Getting a Handle on Digital Marketing
So, you need to do something about marketing your business. Maybe you’ve hit a creative brick wall or your knowledge is limited and you need desperately to get a handle on digital marketing ideas for your brand. Whichever category you fall into, you’ve come to the right place.
We know how confusing the world of digital marketing can be. It doesn’t help that every second article on the subject has been written by someone selling a course and claiming to know ‘the secret’ to marketing successfully does it? They just want you to sign up to a newsletter, sign up for a ‘free course’ and give them your details – in trying to learn about digital marketing, you’ll often inadvertently find yourself the subject of a digital marketing campaign.
We’re not going to claim that we know any magical secrets – what we are going to do is help you to navigate the various methods which any business, small or large, can utilise to capitalize on the myriad platforms out there which can help you get your business seen by more people…and ultimately, help you sell more.
We’re also going to help you find some really innovative digital marketing ideas to use on these platforms and explain why some digital marketing practices are non-negotiable.
How can I find fresh marketing ideas when the rules are always changing?
This is something that’s a very real issue; the rules are always changing – but for a very good reason. The market is saturated. It’s incredible just how many businesses are out there online, all vying for attention and each shouting louder than the next.
Things have to keep changing or we’d stall. The internet would become a stagnant place where old tricks were rehashed and functionality would suffer.
It is tempting to just roll with what you’ve got when you’re busy and don’t have time to research all of the various opportunities for digital marketing – you might, for example, have a vague idea in your head that your website hasn’t been optimized for mobile users, or that your social media is boring, but neglect just those two factors and you could lose out big-time on your share of the spotlight.
Look at these statistics and think again.
That’s a whopping amount of users who need your website to work well with mobile devices and the sheer amount of searches happening every second is enough to make anyone realise that their online marketing simply must be honed and well presented.
Finding innovative digital marketing ideas is just a small part of the problem at hand. It’s important but just one aspect of the whole picture. Before you worry yourself about ideas (which we’re going to cover in depth shortly), let’s look at some of the common questions asked by people who are concerned about digital marketing.
Can I just pay someone to maintain my website and leave Google to do it’s job?
No. You can’t do that. Your website needs consistent primping to make sure that Google’s bots can find it and place it in the results – neglect the SEO (search engine optimization) and you might as well just shut your site down.
Is it enough to post regularly on Facebook or similar platforms?
No. That’s not to say that posting on Facebook and similar platforms isn’t good – it is good. But it’s not enough. You need to do more and we’ll go into just what, shortly.
Do I need to take a course?
There’s no harm in taking a course if you choose a good one – a great course can give you new digital marketing ideas as well as expertise so of course it would be a positive action to take – but you don’t need to. Learning on-the-job has it’s own benefits and there is also freelance help out there. You could hire virtual assistant services for example, digital marketing is just the sort of thing a V.A. can take care of.
Isn’t Digital Marketing just the same as advertising?
That would be a big, fat, resounding NO. Traditional advertising is a completely different ballgame. That’s because old-fashioned advertising was about one thing – selling.
Digital marketing is a much bigger beast and advertising is only a part of it.
There are 5 components to digital marketing
These components- or elements, are each made up of even more parts and in order to make your business a success, you need to consider all of them very carefully. None is more important than the next and all have equal weight.
We’re going to get to our 33 digital marketing ideas very soon – but in order for you to understand more about how each one fits into the greater picture, it’s important that you understand all of the elements of digital marketing.
Let’s look at each one.
Mobile considerations in digital marketing
Mobile users now outnumber desktop users by quite a margin. Therefore, it makes sense to ensure that your website is completely optimized for mobile users. Ensuring that your content can be seen fully and accurately on a mobile device as well as a desktop is vital. Another important factor is time – loading time. Even a 1 second delay can result in a lost opportunity. All sales opportunities need to work well for mobile users so whether that’s viewing a video or clicking through to access a voucher, it must be easy for the user.
Social media marketing is more than Facebook, it’s more than Instagram and it’s more than likes. The tested removal of likes from Facebook and Instagram have heralded a new dawn in the age of social media marketing – thumbs up are no longer a good measuring tool.
The latest trend in social media marketing is known as Tribal Marketing and it focuses not on demographics but on behaviour – or rather collective behaviour. Choosing to market towards a specific age-group/gender etc is limiting because brands are missing out on huge chunks of their audience. Tribal Marketing is engaged in observing what is being said and by whom about certain products.
Remember though – this is only one aspect of social media marketing and it’s a huge part of digital marketing as a whole. Other considerations are video – engagement through video offers huge opportunities and the newer platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Stories offer great features to make your journey easier.
The only way to stay abreast of the trends is to fully engage in the world of social media marketing and you can do this by reading the latest online publications on the subject.
The key to this is the operative word – content. Content marketing is the practice of creating and sharing content for your audience to consume. Once upon a time this would have encompassed magazine and newspaper articles and advertisements, promotional leaflets, catalogs and posters in addition to television and radio content.
Some of these things still apply but we’re talking about digital content marketing. So that includes blog posts, social media content for Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and depending on your business, maybe the newer platforms such as TikTok.
Not everyone is adept at creating content – that’s why we have content specialists in all their various and wonderful forms.
If you’re constantly on the hunt for out of the box ideas for marketing or you’re just too busy to undertake your own research then it would probably be of benefit for you to seek content creation services to assist you. It’s not something you can do well unless you have plenty of time.
What is organic search? It’s basically the opposite of paid search – or pay-per-click. When a search engine such as Google returns search result, there are two types of results on offer. Organic and paid. The organic results are those listings from websites which are closest to the enquiry that was typed in. Ranking well in organic search results is what SEO is all about.
People will often trust organic results more than paid results and if your digital marketing ideas are sound, well that’s a win-win situation.
Nurturing Website Visitors and Email Marketing
Basically inbound marketing;’sometimes called simply “lead nurturing” this is the practice of engaging with your audience by consistently offering them relevant information and keeping on top of their journey with your company.
The most successful lead nurturing involves a combination of marketing automation including email marketing, social media, direct sales outreach and great web content.
There are lots of ways to nurture your audience – read on to learn some of the best.
33 Digital Marketing Ideas
Some of these ideas will suit all businesses, a few will suit larger businesses and others are perfect for small businesses. Whichever yours is, be assured that most of them are going to be relevant to you in a big way.
1. Fix your website:
It might seem obvious – but that’s because it is obvious. However many times we say it though, many people don’t really grasp the importance of ensuring your website is absolutely slick. By slick we mean responsive, well designed, every link working, well written and designed to be visually arresting.
If you’re reading this and thinking “But I haven’t even got a website yet.” then you really need to make this your number one priority. There’s an astonishing amount of small businesses functioning without a website today – in the U.S. only 64% of small businesses have a website.
The reasons are varied; some don’t think they need one, others are unsure where to start. If you’re one of these businesses then you might be happy to learn that it’s very easy to get a website up and running these days. One way is to simply hire a WordPress Developer; they’ll sort out all of the technical stuff for you and your business will have an internet presence which means you’ll make more money.
2. Start blogging:
If you’re already blogging, are you doing it enough? You may be tired of hearing the same advice over and over again – but have you stopped to think why it’s so important?
It’s not just important, it’s vital. Don’t let the amount of blogs out there put you off though. There’s definitely space for everyone, especially if you create great content.
- Blogging gives you the chance to share important and relevant information with your customers or leads.
- Businesses with blogs receive more website traffic than those without
- Blogging helps your brand by adding a human touch to your website
- Blogs are simple to set up and maintain
3. AI-Powered Technology:
What do we mean by AI-powered technology? Things like chatbots which enable you to ensure your visitors’ questions get answered straight away no matter what the time of day. Chatbots are automated but there are other options which enable you to have live humans answer questions as soon as they’re asked.
There are a wealth of AI-powered apps and software systems designed to help you to make your marketing more effective and successful.
4. Video Marketing: Video marketing is the most important and powerful marketing trend today. People like videos; consumers are far more likely to watch a short video than read a chunk of text about your business.
Wyzowl undertook some research for 2020 and here are some of their findings.
- 85% of businesses use video as a marketing tool
- 92% say it’s an important part of their strategy
- 88% of businesses felt that video gives them a good ROI
Video can be shared on multiple platforms so any investment you make will reap multiple benefits.
5. Start a Podcast:
Podcasting is a powerful marketing tool and it’s far easier than you might imagine. Getting a professional and well-produced podcast up and running is quite easy today thanks to freelancers who are there to offer professional podcasting services and other expert services.
Podcasts are growing daily in popularity and keeping your position as a business in-the-know is easier than ever thanks to the popularity of listening platforms such as Spotify.
6. Social Media Stories:
Snapchat were the first to introduce the Stories function with Facebook and Instagram hot on their heels. Stories are designed to be ephemeral; they disappear after a short time so users are often keen to view them in case they miss out on an offer or new information. Stories provide a great platform for increasing brand awareness and pushing special offers.
7. Push Notifications:
Just in case you’re not sure, Push notifications are messages which pop up on mobile devices. App publishers can send them any time and the user doesn’t need to be in the app to see them.
Push notifications allow businesses to show special events such as a flash sale or other offer. They look just like an SMS message so aren’t bothersome – users are not upset by them as they would be by pop-up ads. They only get to customers who have your app installed so they’re not unexpected.
85% of online stores use push notifications and they’re far more effective than newsletters.
8. Social Shopping:
In early 2019, Instagram allowed users to add a shopping cart to their posts. This meant that people could buy from within Instagram – reducing the risk of losing interested parties because people are reluctant to leave one site for another to complete their purchase.
Instagram is a trusted site and the idea took off with a bang.
9. Get to Grips with LinkedIn:
LinkedIn is a powerful marketing tool for businesses of all types. If you created a profile a while back and haven’t really done much since, it’s time to fix that. Join some groups, share your blog posts regularly. It’s a great way to find new leads.
10. Customer Referrals:
This can be a powerful way to grab more customers. All you need to do is figure out what you can offer for referrals. Maybe a free month of service or a discount on next purchase? Whatever it is, referrals are a great way to garner more business.
11. Online Competitions:
Like and share – you know the story. Competitions are still a powerful way to spread the word about your business. Make sure you read up on the rules though – each platform has it’s own and if you fall foul of them, you might get banned. That’s more bother than it’s worth!
12. Speak to your Customers:
Your existing customers can offer real insight into your business. Run polls, reach out directly and ask your customers what they love about your business and what you could do better. Offer a reward for taking part in polls and you’ll get more engagement. Share posts like this on whichever platforms your customers prefer to use.
13. Get your Graphics up to Scratch:
If you’re honest, are the images on your website good enough? Graphics really matter – the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it processes text. That’s seriously fast! Could you use some infographics on your website to get the message home?
14. Watch your Headlines:
Some email marketing campaigns fail hard because of the headlines. If the headline to your latest newsletter looks spammy, people just won’t open it. What constitutes spammy? In short it’s the attention-seeking stuff. Anything written in all-caps, with exclamation points or dramatic promises.
15. Know your Customers – Choose your Platforms:
Social media is powerful, we know that. Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Twitter are all great places to push your business. But do you know which ones to concentrate on? Each platform has it’s own user ‘type’. People of different ages use each platform differently. Create buyer personas for your customers – know who they are, how old they are, why they’re ‘your’ customers. Then market your great digital marketing ideas on the right platforms. Look at these figures and you’ll know why.
- Facebook is primarily used by a Gen x and Millennial audience – so if you’re selling products to appeal to 14-18 year olds, this is not your ideal platform.
- Snapchat is beloved of Gen Z. They’re young and they’re coming to the age where they will have spending power.
Ensure you’ve done your research properly before spending too much time on any single platform.
15. Influencers are Still Valid:
There has been some negative press in recent months regarding the use of influencers in advertising. But they’re still valid; some niche businesses are utilising so-called “Micro Influencers” – people with a following of around a couple of thousand. The idea is that using people who have less of a fandom creates a more genuine feeling around a product. Whatever your budget, you should definitely consider influencers as a good way to market.
16. Guest Post: Guest posting is a basic concept – write a blog and send it to some bloggers or publications that might like to use it on their site. Using guest posts to get back-links to your site is a very effective SEO strategy too. Approach blogs of all sizes and you may strike it lucky. You’ll also find new digital marketing ideas can come from collaborations like this.
17. Create a Free Resource:
How-to-guides and whitepapers can be a great way to hook new customers. In exchange for their email address, the user gets a free resource to download. Ensure the commodity is well-researched and written.
18. Use Every Business Experience as an Opportunity to Market:
This means taking your camera everywhere, recording every presentation or happening that you’re part of during your day-to-day operations. This can give you valuable content to share on Instagram Stories, YouTube or Facebook.
19. Create a Video Course:
Platforms like Udemy and Skillshare offer a great way to grab even more attention for your business. Create a course and watch your contacts list grow.
20. Utilize Google My Business:
Google has a tonne of free resources which all businesses need to utilize. These include Analytics, Search Console and My Business. It’s basically a business listing and you see it when you search for any business on Google or within Google Maps. People can leave reviews and you can share images and events too. If you’re not already on there, sort this out pronto – it’s vital.
21. Check out Industry Awards:
Might seem odd to put yourself up for an award but it can be a fantastic way to promote yourself whilst being in the running for a prize. Awards and prizes mean free publicity – you don’t even have to win to benefit! Pre-award publications will mention you as a nominee or a finalist and that’s always good for business.
22. Don’t be Shy – Ask for a Review:
Just once is enough – but if you don’t ask, you might not get! Not all consumers leave reviews automatically but plenty will do so if you specifically ask them to. Always thank your reviewers too. It’s another opportunity to show off your great customer-service.
23. Join up with Other Businesses: Find related businesses and band together. This is a reciprocal arrangement where both businesses recommend one another to their customers. An example might be a mattress manufacturer teaming-up with a bed manufacturer or a bedding supplier.
24. Tackle Abandoned Carts: Cart abandonment figures come in at about 70%. That’s huge! The good news is that you can get on top of the issue and reduce that number significantly with the right approach. Look at these common reasons for cart abandonment.
- Long-winded checkout process
- Mandatory account creation
- Page looks suspicious
- Hidden or unclear fees
Fix the above issues if you think they’re a potential issue for your store.
25. Continually Evaluate:
Keeping on top of how your digital marketing efforts are panning out is vital. You should employ as many methods as you need to to ensure that you’re always aware of which campaigns are doing well and which aren’t. Then you should work out why. Once you understand why a particular method is performing well or poorly, you can choose to stop or accelerate it.
26. Stay on Top of Emerging Trends:
Read up on the latest in digital marketing – regularly. We’re talking weekly at least. Things change fast and you have to be on the button when it comes to keeping your brand relevant.
27. Stay on Top of the Calendar:
This is especially important if your business is international. Your digital marketing ideas should always, but always take seasonal trends and special holidays into consideration. If you’ve got clients on different sides of the world, you must engage with them all on a personal level for maximum success.
28. Get Help:
We’re all busy – but being too busy can ultimately damage your marketing performance. If you don’t have time to manage your blogs and social media in addition to the day-to-day running of the business then get help. Virtual assistant services can really take the pressure off and the ROI is excellent if you hire from a trusted source. Freelance assistance doesn’t need to cost the earth either; you can hire on an hourly basis if needed so even small businesses can benefit.
29. Routine Matters:
If you’re a small business then it’s likely you’re wearing more than one hat. Set aside days and times for each digital marketing effort. If you plan to post a blog weekly, then do it at the same time. This will help avoid the “I’m too busy” excuse. Knowing when to expect your content is also great for your users.
30. Promote and then Promote Some more:
No matter how good your latest blog is, no matter how many great digital marketing ideas you’ve implemented, it’s not worth a dime if nobody sees it. Get it out there. Share it everywhere. Same goes for video content – there are more platforms for video now than ever.
31. Grammar Matters:
If you’re writing your own content and you’re not a professional writer then you simply must take extra care to ensure that your content is well-written and grammatically correct. Poorly written content will immediately devalue your brand. Seek help if needed – there are a lot of wonderful freelance writers out there who will ensure that your content is perfect.
32. Maintain a Content Calendar:
A Content Calendar is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a place to check up on and plan in advance all of your digital marketing content. Good tools for this include CoSchedule and MeetEdgar.
33. Keyword Research – Learn About it: It’s super-important because the better you rank for keywords that matter, the better you’ll perform. Choosing the right keyword will get you more views from the right consumers. Here’s a great guide from MOZ on Keywords and how to do the research that matters.
So, now you’ve got your 33 ideas to get you off to a strong start – the question is, will you actually implement them? Even taking on some of the above advice will make almost immediate changes to your brand’s success. A lot of the ideas don’t take much to implement and some are so simple, you won’t even need to undertake any research before going ahead.
Don’t be afraid of failure
A key point to remember is that many of these tips involve learning on-the-job. You’ll need to make a few mistakes in order to get the goods. Get organised, start at the top with ensuring your website is top-notch and optimized for mobile users. It’s hard to go wrong once you get going.
Above all remember this – there is help out there. Hiring support is a great idea and it doesn’t cost the earth either. One freelancer taken on for a day could make all the difference to your social media and how well it performs.
If you’re a larger company and you’ve already got a marketing team, ask yourself this – do they need help? Are they managing with the resources they’ve got at their disposal or is it possible that they’re struggling to fit everything into one day? Talk to them; ask them if they feel that some additional help might be advantageous.
One of the many benefits of utilizing freelancers as a support to your existing team is that you get a fresh perspective on your existing social media and branding – in addition to fresh digital marketing ideas. Ask your team and your freelancers the same questions when evaluating their performance. Do they respond in a similar way or are their replies vastly different? You can gain real insights into your business in this way.
As you grow your business via digital marketing, your social following will increase. More followers equal more sales and isn’t that what this is all about?
Speedlancer offers support with all aspects of digital marketing from blogs to podcasts and from graphic design to Instagram growth services – just get in touch and we’ll make an appointment to discuss your business and how our team of freelancers could help you.