andertoons 7220 largeYou can barely open a business publication or visit a business website without hearing about digital marketing.

Of course, telling someone to embrace digital marketing misses some important steps in the process. For example, it doesn't tell you which types of digital marketing work best. Odds are good that any given article glosses over salient details like how to navigate a given marketing channel.

After all, writing a blog post isn't remotely like writing an ad that appears in search engine results.

But there are some digital marketing tips that any business can use. So, let's dig into those!

1. Know Your Ideal Customer

[quotesright]Do you know who your ideal customer is? A lot of businesses don't. [/quotesright]

If you're running a new business, you make assumptions out of necessity. After a year or two in business, though, you can build a customer profile based on actual data.

Assuming you run some kind of customer relationship management system (CRM), you probably know a lot about your customers. At a minimum, you have basic demographic data, like age, gender, and location. You might also know where and how they came to your attention online.

You can take that data and create age ranges, geographic regions, and even identify the places online where your customers find you. That information lets you tailor types of digital marketing and their delivery to people who fit their profile.

This is just the surface of data driven marketing; you’ve heard the term “big data?” Top marketers use detailed information on their customer motivations, purchases, browsing habits, where acquired and more to increase conversions and sales by tailoring their messages, offers, and timing. [quotesright]Become a packrat.[/quotesright] The more information you have on your customers, the better you’ll be able to market and sell.

2. Calls to Action

[quotesright]Almost any call-to-action beats none at all. [/quotesright] A clear call-to-action is the best kind of all.

A clear CTA must, above all, get seen.

A good general rule is that it should go "above the fold." The means that someone can see it on your webpage without scrolling down. A secondary strategy is putting calls to action near relevant information.

A clear CTA is specific.

That means you ask the customer to take a precise action. Don't create a button that says "Subscribe." Create one that says "Subscribe to Newsletter."

[quotesright]It's the difference between telling someone to "run" and telling them to "run away." [/quotesright]

3. Tell a Brand Story

Listening to stories is a basic part of human behavior. Yet, many businesses talk about themselves in a detached, almost clinical way that delivers the emotional connection of a raw turnup.

Whether you write it on your About Us page or talk about it in a video, making a story part of your brand can help attract customers. It humanizes you, it gives them your “why.” It gives them a narrative they work into their lives.

One of the best is a story about overcoming obstacles. It speaks to the part of the brain that's focused on improvement.

[quotesright]As types of digital marketing go, this one aims less at selling products than selling the idea for or ideals of a business. [/quotesright]

4. Create Landing Pages

A landing page is usually the best way to get a reader/viewer to take a specific action. That might be to capture contact information, subscribe, or get the person to place an order. The idea is that you can drop someone into a marketing campaign that gets them to click on the landing page. The landing page is laser focused on convincing visitors to take the one action you want them to take.

[quotesright]The trick to a good landing page is making sure the content on it connects deeply with the ad that sent them to the landing page. [/quotesright]

Say you run an ad about buying stainless steel cookware. The content on your landing page must address why stainless-steel cookware is a great choice and why your cookware is the best choice. You’ll want and induce them to buy now or get their contact information for future promotions. The idea is to sell one specific action on that landing page.

5. Develop Compelling Content

One of the most accessible types of digital marketing is informational content. It isn’t confined to one media type and can take the form of anything from pictures and video to articles, blogs, newsletters, and podcasts.

The caveat is that your content must prove compelling.

[quotesright]Compelling content provides value. It might teach a skill, solve a problem, or entertain. [/quotesright]

Lean into your comfort zone here.

If you like writing, stick to articles and blogs. If cameras don't bother you, shoot some videos. You'll get better and more authentic results.

6. Use the Power of Video

Video lets you talk directly to customers about your product, service, or brand. [quotes]It's so potent that it increases engagement, trust, and can even prompt purchases.[/quotes]

The even better news is that it's remarkably cheap to produce high-quality video in-house. HD video cameras, decent microphones, and editing software are a minor investment for most businesses.

7. Leverage Social Media

Social media is one of the types of digital marketing you can't ignore. Over 80 percent of Americans and around two billion people worldwide use social media.

Social media sites let you create channels with branded content. You can form communities and show off your product or service. They allow two-way communication between you and your customers.

You can even build ad campaigns delivered to people with specific interests and demographics. However, unless you know what you are doing, you can waste a lot of money and time on social media marketing. The good news is there are many companies that can do the heavy lifting for you. Just be sure you hire someone with a track record of increasing sales. [quotesright]Followers, likes and tweets don’t pay bills, sales do. [/quotesright]

8. Use Referral Marketing

[quotes]Referrals are sales gold. [/quotes] Most people prefer businesses or services their friends and family use. They feel like they can trust the recommendation.

You can build referral marketing into your website and into communications with your existing customers. You can put a "Refer a Friend" button right on your website or in your emails.

You can even offer incentives for referring, like a discount for both parties.

9. Look at Your Data

With so many types of digital marketing and marketing channels available, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Make it a point to look at your analytics on a regular basis.

[quotes]Where are most of your leads or customers coming from?[/quotes] Which channels don't show a good return on investment? Which ads are performing well and with whom?

Tracking the data lets you refine where you apply your marketing dollars.

10. Deliver Email Campaigns on the Right Days

Email remains a mainstay in business and personal communication. Ignore it at your own peril. One way to boost email performance is by sending emails at the right times.

If you're targeting entrepreneurs, weekend delivery is your best bet. For the non-workaholic set, midweek emails see the most opens.

Parting Thoughts on Types of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing lets you play to your strengths in terms of the content you create. It gives you multiple channels to deliver that content, such as your website, search engines, emails, and social media.

You can build your brand, promote your business and even offer your customers some entertainment. Just take care not to spread things too thin. [quotesright]It's better to excel in a few areas of digital marketing than to fail in all of them. [/quotesright]

How to get even more strategies and tactics for small business growth

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