To start off,
I want to note that this material is primarily for business owners who are just starting to consider or have already begun their journey towards digitalization. After reading this, you will have a clear idea of the stages involved in bringing your brand online. I'm confident that this article will save you a lot of money and help you avoid the services of some "marketers."
Let's get down to it: what is digital marketing?
Let's go back a bit - the terms "digital" and "digital marketing" have been around since the 2000s, but they actually exist much longer. Much longer! In fact, they have been around for 113 years.
Wires, boxes, and radio waves - this is how digital marketing began.
Meet Guglielmo Marconi - the first digital marketer in history. In 1896, he became the first person to demonstrate "public transmission of wireless signals" to humanity.
Yes, that's the guy who invented the radio.
And although it took another 10 years for radio to reach a wide audience, its creators didn't take long to realize that they could use it for sales.
The first live radio broadcast was an opera performance at the Met in 1910. Can you guess what people did after that?
They bought tickets to see the show in person!
People wanted to see the show live. Here, we can confidently say: "The digital marketing strategy was born!"
Let's fast forward to our time and try to formulate the main term. Digital marketing is any advertising that is distributed through digital channels. For example, in social networks, mobile applications, by email, in web applications, through search engines, websites, etc.
It can be even simpler.
Digital marketing is any marketing of products or services that uses electronic devices.
Digital marketing has existed for decades, and that is why it is so closely related to Internet marketing.
Don't miss the opportunity to get into online marketing
How accessible is the internet today? Would you believe me if I said that more and more people are going online every day? Customers have grown accustomed to traditional advertising methods and it's clear that offline marketing is not as effective as it used to be.
It's important to note that marketing should always be about connecting with your target audience "in the right place at the right time." This means you need to communicate with them where they already spend most of their time: online. For example, Google and Facebook bring in more customers than traditional TV advertising because your target audience is engaged and concentrated online.
One example of a dying offline marketing method is billboard advertising. The reason billboards have become outdated is perfectly illustrated in this Volvo advertisement.
Do a favor next time you give a friend a ride home, take a quick glance at the passenger seat. Just for a second. At that moment, your friend will be on their phone.
If drivers themselves are constantly talking and texting on their phones, how can we think that billboards have a future? When Elon Musk, Apple, or Google make a car with true autopilot, there will be no one to look at billboards.
You don't have much time to realize the importance of Internet marketing and stop ordering flyers from printing houses. Your marketing department shouldn't remain a department of business cards and brochures.
The Main Points of Internet Marketing
Phew! Now that we're done with the history, let's move on.
In this section, you'll often come across mysterious terms such as "traffic," "SEO," "triggered emails," "social media marketing," and so on. Don't be intimidated. All of these are parts of what is called internet marketing. Here's a brief overview of the components of Internet marketing:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Checklist: How to Bring Your Business Online
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is everything a company does to appear higher in search results. Search engine optimization increases the volume of organic (free) traffic that your website receives. The better optimized it is, the more customers you will get from search.
Search engines like Google are constantly improving the quality of their results. They can be compared to a neural network of thousands of robots. They regularly scan your site, analyze its content, and look for violations. To avoid this, it is important to work comprehensively on content, and website convenience, optimize it for different devices, and attract high-quality links.
Any optimization is divided into internal and external.
Without internal optimization, search engines won't see you and you're unlikely to get customers from search. Your position in the search results depends on it.
Let's go over the basics:
- formation of the semantic core (at this stage, they collect keywords for which they plan to promote the site);
- improvement of internal site pages (site map, URL structure, Robots.txt);
- audit and error correction (remove duplicate pages, and broken links, optimize site loading speed);
- work on website usability (make the resource convenient for users);
- increasing the relevance of content (make sure pages correspond to customer search queries);
- optimization of illustrations and other graphics;
- internal linking.
Internal optimization is the most labor-intensive work, and it must be done constantly. The success of your project depends on internal optimization as a whole.
The site should be of high quality, fast, convenient for users, and fully provide the information they came to you for.
External optimization is the process of building a link profile, i.e. getting links to your site from other resources. What does this mean? The more of your links appear on verified (trusted) sites, the higher your site will be in the search results.
Search engines strictly monitor link building, so the main problem is selecting good donor sites. The best results come from links from trusted thematic non-spammed sites.
During external optimization, a list of donor (or partner) sites is formed, link texts and surrounding content are developed, and then they are placed.
To build a natural and high-quality link mass, use the following checklist:
- constantly publish interesting content that users will share;
- register in search engines and directories;
- exchange links only with popular and high-quality resources;
- place press releases on third-party sites;
- be active on forums and blogs.
Now you have checklists for internal and external optimization - these are enough to control your contractors or employees. Request reports on work done for each item.
The optimization process also includes competitive analysis, which allows you to understand what your website lacks for growth.
"SEO specialist" tools
The market is complex and competitive, so it is impossible to do without some programs and assistant services. The most popular ones are:
- KeyCollector – a paid program for creating a semantic core. There are no full free analogs. For grouping queries, you can use the kg.ppc-panel.ru service. For collecting semantics by domain - beta.bukvarix.com.
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider – a paid desktop program for scanning. A free analog with limited functions is Xenu.
- Advego Plagiatus, Etxt Antiplagiarism – free services for checking text uniqueness.
- Semrush.com – a paid service for researching competitors. The conditionally-free analog is ru.majestic.com.
- Serpstat.com – a paid multifunctional service that allows you to track your positions in search results, analyze backlinks, and keywords, conduct a site audit and analyze competitors. It has no analogs for working with Yandex.
- Ahrefs.com – a paid service for analyzing external links.
- Checktrust.ru – a service for checking the trust of a site and assessing the quality of the link mass. You can use it to assess the link mass of competitors.
- Linkpad.ru – a service for analyzing competitors' links.
- Xtool.ru – a service for checking the trust of sites and pages in Yandex, analyzing numerous SEO parameters.
- Whoishostingthis.com – a service for checking to host.
- Builtwith.com – a service that shows the main technical characteristics of the website.
SMM - Social Media Marketing
SMM helps increase brand awareness, attract targeted traffic, and therefore potential customers. According to Marketing Sherpa statistics, 95% of people aged 18 to 34 find it more convenient to follow a brand through social media. This explains the high demand for SMM specialists: almost every business has an account on Facebook or Instagram. For many brands, social media has become the only channel for online promotion and customer acquisition.
Let's take a look at the platforms that exist.
- To find business contacts.
- To search for business partners and clients.
- For promotion/precise targeting.
Suitable for comprehensive promotion.
- For news channels.
- For finding business partners and clients in the US and Western Europe.
- For promoting products that are already actively discussed.
Used only for promotion in Western Europe and the US.
- For finding business contacts.
- For finding partners and clients.
- For finding employees.
- HR branding.
- Company branding.
Not used in B2C.
- For creating the brand/company image.
- For promotion/detailed targeting.
- HR branding.
- Company branding.
Not used in the promotion if clients are over 40 years old.
The success of social media marketing starts with setting the right goals. It determines which tools are suitable, what and how will be interacted at each stage. So, let's highlight the main ones:
- Maintaining and increasing customer loyalty.
- Increasing brand recognition.
- Generating demand.
- Informing and educating.
How to achieve them?
- Create a full-fledged community around your brand. This will increase the number of loyal customers.
- Launch targeted advertising to promote your brand. Formulate and launch a content marketing strategy.
- Publish viral content - the one that is most likely to become "viral."
- Publish relevant content. This will help attract the attention of your target audience and increase your subscriber base.
What does an SMM specialist do?
- Regularly creates social media posts according to a content plan. A good SMM specialist always has a content plan for the week, ideas for monthly posts, and a fully developed strategy for the year.
- Fully manages the content creation process: writes texts, and prepares photos and videos. A good SMM specialist doesn't need supervision.
- Always hunts for interesting news hooks and uses situational marketing. It's cool to be on-trend! This helps with overall reputation and increases customer loyalty.
- Quickly responds to questions and comments from subscribers and expertly reacts to negativity.
- Sets up and launches targeted advertising. Often, this is done by a separate specialist called a "targetologist".
- Analyzes the effectiveness of social media pages: how many new subscribers have been gained, whether the company is receiving targeted requests, and how much money this brings in.
Contextual advertising (PPC)
PPC (Pay Per Click) is a method of attracting traffic to your website, in which you pay for each click on your advertisement. One of the most common types of PPC is Google Ads, which allows you to pay for top snippets on the search engine results pages in Google.
Email marketing is a tool for promotion through electronic mail. When a customer fills out a form or pays for a product, they appreciate receiving a personalized email. They understand that they have done everything correctly and that their request has been received.
Marketers collect email addresses from subscribers using special lead forms, segment them, prepare newsletters, personalize them, and track the effectiveness of the emails.
The ultimate level is to use email marketing to help the customer move through the sales funnel. These emails are called automated or trigger emails. They serve multiple purposes:
- Teach subscribers how to use the product
- Provide content for cross-selling and upselling
- Re-engage subscribers who have forgotten about your company and encourage them to make a purchase
- Remind customers about abandoned shopping carts
- Help spread your blog and social media content.
Content marketing is the foundation of successful internet marketing and the key to online business success. Content marketing helps attract a target audience and gain potential customers.
To understand this, let's look at the differences between content marketing and other promotion tools. Let's consider the "4 dialogues" scheme.
In marketing campaigns, the goal is usually to convey a standard message or convince the audience to buy a product directly through advertising. In PR, companies indirectly appeal to the target audience, communicating the benefits and advantages of the product through an intermediary.
In content marketing, companies share their expertise. The target audience trusts such brands more, considering them experts in the field. If you are trusted, people buy from you.
Therefore, the conclusion is that content marketing is not intrusive advertising. Your content should be interesting, useful, and sometimes funny. This is how we build an atmosphere of trust and establish the right relationship with the customer. Moreover, customers receive benefits for free.
Checklist: How to take your business online by yourself
Now that you know about the key tools of internet marketing, the checklist below will guide you on where to start, what you can do on your own, and what to delegate to a specialist.
Day 1 and 2.
This is an important stage. Analyze the market and competitors, and form a unique selling proposition and positioning. Remember, the main goal of digitizing your business is to get customers from the Internet. To get even more customers, it's important to set up all the processes of "packaging" your business online: research/analysis, website, SMM, SEO, PPC advertising, YouTube, and CRM sales.
1) Analyzing the niche and competitors
a) Studying reviews.
b) Analyzing target queries in Google Trends.
c) Studying competitors' offerings and making calls to them.
d) Analyzing websites and advertising campaign logic.
e) Researching competitors' positioning and unique selling propositions.
f) Channels where you are present (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.).
g) Studying the target audience: gender, age, interests, and online behavior. Where they go, what apps they use, and who they follow on social media.
2) Review the collected data, draw conclusions, and move on to the next stage.
Days 2 and 3
The most creative stage. At this stage, we concentrate on all the tools of Internet marketing to achieve our strategic goal.
3) Sales website
a) Preparation of a sales funnel for the product/service.
b) Development of a sales website for MVP testing.
4) Promotion channels
a) Identify promotion channels: Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. Develop a brand style, prepare creatives, set up targeted advertising.
b) SEO: on-page and off-page optimization, PPC advertising.
c) Other channels: Telegram, blogs, media, etc.
Days 4 and 5
5) Brand Packaging and Development
a) Develop your positioning and unique selling proposition (USP).
b) Company branding.
c) Personal branding for the owner (brand ambassador).
6) Packaging and brand development
a) We carefully consider our positioning and USP (unique selling proposition).
b) Company brand.
c) The personal brand of the owner (brand's daddy).
7) Customer Profile
a) Pain analysis.
b) Competitor pain analysis.
c) Empathy map.
Days 6 and 7
8) NPS Index is a measure of customer loyalty to a product or company, used to evaluate its readiness for repeat purchases.
9) Why the customer buys your product/service.
a) What social, emotional, and functional improvements do they expect to receive.
b) Gain (joy) — extend, accentuate. Pain — (pain) solve.
c) Empathy Map.
Days 8, 9, and 10
a) Sales department structure: manager, sales representatives, quality control.
b) Developing the sales funnel: 12 touchpoints, warming up, building trust.
a) Case studies publication.
b) Feedback collection, and referral system.
11) Sales Automation.
b) Cross-selling, upselling, feedback collection, and referral system.
c) CRM: HubSpot, amoCRM, Bitrix.
d) Scripts and touchpoints at all stages of the funnel.
If you have completed each stage of the checklist, everything is ready for the digitalization of your business. Now you won't miss the opportunity to BREAK INTO THE ONLINE world.