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How to Use Digital Marketing to Promote Your Online Business

5 examples of digital marketing strategies for online start-ups.

Every business needs marketing. Even the world’s biggest companies allocate significant budgets to building and maintaining brand awareness – some spending millions (even billions) of dollars on advertising and marketing. Businesses of all sizes should be asking themselves how to make money using digital marketing.

The reason businesses go to such expense is because digital marketing works. In order to sell your goods and services, people need to be aware that they exist, and appearing in search engine results or receiving a timely email are amongst the most effective methods. 

As an online business, your customers will be found in digital spaces. A recent poll found that Britons spend an average of 59 hours a week online. This is a huge captive audience, whether they’re working through an inbox, streaming content, scrolling on social media or reading the news. 

Digital marketing is a huge, complex area but for companies, it’s a valuable tool to reach new customers, as well as re-engage with existing ones. Let’s explore some of the main digital marketing techniques you can use to promote your business online. 

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Raising brand awareness online

There’s practically no company in the world that doesn’t need or wouldn’t benefit from a good digital marketing strategy. In the UK in 2020 the total spent on digital marketing was £15.57bn. That shows how important it is as a means to grow your customer base and increase sales. 

As an online business, you’re facing enormous competition, especially since so much of our working lives have gone online in recent years. Some . From fashion and retail to manufacturing and professional training, thousands of businesses have embraced eCommerce and digital marketing in response to our changing consumer habits.

With this level of competition, you need to stand out. If you are going to  survive you must reach digital customers with your messaging and it has to make an impact.

Brand awareness is about recognition of your business, its values, and products or services among your target customer base. Whether you’re a start-up, scaling up, or standing up to the competition as a market leader, digital marketing lets people know who you are, what you represent, and why you’re worth buying from.

 

Digital marketing strategies for online businesses

Digital marketing covers a lot of different disciplines and can be a highly complex area of expertise. But here’s a shortlist of the main areas you can start focusing on as a digital entrepreneur to promote your online business:

1. SEO

If you sold a breakfast cereal, you wouldn’t shift many cornflakes if your boxes weren’t on the supermarket shelves. Similarly, your online business isn’t going to be seen by many potential customers if your website doesn’t appear in search engine results pages. 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the name for the collection of techniques that aim to get your web content in the top positions on Google and other search tools. 

A massive  comes through organic search (ie typing a query into Google – as opposed to finding pages via direct links, social media pages or other sources). Yet over 90% of web pages get no organic search from Google. Optimising your business’s content so that it appears high up in search results is a hugely powerful promotional tool.

2. PPC Advertising

PPC or Pay-Per-Click ads are familiar to anyone who’s used a search engine. Lots of us claim to ignore them, but those links marked ‘Ad’ at the top and bottom of Google results pages for example, do get a lot of clicks.

Paying for that prime advertising space on relevant searches can be really lucrative if the ads are cleverly placed, designed and written well, and link to informative pages of your website. 

PPC advertising is a whole subset of digital marketing that online entrepreneurs should be engaging in. Not only will it work alongside your organic links to raise your company’s profile, but, done wisely, it can really help increase sales and maximise your return on investment. 

3. Email Marketing

Nearly everyone who uses the internet has an email address, and that’s most of the world’s population. And while nobody likes being spammed, receiving a friendly message in your inbox that offers to solve your problems in a timely and helpful manner can actually be very welcome. 

That’s why email marketing is so powerful for online businesses. In fact, it’s ranked as the most effective digital marketing strategy you can use. Whether you’re sending downloadable content about your products, highlighting special offers, or suggesting a first meeting to potential clients, email marketing can not only promote your business, it can transform it.

Thumb touching a Facebook app icon on a smartphone

4. Social Media Marketing

There are billions of social media accounts across a range of channels. Social media is part of many people’s daily lives, with platforms reaching across countries, age groups, and interests. 

If you’re not engaging in social media marketing, you’re missing out on an incredible tool to reach a huge number of potential customers. Posting organically on your LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (to name a few) profiles can promote your business to online-ready users.

In addition, social media paid advertising opens up a whole extra layer of channels to get your ads in front of highly targeted groups. 

Whether paid or organic, social media is an unparalleled communication tool. It helps entrepreneurs and businesses to promote services, engage with communities, and reflect brand values.

5. Content Marketing

Say you run an online business in fintech or the green energy sector. You might be an expert in talking about your sophisticated technology when answering a customer’s questions or pitching to an investor. 

But how can you promote a complex solution or convince people who have never heard of you?

Content marketing does a lot of the explanation and brand awareness work that would otherwise need a human being’s input. Sales and marketing teams have limited time, so the more you can demonstrate, enlighten, attract, engage, and delight potential customers with content, the more qualified leads you’ll generate and the more customers you’ll retain.

Examples of content marketing include:

  • Blogs 
  • FAQs 
  • About Us pages
  • Learning resources 
  • Testimonials and reviews

Anything that you can put on your website, optimise for SEO, and direct potential buyers to, will educate your audience and prepare them to make an informed purchase. You can always promote your content via paid social campaigns too.

NB: content marketing doesn’t have to entirely consist of copy. Some of the most effective marketing content comes in the form of videos, podcasts, infographics, and other creative formats. 

From above three people working at a desk

 

The power of digital marketing

Whoever your customers are, they will use digital channels. As a digital entrepreneur, that can only ever be useful to your business. 

The stats on digital marketing speak for themselves:

  • Every £1 investment in email marketing produces an average of £42 ROI
  • 2020 recorded 45 million active social media users
  • 86% of UK businesses engage in content marketing
  • The UK digital advertising market is the biggest in Europe

The exciting thing about digital marketing is that the job is never done. A good digital marketing department will always be analysing and improving performance to get your business message out there, generate leads and increase revenue. 

 

Learn to harness digital marketing for your business

On our distance learning Business and Management MSc course here at Northumbria, we teach a whole module in Digital Entrepreneurship, and another in Strategic Marketing. 

You’ll learn the vital skillsets of creating and developing digital businesses, as well as how to plan and execute digital marketing strategies. Taught by an industry-led faculty in our double accredited Newcastle Business School, you will graduate ready to promote your business in the digital marketplace. Discover five reasons to choose our MSc Business and Management course here

Our Masters is taught part-time and completely online. For more details visit our course page or get in touch with an enrolment advisor on DLstudentenquiries@northumbria.ac.uk


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