Marketing...that nine-letter word sends a lot of business owners into a panic.
"Where can I find more leads and customers?"
"How do I find customers that are willing to pay the price my products/services are offered at?"
"How can I make more money on each sale or create more opportunities to sell?"
"How can I make my business/products/services more attractive so customers choose me over my competition?"
"How much do I need to spend on advertising?"
"How long will it take to get results?"
These questions and more are just a few of what instantly pops into a business owner’s head when trying to develop their marketing strategy. Some gurus even go so far as to tell you to figure out what their guilty pleasure is at the local Starbucks. No wonder that nine-letter word sends most over the edge!
But in the last decade, the face of marketing has changed drastically. We’ve gone from a more traditional type marketing, such as radio, television, billboards, print, etc., to digital marketing, such as websites, social media, video, pay-per-click, chatbots, etc. Even with this evolution of marketing, there’s still one rule that’s managed to stay the same...develop a relationship with the consumer.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum of traditional or relational, marketing at its heart has always included some aspect of connecting and developing relationships with your audience. With the constant development of new technologies and the expansion of the internet, the importance of digital marketing should be at the forefront of all businesses. Digital Marketing is not a short-term solution for attracting customers. Instead, it should become part of your daily business processes.
But what IS digital marketing? And why is it imperative to the overall success of a business?
Let’s take a deeper look…
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What is Digital Marketing...
To get a firm grasp of what digital marketing is, we must first define it. Very simply… digital marketing is promoting your business by utilizing various digital channels. Hubspot has informed us that “digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.” Lucy Alexander, Hubspot (Check out the Hubspot Blog Post here.)
What? Is that ALL? Yeah, I’m with you. That’s totally the straightforward, non-understandable, Cliff’s Notes definition, in my opinion.
So here’s how I define digital marketing.
Digital marketing is promoting and/or advertising your business by utilizing online-based platforms and/or tactics that include, but are not limited to your website, lead and sales funnels, search engines, social media platforms, video content, pay-per-click or display ads, email marketing, apps, mobile technologies, content marketing, and so much more.
See, now that one got it so right you’re overwhelmed. #amiright
When you use digital marketing to create your marketing foundation, you will have the ability to continue to scale your business over time without having to reinvent the wheel. Because when done RIGHT, digital marketing creates a clear and concise path that increases sales opportunities in a very natural, UNsalesy way by moving leads/prospects to a buying decision over and over again without noticing where one offering ends and another begins.
I’m going to share a little bit more about what exactly each of the digital marketing methods, techniques, and platforms are here in just a bit. But first, I want to define what digital marketing is not.
What Digital Marketing Is Not...
When a business is outlining their marketing strategies, they truly need to understand what’s considered digital marketing and what digital marketing is not. And some businesses need to separate budget expense categories into online marketing and offline marketing. So defining what digital marketing is and isn’t is beneficial for them, and most everyone else.
As you might guess, online marketing is done with digital marketing methods, techniques, and platforms like from a desktop, laptop, or mobile network. Whereas offline marketing utilizes the more traditional marketing avenues, such as television, radio, billboards, print/mailers, in-person marketing events, physical marketing materials, sales calls, newspapers, etc. Generally speaking, I refer to these items as traditional marketing.
How Digital Marketing Differs From Traditional Marketing…
I had a conversation the other day with an individual of an older generation. Their thoughts on the matter…
“I wish they would bring back traditional advertising. I’m so tired of getting on my Facebook app and seeing a Facebook post for exactly what I was discussing with a friend. Whatever happened to a simple billboard or television advertisement?”
While traditional marketing & advertising efforts are still very relevant for certain business to reach a certain type of audience, digital marketing must remain at the forefront of all business growth strategies. Most people rarely watch regular television anymore. I know I don’t. If it’s not DVR’d, on Netflix or Amazon Prime, I usually don’t engage in it. In reality, the next generation of customers will have different expectations and will prefer to learn about products and services via social media rather than traditional marketing techniques.
With that being said, how is digital marketing different from traditional marketing?
Traditional marketing includes the following items:
Specific Area Targeted Audiences: Any and all paid advertising in the form of a radio broadcast or television advertisement that runs in a specific time slot, in a geographical area. This also includes printed mailers that are delivered via the post office to a geographical area. Often times, these audiences cannot be changed while the campaign is running. If you do need to change audiences, you will need to run a whole new campaign.
Physical Marketing Materials: These items include printed brochures, catalogs, postcards, fliers, mailers, business cards, discount cards, calendars, magnets, pens, etc. These marketing materials are often costly to create and cannot be changed once created. Instead, new materials would have to be created if changes are desired.
Traditional Channels: Traditional channels include television, radio, newspaper, magazines, mailers, and telephone sales calls.
In Person Events: In-person events include seminars, conferences, conventions, marketing booths, and networking groups.
With the advancement of technology, every business now has the opportunity to develop a worldwide audience based on their niche and audience research by developing a digital marketing strategy which could include the following:
Worldwide Custom Audience: Any individual with internet access can be targeted with your marketing efforts, meaning I can fine tune your audience by using demographics, interests, and specific activities to help you determine who your ideal client is for your marketing campaign/s. (Not only can you specify the geographical region, but you can also specify the target’s age and gender.) This audience can be refined and fine-tuned DURING the campaign to make the most of your marketing budget.
Multiple Platforms based on audience demographics and preferences: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google, Bing, YouTube, etc, each platform has a unique set of users. By narrowing the audience and determining exactly what platform they are utilizing, a business can strengthen their marketing efforts on those platforms.
Creating Engagement and Interaction with your Audience: By responding to comments and messages on social media posts, ads, blogs, videos, etc, you have the ability to interact directly with your audience which builds a customer relationship with those individuals.
Online Marketing Events: Hosting online events such as live videos, webinars, virtual conferences, online workshops, online courses, launches, product demonstrations, etc., allows for an individual to either attend ‘live’ or view afterward on demand.
Video Marketing: By having engaging, entertaining, and easy to digest video content, you provide consumers a real-life perspective on what’s happening with your business, or the latest on a certain product. People want to do business with PEOPLE that they know, like and trust, and video marketing helps them see you as a PERSON that they want to do business with. This provides a real-life perspective on what’s happening with your business, the latest on certain products, etc.
Messenger Marketing: Messenger marketing is effective because consumers are looking for a relationship with a business. By having a conversational chatbot, you are engaging high-quality leads for your business.
How Can Digital Marketing Help Your Business...
Every business owner wants to scale their business and bring in more customers. No matter the size of the business, you strive to scale each and every year by becoming more successful and profitable, and in today’s marketplace, digital marketing strategies should be a top marketing priority in order to continue scaling successfully.
There’s five main reasons digital marketing should be a priority to scale your business.
1. Digital Marketing expands your market reach. With digital marketing, you have the ability to research your audience and get to know them. What are they interested in? Where do they shop? What are their demographics? Are you wanting to have a local audience or a global audience? Your reach can be as narrow or as broad as you want, just make sure you’re targeting those you want to target and not just a quick ‘let’s get as many ‘likes’ as possible’ approach.
Think about who it is you want to attract while creating your digital marketing strategy. - Tweet That
2. Digital Marketing builds stronger relationships with customers. Customers have become extremely savvy when it comes to making a decision on when or what to purchase. They’re asking the hard questions of companies, and are expecting answers. By being accessible to your customers, you have the ability to strengthen lasting relationships that create repeat customers. An educated customer will be your biggest asset and they’ll share their experiences with others.
When building your digital marketing strategy, remember to think about the experience you want to provide to your customers. Because be sure, whether it’s a great one or a not so great one, they’ll share it. - Tweet That
3. Digital Marketing creates publicity and visibility. By using your website and social media to share your content, latest news featured media, and videos with your audience, you have the ability to capitalize on shareable content. This lets others share your products, blogs, videos, etc.
Be sure to create unique exposure opportunities when creating your digital marketing strategy. - Tweet That
4. Digital marketing allows you to create value-based content on multiple digital marketing platforms. Value-based content that’s entertaining, engaging, and educational will captivate your audience. This will also increase your brand awareness, visibility, and help you connect with your target audience. By providing value-based content BEFORE making a sale creates anticipation for all the great value a potential customer will receive from your products and services. It also demonstrates that you’re interested in developing a reciprocal relationship...an ongoing exchange of value for value.
Content will be your biggest asset when developing your digital marketing strategy. - Tweet That
5. Digital Marketing will increase sales. When you increase your visibility and develop customer relationships, you’re nurturing those individuals to start investing in your products and/or services. Consider creating a value ladder when developing your digital marketing strategy. What upsell/downsell can you provide? Is there a product that compliments another product?
What Are Digital Marketing Platforms...
The sea of digital marketing platforms is vast, thus the importance of understanding each one and how to best utilize the proper platform for your business based on your audience data is necessary.
A lot of gurus will tell you that you need to immediately incorporate each platform into your digital marketing strategy. Personally, I’d take a step back and look at your audience research. Based on that information alone, you’ll have the ability to decide which platform is best to start with and then add more as you develop your digital marketing strategy over time.
To know which platforms to utilize, I recommend you review the demographics of your audience, mostly the age of the individuals. The age alone can tell you exactly where someone is probably spending a majority of their time online. Then, take a look at their family demographics. What’s their relationship status? Do they have children? These questions can provide you valuable insight into who it is you’re trying to attract and on which platform.
Once you know the demographics, it’s time to understand your audience interests. Where do they shop? What are they interested in? Fitness, sports, reading, photography, etc.? What are their hobbies? And the list could go on and on.
By narrowing down, you have the ability to create engaging content geared towards your unique target audience. You can touch on their pain points and why they need your product and/or service. You can engage them by connecting to their emotions through sharing your story or another customer’s testimonial.
All of those items above, and more, are imperative before you decide on which digital marketing platform is right for your business.
So what is a digital marketing platform...
A digital marketing platform is any online digital channel that businesses can leverage in order to connect with prospective leads and customers. Here are just a few digital marketing platforms to consider when creating your overall marketing strategy.
Social media marketing platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Periscope, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn.
Content marketing platforms: Pinterest, Website blogs and vlogs, guest blogging, featured blogs, and podcasts.
Email marketing platforms: ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, MailerLite, ConstantContact, Mailchimp, Ontraport, and Infusionsoft.
Pay-per-click advertising platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Google, Bing, YouTube, Pinterest, Quora, and LinkedIn
Video marketing platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube.
Pay-per-listener platforms: Pandora and Spotify
Messenger (chatbot) marketing platforms: ManyChat, Chatfuel, Avio, Botsify, MobileMonkey, Flow XO, Imperson, and ItsAlive.
Can I Learn Digital Marketing On My Own...
When I started my business many years ago, I started as a virtual assistant. I knew nothing about the digital marketing world until one evening when I was targeted in an ad on Facebook for a digital marketing course. At the time, I was searching for a way to create a business where I could truly work for myself and generate additional income for my family.
I consider myself a minority in that I take investing in yourself seriously. “How bad do you want to succeed?” and “What are you willing to do to earn it?” are important questions to ask yourself when considering going all in with digital marketing. Because I assure you, if you think you’ll dabble a little bit, you won’t be effective and will probably fail at it.
But not me. I dove in, absorbed every ounce of knowledge provided. Watched every webinar, read every blog and email, scanned the Facebook group for information, sought out YouTube videos, listened to other influencers and experts, and then went looking for more so I would continue to grow and improve.
I invested in myself. And that’s allowed me to create the business I have now. A business that’s grown from $1k/month to having $10k months and scaling higher. I continue to invest in myself and my business with numerous opportunities as they fit into my overall business growth strategy.
So, when someone asks me, “Can I learn digital marketing on my own?” The answer will always be yes! You have to be willing to invest in yourself and make it happen. You have to be willing to sacrifice long hours into the night, and buy lots of pen and paper to take notes absorbing all the content has to offer. And you have to be willing to adapt. Because digital marketing requires new strategies each and every day.
Where do you find a quality program to invest in if you want to learn digital marketing...
Before investing in some guru’s program or falling down a rabbit hole whilst chasing down some shiny object, take a moment to research whatever a quality program that teaches what you want to learn, and that gets the students RESULTS! Are there testimonials from real people? Can you post in a group and see if anyone has a connection or a personal experience? Is there any social proof from someone achieving realistic results?
When I started my business, I followed an individual that was walking the walk and talking the talk. She inspired other women to grow their business, even if that meant bootstrapping when starting out. She didn’t tell you that you needed some fancy, expensive program when starting a business, instead, she gave you TONS of value by providing you with the tools, systems and processes, and strategies that would make a difference now, not later. Let me introduce you to April Lewis, the Creator of Rainmaker Labs.
I have to admit...I stalked April all over her social media profiles and within numerous Facebook groups. I had to find out if she was ‘legit’ because let’s face it...there’s a lot of worthless gurus out there regurgitating everyone else’s junk. April’s Rainmaker Lab program helped me create a digital marketing agency that continues to accelerate my growth with the RIGHT tools, systems and processes, and strategies for my unique business. It helped me stand out in an industry that’s inundated with numerous marketers. PLUS...she doesn’t sugar-coat anything or attempt to hide what you’ll experience, and how you can overcome it.
Digital marketing is here to stay and will be a prominent piece of every marketing strategy from here on out, no matter the size of the business. You need to learn how to develop your own digital marketing strategy from the RIGHT resources or hire a reputable agency to create a marketing strategy to get your business visibility and results.