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What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the process of using digital technology to achieve marketing objectives. Examples of marketing objectives include lead generation, product sales and brand awareness.

A digital marketing strategy consists of one or more of the following:

• SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
• SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
• Content Marketing
• Social Media Marketing
• Email Marketing

Small business owners can find greater value with digital marketing because you can run a successful campaign even on a low budget.

A good example is social media marketing. This is a digital marketing approach that uses various online social communities to connect, promote and engage with your target market to ultimately lead to converting prospects into paying customers.

The largest and most popular social media network is Facebook with more than 2 Billion community members.

If your digital marketing objective is to promote a new product, enhance your reputation as an expert in the industry or to generate followers, Facebook is the ideal social media network for you.

And social media marketing is just one option in digital marketing. There are other strategies that can be used to as part of your digital marketing plan.

How Can Digital Marketing Grow Your Business?

Business owners can use a variety of strategies to attract their target market.

Here are 5 of the more popular digital marketing strategies you can use to promote your business on the Internet:

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Search Engine Optimisation is a digital marketing strategy that is focused on improving your website’s ranking in search engines such as google and bing.

Keyword research is an important part of SEO. Keywords are the words or phrases that Internet users frequently type in the search box to find what they are looking for.

Applying SEO to your digital marketing strategy can benefit your business in a number of ways:

• SEO involves embedding relevant keywords strategically into your website and content so they can easily be found by search engines.

• If someone searches in Google for a product or service that is related to your business, SEO can improve your website rankings in the search engine’s results page.

• SEO can help you increase the number of visitors to your website, thereby increasing the likelihood of increase leads or sales of your products or services.

An online retailer can increase sales by having their website optimised for certain product-related keywords, thereby attracting more visitors to their website. And more visitors means more potential sales.

A travel agency business that uses a booking engine can use SEO to have their website found by potential travellers looking for the best deals for their next holiday.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Search Engine Marketing involves paid advertising known as Pay-Per-Click or PPC Advertising. Search engines offer PPC Advertising for you to drive more traffic to your website.

SEM is a good digital marketing strategy to consider for your business:

• As a paid ad, PPC Advertising can immediately put your site at the top of search engines such as Google.

PPC Advertising is cost effective because you only pay for the times the ad gets clicked on. For example, if 100 people see your PPC ad but only 5 click on it, you only pay for the 5 clicks on your ad. The price you’ll pay per click will depend on the competitiveness of the keyword(s) you’re targeting. This will be shown when you setup your PPC ads.

• PPC Advertising is great for targeting. The ads are placed on the search results page that is relevant to the search query. If the user is interested in the ad, he/she will end up in your website once the ad is clicked on. So if you advertise ‘dog biscuits’, your ad will only appear to people that have typed in ‘dog biscuits’ (or similar related terms) into google. This ensures your ads are targeted effectively to reach your ideal customer.

A business that sells pizza can use PPC Advertising to promote its special promos and new menu items.

A business that offers car repair services can benefit from PPC Advertising by posting ads that highlight the types of repairs they offer and the cost of each service.

A business that sells fashion apparel can use PPC Advertising to promote new merchandise, product discounts and sale items.

Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating and distributing relevant, usable and engaging content that can help readers by providing valuable information, answering questions, solving problems related to certain products or services.

One of the most popular content marketing strategies is blogging.

A business would have a blog on their website with articles relevant to their target market. Some examples might include educational/information-rich articles on a specific topic, company news and updates, new product releases and new services among others.

Blogging has been proven to be effective in driving traffic to your website essentially for free.

Blogging can benefit your business in the following ways:

Search engines like Google love fresh content. When you blog, you give the search engines new content to find and deliver to web searchers. People who search in Google using certain keywords relating to your products/services can potentially see your content and therefore visit your website to ‘consume’ the content.

• Blogging is a great way to exchange opinions and ideas with your audience. Engage with readers who leave comments. Customers appreciate a business that takes the time to address their questions, concerns or issues.

• Blogging gives businesses a platform to write about topics they specialise in. If you consistently blog on issues that are of interest to your audience, it can enhance the reputation of your business as an expert in the industry.

A business that offers tutorial services will greatly benefit from blogging about how tutoring can improve their children’s performance in school.

A business owner who specialises in virtual assistance services can use the blog to provide information on how Virtual Assistant services can improve productivity while reducing business costs.

A business that sells organic produce can blog about the health benefits of eating organic fruits and vegetables. They can also use the blog to inform more people on the dangers of eating non-organic or processed foods.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing or SMM for business has become an effective digital marketing strategy because with more than 3 Billion people on social media every day, social media networks have become important platforms to distribute content and other marketing messages.

You can launch a page or profile for your business and share information to people about your products and services, company history or opinions on the latest industry trends. The business page can also help you get feedback, suggestions and recommendations from your customers.

Here is an outline of some of the most popular social media networks and how business owners use them to achieve their digital marketing objectives:

• Facebook

Facebook’s large community makes it a great network for advertising your products and services as well as distributing your digital marketing content, and connecting with your target market.

Facebook can benefit your business in a number of ways:

Facebook Ads allow you to customise your ad according to your business’ target market. You can do this simply by targeting your audience based on factors such as age, sex, location, income, profession, marital status, interests etc. Facebook will then display your ad only to people who meet the criteria you set.

Facebook can also run your ad through image-sharing network Instagram which the company bought in 2012. You can also have your ad featured in Facebook’s messaging service, Messenger and Audience Network which can deliver your ad to other sites and apps that fit your target audience description.

Facebook Ads also makes creating ads easier by giving businesses several eye-catching ad formats to choose from.

– Facebook is expanding its range of products and services to help businesses reach their audience faster and more effectively.

For example, Facebook Live allows you to use video to engage with your audience in real time. This is effective when you are promoting a new product, service or opening a new store.

– Facebook’s large community makes it more enticing to blog about topics relevant to your customers as you can link the content you post back to your website to help drive traffic and improve your website’s search ranking in Google.

A restaurant can have a Facebook page to post their menu, upload food images, information on delivery services and promotions such as daily specials.

A business that sells high tech devices can use Facebook to upload an explainer video on how to assemble the product and maximise its benefits. Then link the explainer video to their website to improve its search ranking.

A business engaged in the health and wellness industry can share motivational quotes, tips on how to manage stress and directly respond to followers who have questions on current trends such as Intermittent Fasting.

• Twitter

Twitter allows businesses to send short, 200-character messages called “tweets”. This is why Twitter is known as a micro-blogging platform.

Including Twitter in your business digital marketing strategy has many benefits:

– With Twitter, you can directly engage with customers, promote new products and services and provide answers to questions they may have about your business, industry, products or services.

– Twitter can be effective in generating leads if done correctly. Businesses use Twitter to promote or arrange special offers, promos and discount packages and then provide a link to their website where followers can leave their email address or purchase a product.

– Twitter is a high activity social media network. Businesses will send out 10-12 tweets per day to remain visible on the Internet. And that is because tweets can help your website rank high in Google!

Tweets will appear in searches using Google. With the right keywords in your tweets, frequent tweeting can improve your website’s search ranking.

A business that offers web design services can frequently tweet about the benefits of mobile responsive design and attach a link to a blog in their website. This can help drive traffic and improve the website’s search engine ranking.

A business that sells cakes and pastries can tweet out special offers such as a “buy one get one free” promotion on a limited time only basis. The business owner can directly engage interested parties and potentially gain more customers as well as followers.

A flower shop business will find Twitter as a valuable digital marketing strategy on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and wedding anniversaries.

By reading tweets in their groups leading up to Valentine’s Day, the business owner would have an idea which types of flowers would be in demand and how to package special promos such as volume discount packages.

• Instagram

Instagram is an image based social media network that is becoming popular because more businesses are adding images and video content to their digital marketing strategy.

How can using Instagram benefit your business?

– Instagram has a feature called Shoppable Instagram. What this feature does is give your followers access to the Instagram shop version of your Instagram account so they can click through your business’ product pages.

Shoppable Instagram can help convert your followers into paying customers and at the same time direct more traffic to your website so you can move up Google’s search rankings.

– Instagram is very effective for building your business brand and establishing long-lasting relationships with your customers. How?

Instagram capitalises on UGC or User Generated Content. Generally, Instagram users create and post their own images. How will this work for your business?

For example, you are in the fashion business and you spot an Instagram user wearing your designs.

You can ask permission from him/her if you can use the photos for your own marketing campaign. This is a great strategy because the UGC Instagram images come across as more sincere than paid endorsements. In addition, it makes the customer feel more connected to your brand.

Paid ads on Instagram work extremely well in promoting your business for 2 reasons.

One, Instagram benefits from Facebook’s member-base of 2 Billion users. When you pay for an Instagram ad it can also be run through Facebook and its other networks Messenger and Audience Network.

Second, in addition to image and video ads, you have a third visual option with Instagram: Carousel ads.

When viewers swipe a Carousel ad, they will find themselves on your website where they can learn more about your company, its products and services.

Of course this will give your website a boost in the search rankings.

Personal trainers and those in the fitness industry love Instagram because the use of images showcase their “body of work”. They can share personal photos to inspire or keep followers updated on the progress of their clients.

A business involved in real estate can successfully use Instagram to boost sales by uploading images of properties on the market. They can give potential buyers a “virtual tour” by sharing photos of different areas of the house.

Images are especially effective for food products. Restaurant businesses use Instagram to promote their best selling items and to get people to try their new recipes.

• Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media platform where content is posted by “pinning” them on an online pinboard.

Pinterest benefit businesses in the following ways:

– Pinterest can be effective in generating leads and driving traffic because every pin that you post contains a link to your website. This is why many businesses use Pinterest to post or pin high-resolution images of their products and services.

– Pinterest is a great way to recruit talent and promote company culture. Businesses will often create a pinboard where they can post job openings and information about their company or enterprise.

Current employees can likewise collaborate and share ideas on the pinboard which helps foster a greater sense of community.

– Pinterest can also be used for promoting your business locally. Pinterest has a feature called Place Pins which allows you to cross promote your products and services with non-competing brands located within your area.

For example, an event planner can use Place Pin images of restaurants, venue locations and party suppliers and pin them on his/her own Pinterest page.

An extended benefit would be that the Place Pin business you cross promoted may return the favour!

A business selling dog toys can use Pinterest to introduce new dog toys to their followers and customers by way of product photos or of happy puppies ‘enjoying’ their toys, or perhaps a customer testimonial.

A real estate training organisation could use Pinterest to educate their followers about effective sales techniques, motivational quotes to inspire real estate agents or new training courses being offered.

A business selling baby products can post images on Pinterest on their latest merchandise such as clothes, toys and feeding instruments. They can post helpful tips and inspirational quotations on bringing up baby for mothers.

• YouTube

YouTube is the largest video streaming community on the Internet with 1.3 Billion members. Video content has become a valuable component in digital marketing and offers several benefits for business:

– Other than the fact that Google owns YouTube, videos have become an important factor to improve your website’s search engine ranking.

– With more than 30 million active visitors per day, YouTube is a terrific platform to display video ads using Google AdSense which is Google’s paid advertising format.

Like other paid advertising, your ad will be placed on pages relating to your target audience. A viewer who clicks on your ad can be directed to your YouTube Channel or your website.

YouTube is a powerful way of linking your video content to your website and other business social media accounts. This will help open up your video content to a wider audience and drive more traffic to your website.

YouTube is another powerful social media platform for those in the health and fitness business. The business owner can upload videos of workout techniques, diet tips and schedule a live Question and Answer to improve customer engagement.

A business that sells supplements can upload customer video reviews of their products, give tips on how to take supplements safely and how to use them properly to maximise performance or hit fitness goals.

A business that offers carpet cleaning services can use YouTube to enhance their credibility by sharing short videos on cleaning and maintaining carpets and upholstery or tips on how to handle minor spills.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an effective way of delivering your message to your existing clients because everyone checks their inbox at least once a day.

Start out by building an email list. Staying active in social media or offering free products on your website can help you build your email list.

Why should you include email marketing in your business digital marketing strategy?

People check their emails all the time. This makes email marketing an effective strategy for promotions that have limited-time-only conditions such as “Available Only For the Next 24 Hours” or “Free For The First 100 Sign Ups” to get immediate results in terms of new sales or leads.

• Email marketing can often trigger the recipient to get in touch with your business through a response or phone call to get a quote or purchase one of your products.

• Sending out personalised email; or those addressed to the recipient, is an effective strategy for building strong, trustworthy relationships with your customers.

A business that offers repair services for computers can email newsletters on helpful troubleshooting tips, latest technology developments and special promotions on hardware or software upgrades.

A business that is engaged in pet care services can email simple tips on grooming pets, the importance of regular care and promote new products or services that can make your pet healthier and happier.

A business that offers waste collection using green technology can use email to inform people on the importance of protecting the environment, the health dangers of improperly collected waste and offer special discounts on select services.

Summary

Digital marketing provides you an efficient way of reaching your target audience by harnessing the power of the Internet. It gives you several options to reach your target market and drive more traffic to your website.

Social media marketing, content marketing and email marketing can be used to inform your audience about your business, its product and services.

SEO can improve your website’s ranking in Google and other search engines so that you attract more visitors to your website which can lead to more sales of your products and services.

An SEM strategy like PPC Advertising will put your website to the top of the search results page within minutes to proactively promote your products and services.

In this day and age where mobile devices account for 65% of online traffic, digital marketing will play a bigger role in your business’ marketing and promotional strategy.