One of the most important aspects of starting a business is ensuring that you have a strategy to communicate with your potential customers and people that may know your potential customers. In this column, I’ll outline how to create a strategic digital marketing strategy and why it’s so important to the future growth of your company. I’ve been in the trenches building digital marketing strategies for my new ventures over the past 6 months and want to share how you can find similar victories.
For more advanced content and advice on digital marketing strategies, check out Chowdhury’s Digital. I’ve connected with Rafi and have been super impressed by the knowledge that he shares with his audience through his site. A no-brainer for advice on increasing traffic and users on your site.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
In the fall of 2015, I started to research the world of digital marketing and how entrepreneurs can best utilize the Internet to communicate with their potential customers. From research, speaking with marketing professionals, and testing my own hypotheses, I have come to a conclusion of what makes up digital marketing strategies.
1. Social Media
We can’t deny the power of social media in the 21st century. Since it’s arrival, it has been increasingly used as a resource for businesses to speak with their customers and create more leads. Dependent upon your business model and industry, social media can be used differently to achieve your given goals.
The most popular social media channels for entrepreneurs and startups are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. I recommend reading this article by Big Mouth Marketing.
2. Email List
Another powerful tool that many entrepreneurs initially overlook is the email list. This is the practice of enticing your community to give you their email address so that you can use it for sales and promotional purposes. The most successful digital marketers are the ones that are focused on building their email list and strategically selling their products through it.
3. Content Strategy –> eBooks, blog, etc.
Content is king. We’ve all heard it before and it continues to ring true. Above all else, people love content that makes them think and adds real value to their life. As a young business, one of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your industry is through your content.
You can utilize a content strategy by building a blog into your site and releasing eBooks focused within your field of expertise. As you promote the content to your community and other potential customers, you can wrap them into your site and find ways to turn them into customers.
4. SEO and Link Building
It’s a long term game, but it’s one that must be incorporated into your digital marketing strategy. SEO is the practice of optimizing your content and website pages so that search engines can easily crawl your site. Proper SEO provides search engines with key information that defines the purpose of your content so that it can be accurately presented on the search engine for users.
Link building is the practice of “connecting” your site to reputable websites through links. As you build more incoming links to your site from reputable sources, search engines increase your reputability and will be more likely to recommend you in search results.
For an in depth guide to SEO and Link Building, I recommend reading Moz’s SEO eBook: Beginner’s Guide to SEO. It walks you through the basics of search engines, SEO strategies, and how you can build your site into a highly reputable entity that search engines will adore.
5. Relationship Building & Guest Posting
Digital marketing is a cooperative game. In order to build the reputation of your website and content, it’s important that you partner with other site owners to attract attention to your business. The most common examples of relationship building is through guest posting and webinars. If you are an expert in eCommerce, find reputable eCommerce blogs and apply to write a guest post for their site. If you are published on their site, they will give you a mention and their community will be directed to view your site.
Finally, you want to make sense of all of the data that you are obtaining from your digital marketing strategy. Once you are building enough traffic to your site from the above practices, you want to understand how many people are coming, where they are coming from, what they are clicking on most, and how you can convert them into your customer. As you learn from your data, you will test different methods and track results trough A/B testing.
Why You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy
Reason #1: To build a community of potential customers and users
Reason #2: To establish authority on search engines
Reason #3: To become an expert in your field
Reason #4: To learn about your target market and understand their online habits
Reason #5: To create web legitimacy for your young business
How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy
In order to build a sound digital marketing plan, you need to cover the six topics that I mentioned above. Go through each and answer the following questions.
1. Social Media
- Which social media channels will you use?
- How often will you publish new content?
- How will you balance curated vs. created content?
- What is your goal for your social media channels?
2. Email List
- How will you capture people’s attention to gain access to their email address?
- How often will you send your newsletter out?
- What will the newsletter contain?
- How will you use the email list to convert your community into buyers?
3. Content Strategy
- How will you capture your target market’s attention with your content?
- What eBooks could you write that would establish your reputation in your industry?
- What content will you have on your blog?
- How often will you product and release blog content?
4. SEO and Link Building
- What keywords will you target with your website and content?
- How will you build relationships with more reputable sites to strengthen your link community?
5. Relationship Building
- What type of sites do you want to partner with? why?
- Do you prefer to write guest posts or appear in podcasts and video blogs?
- What is the purpose of your relationship building?
- What software are you going to use to track your digital marketing tactics?
- How will you A/B test your actions to see how your customers respond?
Once you’ve answered all of these questions, it’s important to put it all together into a formal strategic plan that you can return to. Keep in mind that digital marketing is a long term play. It’s going to take 3-6 months for your marketing and content strategies to become worthwhile, but they will greatly reward you in the long run.
My Experience with eCommetize, ConnorGillivan.com, and FreeeUp
In the fall of 2015, I decided to start three new business ventures…all that would require a significant amount of digital marketing at some point within the first 6 months of starting up. I was familiar with digital marketing practices from being in the eCommerce space, but I had much to learn before I could effectively to the practices to the test.
For the first three months as my ventures got off the ground, I spent mornings, evenings, weekends, and any free time that I had reading blogs, magazines, and books about the best practices of digital marketing. As I learned more and more, I wrote down the pieces that I found to be the most useful and that I would be able to practice immediately.
I started to practice what I learned through ConnorGillivan.com. I started to create content using the SEO tactics that I had learned and I hired an assistant to help me upstart my social media channels. Over time, I slowly added new aspects to my digital marketing strategy as I have outlined above.
After seeing success with ConnorGillivan.com, I took my new knowledge and applied it to upstarting the digital marketing strategy for FreeeUp.com. Again, I set up the foundation for what it could become and am continuing to build upon the aspects that I outlined above. eCommetize is now calling for a digital marketing plan and I am onto my third attempt in the past 6 months with more knowledge than I could have imagined.
Comment on This Post
If you’ve been involved in any of the digital marketing tactics outlined in this article, share 1 best practice.
The more people that contribute, the smarter we all become. Digital marketing is a strategy that we all can learn given patience, constant learning, and a little dose of analytics.