How business owners, gig workers and freelancers can kick start their digital marketing efforts.
Updated: Oct 22, 2022
10 digital marketing tips you can use today.
The digital marketing landscape can be daunting for new and established business owners who want to utilise different channels and kickstart their digital marketing plan.
You need to consider many different areas to succeed, but fundamentals never change. Knowing who your customers are, what your value propositions offers, what needs they have and how you can fulfil these are great places to start.
We have identified ten areas you need to understand and implement for digital marketing quick wins. We use quick wins loosely, as you must be consistent with all digital efforts.
Whether you're a freelancer, a business owner, a consultant, or a marketing specialist, it is your job to ensure you have equipped yourself by understanding the fundamentals that make up digital marketing.
Whether you want to increase your brand's online presence or drive sales, multiple channels can work together to support you in achieving this.
Businesses go wrong by being inconsistent with their approach. Some don't see results immediately and pause; some completely stop or hire an agency without truly understanding their goals.
We have put together digital marketing tips clients have taken from our Masterclass, digital marketing fundamentals for new and small business owners. You can adapt it today to start to see results. Most importantly, consistency is critical.
Digital marketing tips for small and new business owners
Audit your digital landscape
Research your competition and build out your target audience persona
Stand out from your competitors
Get to know the types of media available to you
Build a website that attracts visitors
Grow your Backlinks organically
Get customer reviews that drive sales with Google Profile Business
Create content that educates, persuades or influences
Kickstart social media marketing
Don't forget the power of email marketing
1 Audit your digital marketing landscape
It would be best to start by evaluating your current landscape to create an effective digital strategy.
The easiest way to do this is to break your audit into three segments.
Audience: Identify and understand who your target audience is, what is their journey process, and the decision-making factors that make them want to use your product or service. You can run a focus group, use insights from Google analytics, and survey current and potential customers. Your final step in truly understanding your audience is knowing what their typical buyer journey is.
Industry: Complete a simple SWOT analysis, take your top 5 competitors and drill deeper into them, e.g., what is their USP, what type of content they post, how their audience interacts on social media, and how well optimised their website is? Place keywords and phrases into Google and see if paid ads appear.
Current position: Complete health checks across all your channels. You can do this by Analysing your engagement figures, auditing your website, reviewing top-performing pages vs. non-performing ones (those pages visitors are not navigating to) and evaluating your session duration, exit pages, and bounce rates.
2 Research your competition and build out your target audience persona
As a marketer, you want to stand out from your competitors and gain any advantage. A simple place to start is with Google.
You can use tools like Google and Moz to see how your competitors rank for key phrases on SERPs (search engine results page). Go to Google and enter keywords that you would expect your target audience to use, see what comes up, are your competitors appearing, are ads for their products or services showing up?
The example below shows localised Google search results for the term 'bagel shop London.'
What first appears is review sites such as Time Out London, Yelp, and TripAdvisor; Google has indicated I try these results first.
After this, you can see local SEO taking full effect. Google maps highlights on the map all bagel shops within my localised catchment.
Following this result, you can see 'bagel shops' with the highest review score on Google appearing on the first courtesy of Google Business Profile.
As a business owner and marketer, collecting customer feedback and reviews is invaluable; Google loves it; all customer thoughts and feedback add to your Google ranking and support the users' search intent.
My search intent is to find a Bagel Shop, and Google has presented results based on my query, considering my location and customer feedback. We cover Google My Business further down in this article.
Further down the page, you can see organic results displayed by Google.
3 How can you stand out from your competitors?
Are you offering a competitive price for your products and services? Do consumers get value for money as part of their transaction with you? Consumers want value as part of the exchange transaction in a competitive landscape and price sensitivity climate.
Referral and brand advocacy is a powerful tool; consider how brands use celebrities for endorsements to appeal to their target demo.
We're not saying to hire a star and blow your budget but to use customers who give you great reviews to be your advocates and get them involved in product reviews, case studies, and marketing initiatives that champion your services.
Think of ways your services can not only stand out but be superior to that of your competitors. Address any pain points customers may have with your brand.
Ensure each point that customers interact with your brand, even post-sales, they get a seamless and perfect service.
Review your competition, what they do that is great vs. what you can take and improve. Providing excellent service is a great way to keep customers in your ecosystem and generate repeat business.
Your product needs to be unique. What does it offer that is different from other brands? A great place to start is by looking at your value proposition.
What is your promise to customers? Does your product meet this? If not, what can you change, tweak or adjust to ensure it's living and breathing what consumers need?
4 Types of Media to factor into your digital marketing efforts
As a marketer, you must plan and shift between the different media available to you and make the most of these.
Let's look at the main difference between Paid, Owned, and Earned media.
Paid media refers to media you pay for to increase your brand's online reach and generate conversion traffic.
You can do this by running paid-for ad campaigns. Google ads is a great platform to use to run paid-for promoted offers.
Launching social media ads, which are more cost-effective, can allow you to run campaigns that pull in users. However, remember, once the ads stop, traffic stops.
Owned media: This is media that you are in complete control over, e.g., your website, blog pages, shared content, and social media.
Ensure your website is well optimised for content users expect to find. Google crawls your website to deliver results based on user search intent.
Earned media: This is user-generated exposure you gain via word of mouth or referrals, e.g., press mentions, shares, likes, and reviews.
5 Build a website that attracts visitors
Online users expect to have the best customer experience and user experience when interacting with websites and digital products. Users expect your website to be technically superior, e.g., your website should have a fast-loading time and be designed for mobile-first first.
When working with your website developer or agency, ensure they take a mobile-first approach to designing and building your site. A poor website can lose you, customers, for good.
To see if your website is meeting page and load speed time (one of Google's core ranking factors), Google has a free tool that you can use to test this out. Google Page Speed insights.
This tool shows you what is perhaps affecting the load time on your website and how to improve it.
To test the performance of the mobile version of your website, use Google Mobile page speed.
6 Build up those backlinks
What is a backlink? A backlink is when one website links to another. These are important for a business to grow as Google looks at these as a key ranking factor. Regarding Google, if other high-quality websites are referencing you, they pay attention.
Do not fall for the service providers who promise you one thousand backlinks in 30 days. Google will see this as spam and instead penalise you. Instead, grow your backlinks organically.
Find websites that offer guest blogger spots. Ensure they are in your field or related, e.g., our bagel shop example above could ask to feature on a food website but not a car selling website as there is no correlation.
It's not just about the number of backlinks but the quality of the backlink. One backlink from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) or NBC is better than ten smaller ones from upcoming sites. Google looks at the quality of the backlink first.
7 Get your business on Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and collect reviews.
Customers buy from customers. As a business owner, you can take advantage of this by ensuring your online reputation is positive.
With Google, you have the perfect opportunity to collect reviews that act as an indicator to potential customers, and you can use Google Business Profile to build out additional features such as:
New product launches
Questions and answers
Reply to customer reviews, questions, and messages
Share photos and updates
Share updates on special offers and events
Google takes a local first approach when ranking search results, and it favors businesses with a local listing in proximity to the person doing the research. Ensure your Google Business Profile is up to date, continually collect reviews, get localised links to boost your profile, and build your social media presence.
Importance of customer reviews:
According to Brightlocal.com, More consumers are reading online reviews than ever before. In 2021, 77% 'always' or 'regularly' read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020). Credit, Brightlocal.com
8 Create content that educates, persuades and or influences
Creating content is not just simply posting blog articles online and sharing this on your social media channels.
As a business owner, especially in a competitive market, you need to implement a strategic plan that factors in the types of content you will share and the distribution channels you will use.
Remember, content marketing is creating valuable, relevant content to attract, acquire and engage your audience.
Start by researching what your consumers are searching for online and listen to conversations they have on social media.
Next, decide if the content you will create to address these topics is to educate, persuade or influence.
Agree on your content goal (brand amplification, traffic to the website, email collection, etc.).
Once ready, think of the best format to deliver this content; podcast, infographics, case studies, webinars, or e-books. Lastly, decide on your delivery channel.
9 Focus on social media
Social media is a growing beast. From changing algorithms to platform providers pushing businesses to paid advertising, knowing exactly where to begin can be challenging.
Our top tip for choosing the perfect platform is simple, where do most of your target audience spend their time and interact?
Whether that is one, two, or multiple platforms, this is where you shift your focus too.
If the nature of your business is to provide b2b services, LinkedIn, Twitter, and now even Instagram would be natural choices.
If you're focusing on B2C, Facebook and IG go hand in hand. If you're targeting Gen Z, Snapchat and TikTok could be better choices.
No matter your platform, you must ensure you produce content that resonates with your audiences. Focus on nailing the content your audience wants.
10 The power of email marketing
Developing an email marketing strategy should be top of your list for growing your business and audience.
On October 4th, 2021, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down when an outage caused the Meta-owned platforms to crash.
Business owners who relied solely on social media to engage and update clients were in the dark.
However, businesses that had strategically grown their email database organically over time had no reason to stress; they could still supply comms, run competitions and update their customers without losing sleep.
It would be best if you focused on growing your email database alongside your other digital marketing efforts.
Here's how you can grow your email list
Create free resources that require sign up
Design a lead generation offer, e.g., e-book
Encourage subscribers to share and forward your emails
Produce a newsletter with the need to know the content
Use your website header and images to promote your newsletter
Add a CTA on your IG and Facebook bio
Once you know how you want to grow your database, ensure you have the technicalities in place.
You are up to date with GDPR
Choose a mail software provider that is easy and efficient to use
Review template designs that work across desktop and mobile
Work with a copywriter to ensure anything from your subject line to the main body of the text is engaging
A/B tests different versions to see which one has the higher open and CTR