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4 Essential Digital Marketing Actions for Startups and Small Businesses

By: Jennifer Xue


Essential Digital Marketing Actions

Today, being successful in business means adopting the digital way, including when it comes to marketing strategies. According to Magna, the research arm of IPG Mediabrands noted that digital ad spending reached $209 billion worldwide in 2017, which is 41 percent of the advertising market. It surpassed TV ad spending with only $178 billion or 35 percent of the market.

Digital marketing itself is more than about online marketing, content marketing, or social media advertising. It’s an umbrella term used to refer to the various channels that ads are delivered electronically, which include both online (connected to the Internet) and offline (not connected to the Internet) digital mechanisms.

Equipped with the right digital marketing plan, which requires a minimal budget, both startups and small businesses can reap favorable results. Just make sure to track the results with a good analytics program, so you can distinguish the “before” and “after” snapshots of the business.

It’s all possible because digital marketing is the great equalizer.

As long as you have an online presence, you have the potential of competing with big brands. Thus, having a professional-looking website is a must, as it goes without saying. The primary function of your business’ site is to capture leads and sales conversions.

Now, let’s discuss the steps needed to apply the 2018 digital marketing trends for your business.

1.  Innovate

First and foremost, creating digital marketing campaigns require ingenuity, creativity, and understanding how other brands are doing. According to a study done by Pagely, the latest trends in digital ads focus on: brand over product, authentic connection, social change causes, getting personal, social validation, influencer validation, and multi-channel.

Be aware of the trend that people prefer not to be sold about something, but to feel a certain positive feeling when they’re exposed to your brand. This would require powerful UX (user experience) that brings out good feelings in users.

2.  Strategize

Plan on appropriate marketing avenues to integrate into the campaign. Should you post native articles on LinkedIn? Tweet several times a day? Post photos of the business on Instagram? Run Facebook ads? Join a Pinterest group board? Write weekly blog posts? How about paying an Instagram influencer to use and take photos of your product?

Each channel would have different requirements and investments. By “investment,” it means expenses. If you have no budget at all for marketing services from professional designers, copywriters, and paid ad marketers, you may start with the free avenues, like creating your own marketing copies and images.

Whatever your choice is, make sure that you follow the best practices based on successful case studies. For instance, if you want to make sure that your Facebook ads would work well, take online classes at Facebook Blueprint eLearning and Google Adwords Certification.

3. Execute

Engineer each marketing activity optimally. While starting out may only require an MVP (minimal viable product), marketing your product needs to be a little bit of a perfectionist. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the campaign is already “perfect,” but each version must be “quite perfect” in itself before the next version is created.

Do your homework really well. Recognize the buyer’s personas of your intended customers and be clear about your value proposition. Take note of them and refer to them when you’re creating marketing assets, promotional activities, and paid ads.

A “buyer persona” is a fictional character of your ideal customer that comes with his or her own demographic and biographic behaviors, pain points, goals, needs, wants, objectives, aspirations, objections, and habits. Hubspot provided several buyer personas as examples. For samples of excellent value propositions, learn from these 25 companies.

4.  Analyze

Record the historical data using Google analytics or another similar program, so you can track how the campaign goes. Make sure you understand what you’ll be measuring.

There are two kinds of metrics to measure: business or marketing metrics and analytics metrics. Google Analytics metrics, for instance, are “analytics,” which means the data sets collected for drawing conclusions.

Analytics metrics usually include sessions, page views, bounce rate, traffic sources, exit pages, goals, interactions per visit, social overview, and acquisition overview. These are raw data sets, which must be analyzed using marketing metrics to be meaningful enough to make important business decisions.

With the data sets acquired, you can develop business metrics that calculate these 6 important metrics: CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost), Marketing Percentage of CAC, Ratio of LTV and CAC, Time to Earn Back CAC, Percentage of Marketing Originated Customer, and Percentage of Marketing Influenced Customer.

In conclusion, digital marketing encompasses more than about good online ads and content marketing articles. It’s about creating the most appropriate buyer personas and combining it with a solid value proposition so that the whole marketing campaign can be executed optimally with a minimal budget. It’s also about tracking the results, so you can use the historical data as a future reference.

Published: June 15, 2018

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Jennifer Xue

Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, digital strategist, and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, and others. She is the author of White Paper Writing for Business (BookBoon, 2016). Her blog is JenniferXue.com and Twitter @jenxuewrites.

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