How to start digital marketing
I recently received this question on one of my YouTube marketing videos.
I feel I am cut out for working in digital marketing, public relations and sales although, I’m stumped from there. What percent of marketing is online and how do I get started?
The answer was “I honestly don’t know what percentage of marketing is digital but, I think it’s safe to say – A LOT!
Businesses both large and small spend billions of dollars a year on digital marketing campaigns and more and more people every year get on the Internet. In addition to that, there’s no other form of marketing that I know of that is easier or cheaper to get into.
I mean think about it. When’s the last time you turned on the TV and didn’t see a .com tattooed onto the bottom right hand corner of the screen or scrolling across the bottom? Can you remember seeing a commercial that did not, in some way, include a web address?
Now, all of that having been said I think it’s important to know that marketing online does take work. Many people would have you believe that’s it’s as easy as buying a $497 product, working 2 hours a day and “BOOM” you’re rich. I’ve made a lot of money online since 1995 and believe me not once was it as easy as I just described.
This is not a get rich quick way to earn money.
That is a myth.
To successfully market online takes time, effort and some monetary investment.
Almost anything can be marketed online. But, not everything is good to market online. Some things do better than others.
A man, much smarter than myself, taught me to always ask 2 questions to determine if something is worth marketing online.
1. Where can I get it?
2. How much does it cost?
If those questions are easily answered then you probably shouldn’t market it online.
Tooth Paste: “You get it at any grocery store and it cost $2.”
Bad for marketing online.
Custom Skateboards: “I’m not sure where to get one or what they cost, let me ‘Google’ it.” This may be something good to market online.
Next, determine whether or not there are any good niche opportunities for the products and/or services you want to market.
What makes a good niche?
1. You can find them in groups. (i.e. bikers, scrapbookers, dog lovers, weight loss, woodworkers, etc… People who are involved in these types of activities like to hang out with others, in person and online, who share the same interest.)
2. They are passionate and emotionally connected. (i.e. Some pet owners treat their pets as if they were human. They are crazy about them and will do anything for them, including spending a lot of money on them.)
3. They spend money. (i.e. Some hobbies / interests require that the participant spend money and some do not. Obviously, you want to find a niche market where the members spend money on their interests and they do it often.)
Next do your keyword research to make sure there’s enough search volume for the keywords you are going to target and to get a realistic idea of what it’s going to take to compete in your chosen niche. This is probably the most important thing you can do. In general you want to target specific keywords / phrases that have high search volume (at least 200-300 a day) with fewer results. (This means less competition)
There are several good tools that will help you with keyword research you can read more about them here…
Size up the Competition:
Do a quick search in the top 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) for the keywords you want to target. Take a look at the top 10-20 sites and determine the following:
1.Are the sites professionally designed?
2.Do they have a clear call to action?
3.Is the content compelling and current?
4.What are they doing right?
5.What are they doing wrong? Find what’s missing and make sure your site includes it.
6.Are there any blogs or social networking types of sites associated with this niche? (Important if you want to use Social Power Linking methods to get large amounts of non search engine dependent traffic. Which I highly recommend!)
7.How can you make your product, service and/or expertise stand out from the others?
Ultimately, what you are trying to determine is whether or not you can realistically compete in this niche. Only you know how much drive you have for this project, how much time you are willing to spend on it and how much money you have to do the things that need to be done in order to really compete. So, be honest with yourself. If 15 of the top 20 sites are all big companies like Sony, LG and Mitsubishi then, you might not want to try and sell flat panel TV’s. 😉
Build Your Site
Once you decide on a market and you’ve done your research build your site and optimize it for your top 3 keywords/phrases. The quickest and easiest way to build search engine friendly sites, that are easy to manage, is to use WordPress. Even if you’re not going to utilize WordPress’ blogging features, which I think would be a mistake, it’s still an excellent tool for quickly deploying websites.
Getting Started with WordPress
Register a Domain – It’s best if your Domain Name includes your main keyword(s)
Setup a WordPress Friendly Hosting Account – I like Host Gator. They’re reliable and inexpensive.
Choose a High-Quality Theme – There are many free themes available but, I like to use premium themes on most of my blogs. They look more professional, provide more exclusivity and the code is clean. (Free of embedded Spam links and poor programming that may cause bad performance and search engine issues.)
Use the following posts at 1Cat.biz for setup and plug-in tips…
5 Essential Tweaks for all New WordPress Blogs
5 Essential Plugins for All New WordPress Blogs
The Next 5 Essential Plugins for All New WordPress Blogs
Getting Traffic to Your New WordPress Blog
Obviously, you need traffic in order to sell anything from your new WordPress site. The best way to get traffic quick and to build good search engine rankings is to learn from the masters. I’m a member of Social Power Linking and I highly recommend it.
The first two steps to successfully marketing online and through your website have little to do with online marketing itself. However, it is critical to complete them before your campaigns begin. These two steps are Setting your Website Objective and Defining Your Online Target Market
Setting Your Website Objective:
Whenever a client is looking to drive more traffic to their website or is trying to raise their conversion rates, I always take them back to the beginning and ask them what the objective of their site is. This is always more insightful (and entertaining), when I?m meeting with more than one person from the company.
Would you like to drive more sales, get more leads, reduce product support demands, gain access to new markets, are a few of the more common responses. We then take a look at their site. It will often focus on who they are, their history, their commitment to customer service; all noble things, and usually all without a strong call to action that matches their now stated objective.
Setting an overall website objective is not easy but the benefits are huge.
Not easy: Real estate on the web is cheap. Add a page, add 100 pages, there is still plenty of room to expand. So it is easy to quickly develop multiple objectives for your site.
Additionally, many people in the company will have different views on what the site objective should be. Human resources wants the Career section to stand out. Customer Service wants the Support area to be highlighted. Sales, of course, wants to highlight Product or Solution areas, and so on.
If you are ruling by committee you will have a well balanced, but underperforming site. The winning play is to have one objective that rules all others. If that objective is to drive more sales, then the Home page must be geared to that. It will need to highlight and focus on information and calls to action to take web visitors down that path.
Now, this does not mean that you won’t still link to support and careers sections. You just won’t focus on them on your Home and other main section pages.
Get Specific: Now if driving more sales, is your first-cut objective, you need to get a little deeper, more specific. Will you actually be closing sales over the internet (a la eCommerce), or are you driving the new prospect to call you or email you. What level of knowledge should the prospect have before they contact you. Should they know the part number or should they just know that your company is one they need to call.
Thus, your objective may evolve to “Drive qualified prospects to contact us to get detailed information on which of our products best suits them.”
So what made them a qualified prospect. Were they qualified before they came to your site (maybe they were driven to your site from a trade show), or did they get to you through a search engine and know very little about what you do.
Your objective may ultimately evolve to “Visitors should find the information to qualify themselves as good potential prospects and contact us to get detailed information on which of our products best suits them.”
Huge Benefits: Once you’ve set your objective, everything becomes easier. Writing content (often the biggest challenge a company has), becomes clear. The path with which you lead visitors through your website becomes clear (e.g. entice, inform, qualify, call-to-action). Site architecture and layout become clear.
You now focus your efforts and resources around fulfilling that main objective. The sections that are not directly relevant to your main objective still support that main objective.
Now that you’ve clearly set your website objective, the next step is to know who your target audience is, and it may not be who you think.
Identifying Your Target Audience
Who do you want to visit your site. Are they researchers or decision makers. Are they likely to convert to sales on their first visit. Do they know anything about your company already. If yes, how much do they know. Are they internet savvy. Are they over 40 and likely would appreciate larger type. Are they visual. Are they detailed. Are they a people person? or do they prefer dealing with things or words. Are they likely to be highly educated. Do they like to have lots of options or lots of direction.
All these questions and a lot more need to be asked and answered. Initially, you?ll use this information to help in the design of your overall site. You?ll want the proper balance of image to text. You?ll want to set the text level at the appropriate level of detail. You?ll want to write to their probable education level.
Ultimately, the answers will drive the theme of your site. They’ll drive the type of online advertising you’ll use. They’ll drive the design of advertising landing pages. They’ll drive the keyword phrases you’ll target in search engine optimization. They’ll drive your call-to-action.
Now you?re ready to start your marketing. Knowing what you want to accomplish and to whom you want to accomplish it with, you’ll be able to structure the right ads, emails, keyword phrase targeting, etc. You’ll be able to focus resources on the proper additional web media (e.g. blogs, podcasts, more web pages, Flash demonstrations, etc.).
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, this will be the end of the beginning of your online marketing strategy, and you’ll be ready to begin a productive and effective online marketing campaign.
Digital Marketing Strategies
Your business will benefit a lot from various digital marketing strategies and methods. But you don’t have to spend millions of dollars just to get some decent exposure for your company. There are ways to make your business be seen without having a huge budget.
Make use of your online power – through digital marketing. Here are a few simple methods that you may employ to boost the visibility of your business without shelling out more than what you can afford. This is imorant for many start up and local businesses. However, these techniques need time and lots of work to produce results.
First, you need a website or a landing page before you can make use of these low cost digital marketing strategies. So go create one or hire a web developer. It will display your products and services. This will be used in employing the following digital marketing techniques.
1. Affiliate Marketing
This is the process of recruiting a network of smaller websites, individuals or businesses known as affiliates to drive targeted traffic to a website. Ad copy and links will be provided by the advertisers. You will have to pay a certain percentage of the sales profit to your affiliates.
One of your goals should be to attain a good ranking with search engines. One way to do it is through link building. This could be done through trading links to other businesses that are related with yours. Only use white hat linking techniques.
Sending out newsletters to your subscribers (those who signed up for your newsletters) will help greatly in establishing a good working relationship with your customers or prospective customers. It has to be short, sweet, consistent and written for a general audience. Take a look at Ezines as a way to grow your business.
4. E-mail Marketing
As one of the best cost-effective Internet marketing tools, it stays as a very important method of keeping your customers aware of your products and services. Just make sure to avoid spamming or soon enough you will have to close down you business due to complaints. And make sure you follow GDPR and California Privacy laws.
If you put quality content in the form of articles in your website along with your products and services, search engines will have to index your website. Getting you website indexed by popular search engines means more traffic for you. Learn how to add your content to Google Search Console for faster ranking.
Expand your Internet network is through joining forums that mainly discusses stuff regarding or related to your products and services. Actively posting responses or answers and asking relevant information will build your reputation as that forum’s member and boost your company’s visibility through your signature files. These signature files are those that go with your every post. Links to your website could be included in this signature.
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