The internet is a vast, ever-changing place. If you’re not familiar with its many features and capabilities then it can be difficult to know where your target audience is located online – which means that they might as well stay hidden! The good news? There’s no need for hesitation anymore because this article will give an overview of how best to start using digital marketing strategies today so we all have more effective results tomorrow.
Know what you want to achieve with online marketing
Have you ever tried a new diet and after a couple of days, you were already losing motivation to follow the plan? It’s easy for our enthusiasm around a new project or plan to slowly fade away as we discover more obstacles or barriers that stand between us and success. This is why it’s very important to know what your goals are from day one. This will allow you to stay focused and committed to the work that needs to be done, and also help you see the bigger picture.
Here’s an example: Let’s say one of your goals is to increase traffic coming from Facebook. At first glance, this might not sound too difficult – you can create a Facebook page for your business and start promoting it. However, the main obstacle that stands between you and success is how difficult it can be to get your first 200-300 likes on Facebook.
This is where the bigger picture comes into play – what do you need to do in order to achieve this goal? You could run a Facebook ad campaign that will allow you to promote your page to a certain audience or you could try creating truly interesting content that will be seen by the right eyes. No matter how you choose to get your first 200-300 Facebook fans, it’s important to see this as a single step in a much bigger journey.
Determine your target audience
Before you start using online marketing as a tool to grow your business, it is important that you make sure that your target market is present on the web. Your potential customers might be easier to find depending on what product or service you’re offering and where you’re located, but if they are “hiding” from you i.e. they don’t just walk past you then the only way that you will ever reach them at scale is by using online marketing tools.
How to determine your target audience, you ask? It’s as simple as using the Google Keyword Planner, which is probably the most useful research tool for this task.
In order to determine your audience, enter a couple of keywords identified from your business and see what suggestions come up as a result. These are the things your potential customers who might be looking for you or what you’re offering are interested in. You can then try out repeating this process for different geographies and times of the day to see how your results differ – this will give you a better idea of where your customers are located and when they like to search online.
Now that we’ve got our target audience, it’s time to find out which channels we can use to meet them.
Identify the channels you want to use
Since your target audience is present on the internet, it makes sense that you must find out where they are so that you can start talking with them. Here are the most popular social networks which could be useful for finding your audience: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. It’s best to create a profile for your business on each of these platforms as it will allow you to start building a relationship with your potential customers before you even reach out to them.
But what about the other channels available? There are more than 1 billion websites on the internet – which means that there is certainly not one single channel that will be ideal for everyone. The key here is to try out the different tools available, see which works best for your target audience, and then optimize accordingly.
You could try SEO, PPC ads, sponsorships, content marketing, email marketing, social media ads… The list goes on. Of course, there are different strategies which you can apply to each channel but the point is – don’t continue using a channel that doesn’t make you happy with either your results or how difficult it might be to measure success (these two factors often go hand in hand).
Set your goals and objectives
Know the channels you want to use? It’s time to decide what you want to achieve with online marketing. Do you want more traffic coming to your website? Are you looking for a way to get your brand in front of the right audience? Do you want to grow your email list?
Setting a goal is an essential part of any marketing strategy because it allows you to measure how well you’ve done and if necessary, make changes moving forward. Remember that online marketing can be a very effective way to get more results from your other offline marketing efforts (if your other marketing is working), and vice versa. Take the time to understand how you’re currently measuring success for your offline marketing and then look at which metrics can be transferred to your online campaign.
Once you’ve identified what it is that you want to achieve, it’s important to break down your objectives into several SMART goals. This will allow you to better track the progress of your online marketing efforts, see where they are working best and what needs to be improved.
Find out what is possible for your budget
No matter what your financial situation is – you’re always able to be competitive in online marketing. You just need to find out how much it will cost for you to achieve the same results as the competition and then run that campaign.
Google Ads is an excellent tool that allows you to quickly gauge how much companies are spending on ads through Google and how much money they could be making in return. If you’re operating in the same industry as them, then you could base some of your own campaign budgets on those results.
Since we’re talking about advertising here, it’s worth mentioning that different channels work better for some business models than others. For example, PPC ads and SEO might be a great idea if you want to see an immediate, and long-term impact respectively.
If you don’t have a lot of money you can get scrappy and try a few different channels until you find one that works for you. For example, if your budget is limited to $100, then spend $50 on ads and see what happens. If it works, great! You now have more money to invest in other areas. If it doesn’t work as well as you expected – there’s still $50 left to try something else.
Decide how much time you can dedicate to marketing
Depending on the budget you will have to commit more or less of your own time. If your company is a startup with limited funds, you’ll have to get involved in your own marketing efforts. You can try and outsource some of the tasks (like designing ads or writing blog posts), but if you’re looking for results that will bring in more traffic, leads, and eventually sales – then it’s best to be hands-on.
The same applies to your employees. If you want them to get more involved with your online marketing efforts, then don’t expect it to be their priority (if they feel like it’s not important). As CEO or the top employee in the company – you set the tone for how much work will be done on each task and what is expected of employees.
For larger departments, marketing can be an afterthought or completely managed by another team – but even then there are many areas where it’s useful to get your hands dirty. From editing photos and video content to social media, PPC ads, or SEO – you should contribute (at least a little) to your online marketing efforts.
Create an online marketing calendar
An online marketing calendar will keep your timing on point – which is important because just like offline advertising, there are specific times when it can be beneficial to have a certain message or offer visible to consumers. For example, if you have a summer sale coming up – it would be wise to start pushing your ads for this event during the previous month so that consumers can get familiarized with your brand and remember you when the promotion starts.
A marketing calendar will also put some structure into your efforts and help you stay on task and remain productive. The basic idea is to create a list of tasks that need to be done and then set goals for each one (such as reaching out to customers, publishing blog posts, etc.).
You can also use this calendar to plan your future activities such as the next sale (or launches of new products), when to post on social media, etc. The more time you spend on this calendar, the easier it will be for you to keep your online marketing efforts running smoothly.
So how do you start your online marketing efforts?
The next time you set out to create an online marketing campaign, it’s important that you start with the end in mind. This means taking some time upfront to identify your goals and objectives for the project, as well as for deciding what is possible within your budget constraints. Once this has been done, make sure to map out a timeline of activities so you can stay on track throughout the process. Getting started today will help ensure success tomorrow!