The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing for Beginners
There’s a lot that’s written about digital marketing strategies and tactics, and it can be extremely hard for new marketers to know where to begin.
This is particularly true if you’ve just created your online business but don’t have a lot of digital experience yet.
For someone in that situation, online marketing can seem like the most daunting and complicated process. But the simple truth is, if you are not actively marketing your online business then you are leaving a lot of money on the table.
The good news is that implementing a marketing plan for your business doesn’t have to be a long, drawnout, or complex process. In this article, we’re going to dissect the topic of digital marketing into its most fundamental strategies.
We will then simplify those strategies for business owners and online marketers who haven’t quite wrapped their heads around them yet.
There are tons of online marketing strategies to choose from, but here I only included a few timeless ones (that is, strategies that work now and will likely continue working well into the future).
I don’t think there’s any point in wasting your time with little hacks that are likely to die off soon…
So here we’ll take a look at three overarching strategies, below which there will be all the various tactics that are related to that particular strategy.
So let’s begin!
Strategy #1: Content Marketing
If you’ve been following my blog at all then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I put this one first.
I believe that content marketing is one of the most important elements of digital marketing and it’s one that you absolutely need to pay attention to the most, particularly if you’re just getting started.
Without a sound content marketing plan, it’s unlikely that any of your other online marketing strategies will succeed – they’ll either be nonexistent or ineffective. Either way, you need content marketing.
Why is Content Marketing Important for Businesses?
First, content marketing is essential for your business because it educates prospects about your products or services.
You’ll have a hard time trying to convince someone to pay for your product if they don’t know exactly what they are buying, and that’s the void that content fills.
The type of opportunities that you get by positioning yourself as an authority are immense and you are unlikely to find such opportunities any other way.
That’s the overarching strategy, now let’s take a look at quick summaries of a few of the major tactics in content marketing:
An industry-specific blog and newsletter are extremely helpful when it comes to connecting with potential and current customers.
The ultimate aim of your blog is to entice visitors into ultimately purchasing your products or services.
You do this by showing them how useful you are at helping them solve their problems, achieve their desires, reach their goals, and so on.
2. Create (and promote) ‘Linkbait’
Linkbait simply refers to content that is specifically created to attract links.
This is something that’s so valuable, unique, cool, or awesome that industry bloggers and influencers would love to link to it when given the opportunity.
These types of links are great for improving your website’s rankings in the search engines.
This can be any type of content, such as video, blog post, infographic, long-form guide, e-book, whitepaper, slide share, etc. as long as the primary aim remains to attract back-links that will drive referral traffic back to your site from the linking website, as well as to help improve rankings – which also leads to more website traffic via organic search.
3. Guest Posting
Guest posting (or guest blogging) refers to publishing content on other websites in your industry.
There are a lot of reasons why guest posting is a good idea, the main ones being that it helps to drive referral traffic back to your website, much like the linkbait described above.
You can link from your guest post to relevant pieces of content which helps to bring even more exposure to your blog.
Guest blogging can also help you when it comes to building relationships within your industry or niche and picking the right websites will ensure excellent brand exposure.
4. Create (and market) Video
Yet another super-powerful way of promoting and marketing your business online is by creating videos. Although this may not have been the case a few years ago, there’s no denying the video marketing statistics which show how effective video is these days.
I published a post recently about how to create professional, effective videos that will bring real results. Be sure to check that out so you can start creating epic video content for your website right now.
5. Host Webinars
A webinar is basically just an online mini course. This is a great form of content, particularly for those who sell digital products.
Creating and hosting webinars doesn’t have to be a difficult or overwhelming process.
In this day and age, technology has come to a point where you can have your webinar set up and ready to go with just a few clicks of the mouse using free platforms.
6. Content Syndication
Syndicating content has to do with republishing web-based content on another website. This can be a great source for vast amounts of referral traffic to your website.
They are a lot of extremely effective strategies for content syndication, and when done right, this can provide you with a lot more than just a traffic boost.
In addition to the SEO boost, you also get visibility and even more potential viewers.
7. Create a Podcast
Not all content has to be visual for it to be effective.
Even in its audible form, content can be excellent for building your brand and growing your audience. There are two main strategies with regards to podcasting.
You can either start your own, or you can appear as a guest on someone else’s.
Both these strategies are extremely effective when it comes to marketing your online business as well as building relevant relationships in your industry.
Strategy #2: Search Engine Optimization
SEO refers to the process of ensuring that your website appears high on the list of search engine results in order to maximize the number of visitors to it. If you want more organic search traffic coming to your site, it’s important to optimize for search.
For the majority of marketers, SEO can seem complicated and daunting, but the fact is the basics are extremely easy to learn.
Once you get content marketing and SEO right, you’ve set the foundation for your business’s success in the future.
In an effort to help you establish a firmer understanding of search engine optimization, here is a quick rundown of the core concepts:
1. Keyword Research
It’s important that you know what your prospects are searching for if you’re going to optimize your content for that search.
Doing keyword research can help you find the search queries and topics related to your business and industry.
Just remember, keyword research doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. Just, commit to doing it at least once or twice a month to keep on top of trends, changes, and so on that are happening in your industry.
2. On-Page SEO
This refers to the process of optimizing web page content and HTML elements.
When writing content for your site, you obviously want it to have the best chance of ranking high in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and that’s why it’s important for you to grasp at least the basics of on-page SEO.
There are certain on-page ranking factors you need to look at and I’ve written a post on my blog about how to perfectly optimize your page for SEO. Check it out to learn more.
3. Off-Page SEO
Similar to on-page SEO, off-page SEO helps you to improve your rankings in the search engines but using tactics that are not implemented on the webpage or website.
For the most part, off-page SEO refers to link building, but it can also include building citations, social media content promotion, and so on.
The good news is, off-page SEO isn’t very hard to crack and once you understand and start implementing the basics, you’ll be able to start seeing some real results in your online traffic generation. Again, check out my blog for more info.
4. Technical SEO
This refers to techniques that are not related to content creation which help to make it easier for search engines like Google to crawl your websites and index your pages.
In order to perform effective technical SEO, the first thing you need to do is to conduct a technical SEO audit.
Once you know what’s wrong, you can then begin to fix it and watch your search engine rankings soar.
There are many free online resources that you’ll find online to help you with this process including step-by-step checklists for technical SEO.
Strategy #3: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
The third most important strategy to focus on is conversion rate optimization. After all, marketing has everything to do with getting those conversions, and it’s the number one reason why you’re doing it, right?
So in addition to doing your content marketing and SEO right, you need to make sure that you do everything you can to increase conversions. This is the basis of CRO.
You can think of CRO as a combination of copywriting, user experience, and user interface.
You use copywriting for delivering your messages to prospects and customers and then use design elements on your website to help make it easier for visitors to accomplish goals and convert.
Listed below are some of the basic CRO strategies:
1. Web Design
The most important part of building your website is to ensure that it has a conversion-focused design.
If your website looks like it was created in 1999, you’re obviously going to struggle when trying to get people to convert.
It’s important that you get visitors to actually trust your site and you do that in a variety of ways including:
- Having a modern design
- Using testimonials
- Having product reviews
- Including contact information
- Using logos of other trusted companies that you work with
- Using social trust signals such as displaying follow accounts
- And so on…
2. Headline Optimization
Whether you’re optimizing for search, PPC ads, or something else, it’s important to improve your headlineas this is the easiest activity you can do with the highest ROI.
Coming up with an initial headline could be as easy as looking to see what your competitors are doing and then doing something similar.
There are also free headline analyzer tools online that you can use to tweak your headline.
Once you’re happy with it, you can start testing other headline ideas to come up with one that is the most effective and brings the best results.
3. Calls to Action
Your CTA is the best opportunity you have of telling visitors on your site the exact action you want them to take as well as why they should do so.
Make sure you have a call to action on your homepage that is simple yet effective.
As with the headline, it’s important to test different CTAs to determine which one offers the best results.
4. Social Proof
This has a lot to do with the idea that you are more likely to convert prospects into customers when you offer certain trust signals such as social media followers, likes, reviews, testimonials, trust icons, and so on.
5. A/B Tests
You need to conduct A/B testing for your user interface and user experience (UI/UX) elements. Is it better to use a red button or blue one?
Does it work better with the button in the middle or to the right of the screen?
All these things matter and A/B testing will give you the answers to such questions to help you ensure that your website design is optimized for conversions.
Now you have three of the most important digital marketing strategies in your arsenal, you can get started building and growing your online business in the most effective way possible.
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Updated: Originally published June 6th 2018