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From Startup to Standout: A Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing

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With billions of people online, it’s not even a choice for brands anymore; you’ve got to be on the Internet if you want to keep up in any field. That’s why digital marketing continues to be a significant part of any business planning so that brands can stand out from a highly saturated online market. 

Today, digital marketing continues to grow, with new solutions available to all businesses, especially small ones looking to make an impact in their industry. 

If you’re new to digital marketing and want to implement it in your startup, take the time to read this blog. Here, we list all the essential and crucial details about digital marketing. Learn how it can help your small business grow, what mistakes to avoid, and all the best strategies to try. 

Contents:

1. Why use digital marketing today

2. Best digital marketing strategies for startups

3. Digital marketing mistakes to avoid

Why use digital marketing today

Digital marketing team

As mentioned, digital marketing continues to grow and offer more benefits to businesses of all sizes. Below are common reasons you must jump on any digital marketing channel or strategy today. 

Worldwide reach

Traditional marketing models like TV, radio, and print are restricted by geography, limiting their reach to a specific area. With ecommerce allowing brands to offer their products and services to potential customers anywhere, there are better options than offline marketing strategies for reaching them. 

Meanwhile, all digital marketing models allow businesses to access their potential customers worldwide. Online outlets like social media and email make it easier to promote and sell products and services anywhere, whether it’s in another city or country. These modern strategies have allowed companies, even small ones, to scale their ventures immensely and grow in their industry.

Better engagement

Engagement is a crucial factor that helps boost customer loyalty. Unfortunately, traditional marketing is a one-way interaction where brands send a message but can’t receive it from their target audience, creating a barrier between businesses and customers and reducing engagement opportunities.

Digital marketing offers different outlets for brands to communicate with their target audience. They can get valuable replies or comments on blogs, emails, and social media posts, allowing them to answer questions or address any issues. It also allows them to make the necessary adjustments to their campaigns based on the feedback they receive.

Cost efficiency

Traditional marketing models are still effective in today’s highly digital landscape. Sadly, they remain expensive, costing thousands of dollars per ad placement or spot. Their pricing limits small to medium businesses from launching their campaigns offline. 

Most digital marketing strategies have low startup costs. Some of them are even accessible for free. For instance, small businesses can launch search engine optimization (SEO) and social media campaigns without paying anything. 

The best part is that many digital channels don’t require any minimum budget for paid ads. That means you can launch a campaign and reach your target audience regardless of budget.

Accurate targeting

Because traditional marketing is a one-way interaction, there’s no guarantee that potential customers will see an ad campaign meant for them. These offline channels use strategic time slots and geographic locations, but that’s the extent of their services. They can’t control who gets to receive the message.

Many digital marketing solutions offer thorough targeting that allows brands to reach their potential customers based on demographics, preferences, and previous engagements. The most prominent example of this strategy is using social media marketing. Various platforms allow brands to segment and effectively connect with their target audience. 

Flexible solutions

Digital marketing offers flexible solutions that allow brands to elevate their online presence and reach potential customers. For one, brands can choose different channels and strategies to align with their target audience and marketing goals.

They also have the option to scale their campaigns up or down depending on needs and budget. Because of that, businesses can start small and gradually increase their efforts as they grow.

Moreover, digital marketing features various formats, including texts, images, and videos. These options help marketers experiment and identify the right content that resonates well with their target audience.

Finally, various devices are now available to offer different opportunities for brands to showcase their campaigns. Aside from smartphones, tablets, and computers, emerging technologies like virtual reality headsets and smartwatches show promise for many brands. 

Best digital marketing strategies for startups

As mentioned, digital marketing encompasses various strategies businesses of all sizes can use. The following are some of the best starting points you can try. 

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is one of the oldest advertising models existing today. Many beginners are quick to dismiss this strategy, but it’s one of the best options brands prioritize to boost their reach and establish their credibility, among other benefits. It even evolves and acquires new practices and technologies. 

This model involves optimizing websites with various elements, like quality content, keywords, and site performance, to achieve an excellent placement in the search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s one of the most cost-effective and accessible digital marketing techniques perfect for small businesses because it only takes time and effort to launch a campaign today. 

SEO is an excellent strategy to boost a brand’s organic credibility. Aside from that, it helps drive more website traffic and increase sales. 

Even big names like Nike incorporate this timeless online advertising model into their digital marketing strategies. Nike’s website seamlessly integrates relevant keywords in their industry. 

Plus, they prioritize a seamless user experience, like providing easy navigation and mobile optimization, to comply with various search engine ranking factors. Because of that, they have a significant ranking in the search results.   

Social media marketing 

With billions of users worldwide, it’s unsurprising that social media is one of today’s best digital marketing channels. This model allows brands to grow their online presence, build and connect with their audience, and drive more traffic to their website, all with little to no cost.

The best part about social media marketing is the vast array of tools, content forms, and techniques that brands can use to promote their products and services or engage with their potential customers. It’s also worth noting that each social media platform offers something unique to help brands expand their reach or showcase their credibility in many ways.

For instance, audiences for Instagram and TikTok differ from those using LinkedIn or X (formerly Twitter). This flexibility is one of the reasons social media marketing is the perfect launchpad for small businesses. 

Among the many brands that utilize social media well is Starbucks. In recent years, Starbucks has provided memorable social media campaigns on channels like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. 

This iconic coffee brand mixes creative imagery with relatable messaging that humanizes the company, from highlighting baristas worldwide to promoting fan-favorite flavors. Today, the brand has millions of followers on different channels.  

Content marketing

As you go deep into digital marketing, you’ll often encounter the phrase “content is king.” Over the years, this line has remained true, with content playing a crucial role in increasing brand awareness, communicating with the target audience, showcasing industry expertise, and converting potential customers. 

Content marketing is a technique that revolves around creating valuable, informative, and consistent content to achieve the mentioned benefits. Content is crucial in all digital marketing channels, including SEO, social media, and email, meaning focusing on this area ensures that you stand out on these online models. 

Aside from texts, this marketing strategy covers images, videos, and other content forms that potential customers will encounter, allowing brands to experiment until they find the perfect format. The best thing about this strategy is that it lets brands hone their creativity and develop unique content to stand out. 

One of the most clever examples of content marketing strategies in the past couple of years comes from Spotify. Through their annual Wrapped feature, Spotify has created engaging and shareable content that allows people to showcase their music taste across various platforms. 

Email marketing

Some newcomers make the mistake of thinking email is an ineffective marketing channel. However, like SEO, email remains a valuable digital marketing strategy today. 

Email marketing is an excellent strategy to promote new offerings, deliver personalized messages, and drive more website traffic. It’s one of the most utilized channels for engaging with existing and potential customers because it allows brands to communicate directly with them. 

Meanwhile, email marketing may be the most challenging channel to penetrate because it requires recipients to opt in. However, this strategy can guarantee conversions once they accept to receive your messages. 

One of the many modern brands that showcase email marketing as an effective channel is Airbnb. Airbnb’s highly optimized campaigns offer an engaging approach to email marketing. From its welcome messages to retargeting emails, the brand uses engaging visuals and a friendly tone that encourages user interaction with its content. 

Video marketing

Videos have the unique ability to make a lasting impact on the target audience through emotional, relatable, and clever storytelling. Because of that, video marketing is becoming increasingly dominant as an effective way to boost brand awareness and improve customer engagement.

Video marketing encompasses various video content forms in different channels. The best part is that this model continues to grow, incorporating new technologies that allow brands to express their ideas visually. For instance, aside from recorded videos published on social media, you now have live streaming, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). 

One of the best examples of effective video marketing campaigns comes from GoPro. GoPro is an action camera brand used in more adventurous or extreme settings. In an ongoing campaign, they invite GoPro users to send their best videos showcasing their adventures.

This campaign hit two strategies at once: video marketing and user-generated content. They can drum up interest in their product by having other users advertise it. Think of this as word-of-mouth advertising for the digital age. 

Digital marketing mistakes to avoid 

Brands must undergo many trials and errors before finding success in digital marketing. However, some errors may be more challenging to identify for beginners. 

With that, we list some crucial errors newbies must address immediately to launch a successful campaign. 

Not having a website

A website will be the foundation of your online presence and digital marketing efforts. You must first launch your brand’s website to join the competitive digital marketing landscape. 

However, it won’t be enough to publish a website and call it a day. You must ensure your website is well-maintained, designed according to branding, and filled with valuable content. Doing this will help establish credibility and support all your digital marketing strategies. 

Not defining the target audience

As mentioned, digital marketing channels provide excellent targeting for brands to reach their potential customers. However, this specific function is only helpful if you know your target. 

Of course, you have an idea who your target audience is, but targeting them effectively through digital marketing means knowing them beyond demographics. You must understand your potential customers based on their interests, profession, and preferences. Doing so will allow you to segment them better and create compelling campaigns that resonate per group.

Creating unrealistic goals

Digital marketing is highly accessible, but that doesn’t mean it immediately produces significant results. Many make the mistake of aiming big once they start their campaigns, leaving them with disappointing returns and wasted efforts. 

Clear and attainable goals are crucial to getting realistic returns. For instance, if you have 500 social media followers today, aiming for 10,000 followers in the subsequent weeks isn’t a reasonable target. Try going for 1,000 followers first.

Focusing on quantity over quality

The biggest mistake many digital marketing newcomers make is thinking the more content they publish, the better their chances of boosting engagement and conversion.

As discussed above, content is a crucial aspect of digital marketing. That means you must always take your time and create valuable content relevant to your target audience. Doing so will help you connect with them better and showcase your credibility in the industry. 

In conclusion 

Digital marketing is a powerful field that helps brands stand out in today’s highly interconnected world. To benefit from it takes time, dedication, and continuous learning. Doing so will boost your brand awareness, connect better with your audience, and increase your conversion. Use what you learned in this guide as a launching point to join this competitive field.

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