It’s 2019 and we’re all online. At least we all should be, if you’re running a business. Even my grandmother checks her Facebook every morning. And while nothing will take the place of person-to-person interaction, digital marketing, or connecting with people online, is arguably the baseline for getting your message out there and promoting your business.
So what, exactly, is digital marketing? It sounds fancy, and maybe even intimidating to those who aren’t familiar with it, but it’s really as simple as being a catch-all term used to describe promotion done through digital technologies, ie – if you’re doing it on the internet, it’s digital marketing. In contrast, traditional marketing focused on print advertising and TV commercials, for example. Now, I know this is a simplistic definition, but it largely works for the uninitiated.
Specifically, digital marketing encompasses many activities you’re already doing for your business, such as your website, running a business Facebook or Instagram page, engaging in online groups to promote your business and network or having a YouTube channel. These common forms of digital marketing are already the norm for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, whether they’re calling their actions “digital marketing” or not.
Acknowledging this and using descriptive terminology may seem silly and redundant, and it largely is. There’s not necessarily any need for you to bring on board someone with a Digital Marketer job title. What people can do, however, is be more conscious and deliberate with how they do the things they’re already doing and adding more, related, digital marketing activities to their repertoire.
An important thing to do is decide on the brand you want to create. Think of it like this, in one line distill down what your business is about. If someone were to ask you what you do, what would you tell them? How do you want to be seen? And why? What do you think this reputation will give you? How does it speak to your target demographic?
Next, come up with a few core messages which reinforce your brand. If you’re a handyman whose brand is quick work, message different projects you’ve done and how long it’s taken you, along with the tools and techniques you use to work quickly and your very fast and responsive turn-around time to provide quotes and start work. If you’re a hair dresser whose brand is doing amazing colours, message the high quality products you use to create your colours, healthy hair and colour management, and how to style coloured hair.
Keeping all this in mind, start to build your digital marketing infrastructure, making sure what you’re building suits your brand and promotes it, through your digital marketing activities and your messaging.
Start with your static pages:
- Your website – I recommend WordPress, but I’ve also used Wix for clients and both will get you online fast and easy at a great cost; and
- Google My Business – get yourself signed up at Google My Business so you have a professional look when people look for you online.
Move on to your social media:
- Facebook – Facebook, at a minimum, is where you need to begin your social media profile, and
- Others like Instagram and Twitter – depending on your industry and service/product you’ll want to add Instagram for product, community and picture rich businesses (also, Pinterest) and Twitter and LinkedIn if you’re offering a higher tech or professional service.
Then do advertising:
- Ads – Facebook is one of the major advertising platforms, but Instagram is a powerful too as well; while properly run campaigns on Twitter and LinkedIn (and Pinterest) can be more expensive, they also have value.
Move on to different mediums:
- Lastly, working on video such as YouTube, as well as blogging and other forms of writing and media for other platforms is a great way to promote yourself, although it is a time-consuming option.
Digital marketing may sound difficult, confusing or complex, but really, you’re probably already doing it, and these are just my tips if you are just starting off or if you want to structure your efforts more effectively.