Most small business owners know that digital marketing is extremely important but they might not know where to start.
The digital landscape has changed tactics a bit, but the same old school marketing rules apply.
If you aren't tech savvy, the digital marking world can be extremely intimidating.
Where is your target audience and how can you get them to your website?
Paul Kortman is the owner of Connex Social: a digital marketing agency that specializes in increasing conversions and quality traffic.
Today, Paul explains how small businesses can begin developing their digital marketing strategy from scratch.
Stay tuned for more because this is part one of two.
Start with a Three-Point Plan
No matter what your business does, the first part of your digital marketing strategy should rely on the same old school marketing principles.
How you apply your tactics, however, will differ a little bit because the digital landscape puts consumers in complete control.
1. Study and Narrow Down Your Target Audience
Paul says you need to really get to know your target audience. To do that, you need to identify who they are.
Basic demographics like "male between the ages of 25 and 25" is not enough anymore. You need to get really specific.
Where do they hang out online and offline? Which devices are they using? What interests do they have?
Use a grassroots method to dig deep. Ask questions and have conversations. Be human and get personal.
2. Identify Their Pain Point and Create a Phrase
After you narrow down your audience, you need to decide which problems they face that your business can solve.
Identify their pain point so that you can offer solutions in various ways.
Paul points to an online health food store as an example. Buying all-natural food doesn't help save money, but it does help improve lives. This target audience's pain point could be living toxin-free, for example.
Paul recommends coming up with a straight-to-the-point phrase to incorporate into your marketing such as "live toxin-free."
3. Develop Relevant Content to Address Their Pain Points
Start creating a wide variety of relevant and valuable content to solve their problems. Focus on addressing specific problems through blogs, videos, and other methods.
It's important to think outside the box.
If you're running an online sneaker store, you can only write so many blogs about shoes and sneakers. That gets old fast and it may not be particularly valuable content for your audience.
Think about other problems or interests your audience might have. Someone interested in sneakers may also want to learn about health, fitness, or sports.
Your content should spark interest and get your readers talking.
Getting Your Content to the Right Audience
How you deliver your content is just as important as its quality.
What's the use in writing blogs if no one visits your website to read them and take action?
Paul recommends using the 20-80 rule: 20% of your time and resources should go into creating the content and the other 80% should go into promoting that content to your target audience.
You have two resources for promoting content: time and money. If you don't have much money, be prepared to invest some time.
Reach out to relevant bloggers and ask them to republish your content with a link back to a specific page on your website. Don't ever send readers to your homepage – that's too general.
Doing Email Marketing the Right Way
Paul says most companies don't utilize email marketing in the best way: they send too much information in one email.
It's important to stay focused on a specific topic. Send emails on one interesting article and encourage readers to take action by visiting a specific page on your website to learn more or sign up.
You want people to know that you can deliver authoritative content on specific topics. Then, maybe, one day they'll feel compelled to spend money on your products and services. You need to build that authority first through focused emails.
Email lists are invaluable because they give you a direct line of communication with your audience. Offer freebies like eBooks or coupons for people who give you their email address.
How Should You Apply SEO Tactics?
Your search engine optimization (SEO) tactics depend on your business goals.
Do you want to get people into a real-life store or take some kind of action online?
Going viral across the world is useless if you need foot traffic in your store.
If you're a brick-and-mortar store, use SEO to target specific locations in your area. Cities and states aren't enough. Add neighborhoods and general directions to your pages such as "metro Detroit" or "West Michigan" to cover all your bases.
If you're an online shop, focus on answering specific questions that people search for using Google. Build content around these questions and answers.
Pay-Per-Click and Online Advertising
Your biggest options are Facebook and Google but YouTube isn't far behind.
Paul says video adds are easy to make and can save you a lot of money: just take a quick selfie video explaining what you're all about, what you can offer, and pay YouTube to promote it.
Paul recommends keeping your audience in mind. On Facebook, people are just hanging out – they aren't really in a buying mindset. Get personal by sponsoring posts about specific events and interests.
Quality Always Outweighs Quantity
No matter what your business is, you want people to visit your website and you want them to take action. This action could include signing up for email lists, making a purchase, or even entering a brick-and-mortar store.
In order to do that, you need to deliver relevant, valuable, and consistent content to your target audience. Your tactics for delivering that content depend upon your audience's habits.
Paul says putting out content once a week is okay because quality always outweighs quantity.
You can find Paul at Connex Digital Marketing.
About Paul Kortman
I’m just a regular guy. A follower of Jesus from Michigan in the US. My story is unique just like yours. This blog varies from stories about my family and struggles with raising our kids to helpful technical articles. This is just me in zeros and ones.