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As a small-business owner, you’re busy managing and growing your company. A large part of growth has to do with marketing, especially for new businesses and product launches that need to generate awareness, interest, and sales. One of the best ways to create these responses is through a digital marketing campaign. The following information serves as a guide to digital marketing and planning a digital marketing campaign for your new business, service, or product.
Digital marketing is an umbrella term for ways to market your business online, but that doesn’t begin to cover it. Online marketing encompasses video creation, podcasting, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media, text and email marketing, and myriad other digital communication channels.
Most businesses don’t use all the methods listed above, as each one takes time, effort, and money. Fortunately, you don’t need all of them to successfully promote a product. You only need to use the tactics that will help you accomplish your goal, whether that’s more conversations on Twitter and LinkedIn, downloads of a PDF brochure, or product sales.
Pro Tip: To get started with your digital marketing campaign, think about how to combine tactics for the greatest effect. For example, it makes sense to augment content marketing with email marketing. You can gate certain content through websites like LinkedIn and Facebook in order to target specific customers.
Digital marketing campaigns can be highly effective when they are implemented well. The following statistics serve as evidence.
Since members of a given demographic are often drawn to similar types of online content, savvy marketers can use digital channels to communicate with their desired audience in a more strategic way than traditional marketing strategies allow.
For a campaign to be effective, you should first determine your business goals and how digital marketing will help achieve them. This planning period will tell you what metrics to measure before, during, and after your campaign.
One of your greatest advantages in advertising is to understand the buyer’s journey. Before you invest time and money into creating digital media for your campaign, perform some market research. What do you know about your customers? Does your product appeal to a specific gender or age group? Once you have this information, you can create a data-driven marketing strategy focused on digital channels to reach your desired demographic.
Pro Tip: Beware of so-called “fluff,” or vanity metrics. To prove a return on investment, metrics must tie directly to your business objectives.
Once you know who your consumers are, you can define the best digital marketing platform to reach them. For example, an information technology company likely wouldn’t benefit from using Snapchat, since that social platform attracts a younger, entertainment-focused audience.
An IT company would see greater benefit if they focused on channels that a more professionally focused consumer would frequent, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Using these social media platforms, this type of company might focus their marketing strategy on content marketing that incorporates SEM or SEO to generate click throughs.
When it comes to your product, think through how these different tactics could impact your goal of raising awareness and generating click throughs and conversions. Video could be used to show how your product works in everyday life. Written content could supplement the video, which creates opportunities for SEO, SEM, and content marketing. Perhaps you want to have more intimate conversations with high-value leads. In that case, you would focus more effort on email marketing and drip campaigns. Social media could augment these other tactics to help increase interest and conversation.
Pro Tip: It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the digital marketing tactics available. Choose one or two, learn to manage and measure them, and add other initiatives as needed.
The best way to decide the best digital marketing channels for your business is to ask yourself several questions.
These questions are deceptively simple and hugely beneficial. The more you know about who your target audience is and what you want them to do, the easier it is to figure out a holistic digital marketing strategy. If your audience skews younger, you’ll want to emphasize video and visual media. An older, professional audience might prefer email newsletters containing research that helps them do their jobs better.
To see results with your content, you’ll want to share it on the digital channels your audience uses. Younger generations flock to YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, while older generations lean toward LinkedIn and Facebook.
Pro Tip: It’s helpful to visualize your digital marketing campaign strategy. Figure out the key component — which could be a downloadable asset or landing page to purchase your product — off of which your other tactics will branch.
According to the American Marketing Association, the following seven skills are digital marketing campaign must-haves.
Even if you are lacking one of these skills, it can be learned. Your experiences as a business owner can be helpful, too. For example, digital marketing requires management and planning abilities — talents you likely already have.
Analytics could be another area where you excel. Entrepreneurs often have to learn to fail fast and recover faster by basing decisions on customer demand and marketplace trends. Digital marketing analytics work similarly. You take the data that results from your digital marketing tactics and assess performance over time.
Some skills, however, are highly specialized. You may need an email marketing specialist to develop drip campaigns and regular email communications, a photographer or videographer to capture footage, or a writer to write newsletters and articles. Those aren’t skills that come easily, so you may want to source the talent either in-house or out.
Pro Tip: It’s good to learn new skills, but you should carefully evaluate which ones to learn. You don’t want to spend so much time learning digital marketing techniques that your business suffers — your company should always come first.
You should hire a digital marketing consultant if any of the above skills cause you concern. The feeling isn’t abnormal, considering how fast best practices change, consumer preferences evolve, and social media networks die. A consultant stays up-to-date on such trends and will help you navigate them.
You may also want to hire a digital marketing consultant if you don’t have the time or resources to market your product well. You may be the greatest thought leader in your industry, but nobody will know that if you don’t have time to write content, interact with people online, or look for speaking opportunities. A consultant manages the different pieces to ensure that you, your brand, and your product are positioned for success.
Make sure to consider the investment of hiring a consultant. Figure out the cost of doing the work yourself and compare it to the consultant’s fee. Many times, consultants are a more cost-effective choice.
A digital marketing campaign is an effective way to get your product in front of the people who will buy it. But to be successful, you’ll have to spend some time and energy determining your target audience and understanding why they should buy your product. That information will guide you toward the best digital marketing campaign tactics to meet your business objectives and increase awareness, website visits, and sales.