The ever-increasing popularity of online marketplaces like Airbnb, Wayfair, and Houzz are making it easier for people to connect with businesses they might not have heard of before. With traditional brick-and-mortar retailers under pressure, the need for online marketing and SEO has never been more evident.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just getting started, understanding the various ways in which marketing can be performed online will help you position your business to be discovered by the right audience.
While there are countless ways to market a business, none of them are exclusive to the digital age. If you’re a traditional marketer, you already know how crucial it is to get your business’ name out there into the public eye. This can be easily accomplished by spending money on print and radio ads, holding exhibitions, and sending out mass mailings.
However, with the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, there are now more ways than ever to get your name out there without directly spending money on expensive ads. For example, you could run a blog that promotes your business, hosts interviews with industry experts, and even puts out ebooks about the theme or topics you are known for. Plus, you could use online SEO to help your blog reach the top of search engine results.
While some might consider digital marketing to be a form of traditional marketing, it’s quite the opposite. Simply put, digital marketing is the use of digital technology to reach potential customers.
If you’re unfamiliar, digital technology simply refers to any software or application used to create, manage, store, and analyze data. For instance, most businesses use email marketing software such as HubSpot or Mailchimp to send out mass promotions and communications. Plus, many retailers use software such as Shopify, Venmo, or Xoom to track store activity and sales.
Since the vast majority of consumers prefer to research and purchase products online, digital marketing is the primary method through which businesses gain customer trust and encourage them to become advocates.
As a business owner, you’ll need to decide how you want to go about marketing your company. Do you want to be the best at what you do and go the extra mile to gain trust? Or do you want to use digital marketing to its fullest and make sure your customers know you’re just a quick click away?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a form of digital marketing that helps business owners and marketers get their websites and blogs found on search engines like Google.
SEO is all about getting relevant content online that people are looking for. When someone does a search for a business, hotel, or restaurant, the SEO team works to ensure that their search results are comprehensive and include websites with useful, appropriate content.
For instance, if you run a real estate agency in Toronto, you might want to have an SEO strategy that covers local searches as well as national and international searches. Being able to target both local and international searches shows you’re able to connect with a very broad audience. Plus, if you’re not equipped to handle local searches yourself, you could outsource this function to an SEO company that is.
Another important aspect of digital marketing is content creation. Content marketing simply means creating and sharing relevant and useful content that appeals to customers.
You might consider using content to educate potential customers on the benefits of your products or to entertain them with fun and informative videos, infographics, or blogs. When someone visits your website, they expect to discover helpful and informative content that is easy to understand and relevant to their needs.
Creating and distributing useful content that attracts and retains customers is a key aspect of digital marketing. This content might include anything from email newsletters to informative blogs, videos, or infographics. Since customers are researching products and services online before purchasing them, the content that you create should match or exceed the standards set by Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Blogging is the act of creating and sharing short-form content to attract and retain customers. Like with content marketing, you can use a blog to educate potential customers on the benefits of your products or services or to entertain them with funny anecdotes or interesting information.
The advantage of a business blog is that it is relatively inexpensive to keep up and does not require the same level of expertise to run as a large website does. Plus, since most consumers research products and services online before purchasing them, having a blog that is constantly updated with new content can help establish your business as a reliable source of information.
Social Media Marketing
In addition to SEO and content marketing, you should also think about investing in social media marketing. This is where businesses go to gain popularity and establish themselves as information authorities in their fields.
Creating and maintaining social media accounts for your business is quite simple and can be done by anyone with a little time on their hands. Once you have your social media accounts, you can use platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with customers, industry experts, and other businesses that share your interests. In fact, you could even use these platforms to promote your blog or website if you choose. A recent survey found that 80% of consumers use social media to research products and services before buying them.
Since every business is different and some things may not fit everywhere, you could consider using customer service to position yourself as an industry expert in your field. If you run a hotel in Toronto, you could set up a concierge service that helps customers get what they want. Or if you run a restaurant, you could use technology to provide fast and efficient service. These are just a few examples of how you could use customer service to help set you apart from competitors.
The important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what form of marketing you choose, you need to constantly be testing and measuring its effectiveness. This way, you’ll know what is and isn’t working and be able to adjust your marketing plan as necessary.