If you dabbled in digital marketing and would like to expand, there are plenty of options and channels. But I recommend that you see first what works best to determine your ideal marketing mix.
To give you a headstart, here are seven that I have found to be the most effective for professionals. While each of these might require an entire article (or more), let me provide you with a high-level overview and some of the most important aspects to consider.
If you already well-versed in digital marketing or have tried any of these, this article might seem a tad perfunctory. But there might be a few examples that might spark some new ideas.
Here they are in no particular order.
1. Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the quickest ways to gain traction. Some will use PPC for generating awareness, others will use it for generating sales. But as a professional, a less risky approach that combines both is to use PPC for generating leads.
It makes more economical sense to drive traffic to some kind of lead-capturing mechanism (such as a landing page making an offer of some kind) because you now have the ability to nurture those leads afterwards.
One professional I know has over 40 different landing pages that precisely target people based on a variety of criteria, including demographics, pain points, and buying behaviours.
You don't have to have that many, but start with one.
2. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Many professionals think social media is inappropriate for their practices. While you might think that, remember:
- It's the optimal place to create awareness, followers, communities, and above all, relationships.
- It's where clients and potential clients get to know you, connect with you, and learn to trust you. And,
- It's where users, according to statistics, research professional services and often make their buying decisions.
Not all platforms are created equal, of course. If you're a beauty or fashion professional, then Instagram and Pinterest will be your thing. But if you sell services to executives, then LinkedIn or Twitter might prove more useful.
As an aside, many of my clients include cosmetic surgeons and clinics, and we've discovered that Instagram is highly effective for this type of industry as it is predominantly visual, too.
Of all networks, Facebook is the biggest one. But keep in mind that it also offers valuable communication channels, such as for customer service, and community-building opportunities.
3. Email Marketing
Email is the OG when it comes to digital marketing. If you don't have an email list already, start one now, for the longer you wait, the longer it will take to grow your subscriber base.
Email is by far the top way to create traction for your business. Use it to engage users, increase traffic, and generate sales. Offer valuable information in the form of a newsletter, or use it to email brief updates if it's easier.
If you drive traffic from third-party platforms over which you have no ownership or control, such as PPC or social media, try to send them to a list they can subscribe to — one on your website.
4. Content Marketing
Content has a vast number of benefits that go beyond the informational aspect. It feeds your SEO machine (the most important one), conveys authority, entices people to join your list, costs less than all other channels, circumvents ad blockers, and more.
But content is not limited to blog posts. There are various formats, including:
- Case studies,
- White papers,
All of which are excellent lead magnets. The key to remember is that many of these formats can easily cross-pollinate, be repurposed or repackaged, or be converted into other formats (such as transcripts of webinars, which are also turned into articles, and so on).
Most importantly, once you create your content, then promote and distribute it. Use the other channels listed here to amplify your content and drive traffic to it.
5. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing is a form of PPC but specifically on search engines, such as Bing or Google. The key difference is that ads appear around organic search results, often above them, including your competitors' results.
An important benefit (or rather, distinction) is that an SEO is organic and sends traffic to content pages, where SEM drives traffic to conversion-focused landing pages or sales pages that move users through your sales funnel.
Aside from paid ads, SEM is a perfect tool for researching and targeting audiences too, which is beneficial for research and gathering competitive data. Certain third-party tools such as SemRush.com or SpyFu.com provide a wealth of information for this purpose.
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While the above can translate into quick results, SEO takes time. It's a long-term strategy. But once it picks up momentum, it can grow quite fast and the momentum can be virtually unstoppable.
The issue, however, is that a lot of professionals don't think of their website as a marketing channel. They think it's only an electronic business card or brochure. But in reality, it's the most important digital marketing channel of all.
Users will come to you when they have questions you can answer. If you have great content that can do this, you attract genuine visitors who are interested in you. While SEO can become complicated, SEO really boils down to two things.
7. Video Marketing
The importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy can never be stated enough. After all, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world.
Videos are not just for branding. Statistics show that users watch videos for education, how-to tutorials, product reviews, and research. When used on other channels (such as PPC or SMM), videos have higher engagement, clickthrough, and conversion rates.
The easiest way is to create them based on your blog content. If you don't like to show your mug, use a screen-capturing tool. Some professionals I know record themselves reading their posts out loud and/or adding commentary.
Regardless, videos convey personality and voice, which add a sense of authenticity. You can embed them on your blog as part of your content marketing strategy, share them on social media, or transcribe them to create additional content pieces.
There you have it.
Again, this is just a high-level look at the seven most important channels.