Digital marketing for entrepreneurs is a concise, detailed guide to help you take control of your business growth online. This is a guide for serious business owners who want to build their online presence, bring in leads, and outshine their competition. Serious digital marketing isn’t cheap; it’s time-consuming and requires a healthy budget. That’s why we wrote this for entrepreneurs – individuals with big ideas who go all in.
“Many people dream about being an entrepreneur, starting their own business, working for themselves, and living the good life. Very few, however, will actually take the plunge and put everything they’ve got into being their own boss.” Fabrizio Moreira
Many people also dream about online success, but few put in the time and money to make those dreams happen. Read on if you’re ready to take control of your digital marketing and Conquer the Web!
Your website is your digital storefront. For many, especially younger generations, it’s also the first impression they’ll have of your business. While template-based websites can be quick and easy to setup, they don’t offer much by way of branding your unique business.
That’s where custom website design comes in. Unlike template-based sites, these need to be designed and built by professionals from the ground up. The process can take months to complete, but the result is a one-of-a-kind website that was painstakingly crafted from top to bottom.
Using a Custom Website for Your Marketing Plan
The primary advantage of a custom-built website is that it can do almost anything you want. Template-based sites are limited by the functions offered by the service. And even if they offer basic tools like e-commerce shopping carts, they’re rigid and inflexible.
Your custom-built website presents your brand in a unique way and makes your business memorable, plus it does it in a way that helps you interact with your customers.
For example, each piece of your lead generation strategy can be customized for your brand with a custom website. Instead of a generic form from a template website, custom web design agencies can develop and build an online quote tool made specifically for your website. (And each tool can be modified to be unique, if need be. Template websites don’t offer this level of customized functionality.)
Customized tools can save hours of time by collecting details about potential customers seamlessly.
You’re an expert in your field. But so are the other 30 experts in your service area. How do you differentiate yourself from the crowd? One of the most effective ways is through content marketing: The creation of useful content for your audience.
Modern consumers want to be informed. They don’t just want to know who has the best prices or the widest selection – they want to understand what you do and how you do it.
While your website will have pages full of content, real content marketing comes from creating resources that people can access to educate themselves. There are a variety of mediums for content marketing:
While blogs are one of the most popular ways to create content, entrepreneurs should focus on what medium fits them best.
Always Promote Your Content
Once you’ve finished creating content, find ways to get your content in front of your audience. There is no right or wrong way to do this, and every entrepreneur will have her own way that works best for her.
Digital Marketing with Social Media
An easy way to spread the word is through social media. If you haven’t setup your social media accounts yet, read Social Media Basics to find out how! Once it’s setup, post every time you release a new blog or video. This will not only give you a chance to announce it, but your most loyal followers can share it with their friends too. It’s completely free! Plus, there are many tools you can use to automate your social media posting to save time.
Digital Marketing with E-Mail
E-mail is another popular option for reaching your readers. You can build a subscription list of those interested in your content. When you publish new articles or podcasts, let them know!
The most important thing to remember is that unless you’re a rock star, your content won’t get popular on its own. You need to promote it to get attention.
Search Engine Optimization
You’ve probably heard about search engine optimization, or SEO. In practice, it’s very complicated and constantly changing. However, the concept behind it is fairly simple.
When someone searches for a topic in a search engine, that search engine needs to return results it thinks are relevant. The way it does that is by looking at a mountain of factors, from the text on the page to finding out how many other websites links to it.
SEO is the practice of creating content, updating your website, and reaching out to the right sources to increase the chances that search engines return your content as the best result.
How to Optimize Your Website
If you want to optimize your website for search engines like Google, it may be necessary to reach out to the experts. Google’s algorithm (the way it ranks websites in the search results) is updated hundreds of times a year; unless you keep up with the latest updates, you may not be using SEO best practices.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll want to dive in right away – and you can. While the details of SEO evolve constantly, the fundamentals stay the same. Here are a few things you can do right now to improve your website’s search engine optimization:
Optimize Your Content with Keywords
First things first, let’s go through each page on your website, and review the content. Our goal here is to identify a unique topic for each page, so that we can determine the best keywords to use.
- Make a list of all the pages on your website.
- Identify a topic for each page based on the text, images, and video on that page.
- Create a list of keywords you expect your business to rank for in Google’s search results.
- Review your content and compare the list of topics to your list of keywords:
- Do you cover topics important to your business?
- Do you have a page dedicated to each keyword you expect to rank for on Google?
- Does each page have a unique topic?
- Is the topic of each page relevant to your target audience?
Once you’ve compared your content to your keywords, you may need to update the content on your website to correlate with the keywords you expect to rank for in Google.
If you want to get serious about handling SEO on your own, you’ll need to do your research. You can begin with Google’s own SEO starter guide. Remember that a large portion of search engine optimization is very technical; before publishing major changes to your website, ask an expert to review it.
Links to your website from other places online are vital to the success of your website. This is the best way to get visitors to your website using organic digital marketing.
The core of inbound marketing is simple: create content that attracts your customer and let them come to you.
Compared to cold-calling, direct mailing, and mass e-mails, inbound marketing promotes your brand with helpful content and publishes it on multiple channels across the Web.
How to Grow Leads & Sales
Generating leads with inbound marketing starts largely with three main parts: SEO, blogging, and social media.
Search engine optimization is important not just because of the traffic it can bring, but because of why it can bring in traffic. On-page SEO such as focusing on keywords, content updates, and creating clear page titles (coded into your website) all make your content easier to understand. This applies to both Google and users. After all, inbound marketing only works when your content can be found.
Blogging is a large component of inbound marketing. Not only does a blog help you with SEO, it’s also one of the main sources for helpful content for your business. While targeting keywords and building out more pages on your website is great, your goal with blogging should be to spread information that people want to read.
An effective blog is easy to read, thorough, and unique. Using your expertise, start writing or recording video blogs on topics that you know. Your audience wants to know it all.
The last major part of your inbound marketing should be social media promotion. It’s the support beam that helps hold up your website and blog. Without an active social media presence, your audience will have to hunt to find updates and news about your business.
Did you release a new blog? Post on Facebook! New video? Tweet about it!
Once you have someone’s attention, convert her into a lead by capturing her e-mail or contact information. You can do this through sign ups or with exclusive content available only through e-mail.
The best part of turning your audience into leads through inbound marketing is that they come in as qualified leads. They’re already interested in something you offer, and came to you without being harassed from cold-calling or purchased e-mail lists. Organic leads will always be easier to convert into sales than purchased ones.
When you want to streamline your marketing plan, you can invest in marketing automation. This wide category of software and technology focuses on strategies that you set up and let them run autonomously.
Marketing automation can be almost anything, but there are a handful of popular solutions that companies small and large have found to be effective:
Welcome Offers – If you have a registration or sign-up on your website, you can create a automated welcome offer. This sends an e-mail to their registered address immediately with an offer to encourage them to get started right away.
Post-Purchase Programs – Reconnecting with your recent customers is a necessary step to foster long-term relationships. Some companies send out automated e-mails requesting feedback or reviews following the completion of a purchase of service. Not only does this help you generate critical online reviews, it also shows that you care about your reputation.
Client Winback – Do you have a client that hasn’t contacted you recently? For contractors, winback programs can be a huge boon.
While the most popular options for marketing automation often involve e-mail, they aren’t the only types of automation. You can use this technology for most of your marketing planning, including:
- Lead Management
- Social Marketing
- Landing Pages
How to Automate Your Marketing
First, plan out which type of automation will have the most impact. Do you want to increase e-mail outreach? Maybe you’re tired of spending so much time creating landing pages. Or, like most business owners, you’re too busy to hop on social media every few hours to post updates.
Whatever type of automation you need, there’s a tool out there that can help you. Software like Buffer or MailChimp can help you manage your online marketing by simplifying many of the tedious steps. The net result is you reaching out to your customers more frequently with less time spent at the computer.
Photos & Videos
No business can promote itself without photography or videos. Your website, advertising and even your vehicle all feature visuals that help people identify who you are. Establishing your brand identity is integral to success and is one thing you see in every major brand worldwide.
They say a picture is worth one thousand words. For businesses, this is true. Effective visual media can connect to your clients in a way that words can’t. In digital media and print, a clever image can capture attention in a way that words never could.
Great videography is just as important. With the rise in popularity surrounding videos, it’s no surprise that video marketing has found its place across most popular digital platforms. Effective
Importance of Great Photography in Marketing
People recall images much more reliably than just information. If you just hear an advertisement, you’ll only remember about 10 percent of it. But if it has an image? You’ll remember 65 percent of the message. (Read: Brain Rules)
Eye-tracking software has shown that users tend to pay much more attention to images, especially if they contain relevant information. (Read Photos as Web Content by Nielsen Norman Group). If you aren’t using visual media to your advantage, you’re losing out.
As an entrepreneur, you have two options: pay a premium for a quality photographer or save money using stock photos. Which do you choose?
If your budget can handle it, you should always choose a photographer. Stock photos are helpful for filling in gaps on your digital content, but professional photos are necessary to properly present your business.
Visual storytelling is a compelling way to humanize your brand. Especially for contractors, it’s important that you’re approachable and familiar, even to those that haven’t met you in person yet. Professional photography that features you, your employees and your work will show off who you are and help break the ice.
This can be the difference between getting the call or getting passed over for one of your competitors.
Few things matter more in marketing than your budget. There are an infinite number of options for your marketing; few, if any businesses can adequately utilize them all.
It’s always better to focus on the platforms that will be most effective for you. For contractors trying to grow their business, it’s critical to hone in a marketing budget to maximize every dollar spent. Many options available to entrepreneurs seem feasible due to the low cost of entry. But effective marketing requires a reasonable investment over time, so not every avenue will be appropriate for every business.
Don’t view your digital marketing budget as an expense; it’s a long-term investment in your business. A mindset like this will help you when you reach the end of the year and start looking back at your operating costs. The last thing you want to do is lose ground by scaling back on marketing when you want more business.
How to Determine a Digital Marketing Budget
Planning your digital marketing budget can be an overwhelming process if you don’t approach it the right way. The most important part of the puzzle must always be your goal. What do you want to accomplish this year?
Pick something that’s definable and reasonable.
- Do you want to drive more website traffic?
- Do you want to convert more website visitors into leads?
- Do you want to build your e-mail list?
- Do you want to capture more search in your local area?
Once you’ve identified your digital marketing goals, find the option that fits best for achieving it. If you want to drive more traffic, look into SEO or SEM options. If you want to convert more visitors into leads, maybe you need to improve your website’s functionality with a new, custom-designed site.
Now that you have a goal and a plan, look at your finances and see what you can spend to achieve your goals. Your marketing budget should be healthy enough to move the needle, but you should also pay attention to the potential for diminishing returns.
Remember that your marketing plan will fail if you don’t support it with the budget and patience it needs. Few avenues for marketing will show their returns immediately. If you panic and stop advertising after only a few weeks or months, you’ll not only lose potential sales, you’ll also have lost the potential traction you were already building.
Get Visitors to Your Website
For more marketing tips on how to get visitors to your website, check out our free e-book: How to Get More Website Traffic
Give Artonic a call or e-mail us if you’re interested in website design, development, or marketing.