As I discussed in a previous post, making sure you have your marketing wrapped around the customer journey is an important first step on your way to having a successful marketing campaign. But let's talk more in-depth about digital marketing and why it is so important.
The way we traditionally know marketing is changing - we've all seen it, we've all felt it, we all know the inevitable Digital Train is coming our way. There is nothing we can do to stop it and that is SO exciting.
Digital marketing is a world full of social media, email, website, paid search, and SEO. All of these words have their own little worlds behind them and all of these little worlds work together to create this wholesome, well represented picture of your virtual business. What I'm saying is that you can't just have one piece of the puzzle and expect wonders to happen, mountains to move.
What you can do, however, is invest time into a comprehensive marketing plan - one that touches on every little aspect of your company's presence online.
You want your website to be stop numero uno. This is your main piece of real estate for the internet - your office or storefront, if you will. You want your clients landing on your website so they can see all about your business - what you do, why you do it, how you do it. Your website is your home base - from which everything else is connected. So, you want your search engine optimization strategy to be its strongest. You want strong, informative, engaging content to live here because that will ultimately drive potential customers to become your strongest advocates. This is the place where you win them over.
You want your business to have an actively engaged following on social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) in order to show the customers that you have personality, respond quickly to their customer service concerns, and are willing to connect with them on a more personal level. Social media is a great place to really grab your customers' attention, keep it, and turn them into strong advocates.
You will also want a strong email marketing campaign. Why? Because email marketing is a great way to have an intimate conversation with your most loyal customers. Sure, most of us delete the sales-y emails we get in our inbox - but this is where a strong email marketing strategy comes into play. Knowing what your customers want and why they come to you for their business is key when creating an effective, high-converting email campaign.
All of these bits and pieces add up to that larger puzzle to help give your customers a wide lens from which to view your business. Managing your online reputation well and having a strong digital marketing strategy are the two best places to start when it comes to marketing your business for 2016.
When I was a kid, I had lofty plans.
I wanted to be a lawyer, a veterinarian, a librarian, a teacher, a professor, She-ra Princess of Power.
When I was a teenager, I wanted to learn at least five languages. So I tried teaching myself German and Gaelic (not an easy feat - I gave up after a week). I took Farsi for a year. Studied French religiously since sixth grade. Studied American Sign Language for two summer school semesters. Struggled to learn Russian. Twice.
When I was in college, though, I felt like I was finally, slowly figuring things out. I was going to major in English. I was going to get my Masters and then my PhD and I was going to fulfill my lifelong dream of being formally educated at the highest level in some kind of field that was generic enough to appease me.
Then I took Sociology classes, Psychology classes, and Business Classes. Started nannying. Worked long hours in customer service and retail jobs. Dated a bunch. Partied a bunch. Worked some more.
Basically, I grew up. And when I grew up, I realized that as long as I was doing something that felt good to my soul, I would be happy.
Classic Millennial dilemma: How do you do something that feels good to your soul without selling out but still being able to pay the bills?
Again, I figured I had the answer. I continued nannying and so loved the time I spent with kids that I decided I wanted to be a school counselor. Enrolled in a Masters program and realized (several thousands of dollars later) that I was entirely dissatisfied with the program and my potential to (possibly never) get hired.
So, then, I became an entrepreneur. I purchased a babysitting and petsitting business from a local woman. I figured I could still do something with children while cultivating a career. So I dove headfirst into making this business succeed. And I dove deep. I started by creating my own website and designing the graphics and layout to perfectly convey what I wanted my brand to be online. I created new social media profiles. Learned about SEO. Learned about paid advertising and target markets. Taught myself the fundamentals to making a small business survive and thrive in my town. Networked with other small business owners. Partnered with non-profits. You name it, I was doing it.
Sure, I was stressed out. I was working all the time. I wasn't making a ton of money. BUT! I was in this sphere of constantly learning something new, meeting new people, discovering new marketing techniques, and new ways to share my message with my community. I started to really dissect what I loved most about owning my own business, what I spent the most time on, what really fired me up.
It hit me - it was digital marketing. I finally hit my stride. I felt like I had finally found something that utilized all of my skills really well and still pushed me to grow.
I realized that as long as I could write great content, design engaging social posts, strategically advertise online for my own business - I could do the same for other businesses, too.
The world of online marketing is full of bright minds and creative voices from pay-per-click execs to content-strategy professionals. The digital marketing field is vast and constantly changing (in part, thanks to Google that keeps pushing the envelope when it comes to consumer-driven data). But that is what I find the most attractive about being in this business - the wide array of skills that you need to be an online marketer. One day, I'll be managing social media and the next, I'll be writing an email campaign or a blog post for a local business. I'll run ads for Facebook and Twitter or I'll be posting gorgeous photos on Instagram.
The dance between being analytical and nurturing my creativity is so appealing and so perfect - I couldn't be happier. I've been doing digital marketing and social media management for almost three years and I am still being challenged and learning new things. The days don't seem any duller up ahead and I've realized that I am so happy doing what I'm doing.
Meg is the owner of Oh Hello Digital and, when she's not writing for her clients, she'll take time to share her digital marketing insights and advice here. Want to connect with her? 👇