5 Digital Marketing Strategies to Launch a Business
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is part of America's Entrepreneurs, a Next Avenue initiative made possible by the Richard A. Schulze Family Foundation and EIX.
If you're planning to start a part-time business, perhaps from your home, it's essential to fully embrace the digital revolution.
That means creating a solid digital marketing strategy to authentically connect with your target market, drive new business leads and bolster your authority within your niche.Here are five ways to do it:
1. Understand Your Audience
The efficacy of any digital marketing strategy will increase exponentially if you truly understand your audience — that is, your customer. Generation Z, millennials, Gen Xers and boomers often see the world through different lenses, have different priorities and values and use different ways of communicating.
To better understand your audience, find out where your potential customers hang out online and go there.
Learn which social media influencers they follow. See if they belong to any particular communities on the Reddit social media platform.
You might also want to post surveys with digital services like Surveymonkey to learn more about what your prospective customers want and need. And you can track engagement with your business as well analyze customer data with Google Analytics.
The whole idea is to engage with your customers, find out how they think, how they talk, what they value and how you can provide value to them.
2. Take Advantage of Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of making your digital content easily found by search engines like Google.
For example, if you were to enter "digital marketing strategies to launch a business" into the Google search bar, Google would sift through its massive index of content to bring you the most relevant and reputable information possible.
Ultimately, SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies to bring you targeted traffic. Customers found this way are actually interested in your product, information or service.
Furthermore, SEO will help you build your brand awareness and instill trust in consumers, since only legitimate businesses show up in the top search results.
SEO is always changing . Lately, it's moved toward obtaining what are known as "backlinks" to large, reputable sites. When you get these backlinks, your site then gets a higher authority ranking. And now, with what are called "mentions," Google will boost your authority when your brand is mentioned by social media influencers.
Check out digital tools like Google Trends to find which searches are trending. Answer the Public can help you discover which questions are being asked about a certain topic. And Talkwalker Alerts let you monitor the internet for content related to your niche.
Don't be intimidated. If you continuously create content that is relevant to your audience's needs and it contains actionable, reputable information, you're already halfway there.
The days of paying for billboard space and magazine ads are coming to an end. These days, the barrier to entry for advertising is incredibly low; all you need are some social media accounts. Considering that the average cost-per-click is just $0.33 and the cost per thousand impressions is only $7.19 on Facebook, this is an easy way to drive leads and sales. While this may seem like a relatively small amount, it still moves the needle for new companies.
3. Engage on Social Media
"Social media has played a crucial role in the evolution of our business," said Marc Dorman, president of Maron Insurance, a firm selling business and personal coverage in Maryland and Washington, D.C.. "We are very active as an organization on Facebook and use this platform to provide value-added content and to communicate with our five-thousand-plus clients."
Lately, social media has become an indispensable asset to any digital marketing strategy. You can use it to do customer research before you launch your business. And once your business is up and running, you can use it to engage with your customers and distribute content and product information.
Social media platforms allow for immediate interaction, customer feedback, and help small businesses create unique and authentic voices for their brand.
To use them, first figure out which social media channels your audience is using. Trying to succeed on every channel may be too much to handle.
These tools can help you plan and execute your social media marketing strategy:
- Buzzsumo — It’s where you can find influencers in particular niches, track competitors and research trending topics and keywords.
- Missinglettr — Want to focus on producing blog content to attract customers? Missinglettr automates a chunk of your digital marketing strategy by scraping your blog posts and using them to create months’ worth of social media posts.
- Hootsuite — This service is great if you’re tired of hopping between all of your social media accounts. Hootsuite instead lets you see and manage multiple social media accounts on one easy-to-navigate dashboard.
4. Create Content for Each Stage of Your Buyer's Journey
Someone searching the web for a stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving is probably not going to impulse-buy your diet book. But if you offer them solid content upfront, they may come back for more recipes and eventually become a regular customer.
Blogging and social media are great ways to capture new, potential customers at the "awareness" stage of their customer journey. Here, you can provide value by answering common questions and then begin to build trust.
The best videos for small businesses are either 30-to-60-second customer testimonials or product tutorials.
Once the customer trusts you enough to return for more information or entertainment, you can start offering more content in the form of things like free newsletters and e-books in exchange for their email address. Then you can begin to send product offers without seeming pushy.
5. Video, Video, Video
People are increasingly interested in watching videos when they're online or on their smartphones. Since January 2020, viewership of Facebook Live videos has increased by 50%. And according to a Socialmediatoday survey, "video ads are the Number One way customers are moving from discovering a brand to purchasing its products."
One reason: video is much easier to consume than written content.
The best videos for small businesses are either 30-to-60-second customer testimonials or product tutorials. These formats connect with audiences because people like buying from people. Moreover, they highlight how the service or product works and establish trust as you let previous customers share their experience.
A computer or a phone with a camera is enough to start making videos for your business. On his website, digital marketing consultant Shane Barker has a great list of video marketing tools to help you get started.