As we move into the digital age, so has the business of marketing transitioned into the digital medium. You might be asking yourself, ‘what is a digital marketing strategy?’, and it is about as simple as the name sounds. Digital marketing is marketing that makes use of electronic mediums such as email, social media, mobile apps, search engines, etc. On the whole, digital marketing is flexible and can reach a wide variety of customers depending on how you choose to proceed. This article aims to outline the ten best strategies to spread the word about your business online.
1. Email Marketing
Email marketing is somewhat self-explanatory, relying on email to drive customer engagement and retention. Offering relevant information, along with snappy headers is an excellent way to use email to reach out to your customers and continue to reap the benefits of their patronage. Coupons or special offers also incentivize customers to make purchases that they might not have made otherwise, offering a decent return on investment with how relatively simple email marketing can be. Even if they are not in the market for your product right away, building brand awareness with email marketing puts your business at the forefront of a potential customer’s mind.
Constructing an email marketing program has some rules that you need to keep in mind if you want it to be effective:
- Make your subject line stand out.
- Be concise. Do not fill your email with too much flowery language.
- Offer relevant deals to incentivize purchase.
- Optimize your emails for a wide range of devices, including mobile phones.
It would also be possible to segment your customers depending on their purchase, offering them similar or complementary items. This allows for an even more targeted campaign, while also not bombarding potential customers with non-pertinent information. The depth and complexity of an email marketing setup depends on how much you are willing to invest, both in terms of time and money, but can offer a decent return on investment with even a modicum of effort. Just make sure to avoid ending up in the spam folder. Here are 10 email marketing tools to get started with.
2. Pay-Per-Click Marketing
Pay-Per-Click marketing makes use of search engines to direct potential buyers towards your website. This type of marketing is much more expensive (which does not mean it can not be profitable) than the previously mentioned method of email marketing but can also offer more substantial results and can reach customers who might not already be familiar with your brand. You also only have to pay out for the ad when a person clicks on it, so simply having the ad appear will not break the bank, though if your product doesn’t sell then you can quickly find yourself in dire straits.
The specifics of Pay-Per-Click marketing are as follows; first you/your company bids on keywords they want to have associated with their ad. An example would be if you sell camping gear, bidding on keywords like “tent” or “lantern” or even the broad term of “camping equipment” would make it so that when someone searches for these keywords, your ad appears either at the top of their search results before any naturally generated results. As stated before, the transaction is only carried out when the individual clicks on your ad. The benefit of this type of marketing is that it only appears to people who are already searching out the types of products or services that you have on offer. This can also work in conjunction with email marketing, as if they make the purchase based on the ad, you can also include an option to subscribe to a newsletter. If your ads are successful, then they can also work in concert with another digital marketing strategy known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Designing a clever, well organized website is simply the first of many tasks that need to be accomplished when it comes to running an online business, or most businesses for that matter as the expansion of digital media means that every company is going to have to carve out their own corner of the internet if they want to remain relevant. To make sure that your website shows up when keywords related to your product are typed in, you need to make sure that your website is in sync with the nuances of the search engine you anticipate people will be using, which in most cases will be Google (and Bing). Pay-Per-Click marketing sidesteps the use of SEO for a cost but can also be used to improve your search ranking by giving your website more traffic.
The benefits of SEO are similar to that of Pay-Per-Click marketing, as they both move your website higher up the search results list. This means that potential customers are more likely to see and interact with your page, generating more conversions and revenue. There is a myriad of factors that are involved in optimizing your website, though the most prevalent are the effective research and use of keywords.
As algorithms are changed and updated on a near-constant basis, staying up to date with your website’s SEO data is essential in maintaining relevancy. The cost of this process depends on how much optimization you want done for your website, though it can also be done by yourself with a fair bit of learning on your end.
4. Content Marketing
The use of videos, blog posts, and other material falls under the broad umbrella of content marketing. The main goal of this content is not to be sales driven, but rather to be informative. Content marketing follows a similar concept to email marketing in that the content produced must be relevant to the potential customer. An example would be a company that specializes in surfing or other water sports releasing an article about what sort of gear a beginner surfer needs to be successful, without directly trying to sell this sort of product to the reader.
Producing high-quality, original content is not an easy feat, though it is well worth it. Content marketing helps build brand awareness as well as building credibility for your business. If you seem to know what you are talking about, people will be willing to buy your products.
5. Social Media Marketing
Social media occupies an ever-expanding facet of people’s lives. Some people spend large portions of their day browsing social media, making it an excellent place to try and attract potential customers. This form of marketing shares similarities with content and email marketing, in that there is a need for relevant, high grade content on offer for all three of these methods. The difference with social media marketing is that it does not take place on your own website, instead relying on the frameworks provided by Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. This allows for a wider reach than content marketing that is hosted on your own website, or email marketing that is provided to those who willingly opt-in to receive emails.
There are a few aspects to consider when entering the realm of social media marketing.
- Know your audience. If you know that your customer base relies mostly on Instagram, base your campaign on that site.
- Offer relevant content. Do not use your social media page to post nonsense.
- Engage with your audience. Allow your content to make the case for your products by capturing attention.
Social media marketing can be hard to master, as many people have begun to view corporate social media accounts as disingenuous. Escaping this notion is essential when trying to run a successful social media marketing campaign, so do not be too rigid when it comes to using social media to promote your business.
6. Influencer Marketing
The rise of influencers as a marketing powerhouse cannot be ignored. This approach to marketing combines the previously mentioned strategies of content marketing and social media marketing. The process of setting up an influencer marketing campaign is as simple as reaching out to an influencer and asking them to advertise your product. The question is, what makes an influencer? To put it simply, an influencer is someone who influences the buying power of their follower base. They tend to exist in a niche topic, like bike repair and maintenance for example. If you have a product that is related to bikes, then your influencer choice should revolve around that.
Influencers are also typically separate from the main structure of your business, usually working for a onetime fee. This distinguishes influencer marketing from the previous two forms of marketing mentioned, as those still exist with the company framework. This separation allows their endorsement of your product to be more genuine, escaping the sense of disingenuousness that can surround corporate social media. It is also advisable to send your prospective influencer a sample of your product so that they are able to provide a more nuanced endorsement. As influencers continue to become more prevalent, making use of their unique social position can really help boost the sales on your product.
It is important to do research on the influencer you want to contract before you reach out however, in case they have made problematic statements or been involved in problematic incidents. Being caught flat footed when one of your influencer marketers is wrapped up in a social snafu is never good, so also have a clause in your contract with said influencer that allows you to terminate the partnership should any troubling incidents occur.
7. Affiliate Marketing
This form of marketing is similar to influencer marketing, in that it relies on word of mouth from people who are outside the typical structure of your company and offering a more genuine endorsement of your product than a targeted ad. This form of marketing can sometimes be confused with influencer marketing as well since these two forms of marketing are often working side by side. Affiliate marketers are similar to the door-to-door salesmen of old, working for a commission to sell your product to potential customers. This method can be relatively inexpensive as well, though the cost increases as you bring on more affiliate marketers. You can pay your affiliate marketers a flat fee or adjust their payment based on performance. Keeping track of an affiliate marketer’s performance is simple, using a specially generated affiliate link can keep track of the number of sales each marketer garners. These links can be posted on social media, included in article content, or even in the description of videos, allowing for many avenues of advertisement.
8. Viral Marketing
This form of marketing is inherently linked to both content marketing and social media marketing. The idea is to essentially create content about your product that is designed to go viral, gathering millions of views and reaching a wider audience than it would have otherwise. This form of marketing is unreliable and is typically a happy accident when it does occur, though this does not stop you from aiming for viral status with your content. Funny, ridiculous, or even bizarre content helps push your advertising efforts beyond what they would normally reach and allows you to reap the rewards of internet fame. It would be a good idea to establish a reliable amount of high-quality content before aiming for a viral push though nothing stops you or your company from attempting to hit the ground running.
Viral marketing exists as a combination of several other marketing strategies and tends to be reliant on luck or good timing in relation to social trends. If your marketing does happen to reach viral status, whether intentional or not, it is wise to make sure your website architecture can handle the surge of usage that it is likely to generate. Nothing is worse than garnering a surge of popularity only for your website to crash and no orders get processed.
9. Referral Marketing
A happy customer is likely one who is going to recommend your product in the future. You can help incentivize this behavior by offering referral codes to your customers. If they recommend your product to someone, and the code gets used then everyone benefits. You just made a sale, your new customer got a good product, and your referral source gained a discount or other benefit that will encourage them to make another purchase themselves. Some referrals even benefit the new customer by offering them a discount as well. This can easily swell into a chain of referrals being made, codes being used, and products being bought. Being loyal to your customers will go a long way in making them loyal to you.
10. Retargeting Ads
Last but not least, retargeting ads can help your product sell more than it would have otherwise by seeking out those who expressed an interest in your product before but for one reason or another decided to opt out of making a purchase. This form of marketing is typically the final stage of marketing that can make or break a purchase after the customer has been directed to your website by one of your other advertising campaigns. Retargeting ads work by identifying potential customers with a cookie in their browser, allowing your website to slip relevant ads to them when on other websites. This method of advertising is the reason why you will often receive ads for products similar to ones you’ve recently purchased and can be effective when used properly.
This strategy relies on creating relevant ads that are capable of generating conversions from customers who might have apprehensions about your product. It is also essential that these ads are not significantly intrusive, as this could drive customers away if they feel like the product is being forced down their throat. Subtlety is the key with retargeted ads.
When designing a robust advertising campaign, it is important to rely on more than one strategy. This diversification of approaches allows for a wider audience to be reached, while also allowing for a more budget-friendly advertising campaign. The most cost-effective strategies are the simplest ones. Social media marketing, email marketing, and referral marketing all offer options for wide reach with low cost. SEO and Pay-Per-Click marketing are more expensive, but also generate clear results for companies that decide to engage in them. Influencer and viral marketing can also offer a substantial boost to engagement, while also being relatively inexpensive. This is counterbalanced by the potential failure of a viral push or the reach of your influencer not making the waves you expected. What marketing strategies you decide to use is largely dependent on the business model that you are pursuing, but digital marketing cannot be neglected by any business that wishes to stay relevant well into the digital age. By choosing to engage in digital marketing you are choosing to remain innovative and on the cutting edge of advertising.