Digital marketing is a very powerful tool that only the ignorant or the most ancient dinosaurs of the business world would ignore, to their detriment.  However, a badly implemented Digital Marketing strategy can be even worse than doing no digital marketing at all.

From our years of experience about things that work (and things that don’t), here are our top 10 tips for using digital marketing for your business.  These tips, in brief, are:

  1. Form a Digital Marketing Strategy
  2. Take advantage of all Digital Marketing platforms
  3. Use mobile friendly platforms
  4. Have clear calls to action
  5. Be as visual as possible
  6. Be consistent
  7. Ensure that you are utilizing all Google platforms
  8. Take advantage of link building, but carefully!
  9. Use email and SMS marketing
  10. If you can measure it, you can control it

1. Form a digital marketing strategy

When many businesses get started with digital marketing, they have no clear strategy to work from.  They build a few platforms and start marketing, but with limited results.

For optimal results in digital marketing, you need to formulate a clear strategy, covering the following:

  • Goals of the marketing strategy.  Are you trying to gain leads, sales, brand awareness, or perhaps a combination of them all?
  • Platforms to use that would achieve your goals effectively.
  • One brand “theme”, so that all platforms properly represent your business and your brand.
  • The main message that you want to share.  Let all the platforms talk the same language and convey the same message.
  • Your target market, and how to communicate to them effectively.

2. Take advantage of all digital marketing platforms

Each platform has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.  For example, Google Search Advertising is a very effective way to target customers who are searching on Google for your product or service, when they are searching for it.  But on the negative side, clicks on Google’s Search network can get expensive.  Facebook, on the other hand, is usually very cost effective and affordable for a business with a tight budget, but nobody is going on Facebook to look for a product or service, they go to look at Grandpa’s holiday pictures. They might accidentally see a product or service that they would like to purchase.

Does that mean that one platform is better than the other?  Not necessarily.  It simply means that you must choose the platforms that are ideal for your business, but don’t limit yourself to only one.  You can reach more customers by utilizing a range of digital marketing platforms.

3. Use mobile friendly platforms

Back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, an average South African searching for a product or service had to switch on his PC, go through the tedious process of connecting his internet, spend minutes waiting for a search engine like Yahoo to load, before finally being able to search for what they’re looking for. They would then have to hold thumbs that there was a website somewhere offering that service close to them.

Things have changed drastically since then.  According to Google’s statistics, more than 70% of Google searches in South Africa are from mobile devices like smartphones.  These days a user can be in a strange city and search for the nearest restaurant on a device that fits in their pocket, finding around 10 results easily, able to compare menus, prices and locations easily.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, your results from any digital marketing efforts will be limited.  Always think about what you can do to make it easier for people to find your business, interact with you and buy your products from a mobile device.  Perhaps it might even be beneficial for you to create a mobile app for your business.

4. Have clear calls to action (CTA’s)

Sometimes people aren’t looking to purchase immediately.  They might only be looking for something to buy in future.  However, we’ve found that having a clear call to action in your digital marketing ads and on your website can go a long way to motivate people to contact and buy sooner rather than later.  Replace words like “Contact Us” with phrases like “Get a Free Quote Today!” or “Buy Online Now!”

5. Be as visual as possible

In South Africa, people don’t often read through a website from start to finish.  South Africans tend to like visual websites that clearly communicate their products, services, prices and advantages in a visual and user-friendly way.

Don’t text spam your website visitors or the people you are targeting with your ads.  Rather let your visuals do most of the talking.

6. Be consistent

Don’t stop posting ads or social media posts after a few weeks if you don’t see results.  You can change your approach a bit, but keep at it.  At the very least you are creating brand awareness.  The more often people see your brand, the more likely they are to trust your business and to buy from you in the future.

7. Ensure that you are utilizing all Google platforms

Google is the most used search engine in the world, but people don’t only use Google for search.  They are also using YouTube, Google Maps and even Google+, all Google properties.

If your business is on Google Maps, chances are that people driving through your area will notice you.  With a good YouTube channel and some interesting or entertaining content, you have a chance of going viral, reaching thousands of potential customers at almost no cost.

Make sure that you utilize as many of Google’s platforms as possible.

8. Make use of link building, but carefully!

Link building is the process of creating content on other websites that link back to your website.  For example, you can write a blog post about your business or services on another blog, as a guest blogger.

When you have many high quality links linking back to your website, Google will improve your website’s page rank value (PR), which means that you will rank higher on Google’s search results.

However, it is important to be careful with this.  The links must be associated with high quality content, otherwise Google could blacklist your website completely.

9. Use email and SMS marketing

Due to all the spam being sent out, email and SMS marketing have quite bad reputations in the digital marketing sphere.  However, it can still be a cost effective marketing strategy if you follow the following rules:

  • Don’t spam.  Ensure that you only send emails and SMS’s to people who have opted to receive communication from you or who have shown interest in your product or services.
  • Use high quality content.  Share something interesting that people would like to see or read.
  • Don’t just try to sell.  When people find an email that is explicitly trying to sell something they tend to ignore it.  Don’t be too obvious about selling your products, rather offer potential customers something for free.
  • Be visual.  Few people will read a long-winded email.  You can get much more attention in a short, visual email that entices people to click through to your website.
  • Don’t send emails from your email address.  This could be viewed as spamming and could lead to your domain and email server being blacklisted.  Rather use a platform like MailChimp.

10. If you can measure it, you can control it

Don’t just assume that everything is running as it should.  You can link Google Analytics with your website, giving you detailed information about where your website traffic is coming from and what people do when they get to your website.  That can show you if you’re losing potential customers at one specific point in your conversion process, or if your website landing pages are performing poorly and need to be changed.

Analysing your results is one of the most crucial steps in any digital marketing effort.  With proper analysis you can keep on implementing what works, change what isn’t working well, and stop wasting time and money on any system that isn’t working at all.

Conclusion

In our modern, connected, mobile society digital marketing is more important than ever for reaching your target market. These tips can help you find a way to implement it effectively for your business.  If you require any assistance with developing a good digital marketing strategy, contact Hosting101 and let our experts assist you.

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Are you relevant online? You know Google, but does Google know you? Is your website geared and optimized to really bring in more customers? Is your business brand portraying you and your product effectively? Hosting101 can help you get from where you are to where you want to be.

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