There’s no denying that the Internet has penetrated nearly every aspect of our lives. “Google” is now a verb and the first place most people go for anything they need or want to know. What does this mean for you and your business? To put it simply, creating and promoting content that appears in search results has never been more important.
Digital marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach online customers and followers. Following a thoughtful digital marketing strategy is key to helping businesses – small and large – grow their bottom line. It is more crucial than ever to cultivate an online presence to engage with today’s consumers.
Below are the five most essential strategies to grow a loyal online following.
1. Establish a strong social media presence.
Social media grows more powerful by the day. It cannot be ignored as a key marketing tool. Many businesses have successfully been able to grow their customer base solely through Facebook and other social networks. Engaging with customers online may seem futile, but building an engaged following is a must in today’s world. With the click of a button, you can now reach millions of customers.
Social Media also gives you access to valuable customer feedback and opens a direct line of communication with your target audience. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more offer the chance to exchange messages directly with customers and other businesses.
One way to boost visibility and get more value from social media is to leverage influencers. It takes time and effort to build a dedicated audience. If you are just starting out, using influencers is a quick way to increase your number of followers The trick is to find influencers followed by your target customers. If you do your research, there’s no need to focus on influencers with millions of followers. Effectively leveraging micro-influencers is a targeted way to reach your ideal customers and give them content worth following (and sharing).
2. Publish a weekly blog that’s worth reading.
A blog is the perfect way to engage and nurture your online following. Your blog is the best place to share content related to your products, business, and industry. Having an excellent blog will not only entice potential customers, it will also build your brand and reputation. Provide readers with valuable content, and they’ll return again and again.
The tenet of any successful blog is high quality content. As you build your blog, think of ways to add value to your audience. Don’t be afraid to share insider tips so readers will start seeing you as an authoritative voice.
It’s important to note that having a blog consists of much more than simply posting content. Be sure to nail down a promotional strategy across your social media networks for each blog post. For more exposure, you can also utilize platforms such as Medium, LinkedIn, Reddit and Quora. Capitalize on the massive audiences on these sites and you’ll be sure to find instant visibility.
3. Leverage the power of Search Engine Optimization.
You can take all the time and resources in the world to maintain a functional and polished website, but without a strong SEO strategy, potential customers may never see it. Optimizing your content will ensure your website becomes one of the first search results on Google and beyond. Some people mistakenly think SEO is time-consuming, too technical, or not worth the effort. But SEO is one of the most effective long-term strategies to generating highly-targeted traffic.
SEO is most powerful when you know how to leverage it. Some businesses take shortcuts like using shady link schemes. Even if they work in the short term, the results don’t last and can get businesses into trouble. While it is critical to understand how Google algorithms work, pay more attention to creating unique, insightful, and engaging content for humans that includes a few of the basic SEO principles. Start by researching the most highly-searched keywords in your industry and write several in-depth blog posts that add value to these topics.
4. Create a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is a free download, ebook, PDF or other type of incentive that allows you to capture your reader’s email address and/or contact information. This incentive is free and should provide value to your potential customers right away. The more valuable it is to them, the more likely they are to give you their information.
When you offer a lead magnet targeted to your ideal customer or clientele, success is inevitable. The best strategy to build great lead magnets is to identify your target customers' pain points and provide a simple and appropriate solution. Use your offer as a way to obtain more information about your target customers while channeling them into your marketing funnel.
Your marketing funnel consists of all the steps potential customers take, from discovering your brand for the first time to making the conversion into a paying customer. The basis of a lead magnet is the exchange of information. Before potential buyers download a white paper, ebook, video, checklist, or cheat sheet, be sure to get their contact information. This leads us to the final essential element of a strong digital marketing strategy.
5. Build and nurture an email list.
Building an email list offers you direct access to your core audience and potential buyers or customers. Even if you have 20,000 followers on Facebook or Twitter, there is no guarantee they will see your posts. Worse still, these platforms are changing their algorithms all the time. Building an email list allows you complete ownership over it. One of the most important elements of an effective sales funnel is email marketing.
Use your list to deepen your relationship with customers. Send them content from the heart that will connect in an authentic way. With so many tools available like MailChimp or Constant Contact, among others, you can send split tests and segment your list according to the interest level of each subscriber. For instance, if someone opens an email, he or she has shown interest in what you offer. If he or she clicks on a link, this indicates higher interest.
One Last Thing
Effective digital marketing is key to growing your business. Executing the above strategies will undoubtedly help you achieve this goal. Remember that digital marketing doesn't have to be expensive. It’s more important to produce content that is tailored to your customers and that appears on the channels or online platforms where they spend their time. You’ll soon see your sales improve, and your customers will interact more with you and your products.
Andrew McLoughlin has been with Colibri Digital Marketing since 2016, serving as Content Marketing Manager. His degrees are from Trent University where he studied ancient cultures from a socio-linguistic perspective. As a writer, his work has been published in a wide variety of digital and print media, and in his spare time, he writes children's stories. He lives in Peterborough, Ontario, with his wife, daughter, and pet rabbits.