What do Joshua and Ryan who run The Minimalists and Courtney who runs BeMoreWithLess have in common?
They are minimalists.
The advocate the need to get rid of all the crap you hoarded in your life.
I followed their advice (what I really did is content for another post)
I’ve forced myself to become a minimalist. It feels good.
But wait, the fetchprofits blog isn’t about minimalism right? It’s about digital marketing, for god’s sake. Why are we discussing minimalism here?
The answer is easy: because you hoard up ideas and thoughts when it comes to digital marketing (just like you end up buying a house you don’t need, a car you’ll buy, and buying yourself a 55-inch smart television set because you choose to).
Following the ideas and thoughts, you’ll also end up doing a little too much with your digital marketing.
- You spend hours and days perfecting things you shouldn’t have to.
- You fuss over words and sentences when writing for your blog (or when others write for you)
- You stick to your stupid opinions, whims, and fancies when designing landing pages for your campaigns.
- You refuse to believe that ugly looking websites — along with ugly logos — still bring in the revenue (just see my logo and the website you are on right now).
You shouldn’t have to hoard up stuff into your digital marketing workflow. It’s time you go minimalistic with your digital marketing.
Allow me to simplify it for you:
For organic marketing,
- You’ll need to write and publish high-quality posts on your blog regularly. Throw in a dash of personality (just be yourself) and link to other bloggers and research while you are at it.
- Share what you publish on social media. In addition to that, connect with others (small talk, say hello, say wow) while you are there.
- Give something away for free (or for less) and grow your email list. Why? Because you can nurture your list of subscribers who’ll eventually buy from you.
- Repurpose your blog posts (in other formats like video, slide decks, and infographics) for a few other platforms where your potential customers hang out at.
For paid advertising
- Choose an appropriate platform for paid advertising (Is Facebook advertising right for you or is it Google advertising?
- Think of an offer you can make. Build your campaign around that offer.
- Always create ads in pairs (for testing them out). Likewise, create landing pages (again in pairs) to match those ads.
- Collect leads — make sure you integrate your landing pages with your email service provider (like Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, and Drip)
- Nurture leads (10:1 ratio — which means that for every 10 emails you send out, only one or two emails have soft pitches or direct sales content).
- Sell and track your sales.
Admittedly, it’s not as easy to implement all of the above as it is to read. The point I am making, however, is that there’s nothing more you need than this.
Here’s how exactly you should approach digital marketing with a minimalistic mindset:
Content Creation: Focus on quality & efficiency
Quality is subjective; efficiency is not.
Normally, many bloggers and businesses do believe in producing quality content. They forget efficiency though. Fussing over grammatical mistakes, worrying whether or not you should use specific words or sentences, spending 7 days on editing a single blog post, and banging your head on the wall to determine a publishing frequency — these habits slow you down.
Develop a process for content publishing, social media, and for sending out emails. Automate what you can and stop worrying incessantly about the quality.
You’ll get better with time.
Take emotions out. Put data in
I like red. Use red.
I want video on top. Content at the bottom. No copy. Button should say “I am a button”.
Too many businesses spend too much time (and waste it) over stupid things like button colors and landing page layout.
Those are important things only if your continued A/B testing results push you to that conclusion.
Worry about buttons when your data tells you to.
Care about graphics when your previously used graphics don’t seem to deliver.
Take emotions out of copy, design, and implementation of your digital marketing workflows.
Use data to make decisions.
Don’t over complicate Stuff
I want to use Wix with Sumo.
I want to use Unbounce to build a website with 76 pages full of content.
Build my website on Wix. Then, make it load fast.
Platforms have limitations. Everything has limitations.
If you find yourself choosing one platform over another, prepare to sacrifice something for something else.
Wix, for instance, doesn’t work with Sumo. It just won’t.
Unbounce is a tool to build fantastic landing pages; not for building websites.
If you use fully-hosted platforms like Wix, how fast your websites or e-commerce stores load is not really in your control (and Wix websites aren’t that fast).
But then, there are fully-hosted e-commerce platforms like Shopify for instance that load fast and come with tons of features.
Choose your platforms with care, and realize that you are limited by those platforms. It helps if you don’t shoot for the moon.
Campaigns: Keep them simple
Learn to make good offers. Test offers out. Keep making new offers.
No one perfected the art of making offers or pricing yet. It’s always been part art and part science. Some individuals and businesses do it well. Others struggle.
When you launch paid campaigns, don’t overthink your offers. Don’t make your campaigns more complicated than they ought to be.
Basic campaigns look like this:
How many complications do you want to add to this workflow?
Stick to Lead nurturing basics
I tried everything on the market, and I already the homework for you. Don’t waste time reading reviews.
Once you pick and run with an email marketing service provider, all you need to do is create emails.
- Create autoresponders as first messages that go out when your leads signup for an offer (including welcome messages).
- Launch more emails to follow up with the first email. These emails should try to develop a “relationship” with your subscribers. You do this by providing value in the form of information.
- Add a basic RSS-to-email campaign (the email that goes out to everyone on your list with your latest blog posts published the week previously).
- Occasionally, pitch your products and services.
- Track important email marketing metrics such as open rates, click rates, and sales.
This is all you need, really.
Which of the above is missing from your marketing efforts?
The problem with most of us is that we conveniently believe that we are always doing the best we can with respect to everything.
We barely even scratch the surface of what we can really do. When it comes to digital marketing, we have a tendency to stick to what “seems” to work rather than what we should be doing to make things happen for our business.
While the basics of digital marketing are easy enough to grasp, it’s incredibly hard to make it all work together to get you the results you seek.
- Merely blogging away on a schedule isn’t enough if you aren’t promoting your posts just as well (if not more).
- A passing presence on social media won’t cut it for you anymore.
- Sending out a few random newsletters or even basic automation won’t be enough to nurture and engage your subscribers enough to get them to buy from you (and then buy from you again and again).
The bar is constantly being raised as you read this. The hard work you put into developing content as a part of your digital marketing efforts now competes with some of the world’s best companies committed to make a difference and to use digital marketing as a way to grow their businesses.
If all that you think you are doing isn’t enough, what are you supposed to do? How do you compete in this, “I do better than you can ever hope to” world? Here are a few tips:
Stop getting intimidated
All that you are doing with inbound marketing is to use information to draw readers in. Then, you’d want your readers to like you and trust you enough for them to buy from you whenever “they” are ready for it.
You don’t have to produce content that’s better — or more powerful and engaging — than that of Tim Ferris or Seth Godwin. You’d only have to do enough to make a difference for “your audience”. Something you wrote about teaches them something. Or something that you tweeted about gives them “food for thought”.
Everyone started somewhere, and we really have no Shakespeare’s winning the game of content today. Successful folks, you see today are ordinary people, from all over the world.
Consistency is the name of the game
We place too much emphasis on “quality” — so much that we do it at the cost of consistency. I’ve often read how some popular bloggers insist on working just one blog post per week in the name of high-quality blogging.
Some others like blog intermittently, like Chris Lema does.
It might work for them, but it won’t work for you.
Now, Chris Brogan rarely even communicates on social media (chances are that he won’t reply to you) all the while he swears by the efficiency of social media as a medium built for modern day networking. But Chris can afford not to talk.
If Gary Vaynerchuck doesn’t reply soon enough (or not at all) to any of his potential customers, it’s alright. Gary built enough clout and goodwill to make his customers wait.
You can’t. You are not Gary Vaynerchuck and you aren’t Anthony Robbins.
For you and I, it’s quality plus consistency that works.
Compete with the best
Dan Norris, writes about how to benchmark yourself against your competition in his book The 7 Day Startup.
Anytime you feel yourself wondering if what you are doing is good enough, compare it to the best:
Don’t ask your friends to pick between three logos. Instead, compare them all to Apple.
If it’s nowhere near as good, try again.
If you write a blog post, compare it to one on KISSmetrics.com. If it’s not as good, rewrite it.
If you launch a website, compare it to bench.com or simple.com. If it’s nowhere near as good, then you can do better.
It’s often asking a lot for a small business to reach the levels of an established leader. You will be compared to leaders, and if you don’t measure up, then people will notice. By comparing yourself to the best, you set higher expectations for yourself, and you will be better for it.
It’s compelling to be mediocre; it’s hard to deliver the best you can. If we are doing something, we might as well be the best at it.
Do everything You Thought You Couldn’t
Does it feel intimidating to reach out to Copyblogger, Kissmetrics, Mashable, Marketing Profs, Moz, Forbes, and Fortune to get your guest blog post published?
Trust me, it scares the shit out of me. I already think guest blogging is a pure waste of energy and time for the measly returns it provides. To reach out to any of these publications would mean not only battling with my own fear and insecurity.
To be honest, though, I don’t think the bar is as high as we think it is. In fact, with the exception of Moz and a few others, most other blogs have lost their sheen. The content produced nowadays isn’t any better than any of us can produce.
It’s just these editors maintain the high-handedness. If we can ignore their unnecessary attitude, I am sure we can start publishing in those publications too.
Copy from others Who’ve made it before you
There are some remarkable people in this world. Sticking against the odds, working off their asses, some individuals have done what some companies still struggle with. Here are about 11 bloggers who can give any company a run for their money — all thanks to their sheer commitment to blogging, for instance.
You don’t always have to follow Rand Fishkin, you can learn a lot from regular bloggers, social media superstars, and email marketing pros — that’d cover the basics of what you need to do with digital marketing.
How are you putting your digital marketing game face on? What are you trying to do to get heard, to make an impact, and to help your customers?
Oh, the bogus they teach all over the place in the name of digital marketing.
I had been to a meetup on digital marketing yes ‘day and I was shocked by what they teach others in the name of digital marketing.
In India, there’s a term for reverse engineering: Jugaad.
That’s what it was.
How do you do SEO?
Pick keywords, throw them all up on your website. You’ll be on top of Google
How do you start with Shopify?
Grab a few images from AliExpress. Put them up. Do Facebook ads. Make millions of dollars.
How to do Facebook ads?
Create multiple accounts (because you are certainly going to be banned). Launch ads. Make use you use Bit.ly to shorten links (because your full-links is going to make Facebook come down hunting for you). Use Video ads. Point ads to your store.
How does Facebook track visitors?
Oh, there’s this thing called the Facebook Pixel. Once you visit my website, I can keep targeting you for life.
How do you find images for Facebook ads?
“Find them on Google”
How do you allocate ad budget for Facebook ads?
“Start with $2000 per month. You’ll only make positive ROI if you run ads long enough”
What other advice do you have for us?
“Always use big, green buttons on your Shopify Store”
How do you handle product returns?
“Use a virtual address and have no such thing as returns. If customers don’t like it or if they got damaged products, let them keep it”
Really? Nice strategy you got there.
It’s sad that this is what these “self-appointed experts” teach complete newbies. Every question was followed by a shocking answer that was either completely wrong, unsubstantiated, or at best, it was a half-assed answer.
This is unfair. Everyone deserves to learn better. Stop telling yourself lies. Don’t trust anyone who says “I know digital marketing like the back of my hand” or “I made a million doing SEO”.
Very few people can claim this for a fact. Everyone else is just lying.
Digital Marketing takes skills, efficiency, and commitment. Either you are in it or out
Here are some absolutely ridiculous things others are telling you or those that you believe or perhaps your neighborhood “expert” taught you:
Digital marketing = SEO
You got legs? You need two legs to walk. An engine needs anywhere from 1 – 12 cylinders for it to work – and all cylinders have to fire.
Digital marketing is vast and it has many things working together to make it work for a business. SEO happens to be just “one” of them. At the time of writing this, it’s only getting harder.
The right digital strategy is to fire all those cylinders together. You have to ALL of the following:
- Blogging (on schedule) and making sure your blog posts provide value. See how these companies became successful doing just that.
- While you creating all that content, you can repurpose content to publish elsewhere on third-party platforms. For instance, publish slide decks, infographics, videos, etc.
- Amplify what you publish on social media. But that’s not the only thing you do while you are on social. You also network, meet others, do small talk, share others’ content, and actually be “social”
- Make sure you build lists of subscribers. Email marketing is the only digital marketing channel that gives you complete control for your business.
- Launch paid campaigns if your budget allows for it. When you do, please be sure to use landing pages
Limping on a Leg
It’s remarkable how so many businesses just want “one leg” to work. Websites look like they’ve been built in the late 1990s. They load extremely slow. There’s no content marketing strategy in place. There’s nothing else working in your website’s favor. Your domain is rather new.
Yet, you are willing to pay idiots to make your website show up on “top of Google”. You thought Google was an easy lay?
SEO is not about writing crappy articles that you outsourced for $2 or less. Heck, even $125 for a single post of 1500 words still won’t guarantee any SEO success. Even if you do guest posting, it might not work as well you thought it’d.
Plus, making SEO work is a long-term strategy and it takes time. If you were expecting short-term results, you’ll be sorry.
If you still think you are doing it right, you are only hurting yourself. You just don’t get it.
Chasing Shiny Objects
There was this one young chap who happened to “quit his job” to start full-time blogging. Stars in his eyes, passion surging from within, but absolutely clueless as to how to go about it all.
He arrives looking for answers. Because he doesn’t know any better, he is looking at the wrong sources for information and he isn’t getting any of it. He can’t make sense of what’s being talked about and he doesn’t like my answers (because those aren’t what he is prepared for).
He thought full-time blogging is like,
“Start blogging, will make money from next month”
That’s not going to happen.
He wasn’t the only one on a deluded path though. There were newbie affiliate marketers, bloggers, business owners, and many others.
There was this particularly interested, vocal, and an active man from a business background who was chasing “the micro-niche dream” – I’ll set up a blog on micro niche and make $100 per month.
Good luck with that, asshole.
Everyone was chasing the dream. They were all after shiny objects (micro niches? Products no one knows about so they have potential when you sell them on Shopify?).
Dreams aren’t bad. Chasing something worthwhile is worth it. Except that there’s no strategy, plan, or resources behind any of those dreams.
Those dreams then, are worth shit.
Cutting corners, everywhere
Put up Facebook Ad, and then point to a website.
So, where the heck are the landing pages? Where’s your strategy to collect leads and then nurture them?
When I suggested that email marketing strategy is critical for success, I am told that:
“Email marketing is old”.
Who told you that for something to work exceptionally well, it has to be “new”?
“Retargeting is the new method that makes you millions”
Agreed that retargeting is awesome and that you should do it. Without the right strategy, assets, and a way to make it all work together, it won’t work.
“Spy on others and build your ads that way”
How do you know those ads even work? When asked, I was told that you’ll know how successful ads are when you see the engagement level on those ads (comments, shares, and likes).
But that doesn’t tell you how much money those ads really made. If there were any sales at all, you don’t know the Return on Investment. See?
Every single point being made felt like the world is in a rush to cut corners and find the shortest route possible.
People are chasing gimmicks, tricks, shortcuts, and crappy workarounds.
If your business is as cheap as tissue paper, go ahead and twist it all you want. There are at least a million scam artists to help you with that.
How important is your business to you?
I don’t care what you think but if you are cutting corners, going cheap, working with tricks, and looking for magic bullets, you don’t deserve to run a business. Go back to that day job and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Your entrepreneurial chutzpah depends on a lot, starting with that leap of faith. It starts with an idea.
Everything about you will be tested.
Your ability to sustain the vagaries of entrepreneurial uncertainty, your ability to get educated about what’s right and what’s wrong, the way you bring in finances to fund your business, your finesse of managing clients (employees, vendors, contractors, and investors).
Getting results with digital marketing depends on who you hire to help you with digital marketing or the choice of your digital marketing agency, the knowledge you choose to implement, and how you bring it all together.
I’d understand if you said it was all overwhelming. I can hear you out if you told me that all this is hard to manage. I’d empathize if you told me that it feels like you are putting a mountain that won’t budge.
What I won’t accept is that you choose to listen (and actually believe) all the nonsense that’s written on digital marketing, on business, and everything (or everyone) who is influencing you to do injustice to the very business you started with so much love, passion, and energy.
I won’t let you trample on your own dreams. Period.
Exactly 1 out of 143 clients in the last 3 years have bothered with email marketing A/B testing. It’s not surprising since many clients don’t even have “absolutely anything to do” with email marketing itself.
I mean, who the heck bothers with the old and boring email marketing when there are really hot social media platforms out there.
If you ignore email marketing, everything else you do with digital marketing is you sweating the small stuff and doing exactly that you shouldn’t be doing.
Why bother with email marketing A/B testing?
Assuming that you are convinced that you should do email marketing (hopefully), let’s look into the “why” of email marketing A/B testing.
- You do A/B testing because you want to find out what works best for your business
- Data-driven marketing is the only kind of marketing you want to depend on.
- When an average email marketing campaign delivers 4300% ROI, it just makes sense to fine tune and optimize one of the most profitable digital marketing channels out there.
- As always, you never know what subject lines, email copy, delivery timing would work the best with your audience.
Now, coming back to Email A/B testing; it works just like it does while you do A/B testing with ads, landing pages, websites, and others.
With email marketing A/B testing specifically, you can test:
- Subject lines
- The “from name” or the way sender details are presented
- The content of the email
- A particular segment or a set of recipients
- Time zone that the emails are sent on
- Particular weeks of the day the emails are sent
- Recipient Group size, and more.
According to MarketingSherpa, here’s a full list of what you could do email marketing tests on:
The winning emails are decided on a criterion you can setup. Some of those criteria could be open rate, click rate (total unique clicks), total clicks on a particular link, and more.
Most email marketing service providers like Mailchimp, Drip, and Campaign Monitor give you the tools for you to do A/B testing.
The only reason why you aren’t running email marketing A/B tests are because you weren’t aware, you thought it was fancy, or maybe because you genuinely didn’t get around to do it yet.
With email marketing workflows off a fully-customizable and automated tool like Drip (and also with other ESPs), you can also measure actual ROI of your campaigns with A/B testing.
I know you. It’s not going to be easy to convince you about something as obvious as this. So, here are a few examples of how simple email marketing A/B Testing experiments got these businesses results:
Weddingwire is a comprehensive website with everything related to wedding. It lists out vendors, has planning tools for weddings, has a list of wedding venues, photographers, Djs, planners, managers, and much more. Weddingwire also provides a ton of insights, inspiration, reviews on individual wedding related services, and a lot more.
Weddingwire’s newsletter, however, was one those things you could easily do the mistake of “just letting be”. With millions of subscribers, who’d care if there was one social button that doesn’t seem to work as well as it should?
It does matter. When you send out emails to 24 million people or more, everything matters.
While Weddingwire had no problems with people clicking on their main CTA, they were concerned as to why no one was clicking on the regular list of social media buttons.
Of particular concern was to find out why their Pinterest button wasn’t clicked on – from within the newsletter – as much.
The reason why Weddingwire worried about Pinterest was because their users were active there and Pinterest also makes for a great place for information and inspiration on anything to do with weddings.
The regular “social button array” faux pas?
So, when Weddingwire started including pins from their already active Pinterest account, here’s what happened, according to a case study from MarketingSherpa,
“WeddingWire saw a 141% higher Pinterest growth rate compared to the brand’s average, as well as an average lift of 31% on re-pins from email. Top articles reached as high as a 180% lift in re-pins.”
All that traction just for including pins that click through to Pinterest within a newsletter.
The Obama Campaigns
Everyone knows how successful email marketing was for Obama’s election as the president and the following re-election too (all this and you still need convincing that email marketing is critical for your business?).
This also includes the famous “I’ll be Outspent” campaign or the one subject line that says “Hey”.
Everyone knows this. Joshua Green of Bloomberg has a fantastic piece on the Science Behind those Obama Campaign Emails.
But then, there was a ton of detail that was being tested behind the exact same email marketing strategy that helped raise more than $500 million in donations.
Thanks to David Moth of Econsultancy and Amelia Showalter – Obama’s Directory of Digital Analytics in 2013.
Obama’s team found out that a sequential form that asks for information, one detail at a time, worked better than a single, long-form. This produced a 5% lift in conversions.
As Amelia puts it:
“For example, in one test on subject lines Showalter’s team found that the most effective iteration would raise $2.5m in donations, while the worst performing subject line would bring in less than $500,000.
Similarly, the team achieved a 5% uplift in conversions by A/B testing a long online donation form against a sequential format that asks for a little bit of information at a time, with the latter proving to be more effective.”
There were many more tests on the same campaigns for Obama.
For instance, Obama’s team boosted their donations conversion rate by a whopping 20-30% by a simple change of wording from “Save your Payment details now to make the process quicker next time” to “Now save your Payment Information”
Obama’s team also had a lot of insights that most people (marketers and businesses) wouldn’t get:
- The team fostered a culture of testing
- Ugly designs outperformed pretty looking ones
- The test results were shared internally
- Grabby subject lines proved to be worth millions of dollars.
Who would ever think?
It’s nice to see a company that makes A/B testing as the basis of its existence actually run A/B tests (and email marketing A/B tests, at that). Allison Sparrow of Optimizely ran a total of 82 email A/B tests as on 2017 with only 30% of those tests being significant.
How many calls to action should you have within an email? Any sensible marketer would tell you this: one.
But then, do you know for sure? You won’t know until you test.
In Optimizely’s case, they ran a test for 1 CTA vs Multiple CTAs with their existing customers.
The goal was to simply check in on the clicks for the CTA buttons.
The result was that one focused CTA was more effective (by 33% increase in clicks) than multiple ones.
If you are interested in reading more about Email Marketing A/B Testing, here are a few subject lines A/B test ideas from Sujan Patel on MailShake.
But then, most A/B test results won’t even give you any meaningful results. The folks at MixPanel tell you why A/B tests give bullshit results
“So if you’re sick of bullshit results, and you want to produce that 38% lift in conversions to get that pat on the back and the nice case study, then put in the work. Take the time to construct meaningful A/B tests and you’ll get meaningful results.”
Are you doing A/B testing for your email marketing campaigns?
Disclaimer: This digital marketing sample plan is generic. Every business — depending on different circumstances — can approach this differently. Also, this is purely an organic marketing plan sample. Things are slightly different for paid advertising plans.
Every small business is empowered to make it big. The world has truly gone flat. The online battlefields play no favorites.
It’s about how you execute your digital marketing, it’s nothing.
You did start with an effort to make your digital presence count. What you ought to know is the following:
- Most people have no freaking clue what it’s like to do digital marketing. They just don’t get it.
- A meaningful digital presence takes effort and time (and little money). Read Digital Marketing: Are you willing to commit or cop out?
- You’d need to give more than you take.
- You’d have to think in terms of value: why should a customer spend time on your website? Why should someone else buy from you?
- If you thought your customers are there for “checking you out”, that’s losing your marketing pounds or dollars per visit.
- Your job is to prepare for the long-haul or find the right people to do it (and an occasional monthly bill on applications or tools).
- You’d also have to pay for other people’s services. Being cheap here won’t cut it.
- Marketing is worth any investment you make for it provided you are doing it right. Also, don’t buy into any hype when it comes to marketing.
- Marketing isn’t a one-time affair. It’s not something we indulge in during the holiday season or because the sales numbers seem to be going down for the last few months.
- Marketing is punishing, expensive, backbreaking, thankfully, lonely, and relentless, forever, and ever.
With that out of the way, Your primary aim for marketing should be as follows:
Of course, the diagram above doesn’t even begin to do justice to the complicated juggernaut that marketing really is.
There are just too many variables — including marketing tools and digital marketing channels here.
Yet, you’d have to do it. That’s what this digital marketing plan sample is all about.
Your website should be built with the purpose of making things happen for you, and not for looks. Your website should get you traffic, help you establish your brand, get you leads, and help you make sales.
Invest in copywriting, because the chances are that you can’t do it yourself. Effective copy should be short, succinct, sweet, and to the point.
The hero section (the part of the page above the fold) is prime real estate. Use it to make website visitors do one thing that’s very important for your business – and that should be an opt-in form asking for an email address with something worthwhile that you give away. Build it like front page landing page design and learn more about Sales funnels and lead funnels below:
All product pages (along with the sidebar on all pages) should have social media buttons.
Build Landing Pages (for anything you’d want your potential audience to do, outside of your website)
Landing pages are bridge pages with an intense focus on getting your audience to signup, buy, or do something. That something is led by “call to action”. This is the page where you give away something valuable, like a tool kit, an e-book, a free trial, etc.
Paid ads, social links, and even links within your website should be pointing to a landing page.
14 Winning Landing Page Tips
Why are Message Matching Landing page Tips Critical?
The Anatomy Of the Best Landing Page design
Are you Embarassing Yourself with These Landing Page Mistakes?
Read my Unbounce Review: The single best Investment for Landing pages You’ll Make
Maintain a frequency of 1-3 blog posts a week with regular publishing days through the week. It’s important to post at a regular frequency and never miss it. Choose your frequency of publishing but honor it.
Each of these blog posts will have a relevant image or video where possible. We could start with unpaid royalty-free stock photography sites such as Unsplash, Pexels, SXC, and more. Or you can also try custom graphics.
Each blog post will try to have links back to our main site, links outbound to other blogs and other content. This will be a good start for your link-building strategy.
Integrate social media buttons with your blog.
The blog needs to be set-up for maximum search optimization. SEO is all about getting the balance between valuable content and a judicious use of keywords for your business.
If possible, have guest bloggers, staff writers, and others to rope in their content with a brief introduction, by line and a link back to their own website. This increases traffic for us and also makes us well known.
Email marketing – in spite of the big scene about social media – is still an absolute winner. Your subscribers are worth gold. As expected, you’ll need a dedicated landing page for email subscriptions alone (in addition to any signup forms on your website, on social media, and other avenues).
Learn Why You Need Email Marketing?
Check out a few email marketing stats to convince yourself.
If you are not doing email marekting, you could be sweating out the small stuff
Email marketing is not Dead, but you could have just killed it
- Your list of subscribers (customers) is a great way to start a newsletter and an occasional marketing blitzkrieg
- If you don’t have a list, start with your previous customers. Ask them for permission and manually create a list if you have to.
- Do we have auto-responder software? Some of the good ones are Drip, Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp. It’s not a choice to have these; it’s mandatory. Pick one and use it.
- We will need a well-written report, a toolkit, a free consultation, or anything else you can give away to seduce readers into subscribing with us in exchange for their email address.
Soon after each user subscribes, an autoresponder email will be sent with thank you and other details. Following this, send out an email each week: 4 per month; 52 per year.
Following this, send out an email each week: 4 per month; 52 per year.
No wait, how many emails should you send? Test it out
Some of these emails can have sales promotions, discounts, specials and other such offers you might want to do.
Social media isn’t exactly a bustling marketplace. It’s not like you can just saunter in and sell. You can’t promote. You can’t pitch.
The last thing you would do on social media is to beat your chest and try to make money off it.
Yet, it’s a medium like no other. It’s the Holy Grail for marketing. It’s almost everything a business can ask for.
Branding: The more your brand grows in strength, the more profitable a business is. Social media is free (except for your time spent). Build your brand and everything else will follow.
Serve better to sell more: The more you serve – and as you learn to get better at it – the more you’ll sell. Now, that “selling” might or might not happen on social media itself. You are being watched. That’s a good thing for small businesses, which had to otherwise pay for eyeballs in the “not so distant past”.
Build relationships: Every thing in business is about relationships. Thanks to social media, we just have a lot of people available to make that happen.
Open gates for communication: Businesses are more open to conversations. Communication leads to trust. Customers buy only when they trust businesses.
Your name is out in the open: How exciting would it be for a business when the name of one of its brands, products, or services are mentioned at a water cooler discussion? Social media is a huge water cooler. Word of mouth just got itself a super dose of steroids. Manage these conversations. See why your name popped up. Step in and help when needed.
Play nice and laugh your way to the bank: Share information, get into conversations, relate to others, amplify emotions, and build relationships, it’s just a nice thing to do. When you do, however, you are creating little bridges of opportunity. Playing nice like that has its benefits. You’d end up high on the trust radar. You’d get popular. Everyone likes to do business with popular brands.
It’s all about social proof: The people talk about your business, the more you’ll do business. But they won’t “just talk”. You’ve work to do – a lot of it – before people talk about you, share your content, get in touch with you, and more. Period.
You think this is repetitive? I don’t care since most businesses don’t do it right.
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Your blog works as the main hub for all the information you’ll produce. Your social media networks are the channels using which you can promote your original content (in addition to others’ content). In addition to normal blogging, you can also opt to work on:
- Guest posting (publishing on other relevant blogs for free with credits to you)
- Creating podcasts
- Creating Videos for YouTube
- Making slide decks and sharing them on SlideShare.net
- Producing Infographics
While I am still trying to get anywhere near this, you should check this out:
22 Companies That Grew With Content Marketing & Sweat
Guest Blogging Sucks, or Does It?
Why You Shouldn’t Sweat the Digital Marketing Stuff?
Sponsored Content: Are the High Costs Worth It?
Online Communities & Forums
You are the expert on what your business relates to — on everything that relates to it. Online communities thrive on common interests such as these and you’d have plenty of opportunities to showcase your credibility and expertise. Think of it as profiting indirectly by “giving” to a community of small & medium sized businesses.
This isn’t where you pitch and sell. It’s where you dish out pure value in exchange for credibility (and hopefully, some traffic).
Learn How to Make Quora work for you
Now, honestly, that’s there is to your organic digital marketing plan. Stop chasing brand new strategies and secret tactics. There’s no magic bullet. Just make good use of a single weekend, decide how you want to go about doing digital marketing (include this plan) and then just get to work.
Do you think this marketing plan sample can help you get started? How does your marketing plan look like?
Digital Marketing isn’t easy and it’s not hard either. The mechanics of online marketing remain more or less the same. There are only so many channels you’ll work with and it doesn’t get fancy anywhere.
The only variables are aspects that you’ll change depending on your business and your brand.
Also, how you want your brand to be portrayed determines how your offers are positioned, which also means that you’d then worry about the purpose for which you create content, the style of communication you choose, the blog posts, the copy on your web pages, the forms, your email marketing messages, and everything else.
But I see variations in what clients expect. I see how things begin to shape up depending on what the clients need.
You see, if you are reading this, I can bet that you need results. You want your digital marketing to work. After all that effort you take for marketing, something better happens for your business. Right?
It’d, but then, you don’t let that ever happen.
You seem to have your own skewed, twisted, preconceived, and half-educated knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work.
“I want SEO done. Will it be delivered tomorrow?”
“I want a beautiful website. It should look good”
“Looking for someone to help me with Facebook Advertising”
“Retargeting won’t work for my niche products”
“Email marketing is dead. Will you help manage my social media?”
I can put in 18-hour work days, Monday to Monday, and still never get tired. But a single statement like that and I am huffing, puffing, panting, and desperate to go do something else like weaving baskets or rolling cotton balls.
Digital marketing strategy is what it is but you screw up almost every time. Here’s why:
Because “Digital Marketing Strategy” sounds Like a Cool thing to say…
That word sounds so intellectual, geeky, and nerdy, doesn’t it? I am willing to bet more than 70% of all businesses in the world are sitting in a conference room wasting time with a morale-draining, complete unproductive meeting right now, at the time of writing this.
We are so drawn to fancy words and good-for-nothing meetings, aren’t we? You make it sound so big, this digital marketing strategy thing.
Instead of dwelling on a worthless “strategy” meeting, you could have written an entire week’s worth of blog posts.
Another strategy call could allow you to post social updates into the future using something like Hootsuite.
You spend too much time talking, and talking is cheap.
You worry so much about results that you don’t take the most important steps. Instead, you waste your time sweating the small stuff.
You spend half a week looking for Facebook advertising secrets instead of actually launching a campaign and learning from the data you gather.
You look for a developer to build landing pages when you have tools to help you build them.
You buy all fancy tools, courses, and eBooks but you don’t follow through what you learn.
Comfort is where the crowd is
If it’s popular, it must be good. Right?
For us humans, we take comfort in “common”, the normal, that which everyone does.
Everyone talks about SEO. Freelance marketplaces have vendors yelling out loud: “I will do SEO. I Will do SEO”.
Your idiot friend happened to share a drink with you and told you how he gets 124,000 visits a month just by publishing blog posts outsourced to a cheap freelancer and only publishes 4 times a month.
You think that’s the way to do it.
Some moron tells you that Social media is where it all is. You spend the next several weeks just trying to figure out how to make Twitter work for you.
Then another idiot like me would insist that you’d have to do email marketing and stop sweating over the small stuff.
You can see that you’d drift, coast along, and do nothing in the end.
Digital marketing is like a V12 Engine – all cylinders must fire. You can’t keep cranking a single cylinder (like social or SEO only) and hope that the world will come knocking on your door.
You have zero respect for the actual work
You want results. You look for vendors, freelancers, staff, and agencies.
For all the entrepreneurial hero that you already are, the Internet makes it easy for you to disrespect.
You can say anything you want. You can do anything you want. You can Tweet back at President Trump. You can leave a bad review for anyone.
This gives you a false sense of superiority. Plus, the Internet actually started making everyone believe that we live in an “Instant anything” world.
“Instant online delivery”
“Instant hotel bookings”
Unfortunately, results from digital marketing are anything but “instant”. It’s a thankless, lonely, back-breaking, and soul-sucking job.
Either you do it or have someone else do it. When they do, don’t ramp up your expectations by expecting results yes ‘day.
See how much commitment digital marketing really needs. No one got successful on day one.
When you know this, why do you expect others to wave a magic wand and expect magic on day one?
Good freelancers and agencies do the campaigns the right way – they’d research, create ads, setup landing pages, do A/B testing, and run the campaigns the right way.
You could do it too. It’s just that it takes time and a certain degree of expertise. So, you’d choose not to.
Just because you choose not to doesn’t mean that people you hire have to get results instantly since it’d take them time to show you results as it’d take you time.
Your opinions are expensive & loss-making
A lot of business owners have strong opinions. That’s actually a part of what makes up for the entrepreneurial DNA. They visualize, believe, and commit. They take risks and they invest money. They have more to do in a day that 10 other normal folks do.
That’s also where there’s an issue.
You, as an entrepreneur, are supposed to have opinions but you’d normally depend on people much smarter than you to take decisions that help your business grow.
Instead, your fat ego and stupid opinions mar your digital marketing efforts:
“I want only 350-word blog posts”
Why? Why can’t they be longer?
“Please don’t link to any other blog posts”
Why shouldn’t I link to others?
“I want this image to be exactly 600px wide and 400px tall”
Exactly how many millions did you lose because of this?
“Change the color of the button to green”
What’s the proof that green works better, given that you don’t do any sort of AB testing?
“I don’t care about A/B testing”
Because you are sitting on billion dollars in cash to spend?
You can ask for explanations. You can be a curious cat and ask questions. You can jump right into an argument. You can even question moves your staff or contractors make.
But if they are smart, you let them take the risks for you. If they are good at what they do, let them do their job.
Consultants, agencies, freelancers, and even members of your staff have spent doing digital marketing for ages (like when you were still working on that job or when you were in college).
Don’t bring your big fat entrepreneurial ego when you hire consultants and question their goodwill, expertise, or skills – especially when they didn’t even get started yet.
Digital marketing strategy and all that jazz are all fine. But you won’t get a lead (and hence make a sale) if you continue to do what you do.
Great leaders and successful entrepreneurs depend on other smart people to do the work. They don’t nose around, bully, or disrespect.
If you still choose to walk your ass around the aisles of the Internet thinking that you are somehow privileged just because you choose to hire someone for $6.25 an hour, I know exactly where you’ll go and how you’ll end up.
I don’t want to see you there, so don’t go there.