What is digital marketing all about?
The What, Why, How, and When of Digital Marketing for Small Business Owners
We get it... A lot of business owners are getting anxious when they hear about digital marketing, and for some good reasons. There is too much jargons, unfamiliar concepts, and technical issues to contend with, which can be overwhelming for someone who is not very used to the online marketing world.
The truth is that digital marketing is as complex as it can be. Sometimes even the most seasoned online marketers struggle to understand new search engine algorithm updates, keep up with market demands, web development best practices, or web accessibility issues, etc.
Still, as complex as it sounds, more and more business owners are interested in digital marketing these days because they realized it can help them increase their business visibility, gain new prospects and customers, and grow their business.
So, what is digital marketing?
It's how today's businesses are getting their message in front of their prospects and customers. So your business should take advantage of that too.
Digital marketing, also called online marketing, or internet marketing, encompasses all the marketing efforts used to promote a business, product, or service using online channels such as websites, social media, search engines, blogs, emails, etc.
So, simply put, any marketing that exists online is digital marketing.
Like any work done well, online marketing requires lots of patience, perseverance, and a good set of hard skills as it involves lots of testing, trials and errors. Still, it is how today's businesses are getting their message in front of their prospects and customers. So your business should take advantage of that too.
If you are still not convinced whether online marketing methods are a good fit for you, read further to learn more about how your small business may benefit from digital marketing strategies.
I own a small business. Why would I care about digital marketing?
Digital Marketing is an effective way to reach a large audience, inexpensive, and with measurable results.
Digital marketing has become the go-to solution for many businesses because of its ability to reach customers across many online channels, at a low cost per customer.
So, if you are looking to find new customers at a lower cost, increase customer loyalty, and improve your brand’s reputation, you should consider investing in digital marketing strategies for your business.
Some of the advantages of digital marketing that can help grow your business include:
1. Digital Marketing allows your small business to compete with big brands
If you are a small business owner, most likely you have a tight budget allocated to marketing or advertising. So, it is almost impossible for you to compete with big brands in your industry willing to spend millions on advertising campaigns on television, radio, or magazines nationally and even internationally. Luckily, online there are numerous opportunities for you to outrank the big players through strategic digital marketing initiatives.
2. Digital marketing is highly measurable
One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing is that it is measurable. That means you can get real-time, valuable insights about all the aspects of your marketing efforts, and you can quickly understand what your audience think of your brand. If your message has been shared, liked and attracted plenty of positive comments, you know you are on the right track.
3. Digital marketing is more flexible and engaging than any other traditional marketing methods
Traditional marketing methods like direct mail, broadcasting or print advertisements are quite expensive to produce and take care of. Also, they do not allow direct interaction with your audience to understand how impactful your message is.
Traditional marketing strategies are also rigid as they cannot be adjusted in response to new marketing trends; and, do not offer too many options in terms of metrics to evaluate your marketing success.
In contrast, digital marketing is more affordable to create and maintain. It is dynamic as it allows adjusting your message or target audience while running the ad campaign. It is also highly interactive and engaging as it allows connecting with customers directly. As a result, you can see what your audience think of your brand in real time.
I am a tech-savvy and DIY type of person: Where can I find reliable sources to learn more about digital marketing?
Digital marketing is a very broad and complex topic. Fortunately, there are many different ways to learn about digital marketing, depending on your needs and goals.
You can start by reading this article about digital marketing, which provides a brief overview of the matter and some essential aspects of digital marketing.
You can also check out the entire Digital Marketing section of our blog for more in-depth articles on the subject.
Also, a good place to start is by reading articles in the Search Engine Journal, blog articles such as Hubspot blogs, and even books written by experts in the field.
You can also subscribe to and follow social media influencers, such as Neil Patel, to learn more on the subject.
There are also online courses that teach digital marketing skills. And, if you want to get a certificate, there are many online certificate programs in digital marketing available for you to choose from.
Keep in mind that digital marketing is a fast-paced industry. To keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape, marketers need to constantly learn and adapt their skills to new technologies and trends.
Therefore, if you are a DYI person willing to learn digital marketing for your business, it is important to be prepared to invest in your professional development by reading books, attending webinars, and taking courses regularly.
I am new to digital. How can I start applying digital marketing strategies?
Like any business undertaking, any digital marketing approach should start with a plan that outlines how your business will achieve its goals.
Among other important details, the plan should also include:
The budget available to invest for marketing the product or service on each channel you wish to use - on search, social media, email, etc.
The online marketing strategies & tactics that will be used to reach the goals outlined in the marketing plan.
Try not to focus on just one type of digital marketing technique as the most efficient digital marketing strategies always use a multi-channel approach. Multi-channel marketing refers to interacting with customers across websites, digital ads, social media, email, or any other channel where prospects or clients can be present. If you need help getting started with your marketing plan and strategies, let us know what's your business goal. We are happy to help!
When will I start seeing positive results from digital marketing?
Digital marketing efforts take time, and require attention to detail, knowledge and expertise; digital marketing, especially SEO is an ongoing process.
Usually, the best online marketing plans focus on long-term strategies that may need 3, 6, or even 12 months to produce positive outcomes.
However, the length of time required depends on factors, such as competition, industry, product/service offered, and the marketing strategy focus.
For example, search engine optimization (SEO) strategies take longer to show their positive effects than pay-per-click campaigns (PPC). But while you may see results from PPC marketing campaigns immediately, once you stop the PPC ads, the customers will stop coming and the website traffic will drop considerably if SEO has not been correctly taken care of in the first place. Therefore, both PPC and SEO campaigns must be set up wisely to get the best outcome from each marketing strategy.
Final Thoughts: What you should know about your competition and digital marketing
Lastly, it is worth to mention that it will be more difficult to outrank your competitors if your business operates in a highly competitive industry, especially if your competition already uses effective digital marketing strategies. So the sooner you get started planning and applying digital marketing strategies, the better for your business.
Also, know that there is no magic when it comes to marketing strategies that can replace the quality of your products or services.
If your business provides an inferior service or product to your competitors, your online marketing efforts will most likely be ineffective. However, if you offer great services or products, digital marketing strategies could help you tremendously find new customers online and grow your business.
If you need help with your digital marketing strategy, you are welcome to visit our Services page to see what Adept Marketing Solutions can do for you. Of course, you can ask us questions anytime. We are passionate about helping brands find their creative voice. We love content and design but thrive on the data necessary to succeed in a digital world.
We’re here to make your life easier — talk to us about how we can help.