Marketing used to be all about spending money.
If you could outspend your competitors, there was a good chance you could take over a larger portion of the market share. Creativity played a part, but being successful often came down to dollars spent.
Today, however, marketing is more complicated.
People don’t want to be marketed to; they want to build relationships.
There are millions of people starting a blog these days, dozens of social media platforms, and enough acronyms to make your head spin — SEO, PPC, CRO, CTA.
If you are just getting started in digital marketing, this can all lead to information overload.
This article will outline just five of the most effective digital marketing strategies. We’ll cover how to get started, how to track your efforts, and share resources so you can learn more about each topic.
At the end, you will have a solid understanding of the basics and, hopefully, a path to get started.
Create Detailed, Useful Content
Content marketing, the practice of creating and sharing content that does not explicitly promote a brand, is one of the most popular forms of digital marketing.
Here’s the thing—every company is cranking out content. In March of 2019, 4.4 million blog posts were published each and every day. That is a massive amount of content.
It is enough to make you throw in the hat, right? With so much content out there, how could you possibly stand out?
The truth is, most of that content is crap. It is rehashed, reworded, and covers absolutely nothing new.
Boring, basic content isn’t going to cut it; you need to get unconventional with your content marketing strategy and create radically useful content that stands out.
So, how do you do it?
By creating in-depth, well-researched guides, and long-form posts, like this one from Lendio, a small business loan marketplace.
There are several features that help this post stand out. First, the title is clear and descriptive. It tells the reader what to expect and introduced the topic.
Lendio also included hyperlinks in the left margin, which allows readers to navigate to specific topics. Maybe you already understand what short term loans are, but want to know how to apply for one.
The hyperlinks let you easily navigate to that portion of the guide.
The writer also uses bold text and numbered list to make the content easy to skim.
The post also includes internal links to other resources on the Lendio site as well as external links to resources and sources for statistics.
If you really want to satisfy both your readers and Google… Be sure you’re serving up long-form content that answers your target audience’s problems.
Consider writing a 2,000+ word blog post like this Cyberghost review page from VPN Reviews:
Another thing that stands out is the excellent grammar, so be sure to use a grammar checker tool, even if you got all ‘A’s’ in school!
The results? An easy to read, well written, in-depth guide that educates customers instead of trying to sell them products or services.
Here’s another example from Adventure For Less:
Creating these types of guides can be time-intensive. And maybe you don’t have the writing skills or the time to take on such a large project.
Consider hiring writer or content marketing company who can work alongside you to turn the knowledge you in your head into a detailed guide to educate and inform your audience.
Just remember, you get what you pay for. There are plenty of services that will claim they can create fantastic content for pennies per word.
However, the quality of content is likely to be much lower. Consider this case study by content company Codeless. They reviewed several cheaper writing services and published this chart of their findings.
As you can see, the lower-cost services fail to provide the level of content you need to stand out. Many turned in articles that were hard to read, inaccurate, and even plagiarized.
If you do decide to outsource content, make sure you hire a reputable company.
Finally, to get the most out of content marketing, you have to track your efforts. Decide what the most important metric is to your company—are you looking for page views, boost email sign-ups with your email marketing strategy, or form fill outs?
Heat maps can help you see where readers spend the most time on your site, so you create content your audience actually wants to interact with.
Then, create content that leverages the strategies you know work.
Be Smart With Social Media
In 2018, more than 2 billion unique users used social media. By 2021, that number is expected to exceed 3 billion.
That’s a lot of social traffic… But, are you capitalizing on it and reaping the rewards?
No matter what industry your business is in, a large portion of your audience is likely on at least one social media platform.
The challenge many beginners face is the number of different social media platforms can be overwhelming.
Should you dive into Facebook, set up an Instagram account, and create a Twitter profile?
Instead of taking on multiple platforms, become more productive and focus on one social media platform where most of your audience hangs out.
The demographics on each platform are a bit different. For example, if you are targeting the 18-29 age group, Facebook may be your best bet because 81% of 18 to 29-year-olds use Facebook.
If you are targeting non-U.S. users, Instagram is a good choice, as 80% of Instagram users live outside the U.S.
This post breaks down the demographics for each social media platform so you can determine which platform is likely to reach the largest percent of your target audience.
After you decide which platform works best, you need to learn how to use the analytics to understand what content works best. Most platforms have a native analytics program (for Instagram, you will have to upgrade to a business profile).
For more in-depth analytics, use a social media tool like SocialPilot that allows you to schedule posts and track what types of posts work best.
These programs also allow you to batch social content creation, so you can spend one day creating and scheduling all your content, then focus your mind on other tasks.
Start a Podcast
This might seem like an odd addition to a newbie marketing strategy list, but hear me out.
Podcasting is a massive industry. There are currently 700,000 active podcasts published in more than 100 different languages.
Whether you want to catch up on true crime, learn about social media marketing, or hone your Spanish skills, there is a podcast that can help you do just that.
What makes podcasting stand out is that any beginner can get into it. Starting a high-quality podcast requires a bit of learning and equipment, but it has a much lower barrier to entry and is more likely to reach your target audience.
To get started, consider ordering a podcasting equipment kit, which will provide everything you need to get started.
You’ll also want to learn about mic technique, so you can create crisp, clear audio that doesn’t distract from your content. For example, make sure you don’t position your mouth too close or too far from the microphone.
Next, you need podcasting space. A setup to conduct it in that’s beneficial for both professionalism and audio quality.
While some will tell you to get a podcasting studio space, this isn’t needed. Do you have access to a co-working office where you can use private rooms?
If so, this is perfect for an in-person podcast where you can do both audio and video.
Lastly, choose a podcast hosting platform. These platforms also offer analytics, so you can track stats like downloads and listens.
If you share links in your podcast, be sure to use trackable links or coupon codes so you can track the impact your podcast is having on your bottom line!
What about content? The topics you cover will vary based on your industry, of course, but consider reviewing products or industry tools, interviewing industry leaders, or covering news important to your audience.
Optimize Your Landing Pages
Landing pages serve many functions—they can be used to gather leads, make a sale, or just provide more information about a product or topic.
What all landing pages have in common is their goal—to encourage the visitor to complete an action, often signing up for an email list or finalizing a purchase.
Check out how Lyfe Accounting uses their landing page for their small business CPA services page to capture email addresses below:
Many beginners use a landing page tool, toss in some copy, publish their page, then carry on with their day.
Then, they wonder why their landing page doesn’t convert.
If you want your landing page to convert, you need to take the time to optimize your page. This is an important step for when building a landing page, whether your first or your 50th.
Here is how to optimize your landing pages to drive conversions.
Focus on the Benefits
Instead of talking about how awesome your product is, focus on how it will make the customer’s life better. Will it help them be more organized? Get more out of their social media marketing? Find the best vpn for their needs? How will that benefit make the customer feel?
Here’s an example from Cooltechzone on their comprehensive best vpn review page:
Take note how they mention the benefit of this specific vpn provider in the headline as being the best “equipped”.
Below they go into even further detail of NordVPN and break down every single benefit to the customer:
Here’s another example from online business and career coach Classy Career Girl.
Notice how the copy focuses on the benefits of the planner while the subtitle (and the Proof notification in the lower-left corner) build social proof.
Create Unique Landing Pages for Different Target Audiences
There is a good chance you have more than one ideal customer, right? That is why most buyer personas tools create multiple personas.
If your audiences are different enough, consider creating separate landing pages to address the unique challenges and needs of each target market.
Software company HousecallPro, for example, creates custom landing pages for each target markets, rather than a generic page.
They have a landing page for plumbers, HVAC technicians, house cleaners, etc. so they can see how each distinct segment performs.
The plumbing software page uses unique copy and a video targeted at plumbers.
Plumbers face different challenges than, say, a house cleaning company. By creating separate landing pages, HouseCall Pro can address these differences and increase conversions.
Taking it one step further, you should also create unique landing pages for the different products and services you offer, rather than an overwhelming page with too many features and call to actions.
Case in point, a landing page distinct for one service like copywriting:
And another separate page to explain your other services:
This allows you to dive into detail without overwhelming buyers, focusing on single, direct calls to action that are tailored for them.
A/B Test Titles and Headlines
Headline testing is the practice of using multiple headlines or titles for a piece of online content (in this case, a landing page) to determine which generates more conversions. The results are often surprising.
Humana, for example, found that reducing the amount of copy and changing the CTA resulting in 433% higher conversion rates.
The banner on the left uses numbers and bulleted points, which are common practices. It also focuses on the benefit, that is saving money. Yet, the banner on the right was significantly more successful.
This is a clear example of why headline testing is so critical to landing page success; you can’t always tell what will be most successful.
Want to dig in deeper to landing page optimization? Be sure to use a website audit checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row before hitting “publish”.
Get Cozy With Google Analytics and Crazy Egg
Too many new marketers dig into the strategies of digital marketing without considering their own customer engagement data.
For example, you might do a ton of research into when is the best time to post on social media to determine when to schedule your posts. Or, you might look up best practices for blogging to figure out how often you should publish on your company’s blog.
Here’s the secret most beginners don’t realize: The best digital marketing strategy is what works best for your company or brand.
Content marketing best practices might tell you that blog posts need to be at least 1,000 words to be effective. But that might not be true for your audience. Your customers might prefer 2,500-word posts that really dive deep. Or, they might want short and snappy posts of 700 words.
Figuring out what works best for your audience requires understanding the data, and Google Analytics is the best platform to get that data. (Plus, it’s free!)
Using Google Analytics, you can see how many people read a post, but you can also see real-time data about what people are doing on your site right now.
Using Events, you can track interactions site users, such as how many people downloaded a white paper or watched a video. Events are customizable, so you can track what is important for your business.
There are a nearly endless variety of other metrics you can track, including demographics, interests, location, behavior, even the device site visitors use to access your website.
One of the most significant benefits of Google Analytics can also be a drawback—the detailed amount of data you can access can overwhelm beginners. Which is why a rich, visual tool like Crazy Egg can help you quickly translate all of your website visitor data into actionable next steps. Heatmaps. Clickmaps. Referral Maps. User Recordings. All features that help you get a visual understanding of how your site visitors are experiencing your site — what’s working and what isn’t.
To get started, decide on just a few metrics you want to track, such as time on page, page views, and demographics, then track those for a few weeks. As you begin to understand how the platform works, look for other data points you can track.
For a basic understanding, read this guide that covers everything Google Analytics can do.
Google Analytics + Crazy Egg Webinar
Psssst… Want to learn how to improve your Google Analytics setup live? Join us for our upcoming webinar on Thursday, September 26th!
Digital Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Overwhelming
As a bonus tip, another strategy to add to your toolbox could be to create QR codes with logo to further engage your customers.
QR codes can be used on things like your website, flyers, brochures, product packaging, and more and have been highly effective in marketing campaigns.
All of the above digital strategies are proven to help boost your omnichannel customer experience, which is being on the same platforms as your audience…
Whether that’s Instagram, Facebook, podcasts, or plain old email marketing. The key is just meeting your customers where they already are.
Ready to start making moves to enhance your omnipresence and overall digital strategy?
Trust me, I know the amount of content online is both a blessing and a curse…
You can learn how to do everything at the click of a button. Want to rebuild a car engine? Unclog your sink? Learn how to build super effective paid ads?
You can learn all of this, and more, through videos, guides, whitepapers, and courses.
Having access to this level of information can be incredibly overwhelming. Everyone is a guru or an expert. Even just figuring out where to start can be frustrating.
Digital marketing shouldn’t be frustrating.
It should empower you to make smart decisions that help you help your customers.
Choose one of the strategies above, and start putting it to work for your business. Once you have that one down, try another, and tailor it to your brand.
Remember, the key to digital marketing success is figuring out what works best for you, not what seems to work for everyone else.
Have you tried any of the strategies above? What challenges did you face?
- The 5 Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Beginners - September 25, 2019
- A 4-Point CRO Checklist to Give to Your Web Designers - January 4, 2019