Master Digital Marketing:
What You Need to Know
A Real-World Guide for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses
Did you know that according to a study, 3 in 10 people are always online? Like every waking hour of their day! Well, that's a digital marketing opportunity for your business or organization. But you have to know what to do with it. As you know, you could spend all of your time on social or other digital media and see little results from it. The first and most important lesson you have to remember to master digital marketing is that it's all about predicting human behavior.In the past, when marketers used traditional marketing methods, they guessed at results. In the digital world, algorithms and AI are taking out the guessing from the equation. For example, when you boost a post, Facebook algorithms show your content to the people likeliest to engage with it. In other words, it's predicting that people who see it will like what they see and decide to look at it further. That's a massive shift from results only to predicting behavior and measuring based on technology—not human guessing.
What You'll Discover in Your Digital Marketing Guide
As we promised, we want to help you master digital marketing. And that means we've got to give you lots of good and actionable content. First things first before we get started. You can download this guide, print it, or share it digitally. You can also zoom down to the relevant sections by clicking on the following links:
1. Basic Secrets of Digital Marketing
2. Getting Your Social Media Strategy Right
3. Trends in Social Media Through 2025
4. Amplifying Your Marketing
5. Marketing Strategies to Reach Generation Z
6. How to Bootstrap SEO When the Budget’s Tight
Don't have time to read everything now? Download a copy of the entire guide!
Basic Secrets of Digital Marketing
In any topic, you always need to know some fundamental things. Yea, the same hold trues in digital marketing. There are just some essential things on which everything in your marketing strategy gets created. There are 7 pillars to master digital marketing. Meaning, you have to have each of these areas. If you miss one or don't execute well, you're missing a valuable piece.
Moreover, because one thing depends on the other in the digital world, your entire marketing strategy could collapse if you mess up. (Psssttt...here's a tip. Failure is fine. You learn, but messing up because you didn't focus where you should have, nah).
Be More Than Another "Me Too"The chances are that your business is in an industry competing with other similar companies. The corporate unicorns are few and far between. But that's okay, and it's capitalism at its best. However, when it comes to digital marketing, you have to consider your unique selling proposition (USP). In other words, what sets you apart from your competitors? A fundamental part of marketing is your brand positioning and promise. In short, when customers think of your brand, what is the first word or two that comes to mind? Service? Innovation? Delicious food!?!
Your Primary Goal is to Drive People to Your WebsiteIn digital marketing, you want to create a funnel for your sales team, which begins with your website design and SEO. So, although it should go without saying, you want to drive people to your site. That means you have to a site that's mobile-ready (most people use their cellphones and tablets to search). Almost half the planet uses mobile for search, social media, and communications. You also have to have it search engine optimized (SEO). While you could create a good site with a builder on the market, if you want to do SEO, then chances are you'll need experts.
SEO is Essential for Your Site and Digital Marketing PlanIf you know anything as someone living in the digital world, it's that learning is now continuous. Technology changes, and it forces everyone, especially those in digital marketing, to update skills continuously. However, to master digital marketing, you have to have parts of your site with SEO. Moreover, you have to rank because fewer than 1% of people go to the second page of search results. SEO is changing. Voice search is replacing typed search. In fact, 50% of mobile users now use voice search, and yes, it impacts your SEO!
You've Got to Be Creating Valuable Content—ContinuouslyRemember how we stated in the second point that you want to get people to your website? We hope you didn't let that slip already! Well, the way to get people to your site is to demonstrate how you're an expert in your field with a content strategy. And once you determine the approach, you have to develop as much content as possible that's of value! How can you do it in cool, fun, and different ways? Self-publish a book. Create a webinar series or podcast! Think creatively of your audience's needs and then give it to them in different ways through digital marketing!
Social Media is a Must (And No, You Don’t Get a Pass)Social media is no longer the shiny new toy it was in the early 2010s. And since then, there's been a lot of lousy stuff concerning social, which has turned off people. However, it's not going anywhere—ever. So, get used to it and master it for digital marketing. Social networking could also be an excellent way to communicate with your audience cheaply. Here's another reason. Social algorithms are so good on the top platforms that it's tough to beat their segmentation. In other words, you get eyeballs—from the people you want—with a good social media strategy.
Improve Traffic to Your Site and Business with PartnershipsDeveloping a business is all about networking. You want to promote and share what you have to offer. But, part of learning to master digital marketing is to create high-value partnerships. In short, develop alliances with like-minded professionals, companies, and nonprofits who could help spread your message with Gen Z. Then leverage your content, and theirs, to share. It's good for SEO and also marketing for your companies. Our partners include Four Creative Group and experts in business consulting and also online executive learning. Yes, it's all about sharing the love!
Email is Not Dead—Yet—And it Has a Boost From AI in CRMsWhat's one of the most valuable parts of your business? Well, it's your database, of course! And one of the best ways to maintain open communication is through regular emails and newsletters. Remember, it's easier to upsell your customers than it is to bring in a new lead. What's more, AI has become an intelligent part of many CRMs. That means that AI helps identify the right messaging at the right time for the right leads. So, yes, make sure you have your best practices for email marketing, but think of it in the context of smart CRM systems.
Getting Your Social Media Strategy On the Right Path
You know you have to use social media. We don't have to tell you that fact. But, the question is how you could set yourself up for success. Sure, you could hire a marketing services team, but you need to understand the high-level stuff even if you do. As you know, nothing successful happens without a strategy. And yes, that includes social media (no groaning, please). So, to ensure you've got the most essentially necessary, let's go through the critical issues concerning a successful social media strategy.
First, you have to think about who you want to target. For instance, do you seek people living in certain cities or towns? Is your target audience women or business professionals? What's their age group and demographic make-up? Once that's done, you have to choose the right social media platform for your business. For example, you might not need to prioritize TikTok but do want to master LinkedIn. Then create social media goals, with points to achieve them. You could also take a look at this 30-day social media plan from Sprout Social.
For instance, SEMrush is an excellent digital marketing tool. They have excellent competitive analysis tools that put them above the rest. For social media, Sprout Social has reporting you could create on your competition. BuzzSumo is another great tool available to understand your performance and that of your competitors. Finally, staying ahead of the competition means creating meaningful relationships and building customer loyalty. Fortunately, many CRM software platforms exist to make sure you're optimizing relationships.
But, what's the best content to share with your audience? And when should you share it. Candidly, this is an ongoing debate, and there's not a right or wrong answer, necessarily. Still, guidelines exist that you could use. For example, Buffer suggests in this post the best days and times to share your content. Further, as you know, when you post, you want your audience to engage. And that means you want to get good at predicting their behaviors. Take a look at this article on how social media could get mined to predict behavior.
In short, hashtags are essential. And that means you have to do a bit of research to ensure you use the right hashtags for your marketing. Fortunately, you could get the tools to do your research. For LinkedIn, they have a native tool you could use to insert hashtags from your preferred keywords. For Instagram, you could use a tool such as Keywordtool.io or Hashtagify.me. And for Twitter, start within the platform where you could check out the top trends. You could also use a platform such as RiteTag.
Aside from Facebook and Google, you could also get metrics from other social management tools. For instance, one of the best companies for social media management and performance is Hootsuite. But, other excellent platforms exist, such as Buffer, Sprout Social, and Sendible. Understand the impact of your social media marketing efforts by measuring engagement, social interactions, and the cost per click or impression. Also, make it a point to understand your digital marketing relationship and the impressions on your site, leading to customer conversions.
Social Media For Digital Marketing from Now Through 2025
As we all know, technology is just growing massively. For instance, in the old days, you probably updated your mobile and operating system every once in a while. It's now become a daily thing with new updates for your apps continuously. So, what does that mean for those of us who want to master digital marketing? It means we have a lot of learning to do every day. It's nonstop and is now part of the job requirements for anyone in marketing.
2025 may seem like a distance away, but it's going to be here faster than you think. As we know, 2020 only accelerated the move to digital. By the middle of the year, grandparents from the Boomer generation were zipping their way through Zoom and FaceTime. And with that comfort, millions of more people entered fully into the digital world. Businesses turned to expert management consultant teams to help them shift their cultures for a fully automated work experience. And marketers understood they had a whole new shift with an increase of 70% on time spent on social platforms. So, let's look at the social media trends that will shape things from now into 2025!
Artificial Intelligence is Transforming MarketingThose who master digital marketing understand that content marketing is vital. Still, to make a significant impact, you have to put out a lot of content. It's a full-time operation in terms of content generation and publication. Enter artificial intelligence (AI). Aren't we fortunate to live and work in the digital era? For instance, to help with routine customer inquiries, chatbot usage will increase from $2.6 billion in 2019 to more than $9 billion in 2024. Moreover, AI measures objectives and makes strategic outreach to the right people at the right time in the right place. Because of its power to scour the internet, marketing pros have a much smarter edge to scale their efforts.
Skip the Photos and Move to VideoConcerning social media trends, we can't say it enough. Do you want a lift on your posts and content shared? Use video. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have pushed users to it through their Stories. And, if you happen to have a target audience that skews younger, then you can't beat TikTok. Whatever the platform you use, from YouTube to Facebook Live and anything in between, if you want to grab peoples' attention, you have to use video. Test it out in your marketing efforts against the usage of photos and see the difference.
Selling on Social Media MaturesSocial media platforms did an excellent job of integrating sponsored content for sale into social feeds. There was a time when these ads looked clunky. But that's no longer the case. Some people say that seamless ads sometimes make them stop scrolling to see if they know the person. What's more, AI knows all about the people on a given platform. So, they show the ads that they want to see. In other words, for digital marketing professionals, targeted ads to the right audience are just a few clicks away! In short, consumers changed their buying habits!
Connect with Micro-Influencers to Share Your ContentEveryone knows that celebrities have a lot of pull on social media because of their audience sizes. But, there are others, too—micro-influencers. And while influencer marketing isn't new, it's increased as a core digital marketing strategy. For instance, you could become a contributor by creating sponsored posts and content they share with their audience. Or you could become a speaker for an online professional learning series. Whatever you decide, micro-influencers make it affordable to promote. In the years ahead, expect more micro and even nano-influencers!
Social Media Brings Brands Built-In CommunitiesAgain, social media communities aren't new, either. But, the pandemic only increased the need by consumers and people to be part of communities. Social media makes it easy for your brand to create groups aligned with what you do. Want to increase business growth? One of the ways to do it is to create an online community on social! The best marketing people know social pages and private groups are essential for communication. Don't miss the boat and get into fun, exciting, and brand community building!
3 Easy Ways to Amplify the Marketing For Your Brand
Spend any time on social or looking at your email inbox, and here's what you realize. There's so much information! So, to master digital marketing, professionals know they have to cut through the noise. But how do you do that effectively? Well, for one, you make sure your small business website or your website redesign adheres to best practices. For instance, you want to make sure that your design is on point. Check out this short article on Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of White Space. Ensure the best in website design and SEO. So, how could you amplify your brand when everything you read is about business disruption? Fortunately, digital marketing could help—enormously.
Recruit Brand Advocates to Spread Your MessageMarketing pros that validation is essential to their brand strategies. In other words, because consumers know there's a lot of noise in the digital space, they'd rather hear from people who support brands. Earlier, in our discussion of social media trends, we talked about micro-influencers. Well, brand advocates differ from micro or nano-influencers. In short, these people are your champions. They love your product or services and, because of it, want to share the love. You don't need to pay them to share your content.
We're all consumers, and no one likes getting sold. It's a big turn-off! With social validation from your brand champions, they help spread social proof about your business. When others get to see that people like them (e.g., their friends or social network) love a brand, they're more inclined to check it out. Therefore, one of the best things you could do for your brand is to build a community. In time, you'll see that those people could become brand advocates who will share the love. Learn how to create brand advocates. You'll be glad you did it!
Get Good, Like Really Good at NetworkingOne of the things that people and brands learned during the stay-at-home and business closures because of the pandemic is that relationships matter. People wanted to make connections with others, and they didn't want to be alone. Because of it, everyone with access to digital platforms figured out how to connect socially in the digital world. And even businesses hired management consultant teams seeking to understand how to create a team culture for remote working.
While most marketers understand they have to build relationships, a lot of them miss opportunities. For instance, they forget to check out the comments on their posts and reply. An activity as simple as that—matters. So, to master digital marketing, you have to become a pro at networking and relationship-building. It's not hard to do. You just have to be consistent. Do a little homework and learn about how to grow customer relationships.
Leverage the Power of Marketing Amplification ToolsWe know this guide is choc-full of stuff for you to learn. Of course, we hope that you love it. One of the things we believe is essential for success, aside from custom marketing packages, is to share resources, tools, and platforms. Something our marketing team does continually tries out the digital tools available. There's just so much out on the market that could make your work a lot easier. Don't forget that if you have a problem to overcome, the chances are someone else had it too. And because of it, there's a tool available to resolve the issue.
Amplification is essential to master digital marketing. Sure, we all hope that our content goes viral, but that's kind of a bit of magic. Instead, you could rely on technology platforms to help you amplify your content and brand. For example, Outbrain is fantastic to share your content on other sites with high authority. Psst...that's really good for SEO. If you have excellent images, take a look at Sumo Image Share. You could also try out Shareaholic for growing and monetizing your audience.
Reaching Generation Z with These Marketing Tools
Your business needs to ensure that it's always creating relationships. And in today's world, it also means that you want to keep an eye on Generation Z. While Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, have had marketers tripping over themselves to reach them, Gen Z is like the shiny new toy. There are a few reasons for this focus on the young generation. Gen Z, those born between 1995 and 2010, is the first generation that's entirely digitally native.
Unlike earlier groups, including Millennials, Generation Z lives in the digital world since they were young. For them, they were born into the digital transformation. Also, Gen Z is a larger generation than Millennials, which is undoubtedly larger than Generation X by far and also living Boomers. And this generation is an activist group of young people seeking to change the system and support high impact nonprofits. So, let's look at the marketing strategies that work for businesses seeking to reach Gen Z.
How to Bootstrap SEO When the Budget is Tight
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to master digital marketing. So, even if you have a tight budget, you need to consider bootstrapping SEO. In short, when you SEO pages on your site, you drive people to your site. It happens when the bots crawl the internet and discover that your business is an authority in its industry. Companies understand that they have to rank on the first page of, say, Google. And that's why obtaining a top ranking is essential for your website. How could you boost your SEO when you don't have the money to hire expensive experts?
Know Your KeywordsTo ensure that you get more people to your site, you have to understand keywords. Those keywords, of course, are words associated with your products or services. Ideally, they consist of high-value and low-difficulty keywords. Moreover, changes will happen soon with keywording because of voice search. In short, researching by typing into a search engine is different than when you ask your digital assistant to find something for you. Therefore, it's essential to understand keywords. Thankfully, for digital marketing, you have plenty of resources. For instance, you could check out Yoast SEO keywords for beginners.
For Digital Marketing, Make Sure to Get Your Business on GoogleAs you may know, the largest search engine in the world is Google. More than 40,000 searches per second occur on Google. However, as we mentioned in this guide, not only do you want to rank on the first page of search results, but you also want to place high. Ideally, you want to be in the first spot of search results for your keywords. It happens in a variety of ways, including by being smart about using Google. Yes, Google wants your business to appear prominently on its search engine and use its ecosystem. One way to do it is to use Google My Business and get as many reviews for your business as possible.
Backlinking to Your Site from High-Authority SourcesOnce you optimize your SEO keywords and website, you have to get backlinks from other sites. And that's why one of the best strategies is to do guest posts. The higher and more popular the site where you want to submit a guest post, the better. When you do this, the search engine artificial intelligence SEO crawlers understand that your business, for example, sells luxury shoe brands. The more backlinks from other high-authority sites to your website, the better it is to drive organic traffic to your site. If you need ideas of places where you could submit guest posts, just do a simple Google search or check out this page.
Learning how to master digital marketing doesn't have to be hard. All it takes is a little time and dedication. Remember, everything starts by driving everyone to your site. It doesn't have to cost a fortune, and yes, you could ditch the big agency fees. Think about marketing packages and marketing services that make sense for your goals and budget. And remember, all professional things could get mastered with online executive learning.