Do you want to grow your online business, but have no idea where to start when it comes to digital marketing? If so, check out the 10 ideas and strategies below!
When I began my online business venture way back in 2004, “digital marketing” was nothing compared to what it has become today.
For starters, Facebook and Gmail were just taking off.
WordPress didn’t really have a website until 2005, and there was no YouTube!
Google and SEO were in the limelight for sure, but PPC was kind of just getting off the ground.
And as for social media?
Well, we were very limited as to what we could do with it.
So, I can tell you that as marketers, we did things a little bit differently, mainly because the internet marketing landscape was just completely different, or should I say “young”.
Today, we’re inundated with so many opportunities to grow our business.
We’re forever being swamped by the latest tools, apps, services, and technologies.
We’re also constantly being shown various types of tactics, methods, ideas, strategy.
It can be totally mind-blowing at the best of times.
And here’s the thing, you just can’t ignore the changes and hope you can grow your online business using tired old text-book marketing ideas.
As Jacky Lovato accurately wrote in this post: if you don’t keep up, you’ll get left behind.If you don't keep up, you'll get left behind. Reading #digitalmarketingideasClick To Tweet
The digital marketing super-highway
To whatever degree, every business owner, marketer, or entrepreneur armed with a website sees themselves as some kind of internet marketing guru.
And every other internet marketing guru out there is preaching about some cool amazing new method or tactic you’ve simply got to use in order to stay ahead of the game.
It can be freaking overwhelming at times, I can tell you.
I remember starting out in this niche many years ago and thinking, I’m never going to get to grips with this.
And you know what?
Even though I feel I know a great deal about how to market my business online today. I’m still learning every single day.
So, one of the questions I get asked a lot as a digital marketer, particularly from startup businesses and new bloggers, is this one –
Do I really need to learn digital marketing, or can I just build a website and wait for people to find it in Google?
I know what you’re thinking –
But Fabrizio, everyone knows how to do online marketing, it’s 2017 for heaven’s sake.
You would be extremely surprised.
I have worked with successful business owners that don’t have a clue what to do when it comes to growing their business online.
For most of us internet marketing gurus who spend the majority of our time online, we’re savvy enough to know a thing or two about digital marketing, right?
But to assume that every business owner knows about running a website, marketing, doing social media, launching email campaigns, doing PPC, and all the rest of it, is thinking narrowly.
Here’s the reality.
There are thousands of individuals and small businesses who have no idea where to start when it comes to online marketing.
Heck, most of these folks don’t even have a website to start with.
So think about those businesses that have been long established ‘offline’, they simply hit a brick wall when it comes to the online world.
So, to finally answer the above question – Do you need to know digital marketing?
Heck yes, is the short answer.
Interest in digital marketing has certainly continued to grow over the last five years.
It’s now critical for any business getting online to get to grips with good internet marketing practices.
The digital/internet marketing playing field changed
Internet marketing methods are somewhat different from conventional offline marketing tactics.
For starters, most offline or traditional marketing techniques are based on “advertising” and, or “cold hard selling”.
The internet, although share similar values and principles, primarily with regards to advertising and emails, is still a very different landscape altogether.
Advertising is just one “tiny” piece of the online marketing puzzle. The rest of the puzzle is made up of other types of internet/digital marketing tactics.
So, In this post, I will share with you just 10 of the best digital marketing ideas and strategies you need to know about.
Of course, there are hundreds of other ideas and tactics out there you could learn about, but you need not worry your head about any of those just yet.
For now, focus on the ones that really matter for growing your business online.
Let’s finally, dive in!
10 Best digital marketing ideas and strategies every business needs to know about
Remember, if you’re reading this and you fully understand the importance of having a website for your business, then move on. This post is NOT for you.
According to GoDaddy’s 2015 small business survey, they found that 60% of small businesses do not have a website.
In the UK alone, it’s estimated that 2 million businesses still don’t have a website. (Source)
Those numbers might be less now, however, many small businesses don’t bother with a website because they feel it’s either too expensive to build one, or too time-consuming to manage one.
Or, they simply just don’t understand how much of an impact a website can have on their business.
A mobile-responsive website is so important for your business to grow and prosper. Especially when you consider the fact that 60% of internet access is occurring on mobile devices.
SmallBizTrends made an interesting point in one of their articles here. It said –
With a website, your business stops being invisible.
There’s no better way to put it in my opinion. Because without a website, your business is virtually invisible to those trying to find it online.Without a website, your business is virtually invisible to those trying to find it online.Click To Tweet
If your business does not have a website that is mobile friendly and easy to find by your potential customers, then I recommend you start here immediately.
Digital Marketing Idea #2: Start blogging
Oh no, not the blogging thing… I hear you say.
Blogging has been around for some time now. Almost every internet based business manages a blog of some type.
Back in 1999, a list was compiled by Jesse James Garrett where there were only 23 blogs in existence on the internet (Source).
According to this infographic, as of 2013, the number of blogs in existence exceeds 170 million.
That very article also states that there are somewhere in the region of 170,000 new blogs added to the internet every day.
Those are astonishing numbers, right?
So, why should you even care about using blogging in your business, and how can you use blogging to help your business grow and prosper?
Glad you asked. Let’s take a look –
- Blogging can help you share timely and relevant information with your customers. Think of it as a direct way to communicate with your customers.
- Businesses who use blogs receive 67% more leads than businesses who don’t market with blogs. (Source)
- Blogging can help you dramatically improve your search engine rankings, thus driving more targeted buyer traffic to your business website, products, and services.
- Blogging can help you add that all-important “human element” to your brand, help you build more connections, reinforce relationships and help you earn the trust and loyalty of your customers. That’s important if you want people to buy from you again and again.
- Blogging is a cost-effective marketing strategy, simple to setup and every business should be using.
If you want to learn how to set up a blog for your business properly, check out this post.
Digital Marketing Idea #3: Search engine optimization
Having a great looking website is all well and good.
Creating useful, compelling, actionable content is all well and good too.
You might also have some amazing products or services on your site that people really need and love.
But what good is all of it if no one can find it?
Here’s a website marketing strategy you can’t ignore.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short.
I speak to many small business owners, marketers, and bloggers every single week, be it online or offline.
I often ask them, “What do they do to drive traffic to their website?”
Most of them immediately respond with – “doing advertising” or “running PPC campaigns”.
OK, so there’s nothing wrong with that at all, but then I ask, “What about SEO?”
The response I usually get is this – “SEO is too technical, too time-consuming, and doesn’t provide immediate results”.
Interestingly, I agree and disagree.
Here’ the thing:
I’ve heard countless stories of how small companies are spending ridiculous amounts of money every single month on tools like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
So that they can make sure their website can be seen at the top of the search engine search results for their desired keyword or search term.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with doing this, however, there is a much better and more cost-effective way.
Yes, you guessed it. It’s called SEO.
Whilst doing SEO is free when you learn how to do it yourself, there are some disadvantages over PPC.
- SEO often doesn’t provide immediate results. You have to wait to see the result of your efforts.
- There’s no guarantee that optimizing for search engines will pay off.
That being said, doing SEO can provide your small business website with free traffic, and lots of it too.
And for the record, I’m not saying that PPC is bad in any way. I know a lot of great marketers out there who know exactly what they’re doing and getting from their PPC campaigns.
However, I am saying that if you’re just starting out, you may not want to be blasting your entire budget on PPC.
When you implement simple but effective SEO practices into your website marketing strategy, sure it takes some time to see any genuine results, again especially if you’re just starting out with your website.
And the best thing is?
You don’t have to drain your marketing budget.
Search engine traffic is free, and on top of that, it can last for a very long time if you know how to do it effectively for your website.
If you run a WordPress website, consider installing a powerful SEO plugin. I recommend something like Yoast SEO, which is free. Or, something like SEOPressor Connect for more site-wide on-page optimization options.
Digital Marketing Idea 4: Guest blogging
Guest blogging is nothing new, and only a few years ago it was considered as being a very powerful link building and traffic generation strategy.
Sadly these days, if you try building SEO backlinks using guest blogging the wrong way, or more appropriately if you use unnatural spammy link building tactics in your guest posts, you could potentially get your site slapped by Google.
Guest blogging, however, is still a very powerful way to do the following things:
- Brand promotion and increasing credibility.
- Tapping into a blog’s traffic source and driving readers back to your own website.
- Building relationships with readers from other blogs and communities.
I want to highlight that brand promotion and credibility goes a long way in helping you to establish your website or blog online with guest blogging.
I’ve made plenty of new connections, friends, clients just by guest blogging on relevant and industry-leading blogs in the past, so I know it works.
As for getting backlinks and referral traffic?
Well, from my own experiences with writing guest posts, guest blogging has not always been the best tactic for this.
I’d like you to check out the graphic below taken from an incredibly insightful and data-driven case study article over on BloggerJet by Tim Soulo.
Tim gathered data from some 239 guest posts from some 400 bloggers and proves to a certain degree that guest blogging is not often the best strategy to use for driving referral traffic.
Do check out the post here, it contains some other valuable information, tips, and ideas to help you get the most from your guest blogging marketing campaigns.
Guest blogging is NOT the best strategy for driving referral traffic!Click To Tweet
Digital Marketing Idea 5: List building and email marketing
Here’s another thing that I find astonishing.
During 2016, I connected and worked with some of the most amazing clients I’ve ever had to work with. I guess I feel lucky.
Anyhow, I discovered that a few of those clients hadn’t even started to think about building an email list for their business.
To me, that’s just crazy because an email list is probably the most valuable and responsive asset you can have in your business.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record and tell you – hey man, you’ve got to build your email list, over and over again.
Instead, I want you to digest some of these thought-provoking email marketing stats below in the Slide Share.
Building an email list for your business is unlike building a following or network on social media.
Yes, you can have 50,000 followers on Twitter. Or you can have 20,000 fans on Facebook, and all the rest of it, but here’s the thing, you’ll never, ever own those fans and followers.
By building your email list, building your own network, you will own it.
Even if you can only muster a few subscribers each day, it all goes towards building your power list.
I’m sharing with you the image below of how my email list growth per-month has trended over the last couple of years.
Not impressive by any other standard, but as you can see it’s growing, right?
So please, don’t waste all your energy on social media, focus on building your email list building. It’s cost effective and it can be a very profitable for your business, later on, so get on the case.
Recommended reading: How I Exploded My Email Growth By 400%
Digital Marketing Idea 6: Social media marketing
OK so I just told you not to waste all your time on social media, now I’m going to tell you to use social media.
Don’t worry, I’m not taking you on a wild goose chase.
The thing is, you can’t really ignore social media because it’s not going to go anywhere fast soon. Social media is here to stay for a very long time.
And, as more people flock to sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, you need to start thinking of new ways to get your business noticed, and in front of your target audience, using social media.
Easier said than done, right? So how do you do it?
The aim with social media is not to be on every single platform you can find, but to be on the platforms that give you the most level of interaction.
In other words, be where your audience is engaging the most with you.
For instance, if people are reacting to your shared content and interaction on Facebook, that’s where you need to be. If it’s Twitter or LinkedIn, you know what you have to do.
Be where your audience wants to engage with you.
If something isn’t working, maybe you’ve been trying to make Instagram work for your business for months on end, don’t bother wasting your time there if your audience isn’t there.
A lot of businesses just plod along on every social networking platform they can find, month after month, wasting time, money and valuable resources.
This is a useless and expensive strategy, especially when their target audience and potential customers could be somewhere else entirely.
If you want to learn how to make the most of social media for marketing your business, I urge you to check out this amazing book on Amazon.
Digital Marketing Idea 7: Content marketing
Content marketing is the big trend these days, and it doesn’t have to be complex or complicated at all, not to begin with anyway.
So what is content marketing anyway?
In a nutshell, content marketing is simply creating and using useful, compelling, problem-solving online content to attract and convert prospects into paying customers.
Content can be created using a variety of mediums and platforms such as video, audio, eBooks and white papers, webinars and live-stream video, presentations and more.
Blogging and social media can be included in your content marketing strategy even.
If you want to learn what a content marketer is actually responsible for, I recommend you check out this post on CopyBlogger to get an insight.
The most important thing to remember with content marketing is that you’re not trying to sell anything, but moreover, to provide incredible value and resource in order to entice customer interest and interaction, which will then lead them down your marketing funnels.
Digital Marketing Idea 8: Outreach and influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a tactic, again, that hasn’t been around for very long.
That being said, its growth in popularity has been phenomenal in the digital marketing world.
When done right, influence marketing can be very effective for any type of business online.
So what is influence marketing anyway?
According to this source: Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire/hire/pay influencers to get out the word for you.
So just in case, you’re still at a loss with this, it means using industry leaders and influencers to catapult your message about your products and services to a wider audience.
Here are some useful tools to help you with your influence marketing and outreach campaigns –
- BuzzSumo Influencers
- Ninja Outreach (Influential blogger outreach, recommended)
- Mention (Identify the most important people talking about your business)
Digital Marketing Idea 9: Adding your business to Google Maps
OK, so if you have a business you’d like to improve online visibility for, the simplest thing you can do to ensure your customers can find you online, is to add your business to Google maps (Previously known as Google Places).
With your business firmly placed in Google Maps, your customers can find you easily, and even leave you valuable feedback for using your services, which will help you boost credibility and attract even more customers.
Digital Marketing Idea 10: Pay Per Click
I couldn’t leave PPC out because it’s a great strategy for businesses when the time is right.
Again, if you’re just starting out with your business, don’t be tempted to blast your entire marketing or advertising budget on PPC.
OK, so PPC is probably the quickest way to get traffic to your website.
If you’re smart, you can create a very relevant and compelling offer, along with some great content and use targeted PPC ads to get people flocking to your offer.
I would not recommend you start using PPC with the mindset that you’re going to convert cold prospects into buyers instantly.
That’s not going to happen.
I would recommend, however, that you use PPC to build your customer base, by offering a valuable incentive in line with your business offerings.
You can use PPC to grow your email list for example.
You can then think of ways in which to convert your prospects into buyers later on.
Check out this book on Amazon if you need an introduction to Pay Per Click.
Wrapping it all up
So there you have it, 10 best digital marketing ideas and strategies to grow your business in 2018 and beyond.
I’d like you to remember that internet marketing doesn’t have to be costly. All of the strategies I’ve outlined above can be very cost-effective when planned and executed correctly.
I want to wish you the very best of luck.