When I started my first online business venture way back in 2004, “digital marketing” was done a tad bit differently to how it’s done 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. PPC was kind of in, and as for social media? Well, not really.
So yes, we did things a little bit differently, mainly because the internet marketing landscape was just a little bit different to what it is today.
Today, we’re inundated with so many opportunities, tools, apps, various technologies, tactics, methods, strategies, and ideas.
It’s totally mind blowing.
The digital marketing super-highway
Every business owner with a website sees themselves as some kind of internet marketer.
Every other internet marketing guru out there is preaching about some amazing new method or tactic you’ve got to use in order to stay ahead of the game.
It’s freaking overwhelming at times.
One of the questions I get asked a lot as a marketer, particularly from folks just starting out online is this:
Do I really need to learn digital marketing? Can’t I just build a website and wait for people to find it in Google?
I know what you’re thinking, oh no, not this broken record again.
It might sound like a broken record to you, perhaps you’re savvy enough to know a thing or two about digital marketing.
But here’s the reality, there are thousands of folks and businesses who have no idea where to start when it comes to online marketing.
Businesses that have been long established offline happily ticking along, but are finally getting online, for them it’s a whole new ballgame.
That being said, a business that is primarily offline shouldn’t have to give two hoots about online marketing anyway.
Until that is, they decide to start a website and begin looking at ways in which to use the internet to promote their business.
So to answer the question –
Do you need to know digital marketing?
Yes is the short answer.
Interest in digital marketing has certainly continued to grow over the last five years, it’s critical for any online business to get to grips with.
If you’re online or putting your business online, and if you want your business to grow and prosper, if you want to reach a wider audience, yes you need to have some knowledge and understanding of digital marketing.
Digital marketing is also known as internet marketing just in case you didn’t know. Some folks may argue this.
The internet marketing playing field
Digital marketing methods are somewhat different from conventional offline marketing methods.
Most offline or traditional marketing techniques are based around “advertising” and, or “cold hard selling”.
The internet although share similar values and principles, primarily with regards to advertising, is still a very different landscape altogether.
Advertising is just one “tiny” piece of the digital marketing puzzle… The rest of the puzzle is made up of other types of online marketing techniques.
In this post, I will share with you 10 powerful or best digital marketing ideas and strategies you need to know about, to help you and your business find success online.
Without wasting another second of your time, let’s get cracking.
10 Digital marketing ideas and strategies every business needs to know about
Doh… Really? Once again, if you’re reading this because you’re lucky enough to understand the importance of having a website for your business, move on. This post is NOT really for you.
The percentage of small businesses with a website in 2014 was said to be around 53%, meaning that 47% of small businesses didn’t have a website. (Source).
That number might be less now, however, some small businesses don’t bother with a website because they feel it’s either too expensive to build 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.
SmallBizTrends made an interesting point in one of their articles here. It says –
With a website, your business stops being invisible.
Which is true. 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, then I recommend you start here immediately.
Digital Marketing Idea #2: Start blogging
Blogging has been around for some time. Almost every internet based business manages a blog.
Back in 1999, a list was compiled by Jesse James Garrett, where only 23 blogs existed on the internet (Source).
According to this infographic, as of 2013, the number of blogs in existence exceeds 170 million.
That very article also calculates that there are somewhere around 170,000 new blogs added to the internet every day.
Those are astonishing numbers, to say the least right?
So, why should you even consider using blogging in your business, and how can you use blogging to help your business grow and prosper?
Let’s take a look at some ways.
- 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 and relevant buyer traffic to your business website.
- 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 them to buy from you again and 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, check out this post.
Digital Marketing Idea #3: Search engine optimization
Having a great looking website is all well and good.
Creating useful, compelling content is all well and good.
You might also have a bunch of amazing products or services on your site that people really need and love too.
But what good is all of it if no one can find and of it.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is more important than most people realize.
I speak to many business owners and bloggers alike every single week, be it online or offline.
To a lot of folks in business, when it comes to creating online visibility for their website or services, they immediately begin to talk about PPC.
I’ve heard many stories of how some companies are spending ridiculous amounts of money each and every month on things like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, just to make sure their website is seen above their competition.
There are even companies set up to rob small businesses blindly like this, and I’m probably going to annoy a lot of people in those kinds of businesses by saying that.
The problem is that many small business owners have been brainwashed to think that SEO is too complicated, or simply too time-consuming to actually do.
Then there’s the waiting game to see if your SEO efforts will pay off.
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 are getting excellent results from their PPC campaigns.
If you’re just starting out, however, you don’t 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 time to see any genuine results, again especially if you’re just starting out with your website.
But I can tell you the rewards are far greater, and long lasting too.
And the best thing is? You don’t have to throw your hard earned cash down the drain.
There’s no reason why your business website or blog can’t be at the top of Google for whatever search phrase, and above your competition too, without throwing your hard earned cash down the drain paying for online ads.
Once again, if you’re just starting out this can prove to be very costly.
Solution? Learn how to do SEO the smart way. Then implement it into your website marketing strategy.
Check out this amazing post by Don Purdum over on Unveil The Web where he shares a great hack for ranking high in Google search using the right “messaging” and “relevancy”.
In addition, if you need to scrub up on your SEO, I highly recommend this SEO book from the Amazon Marketplace.
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 for more site-wide optimization options.
Digital Marketing Idea 4: Guest blogging
Guest blogging is nothing new or out of the norm either, 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 backlinks using guest blogging, or should I say 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:
- Brand promotion and increasing credibility.
- Tapping into a blog’s traffic source and driving SOME of it 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 friends from guest blogging on relevant and industry leading blogs in the past.
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’ve guest posted on many industry relevant blogs and have gotten absolutely nothing back in return, whilst on a few others I’ve gotten significant referral traffic.
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 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 something really astonishing, well, for me at least I don’t know about you.
During 2016 I connected and worked with some amazing clients.
I discovered that a few of those clients have not even started to think about building an email list for their business website.
Wow! Already established online businesses that even I looked up to, not doing email marketing?
I don’t want to sound like a broken record and tell you you’ve got to build your list over and over again.
Instead, I want you to digest some of these thought-provoking email marketing stats.
Building an email list for your business is unlike building a following or network on social media.
Yes, you can have 15,000 followers on Twitter.
Yes, you can have 20,000 fans on Facebook and all the rest of it, but here’s the thing, you’ll never 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.
Don’t waste all your time on social media, build your email list building. It’s cost effective and can be a very profitable for your business, so get on the case.
Digital Marketing Idea 6: Social media marketing
I just told you not to waste all your time on social media, now I’m going to tell you to use social media.
Social media isn’t going to go anywhere, it’s here to stay for a very long time, whether you love it or hate it.
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 on social media.
The aim with social media, however, is not to be on every single platform you can find. But to be on the platforms that give you the most back.
For instance, if your target audience happens to be on Facebook and LinkedIn, focus on those two sites and make it really work for your business.
If Twitter, on the other hand, isn’t working for you – don’t waste your efforts trying to make it work.
A lot of businesses just plod along on every social networking site they can find, month after month wasting money and valuable resources, when their target audience and potential customers could well 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.
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 whitepapers, webinars and live-stream video, presentations and more.
Blogging and social media can be included in your content marketing strategy.
If you want to learn what a content marketer is actually responsible for, I recommend you check out this post on CopyBlogger.
Digital Marketing Idea 8: Outreach and influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a tactic again that hasn’t been around for very long, but its growth in popularity has been phenomenal in the digital marketing world.
When done right, influence marketing can be very effective for any 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 service 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)
- 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 have better online visibility with, the simplest thing you can do is to ensure your customers can find you online.
Asides from getting a great looking website with a powerful marketing message, make sure your business is listed on 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 attract even more customers.
Digital Marketing Idea 10: Pay Per Click
You probably thought that I was totally against Pay Per Click ads right.
Well, I’m not. I simply don’t think PPC should be the first focus for marketing and promoting your website or other web properties if you’re just starting out.
That being said, using PPC is probably the quickest way to get traffic to your website. If you’re smart enough about it, you can create a very relevant and compelling offer, along with some great content and use targetted 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.
I would recommend that you use PPC carefully, to build your customer base, by offering a valuable incentive in line with your business offerings. 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.
So, I’ve only outlined what I believe to be the most relevant and most widely used digital marketing ideas and tactics of today.
Internet marketing doesn’t have to be costly. All of the strategies I’ve outlined above can be cost effective when done right.
Additionally, each of the tactics above can open doors to even more opportunities for your business. You may even discover new ideas and methods to market your business online.
If you’re just starting out online or moving your brick and mortar business online, hopefully, these 10 powerful online marketing ideas and strategies will come in very useful.