Valentino Vaschetto’s Guide to Marketing in the Digital Age

What is digital marketing and what can it do for you? While digital marketing can be characterized as advertising on any electronic device, on or offline, it is most commonly associated with online advertising. So, for the purposes of this guide, I will concentrate on online methods. Here are three valuable ways that you can advertise online:

  • Email marketing
  • Search marketing
  • Social media marketing

Email is essentially free, except to the extent that you count your time, the cost of producing any graphics, the cost of running your website and blog, and so forth. Both search marketing and social media marketing have organic as well as paid forms. I will endeavor to touch on some of each.

Email Marketing

Email is one of the best things you can use to market your product or service. For every dollar you put into it, your average return is $44, according to Campaignmonitor. That’s still the highest return of investment as against the other marketing methods. As of 2017, there were 3.7 billion people using email. 99% of consumers will check their email each day, and between work, home and their mobile phones, these consumers check their email boxes 20 times each day.

The Radicati Group predicted that by the end of 2018, there would be more than 2.2 billion people using email on their mobile phones. And, according to Emailmonday, mobile emails are accounting for more and more of all opened emails — up to 75 percent. So, it makes sense to tap into that market by making sure your emails can be clearly read no matter what screen size is being used.

But, how do you build an email list? There are all sorts of ways to do this. One of the simplest is to offer a subscription to your blog at the end of each blog post. Of course, there are several interesting and creative variations to this. One is to ask that anyone who wishes to comment, give their name and email, but allowing them to opt out of your mailing list if they want to. Another is to make your request for subscribers relevant to the content. One way to do this is to offer more in-depth information on the same subject as your blog post.

There are other ways to get emails besides from your blog posts. You can do a survey on your website with a sign-up at the end, generally targeting those who have never visited your site before. Or, you could put pop-ups on your site or blog related to the content of your page, offering something like a free report, or just asking if the visitor would like new posts sent directly to their in-boxes. Pop-ups are sometimes a bit controversial, but the increase in subscribers as a result is real.

Do a give-away. Be sure to give away something only your ideal customer would really want, or you won’t get the type of subscribers you’re after. For example, if your blog is about weight loss, your ideal customer might be interested in winning a 3-month fat busting course from an up-and-coming trainer. And you could give extra entries for referrals to your site. Just like with other partnerships, you could work out a deal with the trainer where she gets the exposure from your give-away and you get the subscribers. Everyone wins. You can do smaller versions of this on your site where you give downloads of reports, e-books, and so forth that are downloaded via email.

Collaboration works in other ways too. You can provide content for more established sites and blogs and link back to your own. Again, they get something of value, great content that they didn’t have to work for, and you get exposure to their larger following and hopefully more subscribers and customers.

Another creative thing to do is host a webinar, a good video about something people need. The great thing about webinars is that people sign up with their emails and commit to showing up at a specified time. Not only do you collect emails, but you can collect believers in your product or service.

Lastly, don’t forget to put an email sign-up opportunity at the end of your own emails. That way, when they get forwarded to other people, those potential new customers can sign up for your list.

Search Marketing

Search marketing involves all the ways to help potential customers find you when they search the internet. It includes many factors, but we are going to talk mainly about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and some ways to get paid advertisements into search results and onto web pages.

One important thing to consider these days is that the internet has gone mobile. So, you need to make sure your content is always optimized for any screen size. Search engines are taking this mobile revolution into account as well.

SEO is designed to influence both the relevance and popularity of websites because search engines first pull up relevant results, then rank by them by their popularity. Optimizing your pages obviously is a great way to get them to rank higher in search results. Potential customers find you by entering key words, so the more skillfully you use them in your web pages and blogs, the higher your rankings will be in the search results. Among the best ways to optimize your page’s rankings for relevance are to make sure that your keywords are used prominently in titles, text, and metadata; are as specific as possible; and are used naturally within the content. But, of course, you should have fresh, informative, useful content as well. Google and Bing recommend that you use keywords to “create descriptive, human-friendly URLs and “ensure a clean keyword rich URL structure,” respectively, as part of your SEO.

Linking is also important in search marketing for several reasons. With inbound links — linking your own pages to your site, you allow the search engines to find all your content. Otherwise, they can’t see your pages. Outbound links connect your site to others within your niche, catching the attention of the search engines. Backlinks to your site from other quality sites can raise your rankings as well.

Finally, the relevance of your content is determined, in part, by your bounce rate (when visitors leave after visiting just the page they landed on) which will hurt you in the search rankings. This is where having quality, useful content and easy linking to other pages on you site becomes vital.

You can also pay to have your website at the top of search results, depending on what users are searching for. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad. CPM — cost per 1,000 impressions — is where you pay for your ads appearing all over the internet in a content targeted manner. For instance, if your business is about weight loss, your ads will likely show up on sites such as those which advertise exercise programs, healthy lifestyle, diabetes prevention, etc.

Social Media Marketing

The very first thing you need to understand is that not all social media sites are created equal. Some will be great outlets from which to reach your target audiences, some will not. You will need to do some homework into the types of audiences each network caters to, so you don’t waste your time on a site that doesn’t appeal to your customers.

Once you have chosen the sites you want to concentrate on, learn the best times of day and days of the week in which to post your material. Several studies have been done on this and are widely available on the net.

Next, create solid, engaging content in the appropriate form for each site. For instance, if you choose to advertise on YouTube, you’ll want videos. Take the time to learn how information is consumed on each platform you choose.

One of the great things about social media marketing is that you can interact with customers and potential customers about your product or service. Also, if you create great content, it’s going to be shared. That’s how social media works for your — digital “word of mouth” — spreading information about your brand. This is called “earned media” as opposed to paid media. However, you can pay for ads to appear on various social media networks if you choose. Just remember to do your homework beforehand.

One last thing, remember the keywords you worked so hard to develop and use in your content? You can use them to track your progress on social media. This can be an invaluable tool.

There are numerous disciplines within marketing in our digital age that you should have at least some basic knowledge of, including email, PPC, display, video, HTML, UX, SEO, social media, community, blogging and content. The most important thing to remember is not to get overwhelmed with all of this. You shouldn’t try to be an expert in everything. The best and most effective marketer will be “T-shaped,” meaning they will have that overall basic knowledge, but will have in-depth knowledge in only one discipline, such as SEO, or social media marketing. So, you might need help if you decide to market in more than one disciple if you really want to be effective.