What is Digital Marketing?
As a startup, it’s important to spend money wisely, maybe even more so than for traditional businesses. Every financial decision you make requires confidence because once the funding runs out, it’s gone. More importantly, you want to know there is some kind of return on the money you spend. Unfortunately, this is very tricky where marketing is involved.
If you don't do the necessary research and work through the right channels, you aren’t going to get the results you’re hoping for. The good news is that digital marketing can lead to brand authority and ultimately, profit, for startups. You just have to know how to wield it.
The term digital marketing speaks to the vast online areas through which you can attract and engage potential clients or customers. Here are the basics.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization or SEO is all about getting to the top of the first page in a Google search so that your brand appears as a solution when your ideal customer goes looking for one. The first step here is usually to have a website or a blog. By offering valuable, keyword-rich content, you’re showing the search engines how valuable you are and have a better chance of getting ranked higher. SEO is a complex strategy, however, and there’s a great deal more to it than just writing great content. From backlinking to schema markup, this strategy can go very deep.
It doesn't cost anything to open a social media profile, and these platforms are great for organically building a following for your brand. But you have to approach social media with skill and patience. Social media, no matter what platform you choose, is a long-term game. It takes content creation, research, and engagement. People and companies who head there with the expectation that it will do wonders for their sales in a short amount of time are usually the ones that can’t make social work for them.
Email marketing is a powerful tool for nurturing prospects and turning them into customers. On social media, an algorithm change could bring you less traffic overnight, essentially hitting you where it hurts most. However, an email list is something an algorithm can’t take away from you, and companies who invest in growing their email list are always going to do better with sales because they’ve got a curated list of followers already interested in what they offer.
Both search and social now have paid options for advertising, and if you know what you’re doing, these can be seriously affordable ways to acquire new customers and generate sales. There’s a learning curve with each and every one of these systems, but the ultimate trick will be figuring out which system is more likely to deliver your ad to the right person at the right time.
Traditional advertising is disruptive. When you hear an ad on the radio or see one on TV, you never quite know if it’ll be a good fit for you. With digital advertising, however, brands are able to target the individuals who see their advertising on a much more micro level, which ultimately leads to more effective and less expensive ads.
Here are some of the places you can advertise online:
Ultimately, digital marketing can be a cost-effective way for brands to gain exposure and get themselves in front of the kinds of people who are ready to buy from them. Just remember that digital marketing isn’t a quick fix! It’s a long-term strategy that requires constant attention and thoughtful action. Armed with the right tools and the right team, you can use digital marketing tactics to launch your brand.
Meet the Author: Shauna Armitage
Shauna is a Marketing Director or Fractional CMO helping early-stage startups scale with effective strategies, creative solutions, and unparalleled integrity by making the most of small budgets for maximum impact.
As a vocal advocate for women in business, Shauna is on a mission to redefine what it looks like to be a working woman and to support other women doing the same. She spends her free time traveling with her husband and four kids while drinking Coca-Colas. Connect with her on Instagram at @shauna.armitage.