Our lives have become increasingly connected. We have a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, and a desktop computer. We play video games like Fallout with people all over the world. We shout out to our Tweeps, share moments we think are Gramworthy, and even Vaguebook on occasions. Everyone is communicating with their friends, family, and acquaintances instantly. With constant internet usage among adults increasing 5% in the last three years according to Pew Research, the way people shop and buy has drastically changed.
HOW DOES A LOCAL BUSINESS OR SOLO-PRENEUR GET IN ON THE ACTION? DIGITAL MARKETING
As defined by one of the leading inbound digital marketing firms in the country, HubSpot:
Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.
In other words, every time you post on Facebook, send out a promotional email, or create a Google Ad you are doing digital marketing.
According to SEOTribunal.com:
- Google is responsible for 96% of all smartphone search traffic and 94% total organic traffic
- 84% of people expect brands to create content
- 41% of clicks go to the top three paid ads on the search results page
- The average yield for email marketing is $44.25 on the dollar
- The average attention span is eight seconds
- 71% of consumers who’ve had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others
- Top brands on Instagram are seeing a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%, which is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter.
- According to even more digital marketing stats, 2018, 40% of users would prefer to spend more money on companies and businesses who are engaging on social media.
The most common forms of digital marketing include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When you engage in Search Engine Optimization or SEO, you are using the first phase of Inbound Marketing, the Attract Phase. People go to the internet to get answers. They ask questions in their searches such as Italian restaurants near me, not just Italian food or Italian restaurants. Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of making your company’s website rank higher in the Search Engine Results Page or SERPS for specific keywords or phrases. The higher you rank on the SERPS for these keywords and phrases, the more free (organic) traffic (visitors) your website gets. According to Search Engine Watch, the #1 position on a Google Search gets nearly 33% of the traffic. There is a significant drop from #1 to #2 and an astronomical drop from #1 to #10. The table below shows the difference in traffic for each position. It is important to note this is for page 1 which gets 91% of all web traffic.
A good SEO strategy uses a combination of:
- On-page SEO: This type of SEO focuses on all of the content that exists “on the page” when looking at a website. This content consists of the written descriptions (copy) of your products or services, pictures and infographics, as well as any videos or blogs found on your site. The content uses keywords and phrases your customers and potential customers use when looking for answers to their questions By researching keywords for their search volume and intent (or meaning), you can answer questions for readers and rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs) those questions produce.
- Off-page SEO: This type of SEO focuses on all of the activity that takes place “off the page” when looking to optimize your website. “What activity not on my own website could affect my ranking?” You might ask. The answer is inbound links, also known as backlinks. The number of publishers that link to you, and the relative “authority” of those publishers, affect how highly you rank for the keywords you care about. By networking with other publishers, writing guest posts on these websites (and linking back to your website), and generating external attention, you can earn the backlinks you need to move your website up on all the right SERPs.
- Technical SEO: This type of SEO focuses on the backend of your website, and how your pages are coded. Image compression, structured data, and CSS file optimization are all forms of technical SEO that can increase your website’s loading speed — an important ranking factor in the eyes of search engines like Google.
To learn more about SEO strategy from Illini Marketing click here.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the use of social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to promote your business and brand. Each one of these channels has unique rules and specific “languages” which a local business or solo-prenuer can leverage to increase awareness, increase website traffic, and ultimately generate sales leads for their business. Understanding the channels your customers and potential customers use frequently will help guide your marketing efforts, determine which social channels to focus on, and inform your social media strategy. There is no bigger mistake than a company trying to take advantage of a trend like Pokemon Go or the hot new social media channel like SnapChat only to find out their customers are not there. It is like advertising Dude Wipes on Lifetime, probably not really cost-effective.
Some of the most popular channels to use for local businesses or solo-prenuers are:
- Facebook- despite a decrease in organic (free) reach, this channel is still the number one way to reach a large customer base. With 4 billion monthly active users, 1.6 billion daily active users, and an average of 58 minutes spent using Facebook daily, the channel is the gold standard for social media marketing.
- YouTube- The number 2 social media channel and 3rd most popular website worldwide, YouTube has 9 billion monthly visits, 149 million daily visits and a viewer spends an average of 1 hour per day watching videos. As we have all fell victim to a “YouTube Wormhole”, this platform is perfect for sharing your company’s culture or giving easy tutorials to position yourself as a subject matter expert.
- Twitter- Knowing how to use Twitter right can be a big contributor to the success of your social media marketing. Twitter is one of the most popular go-to sources for what’s happening in the world in real-time. With over 68 million monthly active users in the US, 26 million daily active users in the US, and an average of 208 followers per user, Twitter has enormous potential to drive traffic and attract new customers.
- Instagram- Instagram has rapidly become a must-have for local business and solo-prenuers. With 1 billion monthly active users, 600 million daily active users, and most Instagram users being between 18 to 29 years of age with 32% of Instagram users being college students, creating Gramworthy content can help grow your business and brand.
To learn more about Social Media Marketing strategy from Illini Marketing click here.
Email marketing is an essential part of your digital marketing strategy as a local business or solo-prenuer. From engaging customers to delivering the right information, to the right person, at the right time, email marketing can be a powerful tool. A good email campaign can:
- Welcome new customers
- Retain old customers
- Re-engage current customers
- Up-sell services
- Win-back lost customers
- Provide outstanding customer service
The 3 types of email campaigns are:
- PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGNS– A promotional email campaign announces preferred customer deals, new customer offers, or special downloads to your customers. These campaigns improve customer loyalty while increasing revenues from past customers.
- PROSPECTING CAMPAIGNS- A prospecting email campaign helps you filter and refine your email list. Prospecting campaigns help you find a decision-maker or confirm who the decision-maker may be, break the ice and start a conversation with an older lead, build new relationships, and generate qualified leads for further marketing or sales follow-up.
- NURTURING or DRIP CAMPAIGNS- Email nurturing campaigns or “drip” campaigns allow you to keep in touch with prospects and lukewarm leads. These “not-ready-to-buy” opportunities are kept simmering with minimal hands-on sales time or resource investment through drip or nurturing campaigns.
In addition to not allowing these leads to go cold, nurturing or drip email marketing campaigns are perfect for:
- Welcoming new prospects
- Customer retention
- Customer re-engagement
- Customer service
- Up-sell programs
- Customer win-back.
Nurturing/drip campaigns are designed to keep your business top of mind with prospects who when ready to buy, call you first.
To learn more about Email Marketing strategy from Illini Marketing click here.
Content marketing is the creation of assets such as blog posts, long-form content like Ebooks and whitepapers, and infographics. These content pieces help generate awareness, leads, and customers moving them along the buyer’s journey. Not only do you need to create original blogs, infographs, and other long-form content, you also need to promote these pieces.
The most popular ways to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy are:
- Blogging- Blogging is writing articles on your website’s blog. These articles help demonstrate your industry expertise and generate organic search traffic for your business. Blogs ultimately give you more opportunities to convert website visitors into leads for your business.
- Long-Form Content- Long-form content such as Ebooks, whitepapers, and video tutorials helps further educate website visitors. These pieces of content are generally exchanged for a reader’s contact information. When you combine long-form content pieces with email or social media marketing you generate leads for your company and moving people through the buyer’s journey.
- Infographics- Sometimes it is better to show, not tell. Infographics are pieces of original visual content which helps visitors see what you want to teach them about your business or services. Infographics are especially effective on your company website or in a social media campaign.
Want to apply content marketing to your business? Check out Illini Marketing’s free content marketing evaluation today.
Does digital marketing work for all businesses?
Digital marketing can work for all types of businesses. No matter what your business sells or the size of your company, digital marketing has a place in your overall business strategy. Digital is the great equalizer since a minimal investment in time or dollars can offer an outstanding return. Like all marketing efforts, digital marketing requires a buyer persona to identify your customer’s needs, help you choose the right digital marketing channels, and create the right content for customers and channels. Every business is different and not all businesses should implement digital marketing in the same way. Whether you are a business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), or a combination of both, digital marketing can improve website traffic, generate new leads, or create a community of followers for your brand.
I’m ready to try digital marketing. Now what?
You are probably doing some digital marketing already. From social media posts on Facebook to a website for your business, it’s more than likely that you’re at least reaching some of your audience online. No doubt you can think of some areas of your strategy that could use a little improvement, though.
Let Illini Marketing Consultants do a full external audit of your company’s digital footprint for free or download our step-by-step guide to help you build a digital marketing strategy that’s truly effective, whether you’re a complete beginner or have a little more experience. You can download it for free here.