Entrepreneurs today need more than just the skills to do their jobs. They need to engage their customers and potential customers in the digital realm.
That’s a tall order for anyone without a marketing background and some tech-savvy. Digital marketing articles get stuffed with jargon like analytics, SEO, SEM, and segmentation.
The new entrepreneur might rightly wonder, “What about digital marketing for beginners?”
Parts of digital marketing do lean on technology. Yet, digital marketing’s goal is to connect your product or service with customers. That is all about communication.
So let’s jump in and look at the basics of digital marketing.
Know Your Own Brand
Digital marketing for beginners needs to start with knowing your own brand. Why?
Your brand connects with every part of your marketing and every customer touch point.
Let’s say your end goal is selling your own cookbooks and instructional videos. What’s your inspiration for this?
If you’re doing it because of fond memories of cooking with grandma, that’s a core piece of your brand. It also means people will expect a more down-home approach and attitude from you.
Act like a culinary academy instructor and it jars with your story.
Just as important, you must know what problem you’re solving for what customers. Let’s say you plan to target professionals with the promise of high-end food with minimal kitchen time. Your recipes can’t take more than 30-45 minutes and must resemble fine dining meals.
They’ll expect a no-nonsense attitude that cuts to the chase.
Do you see the problem here? Your brand story calls for one attitude. That attitude can’t coexist with the one you need to target professionals.
Developing your brand up front lets you avoid this kind of conflict and target the right customers. Once you settle on a story, ideal customer and attitude, it must stay consistent. Every ad, video, blog post, and social media profile must conform to those guidelines.
Blogging is one piece of an approach called content marketing. What makes it good digital marketing for beginners is that it’s easy to start.
You don’t need a lot of technical know-how, equipment, or software. If you can string sentences together and navigate the internet, you can blog.
Blogging also provides some serious benefits.
It lets you hone your brand voice. Finding the right combo of tone and vocab to connect with customers takes practice. Blogging lets you do that with minimal financial cost and at lower stakes.
You can use your blog to prove yourself as an authority. Write posts with advice and techniques that work and you create trust. People turn to you and not to your competition.
People share useful blog posts. That gets your website and brand onto more people’s radars. It can even lead to more sales.
The catch is that long-term blog success means planning. Take the time to work up enough relevant topics to write a weekly post for the next 3-6 months. Create a calendar and schedule the post date for every topic.
Then stick to the schedule. Rinse and repeat every 3-6 months.
Use Calls to Action
Calls to action are a crucial tool in digital marketing for beginners and old pros alike. At its most basic, a call to action asks the audience to do something.
If you ever watched an infomercial, you heard calls to action. They probably went something like this:
“Call now and you’ll get 2 for the price of 1, plus the handy-dandy accessory widget!”
Most calls to action avoid going that over-the-top because it’s off-putting to many people. The lesson is valid. If you want a potential customer to do something, ask them to do it.
A good call to action asks for a specific action. “Buy Now” works on a product page, but it’s vague anywhere else.
“Click here to buy the videos and master curry pork tenderloin” works better. It asks people a specific action, but it also gives them a reason.
When it’s practical, place your call to action so your audience sees it without scrolling down. Regardless of placement, do something to visually set apart the call to action. A few options include:
- bolded text
- larger fonts
- different color fonts
Get Cozy with SEO
Search engine optimization is a scary element of digital marketing for beginners. You can’t avoid SEO and hope to survive in digital marketing.
Now for the good news. SEO mastery isn’t an upfront necessity.
There are a few topics where you need some grounding.
Getting traffic to your site means ranking well in search engines. One way to do that is by focusing on a keyword or keyword phrase. These are terms people type into search engines to find content.
Most businesses use a keyword research tool to see what people use most often to find information on a topic. They pick one of the top keywords. Then they use it regularly on their site and in their content.
Your grandmother-inspired cooking website might try to rank for “down-home cooking.”
Avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is overusing a keyword to trick search engines into boosting your site rank. It won’t’ work and search engines punish it.
When you link to other sites, choose websites with high “authority.” Those are sites that offer solid information and draw decent audiences. It makes your site look better to search engines.
Hire a Pro
Digital marketing is complex and can overwhelm beginners.
Say you’re comfortable with parts of digital marketing, like brand development. You might find picking keywords or making content calendars wholly new ground.
You can always hire a digital marketing pro to help you out. A pro can advise you on strategy, techniques and a range of tasks, including:
- lead generation funnels
- the best marketing channels
- target personas
- content creation
Think of it like auto repair. If you aren’t sure what to do, it’s better to get a pro on the job.
Parting Thoughts on Digital Marketing for Beginners
Digital marketing for beginners is all about communication.
You must establish your brand story and the problem you solve. Then it’s up to you to communicate that to potential customers.
Blogging is a good place to start, but you can branch out into streaming video or podcasting. Encourage potential customers to buy or subscribe with calls to action.
You can’t skip the technical side of SEO. It’s too important for search engine ranking. What you can do is hire a pro to help you with those technical hurdles. If you’re ready, let’s do this!