So you recently started a business. Or maybe you have a small business that you’re trying to get off the ground and running.
Of course, now you need to start getting the word out about your start-up. The great news is, digital marketing is highly accessible to businesses of all shapes and sizes, no matter your budget size.
But digital marketing is really wide. If you know nothing about it, you can easily get lost in the noise, which means you can waste your efforts and have little results to show for it.
On the other hand, if you do digital marketing the right way, you can increase your customer base, survive, and even thrive as a business.
To get the right results, you need to follow digital marketing best practices.
In this blog post, discover seven top digital marketing best practices for new start-up businesses.
1. Create marketing and buyer personas
You’ll find many best practices in this post. But this is probably the most important one. There are two sides to digital marketing:
- Your business
- Your audience
All you do is use marketing channels to connect your business to its audience and provoke them to take the actions you want. But how do you market to an audience you don’t know? Almost impossible.
This is why buyer personas must be your first step in digital marketing. This is essentially a document that contains all the details about your ideal customer or customers. These include:
- Age group
- Solutions they need from your business
- How they research products online
- Their favorite social media channels
- Their favorite customer support channel
When you have these details, you’re able to focus on marketing channels that are likely to yield results for your business. Furthermore, statistics show that personas can make your website two to five times more effective for targeted users.
After all, to properly market a product or service, you need to know who exactly you’re going to market it to.
2. Optimize your content for search engines
If your website shows up when people search for the solutions you offer, you get more visitors. It’s then far easier to convert these visitors because they’re highly targeted.
So, how do you start with SEO as a beginner?
The first step to improve your visibility on search engines is to carry out keyword research.
Through keyword research, you can find the terms your potential customers are using on search engines. As a new business, it’s better to target long-tail keywords (three or more words). To help, you can use a tool like Ubersuggest to start your keyword search:
These long-tail keywords have three big advantages:
- They have clear intent.
- They have low competition (and therefore it’s easier to get those top spots).
- They account for a large portion of searches.
Additionally, if you run a local business, you should optimize your business for local search. This involves uploading your business details to important local listings and collecting reviews from your customers.
Another aspect to bear in mind is paid advertisements. Search engine optimization (SEO) can take a long time before you see results. As you work on your SEO, you can get results faster with paid advertisements when you target valuable keywords in your business.
3. Have a regularly-updated blog
Your potential customers need content to guide them during the buying process. DemandGen Report revealed that 47% of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before they engaged with a sales rep. To help, you can create an editorial calendar so that you can publish new content consistently on your blog.
A regularly updated blog also helps you to rank for more keywords on search engines and gain more leads. HubSpot found that companies that published 16 blog posts monthly got 4.5 times more leads than those with zero to four posts.
However, you need to know that blogging goes beyond just cranking the posts out. You have to create posts on your blog to solve problems for your audience. You should also guest blog on other industry websites to gain access to a wider audience – and generate more inbound links for your website, therefore helping you boost your website’s SEO.
4. Engage your audience through personalized emails
If you want to reach your audience on a personal level, email is one of your best bets. The result speaks for itself.
For instance, a study found that email campaigns have a return on investment (ROI) of $44 on each dollar spent.
However, you need to note that email marketing has changed over the years. Now, you need to send personalized emails to your subscribers to get them to open your emails and click-through to your website.
For example, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
A vital step to take is to invest in an email service provider that supports automated emails. This way, you can send emails to your subscribers based on their interests, and ensure that your emails are always personalized, automatically.
5. Invest in social media marketing
Your potential customers go on social media daily to interact with their friends and brands. When you consider that there are 3.356 billion social media users, it’s a platform you absolutely can’t ignore.
However, there are so many social media channels. Some of them are:
As a new business, you need to focus on a few of them. These are the few where your potential customers hang out regularly. Some best practices you need to follow on social media are:
- Create content regularly to connect with your audience.
- Use visuals like images and videos as they attract higher engagement.
- Interact with your audience through prompt replies and resharing.
- Share relevant industry content with followers.
- Invest in paid advertisements to reach a wider audience.
When you consider that 73% of marketers have found social media effective for their business, then you know you need to take it seriously.
6. Build a great customer service program
In the past, or for offline businesses, you probably won’t categorize customer service as part of your marketing. But in the digital world, it’s best to look at customer service as a marketing channel.
Because news spreads around – and fast. You provide an awful customer service today, you see it on Twitter tomorrow. You go the extra mile to solve a customer’s problem today, you see it on Facebook tomorrow.
Before you know it, you’ve either established a reputation for awful or great customer service. As you might guess, a great reputation for your customer support will attract even more customers. Because it shows you care about your customers.
And this is backed by Vision critical’s survey where 86% of buyers will pay more for better customer experience.
Some customer service channels you can have for your business are:
- Live chat
- Social media
- FAQs and knowledgebase articles on your website
Zappos grew to a billion-dollar company by going the extra mile through customer support. Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, basically said their customer support reps have the authority to do whatever it takes to satisfy a customer.
7. Have a system to track results
Putting efforts into digital marketing activities is great. But you have to be sure that these efforts are bringing results for your business.
Of course, the results you’re looking for will depend on your goals as a business. Why do you engage in digital marketing? Most businesses do so for the following reasons:
- Brand awareness
- Product promotion
- Building an audience
- Capturing leads
- Acquiring customers
- Making sales
Whatever your goals are for digital marketing, how do you measure success or failure? It’s vital to measure results because this is how you can improve your digital marketing strategies. How you can understand what works and what doesn’t.
Ensure that you’re able to measure results on marketing channels like social media, email, search engines, and your website – don’t engage in activities that take up your time and money, but that you can’t measure.
Getting successful in digital marketing is difficult, especially considering the huge competition there is, particularly on social media and when it comes to content marketing.
Making digital marketing work for your business will require a lot of hard work and time, especially as a start-up business. But, if you start with the right strategy, the right mindset, and follow these all-important digital marketing best practices, you’ll be much better equipped to stand out and generate real results from digital platforms.