Ready for a digital marketing 101? Too bad, we’re doing it! Today’s the day!
When you establish a new business or decide to really get your business online, it’s tempting to tell everyone and join social media sites immediately. However, there’s an order to this chaos, and if you lock down the basics first, you’ll make things easier for yourself later when it comes to digital marketing. From standardizing your name, brand voice, and logo to making sure your contact information is correct wherever it appears, these digital marketing basics are must-dos for all online businesses, new and old.
Here are thirteen digital marketing basics to adapt as you begin your digital marketing adventure.
1 – Standardize Your Name
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t start with the most basic of branding: their name. Does it appear the same everywhere? Think about this concerning:
- Its relationship to a franchise (if applicable) and the rules of the franchise
- Rebranding or recently initiated changes
2 – Define Your Brand Voice
What does your brand voice sound like? This goes beyond what your brand name looks like. It includes the type of language you use and the type of content you post, which should reflect your community and patrons, as well as the story of your business’ creation.
3 – Your Brand Story
Do you have an elevator pitch for your brand? How do you describe what you do and why you do it in thirty seconds or less? You should have some standard language you can use in online spaces regarding your business. What’s your business story? Be able to explain it and reword it dozens of times while keeping in mind that brand voice. Your story is vital to ensuring interest in your business, and it should include your USP (unique selling proposition), clarifying what you do in a different way than any other brand.
If you’re speaking about your topic online, especially in a video format, having this nailed down is crucial. Practice, and don’t be afraid to change your brand story as you grow and expand and discover new needs from your audience.
4 – Update Your Website
One thing your competition may forget to do: update their website. Things frequently change products, services, developments in your business, personnel, and more opportunities for your community. You should change and update your site to reflect that. In addition to being more accurate, updated information is a positive indicator for SEO (search engine optimization)—in other words, Google likes to see that you’re tending to your digital real estate here.
5 – Have a Business Listing Presence
You know how when you head over to Google and look up a business, and you usually get a listing immediately? It comes in the form of a suggestion (for Chinese food, for example) or when you’re looking up a very specific business. Maybe you’re one of those jerks who never save numbers on their phone and Googles it any time (totally have a friend like that). Google comes to the rescue by providing a business listing with that information, including business ratings.
Your business listing is something you can control by verifying with Google, allowing you to make sure your NATWE (name, address, telephone number, website address, and email) is completely accurate. This is especially useful for businesses with multiple locations and shifting business hours, as Google also highlights that information.
If your business is brick and mortar, you need to be on this.
Start with Google, but don’t forget other research and review sites such as Yelp! You may also need to consider industry-specific sites—for example, Travelocity if you own a hotel.
6 – Get Visual
Lots of business owners go ahead and establish social media presence on multiple sites as soon as they’re ready. But there’s something you should do first: have your visual components ready. This includes banners and headers for pages like LinkedIn and Facebook (both pages, and groups on Facebook) as well as those square profile images you need on most sites. Each social media site has its preferred size.
Your best bet is to hire a professional designer to help you out, especially with something as important as your logo, but the bare minimum, you should use a tool like Canva to create unified placeholder images.
Logos are essential to your digital brand, and one of the first things you should invest in as your budget allows.
7 – Determine Best Social Media Pages for Your Business
Not every business should be on every social media network. It’s also a pain to manage. You need to decide which social media pages are most necessary for your business. Doing that isn’t a small task, but it is doable. You should base it on:
Where your customers live: We don’t mean locally (necessarily), but online. Where do they spend most of their time? Different demographics tend to live on different websites. If your customer is a mom who likes to do crafts, you should probably have a Pinterest account. Looking to market to young adults? Take a look at Instagram.
Broadcasting vs. Community Building: Sometimes, it’ll be more effective to broadcast on social media. Got a sale? Using some hashtags? Now and then, it’s appropriate. But your audience doesn’t want to join your Facebook community to get sales. They’re there for the expertise you have and the community you have built. Think about where you want to focus on building your community.
Industry-Specific Sites: Remember the days of Ning? Ning let you personalize social media communities for your industry. Some of them got pretty big. Believe it or not, there are still sites like that out there, and depending on your industry, you’re missing out if you’re not involved in those communities. Social media isn’t limited to the big sites—it meshes with the community. Consider putting your social media icons in your message board signature (if allowed) and ensuring some activity on other sites.
8 – Establish Your Social Media Pages
Once you’ve determined where you need to be, be there. Establish those social media pages with the tone that reflects both your brand voice and the social media site itself. Don’t forget to utilize those Twitter profile descriptions, cover photos, consistent profile pics, and more. It’s not just about putting out good information—digital marketing is about the entire aesthetic.
9 – Connect Your Social Media Sites
Establishing your digital brand, both regarding SEO and customer recognition, also means connecting your social media sites. Whenever possible, link your sites from one to the other. Schedule occasional messages asking your community to join the conversation on other platforms—and make sure you have something different to offer them on each platform. Otherwise, you’re just showing them the same information in multiple places, and that’ll annoy them.
10 – Don’t Forget Quora
Quora is a fantastic resource for many businesses. Again, this one’s not about blasting out advertisements, but it is about establishing yourself as an expert and a solutions provider. If someone asks a question about your industry or the types of products and services you sell or create, Quora is the place to answer them. In addition to helping them, establishing yourself as an expert, and possibly making a sale, it increases your SEO value. After all, your profile can link back to your website, and it builds your authority in the wider world of web connectivity.
Quora is free, just oft-ignored. You can connect your other social accounts easily and go from there.
One last note on Quora: You need to answer as yourself, not a brand. This information should come from an expert, just like your blog posts should (publish as your name, not as your company).
11 – Include Useful Links
Useful links to related “frenemies” (not quite competitors, but in the same sphere as your business) might seem like a terrible idea at first, but it can help you out when it comes to digital marketing. Google’s algorithm ranks sites using that as a signal. If you’re linking out to authoritative sources, it’s likely you know what you’re talking about. That’s how they think about it, anyway. Consider linking to high authority sources in your industry.
12 – Use Video and Live Streaming
What gets people engaged—and then keeps them there? Live streaming. In particular, streaming to your Facebook community is a surefire way to get noticed and hold interest, and the livestreaming format is perfect for more informal broadcasts. This means you’re not spending a ton on production value, and you’re live and available to your audience. Being available can help you build community, reinforce presence, and tackle questions while you’re live. It’s a real asset to any business, and a great way to keep an eye on the pulse of your community.
13 – Include Online Information on Printed Collateral
Digital marketing is important, but business cards and printed marketing collateral are still relevant as well. You’ll want to direct people to connect on social media and your website, and adding your online information to your printed materials is a great way to get started. It’s as simple as adding social media icons and your web address.
Many folks are also more comfortable reaching out for help or ordering products and services using email (versus the phone), so if you have a younger segment, the digital availability can also help you serve your community better.
Only the Beginning
We recognize that there are many steps to getting started when it comes to digital marketing for your small business. These steps are crucial, but they’re only the beginning. If you need help getting started, Dominate With SEO is here to support you. Fill out our Discovery Form today and let’s get started on helping you standardize and grow with the help of digital marketing.