Looking to boost your business with digital marketing?
A beginner’s guide to digital marketing in 2023. If you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone. This article covers the five main channels you can use to build the foundation of your marketing plan, and gives you an overview of how to use these pillars to help grow your business.
Digital marketing in 2022 can be daunting, especially for small businesses. But it’s not the complexity of execution that’s so difficult. In fact, marketing today is more automated than ever.
The trick is to understand how digital marketing fits into your overall business strategy.
We are faced with the modern problem of too many choices. Even for small businesses, there are so many digital marketing channels and tactics that a simple marketing strategy can quickly become complex.
Marketing is also more personalized than ever. Thanks to the data and technology that enable brands to build our digital profiles, brands are better placed than ever to offer sophisticated personalized experiences. Consumers now expect companies to provide them with tailor-made promotional material.
Today’s marketing also involves much more content creation than in the past.
A few decades ago, most local businesses relied on word-of-mouth. Today, companies are expected to educate, interact socially and personalize the buying journey. This opens up many opportunities to connect with people, but also creates a lot of work.
Let’s not forget what your customers and consumers have to say about you. Every company is also under a microscope. Consumers are all critics, and reviews can have a major impact on the growth of your customer base.
So let’s set the record straight on this point. Below are the top five digital marketing channels/concepts you need to understand to get started in 2022. By familiarizing yourself with these ideas, you’ll be able to set goals and plan tactics that are right for your business.
#1. Search marketing
If you’ve ever searched for something on Google, you already know about search marketing. There are two ways in which search works for businesses: paid and organic. For reference, here’s the breakdown of search results pages:
Paid search is managed by Google Ads and can be referred to as search engine marketing (SEM). With paid search ads, you pay Google to position your ads favorably and drive traffic to your website or provide you with a lead.
The most common payment method is pay-per-click (PPC), which means you pay a certain amount every time someone clicks on your ad and visits your website. You can also pay for impressions, which means you pay when your ad appears on someone’s screen.
Paid search marketing is an important channel for most businesses, especially when you’re just starting out. It’s the quickest and most direct way to get in touch with prospects who have a strong intention to buy.
Retargeting is part of paid search marketing. It consists of displaying ads to people who have already visited your website. It’s a powerful advertising tactic for both search and social media.
How does it work?
Online paid search platforms are auction-based, which means you bid against your competitors to get the top spot on search results pages.
However, it’s not just a question of a straightforward auction. Systems also want to display content that is relevant to users, which is why they have a quality score that evaluates your content. A high score indicates that your content matches the search intent.
The higher the quality score, the lower the cost per click for the first results. This is one of the main objectives of paid advertising. Your other objective is to generate a high return on investment (ROI).
Both Google and Facebook have metrics that allow you to measure the return on your advertising spend (ROAS). You define a conversion value and get a metric that directly indicates your ROAS by comparing what you’ve earned from conversions with your advertising spend. In fact, you can set things up so that systems target a certain ROAS, meaning that the algorithm will target audiences likely to deliver the ROAS you’ve defined.
One thing to remember when it comes to search advertising ROI is the lifetime value of your customers. One person’s ROAS isn’t always profitable, but if you win a valuable repeat customer, you get a significant return.
Organic search results appear below paid ads and can include a mix of anything Google deems relevant to the search query. You don’t pay when someone clicks on these results, but you still have to invest time and effort to get your content ranked.
For businesses with a local location or service area, the Google business profile is an important organic search channel. It’s linked to maps (you need to check your location) and reviews (your ranking is influenced by customer reviews).
Informative content tends to rank organically, even when the search intent is transactional. So, when you’re creating content for your website, you need to include keywords to promote search engineoptimization (SEO).
Organic search can produce an excellent return on investment, but it takes time to move up the rankings and, ultimately, you’re at Google’s mercy when it comes to your rankings. The more information gaps you can fill with prospects, the more likely you are to develop a solid organic search strategy.
#2. Social media marketing
Today, social media occupy a large part of people’s time online. They offer great potential as an advertising channel, but are undoubtedly the most complex to manage.
But the answer to that question is probably yes. Most companies benefit from some level of publicity on social media. However, the approach is different from that of search marketing, as social media advertising is mainly outbound.
Search marketing is what we call inbound marketing. When a person carries out a search, he or she manifests a specific intention. When he discovers you, he comes to you. On social media, your ads are outbound. They mainly target audiences who are new to your brand and not explicitly looking for what you have to offer.
However, with advanced targeting, you can ensure that your ads are delivered to the right audience, based on all kinds of demographic data, such as age, gender, interests, etc.
Social media are an ideal place to test advertising content with specific audiences. If there’s a cohort of people with a particular interest who you think will buy your product, you can approach them and test their responses.
#3. Reputation management
The Internet has given consumers a two-way communication channel that has had a considerable impact on corporate marketing.
Today, planning the building of your company’s reputation must be part of your marketing strategy. You have to take into account what your customers will say about you, because they don’t just say it to a neighbor, they post it on the Internet.
Remember that two of the channels we’ve talked about, Google and Facebook, are places where people leave reviews, but there are a plethora of different platforms where they can post reviews, such as Yelp, HomeStars, or even the comments sections of your social posts and on your own website.
All these platforms have a major impact on people’s perception of your company, and this perception has – without a doubt – an impact on potential customers. A good review can really boost lead generation and sales. One bad review can sink a company.
The most important step in reputation management is to take care of your customer service and the quality of your offers. If people like what you do and you treat them fairly, your reputation will take care of itself.
You can take management action if problems arise, for example by asking satisfied customers for feedback so that you can replace the bad ones. From the outset, start planning your business around building a solid reputation. This is an incredibly important aspect of your marketing.
#4. Conversion-based design
One of the most important concepts you need to be aware of when getting started in digital marketing is conversion-based design.
Conversion-based design involves designing marketing materials and programs, such as your website and e-mail marketing, that prioritize conversion, i.e. the action you’re trying to motivate (such as hiring or buying from you).
All the online marketing and advertising materials you develop must be linked to a business objective. Most of the time, the aim is to trigger a response in your target audience and empower them to take action.
Don’t lose sight of these objectives. Empathize with your audience and put yourself in their shoes. Examine the work you create as objectively as possible. When you feel that your bias is becoming too strong (and it will), ask others to look at your material with fresh eyes.
Focusing on conversions means focusing on your audience and getting to know them intimately. This is one of the most valuable things you can do as a marketer.
#5. Data analysis
The final aspect of digital marketing you need to master is performance data.
Digital marketing is absolutely data-driven. What you’ll quickly discover with digital marketing is that there’s far more data available than you’ll ever be able to use (or even capture). Google Analytics/Ads and Facebook Ads are labyrinths of data offering virtually infinite reporting options.
But you can’t ignore data with digital channels. They need to be part of your marketing mindset. Indeed, at a basic level, marketing is a process of trial and error. It’s not an exact science. You use the data to determine what’s working and what’s not.
Your goal is to do more of what helps you achieve your objectives, while eliminating what is inefficient. Fortunately, performance software is a great help to business owners in analyzing data by narrowing things down to key objectives and key performance indicators.
We’ve done the work of selecting the most important data points for small businesses and organizing them by channel so you can understand your marketing data without having to sift through endless metrics and reports.
Most novice marketers feel intimidated by digital marketing – and rightly so. These are deep waters with strong currents. Of course, we’ve only scratched the surface here, but in a way, that’s the point.
As a business owner, you’ll never be able to master all digital marketing channels instantly. Nobody really can, because just when you think you know it all, it all changes. Facebook, in particular, is known for constantly modifying its platform.
It’s not necessary to know all the details of how these channels work. But you need to have a basic understanding of the marketing principles involved.
For starters, approach digital marketing strategically rather than tactically. Think first about who you need to communicate with and what you need to say. Once you have a strategy in place, you can start setting goals and planning tactics.
And of course, you can enlist the help of a marketing team like Koanthic. We live and breathe this stuff, and have the latest ideas and tools to help you with these all-important digital marketing channels.