Digital marketing is using digital channels and tools like email marketing, social media marketing, paid and unpaid search marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) to promote products and services. With the explosion of the internet, digital marketing has become one of the most critical ways to publicize a business and help it grow. Digital marketing provides businesses with opportunities to extend their reach, do marketing research, and foster connection and brand loyalty. Using these online tools for sales, connection, and creating community, and then analyzing the data collected from those online marketing efforts can make a business more efficient more quickly than almost anything else.
No matter the industry, whether you’re a freelance digital marketer, work for a large agency, or hustle at a small startup, you’ll need some tools to do your job well—and make it a little easier on yourself. You’ve created a top-notch digital strategy. Having the proper best practices in place and knowing how to use these digital marketing tools to your advantage can help you execute that strategy. Let’s dive in.
Timing, Planning, & Publishing
Whether you’re a small business just starting or a large company working to attract new followers, adding and sharing content is integral to your company’s success. Once you determine the types of content you want to create to help build brand awareness and boost sales within your target audience, you can decide on what channels to share it. But it’s not as simple as sharing spontaneously—planning out the optimal time and how often to post content on your social media channels to reach the most people is key. Use analytics to determine which days of the week and times of the day people are visiting your website or social media platforms and schedule your content to drop then.
Making a content marketing calendar and planning to share content when you know your subscribers will be most likely to engage with it will help with brand awareness and boost conversions. Understanding your audience, knowing when and what to publish or send, and being consistent will help keep your followers engaged and drive more traffic your way. To save time and to ensure you’re maintaining your brand voice and aesthetic, create a calendar for posting content to help you stay on top of your content marketing strategy. Planning posts ahead of time eliminates the stress of coming up with new content on the fly.
Listening & Engagement
Maintaining a brand online involves more than simply engaging with fans (or fighting with trolls!) in the comments of your posts. As a product, company, or brand grows, keeping up with all the DMs, mentions, and shares can be hard. That’s when social media listening and engagement tools come in. These tools can help you stay on top of the conversation even when you’re not directly communicating with your followers or customers. You can see what you’re doing right, as well as quickly resolve any problems or issues that arise, identify chances for growth, and even keep an eye on the competition. Listening and engagement tools provide a unique opportunity to receive feedback and make changes. These tools will condense all messages and mentions of your business, product, brand, and/or targeted keywords and hashtags into one place so you can keep a pulse on how your brand is being received. Social listening also provides a way to stay on top of ever-changing social media trends, can help identify new revenue streams, and get important industry tips.
Similar to listening and engagement and equally important in digital marketing strategy is analytics. Analytics in digital marketing involves collecting, tracking, and analyzing user data on various social media accounts so you can figure out how it’s working for you. You’ll glean crucial information on engagement such as your campaign’s reach, what kinds of positive (and negative) mentions you’re getting online, how many people are seeing your posts and if they’re being shared, if your brand’s hashtag is performing well, and other details to help improve or change your strategy. Having access to this data allows you to better focus on future marketing efforts, ultimately saving time and money.
While many platforms provide basic information about how your business or brand is performing, for deeper analytics as well as to look at data over various platforms, it’s wise to use a social media analytics tool. The most well-known and widely-used of these is Google Analytics (or GA). GA collects and tracks user data, compiles it into useful reports, and provides valuable insights to improve your website and/or app’s performance. No matter which tool you choose, analytics provide valuable information about how your brand, product, or business is performing from a social media perspective. These tools help determine when to share content and on what channels so it will reach the most people, how the content performs, and give insight as to what isn’t working so you can change your strategy. Additionally, analytics tools can generate reports to share with your team, investors, and others involved in your brand’s success.
Doing competitive research is the process of gaining insight into your target audience to determine their needs, what they value, and the best tactics, channels, and messaging you should be using. It’s also a good way to figure out what you can do to separate yourself from the competition and show how your products and/or services are different from others in your industry.
Get to know your competitors as well as possible. What are their top online traffic sources? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What is their value proposition? Check out their profiles, followers, and hashtags on various channels. You can even do a competitive analysis to get a deeper understanding of similar businesses.
Knowing what your target audience is interested in can help with your strategy. Evaluating where your competitors are succeeding (and even more importantly, where they’re falling short, so you can do it better) can help build your brand from the ground up. The more you know about your audience, the more you can create strategies to meet your goals—and avoid what doesn’t.
But don’t forget: while there are plenty of tools to help collect, track, and measure data, synthesize information, and provide notifications, the human connection is still at the root of any brand’s success. Interacting through a Q&A session, responding to a customer’s problem, promptly answering a follower’s question, or simply engaging on a human level is crucial to growing and maintaining your brand.
Email Service Provider (ESP) for Email Marketing
When launching your email marketing campaign, you’ll need to reach a large number of people at once. But you can’t use a regular email platform like Gmail or Yahoo to send massive amounts of email. You’ll need an Email Service Provider (ESP) which can provide software to send emails to large groups of people.
An ESP offers hosting for images and stores your contacts. It also provides advanced features to run your campaigns like segmentation, which allows you to send tailored emails to different audiences. Personalizing your email based on recipients’ interests will lead to more sales. ESPs also allow for automation, tracking, and reporting which is important for overall strategy. They can also help with subscription management. ESP’s can offer options to unsubscribe, which is not possible from a personal email.
Another bonus offered by using an ESP is creating an email template. You can send polished and professional branded emails using an ESP rather than your regular email. Create a template using your brand colors that line up with your existing marketing strategy. Using that on an ongoing basis will help keep you on brand. Another advantage of using a template through an ESP is you can update it with new content and pictures but the template will remain the same.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works to develop a website’s online content to increase visibility in search engines like Google. In search marketing, the goal is for your website or online content to show up at or near the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) when using certain keywords.
There are all kinds of tools out there designed to help make your website more SEO-friendly and improve your business along the way—use them to your advantage! It’s proven that using analytics is a great way to improve your site’s user experience. It’s also imperative to use analytics to glean useful information about your visitors’ behavior, including learning where people who visit your site are coming from and what they are doing on your site.
You can use analytics to set up goals for important key performance indicators (KPIs) such as destination (where people go when they visit your site), time (how much time they spend on each page), how many pages they visit, and/or events (such as signing up for a newsletter, clicking a video, or making a purchase). Using SEO can even get as specific as figuring out what keywords potential customers are entering into the search bar. You can then incorporate that into content for your website or other social media channels.
Paid & Unpaid Search Marketing
Google Ads is a paid online advertising platform offered by Google and is one of the most well-known programs for creating paid search marketing campaigns. Launched in 2000 as Google Adwords, in 2018, Google upgraded and rebranded the service as Google Ads. According to Google, with Google Ads, “you can create online ads to reach people exactly when they’re interested in the products and services that you offer.”
There are several free tools provided by Google that can help make your ad campaign as successful as possible. Google’s Keyword Planner helps you decide which words to choose for your campaigns. You’ll plug in phrases and words having to do with your business, and then this tool picks out keywords that are most relevant for your product, business, or brand. You’ll get important insights such as how competitive certain keywords are, how often users search for certain keywords, and how those have changed over time, and even provide suggested bid amounts to help you plan your advertising budget. Having this detailed information can help you choose the best keywords, get your ad in front of interested eyeballs, and ultimately gain more leads and conversions.
Google’s Responsive Search Feature is another automated tool designed to help create better-performing ads. Google Trends is yet another free tool Google provides to show and analyze the popularity of top searches. Google Trends can help you stay current, decide where to do more research, and ultimately, what keywords to use to get the best results from your ad campaigns.
While it’s an incredible bonus in digital marketing to have experience using design products from Adobe’s Creative Cloud, there are plenty of design tools available for those who may not have a background in graphic design or any experience using Photoshop or other Adobe applications. Using these tools can give your social media posts and other content a more polished, professional appearance—without needing too much graphic design expertise, or having to pay someone else to get the job done.
Learn Digital Marketing
Noble Desktop’s digital marketing courses teach how to use many of these tools to your advantage. Those ready to dive into the field can attend in-person classes at Noble Desktop’s New York City location or attend live online digital marketing courses from anywhere in the world. You can also find other digital marketing courses, bootcamps, and certificate programs in your area using Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me tool.
Other resources offered by Noble Desktop include its digital marketing blog which has detailed articles about social media marketing, email marketing, SEO, and other essential tools for digital marketers. Other resources include Noble’s seminar on YouTube entitled The Pillars of Digital Marketing Success.