Thanks to everybody being online, digital marketing has become the new business cards, billboards, and TV commercials wrapped into one. In fact, the industry is valued at around $300 billion, and that number is only expected to rise.
Well, if you’re running a business, you’re missing out on huge opportunities by lacking in your digital marketing strategy. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be too hard to improve!
Every business’ digital marketing strategies could always use some improvement, so let’s talk about some helpful tips to keep building your customer base!
Free Digital Marketing Strategies
You read that right. We’re talking about some digital marketing strategies you can use to grow your business for free!
Now, full disclosure, almost any of these options could be improved if you put a little bit of money into them. However, any and all have the option to get started with zero dollars in your pocket.
Search Engine Optimization
Showing up on the first or second page of a Google search result can literally be the difference between a successful business or one that folds. SEO may even be the most valuable marketing tool out there, as over 40% of sales are made by organic web traffic. The best part? If you know what you’re doing, it’s free!
What is SEO? It’s optimizing your website content to rank higher on search results for Google and other search engines. Think about how important that is. When’s the last time you looked at the second page of a Google search? Exactly.
It’s obvious why it’s so important. People see thousands of advertisements every day and are happy to ignore them. However, people searching for your specific services are the ones most likely to buy from you.
If you’re a local business that relies on making local sales, it is a lot easier when you’re only competing against people in your area. If you’re competing against everyone, like an eCommerce store or a mobile app, then the competition gets really stiff. There’s a lot to know about SEO, but here’s what you can do to at least get started.
Start A Blog
This is the bare minimum you can do. Utilizing keywords about specific, informative topics that people search for is a good way to start building organic traffic.
For example, if your business sells windows, having blog articles like “how to stop air from flowing out of your windows” or “how to properly clean a window” will bring people onto your site when they look for that information. From there, you can direct them to your services.
Not only is it good for directing people to your services, but it also gives you a lot more chances to rank highly on Google. All it takes is one to start building momentum. Think about it. If you have a homepage, services, about us, and contact page on your website, that’s 4 chances to rank highly on a Google search. However, if you have a blog, you could have thousands of opportunities.
Adding pages will also increase your chances of one of them having success. Have a page for each product or service that you’re selling, and give detailed descriptions of each of them.
If you run a pet grooming business, have a page for dogs, one for cats, and one for each specific service you offer. From there, you can go over the products, the prices, and so much more. Use every tool to your advantage.
This is the most challenging one when you are starting. Google’s algorithm could see the best article ever written on a given topic, but it could be from a website it’s never seen before.
What that means is if you write the best article in the world about teddy bears and the Wall Street Journal writes the worst one ever, the WSJ one will still rank higher. Why is that?
They’ve been linked millions of times on external pages. That’s how Google does off-page ranking. The more your website is linked to, the more it will trust your website as a source to display to the public.
You could try reaching out to other blogs and websites to see if they can give you shoutouts, and try to make a deal with them to do the same if you can’t afford their rates. This is definitely the hardest part about starting with SEO.
Now, there are online tools you can pay for if you want to, and there are also professional services you can use to get you the best results in your SEO journey. Now, with the right research and some diligence, you can definitely give your website a little boost for organic traffic, but there are a lot of benefits to hiring professionals, including building quality backlinks.
Next up in the free list is that thing you have open in the other tab. Every business, big or small, should have a social media presence. Social media literally has half the world for an audience.
If you’re a business that can operate anywhere, like a blog or online store, then you absolutely need to take advantage of this opportunity. Your reach is absolutely limitless, especially if you’re on multiple platforms.
Now, unlike SEO, this can be more difficult if you’re a local shop, because it’s harder to target people. However, you can add a location to your profile, make sure it’s clearly written in your bio, and advertise it to people at your store. This can be on flyers, newsletters, on your building, email chains, receipts, or wherever you want. Just add a quick “Like us on Facebook” to whatever you hand people.
Own a pizza shop? Make an entertaining TikTok of you spinning pizza dough in the air while looking directly at the camera or cracking a joke. Run an online shoe store? Make a funny video of what happens when you run in old shoes.
You can make it relevant, but don’t make it feel like a commercial. Be funny, be creative, and try to engage your audience.
Be sure to post on a fairly regular schedule. Knowing the times when people are most active is a really good way to start building followers. Be sure to use plenty of hashtags, check out what’s trending, and use it to your advantage.
You don’t have to post every day. Just try to make a post as often as you can, and be as consistent with your timing as possible. You can even make content in advance and drop it at various times. These could be promotional offers, funny content, or whatever you want!
We can’t guarantee your cat video will go viral, but we can make it a lot easier! Promotional content tends to go viral. Make a post with a special offer. “Drop a like, follow us, and share, and you’ll win a–“
This kind of content gets people to share. They have nothing to lose, and they might win something, which makes it a great way to build some followers.
Optimize Your Profile
Don’t worry, this isn’t as complicated as SEO, but the two work together! Just make sure your profile picture is a legible picture of your company logo, and give as brief of a description as possible in your bio. Something like: “Local daycare in Burlington, VT.”
From there, the next thing on your bio should only be a link to your website or contact information, depending on the nature of your business.
Make sure you sign up for a business account on every platform you sign up for. If possible, get your profile verified. That blue checkmark goes a long way toward making you look credible and professional!
Interact with the public. Respond to comments, share positive feedback, share questions and answer them, comment on other people’s posts. Just be professional and maybe use a sense of humor!
You can also build traffic off of other people’s successes. Try commenting on viral videos that are relevant to your business. If you run a pet store and you see a cat video on TikTok with 10 million likes, drop a funny or interesting comment on it.
Assuming you optimized your profile and your title clearly says your brand name (and especially if you are verified), people might be inclined to click on your profile and drop a like! If you post something really funny, you could make the top comment, which means you’ll be the first thing people see after the content. It’s an easy way to build followers.
Unfortunately, not all things in the marketing world can come free. However, if you have even a small amount of money to spend, then here are some digital marketing ideas to throw into your strategy!
Affiliate marketing is not only a great way to build backlinks for your SEO, but it’s also excellent for getting traffic directly over to your website. It will typically cost some money to get another website, especially a prominent one, to link to your website.
You do get what you pay for though. If you are a stock trading business, a link from The Wall Street Journal is going to help you build traffic a lot better than your college roommate’s blog on Medium.
Now, if you have a friend with a website or if you can reach a deal with another website host, you can make this option free. However, you can definitely find quality sites that would be willing to help you out for an affordable rate.
You can pay for search ads, banner ads, or whatever you want. These can be pretty affordable to start out, and the more effective they are, the more money they’ll be putting into your pockets to buy more!
Pay-per-click or PPC ads are designed to be affordable right off the bat, hitting your target audience as closely as possible, and you’ll only have to pay for the number of impressions your ad campaign made.
If you’re looking to spend money to improve your digital marketing strategy, you can scale this as big as you want! Most people are online, so the world is your oyster if you have the cash!
Search ads are very effective because they show up on the top of the search. If SEO isn’t your thing, you can literally pay to jump the line and be the first link people see on their Google search.
These are the ones you think of when you think of digital ads. They show up in your news articles, on the side of web pages, and anywhere else on a website. You can get great PPC rates for these.
These can be very handy, and surprisingly affordable, being between 10 and 30 cents per view. Anybody can glance over a search or a banner ad, but if people are made to watch your 30-second pitch, you might be able to sell them on it!
Build That Audience!
Now that you know some great digital marketing strategies to throw into your routine, there’s no time like the present to get started. Every minute you aren’t using these is a minute of wasted opportunity. Once you have them set, you can just sit back and watch the traffic roll in.
Keep up to date with our latest marketing news, and find out more about how blogging can improve SEO!