In today’s digital world, there is a lot of buzz around “digital marketing,” but what does digital marketing really entail? Digital marketing includes online marketing efforts such as social media, email marketing, blog posts, and video channels. The difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing efforts (for example a billboard), is that it provides the opportunity for two-way communication between you and your audience.
Digital Marketing: any marketing methods conducted through electronic devices which utilize the internet.
Most of us use social media and email in our everyday personal lives. It’s natural to think that because we use it so much every day, it will be easy to apply it to our business. However, executing a digital marketing campaign effectively and efficiently is not as easy as it may seem, and can be quite time-consuming to cover all channels of digital marketing. Digital marketing is relevant for most businesses, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything at once. Check out last week’s article for how to choose your marketing channels here. This week, we’re going to cover the basics that you should keep in mind when considering a digital marketing plan.
What’s your objective?
Creating a digital marketing plan is essential in keeping everything organized and on track. Start by assessing what digital marketing plans you already use, and how you use them. For example, you might use email to send out a monthly newsletter to recurring customers, and Facebook to create Facebook events. If you’re starting from scratch assess which platforms will help you reach your target audience, and how you will utilize them to communicate your message. Learn more about keeping your message consistent in last week’s article here.
After you’ve taken inventory of what digital marketing channels you’re going to utilize, establish a schedule for how frequently you’re going to use them. Planning ahead will save you time in the long run. Scheduling emails, Facebook ads, or social media posts consistently will help you grow your audience. Your email recipients will recognize your emails coming to their inbox at a consistent time and know to look for them. Social media algorithms will push content for accounts that post more regularly, which will help you increase your followers.
Determine what capacity you have to execute a digital marketing plan, and develop a realistic schedule around that. Start with a quarterly or monthly email, and two or three social media posts a week. It’s best to start slow and steady, and then begin to ramp up your frequency of emails, posts, etc., once you start to get the hang of it. Check out a list of social media planning sites you can use to automatically schedule posts.
As you create your plan and begin to create your content, remember to stay flexible in your approach. Trends and algorithms are always changing, which may require you to pivot your strategy every now and again. It’s also important to have a platform you own to host all of your original content, such as your own website. That way you always have your digital marketing content stored somewhere in case a social media platform shuts down or introduces a paywall.
Update your internet presence
Now that you know which channels you’re going to use, and how you will use them, you need to begin updating your internet presence. When you begin emailing your target audience or posting on social media, people are going to look you up on Google. Make sure your Google profile is up to date and has the correct information, links, and logos. At the very least, your correct website link, business address, and phone number should be updated. If you don’t have a business profile setup yet, learn how to create one here.
Google is the largest search engine, but more and more people are beginning to use social media as a way to search for information, people and businesses. These days, someone may look you up on Facebook or Instagram before they google you. Therefore, you also need to update the bios for any of the social media platforms you choose to implement in your digital marketing plan (and deactivate or delete the accounts you choose not to use).
Bio: your introduction, it’s a snapshot that represents the most important information someone should know about you or your business.
Keep your bio consistent for each platform, explain what your business is or include your mission statement. You can also add a link to your website, your business hours, and a phone number or email for people to contact.
Work smarter not harder
Social media is becoming one of the most popular channels for digital marketing. We won’t lie, it can take a while to get the hang of, especially when you’re trying to balance running the rest of your business operations. However, there are a couple of tricks you can use to work smarter, not harder, on social media marketing.
If it’s in your marketing budget, consider investing in social media ads. Social media algorithms generally do not push organic content. Your posts have a very low likelihood of appearing on your followers’ timelines unless you put some money behind them. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Even paying $10 a day, for five days ($50 total) will dramatically increase the exposure your post receives.
Organic content: free content that all types of users share to their feed
Digital platforms that promote video content, such as TikTok, have seen a dramatic increase in users over the last few years. While these platforms are a really fun way to show what your business is about, it can be difficult to stay up to date with the ever-changing trends. Luckily, there are people with social media accounts who recognize this challenge, and make videos to help you out! They will post new trend alerts and explain exactly how to use the trend, and film the video. This is a quick and easy way to stay relevant with video trends and learn how to use the platforms! Look up “TikTok Trend Alert” in the TikTok search bar, and check out which ones pique your interest and can apply to your business! Don’t forget, that it’s still important to choose your platforms carefully. If making videos and TikToks just aren’t your thing, don’t do them!
Lastly, if you really don’t have the time to do digital marketing yourself, use the people in your community! Most college students are looking for side hustles or internships, anything that can give them real-world experience in their field. Put an ad on Handshake that you’re looking for an intern or part-time employee! If you live near a high school or university see what marketing programs they offer. The American Marketing Association and DECA’s student business organization usually have high school or university level chapters that use real businesses for their case studies. Even some university classes will develop marketing plans for local businesses as part of a long-term project. Connect with the instructor in charge of these clubs and classes, and see if they’d be willing to do their case study on your business!
Digital marketing is fun and exciting when you start to dive into it. There’s always room to make changes or try something new. Set aside some time to strategize, and then get creative and have fun!