For modern business owners, digital marketing is absolutely essential to maximizing sales and reaching the largest possible customer base. The problem, however, is that many small business owners don’t really know how to get started with online marketing. Given how advanced digital marketing is today, it can be extremely difficult to figure out where to begin, especially if you aren’t particularly tech-savvy. Here’s what every business owner needs to know about the different types of digital marketing and how to implement them in your business.
Pay-per-click advertising is the digital marketing strategy that most closely resembles more traditional types of marketing. Using this strategy, business owners can place ads on other websites or search engines. When a visitor to one of these sites clicks on the ad, the business owner will be charged a set amount of money for the click through to his or her own website.
The strength of pay-per-click advertising is the fact that you will only pay when someone actually visits your site, meaning there’s no money wasted on people who see your ad but never engage with your website. Pay-per-click advertising is also extremely easy to scale. The more money you invest, the more visitors you’ll receive and the more opportunities you’ll have to convert those visitors into paying customers.
To get started with pay-per-click advertising, most business owners choose to use the Google Adwords ad network. Using Adwords, you can host your ads in Google search results, as well as on countless websites that are part of Google’s advertising network. Adwords makes it easy to get into pay-per-click advertising, and also gives you access to plenty of data about your campaign’s performance.
Social Media Marketing
Even if you aren’t a digital marketing guru just yet, chances are you’ve set up at least a Facebook page for your business. As surprising as it may sound, social media platforms are among the most powerful ways to market your business. If you want to be successful with social media, however, you’ll need to build a following first.
Almost all social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Twitter, have their own internal ad systems. Using these systems, business owners can easily create ads and target them to a specific audience that will be most likely to respond positively to them. If you’re a local business that doesn’t have an e-commerce presence, you can also use targeting features to be sure only people who are geographically close to you see your ads.
According to Search Engine Land, Ads on social media have two main functions. The first is to get people to actually click through to your website or to contact you directly. The second is to get them to follow your social media account. When someone follows your account, he or she will be able to see everything you post in the future. This means that someone who follows you on social media can be marketed to over and over again, without you having to spend any more money to reach that person repeatedly. If you build your following up over time, you’ll be able to reach a large number of people in this way every single time you create a new post.
While pay-per-click and social media ads can generate leads and sales very effectively, they have to be renewed and paid for on a regular basis. Less direct forms of marketing, however, exist that have no such requirement. One of the best means of indirect marketing is SEO, or search engine optimization. Using search engine optimization, site owners can generate a constant flow of traffic from search engines. Best of all, you don’t have to pay anything to keep this stream of traffic flowing.
According to SEO expert Chris Walker, the best way to get started with SEO is to identify a set of keywords that you want your site to rank for. These keywords should be related to your niche and include the type of product or service that you sell. You can use the Keyword Planner tool in the Google Adwords interface to identify good keywords by finding their monthly search volume and finding out how competitive they are. Generally, you want search terms with at least 1,000 monthly searches and low to medium competition.
Next, you’ll perform SEO on your website by incorporating the keywords you’ve selected into your page names, written content and other site data. If you’re starting a new site from scratch, it’s even better to have your primary target keyword included in your domain name, which is the name you give your website.
Another form of indirect marketing that goes hand-in-hand with search engine optimization is blog content marketing. Content is king, according to Sonja Jefferson at Marketing Donut. Blog pages on websites can be used to target a broader range of keywords, since you can target one or more individual keywords with each blog post. Releasing new content regularly will also help your site to organically rank higher in Google search results.
Another way to use content marketing is to guest blog on other sites. If you can get other website owners to agree to place posts you have written on their sites, you can use those posts to link back to your own site. By doing this, you’ll encourage people who visit other websites to click through to yours.
The best way to get started with blog content marketing is to start posting weekly articles on your own website. After a while, you can start reaching out to other websites to find prospects for guest blogging opportunities. Be sure that you post new content on a regular basis, as search engine algorithms will reward regular posting.
Another powerful way to market your small business is by using video content. While you can use video on your site to better engage with your audience, the best use of videos from a marketing perspective is to have them hosted on other platforms. Specifically, YouTube is the best platform on which to host your videos to generate traffic and build your audience.
To get started with video marketing, you need to understand what modern video viewers are looking for. If you create a video that’s little more than an ad for your product, it will perform very poorly. To really get traffic, leads and sales from your videos, you need to provide value to the people who watch it. Your video should be entertaining, informative or both. You should be giving viewers useful information that they can use before you pitch your product. If, for example, you were selling exercise equipment, you might create videos to teach people how to perform different exercises correctly. Then, at the end, you could introduce one of your products and explain why it will help people who are interested in the exercises you’ve just discussed.
Getting started with digital marketing may seem intimidating, but if you’re willing to put in the work, you can achieve a great deal of success with even very basic promotional strategies. Some of these strategies are even free, assuming you’re willing to put in the time to create content for your business. Generally, the best results will come with a mix of different marketing strategies. Above all, try out different strategies and see what works best for you. When something works and generates a positive return on investment, be sure to scale it up to achieve even greater success.