- Posted by Janina Bernardo
- On January 24, 2017
- 0 Comments
- Digital Marketing
It is not uncommon for small business owners and start-up entrepreneurs to wear many hats in order to keep costs manageable. Many overlook digital marketing as an essential part of business as they strive to stay on top of other aspects of their operations. Often, they may not have the time or the inclination to learn new tools and strategies to generate more buzz for their organization. But without adequate promotions, the company will fail to catch the attention of its intended target market. Without demand, the business will fail to grow during its crucial first months and this can spell trouble for any fledgling company.
With proper tools and adequate planning, digital marketing need not be intimidating or time consuming. Here are four skills to learn to get started.
Blogging and Content Management
It is important to first think about what you want to achieve with your blog. Do you want to get more people to visit your store? Do you want to educate prospects about your industry? Do you want to enhance your branding?
You need to understand what motivates your audience. Identify what their goals and aspirations are and demonstrate how you can help achieve them. You can also feature common problems and share your experience in solving these challenges. While ultimately you would want to promote your company, tread carefully. Blogs are a great marketing and brand awareness tool but hard selling can be a turn-off.
The next step is to develop an editorial calendar. It will help you organize your posts and ensure a balanced mix of relevant topics. It will also help you follow a consistent schedule and track the platforms you intend to publish in.
If you need blog topic inspiration or ideas, you can use keyword search tools such as the Hubspot Blog Topic Generator or visit forums such as Reddit. Find more tips here.
Don’t forget your call to action. Think about what you want your reader to do next. You can encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, lead them to your social media channels or suggest that they give you a call to talk about your products and services in detail.
Hubspot Academy has an inbound certification course that offers free marketing training courses including SEO, blogging and lead nurturing. Learning these fundamentals will help you grow your business and retain customers.
Web Analytics gives you useful data about the profile of your online visitors and their engagement with your website. The data on your website’s online traffic is especially helpful when creating advertising campaigns.
You can get started by setting up a Google Analytics account. You can use your existing Gmail account or you can create a new one. Be sure that you use a Google account that you have full access to since this account will be permanently tied to your web analytics dashboard. You can always grant access to other people on your team but you as the administrator must have complete control over the account.
You will then need to find the Get Tracking ID button. After you agree to the terms and conditions, you will be given the Google Analytics code which must be installed on every page on your website. If you use WordPress, you can use the Google Analytics by Yoast plugin to easily install your code. For Shopify e-commerce stores, go to your Online Store settings and paste in your tracking code where specified.
Once you have set this up. the Google Analytics data will start to give you actionable statistics. You can find detailed reports on your visitors such as demographics (age, gender, etc.), location, their language, the technology they use (computer vs. mobile), and sections of your website that they engage with the most. Learn more about interpreting Google Analytics data here.
Google Analytics also allows you to monitor conversion goals that you have defined for your website. A conversion is when a visitor takes a desired action on a website. For example, if your goal is to increase newsletter subscriptions, when someone makes it to your newsletter subscription thank-you page then they have accomplished your defined objective.
One key insight that you must pay attention to is the type of content your readers find most compelling. Once you analyze this data, you can start to promote it in more effective ways. You can also produce more content along the same lines to attract more visitors.
You can learn the core principles of digital analytics including how to create a Google Analytics account, collect data, and navigate reports for free through Google Analytics Academy.
There’s no doubt that social media has become increasingly important for companies. It has become an essential platform for building awareness, creating relationships, and displaying the human side of your company. According to Meltwater, “55% of B2B buyers say they search for product/vendor information on social media.”
LinkedIn is primarily used by professionals as a digital resume. It may not be as important for promoting your small business but it is great for networking with other entrepreneurs in your industry. Most B2B companies utilize LinkedIn as a search engine for potential employees, prospective customers and other suppliers or service providers. LinkedIn has a showcase page that allows businesses to share content and opportunities. Find out how to set up your page here.
Facebook is no longer just for personal profiles or sharing photos of your dinner. With over 1.65 billion monthly active users, it has become a primary channel to reach thousands of people and share your content. It is a great venue to share blog posts from your website, your company’s involvement in the local community, heartwarming content, or milestones in your organization. While you would want to post content that is informative, choose more positive topics that are a little more on the lighter side. Facebook is also fast becoming one of the main platforms prospects or clients use to contact your company regarding inquiries or to send complaints. This is a good opportunity to gather feedback about your company. Follow these simple steps create your own Facebook business page.
Twitter is recognized by many marketers as a useful platform for engagement and brand awareness. It is great for distributing useful content related to business and industry. Share your blog posts, helpful industry information, and retweets from customers, partners and industry influencers. Twitter is also an easy way to stay up to date with real-time news from reporters, your competitors and potential clients. Follow people or companies that you feel can be potential customers. Twitter can be a convenient medium to connect with them to jumpstart your lead generation activities.
Youtube is a video sharing platform where you can share quality content to your target audience who are trying to learn more about you. Videos are included in Google’s search results, and gives your company a search engine advantage. Your B2B videos need not be extravagant and do not require a huge budget to execute. They just need to provide useful, informative and have relevant content. You don’t need to worry that these videos do not go viral as long as they reach the intended audience. Some content ideas include explainer videos, product demos, or customer testimonials. It is also a great opportunity to showcase your company as a trusted advisor. Focus on the needs of your customers by finding out what their actual searches are. You can then create content that addresses their questions and challenges.
Keep in mind that not all social media platforms will be right for for business. You must assess whether your target audience will be open to engaging with your business using these channels. It’s also important to consider your available resources to ensure that you post quality content consistently. You can use social media management tools like Hootsuite to keep track of your social media networks. Sign up at Hootsuite Academy to learn social marketing skills to grow your followers, increase engagement and reach your business goals.
Email marketing has numerous advantages including generating leads, boosting web traffic, and enhancing your company’s visibility.
The best time to capture your reader’s attention is after sending welcome notes, payment approvals, or shipping confirmations. Seize the opportunity to push for a newsletter subscription, upsell other goods and services, or encourage them to follow you on social media. Transactional emails are often the ones that have the greatest click rate.
You can also optimize your open rate by paying special attention to your subject line. Write a killer subject title that your reader just couldn’t resist. Take note of attention grabbing subject lines that you come across with. This will help you generate ideas when you begin your email marketing campaigns. You might even want to A/B test subject lines to see which ones perform best.
No doubt most of your prospects or subscribers receive tons of email daily. That is why it is imperative that you make your email body “scannable.” It is best to break up your content into short paragraphs that include subheadings. If you’re sending a long article, it is best to add a “read more” link.
If you are budget conscious, you can start experimenting with MailChimp. It is one of the most popular email marketing service providers and they offer a very easy to use interface with great tools and awesome support. MailChimp has a forever free plan which allows you to send 12,000 emails for up to 2,000 subscribers. Read more about developing your own email marketing strategy here.
If you would like to learn more about digital marketing, subscribe to our monthly startup and small business newsletter or contact us to find out how we can help.