You’ve heard that having a static presence is no longer enough. You know that the world of digital marketing is vast and dynamic, and week after week seems to just bring more trends and features to use. You then hear a lot about the struggles of keeping up with the digital world, but what if you’re just trying to get started with digital in the first place? This post will break down the building blocks of a digital presence and help you get started in forming a system that gets your business on the map.
Related: 6 Sample Marketing Plans
Before you start to get overwhelmed with optimization, mobilization, engagement, and other “zations”, take a breather and think simple: build your digital foundation. Think of a foundation for a home or building. It’s pretty boring. It’s got no bells or whistles. Nothing special to look at. It doesn’t catch your eye. Yet without it, you can not have a structurally sound house or build off of it with aesthetic and functional elements.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your digital presence, start here:
While offline marketing is not obsolete, online marketing is highly effective and requires that you have a website that can support a multitude of activities. Your business website, at the bare basics, should include:
• Your contact information
• A products/services page that lets potential customers know what you offer (helpful post: Writing Products/Services Content).
• A description that gives visitors a gist of who is behind your company (helpful: Write “About Us” Content)
• A contact us page, particularly with a form that collects an email address rather (than an email address that users can send email to).
• Some quality visuals (that don’t take forever to load or get stretched out)
You don’t have to start your social media strategy off with daily posts, scheduled posting tools, hashtag research, and intricate giveaways. Once again, start simple. Simply set up your social media profiles. Facebook and Instagram are your best bets. You can add more profiles later. Effective social media marketing takes time to develop, but it starts with creating your profiles.
For help setting up your social media profiles, use these posts:
• Essentials of a Facebook Business Page
• How to Create the Perfect Instagram Business Profile
Once you have a website set up, you can now make your business more digitally discoverable via online listings. There are hundreds of directories out there, but starting with the basics is a good first step. Keep in mind also that smaller directories will pull from larger directories, eliminating the extra work for you. Just make sure that all the listings you do create are identical and consistent. For help with setting up your digital directory listings, use these posts:
• Where (and How) to List Your Business Online
• 9 Essential Local Business Directory Sites and What to Include in the Listings
You may also need to look into claiming your listings, as many can get generated automatically or by users on particular platforms. For help with this, refer to:
• How to Fix Inaccurate Listings
• How to Claim a Facebook Business Page
Now that you have a website, social media profiles, and online directory listings, you have the tools to start building up your digital foundation. Here are your next steps for growing your digital presence:
Now it’s time to start thinking of the “zations” for your website. Search engine optimization, in particular. One of the best initial steps you can take to improve your SEO is to have a business blog where you put out relevant content for people who are looking for it. For more about blogging for your business, check out these posts:
• Why Your Business Needs a Blog
• Improving SEO with High-Quality Content
• How to Write Your First Blog Post
You don’t have to start posting multiple times a day with the most engaging posts of the century. Don’t let perfection paralyze you. You also don’t have time to spare, so utilize strategies to post efficiently on social media:
• Link your Facebook Page to your Instagram account
• Follow these Social Media Hacks
• Repurpose content to save time
Being listed on directories helps your business, but getting reviews on those directories (where applicable) helps it even more. People trust online reviews more than ever before, and they will look to those reviews when deciding between you or your competitor. Here are some posts to help you with online reviews:
• 5 Secrets to Getting Positive Online Reviews
• How to Ask Customers for Reviews
• How to Get Customer Testimonials
Now that you’ve got your digital foundation in place, and have gotten into a rhythm with maintaining those digital channels, it’s time to add in a new one: online advertising. Digital ads are not the simplest part of a digital marketing strategy, but they can be highly effective. Here are some digital advertising channels to start with:
Paid Search Advertising (aka SEM)
Market Via Email: Email marketing works. Period.
Produce Video: Online video is becoming more and more integral to successful digital marketing. Start simple with Instagram videos.
Use Automation Tools: Once you get a clear picture of the most effective types of content for your business, and the channels that perform best, you should definitely look into automation tools to help streamline things.
Optimize for Mobile: People are turning to their smartphones more than ever for news, email, and information. If your emails and website are not optimized for mobile, you are losing out on precious business.
Digital marketing provides new versions of old tricks when it comes to getting your business noticed and growing your customer base. It also creates unique opportunities for you to use your creativity and spread an authentic message. Take advantage of the above tips and tricks to give your business a discoverable, digital presence.