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Why Digital Marketing Works and How to Get Started

Posted by Sandra Mitchell on Nov 20, 2015 6:00:00 AM


If you're struggling to implement an effective digital marketing strategy, you're not alone. Here are few excuses commonly heard:
1. Business is booming. They're doing well. New marketing initiatives aren't a priority.
2. Business is down, so they've tightened their belts—including the marketing budget. 
3. They know they should be doing something but don't know where to start. So they do nothing.

Well, let’s face it, traditional sales and marketing techniques aren’t as effective as they once were. And, you don’t want to wait for a lull in business to start digital marketing if your goal is to keep business steady and growing. The right time to start marketing is almost always now.

One of the most powerful ways for companies to build their online presence, and to generate more leads is to engage in digital marketing tactics, such as email, social media, blogging, SEO, and mobile web. But before your business starts implementing these tactics, it’s important to have a cohesive strategy in place so you can measure your success and adjust, where needed.

Keep it simple—Start with the Basics

As with many things in marketing, when it comes to digital, a keep-it-simple approach is often your best bet. That means you need to both understand your business and marketing goals as well as your customers. Care enough about your audiences to share valuable, relevant, and meaningful content. Let promotion take a back seat, and keep your focus on what your customers and clients truly want. 

1. Mobile-Friendly Website

According to a Google survey, the rate that users are accessing the internet on mobile devices is growing at an astonishing level. Over the past four years, mobile internet access has quadrupled, and mobile online shopping time has outpaced time spent shopping via laptop and PCs.

Not only are visitors more likely to return to a website that’s mobile, they’re more likely to buy on a website that’s mobile friendly. 
Be aware that not just your website visitors penalize you for your lack of a seamless mobile experience, Google also may penalize you for having a non-mobile site. Bottom line: Give users and Google what they demand by ensuring your site is mobile friendly.

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing is more popular than ever (over 2 million emails are sent per second). So your emails need to be targeted and informative in order to cut through the clutter.  Email is a low-cost way to stay top-of-mind, and a offers several benefits including: customer data collection, metrics and audience segmentation. Here are some tips for a successful campaign:
  • Making emails personal
  • Crafting effective subject lines that have no more than 6-10 words
  • Researching and sending email during prime times
  • Giving something away
  • Sharing well-written, useful content
Remember that bit of information you just read about being mobile friendly? That goes for email marketing, too. More than half of all emails are now opened on mobile devices. Keep your email design simple so it works across all platforms.

3. Social Media

Some businesses use multiple social media channels in their marketing strategy. But that’s not always possible, or necessary, for most. It’s a good idea to know all the social platforms out there, but you only need to use a few of them really well to make an impact. After all, it’s nearly impossible to have a strong and effective presence on all channels.

Once you’ve studied up on what all those social media outlets have to offer, the next thing to get a grip on is understanding where your audiences hang out. Once you land on one or more social channel know that you now have the power to convert your audiences. But there’s a trick to this: Be human. According to Forbes.com, by interacting with your audience members you will increase trust and credibility in your brand, and improve your conversion rates on your existing traffic.

4. Blogging

If you aren’t already blogging, the only question is this: What are you waiting for? Each time you publish a blog post you’re getting closer to your customers. Yes, blogging can be a time-consuming digital marketing activity. But remember, every time you publish a post you have one more chance to drive traffic to your website because you now have another indexed website page that can show up in search results.

Each published blog post also provides you with social media content, which helps keep your social media presence strong. 
If you have no idea what to write about on your blog, remember to keep your audience at the forefront of your blog strategy. Consider writing answers to all those customer questions you’re asked over and over. Position your company as an expert and thought leader by writing about industry trends. Repurpose content from newsletters and reports. If you need to hire new talent, write an enticing post about company culture. Invite employees and company friends to be contributing writers.

A final tip on blog writing: write passionately and write well. If you aren’t a great writer, that’s okay. Find someone who is and have that writer interview you and write your post. Don’t turn off your audiences and lose traction because of poor grammar and writing - you’ll automatically lose traffic for both transgressions.

5. Search Marketing 

Search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search are two tactics you can use to increase your website rankings on a search engine results page (SERP). While it's possible to tackle SEO and paid search on your own, there are a number of complexities to both that may warrant working with a search marketing expert.

Strategic SEO grows your visibility in organic rankings. Activities involve using keywords in heading tags and content, link building, writing quality content, a solid URL structure, and ensuring all (or a majority) of website pages have page titles and meta descriptions, which is that summary you see on search results pages.

Paid search, sometimes referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is defined by Search Engine Land as the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. In addition to advertising on Google and Bing, you can also approach paid search using social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram, among others.

The thing about paid search is that it's completely scalable and budget friendly. You can spend as little or as much as you'd like and truly target your customers by interests, geography, demographics, and more. You decide how much to spend per day and which days and times you'd like your ads to appear. When enough users have clicked your ad to reach your daily budget, your ad disappears until the next appointed date and time.


Each of these digital marketing tactics takes time and know-how. Don't feel like you need to tackle them all at once. Read up, consult with experts, study your business and marketing goals, then start by implementing the one or two activities that make the most sense for your business. Once you nail the first couple tactics, add another and another. Before you know it, you'll have a full-blown digital marketing plan in place and working for you.

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