates a lot of the monotonous and repetitive tasks in advertising. These tasks, while menial, quickly cut into your ROI. On top of that, with automation, you can send email at the perfect moment, every time.

Send it after someone abandons their cart. Welcome them after they sign up for something. Offer them a special discount.

Send it immediately after a purchase to upsell and get them excited about their next purchase with a 20% off coupon. Research shows that a person is most happy about a purchase right after they make it. Capture this magical moment through automation.

Automation is vital to mapping the customer’s journey, which 53% of marketing professionals say is the most effective automation tactic.

According to Forbes Magazine, businesses who use marketing automation increase the rate at which they nurture leads into qualified ones by 451%. Speeding up the lead-nurturing conveyor belt cuts costs significantly and helps you make more sales now.

There’s a reason automation utilization rates have exploded over the recent years.

Content Marketing As an Advertising Tool

When you ask what is digital advertising, you may not think of content marketing. But 90% of marketing departments are using content marketing for a reason. It can be a very important advertising tool.

Content draws interested people in. Tell them about your products or services without paying for ad space.

As mentioned before, content marketing isn’t fast unless you’re using paid ads to amplify its effects. But it does help cut your advertising costs over time.

More people are coming to your website and profile naturally because of the magnet you created.

Are you learning too much about what is digital advertising? No worries. We offer services for all the types of services we’ve discussed. Just complete this contact form to for a free consultation about what types of digital advertising are best for your business.

Put Influencers to Work for You

There are people online who’ve already done all the work to build up their followers and brand. Your target customer may look to these people as experts on various products or services you sell.

Networking with these influential individuals is a great way for a small business, or any business, to get their brand in front of more people.

Think Oprah-effect or Sharktank-effect. These influencers give you exposure that you couldn’t get any other way. On top of this exposure, it’s seen as an endorsement of your product or service.

That can actually influence a buying decision.

There are several ways to use influencer marketing to advertise.

  1. Get an influencer to share a post with their followers. You won’t have to pay for clicks. But the influencer may charge you for the service.
  2. Trade shares. If you have a loyal audience on social media. You might network with a non-competitor who does as well. Agree to share each other’s content to expand the audience for both of you.
  3. Find people who are already talking about your brand. Track your mentions. If you see someone influential talking about your brand, reach out. Thank them. See if you can reach an agreeable arrangement to share more of your stuff. If they’re already a fan of your brand, you’ll usually pay less for the service.

Always make sure the influencer aligns well with your brand. Their followers should be your target customers. For example, if you’re a straight-laced brand and the influencer is a bit eccentric, you may end up not getting the results you were looking for.

What Is Digital Advertising? It’s Small Business’ Best Friend

You won’t need to ask what is digital advertising once you see it working for your business. No other method can drive targeted traffic faster than Internet ads. Increase revenues and grow your business with this very important tool.

If you’re asking what is digital advertising, you’re new to digital advertising. You may be ready to dive right in. But you may have questions.

Why Digital Marketing is the Key to Success for Your Business

When creating a marketing strategy you may find yourself asking why digital marketing over another more traditional form of marketing? What are the benefits? Are there any downfalls? Is it worth the money? Is it hard? Is it fast? Will it even work? If you are just starting out and marketing isn’t in your wheel house, then take some time to learn why digital marketing can help you build a profitable business.

Before we can talk about why digital marketing is king, let’s first define it. Digital marketing is an umbrella term for any type of online marketing including SEO, PPC, email marketing, content marketing and social media marketing. If you aren’t familiar with these terms, here’s a quick breakdown.

PPC in Digital Marketing

PPC stands for “pay per click” and is attributed to Google’s search and display ads. When you run these ads on Google, you pay a set price each time someone clicks on your advertisement. You will need to come up with a keyword strategy that aligns with your business. There is a lot that goes into a keyword strategy like choosing words with high search volume that have a low cost per click. When Google users search your target keywords your ads will appear. With PPC you have the power to create your own ads and you are also in full control of your budget. Some keywords are relatively inexpensive per click like “men’s t-shirts” at $1.70 per click whereas some are extremely expensive like “car accident lawyers” at $209 per click.

If you have money to spend, you can easily reach the number one spot on the first page of Google search. But you will still need a strategy to make sure you are reaching the right audience and getting the highest conversion rates possible. Remember, unqualified clicks on your ads can waste your money, so make sure the people that click are genuinely interested in purchasing your product.

SEO in Digital Marketing

SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO is how you organically rank in Google search. This means that you are not paying to do so like you are with PPC. Everyone wants their business to be on the first page or at least in the top three organic search results because those get the most traffic from potential customers. How do you rank in search engines without spending money?

You optimize your content with keywords! Keywords are the powerhouse of SEO. In order to rank you will need to strategically add keywords to your copy, H1 tag, title and meta description and image alt tags. You will also need an ongoing SEO strategy which involves blogging and acquiring backlinks to build your website’s authority and make your online presence stronger.

These are the top three results for a drip coffee maker. If you were selling this product you would want to beat out your competition in order to get into one of the top spots. This may take some time because these websites that are ranking seem to have a lot of power. You may not be able to rank for this keyword, but keyword research will help you strategize and find those keywords that you will be able to rank for.
There are many in’s and out’s of SEO but once you learn them you will be able to build a profitable SEO campaign like the pros!

Email in Digital Marketing

According to a Campaign Monitor study for every dollar spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $44. With a return like that, it’s no wonder why digital marketing is the best way to market a business! Email marketing is exactly what it sounds like. You as a business send emails out to your subscribers in order to convince them to buy your product or service or follow your brand. It’s like writing letters to your potential customers except with email you can see how many people have opened your “letter” and who has clicked links within your email.

There are a few email guidelines that you will need to follow in order to have a successful campaign. The first is to have a catchy subject line. Take Dollar Shave Club for example. They used a simple yet intriguing subject line to entice users to open their email. Subject lines are the first thing users see before opening your email. Tell them what’s waiting for them inside and make it sound irresistible. Once you get people to open your email, the next step is getting them to take action.

The next guideline we recommend is to have a call to action at the top of your email. Tell users what you want them to do whether it is to “shop” and make a purchase or “read more” about your product. These should be big and bold so that your customers can’t miss it! The goal with a call to action is to get those clicks so that customers visit your website. Sometimes it may take some testing to see which buttons your subscribers respond to most.

You should also keep in mind that too much text can be difficult for users to digest. No one wants to spend time reading your overly wordy email because they probably receive hundreds of other emails every day. Keep it concise. And if you do feel like you need a lot of text, break it up into manageable or scannable paragraphs so that your readers are not overwhelmed. You can always link to your website pages or landing pages for additional information.

The best part about email marketing is that you can set up an email campaign to automatically send emails to your customers. These are called email automations. You can set up welcome email automations welcoming your customers or giving them a discount for their first purchase. This is a great way to get them in the door to try your product out. You can also send abandoned cart emails that will email customers when they leave something in their carts. This method of retargeting customers is something that many large companies do to capture those missed sales.

DSW sends abandoned cart emails to customers to remind them to go back to their site and purchase what they previously put in their cart. Their email resembles their website so that it makes it simple for a customer to click on any tab and keep shopping! It also has text that is short and to the point with a great call to action.

Content is King in Digital Marketing

Content marketing includes things like blogging which can immensely help your business. You can write blogs so that they rank in Google search and they can also help your potential customers to understand your business or answer questions that they have. How can you rank with a blog? It’s all about the length of the blog, how many times you can strategically place your keyword, how many clicks and shares it receives and how long people spend reading. Whatever you blog about make sure your blogs are full of useful and relevant information that is related to your brand. No matter what type of business you have, there is something to blog about, whether it’s tips and tricks, giving advice or simply promoting your business.

Get Social with Digital Marketing

Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves marketing across social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Advertising campaigns on social media are quick to set up and you can target these ads to specific groups of people. The amount of data that is collected through social media can help you tweak ads to make them more aligned with what your customers want to see as well as make your dollar stretch as far as it can. Advertising on social media is by far the cheapest way to advertise.

Digital Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

When we say traditional marketing we mean the marketing that you are probably already used to seeing like advertisements in newspapers or magazines, on billboards or in TV commercials. Many people think that traditional marketing is the way to go so that you can build trust with customers and create a network of lasting relationships. Surprisingly enough, the same thing can be done over the internet but for a lower cost and ultimately a more successful outcome.

So why digital marketing over traditional marketing?

Custom Audiences

For starters you can attract highly targeted traffic by creating a custom audience when using digital marketing. This proves difficult with traditional media. You can put an ad in a specific magazine that your target audience reads but how many people will actually purchase that magazine or even see your ad? Or let’s say your business wants to advertise on a  billboard. A bunch of eyes will see your ad but will they take action? Chances are your ad won’t apply to every person that sees it.

Retargeting

You can’t retarget with potential customers with traditional media. Retargeting is one of the reasons why digital marketing is so successful. When a customer interacts with your advertisement on Google, Facebook, Instagram or any other channel, you can track their every move and use this data to retarget them in the future. Wondering why that ad for those shoes you looked at last week keeps appearing in your newsfeed? You are being retargeted and chances are high that one day you will revisit that store and purchase them. After all if they keep appearing this must be a sign right?

Cost

Every business wants to save money in any way that they can. You want to get the most bang for your buck! Facebook advertising is the cheapest and most effective form of advertising out there. The average cost per click for a Facebook ad is around $1.72. That’s pretty good when you consider that there are over 2 billion active Facebook users every day.

Measuring Results

With digital marketing it is much easier to measure results. You will be able to monitor everything from how long someone spent on your web page to where that person came from on the internet to get to your website. You can monitor how well your ads are doing and make quick adjustments when they are under-performing. This is why digital marketing has so much power. Every action that your customers take can be recorded, and that data can be used to form a successful digital marketing campaign.

Facebook delivers all of your data to you through ads manager. It is user friendly, gives you a simple break down of costs and results, and allows you to control your budget. With traditional media like advertising in a magazine, the only analytics that are really available to you would be how large the magazine’s circulation is, and that’s not going to be super helpful for your marketing campaign.

In order to keep up with your competition you will need to use some form of digital marketing. Even though much of our world is digital, you can still use traditional media. But supplementing it with online marketing will allow your business to rise above the rest.

Why Digital Marketing Comes Out On Top

If you are a small to medium sized business you need to take advantage of everything digital marketing has to offer. Beating out large competitors is difficult enough. Don’t make it harder on yourself by using outdated marketing methods. There are countless reasons why digital marketing always wins versus traditional marketing. Digital or online marketing allows you to engage with your fans, keep your costs down and builds trust with your customers.

Communication

One reason why digital marketing is taking over is the ease of communication with customers. Online marketing is a two-way street. You can communicate with your customers as easily as they can communicate with you. This is something that you as a business owner need to take advantage of. And it’s one reason why digital marketing reigns supreme over traditional marketing methods.

Nordstrom is a brand that is killing it on social media! They reply to fans comments and ask if they need any assistance with their shopping. Engaging with your fans and customers can make a huge difference in their shopping experience. It humanizes you as a brand and shows customers that you are here to help them.

Building Trust

Digital marketing builds trust with users. You can use social proof like testimonials from previous customers on your website or star ratings in order to show shoppers what others think of your products. Patagonia displays their ratings for every product on their website and breaks it down by stars. As you can see they have 64 five star ratings on this product. Since all of these reviews are accessible to the shopper they can browse and read through all of them if they want. This is something you just can’t do with traditional marketing or even in-store shopping. It would be immensely difficult to show 60+ reviews in a magazine for your product.

Over 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from family and friends. The more ratings you have the more trustworthy you come across to potential customers. Would you be more likely to give your business to a company with one five star review or a company with 46 four and five star reviews? Many consumers do at least little bit of research before they decide to buy from a new company, so make sure you earn their trust online!

Speaking of ratings, asking for reviews for your business is something that is extremely easy to do online. You can send an email asking your customers what they thought of your product and to kindly rate it. You can run an ad or boost a post asking followers to give you a review in exchange for a coupon. In both of these examples you can include a simple button or call to action that links directly to a review site. This information can be used to redesign your product or service so that it better meets people’s needs if the ratings are not so great. It can also be used to show new customers that your product or service is better than your competitors if the ratings are great!

Call to Action

On your website you can also use clever calls to action or CTA’s to entice users to buy. CTA’s are typically action buttons that tell customers what you want them to do like buy, like, share or contact you. You can’t really link your newspaper advertisement to more information. Everything on your site is right there ready for your customers to purchase. If they see an ad in the newspaper they have to physically go take action and probably be reminded to do so several times (and then they still may not take action).

Instant Gratification

In most cases digital marketing is instant. You can create an ad for Google, give it a budget and start running it relatively quick if you’re a pro. With some forms of digital marketing like SEO it does take time, but it is well worth the wait when you see your business page ranking number one in Google search. To potential customers, that first result is trustworthy. It must be good if it’s ranking number one right?

Useful Analytics & Data

Probably the biggest reason why digital marketing has overtaken traditional marketing is that you as a business have the ability to track your customers every move online. This provides you with a wealth of data to analyze so that you can make adjustments in your digital marketing campaigns. With other forms of traditional marketing like radio or TV there is no way of knowing who saw your ad and who converted because of it.

Analytics from a Facebook ad will tell you how many people saw your ad, how many times it was displayed and how many conversions you received from it as well as how much you are paying per conversion.

Let’s say you pay $500 for a billboard (this is excluding the amount you would pay for someone to design it) there is no way of lowering this cost. With Facebook you can spend a small amount each month and rapidly increase your audience and receive all of this data that you can use to make your campaign stronger. By “small amount” we mean $10. Yes you can actually grow by spending only $10 a month!

Just posting on Facebook and not running ads is not enough. Facebook is a pay to play platform which means that you have to put in some money (even a small amount) in order to gain followers and fans. In reality your followers will see less than 1% of your posts. But having an active Facebook ad campaign can increase your page clicks by 96%.

With digital marketing you can target your specific audience. You can even use something called a lookalike audience on Facebook to target customers like the ones you already have. This audience is built from your email list of customers that you already have. Facebook will take these emails and find customers on Facebook that are similar to your existing customers. You also don’t have to target your existing customers with Facebook ads – you can completely exclude them! Using a lookalike audience will mean that your ads are being seen by more qualified leads which can ultimately lead to more sales and building lifetime relationships with loyal customers.

Best Online Marketing Examples to Spark Attention & Fuel Brand Growth

There is no single magic wand when it comes to defining the best online marketing strategies, tips, or guidelines for small businesses. Creating the perfect digital strategy only happens after research, trial & error, and knowing how to optimize your campaigns for the best results. It’s a combination of tools & tactics, tailored for your business, that will work.

Sure, there are a few basics of digital marketing that you need to understand before you can employ the best online marketing tactics. But trust us, it’s not rocket science. And if you are passionate to see your business grow online, you won’t take long to realize its true value. Through this article, we want to touch on some of the best online marketing ideas & tactics that will help you define the best online marketing plan for your business. And we won’t disappoint you!

We deem this topic of online marketing one of the most important pieces of knowledge that a business owner needs to adopt. And the global statistics below prove why you should too.

Internet usage in the U.S. has more than doubled in the last five years alone. Close to two decades after the dot-com boom of the late 90’s and the crash in early 2000. The bubble burst made people wary of internet usage moving forward.

But it came back with a vengeance and shifted the dynamics of marketing as a whole.

We are seeing a shift in how people consume media & entertainment, moving over from traditional magazines and TV networks to the much more digitized smartphones and apps. This changed the game of how business owners need to market their businesses. In came the search for the best online marketing strategies. And we are going to show you just that with the help of some noteworthy industry examples.

Even before you start thinking about this being just another channel to boost your sales, let us tell you – it is so much more.

At its core, it is important to understand the purpose of having the best online marketing strategy. You want to not only grow sales but also to connect with customers in a way that is more popular than all other traditional channels.

Just like in the case of Airbnb. Some of their best online marketing efforts go towards user experience & improvements. It took me some research and a few personal experiences to realize that they invest a substantial amount of their resources in first understanding what the customer needs to make for an unforgettable vacation. This followed by brand-centric elements (think best tips, transportation routes, things to do nearby, etc.) betters that experience. They have also mastered the art of using some of the best online marketing techniques to find chatter about people’s experiences online and solve any customer complaints before it starts hurting their brand.

Business owners can literally break down the term online marketing and catch it from its roots – by marketing your business online. There are several popular social media channels, all serving a different purpose for their audience that you can use effectively to market your business in different ways.

In simple terms, your online business goals will majorly help define the best online marketing tactics in your marketing arsenal.

Now that we have covered some of the basic understanding behind online marketing, let’s dig deeper into what are some of the best online marketing strategies out there and how brands use them according to their business models.

Lululemon used social media marketing to evolve its brand

When thinking about the best online marketing ideas that brands can use, Lululemon presents another perfect example. Using social media marketing, the brand evolved from a business with just yoga attire at its center to offering everyday comfort wear in line with the requirement of its users, all using the online marketing space. As their go-to online marketing plan, they use Facebook creatively to connect with their audience. Time and again to remind customers of the comfort they offer through their products.

Over the years and after countless interactions with their customers, they have made a household name for themselves with working women who are also into fitness and wellbeing – A market made up of 75 million targets in the U.S. They have understood well that to stay popular among their audience, they will need to connect with them in a way that is relevant to the what their customers are asking for. Research shows that customers no longer want comfortable yoga attire only during fitness sessions. They rather continue to feel this comfort even as a casual attire. Lululemon capitalized on this new found information.

Using the platform’s ad targeting algorithms, they started showing their new products to consumers who engaged with competing brands layered with fitness (a category Lululemon was already famous in). This built brand recognition beyond just fitness attire and this in itself became a case study in using the best online marketing strategies for an evolving a brand.

Need help building your brand on Facebook? Check out our Facebook Marketing orFacebook Advertising services to help your business grow!

On the other hand, YouTube is a digital platform where people come to see videos. It is one of the best online marketing channels if you use it wisely. Your brand can use this online channel to promote how-to videos to potential customers and make it easy for them to use your product, resulting in an excellent user experience. That right there is your first best online marketing tactic by using social media marketing.

Local business use Google Search for their online marketing presence

Google Maps, Google Reviews, and Google Ads are all part of Google’s search and display advertising tools for business owners. These three services dominate about 33% of all online advertising done by local business around the world. They account for the highest online advertising revenue generated with no apparent competitor other than Facebook.

Their online advertising business has grown more than 50% in the last 5 years alone. Google’s parent company Alphabet has understood well that the market has shifted from a physical location to a digital presence first. Thus, introducing an array of tools that smooth out the entire consumer process right from search to desire to action. This is called PPC Marketing or Google Ads.

And this online journey has become an opportunity for advertisers to get in front of their customers. This is further explored and presented by Google as a combination of some of the best online marketing practices available to business owners today.

Google Search is used by consumers solely as a search engine. People search for your business- specific keywords and already have high purchase intent. During this time, if you show them ads promoting your product and highlighting why your product is superior, it can well be your best online marketing platform that boosts sales.

Imagine your own online behavior as someone who is craving some good dessert in your neighborhood. In a flash, you will pick up your smartphone and search for a popular dessert shop nearby through Google Search. You will then see Google reviews about that place to see if the place is worth a visit and let Google Maps’ navigation take you right to it.

In this entire process, you will see numerous sponsored ads from both Google and third-party partners. You also leave behind something known as digital footprints that will then be used by marketers to retarget you based on your clicks and website opens.

It is difficult not to think of Google when talking about the best online marketing strategies that brands use and trust us they are just getting started. With newer technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, it’s anyone’s guess what avenues will it open up for online marketing.

Uber’s Email Segmentation Tactics

First off, let’s talk about Uber which has time and again used email marketing to get in front of customers and promote their business. Uber’s case study is one of the best in email marketing tactics.

In our previous blog, we examined how Uber uses effective email marketing & segmentation tactics to reach its customers online. They have taken a page right out of the best online marketing techniques playbook. To summarize, they understand the power online marketing can bring their business and employ email marketing as a tactic to grow their business. First, using geographical data from their customers, they segment email lists based on geographies and then hit customers with promotional emails right before or during a busy event in that town. This is not only a great email targeting tactic but also an applaud-able localized communication strategy.

They also segment their customer emails based on app usage. More loyal customers get more rewards. This is one of the best online marketing methods companies use to create repeat business and keep long-term customers

Southwest’s Customer Retention Strategy

Being just a brand that advertises online is not enough to stay ahead of the competition. Retaining your customers’ attention & loyalty too is key to long-term success. Southwest Airlines has understood that well and goes after not just customer attention but also their loyalty. They use all their online marketing channels (email or social media channels) to listen to what customers are saying about them online, popularly called social listening.

By listening on social media and other sites, Southwest turns what customers are saying (positive or negative) into an opportunity to surpass user expectations. This is something they have mastered well. And a feat for which they have earned many positive mentions again and again. This is customer loyalty 101. No matter which marketing tactic you use, keeping customers at the center of your business model and improving customer retention is one of the best online marketing tactics you could employ as a growing business.

 

Influencer marketing is Nike’s best online marketing strategy

Nike – a prime example of creating a well-defined online marketing strategy. They have found their niche in influencer marketing and use it as their best online marketing tactic. The traditional approach of doing things would be to create ads or release press announcements to promote their new line of products. Even hiring a popular celebrity to mass advertise a new pair of sneakers wouldn’t be unheard of.

But, Nike conducts a hefty online research to first identify trendsetters in the entertainment industry who have millions if not billions of followers. They then openly commission them to design their own line of Nike branded products and popularize among only their followers. This not only gives them a huge market advantage (as these influencers have a strong fan base anyway) but it also helps to keep their brand feel exclusive rather than mass marketed.

This is what we like to call a perfect example of reverse engineering a product’s marketing cycle. Generally brands design and produce a product first and then use different advertising tactics to promote it. But Nike chooses to make a product famous by associating it with a popular figure before producing it in a way to meet the surging demand.

One such line of products was Nike’s Air Jordan. The line is popular even long after the sports legend’s distinguished playing career seized and is one of the company’s best-selling lines of footwear.

Bonus Example – Marriott Hotels is a first mover when it comes to using new technological advancements like augmented and virtual reality to up their brand experience. They now use both these technologies to lure customers who are not even in their target geography. Imagine travelers who are far away yet use augmented reality to view Marriott’s beach-facing hotel rooms, even before booking. Innovation at this scale creates a brand value that is difficult to replicate anytime soon.

4 Key Steps to Building a Sharp Digital Marketing Plan

There is no doubt that digital marketing is becoming an important part of running a successful business. Without a digital marketing plan added to your overall marketing mix, you’re missing out an opportunity to grow your customer base. Because it’s a fact that the number of Internet users is growing each year.

However, in order to make digital marketing work and give you the kind of results you want, it is very important that you have the required clarity. In other words, you need to be sure of what kind of digital marketing tactics you should apply (or avoiding) and why. Gaining this clarity can be difficult if you do not have a proper digital marketing plan in place. Or else you’re only aiming in the dark.

The fact of the matter is, today’s world is hyper connected and highly competitive. So if your business really wants to make the most of digital marketing then you need to have a plan of attack. You need to be well prepared in every way. And you should know exactly what to do when it comes to applying a digital marketing plan to your business.

If your digital marketing plan is weak, it can be easy for your competition to catch up and beat you at your own game. Because every successful digital marketing campaign is backed by a solid plan.

If you look around, you will see that people are using the Internet to connect to various types of businesses on a regular basis. Many of them are conducting online research before buying a product or service. So if your business is not taking advantage of digital marketing the way it should, then you are leaving money on the table. In fact, you are losing customers that you could have easily gained.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how people find you online. What really matters is that you attract your target audience on a consistent basis and make sure your products and services are found by the right people. Having a dedicated digital marketing plan is the first and the most important step towards getting targeted exposure, building your online reputation, increasing sales, and taking your business to the next level. It gives you the needed edge over your competition.

In the following article we will be looking into how you can use your current business knowledge to craft a digital marketing plan that helps you reach out to your ideal customers. The idea is to create an impact and at the same time be prepared well in advance so that your business is not invisible to your target audience.

Step #1: Define Your Brand

The first and the most important step to building a solid digital marketing plan is to define your own brand. The reason why this step is necessary is because until and unless you know what your brand stands for and how it is different from other businesses, you will not be able to apply the correct digital marketing tactics. Having an insight into what makes your brand different than others can make a world of a difference.To start with, you need to focus on bringing out the unique selling point or proposition of your business. Every single business, regardless of the size and industry it is operating in, has something unique to offer — yours is no different. It’s just a matter of identifying this differentiating factor so that it reflects in your digital marketing plan.

Your USP not only matters to your company, but also to your prospects and customers. Why? Because people are always looking for solutions that are unique to their own needs. So if you are able to define your brand and how it is different from the others, it will be easier for your prospective customers to choose you your competitors.

Every prospective customers thinks, “what’s in it for me?” before making a buying a decision. By letting your customers know what makes your business better than others, you make it easy for them to take this decision.

If you haven’t already figure out your USP, then you need to start doing some research on how your business is different than others in your industry. You have to spend time looking at the products and services offered by your competitors. And also see how they are applying their digital marketing plan. This is one step that you need to be patient with, because it’ll be extremely helpful in the long run.
In order to define your brand and make sure you do it effectively, do the following:

  1. Describe your company and its goals in a few words so that you have the needed clarity. This also helps you understand the motto of your own brand. Which in turn makes it easy for you to connect your digital marketing efforts with your business goals.
  2. Write down what exactly makes your brand different and unique from others. See to it that this differentiating factor is a strong and a valid one.
  3. Note down how and why your differentiation can make your customers life easier and why it is important to them. How do you think will your customers benefit from learning more about your USP?
  4. Understand what your company values are and why they are necessary or important for the growth of your brand. Even if you are a small business, you should have some values that you already stand for.
  5. Know how you can describe your business in clear terms and if you would be able to explain it to your customers in simple terminology. Because if you are not able to explain the purpose of your business and how it is offering a unique solution, then you will have a hard time defining your brand.
  6. Create a mission statement or a brand positioning statement if you already do not have one. The importance of having a brand positioning statement cannot be underestimated because it gives you the required clarity two position your products and services correctly.

The idea is to create a balance between focus and differentiation when defining your brand. Also, your definition of your own business should have room for growth in the future. Differentiating from others doesn’t mean you limit yourself. Remember, every single step that you take to understand your own brand better, will help you create a unique and a more customized digital marketing plan.

Step #2: Create Buyer Personas

A buyer persona or a customer persona is made up of detailed information pertaining to your target customer. You can call it an avatar that gives you a clear understanding of who you are targeting with your marketing. Without a buyer persona, your digital marketing plan will not have a clear direction.

Let’s face it, not everybody is going to be interested in buying your product or service, which is why creating a buyer persona lets you perceive people who are most likely to become your customer.

The best thing about a buyer persona is that it has all the necessary, actionable information needed to create high-converting marketing material. So once you have created a proper buyer persona, all your messaging and imagery along with your offers can be directed towards this group of audience. With a buyer persona in your kitty, you can say goodbye to any guesswork or assumptions that you may have.

For instance, when you create content for your blog, it becomes easier to connect with the reader when he or she fits in your buyer persona. By creating your content keeping the buyer persona in mind, you create a quicker connection with your prospect, who upon reading it feels like it has been written exclusively for him/her.

Here’s how you can create an actionable buyer persona that helps you get real-world results:

1) State Your Business Goals

Creating a buyer persona is one thing, but creating a buyer persona that actually resonates with your business goals is something else. Your buyer persona will only fetch you results when it helps you and your team move forward. Or else it is just a random piece of information.

When you align your buyer persona with your company goals, you get a better insight into your prospective customers. You learn about how their likes and dislikes go with the product/service you are offering. In short, this step is crucial because you will be using the insights you gain from your buyer persona for improving your brand identity, creating sales copies, etc.

2) Research Your Target Audience

If you don’t research your audience before creating your buyer persona, you may end up creating something vague. It’s important to know about your ideal customer in the best possible way before taking any step.

You need to go beyond the basic information you may have on hand such as their demographics. Everything that you know and understand about your target audience will ultimately help you make your digital marketing plan successful.

When researching your audience, you’re basically looking for three key data points:

  1. Why they purchase certain products and services.
  2. How they reach to a proper buying decision.
  1. What or who has the biggest influence on their purchases.

There are many ways to collect targeted customer information to create your persona, such as…

  • Web analytics data
  • Email and web based surveys
  • Various types of focus groups
  • Blog post comments

When you know your audience like the back of your hand, it gets drastically easy to create solid buyer personas.

Remember, without doing your homework, your buyer personas will lack the needed depth. They’ll end up as vague, unclear descriptions that are of no use. So try and go deeper when doing research.

3) Design the Persona

When you have the necessary customer data in hand you go ahead and create the buyer persona. See to it that you layout the information in a concise, organized fashion. You should be able to easily refer back to your persona whenever needed without any difficulty.

  1. First and foremost, give your buyer persona a name that you and your team can identify with. Also think about adding a picture of your prospective customer. If you have one your real customer, use that.
  2. Next, add the needed facts about your buyer, which include their gender, age, geographical location, profession, etc. Use a lot of white space and bullet points instead of adding paragraphs.
  1. Last but not the least, write down more details to make the persona more real. Anything from your buyers’ interests to motivations will do.

Take your time to craft a buyer persona that helps you execute your digital marketing plan. Because when you have a solid buyer persona in place, the chances of targeting the wrong audience considerably come down.

Step #3: Choose the Right Digital Marketing Channels

Whether you are new to digital marketing or experienced, you will from time to time face the challenge of taking the right digital marketing approach. However, keep in mind that the success of your digital marketing plan depends on the type of channels you choose to carry it out.

First things first, you cannot tap into every single marketing channel and have a strong presence on all of them. In fact, no business can. Because there are many different digital marketing approaches, and each requires a dedicated amount of time, effort and resources to make it work. Which means it is important that you choose to work with the most responsive marketing channels that are most likely to give you results. In order to see the best results, you should work with a digital marketing company who can help take a lot of the workload off of you so you can give each channel 110%.

Importance of Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Channels

There is a sea of content out there. And every single content piece published is vying for attention from its target audience. In other words, your content can only stand out from the rest when you choose the right digital marketing channels to distribute it.

With over 2.7 million blog posts published everyday and 500 million tweets sent out per day, you have no choice but to specialize in a certain marketing channel. The idea is to get specific so that your business gets noticed.

The major digital marketing channels include:

  • Pay-per-click or PPC [Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc]
  • Social media [Facebook, Twitter, etc]
  • Blogging [WordPress, Medium, etc]
  • Search Engine Optimization [Google, Bing, etc]
  • Display Networks [Google Display Network, Facebook Audience Network, etc]

Here is how you can go about choosing the right digital marketing channels that go with your business objectives:

  1. Know Where Your Ideal Buyers Are 

The number one criteria for selecting a certain digital marketing channel is whether your can find your prospective buyers on it. Focusing on channels that are not relevant to your business is a waste of time and money.

Take some time out to choose your marketing channels. Do some research and understand your buyer’s preferences and where they like spending time. The more clarity you have on where your ideal customers hang out, the easier it will be for you to choose a channel.

  1. Know Your Long-Term & Short-Term Business Goals 

Every business has different needs, based on which goals should be created, both long-term and short-term. What type of digital marketing channel you choose depends on the type of business goals you have. For example, if you have a long-term goal of doubling your revenue in the next one year, then your short-term goals should correspond to it.

Each short-term becomes a milestone that lets you reach your long term objective. So let’s say you choose content marketing & SEO for long-term brand building and revenue increase. In the short-term, you can use pay-per-click adsto send traffic to your content pieces and convert them.

So knowing your goals and listing them out can definitely help you choose marketing channels that go with your business objectives.

  1. Know Your Marketing Budget

What’s the use of choosing a marketing channel that will burn a hole in your wallet. Knowing your budget goes a long way in helping you work with marketing channels that are worth it. Both paid and organic marketing activities require an investment, so you need to be careful in your approach.

When you identify the state of your budget and how much you have, you can focus on working with marketing channels that let you operate on it. Rather than going overboard, try to stay within your budget and maximize it.

Step #4: Know Your ROI

In the early days of digital marketing, measuring the ROI of a digital marketing campaign was not possible, which lead to a lot of untrue assumptions. Many businesses spent money on digital marketing but were unable to tell which half of their budget was going to waste. Things aren’t the same anymore.

Today, digital marketing has evolved and you have many sophisticated tools that give you a clear idea of what metrics to track so that you can use them to improve your results.

In a study conducted by Microsoft, they used big data to measure the return on investment of digital marketing against traditional marketing. It was found that digital marketing worked way better than traditional advertising mediums such as TV, radio and print — it helped get a much higher ROI.

It doesn’t matter what business you are running or what kind of products you sell, in order to successfully measure your return on investment, you need to define which key performance metrics you will be focusing on.

Your definition of success will make or break your digital marketing campaign. Which depends on what you want to achieve. For instance, a B2B company may be interested in the number of leads generated, whereas as B2C company may be more interested in generating direct sales without taking prospects through a buying cycle. The more clear you are about what ROI means to you, the better will be your results.In order to ensure that you are on the right track when it comes to measuring ROI, make sure to…

Monitor Your Goals

When it comes to properly keeping track of your ROI, it’s important that you regularly measure your goals. For instance, when you’re looking at your website traffic, you need to see how the fluctuation in your traffic numbers is affecting your conversion rate.

You may also want to analyze what days you’re receiving traffic the most and when are you getting higher conversions. The idea is to keep an eye on your goals so that you get a better picture of the ROI. Because it will eventually influence the overall implementation of your digital marketing plan.

Regularly Analyze Performance

The performance reporting aspect should not be taken lightly. Because if you are unsure about your campaign’s performance, it gets difficult to know what the true ROI is. In order to get the most out of your digital marketing campaign, reporting on targets, goals and KPIs should be done on a consistent basis.

At the minimum you should seek a report every month so that you’re able to make any necessary changes on a monthly basis. You can then tweak goals that are not working for you and focus on those that are getting results.

Take a Calculated Approach

When it comes to actually knowing your campaign’s ROI, you need to take a calculated approach. Try and understand how and if your digital marketing spending is helping you increase the bottomline. In other words, if you are able to generate a significant amount of sales from your investment, and you’re not losing money, then you can continue to grow your campaign without making changes.

If for some reason you see that the sales are the same or are going down, then you may need to pause the campaign for a while so that you don’t lose more money. Try to analyze where things went wrong. Ultimately, taking a slow, steady and a calculated approach can help you increase your ROI in the long run.

 

Importance of Digital Marketing

The business world has been evolving over the years. And marketing is not what it used to be. Today, it’s a lot more advanced and targeted. Which means marketing, especially digital marketing, has become highly result oriented. And there is a great deal of data to work with in understanding the importance of digital marketing analytics.

For instance, there was a time when mail-order music services were in demand. Which have now been replaced by technology focused innovations like iTunes where musicians are promoting their music like never before. This was not possible a few decades ago.

Regardless of what type of business you run, you need to understand that consumers no longer care about your generic approach. They want a personalized experience to the core. Which is why having access to the right kind of data is extremely important for marketers.

We are living in an information age where data is the new oil. Even if you are running a small business, there are high chances that you’ve come across the term “Big Data”. As a business, what does it mean to you? How can you leverage data-driven marketing for maximum return?

Keep in mind that having the right data at hand and knowing how to analyze it is critical for any digital marketer. Because by knowing your digital marketing analytics and using them effectively can prove to be a game changer for your business.

Starting with the Basics of Digital Marketing Analytics

One of the biggest advantages of doing business in the digital era is having the ability to track and analyze your results with the help of digital analytics. It gives you the needed vision to see where you’re going and if your efforts are paying off. This is a luxury that you do not enjoy with traditional marketing because there simply isn’t an option.

Whether it’s running email marketing campaigns or just analyzing website visits, there is a vast array of information that you can decode to understand your success rate.

When it comes to building and running a successful business in any niche, there are certain elements that become more of a necessity than a mere need. Having a website is one of these elements because it has become an integral part of the modern day marketing ecosystem.

Without a proper website in place you would not have access to critical analytics data. Which would in turn result in lost business that cannot be regained.

Gone are the days when customers only used to visit business websites to get in touch with a company or learn more about it. Today, people are using websites to converse with brands, do product inquiries, purchase needed products while consuming targeted and relevant content.

A business website has become a digital marketing tool that is hard to ignore. Because it helps not only deliver information but also engagement of a high level. And in exchange of this, what your business receives is crucial data and insights that can be used to enhance your own marketing efforts and grow your business.

However, one thing that you may ignore is the fact that blog comments are a great way to understand your audience and what they are looking for. You do not even need an analytics plugin installed to see how your audience is reacting to your content.

Google Analytics

When it comes to digital marketing analytics, there are a few things that lay the foundation for it. And one of them is Google Analytics. The kind of insight that you derive from Google Analytics may not be too extensive, but it does set the path for understanding data and making sense of it.

Although there are many different type of data collection tools out there (both advanced and basic), few are as robust as Google Analytics. Which is exactly why it happens to be a commonly used data collection method.

The good thing about Google Analytics is the fact that the set of tools it offers are unlike any other set. Whether you are a novice or an expert, you can look into the data found in it to not only understand your target demographics but also figure out the best way to reach out to them.

Now, if you are new to Google Analytics, the platform may not seem as simple as it sounds. The data you get to access can be particularly overwhelming and may look little confusing at first. However, given that your website is not that old, you can do some surface-level evaluation to understand their customer needs with the help of some basic metrics that throw light on your website’s performance. Or if analyzing data just isn’t your thing, then you can always hire a digital marketing professional to help you understand what your data is telling you and what to do about it.

Dashboard Metrics

Understanding the performance of your website starts with looking at key metrics that are displayed on your application’s dashboard. It gives you a bird’s view of how your website is growing and a basic understanding of what you can do to improve your numbers.

Out of all the statistics that you see on your dashboard, there are three in particular that you should focus on:

  1. Pages Per VisitThis is the metric that lets you know how many pages of your website were viewed by an average visitor before they left. Your aim should be to increase this number by improving your content and on site value. By keeping things relevant and high quality on your site, you should see a high number.

 

  1. Average Visit DurationWhen someone visits your website, they are basically looking for something that they are interested in. Whether it is more information about your product or content related to your industry. Increasing this number should be on your daily to-do list because having a low number shows that you did not offer enough value to visitors. Getting your visitors to spend more time on your site can directly impact how much business you do.
  1. Bounce RatePeople may land on your website from different points of entry. They may find your homepage or your blog post. But once they have found your site, it’s your job to ensure they explore further and take some action. Your bounce rate shows the percentage of people that left your website after visiting only page. While having a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily bad, you should aim at lowering it by improve the internal navigation of your site and by offering better content.

 

By looking at the the three metrics we discussed above, you can learn more about how your visitors interact with your site and if there things that you can improve to make it more appealing.

Most Viewed Pages

It’s easy to get into the head of your target audience and find out what appeals to them most by analyzing the “Most Viewed Pages” metric. It takes out the guesswork and gives you a  clear understanding of the topics or the subjects that you should be focusing on.

For example, you may think that a particular piece of content is going to be helpful to your visitors. But upon looking at the most viewed pages metric, you realize that is not the case. So whether you want to brainstorm new topics for your blog or see what product appeals the most to your visitors, the most viewed pages metric is a good place to start.

Page Exit Rate

This is the metric that gives you a clear idea of pages that are not performing well. Because when your visitors leave a page, it means that they were unable to find what they were looking for. By getting access to a list of most exited pages, you’ll know what to improve to enhance the overall user experience of your website.

For instance, if you find that one of your product sales pages has a high exit rate, then you may want to tweak the sales copy or look if there are any technical problems. Or else your site’s conversion rate may get affected. If this exit rate is between 75 to 100 percent, then there is something definitely wrong that you need to analyze.

Remember, the key to find success with digital marketing analytics is to try and look at areas that your competitors may not be looking.

Referring Websites

Unless you are a popular site like Facebook and Reddit, you won’t have a ton of type-in traffic coming in. In other words, most of your visitors will come to your website after finding and clicking on a link to it on another website.

Your referral traffic can tell you a lot about the kind of sites linking to you and what kind of traffic they are sending your way. Which by the way is another reason to create quality content so that more and more relevant websites link to you.

When you have a clear idea of who your referring sites are, you’ll know why they are linking to you. Which can help you achieve two important goals:

  1. You will be able to create content based on the pages that are receiving the most referral traffic.
  1. You will come to know what type of link partners to reach out to and build a link building relationship with.

For example, if you find that a particular blog in your industry (with decent traffic) is repeatedly linking to your website as a resource, you will come to know of this in your stats. After which you can take your relationship to the next level by asking for better contextual links on their blog. Having an understanding of your referring websites is an important part of understanding your overall digital marketing analytics.

The Difference Between Digital Analytics & Digital Marketing Analytics

If you think that businesses have a lack of data when it comes to analyzing their performance, then you are wrong. In fact, there is so many data points available to look into that it can get confusing, especially for new businesses.

So the problem is not that there is not enough data. The real problem is the most businesses fail to analyze the right data. They lack the clarity on what data they should focus on to improve the results that they are getting. This primarily happens due to three common reasons:

  1. Having goals but not knowing how to match them with the available numbers/stats. By not connecting goals with measurements, businesses risk not reaching to the right conclusion.
  2. Not having a complete understanding of various data points that are necessary. In order to truly get the most out of your digital marketing analytics, it is crucial to to know certain data points measure and how they are calculated.
  1. Trying to dumb down or simplify the important analytics by focusing only some of the data points.

If your brand wants to find success with digital marketing, it needs to properly measure the effectiveness of each campaign. Because when you are clear about the ROI derived from your marketing activities, you’ll know what methods/tactics to focus on. This will continue to be a challenge to all those businesses that don’t work with the right data.

Every digital marketer needs to understand to go beyond digital analytics data such as bounce rate and unique visitors. There is no doubt that your analysis will always start with the basic web analytics that we discussed above.

However, your business needs to work with rich data in order to truly understand why your marketing campaign is or isn’t converting. Analyzing the surface-level web analytics metrics is only the first step. The next step is go deeper so that you know what your customer’s journey looks like and how you can improve your sales funnel.

Digital marketing analytics allows you to get a detailed and a comprehensive understanding of how your marketing efforts are faring. It gives you an insightful view into what you can improve to get real-world results from your marketing.

Your marketing almost always starts with your website, but it doesn’t end there. With digital marketing analytics, you go beyond your website and try to understand the true effectiveness your overall marketing efforts. By taking advantage of digital marketing analytics, you will be able to:

  1. Know and learn more about how each of the marketing tactic is performing. For example, is blogging giving you the needed ROI or should you focus on email marketing? Such questions can be easily answered by focusing on digital marketing analytics.
  2. Determine what is the true return on investment of a certain marketing initiative and if you should continue using it.
  1. Understand how each of your marketing activity is helping you get closer to your business objective and at what rate.

Digital marketers work with different channels. So it’s important for them to use the data they get from digital marketing analytics to diagnose any problems and fix them before they get worse. These adjustments may seem trivial ar first but they will have a direct impact the overall effectiveness of your marketing.

3 Key Digital Marketing Analytics Metrics Your Business Should Focus On

We have already talked about the basic web analytics such as website traffic, page exit rate, bounce rate, etc. and how these metrics can help you improve your marketing strategy. Now, in order to truly take advantage of these metrics, you need to read and understand user behavior. However, since such metrics don’t work with one another, creating a full fledged picture of user behavior becomes difficult.

Today’s consumers are looking for personalized content and solutions. Which means you need to understand everything from their goals to preferences. Only then will you be able to give them a customized experience that makes them connect with your brand and do business.

Knowing that you are getting a ton of traffic and links from other sites is great, but the question is, why? Why are people visiting your site? Why are other sites linking to you? How deeply are your visitors engaged with your content?

The answers to these questions can be found when you take full advantage and an understanding of the following digital marketing analytics.

#1: Conversion Rate

When you’re running a business, you want more leads and higher sales. Which is why your site’s conversion rate is a metric you cannot ignore. Although this metric is all about the outcome, it can give you immense clarity on whether your traffic is targeted enough and if your marketing is helping you get closer to your business goals. Nobody likes having zero conversions or low conversions because it means your business isn’t doing well.

Your conversion rate can be measured depending on what type of action you want your visitors to take. If you want more of your visitors to fill out your contact form and get in touch with you, then you need to analyze how well your traffic is converting into leads. If your goal is get sales for your product, then that’s what you should focus on. The average conversion rate of your website depends on your conversion goal.

#2: Days to Transaction

While impulse buying is a real thing, it rarely happens online. In other words, when someone visits your website for the first time, they may not hit the buy button right away. The time gap between their first visit and the day of their purchase can help you understand your users much better. So how do you get access to this insight?

Apply segmentation to your main traffic channels in order to get clarity on the “days to transaction” and how it differs from one channel to another. People come to your website from various channels so it is important to know what kind of traffic each channel is sending you. The higher the quality of traffic, the less will be the days to transaction.

#3: Frequency And Recency

While it is nice to know how much time elapses between a visit and a purchase, it’s not enough. You also need to know how frequently your visitors come to your website and what percentage of them are loyal to you. Depending on what type of site you run and how often you update it, looking into this one piece of data can help you greatly improve your site’s performance.

If people consistently return to your website each time you publish a new content, great. If they just come once and leave to never come back, then you need to identify the problem areas. Loyalty is definitely a metric that you should work on improving if needed.

You can gauge how loyal your visitors are by analyzing the frequency and recency report in Google Analytics. In order to get an accurate number, make sure to exclude new users before running this report as Google Analytics tends to include them by default.

8 Proven Small Business Digital Marketing Tactics that Get Results

Small businesses that are not using digital marketing need to understand the importance of it. Because small business digital marketing helps your business thrive in today’s competitive landscape and lets you make your mark.

However, for many, small business digital marketing may seem confusing or intimidating, especially when it comes to using the right tactics. Questions pop up such as:

  • How can you be sure of what methods to apply so that you get real-world results?
  • What small business digital marketing tactics will help you get the most exposure?
  • How do you achieve your marketing goals without wasting valuable time and money?
  • Where should you start to ensure you’re reaching the right audience?

Being a small business owner, you need to have some clarity before you jump into the digital marketing arena. The good thing is, gaining the right level of clarity is not rocket science. The proof lies in the fact that a large percentage of regular entrepreneurs are experimenting with small business digital marketing and with great success.

Having said that, let’s now look into 8 effective small business digital marketing tactics that will fetch you positive results:

Tactic #1: Create Shareable Content

Producing the right kind of content is an important part of effective small business digital marketing. Your content can make or your break your digital marketing strategy.

On one hand, bad and low quality content that is not relevant can hurt your brand. And on the other hand, high quality content can help you build a strong relationship with your target audience, improve your brand image and boost your business revenue.

However, even good content will fail to give results if it isn’t seen and shared by the right people. The idea is to create content that:

  1. Helps your business reach its marketing goals and grow its reach.
  1. Helps your audience with the needed answers and encourages them to share it.

So how do you find this middle ground and create content that is highly relevant? How do you get more of your audience to share your content?

  1. Aim at producing content that brings out an emotional reaction from your audience, because many times people share content for emotional reasons.
  2. Look into what your competition is creating in terms of content that is getting shares and produce something on the same lines.
  3. Make your content super-useful and practical so that it offers real value to your prospects/customers because people like sharing content that can help others.
  1. Create content that tells a story so that it’s more engaging and relatable to your audience’s current situation.

Every single step that you take towards making your content valuable for your readers, you are one step closer to making it more shareable.

Tactic #2: Optimize for Both Mobile & Desktop Marketing

For many small business owners, the difference between desktop marketing and mobile marketing may not seem too obvious. After all, they both work on similar lines. However, if you want to get the most out of your small business digital marketing efforts, you need to achieve a better understanding of how both work. And more importantly, how people are going to engage with your brand on them.

As a small business, the most important thing to figure out is how you can get more prospects to convert into customers. Which means you cannot ignore neither desktop marketing nor mobile marketing. Both are equally important to help you reach your marketing goals.

Talking about desktop, you need to focus on delivering a great user experience to your visitors so that they not only stay longer, but also take the desired action. How easy your website is in terms of usability ultimately determines how connected and engaged your target audience feels. Keep track of how people are using your website and what pages are most popular so that you can improve the user experience one step at a time.

Now, when it comes to mobile, you need to ensure that your site is efficient in every way. When people access it from their mobile devices, they should get what they are looking for without any confusion.

A mobile-friendly website is not just about the design, but about the overall experience and how well it can convert. So see to it that your site is mobile-responsive and loads at warp speed. And yes, don’t forget to optimize it for the search engines.

Tactic #3: Focus on Organic Social Media

When it comes to effective small business digital marketing, how can we ignore the importance of social media? Investing in social media marketing is a no-brainer for any small business that wants to extend its reach.

If you look at the stats you’ll see that almost 70% of consumers like to use social media for customer support. And 33% prefer social media over the telephone.

The fact is, social media is being used by every brand that cares about its audience and wants to be a part of healthy competition. If your prospective customers don’t find your presence of social media, it’ll not only create a poor impression but they may also choose to reach out to your competitors who are using social media.

If you truly want to leverage social media marketing and get the most out of it, then you need to actively use the popular social media channels where your audience is likely to be. You cannot use social media as a mere promotional tool to find success with it. While promoting your product/service is okay, you need to keep it at the minimum and focus on organic growth.

By producing content that lets you create unpaid or organic growth, you create long term stability and increase trust with your social media followers. Working on increasing your organic engagement rate can help your social media marketing in more than one way as it:

  • Slowly and steadily improves your organic reach at no cost. Later on you can invest into your chosen platform’s paid options to amplify your reach.
  • Brings down the overall cost that you can accrue when you spend on promoting your social media content.
  • Helps create strong social proof so that you can win more followers and convert them into customers. Because having a higher number of followers/likes/shares on your social accounts will make people trust your brand more easily.
  • Lets you tap into the immediate network of your followers when their friends/followers see them engage with your content.

Organic social media may not seem like a big deal, especially when everybody’s using it. However, the difference between successful organic social media campaigns and not-so-successful ones is consistency. While your competitors may not be consistent in their efforts, you can be. We practice organic growth and consistency with all of our clients. Check out our social media advertising or social media management servicesto see which would be best for your small business.

Tactic #4: Host Value-Packed Webinars

If you’re active in the digital marketing circles, you should already know what a webinar is. A webinar is nothing but an online seminar that can be one of the following:

  • Presentation
  • Demonstration
  • Discussion

The best thing about webinars is that they are more engaging and workable when compared to basic video content. Since webinars start and end at a designated time, they automatically have a scarcity element to them. And usually follow with a Q&A session. Which increases their perceived value even if the information presented is no different than a video.

The fact of the matter is, webinar marketing is an underutilized small business digital marketing tactic. You could call it the next big thing in marketing because:

A properly done webinar lets you:

  1. Connect and interact with your audience in real-time.
  2. Answer the burning questions your audience might have.
  3. Give away real value that your audience loves to receive.
  4. Position yourself or your brand as a credible industry expert that people can turn to.
  5. Make targeted sales without a hard sales pitch.
  6. Generate high quality, targeted leads that convert.
  7. Qualify your leads and build valuable relationships with them.
  8. Improve and enhance your sales process and get a better return on investment, quicker.

It doesn’t matter what kind of products or services you sell, webinars can help you gain more exposure, get more leads, and make more sales.

Tactic #5: Run A/B Split Tests Regularly

Without the right level of testing, running a successful small business digital marketing campaign is not easy. But still we find that testing is often put on the back burner, especially by people new to the digital marketing scene.

A small business that regularly tests everything, right from the smallest elements to the biggest variables, can and will have a definite competitive advantage over other businesses that go with their guesswork. Your business needs to develop the habit of testing right from the beginning so that you can achieve a higher return on investment in the long run.

For example, simple tweaks to headlines and the color of call to action buttons can result in a higher conversion rate. But you won’t know what changes to make unless and until you test one element against another. Effective testing is a step by step process, and it cannot be done overnight. Which is why it’s crucial to take your time and isolate each variable and test it.

Tactic #6: Have a Conversion-Focused Web Design

If you’re using small business digital marketing to get more leads or sales, then you need to understand the importance of having a favorable conversion rate. Every business, regardless of its size, should focus creating a strong foundation for growth by focusing on increasing the conversion rate. Which means any marketing or design related decision you take should keep conversion in the forefront.

You not only want your ads and email copy to convert, but also your website where all the action happens. Your site should be created in a way that it helps you convert more visitors into leads that can turn into customers. You want people to give you repeat business, which means your site should be sticky enough to bring them back.

The definition of a perfect, workable business website is simple: one that is specifically designed to fetch you a high conversion rate. While the aesthetic appeal of your site is important, it shouldn’t be done at the cost of losing customers. So if the design of your website is not conversion-centric, you’re leaving money on the table. If you’re no website design guru, then leave the designing to our experts who can fix your site or create you a new one that converts.

Let’s face it; the Internet is no longer the new kid on the block that only the nerds know about. It’s become a huge part of our lives, which means it’s getting more crowded day after day.

Having said that, it’s important to stand out of the crowd with a conversion-focused design so that you get your prospective customers to buy from you, rather than your competitors.

Given below are a few tips to help you with it:

  • Know beforehand where you want to place your call-to-action button/link. Do a bit of testing to see if it works on the bottom of the page or above the fold.
  • Work on making your website as user-friendly as possible so that your visitors are able to access all elements.
  • Aim to have a simple design that doesn’t overwhelm your visitors. A crammed-up design will only make people want to leave your site, leave alone buy from you. Which leads to a higher bounce rate and a lower conversion rate.
  • Do not ignore the importance of color selection because color psychology plays a key role in branding and improving conversions. Spend time choosing the right colors so that they don’t hurt the eyes and are inviting.

No matter what type of small business digital marketing tactic you want to apply, make sure your website is fully ready to convert prospects into customers.

Tactic #7: Leverage the Power of Social Proof

When it comes to finding success with small business digital marketing, many companies think that having a great product or service is enough. However, with competition growing day by day, it’s getting increasingly difficult to grab the attention of your prospective customers and convert them.

Having a quality product and along with a professionally designed website may help you attract the right people. But when it comes to winning their trust and turning them into loyal customers, you need more than that. You need social proof.

People these days seek validation before they commit to a product or a service. They want to spend money on something only after they are sure it works as it says. Which is why they want to know if other people have experience with you or your product. If they find a good percentage of existing customers/clients speaking good of you, it’ll be easier for them to make a buying decision.

The reason why you find major retailers like Amazon and Walmart gunning for product reviews on their site is because social proof works. Even many smaller businesses are leveraging the power of social proof to show their audience how existing customers are liking their product. In short, buyers are being influenced by what others around them think and do.

However, if you look around you’ll find that many who are using small business digital marketing have zero testimonials listed on their website. Are they missing out an opportunity to convert more people into customers? Of course yes. Is it too late to use social proof for them? Absolutely not.

If you’re still not convinced about the power of social proof, check out the following reasons as to why you need it more than anything:

  • Text, audio and video testimonials make your product/service look more credible and trustworthy.
  • People like doing their homework before investing in a product/service. No wonder they trust online reviews/recommendations more than sales pitches.
  • Real social proof can help enhance your SEO efforts. Your brand looks more viable and worthy when search users see ratings displayed right in the search results.
  • When you ask for feedback from your existing customers you indirectly show them that they are valued. They see that you care about them, which helps improve the relationship between you and your customer base.

The right kind of social proof can and will make a difference to your business and to its bottomline. All you need to do is focus on consistently generating more of it.

Tactic #8: Build a Targeted Email List

Ask any experienced small business digital marketing expert, and he or she will tell you to build an email list right from the start. Still, we find many small businesses actively avoiding email list building.

If you want to have a trusted channel to drive repeat sales and build a solid relationship with your audience, then you need to have your own email list. A responsive email list is even more valuable than an active social media following.

A large percentage of marketers who have tasted success with email marketing see it as the topmost channel for generating high quality business leads that convert into sales.

Also, according to a study conducted by McKinsey, email is a staggering 40 times more effective in helping you get more customers when compared to social media giants Facebook and Twitter combined.

If you’ve been running your business for a while, you should already have an audience that you connect with. You may already be getting traffic to your website and you could already be making sales.

However, effective small business digital marketing is not just about getting new customers. No, it’s also about building a relationship with your existing customers so that you can generate more sales. Since the cost of gaining new customers is much higher, this relationship can prove to be crucial to your business.

By leveraging email marketing, you’ll be able to stay connected to your customers, give them value over time and send them targeted offers they are interested in.

Here are a five solid reasons as to why email marketing should be an integral part of your small business digital marketing strategy:

 

  1. Grow Credibility:People tend to trust credible sources more than non-credible ones. Which means people who are familiar with your brand and like you are more likely to do business with you. Using email you can consistently give value to your audience in the form of useful/informative content and in the process grow your credibility.
  2. Nurture Relationships: It doesn’t matter what products you sell or how big/small your business is, you need to build and nurture relationships with your customers. The stronger your customer relationships, the more stable your business. Email lets you stay connected with your customers and engage with on a regular basis throughout the year. Customers who have a relationship with you will sit up and take notice every time you email them.
  3. Enhance Communication: Every business needs to communicate with customers from time

to time for different reasons. It could be an important news update or a product announcement or

anything that matters to your business. You will find that email is a channel you can count on because

it allows for easy communication. You can email your customers right away with the smallest of the

updates, which will make them feel more valued.

  1. Build Brand: Want more of your prospects and customers to identify with your brand and share information about it with others? Email marketing is a great way to get more brand recognition and improve your reach overtime.
  2. Generate Traffic: Create a blog post that you want more people to read? Launched a product that you want more exposure to? Updated your pricing structure with a limited time discount? Your email campaigns can help you drive traffic to any page, any offer, any time of the day. All it takes is one well-constructed email pitch to drive back laser targeted traffic to your site.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and their websites to connect with current and prospective customers.

With how accessible the internet is today, would you believe me if I told you the number of people who go online every day is still increasing?

It is. In fact, “constant” internet usage among adults increased by 5% in just the last three years, according to Pew Research. And although we say it a lot, the way people shop and buy really has changed along with it — meaning offline marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be.

Marketing has always been about connecting with your audience in the right place and at the right time. Today, that means you need to meet them where they are already spending time: on the internet.

A seasoned inbound marketer might say inbound marketing and digital marketing are virtually the same thing, but there are some minor differences. And conversations with marketers and business owners in the U.S., U.K., Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, I’ve learned a lot about how those small differences are being observed across the world.

How Do You Define Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is defined by the use of numerous digital tactics and channels to connect with customers where they spend much of their time: online. From the website itself to a business’s online branding assets — digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures, and beyond — there’s a spectrum of tactics that fall under the umbrella of “digital marketing.”

Digital Marketing Tactics and Examples

The best digital marketers have a clear picture of how each digital marketing campaign supports their overarching goals. And depending on the goals of their marketing strategy, marketers can support a larger campaign through the free and paid channels at their disposal.

content marketer, for example, can create a series of blog posts that serve to generate leads from a new ebook the business recently created. The company’s social media marketer might then help promote these blog posts through paid and organic posts on the business’s social media accounts. Perhaps the email marketer creates an email campaign to send those who download the ebook more information on the company. We’ll talk more about these specific digital marketers in a minute.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common digital marketing tactics and the channels involved in each one.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is the process of optimizing your website to “rank” higher in search engine results pages, thereby increasing the amount of organic (or free) traffic your website receives. The channels that benefit from SEO include:

Content Marketing

This term denotes the creation and promotion of content assets for the purpose of generating brand awareness, traffic growth, lead generation, and customers. The channels that can play a part in your content marketing strategy include:

  • Blog posts.
  • Ebooks and whitepapers.
  • Online brochures and lookbooks.

Social Media Marketing

This practice promotes your brand and your content on social media channels to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads for your business. The channels you can use in social media marketing.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC is a method of driving traffic to your website by paying a publisher every time your ad is clicked. One of the most common types of PPC is Google AdWords, which allows you to pay for top slots on Google’s search engine results pages at a price “per click” of the links you place. Other channels where you can use PPC include:

  • Paid ads on Facebook.
  • Promoted Tweets on Twitter.
  • Sponsored Messages on LinkedIn.

Affiliate Marketing

This is a type of performance-based advertising where you receive commission for promoting someone else’s products or services on your website. Affiliate marketing channels include:

  • Hosting video ads through the YouTube Partner Program.
  • Posting affiliate links from your social media accounts.

Native Advertising

Native advertising refers to advertisements that are primarily content-led and featured on a platform alongside other, non-paid content. BuzzFeed-sponsored posts are a good example, but many people also consider social media advertising to be “native” — Facebook advertising and Instagram advertising, for example.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation refers to the software that serves to automate your basic marketing operations. Many marketing departments can automate repetitive tasks they would otherwise do manually, such as:

  • Email newsletters.
  • Social media post scheduling.
  • Contact list updating.
  • Lead-nurturing workflows.
  • Campaign tracking and reporting.

Email Marketing

Companies use email marketing as a way of communicating with their audiences. Email is often used to promote content, discounts and events, as well as to direct people toward the business’s website. The types of emails you might send in an email marketing campaign include:

  • Blog subscription newsletters.
  • Follow-up emails to website visitors who downloaded something.
  • Customer welcome emails.
  • Holiday promotions to loyalty program members.
  • Tips or similar series emails for customer nurturing.

Online PR

Online PR is the practice of securing earned online coverage with digital publications, blogs, and other content-based websites. It’s much like traditional PR, but in the online space. The channels you can use to maximize your PR efforts include:

  • Reporter outreach via social media.
  • Engaging online reviews of your company.
  • Engaging comments on your personal website or blog.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing refers to the “full-funnel” approach to attracting, engaging, and delighting customers using online content. You can use every digital marketing tactic listed above throughout an inbound marketing strategy.

What Does a Digital Marketer Do?

Digital marketers are in charge of driving brand awareness and lead generation through all the digital channels — both free and paid — that are at a company’s disposal. These channels include social media, the company’s own website, search engine rankings, email, display advertising, and the company’s blog.

The digital marketer usually focuses on a different key performance indicator (KPI) for each channel so they can properly measure the company’s performance across each one. A digital marketer who’s in charge of SEO, for example, measures their website’s “organic traffic” — of that traffic coming from website visitors who found a page of the business’s website via a Google search.

Digital marketing is carried out across many marketing roles today. In small companies, one generalist might own many of the digital marketing tactics described above at the same time. In larger companies, these tactics have multiple specialists that each focus on just one or two of the brand’s digital channels.

Main KPIs: Organic traffic

In short, SEO managers get the business to rank on Google. Using a variety of approaches to search engine optimization, this person might work directly with content creators to ensure the content they produce performs well on Google — even if the company also posts this content on social media.

Content Marketing Specialist

Main KPIs: Time on page, overall blog traffic, YouTube channel subscribers

Content marketing specialists are the digital content creators. They frequently keep track of the company’s blogging calendar, and come up with a content strategy that includes video as well. These professionals often work with people in other departments to ensure the products and campaigns the business launches are supported with promotional content on each digital channel.

Social Media Manager

Main KPIs: Follows, Impressions, Shares

The role of a social media manager is easy to infer from the title, but which social networks they manage for the company depends on the industry. Above all, social media managers establish a posting schedule for the company’s written and visual content. This employee might also work with the content marketing specialist to develop a strategy for which content to post on which social network.

(Note: Per the KPIs above, “impressions” refers to the number of times a business’s posts appear on the newsfeed of a user.)

Marketing Automation Coordinator

Main KPIs: Email open rate, campaign click-through rate, lead-generation (conversion) rate

The marketing automation coordinator helps choose and manage the software that allows the whole marketing team to understand their customers’ behavior and measure the growth of their business. Because many of the marketing operations described above might be executed separately from one another, it’s important for there to be someone who can group these digital activities into individual campaigns and track each campaign’s performance.

Inbound Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: Which Is It?

On the surface, the two seem similar: Both occur primarily online, and both focus on creating digital content for people to consume. So what’s the difference?

The term “digital marketing” doesn’t differentiate between push and pull marketing tactics (or what we might now refer to as ‘inbound’ and ‘outbound’ methods). Both can still fall under the umbrella of digital marketing.

Digital outbound tactics aim to put a marketing message directly in front of as many people as possible in the online space — regardless of whether it’s relevant or welcomed. For example, the garish banner ads you see at the top of many websites try to push a product or promotion onto people who aren’t necessarily ready to receive it.

On the other hand, marketers who employ digital inbound tactics use online content to attract their target customers onto their websites by providing assets that are helpful to them. One of the simplest yet most powerful inbound digital marketing assets is a blog, which allows your website to capitalize on the terms which your ideal customers are searching for.

Ultimately, inbound marketing is a methodology that uses digital marketing assets to attract, engage, and delight customers online. Digital marketing, on the other hand, is simply an umbrella term to describe online marketing tactics of any kind, regardless of whether they’re considered inbound or outbound.

Does Digital Marketing Work for All Businesses?

Digital marketing can work for any business in any industry. Regardless of what your company sells, digital marketing still involves building out buyer personas to identify your audience’s needs, and creating valuable online content. However, that’s not to say all businesses should implement a digital marketing strategy in the same way.

B2B Digital Marketing

If your company is business-to-business (B2B), your digital marketing efforts are likely to be centered around online lead generation, with the end goal being for someone to speak to a salesperson. For that reason, the role of your marketing strategy is to attract and convert the highest quality leads for your salespeople via your website and supporting digital channels.

Beyond your website, you’ll probably choose to focus your efforts on business-focused channels like LinkedIn where your demographic is spending their time online.

B2C Digital Marketing

If your company is business-to-consumer (B2C), depending on the price point of your products, it’s likely that the goal of your digital marketing efforts is to attract people to your website and have them become customers without ever needing to speak to a salesperson.

For that reason, you’re probably less likely to focus on ‘leads’ in their traditional sense, and more likely to focus on building an accelerated buyer’s journey, from the moment someone lands on your website, to the moment that they make a purchase. This will often mean your product features in your content higher up in the marketing funnel than it might for a B2B business, and you might need to use stronger calls-to-action (CTAs).

For B2C companies, channels like Instagram and Pinterest can often be more valuable than business-focused platforms LinkedIn.

What Are the Benefits of Digital Marketing?

Unlike most offline marketing efforts, digital marketing allows marketers to see accurate results in real time. If you’ve ever put an advert in a newspaper, you’ll know how difficult it is to estimate how many people actually flipped to that page and paid attention to your ad. There’s no surefire way to know if that ad was responsible for any sales at all.

On the other hand, with digital marketing, you can measure the ROI of pretty much any aspect of your marketing efforts.

Here are some examples:

Website Traffic

With digital marketing, you can see the exact number of people who have viewed your website’s homepage in real time by using digital analytics software, available in marketing platforms like HubSpot.

You can also see how many pages they visited, what device they were using, and where they came from, amongst other digital analytics data.

This intelligence helps you to prioritize which marketing channels to spend more or less time on, based on the number of people those channels are driving to your website. For example, if only 10% of your traffic is coming from organic search, you know that you probably need to spend some time on SEO to increase that percentage.

With offline marketing, it’s very difficult to tell how people are interacting with your brand before they have an interaction with a salesperson or make a purchase. With digital marketing, you can identify trends and patterns in people’s behavior before they’ve reached the final stage in their buyer’s journey, meaning you can make more informed decisions about how to attract them to your website right at the top of the marketing funnel.

Content Performance and Lead Generation

Imagine you’ve created a product brochure and posted it through people’s letterboxes — that brochure is a form of content, albeit offline. The problem is that you have no idea how many people opened your brochure or how many people threw it straight into the trash.

Now imagine you had that brochure on your website instead. You can measure exactly how many people viewed the page where it’s hosted, and you can collect the contact details of those who download it by using forms. Not only can you measure how many people are engaging with your content, but you’re also generating qualified leads when people download it.

Attribution Modeling

An effective digital marketing strategy combined with the right tools and technologies allows you to trace all of your sales back to a customer’s first digital touchpoint with your business.

We call this attribution modeling, and it allows you to identify trends in the way people research and buy your product, helping you to make more informed decisions about what parts of your marketing strategy deserve more attention, and what parts of your sales cycle need refining.

Connecting the dots between marketing and sales is hugely important — according to Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate, compared to a 4% decline in revenue for companies with poor alignment. If you can improve your customer’s’ journey through the buying cycle by using digital technologies, then it’s likely to reflect positively on your business’s bottom line.

What Types of Digital Content Should I Create?

The kind of content you create depends on your audience’s needs at different stages in the buyer’s journey. You should start by creating buyer personas (use these free templates, or try makemypersona.com) to identify what your audience’s goals and challenges are in relation to your business. On a basic level, your online content should aim to help them meet these goals, and overcome their challenges.

Then, you’ll need to think about when they’re most likely to be ready to consume this content in relation to what stage they’re at in their buyer’s journey. We call this content mapping.

With content mapping, the goal is to target content according to:

  1. The characteristics of the person who will be consuming it (that’s where buyer personas come in).
  2. How close that person is to making a purchase (i.e., their lifecycle stage).

In terms of the format of your content, there are a lot of different things to try. Here are some options we’d recommend using at each stage of the buyer’s journey:

Awareness Stage

  • Blog posts.Great for increasing your organic traffic when paired with a strong SEO and keyword strategy.
  • Very shareable, meaning they increase your chances of being found via social media when others share your content. (Check out these free infographic templatesto get you started.)
  • Short videos. Again, these are very shareable and can help your brand get found by new audiences by hosting them on platforms like YouTube.

Consideration Stage

  • Great for lead generation as they’re generally more comprehensive than a blog post or infographic, meaning someone is more likely to exchange their contact information to receive it.
  • Research reports. Again, this is a high value content piece which is great for lead generation. Research reports and new data for your industrycan also work for the awareness stage though, as they’re often picked-up by the media or industry press.
  • As they’re a more detailed, interactive form of video content, webinars are an effective consideration stage content format as they offer more comprehensive content than a blog post or short video.

Decision Stage

  • Case studies.Having detailed case studies on your website can be an effective form of content for those who are ready to make a purchasing decision, as it helps you positively influence their decision.
  • If case studies aren’t a good fit for your business, having short testimonials around your website is a good alternative. For B2C brands, think of testimonials a little more loosely. If you’re a clothing brand, these might take the form of photos of how other people styled a shirt or dress, pulled from a branded hashtag where people can contribute.

How Long Will It Take to See Results From My Content?

With digital marketing, it can often feel like you’re able to see results much faster than you might with offline marketing due to the fact it’s easier to measure ROI. However, it ultimately depends on the scale and effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy.

If you spend time building comprehensive buyer personas to identify the needs of your audience, and you focus on creating quality online content to attract and convert them, then you’re likely to see strong results within the first six months.

If paid advertising is part of your digital strategy, then the results come even quicker — but it’s recommended to focus on building your organic (or ‘free’) reach using content, SEO, and social media for long-term, sustainable success.

Do I Need a Big Budget for Digital Marketing?

As with anything, it really depends on what elements of digital marketing you’re looking to add to your strategy.

If you’re focusing on inbound techniques like SEO, social media, and content creation for a preexisting website, the good news is you don’t need very much budget at all. With inbound marketing, the main focus is on creating high quality content that your audience will want to consume, which unless you’re planning to outsource the work, the only investment you’ll need is your time.

With outbound techniques like online advertising and purchasing email lists, there is undoubtedly some expense. What it costs comes down to what kind of visibility you want to receive as a result of the advertising.

For example, to implement PPC using Google AdWords, you’ll bid against other companies in your industry to appear at the top of Google’s search results for keywords associated with your business. Depending on the competitiveness of the keyword, this can be reasonably affordable, or extremely expensive, which is why it’s a good idea to focus building your organic reach, too.

How Does Mobile Marketing Fit Into My Digital Marketing Strategy?

Another key component of digital marketing is mobile marketing. In fact, smartphone usage as a whole accounts for 69% of time spent consuming digital media in the U.S., while desktop-based digital media consumption makes up less than half — and the U.S. still isn’t mobile’s biggest fan compared to other countries.

This means it’s essential to optimize your digital ads, web pages, social media images, and other digital assets for mobile devices. If your company has a mobile app that enables users to engage with your brand or shop your products, your app falls under the digital marketing umbrella, too.

Those engaging with your company online via mobile devices need to have the same positive experience as they would on desktop. This means implementing a mobile-friendly or responsive website design to make browsing user-friendly for those on mobile devices. It might also mean reducing the length of your lead generation forms to create a hassle-free experience for people downloading your content on-the-go. As for your social media images, it’s important to always have a mobile user in mind when creating them as image dimensions are smaller on mobile devices, meaning text can be cut-off.

There are lots of ways you can optimize your digital marketing assets for mobile users, and when implementing any digital marketing strategy, it’s hugely important to consider how the experience will translate on mobile devices. By ensuring this is always front-of-mind, you’ll be creating digital experiences that work for your audience, and consequently achieve the results you’re hoping for.