Six digital marketing strategies for your business

Engage your customers online by developing a digital and social media marketing strategy.

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  • Six digital marketing strategies for your business

    Nearly 90% of U.S. shoppers research products and services online before buying in-store.The world around us is drastically changing. We are in the midst of a digital revolution.

    To help you navigate this new digital frontier or confirm that you've charted the right course, here are six digital marketing strategies that can help you find and engage your customers on the Web.  

     


    "Webrooming Now Popular Among 88 Percent of Shoppers." Interactions. (2014) http://www.interactionsmarketing.com/news/?p=1066

  • 1. Website

    1. Website

    Build a website that shows customers where you are, what you do, and why you're the best business to meet their needs. With so many consumers researching online before they buy, it's critical that you have a business website and that it contains the information customers want, including:1

    • Contact information. Include your phone number, street address, and email address at the top of your homepage to make it easy for customers to find your business and ask questions.

    • Product or service offerings. Use your site to show off your products or services. If you own a restaurant, include the menu. If you manufacture hardware, post high-quality pictures of your merchandise. If you're an accountant, share client testimonials. Whatever your industry, make sure online shoppers can see what you sell — and see it in its best light.

    • Pricing. Price plays a big role in a consumer's decision to buy. Post your pricing to give shoppers the information they need and to build trust with them by being straightforward. If you can't share exact prices, offer a range or sample prices.

    Get your business website up and running for little to no cost with tools like WordPress, LightCMS, and Shopify. These platforms provide customizable templates that can help you create your site quickly, post important information about your business, and even sell your products online.

     


    "10 Essential Features of Every Good Business Website." Mashable. (2012) http://mashable.com/2012/02/09/website-must-haves/

    "Embrace the Controversial: Why You Should Publish Pricing on Your Website." HubSpot Blogs. (2013) http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/why-publish-pricing-on-website-var

    "State the Price to Give B2B Site a Competitive Advantage." Nielsen Norman Group. (2013) http://www.nngroup.com/articles/show-price/

  • 2. SEO

    2. SEO

    Search engine optimization (SEO) is about making your website searchable by Google, Bing, and other search engines. As 60% of consumers start their pre-purchase research by visiting a search engine, it's critical that your website is high in the search results.1

    To improve your site's ranking, optimize your blog posts and Web content so search engines — and customers — can find them. Here are some tips:

    • Use keywords that consumers search. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and Wordtracker can help you find keywords that people use online.

    • Choose words you can rank for. It's difficult to rank highly for every keyword, so Tracy Henry, senior digital marketing manager of advertising agency Risdall, recommends choosing ones with less competition. "The best thing you can do is make sure you're creating authority for the things you should rank highly for," he says. Choose keywords most relevant to your business and your pages, and pay attention to the level of competition as you use Google Keyword Planner and Wordtracker.

    • Create content for humans, not robots. Stuffing tons of keywords into your posts can harm your SEO ranking. Make sure your keywords are relevant to your readers so search engines don't penalize you.

     


    "Major Purchase Shopper Study." GE Capital Retail. (2013) http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130712005396/en/GE-Capital-Retail-Bank’s-Annual-Shopper-Study - .VON_aIBdXKk

  • 3. Sponsored search

    3. Sponsored search

    It can be incredibly hard to rank for certain keywords using organic (unpaid) SEO strategies. One way to cut through the clutter is to pay for sponsored searches, also called pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

    "Sponsored search is the way to get into the game you can’t get into organically," Henry says.

    Start your PPC campaign by bidding on popular keywords through a search engine that advertises, such as Google. When people search your keyword, they'll see an ad for your business or a link to your content. This will help drive people to your website, and you only pay for each time someone clicks on your sponsored ad.

  • 4. Email marketing

    4. Email marketing

    Email marketing can help you build relationships with current and prospective customers.

    "If they're already a customer, they're already on the mailing list," Henry says. "In which case, the best practice is to keep them posted on things highly related to the way they interacted with you before."

    For example, if a customer previously purchased children's items from your clothing shop, send an email to notify him or her of your back-to-school sale. If prospects provide their email addresses, send them discounts, coupons, and first-time customer deals.

    "It's all about fostering the relationship to make them trust you enough to become a customer," Henry says.

    The government has established regulations for commercial emails, however, so make sure you abide by the CAN-SPAM Act. Here are some tips for business owners from the Federal Trade Commission that can help you follow the law.

  • 5. Social media

    5. Social media

    Over 70% of American adults use social media, according to a Gallup survey.1

    Gallup also found that consumers are more likely to engage with businesses that are authentic, responsive, and compelling on social media as opposed to those that are purely promotional. That means using your business's social channels to share your personality, answer customer questions, and provide useful information.

    Not every post or tweet will lead to an immediate sale, and that's OK. Use social media to have conversations with customers, demonstrate your credibility, and encourage long-term engagement.  

    Start by choosing the right channels for your business objectives. Here are some more tips from Henry:

    • Facebook allows business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses to cultivate expert personas for their brands because of its fan-building ability.

    • Twitter is useful for businesses in late-breaking industries.

    • LinkedIn can help business-to-business (B2B) companies reach other industry professionals.

    And while most social media channels are free to use, you may need to consider a paid promotion to reach your target audience and build your follower base over time.

     


    "State of the American Consumer." Gallup. (2014) http://products.gallup.com/171722/state-american-consumer.aspx?utm_source=Homepage&utm_medium=Ad&utm_content=State+of+the+American+Consumer&utm_campaign=Report

  • 6. Blogging

    6. Blogging

    Businesses that publish 15 or more blog posts a month receive five times more traffic than those that don't blog, and small businesses with 10 employees or fewer report the largest traffic increases from posting more often, according to a HubSpot survey.1

    Blogging can also boost lead generation: HubSpot found that B2B businesses that blog once or twice each month generate 70% more leads than those that don't.

    Perhaps most importantly, though, blogging can help you build a reputation as a thought leader. By posting helpful and creative content on your blog regularly, you can show off your expertise to customers and prospects.

    Henry says the key is posting relevant information. Write how-to articles or answer frequently asked questions. Then, use your social media channels to promote your blog by writing short, captivating posts with images. 

    "The blog should be about your industry and where you see yourself," he says. "You should be adding to the larger conversation."

     


    "Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000+ Businesses." HubSpot.  http://offers.hubspot.com/marketing-benchmarks-from-7000-businesses

  • Take your business to the next level with digital marketing

    Take your business to the next level with digital marketing

    As you create your business plan, think about how digital marketing can help you build brand awareness, engage customers, generate leads, and position yourself as an expert in your industry.

Published: April 24, 2015
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